4 Alternative Streaming TV services to Amazon Fire TV

We know of television content having being transmitted to our television sets through antennas, and then through cable and set-top boxes. The spread of the internet and the increasing bandwidth it is offering now have given rise to the efforts of using the internet to transmit television and video content directly to televisions. These transmissions would need the user to own a Smart TV, and subscribers have been lapping up Streaming TV over the last few years.

How and When Amazon Fire TV Started Off – a Short Introduction

One of the most popular providers of Streaming TV is Amazon, which started off with Amazon Video in 2006 (a year after the popular video sharing website YouTube was launched). At this point, Amazon named its product as Unbox in the United States of America. Almost a decade later (in 2014), it launched its digital media player Amazon Fire TV worldwide.

Streaming TV services like Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV is not the only one in this arena. We bring you all the details of some other good services in this genre. Let’s check them out:

1. Chromecast 2nd Generation

There is no denying the appeal of Chromecast. Since its arrival in 2013, Chromecast has captivated the audience through its sheer simplicity. Chromecast 2 was an improvement, by all accounts. Today, 3 years after its launch, Chromecast 2 still remains one of our favorites for streaming stuff on the TV.
Features:

• Fast Play: Google solved one of the biggest reasons behind user disengagement i.e. buffering. While buffering is largely dependent on the user’s internet connection, Chromecast 2 ensures that the ire doesn’t fall on it. The “Fast Play” feature starts buffering the content that is next on your watch list. This means that the next episode you are going to watch is getting buffered while you watch the current one.

• Gaming: One of the issues with the original Chromecast was the lack of any games for passing the time when nothing is being streamed. Casting games on the big screen wasn’t exactly a fun due to the lag. But this was solved in Chromecast 2 with multiplayer games that effectively use the TV as the screen and the mobile phones as the consoles. It’s an old concept, but Google was quite wise to use it here.

• Updated App: A major disappointment since the release of Chromecast in 2013 was the Chromecast app. For a device that aimed to provide cutting-edge entertainment, the app was really a drag. But we have come a long way since then, and the Chromecast app today is awesome. From better UI to useful features like compatible app suggestions, the updated app is really a feature on its own.
Drawbacks:

People expecting Google to introduce 4K support in Chromecast would be disappointed as the giant reserved that feature for the Chromecast Ultra.
There is no remote control provided with the device, which could be a major turn off to many people.

Verdict:

There is simply no other way to say that Google Chromecast 2 is amazing. The flaws are trivial when compared to the enormous features. The sleek design is a major improvement over the previous version of the series. Many new features were intrigued that makes it an appealing choice for people just venturing into the world of TV streaming. Despite all this, the price of Chromecast 2 is the same as Chromecast and fall in the lower end of the market. It is a must-have for beginners.

2. Apple TV

Like most other technologies, Apple ventured into digital media player before it was cool. In 2007, the first Apple TV device was launched and introduced the world to the possibility of TV streaming. More than a decade later, Apple TV still stands strong in this sector. While the latest offering was the Apple TV 4K, we are sticking here with its previous version: the 4ht Gen Apple TV (you will know why). Let’s take a look at this product from the iconic company.

Features:

• Bring Out the Gamer: Apple wasn’t going to let their users be bored when not streaming. The device allows you to convert your phones into consoles and play games on the big screen. Third-party MFi controllers are also compatible, so you can bring the Nintendo Wii nostalgia back.

• Tailor-Made for the Apple Users: If you are a big Apple fan and own either or all Apple devices like iPad, iPhone or Mac OS, the Apple TV would be a great addition to the entire Apple ecosystem. The AirPlay feature allows you to mirror your iPhone/iPad just like Android casting.

• Vast App Library: From the entertainment perspective, this is pure gold. The Apple TV OS supports a huge library of apps, ranging over multiple genres. With the power of App Store, you can have unlimited entertainment on your TV. The support for third-party apps just makes things sweeter.

• New App: Apple is notorious for discontinuing support for previous versions once the latest version hits the market. Something similar was expected with the launch of Apple.

Drawbacks:

• Cost: In comparison to the features available in other streaming TV services, the cost of Apple TV is a bit high.
• Remote: Remote is not added as a part of the package. So, you will need to buy it separately.
• Once again, Apple shows little regard for users who are not loyal customers of the brand. To get the full experience of Apple TV like apps and mirroring, you need an Apple ecosystem or at least an iPhone at the bare minimum.

Verdict:

Many gadget geeks feel that the world has just two kinds of people – the ones who swear by Apple, and the rest. If you belong to the former category, then you will love this product. The huge library of content, the nod towards gaming, and the obvious quality of Apple hardware and software makes Apple TV a great product.

