Category Archives: How To:

How To Prepare for Disasters. Emergency Healthcare and Rescue Tips.

I just finished up my National Ski Patrol refresher over the weekend. This is the 12th year I’ll be volunteering as a patroller at Mount Snow Vermont. For those of you that don’t know what ski patrol is or what we do, you can think of it as an EMT on skis or in my case a snowboard that is primarily responsible for the immediate response, rescue, stabilization, and transport of a patient off of the mountain and to a primary care resource such as a doctor or hospital.

Hurricane Sandy has made everyone aware of the importance of good preparedness and immediate rescue in emergency situations. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few tips that you could use in times of an emergency.

Hands-Only CPR. In times of an emergency or a disaster, it is likely that people around you may go into shock. This could happen for a number of reasons but the result is that a person may experience low blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat, or poor diffusion which means organ’s aren’t getting the appropriate blood and oxygen levels. These issues can lead to death. One serious cause of shock might be due to hypothermia. With many people still out of heat, coupled with another storm coming, it’s entirely possible that you come across someone in need of CPR.

We watched this video (below) at our refresher and it is a great lesson on hands-only CPR. You can do this without being certified in emergency healthcare and it could make all the difference in a life or death situation. As for the video itself, please disregard the emergency number in the video as this was created for the British Heart Association.

 

Have a Plan: In Ski Patrol, we train and plan for a variety of scenarios that are both likely and unlikely to occur. The likely scenarios are things like broken legs or head injuries. The unlikely scenarios are things like an entire chairlift collapsing. In either case, we have a plan and set of tools we can use to handle any situation.

In times of an emergency, it is important to stay organized and have a plan. Hurricane Sandy caught everyone off guard and many were ill-prepared. In 2001 my family was also caught off guard when an F2 tornado hit our house in New Jersey.

Just like the fire-escape route in your office building, your family should have a defined plan of action in the event of an emergency.

Have the Tools: I think we all now understand the importance of preparation so some things to consider include: food and water supplies, clothing for extreme weather conditions, medical supplies like bandages and medicine, tools like knives and shovels, and gas and fuel.

Below is an actual list of items that a Sandy victim is in need of. Might you need these things too in case of another emergency?

  • - work gloves to pick up your sewage soaked stuff
  • - black garbage bags to put them in….
  • - swiss army/leatherman type multi tools
  • - hand sanitizer
  • - plastic grocery bags for use over spackle bucket as toilet. baby wipes and diapers also
  • - paper towels / toilet paper/ zip lock bags all sizes
  • - plastic tarps to lay your good stuff on so it stays off of the wet porch and street while you pack it in your car…
  • - rope to tie down your roof and your hatch back so you can fit more stuff per trip.
  • - rubber boots for cleanup volunteers and the older people wandering the street in their slippers because they will not leave their homes….
  • - propane as people are using their gas grills to keep warm…
  • - flashlights/batteries/head lamps
  • - metal water/paint buckets to boil water on the grill to make cup of soup/canned ready to eat meals (think chef boyardee) especially with pull tops!/tea/hot cocoa/instant coffee also flip top canned fruit!
  • - certified red plastic gas cans… as people are bringing poland spring jugs to the gas station and being turned away .. 2- 1/2 gallon or smaller…. we would love 5 gallon ones too but they are very heavy to carry when full especially if you have to walk a great distance…….. trust me I know!
  • - our “pipe dreams” are for generators and hand trucks but we will work on the small stuff for now…
  • - I know there are more items but these are what WE needed when we were there… clothing and food being brought by local scout troops etc but the above things the stores down there are out of!

So there you have it. Having a basic understanding of life saving skills like CPR, having a plan, and having the right tools can make all the difference in another disastrous situation.

How To Start A Company

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Starting a company is a daunting task and taking the first step sometimes seems impossible. I’ve encountered a number of people with the dilemma of “I know what I want to do but I don’t know how to start.” And rightfully so. Taking an abstract idea from thought to fruition is one of the hardest things to do. It’s why the failure rate of new business endeavors is so high. It’s also why most investors value people and execution of ideas above anything else. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but being able to execute on a vision is an entirely different story.

So how does someone actually start a business? The great thing about starting a business is that it requires creativity. Sure, you need to be creative in formulating the idea, but I think what goes overlooked often is the fact that you need to be even more creative with specifics around how you start the business. It doesn’t really matter what industry you are in. If you can be creative at both developing the idea and launching the business, I think you’ll have greater chances of success.

