Month: August 2016

J. Crew Teams Up With Digital Genius Nordstrom

J. Crew Teams Up With Digital Genius Nordstrom

What We’re Learning Every Step of the Energy Ladder

What We’re Learning Every Step of the Energy Ladder

Over the last decade, Acumen has invested roughly $20 million in 18 social enterprises in East Africa, India and Pakistan to build the largest portfolio of off-grid energy companies serving the poor. Working across every step of the energy ladder, these social enterprises have provided tens of millions with access to energy and helped them to save more than $1.7 billion in energy-related expenses while offsetting more than four million tons of CO2.

Our vision is to create an off-grid solar ecosystem that fills in the missing gaps in the value chain and accelerates energy access across the developing world, but we need to fully listen to those 1.3 billion people living without power to understand what life is like—and how to better serve them.

As Associate Director of Acumen’s Impact Team, I focus on our energy investments, looking to understand their impact and enable them to become more effective in serving their customers living off the grid or with inadequate or unreliable access. To strengthen the way Acumen measures impact, we are using standard impact metrics created for the energy sector. In the off-grid energy space, I led the development of these as Chair of the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association’s (GOGLA) Impact Working Group and, for improved cookstoves, we’re looking to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC).

We spent the last year collecting impact data on companies across our portfolio using our Lean Data approach, which harnesses the power of technology to give voice to low-income customers and allows us to provide quality customer feedback to drive business decisions for our investees. Using Acumen’s method of collecting and measuring impact, combined with my role as the Chair of GOGLA’s Impact Working Group, we felt we were in a good position to develop our first Lean Data set of questions tailored specifically for our energy companies.

The GOGLA and GACC standardized metrics focus on change in spending on energy for households, in hours available for study for children, in time spent collecting fuel for cooking, and many more. The questions we’re creating will provide us with the opportunity to talk to our companies’ new customers and learn how they accessed energy before becoming customers, as well as understand their experience using the companies’ products and services. Spanning India, Pakistan and East Africa, the investees involved include BioLite, BURN, d.light, Devergy, Frontier Markets, Greenway Grameen Infra, Husk, Nizam Energy, Orb Energy and SolarNow.

From these surveys, our entrepreneurs will get real insight into their customers: who they are, how and where they utilize energy, how much energy they use, and what they spend on a weekly or monthly basis, among other valuable feedback. We will then follow up with the customers a few months after they purchased the product or service to find out how they’re using them and get their opinions on the experience, so we can calculate impact. Armed with this information, we will be able to understand our companies’ strengths and weaknesses and where different challenges and opportunities lie within the energy sector. As an organization, it will allow us to examine each of our investments, get a better grasp on each subsector and, most importantly, make sure the customers—and their needs—are always part of the conversation.

By early next year, we are hoping to have our first comprehensive evaluation of the impact of our entire energy portfolio aligned with the sector standard way of reporting. Our hope is that data we collect will enable better understanding of the energy sector and help to catalyze its growth and development, as well as strengthen and enhance the metrics. The more information we can provide, the better we can demonstrate to governments, donors, and investors the value of energy access in addressing the larger problems of poverty. We believe that opportunities to align and strengthen existing metrics and indicators provide opportunities for aggregation, comparison, benchmarking, and shared learning. We look forward to sharing rich, colorful insights and learning from this work over the coming months to help the sector develop and grow. You can keep updated by following me @Sunrise_Kat.

The post What We’re Learning Every Step of the Energy Ladder appeared first on Acumen.


via Acumen Fund Blog

August 31, 2016 at 09:55AM

God, Your Mama, And Me

God, Your Mama, And Me

God, Your Mama, And Me – Spotify

God, Your Mama, And Me – YouTube (It’s blocked, but you can hear a snippet)

Everybody hates Florida Georgia Line but its fans. One of the biggest acts in country, FGL is excoriated by traditionalists and so many modern listeners, but they keep burning up the charts because they’ve managed to capture the zeitgeist of the younger generation, mashing up rap and other elements of today into a genre that prefers to be walled off from pop and the mainstream. But…

I’m addicted to Release Radar. All the publicity is about Discover Weekly, but it pales in comparison to Release Radar, Discover Weekly will tell you where you’ve been but not where you’re going, it’ll hook you up with your old girlfriend and take you on a tour of your high school, but Release Radar is like a trip to a destination you not only have never visited, but didn’t even dream of, but one that fits like a glove. I find myself skipping through Discover Weekly, but I LISTEN to Release Radar.

