12 successful entrepreneurs share their best productivity hacks

12 successful entrepreneurs share their best productivity hacks

Max Nisen, Business Insider | December 22, 2013 7:16 AM ET
For most entrepreneurs and small-business owners, it seems like there are never enough hours in the day. The pressure to make sure everything’s running smoothly means days go quickly and the to-do list easily gets lost amid ever-changing priorities. How can you best use your time to be most effective? We spoke to several successful entrepreneurs about the tips, tricks, and hacks that keep them productive and efficient. Here is some of their best advice.

Hello Design CEO David Lai: Set yourself up for success in the morning.

“How you begin the day is really important,” says Lai, who is also a founder of the award-winning creative agency based in Culver City, California. “I try to get up early, which is hard for me, as I’m not really a morning person. The first thing I’ll do is go for a bike ride, and that really helps me clear my head, relieve some stress, and think about challenges I’m currently facing. It’s important to start each day fresh and energized with the right frame of mind if you’re going to be productive.” Read more of this post

Laksania’s uphill struggle against rising costs; Founder Sim Sin Sin has poured her life savings into Laksania. Now she fears that her staff – 60 per cent of whom have mental or physical disabilities – may soon be out of work. In March, she sold her family’s landed property in Upper Thomson to keep the ailing business afloat, bringing the amount that has gone into keeping Laksania alive to over $2 million.

Laksania’s uphill struggle against rising costs


Madam Sim (left) and Ms Tay at the Bugis+ outlet of Laksania. They have offered Groupon promotions this month.

Wednesday, Dec 25, 2013

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh

The Straits Times

One of Singapore’s first food and beverage social enterprises may have to shut its kitchens for good after facing a host of financial troubles recently. Founder Sim Sin Sin has poured her life savings into Laksania. Now she fears that her staff – 60 per cent of whom have mental or physical disabilities – may soon be out of work. In March, she sold her family’s landed property in Upper Thomson to keep the ailing business afloat, bringing the amount that has gone into keeping Laksania alive to over $2 million. The 52-year-old now lives in a rented house with her family. Madam Sim also stepped down as chief executive officer of cafe chain Secret Recipe earlier this year to focus on her social enterprise. Read more of this post

The Emotional Power of Verbs: Form your characters in terms of actions that will reveal their interior lives

DECEMBER 23, 2013, 9:00 PM

The Emotional Power of Verbs


The characters in my students’ stories were not quite jumping off the page. The characters were clear and beautifully described, but sometimes I felt a bit impatient reading them. The problem was not with the descriptions — my students skillfully created characters with nouns and adjectives,  constructing the characters and their world so that I knew them. The issue was that everything seemed to be still and perfect as a photograph. Read more of this post

The Ideas that Shaped Management in 2013

The Ideas that Shaped Management in 2013

by Katherine Bell  |   12:15 PM December 24, 2013

It’s always tempting at this time of year to try to make a definitive list of the best ideas from the past 12 months. But then we end up debating what counts as best — important? useful? original? all three? — and compiling extremely long lists, struggling to shorten them, and over-thinking it all, when the point really is just to gather some really good reading for you for any free time you happen to find over the holiday. So this year, instead, we thought about the pieces that most surprised us or provoked us to think differently about an intractable problem or perennial question in management, we reviewed the whole year of data to remind ourselves what our readers found most compelling, and we looked for patterns in the subjects our authors raised most frequently and independently of our editorial urging.  The result, I think, is a set of ideas that together are important, useful, and original, and that feel like quite an accurate account of the management concerns many of us shared in 2013. Here’s the list.  See what you think: Read more of this post

In No One We Trust: Inequality is eroding our faith in institutions and our way of life

DECEMBER 21, 2013, 2:39 PM

In No One We Trust


In America today, we are sometimes made to feel that it is naïve to be preoccupied with trust. Our songs advise against it, our TV shows tell stories showing its futility, and incessant reports of financial scandal remind us we’d be fools to give it to our bankers. That last point may be true, but that doesn’t mean we should stop striving for a bit more trust in our society and our economy. Trust is what makes contracts, plans and everyday transactions possible; it facilitates the democratic process, from voting to law creation, and is necessary for social stability. It is essential for our lives. It is trust, more than money, that makes the world go round. Read more of this post

A Wordnado of Words in 2013

December 21, 2013

A Wordnado of Words in 2013


PRIVACY. Selfie. Geek. Science. Four dictionary publishers each selected one of those words as its word of the year for 2013. But it’s tough to catalog the preoccupations of the year in a single word. There were many flying around that seemed to capture a moment, an emotion, a thought, a new way of doing or describing things, or the larger zeitgeist. Some were new, some not so new, but they all seemed to say something about the times. Here are a few: Read more of this post

