3 Reasons Websites Are Vital for Small Businesses

website

"No Website Means Losing Business"

Running your own business is no easy task, and your to-do-list is guaranteed to never end. This said, you shouldn't use this as an excuse to take short cuts when it comes to having online visibility. Beginning with your website, it's vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business. With this in mind, consider these five reasons why having a strong website is important.

First Impressions Count

Let's face it - we live in a world where people Google before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy and "check-in" via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Beginning with your website, consumers are passing judgement and making decisions about whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant or office. They're likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn't reflect the kind of experience your business - or a business like yours - should offer.

Window Shopping Isn't What It Use to Be

Strolling down your local Main Street isn't the only way people check out stores and other small businesses nowadays. With routine visits to Yahoo, Bing, Google, Yelp and other online sites, customers are constantly seeking where they plan to make their next purchases. Make sure your business is well represented on these sites by first and foremost, having a website - but by also being represented among each of the online search engines, review sites and other online spots your business may be considered for customer review. Beyond having your URL address available, also be sure your street address, phone number and email is easily visible. Social media links can't hurt, either, but only include these if you are actually active on social media.

No Website Means Losing Business

By now it's clear that if you don't have a website, you're missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who you are and if they want to spend money with you. This said, if you have a bad website it is better to have no website. While no website equals missed opportunities, a bad website can actually be worse since it literally makes your business look bad. With so many template based websites available nowadays, such as Shopify.com, for you to customize for your unique business, there's truly no excuse for your website to look unprofessional and sloppy. If you can't proudly promote the website you have currently live and available for the world to see online, take it down. A bad website is far worse than no website - but let's be clear... both are bad for business.

  If you don't have a website, you're chance of ending up in customer online searches is significantly reduced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you don't have a website, you're chance of ending up in customer online searches is significantly reduced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether you are a one man or woman show or operate with 100 employees, your website should appear as if you have a team dedicated exclusively to keeping your online presence strong and noteworthy. The key here is "appear" versus actually having someone updating your website everyday. For most small businesses, this is simply not necessary. However, having a professional, polished looking website that functions easily and offers customers easy navigation, strong photo images, professional quality content and an overall experience that engages them enough for them to want to do business with you is key.

source: forbes.com

Many Small Businesses Have Little to No Online Presence

A Redshift Research survey commissioned by web-hosting company GoDaddy reports that well over half of very small businesses have no websites or Facebook pages.

  CREDIT: Getty Images

CREDIT: Getty Images

Small businesses may be even less connected than you thought.

About 60 percent of very small businesses (made up of one to five people) don’t have websites, according to a recent survey. Of those, about 12 percent have Facebook pages.

That leaves a lot of businesses relying on word-of-mouth to get their name out, though many may have a presence on online platforms like Yelp.

The Redshift Research survey, commissioned by GoDaddy, showed that the percentages were roughly the same for the U.S. and the aggregate of businesses surveyed globally, in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

“While we take for granted that everyone is online, the reality is that for many small businesses it’s simply not true,” said Blake Irving, CEO of GoDaddy, Inc. said in a press release.

The reason given by many of those surveyed, according to GoDaddy senior vice president of business applications Steven Aldrich, is that they perceive themselves to be too small.

The survey reported the percentage of businesses that saw themselves as too small for websites at 35 percent. Other reasons given were that they lacked technical expertise (21 percent) or couldn’t afford a website (20 percent).

The statistics seem surprising until you consider that 39 percent of businesses surveyed globally and 46 percent in the U.S. consisted of only one person, according to GoDaddy.

Of course, web-hosting business GoDaddy, for which small businesses are the core audience, thinks businesses without websites are missing out. Aldrich points out that being on the web makes a business easier to find.

Of the surveyed businesses that have websites, 83 percent said their online platforms gave them a competitive advantage over businesses without websites.

“What is clear is that these very small businesses are realizing that if they don’t fully engage online, they are at a competitive disadvantage,” said Irving.

The survey was conducted of 4,009 businesses of 1-5 employees each, with the sample size split roughly equally among the eight countries where businesses were surveyed, accoridng to GoDaddy. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points. 

Source: inc.com

Blurring Boxes Residence - Brooklyn, New York, NY, United States


FIRM           Architensions
TYPE           Landscape + Planning › Private Garden
                    Residential › Apartment Private House
STATUS       Built
YEAR          2016
SIZE            1000 sqft - 3000 sqft

The evolution of living in our cities more and more tries to embrace nature, almost negating the urban character of neighborhoods. The design for a renovation and additions to a townhouse in Brooklyn is generated from the idea of fusing the interior space with the outdoor landscape through the creation of ground-up pavilions with specific experiential qualities.

Two main pavilions have been juxtaposed to the existing building— in a way to have an unobstructed view of the garden through the windows and also blurred views — obtained from the partial over imposing of a wooden screen to the addition facades. The exterior cladding is achieved layering vertical wooden slats of Shou Sugi Ban (or Yakisugi), an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring. The two volumes are devoted to sound/vision and smelling/tasting activities and they complement the existing functions with natural light being the main component of the white bare interiors minimally furnished.

The experience is extended to the landscape outside where the original bluestones have been restored and reused as the material for the hardscape that leads the user to a third volume: a shed-like typology balloon frame construction. This third programmatic element is providing the function of isolation for meditative activities and it serves as a winter plants shelter for the garden.

