Contents

Gizmos and gadgets bring convenience and amusement into our lives. This article explores how many of the great inventions in history stemmed from simple gadgets created by smart men and women.

How Gadgets Make History

How Gadgets Make HistoryThe history of gadgets spans as far back as humanity itself since hominids began creating tools to make their lives easier. Humans have always created devices and appliances with specific practical purposes that were initially thought of as novelties, due to unfamiliarity with and initial unwillingness to accept the technology. Today, industry has augmented the creation of new gadgets, while certain retailers, including Brookstone and Richard Thalheimers RichardSolo.com, specialize in popularizing them.What famous inventors Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Leonardo da Vinci, among others, had in common was foresight. They understood that a lifetime spent playing with what others viewed as toys and senseless gadgets would eventually result in indispensable technology. From just that small group, the groundwork for electricity, communications, film, and flight was laid because of their gadgets, which obviously possessed more value than novelty.Perhaps one of the earliest, most well known gadgets created is the wheel, many millennia ago. Take a ride in your car and witness how truly revolutionary such a gadget became and how much we now rely on it for transportation. A more recent gadget, the Apple iPhone, appears to be the beginning stages of yet another gadget-turned-necessity that will reshape communications. "The iPhone may someday be looked upon as the device that started a second revolution in computing. Desktop computing was the first revolution. Hand-held computing will someday be regarded as the second revolution, and the iPhone is the product that started it." -Richard Thalheimer, RichardSolo.comAll gadgets were not created equal. In fact most inventions are built on the newest technology. The world of gadgets is tiered; devices fall into one of four categories: mechanical, electronic, programmable, and application. Mechanical gadgets include the wheel, as well as later developments such as the pulley, the bicycle, the sail boat, the thermometer and the sort. Following the advent of electricity, gadgets were taken to a new level as inventors began to discover different uses for the newly harnessed energy. The television, radio and quartz watch are examples of electronic gadgets. After electricity, inventors toyed around with electronic information via microprocessor, beginning an age of programmable devices such as computers, and later, MP3 players and the iPhone. Application gadgets include iTunes, Microsoft Office and other computer applications that customize our experience with programmable devices.Richard Thalheimer, the President and founder of online gadget vendor RichardSolo.com, and founder and former CEO of gadget giant The Sharper Image, understands, maybe better than anyone, that theres much more to gadgets than novelty."Certainly most people enjoy the novelty of a gadget that introduces new convenience to their lifestyle. What they forget is that solving these everyday problems is not just entertainment, but some of these devices become functional necessities. In my personal life, I rely on my iPhone, my garage door opener, my nose hair trimmer, my electric toothbrush, and other gadgets that were once regarded as novel gadgets. "- Richard Thalheimer, RichardSolo.comBoth his former brainchild and his current venture sell quirky, useful and fun gadgets of all types, from mechanical to programmable and application. He has seen some devices, such as the Ionic Breeze air purifier, spur sensational and lasting trends based on a realization of utility value, while others collected dust on the shelves after their novelty wore out. Specialty stores like The Sharper Image and Richard Thalheimers RichardSolo.com serve a greater purpose: spread new ideas, and give credit to the Franklins and Edisons of the world.~Ben Anton, 2008

Are You Derailing Your Business with Details?

Are You Derailing Your Business with Details?