Here are a 7 examples of how you might consider starting a business.

1. Build a specific solution, for a specific problem, for a specific client. Most doctor’s offices confuse me. Not only do they confuse me, they drive me crazy. When I walk into a doctor’s office today I look over the counter and see endless shelves of manila envelopes. There must be thousands of sloppy, handwritten notes just sitting there unprotected in those color coated manila envelops. Every time I walk in I have the urge to walk up to the doctor and say, “give me $100,000. I’ll build you a digital solution for this mess and you will get lifetime rights to the technology. I’ll get to sell this to other doctors but you will get to use this technology forever.” If you see a specific problem that you think you can address, you might be able to find one client who will fund development. You will give them lifetime rights to the technology and in return, they will pay you and let you resell the solution to others.

2. Sell now, build later. Sometimes the best way to go about starting something is to first understand whether or not it makes sense to start. The best way to do this is to sell or pitch an idea to perspective clients before you even have a working or tangible product. When I was in college, I told the owner of a bar that I wanted to host an event on behalf of my marketing firm. I told him I was going to donate money to the charity I’ve worked with in the past. I told him I was going to bring in my entertainment. I told him I was going to create a marketing campaign. These were all lies. I didn’t have any of these things. I didn’t have a “marketing firm.” Well, he agreed to the event and I built up all the necessary pieces after it was sold through.

3. Go back to school. Do you know how much intellectual capital exists in academic universities? That’s why they are called academic institutions. They are pillars of knowledge and these pillars often facilitate cutting edge research. But sometimes these new technologies are never designed with the goal of commercialization in mind. When I was in school, I had a professor working on technology that could literally change the world. He had no interest in bringing this technology to market. He only cared about being published in some research paper. When I asked if I could take the technology to market, he was ecstatic. I expect there are others out there that have great innovations but have no interest in building a business with them. But maybe you do. Physically going back to school to explore these opportunities could potentially lead to the start of a new endeavor. It could be a school visit. It could be a school enrollment.

4. Combine and conquer. Sometimes two heads are simply better than one. It’s tough work staying motivated or even getting motivated in the first place to create a business. When you team up with someone and bring on a partner, you might find that a little bit of motivation and encouragement are enough to move the needle in terms of execution. Having a partner might also free up some burdens so you can focus on more pressing issues. And just having concerted dialog with someone else, who has the same directional goals, could also be that missing factor needed to start a new business.

5. Take money, make money. There are certain companies and industries that require a large capital investment to get started. For example, it would be nearly impossible to build an alternative energy company without some form of initial capital investment. These funds would most likely go towards research and development or manufacturing. In some cases, you may need to just go out and ask people for money in order to fund the development of the first iteration of your product or technology. But maybe you aren’t building an energy company and maybe a quick infusion of $5,000 to $10,000 from friends and family might be enough to kick start your company.

6. Leverage a distressed asset. People make great livings flipping houses (or used to anyway). They buy cheap and sell high. Many times people will buy cheap, fix up the house and bit, and than sell high. This is no different with businesses. There are plenty of distressed assets and companies out there that would love to be acquired for peanuts even though there is still huge potential and room for growth.

7. Don’t be glamorous. I heard a story once of a guy who sold hot dogs for a living. He made about $800k a year selling hot dogs and did so by setting up two hot dog stands at the entrances and exits of Home Depot stores. Not exactly an exciting job but it definitely pays the bills. There are probably a dozen other ways you can turn a low level job into a meaningful, high income producing business.

I’m sure this list can go on for quite a while, but what methods of launching a business have you seen?

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What is LinkedIn – A Guide To The Digital Rolodex

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Most of my friends are either in the work world or are in the process of finishing up some form of school and the following question has come up numerous times – What is LinkedIn?

I’m not saying I know what LinkedIn is, what their vision is, what their roadmap looks like, or what they want to be when they grow up but I do know how I use it and that is what I’ve been sharing with those that ask me, “what is LinkedIn?”

I think it’s as simple as this.

1. LinkedIn is the new roladex.

When you meet someone in a business setting, you typically exchange business cards. But its very likely that in 2 years that business card is obsolete. With LinkedIn, you can see where people move on to. You can follow their career.