Learn from fraudsters to avoid scams

Learn from fraudsters to avoid scams

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 – 11:29

The Japan News/Asia News Network

JAPAN – With losses from various forms of fraud, including remittance fraud, expected to top the previous record of ¥40 billion (S$486 million) this year, police are trying to help people learn from “the enemy” by sharing some common techniques used by con artists. The Metropolitan Police Department seized papers in late September with the instructions: “Don’t interrupt while the other person is talking! First, carefully listen to what the target says.” The papers were found in a condominium in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, suspected to be a base for a fraud group. Read more of this post

Building a Feedback-Rich Culture

Building a Feedback-Rich Culture

by Ed Batista  |   10:00 AM December 24, 2013

As an executive coach and an experiential educator, I’m a passionate believer in the value of interpersonal feedback. To become more effective and fulfilled at work, people need a keen understanding of their impact on others and the extent to which they’re achieving their goals in their working relationships. Direct feedback is the most efficient way for them to gather this information and learn from it. Read more of this post

Robert Wilson, hedge fund titan, giant of philanthropy leaps to his death after stroke

Hedge fund titan, giant of philanthropy leaps to his death after stroke

By Emily Smith and Dana Sauchelli

December 24, 2013 | 7:10am

Multimillionaire philanthropist Robert W. Wilson, 86, took his own life Monday by throwing himself from his luxury Upper West Side high-rise apartment, just a few months after suffering a debilitating stroke, sources said. The former Wall Street hedge fund titan — who donated hundreds of millions to charity — left a note before leaping at about 11 a.m. from the 16th floor of the famed San Remo, which overlooks Central Park West, cops said. “He was 86 and suffered a stroke a few months ago,” said Wilson’s friend, Stephen Viscusi. “He always said he didn’t want to suffer, and when the time came, he would be ready.” A Detroit native, Wilson rose from humble beginnings to becoming nearly a billionaire, after starting his firm, Wilson Associates, with just $15,000. He would eventually build a Wall Street fortune, which was estimated by Business Week in 2000 to be worth about $800 million. Read more of this post

The advertising industry has turned its greatest asset, people, into a commodity

The advertising industry has turned its greatest asset, people, into a commodity

By George Parker December 24, 2013

George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His latest book is “Confessions of a Mad Man.”

With the final series of AMC’s Mad Men being dragged out until 2015, you have to wonder about the stamina of the principal characters. It’s not just the drinking, smoking, and sexual shenanigans they seem to engage in 24/7, but also the impossible deadlines as they strive to come up with “The Big Idea.” Advertising has never been particularly innocuous. A few years ago, a woman working at a Madison Avenue agency was cut in half when the elevator she was stepping into broke loose. There was also a creative director of a major agency who threw himself out of the window of his 14th floor hotel room after he’d been fired. Read more of this post

5 High-Tech Fixes for Patients; Health advances more easily reveal causes of illness, cost of care faster

5 High-Tech Fixes for Patients

Health advances more easily reveal causes of illness, cost of care faster


Dec. 23, 2013 7:24 p.m. ET

From virtual doctor visits to online diagnoses, information technology is rapidly changing the way patients interact with the health system. Here are some innovations that are catching on more broadly and could improve care in 2014:

Monitor Long-Distance

An electronic intensive-care unit, or eICU, lets critical-care doctors and nurses check on patients in several hospitals from a remote command center with a bank of monitors displaying patients’ vital signs. They can alert bedside staff if they see a subtle change in a patient that could signal a worsening condition. Remote monitoring by specialists is also catching on for emergency rooms and surgical units to help evaluate patients with stroke, seizures and other conditions. Read more of this post

How Lobbyists Will Keep You Hooked on Vitamins

How Lobbyists Will Keep You Hooked on Vitamins

By Paul A. Offit

December 21st 20135:45 AM

No matter how many studies show you’re wasting money and possibly harming your health, dietary supplement makers are selling their own version of science—and reality. This week, the Annals of Internal Medicine—one of the world’s leading medical journals—published three studies evaluating the benefits of vitamins and dietary supplements. The first study determined whether healthy people who received daily multivitamins had a lesser incidence of cancer or heart disease and whether they lived longer. The study was quite large, involving about 400,000 adults. Study participants were randomly divided into two groups: One group received daily multivitamins; the other didn’t. The authors found no difference in any medical outcome. Read more of this post

