As a senior professional in financial services — an industry with comparatively few women in the executive ranks — Ive spent a lot of time thinking about why there aren’t more women at the top-most levels of companies. I’ve read the studies and heard the theories that women don’t network well; don’t have the ‘vision thing’; communicate too passively; don’t ask for bigger jobs and the top clients; and have fewer sponsors who are willing to use political capital to advocate for them the way they do for their male colleagues. There’s a lot of agreement and repetition when talking about the problem. It’s when discussing solutions that things get quieter.
As a mother watching her 18-year old college freshman daughter contemplate her summer job options and future career, I want her to be exposed to success stories — not to what women lack or havent done or cant do — because I know these successes exist and we need to share more of them. If young women everywhere went into the workforce steeped not only in the message that ‘you cant have it all’ and inundated not only with data on the lack of senior women, but armed instead with all the accumulated advice and wisdom of experienced women who have thrived in and enjoyed their careers, then they — and the organizations theyre joining — would be much better served.
Here is the advice Ill give my daughter — and all young women like her eagerly anticipating building a career — as she starts to make decisions about her life. These are some truths that I know now, twenty-plus years into my career, but wish someone had told me earlier. And though I didnt always follow these guidelines, my career has been more successful — and I got to where I am today — because of them. Maybe my daughter will embody these early on and be ahead of the game.
Its time for us to change the narrative of why there arent more women at the top. Can we simply whip up a ‘how to’ and change the trends we all see? Likely not — because there is no Secret Formula X for success. We each bring a varying mix of talents, ideas and experience to the equation, as well as differing life circumstances. Thats why we need to start sharing our success stories, instead of focusing on all the reasons why women opt out or dont live up to their potential in the workforce. On this Mothers Day, share your story with someone who needs to hear it.
Not long ago, Teresa Amabile revealed in an HBR blog post that while she had spent much of her career as a research psychologist showing how constraints can undermine creativity, she had discovered that the right sort of constraints can in fact ‘stoke the innovation fire.’
Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer offered the same opinion writing for Businessweek in 2006: ‘Constraints shape and focus problems, and provide clear challenges to overcome as well as inspiration. Creativity loves constraints, but they must be balanced with a healthy disregard for the impossible.’
The idea that boundaries and limits can produce boundless and limitless thinking seems counterintuitive and paradoxical. But if we further examine the mechanisms at work when we face constraints, perhaps we can identify which kinds best promote, rather than diminish, creativity.
A starting point is to acknowledge that although many activities traditionally considered creative, from the arts to design to athletics, all seem to be free-form in nature, in reality they are anything but. Each has its own set of limits that governs the performance.
Take comedy improvisation. It is the audience that sets the initial limits by throwing out suggestions (often surprising and contradictory ones) to the performers. The actors then perform with no further planning, and the skit emerges with help from a new, simple rule: accept without question what is given to you by your fellow performers. Every line you produce must build on one that came before, and you can never second-guess that line.
This is a daunting constraint, because you cannot plan, prepare or in any way rehearse. Your only choice is to remain focused and attuned to everything that is happening on stage, ready to react. But this limit makes for nearly infinite possibility and actually frees the performer to be even more imaginative.
That’s anecdotal evidence that well-designed constraints lead to creative success. But there’s academic research data on this phenomenon too. For example, a study conducted at the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Social Psychology proved that tough obstacles can prompt people to open their minds, look at the ‘big picture,’ and make connections between things that are not obviously connected. This is an ability is called ‘global processing,’ which is the hallmark of creativity.
Participants in the study played a computer maze game. One group played a version that had an obstacle blocking one of the routes, which significantly limited options and made it much harder to discover an escape. A second group had an easier maze with no obstacles. Both groups were then given a standard creativity test containing what psychologists call remote associates puzzles. Three words appeared on the screen (for example, ‘plate,’ ‘shot,’ and ‘broken’) and the subjects were asked to find a fourth word that connected them all.
Those who had played the harder maze game solved 40 percent more of the remote associates puzzles than those whose mazes had not contained obstacles. The constraint had forced members of the former group into a more creative mindset; their imaginations benefited from struggling in the first task. (The answer, by the way, is ‘glass.’)
An intelligent obstacle or constraint is one laden with creative tension, whether stated in the form of a well-defined problem (‘How might we simultaneously decrease both inventory and backorders?’) or a challenging goal (NASA’s 1990s mission to land a rover on Mars in half the time and a tenth the budget of the previous mission). An intelligent constraint informs creative action by outlining the ‘sandbox’ within which people can play and guides that action not just by pointing out what to pursue but perhaps more importantly what to ignore.