And that’s where I heard “God, Your Mama, And Me.”

The funny thing about music is you know immediately, not always, but usually. A sound resonates, you start nodding your head, you begin singing along. I’m riding the recumbent bike and I’m asking myself…WHAT IS THIS?

Oh, I knew it was FGL, the lead vocal is unmistakable. But, other than that, it’s not country, and then in the second verse a mellifluous voice that feels so right takes over and…


Do you own “Millennium”? Released in the spring of ’99, it only sold 40 million copies world wide, a mere trifle, ha! I had to go out and buy it because of “I Want It That Way,” the Max Martin/Andreas Carlsson nugget that superseded anything recorded by the legends of the era, it made the Backstreet Boys superstars, an incredible follow up to one of the great breakthrough cuts of all time, “Quit, Playing Games With My Heart.” If you don’t like “Quit, Playing Games With My Heart,” you don’t like Jon Secada’s “Just Another Day Without You,” possibly SBK’s greatest hit, it’s moody and infectious and… Never forget that the Beatles started as pop, then they expanded the medium, tested limits, classic rock was birthed and dominated and ever since we’ve gone down a rabbit hole of ever more derivative numbers that are so far from the garden that…people have tuned out.

And speaking of rock, as good as “I Want It That Way” was, it was the opening cut on “Millennium” that sealed the deal, that made me a Backstreet Boys fan, that had me blasting the CD in my car to the point my BMW shook, because “Larger Than Life” rocked harder and more endearingly than anything on rock radio, which is not hard to believe, since Max Martin started out in a metal band.

So, if you haven’t tuned out yet…

That’s the problem, self-identifiers stuck in the past. You know them, wearing their black clothing and silver jewelry, waiting for the eighties to come back, putting down all that which is not pure…the train has positively left them behind, times have changed, they’re the ones who are out of the loop.

And now the people being left behind are all those mired in the modern machine pop/urban landscape, playing it safe to appeal to a brain dead audience. Meanwhile, Florida Georgia Line goes back to the well and comes up with something that can be loved by EVERYBODY!

“That Sunday morning choir, church doors open wide”

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I winced. That’s a big problem with country, they appeal to right wing canards. Turns out the nation is becoming less religious. Country acts drug and booze, can they stretch the paradigm a bit, stop pandering? Sturgill Simpson had it right, the Nashville establishment is two-faced, it runs Merle Haggard out of town and then wants to embrace him. Didn’t catch that memo? It burned up the country newswires, Sturgill excoriated the establishment on Facebook, read it here: And while you’re at it, listen to Sturgill’s “Brace For Impact (Live A Little),” which I also discovered via Release Radar. I’ve been hyped on Sturgill for years, but this track finally closed me, listen to it if you like to go to dive bars in your cowboy boots and sip a longneck as you twist your toes in the sawdust and get your juices flowing. This is more rock than modern Metallica, more soulful than Sharon Jones, it’s the ghost of Waylon with some Willie and even if you think you hate country you’ll like this, it’ll sex you up to the point you’ll stop reading this to relieve yourself.


I’ve got to calm myself down, get back to where I once belonged.

So, my point is “God, Your Mama, And Me” is the best Backstreet Boys track in excess of a decade. It’s got melody, you sing along, it makes you feel good…ISN’T THAT WHAT MUSIC IS SUPPOSED TO DO?

But most people have not heard it. That’s the modern era. You can make it, but if it’s not marketed, if it’s not pushed, it’s like it doesn’t exist. But I’m sure Scott Borchetta is gonna push the button on this. It’s stuff like this that used to be the song of the summer before we moved so far from the mainstream there was no way we could hit the target.

That’s right, sometimes you’ve got to go back to basics.

There was a reason those Backstreet Boys records were so successful. They appealed to EVERYBODY! Maybe not you, but you’re the minority, and right now the minority is ruling in music, its tail is wagging the dog.