The sectional shape of the three pavilions revolve around the presence of skylights with different configurations that capture the sun and the diffused light reflecting from the trees, making the interior changing with the seasons and further connecting with the exterior.

source: architizer.com

My Apartamento: George Lois

Inside the Greenwich pad of the revolutionary graphic designer and inspiration for Mad Men

The latest subject of NOWNESS’s series with Apartamento magazine is celebrated art director and self-described “graphic communicator” George Lois. Known for designing 92 covers of men’s magazine Esquire during his ten-year tenure there, and working to create the iconic "I Want My MTV" tagline, Lois was a key figure of the 1960s Creative Revolution, which ushered in a new wave of expression in advertising, characterized by its irreverent tone. 

“Lois was a key figure of the 1960s Creative Revolution in advertising”

Still wildly charismatic, the New York native is captured by director Barbara Anastacio in his suitably stylish Greenwich Village apartment, which could easily double as a set for TV drama Mad Men. It's even rumoured that Lois was the inspiration for the show's morally loose protagonist Don Draper—something the “one-woman man” emphatically contests. 

Source: NOWNESS

Wikkelhouse

A special little house, made out of cardboard. Sustainably built to last. And suit all your needs. Developed by Fiction Factory in Amsterdam.

You’re human which means your needs will change throughout time. Wikkelhouse adapts to whatever you want it to be, it grows with you. Even if you want to sell the place for whatever reason. Since Wikkelhouse is easy to transport and can be placed anywhere it can simply be moved to a different owner.

Going underground with the architect who's turning urban living on its head

In Residence: Deborah Saunt

Going underground with the architect who's
turning urban living on its head

In Residence: Deborah Saunt
Going underground with the architect who's turning urban living on its head

Known as the 'Covert House' for its unassuming silhouette disguising a more voluminous subterranean abode, the south London home of Australian-born architect Deborah Saunt is a boxy case study for clever city living. 

“Saunt consistently experiments with perceptions of scale”

As the co-founder of the London-based firm DSDHA—which she runs with her husband David Hills—Saunt consistently experiments with perceptions of scale in work that spans both the public and private sector, while engaging in a wider conversation about responsible construction in already dense urban environments.

Norman Foster: New International Airport for Mexico City

he Mexico City New International Airport (NAICM) is a new greenfield airport being built in the city of Mexico, to replace the existing Benito Juarez International Airport.

The project is being developed by Mexico's Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT) as part of the transport development plan announced by Mexican President, who allocated $9.2bn for the construction of new airport in September 2014. It is one of the world's biggest airport infrastructure projects and is expected to be the biggest airport in Latin America.

The new airport will have an initial capacity to handle 50 million passengers a year, which will be increased to 120 million annually through expansion by 2062. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and the first phase is scheduled for completion by early 2019.

Settlement Reached for 46-Story Mexican Museum Tower to Rise

Waylaid by a pair of lawsuits filed by a group of neighbors in the adjacent Four Seasons building at 765 Market Street, a settlement has been reached to allow Millennium Partners’ tower to rise up to 510-feet in height at 706 Mission Streetand the building permit for the $305 million project has been issued with the permit to start excavation in the works.

As part of the settlement, Millennium Partners will donate $100,000 to the City to offset the costs of installing a new crosswalk at Third Street and Stevenson and revising the signal timing on Third, assuming the improvements for the residents of the Four Seasons, and others, are approved.

The neighbors, who live in a building that’s 430 feet tall, had originally sued to limit the new building to 351 feet in height.

Primarily designed by Handel Architects, the 706 Mission Street project includes the redevelopment of the adjacent Aronson Building and San Francisco’s new Mexican Museum, designed by Ten Arquitectos, at its base.

Article: socketsite.com

One apartment complex’s rule: You write a bad review, we fine you $10k


One apartment complex’s rule: You write a bad review, we fine you $10k

 photo: arstechnica.com

photo: arstechnica.com

Trying to control customer opinions online is nearly always a losing game for a business, and there's now a long line of cases where it has backfired on companies. We uncovered a new example this month, when a reader contacted Ars Technica to show us the "Social Media Addendum" that his Florida apartment complex, called Windermere Cay, included in his lease.

The Social Media Addendum, published here, is a triple-whammy. First, it explicitly bans all "negative commentary and reviews on Yelp! [sic], Apartment Ratings, Facebook, or any other website or Internet-based publication or blog." It also says any "breach" of the Social Media Addendum will result in a $10,000 fine, to be paid within ten business days. Finally, it assigns the renters' copyrights to the owner—not just the copyright on the negative review, but "any and all written or photographic works regarding the Owner, the Unit, the property, or the apartments." Snap a few shots of friends who come over for a dinner party? The photos are owned by your landlord.

Contacted by Ars, a manager disclaimed the contract—even though it had been given to a tenant to sign just a few days before.

Before one even gets to the terms of the Social Media Addendum, renters have to get through this explanatory paragraph:

There is a growing trend... where tenants will post unjustified and defamatory reviews regarding an apartment complex in an attempt to negotiate lower rent payments, or otherwise seek concessions from a landlord. Such postings can cripple a business by creating a false impression in the eyes of consumers. The damages resulting from this false impression can include potentially millions of dollars in economic losses, and have permanent consequences that can unjustly destroy a business.