China to keep controls on property market in 2014: minister

China to keep controls on property market in 2014: minister

5:14am EST

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will maintain controls on its property market in 2014 while increasing the land and housing supply in cities facing big home-price prices, the housing minister said, in a sign authorities will not relax efforts to stabilize housing costs. Home prices in big Chinese cities have repeatedly set records despite a four-year long government campaign to cool the market, adding to the threat of a price bubble and social unrest as housing becomes unaffordable. Read more of this post

China Confronts Workforce Drop With Retirement-Age Delay

China Confronts Workforce Drop With Retirement-Age Delay

China plans to raise the retirement age for the first time since the 1950s, as policy makers confront the prospect of a shrinking workforce that damps economic growth. The age will rise gradually, Hu Xiaoyi, a vice minister of human resources and social security, said this month. China’s compulsory retirement ages, now 50 for most women and 60 for men, are likely in 2020 to be about five years higher than they are now, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Read more of this post

Ulsan has been the richest city in Korea for four years in terms of personal income

Ulsan remains top city for per capita income

Dec 24,2013

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

Ulsan has been the richest city in Korea for four years in terms of personal income, a government report said. According to Statistics Korea yesterday, per capita income of Ulsan citizens was 18.31 million won ($17,257) last year, 24 percent higher than the national average of 14.77 million won. Seoul was second (17.52 million won), followed by Busan (15.05 million won). South Jeolla was the poorest region with a per capita income of 12.49 million won, the report showed. In terms of private consumption, Seoul was on top at 17.51 million won, followed by Ulsan with 14.13 million won. The total personal income of 16 cities and provinces reached 739 trillion won, up 3.1 percent from 2011. Seoul achieved 289 trillion won, the largest regional gross domestic product. The total GDP of the 16 cities and provinces of the country stood at 1,275 trillion won last year, up 2.7 percent. However, adjusted for inflation, the total figure rose 1.9 percent, slowing from a 3.3 percent growth a year earlier.
Gyeonggi was second to Seoul in terms of GDP with 251 trillion won. Last-place Jeju produced about 12 trillion won. The total GDP of Seoul metropolitan areas stood at 600 million won, up 2.4 percent from 2011. The proportion of Seoul metropolitan areas to the total GDP declined 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier to 47.1 percent. By industry, agricultural and fisheries accounted for 16.5 percent of the regional economy of North Gyeongsang. Mining and manufacturing businesses prevailed in Gyeonggi, representing 23 percent of GDP.

The eco-friendly next-generation industrial zone in Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, also known as “carbon valley,” was witnessing the foundation of a string of carbon fiber material related companies

Fiber cities revive on industrial new material

2013.12.24 17:43:07

The eco-friendly next-generation industrial zone in Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, also known as “carbon valley,” was witnessing the foundation of a string of carbon fiber material related companies Monday. The industrial zone already houses 35 companies including DACC, which makes high-performance aircraft brake disks by using carbon fiber composites, and CNF, a specialist in carbon fiber production and related equipment design. Jeonju, which used to be the heart of Korea’s prominent textile companies such as Samyangsa and Taihan Textile in 1980s, found an opportunity in the crisis. The city audaciously walked away from the apparel textile business as it slid down the value chain and switched to industrial textile. Jeonju attracted many carbon fiber research and development facilities, an emerging material in the car and aerospace sectors for its high intensity and lightweight, and established pilot carbon fiber production facilities for the first time in the country in 2007. Industrial fiber as new material is also emerging as a next-generation growth driver of Daegu and Busan used to be conventional hubs of the textile industry. Daegu and North Gyeongsang province are searching for a breakthrough in the “super fiber.” The flagship example is Ukseong Chemical, a textile snow chain manufacturer based in Seongju-gun in the province. Ukseong Chemical used to make textile for shoes, but confronted with a huge challenge from Chinese competitors, the company turned to industrial textile products since 2007 and successfully developed textile-based snow chains. Meanwhile, the number of textile companies in Busan is projected to skyrocket from 3,704 in 2010 to 5,835 by 2020, said the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade.

South Korea’s third-generation family members of conglomerates are coming forward to succeed the group control.

