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100 Inspirational Pieces Of Advice To Help Your Career, Your Living, And Your Sanity

Over the last 31 years of my life, I’ve learned a lot through my experiences. These experiences include:

  • Having my articles featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Fortune and Inc.
  • Starting two companies and building 4 top 100 apps in different categories
  • 10 years in the technology industry at amazing companies like Cisco, VMware, Box and Optimizely
  • Writing a book on Amazon that hit #1 in the resumes category with over 40,000 Kindle downloads

And today, I’ll be sharing with you my top 100 tips on work, life hacks and life lessons.

To make it easier to read, I’ve categorized this into three categories for you:

Work tips #1-34

Life hacks #35-55

Life lessons #56-100
Hope it helps you live an epic life!

Work tips

1. Say no to 1 hour meetings – “I love 1 hour meetings,” said no one ever. 1 hour meetings are often unnecessary. You can usually accomplish in 30 minutes what you thought you needed an hour for. 30 minutes will force you to be concise and on point.

2. Do the Steve Jobs walk – Steve Jobs often did some of his most important meetings while going for a walk. I do this all the time. First, doing meetings in conference rooms can feel very stiff. Second, getting people outside of their everyday environment may get them to see things from a new perspective. Third, being physically active during your meeting could help you think more clearly. So open the door, get some fresh air and go for a walk.

3. Visualize your success
– Imagine 3 groups of basketball players.

*The first group would practice shooting free throws 20 minutes a day.

*The second group wouldn’t practice free throws but would visualize themselves making free throws.

*The third group would not practice or visualize at all.

The results? There was a significant improvement in the second group. In fact, they were almost as good as the first group.

By the way, this is a real experiment that was conducted by Australian Psychologist Alan Richardson.

So if you want to get that new jobs, imagine yourself prepping for the interview, nailing it and signing the job offer. Visualize what you want your future to be.

4. Listen first before speaking
– Seek to understand first. How can you make an intelligent remark on something if you haven’t taken the time to observe what’s happening first? You have two ears and only one mouth. There’s a reason for that.

5. Keep your daily to do list small
– Instead of writing up a huge to do list every day – focus on completing the 3 more important items every day. This forces you to prioritize your activities to ensure you’re getting the best return on your energy and time. Ask this question: “Do I really need to do this today?”

6. Set goals – If you don’t even know where you’re headed, how will you create the plan on how to get there? Set your destination first and then set sail.

7. Celebrate progress – The journey to your goal could be a long one. So make sure you take the time to celebrate your progress along the way. Eat a nice dinner. High five your teammates. Strike a gong. Do a fist pump. Yell out from the rooftops. Because success is worth celebrating.

8. Figure out your why – It’s a such a great question that isn’t asked enough. Why does it all matter? Figure out your why and that’ll be the fuel for your motivation. Whether it’s supporting your family or making an impact on the world, figuring out your why is critical to taking your work to the next level.

9. Understand your strengths and amplify those – You’ll be naturally talented in certain areas or you’ll practice a skill enough to become an expert at it. Focus your energy on amplifying those strengths rather than trying to be mediocre at everything. Better to be an expert at a few things than a mediocre jack of all trades!

10. Don’t burn bridges – I get it, we all work with jerks at some point in our careers. Who cares? Don’t let it get to you. There’s no need to say anything bad about them. If anything, try to find humor in it, learn from it and move on. You’ve got better things to focus on. Like being the most epic version of yourself that you can be.

11. View challenges as opportunities – Have you ever spent a long time waiting at the post office to ship something before? I know I have. What if instead of complaining of that process, you created an app that would allow you to request a driver to arrive at your house and to pick up and deliver your shipment for you? If you viewed that challenge as an opportunity, you would have created Shyp, an amazing app that does exactly that.

12. Shorten your commute
– I used to travel over 3 hours on the freeway for work every day for a few years. I was stressed, tired and exhausted. I also wasted a ton of time sitting in a car. It’s absolutely not worth it. Work near where you live. If you can, make it within walking distance. Imagine 3 hours a day working on something you love. Time is precious. Don’t waste it on the freeway.

13. Test your assumptions – Did you know that A/B testing helped Barack Obama raise $60M by running a simple experiment? This blog post from Optimizely highlights how different tests run on media and buttons made a huge impact on results.

At the end of the day, all of us have an opinion at work. The only way to know the answer is to test your assumptions.

14. Dip your toes into the water
– You never really know until you try. If you never try, you’ll always be wondering “what if.” So what are you waiting for? Want to explore a new career? Want to learn about a different department? Want to start your own business? Dip your toes into the water. Make it happen.

15. Give credit where it’s due – People can’t stand it when someone takes credit for something they didn’t do. Don’t be that person. Recognize others when they do an awesome job. It creates trust among teammates and will you further as a company.

16. Every person you meet is a potential door opener to a new opportunity
– Be nice to people. You never know how you can help each other down the road.

17. Make data driven decisions
– When in doubt, look at the data. What is it telling you?

18. Trust your gut
– Data driven decisions aren’t quite as helpful when there’s little or no data to work with. In those cases, go with your gut.

19. Focus on the 80/20 rule
– 20% of your clients will usually generate 80% of the return. Focus your energy on the work that matters.

20. 10 years test – You’re going to run into problems that might seem like disasters. Don’t freak out. Instead, use the 10 years test. Will this problem matter in 10 days? In 10 months? In 10 years? Probably not. And if it won’t, don’t stress about it. It’s not worth it.

21. Do what you love – Life’s short. Do you really want to spend 23.8% of your life working at a job that you hate? Didn’t think so. Do what you love.

22. Focus on making an impact
– Don’t do work for the sake of looking busy or only because someone told you to. Think about the impact. And if it’s not impactful, have the courage to say so. Challenge yourself to do great work that makes an impact.

23. Lead with or without the title
– You don’t need a big title to make a difference at your company. You can lead by driving a new initiative, coming up with an awesome idea or by coaching and encouraging your teammates to be at their best.

24. Build a personal brand – You have a living, breathing brand. Want to build a great brand? Dress the part. Act the part. Live the part.

For example, if you want to be perceived as a great content marketer, you’ve got to act the part. You could write a ton of Quora posts, LinkedIn articles and blog posts on the subject of content marketing. That way, when people have a need for content marketing, they think of you because they’ve seen 500 of your posts.

25. Invest in your LinkedIn profile – Nearly every single recruiter who has reached out to me this year found me on LinkedIn. Think about that for a second.

Time’s have changed.

We used to submit our resume to company websites to find jobs. While it can still work, it’s not the most effective way to learn about new job opportunities.

Once you submit your resume, it’s immediately outdated. LinkedIn, however, is brilliant because people are incentivized to update their profiles constantly. So what ends up happening? Recruiters find most of the best talent on LinkedIn.