The pressing question for managers here is this: Are constraints preventing or propelling your innovation efforts? There is only one right answer.
Just because a new fact or idea seems right, doesnt mean it will spread like wildfire. Evolution, hand washing in hospitals, the inevitability that personal computers were the future of technology — none of these ideas were accepted immediately, even though they seem obvious today. Change takes time. But why?
The short answer is we’re intellectually stubborn. We don’t always weigh all the evidence before we make a decision, and this is especially true if a change of opinion requires a wholesale overhaul of our worldview. Usually, we’re defensive in the face of change, spouting alternative theories and contradictory data. Although this type of resistance can help keep everyone honest, it can also produce very bad effects.
Just take Ignaz Semmelweis — a physician who recommended doctors clean their hands prior to delivering babies — who was ignored and essentially driven mad by his colleagues refusal to accept the truth. But eventually, in the face of overwhelming evidence, the majority will generally accept the new theory, before their recalcitrance becomes too counterproductive.
Shifting from an old view to a new one is never a clean and seamless process. As numerous scientists have experienced, trying to get a new idea accepted is usually a messy process — and a long one. In fact, it could take until the retirement or death of the holdouts and the influx of younger and more open minds for the new idea to become accepted. The physicist Max Planck seems to have summed up the issue with this maxim: ‘New scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.’
This seems intuitively obvious. Since science and business are human affairs, we can’t expect the old stalwarts to change their minds when a new idea comes along. We just have to wait for them to die. Seems rational enough.
But here’s the thing: Planck’s Principle turns out to be wrong.
Consider Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Several decades ago, a study (PDF) examined sixty-seven British scientists from Darwin’s time and found that only about three quarters of them had accepted Darwinian evolution ten years after On the Origin of Species was first published in 1859. So evolution was not the rapid change we thought it might have been.
Why? If events had unfolded according to Plank’s principle, then young scientists would have rapidly accepted Darwin’s ideas while older scientists would have resisted them. But it didn’t happen that way. Although it’s true that those who accepted evolution were younger on average than those who still rejected it after ten years, age explained only 5% of the variation of acceptance or rejection of this theory. The younger scientists didn’t necessarily accept it rapidly; they accepted it at a rate similar to the older scientists who accepted it, over the course of a decade.
So it turns out we can’t even rely on common sense for understanding how this factual inertia works. This is encapsulated in the work of Duncan Watts, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research. Watts has demonstrated, in numerous studies that explore everything from how certain songs become popular to how marketing works, that we are very good at telling stories to ourselves that sound true (e.g. Plank’s Principle). But when we subject our ‘common sense’ to the rigors of quantitative analysis, it doesn’t always pan out. So while our factual inertia is a big problem, we need to be cautious when we hear good stories about how it actually works.
Clearly, science and business, and others fields of knowledge are not abstract ventures. They’re human affairs, so they’re prone to passions and biases. Scientific discovery, in particular, occurs through hunches and chance recognition of relationships, and is enriched by spirited discussion and debate around the lab. But science is also subject to our baser instincts. Data are hoarded, scientists refuse to collaborate, and grudges can play a role in peer review. There’s a lot at play.
So new ideas take time to be accepted. And how they are accepted is far from common sense. But one thing’s for sure: Don’t write off the old folks. They have a lot to teach us.
There are many situations where nuance, subtlety, and carefully crafted diplomacy in communications are critical. But most of the time, plain directness can go a long way.
Tsun-yan Hsieh, a long-time counselor to corporate leaders and one of my co-authors on the book Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck, once surveyed a group of global CEOs and senior executives about whether they thought their meetings met the intended objectives. Only about 40% of the meetings did. How can this be? The answer lies at least in part in the human tendency to avoid or massage the delivery of difficult or conflict-causing topics. Unfortunately, these are precisely the moments where directness is most needed.
