Can Your Car Be Hacked?

Can Your Car Be Hacked

 

Modern technology, it’s a two edge sword. Or, as the saying goes, “You can’t live with it, you can’t live without it”, don’t know what to do when it’s turned against us (I made that up, it seems fitting). We all remember the movies where the computers and robots we create turn against us.

 

Well that terrifying scenario no longer seems so farfetched. Charlie Miller and Chris Valesek proved, in 2013, how easy it was to hack and take over a car. Being able to do this was a monumental event that made the whole auto industry wake up to the fact that the vehicles they’re producing are extremely vulnerable to terrifying security breaches.

 

Miller and Valesek didn’t have malicious intentions, they only wanted to prove just how vulnerable today’s vehicles really are and what a serious security breach this really was.

 

The two researchers had the capability, by using only their laptops, to shut down the vehicle’s engine and shoot window washer fluid onto the windshield, which would be able to startle an unsuspecting driver, causing them to lose control of the car and crash.

 

The two researchers identified more than seven major categories of remote attack surfaces, based on their study of 20 models (2014 to 2015) from different manufacturers.

 

The research the two proved provoked the auto industry to take action with the help of FASTR (Future of Automotive Security Technology Research). FASTR recently released a manifesto, Toward Tomorrow’s ‘Organically Secure’ Vehicle, that declared its organisational and industry intentions to help enable the future of automotive security innovation.

 

FASTR, which was formerly “Automotive Security Review Board” (ASRB), founded by Aeris, Intel Security and Uber in 2016. FASTR is facilitating an industry-wide collaboration to drive cybersecurity across the entire automotive supply chain.

 

FASTR is a neutral, nonprofit consortium whose goal is to enable innovation in automotive security with a vision of self-healing vehicles. FASTR’s goal is to deliver the actionable applied and theoretical R&D needed to drive systematic coordination of cybersecurity across the entire supply chain and ensure trust in the connected and autonomous vehicle.

 

The total number of connected cars is expected to increase dramatically to an as many as 250 million connected cars on the roadways by 2020. However, FASTR says mass adoption of autonomous vehicles won’t happen without trust that these cars are cyber-secure.

 

Craig Hurst, FASTR’s executive director, said the societal benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles promise to be profound. However, with connectivity comes certain inherent risks, he warns. “Nearly every wireless communication interface in vehicles today has vulnerabilities,” he said.

 

The nature of the dramatic complexity of modern vehicle computing is creating a “system of systems” that introduces dependencies across systems. This means, a laptop connected to the internet, connected to poorly secured TCU (telematics control unit), connected to the brakes, he said.

 

“Security needs to be considered from an expansive, diverse perspective from the onset of vehicle system architecture design,” Hurst noted. “We are moving from a current state of limited but expanding vehicle connectivity (telematics, infotainment, etc.) to a highly complex, fully connected environment including vehicle to vehicle (V2V), vehicle to infrastructure control (V2I), or, more generally, vehicle to everything(V2X).”

 

Some of the systems that also showed vulnerability included remote keyless entry, unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, OBD-11 (on-board diagnostic system) and USB. Intel Security in 2015 released a white paper in which it listed many of the most hackable and exposed attack surfaces on a next-generation vehicle.

 

When a hacker has gained access through one of these entry points, injection of controller area network (CAN) messages may be possible, to manipulate other systems in the vehicle, even safety-critical systems.

 

As recently as last year Miller and Valasek took their 2015 remote hack of a Jeep Cherokee to the next level, they proved they can control the accelerator, brakes, steering and electronic parking bake at more dangerous driving speeds.

 

“This is a new class of attacks against CAN messages, “  Miller said. “It’s still very basic in the types of messages you use“ to attack the car, he says. “It’s an easy attack.

 

In one attack, Miller and Valasek spun the steering wheel 90 degrees at 60 mph. They also controlled the acceleration pedal, as well as the brakes. “We can permanently lock the electronic parking brake so it’s permanently immobilised.