It’s a new age folks. Invest in your LinkedIn profile. I have a ton of tips on this in my book The Resume is Dead (It would take us way too long to highlight in this post).

26. Leave your business card at home
– Add someone on LinkedIn instead. It’s easier to keep in touch with them, reduces your administrative work in loading that person into your contact book and updates on each other are easily viewed. Welcome to the cloud.

27. Stay humble
– You might be pretty good at what you do, but chances are somebody else in the world does it better. And even if you are the best at it, chances are you aren’t good at a million other things. So stay humble. Stay foolish. Stay hungry. And keep learning from others.

28. Embrace failure and learn from it – You are going to fail at some point in life. It could be a big event, like getting fired. It could be a small event, like forgetting to do the laundry. It’s all relative.

The important thing is to recognize that the process for dealing with big or small failures is the same.

Acknowledge that it happened. Deal with the situation. Learn from it. Improve yourself. And move on.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, went from being an unemployed single mother living off unemployment benefits to becoming one of the best selling authors of all time. Failure happens. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

29. Embrace your champions – Along the way, you will find people that genuinely believe in you and your mission. They will cheer you on. Embrace them. Even if your only champion is your mom.

30. Embrace your naysayers
– On this same journey, you’ll also find people who doubt you every step of the way. Embrace them too. Only this time, use that doubt as your source of motivation. I had 4 managers who ranked me second to last in interviews at a Fortune 100 company. I used that to motivate me when I finally landed a job. I ended up managing the #1 operation in the country. Thanks for the motivation.

31. Recognize the importance of transparency – People are more empathetic when they understand why things are happening. When they’re left in the dark, it becomes hard to build trust. Be transparent.

32. Invest in a standing desk
– A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting increases our chances of getting a disease or condition that will kill us prematurely. Holy. Moly. Get a standing desk. Now. I did this for two years and felt way more productive.

33. Work smart – Why are we doing this? Does it have to be done this way? Is there a better way to do it? How can I get a better return in less time?

Keep asking questions like this. Working hard is great. Working smart and hard is a even better. #WinningCombo

34. Find mentors who live your desired lifestyle
– Want to work 5 hours a week and travel the world? Find people who have create a passive income lifestyle successfully like Pat Flynn, Eric Siu and Benny Hsu and have them be your mentors. While they may not be able to mentor you 1:1, you can have them be a virtual mentor by following their website learnings.

Life hacks

35. Freeze your fruits/vegetables – You want to eat healthy but your produce always manages to go bad before you can finish it. So here’s what you do instead: right before it goes bad, freeze it! Then you can use it in soups, stews or smoothies in a pinch!

36. Cut the cable cord and get Netflix
– You still get awesome entertainment and just reduced your monthly bill a ton.

37. Clean your home once a month
– De-cluttering your living space will de-clutter your mind. Here’s a simply way to determine what you keep: Have I used this in the last year? If no, donate it.

38. Utilize quick pick me ups – Sometimes you just need something to jump start yourself into a happier mood. Watch a funny Youtube video (Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battles, Ellen Degeneres clips), sing one of your favorite songs outloud or dance like nobody’s watching. Life’s short. You may as well have some fun.

39. Buy a chap stick keychain
– Have you lost your chap stick before? I’ve lost a ton. That’s why I bought a chap stick keychain. Problem solved. My lips have never been happier. Smooth like butter.

40. Host events – When all is said and done, relationships are what matter. Host an event for your friends, family and loved ones so that you get a chance to spend some quality time together. Want to do it on a budget? Make it a potluck.

Want to make it work related? That’s awesome too. Trust me, your coworkers want to enjoy life outside of the office too. They may not always remember what you did in the office, but they’ll definitely remember the epic get togethers you hosted.

41. Invest in an awesome mattress – You spend about 33% of your life sleeping. Why would you skimp on your mattress? Help yourself get the best sleep possible.

42. Iron your shirt without an iron
– Don’t have an iron? Your last resort: hang your clothes in the bathroom while you take a hot shower and then blow it dry with a hair dryer. It works for me all the time!

43. Arrive at least 2 hours before your flight take off time
– Especially if it’s an international flight. Trust me, I’ve flown to over 50 cities in a year. You don’t need the stress.

44. Pack food for your flight
– You don’t have to pay a small fortune to have lunch at the airport anymore. Bring your own sandwich, fruit or snack.

45. Wiggle your body during turbulence
– I use to hate hitting turbulence. It would make me a nervous wreck. The solution? Wiggle your tush when the turbulence hits. You’ll feel less of it. I don’t know why this is true, but it works. I’ve tried it a few times now!

46. Charge your phone faster – Switch it into airplane mode and it’ll charge faster.

47. Get an extra battery pack
– Let’s face it, we use our phones for almost everything nowadays including directions, finding places to eat, communicating and entertainment just to name a few. When our phones die, we’re close to being incapable of doing anything.

I’m kidding of course. But life does get harder without a smartphone to help out. So buy an extra battery pack.

48. Stay away from processed foods
– The more you eat whole, natural foods like vegetables and fruits, the more likely your diet will stay healthy. Stay away from the processed stuff.

49. Don’t live someone else’s life – Learn to build your own values, passions, opinions and personality. You are not anyone else. You’re completely unique and awesome in your own way. This is your life. Own it.

When I told people I wanted to build a blog focused on motivation called – some of them were skeptical.

Who cares? It’s not their life. It’s mine. If I get passionate about motivating other people, I’m going to make it happen. #MakeItSo

50. Skip the caffeine – You don’t need it. You can make yourself more focused and awake by doing things that are completely natural and free. Here are some quick examples: exercise, meditation, drinking enough water (your frequent bathroom trips will make you alert, trust me) and working on something you’re passionate about.

51. Slow down
– We get it. You want to make a dent in the universe. You want to change the world. You want to create something magical. Slow down. Take a deep breathe. You don’t have to react instantly all the time. Sometimes, taking a moment to collect yourself and to think about the situation might drive a better outcome for you. I learned this from a special person I met in Spain and it’s improved my quality of life tremendously.

52. Color code your keys
– My friends taught me this trick. Ever fumble through your keys to try to find the right one, only to try it and realize it’s not? There’s a fix for that. Color code your keys. For example, our garage door is the yellow key, the green key is for the main public entrance and the red key is for our front door to our apartment unit. You can buy colored key covers on Amazon or use nail polish / paint to make the keys color coded. #problemsolved

53. Put a small garbage bin in your car – Notice your car getting messy? Admit it, you’ve tossed stuff you needed to throw away into the passenger seat before. You don’t have to live that kind of life. Get a small garbage bin.

