SOPA: Why And How We Can End This Internet Threat!

SOPA and PIPA aim to destroy the global economy, our freedom, and the Internet as we know it.

SOPA and PIPA aim to destroy the global economy, our freedom, and the Internet as we know it.

Do you consider the Internet an indispensable resource for personal and/or business purposes?

Well, SOPA aims to destroy the Internet as we know it.

Now, before eyes start to roll, know that political discussions and causes are not the usual fare on Y3B but this issue hits home for all of us, much like the SaveTheInternet (a.k.a. Net Neutrality) cause I promoted years ago.  In the United States, we take for granted just how good we really have it.  We have access to so many tools, games, and great information in our unadulterated Internet but not everyone around the world is so lucky.

Just look at China, where the Internet is all spin and lies.

In simple terms, SOPA serves small interest, not the good of the general public.  If nothing else, the proposal of deep packet inspection (invasion of privacy) and blocking on a link, IP, and domain basis is scary stuff.  This bill would give large corporations too much control over the Internet, while putting a great risk on our personal privacy and security.  Most sources indicate that the blocking would be strictly on a domain basis, which would not do much to curb piracy but certainly have an impact on the millions of businesses out there..  and the consumers that depend on them.

Note that, whether bans will be temporary or not, IP or domain-based, the impact will be great to not just businesses, but non-profit organizations that are trying to educate, provide aide, and the like.  SOPA and PIPA would not only be a greater blow to our struggling economy, but it will send the whole world into disarray at the cost of our freedom, no less.  All this to maybe dissuade some software and media pirates.

In other words, SOPA and PIPA are aimed at protecting intellectual property but are ineffective in doing so.  Instead, this will open the doors to poor business practices that will put our privacy, freedom, and livelihood at risk.  Seems like a high price to pay, eh?

SOPA no es bueno.  No me gusta.

I have a simple call to action here today: check out these links and spread the word.  Tweet about it, blog about it, post to Facebook or Google+, share via StumbleUpon..  Whatever works for you!  But don’t sit by idly as corrupt decision-makers try to control how we consume information, connect, and communicate, just for their personal gain!

  • http://www.copyblogger.com/sopa/ – This article provides arguably the most comprehensive look at why this issue matters so much.. and why we all need to take action.  Every effort matters!  Thank you, Copyblogger, for spreading the word on SOPA and PIPA.  You guys do such a great job and are a great hope to all us online entrepreneurial types!
  • http://americancensorship.org/ – An action center that aims to put a stop to SOPA before it goes up for “vote” on January 24th, 2012.  Even if you’re not in America, this issue has global implications we all should be aware of..  and it goes well beyond censorship concerns.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act – The Wikipedia document is contested as biased but it seems pretty darn accurate to me and there are plenty of other sources to check out so you can be more informed on the core issues here.

As you can see, just about any online entity sees the potential damage the passing of this bill would cause.  The Internet has been a great equalizer for small businesses, giving consumers more options than ever before.  SOPA would essentially force us to do business with and learn from only approved sources.

*** Important Dates ***

January 18, 2012 – Internet Black-Out SOPA Protest
January 24, 2012 – SOPA Gets Denied (With Your Help)

We MUST stop SOPA as it stinks like aged cheese..  and it’s nowhere as appetizing!

(BTW, I’ve already written Congress and tweeted about it..  But I know we can do so much more together!)

Certifications And Service Guarantees: Worth The Money Or More Marketing Spin? (Empty Labels Suck)

Here are a few questions to consider as you read this article:

  • Do you treat your brand as a moniker or image, or does it truly embody your values and focus in work-life?
  • What makes you trust a brand: the promises, the image, or the experience?
  • Does quality stop at design and engineering?
  • What are we REALLY buying and selling, and what’s the value in it?

On The Mundane Chatter Podcast we discussed a slew of consumer-focused and other geeky topics on Episode 9. I was particularly intrigued by the whole “Fair Trade” market and the implications for small businesses, competition, and the consumer. Is it worth buying something labelled or certified a certain way? Allow me to rant a bit.

