Global Waste on Pace to Triple by 2100

Masaru Goto / World Bank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Solid waste generation rates are rising fast, on pace to exceed 11 million tonnes per day by 2100, urban specialist Dan Hoornweg and his colleagues write in the journal Nature.

  • That growth will eventually peak and begin to decline in different regions at different times, depending in part on population growth, waste reduction efforts, and changes in consumption.

  • Until that happens, the rising amount of waste means rising costs for governments and environmental pressures.

The amount of garbage humans throw away is rising fast and won't peak this century without transformational changes in how we use and reuse materials, write former World Bank urban development specialist Dan Hoornweg and two colleagues. 

By 2100, they estimate, the growing global urban population will be producing three times as much waste as it does today. That level of waste carries serious consequences – physical and fiscal – for cities around the world. 

Hoornweg and co-author Perinaz Bhada-Tata expanded on their work from the 2012 World Bank report What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management to estimate the trajectory of solid waste growth globally and to determine when it might peak.

In the earlier report, they warned that global solid waste generation was on pace to increase 70 percent by 2025, rising from more than 3.5 million tonnes per day in 2010 to more than 6 million tonnes per day by 2025. The waste from cities alone is already enough to fill a line of trash trucks 5,000 kilometers long every day. The global cost of dealing with all that trash is rising too: from $205 billion a year in 2010 to $375 billion by 2025, with the sharpest cost increases in developing countries.

In the new article, appearing in the journal Nature, Hoornweg, Bhada-Tata, and Chris Kennedy forecast that if business continues as usual, solid waste generation rates will more than triple from today to exceed 11 million tonnes per day by 2100. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, where waste levels are the highest today at around 1.75 million tonnes per day but populations aren’t growing as quickly and waste reduction efforts are underway, are likely to see their trash levels peak by 2050 and then start to decline, the authors write. Asia-Pacific countries won't peak until 2075. How soon Sub-Saharan Africa's waste increase peaks will determine how soon the world’s trash problem begins to decline.  

The results hold serious consequences for public services, government budgets, and the space consumed by landfills. Already, Mexico City's Bordo Poniente and Shanghai's Laogang receive more than 10,000 tonnes of waste per day, and the world's more than 2,000 waste incinerators raise concerns about ash disposal and air pollution. Landfills, and uncollected waste, also contribute to climate change through the production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

It doesn’t have to be this way

The authors based their estimates on a "business as usual" scenario. The future doesn't have to turn out that way, they say.

" Through a move towards stable or declining populations, denser and better-managed cities consuming fewer resources, and greater equity and use of technology, we can bring peak waste forward and down. The environmental, economic and social benefits would be enormous. "

Dan Hoornweg, Perinaz Bhada-Tata and Chris Kennedy

Authors of "Waste Production Must Peak This Century"

"With lower populations, denser, more resource-efficient cities, and less consumption (along with higher affluence), the peak could come forward to 2075 and reduce in intensity by more than 25 percent. This would save around 2.6 million tonnes per day," Hoornweg and his colleagues write.

Some cities are already setting positive examples for waste reduction. San Francisco, for example, has an ambitious goal of "zero waste" by 2020 with aggressive recycling. About 55 percent of its waste is recycled or reused today. Industries in Kawasaki, Japan, divert 565,000 tonnes of potential waste per year – exceeding the city’s current municipal waste levels.

Other tactics cities can embrace include:

  • Reducing food waste with better storage and transportation systems, which can both help lower trash levels and help feed a growing world population.

  • Construction strategies that reuse materials, saving trees and the energy that goes into developing other building materials and reducing waste.

  • Policies such as disposal fees and recycling programs that encourage less waste.

"The planet is already straining from the impacts of today’s waste and we are on a path to more than triple quantities," the authors write. "Through a move towards stable or declining populations, denser and better-managed cities consuming fewer resources, and greater equity and use of technology, we can bring peak waste forward and down. The environmental, economic and social benefits would be enormous."

The article, Waste Production Must Peak This Century, is the cover story in the Oct. 31, 2013, issue of Nature.

 

 

David

Why LinkedIn still rocks!

 

 

If you have held the opinion that LinkedIn is one of the best social networks to find new leads and contacts to develop your business, here is yet another reason.  From recent research, it seems that LinkedIn can send more traffic to your blog than other networks.   Another reason to love LinkedIn, right?

It seems from this particular post that there are best times to post on LinkedIn.  It is good to avoid the evenings and weekends.  I have found that invitations are responded to at all times of day, but post reading may very well follow the workday pattern as the post suggests. One very attractive possibility exists on Pulse.  

There are certain posts that LinkedIn will promote.  If you are an industry "influencer", that helps a great deal, but also those with large networks on LinkedIn are favored as well.  It is possible for your post to be seen hundreds of thousands of times if it is promoted on Pulse. Another reason to grow a large network on LinkedIn

7 Essential LinkedIn Marketing Stats

Other relevant content sites.

MarketHive

oldfinch Digital Marketing

Goldfinch Digital Publishing

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David

What Is MarketHive

What is MarketHive,

MarketHive is a combination of many many things, a social network for business related people and Entrepreneurs, a resource provider that can improve the likes of WordPress, LinkedIn and other social networks.

MarketHive existing assets include blogging tools, a state of the art email and broadcast and message system and in the future an online conference system. These assets are designed and fully integrated seamlessly into what is become known as MarketHive.

Anyone can use MarketHive, if you can use a social network such as Facebook you will quickly find your way around MarketHive, no special logins are required just use your favourite social network or even the likes of PayPal.

Once inside you can get to know other members, you can join a variety of groups of like minded people, be it about internet marketing, social media,news MLM, current affairs, its your choice and you can even form your own interest groups.

