Tuesday, December 30, 2014

World's Best, Greatest, Most, & Least

Of course it is the end of yet another year. The sun still shines in the sky, the Earth still circles it and life goes on, but would it not be nice to know some fun facts about this beautiful blue planet we live on? In any case, here are a bunch of number one's that you might not have known about.

The world's hottest place: Death Valley National Park
The highest air temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134 degrees Fahrenheit, at Death Valley National Park on July 10, 1913.

The world's coldest place: East Antarctic Plateau
On the high ridge of the East Antarctic Plateau, the temperature can drop to as low as -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit, recorded in August, 2010.

World's most populated city: Shanghai
At a whopping 24,150,000 permanent inhabitants, Shanghai is the single city that is home to the most people in the world.

World's least populated city: Vatican City
With a paltry population of 842, the city-state of Vatican City is the smallest city and state in the world.

World's wealthiest city: Tokyo
That tower might as well be made of gold, since Tokyo tops the charts with a GDP of $1,520 billion (only beating New York by a mere $310 billion).

World's poorest city: Kinshasa
Kinshasa is probably the poorest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the poorest country in the world, at a GDP of $55 billion. Many of its residents live on less $1 a day.

Highest point in the world: Mount Everest
Towering 29,029 feet in the air, the top of Mount Everest is the closest you can get to touching space, while still standing on Earth.

Lowest point in the world: Challenger Deep
The lowest known natural point in the world is Challenger Deep, 35,797 ft below sea level at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Only three people have ever made it to the bottom, one of which was filmmaker James Cameron.

Most photographed place: The Guggenheim
Photos have always told stories, but in today's world of cell phone cameras and social media, that story is relayed as data to companies who monitor everything we do. Geotagged data was culled by Sightsmap using a Google-based image sharing software, and can now show us the most photographed places in the world, right down to the landmark. The Winner? The Guggenheim in New York.

The world's most popular country: Germany
The results of the annual BBC World Country Rating Poll are in, and Germany came out on top as the most positively viewed country in the world among people probably under the age of 85 (at a 59% positivity rating).

The wettest spot on Earth: Mawsynram, India
Rainwise, anyway. In Mawsynram, India, it rains an average of 467.35 inches per year, and with a record of 1000 inches in 1985.

The driest spot on Earth: The Atacama Desert
The 600 miles of South America's Atacama desert is the driest place on Earth, no contest. The Desert sees an average of 4 inches of rain every thousand years. Yes, you read that right.

Sunniest Place on Earth: Yuma, Arizona
In Yuma, Arizona, the sun shines for an average of 11 hours a day. Its forecast is sun for 90 percent of the year, averaging a total of 4015 daylight hours a year.

Most expensive city to live in: Singapore
The new champion of the world, Singapore has recently beat out Tokyo for the title of "most expensive city" for 2014. Cars can cost between 4-6 times in Singapore what they cost in the US or UK (for example, a Toyota Prius actually costs about $150,000.00 there).

Least expensive city to live in: Mumbai, India
At the other end of the spectrum, Mumbai, India, is the cheapest place to live in the world, according to the Worldwide Cost of Living Index 2014. For some perspective, a loaf of bread that would cost $3.36 in Singapore, would only cost $0.91 in Mumbai.

Country that consumes the most food: United States
I suppose there must be a reason why Americans have a food-related reputation when it comes to other countries: we eat an average of 3,770 calories a day each.

The world's oldest city: Damascus
There's quite a bit of controversy over which city gets to officially claim the title of "oldest continuously inhabited city." With evidence of civilization that extends back over 11,000 years, Damascus in Syria is probably the safest bet.

Youngest country in the world: South Sudan
The people of South Sudan were formally recognized as an independent country in 2011, making it the youngest country in the world to-date.

The world's most visited city: London
After a several-year bout with Bangkok, London has regained its place as the world's most visited city (according to MasterCard's 2014 Global Destinations City Index). The city sees about 18.69 million international visitors annually, generating $19.3 billion in revenue.

The world's least popular country: Iran
On that same rating scale, Iran has come in dead last (at a 59% negativity rating). Only 15% of people polled viewed Iran in a positive light.

