Controversies and Cynicism Surrounding the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably have been part of or at least heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s all over the internet, on the news, talk shows, Youtube, and it has completely taken over everyone’s Facebook news feed. The Ice Bucket Challenge aims to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The Challenge

You complete the challenge by pouring a bucket of ice on your head or donating $100 to an ALS foundation, you then nominate other people to do the same – it’s simple, fun, it’s for a good cause and it’s effective.

EVERYONE is on this – actors, singers, professional athletes, news reporters, billionaires, and of course regular folks like you and me.

It has spread like wild fire and It has become a world wide phenomenon. It’s HUGE! But whenever something gets this big there are bound to be some controversies and cynicism.

So what is ALS?

ALS is characterised by muscle spasticity, rapidly progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy, and difficulty in speaking (dysarthria), swallowing (dysphagia), and breathing (dyspnea). Median survival time from onset to death is 39 months, and only 4% survive longer than 10 years. Most die from respiratory failure, usually within three to five years from onset of symptoms. (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amyotrophic_lateral_sclerosis)

Enlightened church against raising funds for ALS research:

Check this out!

The Catholic church of Cincinnati is asking it’s members to not donate to the cause because the organizations involved with ALS Association funds a research that uses embryonic stem cell research, and the church has gone as far as asking its school principles to not encourage students to raise money for the cause.

I don’t even know what to say to that. This is not the first time religion has come in the way of progress, and sadly it won’t be the last.

How much awareness is too much awareness?

Then there are people who have now started complaining that there is just too much of this, too much of the ice bucket challenge videos on the news, on talk shows, on Youtube and Facebook. I personally know some who say they are simply annoyed and fed up of it and are looking for ways to block this content from their Facebook feeds.

This not only upsets me, it angers me profoundly. I didn’t see these people complaining when Gangnam Style was all over the place, neither do they have a problem with posting a selfie every 10 seconds, oh but yes, they do have a problem with videos that help spread awareness of a deadly diseases.

The question I ask to these people is: Would you be annoyed or would you be willing to block these videos if YOU or your loved one had ALS? Watch this:

You do feel pretty stupid now, right? If you still don’t get it, let me demonstrate what you are exactly doing when you say something like this:

No Ice (Ice Baby), Just Cash

There are people who have complained that the whole Ice over head is totally unnecessary and people should just donate the money to ALS. With all due respect, you are being ignorant, or simply knowingly neglecting the fact that the ICE bucket challenge is THE single most important factor in raising awareness for ALS. Apart from doctors, how many of you actually knew about ALS? I’ll be honest – I did not know about ALS until this ice bucket challenge came along!

Secondly, an interesting comment I read the other day was that people are likely buying the ice to do the Ice Bucket Challenge, instead they should just donate that money to charity.

Marketing my dear Watless, Marketing!

That’s like telling companies to stop spending money on ads and just put that money into improving their products. If that was the case, no one would buy their products because no one would know about it.

5 reason the Ice Bucket Challenge is so effective is:

  1. You are asking people to take a very specific action – pour a bucket of ice over their head, or donate $100 to ALS charity. 
  2. The action to “donate $100 to ALS” is a very specific action which directly translates to raising funds. It is not “help raise awareness” or “show support” etc..
  3. after the challenge is completed you nominate other people. You’re connecting, you are spreading the world in a very direct way. People are using their social connections which are much stronger than holding a sign that says “Donate to ALS”
  4. It’s fun! Cold ice water on the head, face and body is something people don’t experience on a regular basis, it puts people in a different state, physically and emotionally. It is engaging!
  5. The Challenge! – It is almost like we are mentally wired to prove ourselves. Remember the time at the school playground – “Bet you can’t do this?” What did you do? You ended up doing it. Now you are an adult, but your reputation is still at stake! 😉

Then there are people who are complaining that some will pour a bucket of ice, just to get away from giving $100 to charity. SO WHAT?! It’s almost as if, these people didn’t want to donate the money, and are upset that other people got away with not donating. Even if they don’t donate, they are raising awareness for ALS, and even if these people nominate 3 others to do the same, we potentially have hundreds of people spreading the word and donating. Plus, I know so many people who took the challenge AND donated to charity!

Then there is the “How long will this last?”. Even if all of this dissipates in the next 2 weeks, we have millions of people now being aware of ALS. Let’s say this Ice bucket challenge inspires only ONE person, that one person may some day find a cure for this disease! BE POSITIVE!

Don’t Waste Water

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There have been many people complaining that the ice bucket challenge wastes a lot of water. People are not wasting water for the sake of fun, they are raising awareness for a deadly disease. It is a medium that is being used for a good cause. For further explanation read “The 5 reason that the Ice Bucket Challenge is so effective is:” above. What have people who post such pictures achieved? What have you done for ALS or for the water crisis in Africa by posting such pictures?

