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Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

WHY I STILL HAVE A BLACKBERRY

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Markets await RIM results
I love my BlackBerry Bold, but I’d be oh, so tempted to at least look at the iPhone if I had to pay for the thing myself.

And therein lie some of RIM’s troubles.

I have a BlackBerry through The Globe and Mail – Note to bosses: I really appreciate it and I’m not asking for a new iPhone 5 – but some companies aren’t wedded to Research In Motion Ltd. any longer. And not everyone’s a journalist who needs a tiny keyboard.

A wounded RIM is expected today to report another brutal quarter, though it buoyed some optimism earlier this week, sending its shares higher, when it disclosed that its subscriber base has climbed to 80 million and reiterated that its new BlackBerry smartphones, BB10, were still on track for early next year.

RIM shares have collapsed amid disappointing results and loss of market share to the likes of Apple Inc.’s iPhone and the Google Inc. Android system.

Analysts expect RIM to post a drop in revenue to about $2.5-billion (U.S.), and a loss in adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents, when it reports second-quarter results after markets close today.

And while the fatter subscriber base, up from 78 million at last report, is certainly good news, there are questions surrounding the “quality” of the increase.

Many new subscribers would be in the emerging markets, where RIM sells cheaper devices, said Raymond James analyst Steven Li.

“With an aging BB7 portfolio and intensifying competition at the lower end of the market, we believe RIM’s fundamentals likely continued to deteriorate in 2Q,” Mr. Li said in his projections for today’s results.

Analyst Todd Coupland of CIBC World Markets said he expects the “typical seasonal increase” to be tempered by people delaying a new BlackBerry until BB10 models are available.

“We believe the share price will continue to stagnate in the mid- to upper single digits until after the BB10 launch,” he said in a research note. “… We believe the risk is too high for investors until BB10’s popularity worldwide is better understood.”

Michael Babad, The Globe and Mail

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KEROSENE CAUSES LUNG CANCER IN WOMEN

In ANYTHING on September 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm

The World Bank estimates that breathing kerosene fumes is the equivalent of smoking two packets of cigarettes a day and two-thirds of adult females with lung cancer in developing nations are non-smokers.

Kerosene lamps are widely used for lighting in rural areas of Asia and Africa where electrical distribution is either not available, or too costly for widespread use.

Yet using kerosene for lighting is extremely inefficient, dangerous and expensive, and it has extensive health and environmental drawbacks.

Facts about kerosene

  • Also known as paraffin and sometimes dyed purple
  • UN figures show that kerosene used for lighting alone is worth $48bn per year
  • About 77 billion litres is consumed every year, which equates to 1.3 million barrels of oil per day
  • The Amish, who abstain from the use of electricity, rely on kerosene for lighting at night
  • The Indian government subsidises the fuel to keep the price very low as lower prices discourage using forests for cooking fuel

 

adapted from BBC News

EDWARD DICKSON: NIGERIAN TRIBUNE NEWSPAPERS APPOINT NEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/MD

In ANYTHING on September 27, 2012 at 8:31 am

Lagos PDP congratulates Tribune editors
LAGOS State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Wednesday, congratulated the newly-appointed editors of the Tribune titles — Alhaji Debo Abdulai (Nigerian Tribune), Mr Sina Oladehinde (Sunday Tribune) and Mr Lasisi Olagunju (Saturday Tribune).

The party, in a statement signed by its state publicity secretary, Mr Taofik Gani, said the appointment would improve the already balanced and informative journalism Tribune is noted for.

The party wished the newly-appointed editors the best in their new portfolios.

Ajimobi congratulates Tribune’s new team
OYO State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has congratulated the new editorial team of the Tribune newspapers, stating that it is a team any organisation would be proud of.

Ajimobi was reacting to the news of the appointments of Mr Edward Dickson as Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief; Alhaji Debo Abdulai as Editor, Nigerian Tribune; Mr Sina Oladeinde as Editor, Sunday Tribune and Mr Lasisi Olagunju as Editor, Saturday Tribune.

He made this known in a release issued on his behalf by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr Festus Adedayo.