Being self aware about the types of conversations and meetings that demand increased frankness is a starting point for more efficient and effective communications — and, most importantly, mutual respect. Here are some principles to aid in this quest:
1. Know the why. Are you clear on the reason for the conversation or meeting? Have you made that objective immediately and absolutely clear to your meeting counterpart? I vividly remember the first time this lesson struck me in the face. I was meeting with a senior executive from IBM some years ago when I was running an Internet advisory and services firm. Within the first two minutes, just after the requisite pleasantries, he asked: ‘What do you hope to accomplish with this meeting, and how much time do we have?’ I was at first taken aback as I realized I was not clear on my own objectives. I had thought more about how to run the meeting than the ‘why’ of the meeting. When I thought about it, I realized I had simply wanted to use the time to get to know each other in the hopes of discovering possibilities for collaboration. But I could have made it more concrete by saying, for example, that my end goal was to see if there is a partner deal opportunity between our firms. The executives simple question created permission for positive assertiveness. Try asking at the beginning of more of your meetings some variant of the question, ‘What do we hope to accomplish here?’ Another helpful tip is to recognize that almost all meetings fit into one of three buckets — gaining input, informing (e.g. ‘level-setting’), or requesting approval. Always be clear which sort of meeting you’re calling.
2. Don’t sandwich bad news. When you are delivering feedback (which happens in a meeting or conversation that fits in the ‘informing’ bucket), avoid the too-common practice of mixing good news with bad news. This can often send a mixed message. The classic feedback ‘sandwich’ goes like this: good news, followed by bad news, ending with good news. Eating a sandwich with good bread, but bad meat in the middle, isn’t too enjoyable. And while giving someone feedback in a considerate, contextualized, and balanced manner is of course good practice, you need to be very clear and direct on the poor performance part. It is often the most important aspect of a feedback session, and sadly tends to get muddled.
3. Go ahead and ask. My venture-capitalist colleagues and I are accustomed to receiving pitches. But we are surprised by the number of times the ask is not clear or is made as a thinly veiled subterfuge towards a different ask. For example, when an entrepreneur says, ‘I would love for you to just give feedback on our business plan,’ but the real ask is ‘I would love for you to write a check for our business.’ When you have an ask, it is best for all parties that it be clear and transparent. It is much better just to say: ‘I would love to see if you might be interested in investing in our concept, but even if you’re not, I really want your feedback.’ The takeaway: when you have an ask, just ask.
When we avoid conflict or try to skirt directness, it does a disservice to all involved, and often just plain wastes time. Consider the potential outcomes if you avoid directness:
• People leave the meeting thinking it was a good session, but they are not actually aligned, or
• People leave a little foggy as to the purpose and next steps.
Both outcomes lead to confusion, and often passive-aggressiveness ensues. And things often only get worse people then seek resolution through email and texts — such communication methods with have a tendency to spiral in the wrong direction.
Being assertive and direct does not need to mean being cold and hard. The tone you use and the words you choose (e.g. in the ‘investment ask’ example above) matter a lot. But you will likely get more respect from being direct than by overthinking the positioning of a message or meeting.
Diplomacy is a great virtue but so is clarity, and diplomacy without our clarity is just undiplomatic B.S. Have the courage to be direct.
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35. If you have crushing chest pain, call 911 first.Then chew some aspirin.I work in cardiology.Then ask someone to help get the anvil off your chest.I work at ACME.If you see someone with an anvil on their chest, don’t help; they want to eat you.Beep at them and run away.I am a roadrunner.
36. Secretaries, tech support and janitors are the true power in office buildings.Make friends, remember birthdays and you can get anything you need or go anywhere you need.Janitor here, I got so many fucking master keys I don’t know how to keep them all straight.So the main boss at work one day starts freaking out and demanding an audit of who has what keys and all key assignments have to be justified, etc. (by Tuesday afternoon) and he starts to give a rash of shit to the guy that been there forever and starts to badger him why he has the keys that he does.These we not masters by any stretch, but keys to parts of the building and remote sites that he needed.So of course the gruff ancient guy comes back with the whole ‘janitors have master keys and they live here and sleep here after hours’ but when that wasn’t getting him anywhere he finally came back with: ‘Listen, I’ve been here for 15+ years now, I already stole everything that needed!’Better advice would be that being nice is only on a by person basis. Also, Purchasing and HR.
37. When receiving a call from a solicitor, simply press 9; the call will be dropped and your phone number is then put on the companies do not call list.95% of companies support this feature.I love it.
