2015:  The Year of mCrime – Cybercrime Goes Mobile Thanks To Insecure


2015:  The Year of mCrime

Cybercrime Goes Mobile Thanks To Insecure
Mobile Banking, mCommerce and mWallet Apps

By Mark Laich

Millions of consumers no longer visit a bank to deposit checks or conduct financial transactions. Instead they rely on the convenience of using their mobile devices to send money, view account balances and bank online.

The same is true for how they spend their money – the shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce to m-commerce is already well underway.  Think about it – how many times do you use your smartphone to research a product or purchase one?

Maybe you’re going out to dinner tonight and you’ve already filled your Apple Pay, Google Wallet or other wallet technology with all of your credit-card information. Ever wonder if you could be pickpocketed wirelessly? Could an app you trust already be stealing your personally identifiable information (PII)? Sadly, the answer is yes.

Cybercrime Heats Up

Many financial institutions and retailers have launched mobile apps in the past 18 months to respond to demands from their customers who want the convenience of 24-hour, anytime/anywhere banking and shopping. Mobile banking apps help build customer loyalty, and mobile-banking transactions are significantly cheaper for banks compared with transactions that require employee interaction.

Mobile-retail apps capture consumers’ buying impulse at the moment they occur, and allow for easy comparison shopping – the potential for finding an item cheaper is a quick tap away. Because more and more banks and retailers are making the investment to develop a mobile app, having one has gone from being a competitive differentiator to a “must have” to compete for consumers’ business.

And once a bank has made that investment, there is a concerted effort to encourage customers to use their mobile-banking platform. The same holds true for retail. Amazon and others will do anything to get you to shop online from your smartphone or your tablet.

Apps Increase Cybercrime

But the growth of mobile banking and retail apps also means that more people are at risk for identity theft and the hacking of sensitive personal and transaction data by cyber criminals who plan to commit fraud. These apps are used on devices that often aren’t safeguarded from security holes. Most people have between 30 and 75 apps on their mobile device, and of course, when apps are installed on a device, users must grant multiple permissions for accessing a device’s location, SMS capabilities, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, camera and other device resources.

Some of these resources are used for the apps to do their intended task, but often apps demand resources that can open up a device to security vulnerabilities.  Unfortunately, when consumers install an app on their mobile devices, few of them read all the permissions the app requests to make sure it isn’t asking to use device resources that might be suspicious.

This issue is highlighted by a report from Gartner Inc., the technology research company, which concluded 75 percent of apps in the major app stores fail basic security tests. Gartner defines this as an app using mobile-device resources that have nothing to do with the intended function of the app. Rather they can be used to eavesdrop on other apps that are running concurrently to collect data about the consumer. The rationale is that the collected information can be used for data analytics to help with targeted mobile advertising.

However, this has given cybercrime perpetrators  a rather large attack vector to commit ID Fraud by using malware that looks like trustworthy apps to steal PII and financial transaction data from mobile banking apps, or to steal your credit-card information from your retail apps that reside on the same mobile device.  This type of malware disguised as “trusted” apps has hundreds of millions of downloads from the major app stores.

Worse yet, this new form of malware is undetected by anti-virus and able to circumvent encryption, biometrics, tokenization, sandboxes and authentication. The result is that using mobile-banking apps to conduct transactions is similar to using an ATM to withdraw cash in a dangerous area with criminals lurking around, or handing your credit card to a stranger, in public, who is using the old-fashioned carbon copy credit card imprinter to take your order.

Another popular technique for cybercrime perpetrators is spear-phishing attacks – which take the form of email and text messages that appear to be from an official source or someone you know, usually garnered via a social-networking site. These messages can then install monitoring software covertly on the mobile device. Monitoring software can access most mobile device activity and resources, thereby stealing consumer data just like the malware downloaded from an app store.

Consumers and Cybercrime

Most consumers are unaware of these types of threats, and even when they are aware, they don’t take actions to protect their security and privacy until it is too late. On the other hand, financial institutions carry the liability associated with the fraud that results from data stolen from mobile banking and retail apps. In a U.S. landscape where almost 1 billion PII records have been compromised and there is identity fraud totaling $24.7 billion in losses – according to statistics from Privacyrights.org and the Department of Justice – greater safeguards are needed to protect consumers’ financial data.

