When you spend close to $1,000 on a smart phone you need a case.What better a way to protect your phone and accessorize it at the same time. One of the best ways is to get a cool case. Carved makes custom and unique wood cases with cool designs for all types of smart phones. I had one on my first generation Google Pixel 5 inch and loved it. It had a bicycle on the back, which made it really cool and personal to me. When it came to do a review for the Note 9, I decided to get the same design.
Running from $29 on up, these cases are beautiful and durable. The pre-designed models are so amazing. Though if you feel so inclined, you can design your own with their customizing online wizard.
Though definitely not the most protection for your investment, the case itself is durable and slim. It’s got a nice feel to it with rubber-textured sides. It fits the Note 9 like a glove and though I’m not planning on dropping my phone to test out the case, I feel pretty secure using this case as my daily case for my $1,000 phone.
Carved does cases for all the major brands and has some amazing designs to choose from.
Protection: 4/5 (It’s not the most heavy duty)
Price: USD $16.95 (via Amazon)
Overall Rating: 4/4
Ted Rubin isn’t your average marketer.
Avid social media engager, Return on Relationship evangelist, and brand strategist only hits the top of the iceberg when you’re talking about Ted.
I first met Ted at the 140 Characters Conference at the 92nd Street Y in New York City close to 5 years ago. The conference put on by Jeff Pulver, one of the founders of Vonage, highlighted some of the biggest names on Twitter. Ted was, and still is, one of them. At the event, I was lucky enough to talk with Ted for a while and immediately started to follow his adventures on social media — the rest is history.
The Age Of Influence
Ted is the author of many books including Return on Relationship, How to Look People in the Eye Digitally by Rubin, Ted (2015) Paperback, and his newest book The Age of Influence: Selling to the Digitally Connected Customer. (Affiliate Links)
I got a hold of his latest book. Right away I was engrossed in the book. It’s full of practical tips and tricks, as well as some great examples of execution of strategies and some great stories to top it off.
If anyone knows or has followed Ted, you see he’s a storyteller. Having coined the term Return on Relationship and subsequently the hashtag #RonR, Ted lives and exemplifies it.
As with many books on social media, Ted addresses the fear that many companies have with the medium and not having complete control over what is said. Also, the fear of anything new plays a big part in holding back both companies and individuals.
“Several things are holding both individuals and companies back from growing their influence, but chief among them is fear of the social dynamic…
“People naturally hold back when faced with something new or challenging. We’re creatures of habit; we’re uncomfortable with change.”
Ted goes onto explain that with all this new technology, people are, more than ever, faced with constant change and new things.
An important talking point that Ted touches on in his book as well as in life is how companies should deal with social media and their employees. He believes that heavy-handed social policies don’t help, but rather hinder influence and brand recognizability.
“We need to train people on how to use social platforms… effectively, and not be stupid on social channels. [E]mployees need to be taught an understanding of the upsides and downsides. [Companies] need to be clear on privacy issues and consequences.”
Ted has a clear message in his book. Social media and technology are here to stay. Not embracing this technology will only be detrimental to companies and individuals if wholeheartedly adopted.
At 118 pages, The Age of Influence is a perfect weekend book. Chock full of priceless information and tips, this book needs to be required reading for anyone venturing out onto social media and trying to build a brand.
Timbuk2 Q 17″ Laptop Backpack Review
Let’s get the legalities out of the way first. I was sent this backpack to review. I did not pay for it. My review of this product is unbiased and not swayed by getting it for free.
Okay now that the legalities are of the way, let’s start. The Timbuk2 Q laptop bag (affiliate link) is great in a number of ways.
First, it holds my 17” behemoth of a laptop perfectly snug without the bulk that I’ve gotten with other bags that can hold a 17” laptop. It’s amazing how thin the pack stays even when it’s jammed full of gear.
Second, it’s TSA-ready, so that’s a plus for traveling.
Third, durability is top notch. I’ve stuffed it full of tons of gear all kinds of excursions and projects and the zippers not only hold, they zipper properly even when stuffed..
Fourth, though not very important, it comes with a bottle opener on the strap. I always say it’s the small things in life.
In addition to these four points there are some added benefits. The pack looks streamlined. It doesn’t look like it has tons of storage, but in fact it does. The sewing of the zippers are done is such a way to make them less noticeable.
On the whole, the bag is fantastic. It’s comfortable, adaptable and rugged.
I look forward to using this for a long time.
$69 to $100 depending on options
Over the last few weeks I’ve been testing and mostly crashing the GP Toy’s F2 Black Aviax Drone.
Running about $40 USD on Amazon (more for the one with the HD camera), the Aviax is a great entry-level UAV for enthusiasts to learn how to fly.
The Aviax is surprising durable, unless you get it stuck in a gutter 3 stories up, don’t ask. I’ve crashed my unit so many times extremely hard and it still kept going. It only met its untimely demise when I took it up to Vermont and the wind took it into the valley and out of range. For all I know it’s still operable and a hunter or hiker might find it one day.