MarketHive is about communicating and sharing your interests and knowledge with fellow entrepreneurs, however it is not the place to mindlessly post links in a spamming manner, which do not add value. Yes many people have business they wish to promote, however it is best done via a soft sell, engaging in conversation and building relationships. If you wish to advertise your business you can purchase advertising space including banner adverts which displayed at top of site pages.

MarketHive like most social systems is free and will remain so. However there are additional benefits of becoming a subscriber to the Affiliate program which is due to be launched soon. The program in most cases will not only provide advertising credits to the value of your subscription, but also provide the opportunity to earn money from people you introduce and other benefits according to your affiliate Level.

MarketHive is a friendly place and if you need help, there are usually members around who can help you , Why not pop in and see what we are about

 

David Ogden
Helping people Help themselves
http://david-ogden.marketethive.com

David

How Platform Coops Can Beat Death Stars Like Uber to Create a Real Sharing Economy

We have an epic choice before us between platform coops and Death Star platforms, and the time to decide is now. It might be the most important economic decision we ever make, but most of us don’t even know we have a choice.

And just what is a Death Star platform? Bill Johnson of StructureC3 referred to Uber and Airbnb as Death Star platforms in a recent chat. The label struck me as surprisingly apt: it reflects the raw ambition and focused power of these platforms, particularly Uber.

Uber’s big bet is global monopoly or bust. They’ve raised over $8 billion in venture capital, are on track to do over $10 billion in revenue this year, and have over one million drivers who are destroying the taxi industry in over 300 cities worldwide. They’ve done all this in just over five years. In fact, they reached a $51 billion valuation faster than Facebook, and plan to raise even more money. If they’re successful, they’ll become the most valuable startup in history. Airbnb is nearly as big and ambitious.

Platform coops are the alternative to Death Stars. As Lisa Gansky urged, these platforms share value with the people who make them valuable. Platform coops combine a cooperative business structure with an online platform to deliver a real-world service. What if Uber was owned and governed by its drivers? What if Airbnb was owned and governed by its hosts? That’s what an emerging movement is exploring for the entire sharing economy in an upcoming conference, Platform Cooperativism.

Shareable helped break the platform coop story last year in a Nathan Schneider feature entitled, “Owning is the New Sharing” along with Trebor Scholz of the New School. These two thought leaders, also the conference organizers, identified a wave of platform coops forming, but we’re still in the early days.

Uber signifies a new era in tech entrepreneurship. Its leaders express an explicit ideology of domination and limitless, global ambition. In fact, the global tech sector may be one of the most powerful stateless actors on the world stage today. And Death Star platforms are the tech sector’s avant garde.

Death Star platforms deftly exploit today’s growing economic insecurity and political vacuum. Their business model relies on precarious 1099 contractors. They mix technology, ideology, design, public relations, community organizing, and lobbying in a powerful new formulation that’s conquering cities and users around the world. They wrap themselves in the cloak of technological progress, free market inevitability, and even common good. As a result, cities allow them to break their laws with surprising frequency (Uber and Airbnb are simply illegal in most cities). Weak city governments either drink the Kool-Aid or struggle to contain them.

Millennials, who Pew Research described as detached from institutions and networked with friends, may be Death Star platform’s most ardent users. 50% of millennials are political independents, a huge increase over prior generations. And while Millennials are detached from traditional institutions, they increasingly connect through Death Stars. Most use these services and implicitly accept their ideology as Death Stars mask the complexity of their services—and their politics—behind slickly designed apps. As a result, they along with many others unknowingly join a movement with totalitarian goals, all for the sake of often negligible income, savings and convenience. It’s scary but understandable. US Millennials suffer from the highest debt and lowest employment of any generation since the Great Depression. Not to mention that Death Stars often deliver a better service. I use them occasionally too.

Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal and leading sharing economy venture capitalist (VC), epitomized this ideology in a 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled, “Competition is for Losers,” in which he encourages entrepreneurs to establish monopolies. Marc Andreessen, another leading sharing economy VC, wrote a similar op-ed in the same publication three years earlier titled, “Why Software is Eating the World,” in which he declared that there was no industry that couldn’t be disrupted by web technologies.

Behind the bombastic rhetoric are powerful real-world drivers. There are sound, if not self-serving, reasons for these VC’s bold calls to action. A technology gold rush dramatically larger than any before has only begun to unfold, and Thiel and his ilk have the most to gain. Jeremiah Owyang’s Collaborative Economy Honeycomb infographic shows a large and growing universe of companies challenging dozens of major industries. Indeed, a recent IBM survey identified corporate executives’ top fear as the Uberization of everything. Zipcar founder Robin Chase believes that everything that can become a platform, will become a platform. If so, then the sharing economy is just the tip of the spear. Silicon Valley could become the power center of the world, with its leaders joining the small-but-growing ranks of stateless, above-the-law plutocrats.

That’s a big claim, but not out of the realm of possibility.  There are some compelling leading indicators.

There’s a surface explanation, but much more below that. Technology startups are building platforms to compete in nearly every brick and mortar service sector, and on a global basis. These platforms coordinate economic activity, but do not need to own the key physical assets or employ any of the end-service providers to profit. Uber owns no cars and employs no drivers, but has decimated the taxi business in San Francisco.

With incredibly low costs, global reach, scientifically developed user interfaces, and massive funding, Death Star platforms have a shot at duplicating this kind of success in every major city and service sector around the world. This has VCs salivating. The multitude of incumbents spread across many industries and geographies that play by the rules face steep odds against the lawlessness, network effects, and focused power of Death Stars.

At a deeper level, fundamental changes in the startup world are underway. Tech startups have to venture into the brick and mortar world as the low hanging fruit in information-intensive industries has been picked. Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and more have established their global monopolies. Tech must leave the nest, and its newest startups can because it’s significantly faster, cheaper, and less risky to start companies than before.