3. Nvidia Shield TV

This Android-based streaming system has been around since 2015. Although it carries 4K capability, the primary focus seems to be on the gamers. There is no doubt that the gaming features we see on the current version are vastly improved and is way ahead of the competition. But let us read on to see if the other features are also as impressive.

Features:

• Distinct Styling: The Shield is very stylishly designed, and it gives your living room a smart look. The lines of Shield TV are not exactly rectangular. The set’s top has a triangular shape and is fitted with the power light. You will see trapezoids on both sides as well as the back. Only the front and right panels are in the traditional rectangular shape. Normally, you would set it flat on a desk or table, but in case you want to enjoy its vertical looks, you can add on a vertical stand.

• Gaming: For serious gamers, the Nvidia Shield TV is a boon. The game controller has a sleek design to die for, incorporating many new changes while keeping the best of the earlier versions. It also is voice instruction enabled. The strong mic ensures that you can sit back and speak to the controller kept on a table in front of you.

• Remote: You get the remote control as a part of the package, unlike the earlier version where you needed to purchase the remote separately. The remote that is compatible with the device is equipped with a tiny mic into which you can speak to for running a voice search. The remote is slightly longer than 5 inches. The design is unchanged from the earlier remote – the four directions marked on a circular pad, along with a Back button and a Home button.

• Bandwidth: Shield TV is built to carry 4K content, and it looks to be one of the most powerful streaming TV services in the 4K segment. It can support video streaming sent from mobile devices. The 4K bandwidth also allows you to get the most detailed gaming functions in the same class.

• Voice: Shield TV comes with voice-enabled Google Assistant as a part of the system, which can be used hands-free. This allows you to use the Shield TV just like Google Home. What’s more, the replies from Google Assistant will be audible to you and also be displayed on the screen as text and graphics. You can directly instruct Shield TV to open a particular app by using the Google Assistant.

Drawbacks:

• Memory: After the Android and the other local apps have been factory installed, you might find the remaining free memory a little insufficient. The good thing is that it works very well with most of the external drives available on the market.

• Cost: You might find a few other devices which seem to promise more or less similar features at the same price. But with Shield, you have the assurance of a trusted brand.

Verdict:

There might be some other devices which will stream content equally efficiently at a lesser price. But when you consider the gaming experience offered by Nvidia, then it shoots ahead of all the competitors. Additionally, the presence of Google Assistant makes this a great buy even at its cost.

4. Roku Ultra

This is (so far) the most high-end offering from the house of Roku, and it is borne out by the price tag. We will look at the features which contribute to this price, but there is a more cost-effective alternative – the Streaming Stick +. The Ultra supports 4K and also HDR, and you will love its feature-packed body.

Features:

• Remote: The remote will remind you of the erstwhile TV remotes, with a number of buttons of different sizes and colors. A good thing I liked is the dedicated single-touch buttons for some of the more popular apps like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, etc. This remote can also be used as a gamepad because of its motion sensors. But this is possible only for a few of the games in the Roku Channel Store, not all. Finally, it carries a very useful headphone jack, which can allow you to watch content without disturbing anyone.

• Streaming Quality: The Roku Ultra supports 4K streaming and this enhanced video output makes it popular with the users. It also supports one (HDR10) of the two streaming standards for high dynamic range, but it doesn’t support Dolby. The 4K picture quality is as crisp and clear as you would expect, and the Ultra also allows real-time responses to buttons. You can quickly navigate the menu options, and the different apps do not take forever to load.

• Roku Channel Store: This feature is really one of the pros of this device. You name any app or channel, and you will find it at the Roku Channel Store. If you are an Apple user, though, one service you might miss is iTunes, because that is available only on Apple TV. Otherwise, you can find everything related to sports, news, technology and all other segments.

• Other accessories: At the price you are paying, the Roku Ultra doesn’t only give you great content at awesome speeds, but it also provides several accessories for which you would have to pay if you used other service providers or products. You get USB and Ethernet ports as well as an HDMI port. The remote has a great feature which enables it to let off a beep sound when a small button on the top panel is pressed. Goodbye to the frantic searching for the remote!!

Drawbacks:

• Dolby: This is one missing feature that allows a few competitors to go ahead. Roku only works with HDR10. The only redeeming point here is that many channels do not use Dolby, so for them, HDR10 is just fine.

• Cost: At first glance, the higher absolute price tag might sound like a drawback. But as detailed above, the Roku Ultra offers many useful features and accessories which would have cost money otherwise.