At the same time, it is important not to intrude or detract from consumers’ mobile banking or retail experiences. Financial institutions and retailers can’t solely depend on consumer awareness and training, nor can they make it complicated for consumers to protect themselves.

For better or worse, the modern-day consumer has become enamored with using their mobile devices for apps such as social networks, location-based services, and games on the same device on which they want to do mobile banking and mobile commerce, thereby compromising their security and privacy. What financial institutions and retailers need is new, innovative security technologies that deliver an optimal balance between protecting consumer data and being un-intrusive to consumers’ total mobile-device experience.

In this way, their mobile banking and mCommerce apps can operate in a safe and trusted environment even when multiple applications are running concurrently. By working with companies that specialize in these types of new security technologies designed to thwart zero-day threats and malicious eavesdropping apps, financial institutions and retailers will not only protect themselves from liabilities, they will also be successful at convincing more of their customers to use mobile banking and mobile commerce, thereby increasing the ROI of their mobile-app investment and their operating efficiency.

Finally, as we look forward to what many believe will be the rapid adoption of mWallets in 2015, you must understand that they are inherently insecure because they operate on already infected devices. It’s time to take a completely radical, proactive approach to securing consumers’ data as the financial, transaction-based world shifts onto our smartphones and tablets.

This year marks the beginning of a new wave of enablement, opportunity and mCrime.  Where there is mobile banking, mCommerce and mWallet there will be mCrime.  Assume it comes in the apps as innocent as that flashlight app you recently installed, because if you don’t, you’ll be left in the dark missing your identity and your wallet.

About The Author

Mark Laich, is VP of Security Solutions, SnoopWall, Inc. (www.snoopwall.com)

Mark joined Snoopwall with a 30-year track record of successful sales in the high-tech industry, generating over a half billion dollars in revenues. His expertise includes successful customer and market development in the mobile, CE, and telecommunications market sectors. He has a long track record of leading successful sales campaigns and developing business at major accounts like Samsung, Microsoft, Philips, Canon, Nikon, Thomson, Cisco, Alcatel, Siemens, and Compaq.

Cloud Accounting Startup FreeAgent Raises $5M In Debt Financing


Originally posted on Deepak verma:

FreeAgent, the cloud-based accounting software startup that targets freelancers and so-called “micro-businesses”, for which it claims to be the leader in the U.K., has raised a further $5 million in funding — money it plans to use to increase the rate of customer acquisition (read: marketing). This
April 08, 2015 at 02:01PM
http://techcrunch.com/2015/04/08/freeagent-5m/?ncid=rss
By Deepak verma

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Managing Dominant People – Handling Strong, Challenging Personalities


“DiSC” is a registered trademark of Everything DiSC, a Wiley Brand. “DiscProfile” is a trademark owned by Personality Profile Solutions LLC (see www.discprofile.com). We have no association or connection with these organizations.

Managing Dominant People“Big beasts” can help you deliver big results.

© iStockphoto/CWMGary

Do you know what characteristic links many political leaders, top business executives – and even psychopaths?

They share a trait called “fearless dominance.” They are typically great crisis managers, because they remain calm under pressure and are confident taking bold action in the face of daunting risks. They can also be influential and charismatic, and effective in getting the job done.

However, the danger comes if their assertiveness crosses the line into intimidation or even bullying. Someone with a dominant character can monopolize discussions and disregard social norms, which can discourage their colleagues and lower morale.

In this article, we’ll examine the characteristics and behaviors of people with dominant personalities. We’ll discuss what you can do to harness their strengths and moderate their weaknesses, so they can excel as part of your team.

What is a Dominant Personality?

According to American academics Dr Cameron Anderson and Gavin J. Kilduff, the dominant personality trait “involves the tendency to behave in assertive, forceful, and self-assured ways.”

Anderson and Kilduff disagreed with a popular theory that dominant individuals use heavy-handed, aggressive tactics, such as bullying   and intimidation, to get ahead. Instead, they argued that such people attained influence by demonstrating their competence and value to their teams. Their study found that dominant team members “may ascend group hierarchies by appearing helpful to the group’s overall success, as opposed to by aggressively grabbing power.”