Shock and Awe Entrepreneurship

The assembly line creation of technology startups has been largely perfected. Silicon Valley’s VC-driven ecosystem has significantly reduced the considerable cost and risk of starting a venture. Funding is at record levels. There’s large corps of professionals who specialize in building startups. The technology is also cheap, meaning that startups need significantly less funding than before…unless they want to “disrupt” a brick and mortar industry.

These new dynamics explain Uber. Uber didn’t raise record amounts of venture capital to develop a new technology. Their technology is pedestrian. Most of it was developed by taxpayer-funded US government programs decades ago. They have combined old technology in a new way, but that’s relatively cheap to do. The $8 billion they’ve raised is to establish a global monopoly—in the real, physical world—in as short a time as possible. That takes a lot of marketing and lobbying muscle, and that’s really expensive.

What are indicators of the Death Star platform’s rising political power? Uber’s David Plouffe, formerly President Obama’s campaign manager, literally besieged Portland’s mayor, ultimately forcing him to create a favorable policy. Bloomberg’s “This is How Uber Takes Over a City” gives an eye opening account Uber’s strong arm tactics. As of this writing this, Airbnb is running an $8.3 million campaign to defeat a San Francisco voter proposition (Prop F) designed to limit Airbnb’s negative impact on the city’s skyrocketing housing costs. This lobbying activity is just the tip of the iceberg. Uber and Airbnb are using a good bit of their $10 billion+ collective war chest to hire a global army of lobbyists. In their language, they’ve put “boots on the ground” in hundreds of cities.

This is a big departure from the past. Tech investors used to avoid startups with significant regulatory risk because there were plenty of better, less risky opportunities. That’s not the case anymore. Now tech investors must and can take on the physical world.

Moreover, the huge investment raises and regulatory friction add up to much more than the sum of their parts. It’s like 1+1=10. The more money Death Star platforms raise, the more press and customers they get. The more they break the rules, the more press and customers the get, which enables them to raise even more money. Taxi drivers strike? Jackpot! And the cycle repeats. It’s a blitzkrieg. It’s shock and awe entrepreneurship. It’s the sound of a new hegemonic bloc coming to power.

Here’s what’s at stake. As Detroit shaped the world in the image of the car in the 20th century through an alienating and resource intensive system of highways and suburbs, so might Silicon Valley shape the world in the image of Death Star platforms in the 21st.

If you’re outraged by the power of tech giants now, just wait until tech dominates the majority of services you depend on to live. If you’re worried about how tech companies use your personal information now, just wait until they can track you 24/7 online and off. If you’re frustrated by how tech companies wield power over you as user now, just wait until you’re algorithmically fired by a Death Star because of one random bad rating. If you think incumbents like taxi companies suck, just wait until a win-at-all-cost tech titan like Uber’s Travis Kalanick rules the roost. If the diversity of your city’s locally-owned businesses is already suffering, just wait until sterile, centralizing Silicon Valley apps create an even more boring and unresilient monoculture. If you’re worried about housing costs, just wait until every city’s housing market is like San Francisco’s, where one bedroom apartments rent for an average of $3,500 a month, the highest in the US. If you’re pissed by today’s unprecedented inequality, just wait until Death Star platforms destroy millions of jobs (Uber can’t wait for driverless cars, yippee!) while shifting more risk and cost onto providers.

Bottom line, what seems like a bad situation for the 99% today could become much, much worse tomorrow.

Platform Coops, You’re Our Only Hope

If platform coops are our only hope, then we’re in big trouble. The movement is in its infancy. There are several fundamental, interrelated legal, financial, and organizational challenges to the process of forming platform coops. New organizational forms need to be worked out, which will take years. Meanwhile, Death Star platforms will conquer more territory at a new, faster version of Internet time. Their global blitzkrieg will continue apace.

The aforementioned conference, Platform Cooperativism, hopes to address this through what organizers are calling a coming out party for the cooperative internet. Over 1,000 people have registered. Activists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, union officials, financiers, and academics are gathering to conceptualize the movement and begin to work out the key challenges of creating a democratic alternative to Death Star platforms. Its organizers hope to catalyze a movement of provider-owned sharing economy platforms, where the drivers or hosts wield the power, not VCs. The conference is a direct response to rise of Death Stars and their treatment of providers.

The central premise of platform cooperativism is that those who create the most value for the platforms— providers like drivers and hosts—should own and control the platforms. Current arrangements tend toward exploitation of providers as Death Stars shift the cost and risk of providing a service to providers. Unlike most incumbent service providers, such as taxi companies or hotels, Death Stars providers are 1099 contractors who do not enjoy the benefits and protections of employees. Death Stars rely on this arrangement to avoid the costs of managing a workforce and grow quickly. It’s true that Death Stars often provide superior service by leveraging technology, but they probably wouldn’t be viable if they did not exploit this huge labor-related cost advantage.

The Rise of the Rebel Alliance

Examples of platform coops abound. A wave is forming, but most examples are brave experiments at best. Shareable’s “Owning is the New Sharing,” lists many examples. There’s Loconomics, the cooperative version of task marketplace TaskRabbit. One of the most successful experiments is Enspiral Network, a New Zealand-based coworking community plus digital collective that allows hundreds of freelancers and social enterprises to work together for mutual benefit. Lazooz is the blockchain version of Uber where drivers mine digital currency by giving rides, while Swarm is the blockchain version of Kickstarter.

These examples represent three common developmental patterns for platform coops. First, there are legally-defined cooperative versions of sharing economy platforms like Loconomics. Second are hybrids like Enspiral Network, which aren’t legally cooperatives but operate on similar principles leveraging digital technology. Then there’s the most scalable option: blockchain-based platform coops like Lazooz. They leverage the same technology Bitcoin uses —a distributed digital ledger—to coordinate, govern, and compensate platform work on a democratic basis.

