Does It Really Take A Government To Launch Cloud-Based Cyberattacks?

first_imgU.S. financial institutions are apparently the main targets for hackers bent on disrupting the banks’ online business, combining old tools and new tricks to muster a whole new class of zombie computers into attacking bank servers. But even as banks level accusations of state-sponsored hacking, the identity of the attackers is still not entirely clear.Certainly the banks and their allies in the U.S. government haven’t been shy about calling out the attackers. Last week the bank security experts were concluding publicly that the nature of the attacks meant that it could not be anything less than a state-sponsored cyberattack from one of the U.S.’s biggest bogeymen, Iran.The reason for fingering Iran was the sophistication of the attackers, who used centrally controlled botnets to launch highly targeted distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against banks’ infrastructure. That was not the part that freaked out the security experts… apparently new characteristics of the attacks included the addition of cloud-hosted servers within the botnets launching the attacks, lending huge computational power to the DDOS sorties, as well as aiming at servers beyond the public-facing websites that usually get smacked around.But does this level of sophistication really point to state-level sponsors like Iran? Or are “everyday” hackers and hacktivists just upping their game in their perpetual war against banks, corporations and government agencies?Bringing Out The ArtilleryDr. Ken Baylor, Research vice president at NSS Labs, knows his way around a bank server or two – his previous gig was a three-year stint as vice president of Security and Antifraud at Wells Fargo.When discussing the nature of this latest set of bank attacks in an interview last week, Baylor described the scale of the attacks with a chilling analogy. Past attacks directed by groups like Anonymous and LulzSec, he said, were like people running around shooting handguns. These new attacks that marshal cloud-based resources are more like using artillery.And well-aimed artillery, too: Baylor outlined that past DDOS attacks tended to be aimed squarely at Web servers, to which intended victims would simply add more Web-server resources as failovers when weathering an attack.“Now they’re going after key weak systems,” Baylor said. For example, a bank’s three or four authentication servers might be new targets, and once those fail, the whole chain of online banking collapses, since customers are unable to log into their accounts.Attackers are also using the sheer power of their newfound ammunition to launch much more sophisticated deep queries at targeted servers, which are much harder to tag as part of a DDOS attack and thus ignore.The Fog Of WarDetermining the identity of the attackers is by no means easy, beyond the technical tricks used to obfuscate the identities of the hackers. The other problem is determining motivation.Thus far, past and present attacks have seemed very determined to not involve the theft of money, what would seem to be the obvious goal of attacking a bank’s cyber infrastructure. Indeed, after initial cyberattacks against banks proved successful, hacktivist groups began announcing their intended targets to make sure banks knew they were about to get p0wned.But Baylor explained that soon after following through on attacks to pre-determined targets, it became known that fraudsters would take advantage of the attacks to initiate call center campaigns that would use social engineering to trick call center representatives, locked out of their downed systems, to transfer money fraudulently. After that type of activity was discovered, the original hackers stopped pre-publishing their intended targets.It is actually this lack of monetary gain that leads security experts to believe that state-sponsored groups are behind the attacks. According to The New York Times article, “[a] hacker group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters has claimed in online posts that it was responsible for the attacks.”American intelligence officials, the article goes on to state, claim the hacktivist group is actually just a front for Iranian government activities and all of these activities are a calculated response to economic sanctions and cyberattacks launched against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure by the United States and Israel.Iran, for its part, has denied these specific allegations.“Whoever it is, it’s a show of power,” Baylor said. “They’re not out to steal. They’re out to disrupt.”Bad Actors Or Good Hackers?While the sheer power of the cloud-based servers would seem to suggest that the perpetrators of these attacks would have to be someone with a lot of money, time and power, other attacks would seem to suggest that this is not necessarily the case.Consider, for a moment, the different levels of sophistication it takes to hack into a personal computer or a server (physical or virtual). Didn’t take long, did it?The fact is that hacking into servers is only a touch more difficult than hacking into personal computers, and that’s only because PC owners are often dumb enough to allow malware onto their machines, thus making hackers’ jobs a whole lot easier. (Full disclosure: I’m one of those dummies.)There is a recurring myth that somehow it’s very hard to hack into servers hosted on the cloud, because Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and other public cloud servers are perceived as being so secure.Indeed, such services are very secure, emphasized Patrick McBride, vice president of marketing for Xceedium, an access control vendor for cloud computing. But that security extends only to the infrastructure level of the cloud hosts: the operating systems and networks that actually host the virtual machine “containers” in which customers’ servers reside.What runs within the containers, though, are just as prone to the fumbles and pratfalls that any hosted server can have. Someone like me can, with a credit card and an AWS account, go out and set up a nice little Hadoop cluster in the cloud today. But if I don’t lock that server down and keep it patched and maintained, it’s just as vulnerable as it would be if it were plugged into the Internet back in my server room. Careless server admins can get their systems hacked just as easily as PCs.“Cloud providers have done a pretty good job locking down their infrastructure,” McBride said. “But you’ve got to lock down access to your own servers.” More Shelling To ComeGarden-variety hackers are already pretty sophisticated with their online weaponry, too. With whole botnets ready to be rented and deployed as a service against any desired targets, hackers (political or criminal) are able to acquire online weapons to use in their crusades or criminal activities.A problem with the gun/artillery analogy is that it applies only to the level of power that can be used in an attack – it does not correlate with the sophistication or financing of the hackers themselves. If a hacker can crack a virtual server and control its computing power with little more skill than it takes to hack some poor slob’s PC and tie it to a tightly controlled botnet, then how sophisticated does a hacker have to be?This is not to say Iran’s name can be cleared. The Middle Eastern nation could still be involved with these attacks, as might any other nation with a beef against the United States. But these attacks could just as well be the work of pro-Iranian hacker groups, any one of a slew of anti-bank protest organizations or some super-genius kid ticked off a bank foreclosed on his parents’ house.Using sophistication as a prime identifier for state-sponsored attacks paints an incomplete picture. The truth is, building a detailed and powerful cyberattack is not like building a nuclear weapon or creating counterfeit currency – activities that typically do require government-level resources and money. Cyberattacks like the ones in question, while complex, use the same methods employed in other botnet attacks. It’s just the weapons that have changed.Nevertheless, the fact that there’s now cloud artillery lying around for hackers to replace their virtual handguns is very bad news for banks and any other potential online targets, regardless of the attackers’ identity.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… brian proffitt Related Posts Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoidcenter_img Why You Love Online Quizzes Tags:#Banking How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees?last_img read more