 

Even if you restart the car, the parking brake would be on and you would not be able to drive anywhere,” Miller said. “We disable all aspects of steering, so it’s super-hard to turn the wheel and even harder if you drive the car without steering at any speed.”

 

Obviously, hacking a Jeep that is driving at high speeds makes an already serious issue tenfold. “Now you have scary levels of control,” Valasek said of the high-speed hacks.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

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Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi Makes History in Formula E Racing

Switzerland's Sebastien Buemi Makes History in Formula E Racing

 

Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi has made history in Formula E racing recently, when he became the first driver to win three Formula E rounds in row ever.

 

As the reigning champion and former Formula One driver, Buemi has now won all three races this season for the Renault e. dams team at Buenos Aires following Hong Kong and Morocco.

 

Buemi’s began his career in Formula E racing with the inaugural Formula E season for e. dams alongside Frenchman Nicolas Prost. Currently Buemi is the most successful driver in the series’ history having claimed more wins, poles, fastest laps and points than any other driver in the series.

 

Formula E Racing

Formula E is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars. This series started with its inaugural championship started in Beijing on September 13, 2014 and is sanctioned by the FIA.

 

The current Formula E championship is contested by ten teams of two drivers each. The race usually takes place on a temporary city-center street circuits which are approximately 2 to 3.4 km (1.2 to 2.1 mi.) long.

 

Currently, only the Mexico City ePrix takes place on a road course, a modified version of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

 

Race Day

The race lasts for about 50 minutes with the drivers making one mandatory pit stop to change cars. Changing tires during the race is not permitted, unless a change is necessary due to a puncture or some other detrimental damage to the tire. During a race, the maximum power is restricted to 170 kW. Points are awarded using the standard FIA system.

 

Fanboost

Fans are able to vote for their favorite driver, for every race, using various social media networks. Voting begins two weeks before a race and is open for voting up through the first six minutes of the race.

 

The three winning drivers each receive an extra 100 kJ of energy to be used in a power window between 180 kW and 200 kW.

 

Scoring Points

Points are awarded to the top ten drivers using the standard FIA system. Three points are also awarded to the driver who has the pole position. The driver who holds the fastest lap receives an additional point (two points during the first two seasons).

 

The championship consists of both a driver’s and teams’ championship. A driver’s end of season total is made up of their best results. A team’s total is made up by counting the drivers’ scores throughout the season.

 

With this past weekend’s win, Buemi leads the standings by 29 points from Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi with the next race to be held in Mexico City on April 1st.

 

Renault e.dams have now won half of all the Formula E races that have taken place. Jean – Eric Vergne, from France, was second in Saturday’s race for the Chinese Techeetah team with Di Grassi, who started on pole position, third for Team Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport.

 

Roboracing

This past weekend, Buenos Aires also got to see the first demonstration run of two driverless ‘Roborace’ development, or ‘DevBot’, electric cars running on the same track together at speeds reaching 185 kph.

 

The cars used sensors and on-board systems to navigate the street circuit while communicating with each other to avoid contact. However, one of the cars still managed to crash into the barriers.

 

An additional hazard was posed by a stray dog who found himself wandering onto the race track.

 

In a statement, Denis Sverdlov, Roborace’s Chief Executive said “This is a historic moment for Roborace and for the future of autonomous vehicle development,”

 

“Seeing these cars interacting at speed on a race track shows how fast the technology is progressing and how important a platform Roborace is for further development.

 

“It is so exciting to see these vehicles functioning without any human intervention, making their own decisions and taking appropriate actions in order to guide themselves around the track.”

 

Ultimately, Formula E organisers hope to have up to 10 driverless cars racing together. The goal is to have the teams write their own software, around city tracks as a support event to their series.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

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The Nissan IDS Concept Car – The Future of the Automobile

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The Nissan IDS (Intelligent Driving System) concept car is drawing a lot of attention, which is understandable when you when you see it. First unrivaled at the 2015 Tokyo Auto Show, the vehicle is autonomous, which Nissan calls Piloted Drive and electric.