Interestingly, their research also showed that some people viewed more forceful colleagues as being more competent, even if their talents didn’t match their assertiveness. Those who did so equated competence with behavior such as speaking up in groups and being the first to answer questions.

How to Recognize a Dominant Personality

It’s not hard to spot dominant people. Typically they will be – or want to be – in a leadership position. They may exhibit several of the following behaviors and traits:

  • Self-confidence: their strong self-belief can come across as arrogance or bravado.
  • Directness: dominant people usually get right to the point and can be quite blunt in their communication.
  • Decisiveness: they can make quick decisions, often with little input from others.
  • Assertiveness: they tend to take the lead in situations and commonly monopolize discussions and meetings. They may even seem aggressive at times.
  • Impatience: dominant people like to make progress. They tend to avoid getting bogged down in details and can give little time to contributions from colleagues.

Tip:

Keep in mind that this article is meant as a general guide. Each person is unique, so allow for individual differences in your approach to managing dominant people.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working With a Dominant Person

The good news is that there are many advantages to having dominant personalities on your team.

They make strong leaders, particularly in times of crisis, and they may also excel at handling stressful situations and heavy workloads. Their energy can encourage fellow team members to stay focused on their tasks and targets. If they have the enthusiasm to match their force of character, they may be happy to take on new challenges. And they aren’t afraid to take risks.

Unfortunately, the negative aspects of dominant personalities can sometimes outweigh the benefits they bring to the workplace.

Some people can feel intimidated by a colleague’s strength of character. Dominant people may ride roughshod over others’ feelings. Their blunt approach can “rub people up the wrong way,” and their lack of empathy can create personal conflicts.

Even worse, when they are frustrated, dominant people may not be able to control their temper, tone or body language. This can wreck any chance they have of building and maintaining positive relationships with their fellow team members.

And it can be frustrating trying to deal with their perceived arrogance and self-importance.

How did you feel when your ideas or suggestions fell on the deaf ears of a leader or co-worker who was fixated on his or her own point of view? A dominant leader may be prone to barking out orders rather than seeking consensus, and daring to offer an alternative course of action may make him argumentative. Such behavior can knock staff morale and make them feel that their opinions don’t matter.

A consequence of having one forceful character “hog center stage” is that some team members may not feel comfortable sharing their opinions, and good ideas may be lost.

Tip:

This article focuses on managing people who display strong, dominant characteristics. Sometimes this behavior can cross the line from treating work aggressively to treating people aggressively. If a dominant person has intentionally distressed you or other team members, your situation may require a different approach. For more information, see our article on workplace bullying  .

How to Manage a Dominant Personality

A dominant team member may not realize how her behavior affects her colleagues. She may mean well but simply does not understand that her actions are causing problems.

To maintain morale and unity within your team, you’ll need to encourage her to downplay her negative traits and maximize her strengths.

The following tips can help.

How to Minimize the Negative Effects of Dominant Behavior

  1. Approach dominant people on their level. Always keep your conversations targeted and brief to keep their attention. Make eye contact, skip the small talk, and don’t ramble. Speak confidently   and don’t back down. To prevent arguments, avoid making generalizations and support your assertions with evidence. If the dominant person tries to interrupt or talk over you, put a stop to it immediately.
  2. Discuss the impact of their behavior. A dominant person may not actually realize how his behavior is affecting the rest of the team. Talk privately with him to explain your concerns, using specific examples  . Use role playing   to encourage him to take more constructive, positive approaches with his co-workers.
  3. Treat them with respect. Dominant people want others to hear and appreciate their opinions. Show respect for them and their viewpoints. Remain calm, and address them with empathy  . What motivates their behavior? Do they want to feel important? Do they feel insecure and crave more respect? Showing compassion can tone down the more aggressive side of their personality.
  4. Encourage teamwork. Your dominant team member may spend little time socializing and building relationships with her colleagues, who in turn may find it difficult to collaborate with her. Consider ways of improving your team dynamics  . Coach her on how to be a good team player. Your whole team can likely benefit from team-building exercises  , especially in building trust.
  5. Conduct personality testing. Psychometric testing   can enrich your understanding of your team, and encourage your team members to learn more about themselves and one another. As a result, they’ll be able to build stronger relationships within the team. Personality assessments such as theBig Five Personality Traits   test and the DiSC® Profile can provide in-depth insights that may prove useful in strengthening your team.