Tablet Mobile Web Traffic Now Eclipses Smartphone Traffic [Charts]

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Adobe notes that all the regions it tracks tablet traffic saw total traffic double in the last year. The United Kingdom has the highest percentage of tablet traffic, with 12.2% of views, while China had the lowest at 3.1%.  From an entirely mobile perspective, there are two ways to look at these numbers. Just six years after the launch of the first iPhone (July 2007, the essential start of The Mobile Revolution) and three years since the launch of the iPad, smart mobile devices now garner nearly one out of every six website pageviews. That is not insignificant. On the flip side, though, no matter how much we harp on the notion that the mobile Web is not just the future, but also the present, the vast majority of Web traffic still comes from the legacy that is the PC.  What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts If you are surfing the Web from a mobile device these days, odds are you are doing it not from a smartphone, but from some type of tablet. According to a study done by Adobe, for the first time tablets have surpassed smartphones for percentage of website views. Adobe analyzed more than 1 billion visits for more than 1,000 websites and found that 8% of traffic came from tablets. That ranks ahead of the 7% of visits that came from smartphones. Of course, that leaves 85% or so percent of Web traffic still coming from desktop PCs and laptops.  Tags:#Adobe#smartphones#tablets Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The tablet number is significant because there are far, far fewer tablets in circulation in the world compared to the vast proliferation of smartphones. Adobe attributes tablets increased Web usage compared to smartphones to users preferance for “more in depth visits” with their tablets. Adobe says that page views and visits are 1.7-times higher on tablets than on smartphones. dan rowinskilast_img read more

Why The Hell Should I Pay Feedly For These Basic Features?