54. Hang a tennis ball in your garage
– Speaking of cars, have you ever had trouble parking your car in the garage? Seriously, it’s not easy to make sure that you parked close enough to the wall so that you car doesn’t get crushed by the garage door. Hang a tennis ball in your garage so that you know exactly when to stop moving forward.

55. Stuff newspaper in your shoes – It’ll remove the moisture and some of the smells it’s picked up over time. Okay, I admit it, I haven’t tried this one myself but I heard it works.

Life tips

56. Learn one new thing a day
– This could be one word from a new language, a scientific fact, a life hack or anything else that you’re interested in. Over time, learning one new thing a day will shape you into awesomeness.

57. Remember people’s names – Did you know that a study has shown that if you call people by their name, they usually respond with more energy and engagement? Yup, I ran that study. And my sample size group has been the thousands of people I’ve worked with over my 11 year career in technology. When you say someone’s name, it shows that you care. It shows that you recognize their presence. It shows that you’re a nice person. Try it.

58. Focus only on the present – Stop regretting the past. Stop worrying about the future. Focus on the present. Focus on the now. Feel the sun on your face. Feel the wind behind on your back. Hear the wind as it blows the tree branches. Dig your toes into the sand. Listen when people talk.

If you read a page from the last chapter over and over again you’ll never finish the book. So stop thinking about the past. Be in the now.

59. Listen to your body – When you’re exhausted, don’t fight it. Take a nap or sleep. When you feel stressed out, take a break. When you feel sick from eating that 10th donut, well, maybe you shouldn’t have done that. Learn to listen to the signals in your body and respond in the right way.

60. Learn to let go – Mistakes happen. Don’t drill on it. Life isn’t perfect. Think of any issues you run into as “speed bumps” – they make the ride a little uncomfortable but you’ll get through it.

61. Read before sleeping – Don’t let the blue light from your computer or phone keep you up at night. You can use F.lux, which is an awesome app that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day. This way you can use your computer to read an awesome book and learn something new. Or you can go the old fashioned route and buy a hard cover book. Getting into the routine of reading before sleeping will help you wind down the day and learn something new at the same time!

62. You are the 5 people you surround yourself with – A few months ago, I ran into what I thought was a disaster for my company. A part of me wanted to shut down the company (It’s called Collide). My good friend and co-founder Steve challenged me immediately. He asked what I wanted to achieve in life and why I created the company in the first place. After a long talk, I realized that I wanted to stay the course. Steve helped me understand that my desire to succeed was far greater than my fears. I’m telling you this story because I’ve learned that surrounding yourself with people that inspire you to be better can completely take your life to new levels.

63. Learn to say no – You can’t do everything for everyone. Stop spreading yourself thin. Learn to say no. Focus on a few things and be great at those.

64. Explore the world
– Travel the world. It’s a great way to get a fresh perspective on life. Howard Schultz traveled to Europe and feel in love with the coffee shops there. Guess what happened next? He started Starbucks. #GetInspired

65. Build your own values
– Model yourself after people that you admire. At the end of the day though, you’ve got to be able to make your own judgment calls. The best way to do this is to decide what your values are. Once you do, write it down and post it on your mirror. It’s the foundation of who you are.

66. Embrace change – You need to get comfortable with this simple idea: The only thing constant is change. Instead of fearing it, embrace it.

67. Clean along the way – Sure, you could let those dishes pile up for a month, but that would be pretty painful to clean up. Along the way, your home would start to smell, fill with fruit flies and generally make it less enjoyable to live in. So don’t procrastinate. Clean along the way.

68. Silence can be beautiful
– You don’t always have to fill up silence with words. Sometimes there is beauty in being silent.

69. When in doubt, simple respond with “Let me think about that.” – Let’s face it, we don’t always have the right answer. Instead of rushing to answer, tell the person that you need time to think about things further. This shows that you’re being thoughtful and also gives you something to respond with.

70. Do your most important task first thing in the morning – Your energy will be higher at this moment. It’s why I workout first thing in the morning most days.

71. Use the “We’ll see” method
– Even when it seems like something terrible has happened at the moment, there’s the possibility that it might lead to something good in the future. So instead of making up your own conclusions about the future, just tell yourself, “We’ll see.”

72. Meditate – You can use apps like Headspace that are free and can help you clear your mind. This is an awesome way to relax your mind and body.

73. Realize that most people don’t care about you – Sorry, people’s lives don’t revolve around your universe. Well, the exception might be if you’re a celebrity. But in all seriousness, stop worrying about what other people think of you. Most of them don’t even really care that much. Instead, focus on being the best possible version of yourself.

74. There are a few people in the world that really deeply care about you
– Keep those people close to you in life. They’re the ones that can make your life amazing. They’re the ones that will stick with you through the good and the bad.

75. Roll your clothes – When you travel, try rolling your clothes to maximize packing space. I did this and can fit 2.5 weeks of clothes into a carry on now.

76. Only you are responsible for your own life
– So own it. Take control. You have to figure out what makes you happy. What gets you inspired. What drives you.

77. Say something awesome to yourself everyday
– Positive reinforcement can help you maintain an upbeat mood even in the worst of times. Treat yourself well.

78. Take a deep breath
– Didn’t that feel awesome? Yeah, try doing that more. You’ll feel better.

79. Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination
– Growing up, I used to tell myself, if only I had this specific thing, I would be happy. After 31 years of living, I can tell you that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is a state of mind.

My close friend told me that he feels happiness when the sun shines on his face. He almost died when he was in his early twenties. He was saved by a stranger who donated a kidney to him. He’s happy that he’s alive today.

You can find happiness now. It’s right in front of you, everywhere you look. It’s up to you to open your eyes.

80. Remember to have the time of your life
– Remember that at the end of the day, no one lives forever. So while you’re here, remember to have the time of your life. Laugh, smile and have fun.

81. Promise only on what you can deliver – Reliability goes a long way. A ton of people over promise and under deliver. Don’t be that person.

82. Be fearless
– Fear is just a feeling. Learn to take it head on. Have a bias towards action and be fearless.

83. Marry your best friend – You want someone who’s going to be there with you through the best and worst of times. Someone you can talk to all night or have a completely comfortable silence with. Someone who loves you for who you are

84. Be insanely curious – Being curious will help you keep an open mind. By doing so, you’ll learn new ideas and help bring passion and excitement in your life. You don’t know everything, so learn as much as you can in your life!

85. Think about how you can help others – At the end of the day, your legacy will be who you loved, who loved you and how much you helped others.

86. Time is your most valuable asset – I had a family friend who spent most of his life saving up every penny to eventually live the life he always wanted. After years of saving, he was involved in a tragic car accident. He never lived the life he dreamed about.

Money is valuable. Time is even more valuable. Utilize money to help you find more time.