Verdict:

At its price, the Roku Ultra is a much better version than the earlier offerings from Roku. Also, the quality of content and the useful remote makes it just perfect for enjoying streaming TV content. We would be happy to recommend the Roku Ultra.

Wrapping Up:

As we said earlier, the Streaming TV market is all set to see the introduction of newer players soon. When you need to make a choice, start off by first selecting the platform that suits your preferences. Within that platform, compare the features and specifications of different offerings. Then comes the cost of the streaming TV service, which is always an important factor. Once you have made an assessment of specs versus cost, you are ready to get your baby home!

Curating Content: Repurposing Your Content

By Christine Trimbur

We all know that content is king. Without good, quality content, you will lose readers. And losing readers means losing revenue.

But how do you find the time to create high quality content? Creating epic posts can take hours to do. And if you are a small business owner, there are a lot of things much higher on the totem pole of necessity than creating content for a blog site. If you’re a marketer of any kind, you are now required to generate more and more content for clients.

So, what do you do when you don’t have hours and hours each week to generate content? Repurpose content you’ve already created.

I know, I know. It seems to go against all content marketing advice. And there is good reason to be concerned. Google is quick to punish duplicate content very heavily. In fact, it’s one of the biggest no-nos in online and SEO marketing.

However, repurposing old content is a bit different. This involves breaking up your existing content and placing it in a new format. For example, you could turn blog posts into an ebook or videos into podcasts.

Our world is a noisy place. Pretty much everything you’re going to say has already been said – multiple times. So, trying to produce fresh, new, unique content over and over is extremely tiresome.

This strategy will breathe new life into your old content and let you cast a wider net on multiple marketing channels.

What Content Should You Use?

The first step in repurposing content is discovering the right content to repurpose. There are three main types of content that you have already produced that will work for repurposing:

1. Your most popular content.
These are posts, webinars, or interviews that drove a lot of traffic to your website. These are also the ones that got the best feedback from your audience.

2. Content with the most engagement.
This is the content that struck a particular cord with your audience. They’re the posts that stirred the pot and sparked a reaction. This will be content with the most likes, comments, shares, and interaction. These posts show that your audience wants to see more content from you.

3. Evergreen content.
Your business likely has content that never changes. No matter how many years go by since you produced it, the subject still continues to be relevant. It’s evergreen and can be repurposed easily into another piece of helpful information for your audience.

Repurposing Content Smartly
Now that you have your content in hand, it’s time to start the reworking process. It doesn’t matter what format your content is in – video, blog post, or podcast – you now have the opportunity to turn that content into something completely new and compelling.

Here are seven ideas to help you start:

1. Turn webinars into short videos.
After a webinar, you usually have about an hour-long video of your most recent brain dump. This video contains great nuggets of information that can be reused for other purposes.

Instead of allowing your webinar to hit home that one time, split it up into smaller clips. There is a lot of technology available to help with this. Then once you have your bite-sized clips, put them on YouTube. Optimize them by using titles such as “How to…” or “XYZ Guide to…” You will get a lot more exposure from different audiences looking for the exact information you are supplying. You can then add these shorter videos to your website as a resource for readers.

2. Combine old blog posts into guides.
Usually, blog posts have a very narrow focus. They offer very specific information concerning a particular aspect of your product or service. However, if you bring several of these posts together, the result will be a lengthy, helpful, informative guide. Add a simple introduction and conclusion and you’re all set with a new product to sell.

3. Use statistics as social media posts.
If you already put together a post stuffed with statistics and compelling information, simply pull those statistics out of the post and use them as quick and simple social media posts.

Statistics are very eye-catching. They tell your audience a story and establish your credibility in your field. By using them to back a point you’ve made on social media, you can redirect them to your blog for further reading.

4. Turn blog posts into an email series.
If you are looking to grow your email list, offer a free, informative series of emails by simply repurposing old blog posts and turning them into an e-course.

No one will ever read everything you’ve written on your site. Which means that they will miss some of your best work if you don’t place it square in front of their nose. An email series is a great way to accomplish this.

5. Turn your video into a podcast.
Podcasts are some of the hottest content marketing tools available today. People are listening to more and more podcasts on their daily commute, while walking the dog, or when they are out running.

Use your most fun and entertaining evergreen videos on your YouTube channel and turn them into a podcast.

6. Create an expert advice e-book out of podcast interviews.
You’ve likely interviewed experts from time to time on your podcast. And these interviews are pure gold.

People love to hear information from big names and successful people. However, there are those who don’t listen to podcasts. Therefore, to reach a wider audience, you should turn those interviews into an ebook with the promise of expert advice on a particular topic.