first_imgHow Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Tags:#Feedly#news readers brian proffitt Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Users of Feedly today got a surprise on their home pages: a limited-seat invite to the RSS reader service’s upcoming Feedly Pro, which offers users new features for an annual subscription plan. But a quick look at those new features may leave many wondering why they should be part of a paid package at all.It’s been a bit of a tough spell since Google Reader was shut down last month. Finding a replacement service wasn’t easy, because none of them filled all of the requirements I needed. In the end, Feedly suited my needs the best, though there were some issues, the biggest being a feature I really need: searching for individual articles.See also The Race To Replace Google ReaderFor users with minimal RSS and Atom feeds, such a feature may not seem like a big deal, but I have enough feeds to generate anywhere from 800-1000 new articles per day, and there are times, when I am looking for news, that narrowing that content down with a targeted search is a lifesaver.My newsreader of choice, Reeder for Mac and for iPad, had this feature, as well as the capability to share content directly in Twitter, Evernote, Facebook, Instapaper and a slew of other such services. But Reeder for Mac and iPad versions still don’t talk to Feedly (though Reeder for iPhone now does), so I just used Feedly’s native cloud interface.Today’s offer is straightforward: the first 5,000 users who sign up to Feedly Pro for $99 will get a lifetime subscription to the new service, which includes the aforementioned article search, https browsing, Evernote content sharing and premium support. After this limited-time offer, Feedly will charge $45 annually for the service, which will be publicly available “sometime in the fall.”Pay To PlayFrom a pure-math standpoint, jumping in now to this early offer makes sense, since you start getting more value for your money after a little over two years. But God help you if Feedly were ever bought and folded into another offering or shut down altogether.Welcome to Feedly ProAnd then there’s the features. The more I thought about it, the more I had to wonder if secure SSL browsing, Evernote connectivity and article searching was really worth paying money.Putting aside my known issues with Evernote, if I wanted to use Feedly with Evernote now I could with a useful script from IFTTT. Secure browsing has some appeal, but if someone wants to see the articles I am reading, this won’t be much of a deterrent. And article searching? That is such a basic function, charging for it seems egregious.The premium support seems a little shaky, too. I would have to include a snippet of technical information that includes my user ID, browser user agent and plan type in every e-mail to the support team. Then there was this:Please include as much context about the issue as possible, including screenshots. We are committed to answering all pro support requests within one business day.Screenshots? From the get-go? And that one business day sentence isn’t exactly a guarantee, either.In the end, because I use newsreaders so much for work, I opted to sign up for the plan anyway. It will either get billed or be a deduction come tax time, and frankly the article search is too much of a necessity not to have.But I have to wonder if this is the way cloud services are going to go now—requiring payment for features that were once considered to be pretty much a given. Cloud services have every right to generate revenue based on what they offer, but if they start nickel and diming us for every little feature, it will be a worrisome trend. Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…last_img read more

How Minnesota Became the Land of 10,000 Startups

first_imgTags:#minnesota#startups#twin cities What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… How to Get Started in China and Have Success Minnesota is no stranger to big business. It’s home to such names as Target, Best Buy, General Mills, and Ecolab — all of which have made their homes in Minnesota for generations and have become a source of pride. But a new industry — technology — is taking Minnesota by storm, boosting the local economy and putting the state on the global map once again.Minnesota has long been known for its high standard of living, agriculture industry, and flourishing community of performing arts. But over the past decade the Twin Cities area has made great strides to become a forward-thinking place for startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.The number of tech businesses in Minnesota has grown exponentially since 2010, adding more than 500 startups since 2015 alone. Following the charge, venture capitalists now invest more than $200 million in the region annually.That Cool Minnesota LifestyleWhat attracts people to Minnesota? “Incredible career options with a world-class quality of life you can actually afford,” says Matt Lewis, Director of Make It. MSP., a collective that helps Minneapolis-St. Paul attract and retain top talent.“It’s no coincidence that data-point groups like WalletHub and U.S. News rank Minnesota a best state or tops for working moms and dads. With Fortune 500 companies, amazing parks, a growing arts scene, and more, this place really surprises people.”A strong city ambassador who knows what it’s like to be new, Lewis has moved to Minnesota twice, and now works to help welcome the 30,000+ working professionals who relocate to MSP each year.But aren’t the winters cold? Absolutely. Luckily, Minnesotans are hearty folks who take pride in braving the elements. They bundle up for business, sporting, social events. It’s the same never-say-die spirit that makes them strong entrepreneurs.A Collaborative CommunityThat enterprising attitude also drives groups like Forge North, a collective of entrepreneurs, investors, collaborators, and allies from all sectors working together to grow Minnesota’s startup ecosystem. The collaborative Forge North umbrellas smaller ventures like startup accelerator gener8tor and tech community Minnestar.“Minnestar has grown steadily since we started in 2006. Now we have nearly a thousand attendees at each of our events; that’s a real testament to the strength of the tech community here,” says Maria Ploessl, Minnestar’s Executive Director.And don’t overlook the MN Cup, a startup competition that seeks to bind Minnesota’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, create technology jobs, and grow the state’s innovation footprint.“MN Cup is an effective way to bring ideas to life — but to us it’s more than a competition. Yes, we’re trying to fuel interest in entrepreneurship, but we’re ultimately focused on creating jobs and using technology to solve meaningful problems that impact lives,” says John Stavig, Director of the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota. “It’s our way of putting Minnesota on the map as an innovation state.”Startup Success New and OldIt’s supportive groups like those that lead to the success rates and growth at companies like Foodsby, a startup that recently raised nearly $14 million to roll out its office lunch catering and delivery service. Food delivery groups have been big ventures, but their fragmented locations give Foodsby a leg up in the growing Minneapolis market.But the new companies aren’t the only ones grabbing headlines. There’s also WolfNet, a 22-year-old real estate data aggregation company which was just acquired by OJO Labs, showing that growth and innovation is pervasive for longtime Minnesotan tech companies, in addition to the fledgling startups.“WolfNet was early to the real estate data and tech scene in Minneapolis, and it’s been fun to watch the industry grow and change here. Now we have the chance to use what we’ve learned from decades of experience to create a ‘next level collaboration’ with OJO Labs’ incredible AI technology. It really is an amazing opportunity.” says Jennie MacIntosh, Chief Operating Officer at WolfNet.Even old-school startups are joining the scene. On November 7 tech darling Salesforce brings its popular Growth Camp series to the Twin Cities. The free tech conference for small businesses and startups features local speakers, 1:1 tech tutorials, a keynote from acclaimed marketing evangelist Mathew Sweezey, and a networking happy hour. Perhaps best of all, this event is free for all registrants.“One of the core values of our company is innovation, so we love the great things we’ve seen in the Twin Cities market,” says Marie Rosecrans, SVP of SMB Marketing at Salesforce. “We’re committed to entrepreneurs and small businesses, and we look forward to helping more of them use technology to grow and succeed.”The influx of successful startups has even brought opportunities in the form of coworking spaces. The original player, COCO used coworking as a vehicle to build a grass-roots, authentic community of entrepreneurs; its success lead to a joint venture earlier this year, a national franchise play called Fueled Collective.Don Ball, Co-Founder and Chief Social Officer at Fueled Collective, has experienced Minnesota’s growth firsthand and has a finger on the pulse of what might be the clearest sign of Minnesota’s entrepreneurial prowess: “Since 2010, we’ve been practically the only coworking game in town. But since 2017, the amount of coworking space has quadrupled with the addition of WeWork, Industrious, Spaces, Novel, and many more.” The growth of these tech-minded communities offers hard proof of a strengthening market in Minnesota as well as nationally.Growing in DiversityAn increasingly diverse population also plays a part in Minnesota’s boom, and with new demographics come the added diversity of thought. Some people now refer to Minneapolis as a Hipster Haven, while others celebrate its efforts to host WE18, the largest conference and career fair for women engineers.“New cultures and diversity of thought are huge drivers of innovation on a regional level,” says Jeff Lin, CEO of Bust Out Solutions. “Our increasingly diverse population only adds to our ability to attract and retain great people.”The Land of 10,000 StartupsMinnesota will always be the land of 10,000 lakes, but thanks to the influx of technology, it’s now also the land of 10,000 startups. A welcoming vibe and generous spirit make it an ideal place for a new venture. Thinking of joining the in crowd? Just check out the resources from 2018 Twin Cities Startup Week or find expert help at that free Salesforce Growth Camp. Related Posts China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWritelast_img read more