 

The auto maker plans to roll out the concept car in two phases. The first phase will be the Pilot Drive 1.0 which will be offered to the Japanese market beginning this year, before the car is sold to China, Europe and the United States.

 

The Piloted Drive 2.0 will include the ability to handle highway speeds and multiple lane roads. This will include the ability to merge into traffic and change lanes. The company said, in a statement, that the IDS system will be available on multiple models worldwide by 2020.

 

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Interior

The state-of-the-art interior includes four individual seats that turn toward the center to make conversation easier. The steering wheel folds up, and a large touch screen appears on the dash. With soft lighting, the cabin resembles relaxing in your living room.

 

The driver is offered various driving options due to AI (Artificial Intelligence), voice and body gestures, all adding to, not only the driving experience, but also the overall safety of the vehicle.

 

When the driver chooses to manually drive the vehicle, there is no doubt in their mind that they are in complete control. The steering wheel was designed to give the driver the feeling they are holding the reins of a horse.

 

The interior lighting also switches to blue, designed to stimulate the driver’s ability to concentrate on the task of driving.

 

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Exterior

The stylish suicide doors, without pillars, immediately bring back images of 1960’s era Lincolns, the exterior of the Nissan IDS is just as futuristic as the interior. For enjoying the trip, the roof is almost entirely glass and rests on a carbon fiber body.

 

The Nissan IDS offers a long wheel base, enabling a smooth luxurious ride that you would more expect from a gasoline powered luxury car rather than an autonomous electric vehicle. The long wheelbase also offers the driver, if they choose to drive the vehicle, the ability to hug the road and perform like a fine tooled expensive sports car.

 

The Nissan’s hollow-structure A-pillars help to ensure superb visibility in all directions, reducing blind spots and also contributing to the feeling of a wide open space.

 

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Power Plant

Containing a 60 kWh battery, with a light carbon fiber body and clean aerodynamic design, the concept car is expected to meet and exceed the need for traveling long distances, boasting a pretty astounding 340 miles per charge.

 

Many are saying that the Nissan IDS concept car is not only the vehicle of the future, but what all cars, present day and in the future should offer the driver. Setting aside the fact that the vehicle is autonomous and electric Nissan’s new concept car offers a ride that brings to mind fine made automobiles.

 

However, one of the most impressive features of the new concept car is its ability to improve the driving experience by improving the driver’s ability to see, think and react to all driving conditions.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

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Take the Stress Out of Your Business Trips

Take the Stress Out of Your Business Trips

 

If you travel often for business, you know how stressful just the travel alone can be. You need to plan your itinerary, track all of your expenses and deal with the potential delay along the way, it is often difficult to get everything done and still stay focused on the work at hand.

 

Researchers have proven that about 70% of doctor visits and 80% of serious illnesses can be exacerbated or linked to stress. So anyway you can limit or reduce stress in your life the further ahead you’ll be.

 

However, with enough planning and preparation, you can ensure your trips go as smooth as possible. Here are a few helpful tips from experts that will make your next business trip a breeze.

 

Save time by planning ahead

Planning as many details in advance as you can will be the best thing you can do to maximise efficiency and minimise stress. This includes all of the documents, files and devices you’ll need, as well as your traveling essentials.

 

“If you travel frequently, consider creating a business travel checklist,” says Lais Pontes, owner of public relations and marketing agency The Pontes Group. “When in a rush or under pressure, it can be easy to forget the little things, and you don’t want to be stuck without your phone or computer charger while away on business.”

 

Make sure you and your supervisor are on the same page

Before your trip, set clear goals and objectives. Write down these goals and discuss them with your supervisor beforehand. You should also try to keep in touch with the office whenever you can.

 

“Keep an eye on your email, and respond to urgent matters or delegate where necessary,” Pontes suggests. “This will not only be appreciated by your colleagues, but will improve productivity for your company and help keep you caught up on work while you’re away.”

 

Use your time wisely

Especially if you are in a different time zone, you may feel the need to always be available when your colleagues are. However, spending every minute of your trip working will only add more stress to your travel. It is more productive in the long run to use the downtime in your trip to relax and unwind a little, just like you would if you were in the office.

