October 28, 2013

All Social News Websites

This is a collection of all available social news websites. According to Wikipedia, social news can be defined as:
A website that features user-posted stories that are ranked based on popularity. Users can comment on these posts, and these comments may also be ranked. Since their emergence with the birth of web 2.0, these sites are used to link many types of information including news, humor, support, and discussion. Social news relies on crowd sourcing to shape focus in a bottom-up fashion, forming a type of collective intelligence. Social news sites facilitate democratic participation on the web.

General news:
Digg - Used to be the largest social news website, but has declined as described in The rise and fall of Digg, and what we can learn from it

Reddit - Is currently the largest social news website (and one of the world's largest websites). Has several subsections like corgi, TeslaMotors, etc

Specialized news:
GrowthHackers - Growth hacking only

Hacker News - Startups, programming, technology, etc

Inbound - Inbound marketing, such as SEO, social media, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, etc

Trejdify - Business news only, such as stocks, dividends, trading strategies, management strategies, etc

StreetEYE - Finds the most shared financial headlines from around the Internet in real-time, and brings them all together on one page

Financier News - News related to finance

Data Tau - Data Science only

If you miss a website, leave a comment or send an email!

October 22, 2013

How to add stock charts to your website or blog

This is a tutorial on how you can add stock charts to your blog.

Method 1.
Visit Google Finance or Yahoo Finance, navigate to your favorite stock, press the print screen button, paste it in your preferred image editor, edit the image, and upload the image to your website. The main drawback with this method is that if you want an updated chart, you have to make another print screen and redo the entire process.

Method 2.
Embed a chart from Google Finance by using this code snippet:

<img src="https://www.google.com/finance/getchart?q=AMZN&p=20Y&i=86400" />

  • AMZN is the ticker symbol. Amazon in this case
  • 20Y is the time - as in 20 years. If the stock hasn't existed for 20 years, the chart will automatically begin on the first day of trading. You can change this to 20d for 20 days, and 20M for 20 months
  • i is currently unknown and I will update as soon as I find out

This is the result:

Method 3.
Visit wikinvest and use their Embed Stock Chart service. This is the result:

The drawback with this method is that you have to use flash, so the chart will not be shown on your iPad.

Method 4.
Embed a chart from YCharts. This is the result:

AMZN Chart
AMZN data by YCharts

This last method seems to be the best alternative. The chart will be displayed on your iPad and you can modify the chart in multiple ways when you create it.

Method 5.
If you need a chart that display the price of a commodity, such as sugar, you should embed a chart from Index Mundi.

Sugar - Monthly Price - Commodity Prices - Price Charts, Data, and News - IndexMundi
Method 6.
Embed a chart from Quandl, which is a site that have collected data from across the globe.

Graph of ICE Sugar No. 11 Futures, Continuous Contract #1 (SB1) (Front Month)

October 18, 2013

Anecdotes from The Engineer


I've already given away some information from the book by answering questions at Quora:

I've also written a few articles related to Elon Musk:

In the future, I might tell you why Elon Musk named one of his dogs Hamlet (and it wasn't because Hamlet had a foot fetish) or how Elon Musk was two days away from dying of Malaria. If you can't wait, you should skip a few beers to afford the book (or combine both) and read about it in the book.

How to build online communities


The Truly Monumental Guide to Building Online Communities is a free book (pdf with 147 pages), you can pick it up online here: Mack Web Solutions. It promises to help companies who want to build an engaged audience around their brand. If you have no audience at all, it will help you to build a community of lifelong customers, but the book is also for companies who would like to improve their existing communities. These communities consists of your current and potential customers, your peers, the leaders/innovators in your industry, and the visionaries from any field that inspire you. The book targets mostly Internet-based companies, but I'm sure someone who hasn't an Internet-based company can find some valuable insights from it.

To build an online community, you have to identify, reach out to, and enter into relationship with the online community of the diverse pieces that compose the sphere of your business. This relationship can't, like any healthy relationship, be bought. To form this relation ship, you have to:
  • Listen and respond to your community
  • Understand your community
  • Provide valuable advice or insight to your community. This is the most important advice - you can't build a sustainable online community without a great product with valuable content. For example, this book review will hopefully be valuable content to my community.   