FD Webinar| TRANSforming Conversations: Addressing Needs of Transgender Youth and Their Families

first_imgBy: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTPhotoSpin[male and female hands holding rainbow heart by Lev Dolgachov]Dr. Jenifer McGuire will join us again on April 20th at 11am ET in facilitating part 2 of this 2-part webinar series on working with LGBT families. While part 1 focuses on language, terms, and background information to assist providers in their work with LGBT families, part 2 will shift the focus to Transgender youth and their families in particular.The topic of Transgender youth and their families is one of great interest to Dr. McGuire. She will be discussing her research and the ways in which family environments can best support the healthy development of Transgender youth. If you are interested in joining us for this webinar, you can click here to register.We will be offering  1  FREE CEU for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists (in the state of Georgia) for each of the webinars in this series. For more information on future programming in the 2017 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: Facebook & Twitter.This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team.last_img read more

Cinema 4D Video Tutorial: 3D Billboard

first_imgLearn how to create a 3D billboard with lights in our exclusive video tutorial.Creating textures that interact well with lights is extremely important for anyone looking to become a master at Cinema 4D. Just like in real life, textures need to be able to interact with light in order for them to be perceived as more believable.In today’s Cinema 4D tutorial we will show you how to create some of these textures as we model a 3D billboard in Cinema 4D. We will cover a variety of Cinema 4D techniques including:Luminance TexturesGlobal IlluminationPostioning LightsThis tutorial also comes with free Cinema 4D project files:[maxbutton id=”22″]If you have any questions regarding this tutorial or Cinema 4D in general go ahead and ask in the comments below. I would be happy to answer them!If you are interested in learning more about Cinema 4D check out the Cinema 4D section of the PremiumBeat blog. We have dozens of Cinema 4D tutorials with new exclusive tutorials every Thursday.Have any questions about this tutorial? Know of any ways to make it better? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Cinematography Tip: Hallway Tracking Shots the Coen Brothers Way