Chaebol scions climb toward management

Chae Soo-hwan, Noh Won-myung, Lee Ho-seung

2013.12.25 13:41:49

South Korea’s third-generation family members of conglomerates are coming forward to succeed the group control. In the Hanjin Group’s shake-up which was made on December 24, Korean Air executive vice president Cho Won-tae (aged 38), the son of current chairman of the group Cho Yang-ho, was appointed to concurrently head Hanjin Kal, the holding company of Hanjin Group. Cho Hyun-min, the youngest daughter of chairman Cho was promoted to senior vice president from vice president of Korean Air. With the appointment of Cho Won-tae as vice president, the group’s power structure seems to be leaning toward the son of chairman Cho. Cho Hyun-min, aged 30, saw a fast promotion to senior vice president in a year. The nation’s conglomerates are in the process of passing ownership rights to a third-generation of their family albeit at a slower pace. In Samsung Group, Lee Jae-yong, the third generation of the Samsung family, serves vice president of Samsung Electronics. In Hyundai Motor Group, eyes are on whether Chung Eui-sun, the only son of Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo, will be assigned to an additional position in the upcoming personnel reshuffle late this year. GS Group also sped up the process of handing over power to the fourth generation of the group’s family members in the management shake-up made last year. GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo’s only son Yoon-hong was promoted to executive-level from general manager at GS Engineering and Construction. He is deemed as the most probable heir apparent of GS Group. GS Caltex chairman Huh Dong-soo’s son Se-hong also gained promotion at GS Caltex last year.


S. Korea stock performance ranks bottom among OECD members this year

S. Korea stock performance ranks bottom among OECD members this year

2013.12.24 15:26:15

South Korea’s equity index growth was ranked 30th among 34 OECD members this year. In contrast, Japan’s stock index surged over 50 percent thanks to the Abenomics effect, grabbing the top place. The KOSPI closed at 1,983.35 Friday, posting a 0.7 percent decline this year, said sources at the financial investment center and Korea Center for International Finance Tuesday. The index performance took the 30th plance among indexes of 34 member countries. Only five of OECD members including the KOSPI of Korea saw their stock indexes retreat: IGPA of Chile dropped 13.6 percent, ISE100 of Turkey 11.0 percent, PX of the Czech Republic 5.9 percent and IPC of Mexico 3.5 percent. Indexes of the remaining 30 members advanced. Bullish stock indexes of Japan and the US led the global stock markets this year, while that of Korea declined, showing a serious decoupling. The Korean index turned sluggish as Japan’s Abenomics weakened the yen, which undermined Korea’s export competitiveness, and decreasing trading volume and taper of quantitative easing have dampened investor confidence, dragging down the index. Securities firms share the view that the KOSPI would make headway next year, but their forecasts diverge on whether the index would remain soft in the first half and climb in the second half, or vice versa.

More Korean TV dramas accused of plagiarism

More Korean TV dramas accused of plagiarism

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 – 11:50

Julie Jackson

The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

After only its second episode, the newly aired SBS drama “My Love from the Star” starring popular stars Kim Soo-hyun and Jun Ji-hyun (Gianna Jun) has found itself wrapped up in a heated plagiarism controversy with an ongoing Korean comic book series titled “Seol Hee,” which is based on a similar concept to the drama. Read more of this post

One year later, Japanese PM has big ‘to do’ list

Updated: Tuesday December 24, 2013 MYT 5:27:45 PM

One year later, Japanese PM has big ‘to do’ list

TOKYO: A year after a landslide national election, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is riding high as his plan to rescue the economy earns praise at home and abroad, but chinks in his armour are beginning to show. The unprecedented policy blitz, dubbed Abenomics, ushered in growth that led G7 nations in the first half of the year, stoked a sizzling stock market rally and offered a tantalising end to years of deflation. Read more of this post

Why U.S. retail giants risk big chill north of the border

Why U.S. retail giants risk big chill north of the border

Hollie Shaw | December 22, 2013 5:18 PM ET
Lessons Learned: Our series looks at major corporate, political and economic events of 2013 and what they taught us

TORONTO — Trader Joe’s would do well to stay out of Canada: it seems as though the more we love an international brand, the more likely we are to be disappointed when its Canadian iteration opens here. Witness Target and J Crew. Though the retailers have vastly different store concepts and arrived north of the 49th parallel a year and a half apart, both U.S. chains faced a similar uproar from customers angry that despite a near-to-par dollar, the Canadian stores were not selling goods at the U.S. prices. Read more of this post

Business of summer: gelato franchise chain Gelatissimo chases growth

Caitlin Fitzsimmons Online editor

Business of summer: gelato franchise chain Gelatissimo chases growth

Felipe Barbosa wants to reinvent Gelatissimo as a “destination”. The hot weather so far this summer is good news for the new management of Gelatissimo. It is a far cry from the summer of two years ago when wet weather and the Queensland floods prompted founders Dominic and Marco Lopresti to embark on a global expansion strategy in part to mitigate seasonal risk. Read more of this post