38. To get through tech support quickly with an ISP, choose the option for becoming a new customer.Then when you get there ask to transfer to tech support.Usually they won’t put you on hold because they see the number coming from the new customer line.That works just about everywhere.Especially well with airlines.In what situation would you want to call the airline’s tech support?Probably not a situation you want to be in.”hello? Yes…I’m cruising at 32k feet and noticed the left engine fell off…is it possible to change flights?”"Hello? Hi. Yes, there appears to be something on the wing. Can I speak to tech support?”"Sir, please turn your cell phone off while in flight”
39. I know this works in California, so I call upon you to test it out elsewhere: If you receive a parking ticket and it has been less than an hour since it was administered, immediately call the number on the ticket to contest it. The call will go through a series of automated questions – you want to answer these questions based on the premise that your car had overheated, and that you only parked where you did out of necessity. Then go to either a convenience store of a gas station or an automotive shop of any kind (has to be one of these two) and by a bottle of water. When you submit your formal petition via mail, include the receipt for the water that you bought and explain that your car had overheated. The ticket will be waived. It has worked for me every time.
40. Easy splinter removal: dip the splintered body part in some Elmer’s glue, let it dry, remove glue with splinter.Easy lawn care: Pour “beer” (Bud Light, Coors, etc) on the lawn.Fermented sugars make great fertilizer.Easy broken glass clean up: Get the tiny pieces up with a piece of bread, the consistency and texture picks up even the smallest shard.
41. If you need to briefly turn the light on at night and don’t want to completely lose your night vision, keep one eye closed.Same reason pirates wore an eyepatch!Arrgh.A pirate walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while. What happened, you look terrible!”"Arrh – Not at ‘tall.” the pirate replies, “I be fine.” The bartender says, “But what about that wooden leg? You didn’t have that before.”"Arrh!,” says the pirate, “We were in a battle at sea and a cannon ball hit me leg. But the surgeon fixed me up, and I be fine, really.”"Yeah,” says the bartender, “But what about that hook? Last time I saw you, you had both hands.”"Aye,” says the pirate, “We were in another battle and we boarded the enemy ship. I was in a sword fight and me hand was cut off. But the surgeon fixed me up with this hook, and I be feeling great, really.”"Oh,” says the bartender, “What about that eye patch? Last time you were in here you had both eyes.” “Arrh,” says the pirate, “One day when I was swabbing me deck, some gulls were flying over the ship. I looked up, and one of them–arrgh, he, pooped–in me eye.”"So?” replied the bartender, “what happened? You couldn’t have lost an eye just from that!”"‘Twas me first day with me hook.”
42. Try to put yourself in as many socially awkward situations as possible.You will be desensitized to it which makes you more outgoing.
43. Sprinkle some salt on your napkin coaster at the bar..your beer won’t stick to it EVERY FUGGIN TIME….Girls hate a guy who can’t keep his napkin coaster shit in order.Waitresses hate a guy who sprinkles salt all over the table.
44. Don’t announce that you are having a kid till the second trimester.This is certainly good advice for friends and acquaintances, but I think it’s perfectly acceptable to share that information with your family and very close friends.If you do happen to lose it, they are going to be the ones to help you get through it.And you always should tell the father, if he’s still around.
45. Probably nobody will see this, but anyway…If you get brain freeze from eating something cold too quickly, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth as hard as you can.Voila, instant brainfreeze relief.
46. rainymood.com and simplynoise.com are the cheatcodes for studying/working without distraction.A friend of mine told me about a better one! Give it a try.I recommend None on the first, Bonfire, Ocean, Rain and Thunder on the others.
47. Have confidence.Chicks dig confidence.And if you have no confidence, fake it.It won’t take long to see that it works and then your fake confidence becomes real.Ah, the magic of bullshit.Best Advice right here.This is exactly how I turned my life around 10 years ago. I woke up one day and decided to pretend to be confident. I looked everyone in the eye and spoke a bit louder and smiled a lot. I stopped breaking eye contact with girls and I promoted my achievements at work. In that first years I met a new woman who became my wife, got a great job that I am still loving, moved from a tiny two room apartment to a 3000 sq foot house. I have great kids and a happy life.I was borderline suicidal when I started the experiment.I don’t even think about it now. I became what I pretended to be. Confident and happy. I don’t have to fake it anymore.This is why I pretend to be a tiger.This is exactly how I turned my life around 10 years ago. I woke up one day and decided to pretend to be a tiger. I walked on all fours and growled and ate a few people. I stopped talking to girls and quit going to work. Now I have a great life on the savannah that I am still loving.I was borderline normal when I started the experiment. I don’t even think about it now. I became what I pretended to be. Also I can type with my paws.
