The German word Mordhau translates roughly as “murder stroke” or “murder strike”. It represents a particular move in German medieval swordsmanship where the fighter holds the blade of his sword with both hands and essentially uses the weapon more like a mace or war hammer to hit his opponent. Besides thinking that this sounds very painful, one could reasonably wonder why this should be of interest to modern folk, who don’t generally go around getting into sword fights. The answer to that is that there are plenty of modern folks who do.Letting your inner knight out to play has actually become a recognized sport, and people are taking to the sword again. Some people have been turning to medieval martial arts as an alternative form of fitness or are drawn to the sport because of its historical connections. There are even two different international groups that revolve around the medieval military traditions, each with their own, slightly different, take on the sport.Page of the Codex Wallerstein showing a half-sword thrust against a Mordhau move (Plate 214)One of those groups calls itself Historical Medieval Battles. According to gizmodo.com, HMB was founded in 2009, and it has an annual international event called the Battle of Nations, held in a different European country every year.The Battlefield attracts teams from more than 30 countries with each team having a minimum of eight members and a maximum of 50. The event draws about 25,000 people every year, who don real armor and use real weaponry.Mordhau technique in 1467Events can include everything from one-on-one duels with a variety of weapons to mass battles on a truly epic scale. The group has its own international association, and the HMBIA has strict regulations about weapons standards, dress, protocol, and a host of other issues.Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert BarnettThe second large organization who’s drawn to all things medieval military is HEMA, or Historical European Martial Arts. The organization’s website notes that, unlike the Eastern sword fighting traditions which survived by being passed from master to master through generations, there wasn’t the same sort of continuity in the west.Many of the European sword military traditions either died out or devolved into sports like fencing, boxing, or wrestling. HEMA is working to resurrect those traditions by way of researching manuals written by medieval masters, sometimes encoded as poetry, and using those works to teach modern generations those lost arts.U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Robert BarnettBoth groups put an emphasis on authenticity in training and technique, stressing that the sport isn’t about just hitting each with swords. Their styles are a bit different, though. HEMA puts its focus on rigorous research of period combat manuals, translating appropriate source material. HMB is also about correctness of technique but is more focused on the extreme sports angle.Both groups have a host of events on local, national, and international scales. Both use some very modern methods of getting the word out about their very old-fashioned activities, using Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms as a means of keeping members informed about events and the community.Check out some surprising facts about Gladiators you probably didn’t know:The UK Federation for Full-Contact Medieval Combat likens the difference between the two to the experiential difference between playing football (soccer) and rugby. HEMA is all flowing attacks and precision, HMB is more outright warlike.Two knights do mock battle at a medieval fair in Southern SpainThe interest in resurrecting medieval fighting techniques began in the 1960s, according to one history of the HEMA movement. In the mid-‘60s several well received texts were published on the subject, and the Society for Creative Anachronisms, a group devoted to recreating the Middle Ages as they “should have been”, was just starting to gain traction on college campuses and elsewhere.Re-enactors and classical fencers had a lot to do with carrying the sport through the ‘70s, as did stage-combat people and fighters in the SCA. In the 1990s, the fledgling internet began to knit small, disparate groups together into larger communities, with the momentum really starting to grow through the first decade of the 21st century, spawning a variety of events and standardizing practices and regulations along the way.Read another story from us: A Golden Age? Life During the Pax RomanaToday, both groups are well-grounded and have sizable memberships. People can get into the sport through small, local sword fighting groups, and even some speciality gyms teach sword fighting skills, such as Mordhau Historical Combat in Arizona.Both HEMA and HMB have resources on their sites to help connect those who are interested in taking part with the closest clubs and groups in their areas, making it possible for more people to “go medieval”.
