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Mobile Electronics® announced a new business partnership with BrandSphere™. BrandSphere offers an easy-to-implement, custom-branded mobile app that helps retailers and manufacturers build deeper connections with their customers and maintain those connections for lifelong customer engagement.

“We’re happy to add BrandSphere as a business partner and to offer their mobile application technology to our retailer members and manufacturer partners,” said Chris Cook, president of Mobile Electronics. “Consistent with Mobile Electronics’ mission, this is another marketing and business resource that can help the specialist channel deliver an exceptional customer experience. Customers get instant access to everything they need, while retailers and manufacturers get insightful data to strengthen customer relationships and improve communication.”

BrandSphere is used to create and manage branded Smart Product Identities™ (SPI) for retailers and manufacturers. Consumers can effortlessly connect with product information and resources they need by claiming product ownership and accessing the related SPI’s in a free custom-branded mobile app. Each time a product owner interacts with an SPI, the retailer or manufacturer gains valuable insight into customer interests, product performance, buying trends and much more. Targeted in-app interactive communication provides data-driven insight to improve customer engagement, drive brand loyalty and even guide product evolution.

BrandSphere is demonstrating its mobile platform at the KnowledgeFest® show and conference this weekend in Dallas at Booth #409 on the show floor. Mobile Electronics is at Booth #239.

DOW Electronics announced that it has reached an agreement to distribute Escort and Beltronics products in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. DOW offers Escort and Beltronics a strong distribution network and an established customer base in these states.  

Escort Incorporated is a leader in technology and performance in the detector industry. For over 35 year, Escort has lead the way in designing and engineering award winning detectors. During that time, Escort has received more awards than all of their competitors combined and received more detection protection patents than any other company.

Established in 1967, Beltronics Radar has a long history of leading technology in radar and laser detection. Company headquarters are located in the Cincinnati, OH area, and the full line of radar, laser and safety detectors are designed, manufactured, and marketed in North America.

“We are excited to be partnering with DOW Electronics, the premier mobile and consumer electronics distributor in the Florida and Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas territories,” says Everett Morss, national sales manager at Escort. “DOW’s dealers now have direct access to the best opportunity in the marketplace for speed detection/ticket protection sales, profits and service.”

DOW Electronics adds the Escort and Beltronics lines of products to increase the breadth of its 12 Volt offering. “We’re very excited about the addition of Escort and Beltronics as they are industry leaders with great brand recognition” stated Dave Elkin, DOW vice president of sales, east. “For us to get into this new category of products, it was important to partner with a top-notch company that retailers would instantly recognize.”

Added Mickey Ural, DOW vice president of sales, west, “This partnership offers us the opportunity to reach more retailers that we may not have worked with before, and brings the Escort and Beltronics brand to retailers that may not have had access to the products before. Our team is ready to get these consumer recognized brands into the retailers’ showrooms.”

The full line of Escort and Beltronics products will be available for online ordering and available to be shipped anywhere in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The products are also available for pick up at DOW Electronics’ Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, New Orleans, and Tampa locations. DOW Electronics will support Escort and Beltronics with knowledgeable sales support and fast, reliable shipping to retailers and installers.

To learn more about DOW Electronics, Escort or Beltronics, please visit or call 1.800.627.2900.

VOXX Electronics will be attending the 2015 KnowledgeFest Summer Training in Dallas on August 15-17 to showcase its extensive 12-volt Retail and Car Dealer specific products across its numerous brands in Booth #201. The company will also be hosting a training workshop on Advanced Troubleshooting and Diagnostics for Transponder & Door Lock Interface modules Saturday afternoon with guest speakers Mike Abeita of Automotive Data Solutions and Andrew Fiore of VOXX Electronics.
“KnowledgeFest is dedicated to educating and increasing retailer awareness on some of the new and exciting products available today, setting the perfect stage for us to display our broad lineup for 12 Volt products to a group of specialty retailers and reps,” said Tom Malone, President of VOXX Electronics Corporation. “This event brings together a group eager to learn and interact with the many different mobile electronics suppliers in attendance providing us with the opportunity to connect one-on-one with our loyal customers.”
On Saturday, August 15 you will also have the opportunity to join MECP Certified Master Installer Mike Abeita of Automotive Data Solutions (ADS) and MECP Certified Installer Andrew Fiore of VOXX Electronics as they host a training workshop on Advanced Troubleshooting and Diagnostics for Transponder & Door Lock Interface modules. This workshop will take you through the latest tips for troubleshooting remote start transponder and door lock interface issues on today’s most challenging vehicles. They will also show you the advantages of using the FLCAN by FlashLogic, the most advanced Transponder & Door Lock Interface module on the market today. Plus, Andrew will take you through a quick overview for programming the Prestige/Pursuit web based programming systems. The training workshop will take place from 4:15pm to 6:15pm in Meeting Room Desoto B.
The first 25 attendees to arrive to the workshop will receive a VOXX Electronics Swag Bag, plus there will be a drawing to win a first, second and third place prize package! Prize packages feature a Klipsch RB-10 Soundbar, a Prestige APS997E Two-Way Remote Start & Security System with CarLink (ASCL4), and a $100 Snap-on Gift Card.
At the VOXX Electronics Booth the Company will be showcasing the latest offerings across all of their product categories including; Advent/Audiovox Mobile Video, Vehicle Security and Tracking, Remote Start Systems, Telematics, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Navigation and OE Integration.
Visit VOXX Electronics at Booth #201 at the 2015 KnowledgeFest – Summer Training on Saturday, August 15, through Monday, August 17 at the Hilton Anantole Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, TX.
For more information about VOXX Electronics please visit:

