April 29, 2017

Best Films of 2016

Ready to call my Best Films of 2016 in what was, for me, a pretty "meh" year. Top 6 are definitely worth watching. DNF = did not finish.

Captain Fantastic
OJ: Made in America
The Lobster
Finding Dory

Magnificent Seven
David Brent: Life on the Road
Hell or High Water
Green Room
The Nice Guys
Pervert Park
Life, Animated
10 Cloverfield Lane
Sing Street
Cafe Society
Everybody Wants Some!

The Founder
La La Land
The Edge of Seventeen
Hacksaw Ridge
The Birth of a Nation
Manchester By the Sea
Don’t Think Twice
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Sausage Party
Lights Out
Hillsong: Let Hope Rise
Knight of Cups
The Witch
The Invitation
Hail, Caesar! (DNF)
Silence (DNF)
Fences (DNF)
Keanu (DNF)
Loving (DNF)
Mascots (DNF)
Zoolander 2 (DNF)
13 Hours (DNF)
Other People (DNF)
Last Days in the Desert (DNF)
Tickled (DNF)

April 23, 2017

How Smart Offices Can Save Businesses A Lot Of Money

This post has been contributed.

Between smart apps, smartphones and smart data, it seems impossible to imagine a business environment without the extra smart touch. However, most business owners tend to waste too much time and money on the wrong type of smart tools and items.The latest IT gear is nice, but it doesn’t bring much if your business costs are still handicapped by outdated structures and mindsets. As a result, more and more entrepreneurs are turning to smart cost-saving ideas, to make the most of modern technology within the business world. From outsourcing to using renewable energy, there are a lot of smart cost-saving strategies to keep your budget out of the red – and your accountant happy. The latest move in terms of smart strategies is entirely focused on smart offices: How to make offices work better for the team, and for the budget too. This is exactly what we are going to discuss here.

Cost-Efficient Buildings

The addition of solar panels for renewable energy is a nice move. However, if you are looking at energy-efficient buildings, steel buildings such as Armstrong Steel buildings BBB endorsed, are not only easy to set up – you can build your next office yourself – but they are also extremely energy-efficient. Steel buildings are renowned for keeping the heat inside in winter, and the cool in summer, which makes them an ideal partner to save on your heating and cooling costs. If you are looking at ways to generate low energy bills, combining green renewables and metal buildings seems like a match made in heaven.

Going Paperless

One of the highest office costs relates to printing. Whether it is emails, presentations, contracts or interesting articles, each office has to face a lot of printing every day. Unfortunately, going paperless is more than deciding not to click on the print button. It is a complete change of mentality. A paperless office starts with training your staff and your suppliers to your new processes. From your employees’ perspective, this means that you not only should track the number of pages printed per person, but you should also facilitate digital processes so that nobody needs to print anymore. A simple gesture, such as giving everyone in your team a second monitor can only reduce the temptation to print. Using collaborative online tools, such as Google Drive, can also help to keep everyone updated in the digital world.

The Office That Makes Companies More Intelligent

Finally, what is a smart office for if it doesn’t make your employees’ life easier? Redesigning the work space to match your employees’ needs can improve productivity and lower costs. For example, one of the biggest problems in productivity is the need to organize meetings. If a meeting room is not suitable for its purpose, for example, if your meeting room accommodates 20 people but is generally booked only for small parties of 2 to 5 persons, then there’s a problem of inefficiently matching the space to the needs of your staff. Understanding how employees use the office is key to provide the right technology and the appropriate room, without creating any waste.


April 20, 2017

High Risk Investments: Are They Worth It?