Sure, I do agree together with many people who took the ice bucket challenge, that we shouldn’t waste water. In certain places in Africa and India, people may want to approach raising awareness for ALS in a different manner than using ice/water.

But wait… there’s a twist!

Watch this video below:

Accordingly to National Geographic, it takes 2,700 litres of water to make one t-shirt. ONE SINGLE T-SHIRT!

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 19.39.53

 

Which is enough for one person to drink for 900 days! 900 DAYS!

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 19.40.19

So to the people who don’t want to “waste” water on this ALS Ice bucket challenge, are you willing to sacrifice that cotton t-shirt you’re wearing right now?

I took the challenge, I donated

If you do want to donate, I suggest donating to your local ALS charity so that people in your region can benefit from it, for e.g. if you are in Canada, you can donate to http://www.ALS.CA/ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE

That’s my take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! What’s yours?

The Failed Salesman

Two weeks ago I was at a mall rushing to the store that I wanted to go to in the last 7 minutes before the mall shuts down. While zooming past those stalls that are laid like little lego bricks between the two parallel rows of stores that usually sell smaller priced accessories like cell phone cases, purses, no name brand sun glasses etc…I heard a call from one of those vendors. I don’t remember what the man said, but it caught my attention.

He begun his above average, metering towards impressive sales act which I am sure he had rehearsed many times before, but one that hardly seemed like a script. It seemed more like a natural or a well crafted script that seemed to be a pretty good recipe of passion for the product and an understanding of a fairly good enough technique of persuasion.

He was selling a portable wireless speaker small enough to fit in one’s pocket and one that used bluetooth to pair with a device like a phone or an IPod to stream live music.

wireless speaker

He demonstrated the features and sound quality in the next 2 to 3 minutes. He then said, “since it’s closing time, I’m going to give you a great deal. This usually sells for $80, but I’m going to make this a final sale for tonight and because I really want you to have this great product, I’m going to make it $40 just for you!”

big-sale

That’s fine, right? We have all heard something like this at some point in our lives. In my mind I started searching for ways in which I could use this product. I told him “Okay, I’ll buy it”

He started to pack the speaker that he was holding in his hand. I stopped and asked him if there were any other colors. I could see a yellow one and a black one behind the glass of his merchandise cart. He said “Yes” and then moved on to show me different colors, but I happened to like the color of the one that he used to do the little demonstration for me. He started packing it again. I asked him to give me a new pack, I then asked him about the “store’s” return policy, which turned out to be “No Refunds – Exchange only”, which is still fair, right?

But I thought, if that is the case, I want to make sure the speaker is working properly. That is when things started going downhill. He’s attitude changed from a person who was passionate about the product(or passionate about selling that product) to an attitude of someone who was being overly defensive.

He said, “Oh I cannot open the box for you. It is company policy”. My obvious argument was, “What if the speaker is defective”, to which he replied “But I can’t open it for you”.

When he saw that I had started to put my wallet back into my pocket, he said, “Okay, I’ll open it on for you”. But being a reasonably smart shopper I persuaded him to turn it on.

He hesitantly hooked up the speaker to the power source and a red light appeared on the speaker.

“See, it’s working”, he said with an expression on his face which I could only describe as “relieved”.

At this point, I had already gone from “hmmm…Interesting ..” to “hmm… something’s fishy”.

fishy

I then asked him to play some music on that speaker. He refused!

“It is working! You see this red light. It means it is working”

“It’s a speaker, not a lamp. How can I tell if the speaker is working properly without listening to the sound it produces”

He did not budge, and insisted that I buy the product, and started to scan the item. I stopped him, and said, “In that case, I don’t want to buy this” and I started walking away while thinking I probably need to check this brand online to see what kind of reviews it has and if there were any other alternatives.

From behind me, I heard the man say, “Wow… what a waste of time!”

What did you say?
What did you say?

I turned around and said, “What did you say?”

What happened next can only be described as a knock-out combo move of words in angry ninja style.

Ninja_fighting_poses_by_lordeeas

I told him what he did was wrong. I tried to explain to him, this what he did there was not good salesmanship. I could have easily gone home and come back the next day and bought that very product from him. But do you think I did that? No!