7. Turn blog posts into an infographic.
Infographics aren’t new. Even so, these images remain one of the hottest forms of content available online. They have evolved, though. There are three main trends driving new ways of storytelling for infographics:
• Modular design.
In other words, breaking down infographics into smaller sections so that they can be viewed all together or as individual pieces.
• Storytelling.
Infographics can be used as a guide on a particular web page. Businesses control the story being told through the imagery and with compelling copy.
• Divisible content.
Soon, infographics will be repurposed into new forms of content, like blog posts or presentations. If you are able to divide the content of your infographic up, you can then add sections of it to other forms of content.

Repurposing is a smart way of revitalizing your content. It will help you maximize your reach and turn your information into something exciting for your audience.

Why Most People Fail to Make Money Online

By Christine Trimbur

There are several assumptions related to why people fail at making money online. But as we all know, assumptions are often wrong.

The first assumption is that most people fail to make money online because they are lazy. The idea is that those who fail are given a great way to make money but fail to take the appropriate action so the conclusion is that they must be lazy.

However, this assumption is completely wrong.

Take this example:

A very successful video marketer makes tens of thousands of dollars promoting others’ products and builds a bit of recognition for himself using YouTube videos. Then he releases a “tell all” program explaining how he accomplished this. Others purchase these instructional videos, watch them carefully, try their hand at it, and then fail. Are they lazy? Absolutely not.

The reality is that not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera. And even if someone is, he may not have the same charisma and camera presence that the successful video marketer has. Thus, the one trying fails to impress his audience and isn’t able to make any money at it. The bottom line is that any form of money making is just not a good fit for everyone. The key is to figure out what gifts and talents you have and then use those to make money online.

The second assumption is that people fail to make money because they are impatient. They are seen as someone who jumps from one thing to the next without ever giving anything a real chance.

More often than not, however, the “proven” money making program failed to maintain the interest of the buyer of that product. Think of it this way: some people aren’t surgeons not because they don’t have the intelligence but because they simply are not interested in pursuing that line of work once they discover the amount of work and time it requires.

It is true that anyone who is successful at making money online did not achieve his success overnight. In fact, many successful online entrepreneurs where the same ones who struggled in the past. The difference is these successful online money makers finally connected with a method and then got really good at it.

The true problem behind the rationale of any money making system is that they advertise themselves as for everyone which in reality is not true. The key is to find what interests you and then go for it.

The third assumption is that people fail to make money online because of short attention spans or focus. There are those who with ADD or ADHD who really do struggle with maintaining their attention on singular things. However, this is an exception rather than the rule.

Generally, the attention spans of most people have been reduced because of the increase in distractions all around us. There is so much technology, so many ways to connect, and so much noise being generated everywhere we look that it is no wonder we have a hard time focusing on one thing.

However, when we connect with something we have a passion for, we’re able to filter out all the other noise to concentrate on that passion. If you don’t really have a passion or connection with the online money making system, you will fail and seem to have a short attention span. The key is to discover your passion and then find a system or develop one yourself that lines up with your passion.

There are so many other assumptions about why people fail to make money online. The list of reasons is endless: education levels, network connections, location, financial resources, opportunities, etc.

The real issue involves what happens within each individual. If you don’t believe in yourself and that you can actually make money online, then you won’t. If you believe it won’t work, then it won’t work for you. If you believe there must be an easier way to do it, you’ll keep looking for it, whether or not that easier way actually exists.

The bottom line is that the number one reason why people fail to make money online has more to do with their self-esteem than anything else. If you find yourself doubting most things that have been presented to you, struggling to make things work for you, not trusting others, or find it difficult to make friends, you are likely dealing with low self-esteem. And until your self-esteem issues are address, you will find it nearly impossible to make any online money making system work for you.

If you are struggling with low self-esteem, find a reputable expert or counselor to talk to. Then stick with it through the healing process. You’ll be glad you did.

Pyramids and Ponzi Schemes in Online Marketing

Cryptocurrency is all the hype today. In every nook and corner, you hear someone talking about cryptocurrency. But inadvertently, it stands as something too good to be true. The mystery surrounding it makes it natural to consider it a Ponzi scheme or an MLM scam. But the truth is neither the same nor the opposite of this. To understand cryptocurrency and whether or not it is a scam, we need to dive deeper.

