google
thoughts

What The Heck, Google? – Published in Hacker Noon

So Google has a version of its search engine in the works for China. However, this version is/will be openly censored to comply with Chinese censorship. The project is known as “Project Dragonfly” and was intended to be confidential.

Employees working on the project were told “to avoid referencing it around our team members, and if they ask [what we’re working on], to deflect questions”.

While I’ve had my issues with Google for awhile, none of them have been as serious as this one: Google, one of the largest companies in the world, is bending to accommodate the largest authoritarian regime in the world.

Google’s Mission Statement

If Google’s goal is really to make the world’s information universally accessible, isn’t this move a step in the wrong direction?

This isn’t the first time that Google employees have been upset with the company. Recently the company received backlash for a military drone project it was working on with the Pentagon. Unfortunately, I can’t see how either of these projects align with Google’s mission statement.

Perhaps Google has made the decision that allowing any information to flow into China is better than simply ignoring the country’s massive population altogether. China’s internet user base is about 775 million people, double the US population.

While Google hasn’t publicly stated their intentions with China, it looks like the company is far more focused on the profits from China than the free flow of information for everyone.

Alternatives To Google

If Google’s latest decisions worry you, as they have for me, there are plenty of alternative products out there. Perhaps some of these will align with your own values better than Google.

Try These Alternatives ⤵️

The Best Private Search Engines – Alternatives to Google


Read Original Article in Hacker Noon

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thoughts

I’m a Brand Evangelist

I’m a marketer.

My job is to represent brands. I find whatever it is about the brand that people connect with, and I promote the shit out of it.

To be an effective marketing professional, you have to see value in the brand yourself, or you’ll have a hard time being a good spokesperson.

If the people responsible for representing the brand don’t believe in it or find it valuable, the publicity will be poor. It will lack authenticity. It takes a little naivety to be successful at first. Odds are your first job won’t be sharing something you are incredibly excited about.

However, whatever it is that gets you excited about your brand, will likely get other people excited too. The key is finding that thing, or selling point, and spreading the word about it. Be a cheerleader for your brand. Smile and rally support for your team.

Keep this one thing in mind: Your job is to sell people on the strong parts, not to educate them on the good and bad aspects.

Through SEO, I try to put out enough good, so that any negative press or portrayals of our brand are hidden by the heaps of good publicity I’ve created.

Marketing/SEO/Advertising/Social Media and other forms of brand representation all have unique challenges, but at the end of the day you have to be loyal to your brand if you’re going to find customers who truly are loyal as well.

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Want To Be Healthy? Be Grateful.

I originally posted this over on Medium.

Want To Be Healthy? Be Thankful.

Last weekend, Mom dragged me to COR because she said she wanted to go hear the music. I agreed, since I hadn’t been to service in the new building. This week I went again, because…well, the music was good.

They recently added a massive new sanctuary with a massive (seriously) stained glass window and the result is stunning. Tim Carey designed the window, a depiction of Jesus and the story of the bible, which is actually the largest stained glass window in the world.

Side note: As a kid, my church didn’t have a massive stained glass window, so I was left to stare at the beige cross in front of the off-white wall if I got bored. And thankfully this window is behind the alter, so you can space off and stare at the colorful image and look like you’re paying attention.

What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude can be trait, a mood and an emotion. Overall, it’s the feeling or expression of being thankful. It is one aspect of many religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity all encourage gratitude towards others. Beyond religion, gratitude is shown to improve your well-being, mood and health. So it’s a good thing to be thankful or show gratitude for what you have or what people do for you.

Why Gratitude Makes You Healthy

“If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.” -Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy

By being grateful, and focusing on being appreciative, your outlook on life generally improves. If you spend your time thinking about the positive parts of your life that make you happy, as a result, you will be happier.

“Some people may not be grateful by nature but it is a habit you can get accustomed to,” said Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a psychiatrist and author of “Winter Blues.”

If you’re trying not to get sick this winter, maybe it’s a grateful attitude you need, not a flu shot.