Tip:

To avoid singling out particular team members, it may be best to have everyone take a personality test.

How to Bring out the Best in Dominant People

You can take a number of steps to enhance their natural strengths.

  1. Assign them challenging work. Many people with dominant personalities enjoy being challenged at work, so try to find projects that will test their skills and abilities.

    Figure out what drives them with McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory  ,Sirota’s Three-Factor Theory   or Amabile and Kramer’s Progress Theory  . Many dominant people enjoy power, so they might excel in goal-oriented projects. Set them meaningful, SMART goals  , and also consider using more ambitious stretch goals  .

  2. Recognize their work. Like all team members, dominant people enjoy being praised for their ideas and work. Uncovering what motivates them will help you design constructive feedback   and rewards   that will boost their engagement.
  3. Let them chart their own course. If they work well independently, assign them individual projects that only require them to have limited contact with the rest of the team. When assigning work, focus on the “what,” and let them figure out the “how.”
  4. Don’t constrain their big ideas. Dominant people often come up with bold, creative solutions. And even if their ideas are impractical or risky, it may be difficult to change their view.

    But, rather than stifle their enthusiasm by pointing out the flaws, suggest ways their ideas could become even more effective. If you have an alternative suggestion, explain how it may offer a quicker route to your desired results.

    To encourage dominant people to think their decisions through thoroughly before taking action, consider coaching them on making decisions. Use tools such as ORAPAPA   and the Ladder of Inference   to ensure that ideas are robust.

Key Points

It’s often easy to identify your dominant team members by their high levels of self-confidence and assertiveness. They may be direct in their communications, quick to make decisions, and impatient with details and social chitchat.

They are often natural leaders, but the “flip side of the coin” is that their behavior can also create conflict within a team. To minimize this, mirror their behavior and discuss the impact of their behavior respectfully, yet confidently. Encouraging teamwork with their colleagues can also improve your team’s productivity.

To get the best from them, assign them challenging, individual projects. Set ambitious goals for them and recognize their achievements. Allow them to direct their own projects, but keep a close eye on their tendency to forge ahead without fully considering potential risks and pitfalls.

Top 25 Free HTML5 Templates 2015


 All this free html5 template comes with lots of awesome features.

html5-templatesThis Free html5 template is a really popular keyword among the web design industry, because they are free and come with amazing features like responsive layout, level design and scores more.

Free html5 css3 templates are made by web designer keeping in mind the demands of users. This free html5 templates generally come with SEO, user friendly code which can easily be customized with some basic knowledge of html.

In this post we’d like to showcase some of the newly introduced best free html5 templates to build a stylish website. Analyze your requirements, and choose the one, that suits you the best. Enjoy!

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Insights that will turn your million dollar idea for a tech-startup into a billion dollar idea!


By Maulik Sailor, Founder of Innovify

So you have a million dollar idea?We believe you!

But is that enough? How would your idea survive the market? Does your idea have the power to be a billion dollar business or it’s just one more idea in the bunch of ideas creating no wonders?

Let’s look at some eye-opening facts about tech-startups as reported by The Tech Nation.

There are about 47,000 digital startups in the UK alone. How many out of them do you think really succeed? Not even 50%, yes you read it right…NOT EVEN 50%! And possibly less than 10% will survive beyond the fifth year and achieve the exponential growth that everyone dreams of.

Having an idea is not enough and before you begin your startup journey, you need to have answers for some of the most fundamental questions about your idea, such as:

Who is the user?

What are the user problems and needs?

What is the scale of these problems?

How do you solve these problems?

What value will be created after solving these problems?

How do you monetise this value?

Would the user pay for this solution? If not, who else would pay for it? Who is the customer?

If you can answer these questions, great! Don’t waste time reading further…but if not, then, my friend, your eyes are scanning the right words.