IT Business Net -- Cybersecurity researchers on Friday are publicizing software flaws in the Tesla Model S that could allow remote hackers to shut down a moving cars engine.

But owners of the high-tech luxury sedan had little need to worry. The electric-car maker quickly deployed a fix over the Internet

As cars loaded with on-board computers increasingly add wireless connections they are becoming more vulnerable to hackers, as seen recently with a Jeep Cherokee. Teslas response offers a model for how other automakers can address the increasing threat of computer attacks. Tesla owners get prompted on their cars infotainment screens to download software updates, the same way smartphone users do.

The consultants who found the Model S flaws -- Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and chief technology officer of Lookout Inc., and Marc Rogers, principal security researcher for CloudFlare Inc. -- revealed the vulnerabilities earlier this week ahead of a presentation Friday at the DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas. The pair discovered six key weaknesses in the vehicle, alerted Tesla Motors Inc. and coordinated their disclosure with a fix from the automaker to reduce the risk to owners of the car, which starts at $70,000.

Two-Edged Sword

Such responsible disclosure, as the process is known in the cybersecurity community, is common in the computer industry. Tesla is unusual in the automotive industry for its ability to update owners vehicles quickly over the Internet. That ability cuts both ways, however; if an automaker can gain access to vehicle electronics from afar, so, too, could a malicious hacker.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV was told to recall about 1.4 million vehicles last month to update software after researchers remotely hacked a Jeep Cherokee traveling at 70 miles per hour and caused it to run off a freeway in a demonstration for Wired. The automaker patched its software by mailing out USB drives to be plugged into vehicles.

That hack, which worked by scanning a cellular network to locate and disable Jeeps, showed that wireless connections are the weak underbelly of high-tech cars. Such attacks are potentially more dangerous than the method in the Tesla hack, in which the researchers had to have physical access to tamper with the cars electronics.

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- If you ask Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, he'll tell you he's not in the food and beverage business. He's in the "reaction business." It's a concept he wrote about in his book Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions (New Harvest, 2013).

"A plate of food hits the table, lands right in front of you," Taffer explains. "One of two things happens. Either you sit up and look at it and react to it, or nothing happens. If nothing happens then that restaurant is stuck in mediocrity forever.

"The cook in the kitchen might think he's making an entree. He's not," Taffer continues. "That's not product. He's making a human reaction. ... The product is the reaction."

Read the rest of the story here:

CNET -- Apple Pay has a new credit card in its fold, namely the American Express corporate card.

Unveiled last October, Apple Pay enables owners of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch to pay for items on the go via a wireless technology known as near-field communication, or NFC. Other Touch ID-enabled devices, such as the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3, can use Apple Pay for in-app transactions.

In the US, Apple Pay already supports Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express for consumers and small businesses. With the new move, American Express becomes the first corporate credit card to work with Apple Pay, potentially opening up a whole new and wider audience.

Apple has been striving to expand Apple Pay support among credit card companies, bank and retailers, both in the US and the UK. The company has been successful at winning over credit card providers and financial institutions -- more than 400 banks and credit unions are onboard.

Signing up retailers is a more complex matter.

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- Say goodbye to Google. Say hello to Alphabet.

Google Inc. says it is creating a new operating structure under a newly formed umbrella company it is calling Alphabet Inc. Co-founder and current CEO Larry Page will lead the new company, while Sergey Brin, the other co-founder, will serve as president.

Google itself will be an operating unit and get a new CEO: Sundar Pichai, who had been running Android and Chrome. 

It's not just a name change, but a reorganization of the company. In a blog post announcing the change, Page said they wanted a "slimmed down" version of Google, with other businesses, such as Life Sciences and the Calico biotech unit to be their own operating companies. Each unit, Page suggested, would get its own CEO.