All of these paths are worth pursuing. As we do this, we must take care not to duplicate the organizational monoculture of Silicon Valley. However, it’s important to acknowledge that this movement will not produce viable competitors quickly. It took Silicon Valley decades to perfect the assembly line manufacture of startups. It shouldn’t take this movement that long, since Silicon Valley has paved much of the way. The movement can artfully adapt Silicon Valley startup methodology, business models, design, and its innovation ecosystem to launch a wave of platform coops.

While much of the path has been paved, plenty of work remains. Below are five things platform coops must do to beat Death Stars platforms. What else would you add to this list?

1. Incubate the Templates

It will take focused, well-resourced, and consistent effort to work out the interrelated legal, financial, and organizational challenges of forming platform coops. Platform coops aren’t an incremental step up from typical startups, they’re a transformational leap. The path is currently uncertain, expensive, and time consuming. For instance, Loconomics has been working on their structure for going on two years, and aren’t even in beta yet. A better way is needed. Platform coops need to face this challenge together with long-term support of a stable anchor institution, like a university. This high barrier to forming platform coops must be lowered or this new movement will die in its crib.

Part of the magic of tech startups is that there’s a well understood organizational structure, financing method, and developmental path for entrepreneurs to use. In other words, there’s a template. Platform coops need templates too, but ones which support a diversity of organizational patterns. What’s needed is a small number of incubators in different global cities working together to give birth to the first wave of platform coops. The trick is to get the first few platform coops off the ground, and then develop a global ecosystem that encourages replication of working models across industry verticals and geographies.

2. Offer a better service at a competitive price

Let’s not forget business fundamentals. Platform coops must offer a better service at a competitive price to beat Death Stars. A lot hinges on simply executing better day in and day out, but strategy plays a big role too. The key strategic challenge is figuring out how to leverage platform coops’ social mission, democratic structure to help them compete. User ownership and control offers inherent advantages that stem from a more engaging and empowering relationship to other users and the enterprise itself. For instance, platform coops could attract more loyal users at a lower cost than Death Stars by offering user-ownership. All else being equal, user-owners will likely deliver better service than 1099 contractors. Platform coops may be able to create a deeper community experience than Death Stars, which routinely feign community ethos for profit. The social mission of platform coops could help them access less expensive labor and capital like traditional cooperatives. They could also gain a cost advantage by developing a common software infrastructure or using open source platforms by ShareTribe and GNUsocial.

3. Take Cooperation to the Next Level

It goes without saying that platform coops should cooperate, as that is standard operating procedure in the cooperative world. In fact, it’s number six of the sector’s widely embraced Rochdale Principles. However, platform coops should take cooperation to the next level to exploit a potentially decisive competitive advantage over Death Stars. Death Stars’ closed nature which make it nearly impossible for them to engage in the deep collaboration between cooperatives seen in regions like Quebec, Canada, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and Basque Country, Spain. Clusters of small to medium-sized cooperatives in these regions often compete successfully against large multinationals through networking, formal collaborations, and shared infrastructure such as market research centers, banks, and universities. These cooperatives collaborate in a much deeper way than tech companies. In fact, they act almost as if they’re one organism.

Platform coops must act similarly. For examble, the replacement for Airbnb shouldn’t be another centralizing global platform even if it’s a cooperative. It should be a federation of locally-owned cooperatives that are interconnected technologically (Fairbnb!). GNUsocial’s microblogging platform is an example. Each node is on a different server, but users can interact across nodes. The advantage is a much more resilient, user-controlled, distributed infrastructure. At Somero 2015 last month, GNUsocial took a big leap by unveiling the alpha version of a hospitality module called GNUbnb.

Platform coops can share much more than software including data, digital reputation, knowledge, marketing, public relations, legal, lobbying, and physical space. And share all of this on a global basis — as Michel Bauwens’ open coop proposal advises — and across industries. Cities should get in on the action too. They should cooperate with each other and with platform coops to mold the sharing economy in the public interest as Janelle Orsi of the Sustainable Economies Law Center recently suggested.

4. Create an Ecosystem to Distribute Wealth

Silicon Valley arguably creates and concentrates more wealth than any place on earth. Behind this phenomenon is a powerful ecosystem that includes Stanford University, the biggest venture capital firms in the world, an enterprising culture, top notch professional services, and more. This ecosystem birthed the Death Stars, and they’ve benefited greatly from it. Platform coops need a similarly powerful ecosystem to compete, but one that distributes wealth instead of concentrating it. That’s a tall order, but platform coops may have natural allies in creating such an ecosystem including city governments, unions, nonprofits, universities, the free and open source software movement, and social investors like credit unions, social venture funds, and foundations. It took many decades for the Silicon Valley “miracle” to unfold. Similarly, it’ll take an ecosystem to raise this movement.

5. Build a mass movement

Platform cooperatives have the opportunity to channel the huge amount of negative sentiment around Death Star platforms to power their movement. They can also move into the slipstream of awareness Death Stars are creating about the sharing economy to surge forward. However, the movement must be reframed in at least three ways to take advantage of these powerful forces.

First, platform cooperativism must become a populist, trans-partisan movement. If Platform Cooperativism is the coming out party for the cooperative Internet, then it’s a lopsided one. The guest list reads like the line up for New York City’s liberal all star team. That said, I give them credit for a long list of partners including Shareable. That’s a good start at building a movement; they only need to reach across the aisle more going forward.

Second, it must shift emphasis from moral arguments for platform coops to practical ones which convince ordinary folks that the vision is feasible. Hope is essential! Like traditional cooperatives, platform coops could offer inherent competitive advantages, including superior cost structure, better working conditions, higher pay, better reputations, resilience, and alignment between value creators and rewards. In fact, sharing ownership and control with users may become a necessity, as Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures has argued, for platforms to compete for customers as other advantages are leveled by the market.