 

If you finish your work early enough and have some downtime, take some time for yourself to enjoy your surroundings and just relax. You will keep the stress level to a minimum and be fresh for the next challenge.

 

Business travel is stressful, however, with a little planning and forethought, you can greatly reduce some of that stress and even make the trip enjoyable. When you reduce any stress you can in your life – the further ahead you’ll be.

 

Stress not only takes its toll on you mentally it also exacts a high toll on your body as well. People don’t realise how much better their body will benefit overall from the reduction of stress.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

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6 Superfoods to Help You Lose Weight

6 Superfoods to Help You Lose Weight

 

Weight loss fads come and go. It seems like every day there is a new pill, a new process or even a new torture device that promises to help shed your extra pounds with little or no inconvenience or effort from you.

 

The usual effects of these “miracle” weight loss gimmicks are usually the same. They either don’t work at all or, if you do lose weight, you usually wind up gaining it right back just as fast.

 

It’s amazing what people will go through to lose a few pounds of extra weight when all they really need to do is just make a healthier change in the foods they eat. Here is a list of natural foods that will help you lose those extra pounds:

 

Eggs

Even with the bad reputation of raising cholesterol (which was proven untrue), eggs are one of the best foods you can eat to lose weight. High in protein and healthy fats, eggs have the ability to make you feel full with an extremely low number of calories.

 

Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chards and other leafy greens have several properties that make them perfect for any weight loss diet. They are low in carbs and calories, however, high in fiber.

 

Salmon

Salmon and other oily fish is very healthy. Low in calories and very satisfying, salmon will keep you feeling full for hours. Salmon is also a significant provider of iodine which is a nutrient that keeps your metabolism operating smoothly.

 

Fruit

Proven to contain several health benefits, fruit is also excellent for weight loss. Unless they are packed in syrup, it doesn’t matter that much if the fruit is fresh, frozen or canned because all forms still retain the natural nutrients.

 

Nuts

Even though they are high in fat, nuts aren’t fattening. Studies have shown that nuts have the ability to improve metabolic health, which will aid in weight loss.

 

Chili Peppers

That’s right chili peppers are helpful in losing those unwanted pounds. These spicy delights contain capsaicin, which has been proven to reduce appetite and increase the burning of unwanted fat.

 

Capsaicin has been proven so effective in weight loss that it’s found in several different commercial weight loss supplements.

 

Exercise

It also needs to be noted, no matter what you eat, or don’t eat, any healthy diet or transition to healthier eating habits must include regular exercise. Without exercising regularly, not only will you not lose the weight and keep it off, but you won’t be healthy doing it.

 

Most times when people hear they need to include a regiment of regular exercise in their daily routine they immediately get mental pictures of pumping iron or running several miles in the morning. Nothing is further from the truth.

 

Sometimes all you need is to get out there and get the blood circulating and bring your heart rate up. Before starting a regular schedule of exercise, check with a professional who will be able to give you guidance on what forms of exercise are needed to accomplish your goals.

 

The next time you find yourself struggling to shed those extra unwanted kilos don’t turn to a pill, use this guide and eat your way to a slimmer you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

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5 Reasons Why Your Business Card Is Still Your Most Effective Marketing Tool

Even in today’s “digital age” you’re still better off doing some things “old school”. One of those things is handing out your business card. Even though it’s very hard to find a business person who doesn’t email, call or even hold meetings using a conference call, instead of flying half way around the world to hold a meeting in person. Handing out a business card should never be done away with.

Here are five reasons why every business person should always keep a good supply of business cards on hand at all times:

Sending contact information digitally is impersonal

Networking has always been, and will always be extremely important to any business. Even though sending your contact information digitally, through an email or a text, will always be quick and convenient. However, it will also be very impersonal.

 

If you want to make a solid connection with someone (which should be your goal), the only effective way to do this is in person, with eye to eye contact, a firm handshake and the presentation of your business card. Genuine connections are still made the old fashioned way, in person and with an actual conversation.