The Addendum was provided to Ars by a resident of Windermere Cay who asked that his name be withheld. In this article, he'll be referred to as Martin. He moved in to the complex in early 2014, selecting it because it's an easy commute to his engineering job at an Orlando company. Martin describes Windermere Cay as a five-building complex, with each building holding about 30 apartments.

He never had any intention of writing a review of his apartment, good or bad. Still, he told the management that he wouldn't sign the Social Media Addendum on principle.

"If I took a photo of people in my apartment, they would own it," he said in an interview with Ars. "It's just ridiculous."

So in 2014, Martin asked to have the addendum removed from his lease. "They said, we'll talk to the property managers," Martin said. He didn't hear anything else about it.

This year, once his lease was up, Martin was given another year-long lease to sign. Despite his complaints and earlier refusal to sign, he was again given a Social Media Addendum to sign. Once more, he told management he disagreed with the terms of the document and wanted it removed.

"It was still in there," he said. "I assume if people don't question it, they would sign it."

Asked about the Social Media Addendum by Ars, Windermere Cay's property manager sent this response via e-mail: "This addendum was put in place by a previous general partner for the community following a series of false reviews. The current general partner and property management do not support the continued use of this addendum and have voided it for all residents."

While the addendum may be "voided," residents clearly haven't gotten the memo. Martin had been given a copy of the addendum just days earlier, and it's surrounded in a sheaf of other typical renter paperwork, such as mold and lead disclosures. The manager at Windermere Cay wouldn't answer follow-up questions or even give a name when asked—the name on the Windermere Cay e-mail read simply "Property Manager."

Better yet, don’t ask

 

Not only is such a contract unenforceable, but it could expose anyone promulgating it to legal repercussions, Santa Clara University Law Professor Eric Goldman explained.

"It would be a terrible idea to enforce this in court. A judge is going to shred it," Goldman said in an interview. "If a person posts an Instragram photo of them having a party in their apartment, the landlord is saying they own that as well. The overreach reinforces that this clause is bad news, and it may be actionable just to ask."

States have taken action in the past against businesses that pushed "no review" paperwork on customers, even when those businesses haven't been crazy enough to attempt enforcing the illegal deals. It's been clear that such contracts are legally questionable since at least 2003, when the New York v. Network Associates decision came out. In that case, a judge found that telling customers they couldn't publish reviews of software "without prior consent" violated New York's unfair competition law. In Goldman's opinion, "no review" contracts like the one pushed by Windermere could also lead to legal trouble under federal law, since the FTC Act bars "unfair and deceptive" business practices.

Goldman has written about some of the most notable attempts by businesses to squelch customer reviews, although he said the Windermere Cay Social Media Addendum is the first time he has seen such an attempt in the landlord-tenant context.

We've covered a few of the "greatest hits" on Ars: there's the online retailer that got pummeled with a $300k legal bill for trying to fine a couple for a negative review. Don't forget Medical Justice, which tried to use copyright to take control of patient reviews but promptly "retired" its contract once it was challenged in court. Finally, there's Suburban Express, whose owner has been accused of harassing and stalking customers who left negative reviews.

For his part, Martin says he really doesn't have any complaints about his apartment or the building—after all, he just chose to live there for another year. "It's an incredibly new complex, and I'm the first person to live in my unit," he said.

Article: arstechnica.com

TruAmerica Multifamily and Capri Capital Partners Acquire 362-Unit Denver Apartment Community

 Photo: multifamilybiz.com

Photo: multifamilybiz.com

DENVER, CO - TruAmerica Multifamily, in partnership with Capri Capital Partners, has acquired from Forum Real Estate Group the Veranda Highpointe Apartments, a 362-unit Class A multifamily development in Denver, CO in a transaction valued at $105 million. 

Built in 2014, the five-story multifamily property offers a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans, and a variety of resort-style amenities including a heated swimming pool with a unique ‘lazy river,’ two-story clubhouse, state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga studio, sports court, community kitchen, dog walking path, rooftop lounge and structured parking. Located at 6343 E. Girard Place, Veranda Highpointe Apartments is situated within seven miles of downtown Denver and 1.5 miles of the Denver Tech Center (DTC). The Southmoor Light Rail Station, which is less than one half-mile from the property, offers convenient access to both downtown and the DTC.

“Millennials make up approximately 40 percent of the Denver workforce and population, yet many have been priced out of most of the urban areas where young urban professionals typically would like to live,” said TruAmerica Senior Managing Director of Acquisition and Investor Relations Noah E. Hochman.  “This was an opportunity to acquire a high quality asset in an in-fill location that was built and priced to appeal to Denver’s largest demographic.” 
    
With today’s closing, TruAmerica’s Denver portfolio totals 2,037 units.  One of the most active buyers of multifamily assets in the United States, TruAmerica focuses on acquiring properties to provide higher quality and affordable rental units for working class families and young professionals that are priced out of urban locations.  In addition, the company focuses on high quality amenity rich Class A transit oriented developments in growing urban neighborhoods where homeownership is unaffordable.  Last year, the TruAmerica/Capri partnership acquired the Vermont, a newly constructed 464-unit luxury high-rise apartment complex along Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.   
    
“Veranda is a prized asset in one of Denver’s most desirable areas, and we can improve operational efficiencies through our vertically integrated asset and construction management platform,” said Hochman.  “We will also undertake selective capital improvement projects and enhance the unit interiors with higher end finishes and additional high-tech features for residents.  The property has more amenities than any other building in the neighborhood and we want to make sure these are activated with good resident programming that will provide a sense of community.” 