Time with your loved ones. Time with your buddies. Time with your spouse. Time with your kids. There are 525,600 minutes in a year. How do you spend your time?

87. Someone else’s recipe may not work for you
– Just because it worked for someone else means it’ll work for you. Learn from others but also realize that everyone’s situation is unique.

88. Have an idea jar – Whether it’s for love, friendships or family, an idea jar is a great way to ensure you have activities to do together. The next time you have an idea for something, put it into the idea jar. Each week, you can pull one from the idea jar and voila, you’ve got some fun in your hands!

89. Act exactly how you feel – Why the poker face? It’s unnecessary. If you’re upset, act and feel upset. If you’re happy, smile. Better to be 100% authentic than to live a lie.

90. Smile at people
– It makes you happier. It’s contagious. It lowers stress and anxiety. It strengthens your immune system. It makes you seem more competent. It makes your look trustworthy. It can even be an effective management technique.

And yes, every single of these has been proven by a study. Every. Single. One.

By the way, it cost you nothing. That’s awesome.

91. Simple is good
– Stuff has administrative debt. That new car you just got? Maintenance and insurance. Those 10 shopping sites you subscribed to? 100 emails in your inbox you have to go through. Keep life simple. It’s easier and more enjoyable.

92. Don’t get attached to stuff
– Once you take care of your basic necessities, like your health, shelter, clothing and food, chances are that stuff won’t make you happy. Don’t get too attached to it. When we leave this world we can’t bring our stuff with us anyway.

93. Choose experiences over stuff
– What you should value are experiences. A simple dinner with your mother talking about life. A vacation with your spouse to a place you’ve always wanted to travel. A long talk with friends over a warm fire on a cold winter night. Working late night with your teammates to build a game changing startup. These are the moments you’ll remember.

94. Don’t compare yourself to others
– Just focus on being the best possible version of yourself.

95. Making something for someone to show that you care – It’s easy to buy something for someone. Making something with love, passion and care is much harder. Go the extra mile and make something for the person that you love. Need ideas? Check out Pinterest.

96. Love yourself first
– Before you fall in love with anyone else, make sure you’re in a good place. Learn to love yourself, including all of your awesomeness and your flaws. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the better you can love someone else.

97. Your word choice matters
– Your words have a lot of power.

Version #1 “We have a problem with our project.”

Version #2 “We have an opportunity to fix things on this project.”

I feel a lot better hearing version #2. What about you?

98. Learn to let go – Sometimes you can’t fix things. Let it go. Yup, I wrote this life tip earlier. I’m repeating it because it’s that important.

99. Everyone has a story – Maybe someone was mean to you today. That sucks. But what if you found out it’s because they just learned about a tragedy in their family? It changes everything, doesn’t it? Just remember, everyone has their own story to tell.

100. Love – When all is said and done, all that you’ll really remember are the amazing people you’ve connected with and helped along the way. Love your friends. Love your family. Love your spouse. Love is all that matters. Love more.

I hope this list helps you live the best life possible.

What are you waiting for?

Go. Start. Now. Because it’s never too late to be amazing.



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5 best Black Friday big-screen 4K TV deals

While everyone wants the best Black Friday bang-for-the-buck price, the deals are so prolific that it’s hard to know what the best ones are.

Fox News asked DealNews, a comparison shopping website, for recommendations on the best 4K TV deals.

Most of them will go live on November 23, according to DealNews. Here are some of the best so far.

Sharp 50″ 4K LED LCD Smart Roku UHD TV 

Currently priced at $399, Best Buy will have this 50-inch set available for $179.99 on Black Friday.

“We predicted that we’d see 50 [inch] 4K doorbusters for $210 [but] we certainly didn’t expect to see TVs of this size to come in below $200 — and with Smart TV capabilities no less,” DealNews’ director of content marketing Lindsay Sakraida told Fox News.

“The only caveat to this deal is that it’s only available in-store. Get to your local Best Buy early if you want it,” Sakraida added.


Samsung 55″ 4K HDR LED LCD Smart TV with $150 “Kohl’s Cash”

Typically priced as high as $700, this deal will cost a lot less when taking into account the Kohl’s cash.

“At a net price of only $350 when you factor in the Kohl’s Cash, this 55 [-inch] Samsung set is well below our predicted price of $500 for name-brand 4K TVs. That’s even more remarkable when you consider it’s a set with HDR and Smart TV capabilities,” Sakraida said.

LG 49″ 4K LED LCD UHD Smart TV with $120 Kohl’s Cash

Currently priced at around $400 on LG’s website, Kohl’s will have this for much cheaper on Black Friday.

“At a net price of only $280 when you factor in the Kohl’s Cash…this price is below what we expect to see for 1080p sets of the same size,” according to Sakraida.

LG 65″ 4K HDR LED LCD Smart TV with $200 Dell Gift Card

Typically priced at about $1,000 on LG’s website, the price will drop significantly on Black Friday.

“The $600 net price on this LG 65UJ6300 bests the deal we saw last month by $50. It’s also decidedly better than the $970 average price we’re expecting to see for name-brand 65″ 4K TVs, even without the gift card,” according to Sakraida.

Sony – 60″ LED – 2160p – Smart – 4K Ultra HD TV at Best Buy 

Currently selling for $1,000 at Best Buy, this 60-inch set will cost just $600 on Black Friday

Other deals

In addition to the deals above, also noteworthy is LG’s across-the-board price cut on OLED TVs. 

Beginning Sunday, November 19 through Cyber Monday, November 27, all 10 LG OLED 2017 models will be available at a special Black Friday price for a limited time.

For example, the LG OLED TV B7A Series 55-inch model 55B7A, will be on sale for $1,499 (regularly $2,299) and the 65-inch model 65B7A, will be discounted to $2,299, down from $3,299.

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Stop Calling Your Wife Hot

“Fellas, calling your wife hot to other people is awkward. We cant agree with you. That would be really weird. We cant disagree with you. That would be really mean.”

By Barnabas Piper

I saw a tweet from a friend recently that said If I hear one more Christian guy call his wife hot (every time he talks about her), Im going to throw a plate at the wall. I suggested that he actually throw the plate at the guy calling his wife hot, or smokin hot for that matter (tongue in cheek, of course). Maybe it would knock some sense and normalcy into them.

Fellas, calling your wife hot to other people is awkward. We cant agree with you. That would be really weird. We cant disagree with you. That would be really mean. Ignoring you is rude, but its probably ourbest option in this case. Do you really want us trying to determine if your wife is, in fact, hot? Im glad youthink shes a 10. You should. But calling attention to her hotness doesnt honor her as much as it creates an opportunity for others to judge. And thats just awkward.