With the Cavs leading big near the end of the third quarter in Game 2 against the Pacers, Kyrie Irving made Lance Stephenson dance with a trademark crossover that blew away Born Ready like a gentle breeze in LeBron James’ ear.After taking out Stephenson, Irving coolly hit the stepback jumper to increase the Cleveland lead to 15.There’s still plenty of time for a massive late-game collapse by Cleveland.That crossover from Uncle Drew though… ? #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/skrvqESwlp— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 18, 2017 Advertisement
Bill Belichick is notoriously tight lipped during in-season press conferences, but he didn’t have a problem opening up during today’s pregame presser when a reporter brought up comparisons of dominant Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack to Lawrence Taylor, whom Bill coached with the Giants.In response, Belichick plainly said, “We’re talking about Lawrence Taylor, now,” and added he ranks LT in his own class and everyone else is fighting for second place when it comes to all-time pass rusher rankings.Bill doesn’t say much to the press, but he felt he needed to shut down this hot take topic.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. March 6, 2006 Every structure–whether it’s a home, an office building or a bridge–needs a foundation. Without one, the structure simply can’t endure or be expanded upon. The same is true in business today: Every company that relies on information access and instant communications–which means just about every small business–needs a solid network infrastructure as a foundation.Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have a secure, consistent network foundation. In order to grow quickly, many small companies have accumulated a hodgepodge of network connection solutions, including DSL and dial-up. Their network cabling, hardware and devices (such as routers, firewalls and switches) often come from multiple vendors.But multiple vendors and an inconsistent array of network technologies can leave your business vulnerable to security threats. Your business can’t easily make its data resources securely and widely available to users. Time, money and resources are wasted. The business isn’t as nimble as it could be. Workers aren’t as productive; customers aren’t as satisfied.A solid network foundation that ties all your technologies together cost-effectively supports your company’s business processes, increases operational efficiencies, lowers costs, increases security and makes it possible to easily add more advanced technology as needs arise.In this month’s column, I’ll explain what a network foundation is, how it benefits your small business, and how you can have one.What Is a Network Foundation?At a high level, a network foundation is a secure, flexible communications platform that enables your small business’s many data-enabled tools and systems to work together.A network foundation consists of several key hardware components, with routers and switches chief among them. Switches reside in your local-area network, and routers are used to create a wide-area network.In addition, a network foundation may include wireless access points, which allow laptops, printers and other devices such as handheld Internet Protocol (IP) phones to wirelessly connect to the network or share broadband connectivity.And a strong network foundation includes security technology that’s integrated into devices such as routers. This security provides such protections as firewall technology, which blocks unauthorized access to your network.A network foundation may also include devices such as adaptive security appliances, which protect against network threats and provide application security, network control and containment, and secure connectivity technologies. What Are the Benefits? Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » 5 min read A consistent, secure, reliable network foundation can provide your small business with many benefits, including:Anytime, anywhere information access. Employees can securely access company databases from home or on the road, turning what might be “dead” time into productive time.Flexibility. A solid network foundation allows growing companies to be flexible in their future plans. It can be scaled up as a business grows and new employees are added.Faster information exchange. A single network foundation provides the opportunity to easily and securely exchange information among employees, partners and clients. Enhanced collaboration can lead to faster decision making, better customer service–and ultimately, improved profits.The ability to add newer, emerging technologies. A secure network foundation provides the platform your business needs to add voice over internet protocall (VoIP), video teleconferencing from your PC, webcasting, and other productivity-enhancing and cost-saving technologies. Your business applications can evolve from simple printer sharing to complex business-to-business data exchanges and supply-chain management using the same network infrastructure.Enhanced security. Without a common network foundation, a business may have multiple internet connections and various types of hardware devices–an environment that’s extremely difficult to secure. In contrast, a single network foundation is streamlined and consistent, making it much easier to secure.The ability to maintain data in a single location. By making your databases and information resources available from one place, users throughout the company–including sales as well as accounting–have access to the same data. That helps employees provide better customer service and make more informed decisions.What Does a Network Foundation Require?Establishing a solid network foundation isn’t necessarily inexpensive. And many small businesses are used to spending as little as possible on technology.But as I explained in last month’s column (” Creating a Technology Roadmap “), it’s important for small businesses to make sure the technology they invest in today can support their needs tomorrow. Map your short- and long-term business goals to the network-enabled technologies that can help your business realize those goals. If you weigh the many competitive and financial advantages of a secure network foundation against the costs over time, you’ll quickly see the return on investment.The good news is that building a strong network foundation is getting much easier. Just a few years ago, the kind of comprehensive network foundation I described earlier would have been cost-prohibitive for small businesses. But in recent years, hardware and software prices have declined dramatically, and the small business sector has grown in size and clout. The result: Many technology vendors are now offering affordable products and services–as well as attractive leasing options–especially tailored for small business.Financial resources are only part of the story, of course. Many small businesses lack the human resources to deploy and maintain a solid network infrastructure. Again, thanks to the growing clout of small business, many network vendors have partners and resellers that specialize in helping small businesses set up a comprehensive network foundation.In summary, a hodgepodge of network technologies might help you in the short term. But for the long haul, your business–like anything built to last–needs a solid foundation.
