Coin: The Electronic Credit Card

Coin

Ever wished you had just one card to replace every other card cluttering your wallet or purse? Well the company behind Coin has found a solution with a device that syncs up to 8 of your credit, debit, gift and membership cards all into one.

Coin

Coin, which can last up to two years, comes pre-loaded with a digital button that lets you choose which card you want to use to pay for something, and is as thin as a regular credit card. A small screen on the card shows you the essentials, such as the last 4 digits of the card, expiration date and CVV. A mobile app allows you to add, manage and sync the cards and can also notify you when you’ve left Coin at home or forgot it somewhere. Coin can be used anywhere, even at ATMs, and if it finds itself in the hands of someone with sticky fingers for an extended period of time (which you set), it will auto-deactivate itself.

For the next 24 days you can pre-order Coin for $55 ($50 + $5 shipping). Coin will start shipping summer 2014.

Sources: TechCrunch, USA TODAY

Transforming The Lives of Homeless Veterans Through Makeovers

What is it about the homeless that makes most people cringe? The minute you see them, do you also see your worst fears and financial nightmares come to life? Do you know a family member or friend who you feel has “given up on life” and when you see the homeless, are bad feelings triggered for you? Whatever the case, producer and marketer Rob Bliss is trying to change your mind. To benefit Degage Ministries, a charitable organization in Michigan, Rob created a program “to help transform the lives of homeless veterans, inside and out.”

In the video above, which has drawn more than 10 million views in just 5 days, homeless veteran Jim Wolf gets a drastic makeover. A stylist cuts his hair, trims his beard and puts him in a new suit. Rob hopes the video gets people “to look at any homeless person on the street and see the mirror image of them — the image of someone who would look socially acceptable — realize that potential, that ‘what if,’ and root for their success… They can look like they’re meant for the cover of GQ — they have that potential too.”

In the beginning of the video we are told that Jim struggles with poverty, homelessness and alcoholism. By the end, we are informed that he is now scheduled to have his own housing and is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the first time ever.

Source: NPR

Empower Your Employees Through Intrapreneurship

How to Empower Your Employees

When businesses set up an intrapreneurial environment (an environment that encourages risk-taking and innovation), employees are more likely to help build long term value for the company. In a Q+A session, Steve Strauss tackles how to create a more entrepreneurial environment, even if your company is over 10 years old:

1. Provide an employee with the time and resources, and they’ll be more likely to flesh out and launch their best ideas.

2. Encourage employees to take risks by making it OK for them to fail.

3. Create a culture of fun by implementing creative thinking workshops, classes or retreats.

4. Recognize employees for all that they do, even if it’s as small as giving them a prize for dropping the best idea into a suggestion box.

5. Reward employees financially to fuel passion in an ongoing project and motivate and ensure its success.

Learning to help empower employees to think and act entrepreneurially means thinking about what it takes to get your staff motivated and involved to ultimately benefit your business. If done right, intrapreneurship can do three things: increase employee retention rates, boost productivity, and foster an exceptional culture.

Several legendary entrepreneurs of our time have supported the idea of intrapreneurship (Richard Branson, Steve Jobs) and Google already employs them by offering the 20 percent time program. Google allows its employees to use up to 20 percent of their work week at Google to pursue special projects. That means for every standard work week, employees can take a full day to work on a project unrelated to their normal workload. After getting feedback from co-workers, a project proposal and timeline is submitted and the intrapreneur must describe how he or she plans to go about evaluating the success of the project. Once an outstanding project has been selected, the project is monitored, analyzed and implemented. Google claims that many of their products in Google Labs (Gmail, AdSense, Orkut) started out as pet projects in the 20 percent time program.

Sources: USA TODAY, How Stuff Works, NY TIMES, Inc. Magazine

4 Tools to Better Manage Your Email

4 Tools to Better Manage Your Email

What’s worse than missing an email, falling behind in social media affairs or having to wait to respond to an email and then forgetting in the process? Nothing in this day and age. Email is everything when it comes to business, so here are some hacks to help you accomplish what you need to more swiftly and efficiently.