first_imgFilming in tight hallways is tricky — even for pros like the Coen brothers. Here’s their low-budget solution to a common filmmaking problem.Top image via Janus FilmsWatching the live commentary included with the Criterion Collection release of Blood Simple was an eye-opening experience. Hearing Joel and Ethan Coen share some of the same frustrations I’ve encountered firsthand was truly sweet relief. Despite these frustrations, the Coens were able to make micro-budget movie magic, capturing some high-quality shots in less-than-optimal conditions. Let’s look at one example a little closer.The ShotOne shot that gave the Coen brothers a little trouble takes place in an exceptionally tight and dimly lit location.Abby, the main character portrayed by Frances McDormand, is walking down a hallway in her house at night. As you can see above, the outside light leaking in through the windows splashes across the wall.The biggest obstacle to pulling this scene off proved to be the location itself. DP Barry Sonnenfeld couldn’t operate the camera rig in the close quarters of the hallway without casting unwanted shadows. The size of the house didn’t just limit camera movement — it prevented the execution of moves (like this very tracking shot) that the filmmakers felt were vital to the atmosphere of the film.So, How Did They Film It?Discovering that the house was the problem, the Coens came up with an elegant solution — they countered the limitations of the house by removing themselves from the house.The camera operator set up outside the house and utilized a long lens to film through the window, tracking backwards as McDormand walked. They nailed the shot and discovered a timely, affordable fix to a difficult situation. This kind of DIY attitude is exactly what makes filmmaking so exciting. Find a problem. Fix a problem by thinking outside the box — or, in this case, the house.Do yourself a favor and check out the Blood Simple commentary. It’s packed with filmmaking secrets and tips. For more Coen brothers action, visit this post that explains how they faked a nighttime driving scene from the comfort of their garage.What was the last DIY solution you found on set? Share your experiences in the comments below!last_img read more

You Are Good Enough Now, and You Could Use Some Improving

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement. Shunryu Suzuki-roshi (1905 – 1971)Most of the blogs you read (including this humble blog) provide you with ideas as to how you can improve. The ideas that we share with each other introduce new ways of thinking and, if you are open to growth, allow you to shed old, unhealthy ideas and beliefs and form new and better ones.The truth of the matter is that you are already good enough to reach your goals and live your dreams right now, this very instant. And, you could also use some improving.You Are Good Enough NowHere’s the red pill: you already know enough to reach your goals and live your dream right now.You don’t need my blog or anyone else’s blog to win your dream client. You don’t need to read another book. You don’t need to take another training class. You don’t need to sit through yet another webinar.Right now, you are exactly as good as you need to be to accomplish whatever is you want to accomplish. The world is covered with people that know much less than you know, that aren’t nearly as capable as you are, and don’t have anywhere near the resources that you have, all of whom are producing the results that you want.You don’t have to be perfect before you can reach your goals. You don’t need to get any better. You just need to believe and take action.You are good enough right now.You Could Use Some ImprovingYou could use some improving.You could become an even better version of your already perfect self.You could learn more and gain the ability to create even more value than you already create. You could become even more and make an even greater difference in the lives of others. You could improve so much that you are able to produce the results you produce now in far less time than you ever dreamed possible.Even though you are good enough, there are areas in your life where good enough isn’t going to be good enough. There are always going to be areas of your life where you could produce an even greater result. Just because you are good enough now doesn’t mean you are no longer obligated to continue to grow and improve.There is always still work to be done.Do what you need to do grow. You could use some improving. But don’t let the need to improve stop you from taking action, reaching your goals, and living your dream now.QuestionsAren’t you already every bit of what you need to be to reach your goals and live your dream?Is the biggest gap between your present results and your goals really your beliefs and the actions that you are taking?Even in the areas where you are already outstanding, couldn’t you still improve and produce even greater results?Aren’t there some areas of your life that are out of balance? Neglected even? Couldn’t you use a little improving there?last_img read more

The Leadership Playbook: The Lifeboat Exercise

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now You are in a lifeboat. You are sinking fast. You are surrounded by your ten biggest initiatives. They’re all important to your success, and they’re all heavy. To right the ship and save yourself, seven of your initiatives are going to have to be thrown overboard.But first, know this. Your ten initiatives aren’t all equal. The most important initiatives weigh more than the less important ones. In fact, they weigh a little more than twice the less important ones. So. If you want to save your most important initiatives, you’ll have to abandon a lot of the lesser ones.So let’s say you can keep only your three most important projects, goals, or initiatives.What’s are your biggest and most important projects, goals, or initiatives? Why are these more important than other initiatives that are weighing you down?What do you risk by continuing to act on the less important projects or initiatives? What do you give up in the way of time or results on your more important projects?What will you have to say no to or forego to put your time, energy, and focus into those three projects? What will you have to persuade your team to believe if you are going to get them on board and kill their pet projects?One of the keys to success as a leader is to very carefully, and very thoughtfully choose the organization’s priorities. Lots of things are important, but not everything can be a priority. The very word priority means more important than something else. If you have ten priorities, then you have no priorities.last_img read more

How Much Product Knowledge Is Enough?