This post has been contributed.
Ask any successful investor, and they will all tell you the same thing: reduce your investment risk as much as possible if you want to have a healthy financial future. But if you ask the same people if they have ever taken a significant risk before, you can bet your bottom dollar that all will have taken a punt on a high potential yield that was incredibly risky.
So the big question for investors in the early stages of their investment lives is, are these high-risk strategies worth it in the long term? And, if so, when is the right time to take the plunge? We’re going to take a look at a few different strategies of note and explain when - if at all - you should turn to the higher risk markets.
Initial public offerings
Initial public offerings are known as IPOs and offer a lot of potentials - but a lot of risks. The big reason for that risk is that IPOs tend to garner a lot of attention, and, of course, all that attention tends to create wild valuations that aren’t necessarily good for investors. That said, by avoiding the high-profile IPOs, you can often find the reverse - great little companies with a lot on offer which have been severely undervalued.
Venture capital/angel investment
No business is guaranteed any kind of success, of course, But for those venture capitalists and angel investors that spot a very good idea, the returns can be exhilarating. While it is unlikely you will uncover the next Facebook, plenty of angels and VCs make a lot of good money with good, well-run companies and a sensible exit strategy. One thing to bear in mind is that you should learn to walk away when the time is right or it could be a big mistake.
Penny stocks
Penny stocks are renowned as one of the riskiest strategies in investing terms. And there is a lot of different info on penny stocks online, so make sure you are checking in with a reliable source, as a lot of the advice you read will be of variable quality. That said if you limit your risk by only investing in what you can afford, with a little research and a bit of luck, winning big on penny stocks could be as good for your finances as winning the Lotto.
Foreign emerging markets
The world is a vast place, full of constant change., And when the economy of a particular country starts to grow, it can be an exciting time to look into the emerging marketplace. It’s where big money can be made, dreams are created, and spurts of economic growth create many millionaires on a weekly basis. But it’s also incredibly risky. Extreme growth tends to be something of a bubble that could burst at any moment, and if you do plan on investing in emerging markets, you need to be ready to walk away at a moment’s notice.
There are plenty of risky strategies for investing your money, and the ones mentioned here are just a few of them. But wherever you find risk, you can also find great reward - just be sure never to invest more than you can afford to lose.

April 20, 2017

What You Can Do To Make The Roads Safer

This post has been contributed.
US traffic statistics have shown that 2016 was one of the deadliest years on record for road traffic accidents, with more accidents than ever before resulting in severe injuries or deaths. Statistics suggest that around 40,000 drivers died in car accidents last year, which means there has been a 14% increase in driving-related deaths since 2014.
The number of people killed on roads in the US last year hit an all-time high and one that has not been seen since 2007. As well as tens of thousands of people losing their lives on the roads because of car accidents caused by dangerous driving, drink or drug driving, and using cellphones while driving, there were also a massive 4.6 million serious injuries, some of which were life-changing.
With those statistics in mind, it’s easy to conclude that driving is dangerous. However, what it’s important to realize is that although driving can be dangerous, it doesn’t have to be. Wondering what you can do as a driver, to make the roads that little bit safer? Then read on, as below are some tips and suggestions for helping to make the roads safer for everyone.
Stick to speed limits
55 limit.jpg
A great way to look at speed limits is not to see them as a challenge, as so many drivers do, but to realize that they are there for a reason. Think of it this way, everyone wants to get to where they are going as quickly as possible, but if we all drove dangerously fast, few of us would actually get from A to B, that’s why speed limits are put in place. Speed limits are in place to protect everyone and increase the likelihood that should an accident occur; the repercussions will be less severe - aka less damage to the vehicle and the people involved.
Commit to improving your driving
driving car sa.jpg
If you know that you’re not the best driver - don’t worry we all get into bad habits - commit to improving your driving. This means aiming to be the best and safest driver that you can be, which means not driving after having any amount of alcohol because even a small amount can impair your judgement. Another way you can become a better driver is by looking into taking a driving course - you can learn more about this by searching defensive driving traffic school online, to see where your local facility is located and what the options are. You might not think that you need to undertake a course, but it could be the making of you as a safer driver.
Be a road safety advocate
road safety.jpg
Making the roads safer isn’t just about improving your own driving, it’s about encouraging others in your local community to do the same. This means encouraging other drivers to stick to the speed limits, not drive after drinking, and to improve their driving in anyway that they can. It’s not always easy to do this, as you may receive a lot of resistance, but if you persevere, you will begin to see results.
To make the roads that little bit safer, reducing the amount of injuries and deaths, take note of the tips and advice above, and implement them.