Page sought to position the move as a further move toward the technology-driven disruption and innovation he, Brin and Google have all long espoused. "We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time," Page wrote. "Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about."

Yet, the move positions Google as far more traditional than disruptive. Many companies have found that a conglomerate model -- which is essential what Alphabet will be -- helps manage the overall company better by putting key executives in charge of the underlying companies, leaving the top management to focus on making the company work as a whole.

Indeed, Page, in his blog post, said as much. "In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed," he wrote. "We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well."

Read the rest of the story here:

10 Aug

The Future of Cars is Smart, Not Autonomous

Monday, 10 August 2015

USA Today -- Americans love their cars (and trucks). They also love technology gadgets. So, it’s not the least bit surprising to see strong interest in efforts to merge the smart technology of our gadgets into our cars.

For some, the penultimate expression of this combination is the autonomous, self-driving car. Efforts by Google, as well as car makers like Audi and Tesla, have received enormous amounts of press and fostered speculation of highways full of machine-driven cars by the end of the decade.

The reality, however, is likely to be far different. It’s not that the technology isn’t there to make cars that can drive on their own — it clearly is. But the practical, legislative, and insurance requirements that are going to surround the widespread usage of autonomous cars are likely to keep them from becoming mainstream for a decade or even longer. The problem isn’t necessarily with a single car, it’s about getting a lot of cars from a variety of vendors all working together in a coordinated fashion. That is not a trivial task.

What we will see, moving forward, is increasingly smart cars. Those smarts are going to come at many levels — from the relatively simple but still important notion of better integrating our smartphones and popular mobile applications into our cars’ in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, to better car connectivity, to increasingly sophisticated advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Today’s cars already offer a surprisingly wide but not always well-known array of ADAS systems, from lane drifting warnings, to collision detection systems, to 360-degree camera views to performance enhancing adjustments to drivetrains and suspensions, and more. Even good ol’ cruise control — arguably one of the first ADAS features — is evolving to the point where it can do some basic autonomous driving of its own.

Not surprisingly, there are a lot of technology companies involved in making these kinds of improvements and their automotive business is growing. Companies like graphics giant nVIDIA, who reported a 76% increase in their automotive business during last week’s earnings report, not only can power the graphical display on car infotainment systems, but they’ve also created chips specifically designed to read, react and learn from sensors and cameras built into cars.

Read the rest of the story here:

China Tech News -- Chinese IT solutions and services supplier Neusoft Group has signed a joint venture agreement with Alpine Electronics and Shenyang Fu Rui Chi to build a joint venture named Neusoft Ruichi Automotive Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.

With this move, Neusoft Group will be able to distribute in smart, Internet, and new energy automobile electronics businesses.

Neusoft Ruichi will have registered capital of CNY384.62 million. Neusoft Group will invest CNY157.7 million, accounting for 41% of the total registered capital, which makes it the controlling company of the joint venture; Alpine Electronics will invest CNY150 million, accounting for 39% of the total registered capital; and Fu Rui Chi will invest CNY76.92 million, accounting for 20% of the total registered capital.

The new joint venture will focus on innovations and developments of various automobile-related sectors, including new energy vehicle battery management, key technologies about intelligent charging, advanced driver assistance systems, unmanned driving innovations, and telematics basing on an open cloud platform.

Read the rest of the story here:

VOXX has announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer, Pat Lavelle, will be presenting at the 18th Annual Technology, Internet & Communications conference, sponsored by Oppenheimer & Co. on August 12, 2015. The investor conference is being held in Boston, Mass. and VOXX International will be presenting at 2:25 p.m. Eastern time.

The presentation will be available via a live audio webcast. On the day of the conference, the webcast and the accompanying presentation materials can be found on the Company's website in the Investor Relations section under the "Events and Presentations" tab.

Additionally, a replay of the webcast will be available shortly after the live presentation and will be archived on the Company's website for 90 days. 

CBR -- The race is on for car manufacturers and software companies to design the ultimate smart car, with a surprise visit by Apple to BMW indicating a possible partnership between the two firms.

An Apple delegation, including Cupertino's CEO Tim Cook, visited the German carmaker's headquarters last year to learn how BMW builds its i3 electric car, according to sources.

One of the sources told Reuters that the visit to the Leipzig factory did not result in a collaboration between Apple and BMW, as the iWatch maker is reportedly looking at creating a connected vehicle by itself.

The source added that BMW is also reluctant about sharing knowledge on how to develop the technology, as it does not want to become a supplier to a software or internet company like Apple. BMW executives have, however, shown to be open to license parts, according to the same sources.

The lack of trust in the industry is seen as an obstacle to the successful development of a connected car. Dr. Kevin Curran, senior member of the IEEE, told CBR: "A crucial barrier to smart car success is the lack of trust and collaboration between the major auto manufacturers.