Boomerang
Boomerang
This browser add-on (for Gmail on any device or Outlook on a PC) let’s you schedule emails to be sent ahead of time (think writing it Friday, to be sent to a client on Monday), set up certain emails to show up in your inbox at a later date (think ‘I’m on vaca, and would love to see these emails at the top of my inbox when I get back’), reminds you to follow up with clients and more.
Cost: Free for 10 messages a month, then $30 for Outlook, or $5/month for Gmail

Rapportive
Rapportive
This browser add-on (for Gmail or Mailplane on any type of computer or mobile device) provides a sort of cheat sheet about your contacts right inside your inbox. Rapportive adds a profile to the side of each message that tells you everything about the person, such as what they look like, where they’re based, what they do, latest tweets and links to their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Cost: Free (the service is owned by Linkedln)

Inky
Inky
Sometimes social notifications, daily deals, and other newsletters crowd your inbox, but this downloadable app (for Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and other email programs on PC or Mac) aims to filter urgent contact’s messages so you don’t miss a thing. Inky also automatically categorizes your incoming mail in order of importance.
Cost: Free

Zoomin
This outlook plugin (for use on your PC or iPhone) helps you respond to email quicker than ever by giving you a quick message summaries, and offering preset responses to zoom off to friends, family or colleagues, all without ever having to open the actual email.
Cost: Free for now, possibly $75/year in the future

Extra tips:
1. Instead of wasting time sorting your messages, search your inbox
2. Don’t wait to reply to emails, you’re more likely to forget if you do
3. Get familiar with Gmail’s new layout, it’s filled with features that’ll make everything easier

Source: CNN Money

Square Cash: An Easier Way to Wire Money

Square Cash

What if you could send your sister $2,000 via email, completely for free? That’s what Square is trying to accomplish with their new endeavor Square Cash.

How it works: Send an email to a friend or family member with your debit card details and with the subject line stating the amount. Be sure to cc cash@square.com. When the recipient gets the email, they enter their debit card details and the transaction is performed, no further moves needed.

Square Cash

Currently, Square Cash offers this service to U.S. residents only. You can send up to $2500 a month and up to $250 a week. You can also set up notifications on your smartphone for when money is given and taken as well. It’s assumed that Square Cash will eventually make money off of ads like everyone else in the tech business, but for now you won’t be charged for the transactions.

However, Square Cash gives up all liability when it comes to fraudulent transactions or reimbursements. Let’s hope these kinks will get worked out, and this method of wiring money will become the norm in the future!

Source: The Finanser

Unexpected Side Effects of the Government Shutdown

Since October 1, 2013, the federal government’s shutdown has sent more than 800,000 workers home without pay, while another 1.3 million were required to report to work without pay. You probably never expected the ripple effect of the shutdown to reach as far as craft beer, horse adoption, football, flu season, cemeteries or drug tests. Here are some unexpected side effects of the government shutdown:

Craft Beer
The shutdown has closed an obscure agency that quietly approves new breweries, recipes and labels, which could create huge delays throughout the rapidly growing craft industry, whose customers expect a constant supply of inventive and seasonal beers.

Horse Adoption
As part of the shutdown, the Bureau of Land Management has ceased its wild horse adoption program. For years, the agency has been rounding up wild horses out west, keeping and caring for the animals and offering them for adoption. The goal is to manage lands’ limited resources — water, vegetation, and the like.

Football
The Department of Defense has canceled all intercollegiate athletics contests at the Air Force, Army, and Navy.

Flu Season
The Centers for Disease Control will “be unable to support the annual seasonal influenza program,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC monitors the spread of the flu and determines how to best direct vaccine programs around the country, but since it will be out of business during the shutdown, flu shots may not be replenished after they’re depleted.

Cemeteries
Twenty-four American war cemeteries, including the Normandy American Cemetery at the site of the D-Day invasion, are closed.

Drug Tests
As per page 4 of the Department of Transportation’s Operations During a Lapse in Annual Appropriations Plan under “Summary of Suspended Activities,” the DOT will not drug test its employees.

Sources: MSN Money, CNN Money, Washington Post

Get Out and Stay Out of Debt With Well Kept Wallet

Get Out and Stay Out of Debt With Well Kept Wallet

One couple proves that it’s completely possible to get out of debt – their own experience involved paying off $52,000 in 18 months. How? Through a combination of cutting back spending, selling belongings online, and taking on a second job. Here’s 10 bits of their advice:

1. Track your finances on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis

2. Put all of your financial data on one page to see exactly what you’re up against, and assess whether a change in your spending habits is necessary

3. Separately, list your debt smallest to largest, regardless of the interest rate

4. Create a solid financial plan

5. Stop borrowing money

6. Get a part-time job if you can, to make extra money on the side

7. See how you can reduce every service you receive, i.e. cable, cell phone, gym membership, insurance, going out to eat

8. Take a financial class

9. Sell what you don’t need on Craigslist, eBay or Amazon

10. Finally, don’t have one foot in, one foot out: Getting out of debt is a commitment and decision you need to be clear about

Deacon Hayes learned from his experience and now runs a website with a number of free resources (and podcasts) on how to control your spending. He includes forms mentioned above which are highly useful. We guarantee he can teach you how to get out and stay out of debt for good! Take a look at his website here.

