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I went shopping to get some warmer clothes and gloves last week, because the entire week, the temperature was 19F on average.  I went to different stores (Gucci, Kate Spade, Coach) felt it might be too late to get winter stuff, as many stores have been decorated in a spring tone with yellows, greens, and pinks donned by the models. 

Even though it might represent the fashion trend, is it too early to promote spring clothes and accessories in January, one of the coldest months in the year?  A lot of companies in the fashion industry complain about how bad the economy impact is, however, even though people have demands they don’t have enough products to meet the needs.  I wonder who will buy the spring products in the 19 F weather.  Those thin clothes and light color makes me feel colder.   

Not sure how fashion merchandise works for stores at this moment.  They need not only follow the fashion trend, but also follow a lot of trends: such as weather and demand.  They definitely are not operating just-in-time otherwise I can still get a pair of leather gloves even without discount, they can sit and eat more profit. 


 
Seemingly overnight (literally a few years in) Pinterest is now the second largest social media network in the world.  With Pinterest ‘pins’ and buttons popping up all over the place, a lot of people have asked me what are the best practices they can follow to maximize their influence on Pinterest....  For me, there are 3 fundamental ways companies can attract more clients.  
  1. A visual game
Pinterest is a place that uses visual content to attract people’s attention. The quality of the photos or video could show the difference between professional companies and a personal post.  Nice photos or video are easily repinned, liked, and followed. Just take a look at what Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) pins for a good example of catchy, quality pics.
  2.   It’s not a walled-garden, so let’s go viral 

Social media’s element is networking.  Social media should be all linked together and speak the same language for a brand.  Therefore, the corporate Pinterest account could be and should be linked to company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Companies can also provide links to their websites or blogs at the title and description of the pins.  If all those channels are linked, companies will ultimately increase the traffic either directly or referred by other channels consistently and virally.

Companies also need to discover related content or useful for your business, and re-pin, like and follow the them.  It is also a great idea to create a board invite multi-followers or customers to participate the editing and posting with your business. Companies can increase engagement and interaction with the fans and customers that way.  

  3.  Clear categories and searchable titles 

Creating clear categorized boards and giving them searchable titles is essential, because Pinterest search feature is really functional, unlike Twitter.  People can search “boards”, “people” and “pins” by the keywords.   If you have searchable titles, people will discover your content easily.  Add relative content to the relevant board. Don’t put pins into wrong categories; otherwise people will never find the right content and be turned off to your brand. 

Pinterst is a great new channel for business, but a lot of brand companies like Nike, LVMH, Banana Republic haven’t use the full features yet. But I think it will be a potential huge social media channel for certain companies. Although Pinterest daily has 1.36 mm users, your company needs to find out who are the customers you should target.  Data shows the food, craft, beauty and fashion are the most popular themes on the Pinterest that people will interact with frequently – not surprisingly given that 68.2% of Pinterest users are women.  We need to go case by case, industry by industry, to continue testing and experimenting to gain the best practices for different industries on Pinterest.  
* This is also a guest post to International Business Lesson
 
I have been job hunting for a while.  I have to admit that it is stressful process as well as the learning period for me as a foreigner.  I learned a lot of technique, strategy and skills from my job hunting.  I think it will not only help me to find a job, but also benefit for my entire career.
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1. Networking

You always need to know more and more people to get connections.  I saw so many other people who have a job still networking with others.  Not only for future career, but also for current business connection.  We can also get some new tips and new trend of the current market by exchanging ideas, so that they can have more personal competitive advantage. Try to help other people first and contribute your idea, if they know you better, they will make friends with you and help you.

2.  Strategy

I used to apply for 10-15 jobs on internet or on linkedIn a day, seldom have replies.  I am frustrated about the results.  I am an MBA graduate who has multi-cultural and trilingual background, there even weren’t a recruiter to contact me in two weeks when I moved to New York.  I realized that I shouldn’t just work harder, I should work smarter.  I should totally use Inmail to connect to people in the recruiting companies or even in the same department and write them a short message to target to the position.  It works now, many hiring managers replied to my Inmail.  Thus, a strategy never works for me any more, I will analyze it whether it fits the situation and adjust it to the right strategy to meet the market’s need.

3. Business Intelligence

Applying every job and having an interview, I need to research thoroughly about the company, its services, competitive advantage, business model, cultural, social media, and financial information.  I even stalk company and employee in the social media to get some BI.  If I get a job, I think the research skills will help me to deep understand the market customer, and competitors to predict the trend and come up with the accurate strategy.