We at Innovify, a tech-startup incubator, are passionate about nurturing tech-startups and walk with a clear vision to empower brilliant ideas & convert them into successful businesses. We understand what startups need and we approach their ideas with the 5 things quintessential for any startup to make its million dollar idea a billion dollar business; idea validation,mentoring to receive appropriate guidance throughout the product life cycle, apt product management & development, legal protection & legal establishment and seed funds to sail through the valley of death.

5 things quintessential for any startup are idea validation, mentoring, apt product management & development, legal protection and seed funds

We have worked with a number of startups in wide variety of domains ranging from Fintech to Social Media. Innovify follows Lean startup principles religiously with Agile methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, XP, TDD, BDD, CI, CD, etc to enable startups as risk tolerant as possible. Based on our experience with all the wide range of startups, we think that each startup should go through these three phases of growth:

Ideate | Incubate | Accelerate to achieve the success and be sustainable.

To put it simply, these are the three phases that Innovify takes your million dollar idea through to turn it into a flourishing billion dollar business-Ideate: Putting life into your idea, Incubate: Plunging into the market,Accelerate: Soaring to the highest peak of success.

Ideas are worthless, it’s the execution!

But for this post, let’s not bombard you with information and concentrate on how we validate all the startup ideas. Having a million dollar idea brings you just to the beginning of the ’ideate’ phase.

Innovify takes you on a journey with your own idea through structured brainstorming that bridges the gap between your product concept and consumer needs. Let’s suppose you are the owner of this million dollar idea, these are the questions we press to you ask yourself and we ensure you have the answers!

  1. Who is your target user?

Your startup needs to identify all the different kinds of users to prioritise them. The most important user and his requirements will always take priority over other users. So, always initiate by identifying these users’ needs and problems. Identify how all these users are interconnected; what are they consuming/producing (value) and how is that flowing between them, supporting tools, processes, infrastructure, etc help enable this flow.

2. Where do your users stand in the value flow?

Here are two ways to map this value flow. First as a value chain, which is a simple tool to demonstrate a linear flow of value, more suitable for traditional industries; and second as a value network, as modern industries have a complex network of interconnected entities creating and consuming values.

The value chain analysis is important for startups as it enables the them to visualise the overall production process in a very simplified manner. This would enable the startup to establish where it is best positioned to create and capture the most user value and identify both the upstream and downstream dependencies of the production process and route to the market. Innovify typically provides startups with best possible upstream elements of the product development process so that they are more focused towards their users and markets.

Image source: http://www.nicomak.eu/sites/default/files/images/responsabilite-societale-formation-nicomak.jpg

Value chain analysis

Value network analysis is more complex but it enables the startup to identify all the important entities and actors; analyse their inter-dependencies; and the flow of information and value between them. Drawing a value network would enable the startup to see the bigger picture and identify the best possible position in the network, secure key relationships, reduce risks, tweak the business model to create and capture the most value.

Image Source: http://davidmeggittlog.ning.com/forum/topics/the-image-of-a-healthy-company

Value network

You would be surprised that after analysing your startup value network, you may want to change the business model focusing on your user and customers in a completely different way than the way you envisaged earlier. Possibly the million dollar idea is just about to become a billion dollar idea!

Drawing a value network enables startups to identify the best possible position in the network, secure key relationships, reduce risks, tweak the business model to create and capture the most value.

# TIP: Value network analysis potentially enables startups to discover hidden values and better business models, giving them a competitive edge.

The most important element of the billion dollar idea is a scalable and sustainable business model. By doing such value based analysis along with complementary primary and secondary market research your startup can continuously refine and tweak the business model and establish the best competitive positioning and route to market.

Having identified the users, their problems, the value creation, the network and the positioning, time comes to visualize business intelligence solutions and create a product prototype for launch.

3. How would you validate your product prototype?

Before jumping to launch a full-fledged product, you still need to validate your assumptions and your business model. Innovify typically works with startups to create a low-fidelity prototype of your tech-product, which is usually then developed further as a high-fidelity prototype for early user testing.