48. Never bring anything in to work.That way, when you leave (ie, earlier than usual) it doesn’t look like you’re leaving for the day.
49. socks are lube for pants.Bunch sock onto thumbs, then pull sock onto feet as women do stockings.
50. never renew your car insurance with the price offered……..call your provider and say you will leave if it is not reduced further.
51. If you rear a bear from birth you can walk through dark alleys without fear in 4-5 years.Then you die from high-fives and hugs.Better than .45s and thugs.This is already sounding like the best rap song I’ve heard.Not because you own a 5-year-old bear, but because after rearing a bear, you won’t be afraid of anything.Or because cleaning up after that goddamn bear for the last five years has made you crave the sweet release of death.
52. In the UK: Dial 0118 999 881 999 119 7253 for emergency services.
53. 1st Date Cheat Code for MEN: Never tell a girl where you’re going or how to dress. Instead, tell her to “dress for a first date with a guy she really likes”. Now, pick three places you’d like to go: someplace fun and active (bowling, pool, mini golf, go-kart racing, ballgame, etc), something romantic and classy (nice restaurant, upscale lounge, art gallery opening) and something in between (nice bar, coffee shop, comedy club). Now, when you pick her up, let the way she’s dressed decide which you’re going to do: If she’s wearing something sexy and revealing (dress, high heels, low cut top, etc.) than she wants to go somewhere classy and romantic. If she’s sporting some jeans, tennis shoes or flip-flops, and a tee, the bowling ally or pool hall may be a good bet. If she’s wearing jeans, high heeled boots, and nice top or blouse, than she’s not really jonesing for the super romance treatment, and she put in more effort than mini golf deserves (eighteen holes of mini golf in heels… seriously?), so a comedy club or some place with live music is a good choice. And never, EVER, do a movie on the first date! EDIT: Men: You’re going to wear a pair of CLEAN, NEAT jeans, a pressed stylish LONG sleeve button down shirt, nice shoes or boots (try to avoid tennis shoes of sneakers). Works for ANY occasion!This might be the best dating advice I’ve ever read.It’s such a creative way to manage figuring out what to do on a first date.Too bad I’m over 550 lbs and can’t use my legs IRL.(Are you really?According to Wolfram Alpha that’s the weight of 3.4 men.)Yeah, really.My friends torture me by getting me blazed and placing 5 large stuffed cheese pizzas just out of reach.I struggle for hours in an attempt to reach it, burning over 500 calories in the process.However, it’s counterbalanced by the 30,000 calories of stuffed pizza I eat when I finally get them.Appendix 1:Old jeans and college sweater – sports bar followed by a house party. Vintage clothing – Faux dive bar and tattoo parlor Miniskirt and leggings – quiet cafe that turns into a wine bar after 4pm Short black wig, man’s white shirt and cocaine in her purse – 1950s theme diner Cocktail dress with a small handgun tucked into her garter – Opening night at a casino, challenge her to playful game of high-stakes baccarat. Blood-stained clown costume – Chuck E Cheese Tank top, sweat pants and tells you to help yourself to some ice tea while she is in the bathroom – Get out of there, Chris Hansen is around the corner.Tank top, sweat pants and tells you to help yourself to some ice tea while she is in the bathroom – Get out of there, Chris Hansen is around the corner…and sheriff’s deputies in the rose bushes outside.You’re screwed already.
54. Dual blind date cheat code:Dad tells a story of he and a buddy taking two nursing students on a dual blind date to a drive-in movie. Eventually the girls say they’re going to go to the bathroom, naturally to compare notes. The guys offer to go first and make sure there aren’t any creeps hanging around the bathroom. The guys go have a look, smoke a cigarette, and head back to the car. “The coast is clear.” The girls then go off to the ladies’ room.The guys then listen to the tape recorder hidden under the seat of the car.Edit: Not everyone understood where the recorder was hidden. (You flunk spy school.)WOW.Both inspiring and creepy at the same time…
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1. Stop: Stop: Play. Skip advertisements in movies and go strait to the movie.
2. Dial 0 during most automatic menu phone systems to be taken to operator to route your call. also, mashing buttons may work as well. Whenever you have a voice automated phone system, typically saying “representative” gets you someone right away. Update In regards to Cheat Code # 2 I recommend this site:http://gethuman.com/
3. keep a spare car key in your wallet/purse. If you have a bulky Key that won’t fit in your wallet, get a key made that doesn’t have the electronic chip on it. It will still unlock the car, it just won’t start it. changed by popular request Risk Update: if your wallet is stolen they have your car key. All they need to do is go to your house some time later and take your car out of your driveway.