Understanding the Scams

While all these terms seem the same and are often used interchangeably when talking about financial frauds, they are actually quite different from each other. Let’s first understand what each of these terms stands for:
• Ponzi Schemes:
Named after Charles Ponzi and in existence since the 1920s, Ponzi scheme is perhaps one of the oldest forms of financial frauds. The reason why Ponzi scheme took off so well was the simplistic genius behind it. It works simply by taking money from one and paying to another. This is done to maintain the illusion of grand returns on investment made by the victims. Obviously, this chain cannot go for too long and would eventually fail. However, the scammer has expanded his web far enough by that point, and simply disappears with all the investments made by the current clientele.
• Multi-Level Marketing:
Quite surprisingly, MLM is not always a fraud. Though a dubious scheme, it is not considered illegal in many cases. The reason lies behind the promises made initially.
MLM is a networking scheme that works by recruiting people into the sales network in exchange of a fee. These people would have to recruit other people into the network, in exchange for a commission and a share from whatever sales the new recruits make. The whole idea is to have free marketing in exchange of profits. But in truth, the scheme is profitable only till 2 or 3 levels. Beyond that, people are in perpetual loss, while the company benefits from the joining fee.
• Pyramid Scheme:
Pyramid Scheme is often considered a subset of MLM, but there is an important distinction. In case of MLM, there is always a real product and the primary goal is always to sell that product while fooling people into becoming sellers is only the secondary objective. However, in case of Pyramid scheme, there is often no real product. The primary objective is to recruit maximum people into the network in exchange for a fee, and then make away with that money.
The existence of Pyramid scheme is the reason why MLM is now considered a fraud by experts.

Some Famous Fraud Cases
There have been many big and famous fraud cases as a result of pyramids and ponzi schemes. Let’s have a look at some of them.
1. Bernie Madoff:
Bernard “Bernie” Madoff may not have the fraud named after him, but he proved himself to be the king of Ponzi scheme. Madoff is attributed to the largest and longest Ponzi scheme in the history. Starting in the 1970s, Madoff had been fooling people for over 30 years. His clients usually belonged to the elite section of the society, as he charged $20 million just for the initial investment. By 2008, when he was finally apprehended, Madoff was sitting on top of a scam worth $50 billion, making it the largest scam pulled off by a single person in modern history.
2. BurnLounge:
If you were a teenager in the USA when the 21st century started, you would have probably heard about this scam. BurnLounge was a music marketing company that sold music and music-related merchandise. In addition to this, it also sold membership programs. Apart from buying the stuff offered by the company, the customers also had the option to become Independent Retailer and earn commission from direct sales. Another program existed to become a “Mogul”, which allowed customers to both earn from direct sales and sell the membership program to other customers.
However, after its operation in 2005-2007, it was finally caught by the Federal Trade Commission. Subsequent investigation revealed that out of the $28 million BurnLounge made in the 2 years, $26 million came from the membership plans alone. Out of all the customers that joined the membership program, 90% never made any profits. BurnLounge was a classic example of a pyramid scheme where the product was just a sham; a veil to hide the true fraud.

Understanding Cryptocurrencies

Before we begin exploring the possibility of it being a scam, we need to first understand what cryptocurrencies are.
Essentially, cryptocurrency is just another form of currency. Cryptocurrency originated after the apparent failure of digital cash, because of the flaws of the third-party arrangement. Thus, cryptocurrency provided an alternate model where the entire structure was decentralized. Everyone and no one had control.
Since the central authority was ticked off, there was no fear of someone taking over or hijacking the transactions. A public ledger called Blockchain exists to keep a record of every transaction that occurs within the network. The actual process is even more complicated, so let’s just leave it that.
There are two ways to get a cryptocurrency coin (or token), the most basic unit of a cryptocurrency. The first is by solving the cryptographic problems and get the tokens as a reward. The second is by simply buying it from coin exchanges, which is what most people do.

Crypto Applications

The following are the crypto applications that are used when dealing in cryptocurrencies:
• Purchase:
In a decade, cryptocurrency has transformed from the science experiment to a legitimate currency. And the testimony of this would be the vast array of merchants that now accept cryptocurrency for payment purposes.
Even though it has not yet found a mass appeal, you can still go a long way with crypto shopping. App Store by Apple currently supports 10 cryptocurrencies for payment. From grocery payment to booking hotels, it is finding a use everywhere.
• Investment:
The primary reason why most people are buying cryptocurrency today is investment purposes. Just a decade ago, Bitcoin was literally worthless. During its peak last year, it had crossed $18,000. Most other cryptocurrencies saw a similar growth curve and their value was multiplied many hundred times over within a span of 24 months. Naturally, people considered it a great investment opportunity. Despite the huge drop during the beginning of 2018, cryptocurrency still remains one of the best places to put your money in.
• Mining:
Miners are the people who maintain the blockchain network, enabling the record of every crypto transaction. They give computation power to solve a cryptographic problem and get tokens in return. Mining is uncommon due to the hardware and efforts it requires, but a much safer investment option than trading.