But as a startup, you need to know the difference between a prototype and an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Prototype is usually created to visualise the solution for the early users and collect their valuable feedback that can be further developed as MVP. A prototype is merely a working model to demonstrate the user problem and the solution to it. Sometimes, the prototypes are further developed as high fidelity prototype to represent the most likely incarnation of the product; however it is still not a functional product.

It’s Important to know the difference between a prototype and an MVP

4. What if you are targeting the wrong market?

An important factor that leads your startup to hard hitting failure is poorly planned product launch in a non-forgiving market. To safeguard your business from such failures, Innovify, through iterative research and validation, identifies the right target market for your product launch to generate the best consumer interests and collects feedback for further process and product improvements.

To do so, you need to launch not a full-fledged product with superfluous functionalities but an MVP that is functional enough for the users to realise its value. Typically the MVP will focus on the key use cases for the product and implement them in the best possible manner enabling users to start realising the value of the solution offered. At the same time, you need to launch this product to the right user segment or else you risks alienating the market and head towards failure.

Launch the product in the right user segment or risk alienating the market and head towards failure

Image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/168744317263014917/

Business model canvas — One of the tools for ideation

These are just some of the activities that you would need to do before assessing your idea as a billion dollar idea. Also note that these activities are not done in isolation but are done in parallel iteratively throughout the startup journey because the industry, the users, the competitors, etc are moving faster than you think. Your best possible business model today may not be viable in six months time. Hence, you need to continuously be at the top of your game.

Business activities carried out in isolation often have the disadvantage of not being exposed to a multi-dimensional approach and fail!

Innovify, with its multi-industry experiences with startups & entrepreneurs, guides and mentors them to ideate using a systematic approach. Today,Landbay, AtMayfair, Kwanji, Unzipped, Flatchecker and many otherstartups are driving on the highway to success with Innovify as their product management partner/co-founder.

#Tip for Entrepreneurs: Never start with good, especially when you have the best option available to start with.

Stay hooked for more insights on startups, product management and a lot more…Cheers!

5 Websites To Do Free Online Photography Courses


By Kushal Nandwani on April 4, 2015

Here is a list of 5 websites to do free online photography courses. The websites roll out a lot of informative articles and lessons for learners of every level.

Photography as an art form is really beginning to evolve these days; it is becoming more inclusive than ever. It was thought of as a skill possessed by a few professionals, who with their big cool cameras brought the moments alive. However, with good quality camera phones available cheaply these days, and the growing presence of professional DSLR cameras among common public, this long-held perception is beginning to fade. A person carrying a DSLR on street these days does not catch much attention as he would have a few years back.

So, what do you do next once you have a decent camera in your hands? Obviously, you click pictures. But, clicking pictures the kind of which you want to click is not that easy as it sounds. Photography is an art, but it does require a lot of technical knowledge as well. And it is only fair that if you are getting cameras cheaply these days, you also get cheap or free lessons to learn to use them. This is what the below mentioned websites do for you, provide free online photography courses.

The 5 free websites reviewed in this article are Udemy, Photographycourse.net, Strobist, Digital Photography School, and photo.net.

Udemy:

online photography courses
Sponsored Links

The first website to do online photography courses is Udemy. Udemy is an excellent website running multiple courses for photographers of all levels. There are a lot of different courses available on the website relating to different aspects of photography. These courses include lessons, chat forums, discussions, quizzes and a lot more. You just have to enroll yourself in one of these many courses and start going through it. However, most of these courses available on the website are not free and require you to pay a certain price. Nevertheless, there are a few of them that can be accessed for free.

Ditch Auto- Start Shooting In Manual is one such course that it available for free. This course is aimed at beginners who are looking to explore the full potential of their professional camera and move beyond auto mode. It includes 37 video lessons, a few quizzes to test your knowledge and different chat forums to discuss stuff with others. Check it out from above link.

Photographycourse.net:

online photography courses

Another free website to do online photography courses is Photographycourse.net. It has got some real material for aspirants in the form of articles, lessons, tips, tutorials, and more. Everything is available for free and all you have to do is start grasping the knowledge straightaway. There are expert articles on the home page on topics like tips to produce low-key images, things to keep in mind while purchasing a lens and more. There are other tabs available as well that contain tutorials, tips and more.