Lastly, the emphasis must shift from platform coops formed by providers to a multi-stakeholder model that could include providers, customers, founders, investors, geographic communities, and nature. Provider-driven platform coops are a good start, but they will eventually run into the same problems that arise in any organization when one stakeholder group calls the shots. Investors are a normal part of the mix in traditional coops, so no reason they shouldn’t be here, especially with their power in check as one of many stakeholders.

So an epic choice is before us. Do we accept Death Star platforms’ boring, unresilient, monocultural domination? A domination that will be difficult to shake off once established. A domination that puts the world at each of our individual fingertips while disempowering us collectively. A domination that could permanently damage the richness, resilience, and capacities of our local communities, as Douglas Rushkoff suggests.

Or do we work together to build, as Charles Eisenstein would put it, the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible? A world where platform coops manifest the values of the commons in every community. Where our capacity to manage our resources together is deeply respected. Where polycentric control is a given. Where local laws, customs and cultures are honored. Where self-interest and common good are aligned. Where we are truly alive.

The odds against this more beautiful world are the same odds Luke Skywalker faced against the Death Star in the original Star Wars. The key to victory is the same too. We must use the force, but the force in this case isn’t some mystical energy, the force is us.

Originally published in Shareable

David

Cryptocurrency and the Cryptoconomy

 

A peculiar feature of Cryptocurrency — and a reason why so many people have a hard time wrapping their brains around it – is that it is both a payment system and an emerging monetary system.

Those two systems are usually separate.

The payment aspects of Cryptocurrency is the financial backbone of the cryptoconomy.

Cryptocurrency is uniquely suited to a digital age. Real property is exchanged, not just a promise to pay, and it is done person to person, without having to go through banks and large institutions. This is crucial for ending the plague of identity theft, forgeries and online fraud.

When you really think about this you'll come to understand what a profound change this really is.

The payment dimension might not seem that important in the United States, but when you broaden the perspective to global commerce, you can easily see it. There are huge swaths of the planet in which you cannot use credit cards at all. Even now, if you try to buy something on Amazon with a home address in one country and a delivery address in another, your transaction is likely to be refused. The anti-fraud measures have been necessary, but they have frustrated the development of the global marketplace. It was at this point that it finally struck me.

This is not a currency only for the rich tech world; it is a currency for the world’s poor, who are desperately trying to become part of the global division of labor. It allows anyone from anywhere to buy or sell anything securely, privately, and reliably.

It suddenly started making sense to me why Cryptocurrency is so wildly popular in Africa, Latin America, and the outer reaches of the Russian empire. But even domestically, it is clear that this market is expanding.

As of only a few weeks ago, you could pay for anything at hundreds of mainstream merchants with Cryptocurrency.

One example is BitPay uses a smartphone application called Gyft. You buy a gift card from Gyft with Cryptocurrency and the merchant scans the card. The operation takes under a minute.

I have been watching this happening, it’s fascinating. It was only a few months ago that people were saying, “Oh, this stuff can’t really be money because I can’t spend it at Target.” Well, now you can. Where are these doubters now? Are they taking back their previous rebuff?

The payment system benefits of Cryptocurrency are clear enough, but there is a much broader vision at work here, one that goes to the heart of the development of money itself. The basic premise is that humankind needs money to facilitate trade, and many goods have served that purpose.

At the dawn of modernity in the late Middle Ages, precious metals were universally seen as the best tools for this. But there was a problem with precious metals. Namely, they are really heavy and not very portable in daily use. Thus did banking institutions come along, and with them paper money.

Paper money dominated the world economy until the end of the gold standard in 1971. Since then money has taken a digital form and is backed solely by debt obligations.

The great innovation of Cryptocurrency was 20 years in coming.

There were many attempts to make a new currency, but they faltered repeatedly because of the problem of double spending. A currency should behave just like the real characteristics that gold and silver once had.

What about the deflationary implications of Cryptocurrency. The usual belief is that a currency rising in value is an incentive to hoarding and that makes business impossible. This not true, experience so far is that people spend Cryptocurrency more when the exchange rate value is rising.

As I build my cryptocommerce WordPress business site, I’ve found something curious about using Cryptocurrency. I'm beginning to think in terms of a new pricing system and sense a real change of entrepreneurial psychology.

The goal is simple: to build a better entrepreneurial process as a means to a better world. There is a beautiful idealism at work here, the kind of thing that people look for from charities and universities. Actually, the world of cryptocommerce on this level represents an embodiment of this idealism.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are succeeding, not by attacking the current financial system, nor by asking permissions from the regulators and gatekeepers. This new economy, the cryptoconomy, is simply the next economy and will not attempt to take over the current financial services system, nor wait for consumers to transfer fiat money into cryptocurrency wallets; rather it will emerge by creating its own wealth, via new types of services and businesses that extend beyond money transactions.

The implementation of Cryptocommerce is a next step in the evolution of global commerce and trade that is in process. History show that about every 40 years the monetary system changes. We are past due and I believe that cryptocurrency and cryptocommerce are next entrepreneurial environment to emerge into business dominance.

Add cryptocurrency to your business today.

David

What are all those connections on LinkedIn for anyway?

A segment of a social network  

A segment of a social network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]

The number of your LinkedIn connections is a critical factor in your long-term marketing success on this unique social network. If you connect with someone that has 10k 1st level connections on LinkedIn. That person's 10K 1st level connections automatically become your second level connections. their 2nd level, automatically become your 3rd.

The larger your network, the larger your reach of potential prospects.  Or, to put it another way, large networks command a larger sphere of influence.  With large networks it is apparent that you cannot know everyone in your network personally, but the advantage in my opinion outweighs the benefit of a smaller network of known associates.

As your network grows it will be more attractive for others to connect to you in order to widen their sphere of influence. For example, it is clear that a certain point, you will have to make less effort to find connections.  (It has been reported that this usually happens on LinkedIn when 3,000 or more 1st level connections have been made).