When I think about labels like THX, Organic, and Fair Trade, I think “marketing spin” (HINT: Spin Sucks) and “propaganda”. Value and proper execution/delivery, not so much. You’re paying more under a marketing pretense, a promise that is likely never delivered. I look at guarantees and certifications like any other line on advertised specifications and features: it’s more perceived value than anything else.. Mere labels (false attempts at dress to impress). Continue reading

The Video Game Industry: Economy Of Gaming And The State Of Video Games

Recently I posted my long-delayed “Economy Of Gaming” article on Duel Pass Online (DPO), citing the driving forces behind video game pricing and subscription fees. The key take-aways were as follows:

  • Video games cost money to make and maintain, so someone has to foot the bill somehow.
  • There are plenty of cheap online gaming options out there.
  • Free online games are not always what they’re cracked up to be.
  • Paid video games are better than free video games usually.
  • You get what you pay for.
  • Gaming companies need to put the gamer at the center of everything.

I’d like to revisit PlayNoEvil’s article on the negative impact of used games and piracy on the video game industry. The author of the articles on PlayNoEvil.com makes some very valid points. He discusses how it’s easier to see how profits shift with the growing popularity of used video games, whereas piracy is mostly a non-issue.

If you do a little digging, you can see that large corporations waste quite a bit of resources with their anti-piracy and copyright efforts, along with virtually pointless interrupt marketing. You’d think it would make more sense to just re-invest that money in research and development. Building innovative video games with incentives for early adopters and long-term supporters seems like a smarter investment of the billions of dollars thrown away with silly business.

Any self-respecting gamer will invest money on their gaming lifestyle and favorite video games, especially if they have strong online components. They want to keep their favorite video game franchises alive so it only makes sense. Surprisingly, even though online gaming has kept many video game companies alive, some fans wish there were video games with only single-player modes. I understand the need for story-driven video games but the money makers and trends point to a better way… Continue reading

Some Brief Thoughts On The Economy, “The New Resume”, And Re-Invention

Once again, it’s time for me to check in and rant a bit.  I have to admit: I’ve committed a cardinal sin in blogging!  I haven’t been updating my blog frequently and, for that, I am deeply sorry.  Life can come at you fast and hard.  Families grow, projects are reborn, priorities change, and stuff happens.  The road that has taken me here has allowed me to take a step back and really see the big picture.

It’s no secret that this brutal economy has been unforgiving to many of us.  I know I’ve had plenty of times where I was just hanging onto the ropes, hoping the elusive big break would come along.  I’ve had even more occasions where I should have taken my own advice.  Sadly, many Americans are using these times are crutch.  Please, please, please do not fall into this trap.  It’s easy to write things off as “bad luck” and externalize everything but that only keeps us from doing truly remarkable things.

The whole business about there being no jobs out there is hogwash.  It’s just something people tell themselves to justify them staying at a job they hate or giving up on working all together.  The truth is that most job seekers are not keeping their options open.  You can’t be too picky in this kind of economy.  In fact, volunteering your services for free may be the best move you can make.  The trick is keeping your skills sharp, meeting people, and making a name for yourself.  When you get the word out and make strong impressions, your name will spread out faster than with even a resume blast.  So what do I suggest there?  Go to business events/trade shows and join professional organizations. LinkedIn is a pretty good start but that’s a whole long discussion right there.

I’m toying with a rough draft of a book that will address this and many adjacent issues but the problem we have here is simple: people have lost hope.  We’ve forgotten how to dream big.  We’ve let the negativity of others bring out the worst in us.  We’ve bought into lies and empty promises.  The end result: we are jaded and don’t believe things can get any better.

The truth is that we all have great potential but it all starts with belief.  That belief breeds hope and hope ultimately incites passion.  If what you’re doing doesn’t make you passionate or you just don’t feel accomplished, you’re not living life, you’re just existing.  But I suppose that last consideration is for another discussion…  Let’s discuss some of the little things that help us get out of those bad spots in our lives, shall we?

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The Last Job Seeker Guide You’ll Ever Need (Sorta)

Recession. It’s the dirty word that everyone is throwing out these days.  Companies are using it as a cop-out for questionable business ethics and employee treatment.   Anything goes wrong, let’s blame the recession.  The truth is that the recession was years in the making.  I’d say that the signs were obvious as early as 1999, when it seemed like everyone was going back to school or at least changing their profession.  Most folks foolishly felt they could jump on the real estate, IT, and other trends to take advantage of what seemed like “guaranteed money”.  The only difference now is that people stopped fooling themselves and realized one thing: this job market SUCKS.

If Dubbya says were not in a recession, then it must be true!

If Dubbya says we're not in a recession, then it must be true!

As one of my colleagues put it, the gravy days of sales and business in general are behind us.  It used to be that all you needed was a good idea or a product that was in a market had high demand.  Customers would come to you and the only issue was making sure you got through to them before all the other sneezers (thank you Seth Godin, Mr. Purple Cow) in your market contaminated them with their preferred solutions and brands.  Retail stores had to staff up heavily and, even so, they barely could handle traffic.  There were only a few providers in every sector so everyone got a big piece of the pie.  Not so anymore.