The governor said going by the track records of the new appointees, “the sky is the beginning for the Tribune titles.

“I have gone through the resume of the new editors and have followed their progression in career. They are thorough-bred professionals whose contributions to the course of journalism can never be over-emphasised.

“Rising through the ranks as they do in the military, these gentlemen have risen through the ladder to their positions today. They have traversed virtually all the departments of the newspaper house, which gives them a helicopter view of their editing jobs,” the governor said.

While stating that their appointments were one of the most apt decisions ever taken by the Tribune management, Governor Ajimobi urged the new appointees to continue in the mould of their core professionalism, which made the newspaper management to appoint them.

“The appointment of the new editors is an indication that excellence is like gold that cannot be hidden. No matter how long, excellence would shine out like a nugget. I am happy that these editors were assembled by the Tribune management for the total goal of repositioning the newspaper and taking it to a new height,” he said.

While praying for wisdom and understanding for the new appointees to be able to discharge their duties creditably well, Governor Ajimobi urged them to continue on the track of patriotism, professionalism and gentlemanly disposition, which earned them their new promotions.

Ekiti govt hails Dickson’s appointment
THE Ekiti State government has congratulated Mr Edward Dickson on his appointment as the new Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, publisher of the Tribune titles.

In a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Funminiyi Afuye, the government described Dickson’s appointment as “a reward for journalistic excellence, diligence and professionalism.”

Afuye also described Dickson as “a thorough-bred professional, who has used his profession to touch lives through newsgathering, articles and unbiased reporting.”

The commissioner said Dickson used his former position as Editor of the Nigerian Tribune to ensure a better and cordial relationship between ANN Plc and the Ekiti State government.

He said “the state government looks forward to a better working relationship with the Tribune titles during Dickson’s tenure as the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief. We welcome your appointment as the MD/EIC as we see this appointment as well-deserved and eminently merited.

“We want you to see this elevation as a motivation to work harder and an opportunity to justify the confidence reposed in you.

“On behalf of the government of Ekiti State, Nigeria, we say congratulations and we look forward to a harmonious working relationship during your tenure,” Afuye stated.

Voters Assembly lauds Tribune MD
THE Nigeria Voters Assembly (VOTAS) has congratulated the newly-appointed Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, publishers of the Tribune newspapers, Mr Edward Dickson, on his new appointment.

In a statement issued in Ibadan, the president of the assembly, Comrade Mashood Erubami, described Mr Dickson as “a cool headed and experienced journalist worthy of the position,” adding  that “clinching this position of honour worth celebration.”

Erubami noted that Dickson raised the quality and spread of the Nigerian Tribune when he was the editor of the title.

According to Erubami, “Mr Dickson is one of the recognised seasoned journalists in the country; he is a disciplined, cool headed gentleman and a professional to the core.

“The Voters Assembly joins the teeming professionals and well wishers in Nigeria to wish him a successful tenure as MD/EIC.”

Erubami, however, advised him to use the Tribune titles to publish stories that will correct the ills in the society and also be careful of “politicians whose stock in trade is to bring down other people.”

The statement urged the workers of the titles to dedicate their loyalties to the new Managing Director and the organisation, so that it could move to greater heights.

NAMA congratulates Dickson
THE management and  staff of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has congratulated Mr Edward Dickson on his new appointment as the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc.

The group lauded Mr Dickson, describing him as “a thorough-bred professional, who holds sacrosanct the tenets and ethics of journalism.”

NAMA said Dickson deserved the honour, as it would not have come at a better time when changes in global communication required expertise par excellence.

 

 

 

Written by Soji Ajibola and Gbeminiyi Solaja with Agency reports Thursday, 27 September 2012

BLACKBERRY SUBSCRIBERS BASE HITS 80 MILLION

In ANYTHING on September 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

The same day RIM announced its subscriber base is up, the company revealed BlackBerry 10 will be released across six continents in the first quarter, as it seeks to capitalize on its lingering strength in overseas markets.

Research In Motion Ltd., said on Tuesday its BlackBerry subscriber base has risen to 80 million from the 78 million it reported earlier this year, surprising many on Wall Street and sending its shares up five per cent.