May 1, 2006 2 min read This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Your cell phone/smartphone/BlackBerry has become an indispensable part of your workday. But how long can you talk between charges? A full day? No way. And entrepreneurs often find themselves out of the office for most of the day–or several days in a row.A new approach to an age-old problem (well, as old as cell phones, anyway) is Turbo Chargefrom Voxred International. It’s a low-cost way to gain virtually unlimited power for your cell–one AA alkaline at a time. Not much larger than a single AA itself, the $20 Turbo Charge comes with your first battery and an adapter for your phone. Additional adapters are $3 each, or pay $25 for a Turbo Charge with a whole set of adapters and a carrying pouch ($48 gets you two chargers and two sets of adapters).Plug one end of the appropriate adapter into your phone, and the other end into Turbo Charge. A blue light indicates that it’s charging and shuts off when charging is complete. A charge is good for 20 to 30 hours of standby, or you can plug in Turbo Charge whenever you hear the beep of death while on the phone. You should get an extra hour of talk time from a fresh alkaline, or three hours from a AA lithium (some BlackBerry devices need lithium), says Voxred CEO Norman Docteroff.Turbo Charge never needs a wall jack or a car lighter, so your travel/talk range is limited only by the number of alkaline batteries you can buy. Of course, the farther your phone is from a cell tower or the larger its display, the more juice it uses. For really serious power users, Voxred is introducing a two-battery Ultra Turbo Charge that will provide three times the power for $30. A prosaic problem, maybe, but cell phones always go down when you need them most, right? Instead of remembering one more bulky AC adapter every time you leave home, why not salt away extra Turbo Charges in you briefcase, suitcase or glove compartment? Then you can just keep going and going… This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Enroll Now for Free
Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global A barrage of damaging cyberattacks is shaking up the security industry, with some businesses and organizations no longer assuming they can keep hackers at bay, and instead turning to waging a guerrilla war from within their networks.U.S. insurer Anthem Inc last week said hackers may have made off with some 80 million personal health records. Also, Amy Pascal said she would step down as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, two months after hackers raided the company’s computers and released torrents of damaging emails and employee data.Such breaches, say people in the industry, offer a chance for younger, nimbler companies trying to sell customers new techniques to protect data and outwit attackers. These range from disguising valuable data, diverting attackers up blind alleys, and figuring out how to mitigate breaches once the data has already gone.”Suddenly, the music has completely changed,” said Udi Mokady, founder of U.S.-based CyberArk. “It’s not just Sony, it’s a culmination of things that has turned our industry around.”Worldwide spending on IT security was about $70 billion last year, estimates Gartner. ABI Research reckons cybersecurity spending on critical infrastructure alone, such as banks, energy and defense, will reach $109 billion by 2020.Several things are transforming the landscape. Corporations have been forced to allow employees to use their own mobile phones and tablets for work, and let them access web-based services like Facebook and Gmail from office computers. All this offers attackers extra opportunities to gain access to their networks.And the attackers and their methods have changed.Cyber criminals and spies are being overshadowed by politically or religiously motivated activists, says Bryan Sartin, who leads a team of researchers and investigators at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, part of Verizon Communications. “They want to hurt the victim, and they have hundreds of ways of doing it,” he said in a phone interview.Closing the DoorThe result: companies can no longer count on defending themselves with decades-old tools like firewalls to block traffic and antivirus software to catch malware, and then assume all traffic that does make it within the network is legitimate.Research by IT security company FireEye last month, for example, found that “attackers are bypassing conventional security deployments almost at will.” Across industries from legal to healthcare it found nearly all systems had been breached.”Once an attacker has made it past those defenses they’re in the gooey center, and getting around is relatively simple,” said Ryan Wager, director of product management at vArmour.Attackers can lurk inside a network for half a year before being detected. “That’s like having a bad guy inside your house for six months before you know about it,” says Aamir Lakhani, security strategist at Fortinet Inc, a network security company.Security start-ups have developed different approaches based on the assumption that hackers are already, or soon will be, inside the network.Canada-based Camouflage, for example, replaces confidential data in files that don’t need it, like training databases, with fictitious but usable data. This makes attackers think they have stolen something worthwhile. U.S.