The world's most dangerous city: San Pedro Sula, Honduras
In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, there are over 3 murders a day. The violence stems from the city's role as a major hub for illegal drug and arms trafficking.

Most caffeinated country in the world: Sweden
The coffee in Sweden will put a spring in your step, and hair on your tongue. The Swedes consume an average of 388 mg of caffeine in coffee per person, per day (that's almost 5 Red Bulls).

Most drunken country in the world: Belarus
In Belarus, each person above the age of 15 drinks an average of 4.62 gallons of alcohol every year.

The most bicycle friendly city in the world: Groningen, Netherlands
By comparing cities along the criterion of average number of bicycle trips made daily, one city reigns supreme: Groningen in the Netherlands. In Groningen about 50 percent of the population commute via bike daily, making it the city with the greatest proportion of cyclists on the planet.

World's most energy efficient city: Reykjavik, Iceland
All of the energy and heat used by the citizens of Reykjavik Iceland come from geothermal plants and renewable hydropower, making it the most sustainable and energy efficient city in the world. On their mission to be completely free of fossil fuels by 2050, the city has also been replacing traditional buses with hydrogen-fueled buses, from which the only emissions are water.

Most cat friendly country: United States
With a pet cat population of 76.43 million feline friends, the United States dominates the world stage for most cat friendly country in the world.

Most dog friendly country: United States
Similarly, America more than doubles the amount of pet dogs any other country has, with a dog population of 61.1 million.

Most sexually satisfied country: Switzerland
Switzerland might just be the most progressive and least sexually repressed country in the world. Between liberal views on pornography and prostitution, and sex ed that starts in Kindergarten, over a fifth of the population consider their sex-lives "excellent." They even recently opened up a very successful array of tax-funded drive-in sex boxes in Zurich. Bonus, in spite of all this, Switzerland also holds the title as one of the lowest teen birth rates in the world.

Least sexually satisfied country: Japan
With its extreme conservatism, Japan is the country with the least sexual satisfaction, as only 15% of individuals reported having a fulfilling sex life. Furthermore, over 45% of Japanese women report being either uninterested in, or actually despising, sexual contact.

Most emotional country in the world: Philippines
Polling citizens in 150 countries over the years of 2009-2011, researchers found that the people of the Philippines were the most likely to respond emotionally to simple questions about their day.

Least emotional country in the world: Singapore
That same study revealed that Singaporeans experience the least emotion on the day-to-day. Only 3 out of every 10 reported having any emotional reactions to basic scenarios or when describing their days.

Country with the longest life expectancy in the world: Monaco
According to the World Health Organization's study from 2013, Monaco tops the charts for longest living citizens, with an average life expectancy of 87.2 years. Men in Monaco live an average 85.3 years, and women live to an average of 89 years.

Country with the shortest life expectancy: Sierra Leone
On the other side of that coin, the population of Sierra Leone live to an average of 47 years. The men of Sierra Leone live to an average of 47 years old, whereas women live an average of 48 years.

Sexiest country in the world: Brazil and Australia
There will always be a debate about which countries are home to the most attractive people, in part because who's to say what is objectively attractive? Though the means are hardly scientific, a recent poll found quite a disparity between which countries men believe are the sexiest, and which countries women find the sexiest. For men, Brazil tops the charts for the most attractive people. For women, it's about the thunder down under in Australia.

Most stressed-out country in the world: Nigeria
By looking at the dimensions of Homicide Rate, GDP per capita, Income inequality, Corruption, and Unemployment, one thing is clear: Nigeria is hands-down the most stressed out country in the world.

Least stressed-out country in the world: Norway
Along the same dimensions, Norway was at the far-end of the other side of the spectrum, and is deemed the least stressed-out country in the world.

Country with the highest average IQ: Hong Kong*
There are a lot of factors that can affect an IQ score, ranging from national and personal wealth to simply who makes the test. As a result, these findings are highly controversial, but seem to suggest that Hong Kong is the country* with the highest IQ, at an average of 107 points.
*Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China meaning that it falls within the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China, yet does not form part of Mainland China, and has it's own government.