Here are some key-points from the book:
  • You don't have to be on every social media platform known to man. And never automate social media. You need to be aware of what's happening and engage as a human with humans. Or as the book concluded, "The absolute best way to build community is to remember that you are a person among people." This is similar as the thoughts by Gary Vaynerchuk and his book "The thank you economy." He built a wine store by interacting with people on Twitter for seven hours a day.  
  • Building a community is not a process with an end - no matter how large it becomes. It's rather common that large companies tend to forget about their respective community as they grow.     

October 14, 2013

Lessons learned from Paul Willard's talk on Growth Hacking

A few weeks ago, the free book, The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking, traveled around Internet like a scalded troll (Swedish expression for viral). At the end of the book, the author of the book, Neil Patel, argued that the company Atlassian is a role model on how to grow a company. The book said:
Atlassian is one of the fastest growing software companies in the world and they also have one of the most sophisticated growth hacking teams that I've ever seen. They approach their experiments with the rigor of a scientist, and they use machine learning models to refine their process over time. They have one group focused specifically on new customer acquisitions, and another group focused exclusively on the funnel once they are inside the product. It's a well oiled machine. 
But here's the rub; they are an enterprise B2B software company, selling products that the general public has never heard of. They have boring products that enable communication and collaboration within software environments. They are not spreading because they are sexy. They're growth hacking their way to the top. If you ignore Atlassian, and the companies that are following their lead, then good luck competing in the future.
So I thought it was a wise idea to research exactly what Atlassian are doing to be such a role model. It turned out that the Chief Marketing Officer at Atlassian is Paul Willard (Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog) and he has given a lecture on the subject.

Lessons learned
  • He learned the basics of growth hacking from NextCard in the late 1990's
  • He holds an M.Sc in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford, where he learned Japanese manufacturing concepts (Lean), and he can use those concepts when growth hacking
  • The saying "If you build the best product, you will win" is not true - the product will not travel around the Internet like a scalded troll. You also have to learn how to fail fast (2 month per A/B test is too slow)
  • Temporarily change what you want to test front-end since it's easier. If it's working, you can change the back-end code
  • For each person in the group working with growth, try 2 new ways each week to bring in new customers, while at the same time you continue with the old ways of bringing in new customers
  • A couple of tests each week per person is enough
  • Business changes, so what didn't work a year ago might work today
  • Read everything on behavioral design by Robert Cialdini, Dan Ariely, and Nir Eyal (Blog)
  • Speed of the website, call to action buttons, and grouping/contrast of the website are important
  • Don't A/B test your core repeat usage product (the customer will become annoyed) - it's better to use beta in that case. Only A/B test newsletters, tutorials, first-time user signup, etc
  • Keep things simple
  • An A/B test can also teach you about your market/segment

October 9, 2013

Chef Marcus Samuelsson interviewed by Google

Google has two underrated YouTube Channels. The first one is Google Tech Talks where you can watch recorded lectures from Google that are dealing with technical subjects. The second channel is At Google Talks which is similar to the first channel but the lectures are less technical. Among other occupations, you can see interviews with politicians, authors, and chefs. One of the chefs interviewed is Marcus Samuelsson.

Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia. When his mother died from an illness, and his father didn't know the siblings had survived the same illness because he was in another village, everyone thought Marcus Samuelsson and his sister were orphans, so they were adopted by Swedish parents. When he grew up in Sweden, Marcus Samuelsson wanted to become a soccer player, but his coach thought he was too weak compared with the rest of the team, so the team kicked him out. The interesting part here is the then unknown fact that Marcus Samuelsson was one year younger compared with his team. No-one knew how old he was when he was adopted, so the immigration department had to guess. This might have been the reason to why he was not as athletic as the rest of the team.

Soccer was Marcus Samuelsson's life, and when he was forced to leave his beloved soccer team, he was really angry, but calmed down and decided to become the best chef in the world. To become the best, he realized he had to practice with the best. The best chefs didn't live in Sweden, so Marcus Samuelsson traveled around the world to work at the best restaurants. Before he settled in New York, he worked in Austria, Switzerland, France, and on a cruise ship.