Denver benefits from a diverse knowledge-based economy that includes aerospace, aviation, bioscience, telecom energy, financial services and information technology software. The Milken Institute cited the Denver metro’s “robust and diverse high-tech sector” as the reason for its strong job gains in one-year and five-year measures. Also, the city ranked in the top six markets to watch in ULI’s “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016.” 

"Capri’s investment strategy for this particular client is to invest in multifamily properties on a diversified basis across the US, focusing on core and value-add opportunities in high barrier-to-entry markets witnessing strong demographic and economic trends," says Dori Nolan, Partner, Investments.  "The acquisition of Veranda is consistent with this strategy."

“The sale of Veranda Highpointe marks Forum’s fourth ground-up development disposition in the Denver area. We are very proud of this residential community and the incredible attention and recognition this asset has garnered over the years. From the signature ‘lazy river’ amenity to the high level of custom finishes and details throughout the property, we put a lot of heart and soul into designing and developing Veranda Highpointe and could not be happier with the end result. We’ve found great partners in Capri and TruAmerica, and are confident they will continue to deliver superior service and the kind of living experience that Veranda is known for,” remarked Darren Fisk, Forum Real Estate Group founder and CEO.

Article: multifamilybiz.com

No Sale for Iconic Flintstone House (UPDATED)

Having hit the market for $4.2 million three months ago, the listing for the iconic ‘Flintstone House’ at 45 Berryessa Wayhas just been de-listed from the MLS without a reported sale.

Designed by William Nicholson and built in 1976, the experimental home was purchased for $800,000 in 1996 with an ailing foundation, after which it was restored, repainted and remodeled inside, including the futuristic kitchen designed by Eugene Tsui.

 
 

According to the latest listing agent, the property had most recently been priced for somebody who really wanted the quirky 2,730-square-foot home rather than a developer or individual looking for a nearly 2-acre lot upon which to build a much larger Hillsborough home. No official word on whether or not that strategy and concern for the home will remain in place next year.

UPDATE: And after 36 hours off the MLS, the iconic Flintstone House has just been relisted without a change in the asking price.

Listing Site: http://www.flintstonehouse280.com/

Article: socketsite.com

My Micro NY will soon be New York's first micro-apartment building

  The concrete and steel modular units at My Micro NY are currently being stacked and bolted together. Renderings courtesy nArchitects

The concrete and steel modular units at My Micro NY are currently being stacked and bolted together. Renderings courtesy nArchitects

New York is known for its expensive and cramped living conditions. The city has a solution for one of those stigmas.

My Micro NY, the city's first micro-apartment building, will open shortly after construction is completion in December, Dezeen reports. The nine-story, 35,000-sf modular building is located in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood and was designed by nArchitects. 

While the median rental price for a one-bedroom apartment elsewhere in Manhattan is a whopping $3,400, market-rate units at My Micro NY start at $2,000. Affordable units will range from $950 to $1,492.

The catch, of course, is that the complex’s 55 units will range from 250 to 370 sf, with 10-foot ceilings. The apartments will have a Juliet balcony, a kitchen, a closet, and a combined living and sleeping area. To get some space, tenants will have access to a gym, lounge, roof terrace, and garden.

The modules are made of steel frames and concrete slabs. They are currently being stacked and bolted together.

My Micro NY also released a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the project. 

Article: bdcnetwork.com

This Office Tower Could Be The Greenest High-Rise In The World—Because It Breathes

In a typical high-rise, the only way to get rid of stale office air is by pumping air in and out through an energy-intensive ventilation system. If you're encased in glass and steel, you can't just open a window. A new office tower does things differently: When the temperature is right, the whole building breathes.

"When we started this project, we aimed at being the greenest skyrise in the world," says Mike Gilmore, director of design and construction services for PNC, which opened the new building, designed by Gensler, as part of its Pittsburgh headquarters. One part of being more sustainable was designing a natural ventilation system that would stretch up all 33 stories.

A double-layered facade wraps all the way around the building, with outer windows that automatically pop open when they sense that temperature and humidity are at the right level and air pollution is low. Inside, vents flop open to let in fresh air. On warm days, a solar chimney—heated by un on the roof—opens up, and sucks hot air out of the building.

"After the poppers pop and the floppers flop and louvers open . . . the stack effect takes the heat out with zero energy," says Gilmore.

In the winter, the roof collects heat and sends it through the building through a system of fans. The double-skin facade traps almost three feet of air between each layer, helping insulate the building and reduce the need for heating or cooling.

The natural system works quickly, as the team saw on a recent visit just before the building opened. "It was pretty warm because everything was closed," says Benson Gabler, who manages corporate sustainability. "We kind of overrode the system to open the facade, and all of the sudden the natural ventilation mode kicked in, and it just instantly cooled down the floor."

The building is also covered with blinds that automatically open and close to let in the sun and block out heat. Ninety-two percent of the office space gets natural light, and artificial lights don't switch on unless sensors detect that it's truly dim inside.

To save water, an on-site water treatment plant—like a miniature version of the kind that provides cities with drinking water—treats rainwater and recycled water from the building for reuse in flushing toilets, water gardens, and cooling building systems. By catching rainwater, the building helps Pittsburgh deal with a common problem during storms: If it rains too much, sewers often overflow into local rivers, polluting natural habitats.