4. Riding a bicycle will save you lots of money on gas, parking, medical bills, and gym memberships.
5. If you are speeding and suddenly up ahead see a cop that clearly just tagged you, slow down and wave to him/her. Your odds of being pulled over are quite a bit reduced.
6. Don’t be rude, but NEVER answer any cops questions when they call you in for questioning.
7. when getting lectured into voice mail, hit 1, pause momentarily. If you aren’t put through immediately, hit *, pause. Finally, hit # if neither 1 or * worked. It is called the 1-star-pound technique, and it works for all cell carriers.
8. If your credit card magnetic stripe starts to get worn from use and being in your wallet, and doesn’t always read in the card reader, you can use the plastic bag trick. Put the card in a plastic grocery bag and then swipe it. Not sure why it works, but it does.Taking it further though, you can simply apply a piece of quality cellophane tape over the mag stripe for a “permanent” plastic bag trick.
9. At the end of your shower turn the water really (or all the way) cold. This will wake you up and get blood flowing. Update update 9: It also closes your pores to allow for less dirt and bacteria to get in to help reduce acne problems.
10. Macy’s credit cards usually have a 20% discount on purchases. I pay with the Macy’s card, then while still at the register, I immediately pay off the charge with my debit card. I just got 20% off my purchase and I never get a credit card bill. – this also works with JCP and kohl’s cards.
11. im replacing the free movie rental cheat because its unpopular…mostly with movie rental clerks :-/ heres a new one! When you buy something online, you usually get a chance to enter a promo code before you purchase. Google the promo codes. They’re out there – you can get anything from free shipping to 25% off the purchase.
12. Turn it off, then on again.
13. Buy things out of season, this can save you money. Unless its food, then buy it in season.
14. When you have forgotten someones name, simply say : “I’m sorry, but what was your name one more time.” They may act offended, but when they give you there first name you simply reply “No, I meant your last name.” (more socially acceptable to forget). Bingo. First and last names.
15. When eating buffalo wings, the flat portions. You can detach the smaller bone on one end very easily, then twist it a bit and it will just slide out. You’re now left with a big hunk of meat and only 1 bone, you can just bite it off into your mouth in one piece, flintstones-style. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRcOY-PvOC8
16. Gently work an orange in your hands to loosen the peel from the fruit. This makes it easy enough to get the whole peel in one shot.
17. Can’t find your car in a parking lot? hitting the lock button trying to get it to beep? Extend the distance of key-less entry by putting the key under your chin. The signal will resonate in your skull increasing the range dramatically. I swear to god this works, and I’m told it’s safe because the radiation is non-ionizing.verification notice from ddrt via AskReddit sent 20 hours ago 9 is called the scottish shower. Just sayin’ EDIT: I just tried #17 holy shit it works!
18. If you get a ticket on the windshield of your car, you can potentially get away with parking illegally in the same lot for the rest of the day by keeping the ticket on your windshield. edited reduced from a few days for a single day.
19. Most tinfoil and saran wrap boxes have little push-in tabs on the sides. If you push them in, the roll won’t fall out when you try to rip out a sheet of it.
20. Keep a list of all of the credit card phone numbers (1-800) in your cell phone. This way, if your wallet is ever lost, you can call them immediately to have them disabled. It’s also a good idea to place all of the cards in your wallet on a copier and print a page to keep at home. This will give you access to your License #, etc.Update: You should update 20. If you lose your wallet.. as in misplace it.. put a hold on your credit cards. Do NOT cancel. If you cancel it can later show up on your credit report. If you believe you are going to find it later, placing a hold saves you the red mark on your report.