3,000 connections may seem like a big number if you rely only on friends and associates.  If you could add 30 connections per day, however, then it would take you only about three months to accomplish.  Not bad, right?

The larger your network, the more invitations will come to you, instead of having to reach out for every one of your connections. It is healthy for the growth of your network to have a mix of incoming and outgoing connection requests.  If you only send out connection requests and never receive any incoming requests, it may look unbalanced to LinkedIn. You might want to check your profile to see if there is anything that would prevent someone from connecting to you, if you notice this happening.  

Every time you post on Pulse inside of LinkedIn, your post automatically goes out to all of your first level connections.  If you have 10k connections, you have the chance for your content to be seen by over 10,000 people!  You will likely get many more views, likes, and comments with a larger network receiving your posts. LinkedIn is much more likely to promote your content on Pulse, with a greater number of views.  

If LinkedIn does promote your post, it could potentially be seen by tens of thousands of people.  It is not an easy task to get a blog post to command that kind of attention on a typical hosted WordPress blog. It takes quite a bit of time and effort.

One caution here. You will inevitably get more spammy type messages in your inbox. How long does it take to click delete?  If anyone becomes annoying and sends you repeated messages, you always have the option to remove them from your network. In my opinion the rewards far outweigh the risks, so I am busy building a large network on LinkedIn.  See the following links to find out more about the best ways to do this.

MarketHive – Social Network for Entrepreneurs

Goldfinch Digital Marketing – one-stop shopping for all your local marketing needs

Goldfinch Digital Publishing – marketing blog

Related articles

David

To Outsource or to Automate, that is the Question!

Let me give some personal background in answer to this question, and why I consider it such an important one.  Many years ago, I ran across this quote by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, um 1700, Öl auf Holz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, um 1700, Öl auf Holz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]

“It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labor of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.”

(Describing, in 1685, the value to astronomers of the hand-cranked calculating machine he had invented in 1673.)”
― Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

 

Leibniz, (July 1, 1646 – November 14, 1716) was a particularly brilliant mind of his day.  His contributions range from Physics to Philosophy, and he is attributed with the development of calculus in parallel to, but independently of, Isaac Newton.

 

According to Wikipedia, “While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal’s calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685[8] and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of virtually all digital computers.”

This quote has been sort of a motto of mine for a very long time. It has been one of the themes of my career repeated several times over.


When I was growing up, my uncle worked as a manual machinist for a large aerospace company in NJ. My dad was an engineer / draftsman for the same company. Between them they worked nearly a century for the same company. Neither ever used a computer on the job. Today, my uncle’s job would be done by a CNC machinist. Instead of cranking manual dials, my uncle would be loading computerized code into computerized metal cutting machines that would cut parts automatically. Automation doesn’t mean it takes any less skill to run the machine. Many of the same skills are required to run an automated machine. It just is a different type of skill.

 

The accuracy and repeatability of these machines is simply phenomenal. Tolerances can be held on standard CNC milling and turning machines to within +/- 0.0002 of an inch. That is a mere two ten thousandths of an inch. That is nothing less than extraordinary in the world of manufacturing!  It is an order of magnitude of 5-10 times what can be achieved with manual methods alone.

In my dad’s day, just before he retired, the company had purchased their first computers in the engineering department where he worked. They were big clunky things that took up an entire room of office space. By the way, both lived extremely long lives; my uncle passed away at the ripe old age of 99, and my dad at 98!

Why do I mention this? I became involved with computerized machinery and computerized programming after having seen my family, practically speaking, slave for a nearly a century in the manufacturing industry without the benefit of computers.

I was and still am proud of the accomplishments of both my uncle and my dad, but I also knew that I could be much more productive in my life by taking advantage of the revolutionary advances of computerized manufacturing technology that were not available to either of them.

I have met so many great people in the manufacturing industry over the years, in companies large and small, but especially in the smaller tool and die and plastic injection mold-making shops.

There is something about machining that keeps people honest. Either your part, tool or mold, and whatever you are making works properly, and is made to the specifications of the blueprint, or it is not. There is no grey area or subjective opinion; only measurable fact. The part is within tolerance, or it is out of tolerance. Thumbs up or thumbs down. There is no compromising middle ground. Measurements are precise, accurate, and objective, with mutually agreed upon standards that are universal.

Even though my first glimpse of a computerized (CNC) machine tool was intimidating, I determined that even if it took me years to understand the technology, I vowed that I would learn to master it, and I eventually did on both accounts. If a machine tool has a computerized control on it, chances are I have programmed that type of machine before, at some point in my career. I also learned to run a wide variety of CNC machine tools.

The above quote from Leibniz stuck with me all these years, and when reasonably fast PCs became available in the 80s, I realized that the dream of Leibniz long ago had finally become a reality. Every software program used and the possibilities of communication using the Internet allows us a greater freedom from repetitive manual labor.

By the way, I am not opposed in principle to manual labor. There is nothing whatsoever that is wrong with it. In my life, I have worked as a construction laborer, a mover, a mason, a carpenter and a house painter. Although I enjoyed manual labor, I knew I did not want to spend my entire life doing it.

For example, when I worked as a house painter, years ago in San Francisco, we used electric airless paint sprayers that allowed us to paint buildings at the rate of 60 gallons of paint per day on a two-man team. If you are using a paint roller on a floor, you might be able to paint that much in a day, but there is no way to paint walls at that rate, or to paint by hand, using a brush, with that kind of proficiency!

If the lives of everyone can be improved using computers, I am always on board with it. Although there is a certain nostalgia surrounding the manual art and craft, and some things should be made only by hand, ninety-five times out of one-hundred, I personally prefer the computerized solution.

I have worked with and trained hundreds of machinists and programmers to use CAD/CAM technology to significantly improve their productivity in manufacturing.