-based TrapX Security creates traps of ‘fake computers’ loaded with fake data to redirect and neutralize attacks.California-based vArmour tries to secure data centers by monitoring and protecting individual parts of the network. In the Target Corp breach during the 2013 holiday shopping season, for example, attackers were able to penetrate 97 different parts of the company’s network by moving sideways through the organization, according to vArmour’s Wager.”You need to make sure that when you close the door, the criminal is actually on the other side of the door,” he said.’Threat Intelligence’Funding these start-ups are U.S- and Europe-based venture capital firms which sense another industry ripe for disruption.Google Ventures and others invested $22 million in ThreatStream in December, while Bessemer Venture Partners last month invested $30 million in iSIGHT Partners. Both companies focus on so-called ‘threat intelligence’ – trying to understand what attackers are doing, or plan to do.Clients are starting to listen.Veradocs’ CEO and co-founder Ajay Arora says that while his product is not officially live, his firm is already working with companies ranging from hedge funds to media entertainment groups to encrypt key documents and data.UK-based Darktrace, which uses math and machine learning to spot abnormalities in a network that might be an attack, has a customer base that includes Virgin Trains, Norwegian shipping insurer DNK and several telecoms companies.But it’s slow going. Despite being open for business since 2013, it’s only been in the past six months that interest has really picked up, says Darktrace’s director of technology Dave Palmer. “The idea that indiscriminate hacking would target all organizations is only starting to get into the consciousness.”(Editing by Ian Geoghegan) 5 min read February 9, 2015 This story originally appeared on Reuters Register Now »
Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 5 min read May 26, 2015 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Kian Saneii has worked in the technology sector for almost 30 years, so he looks at the world through a techie’s lens. When he began helping his parents take care of his elderly grandparents, he was shocked to find that the digital world had barely made a foothold in elder care. “I had that personal experience, and when I began looking into things, there was not a brand out there associated with taking care of grandma and grandpa,” he says. “I wondered why it is that 30 years into the digital revolution, the only brand for the elderly is still ‘I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.’” At the same time, he acknowledges, technology and the elderly don’t always mix well. Teaching older people to use smartphones, tablets or computers can be challenging. But Saneii had an epiphany. He realized that most older people are adept at the use of one major form of technology: television. So in 2009 he began work on a TV-based platform that combines elements of digital communication into a system that can be controlled by a single remote.The result is Independa. The software-based solution allows caregivers and family members to use a web portal or mobile app to video chat, send Facebook messages and photos, set up appointments and medication reminders and play games with their older loved ones. It can also interface with blood-pressure monitoring devices, scales and glucometers, and can serve as a door sensor and emergency-alert system. On the other end, the elderly users are able to access all content without logins, passwords or the internet; they receive messages and alerts directly through their TVs, using a simplified remote. The idea was enough to earn Saneii $11 million in VC funding and the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show’s “Tech for a Better World” award. But the biggest coup for his 18-person company, which is based in San Diego, is the strategic relationship he developed with LG, the world’s largest TV manufacturer. While Saneii was developing his system, LG was working on a similar project. The two joined forces. Now LG is manufacturing TVs with Independa’s elder-care software system (called Angela) pre-installed, as well as a set-top box that can turn any television with an HDMI port into an Independa machine. LG TVs in use at hospitals and senior-living facilities also support the software package. “It’s such a slam dunk,” Saneii says. “Those places have to have a TV in each room anyway. So this reduces staff inefficiencies. They