Find now – read later. In the meantime: Just put it in Pocket.

I love it – especially before leaving on vacation. I simply save any “googled” article, video or pretty much any web page directly from the browser (or from apps like Twitter) to pocket’s remote servers for later offline reading at my own convenience: If it’s in Pocket, it’s on your phone, tablet or computer. You don’t even need an Internet connection. Enjoy reading or watching – wherever you are on business or leisure travel!

Freelancing is an invaluable professional exercise. Ever since starting my own business – danibu – in 2015, people have frequently asked me about the difference between (corporate) and self- employment.

Here’s 3 reasons why I think the latter is something everyone should try at some point – even if it’s just for a little while. Even if you work in-house, there is always the chance to adopt an entrepreneur attitude:

1. Mindset:
Freelance, and your mindset will become totally different. You’re full-on with whatever is in front of you. There is nothing realer than that to be at the same time the owner, director and financial manager. You need to have self-discipline to pull through (the kind of discipline that was imposed on you at the workplace), and your client-is-king attitude sets your boundaries.

2. Efficiency and effectiveness:
You turn into an efficient time manager. You have to! You take control of how your hours are spent (and billed), and you’re heavily incentivized to optimize. Getting more done for your client, and to a higher standard. I think it’s easier to slip into mediocrity and reactivity when you’re employed and there is no immediate consequence to your steady paycheck.

3. Trusted advisor:
What my clients really appreciate is the ‘outside-in’ perspective from external agencies like danibu: Asking the why, disrupting and challenging the status quo really foster a go-getter mindset, and in what corporate environment is that not advantageous?

To conclude: I feel everybody should freelance a bit, even if they are still on the payroll. Being an intrapreneur, so to speak. It’s vastly rewarding for all parties and incredibly liberating for those who try.

Communication developments in China go really fast. China has its own social networks and websites – and they’re booming. No Twitter, but Weibo. No YouTube, but Youku. No Facebook, but RenRen. No Gmail, but QQ. No Google, but Baidu. No Amazon, but Alibaba. Have YOU shopped on this giant internet platform yet?

Apps have become the center of all social activity there, with one particular messenger app being the most important of all: WeChat (the equivalent to our WhatsApp). No Chinese mobile phone without WeChat, used for paying, ordering, banking, chatting, playing and dating. All data is connected, building a so-called ‘social credit score’, which is based on income, friend network and social behavior of each user.

While the lack of privacy is scary (Chinese government can easily collect information about its 1.4bn residents), social and digital trends also help to adapt legislation, as was the case in a recent animal abuse affair: After public outcry and photos on social media, animal welfare legislation was immediately changed for the good.

If you’re in international marketing, it’s good to cross-culturally check your brand names and slogans before launch. Here a selection of the most famous cross-cultural blunders. They seem comical, but have actually turned into serious costly errors:

Microsoft

Their global internet search engine “Bing” in Mandarin Chinese sounds like “illness”, or means “pancake”, in certain Chinese dialects. Microsoft had to rename it to “Biying” in China, positively alluding to the Chinese proverb “you qui bi ying” (“seek and ye shall find”).

Electrolux

The Swedish vacuum-cleaner manufacturer used the following for their American ad campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”.

Pepsi

In Taiwan, the translation of the soft drinks maker’s ad slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” came out as: “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.

IKEA

Their plant pot “Jatterbra” is a crude sexual word in Thailand. As Thais can be quite conservative, IKEA has been forced to hire a team of local linguists into their marketing team there.

Ford

Puzzled by the fact that sales of their “Pinto”-model (a success elsewhere) totally flopped in Brazil, Ford realized that Pinto was Brazilian slang for ‘tiny male genitals’. A costly linguistic mistake, which caused Ford to take all nameplates off and substitute them by “Corcel” (horse).

Castlemaine

The Australian brewer launched its XXXX (‘four-ex’) beer in the USA using their trademarked jingle “I can feel a four-ex coming on” – which had proved successful in the Australian market. Unfortunately, the company was unaware that XXXX was the brand name of a successful American condom manufacturer!

Parker

The American luxury pen company took their advertisement across the border to Mexico, using their slogan: “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. However, they mistakenly used the Spanish word ‘embarazar’ for ‘embarrass’ and so actually advertised: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”.

Gender-specific communication skills are a business case, and at the danibu Communication and Presentation training we always address male-female communication habits. Check this fun clip to get a flavor.

