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I’m going to steal my husband’s idea, and write a blog about Candy Crush. both of us are thinking it is so brilliant about the business model and the way teaches you how to solve the problems, and we are so addicted to Candy Crush that I even sometimes dream about how to crush the candy more effectively.

Crushing the Category Needs.

I started to play it from April this year when I was on a 14-hour flight, noting to do, and the game doesn’t necessarily need to have Internet connectivity.  That is why you can find so many people in the metro in New York playing it.  

Viral Crush

The game asks you to sign in with a Facebook account, and when you fail to pass the level 5 times, it gives you the opportunity to ask your friends on Facebook to give you a life.  Interacting with your friends, you not only drag more friends to play it, but also you give life to your friends to allow them to play longer. To finish one episode you have to ask three friends to allow you to open the next episode. That is a successful sign of a game or a startup business, whether the business product can engage people and virally spread out.   

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Money Crush

There are always some people who don’t have the patience to wait for their friends’ help.  They will pay $1.99 to unlock new episodes, or buy extra moves, or special candies.  Here is where the money comes from. I bet you King.com who developed the game are fat and rich now.

Crush your IQ or EQ, you tell me!

Some of my friends just have finished about 50 levels, and they think it is a pure luck, and that after several tries, you will eventually pass the level. However, it is wrong, every level has different obstacles, and requires you to have different strategies. Some times package candies are really handy to break brick quickly, but in some levels, you would rather create a stripe rather than a package.  How do you create your special candy by yourself. Every move is counted to your short term or long term strategy because the move is limited.  Each time when you going to the next level, it will show you the path, which also shows where you are among all the friends who are playing too.  You are competing with your friends on the map, you can see who are leading and who are stuck in the level for a long time.  

Crush Technology

My phone Samsung Galaxy S4 recently reminds me who played today and who played this week amongst my friends.  I won’t ask them to give a life if they haven’t played for a long time.  It will add possibility for your friends to response back.  Obviously, Kings.com is developing and make the game smarter and smarter.

No Angry on Angry Birds! Happy Candy Crush!
 
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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. 


 
Global Press Institute (GPI) is selected to world top 10 "she can innovate" finalist on the 1st Annual International day of the girls.  GPI empowers, educates, employed women in the developing countries for professional journalism, and equips them with digital technologies to report high quality community news around the world. 

You can help GPI to continue their great work just by clicking.  GPI needs your support to win the world top 3 Girl-Innovation prize $10,000 ended on November 7,  please vote.
 
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.

 
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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.

 
 
Last week, I attended the social media week from Wednesday to Friday. It makes me really excited to know more and more companies are focusing on social media strategy, because companies finally realize how important customer’s voice is, and how efficient social media will influence more people.  

Social media week is free registration for everyone; I got the news from @hegranes.  I signed up for a lot of sessions and went to as many as I could in order to get the social media trend in New York.  All of them were held as panel styles, which invited 2-4 people from social media departments in some famous companies, such as IBM, Nokia, JWT, LinkedIn, Time Warner, and L’Oreal. Some of the sessions and panels I attended didn’t teach me any new approaches, they all talked about the current popular topics: engagement, influencer, and ROI.  As Brian Solis' said in his latest blog "Brands Face Stream Fatigue as Consumers Look Beyond Gimmicks in Social Networks", I think a lot of companies just do whatever popular on the market, they don't have their innovative social media solution to let their services or products meet their customer want and market needs.

However, two of the interesting sessions peaked my attention, which were held in Bloomberg, which always treats the visitors very well, providing snacks and meals and plus I got chances to visit their awesome snack bar. They also showed off the high-tech badges and personalized wifi code once you sign in to their building.

My first interesting event was four new start-ups talking about their retail banking social media approaches.  They all had great ideas regarding the payments and credit card solutions.  “Move n Bank”, incorporates credit card into Mobile technology.  It sorts the spending category, can show which how much money you spend on each category, whether it is for fast food, or grocery, coffee and Powerball.  It can even find out you have spent $279 in Starbucks this month, reminds consumers of their spending behavior. Another feature of it is that consumer can show some credit score through social networking. That, how many good friends you connect, decides you how much you can lend from the bank.  “The Simple Card” talked about powerful searching engine to sort where, what, when, with whom you spent money and the platform designed friendly for users to pay among the friends, it is also keep track of your spending.  “Venmo” is mobile solution, similar to PayPal, to pay friends and charge them, but also show your friends’ social activities, for example, two friends ate at Jean George last Tuesday, just like Foursquare , you can “stalk” your friends.  “Bill Guard” is a secure system to avoid other merchants to overcharge consumer, but majorly to target to banks to save their time to deal with mistake charges between consumer and merchants, such as some companies renew subscription without notice you, some restaurant charge you more tips than you signed.  Once internet has some customer complains or suspects related to certain merchants, Bill guard can capture the information and warn you on your e-bill or send you an e-mail. I was totally brain washed by those new start-ups.  Retail bank is a really difficult segment to establish start-up because it has to deal with too many regulations.  But it is also a really smart way to provide consumer advanced convenience in social media world.
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I also liked Reid Hoffman’s interview.  I made sure to get there early – first 100 people got a free copy of his new book “the Start-up of You”, as we saw the brief interview “ 8 job search tips” from Mashable the day before.  Reid talked about Plan A, Plan B and Plan Z.  I think people will most likely to have Plan Bs, but never thought of Plan Z, which is the plan if Plans A & B fail. I have admired LinkedIn for its networking capability and always surf on LinkedIn to find connections or apply for jobs.  Reid said everyone needs to be entrepreneur of yourself, to take responsibility and to have the spirit as a start-up.  He is not necessarily suggesting that everyone founds own companies, but promote yourself on the job market, connect with people as if you would need to for developing your business.  I got the book and can’t help reading 30 pages in that afternoon.  I might have deep thoughts about the book later.  But the first section has really attracted me.  Reid uses a lot start-up stories, such as Netflix and Zappos to inspire us that we always need to keep adjusting as startup beta stage, improving the feature, skill and knowledge to meet the market and “customer’s needs. Also it will be very easy for individual to build your knowledge and experience on your existed assets.  Donal Trump built his real estate because his dad is a real estate developer.  Google co-founders both have PHD on computer science. I really concurred that current job market is not a traditional market anymore, companies will never spend a lot of money to train employees from a white piece of paper, instead, they direct hire someone who already has the experience and knowledge.  Also traditional applications will become harder and harder to get an interview, the only efficient way is networking.  I think I learned a lot from the first 30 pages of his book.  

I read an article from Businessweek that Google, Facebook, Skype, Twitter and Zynga all have set up their another core offices in New York, and plan to expand more, which means those social media gurus all think New York is an important hub and excellent place to development their business.  I hope it also provides me an excellent opportunity to find a social media job, to let me have more space to execute my creative ideas.


Some Interesting Session Links
LinkedIn Platform Use 
How to Build a Global Facebook Architecture for a Global Brand
Retail Bank Social Media
Whole Social Media Week Video