can check in with patients remotely, and they can even have loved ones check in on them.”So while Independa can help with medical issues, its primary function, Saneii says, is dealing with one of the biggest problems seniors face—social isolation. Loneliness, especially when children or other family members live far away, can worsen or lead to many health problems, including depression. Engaging with loved ones regularly through video chats, messages or photos can bring relief. “We have a broken healthcare system based on an episodic model of fixing things,” Saneii says. “For the elderly, the goal is to prevent the next stage of care as long as possible, and dealing with isolation can help with that.”While the LG partnership has given Independa a global reach, Saneii says the company is interested in integrating with other devices, as well, including the Apple watch and consumer fitness devices. “The beauty of what we have is that the market keeps getting faster, better and cheaper,” he says. “Our goal is to always be innovating and simplifying our services.” More health brillianceFor $49 per month, users of Vida’s Health Coach app can get daily text or weekly video checkups with a health coach using information gathered from a smartphone to monitor activity levels and sleep patterns. For patients suffering from chronic illnesses, it can replace costly in-person checkups at a doctor’s office. It’s here: a great-looking smartwatch. The Swiss-made Withings Activité tracks movement and sleep patterns and works with the Health Mate app for coaching. All with a handsome analog interface.Play games, earn rewards and track your habits with Beam’s Bluetooth-equipped motion-sensing toothbrush.CrossChx’s proprietary platform leverages siloed information from healthcare providers to generate unique global identities for every patient. Its SafeChx software verifies patient identity through fingerprint scan, reducing medical record error and improving treatment. The Sleepio digital platform combats insomnia through personalized behavioral therapies and scheduling tools. Users are guided by a virtual sleep expert.PerfectServe’s Synchrony communications tool facilitates more efficient patient care by enabling clinicians to immediately identify and contact the most appropriate care-team member, eliminating waits, calls, second-hand messages and other impediments.The Thync smartphone/headband combo uses electric pulses to the brain to calm you down or psych you up as needed.Indoor exercisers can get a taste of the great outdoors by mounting a smartphone or tablet to cardio equipment and moving through one of BitGym’s virtual tours of locations around the world. The Pavlok smart-watch promises to help you break any bad habit—from smoking to nail biting—in just five days by delivering a small shock every time you slip up. This story appears in the June 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Register Now »
Ding, ping, jangle, jingle, plink. It’s enough to make you nuts.Does the metallic clink of keys clanging together drive you batty? Well, the noisy buggers sure rattle Vince Ho’s cage. So much so that the Huntington Beach, Calif., product designer invented a clever key ring solution that quietly puts keys in their place. Pet peeve crushed.Meet MagKey, a key holder and magnet combo that eliminates the annoying din of jangling keys. The kit, brilliantly simple, comes with a lightweight magnetic (neodymium) key ring and eight super slim peel-and-stick magnets.Related: The Smithsonian and Kickstarter Partner Up to Preserve Neil Armstrong’s SpacesuitYou simply stick the included positive and negative magnetic adhesives on the tops your existing metal home and car keys, then slide them onto the special key ring. And — voila, in one satisfying thwack — all of your loose keys that would otherwise annoyingly rattle magically (technically magnetically) band together. With no room to wiggle, they’re noisy no more, neatly and silently stuck together in a row.“Everyone’s got something they want to fix about the world,” Ho writes on MagKey’s Kickstarter page, “for me it was noisy keys. After months of prototyping different key holders — I had an epiphany! Why not use magnets?” Yeah, why not? It works like a charm. Ho’s brand new key-quieting system is already off to a strong start. It’s killing it on Kickstarter right now, blazing past his $15,000 goal with 20 days to go. Some $63,000 in pledges for MagKey are locked up so far. Plenty of 4-packs of the lightweight product are still available via the crowdfunding campaign, starting at just $10.Related: Etsy Dips a Toe Into Crowdfunding for MakersMagKey isn’t Ho’s first roll of the entrepreneurial dice. In 2013, having recently graduated from UCLA, the Huntington Beach, Calif., native and his then-roommate and fraternity brother, fellow Bruin David Mangold, revved up their first food truck. After a year on the road, the rolling boba tea shop was so successful that the duo decided to hang up their noisy food truck keys for good. Bankrolled by a businessman in China, they made the leap to brick-and-mortar. The result: Koala Tapioca, a buzzy Korean-Mexican fusion bistro in the heart of Westwood Village, their old college stomping grounds. Key to the menu, of course, are gobs of boba, the gooey, chewy tapioca balls young Southern Californians can’t seem to slurp up straws enough. Ho, whose parents wanted him to become a lawyer, can’t seem to kick the entrepreneurial bug.