Still the most effective tool for effective marketing

Search engine optimisation (SEO), email marketing and social media marketing are extremely important marketing tools for all businesses. However, nothing is effective for attracting solid leads then a meeting in-person, with eye to eye contact, a firm handshake and the exchanging of business cards.

 

An effective first impression of your brand

A properly designed business card is an excellent first impression of your brand. No one wants their businesses’ first impression to say “I’m cheap and incompetent”. This is why you should always provide a business card, however, it should be properly designed.

Having a poorly designed business card is the same as writing your contact information on a napkin with a crayon, it’s not only ineffective it makes you look incompetent. An effective business card should do more than provide your contact information, it should say this is me and I guarantee I’m not only up to the challenge, I will succeed.

When I pass out my business card, I want to make a great first impression, I want to be unique and I want people to remember me.

Unique business cards get shared

A business card is a physical object that has the potential to be passed around and shared with other potential clients. If you have one that is unique, the chances are far greater for this to happen regularly.

A business cards says “I’m prepared”

We have all met the person who scrambles for a scrap piece of paper and a pen (or sometimes a crayon) when asked for their contact information. I don’t even have to explain what kind of first impression this person leaves me with. Not a good one, and I promise you I usually file their info in the “circular file”.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

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Robot Lawyer Helps Asylum Seekers

 

The creator of a chatbox, which was responsible for overturning more than 160,000 parking fines and helping vulnerable people apply for emergency housing, is now setting its sights on a new legal mission, training the bot to help refugees claim asylum.

 

The original “Do Not Pay” created by Stanford student Joshua Browder, describes itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer”, giving free legal aid to users through a simple-to-use chat interface.

 

The chatbot, using Facebook Messenger, can now help refugees fill in an immigration application in the US and Canada. It also helps refugees in the UK apply for asylum support as well.

 

The London-born developer worked with lawyers in each country, as well as speaking to asylum seekers whose applications have been successful to find out how he can use his lawyer bot to help with the asylum application process.

 

Browder says this new function for his robot lawyer is “long overdue”. “I’ve been trying to launch this for about six months, I initially wanted to do it in the summer. But I wanted to make sure I got it right because it’s such a complicated issue. I kept showing it to lawyers throughout the process and I’d go back and tweak it,” Browder said in a statement.

 

Browder began working on this project before Donald Trump’s election as US President, but now feels it’s more important now than ever. “I wanted to add Canada at the last minute because of the changes in the political background in the US,” he said.

 

The chatbox works by asking the user a series of questions, to determine which application the refugee needs to fill out and whether a refugee is eligible for asylum protection under international law.

 

After this step, it takes down the necessary details required for the appropriate asylum application.

 

Browder says it was crucial the questions were in plain English. “The language in some application forms can be quite complicated,” he said.

 

Then the details are used to auto-fill an application form for either the US, Canada or the UK. “Once the form is sent off, the details are deleted from my end,” Browder said.

 

Browder chose Facebook Messenger as a home for the latest incarnation of his robot lawyer because it’s easily accessible to anyone. “It works with almost every device, making it accessible to over a billion people,” he states.

 

Browder acknowledges Messenger doesn’t come without its pitfalls. Unlike some other chat apps, it’s not automatically end-to-end encrypted. However, there is end-to-end encryption between his server and Facebook. Browder added: “Ideally I would love to expand to WhatsApp when their platform opens up, particularly because it’s popular internationally.”

 

After the information is sent, the data is destroyed from his servers within 10 minutes of someone using the bot.

 

The next step is making the service available in more languages. Browder is currently working on translating it into Arabic.

 

Lawyers have said they can see the major benefits that leveraging sophisticated chatbot technology will have in the asylum application process.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

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Personal Improvement – Feel Better, Live Better, Be Better!

 

Everyone is always on a mission for personal improvement, or at least they should be. Self-improvement isn’t any easy task; I don’t care what anyone says. You can’t achieve personal improvement without some old fashioned hard work.

 

All of the self-improvement / personal improvement books, recordings and seminars all boil down to some very simple and easy to follow tasks. If you follow these three simple suggestions I’m about to give you, you will be well on your way to personal improvement.