Companies are increasingly appreciating gender differences, driving awareness around the subject and investing in specific communication training. One example I heard about recently is Business Flirting. It has nothing to do with sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s about teaching the art and science of connecting better in business and life. Also called the art of Flirtology, it’s about consciously using your own charme and body language to establish communication, better business relations and eventually a much better chance in achieving your goals. Here the 6 key take-aways:

  1. Staying comfortable, whilst stepping out of your comfort zone
  2. Learning to drive colleague interaction effectively and authentically
  3. Enjoying to talk to strangers
  4. Discovering new ways of exchanging compliments and courtesies
  5. Networking with fun
  6. Gracefully exiting unproductive conversations

“Where can I get good, free stock photos to strengthen my presentation or campaign with strong imagery?” I get this question all the time …

Well, when it comes to sourcing great visuals, be aware of potential copyright infringement and don’t just pick from internet without consideration about who owns the photo rights.

Apart from doing your own photo shoot (which I do a lot for danibu purposes), there are a variety of websites with great, free quality imagery. I always pull out these two:

PEXELS and UNSPLASH.

Both websites help beefing up your next presentation, website or social media channels, so it’s really worth checking them out and saving them in your favorites. My tip is to improve your presentations visually, but to see images as an investment: Be creative and surprising: Google image and clipart are a no go!

Are you sometimes fed up with files too large to email? Are you in need to convert files into small-size pdfs? Then SmallPDF is the solution. I use it a lot. It’s super useful, and free!

Basically, it’s an online pdf compressor with which you can reduce the size of your documents and images and still maintain good quality.

You visit a website, click to download a file and end up waiting endlessly because the online document unnecessarily packs a huge amount of bytes. Or, you want to email a document and get stuck because your attachment exceeds 10 MB.

The solution is: Compressing the documents and files using an awesome free online tool I discovered lately: WeCompress.

I also use a similar application – SmallPDF, see respective blog item on this page -, but it’s good to have an alternative great option.

WeCompress compresses all sorts of documents: PDF, Microsoft PowerPoint, MS office docs or image files (PNG and JPEG). Using WeCompress is a breeze – all you have to do is check the WeCompress website, click the Add File button and it will instantly optimize the file. After a few seconds of compression, you will be shown a Download button so that you can download the compressed file. Along with this download link, it also shows how much the file has been compressed. Voilà!

I love change! I always have! And I always have a lot of things I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Some are small(er) – improve my tango posture, grow my own herbs -, others are rather big, like preparing three mind-stimulating speeches for different international conferences in 2019 and 2020.

If you have great intentions, but find yourself disillusioned because change is hard, here’s my top 3 techie helpers that boost willpower and implement new behaviours for good:

Momentum

Create your personal dashboard! Choose your routine, goal or ritual for the day, and Momentum reminds you of it each time you open a new tab. It eliminates distraction and provides inspiration, focus and productivity.

Momentum

Spritz

When Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were asked what superpower they would want to have, they both said: “Being able to read faster!” Superpowers don’t exist – but Spritz comes close. It lets you scan the web page you’re on and displays single words in a speed of your choosing. It takes some time to get used to, as our eyes are accustomed to scanning a page from left to right. But with a little bit of patience, you may have just discovered your first superpower! Test it out for yourself!

Spritz

Wunderlist

It seems that our to-do list gets bigger as we speak. Sometimes we don’t have the time to write it down or organize it into different categories. Wunderlist solves this problem. This free app allows you to create multiple to-do lists and categorize your different to-do’s. For example, I have one for my danibu business, my personal goals and my travel bucket list.

Wunderlist

Imagine you were a TED Talk speaker: 18 minutes air time for your “ideas worth spreading” (TED slogan). But what do you do if you have only 1 minute to present your best self? That’s when you need a mental killer résumé. A 60 second (or elevator) pitch that tells others who you are, what you do, and why you do it (better than others).

The idea of an elevator pitch (hence the name) comes from the metaphoric stepping into an elevator and standing next to someone you’ve always wanted to introduce yourself to in those few moments of the elevator ride. The pitch is your 1-minute commercial, including the “wow-factor” that differentiates yourself from others. Here a fun clip to give you an idea.

The danibu Communication and Presentation training lets participants create and battletest their elevator pitch, whilst being filmed. This has proven to be a highly impactful exercise, having participants leave much more confident that their personal presentation will do its job.