“(Business) is one of those things where you could put in 15 hours and not even notice,” Ho recently said. “It becomes your baby.”Ah, the force is strong in this one. MagKey may be Ho’s first project on Kickstarter, but we doubt it’ll be his last. We’ll have to wait and see. (We reached out to Ho to find out what he plans to do next, but have yet to hear back from him.) Related: This Tiny $9 Computer Blazed Past the Million-Dollar Mark on Kickstarter Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals August 7, 2015 3 min read Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »
Listen Now How Success Happens Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. 4 min read If you’ve been hoping to upgrade that iPhone in your pocket, you might not have to wait much longer.Apple officially announced its annual fall event will be held Sept. 9 in San Francisco. The event is traditionally where the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant reveals updates to its iPhone line. It’s also the same event where the company showcased the Apple Watch last year.We don’t expect a new Apple Watch at this year’s event, but we do have a few ideas of what the company might have in store.The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S PlusSeptember is typically when Apple announces updates to its iPhone line, and we suspect this year will be no different. Rumor has it Apple will be announcing updates to both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at the event. Called the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, the phones will offer small incremental upgrades from last year’s models.Related: 5 Things You Don’t Know About Apple CEO Tim CookExpect both phones to come packing new Qualcomm wireless chips and faster A9 processors, leading to improved LTE speeds and battery life on the phone. The camera on the iPhone 6S is expected to also see some improvements. Rumors point to a new 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with 4K video support as well as a new, improved forward-facing camera for video calls and selfies.Both phones are expected to get force-touch displays, which will add a new layer of functionality. Similar to the feature on the Apple Watch, you would be able to press down on the screen to perform functions in addition to the phone’s traditional controls. The iPhone will also reportedly now come in a rose-gold option.There likely won’t be an iPhone 6C announced to replace the low-cost iPhone 5C.Related: Steve Jobs: An Extraordinary CareerA new Apple TVIt’s still not ready to announce that long-rumored television, but Apple is expected to announce an update to its set-top box at the Sept. 9 event. The 4th generation of the popular device is anticipated to offer a number of new features including Siri support and an updated remote control. The device is also rumored to get a new App Store, along with an SDK for developers who want to create an app for the box. With new apps like games, the Apple TV could start to become a competitor for gaming systems such as Xbox and PlayStation.Those apps will reportedly be exclusive to the new Apple TV, which will likely be priced somewhere between $149 and $199. Apple is thought to be keeping its current $69 Apple TV around as a low-price alternative to the new version, and as a competitor for things like Roku and Google’s Chromecast. However, the older version of the TV likely won’t be able to use the new App Store.Related: 5 Apple Patents We Hope Will Be Used to Make Actual ProductsThe MaybesApple has been long-rumored to be working on a larger, 12.9-inch version of the iPad. We could potentially see the tablet at September’s event, but don’t hold your breath. Chance are, Apple will hold off on announcing this one until October.Recent rumors also point to Apple launching a new streaming service this year to compete with cable companies, as well as a new ‘smart band’ for the Apple Watch to add new functionality to the device. While both are still likely to happen this year, don’t expect either to come at this month’s event.Of course, no one but Tim Cook knows for sure what Apple has in store for Sept. 9. Be sure to check back here then for a full report on everything that is announced.Related: 5 Things I Learned About Successful Startups From Steve Jobs September 2, 2015