“We are making believers out of our partners,” RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins told developers Tuesday. “We are making believers out of those who had previously written BlackBerry off.”

Most analysts had expected RIM, for the first time in its history, to begin losing subscribers in the recently completed quarter as it has rapidly lost market share in North America to Apple’s snazzier iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy devices.

RIM has been completely focused in recent months on launching its new line of completely revamped smartphones that will run on the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Its aging lineup of devices, currently on the market, have struggled to compete against the recently launched iPhone 5 and a slew of new Android devices.

Heins, addressing a gathering of developers at the BlackBerry 10 Jam conference in San Jose, Calif., said despite these challenges the company was able to add subscribers in the quarter ended Sept. 1.

RIM has already met with 30 carriers to show them the BB10 operating system and the response has been positive, chief marketing officer Frank Boulben said from the conference Tuesday.

“We’ve been hearing things like, ‘Unique, revolutionary, really slick,’ ” said Boulben, who had just returned from a trip that included stops in Singapore, Mumbai and Johannesburg – some of the markets where the BlackBerry remains popular.

RIM is counting on overseas customers to offset shrinking demand in North America, where the BlackBerry has lost ground to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google Inc.‘s Android operating system. Even with analysts projecting a 45 per cent per cent decline in RIM’s sales this fiscal year, the company says its installed base of customers continues to grow.

The BB10 devices, set to be launched in early 2013, will run on a new operating system that RIM says will offer a faster and smoother user interface, and a better platform for apps that are critical to a smartphone’s success.

At an extended demonstration, RIM executives showed off the new devices’ ‘flow’ and ‘peak’ features, which enable users to access important features without leaving the current application or to move quickly to another function.

“The user experience is unique. I think sufficient initial developer support is assured,” said CCS Insight mobile analyst John Jackson.

RIM ‘s shares rose five per cent to $6.50 in trading on the TSX Tuesday.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

THE REAL REASON WHY MEN LOVE WOMEN’S BREASTS

In ESSAY on September 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

by Larry Young, Brian Alexander

Jokes about breasts, and men looking at breasts, are such a comedy staple they’ve become a kind of go-to cliché. How many times have we seen a man talking to a curvaceous woman only to have her point to her own eyes and say “Hey, buddy, up here!”?

It’s funny — or, at least, it was funny the first dozen times we saw it — because it’s true. The male eye does have a way of drifting south. But why? Why are heterosexual men so fascinated by women’s breasts that we sometimes act as if the breasts are the seat of the soul?

Well, we happen to be heterosexual men. We also happen to be men interested in biology — one of us, Larry, is one of the world’s leading experts in the neuroscience of social bonding. So we’ve been thinking about this, and, in our new book, The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction, we propose an answer.

Biologically speaking, this human male breast obsession is pretty weird. Men are the only male mammals fascinated by breasts in a sexual context. Women are the only female mammals whose breasts become enlarged at puberty, independent of pregnancy. We are also the only species in which males caress, massage and even orally stimulate the female breasts during foreplay and sex.

Women do seem to enjoy the attention, at least at the right moments. When Roy Levin, of the University of Sheffield, and Cindy Meston, of the University of Texas, polled 301 people — including 153 women — they found that stimulating the breasts or nipples enhanced sexual arousal in about 82 percent of the women. Nearly 60 percent explicitly asked to have their nipples touched.

Men are generally pretty happy to oblige. As the success of Hooters, “men’s” magazines, a kajillion websites, and about 10,000 years of art tell us, men are extremely drawn to breasts, and not because boys learn on the playground that breasts are something that they should be interested in. It’s biological and deeply engrained in our brain. In fact, research indicates that when we’re confronted with breasts, or even breast-related stimuli, like bras, we’ll start making bad decisions (and not just to eat at Hooters).

For example, in one study, men were offered money payouts. They could have a few Euros right away, or, if they agreed to wait a few days, more Euros later. In this version of a classic “delayed gratification” (also called intertemporal choice by behavioral economists) experiment, some men watched videos of pastoral scenes while others watched videos of attractive women with lots of skin exposed running in slo-mo, “Baywatch” style. The men who watched the women’s breasts doing what women’s breasts do opted for the smaller-sooner payouts significantly more often then men who watched the pastoral scene.