Issues with Cryptocurrency

Ever since the time cryptocurrency started grabbing attention, speculations of it being some kind of fraud have floated around. The rapidly growing market cap of the asset does give such an impression. However, let’s make one thing clear: cryptocurrency is not a fraud or a Ponzi scheme.
The reason behind the high growth value of cryptocurrency is, as you might have heard, the “bubble”. A bubble is a term in trading that means that the value of the asset has become detached from the market value. In such a case, the market value of the asset keeps increasing, if though the actual asset might not be worth that much. But it would still be considered a risk and not fraud, so the Bitcoin bubble is perfectly legal as long as it stays afloat.
However, that doesn’t mean the cryptocurrency is free from any dangers of scamming. We are talking about an entity that is free from any central control and is not understood by even its investors. Many aspects of cryptocurrency stand vulnerable to frauds, like:
• The decentralized nature is obviously vulnerable when it comes to scammers. Due to the lack of any central authority, there are limited options to verify credibility.
• There is no qualification needed to be a crypto investor. It also means that people who barely understand cryptocurrency can be manipulated into investing in it.
• The soars and dips of the crypto market make it appear like a more advanced version of the stock market. Success stories of bitcoin and Ethereum (among many others) are enough to bamboozle amateur investors.
• Since most of the governments are neither willing to legalize cryptocurrency nor able to completely ban it, the entire crypto market is highly unregulated. There are no regulations regarding who can or can’t join. In such a chaos, it is very easy to fool novice investors.
• Lastly, there is a strong trend, especially among the tech-savvy urban youth, to invest in crypto. Even though these investors are not quite interested in neither crypto technology nor trading, they simply join due to peer pressure. Naturally, these people are the most susceptible to getting scammed.

However, one still cannot blame cryptocurrency for being the platform for frauds. It would be akin to saying that banks are fraudulent because of banking frauds. Furthermore, the risks associated with cryptocurrency are no secret. Various governments crossed the world and have reiterated them time and again as an excuse for not legalizing cryptocurrency. As cryptocurrency became a common topic in the entertainment world, the dangers of it also became an argument. Even comedians like John Oliver and talk show hosts like Jimmy Kimmel often talk about it. Additionally, every cryptocurrency comes with the clear message of “the risk is yours alone”. After all this, you can hardly blame the technology or the company behind it for misleading you.

Distinguishing Fraud from the Real

Now that there are so many schemes and investment options available, there is a big risk of getting into pyramids and ponzi schemes. Here are a few things to know and understand in order to distinguish fraud from the real.

1) Searching for the Source of Profit:

Like we discussed above, referral programs are prominent indicators of a pyramid scheme. Referrals are extremely common and almost every new (and sometimes established) company uses it to get more customers. But the question is: does it form the primary source of income for the company? In any legitimate company, the primary source would the product itself, and referrals would be responsible only for a small portion of the profits. The same applies for the cryptocurrency. If that is not the case, then maybe you are walking into a trap.

2) Understanding the Profit:

The only real reason for investing in something is profit. Thus, anyone selling you their investment product would promise profitability. But how strong do these claims sound? Almost everyone project returns that is hardly ever met. It is perfectly legal for a company to pitch its highest-ever figure, even if it never again achieved the same results. Also, it is legal to add certain secrecy towards how the investment grows and achieves the results.
However, if the cryptocurrency is claiming to give you guaranteed and multi-fold return on investment, then it is an instant red flag. Market rules either allow for guaranteed-but-small profits or huge-but risky ones. Cryptocurrency generally falls in the second category, which means that high returns are possible but the associated risk persists and might even result in huge losses. So, anyone guaranteeing high returns on crypto investments is most likely trapping you in a Ponzi scheme.

3) Dependency on New Investment:

As we saw in both Ponzi scheme and Pyramid scheme, there is a need for constant new investment for the scam to keep working. If the new investment stops even for a small duration, the entire house of cards would fall. This is what you check against the crypto investment in question.
To be honest, every company needs constant funds in order to supply. But while legitimate companies use those funds to convert into business process and finished products, sham companies simply use them as a fuel to keep fooling the investors. As we saw in the case of various scammers like Ponzi and Madoff, the funds from the new investors were used to pay the old ones, which was essential to keep the fraud alive. If you don’t want to fall into the same trap, you need to understand how much the cryptocurrency company depends upon new funds. Among the three things we discussed, this is the hardest to speculate, but it is the final step that would establish whether or not the crypto asset is legitimate or not.