Among all these different tabs available on the website, one such tab is named courses. It contains categories like Beginner courses, Intermediate courses, and advanced courses. All these different courses contain multiple lessons that you have to go through before moving forward. So, it’s a place where everyone can learn something.

Strobist:

online photography courses

The third website to do online photography courses is Strobist. This is basically a blog which is quite popular among amateur photographers who swear by the courses available on it. The website provides two main courses that mainly benefit the beginners and also lists photographs that you cannot stop admiring.

This website is mainly focused on the use of light and flash in your pictures. It provides you with lessons on how to use the light and flash in your images and make them look worthwhile. The two available courses teach you everything right from the start. In case you do not believe it, just go through the featured images section right above.

Digital Photography School:

online photography courses

Digital Photography School is another comprehensive website to do online photography courses. As the name reflects, it is an online school for photography lovers who can learn a lot on this platform through tips, tutorials, and a lot more. There is material available for all newbies, intermediate and advanced shooters.

Basically, the website is divided into three different sections; from tips to capturing images to learning about your equipment to finally gaining knowledge of post production, i.e editing part, you can learn everything on the website. There are different tabs earmarked for all these activities and new material is uploaded from time to time. You can filter the material by recent, popular, and featured. Also, you can subscribe to the free newsletter that provides material not necessarily available on the website.

Photo.net:

online photography courses

The final website to do online photography courses is Photo.net. You may not necessarily get different courses for different levels on this website, but the tips, articles, and images available on the website make for a great learning experience. The website has been there for a long time now and as a result has accumulated a vast database of articles, images, and contributions by a large number of users. You can learn tips on wedding photography, sports photography, go through several discussion forums, learn about different equipment, search your favorite images, read reviews, and much more. It really is like entering a library which is full of information on Photography. And as if all this was not enough, the website, on its home page, lists out 9 more reasons to visit this platform, and it includes chances to win photography contests, lenses, and more. Check out the link above.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” goes the popular adage. So, if you are out there wondering how to speak less yet express more than visit these websites learn the art, and start expressing ( pun intended).

How to Become the Top 1% on LinkedIn


1percent3

Customize your public profile URL

Make your personal profile easy to get to by customizing your LinkedIn public profile URL. Instead of a URL with a ton of letters and numbers, it will look nice and professional like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/georgeathan1.

 

Create a Profile Badge for all your communications

You can promote your personal LinkedIn page and help grow your professional network by adding a Profile Badge in your signature that links to your public LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has several different badge designs to select from.

1

Optimize your profile

You can also optimize your profile to get found by others searching LinkedIn for key terms you want to be found for. Add these keywords to multiple sections of your profile for best results.

Show work samples

LinkedIn allows you to add a variety of media such as videos, pictures, documents, links, and presentations to the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile. This allows you to showcase different projects and provide samples of your work. This is an opportunity to prove that your product/service is the solution to your prospects problems.

Get endorsed for your skills

Endorsements allow users to endorse their connections for skills they’ve listed in the Skills section of their profile and even recommend skills they haven’t yet listed. This feature is another opportunity to show your prospects that your skills come highly recommended.

2

Use OpenLink to send messages to people you’re not connected to

LinkedIn only allows you to send messages to people with whom you share a first-degree connection with (aside from fellow group members). But some people let you send them messages anyway, even if you’re not connected. The ability to be part of the OpenLink network is only available to premium account holders, but it allows them to be available for messaging by any other LinkedIn member if they choose to be. OpenLink members will appear with an icon that looks like a small ring of dots next to their name in search results and on their profile.

Request an introduction to someone you’re not connected to. 

You can request an introduction to contact a 2nd-degree connection from a connection you both have in common. Visit the profile of the 2nd-degree connection you want to connect with, click the triangular drop-down arrow near the top of their profile, select Get Introduced, choose which shared connection you’d like to request the introduction from, and explain why you’d like the introduction.

3

Learn the power of LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups can be a great networking tool. If you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first-degree connection in order to message them. Group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Join more groups to enable more messaging and view more profiles of potential prospects.

Create your own industry LinkedIn Group (or subgroups), and join other relevant groups.