PNC started experimenting with greener buildings more than a decade ago and quickly realized that building more sustainably didn't actually cost more than the conventional methods. The company now has more than 250 LEED-certified projects in the U.S., more, it says, than any other company in the world. The office tower in Pittsburgh is expected to exceed LEED Platinum, the highest rating for sustainability.

The next step: Teaching employees how to use the new office to make the most of its green features. "While we can design and construct a sustainable building, the actual performance is dependent on human behavior," says Gabler. So far, 140 people have signed up for training sessions on how the building works. "We want to get them educated and excited about the building so they could then share that with their colleagues to really create a culture of sustainability."

Article: via fastcoexist.com

Gas Station on the Market for $6.3 million

After 38 years in business on the southwest corner of 19th Avenue and Judah, the owner of the 19th Avenue 76 Gas and Service Station is retiring. And as a plugged-in tipster notes, both the core business and real estate below are now on the market for $6.3 million.

The 10,000 square foot site is actually zoned for one to three family homes rising up to 40-feet in height. And while never pursued, perhaps due to the subsequent market crash, San Francisco’s Planning Department met with a team a decade ago to explore the site’s potential for development.

And yes, there’s another 76 Station on the other side of 19th Avenue. At least for now.

Article: socketsite.com

5 Social Brands With Awesome Blog Strategies

  Image by aleksitappura via Unsplash

Image by aleksitappura via Unsplash

Whether you’re a small business or a big enterprise, it’s imperative that you have a content marketing strategy. That is, a way to market your products and services online using relevant, useful content published and distributed through your website, social media, email communications and blog.

Each piece of content you add is another brick in your business’s digital marketing foundation, building your website authority and audience, establishing rapport with your visitors, and keeping you top-of-mind when their next purchase decision comes through, resulting in greater awareness and new business.

Not all content marketing strategies are created equal. There are some really fantastic ones, and, well, some pretty terrible ones. The following are five of my favorite social brands that all have terrific blog strategies that cater wonderfully to heir respective (and sometimes shared) audiences.

Whether you’re a small business or a big enterprise, it’s imperative that you have a content marketing strategy. That is, a way to market your products and services online using relevant, useful content published and distributed through your website, social media, email communications and blog.

Each piece of content you add is another brick in your business’s digital marketing foundation, building your website authority and audience, establishing rapport with your visitors, and keeping you top-of-mind when their next purchase decision comes through, resulting in greater awareness and new business.

Not all content marketing strategies are created equal. There are some really fantastic ones, and, well, some pretty terrible ones. The following are five of my favorite social brands that all have terrific blog strategies that cater wonderfully to their respective (and sometimes shared) audiences.

Whole Foods – The Whole Story

As you can imagine, the Whole Foods blog audience is comprised of people who are concerned with their diets. They eat healthy, organic, and local. Many audience members have dietary restrictions that need to be looked after. We’re talking about some serious foodies here.

These people want and need to cook, clean, and live healthier. They want recipes from big-name chefs that use in-season produce. Whole Foods delivers this, and more, with their blog.

They produce all sorts of content relevant to their audience: recipes, blog posts on all different food topics, post series (What to Make This Week), videos, social promotions (#FoodForThought), and sustainability. The key here is that they do a really great job of listening to their audience a shaping their blog strategy and voice to cater to their interests. It’s conversational and fun, not uptight and sales-y.

Whole Foods takes the cake for having a great blog strategy that caters to the needs and interests of their audience. 

Coca Cola – Unbottled

Coke-Unbottled-Blog-620x391.png

Coca Cola’s online audience is obviously enormous. It’s global, comprised of all ages and demographics. Their content marketing strategy reflects that in a lot of different ways. They even have a Culture section on their blog.

They offer many different types of content as well. They have new marketing campaigns (you’ve probably seen “share a coke” recently), social promotions (#outofoffice), timely videos (Coke College Football Display Comes to Life), history, stewardship, sustainability (water replenishment report), food, and promotions.

The Coca Cola blog is the perfect place to find out how such a social brand has grown and prospered throughout the years. The timeliness of the blog posts are crucial to keeping their audience engaged.

Bigcommerce

If you’re not familiar with Bigcommerce, they’re a software as a service company that provides their customers with the ability to easily create an ecommerce store and sell their products online.

Their audience is comprised mostly of startups and small businesses as well as online retailers who are conscious of latest tech trends and marketing techniques.

Bigcommerce offers a plethora of blog post types as well. They have four main categories that they funnel each blog post into: Selling online, Ecommerce Marketing, Dream Big, and Ecommerce News. The blog is properly structured for their visitors so it’s easy to find whatever you want to read about.

They regularly feature guest blogs from their integration partners (like BoostSuite) and industry thought-leaders as well as marketing tips that can be easily implemented in any small business marketing strategy. Guest posts are perfect examples of co-marketing (check out how these breweries are co-marketing). Bigcommerce, as with many other blogs, try to help their audiences by featuring articles with unique points of view.

I, for one, love the Dream Big section of their blog. If you’re working at a small business, those motivational quotes are the perfect pick-me-up after a long, stressful day. (Speaking of their motivational quotes, here are some from national small business week.)

Bigcommerce does a fantastic job of highlighting their most successful customers, which is important for their prospective customers to see. They have multiple posts that show off customers who have been on shows like Shark Tank and The Today Show. They also have a free ebook: Totally Tubular Guide to E-commerce SEO Cool.

Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Their blog audience is primarily comprised of their vendors and their customers. You’re looking at a coed audience of do-it-yourselfers, to-be brides and grooms, artists, hipsters, and treasure hunters, to name a few.

The Etsy audience is interested in art, good food, fashion, and a vintage-forward lifestyle.

Etsy employs lots of different types of posts in their strategy. Many of their posts are sourced from the artists themselves. They also publish posts featuring new artists with personal insights into their lives, new trends and designers to watch, how-tos for cooking and creating, videos, and real people using real products created and sold through Etsy.

I grew up going on long road trips with my family so I thought this blog post/video/campaign was a neat idea.

Etsy is smart in recognizing that fashion and tastes differ by country and culture, so they’ve taken things to the next level by offering multiple country-specific blogs. This makes it much easier for them to grow their global audience.

Constant Contact

I’ll finish things off with another strong player in the SMB space. Constant Contact offers affordable email and social media marketing service along with some stellar blog content.

Much like Bigcommerce, the Constant Contact audience is made up of small businesses and DIYers, from all different industries, locations, and demographics. Generally, these folks need help with their online marketing, and Constant Contact consistently delivers top-notch blog content to meet this need.

Their blog focuses on hot topics, how-tos, and tips and tricks regarding email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing. They offer resources (like this one for SEO), guides, and lists that are easy to digest and act upon. What I find most amazing about their strategy is that you can tell that they really want to help their audience, not just pitch them as to why their product is great. A B2B blog strategy cannot be successful unless you’re completely dialed in with your audience, and Constant Contact has done just that.

Guest blogs and whitepapers are also big parts of their strategy. In a digital marketing world full of complexity and confusing jargon, Constant Contact keep things light-hearted and easy for their audience to understand.

Article: blog.hootsuite.com

2 World Trade Center

Vimeo: Squint/Opera

The completion of the World Trade Center will restore the majestic skyline of Manhattan and unite the streetscapes of TriBeCa with the towers Downtown. To complete this urban reunification BIG have proposed a tower that will feel equally at home in TriBeCa and the World Trade Center. From TriBeCa, the home of lofts and roof gardens, it will appear like a vertical village of singular buildings stacked on top of each other to create parks and plazas in the sky. From the World Trade Center, the individual towers will appear unified, completing the colonnade of towers framing the 9/11 Memorial. Horizontal meets vertical. Diversity becomes unity.

Our film which was used to launch the design combines film footage with a range of visualisation techniques. Following a single spiralling movement the camera moves upwards through the building revealing inhabitants going about their everyday activities. Interviews with Bjarke Ingels were filmed at various locations around the building and were combined with motion graphics to help explain how the architectural vision will fit within the surrounding environment.

Blaibach Concert Hall by Peter Haimerl

Filmed and edited by NAARO

Architects: Peter Haimerl
Location: Blaibach, Germany
Design Team: Karl Landgraf, Ulrich Pape, Tomo Ichikawa, Felicia Michael, Jutta Görlich, Martin Kloos
Area: 560.0 sqm
Project Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of peter haimerl.architektur

Image: archdaily.com


Structural Engineer: Thomas Beck, A.K.A. Ingenieure
Electrical Planner: Planungsbüro Stefan Schmid
Acoustical Engineering: Müller-BBM

Image: archdaily.com

From the architect. The concert hall represents the heart of the urban development to revitalize the new centre of Blaibach. It is located next to the new community centre and complements the space of a new village square that was realized with funds of the state urban development support. The concert hall is a solitaire of concrete with an inclination above the slope in the village centre following the topography and linking with its granite facade to the stone carver tradition of Bailbach. The monolithic tilted building opens itself to the visitors at the new village square and guides them by a staircase to the foyer below the surface. The foyer provides not only the functional areas like wardrobe, sanitary rooms and bar, but also leads the visitor excitingly around the auditorium into the inner concert hall.

Image: archdaily.com

The hall unfolds its acoustics within the seemingly light building. While the recised light slits illuminate the space. The building body is made of pre-cast concrete and only a highly intricate constructed formwork made the realization of the difficult form possible. The dominant tilted surfaces of the concert hall are based on acoustic specifications and include besides LED-lights also bass absorber behind the light slits as well as underneath the steps for optimal acoustics. The concrete in the hall is untreated. Its lively surfaces help to absorb the medium-height tones.

Image: archdaily.com

The inclination of the building – based on the increase of the slope – carry the gallery. The seemingly transparent seats, which are fixed on iron swords, appear to float above the light slits. The stage of the concert hall, which is only designed for its actual unction not as a multifunctional room, is equipped with modern LED-stage technology.

Image: archdaily.com

Article: archdaily.com

Algorithmic Light Facade for NH Collection Madrid

The project is a permanent exterior façade lighting scheme realized as part of refurbishment project for a large conference hotel in central Madrid, Spain. The client requested an eye catching exterior lighting scheme to communicate their new brand identity and to express the building in a modern surprising way. Submitted by Lighting Design Collective https://www.codaworx.com/awards/codaawards/2015/entries/algorithmic-light-facade-for-nh-collection-madrid-nh-hotels-group

HOW FACEBOOK KEEPS SCALING ITS CULTURE

THE COMPANY MARK ZUCKERBERG CREATED NOW HAS 12,000 EMPLOYEES. BUT IT'S DOING ITS BEST TO KEEP ON ACTING LIKE A SCRAPPY STARTUP.