Its also subjective.Youthink your wife is hot. In fact, you think shes the hottest, just as you should. But what if other guys dont? Do you really want to raise that issue? And what if they do? Do you really want to know, or to bring it to their minds? Your wife is your standard of beauty, or at least she should be. But every time you call her hot (which refers exclusively to physical beauty, unlike beautiful or lovely or amazing, all of which can encompass personality and character), you are making her a standard of beauty for others. You are talking about her objectively; that is to say, you are objectifying her. Bad idea.

It is a great thing to honor your wife publicly. Its good for people to know your devotion to her and how much you love her. Its good for people to know you are attracted only to her and want only her. But keep the hotness talk inside the walls of your home. Thats between you and her. Tell her she is smokin hot all you want. But dont tell the rest of us because it does no good for anyone.

About the Author:Barnabas works in social media and content marketing for Lifeway Christian Resources. He is the author of The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity (David C. Cook, July 2014). Barnabas and his wife live in the Nashville area with their two daughters. Follow him on Twitter @BarnabasPiper or check him out on his website.

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VidCon announces industry advisory board


Ahead of its seventhannual gathering this summer, much-beloved online video conventionVidConhas announced the industry professionals who will curate the panels, keynotes, fireside chats, and seminars for the events business-minded attendees.

The Industry Track Advisory Board, as its been dubbed (VidCon also offers attendance “tracks” for creators and fans), comprises a veritable whos-who of bold-faced players from media companies, brands, agencies, and investment firms.Heres the list:

  • EpicSignal founderBrendan Gahan
  • United Talent Agency partnerBrent Weinstein
  • Pepsi senior marketing managerChristine Ngo
  • Marriotts vice president of global creative and content marketing,DavidBeebe
  • Comcasts VP of strategic development,Dror Shimshowitz
  • Internet of Things Consortium CEOGreg Kahn
  • Vessels head of content,Ivana Kirkbride
  • Federateds chief strategy officer,John McCarus
  • New Form Digital chief creative officerKathleen Grace
  • Beyonds VP of programming,Leslie Morgan
  • Supergravity Pictures founderMarc Hustvedt
  • Greycroft PartnersMark Terbeek
  • YouTubes head of entertainment communications,Michelle Slavich
  • Bertelsmann Digital Media InvestmentsSim Blaustein.

With last years explosion of next-gen OTT, SVOD platforms and alternative digital distribution models, there is more demand for multi-platform content, influencers and creators than ever before, said Vessels Kirkbride in a statement, nodding to potential focal points forthis years event.

VidCon, which will take place between June 23 and 25 in Anaheim, California, also recently announced that this years iterationwould put anadded focusongaming content. Tickets are available

Illustration by Max Fleishman

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9 prostate cancer myths, debunked

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. In 2017, the American Cancer Society estimates about 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and about 26,730 men will die from it.

The good news is that survival rates for prostate cancer are high, but experts say there are several myths out there about how its diagnosed and treated, and how it may affect mens health and sex lives.


To help you tell fact from fiction, Fox News sifted through the research and talked to some of the top prostate cancer experts to unpack the most common myths about prostate cancer.

1. Its an old mans disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, six in 10 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men ages 65 and older. Although many men think prostate cancer is something they need to start thinking about in their 60s, men as young as 40 are diagnosed with prostate cancer too.

Whats more, screening all men between ages 45 and 49 for prostate cancer can predict almost half of all deaths several decades later, a 2013 study in the journal BMJ found.

2. There are no symptoms.
Its true that many men with prostate cancer may not have any symptoms, even for those who have metastatic disease.

Many symptoms of prostate cancer can also mimic other benign conditions like prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate, a urinary tract infection (UTI) or another type of cancer.

Nevertheless, if you notice urinary frequency, urgency, a slow or weak flow or an obstruction of the flow, blood in your urine or ejaculate, bone pain, or unexpected weight loss, you should see your doctor to be evaluated, Dr. Chung-Han Lee, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Westchester in West Harrison, New York, told Fox News.


3. Blood PSA levels are only one way to make a diagnosis.
High blood prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels usually indicate prostate cancer, but the only definitive way to diagnose it is with a prostate biopsy, Lee said.

4. You must start treatment right away.
If youre diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will first determine the stage and your risk group low, intermediate or high-risk before deciding on a treatment plan. Hell also take into account other conditions you may have, like obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as your smoking history, before deciding on the course of treatment.

If you have other medical problems but a low-grade prostate cancer, for example, your doctor may hold off on treatment. Yet if youre otherwise healthy and have an aggressive form of prostate cancer, treatment may be done earlier.


5. Natural remedies can help.
Selenium, alkaline water, high-dose vitamin C, and even a combination of maple syrup and baking soda have been cited as ways to prevent and treat prostate cancer. 

The thinking behind them is, If you alkalize your blood then cancer has a hard time surviving because cancer cells love an acidic environment, Dr. Geo Espinosa, a naturopathic and functional medicine doctor in New York City, and author of, Thrive, Dont Only Survive, told Fox News. Yet experts agree theres no evidence any of these can help.

6. Surgery will end your sex life.
Surgery will likely cause impotence at least initially, but most men will regain the ability to become erect with treatments such as Kegel exercises.

How the surgery will impact your sex life depends on whether or not your doctor has to remove the nerve bundles that run on either side of the prostate. If they can save at least one of them, then they can still have erections, sometimes with assistance, Lee said. Medications like Viagra or injections, or a a penile implant or pump can help. 


7. Diet and lifestyle dont matter.
You might think theres no way to reduce your risk for prostate cancer, but diet and lifestyle actually play a significant role.

Diets low in carbohydrates and sugar like the Mediterranean diet, and moderate to vigorous exercise three to four hours a week have been shown to help prevent the disease.

Its also a good idea to get 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure sans sunscreen on 40 percent of your body, or talk to your doctor about a supplement, as low levels of vitamin D may predict aggressive prostate cancer, a 2016 study out of Northwestern Medicine found.

Also, herbs like curcumin and boswellia lower inflammation and reduce biological markers that contribute to cancer, Espinosa said.


8. Treatment is a cure.
Within 10 years of prostate cancer treatment, 40 percent of the time PSA levels will start to rise again, Espinosa said. Its also not uncommon to be diagnosed and treated for low-grade prostate cancer and years later be diagnosed again with metastatic prostate cancer.

If youve have prostate cancer, its important to be monitored roughly every three to six months within the first one to two years of treatment, After two years, you should get checked out every six to 12 months. If the PSA is undetectable after five years, you should be monitored every 12 months.

9. Its fatal.
The risk that prostate cancer will be fatal depends on how aggressive it is and the other medical conditions you may have.

The good news is that for all stages of prostate cancer, the survival rates are high: The five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent; the 10-year survival rate is 98 percent; and the 15-year survival rate is 95 percent.

Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at

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Sex during pregnancy: 7 do’s and don’ts for expecting couples

Every pregnant womans sex life is different, but often, levels of desire follow the course a roller coaster as much as the pregnancy itself does.

During the first trimester, physical and hormonal changes may deter you from getting busy, while increased vaginal lubrication and blood flow to the pelvis in the second trimester usually boosts the libido. Yet in the third trimester, the body tends to go into nesting phase, often reducing sex drive. In fact, 92 percent of pregnant women had problems with arousal, orgasm and satisfaction after 36 weeks of pregnancy, an April 2017 study in the Alexandria Journal of Medicine found.


Regardless of the course you and your partner take, heres what to know before jumping into the sack with a baby on board.   

1. Dont: Have sex if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
A number of conditions may make sex inadvisable for you during pregnancy, Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told Fox News. Those conditions include a placenta previa, a shortened cervix or a cervical cerclage (stitch) for an incompetent cervix, and preeclampsia.

2. Do: Make sex a priority if you can have it.
Thanks to the hormone oxytocin, which is released during orgasm, sex can reduce stress and anxiety.

Sex can also help you strengthen the bonds with your partner before your baby is born, as studies show that the years after the birth of a baby are not only stressful, but they can cause your sex life to decline.

If you and your partner are up for it, having sex can help you stay connected, strengthen your relationship, and help you ease into your new life after your baby is born, Dr. Erica Marchand, a licensed psychologist in Los Angeles who specializes in sexual and relationship issues, told Fox News.


3. Do: Try different positions.
In the first trimester when your belly is still small, any sex position will do. After about 16 weeks as your uterus gets bigger, however, missionary position or any position where youre lying flat on your back isnt a good idea. 

It can compress the big blood vessel behind the uterus called the inferior vena cava and restrict blood flow return to the heart and women will feel a little lightheaded or like their blood pressure is going down, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a board-certified OB/GYN in Mt. Kisco, New York, and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V, told Fox News.

Instead, try positions that take all pressure off the uterus: on top, side by side or from behind.

4. Do: Choose the right lube.
Thanks to pregnancy hormones, youll notice an increase in vaginal discharge, also known as leucorrhea, which can make the need for a sexual lubricant unnecessary.

If you do use a lube, however, stick with a water-based type and avoid petroleum-based lubrications, mineral oil or cooking oils, which can cause a change in the pH of the vagina or small nicks that promote infection, Dweck said.


5. Do: Try other forms of intimacy.
If you cant have sex or aren’t feeling up for it, find other ways to keep the intimacy going strong in your relationship, like by kissing, cuddling, having oral sex, and engaging in mutual masturbation.

If you have oral sex, your partner should never blow air into your vagina because, although rare, it could cause a venous air embolism (VAE), a blocked blood vessel, which can be life-threatening for you and your baby, Dweck said.

6. Dont: Have sex after your water breaks.
Sex wont start your labor if youre full term or past your due date, but the prostaglandins in semen may help to ripen the cervix and orgasm can cause uterine contractions. So if youre in the mood, theres no reason not to do it.

7. Do: Talk about it.
Just as your desire for sex can change throughout your pregnancy, your partners can as well. In fact, mens testosterone levels can decline as pregnancy progresses, a December 2014 study in the American Journal of Human Biology found.

Pregnancy and the birth of a baby can change your sexual relationship, but if you keep the lines of communication open and work together, your sex life can be even better than it was before.

Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at

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Photo marketplace Picfair raises 1.5M, aims to ‘weaponise’ photographers

Picfair, the London-based photo marketplace founded by ex-journalist Benji Lanyado, has raised £1.5 million in new funding — capital it plans to use to market its “fair trade photography” proposition to the plethora of companies that need authentic photo content.

These include publishers, creative agencies, and, with the huge rise in so-called content marketing, SMEs and corporates. However, rather than spend a ton of money on paid-for online marketing, Lanyado says the plan is to “weaponise” the marketplace’s 25,000 or so photographers, who, he believes, are best placed to spread awareness of Picfair and are already doing so.

Specifically, he says many of Picfair’s photographers — who range from smartphone photographers to professionals, as anyone can upload their work to the platform — already share their Picfair-hosted photo listings on social media or embed a link to the marketplace on their own portfolio sites, in a bid to point buyers away from industry behemoths, such as Getty and Shutterstock, and to Picfair. That’s because Picfair lets photographers set their own prices and takes a much smaller 20 per cent cut on each photo sold.

Now the startup wants to add a further incentive in the form of affiliate revenue, thus giving photographers an additional 10 per cent on every photo they sell direct. It is also developing tools to make embedding a Picfair buy button and other promotional materials much easier.

“Picfair’s growth among photographers has been almost exclusively organic, all through word of mouth” Lanyado tells me. “We’re the only place a photographer can set their own license prices, anywhere. That’s crazy but it’s true. Instead, the huge [photo] agencies have institutionalised their control of the industry by imposing themselves as brokers, setting the fees, and then — brace yourself — taking 80 per cent of the royalties. Picfair reverses this, giving 80 percent to the photographer. We only make money if they make a lot more”.

He says that photographers talk, and that the control and fairness that Picfair offers means they tell their friends, some of whom are on the demand side of the image licensing equation. “Creatives across publishing, the agency world, and the ever-expanding tier of corporates who license images (this is pretty much any company – website collateral, social media, content marketing; everyone’s a publisher these days),” he says.

“So during Picfair’s next phase, we want to supercharge this. We’ve started gradually rolling out out incentives for photographers who refer customers to us – splitting our 20 per cent commission with them for a year on every customer they refer. And then we want to tool them up – with online resource suites, marketing material, offline assets”.

Meanwhile, the sell to photo buyers is that Picfair images are more authentic and unique, often avoiding the stale look of traditional stock photography. Despite living through the biggest proliferation of images in history, with the average image quality of non-professional imagery improving exponentially, “the supply of images to the industry is 99 per cent professional,” Lanyado says.

Picfair’s solution is to open the doors to everyone, while its “ever-improving curation technology” does the heavy-lifting of sorting through the resulting uploaded images for quality, agnostic of whether they are taken by an award-winning professional or a complete amateur.

The startup’s new round of funding was led by the Claverley Group, owners of Express & Star regional U.K. newspaper. Picfair is also angel-backed by the likes of Alexis Ohanian, Tom Hulme, Duncan and Max Jennings (the VoucherCodes brothers), Richard Fearn, John Fingleton (former CE of the OFT and Treasury advisor), Jeremy Palmer (Quantum Black CEO), Chris Sheldrick (CEO of What3Words), Anthony Eskinazi (CEO of Just Park), Julian Worth, Force Over Mass, and D5 Capital.