 

The best part is, it’s not going to cost you anything. That’s right, this advice is free and it will put you on the right path to personal improvement. It will still take hard work on your part, because like anything worth having in life, personal improvement takes hard work.

 

The road to personal improvement can be obtained by understanding and practicing the three A’s.

 

Attitude

As you know, your actions have consequences. There are basically two types of people in the world. People that make things happen are cause people. People who are victims of circumstance are effect people.

 

Effect people are always complaining about their bad luck and always blaming something or someone else for their mishaps. They say things like “I was late because traffic was backed up again”, “It’s not my fault” or “he is always messing up my chances”.

 

When you change your attitude and take full responsibility for what happens in your life, you become empowered. You then have control and can choose to do something about the situations that come up.

 

When you shift over to the ‘cause’ side of the equation you’re empowered to act and make changes in your life. However, when you’re on the effect side of the equation, you’ll never get to the personal improvement phase because you will continuously blame others rather than taking responsibility for situations.

 

Attention

If you go to see a movie and it winds up being a really terrible movie, chances are you won’t rush back to see the movie again right? However, this is the same with your thought patterns, chances are you are running the same thought patterns over and over again.

 

According to research, the average thought lasts between six to ten seconds, so if you are repeatedly thinking of negative thoughts, then you’re going to be trapped in a downward spiral.

 

Negative thoughts in the mind like ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I don’t deserve anything better,’ ‘I’ll never amount to anything,’ and low self-esteem have a huge impact on your body. Pay attention to your thoughts and listen to the language you’re using to yourself on a regular basis.

 

Action

Have you ever heard the saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink?” If you want to change someone’s mind and they don’t want to change it, you can’t force them to change it.

 

The responsibility for change is completely up to the person making the change. If, deep down, they don’t want to change, they won’t. No matter what you do.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

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6 Reasons You Need Content Marketing TODAY

6 Reasons You Need Content Marketing TODAY

 

When it comes to marketing a startup on the internet, many people are already aware of the tools needed to succeed. These can be website, social media and even local marketing. True, these will align your company on the right path to enter the business world, however, there are other factors to consider when it comes to making an impact online.

 

One of the main factors that needs consideration is the proper use of content marketing. Not everyone is aware of how important content marketing is. That is why I have come up with these six important reasons how a well calculated content marketing campaign can improve your chances.

 

It Builds Brand Awareness

People today look at businesses as much more than a company name. They look at the company as an entity, as an institution. While the Internet has brought a slew of benefits to startups, it also means that a new entity has to be fully aware of the modern marketing tactics that are currently being used.

 

Content marketing allows a business to truly promote its company to customers while educating its users with relevant content. May people will be influenced to try out a new company based on its current efforts, while others might be enjoying a good reputation currently circulating the Internet.

 

Builds Customer Relationship

Along with brand awareness a person begins to develop a good relationship with a company. This however, isn’t the end, more people will return to a website that offers valuable content as well as a service or product, and they maintain that relationship moving forward.

 

Content Marketing is Affordable

One of the great things about content marketing is how affordable it can be. Whether you’re looking to make a global impact, or a local one, content marketing can open up a whole new world of marketing that is both, effective and affordable compared to other marketing options.

 

It’s Widely Used

While it may be easy to assume that your company has a great marketing plan in affect, it’s worth noting that an impressive 89 percent of all startups have a content marketing campaign as a part of their plan to grow their business. This is proof that the old marketing adage still holds true “content is king”.

 

Determine Your Target Audience

Although many users, within your target audience will already have their own regularly visited site they go to for information, there are several online tools available for you to use to discover how to tailor your content to reach your audience.

 

This allows you to continue posting the content that’s reaching your target audience while adjusting the content that’s falling short so it does reach more of the people you’re focused on.

 

Maximise Your ROI

One of the main concerns companies have when considering a marketing plan is their available budget. This isn’t as big a concern with content marketing as it is for other forms of marketing.