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now I know an Executive Vice President of Sales who doesn’t believe that it is important for his salespeople to know the product they sell. He believes that they need only a minimum understanding of what they sell and that they should rely on subject matter experts to help them engage with their prospective clients. He doesn’t care so much about product knowledge.I understand his thinking. He believes that the salesperson should be calling on the business owner and that the subject matter expert should be engaging with the prospective client’s technical people. That makes sense. Except when it doesn’t make sense. And when it doesn’t make sense the salesperson fails to create an opportunity.How Much Do You Need To KnowTheory doesn’t always work out so well in practice. The real world is very different than some of the premises we have when we organize a sales force or design a sales processes. Ideas that look good on paper don’t always work out well when you are sitting face-to-face with a prospective client.As a salesperson, you need to know enough about your product that you can create value for all of the stakeholders you routinely meet with as you call on your dream client. Period.There is no reason to abdicate your responsibility for creating value to someone else on your team who may or may not be there when you need them. I’m not suggesting that the salesperson should have the deep technical expertise of a true subject matter expert, but there is no reason not to learn so much about your product and your solution that you can hold your own with anyone who may happen to be sitting in the room with you when you’re making a sales call.Every Sales Call Is An EducationThe longer you work in your role, the more you should know. If you’ve been on hundreds of calls with subject matter experts, you should have collected a list of the common questions that your dream client is going ask you. You should also have learned what the most common answers are to those questions.Great sales people are great mimics. They learn to mimic what they hear other salespeople—and technical people—say, gaining a fundamental understanding of what they need to know to create value for their prospective customer during a sales call.You cannot create value or trust by not knowing enough about your product to engage in a meaningful conversation with your dream client. What you need to know should drive your understanding, not your title.You still need chops.last_img read more

Why You Have a Time Management Problem

first_imgIf you feel like you have a time management problem, there are a number of things that you might be doing to generate that feeling.Lack of Priorities: You will find it difficult to be productive with your time if you haven’t defined your priorities. If you don’t know what your biggest priorities are, then you will have trouble deciding where to spend your time.You Haven’t Defined Your Work: Through most of history, you knew what work needed done. There was no thinking required. If you lived in the Agrarian Age, you woke up, took care of the animals, worked in the fields, and went to bed to start over. In the Industrial Age, you repeated the same work over and over. Now, you are a knowledge worker and you have to figure out what work you need to do, when you need to do it, and how to do it.Lack of Planning: If you show up to work without having planned the work you are going to do in a given week, you will always feel like you didn’t accomplish much. Being productive with your time isn’t about working. Being productive is about working on the most important things you need to do. The planning work is one of the keys to getting things done.You Haven’t Blocked Time: Nothing gets done unless you invest the time, focus, and energy. If you have not blocked time for what’s most important, other people’s priorities will encroach upon your time. Blocking time is how you make time.You Are Allowing Distractions: If you phone is on and your browser and email are open, you are not really trying to be productive. You are trying to be entertained. Your best work can only be done when you give yourself over to it. Distractions make you a dabbler.You Are Addicted to Urgency: It’s possible that if you believe you have a time management problem, what you really have an addiction to fighting fires. If it makes you feel valuable to solve problems as they pop up, what is important will be ignored, so you can make time for what is urgent.You Are Comfortable Being Reactive: You can learn to be comfortable in reactive mode, scanning your email, looking for things that feel like work without moving you any closer to your goals, and without moving any projects forward.If you ever feel like you don’t have enough time, one or more of these is likely to be the reason. You have the same time as every one else. Getting more time means investing in more meaningful, purposeful work. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Dowry case: Cops oppose court-monitored probe