4. Learning New Skills

I learned Pinterest in two days by myself at the end of February, because there were so many buzzes about Pinterest, and I had no idea what it is.  Now I am become a master of Pinterest. I learned a lot of new skills, such as building a website, a blog, Google analytics, etc. Because the market changed so fast, you need to have new skills to compete with others.  I also have signed up a lot of educational meetup, Skillshare classes, webinars to learn new skills. 

It is a great learning process for me in the US job market.  I always keep positive and confidence for my qualification that I could find a good job here.

 
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I am a 10-day old user of Pinterest, I have already become addicted to it, and spend almost two hours a day on it.  Here are major reasons.

1.   Interest-Based Social Network

Interests based networking is huge and unlimited.  It can bring two people without any conversation or any geographic boundary to follow each other and go viral of individual people’s social media networks.  I commented on a Herb Scissors:. there are over 100 people’s comments after that for two days, and I got hundreds of e-mail notices of who is commenting about this product. No wonder Pinterest’s growth is unbelievably rapid. 

2.   Discovery Over Search

There is a moment, you don’t have any inspirations, Google won’t tell you what you should look for.  Go to Pinterest, follow some interesting people and their boards, you will discover a lot of fresh things you couldn’t even think of.  

3.  Potential Platform for E-commerce

Pinterest lets you easily put a dollar sign and price lable on your product. People differentiate them easily with other pictures.  In the eCommerce era, it is such a great idea to put a product on Pinterest and let it snow ball, circulating it to more and more people. I also use it for fund raising for the NGO I am working on – Global Press Institute.

4.  Interaction with Friends
This could be really huge market for Pinterest.  It increases the engagement within your networks, establish a community to interact with the people who are in your pinterest networks.  It also could be another channel to be developed to handle CRM.  Also it provides a platform to share content, you don’t have to send a huge size of picture via e-mail to your friends and coworkers, just post it on Pinterest.

The only complaints are one limited invitation, sometime you tweeted about your product, but some people might not have a Pinterest account, therefore, they can not see it.  The other is some of the website doesn’t show pictures, I think it should be a way to do some coding to interpret the language of the pictures.  Otherwise I love it.  No wonder the pinterest is so hot now, every social media or high-tech site is talking about this hot potato.

 
I recently read BusinessWeek Google’s bid to be Everything to Everyone, talking about how Google purchased Motorola Mobility to gain 17,000 patents into its portfolio.  The market is also surmising that Google is testing new audio devices since Motorola is already the market leader in cable set-top boxes. Such a device could be used to distribute television, movies, and other digital fare.  Google is not only a search engine, it covers everything high-tech and to everyone.  I was talking to an in-house digital advertising marketer who said he doesn’t use an advertising agency.  Rather all businesses he does is only with Google.  They paid Google for the top search engine position in the focus categories, and use Google webmaster to figure out best SEO practices.  They display the ads on Adwords and use Google Analytics to track and analyze traffic and insights from customers.  They upload video ads on YouTube.  Today I saw this Google Play video, which also shows Google’s ambitions to cover more media aspects including gaming, music, books, and movies.
However, Google doesn’t necessarily cover everyone, at least not at the one of the biggest, hottest, sweetest pies - China.  When Google left China 2009, it had 24% market share of the domestic search engine, now only 0.24%.  To be a global company, Google has to develop targeted global strategies for different countries.  China, India, Brazil, Russia,  each country has its own business habit and culture for investors and businesses.   China is spending tons of money on technology infrastructure and aiming 2050 it will be the global leader of the technology.  Going to a country, Google needs to engage to the local market and business culture, really listen to what local market needs and wants and adopt the market first and then considers to influence and change it.  

Google, please be more aggressive to cover everyone including China, because we are welcome the convenience the high-tech has brought to our life.  Covering China, Google will be a truly cross-industrial Guru, unbeatable in the world.
 
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I am so missing Yakitori (BBQ Chicken) at Shinbashi in Tokyo all the time.  This week is Japan Week in New York.  To celebrate it, I went back to Yakitori Daisho, the best yakitori I have tried in the US.  I had some yakitori, yakibeef, Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.  Drinking the Sapporo draft beer, eating the authentic yakitori, and listening the waitresses and chef yelling in japanese, I felt like I was in Japan. Hmmm, oishii!

The Next day, we have a friend meetup at Union Square, we can't help swinging there again to continue enjoy it! - don't be ridiculous!