 

Content marketing is an estimated 62 percent cheaper than traditional marketing. This means more for your bottom line while achieving better marketing results.

 

There are several different reasons to implement a content marketing plan for your business, whether you have a startup or a business in need of a fresh approach.

 

However, as with any other marketing medium, you need to implement a content marketing plan that will work best for your specific situation.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

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Predicting Economic Bubbles

Predicting Economic Bubbles

 

Economic bubbles can be extremely profitable and equally devastating, depending on where you sit. An economic bubble is when asset prices run up in value rapidly, followed by a major contraction, as in the case of the housing bubble of 2007-2008 or the Tech Bubble of 2000-2002.

 

What is an Economic Bubble?

Economic bubbles are created when there is a surge in the prices of assets, not in line with the fundamentals of the asset, but rather by an excited market behavior. When there aren’t any investors willing to buy into the elevated prices of the assets anymore, a major selloff occurs, causing the bubble to burst.

 

Bubbles occur in economies, securities, stock markets and business sectors because of a major shift in the behavior of investors. Economists have debated whether bubbles can be identified, or even stopped, before they can cause widespread damage.

 

Dutch Tulip Mania

However, spotting bubbles isn’t easy, as in the case of the Dutch Tulip Bubble of the 1630s. At the peak of Tulip mania, as it was called, some single tulip bulbs sold for more than 10 times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. For a flower, for Pete Sake!

 

Spotting a Bubble

For many investors, more important than spotting a bubble, is whether it’s possible to avoid getting sucked into a bubble at its top end and suffering dramatic declines as the case of the 80% drop in technology stocks in 2002.

 

It’s notoriously difficult to time the stock market. As a result, there were several occasions, during the last century, when the markets doubled over three years. After the rise in these cases, the markets then dropped by half in the following year on less than one in 20 occasions.

 

The market dropped by half of their value over the next five years around one tenth of the time. And in a fifth of these occasions, the market went on to double again. With this in mind, a sharp rise in the market is a buy signal, rather than a sell signal. This explains why investors find it so difficult to get out of the market at its peak.

 

Financial Definition of a Bubble

One of the problems with spotting economic bubbles is economists don’t agree on the actual definition of a bubble in the first place. One concept to defining a bubble is that it occurs when the price of an asset rises by more than two standard deviations above its previous long-term trend.

 

Another approach is to look at the fundamentals. Typically, asset prices are expected to reflect the current value of future cash flows. In theory, a doubling in the market could reflect a sudden improvement in the outlook for that asset class.

 

One reason there a several different opinions on what is the start of an economic bubble is that bubbles aren’t usually obvious until they’re underway, or more to the point, when they have already taken a turn.

 

What could seem like the “next big thing” may not reveal itself to be a catastrophic economic bubble until it bursts, as in the case of the tech bubble that occurred at the beginning of the new millennium.

 

The Tech Bubble

The tech bubble, or dot-com bubble, was a purely speculative bubble that occurred around 1995 – 2001 when the stock markets in industrialized countries saw their equity value rise rapidly, and extraordinarily, due to the growth in the internet sector and related fields.

 

Since the tech bubble was caused by the recent rise in the internet it seemed that it was a result of the current times and the ever increasing use and value of the World Wide Web itself. People figured that there was nowhere to go but up.

 

The Birth of the Day Trader

One factor that fueled the bubble to greater and greater heights was the introduction of easier, less expensive stock trading. This allowed anyone the ability to easily and affordably trade stocks. This lead to “day trading” by inexperienced investors. People were buying stocks and holding them for a day, or even a couple of hours and then selling them. When the great sell off came in 2001 it was catastrophic.

 

Timing the Market

None of this is very encouraging since there really isn’t one effective way to spot a bubble until it’s too late. However, it makes sense because if timing the market were possible, major price swings wouldn’t be an issue in the first place.

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I sincerely hope that my blog entertains, helps and gets you thinking. Please take a minute to leave a comment to start and interesting conversation, or add your interesting thoughts to an existing conversation.

 

For more thought provoking articles please check out:

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