2. Sales Prospecting

Trying to find a new client you want to sell something to? All you have to do is search for the position and the company of the person you are trying to contact and you’ll get a hit list of folks that could be a good fit for your sale. You will almost certainly find the person you are looking for or you’ll find someone relatively close.

3. Recruiting

When you are looking to hire someone to your company you often base your search on a certain skill set you need (e.g. position, title or education) a certain perspective (e.g. industry or company), or a certain degree of loyalty (e.g. avg 3 yrs+ at each company). There could be more attributes you evaluate when hiring but the point here is that most of those attributes can be found in someone’s LinkedIn profile page.

4. Background Checks

When going into a meeting, it’s often helpful to know a thing or two about the person you are going to meet with. LinkedIn is a very good resource in this department considering most people have their schools, past work experience, organizations, awards, groups, and even blog posts all listed in their profile.

5. Introductions

There could be a million and one reasons why you would want to meet with someone in a business setting and LinkeIn prides itself an helping people access the social networks of others.

In summary, I think LinkedIn is nothing more than the new Rolodex but when you consider how dynamic this new rolodex really is, you quickly see how powerful this service can be. Furthermore, their recent acquisition of CardMunch further validates how serious they are about helping you organize your business cards and your business contacts.

In the future, I’d like to see LinkeIn develop strong partnerships and integrations with all of the CRM providers for sales pipelines and account management. For all of you that use Salesforce or equivalent CRMs, I’m sure you get very frustrated having to enter contact information of people you already have in your LinkedIn network. This could be a huge win for LinkedIn but for now, it’s still super helpful for the 4 points above…at least for me anyway.

How do you use LinkedIn?

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HOW TO: Use twitter to help your organization

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

People have recently asked me:

“How can I use Twitter to help my organization? I know I need to be on there, but how do I use it? What do I do?”

Answer (3-parts):

  1. Define your organization’s objective
  2. Establish your voice
  3. Build an audience

DEFINE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S OBJECTIVE:

Before you do anything, you first need to define what it is exactly you are trying to accomplish. Are you selling something? A product or service? Are you recruiting or building a team? Are you entertaining for the sake of amusement? Are you informing and educating on a specific topic? Is it a mix or variation of the previously mentioned?

Once you figure out what your ultimate goal is, you can than establish a voice within twitter (or any social networking or media property for that matter) in order to communicate your goals.

ESTABLISH YOUR VOICE:

Now that you have figured out what you want to convey, you need to figure out how you will say it. People use twitter in many different ways, but 3 key examples are:

1. The “What I’m Doing” Method (Real and Random Examples):

  • Tonight…I am going to hit the treadmill. YIKES.
  • Taking a fun, random drive on a warm spring evening.
  • Just had the world famous Bongo Burger Aka Persian Burger. Ohhh yeaaah!
  • Eating with @—– at pf changs
  • At meeting, Fed to weigh options to revive economy (AP) http://cli.gs/PVX3HG #Finance

Unless I personally know who you are, I’m probably going to unfollow you if you tell the world Tonight…I am going to hit the treadmill. YIKES.” I mean, I really could care less if you are going to work off that cheeseburger you just ate for dinner. However, if you for example are someone big in the finance community and tell me “At meeting, Fed to weigh options to revive economy (AP) http://cli.gs/PVX3HG #Finance”, than I probably do care a bit about what you are doing.

Point is, when being personal and communicating in the first person, make sure what you are saying coincides with your goal as an organization.

2. The “Check This Out” Method (Real and Random Examples):

Look at the Twitter name. Look at the update. Very purposeful, very informative, and most importantly, the message ties back to the goal of that organization.

3. The “Conversation” Method (Real and Random Examples):

If I’m going to consider your organization legitimate and beneficial, I’d like to see that you are involved with some other people or organizations that are influential in your space. Demonstrate that you are engaged in your own community or niche market. This method, in conjunction with other twittering tactics, is how you are going to build an audience.

BUILD AN AUDIENCE

Now that you’ve identified what you want to say and how you are going to say it, you need to get together a group of people that will listen to you and hopefully pass along whatever it is you may be saying. You need followers.

If you are starting from ground zero and no followers on twitter:

  1. Head over to Summize.com or http://search.twitter.com/ (same thing).
  2. Type in some keywords that coincide with your organization’s objectives.
  3. Follow the people that are speaking your language and talking about the things you will be talking about. Reach out to them and tell them about your organization.