In his biography, Yes, Chef, he explained how he had to give up everything to be able to become the best. He didn't have time to meet his then girlfriend and daughter, and because he was so exhausted from the pressure to perform, he had to learn how to sneak away from the kitchen unnoticed so he could throw up in the bathroom. But the long hours gave a result and he became a chef at the restaurant Aquavit (the name originates from a Scandinavian liquor) in New York. To find new dishes to serve, he traveled around New York on roller skates. He tested everything he could find, and to afford the most expensive dishes, he had to eat the dishes without any wine.

At the end of the book, he talked about how he had been responsible for the first state dinner of the Barack Obama presidency. After the dinner, the President visited the kitchen. One team was so exhausted that he said "Yes, Chef" when the President had asked him a question. When Marcus Samuelsson came back to New York, he served the same food as he had served the President to the neighboring kids. He though they might become as inspired as Marcus Samuelsson had when he worked in the kitchen with his grandmother.

October 2, 2013

Tim Ferriss On How To Growth Hack A Book

Tim Ferriss. Source: Forbes

Tim Ferriss became famous (and wealthy) after publishing the book The 4-Hour Workweek. The book became a bestseller despite the fact that over 25 publishers had rejected it. He has since then published two more books with the same theme: The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef. These later books were as successful as The 4-Hour Workweek, so I thought it was a good idea to investigate what Tim Ferris marketing tactics were. While the typical US nonfiction book sells fewer than 250 copies per year, and under 3000 copies in its lifetime, Tim Ferris sells a considerable amount of more copies. I've published my own book called The Engineer which is a biography on the entrepreneur Elon Musk, so I can hopefully use some of the same marketing hacks.

When Tim Ferriss wanted to publish The 4-Hour Chef, he realized that 700 bookstore boycotted his book because he published it through Amazon. This was not a good start. So what he did was to begin marketing the book as an online startup. Most other authors spend two year of their lives writing a book and then they release it and sell their 250 copies of it each year - and that wasn't good enough to Tim Ferriss.

  • To help him, he contacted Ryan Holiday who is considered to be a marketing wizard  
  • The 4-Hour Chef consisted of several different topics so he could market each topic to a specific audience interested in that specific topic. You can see the insane long list here: (The 4-Hour Chef Launch - Marketing/PR Summary of Week One)
  • He released the first chapter of the book together with (at least) 680 mb of behind-the-scenes content on the torrent site BitTorrent. The same torrent network is famous for helping people downloading (pirating) illegal copies of books
  • He created a series of campaigns: Booksellers got the opportunity to travel with him. Fans who created their own trailers for the book got the chance to win a $2500 reward and a hour long conversation with Tim Ferriss himself. Those who bought his two earlier books got the opportunity to get the new book for free
  • When he released his first book, and to find out which title/cover to use, he printed different covers and attached them to books by other authors. He then traveled to airports where he put a fake book on a table, and from distance he could now see people's reactions when they picked up the book. He could now find the most popular title and cover
  • He conducted as many fast low-cost experiments as he could, and then he tried to scale the successful experiments. An eight second book trailer was one of the successful experiments
  • When he began to write the book, he asked his blog readers what they thought the weaknesses were of the current books with similar topics. He argued how he got more information from his blog readers than what he gave them with his three books
  • If you have 1000 hard-core fans, you will never have a marketing problem. Don't ask yourself "How do I sell as many copies of the book as possible" - ask yourself "How can I create content that appeal these 1000 fans." This is the article he got this idea from: 1000 True Fans
  • Your book should fit into a new category that doesn't exist. For example, the 4-Hour Chef is a cookbook for people who are not reading cookbooks, and that category didn't exist before
  • If you want to become a better marketer, you should read: Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson who also wrote the Steve Jobs biography
  • Hire a good editor
  • He gave away 1000 copies of a book before the release to friends, companies, contributors
  • Carpet-bomb the Internet with information of the book for a short time - don't bomb the Internet for seven months

More articles in the same series: Best technical and creative writing resources