first_imgPANAJI: The Goa Women’s Police Station on Saturday said there was no need for a court-monitored investigation into the dowry harassment and domestic violence case against Goa BJP vice-president Anil Hoble, his wife, Sandhya, and son, Milind.Mr. Hoble is also the Chairman of the OBC Corporation. Panaji Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Vijayalaxmi Shivolkar on Saturday fixed the arguments on the petition filed by Suchitra Shirodkar, the mother of the victim (Mr. Hoble’s daughter-in-law), for August 3. Saying that the investigation was at a preliminary stage, Sub-Inspector Sandhya Gupta said in a written reply to the JMFC on Saturday that the statements of the victim and witnesses had been recorded, and that the investigation does not need to be monitored by the court.‘Derailing investigation’Ms. Shirodkar, in her petition to the JMFC, had said that Ms. Gupta was derailing the investigation because of Mr. Hoble’s political influence. She had said that she feared Ms. Gupta’s investigation would be shoddy.Alleging that Ms. Gupta does not have a clean track record as a police officer, Ms. Shirodkar had sought directions to the police to investigate the case properly, and that the court monitor the investigation.The FIR against the Hobles was registered on July 12, based on a complaint filed by Ms. Shirodkar. She had alleged that the Hoble family had been demanding dowry from her daughter since 2009. Mr. Hoble has denied all the allegations.The three have been booked under Sections 498-A, 323 and 506 (ii) read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prevention Act.last_img read more

Two rape victims move HC, seek life imprisonment for Gurmeet Ram Rahim

first_imgTwo women followers raped by the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday, seeking life imprisonment for the sect head, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison. A special CBI court on August 28 had sentenced Ram Rahim to 20 years in prison after his conviction in two rape cases.“A revision petition has been filed today in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the enhancement of sentence for Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to life imprisonment in a rape case,” said victims’ counsel Navkiran Singh.“In this case, the Dera sect chief was considered as ’Pita Ji’ (father) by his followers. Victims were under emotional and physical custody of the Dera chief and he broke their trust and misused his position as a religious and spiritual leader. Therefore, we sought life imprisonment instead of 20-year sentence,” the counsel further said. CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh had pronounced two sentences of 10 years rigorous imprisonment in each of the two cases that date back to 2002. Besides, the court had also fined him Rs 15 lakh in each of the two cases. Ram Rahim was convicted by the special CBI court on August 25, following which violence and arson had erupted in Panchkula and Sirsa districts which left 41 people dead and scores injured. Ram Rahim is currently lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak district of Panchkula. In April 2002, an anonymous letter was written to the then Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, complaining about alleged sexual exploitation of women followers at Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa. Then in May 2002, the High Court directed the Sirsa district and session judge to probe the allegations in the letter. In September 2002, the High Court had handed over the matter to the CBI after a district court indicated possibility of sexual exploitation. In December 2002, the CBI registered a case of rape, criminal intimidation against Ram Rahim. The CBI had filed a chargesheet against the Dera head in Ambala court in July 2007. The chargesheet mentioned about sexual exploitation of two ‘sadhvis’ (women followers) between 1999 and 2001. In September 2008, the special CBI court framed charges against Ram Rahim under sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC On August 17, 2017, the arguments of prosecution and defence concluded and the Special CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh on August 25 convicted Ram Rahim in the rape case.last_img read more

Lalgarh tiger continues to be elusive

first_imgAlmost two weeks after an adult male tiger was photographed in the forests of West Bengal’s Lalgarh, it remains elusive. On March 2, four photographs of the tiger were recorded on camera traps in the Lalgarh range of the Medinipur Forest Division. Since then, four trap cages with goats as bait, and two tranquilising teams have been pressed into service. .Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked forest officials to use drones to track the tiger, while addressing an administrative meeting on March 8. Two drones have been brought from Kolkata, but with no success. “The tiger is roaming around a radius of 15 sq. km. in an area of about 45-50 sq. km. The tiger is still in the forests of Lalgarh, Pirakata and Goaltore,” Ravi Kant Sinha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden, Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, told The Hindu.last_img read more

Nagaland’s ‘Gandhi’ Natwar Thakkar dies

first_imgNoted Gandhian Natwar Thakkar, the man who was thought be an Indian spy at the peak of an armed Naga movement for sovereignty seven decades ago, but came to be accepted as “Nagaland’s Gandhi”, died in a private hospital in Guwahati on Sunday. Mr. Thakkar, 86, who was honoured with the Padma Shri, fell ill on September 9 at his workplace in Chuchuyimlang town. He was shifted to Guwahati from a hospital in Dimapur in Nagaland. His wife, Lentina Ao, also a Gandhian and Padma Shri winner, and his son, Aotoshi, and two daughters, were by his side when he breathed his last at 7.10 a.m. “I am saddened to hear about the demise of Natwar Thakkar, founder of Nagaland Gandhi Ashram. He made significant contributions toward the betterment of society. May Almighty give strength to his family, friends and loved ones and may his soul rest in peace,” Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said.The Naga Hoho, the apex body of all tribes in Nagaland, mourned Mr. Thakkar’s death. “His is a gap that will be difficult to fill in the State. He had been tirelessly working to bring peace and development to Nagaland,” its president, Chuba Ozukum, told The Hindu.Mr. Thakkar had been chosen as a member of a committee constituted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the year-long celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary across the country.He was 23 when he went to Nagaland from Maharashtra in 1955 when the movement for secession from India under the legendary Naga leader A.Z. Angami was gaining momentum. His Gandhian mission was viewed as a front for espionage by New Delhi and he was often told, at gunpoint, to leave the Naga domain.But Mr. Thakkar made Nagaland his home, married a woman from the Ao Naga community and worked to spread Gandhian philosophy.last_img read more