This likely indicates that parts of their brains associated with “reward,” the pleasure centers, and the sites of goal-directed motivation, were shouting down the reasoning centers of their brains, primarily the pre-frontal cortex. Neurochemicals were activating those reward and motivational circuits to drive men toward taking the short money.

So breasts are mighty tempting. But what purpose could this possibly serve?

Some evolutionary biologists have suggested that full breasts store needed fat, which, in turn, signals to a man that a woman is in good health and therefore a top-notch prospect to bear and raise children. But men aren’t known for being particularly choosy about sex partners. After all, sperm is cheap. Since we don’t get pregnant, and bear children, it doesn’t cost us much to spread it around. If the main goal of sex — evolutionarily speaking — is to pass along one’s genes, it would make more sense to have sex with as many women as possible, regardless of whether or not they looked like last month’s Playmate.

Another hypothesis is based on the idea that most primates have sex with the male entering from behind. This may explain why some female monkeys display elaborate rear-end advertising. In humans, goes the argument, breasts became larger to mimic the contours of a woman’s rear.

We think both of these explanations are bunk! Rather, there’s only one neurological explanation, and it has to do with brain mechanisms that promote the powerful bond of a mother to her infant.

When a woman gives birth, her newborn will engage in some pretty elaborate manipulations of its mother’s breasts. This stimulation sends signals along nerves and into the brain. There, the signals trigger the release of a neurochemical called oxytocin from the brain’s hypothalamus. This oxytocin release eventually stimulates smooth muscles in a woman’s breasts to eject milk, making it available to her nursing baby.

But oxytocin release has other effects, too. When released at the baby’s instigation, the attention of the mother focuses on her baby. The infant becomes the most important thing in the world. Oxytocin, acting in concert with dopamine, also helps imprint the newborn’s face, smell and sounds in the mother’s reward circuitry, making nursing and nurturing a feel-good experience, motivating her to keep doing it and forging the mother-infant bond. This bond is not only the most beautiful of all social bonds, it can also be the most enduring, lasting a lifetime.

Another human oddity is that we’re among the very rare animals that have sex face-to-face, looking into each other’s eyes. We believe this quirk of human sexuality has evolved to exploit the ancient mother-infant bonding brain circuitry as a way to help form bonds between lovers.

When a partner touches, massages or nibbles a woman’s breasts, it sparks the same series of brain events as nursing. Oxytocin focuses the brain’s attention to the partner’s face, smell, and voice. The combination of oxytocin release from breast stimulation, and the surge of dopamine from the excitement of foreplay and face-to-face sex, help create an association of the lover’s face and eyes with the pleasurable feelings, building a bond in the women’s brain.

So joke all you want, but our fascination with your breasts, far from being creepy, is an unconscious evolutionary drive prompting us to activate powerful bonding circuits that help create a loving, nurturing bond.

For more, including the male side of this equation, see our book, “The Chemistry Between Us.”

IPHONE 5 LAWSUIT: APPLE’S BITING MORE THAN IT CAN CHEW?

In ANYTHING on September 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Apple’s latest iPhone – due for release on Friday – is set to be the focal point of another lawsuit involving the two firms.

Samsung has filed paperwork with a California court saying it intends to extend complaints made against existing Apple handsets to include the new device. It indicated that it believed at least eight of its US patents had been infringed.

According to consultant Florian Mueller, who reported on the filing on his Foss Patents blog, the case is set to go to trial in March 2014.

A statement from Samsung said: “We have always preferred to compete in the marketplace with our innovative products, rather than in courtrooms.

“However, Apple continues to take aggressive legal measures that will limit market competition. Under these circumstances, we have little choice but to take the steps necessary to protect our innovations and intellectual property rights.”

Apple was not able to comment at this time.

Messaging software

Elsewhere, Apple also faces a claim that its iMessage technology involves techniques that should have been licensed from Google’s Motorola unit. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to investigate the allegation in addition to six other infringement claims. Apple’s iMessage software allows owners of its products to send text and picture notifications to each other as an alternative to SMS or other instant message products.