Country with the lowest average IQ: Equatorial Guinea
According to "IQ and the Wealth of Nations," Equatorial Guinea caps the low end of the global IQ range, with a national average of 59 points.

World's most well-connected city (for internet): Seoul, South Korea
Surprisingly, despite it's 618 million internet users spending an average of 18.7 hours a week surfing the net, China didn't even make the top 10. Along the dimensions of average connection speed, availability (weighted towards free access), openness to innovation, support of public data, and privacy/security, Seoul in South Korea is the champion of internet-connectedness. With 10,000 government supported free WiFi spots dotting the city, and an internet speed that goes unchallenged globally, Seoul is an internet junkie's paradise.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Sprit of Christmas

So what is Christmas anyway? No matter what your faith, the spirit of Christmas is pretty simple, and has been echoed throughout time, by many people, from different beliefs, around the world. Be good to yourself, love others, and well, be happy in the fact that all you will do, and all you have done, is approved by the Creator, your Maker. You were all made perfect and are a gift to this World. May the Joy and Spirit of Christmas live in your hearts always..

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wisdom in Football

Considering what time of the year it is, and since I am a big fan of sports analogies, primarily due to fact that they are usually dead nuts on target in explaining what people should do to improve their companies, teams, or ourselves, I thought a post about football would be worthwhile here. In that light, here are some football quotations that I hope you find useful and enlightening...

“Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football”
John Heisman

“I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.”
Bear Bryant / Alabama

“It isn't necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it!
Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

“At Georgia Southern, we don't cheat . That costs money, and we don't have any.”
Erk Russell / Georgia Southern

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.”
Lou Holtz / Arkansas - Norte Dame

“When you win, nothing hurts.”
Joe Namath / Alabama

“Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.”
Lou Holtz / Arkansas - Norte Dame

“A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.”
Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.”
Woody Hayes / Ohio State

I don't expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.”
Bob Devaney / Nebraska

In Alabama, an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant.”
Wally Butts / University of Georgia

“I never graduated from Iowa. But I was only there for two terms - Truman's and Eisenhower's.”
Alex Karras / Iowa

“I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.”
Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

“Always remember Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David.”
Shug Jordan / Auburn

“They whipped us like a rented mule.”
Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

“I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn't recruit me. ”He said, “Well, Walt, we took a look at you, and you weren't any good.”
Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State

”Football is NOT a contact sport, it is a collision sport. Dancing IS a contact sport.”
Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

“If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting their Ph.D.”
Murray Warmath / Minnesota

“The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.”
Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

“We played about like three tons of buzzard puke this afternoon.”
Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

“We didn't tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.”
John McKay / USC

“Three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad.”
Darrell Royal / University of Texas

“I've found that prayers work best when you have big players.”
Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

Monday, December 8, 2014

“How did you get funded?”

This is a question I have been asked dozens of times. I have been pretty fortunate and had a great deal of success as an entrepreneur in raising money, and many of my friends, colleagues, and entrepreneurs in waiting have asked me, what does it takes to get investment? Other that knowing someone or doing it once before (that is the easiest way), how can a “nobody” get somebody to invest in your bright idea? There are not a lot of things you can control when it comes to funding, but here are some tips YOU can do that seem to work for me, and hopefully for all those budding entrepreneurs out there as well!

It’s all about the sizzle…you are selling smoke and smell, not steak!
OK, being in Texas for most of my life (but not a native), I have learned a lot about cattle, steak and sizzle. You want to make their mouths water. When you are “selling” your idea, you have to think more like a televangelists and an engineer, CEO, or businessman. Essentially, you are selling something intangible that will get a return in at a future date!! Hum, sounds like salvation to me. Not to be flippant, but a LOT of what you are selling is your passion and promise of a better tomorrow, which leads me to my next point.

Be Someone Worth Knowing…
What does that mean? Be someone who always offers more advice, skill, knowledge, giving, service and feedback than anyone else you know. As Woody Allen said, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." The other 20% is in differentiating yourself from everyone else. As I like to say, “Differentiate or die.” Whatever your expertise is, just make it so that you are THAT person people want to know, meet, and network with. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I am in the business of humanity, I live vicariously in helping others. Helping others reach their success is vitally important to me, and sharing of yourself will make you important to others. 