That person seemed like this guy:

Business Handshake

And when the sale didn’t go through, turned into this guy:

polls_angry_man_3315_176592_answer_1_xlarge

Which just led me to conclude that he was this guy all along:

used-car-salesman

 

A truly remarkable salesman is not necessarily one who closes the most deals – that viewpoint can only get you to a B+, or maybe an A if they’re lucky, but never A+. I suggest you try this: If you are planning on buying a product or service that requires you to have a long term relationship with the person selling that product or service, test them. Ask the hard questions, get close to a deal, then back off, and tell them you need some time to think about it. Watch their reaction, because there is nothing worse for a salesperson then when the customer walks away just before closing the deal. Doing this will test their patience and their commitment towards you.

I'm back

I have had clients get so close to a deal and then walk away only to return after weeks or even months to start the project with a bang! The most memorable case was one in which the hiring manager of a company phoned me asking for another meeting to finally start a project that they were planning for a very long time. The strange thing was, I had forgotten all about this project. The client had come back to me after a year and a half! They were just not ready to take on the project when we had our first discussion. That client is still with my company and has even brought in numerous others!

 

Number One Way To Celebrate OSCAR NIGHT!

Number one way to celebrate Oscar Night is to Blog about it! Everyone has favourites. Will there be surprises this year? Will there be upsets? You never know!!

The best way to celebrate Oscar Night is to BLOG ABOUT IT!!!

Okinara Consulting Services is giving you a chance to blog about your favourite moments. They have a special on Oscar Themed blogs and just blogs in general.



Ever Tried Googling Yourself?

Have you ever tried Googling yourself? Were you surprised? Was it a good surprise? Was it the worst thing you did all day when you first googled yourself? Or are you one of those who google themself all the time? Or is your name not even on google?

For me, showing up on google is 80% of my marketing whether it is for business reasons or personal. Today when I googled myself, I found that there were other Kapil Busaras who were sharing the first page on Google. I am the face of my company. Most of the time my business depends on my name. My clients have found their way to me to GIVE me business from googling me.

Why have I put so much emphasis on my name up until now? Because the world we live in is very dynamic and is ever changing. I started off as a software developer, then as  Performance Test Engineering, later I became a free lance  web develper, and when that was going well, I founded Okinara Consulting Services. Although when the company was formed it's core business was focused on web development, the name that was chosen did not indicate that it was strictly a web development company. I knew I wanted to expand into other areas. Today Okinara does so much more than web development, we design Logos, flyers, brochures, create strategic solutions to social media marketing, and we will soon be launching a new product.

Tomorrow I may wish to start another business or get into a different industry. If it is a brand new company, people may not know about it, however people who know me as Kapil Bulsara, will know me even if it is a new company, and building on my previous successes I can relatively easily transition into a new field of work or business.

Some of you may not have the luxury of owning a domain name that is your personal name because it might already be taken, and even if you do have that domain name, you may be plagued by having to share the Google spotlight with other people who have the same name as you, which I am currently facing.

For that reason it is important to expose yourself more with the use of social media sites. Everyone has a Facebook account, and If you don't, stop everything at once, including reading this article and create an account NOW!. Once you have a Facebook account, what you should do is create a facebook username which gives you a public facebook page, but don't worry your personal stuff like your wall and photos because it will not be visible to the public, unless you chose to. For e.g. this is mine: http://www.facebook.com/kapil.bulsara. It is not very professional you might think. It does not have to be. Everyone knows you have a life outside of work.

Another think you need to do is get a linkedin account. If you don't already know, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Here is my page http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/kapil-bulsara/31/4a8/821.

You also need to get a twitter account. Here is my twitter page http://twitter.com/kapilbulsara. The common thing I hear about twitter is that they don't like that it is all open to public. Well you don't need to post personal details on twitter. I use twitter to share some semi-personal stuff and also tweet about my business or just general information that will be useful for the average citizen of the Internet.

All this creates exposure and awareness of who you are. If you haven't noticed this is not new, this is the norm now. You absolutely MUST have an online presence. Traditional networking still exists and can't really be replaced, but you cannot neglect social networking. A lot of your success depends on who you know!

 

Project Management Tools – PHProjekt Vs SugarCRM Vs Dolibarr

Has anyone ever a difficult time organizing their meetings, leads, prospect clients, current customer issues, projects and TODOs. I know I have. I am pretty organized, but still I want and need a centralized system from where I can track everything, something that quickly gives me an overall picture. Currently I use text documents, spread sheets, gmail, google calendar and my memory to accomplish this.

I have thought about getting  a CRM system or a Project Management Software to help me with my getting more organized and efficient. Just yesterday I seriously started doing a lot of research and testing things out. I was looking for a LAMP based web application that handles project management and CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Although I’m a proud owner of by business, I’m still pretty much regarded as a freelancer as opposed to an entrepreneur. I need something simple that gets the work done.