The software comes installed on new Macintosh computers, iPhones and iPads. Google could enforce sales bans on the products if its claims are upheld.

A statement from the ITC said that it would set the date by which it intended to complete its investigation by the first week of November.

One patent lawyer, who used to act for Apple in Europe, said the amount of litigation the firm was now involved in was a concern.

“From Apple’s perspective you reap what you sow,” said Andrew Alton, a lawyer at Urquhart-Dykes and Lord.

“It started this by filing lawsuits about patents relating to unique software features, and it now faces allegations that hardware parts of its devices infringe others’ technologies – they would be much harder to change if it loses.

“Fighting litigation is always a drain on resources. Apple has a large amount of cash, but you have to ask whether the money would be better spent on R&D than lawyers.”

APPLE’S IPHONE 5 SUCKS: Maps Apps is a Disaster, Say IPhone 5 Users

In ANYTHING on September 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Bad directions? Missing locations? Mislabelled addresses?

There’s an app for that – and Apple made it.

Apple is under pressure on Thursday after users reported a huge swathe of problems with its new Maps application, included in the latest iOS update for iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch.

Businesses in the UK were listed on the maps despite having closed 15 years ago, while Apple’s own retail stores were placed in the wrong location.

Other shops and restaurants were absent, put in the wrong place or renamed.

Apple decided to release its own mapping application in order to remove its dependence on Google. It partnered with Yelp and TomTom among other companies for its own app, which features a typically ‘pared down’ user interface with fewer distractions and labels. The App was included in the iOS 6 upgrade, released on Wednesday, and to its credit added a new 3D satellite view, turn-by-turn navigation and greater integration with Siri.

But the Maps rollout has not gone smoothly. Not only did it remove Google’s Street View, but businesses across the UK were being reported either missing, placed in the wrong location or up to 15 years out of date.

In Australia the maps app even misreported the location of an Apple retail store, placing it on the wrong side of the road.

In one Huffington Post editor’s neighbourhood two local restaurants were missing, one non-existant pub was brought back to life a year after closing down, and a petrol station was moved to the other side of a dual carriageway. Meanwhile St Katherine’s dock – a marina near the Tower of London – was suddenly filled with concrete according to the new App.

One tech editor called the release the worst software update in Apple’s history, while on Twitter hundreds more reports of mistakes and omissions flooded in by upset iOS users. Meanwhile a parody account was set up within hours of iOS 6’s release,
purporting to be Apple’s new Maps app apologising for its poor performance.

Apple was even criticised for apparently showing an impossible driving route on its Maps icon, with a blue route path driving off a motorway overpass.

Users will be hoping that Google releases its own iOS Maps application, as it has done with YouTube, Gmail and its other services. But Google has remained coy on that possibility, and no details have so far been announced.

 

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER: Mass Sack Looms

In ANYTHING on September 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

BREAKING NEWS!

There’s an impending retrenchment at Nigerian Tribune newspapers following the assumption of office of a new Managing Director.

Simplynaijaforum’s investigations revealed that the newspaper’s staffs have been instructed to resign their appointment and reapply.

“We have to turn in our resignation letters latest by Tuesday,” a Nigerian tribune staff said.

But what if a staff didn’t resign his appointment what happens? That we will soon find out.

 

MAPOLY SUG ELECTION VIOLENCE: 14 Students Expelled

In ANYTHING on September 20, 2012 at 7:49 am

Following Tuesday’s violence during the Students’ Union Government election, the authorities of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, has expelled 14 students from the institution.

Protesting students allegedly destroyed school property while protesting against alleged interference in the SUG election by the MAPOLY  authorities.

But the school, in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Sulaimon Adebiyi, on Wednesday, said the decision to expel the students became imperative following the disruption of the election.

The statement read in part, “The management of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta has proscribed the Students’ Union of the polytechnic.

“This development became imperative following the disruption of the students’ union election on September 18, 2012 on the campus of the polytechnic, which led to the cancellation of the election by the Students’ Union Electoral Commission,  which was endorsed by the management.