I do the same today with small businesses and entrepreneurs. The niche may have changed, but my goals remain the same. I help companies to implement automated marketing solutions that improve their business, and the lives of both owners and employees alike.

Several weeks ago, I faced a dilemma. I needed to locate prospects and send out a large number of emails on a daily basis. I was considering hiring someone to help me send out more emails than I knew I could send out on my own each day. I was on the verge of outsourcing this work.

In principle, I do not like asking anyone else to do something that I would not want to do myself. If it is something that I can’t do, then that doesn’t leave me with a choice. Even if someone else does not think the work is tiresome, it still didn’t feel right to me; the thought of outsourcing this project left a bad taste in my mouth.

I know that there are companies that hire people abroad to send up to 100 emails a day. These people search for email addresses of potential prospects, and are happy to do this all day, for a decent wage based upon what is considered to be a fair wage in their particular country.

As for myself, I know very well I would become crazy doing strictly that and nothing else all day. Again, I was reminded of the Leibniz quotation, and despite my need, I squirmed at the idea of hiring someone to do this kind of job that I am unwilling to do myself.

So what is my conclusion to all of this soul searching and pondering? My advice is to keep looking for an automated solution to any problem you are having. Only as a last resort, if an automation solution is not possible, should you consider the alternative of outsourcing repetitive, tedious work.

I actually found an automated solution to my problem that is far better than hiring two full-time outsourcers, so I came out way ahead.

Also, if you have the means, consider hiring a programmer to build a custom solution to your problem. Then you not only have a solution that you can use, you have a product that you can sell to others that solves your particular problem.

This type of project has a very high probability of success. You are the very best possible beta tester for your product. You know the problem inside and out. You will know who can benefit from this solution, so you will know your target market very well. Your customers will greatly benefit from the automated solution you have found. Of course, you will also benefit by selling a solution that is well-tested, accomplishes the objective, and one that your customers not only need, but also appreciate.

by John Lombaerde

MarketHive

Goldfinch Digital Marketing

Goldfinch Digital Publishing

 

David

The Cryptoconomy – WordPress, Carts and Currencies

We have entered the Cryptoconomy. If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur please read on.

I started an  cryptocommerce site based on WordPress, the backbone of the entrepreneurs of Markethive. My site will take 6 cryptocurrencies. There may be more in the future.

What do I need for a cryptocommerce business?

I need WordPress, the shopping cart, the currencies and the payment gateway.

WordPress is easy however the shopping cart is unique. My discovery process led to only one cart that will do the job, Woocommerce, a highly rated and very extensible free shopping cart. Woocommerce works great for all standard sales of products and services but how does it work with crypto?

A further search in the WP plugins yielded GoUrl WooCommerce – Bitcoin Altcoin Payment Gateway Addon. The search keyword was “cryptocurrency”.

Official GoUrl.io Bitcoin Payment Gateway Plugin for WordPress. Provides Pay-Per-Product, Pay-Per-Download, Pay-Per-Membership, Pay-Per-View and bitcoin/altcoin payment gateways for – WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, Jigoshop, MarketPress, AppThemes, Paid Memberships Pro, bbPress, Give Donations, etc.

This payment gateway accepts Bitcoin, Litecoin, Paycoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Speedcoin, Reddcoin, Potcoin, Feathercoin, Vertcoin, Vericoin, Peercoin, MonetaryUnit payments online. No Chargebacks, Global, Secure. All in automatic mode.

So far so good, I've gotten the site up, the cart installed, the payment gateway, all major functions in place. However,there is one unwritten site requirement , the theme. Yes, I went to my old favorite themes and low an behold they showed an incompatibility in the admin panel.

The plugins didn't quite meet the functional requirements. Woocommerce requires compatible themes. A quick search in WP Themes and you discover several. Most of these themes require upgrading to the “Pro” version. They cost.  The price of an upgrade runs from $18.00 upward some are near $100.00. But, this is the cost of complete functionality.

I tried several but decided to work with one that I normally used (non-compatible), it seems to be working.

Now it looks good and it functions but we can't get paid, yet.

The payment gateway requires the entering of your wallet information for each cryptocurrency.

I chose the following 6 currencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Dash, Reddcoin, Peercoin. for my cryptocommerce business. There is a couple of reasons for this selection, these currencies are acceptable to the payment gateway and they are listed on the cryptocurrency exchanges.

These wallets are for the most part are the same. They look the same (derived from the bitcoin core) and they act the same. They are available to download in almost every flavor of operating system from their home websites.

bitcoin: https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet
litecoin: https://litecoin.org/
dogecoin: http://dogecoin.com/
dash: https://www.dashpay.io/downloads/
reddcoin: https://www.reddcoin.com/
peercoin: https://www.peercoin.net/

For my website, I chose to install part of my wallets on a Windows computer, the rest on the Ubuntu/linux OS.
The download and installation are of no real consideration, however, installation instructions are pretty scarce or not there at all. I went through each of them until I found one with instructions and followed those with each of the other wallets. The wallets can be set to activate on startup with Window but has to be called toactivated through the termeinal on linux.

There are three steps to installing and creating a wallet.

  • Download and install.
  • Synchronize with the network. Until your wallet is synchronized  with the currency's private network it doesn't work. This happens by default and it takes time.  My Dash wallet took about 20 hours to complete the synch'ing up, the bitcoin wallet took over 8 days and is still in process, so be patient and anticipate this. If you interrupt this, you will have to start over, however, the restart is not so severe as the wallet stores each block as it is synched and does essentially a review of what is stored on your harddrive.
  • Encrypting your wallet. After getting in-synch you are ready to encrypt your wallet. Care should be taken! The information you create for the encryption process is valuable.  It is your key to your wallet. If you lose this information you lose everything.

I use an online strong password generator to create a 16 character password then use an encrypted email service to send this information to an encrypted data vault in Iceland for safe keeping.