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5 ways social media has changed business forever

Image: Getty images/gmast3r

While the original social networking sites were initially designed for connecting people, theyve ultimately turned into transformational business tools and resources that allow brands to connect with customers in unique ways.

Understanding the influential effect of social media can help entrepreneurs better prepare for the future.

The infancy of social media

Social media is such a pervasive thing in our society that its easy to forget that were only in the second decade of widespread global use. Believe it or not, well look back in 15 or 20 years and say social media was only in its infancy in 2016.

Myspace launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006, Instagram in 2010, Pinterest and Snapchat in 2011, and Periscope in 2015. In other words, the oldest mainstream social networking site on the Internet is less than 15 years old. The newest ones have only been around for months.

However, in just a decade and a half, social media has left an undeniable mark on society, and business in particular. What started as a niche resource is now considered one of themost powerful marketing toolsa business has at its disposal.

Five ways social media is impacting business

Every business uses social media in some way. Some generate exceptionally large returns, while others are still trying to figure out how to best use these platforms. But when you take a step back and look at the overall social media landscape, it becomes clear that the industry has and is having a major impact on businesses around the world.

Lets analyze a few of the effects.

1. Highly targeted advertising is a reality

From a marketing and advertising perspective, the single most influential aspect of social media involves targeting. Never before in the history of the business world has it been possible to develop marketing and advertising materials, and put them in front of the exact customers you want.

This concept is most clearlyseen in Facebook advertising, which has opened up new opportunities for professionals across many industries. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Financial institutions especially credit card companieslike Visa and MasterCard are killing it with targeted Facebook advertising. They spend millions per year on targeting and have used it to reach millennials in highly engaging ways. This has been one of the biggest ways weve been able to push oureBankproduct to thousands.

  • Real estate As Real Geeks points out on their website,real estate agents are crushing it using social media.Because real estate clients are so closely tied to location, the ability for agents to quickly create ads and then deliver them to individuals within very specific zip codes and neighborhoods is invaluable. Its led to incredible results and is becoming relied upon by tech-savvy real estate professionals.

Before social media advertising became a possibility, businesses had to seek out websites and venues where they believed their target customerscouldbe. But with sites like Facebook, theyknowthat everyone is present all they have to do is define the right parameters.

2. Organic marketing like never before

Internet advertising has been around for a while, but most methods feel somewhat forced. PPC ads are great, but they tend to have an in-your-face stigma attached to them. Banner ads are viewed in a similar manner. Even sponsored content has a fake feeling to it.

Social media has changed everything by making organic marketing a possibility. Businesses can now engage in conversations and promote valuable content without forcing the envelope. Ultimately, this has led to more brand transparency.

Were really seeing transparency thrive when it comes to businesses owning up to their mistakes. Airlines are a perfect example of this. Theyfrequently use Twitterto engage with customers who are frustrated over missed connections, delayed flights, and lost luggage.

Its not just major airlines, though. Even fast food restaurants can benefit. [Recently] a customer of Jimmy Johns turned to Facebook to complain about their order, marketerGraham Kingma explains. Jimmy Johns approach to a customer service issue was to admit fault and make it right. The increase in trust from Jimmy Johns transparency is difficult to measure in numbers, but it likely saved a customer and added a few more as a result.

3. Fears of backlash

While social media has encouraged many companies to become more transparent and engage with customers, its also instilled fear in other companies who are a little gun shy over the backlash that businesses receive when they make mistakes.

Mistakes made on social media are highly visible and can quickly go viral. As a result, some businesses choose to take a step back, fearing the following issues:

  • Angry employees saying the wrong thing

  • Leaking confidential information

  • Posting something that could be considered politically incorrect

  • Opening the business up to ridicule from competitors

You can check out some of thebiggest social media gaffesof all time, and youll quickly see why some businesses choose to remove themselves from risk by avoiding large social networks altogether.

Take airlines for example. Theyre great at using social media, but they still receive a tremendous amount of backlash.In one analysis, it was discovered that 47 percent of social media posts about major airlines are negative, while positive comments account for just 20 percent. The positives of social media certainly outweigh the negatives, but its easy to see why some brands especially smaller ones with less positive brand equity are a little intimidated.

Here are a few tips to get over your fear of social media backlash.

4. Real-time customer service

Many businesses pride themselves on good customer service and use it to establish a competitive advantage. However, until recently, building a strong customer service department required a heavy investment in people and resources.

When social media entered the picture, small businesses earned the opportunity to offer responsive customer service, too without the huge investment. Now, any business can offer real-time, around-the-clock service with nothing more than a social media profile. As mentioned, airline companies do a particularly good job of leveraging this opportunity.

5. Flexibility in content dissemination

The rise of social media has subsequently spurred the growth of content marketing. In the past, the only options for content dissemination were to publish via an onsite blog, build an email subscriber list and shoot out newsletters, or form relationships with members of the media (or other bloggers). Now, direct posting on social media has made publishing easier on everyone. In fact,2.46 million pieces of contentare now shared on Facebook every single minute!

Social media has altered things in a substantial way by allowing businesses to post and share content directly with consumers, without having to pay a dime. One of the more famous examples of this in action comes from Cisco, whosaved $100,000 on a product launchby using social media instead of more expensive promotional channels.

This shift towards social media content dissemination has put an increased emphasis on branded content and has led to a restructuring of the buying process in both B2B and B2C industries.

Expectant eyes on the future

If your business is taking its first initial steps into the social media world, take a deep breath and remain calm, marketerJessica Oaks says. It doesnt have to be the wild untamed West if you simply stay engaged, keep an eye on (and ear to) your customers, and participate.

Its easy to get lost in the moment and forget that were in a time of great progression. Businesses cant get too caught up in whats happened in the past or whats going on right now. In order to thrive with social media, its imperative that you stay on top of new trends and developments to get ahead of the curve. As history shows, being an early adopter of new networks and strategies can produce sizeable returns both in revenue and engagement.

For the most part, the impact social media has had on the way we do business has been positive. Theres never been more access to customers than there is now, so make sure youre taking advantage of the resources youre given.

Ultimately, you want to look back and say that you maximized the value of social media even when it was just in its infancy.

John Rampton is a serial entrepreneur who now focuses on helping people to build amazing products and services that scale. He is founder of the online payments company Due. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivations speaker that helps people find a “Sense of Meaning” in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the bay area.

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NYX Cosmetics, known for its ‘digital-first’ marketing strategy, launches an app called Makeup Crew

NYX Cosmetics describes itself as a “digital-first” brand, eschewing traditional ad buys in favor of customer selfies it shares on social media, including an Instagram account with 11.7 million followers. That strategy has paid off: though NYX is often described as a “cult beauty brand,” the Los Angeles-based company joined the big leagues in 2014 when it was acquired by L’Oreal for a reported $500 million. Now NYX is releasing its own app called Makeup Crew.