“While assuring parents and students of peace on campus,  management   hereby affirms  that the second semester examination shall commence as scheduled on September 24.”

The statement said the expelled students were from the departments of Accountancy, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

Others are from the departments of Mass Communication, Civil Engineering, Estate Management, Computer Science, Hospitality and Tourism as well as Electrical/Electronic Engineering.

The school authorities therefore advised the expelled students to steer clear of the polytechnic.

18 Tips For Success From Richard Branson

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Melissa Stanger*
Richard Branson founded Virgin in 1970 at the age of 20, and he hasn’t looked back.

He’s the only entrepreneur to have built eight separate billion-dollar companies in eight different industries — and he did it all without a degree in business.

“Had I pursued my education long enough to learn all the conventional dos and don’ts of starting a business I often wonder how different my life and career might have been,” he writes in his new book, Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School.

We’ve compiled some of the best tips from his book here.

Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it.

Running a business takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and caffeine). But at the end of the day, you should be building something you will be proud of.

Branson says, “When I started Virgin from a basement in west London, there was no great plan or strategy. I didn’t set out to build a business empire … For me, building a business is all about doing something to be proud of, bringing talented people together and creating something that’s going to make a real difference to other people’s lives.”

Be visible.

Branson received some timeless advice when building Virgin Airlines from Sir Freddie Laker, a British airline “tycoon.”

“Make sure you appear on the front page and not the back pages,” said Laker. “You are going to have to get out there and sell yourself. Make a fool of yourself, whatever it takes. Otherwise you won’t survive”.

Branson always makes a point of traveling often and meeting as many people as he can. This, he says, is how he came by some of the best suggestions and ideas for his business.

Choose your name wisely.

The unique name and brand that Virgin employs is one of the things that has made the company a success. Branson makes sure that the name ‘Virgin’ represents added value, improved service, and a fresh, sexy approach.

Branson says that he is asked all the time about the origin of the Virgin name, back when Virgin was just starting. “One night, I was chatting with a group of sixteen-year-old girls over a few drinks about a name for the record store,” he says. “A bunch of ideas were bounced around, then, as we were all new to business, someone suggested Virgin. It smacked of new and fresh and at the time the word was still slightly risqué, so, thinking it would be an attention-grabber, we went with it.”

You can’t run a business without taking risks.

Branson thinks of one of his favorite sayings when advising about taking business risks: “‘The brave may not live forever—but the cautious do not live at all!’”

Every business involves risks. Be prepared to get knocked down, says Branson, but success rarely comes from playing it safe. You may fail, but Branson also dares to point out that “there’s no such thing as a total failure.”

The first impression is everything. So is the second.

The first impression you make on customers will probably be when you acquire them. The first impression is extremely important, says Branson, but the second is equally as important.

The second time a customer usually contacts Virgin, it’s because he or she is having problems with the product or service. How you present yourself and your brand in these situations says a lot about how your brand maintains good customer relationships and handles obstacles.

Perfection is unattainable.

“There’s an inherent danger in letting people think that they have perfected something,” says Branson. “When they believe they’ve ‘nailed it’, most people tend to sit back and rest on their laurels while countless others will be labouring furiously to better their work!”

For this reason, Branson never gives anyone a 100% perfect review of their work. He believes that no matter how “brilliantly conceived” something is, there is always room for improvement.

The customer is always right, most of the time.

The customer is always right… unless they’re wrong. After all, they’re only human too. Your customers’ opinions are important, but “you should not build your customer service system on the premise that your organisation will never question the whims of your clients,” says Branson.

Branson warns that many entrepreneurs think if they provide ‘the-customer-is-always-right’ service that it will improve their businesses. This is only sometimes true. Beware not to damage relationships with customers or staff with your customer service policies.

Define your brand.

When it comes to defining your brand, Branson advises entrepreneurs to do the opposite of what he did with Virgin, which is spreading out all over the place. And while it’s true that Virgin branches into many different industries, Branson says the company is actually quite focused on one thing: “finding new ways to help people have a good time.”

Stick to what you know. Underpromise and overdeliver. Because if you don’t define your brand, your competitors will.

Explore uncharted territory.