I narrowed it down to these 3:

  1. SugarCRM
  2. Dolibarr
  3. PHProjekt

Now I’m really confused as to which one I should use.

These are some of the things that I need.

  • Ability to have customer accounts related to projects
  • Add and schedule different tasks inside a project
  • Time tracking for each task and summary of time spent on each project
  • ability to calculate ROI (not a must but good to have)
  • Keep customer related info such as project history, internal notes as to what kind of sales strategy is working with this customer, project proposals, services they are currently using from me etc…
  • Keep track of work that I outsource
  • Controllable access to let contractors check and update their tasks, and have clients update and check project issues and progress

Any help in deciding what I should be using is very much welcomed. Please leave a comment or contact me from my contact page. Thanks

Get mobile but dont throw your laptop away

Everyone everywhere is getting mobile – actually this statement is so 2000. What I should be saying is everyone is mobile and everyone is connected everywhere every time, and the fact is even that this is so 2006.

The question that I am trying to answer is – should we be throwing away our desktops and laptops and go completely mobile with cell phones and tablets like the iPad?

Definitely throw away your desktop. If you just bought one, then keep it to store your media and then when it’s time to throw it away, throw it away.

Laptops – keep those because they won’t be going away anytime soon. The iPad isn’t really a netbook killer yet and netbooks simply put are not notebooks. There are a lot of things that the iPad doesn’t have. Like a web cam, less computing power and etc etc. We’ve heard all about the iPad haven’t we?

Even this blog was posted from my phone, and I am not talking about using a web browser on my phone. I’m actually using a wordpress app on my iPhone to draft and post. I can approve, disapprove and delete comments directly from this app.

When I need to go somewhere and I don’t know where it is, I don’t even bother checking. I get in my car, look it up the gps on my IPhone and I’m off.

I don’t carry a watch on me, I use my phone(likes millions do these days), I don’t keep alarm clock – got a phone. And remember those daily planners, those little books they used to carry back in the days – ya you don’t even need that anymore, and if you are still carrying those – shame on you!

Get a smart phone!!

Even shopping had been made easy. Some of the major stores have their own apps for phone like the iphone and you can browse their entire catalog.

Just about to head into a meeting, so I’ll just wrap it up here, but stay stunned!

Spring is here

Spring is here and this season brings new hopes, new opportunities and hopefully brighter results. I am keeping myself busy with projects. Keep those ideas pouring in and hopefully we can collaborate and build something exciting.

Many requests for blog sites and shopping carts have come to me and as always I’m happy to be of service. For those who do not know yet, I am also providing strategic couching in areas of social media marketing, online business strategy, career planning, kick-ass study plans for college and high school kids and help for folks to get out of the analysis paralysis and into putting passion into action.

Just recently I had a client hand me a $100 cheque for my advice which hardly took 20 minutes.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If there is a solution out there then I can do it, if there is no solution out there yet, let’s go get down to it and make one. I don’t believe any business that I do can be done alone. Like I said in my previous articles customers are collaborates of success, so every success solution comes with your efforts and mine.

So why pay me to do anything? Well, when everyone does, I watch, and when everyone stops I do! I love uncommon sense and I love the challenge! 🙂

So contact me and lets get down to business!

Collaborators of Success

Who are Customers? Have you heard of the saying, ‘Customers are always right”? Why does this saying have a huge importance in business? Well, customers are the people who pay for the products or services that you produce or provide. It is their money that ultimately fuels the growth of any business.

Customers and businesses are really two sides of the same coin. I even dare to take it one step further. Customers really are partners in business and collaborators of success.

Leaving out customers in important decisions of business is like tossing one wheel out of your 4×4 while going up the hill. The law of nature is that what does not grow gets eliminated. Businesses must grow and customers are becoming more and more important.

I am not a master businessman(not yet) and I have no degree in business. The closest I come is having 2 courses in economics and 1 in administrative studies and I am self employed. But what I am is an observer and I am observing that businesses are moving away from shareholder’s game to a stakeholders game. Although this shift has been happening for quite a long time now, there are few businesses that have taken this game to heart and these are the ones that truly seem to be pulling away from and ahead of the rest.

Ultimately everyone is playing their part. The workers are playing their part, the businessmen are playing theirs and customers are playing their part. The world is becoming smaller and smaller by the minute. A product or service is no longer made or provided by one party or even one part of the world. Collaboration is in a big part the soul of progress in our world today. What’s really making it happen is technology – the Internet to be very specific and to be even more specific – Web 2.0!

If the parties involved in providing products and services are working together, then why not take things a little further. Why not let the customers or the end users play a big role in  it as well. Because ultimately this work, whether it be some product or a service, is for the customers. Make customers your partners in business and collaborators of your success!