Makeup Crew will sell NYX products, feature “shoppable content,” including video tutorials by customers and beauty bloggers and let users leave reviews, earn rewards and download stickers.

NYX’s inclusive brand philosophy — its marketing features a much more diverse array of people than most other beauty brands, with different races and genders represented — and social media initiatives were considered innovative, but now many competitors have adopted the same strategies to reach younger consumers.

“That means we need to continue to innovate and this app is unlike anything else we’ve seen in the market,” says Mehdi Mehdi, NYX’s vice president of digital and e-commerce.

“We also feel like the technology is finally available to create an app that integrates all of our key strategies without compromising on quality, such as shoppable videos and user-generated content.”

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In order to scale its digital content, NYX uses algorithms created by Olapic, a visual marketing platform, to decide which crowdsourced selfies are featured on its e-commerce site. Mehdi says NYX was the first beauty brand to launch Olapic’s tool and it will continue to use the tech in its app. Most of Makeup Crew’s technology, however, was custom-built by Texas-based software development agency Oven Bits, including the app’s shoppable video platform and its integration with NYX’s brick-and-mortar stores.

When the app launches, it will give NYX a third channel (the other two are its site and standalone brick-and-mortar stores) to gather data about customers’ shopping habits. Like other e-commerce companies, NYX uses predictive intelligence tools to recommend products based on each shopper’s browsing and purchasing history.

“In terms of the shopping experience, being disconnected from a web browser gives us the flexibility to re-think the e-commerce flow. Every piece of content is fully shoppable without being funneled through a product page,” Mehdi says.

“You can watch a video and add products to your cart as the artist is using them or you can shop the full look as a bundle,” he adds. “We really wanted to push the envelope and re-think the way consumers shop for products, otherwise there would have been no need to develop an app that just follows the same flow as our website on mobile.”

Makeup Crew will serve as a digital hub for NYX, pulling together user-generated content from its social media platforms. Instagram photos will feature on its homepage, while another section will have YouTube videos. The app also helps NYX gather data to help it develop future product lines. For example, users can create a personalized beauty profile with information about their preferences by swiping left or right on photos.

“We’re not a brand that promotes models or celebrity spokespeople to market our products. When you open the app, you’re going to see real people posting their artistry and product feedback without editing,” says Mehdi. “We’re prioritizing authenticity and transparency, which goes against the grain of many of the brands that are overly protective of their image.”

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BuzzFeed cancelling RNC ads masks the issue: sponsored content for politicians

Can native advertising, notorious among many readers as deceptive, sit comfortably alongside journalistic output? BuzzFeed wasnt willing to roll the dice on Trump but it isnt running away from the idea

BuzzFeed has drawn some positive press for its Monday announcement that it was canceling a reported $1.3m advertising agreement with the Republican National Committee, blaming Donald Trumps controversial campaign.

In an email to staff, BuzzFeeds founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti, said that the company had inked the deal in April 2016 for a series of advertisements in autumn 2016, shortly before the national election and the time when, historically, most Americans finally begin paying attention to the campaigns in earnest. But in the months since signing, Peretti said, Trumps unique campaign, which is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world, made the agreement untenable.

The RNCs spokesman, Sean Spicer, told CNN: Space was reserved on many platforms, but we never intended to use BuzzFeed.

What was missing from the announcement (and much of the news coverage) is that the deal inked in April would not have been for display advertisements the industry term for ads, like those seen on the Guardians website, that appear on a webpages margins or inside an article. BuzzFeed doesnt run display ads at all: the advertising it solicits, accepts and places on its site and promotes on social media is native advertising, sometimes known as sponsored content, and includes sponsored videos. In 2015, two marketing companies calculated that the minimum buy-in for a native advertising campaign at BuzzFeed was $100,000; that gives some sense of the potential scale of the now-scuttled RNC campaign.

In other words, in April 2016, when Donald Trump was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, BuzzFeeds advertising department inked a million-dollar agreement with the Republican party to write or help write posts and produce videos to be placed on the site and, if the contract was in keeping with much of BuzzFeeds other ads, to promote on social media in support of Republican candidates, on behalf of the party.

BuzzFeed was tapping into what everyone expects is a huge potential market: the Obama and Romney campaigns spent $78m on online ads in the 2012 election, which was hardly as historic or controversial as 2016 is shaping up to be. But market research firm Borrell and Associates estimates that all political actors could spend as much as $1bn on digital ads this cycle driven, at least in part, by the declining return on investment for more traditional (and more expensive) television ads.

It was not BuzzFeeds first foray into sponsored political content. Perettis email noted that we accept advertisements from both republican and democratic [sic] candidates, and the site ran, reportedly unsuccessfully, a series of six sponsored posts for the Obama campaign in 2012. In October 2015, the site hired Rena Shapiro as its vice-president for politics and advocacy, and she promised to target political and advocacy groups as potential buyers of our shareable videos [and] our social posts.

But native advertisements are controversial both in and outside of traditional editorial departments: the UKs Advertising Standards Authority, for instance, ruled in January that a piece of BuzzFeeds native advertising ran afoul of UK codes that require it be clearly labeled as advertorial. And in 2013, the Atlantics decision to run a poorly labeled native advertisement from the Church of Scientology produced a short-lived round of soul-searching among many publishers struggling with ever declining display-ad rates and the need to nonetheless fund (hopefully quality) journalism.

And many readers find native advertising deceptive, when they realize they are advertisements at all. A 2015 study by Contently, a digital marketing company, found that the more trusted the brand, the less likely readers were to be able to successfully distinguish between native advertising and a companys journalistic output. (It also found that 48% have felt deceived upon realizing a piece of content was sponsored by a brand.)

While media companies accepting money from political campaigns (and organizations such as Super Pacs and advocacy groups supporting candidates) is a fairly standard practice, accepting money to run pieces of sponsored content that many readers will mistake for journalism in support of those candidacies is not and thats the deal that BuzzFeed nixed on Monday.

But that deal only covers Donald Trump; Peretti noted that BuzzFeed had already run sponsored content on behalf of political candidates, and the hiring of an executive last October whose job it is to do so strongly suggests that the company plans to expand its current efforts on behalf of candidates and other political actors as the election year wears on. BuzzFeed has already weathered many controversies about its native advertising program without having had an effect on its editorial operations. The question for Peretti is whether placing native advertisements for candidates and issues without regard for party or position alongside its wellregarded and awardwinning news and politics coverage will be more trouble than its worth (even though, in all likelihood, it could be worth a lot).

When it comes to Trump, the answer is no. It remains to be seen to what the business department will say yes to next.

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