You could just create a LinkedIn Group of your very own. Create a group based on a relevant industry-related topic, and you become a LinkedIn Group administrator. You can then use this group to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, grow a following, and generate new leads. You should also get your team involved to participate in discussions that solve problems for prospects.

Mail your LinkedIn Group

One of the perks of managing a LinkedIn Group is the fact that you can literally email the members of your group — up to once per week. These emails take the form of LinkedIn Announcements, which are messages sent directly to the email inboxes of group members (as long as they’ve enabled messages from groups in their settings). This is a great opportunity to generate leads.

@mentions in your status updates

You can @mention other users and companies in status updates — much like the way it works on Facebook and Twitter. If you want another LinkedIn user or company to see your status update just include the @ symbol immediately followed by the user’s/company’s name in your status update. That user/company will get alerted that you mentioned them, and their name will also link to their profile/page in the status update itself.

Publishing content on Pulse (LinkedIn’s publishing platform).

You no longer have to be a LinkedIn Influencer to publish new articles to LinkedIn Pulse. Publishing is now available to all users. Publish content from your business blog to LinkedIn Pulse and use it to promote your full blog to your LinkedIn following. To publish an article on Pulse, click the “Publish a post”, and start writing!

4

Use LinkedIn to generate leads.

As the dominant business social network, LinkedIn can help you generate a substantial number of leads. With email inboxes becoming oversaturated with commercial messages, use LinkedIn to stand out. Promote your offers, share blog posts, include landing pages, send messages, and use all the features we’ve discussed to generate many new leads for your business.

10 kick-ass free courses to upgrade your technical skills


April 5, 2015 By Nir Goldstein 

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Upgrade your skill-set to keep yourself competitive with these completely free courses:

UI Design

1. Introduction to Graphic Design

Design goes way beyond software and there is a lot of theory behind it. In this introductory course, you’ll learn the basics needed to create amazing and real design.

2. Beginner Photoshop to HTML5 and CSS3

Learn how to convert a Photoshop design into HTML5/CSS3 using Dreamweaver.

In this course you will learn how to create a basic website using Phohoshop and Dreamweaver. You will be able to use Photoshop to create a design for your website and use Dreamweaver to organise the content and make the website fully functional.

3. Getting Started with Illustrator CC

This is course is taught by Adobe Authorized Training Center, Train Simple and is a quick start course to get you comfortable with the basics of Adobe Illustrator CC. Learn how to create documents and understand what vector graphics are. Illustrator is the industry standard vector drawing application used in print production, graphic design, and web design.

Programming

4. Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners

Learn to program in the Java programming language. This course assumes no prior programming knowledge, just a desire to learn to program.

5. Introduction to PHP Programming Language

PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development. During this PHP beginner course, discover the fundamental concepts beginner PHP developers need to master. Your professional instructor combines practical lectures that ensure you have a grasp of the basics with coding examples.

Follow along as you learn the PHP syntax, development environment, and other basic concepts.

Digital Marketing

6. SEO Training Course by Moz

Learn SEO tips and tricks in this SEO training course from Moz.

SEO is the active practice of optimizing a web site by improving internal and external aspects in order to increase the traffic the site receives from search engines. Firms that practice SEO can vary; some have a highly specialized focus, while others take a more broad and general approach. Optimizing a web site for search engines can require looking at so many unique elements that many practitioners of SEO (SEOs) consider themselves to be in the broad field of website optimization (since so many of those elements intertwine).

7. Getting Started with Facebook Advertising

Facebook has nearly one billion users. With an audience that large, there is an amazing opportunity to scale your business using the Facebook platform. This class is designed for everyone from startups to big brands that want to achieve better results from their Facebook marketing efforts.

8. Creating a Social Media Strategy

Social media is not a passing trend, and today every business is expected to have an active presence online. But if you’re new to it, or you’re the only one managing social media for your business, how do you know where to get started with your social media plan?

Mobile Development

9. How To Build A Mobile App

Discover the various options for building a mobile web app or website and pick the right mobile strategy for your team.

10. Android Development for Newbies

Learn everything that you need to know to develop Android applications for fun and profit.

Want People to Accept Your LinkedIn Requests? Use These 10 Templates


By Aja Frost