Conclusion:
Despite the apparent indication, cryptocurrency is no Ponzi scheme or scam of any other kind. However, it has every possibility to be used as bait by other scammers. It falls upon the customer to be wary and take the right decision before moving forward.

Mental Transition from Employee to Entrepreneur

A person’s mindset is one of the major determinants of success in every walk of life. That means that the thinking patterns a person habitually adopt largely govern the results a person achieves.

However, different situations and circumstances require different mindsets. It is something that a would-be entrepreneur from being an employee must be aware of. Unfortunately, not all understand the mental transition required from employee to entrepreneur, without which business success is unlikely.

The mental transition from employee to entrepreneur could be rough and tough. Here are some key points you need to consider:

  1. You are responsible for all your decisions whether good or bad. As entrepreneurs, you should have an amazing opportunity to make something out of nothing in ways that are impossible working for someone else. However, this means making big decisions on what, when and how things must be done. You should not wait for things to happen or for someone else to tell you what you got to do. You must make things happen. Entrepreneurs fully understand that opportunities could be short-lived and so they develop a sense of urgency which helps them achieve their goals.
  2. Feeling uncomfortable is now your new comfort zone. When you’re an employee, you get used to think inside the box rather than outside. As an entrepreneur, you should know there is no box. You should see what others don’t see. You should test new ideas and take possible risks. Doing so will require lots of courage, a thick skin and the ability to keep on going despite all the rejection and skepticism.
  3. As an entrepreneur, you should know that learning is a continuous journey. Employees have a job description and require a specific set of skills. Entrepreneur should learn many new skills so that he won’t have to outsource what they’re not good at. Whatever needs to be done has to be done and there are no rooms for any excuse.
  4. Entrepreneurs love their business but know how to be objective. Employees can go do something they dislike for the salary whereas entrepreneurs love their business because of the long hours and effort required.
  5. Entrepreneurs enjoy breaking rules. For an employee, breaking rules could possibly mean dismissal. However, as entrepreneurs, they aren’t interested in the status quo. Instead, they always look for ways to do things differently.
  6. Time is not linear. Employees do have a timetable to work to. Entrepreneurs try not to be tied to a computer or a desk 24/7 thinking how their business is doing well or what could be doing better.
  7. Numbers do not lie. Concerning numbers, it is enough for an employee to know what is coming in and what are coming out. As entrepreneurs, you’d know and learn how to embrace and love numbers fast because your business cash flow is what will keep you in or out of your business. Additionally, it’s your profits, loss, sales and costs that will either give you sleepless nights or lavish lifestyle. So without the help of numbers, an entrepreneur’s business will continue heading for the rocks.

 

Taking the Leap

In order to be a successful entrepreneur in the future, you must shift your mindset and think differently. And when it comes to business, most entrepreneurs talk about “taking the leap”. Do you see yourself tossing a stack of papers in a wastebasket as your co-workers line the halls and applaud? Do you see yourself as the person who kisses his corporate life goodbye and dances out to the door towards your bright future? The reality is, everything could turn into an entrepreneurial nightmare. A business success does not come from taking one big leap and never looking back. Unless you’re willing to take the risk, you should want your business to have longevity, so start small and start slow.

Start now

Many people underestimate the time it takes to make the mental transition from employee to entrepreneur. So even if you are still employed, it is sensible to start shifting your mindset or perhaps setting up a business to run alongside. Doing so will give you the opportunity to develop new skills and build experience while still enjoying your safety-net of salary. At some point in your life, you will certainly need to give up if you want to grow as a successful entrepreneur in the future. If you are ready to be your own boss, it is now time to start making the mental transition from employee to entrepreneur. The earlier you prepare the better chance you’ll succeed.

Do you think it is now time to switch? The decision is yours.

Common Password Mistakes to Avoid

Passwords are like locks in every door and window of your house. If you use a skeleton key, odds are pretty good hackers are probably going to end up robbing you blind. Likewise, if your password is not unbreakable and unique, you’re probably opening the front door and letting robbers in for lunch.