21. If you are driving an unfamiliar car and you don’t know which side the gas tank is on, just look at the little pump icon next to the gas gauge on the dashboard. The pump handle on the icon will be on the side of the tank. Update: saw the gas tank one on an older reddit, turns out the handle thing is not consistant. But there IS usually a little arrow next to the icon. Second Update 99% of the time the gas door is opposite of the tailpipe. So far, I have only found that early-mid 2000 Pontiac Vibes break this trend. Third update if there is no arrow, then it most likely is on the passenger’s side. I’ve yet to see one without an arrow that wasn’t on the passenger’s side
22. this tip was unpopular, so im changing it This one changed my life. If you’re at home/work/party or GOD forbid your girlfriend’s house and the toilet starts to overflow, take the lid off the back reservoir part and lift the long handle as far up as it will go. The water will stop rising and then you can quietly mutter curses at it till it goes back down (which it does, more often than not…) link to a Diagram:http://superhomeideas.com/images/toilet.gif
23. to peel a boiled egg, roll it around on your plate for a while until all of the eggshell is cracked evenly. Then it’s easy to remove the complete shell at once. After you boil eggs immediately place them in ice cold water for a few minutes. No vinegar or salt or oil or whatever people use. Shells slip right off
24. you spill any liquid that will stain on your carpet (red wine, juice, etc), pour some salt on it. Work it into the carpet – just rub it in with your hands. Leave it there for a few hours (for serious stains, up to a day) and vacuum it out. Voila, stain gone.
25. If you park in a large parking garage/shopping centre, get out and take a photo on your cell phone of the nearest parking sign (Area B2, etc). You will never lose your car again.
26. If you drive stick and the battery s dead, get some friends, put the key to the on position, put the car in 2nd and push the clutch down. have your friends push your car. when you get a decent speed going let the clutch up. (this is called “Popping the clutch.” your car with start and you can drive around for a while to recharge your battery(provided nothing is wrong with the battery or the alternator). Update thanks for the input guys, i switched it from 1st geear to 2nd gear.
27. Tapping on the top of a beer or soda can will make it fizz less!
28. Peel a banana from the bottom
29. 4,2,3,1 — Vending machine cheat code. (As in, the vertical buttons machines, like this one ). will grant access to vending machine’s diagnostic menu. most times the fun features are disabled, but i’ve gotten a free powerade and a couple cokes in the past.
30. use this at your own risk Re: #30, I worked as a parking enforcement officer during college and we can tell when it’s fake. The fine for this offense (at the university I worked at) was $250, and usually a ban from parking at the university (i.e., booted or towed on sight). College Parking Cheat Code: Anyone who’s gone to a college or university knows they usually charge a ridiculous amount of money for parking (usually $300+ for a semester pass or $10+ for the daily passes), a service that should fucking be free for students considering the high cost of education. Fuck them. Buy one daily pass at the beginning of the school year (usually a small paper ticket printed out a machine on the lot), take it home and scan it, photoshop the date for tomorrow, and print. Repeat for the next 4 years. Anyone with even the most rudimentary photoshop skills can pull this off convincingly. Even if your printer is shitty, from behind the tint and glare of a car windshield, it might as well be a 7-11 receipt. I did this for 2 years at a UC and saved hundreds of dollars.
31. Walk on the sides of stairs to avoid/reduce creaks.Also works for hallways with wooden floors.Walk without rhythm and you won’t attract the worm. And for God’s sake, learn to recognize drum sand!This belongs in a subsection: ninja hints.
32. Lift yourself a little off the toilet if noise is a concern and you’re having a particularly gaseous bowel movement.The volume will decrease at least 50-60%.I’d like to see the research on that one.”Hey Carl, the db meter says that was 54% quieter than the last one!”"Coming up next on Mythbusters…”Just spread your buttcheeks, the volume will reduce to a low whine.Pedophilia pro-tip.
33. pro-tip: Lay a piece or two of toilet paper down before dropping the kids off at the pool and you won’t stain the porcelain.Great for the gf’s place.but keep in mind that if you put too much TP down, you’ll have a poop barge floating under you keeping a constant stink.also, said poop barge is risky to flush because it’s taking down the bulk of the waste, rather than piece by piece.(You sound like a man who knows his shit.)
34. Talk to everyone like you would your best mate, and smile.I thought the smiling thing was bullshit until I actually became happy for real.Everyone is nicer when you’re smiling at them.I was telling my grandmother this one day and she told me, “Honey, the secret is to kill ‘em with kindness. Its really hard to be mean to someone that’s really nice to you.”Every time I find myself dealing with someone who’s difficult or rude, I hear my grandmother’s voice in the back of my mind saying “just kill ‘em with kindness!”and you know, I’ve never been in a situation where it didn’t work.My ex girlfriend gave me the same advice.Works on everyone but her.The bonus of killing them with kindness, is that it makes certain already mad people absolutely irate, so you’re there being nice and polite and they’re flipping their shit, making you look awesome.That was my favorite part of working retail.