Details can kill your web business. And I'm not talking about details killing your business from the standpoint of being careless about them. While it's true that being careless can hurt your business, everybody knows that (even if they don't always put it into practice).The way I'm talking about that details can kill your business is if you focus too much on them.Say what?How on earth can focusing too much on details hurt your business?Ever tried to walk on a railroad track?When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle had a house right next to a railroad track. My uncle once challenged me to walk on the track without falling off.Hey, it's not like walking a tightrope. That track was as wide as my feet. Should be no problem. So I started walking it, carefully watching my feet with each step to make sure I stayed on the track. But I couldn't get more than a couple of steps before I'd lose my balance and fall off.My uncle taught me that the only way to walk that track successfully was to look at a point a ways down the track - not down at my feet. By setting a goal and focusing on it, I could walk on that track as easily as if I was walking right on the ground. It was only when I focused on my feet that I tripped up.It works that way with business, too. Our natural reaction is to put all our attention into "watching our feet" as we deal with this short-term detail and that. But when we do that, we "fall off the track" of where we wanted to go.Now, I'm not saying that we should ignore the details of our business as we gaze wistfully toward our vision of the knock-out business we dream of building. You never get anywhere without taking step after step after step to reach your goal. But you never get anywhere, either, if all you look at is the present step.The point in the distance that you need to focus on is the need your audience has and the solution you have that will fill it. It requires you to understand your audience - who they are and what they need and what concerns stand in the way of them choosing your solution.It's way too easy for us to focus on details, namely, on the latest traffic building tips or tools, the latest bells and whistles we can add to our site. Details are usually driven by facts, and facts are something we feel we can learn and control. Understanding the people who make up our pool of potential customers is a lot more scary. It requires us to step outside ourselves into the hearts and minds of other people.Given the choice between dealing with predictable facts and details or dealing with unpredictable human nature, most of us will jump at dealing with facts any time.But that just gets us stuck staring at our own feet as our feet inexplicably slip off the track. The only way to stay on track is by looking toward your ultimate goal: you helping people solve some problem in return for them repaying you fairly for the time and effort you put into it.That's really the most simple definition of what business is. The details are not your business. The facts and the tips and the tools are not your business either. They're merely the steps you take to get to that point in the distance. And the more you take that to heart, the more easily you'll stay on the track toward your goal.

Make 2006 Your Most Profitable Year Ever: 5 Crucial Steps for Every Entrepreneur

Make 2006 Your Most Profitable Year Ever: 5 Crucial Steps for Every Entrepreneur

Many of us maintain the tradition of making New Year's resolutions for our personal lives. The New Year has just as special significance for our businesses too.Whether you're an experienced business owner or are just starting out (or thinking about starting a business), there are 5 crucial steps you need to take at the beginning of the year to assure the 2006 is your most prosperous year ever.1. If you have not done so yet, take advantage of the greatest tax shelter available today: the opportunity to start a small business and organize your business activities to generate multiple streams of income for you.If you have been thinking about starting your own business but are still sitting on the fence, resolve to take action today! With the internet making getting into business for yourself easier and more cost-effective than ever, there's no excuse for not taking that crucial first step.2. If you already own your own business make sure that you're generating income from more than once source.This way, if changing economic conditions exercise a negative effect on one stream of income, you are not left high and dry (so to speak!). If you're involved in network marketing, you'll have to make a point of ignoring those who would have you focus exclusively on a single company (often start up) that might not be around 5 years from now). You can and should diversify (within reason, of course!).3. Make sure that you are using the most advantageous structure for operating your business.This applies to you whether you have a traditional bricks-and-mortar business, operate a UPS Store franchise, or are operating an e-business doing affiliate marketing.If you're operating your business as a sole proprietor, as most "small business" owners do, your business is not in the most advantageous position to reap the fruits of the generous tax deductions available to small businesses. More important, you are placing all your personal assets, including your home, your vehicle, your personal savings, and your family's future at risk.Today, it's no longer as cumbersome as it used to be to establish an alternative business structure that will protect you from such risk. And with all the resources now readily available to the average person at minimal cost, you don't have to incur massive legal fees just to get started.4. Resolve to learn the information you need to know to operate your business in the most profitable manner.Continuing education about structuring and operating your business is an absolute necessity for the entrepreneur. Even if you have an accountant or attorney on your mastermind team, how do you know if she has the knowledge and sophistication to handle this for you properly? Unfortunately, too many, do not, and their lack of expertise can cost you thousands of dollars. If your accountant or attorney tells you, for example, that you "don't need" an LLC or corporation to do business, you'll know to run--do not walk--out of their office as quickly as possible and search elsewhere for competent advice.In addition, even if you have compentent counsel, it is your responsibility as a business owner to operate your company in accordance with governent requirements governing corporations, partnerships and LLCs.5. Adopt a Mindset that Focuses on Tax Reduction as a Way of LifeThe largest single expense of most Americans is taxes. To optimize your bottom line, you must be up to date on which expenses are tax deductible for your business and keep proper records to document them. Using a credit card--even a personal card dedicated to your business--and an accounting program that is specifically for businesses--we recommend QuickBooks by Intuit--will help you immensely in keeping track of your expenses. It can be bought at a substantial discount on eBay.Implementing these 5 steps might sound complicated at first, but they are well worth the trouble. Remember that in running your business, "Keep it simple" can be costly advice. What simplest--setting up shop as a "sole proprietor" , operating on a cash basis, using your personal bank account instead of a separate business account for your business, and failing to track and document expenses using appropriate business accounting software--can hazardous to your financial future.Take advantage of the fresh start spirit of the New Year to implement these 5 tasks, and you'll be on your way to making this year your most profitable ever.Copyright 2006 Azur Pacific Associates. All media and formats known and unknown. All rights reserved.