If you already happen to be on Facebook and want to leverage your existing FB network:

  1. Log in to Facebook and download the Facebook- Twitter application: http://apps.facebook.com/twitter/
  2. Now everyone in your Facebook network will get your Twitter updates.

At the end of the day the best way to learn anything is simply by doing, so if you are looking to create value from Twitter, just head over to to www.twitter.com, create an account, and dive right in.

Some tools that I use to help with Twitter:

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HOW TO: Streaming on demand music in your car

The Pandora app rocks...will the Masses use it...
Image by K. Todd Storch via Flickr

Forget pricey satellite radio, the crappy commercial filled FM radio, massive amounts of CDs, or your stale and unupdated iPod…

Here is how you can get free on demand music in your car:

  1. Take out your phone and download the mobile version of Pandora or Slacker radio (they are both free)
  2. Buy a cassette adapter for CDs or MP3 players
  3. Buy a car charger for your phone
  4. Connect the car charger and the cassette adapter to your phone
  5. Go to your Pandora or Slacker application and press play

Hands-free Bonus Feature:  When people call you just put them on speaker phone. Your friends will sound like radio jockeys.

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HOW TO: Build A Custom Website With WordPress and GoDaddy

Image representing GoDaddy as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Lately, people have been asking me about websites and internet businesses in general. Is their internet idea a good one? Is it realistic? How to build it? Who to involve? But in all of these conversations I’ve been asked every single time “How could I build my own website?”

Today, you don’t have to be a computer expert, graphic artist or an electrical engineer to build a website. We are no longer in the HTML only days and there are enough tools available that can help you look like a sophisticated internet guru or savvy businessperson in this so called knowledge era. Starting a business? Creating a web presence for yourself? Blog? eCommerce Site? You can do all of this yourself. Ain’t that complicated.

If you have a few bucks to spare and are willing to learn a thing or two about web development and hosting, I would encourage you to read my quick guide below to building a killer site using wordpress (note: there are many other ways, free ones at that, which could enable you to build your own site. I prefer to use wordpress.org and this guide is all about wordpress and godaddy).

Things you need:

  • Willingness to learn and explore new things
  • About $25.00

Let’s Begin. We will build this site using the WordPress platform, using wordpress.org (open source) files. We will also be using Godaddy as our hosting service provider.

1. Head over to GoDaddy.com, create an account and register your domain name. You can get a domain for about $10.00/year

2. After you purchase a domain name, and your still logged in to your account, go to “Hosting” -> “Hosting Plan” -> “Website Hosting”

3. Buy a Linux Economy Plan for 3 months @ $4.99/month. (As you check out you will be blinded by hundreds of extra bells and whistles. You don’t need any of these. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click “NO THANKS..CONTINUE TO CHECKOUT”). You will now officially own your very own domain name and a hosting plan.

4. Once you’ve obtained your domain name and your economy hosting plan, go to “Hosting” -> “My Hosting Account” -> “Setup Account”. Here you will follow the steps in order to link the Linux Economy Plan with your domain.

5. Once the Linux Economy Plan is linked to the domain, you can now follow instructions right off of Godaddy’s site.

To Install WordPress on Your Hosting Account

  1. Log in to your Account Manager.
  2. In the My Products section, select Hosting.
  3. Next to the hosting account you want to modify, click Manage Account.
  4. On the Hosting Control Center home page, click Your Applications or click GoDaddy Hosting Connection
  5. Click the Blogs category on the left, and then click WordPress.
  6. Click Install Now.
  7. NOTE: The Install Now button displays only when the selected value application is compatible with one of more hosting plans in your account.

  8. Read the End User License Agreement, and then click I Agree.
  9. Choose the domain to install WordPress to.
  10. Enter a database description and password, and then click Next.
  11. Choose an installation directory, and then click Next.
  12. Enter the Admin Name, Admin Password, Email and Blog Title for your WordPress installation. Click Finish.

WordPress will be installed to your hosting account with the options you selected. When it is complete, you will receive a confirmation email.

At this point you have successfully built your own website. Now its time to customize. To do this, you will want to play around with different themes, widgets and plugins, all of which you can download and install directly from your wordpress administrator panel. Another post to come on themes.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section.