 

BY HARRY MCCRACKEN

The most interesting thing about Facebook’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, California—humbly known as "Building 20," and connected to the nearby, ex-Sun Microsystems campus the company has occupied since 2012 by Disneyland-style trams—isn't that it was designed by Frank Gehry. It isn't even that it's one sprawling, 434,000-square-foot room, topped off with a (windy) roof park.

What's striking about Building 20 is how hard Facebook has worked to preserve the stripped-down, collaborative atmosphere of the workplaces that preceded it. The floors are still bare cement; girders and vents remain exposed. Staffers, as before, are encouraged to write on walls. Everyone—CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg included—works at tables in open spaces.

In short, any specific nook or cranny resembles the vastly smaller premises that Facebook called home five or 10 years ago. That's very much by design, and it reflects the company's obsessive desire to scale up the fabulously successful working environment that Zuckerberg devised in the early years, which is a big part of preserving its culture.

From the outside, it can be difficult to appreciate how fast Facebook's staff has grown. In September 2010, the company—which certainly didn’t feel like a tiny outfit at the time—had 1,700 staffers. A half-decade later, that figure had surged to 11,996. And with Facebook itself, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and other efforts all expanding, it's still recruiting new employees in droves: As I write, there are more than 500 open positions in Menlo Park alone.

Facebook is huge. It’s a publicly held company; it’s an incumbent rather than an upstart. All of which means that if it isn’t careful, it could join the many other tech companies that started out with a powerful culture, lost their way, and ended up big, bloated, and bureaucratic.

"IT’S BEEN A PROCESS OVER TIME OF BUILDING A CULTURE WHERE PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THE MISSION IN THE SAME WAY THAT I DO," ZUCKERBERG SAYS.

If you ask the CEO himself how Facebook has managed to keep on being Facebook—as I did when we chatted for my cover story on the company's future—he turns, as he frequently does when you ask him about nearly any topic, to the company's mission of making the world more connected.

"I think it’s been a process over time of building a culture where people think about the mission in the same way that I do," Zuckerberg told me. "That’s allowed us to take on more and more products and things that we can try to solve for the world."

CULTURE, DISTRIBUTED
The mission was already firmly in place eight years ago, when Lori Goler, a marketing director at eBay, heard Zuckerberg talking about it on the radio as she drove to work. "The person who was interviewing him was going down a very specific path, and he kept taking it back up to the mission of the company," she remembers. "'We're here to make the world more open and connected.' I thought, That is such an amazing social mission. I love it."

When Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook as chief operating officer a few months later, Goler approached her about joining the company in any role that might be useful. She was surprised when Sandberg asked if she was interested in running the recruiting team, but took the job. Today, she's VP of people, in charge of both human resources and hiring.

 Lori Goler

Lori Goler


Goler does not see her position as making her uniquely responsible for preserving Facebook's sense of itself. "When people from startups call and say, ‘We're exploding. We've got to scale. How do we scale our culture?’, one of the things I always say is that I think largely the reason that the Facebook culture scaled is that no single person owns it," she says. "It's distributed across the entire organization. If we have 10,000 people who work at Facebook, you would have 10,000 people tell you that they own the culture. We hire people who are like that. We express it to them during the hiring process and the recruiting process. We talk about it on their first day and their first week."

Maybe the most tangible sign of Facebook's culture—at least to visiting outsiders—is the inspirational signage on its walls, most of which involves slogans encouraging staffers to regard their work as important to the world, experiment early and often, and empathize with the needs of Facebook users. Even those posters are evidence of the company's distributed culture, Goler says: "Actually, all of these signs came from people in the organization. There's no central sign- or motto-producing team."

 Inspirational signs at Facebook Photo:Twitter user  @Itia4u

Inspirational signs at Facebook
Photo:Twitter user @Itia4u

Goler's predecessor as head of HR, Chris Cox, originally joined the company as an engineer in 2005; between their two tenures, Facebook has grown enormous without having someone with a traditional background running HR. Cox is now chief product officer, but still plays a key role as a keeper of the culture, meeting with all new employees as part of their onboarding process.

 Chris Cox

Chris Cox

That's not the only unusual, culture-centric thing about how Facebook welcomes new arrivals. "A new engineer gets to decide which team they get to work on, which is pretty unique," Cox explains. "The instructions are, go find the place that you're going to make the most impact, and think very, very carefully about what that means for you and for the world. Think about where you're going to have that impact, and go do it. People say all the time when they're starting here, ‘That's a really serious set of instructions to receive on my first day.’ But it's reflected in the culture of the company. We're here to try and help bring people closer together, and that's what we do."

"It's not obvious to the outside world that we're intentionally trying to mold roles around people rather than people around roles," Goler adds. "That puts people in a place where they can do their very best work."

Facebook, which was famously founded by college students, still doesn't want to be a place where people are defined by what's already on their résumé. It has "a culture that inherently believes that you don’t have to have a huge amount of experience to be able to do big things," Zuckerberg told me. "I think it would be pretty backwards, given my own experience, if we didn’t believe that. That’s been helpful in terms of being able to give really talented folks who haven’t run big things before big roles in the company, and giving them a chance to either show that they can do it, or not."

FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM AND OCULUS AND WHATSAPP
One reason Facebook has managed to keep on attracting top engineering talent is that it isn't just the same company it was a decade ago, only larger. The company has discrete teams working on Instagram, Oculus VR, Messenger, WhatsApp, and other projects.

"Smart people generally want to work with other smart people on hard problems," says Instagram cofounder and CEO Kevin Systrom, who became responsible for integrating his tiny startup into the greater Facebook culture when Instagram was acquired in 2012. "When you start to get a critical mass of smart, driven people in an area, they want to work together. When you think of the best universities in the world, they work this way, too. You get some of the best thinkers in political science or physics or whatever. There's a positive feedback loop once you build to a certain size. I feel like I've seen that develop over the last few years here. And that doesn't happen at many companies."

At Facebook's current size, keeping the quality of incoming recruits high is "hard, but like with all of these networks, the seed really, really, really matters," Cox says. "The first 100 people, the first 500 people, the first 1,000 people. If you're able to get that right, it's much easier to scale, because you have people that really get it, that care about bringing other people in, making sure it fits together. We've invested a lot in that."

"Our employee referral program is really strong," says Goler. "People send their best former colleagues to us, or the people who were in their class that they always thought were really impressive, or, 'Hey, I met this person on Saturday night who seems really great.'"

 Building 20's giant roof park, as seen from above, with the existing campus in the background

Building 20's giant roof park, as seen from above, with the existing campus in the background

Between Building 20's 400,000-plus-square feet and the million square feet at the existing former Sun campus, Facebook's headquarters is no longer automatically conducive to the sort of intimate, collaborative atmosphere that startups get for free. The company understands that. It puts related teams together, sometimes in spaces with their own look and feel. Instagram, for instance, is all in one place, in an area with Instagram photos on the walls and conferences named after popular Instagram hashtags.

"One of the things that we built very intentionally are spaces where people will have serendipitous encounters with other people, little neighborhoods and groups of seats," Goler says. "Even the people mover [tram] is a place where you might bump into someone walking back and forth in the tunnel. It's really amazing, actually. I'm sure a lot of people do this, but I keep in my head my running list of, "There are 12 people I have to see . . . It's not worth a meeting, but when I bump into them, I'm going to talk to them about this.' If I just walk around for a little bit during the day, I usually bump into all of them."

Of course, you aren't going to bump into colleagues who aren't at headquarters—and Facebook is an increasingly far-flung operation. "I think it's 70 offices in 30 countries," Goler says. "A lot of those are smaller sales offices. We try, again, to intentionally be sure that everyone is tied together."

Much of that tying together is done within Facebook itself, which the company has long used as its own workgroup productivity tool. (A commercial version aimed at businesses, Facebook at Work, is due for release soon.) "It's one of the things that makes Facebook so different," Goler says. "You truly have an integrated relationship with all of the people that you come across. I know what happened to people over the weekend, what's happening in their lives, what's happening at work, what's happening in all of these different areas."

"Mark and Sheryl obviously use Facebook a lot. That gives them a lot more reach within the organization, too, and voice and a way for people to connect with them. I think it's amazing how connected people feel, particularly to Mark and Sheryl, but also to a lot of the leadership team, even if they don't have an opportunity to be alone in a room with them."

MOVE FAST, BUT DON'T BREAK THINGS
Facebook's culture may be distributed among thousands of people who take it seriously. But has the company managed to make it permanently self-sustaining? I asked Zuckerberg that during one of our meetings, and he stressed that maintaining the same values doesn't mean that an enormous company can behave the same way it did when it was tiny or medium-sized.

"It doesn’t get easier as you grow," he told me. "But I don’t think the point is to keep the culture exactly the same. We have certain values that map to how we think we should act to serve our community best. But how we do things changes over time."

YOU CAN’T PRETEND TO BE A DIFFERENT COMPANY THAN YOU ARE.

"Earlier on," he continued, "I was more in the camp of ‘We can tolerate mistakes.’ ‘Move fast and break things’ was our mantra. We officially retired that, because we were getting to a point where, at the scale we were at, we were making so many mistakes that actually having to go back and fix the mistakes afterward was slowing us down more than it was helping us speed up. So we switched the strategy to ‘Move fast with stable infrastructure.'

"I think that’s important. You can’t pretend to be a different company than you are. At each scale, you have to do the things that are uniquely suited to the environment you’re in and your position in the world."

Zuckerberg may see culture as something that's subject to evolution, but mission is another matter. In comments he sent me as I was wrapping up my feature on Facebook's future, he suggested that the company's overarching goals will allow it to keep being Facebook, no matter how big it gets in the years to come.

"Facebook’s mission is to give everyone in the world the power to share, and to make the world more open and connected," he wrote. "Connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation, so this is a long-term effort. As long as we stay focused on that mission, we’re going to keep attracting talented people who share the same goal and want to make it a reality."

Article: http://www.fastcompany.com/

The Adventure of Life

All around the world, GoPro users are capturing incredible experiences, from the heart-stopping to the heartfelt. Into the caldron of an active volcano, the neon streets of Japan, a refuge for wild mustangs, scaling an iceberg, the world’s biggest dance party, or a whale rescue mission, GoPros have documented every moment. See how GoPro’s new line of our most advanced cameras ever allow you to beautifully and authentically capture and share the experiences that bring purpose, adventure and joy to your life.

Shot 100% on the new GoPro HERO4 camera from http://Gopro.com.