Here are the 10 most common password mistakes you probably make and tips on how to avoid them:

  1. Giving your password to anyone- Even if you’re really good friends, never ever let your friends know your password. Your friend may accidentally pass our password along to others or you may even become ex-friends and abuse it.
  2. Using just one password – There is a possibility that someone who works on a website where you’re using that password could actually pass it on. They can even use it to break into your account at other websites.
  3. Not using a pass phrase – Passphrases are now being recommended by security experts. Rather than a simple password, passphrase is consists of 20 or more characters strung together along with symbols, numbers, upper and lowercase letters. For instance, think of something that you can remember but others couldn’t. For example, the word “YellowChocolate#56CadillaFi$h could make a good password. Additionally, avoid using any famous quotes for it could be easy for others to guess.
  4. Not using a password with at least 12 characters long – Longer passwords are much harder for thieves and hackers to crack than shorter ones.
  5. Not including numbers, symbols and capital letters – Instead of using an S, try substituting it with a $. Instead of using an L, consider using 1.
  6. Posting it in plain sight – Research found that lots of people post their password on their monitor using a sticky note. This is a bad idea. If you really want to write it down, make sure to hide the sticky note somewhere where no one else can find it.
  7. Not using a password manager –Different programs and web services are available online to help you create strong passwords for each of your website. You just have to remember the one password to access the secure site or program that stores the password for you.
  8. Not using a multi-factor authentication – Most website services now offer options to verify your identity when you log on to your account from unrecognized device. They will send a text or other type of message with a code to verify if it is really you.
  9. Falling for phishing attacks – Be extra careful when clicking on a link where they are asking you to log in and change your password. While it could possibly be legit, it could also be a phishing scam where your personal information will go to a hacker. If you’re in doubt, log on manually to the site by typing what you know to be the website’s URL that’s saved into your browser.
  10. Not using a password or fingerprint for phones – Some mobile phones allow you to register your fingerprints for extra security. Sometimes, people with bad intentions use unlocked phones they find to steal the owner’s information. Sometimes, make lots of calls or even send text messages like they’re coming from the owner of the phone. Others pose as you could send texts to make it appear like you are bullying or harassing someone in your contact book using inappropriate words or images.

You’re probably sick of hearing how essential it is to follow certain steps when creating passwords. But by avoiding the abovementioned things, rest assured that you’re on the right path in creating a secured and strong password.

 

 

Tips and Tricks for Creating Passwords

When creating passwords, you should make sure you’re creating a secured one. Choosing a password that’s difficult for others to figure out will require creating unlikely number and letter combinations. The good news is crafting a hard-to-crack and easy-to-remember password can become pretty straightforward in just a few tips and tricks.

First Things First

When creating passwords for the first time, there are two essential rules to consider: the length and complexity.

  1. Length – Your password should be at least 8 characters long. For extra security, it should ideally be 12 characters long.
  2. Complexity – Your password should be a combination of uppercase letters, lower case letters, numbers as well as special characters.

 

Ways your password can become vulnerable

As mentioned above, common passwords get hacked very easily. Some reasons why common passwords get hacked very easily are the following:

  1. Obvious passwords such as birthdays, anniversaries or number repetition.
  2. Many users or companies keep the default “admin” password out of ignorance.
  3. Many users simply do not want to be inconvenienced to learn new passwords.

 Tips for creating passwords:

  1. Do not use your personal information. Do not use your name, birthday or spouse’s name as your password. Your personal information is often available in public and even online and that makes it easier for someone to guess your password.
  2. Use longer passwords. A typical password should consist of at least six characters. To add extra security, you could make it at least 12 characters if the website allows it.
  3. If in case you need to write down your password, make sure to keep them in a secured place. It would be even better if you encrypt your password or you can just write down hints for them so that others won’t be able to understand.
  4. Do not use the same password for every account. If someone discovers your password for your one account, all the other accounts will become vulnerable as well.
  5. Include symbols, numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters if the website allows it.
  6. Do not use words that are found in the dictionary. For instance, the password “swimming1” would make a weak password.
  7. Random passwords are the strongest passwords. Instead of trying to think one of your own, you can use a password generator instead. However, random passwords are often hard to remember, so it is advisable to use or create a mnemonic device. An example of this is the password “H=jNp2#”. Instead of remembering the word per se, you can try remembering it as “HARRY=Jessica NOKIA paris 2 #”. At first, it may seem random but with a bit of practice, it would become relatively easy for you to memorize. You can also try to select a sentence you’ll know you’ll remember and use the first letter of each word in your sentence, and add some symbols or numbers as your password.
  8. Make use of a passphrase. Passphrase is one great way to make a unique password out of your favorite song lyric, movie line or a quote. For example, a classic rock fanatic can make their password “Sw33t-h0mE-Alabama” or a science fiction fan could make their password “TMOLI-42” (the meaning of life is 42). The more creative you get, the more it will stick.

Finally, the password you will create should be the one that works best for your situation. Develop a password that’s so unusual that hacking becomes nearly impossible.