 
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My cousin Brian Qiu was born on a Leap Day. While most people expect to celebrate their birthday annually, Brian only has a real birthday once every four years.  Although he always celebrates it on Feb 28, or March 1, still, I have an inkling that he sometimes feels sad about not being able to have a true birthday every year. Maybe he should celebrate it as a birthday week or even birthday month, just like me. However, it makes him really unique that everyone in the extended family remembers his birthday, and maybe it is the fate to be special, plus he was born in the dragon year that his life and work have the destiny to be very successful.  He has a sweet and smart wife, two cute sons, and himself is a General Manager, and the most important, he is a serious runner.  Happy birthday to you, Brian, my special cousin.

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There are many ads talking about leap day events on the facebook and other websites, such as Nike, talking about the one more extra day for running extra miles.  Virgin American has an ads have special rate if you book your trip on the leap day.  Don’t know when marketers started aiming for the once every 4 years event.  I have reached my conclusion: every occasion could be a marketing opportunity. Marketers are looking for every moment and every channel marketable to promote their products or services - really hard working and interesting thinking.  Nike doesn’t directly promote their products on the leap day, but be spiritually encouraging people running more.  Nike doesn’t need to strengthen its brand awareness on the current stage anymore, but emotionally establishes a brand attitude to influence people.  But what is the benefit for them to do so without promoting their brand? - winning customers’ loyalty, and running more or asking more people to run will lead to consume more products, Oh yeah, they know runners need to change shoes every 6-9 month, and people also care about the fashion when they are running surrounded by others.   In this marketing evolution period, marketers have to be creative to drag consumer’s attention and not to annoy them by contaminating another day on the calendar to be commercialized.  

Wish everyone enjoy the Leap Day once every 4 years. 
 
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I read @briansolis' new blog- The Rise of digital Darwinism.  Feel it is so true. The marketing is even different between 2009-2011 when I went to business school.  What we taught in school about the traditional marketing is lack of market now. Because we are all focusing on digital marketing in the field.  

Followed by the digital technology improvement, marketers will have more and more different channels to reach customers, also have to develop different strategies upon every channel to meet customer's satisfaction and market needs.  Listening to customers will be the accurate orientation to be able to sustain longer in this marketing revolutionary era.  Engaging and interacting with customers to get insight, being always in beta stage to continuously optimize marketing strategies, and adopting more advanced channels and technologies quickly to figure out the best solutions for the products and services are the only ways to survive in this new marketing evolution.

 
 
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Recently, I thought it was a great idea to have a scale once we settled down.  As a runner, especially someone aiming to train for races, needs to be aware of weight.  We went to Target to buy a cheap one, only $9.99.  I thought I didn’t need one too fancy, I just need to know the daily changes or weekly changes of my weight, even if it’s slightly.  When I went home to stand on the scale, it showed I weighted 114 LBS.  I can’t help doubting the scale, whether I ate crazily to gain 8 LBS in two weeks or the scale is not accurate.  I am pretty confident to reach my conclusion: the scale is not accurate.  I run every other day, eat very healthily, and always have a digest activity (walk or such) after every meal.  There is no way to gain 8 pounds in two weeks. I also want to use the scale sometime to weigh the laundry because in NYC laundry is charged by the pound, so I can estimate how much I will spend.  Even though I could have adjusted the starting scale to -8LBS to know my accurate weight, I couldn’t weight my laundry around 10 LBS, because it will show only 3 LBS probably.

Then the next time we bought a fancy digital one.  It can record your personal weight, and by keyed in your height, age and gender, it can calculate your fat, muscle, and water rate over your body weight.  I finally figured out how to do it.  This time the weight is about right, however my fat rate is 38%.  People know me always say I have 0% of fat, how then do I have 38%, which is defined as obese.  I know 10 years ago my fat rate was about 19.8%, lower than the normal range 21-23%.  This time my boyfriend’s fat rate is lower than me 25%.  He couldn’t believe the accuracy of the fat ratio of this scale either, but I still decide to keep it, at least I can weight myself, and see other index.

Actually, keeping a standard is a hard thing, and I need to be confident about my lifestyle and eating habit.  Being able to measure the scale is not a piece of cake, especially people living in the cosmopolitan city that people have chance to taste all kinds of delicious food.  Keeping a standard for a long time is also a tough job, because you need to consistently give people your brand image, and control yourself persistently with high discipline. Once you establish your brand image, you can have your brand attitude to judge whether the “scale” is accurate, or even your royal “fan” will declare for you that you are the lead of the trend and you are the standard in the industry.