March 28, 2016 4 min read As any marathon runner will tell you, covering 26.2 miles is no easy task. Preparing for a race that grueling requires an abundance of time, willpower and commitment. You can’t train for it in a few days — or even a few weeks. But when you cross the finish line, you know that all the time you’ve invested pays off.Launching a digital marketing strategy is similar: It doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, if you think you’ll be able to see returns in a month, your projections will be all wrong, and a lot of things you should be doing (but aren’t) will end up looking like failures.Recently, my team encouraged a major fashion client to increase its Facebook ad budget. We understand the purchase cycle and cost per lead, and, like other marketers, have been seeing incredible results using Facebook to attract our clients’ target audiences online.Unfortunately, the fashion client preferred a “wait-and-see” approach and ultimately turned off certain ads after just two weeks. Two months later, when it became clear that those ads had ended up outperforming all of the client’s other advertising, it was too late: The brand had missed its window of opportunity.To avoid such a costly faux pas, use the following tips to determine how often your customers actually purchase your product or service. That way, you can better allocate time and money to your digital marketing strategies.Related: 10 Quick Tips to Help You Create Facebook Ads That Work1. Measure how long a purchase actually takes.Many entrepreneurs aren’t aware of the importance of purchase cycles. If your product costs $70, for instance, your purchase cycle will likely be more than a month long, which means you won’t see most of the money you’ll make until after that time frame.To better appreciate how long it takes for a good ad to perform, monitor how long it takes for someone to make a purchase, from the first time he or she visits your website. Citing our experience with Facebook ads, for example, we find that it typically takes two to four months to actually see a trend in results.The longer the purchase cycle, the more money you’ll need on the front end, so understanding this time line will help you estimate your cash needs up-front.2. Put a price on your leads.If you’re expecting direct responses from your digital marketing, you won’t be able to scale properly. To help you evaluate which strategies to pursue, you should first understand how much each lead is truly worth. (Try this tool if you need help.)You may be laser-focused on converting your site’s visitors into paying customers — each of which is worth, say, $100 to you — when it would be more lucrative to go after $10 email addresses, which have more direct response, quicker conversions and lower costs per lead. If so, you’ll likely want to optimize your efforts based on that strategy rather than on smaller-focus conversions.Related: Conversion Rates for the Most Popular Marketing Channels3. Redefine how you measure success.Once you understand how purchase cycles fit into your customer’s journey toward buying your product or service, you may have to start monitoring and measuring success differently. You can calculate the half-life to measure success, as opposed to thinking, “I just spent $300. Why didn’t I sell $300 in products today?”For example, if you know your purchase cycle averages 30 days, and you’ve made half of your money back after 30 days, you’re on track. Other long-term metrics to take note of include click-through and bounce rates, quality scores and time on site.Related: 16-Step Blueprint to Master Your Digital Marketing in 2016To run the digital marketing race, you not only have to train but to change the way you train. By working to understand purchase cycles and how they fit into your marketing time line, you’ll set your business up for success in the long run. The effort takes patience and a lot of commitment, but the waiting game will be well worth the race — if you can only wait until mile 26. Enroll Now for Free Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
April 28, 2017 It seems that Elon Musk is making headway with his latest brainchild, the Boring Company. Stuck in Los Angeles traffic back in December, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO said that he wanted to start a company that would allow him to build underground tunnels for better transportation in congested cities.Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 17, 2016Related: He’s Human, After All: 5 Times Elon Musk Completely FailedIn February, Bloomberg reported that Musk had begun making a test tunnel in the SpaceX parking lot. Now, thanks to an errant Instagram post from a SpaceX employee — that was deleted shortly thereafter — we have our first sighting of one of The Boring Company’s machines. It has a logo, so you know it’s serious.Clearly, Musk won’t be content until he has a hand in every aspect of the transportation industry. Rockets, cars, power, tunnels and of course his work on the hyperloop. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals 1 min read Register Now »