Not that I want to give Scott that much credit. FGL’s new album is not on Spotify, only cherry-picked hits. I just don’t get it, are the people not on the service really gonna give up their CDs and files? As for Jason Aldean keeping his new album off all streaming services… He’s like the last guy to use a wooden tennis racket. Yes, you can win that way, but really it’s all about metal and composites. The bleeding edge is much more satisfying than mopping up the past with the lemmings. As soon as I heard “God, Your Mama, And Me” I immediately wanted to hear the rest of the new album, but I couldn’t.

And “God, Your Mama, And Me” is not perfect. It almost seems unfinished, it could use another section, but it’s like…seeing a beautiful woman and being attracted without speaking to her, not yet knowing who she truly is. But you want to know more. (And feel free to flip the script, think about your hunk.) And isn’t that what we’re trying to do, isn’t that our mission, infecting the public and making people want more?

“God, Your Mama, And Me” is infectious because it builds upon the basic blocks. Employ good voices, have choruses people can sing along with, never underestimate the power of melody, create something so ear-pleasing it can’t be denied.

And one can argue, as Tom Petty has, that country is the rock and roll of the seventies. But I’ll argue that was a golden era, a peak much higher than today, and better to go back to the garden and grow from there as opposed to working untillable soil.


via Lefsetz Letter

August 31, 2016 at 09:11AM

How to Breathe New Life into Your Online Content Archive

How to Breathe New Life into Your Online Content Archive


In this episode of Youpreneur FM, Chris dives into the topic of making the most out of your online content archive by repurposing content to help you reach your followers in new ways.

We’ve all been there before. You work hard on creating a solid blog post, you feel a rush of pride as you hit “publish” and share it with your audience.

Then it disappears into your archive.

There is always such a steady stream of new content for our audiences take in on a daily basis that sometimes even the best of blog posts, podcast episodes, or videos pass people by and don’t get the attention they deserve.

This episode is all about identifying that evergreen content that we already have and making the most out of it.

I also go into repurposing content to help reach your following in a different way, as well as a chance to reach new audiences with a fresh take on your evergreen content — hitting two birds with one stone!

This is a great episode, so grab some coffee, a pen, and your notepad and get ready to dive into this episode of Youpreneur FM.

In this 17-minute episode I discuss:

  • Why you need to take inventory of what you currently have
  • Which powerful social media tool I use to help promote older content
  • The importance of keeping aware of what you are linking to
  • What steps you can take when freshening up older posts
  • How you can use your “Most Popular” section to promote sales

Subscribe in iTunes to Listen

To leave a rating or comment, visit iTunes.

The post How to Breathe New Life into Your Online Content Archive appeared first on Copyblogger.


via Copyblogger

August 31, 2016 at 08:03AM

Pre-Launch Protocol: How to Position Your Book to Be a Sales Success

Pre-Launch Protocol: How to Position Your Book to Be a Sales Success


Once your book is written, you’ll turn your efforts toward giving it the best possible chance to get attention, engage readers, and sell.

Launching a book happens in three stages: pre-launch, launch, and post-launch.

All three stages have an effect on the long-term sales success of your book. In this episode, Pamela and Jeff talk about best practices for each stage and how to position your book to maximize sales on launch and in the future.

One thing that helps? Getting a few well-known people to endorse your book before it launches.

In this episode Jeff Goins and Pamela Wilson discuss:

  • What “sticky statements” are, and why you need them in each chapter of your book
  • The three-part approach to book launches and how to optimize each stage
  • One surprising fact about book endorsements (that left Pamela speechless)
  • An innovative approach to beefing up opening week sales

Subscribe in iTunes to Listen

To leave a rating or comment, visit iTunes.

The post Pre-Launch Protocol: How to Position Your Book to Be a Sales Success appeared first on Copyblogger.


via Copyblogger

August 31, 2016 at 07:13AM

Jerod Morris on The Everyday Innovator

Jerod Morris on The Everyday Innovator


This week, Jerod Morris and Chad McAllister of The Everyday Innovator have a fascinating conversation about the connection between product management and content marketing.

In this 40-minute episode, Jerod and Chad discuss:

  • What content marketing is
  • How content marketing and product management are similar
  • Applying content marketing to product management

Subscribe in iTunes to Listen

To leave a rating or comment, visit iTunes.

The post Jerod Morris on The Everyday Innovator appeared first on Copyblogger.


via Copyblogger

August 31, 2016 at 06:09AM