(Via The Green Head.)
Today’s post in the financing options series on MBA Mondays is about Bridge Loans. Bridge loans are so called because they are a “bridge” to something else. They are short term loans intended to fund a company to an anticipated event in the future.
Bridge loans exist in many sectors outside of the startup world. Big banks will often bridge companies to transactions they are putting together for them. Real estate transactions are often bridged to a closing. The concept of short term transaction driven loans is universal in business.
In the startup world, bridge loans are a particularly interesting case to study. I’ve been in and around startups for 25 years now and I have rarely seen a bridge loan made by anyone other than an existing investor or investor group. Most bridge loans in the startup world are made to money losing companies that are going to run out of funds before they can close a financing or sale transaction. These are very risky loans that will not get paid back unless a transaction happens and often the transactions that are required don’t happen.
If you could assemble a data dump of all bridge loans made by VCs and angel investors to startups over the past twenty five years, I think you’d see that the aggregate performance of these bridge loans would be awful. I’m certain that the performance of bridge loans made by firms I’ve been associated with in that time is hugely negative. The loss rate is very high and the returns on the ones that work are not much better than a typical venture investment.
So why do VCs and angels make bridge loans when they perform so poorly? There are two reasons, and they are related but they are not the same. First, investors like to give the companies and teams they have backed a chance at success. Contrary to the popular view, VCs and angels are supportive of their portfolio companies well beyond what a hard nosed rational investor would be. I have seen startup investors make follow on investments many times that make no sense other than on a “doing the right thing” basis. Second, many investors are playing defense with these loans. They know they’ve made a weak or outright bad investment but they don’t want to acknowledge it with a writeoff, so they keep putting in good money after bad.
So bridge loans are often bad investments made defensively. And so they are red flags to other investors. When a new investor looks at a company and sees a bridge loan in place, they will understand that all is not well. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make or receive a bridge loan. It just means you will need to explain it. And it will make closing a financing more challenging.
Bridge loans made in anticipation of a sale are a bit different. There is a really strong rationale for making a bridge loan in anticipation of a sale. The investors know that a sale is coming so a priced equity round doesn’t make much sense. The company can’t sell equity cheap relative to what the expected sale price will be. And if the equity is priced close to the expected sale price, then there will not be an equity return when the sale closes. So a loan makes the most sense. And bridge loans are the best kinds of loans to do in this situation. An acquirer will not be terribly surprised to see a bridge loan in place when they look at the books and thus it is not nearly the same kind of red flag as it is in an equity financing.
When making a bridge loan, it is critical that the size of the loan be sufficient to get to the transaction you are bridging to. The bridge metaphor is a good one. You want the bridge to be long enough to cross the river. Otherwise it does no good. Getting a second bridge done is always very hard. So if you think you need three months to sell the company or get a fiancing done, get six months of burn in your bridge.
The biggest concern investors will have in making a bridge is the probability of a tranaction closing. Investors will not make a “bridge to nowhere.” So before you can realistically ask for a bridge, you must build a strong case for the transaction you want the investors to bridge to. Getting a banker or an advisor hired to help you secure the transaction you want is one good way to give investors comfort in making a bridge. It doesn’t guarantee that you will get a deal done, but it shows everyone that you are committed to making it happen.
The terms of bridge loans are pretty standard. The loan will be secured by all the assets of the business that can be pledged. If there is existing bank debt or equipment financing, the bridge will be subordinate to those loans. And you will need the bank’s cooperation getting a bridge done if there is a bank involved. Sometimes that is not easy.
The loan will carry an interest rate of between 6% and 12% depending on the current rate environment and will have warrant coverage or a discount. We covered the concepts of warrant coverage and discounts in the convertible debt post earlier in this series. Bridge loans are a specialized form of convertible debt.
In summary, bridge loans are common in all businesses. In the startup world they are often a sign of distress and for that reason you should try to avoid them if you can. But when you are sinking, any lifeline looks good and bridge loans are no different. Beggars can’t be choosers. In a sale process, bridge loans are less problematic and are often the right solution to financing a company to a sale transaction. For startup investors, bridge loans in the aggregate are a poor performing investment and as an industry, we dislike making them. But like all of the tools at our disposal in the statup world, bridge loans are a reality of our lives, we will all experience them from time to time, and they can be a useful form of financing at a critical time in the life of a company.
(Via A VC.)