Do NOT network, collect… people.
As I said earlier that I was in the business of humanity, and as part of that, I make it my mission to not only be a person worth knowing, but in also collecting people worth knowing. I believe the greatest ability to possess is the ability to find, develop, and promote abilities in other people. I stay in touch with some individuals because they are friends or because we run in the same circles, but I collect other people because they are either unique in some aspect or I feel they going places and I want to make sure they know I am here to help THEM. I make it a point to stay well associated with them when they get there (mostly because I want to go to their great parties). Going back to being someone worth knowing, makes these connections more viable.

Great opportunities start with the unknown
I say “Go to where you do not know what you do not know. That is where you will find all your opportunities.” It is as true for business as it is for people. When you network, go to events that you would not think twice about going to, and talk to people YOU DO NOT KNOW. Not only will you expand your knowledge (be worth knowing), you just might meet someone you had being wanting to meet for some time, but did not know it.

You are the average of the 5 people…
When doing a start up, your chances of success increase dramatically when you associated with a handful of competent people instead of hiring a bunch of mediocre ones. Just as important, the people you associate the most with, your favorite 5, will dictate your odds of failure or success outside of the business world. If you are not getting to where you want to be, look at the people you are hanging out with. You do not want any drama in your life, so "if you want to lift yourself up, see who is bringing you down, and get rid of them.”

Do things with flare…
If you want to be someone worth knowing, you have to do things not just above and beyond, but with a sense of flare. No one remembers average, but they do remember someone who went out of there way to make a connection, or get some information, and give a piece of hard to find information. Just wondering how many of you make a conscientious effort to remember every person’s birthday in your address book, and send them a note on it? Hum, not many I am sure. To be outstanding you need to stand out, and to stand out, you have to make the effort.

Manage your time…
It is the most precious asset you own, do not let others rob it from you and do not waste it needlessly. I am NOT saying you should not have a social life, you should, but if you are wasting time involving yourself in other people’s drama or watching Netflix marathons and partying it up regularly, it will be difficult to find the time to focus on doing the hard tasks at hand. Denis Waitley said it best when he wrote, “How you spend your time is far more important than all the material possessions you may own or positions you may attain.”

Do only work that is important….
I have a quote that I tell most newly minted entrepreneurs, “Do only work that matters, and you will end up pleasing those who are important enough to care about it.” What this means, if you try to please everyone you will most likely fail, and those people you want to please, may be your potential investor. Stay focused on what you KNOW is important, and figure that out BEFORE you start doing any work. As a corollary to this, Stephen Covey’s quote adds, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”  And once you figure out what is important, do excellence in it.

Put in the work in…
From what I’ve seen, investors want to see entrepreneurs that have put a lot of effort into their business before approaching them for money. Doing a side project or just having an idea is not going to cut it. You may not have a lot of money to spend on your start up right now, but you do have time (see what I said about that earlier). Use that time to become a subject and market master. You will never know everything, and potential Investors will ask you hard questions, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Believe it or not, you are alright to say “You know what, I did not know that. Let me do a little research on it and get back to you.” Of course, if you say that too much, you will just be disregarded as any kind of subject master. Make sure you got your knowledge of the industry, competitors, revenue models, and other businesses that have been successful and failed in your space. Have a well thought out go-to-market strategy understanding your sales channels and how much and who you need to help you scale rapidly. As I also say, it is good to know what makes you different or better. As far as selling sizzle, having a huge market size never hurts either, especially if you have a chance of "gaming the system."

Persistence, persistence, persistence…
My last little piece of advice might be the most important. You are going to be turned down dozens, maybe hundreds of times. By being persistent, and often thinking "outside of the box" on funding or financing, you will hit that right combination that is appealing to an potential investor. Remember not all investors want the same thing, and if you REALLY believe in what you are doing, you will will find that “one” person who believes too. As the old saw goes, “it only takes one person to get you pregnant.” Good luck friends and see you…out there.