Cop held for consuming liquor in dry Bihar

first_imgA sub-inspector of police was arrested here on Friday while consuming liquor at a hotel in violation of the strict prohibition law, the district police chief said.Muzaffarpur SSP Manoj Kumar said that a raid was conducted at a hotel in Shukla Road locality under Town police station area following a tip-off. Among those arrested from the spot were the hotel’s owner Sanjeev Kumar and S-I Manoj Kumar Nirala, the SSP said adding that breath analyzer test confirmed that the S-I had consumed alcohol.last_img read more

Brawl in Jaipur Central Jail, FIR registered

first_imgAfter an alleged brawl in the Jaipur Central Jail, the police have registered a first information report against seven inmates on charges of attacking the jail guards and a Deputy Jailor when they were inspecting a cell in a high security ward of the prison on Saturday. The jail inmates include four accused in the 2008 Jaipur serial blasts case.The incident occurred after the accused, facing trial in the blasts case, wrote an application to the Special Judge seeking a direction to the jail administration to install a complaint box and ensure the visit of a judicial officer to their ward as per the guidelines of the jail manual. After the court issued notice to the jail authorities, the jail guards allegedly gave life threats to the accused.In a brawl that followed, Deputy Jailor Raj Mahendra fractured his finger, while several prisoners sustained minor injuries. They were taken to the jail dispensary for first aid. An FIR has been registered under Sections 332 and 353 of Indian Penal Code, dealing with the assault of public servants.Director General (Prisons) N.R.K. Reddy said tight security measures had been taken to prevent the recurrence of violence on the jail premises.last_img read more

Madha, Junnar desperate as drought tightens grip

first_imgWith no let-up in the water crisis that has gripped the State’s hinterland, residents of the drought-hit areas of Solapur and Pune districts are desperate.In Solapur’s Madha tehsil, farmers lament the condition of the smaller livestock like goats and sheep, while in tribal areas of Junnar in Pune district, water sources have all but dried up.“The government provides for bigger animals in fodder camps, but the smaller ones like goats and sheep are neglected. Their suffering is unbearable. The landscape is arid, with foliage wilting in the heat,” says Dipak Mali, a farmer from Upalai Budruk village in Madha. Calling the ground reality of the fodder camp dismal, he said it is a daily struggle for humans and animals alike to fight the crisis.Vidya Londhe, a resident of the same village, has to trudge more than 4 km every day in quest of water. “The water we receive from the tankers is invariably undrinkable. Even to get that, we have to queue up each morning. There is a great deal of jostling and frayed of tempers. It is only after several hours that we receive water, sometimes well past midnight, and even then, barely enough to fill a vessel,” she says.‘No efforts by leaders’According to Sachin Gadekar, a local journalist and analyst, the grim reality facing the populace of Madha and the rest of Solapur is ironic, given that the 40-odd sugar mills in the district were functional during the sugarcane crushing season.“Furthermore, there have been no efforts on part of Solapur’s Guardian Minister Subhash Deshmukh or important leaders in the district like Sushilkumar Shinde to provide relief for the drought hit. The Guardian Minister has made two brief tours of a couple of drought-hit taluks after the polls ended in the State,” he said.Expressing worry at the abysmal state of fodder camps and the utter lack of water, Shivajirao Patil-Chandajkar, a former director of the district milk association, observed that even water-abundant villages near the Ujani dam — Solapur’s potable water lifeline — were in dire straits this year.Meanwhile in Junnar, 90 km from Pune city, the tribal hamlets of Muthalne and Kopre are particularly hard hit, with their natural water reserves drying up. Residents say contaminated water has led to an outbreak of diseases like cholera and gastroenteritis. Stocks dipping in PuneMeanwhile, cumulative water stocks in the four major dams — Khadakwasla, Panshet, Varasgaon and Temghar — that constitute Pune city’s drinking water sources are down to an alarming 4.43 TMC (thousand million cubic feet), a little over 15% of their total capacity.According to the State Irrigation Department, water consumption in the city in April was the highest over a six-month period beginning November 2018. “The city consumed 1.4 TMC water in March and April. Going by the pattern of consumption in May, the city may very well end up consuming water in excess of 1.4 TMC for the third consecutive month. This is bound to pose severe problems till the onset of the monsoon,” an official from the Irrigation Department said.last_img read more