Research shows that when we think about what we appreciate, the parasympathetic or calming part of the nervous system is triggered and that can have protective benefits on the body, including decreasing cortisol levels and perhaps increasing oxytocin, the bonding hormone involved in relationships that make us feel so good.

Why Being Thankful Is Hard

There are so many things that can easily take your focus away from being thankful. Social media, for example, is a constant feed of people showing their happiness and their achievements. It’s easy to start comparing yourself to your friends and then feel less thankful for what you, yourself, have.

As humans, our ability to adapt to new situations also hinders our ability to be thankful. This is because regardless of positive or negative changes to our situations, we return to a stable level of happiness. If your happiness is manifested in achievements, each achievement is followed by a short burst of happiness and then a return to the same level as before. This is called the “hedonic treadmill” or “hedonic adaptation”.

The Hedonic Treadmill

This adaptation is good and bad. It allows for people in terrible circumstances or have suffered great losses to achieve happiness again after a short period of mourning. Unfortunately though, people who have achieved great things and are in positive environments shortly lose their happiness and return to their “baseline”.

How Gratitude Can Boost Your Career

If you are in a leadership role, no matter the size of your company, making your employees feel recognized and appreciated will lead to them being more engaged. When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “Give recognition.”

People generally value recognition and feeling appreciated more than higher salaries. If you think that you could improve your company’s culture, shift toward recognizing your co-workers and employees for their achievements. It will probably mean more to them than giving them the paycheck that they would have received anyway.

Outside of your work, if you reflect on it, the people closest to you are probably the ones you take for granted the most. Let them know you appreciate all they do for you, even if its just a text or a note.

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The Blogging Tool I Use Every Day

Recently I’ve been using AnswerThePublic.com every day. You enter any topic and it comes back with a web of search phrases that people ask about the topic.

I came across it on an SEO blog somewhere, and it has proved to be extremely useful. It really helps with writing more organized content. Using the questions that people ask as headlines helps SEO because it places the keywords in your headers. This nearly halves the time it takes to write a post, which is great!

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thoughts, Uncategorized

Should You Get Amazon Fresh?

AmazonFresh was first released in March 2017 as AmazonFresh Pickup, a drive-in grocery concept. It allowed users to shop for groceries online and then reserve a time to pick them up at the store and have them loaded into their car.

In July 2017, it was reported that AmazonFresh was selling meal kits. Then, on November 2, Amazon announced that it was discontinuing the service in some neighborhoods. This is likely due to the company shifting its focus to Whole Foods, after acquiring the grocery chain in August 2017.

What is AmazonFresh?

AmazonFresh is a subsidiary of Amazon.com. It is a grocery delivery service currently available in some U.S. states, London, Tokyo, and Berlin. Items ordered on AmazonFresh are available for same day or next day delivery.

Is AmazonFresh Available in Your Area?

Click here to see if AmazonFresh is available in your area. They recently scaled it back, but it may return once the program integrates Whole Foods and its infrastructure.

Try AmazonFresh Free Trial

Is Amazon Fresh Worth It At $14.99 per Month?

Like most things it really depends. If you are able to determine how much of something you use, and can consistently use the same amount, it really could help you. As more and more services and retail stores become more automated, like this, there will be a shift away from taking trips to the grocery store for a few things. The service costs $14.99 per month, and if you spend more than that on gas to and from the grocery store in a month the service is worth it.

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There Will Never Be Another Gold Rush

A gold rush will never happen again. I really can’t think of a situation that would suddenly make everyone rush to one place in the world. The world is so interconnected that one area may suddenly see a spike in economic activity, but people won’t move there.

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman covers this well. Jobs that once were reserved for people in the developed, western world can now be performed much cheaper in places like India.

People will rush to new industries and new product categories but nothing is exclusive to a single region. Unless Elon Musk takes people to Mars and lets people find something to sell on Earth, people aren’t going to rush anywhere anytime soon.

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