Branson compares exploring new territory in business to exploring new territory in science or geography.

“We will find new species and better understand the make-up of the deep-level waters,” says Branson.

Business translation: There are still many things out there that haven’t been discovered, invented, achieved. Exploring little- or uncharted areas can spark new ideas and innovations.

Beware the “us vs. them” environment.

A workplace should be one in which the boss and his or her employees communicate well and work together toward the same goal. “If employees aren’t associating themselves with their company by using ‘we’, it is a sign that people up and down the chain of command aren’t communicating,” says Branson.

If you think there might be discrepancies or tension between employees and management, Branson advises to check with the middle management first to try to uncover the source of the problem and address it head-on.

Build a corporate comfort zone.

Employees must feel free and encouraged to openly express themselves without rigid confines so they can do better work and make good, impactful decisions.

“This may sound like a truism,” begins Branson, “But it has to be said: It takes an engaged, motivated and committed workforce to deliver a first-class product or service and build a successful, sustainable enterprise.”

Not everyone is suited to be CEO.

A manager needs to be someone who “brings out the best in people,” someone who communicates well with others and helps an employee learn from a mistake instead of criticizing them for it.

Not everyone does this well, and that’s okay.  The founder can but doesn’t have to be the CEO; if the fit isn’t right, he or she should know when the role is meant for someone else.

Seek a second opinion. Seek a third.

Branson says you must learn to be a good listener in order to succeed, and that means bouncing “every idea you have off numerous people before finally saying, ‘We’ll give this one a miss,’ or ‘Let’s do it.’”

That means being thorough and deliberate before executing any decisions. In business, seeking a variety of opinions “can save you a lot of time and money,” says Branson. “Don’t tell people about others’ suggestions until you’ve heard what they have to say. In the end you may decide that the best advice is to walk away—and later find out it was the very best solution.”

Cut ties without burning bridges.

Business ventures with another person, be it a friend or a partner, don’t always work out. If this is the case, successful entrepreneurs know when to part ways.

But just because you decide to go in another direction doesn’t mean things have to end badly, especially with a friend, says Branson. Handle any problems quickly and head-on, and end the relationship as amicably as possible.

Pick up the phone.

It’s great to be tech-savvy, but don’t text or email when you should be calling. “The quality of business communications has become poorer in recent years as people avoid phone calls and face-to-face meetings, I can only assume, in some misguided quest for efficiency,” Branson says.

Problems are more difficult to solve by text or email, and “there is nothing efficient about allowing a small problem to escalate,” says Branson, when it could have been easily addressed with a phone call.

Change shouldn’t be feared, but it should be managed.

“Companies aren’t future-proof,” says Branson, and nothing lasts forever. An entrepreneur should be prepared to adapt, and avoid being nostalgic about the company itself.

“Sometimes you have to take your company in a new direction because circumstances and opportunities have changed.” If this is the case, Branson advises that you should “find ways to inspire all employees to think like entrepreneurs … so the more responsibility you give people the better they will perform.”

When it comes to making mistakes, bounce back, don’t fall down.

Your decision will not always be the best decision. Everyone makes mistakes, but the best thing you can do in the face of a mistake is own up to it.

Honesty isn’t just the best policy, it’s the only policy, notes Branson. When a mistake is made, don’t let it consume you. Uncover the problem and get to work fixing it.

Be a leader, not a boss.

Branson sees the classic image of “the boss” as an anachronism. Being bossy is not a desirable trait in a manager, he says. A boss orders while a leader organizes.

“Perhaps, therefore, it is odd that if there is any one phrase that is guaranteed to set me off it’s when someone says to me, ‘Okay, fine. You’re the boss!'” says Branson. “What irks me is that in 90 percent of such instances what that person is really saying is ‘Okay, then, I don’t agree with you but I’ll roll over and do it because you’re telling me to. But if it doesn’t work out I’ll be the first to remind everyone that it wasn’t my idea.'”

A good corporate leader is someone who doesn’t just execute his or her own ideas, but also inspires others to come forth with their own.

*Melissa Stanger writes for Business Insider’s War Room and Lists & Rankings verticals.

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