How to Tell if An Online Opportunity is Legitimate

How to Tell if An Online Opportunity is Legitimate

SummaryPeople lost hundeds or thousands of dollars a day to bogus online "opportunities." While theres no way to know for sure if an internet program or opportunity is 100% legitimate without trying it, this article discusses 5 concrete ways to evaluate a site's credibility. Doing a credibility check BEFORE taking a financial plunge, significantly reduces the chance youll experience online buyers remorse.Internet Legitimacy Sign #1The site has posted a privacy and terms of use policy. Some people argue that websites are obligated to post privacy policies dictating how they collect and use data. However, even if theyre not obligated to do so, posting a privacy policy says much about a companys professionalism. Read the terms of use and privacy policies of a company, and decide what you think of its policies before buying its products.Internet Legitimacy Sign #2 The site has posted testimonials and they sound reasonably credible. Testimonials can be faked, but few net cons will take the time to do so. Read the testimonials and decide what your gut thinks about their authenticity. If you're able to contact any of the testimonial authors, do so.Internet Legitimacy Sign #3The site has few complaints at the Better Business Bureau or a more informal consumer advocacy site such as the Rip Off Report.com. This sign is a toughie because competitors sometimes unfairly malign companies, and any good project has its critics. Consistency and credibility are the things to note in complaints. For instance, if you see 10 complaints, are they all saying about the same thing (e.g. company refuses to give refunds, customer service is poor) or are they varied? Do the complaints seem reasonable and well explained, or does the complainer sound like they have a vendetta against a certain company, and nothing will make them happy? How does the company respond to complaints posted on sites such as the Rip Off Report? Do they insist they can do no wrong, or are they willing to make amends?Internet Legitimacy Sign #4The site posts a 100% refund guarantee thats good for at least 30-days. If a site isnt posting a 30-day refund guarantee, that's probably because the site owners have little faith in their product. Before purchasing a product, read the Terms of Use and Terms of Purchase pages to make sure there arent any hidden catches in a 100% refund guarantee. In particular, think twice before signing any kind of "refund contract."Internet Legitimacy Sign #5The sites customer service staff responds to information requests in a courteous, professional, and intelligent manner. Have you ever submitted a question online and gotten a canned answer back about how great XYZ product is, and how 1000 people have made gazillions of dollars using it? Did you wonder if the customer service rep didnt really understand your question or was just reading from a script? If the service is poor before youve even purchased a product, imagine what itll be like after the company in question already has your money in hand. Before buying anything from a site, e-mail the customer service folks and see how they respond to a question about the legitimacy of product XYZ.ConclusionTheres no guarantee that any online company or product will be everything you hoped it would be. But by checking out an opportunity before purchasing it using the steps above, you greatly decrease your chances of falling victim to a scam.Copyright. This article may be reprinted, as long as it contains a link back to http://www.web-biz-stress.com