World’s biggest aluminum producer launches legal action against LME warehouse rules

Updated: Wednesday December 25, 2013 MYT 8:26:30 AM

World’s biggest aluminum producer launches legal action against LME warehouse rules

LONDON/MOSCOW: The world’s biggest aluminum producer Rusal has begun legal action aimed at having the London Metal Exchange (LME) overturn planned reforms to its warehousing policy, worried about further falls in the price of its metal. Read more of this post

Strewth, a foreign Holden? GM hopes Australian icon will endure

Strewth, a foreign Holden? GM hopes Australian icon will endure

4:06pm EST

By Lincoln Feast and Thuy Ong

SYDNEY (Reuters) – It’s as much a part of Australia as kangaroos, the Sydney Opera House or vegemite, and General Motors Co’s (GM.N: QuoteProfileResearch,Stock Buzz) decision to stop manufacturing Holdens in the country looks like the marketing equivalent of a car crash. Read more of this post

A minicar named Hustler? Japan’s brand names raise eyebrows

A minicar named Hustler? Japan’s brand names raise eyebrows

Suzuki Motor Corp Chairman and CEO Suzuki, Executive Vice President Tamura, and Executive Vice President Honda pose next to its new boxy minicar "HUSTLER" during its unveiling event in Tokyo

4:03pm EST

By Sophie Knight

TOKYO (Reuters) – Suzuki Motor Corp had little idea that the name “Hustler” for its new, boxy minicar aimed at outdoorsy Japanese customers might cause mirth among English speakers for its association with an adult magazine – but it’s not alone. Plucking words from foreign dictionaries without checking how they might be received by native speakers appears to be a habit at Japanese companies, which have produced countless products with unintentionally unsavory names. Read more of this post

Anti-corruption party to govern Delhi

December 23, 2013 9:54 am

Anti-corruption party to govern Delhi

By Amy Kazmin in New Delhi


Handed power: Aam Aadmi party leader Arvind Kejriwal

India’s one-year-old Aam Aadmi party, formed by a former tax official turned crusading anti-corruption activist, announced on Monday that it will form the local government in New Delhi, after a stunning electoral debut fuelled by public anger against India’s political elites. Like Italy’s Five Star Movement led by comedian come politician Beppe Grillo, the AAP is an electoral insurgency. It has tapped into deep Indian disgruntlement – especially among its urban educated voters – at the lack of accountability of established politicians, many of whom seem to treat electoral victories as blank cheques. Read more of this post

Thai CEOs fault govt’s failure to halt economy’s decline

CEOs fault govt’s failure to halt economy’s decline

The Nation December 25, 2013 1:00 am

The majority of CEOs do not see parliamentary dissolution as the answer to the political stalemate, according to a survey.

Asked about Thailand’s political situation, 78.8 per cent of 306 CEOs said dissolution was not a way out. Rather, they believed in comprehensive reform to defuse the current political situation and to ensure long-term prosperity for Thailand.  Read more of this post

Three families hold the keys to American cable consolidation

Three families hold the keys to American cable consolidation

By John McDuling @jmcduling December 24, 2013


The wave of consolidation about to sweep America’s cable industry in 2014 is practically inevitable. The only real question is who ends up buying whom. At the moment, the highly unpopular Time Warner Cable remains the most likely initial target. There will be much fuss about how such deals will be financed and structured. But ultimately, the outcome of negotiations will come down to the whims of big egos that have dominated the industry for the last six decades. Read more of this post

Why do mobile browsers suck so bad?

Why do mobile browsers suck so bad?

ON DECEMBER 24, 2013

In the debate over whether our mobile computing experience should be dominated by native apps or the mobile Web, one side has always had an unfair advantage. Since the iPhone was launched in 2007 until now, native apps have worked better, looked better, and been far more abundant than their Web counterparts – and neither Apple, with iOS, nor Google, with Android, have done anything to change the status quo. Read more of this post

Companies, Shifting Production, Expand to Accommodate Robots

December 24, 2013

Companies, Shifting Production, Expand to Accommodate Robots


Even a robot needs a home.

That is what companies across the country are realizing as they shift more production to robotics. Many are expanding their commercial footprint with a new addition or in some cases, excavating for a lower floor to accommodate the recent influx of extremely heavy live-in machines. And it is not just the storage space for down time that robots require. Some robots need 32-foot ceilings, roughly double the height in older factories, or the space between columns has to be widened so the equipment can move. Read more of this post

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