Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Web Secret 543: Gapminder

Gapminder is a non-profit venture that promotes sustainable global development and achievement by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.

Boring, you say?

Think you know basic facts about the people who inhabit the world?

No and no.

First, take the Gapminder Test, 13 questions, 45 seconds per question. If you pass the test, you are qualified to become a Gapminder and you will be honored with the Gapminder Facts Certificate 2018.

The questions include:

In the last 20 years the proportion of people living in extreme poverty worldwide, has...? followed by 3 multiple choice options


How did the number of deaths per year from natural disasters change over the last hundred years? followed by 3 multiple choice options.

I scored a 35%.


The Gapminder folks imagined the world as a street. All the houses are lined up by income, the poor living to the left and the rich to the right. Everybody else somewhere in between. Where would you live? Would your life look different than your neighbors’ from other parts of the world, who share the same income level?

It is all visual - they visited 264 families in 50 countries and collected 30,000 photos.

Start here.

Be amazed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Web Secret 542: AskWonder

Many years ago, my brother founded and was the CEO of a company called FIND.

This was pre-Internet.

Companies paid FIND a yearly retainer in exchange for the ability to ask questions - any question under the sun.

Of course most of the questions were business oriented:
  • What is the market for bubble gum in Argentina?
  • How does the Palomar Observatory clean its telescope?
  • What is the best restaurant in Singapore to entertain a business client?
In 2018, the majority of these questions could be answered in seconds, if not minutes, by simply typing a query into Google. Or even asking Alexa.

But for most of FIND's existence, these questions were answered by looking up information in books, staring at a microfiche on a scanner, or calling people on the phone.

I first worked for FIND as a 16 year old intern. My days were spent traveling to libraries around Manhattan with a heavy bag of nickels, finding reference materials, and then making photocopies of articles in books, for hours at a time. It was extremely tedious.

Later, as a 21 year old, I researched the answers to questions, poring through encyclopedias, calling subject experts around the world, and sending interns on missions to dig up information.

This hands on education requiring me to profoundly understand the primary sources behind information has made me the ace researcher that I am today. I can literally fly through the web to locate the answers to questions. I worry about the young people who don't viscerally understand where information comes from and are thus more likely to be fooled by fake news and other forms of Internet disinformation.

FIND later merged with Guideline, Inc, was acquired in 2007 by Infogroup, and then merged with Opinion Research Corporation, eventually becoming defunct.

Today a new company has taken up up the mantle left by FIND. promises to answer any question in 24 hours or less. They use the Internet, algorithms and thousands of researchers scattered around the globe to provide their services.

Good ideas get reinvented.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Web Secret 541: Bypassing EAPs

The biggest threat to EAPs are mental health apps and platforms that are selling directly to employers. They are less expensive than EAPs, and over promise spectacular results. They also use slick marketing techniques and state of the art tech - which most EAPs lack. And they are usually headed - and started - by technologists - not clinicians.

Here are four of them:

Quarlet Health
Tech-enabled approach that connects physical and mental treatments uses Joyable’s CBT app.

Empower Interactive
Web and mobile tools teach core concepts of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) to address the root of behavioral health problems.

ieso digital health
Online delivery of evidence-based psychological therapies - CBT only.
Back by AI technology, offers mobile, accessible emotional support services AKA coaching.

Using technology and data, connects companies and their employees to mental health providers, therapy, and coaching programs that work.

My comments:

What do these companies do better do better than EAPs?
They sound cool, use great marketing and exhibit social media savvy. They trumpet evidence based interventions up front and central. Promise hi tech anywhere anytime service delivery. They are user friendly and offer “fun” visual tracking of progress - typically through apps.

What do EAPs do better than these companies?
CBT is the new Kool-Aid and pretty much the only approach used. What is completely missing is the powerful and valuable EAP assessment that delivers customized counseling and/or referrals to the treatment approach and level of care needed by the employee AND an evaluation of the workplace factors and impact relevant to each case.

Pay attention, people.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Web Secret 540: iOS 12

By the time you read this, Apple will have released its new iPhones and unveiled iOS 12, its new operating system with way too many unnecessary features.

Refinery 29 published an article in August comprehensively reviewing all these new bells and whistles.

But here is all you really need to know:

Do Not Disturb
You can now schedule a specific time frame when you don't want to be bothered by calls, text messages, or other notifications. You can specify turning it off for an hour, until you leave your current location, or until this evening. When you open your notification screen, tap and hold the moon icon to see your options and choose the one that works for you.

Control your use of apps, social media or email
There is a new “Screen Time” tab in Settings. Select that, and you’ll see options to set “downtime” and limits on certain apps. Doing so prompts you to take a break from Instagram or email after a certain amount of time each day. The tab also shows a full breakdown of how much time you spend on social media each day and over the course of the week.

Battery Performance
The Battery tab within Settings offers a clearer picture of how your battery performs from day to day. You not only see exactly when you last charged your iPhone and how well it maintained that charge from hour to hour, you can also see the usage over the course of 10 days.

That's all you need to know.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Web Secret 539 : 10 years

My first iWebU blog post was published on August 14, 2008, over a decade ago. Since that date, my blog has posted weekly for ten consecutive years without ever missing a single week.

I celebrated with caviar and champagne, in my penthouse suite at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris.

Or, in another version, it completely slipped my mind until this moment.

In that first post, I pledged to:
  • empower non-technically inclined professionals
  • help you translate your vision into a growing presence on the web
  • teach you how to use technology to make new contacts, influence people and increase your earning potential
  • keep you on top of the latest and most disruptive trends in social media, hardware, software and technology.
I think I did that.