The curse and blessing of the entrepreneur

Having 101 ideas in your head is something that many people would be envious of. In fact, if you mention to others that you are running your own business, they might remark with wonder and encouragement at your actions. However, one thing that isn't discussed as often as it should be is how business owners keep their heads screwed on. How do they cope with the ideas that are in their heads, and not become overwhelmed by the enormity of it all? There are a few common traits amongst those businesses that have achieved a certain level of success. ** They know they can't do it all **Having lots of ideas is one thing - trying to do them all yourself is another. Although having others complete work for you is a real challenge - especially when you are starting out and have limited money - it is often one of the key elements why the business owner still has their sanity.** They roll with the punches **As kids when we were growing up, parents or adults might have told us to roll with the punches. This most likely made no sense to you as a child, but as we grow up, the wisdom of this saying was quickly realized. Life, in all its glory and unexpectedness, delivers curve balls to us every day. As such, we have two choices - be flexible and respond, or strike out.Successful businesses have learnt that the economy, people, and business in general, is dynamic and organic - it changes all the time. In fact, the most together "business owners" have developed an attitude that helps them cope with these circumstances. When things don't go the way they planned, they quickly assess the situation, focus on doing those things they can control, and for those areas of the business that they cannot control, choose to accept the fact and move on.** They know what they want to achieve **Every successful business has made it because they knew what they wanted to achieve. They had a compelling reason to keep on going through hard times. This doesn't mean that they had it easy, nor does it mean that they had a truly defined focus for the business. Once reality kicks in, sometimes even the best laid plans go out the window. But it was the compelling reason that helped these successful business owners push through and find a way to achieve their dreams.This compelling reason can be anything that drives you - something you are passionate about. For example, it could be providing a better life for your family. It could be the desire to build a business that you can leave as a legacy after you die, for the benefit of your family and community. Whatever the reason, it must be strong enough to help provide you with the fuel you will need when powering through the rough times that every business owner has.Being a business owner - an entrepreneur - is a hard task. When starting off, it isn't uncommon to see yourself doing 50-80 hours of work each week in the business, and you are still barely breaking even. Sometimes, despite the efforts you have made, you lose money. But, after a while, things will change. The sales will start to increase. Customers will start coming back to you again and again. Others might call this Luck. It isn't. It is the outward representation and reward for all the hard work and internal 'fine-tuning' that you have been going through up until that point. All the trials, tribulations, set-backs, disappointments and foiled ideas are all necessary for you to be ready for the Success when it comes.So, if you have a clear vision and reason for your business; have a flexible plan and attitude; and an iron-will and dogged determination to achieve despite frustration and disappointments, success will be yours. After all, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. There is a very valid reason why it isn't 'crowded at the top'. The question is - Are you prepared to go through your trials to get there?

How save and make money

If you save money, the money will save youThe problem with most peoples finances today is that they are not getting enough income to satisfy their needs and wants. People are naturally going to buy things they want even if it means spending more than they have (credit cards), and they know in the back of their minds that they cant afford it, but they will get it anyway. I think people will develop their own budgeting scheme when their income meets their wants then they will be budgeting masters, all by their selves. But till then there will ALWAYS be people in debt no matter how much you preach!I think a solution to some people money problem is to teach them how to make extra money first, and then teach them how to budget and save it. Americans really dont want that much; it is the hobbies that get people in trouble, bills, spending too much on golf clubs, car parts, computers, things around the house etc.I dont know about you but this is how I feel about life. Right now, I am working a 9 to 5 job making $3200 monthly. I dont want to be stuck knowing that I will be 'working' for the rest of my life, taking orders from bosses, putting up with BS and other peoples attitude, having to get up in the morning when I want to sleep in and that fear of getting fired. Currently, I am in this situation but will not be soon. There are people right now making well over $20,000/monthly working for their selves and they are everyday people that you see walking their dog, in supermarkets or even that person arguing with the McDonalds cashier. If these people ever do go back to work for someone else they can do it "stress free" even if the job is stressful (think about that). Before, you can work for yourself you have to decide one thing: If you really want that responsibility. If you said yes, you have gotten over the biggest hurdle and you will not be limited to the income your employer is giving you. I know what I am about to say will be over simplistic but I will save the details for you to research on your own. Here is a breakdown1st: determine if you really want self-employment2nd: decide what area of business you want or good at.3rd: If step 2 requires money, their are program out there that can help you get started in internet business, selling or something else before you start in what you want to do. For example, "I want to own a photography shop but it costs $10,000 to get started. Well, if I sell product A for a year I can do it". You never know, whatever you get into before your dream business may make you $50,000 a month and you may forget all about that photography shop. I can help you here too.4th Research, research and do more research. Find out what you competition is. Find out how much money they are making. Find out where they are advertising. Find out what it takes to get started. Find out where your customer are etc, etc, etc..research5th EXECUTE!! I mean once you have confidence go do it.They say that 90% of home businesses fail for the first time. And you may fail, but all you have to do is try and try again, please dont give up. Believe me, you will get it right and when you do, you will be very successful. The percentage of people who fail for the second and third time is much lower than the first timers. Well sorry to talk yall half to death, I can go on and on about this stuff.

Summary

Gizmos and gadgets bring convenience and amusement into our lives. This article explores how many of the great inventions in history stemmed from simple gadgets created by smart men and women.