Strong password generator, http://passwordsgenerator.net/

Creating a cryptocommerce business website is just the same as a normal ecommerce site only different.  You take normal then add crypto.

Once I have all the wallets I can load the catalog.

As I work through this, I will blog about it.

Things to look forward to are; the loading of the products in the cart, normal currency and cryptocurrency, testing the clearing house, and exchanging the crypto for USD.

Follow along in the Markethive New Monies Group. https://markethive.com/group/newmonies

David

I Would Have Written a Shorter Blog Post, but I Didn’t Have the Time

Does this sound familiar to you? Originally the phrase has been attributed to Blaise Pascal in the form, "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time".

Do you think that the world would have known about Malala if she had not blogged about her ideas and communicated them online? It is a fact that if you want to be successful online, you will have to learn to write.

Writing is not only about blogging. Most digital products have text. Even videos have some sort of script. Presentations, slideshares, webinars, emails, autoresponders, press releases and most forms of squeeze or sales pages, are essentially text. Each of these forms of communication has a different, somewhat specialized form of writing, but learning to blog on a consistent basis can help all of the other forms.

You will often see that some of the best writers in a particular niche are also quite prolific. That is not just coincidence.  It takes time, effort, and consistent practice to become a good writer, and extraordinary effort to become a great one.

You don't have to have a fancy vocabulary, or perfect spelling, (always use a spell checker), but you do have to learn to communicate your ideas in a clear, if not persuasive manner. It is necessary to empathize with your reader, prospect, or customer to hold their attention, and help them to learn something they did not know before.

Blogging in particular, requires good communication skill, but it is more than that. You have to have something to say that is interesting to the reader, and if possible, informative, educational, and even entertaining. This is a tall order, without a doubt, but the good news is that blogging is an acquired skill.

Especially in terms of efficiency, an online entrepreneur has many hats on this head, so no one can afford to spend excessive amounts of time dedicated to blogging. I have to say that a new social network called MarketHive has taught me a great deal about blogging and blog promotion.

For most entrepreneurs, it is not easy to generate traffic to a blog, especially a new one without resorting to paid traffic methods. At MarketHive there is a rapidly growing base of friendly entrepreneurs that view content, comment, and quickly engage with your blog posts.

I find the number of views is quite remarkable considering the size of the network. Sometimes is not only size of the network that matters it is the level of engagement. One final note: It really is true that practice makes perfect. With the right attitude, practice and using the right tools, anyone can learn to publish a blog post in about 30 minutes like this one.

For additional information on this topic visit Neil Patel's Quick Sprout Blog and the following links:

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David

Are Sales Funnels Really that Critical to Online Success?

update

What is this thing called a sales funnel, and why is everyone going crazy over it? There is always talk on the Internet about sales funnels, but who really understands what a sales funnel is and how to correctly implement one?

Well, perhaps there is a considerable amount of confusion about sales funnels because it is one of the distinguishing factors that separates the successful marketer / business person from the unsuccessful one. Have you ever bought something online or over the telephone from a TV advertisement? 

The kind of funnel that most of these TV ad-men design more closely resembles a black hole. The realize that they probably have one shot and one shot only to sell to a customer calling on an 800 number. After you have made one purchase, you will usually be given a chance to double the order, for only the (inflated) cost of shipping and handling. Then one product after another will be offered in an attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of the call. This is distasteful to the consumer, but this kind of sales funnel is common in that industry. You really do feel like sucker if you let yourself get caught in their "black hole", and buy product after product.

Just ask any typical business person, what do you do with the people who do not buy your products or services?  Most would say, well, nothing.  Well, you probably have what is called a leaky sales funnel.  This is not so easy to set up for a brick and mortar type of business, but every online business should pay attention to their sales funnel. There almost always is a significant impact on your bottom line.

Everyone knows that taking care of customers is a priority.  If any business is to survive, it is a well-established fact that you have to take good care of your customers.

Say what you will about the Internet Marketing Industry, one thing that good Internet Marketing Professionals have going for them is that they understand very well that it is not only the quality of the product you promote, but the specific design of your sales funnel that can often make the difference between a mediocre success and big success. To rephrase, a well-designed sales funnel could be the difference between losing money, merely breaking even, and making a significant profit.

Let's try to clear up some basic confusion about sales funnels using the above graphic. Most businesses think that everyone in America, or everyone in their hometown of business is a prospect. In reality, until someone walks into your store, they are only a potential prospect. In the case of online business, until someone signs up for your email newletter, free product download, webinar, or other offer, there are no prospects, only potential prospects.

Everyone outside of your sales funnel is the audience you are trying to reach.  This nearly limitless pool contains all of the potential prospects for your business. They have not walked into your store. They have not signed up to be contacted by you in any way. You don't know who they are, although you might have some idea where they hang out.  They are only potential prospects because you have no way of contacting them, until they take the first step into your sales funnel.

Once they walk into your store, or provide their email address, then they actually qualify as a prospect.  Now you can contact them and work with them to help them become a customer. Everyone wants to do more than just survive. If you want to thrive, you need to find a way to quickly determine who is ready, willing, and able to buy right now.  That should be the first step.  

I have to give Steve Rosenbaum credit for identifying this as such an important step.  He also talks extensively about leak-proof sales funnels.  This is a guy who really knows the sales process, both online and offline. As you can see from the graphic above you can see there is a step-by-step process until a prospect becomes a customer.

Also, there should be a clear method to allow customers to become what I would call loyal customers, by making repeat purchases. As shown by the arrow on the right side of the funnel, they should easily be able to become repeat customers. It may be because the product is renewable, or relies on a subscription model, or they simply like your product or service enough to purchase additional products or services from you.

There is obviously a great deal more to discuss about funnels, but I think the fundamentals discussed here are important enough to warrant this kind of post.

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David