Back to the review. Upon receiving the first unit (Yep I went through two. Both times my fault). I didn’t read the directions. Read the directions. There is some assembly required. Did I mention read the directions? Putting it together was a bit harder than I expected. It took me about 1 hour of assembly the first time (read the directions) and about 5 minutes when I received the second unit.
If you read the directions, learning to fly the Aviax is not very hard, though some of the features weren’t explained at all (ie. headless mode and auto return). Overall the drone flies great, the video is decent, but noisy and bumpy (noise due to the propellers and bumpy because it’s an inexpensive drone without camera stabilization. One other downside is that the battery takes about an hour or so to charge and with that you get about 8 to 15 minutes of flight time. But remember this is an entry level drone, so I guess that’s to be expected.
I have to admit I was shocked at how amazing the GP Toys customer service was. The team at GP Toys has excellent customer service. They’re based in Hong Kong so keep mind that if you write them on the east coast of the US during the day, you won’t hear until midnight, due to the time difference, but other than that they are extremely helpful, very responsive and accommodating. Heck, they sent this reviewer, who didn’t read the directions, a second unit to finish the review. (Thanks Sheila and team!)
The Rating Breakdown
Price: 5/5 (It’s an inexpensive drone that is fun to learn on)
Durability: 4/5 (If you RTFD, you’ll be just fine. Some of the built quality is a little below grade, but overall it’s quite good)
Ease of Use: 3/5 (It definitely helps if you RTFD, but even after its light weight can make it hard to fly at times)
Directions: 2/5 (They could be more thorough on all the features, but overall they’re not bad)
Customer Service: 5/5 (If it made sense to go above 5 I would easily go to 10+. They customer service is amazing and, to be honest, puts many US-base customer service operations to shame)
Rotor Center Distance Diagonal
Rotor Hub Distance Vertical
2.4GHz 6-channel Multi-mode
Main Frame Structure/Material
– 1 x Quadcopter
– 1 x Transmitter
– 1 x 3.7V 650mAh Li-poly Battery (in quadcopter)
– 8 x Blades
– 1 x USB Charger
– 1 x Manual
– 1 x Remote Controller
First off this book is gorgeous. The design, which is intentional, is so well done – it’s captivating. It’s hard not to pick it up and read it. Then you add the expertise that Brian Solis brings to the table and you have a bible of customer experience and how to make customers happy.
Brian Solis is a world renowned marketer, thinker, speaker, and author. His other books are all must reads. His two previous books, What’s The Future of Business? and The End of Business as Usual, are books that should be on any business or MBA students’ reading list.
I’ve had the pleasure of talking with Brian on a number of occasions, through social media and via podcasts. He is charming and very approachable. This is exactly what his new book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, instills in its readers.
The book was designed by the San Francisco advertising firm Mekanism and the design of the book, as I stated before, is truly a piece of art.
In the X, Solis talks about how it’s important for brands to know how your customers experience your brand online. You want them to have a good impression and say good things about your brand. But do you really know what is being said?
“Without defining experiences, brands will become victim to whatever people feel and share,” writes Solis. “In an always-on world where everyone is a connected to information and also one another, customer experience is your brand.”
Solis couldn’t have stated it better. One bad impression can lead to a waterfall of bad publicity and unwanted attention. But on the other hand, one great impression can build a business and lead to immense success. By having a fine-tuned and optimized customer experience, you can get a better handle on how you’re viewed in the market.
One of the best thing about his book, besides the immense wisdom that Solis brings to the table, are the bite sized chucks of knowledge at the start of each section.
For example here are some of my favorites:
“Comfort With The Old Must Make Way For The Thrill Of The New”
“If You Empathize With Customers, What You’ll See Through Their Eyes Will Surprise You”
“To Design Experiences You Must Experience The Journey For Yourself”
As stated before, this book should be on every business and MBA student’s reading list. Even at $30 USD and $36 CAN, it’s a must buy. Check out some of the reviews on Amazon (also Amazon currently has it for less than $17 USD).
To conclude, if you’re unaware of Brian Solis, or haven’t read his books, this book is a great start. Get reading!
Have you read the book? What do you think about it? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
In my line of work I’m lucky to get to meet some amazing people. Business owners, entrepreneurs, celebrities, Internet celebrities – all kinds of people. One such individual is Ebong Eka.
A former European professional basketball player, this larger than life entrepreneur, CPA, and business coach is the real deal. His book Start Me Up! – The No-Business-Plan Business Plan proves this.
Published in 2014, Ebong’s book gives the reader a no B.S. approach to coming up with a business idea and then executing on it properly. He addresses the fears and doubts of starting out on your own, coming up with a great idea, how to prove it’s feasibility, how to setup your corporate structure, and finally how to make your business grow and succeed.
At only 223 pages this book is a quick read, essential read. To be honest this book should be required reading in business schools across the country.
Some of the topics discussed in the book:
- Fears and Doubts
- Invention vs. Innovation
- Small Business Pitfalls
- The Four S’s
- Raising Money
- Tax Issues
- Corporate Organization/Structure
In summary at $15.99 USD this book is a must purchase for any budding or current entrepreneur or business owner.
Find out more about it on Amazon.