April 19, 2017

Smart Ideas: How All Business Owners Can Save Money

This post has been contributed.
Starting a new business is a bold move for entrepreneurs. They have to come up with a successful concept, and then design processes that make it happen. They usually have to create a business plan and take it to the bank to gain investment. It’s a LOT of work! So, it makes sense that all new company bosses should try to save money wherever possible. There are thousands of ways to achieve that goal, and some of the best ones are listed on this page. Regardless of the nature of the operation, the same rules should apply. That means this article is designed for both digital and real-world companies.
Go green!
Firstly, there is a huge push at the moment in the business world towards green technology. While implementing the latest tech might cost money, the investment should pay for itself. Installing solar panels on the roof of your premises will mean you don’t have to worry about monthly electricity bills. You should also think about your approach to waste disposal. Governments around the world now offer incentives to companies that make an effort. Some even slap bosses with hefty fines if they don’t. So, going green is the best move you can make this year. The action will also encourage the building of a better reputation.
It’s often hard to let other people handle important tasks within your business. However, you can’t do everything yourself, and so you’ll have to consider that option at some point. Most small business owners have to remain careful when it comes to employing staff. That is especially the case if they’re just starting out. The last thing you want to do is hire lots of people and then experience cash flow issues. For that reason, outsourcing is the best option on the table. In the modern world, there is no need for you to handle customer service, accounting or marketing. There are plenty of experts out there willing to perform those tasks on your behalf. Best of all? Outsourcing isn’t as expensive as you might think.
Eliminate downtime!
Downtime happens whenever your company had to stop working for any reason. Maybe you have an issue with your IT system that’s not receiving orders? Perhaps a critical machine breaks down leaving you unable to produce products? Either way, you must ensure you have the right experts at the end of the telephone. Pirtek and similar firms have highlighted that fact for a long time. If you build relationships with professionals ahead of time, they will swing into action when you require their services. So, get in touch today and ensure the right companies know about your operation and how it works. That will help you to save time further down the line.
Now you know about some of the best ways your business can save money, I hope you’ll put those ideas into practice. At the end of the day, you became involved in the business world because you wanted to make money. So, you need to do everything within your power to ensure nothing stands in your way.

April 18, 2017

Mistakes To Unlearn Before They Ruin Your Life

This post has been contributed.
Anyone would be hard-pressed to say that there is a ‘100%’ correct way to live our lives. After all, we live in an environment we’re not exactly supposed to. Our brains and bodies are designed for a hunter-gatherer experience on that savannah, not blogging on a balcony in a city. But that’s a digression. There might not be a right way to live your life but you had better believe there are wrong ways to live it. Here, we’ll look at a few lessons regarding your finances, your time and how you view what you do that you’re not going to learn in school.
Get rich quick
There is no such thing as getting rich quick. There are some very lucky people who catch lightning in a bottle and then there are a lot of chancers who want to enjoy a successful life without working for it or really defining what it means for themselves. Instead of constantly looking at how you can skyrocket up to wealth, you should focus on working on something you can working at. Make awesome things, make decisions you’re invested in and focus on the path and not the end goal all the time. Otherwise, you’re going to be leaping at opportunities that lead to nowhere at all most of the time.
Funding your lifestyle
That’s not to say that money is important. However, there’s a difference between being happy and resourceful with your money and being rich. There’s a big difference between the person with $1,000 a week in income and $900 in expenses and the person with $1,000 income and $1,050 expenses. Being happy with your money is about learning to live within your means and learning that the extra money is better funding goals and protections as opposed to your lifestyle. Pay yourself first, whether it’s to tackle existing debt, to build savings or to invest in your future. Even worse is to use credit cards to live a lifestyle that’s unsustainable.
Expect nothing bad to ever happen
When you’ve lived a somewhat charmed life, it can be easy to forget how hard some people have it. It’s even easier to neglect the fact there might be very little difference between you and them in the first place. You might be one unfortunate event from being in a boatload of debt, for instance. Without preparing for unforseen financial emergencies, you are in serious danger. The same goes for other kinds of emergencies in life as well. You should spend all your time worrying, but you should be spending time and money on building up the protections and connections that can offer you and out when you need it. No-one else in this world has your back in the worst of scenarios.
Work for your boss, they’ll work for you
This is true in any industry. When your boss does something nice, most of the time it’s because they understand how it will benefit them. Like your boss. Work well with them. Meet their standards. But don’t expect that a career under anyone else’s employ is going to place you as anything more than second fiddle if even that. If you work in writing for any publishers, for instance, then don’t believe the myth of exposure. You have to work on yourself and for yourself and your own brand and find your own platform. Even if it’s to jump from one employer to another. There’s nothing wrong with spending your life as an employee. So long as you’re aware that you are ultimately responsible for the paths open to you, not any boss.
Keep going, never look back
If you’re hungry for success, for wealth, and for influence then that’s perfectly okay. There are many worse goals to have. However, that hunger can sometimes make you a little narrow-sighted. If you’re constantly looking only at the future, then you are only looking at what you haven’t done yet. For your own sanity, take a look behind you. Take the time to really list out and appreciate the accomplishments you’ve made in this short existence you’ve enjoyed. It’s a crucial part of building the confidence in yourself that, in a roundabout way, is very much responsible for helping you fulfill the achievements you’re looking forward at.
There are likely a lot of other mistakes you will spot in time that you kick yourself over. However, these are the ones that many agree can ruin your life if you don’t unlearn them now. So, do that already and get it over with.