Nowadays, the competitive landscape is congested and companies are cutting corners.  Training is not as extensive, quality of service has gone down the poop chute, staffing is minimal at best, and customers are far less interested in what you have to say.  Everyone has heard the ‘ol marketing song-and-dance and they’ve learned to tune it out.  This is a boon for the customers because companies will negotiate more but it is a bane for job seekers, especially those that have dreams to find the perfect job and career track.

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Little-Known Ways To Become An Expert Recruiter

Well, I did not expect so many responses on my recent LinkedIn question but I certainly welcome it! The discussion is brewing right now as we speak and I figured I would take the time out to write a slightly-shorter article touching upon some of the core issues and hopefully sharing some tips for both recruiters, since the job seeker side can produce a whole string of advice columns on it’s own. First and foremost, I want all my recruiting friends to understand that I do not think the value of outsourced recruiting is not there but I do feel that there is a lack of professionalism and effectiveness in the field as a whole. I base this powerful statement on my personal experiences as both a job seeker and business owner, and on the experiences of my many clients and colleagues.

Now, for the sake of brevity, I can’t explore every possible angle here. Let me touch upon the assumptions and understandings that we should all have before moving on…

  • There is clearly a lack of honesty both on the behalf of job seekers and recruiters alike.
  • The typical workload for a recruiter these days is easily three to five times more than what it was a decade ago.
  • Recruiters do not have time for small talk so, if you are loquacious, you may find yourself being cut off often.
  • Job seekers that are driven solely by money will often not hesitate to break prioir obligations and jump ship.
  • At least 80% of job seekers embellish or lie on their resume in some manner.
  • Some job seekers are driven by money, others are not.
  • Because of the above items, job seekers and recruiters alike are very jaded and pessimistic, to say the least.
  • Recruiters come in many flavors, though many have dealt with the typical contingency recruiter for the most part.
  • No one is fundamentally evil, recruiters included.
  • Every field has good people and bad people; thus, good recruiters must exist!

For job seekers, the reality is that working with recruiters may not be a worthwhile investment of time if you do not keep your scope very specific, be honest about your abilities, and do as much leg work as possible to make the recruiter’s job easier. Companies love using recruiters because most of the cost can be absorbed by the candidates (they take a percentage of your salary without you even knowing). How payment is handled depends on the arrangement that has been set up but that is definitely the typical deal I’ve seen. As I mentioned in my article about lazy recruiting practice and how it puts job seekers at risk (or at least a major inconvenience), recruiters are, at heart, sales people so it’s all about the numbers to them, the bottomline matters more (typically) than helping people.

If you happen to be one of those recruiters that wants to be helpful and really drive value to both your prospects and clients alike, this article is for you. After all, what job seekers has to do is a lot more simple: represent yourself more accurately, learn how to interview effectively, tailor your resume to the specific opportunities, and be authentic, energetic, and deliberate in all your efforts (in a nutshell). What can you, as a third-party/outsourced recruiter do to really be seen in a good light? I’m glad you asked. Read on…

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Bad Recruiters, Identity Theft, and What To Do About It

Job hunters throughout the United States have cited that their biggest sore point in the job hunt is dealing with inept recruiters. Who can blame them? Recruiters typically repost the job ads that the hiring companies post on their corporate sites then only do the bare minimum to screen and prepare candidates. It has been my personal experience in recent

years that, if a recruiter does more than give you a vague description of the job and ask you to tailor your resume to include certain buzzwords, you have yourself a keeper. The general approach seems to be this: collect as many close fits as possible, herd them together, sell the hype, and hope that the candidates can do the rest of the work for you.

The reality is that recruiters are suffering along with job seekers. Job market saturation is arguably the byproduct of overseas outsourcing, widespread “right-sizing”, 1990’s dot-com collapses, and, of course, 9/11. Our economy has taken a hard hit and, as more and more fresh college graduates enter the workforce, it is not getting any easier, even for the most seasoned veterans in their fields. Recruiters are dealing with easily three or four times the workload that was expected in the “golden age” of the mid-90’s. There is also far more competition from other staffing and recruiting firms. The Recruiting Animal blog cites that the typical recruiter handles anywhere from 26-30 projects at a time on average, which is definitely more than recruiters experienced even 5 years ago. It’s no wonder recruiters are spending less time preparing and qualifying their candidates!

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