Source: U.S. News

Why Digital Tools Play a Big Role in Small Business Growth

Why Digital Tools Play a Big Role in Small Business Growth

One in 10 small businesses don’t have a website, according to the National Small Business Association’s 2013 Technology Survey. Nearly 30% don’t even use social media. Don’t fall into this trap if you’re a business owner, and don’t hang on the sidelines when it comes to tackling social media because for 15 hours a week (according to PQ Media) it’s where all of your customers are.

Learning the basics of old and new social media (Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs) is paramount to success and will not only help connect you to your customers and peers personally, but increase sales and brand awareness on a much larger scale. We can also guarantee how much fun it will be if you’re really passionate about your business.

Here are 7 tips for getting in the right light socially, and positioning your business to benefit as much as possible from any and all social media:

1. You must have a presentable website, one that is clean and updated on a desktop as well as a mobile device

2. When it comes to which social media platforms to choose, decide what means the most to your business and see what competitors are using

3. Whatever you choose always maintain an active presence (posting daily)

4. Don’t just focus on yourself in building your presence: share information, ask questions and post anything relevant to your company presently (i.e. things trending online, in the news or for general holidays) to engage consumers

5. It will take time, but will pay off immensely in the long run

6. Google your business and brands to find out where you’re showing up in Google search (set up Google alerts with relevant keywords to stay aware of when you’re mentioned online)

7. Incorporate your social media sites into your business cards and email signatures for more exposure

Source: USA TODAY

Where do dollar bills come from?

U.S. Bills

Here’s an interesting fact: Every single U.S. bill in the world is printed on paper made by one small mill in Dalton, Massachusetts. The mill, Crane & Co., has been in charge of this production for the last 130 years.

How Crane & Co. Got So Lucky
In 1879, when Rutherford Hayes was POTUS, a mill in Philly made the U.S. bill but charged the government an expensive $0.75/lb. The Dept. of Treasury called for them to lower their price and they did, but only by $0.05. The DOT said forget that, we’re opening the contract to the public and letting people bid on this, and the lowest bidder will take over making the U.S. bill.

Individual companies bid as low as $0.39, until Crane & Co. came along and bid $0.38, winning the contract. They almost didn’t though; competitors were said to have held the owner in his room to prevent him from bidding, some even say he was locked in there – but snuck through a window to get out.

The Process
A giant steel ball (rotary digester) that resembles the Death Star uses steam and chemicals to cook away the contaminants in cotton and linen fibers – which are used to make the paper (not trees!). It can hold several thousand pounds of fiber at a time, and when the fibers are done cooking they are left to drain and cool down. A size press then coats the fiber so it’s able to be printed on the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.

After it’s cut down several times into sheets, quality tests are performed, in which the paper is folded and unfolded several times until it breaks. Currency paper can be folded 5000 times before it breaks, while normal paper breaks after 100 folds.

How Security is Implemented
Currency has to be two things: durable and hard to counterfeit. Surprisingly, the security is not in the ink or printing, but in the paper itself. For one thing, the cotton and linen material make a dollar bill feel unique. There are several hidden security features as well, such as a hidden plastic strip that the government provides – this gets embedded into the bill. There are also subtler security points such as colored (red and blue) threads scattered throughout the bill. According to several reports, the counterfeit rate across the world is very low – 1 in 10,000 bills are fake.

When Everything is Said and Done
Two guys transport the shipments of paper to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving in a secretly armored 18-wheeler. When they pull into rest stops, the public must wonder what they’re hauling because they carry guns on them.

An intense audit is done by the government every 4 years when Crane & Co.’s contract is up for renewal.

Just how much does Crane & Co. make off the government for being in charge of creating the bills that run the world and influence the economy? That is one question that will never be answered, because it’s classified.

Source: NPR

Why You Need a Mirror, Not a Mentor

Why You Need a Mirror, Not a Mentor

For years, you’ve heard the phrase “in [your field] industry, it’s all about who you know.” Author Todd Henry has dedicated his life’s work to outlining strategies for engaging people you trust to help you stay on track with your goals. Here are 5 key points he emphasizes in his new book, Die Empty:

1. Just as a mirror allows you to see your true appearance, it’s important to have other people in your life to help you stay aligned and see what’s truly important

2. Identify a few people who: you trust and respect, speak the truth to you about what they see and have a genuine concern for your interests (and not their own)

3. Get together with your mirror once a week to find out how well you’re doing and where you may be falling short of your intentions, then share your goals and ambitions and ask them to always hold you accountable

4. Be the other person’s mirror; give complete honesty to receive it

5. Having a mirror in your life can help you hone your intuition and keep your focus, time and energy in the right place

Source: Entrepreneur

About

The Payze blog brings you world financial news and company updates from our leading e-commerce platform, along with tips, tricks and strategies for your business and personal finances.