Curran added that, for example companies like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, BMW and "all the other leaders" are all part of the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium, which is striving to deploy the infrastructure of tomorrow.

He said that "however, in reality they all go back to their workshops and continue to promote their own proprietary products".

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- When an employee quits, you don’t just lose the time, money and effort you invested in that person. According to an article published by Vocoli, you also threaten to overwork the remaining staff and lower the productivity of your team. Further, you then need to allocate more funds towards interviewing potential replacements and training them.

To bypass the headache and hidden costs associated with the departure of an employee, take preventative measures by tweaking your hiring strategy, benefits packages, and culture. Here are four tips on how to reduce employee turnover and improve your company culture.

1. Be selective.

Before even thinking about how to retain your staff members, start by imagining what kind of people you want working for you in the first place. Picking the right talent for the job is imperative to facilitating long-term growth for the employee and stability for the company. But what should we look for in the screening process?

Anthony Tjan, CEO of venture capital firm Cue Ball, suggests focusing on character instead of skills or pedigree. He writes, “While skills can be learned, it is much harder to cultivate attitude and character. There is no doubt that over time, institutional character and culture is the simple by-product of individual people.”

By hiring individuals with the best chance of being happy performing their duties on the job, you increase the chances of employee retention and cultivating a positive work environment.

2. Offer stellar learning opportunities and benefits.

Once you have the best talent on your team, make sure you can add value to their careers. Offer professional development via conferences, workshops, classes and team-building excursions. Providing relevant out-of-office opportunities for growth will allow your staff to bring fresh ideas and a sense of camaraderie back to home base.

Additionally, make sure your team’s fringe benefits are fair and up-to-date. Towards this end, utilize your human resources department to its fullest capacity by making sure your employees’ benefits packages get reviewed yearly and updated as needed. Also, consider creating personalized perks for the staff to increase morale and promote better company culture.

Read the rest of the story here:

The Mobile Electronics Distributors Merchandising Alliance announced several changes in their business structure, starting with the change of the name from MED to Elite Distributor Alliance (EDA). The new name, according to all of the members involved, better represents the broader business activities of the distributor members.

In addition the Elite Distributor Alliance is a member owned LLC. Each member will invest in his ownership of the EDA and pay annual dues thereafter.  According to Ray Windsor, “This set of business conditions will allow the EDA to more effectively set about its goal of bringing value and improved organization to the mobile electronics supply chain.  It will help add Profit, Identity and Predictability, the three most important elements of a business to all supply chain participants”.    

The EDA became incorporated on Wednesday July 28, 2015 as an LLC in the state of Delaware.  Josh Eatherly of P & E Distributors in Goodlettsville TN said, “The immediate tasks now include identifying and inviting vendors to participate with the EDA, approving by-laws and mission statement details and electing officers”. 

The EDA equity ownership includes, Advanced Marketing & Distribution in S. CA; Custom Plus Distributing in N. CA, OR, WA; Mountain West Distributors in MT, ID, WY, UT, CO, AZ, NM; Pioneer Music Distribution in NE, IA, KS, MO; Sunbelt Distributors in TX, OK, LA, AR; P & E Distributors in TN, MS, AL, GA; Ultimate Marketing in NC, SC, FL; MRI Premium Distributor, ME, NH, VT, CT, MA, RI, Upstate NY; AM Distributors in N. IL, E. WI.  That covers about 70% of the US BPI.  The EDA is expecting to add at least one more equity member in the next 30 days.

A number of the EDA Charter Members have indicated that they have each been queried by vendors as to the progress in forming the group.  Many of those vendors have expressed interest in learning more details about how they can be involved.  Michael Durand of Ultimate Marketing indicated that the EDA will have vendor information kits available in the next few days.  He encourages interested vendors to contact Ray Windsor at the number and/or e-mail below.  The EDA also has a few territories open for new equity distributor members.  Bob Oliver from Custom Plus suggested, “The equity membership investment and later annual dues along with the vendor participation fees have not changed.  In fact they are more than reasonable given the benefits delivered by the Elite Distributor Alliance.”

Never shy Dan Haight from Pioneer Music offered, “This took a little longer than I expected but at least we are off to the races now, with a solid mechanism for business improvement”.  Bob Dean of MRI echoed the claims from all of the members that, “Not only will the EDA be a business improvement catalyst for our equity members but we expect the vendor participants will realize a strong value add and improvement in the predictable and on purpose growth of their business and market share.  The collateral benefits to our collective retailer customers will be more predictability in product availability and margins”.  

The EDA members are set to have a group meeting at CES 2016 which will include vendor participants.  In addition to that meeting the EDA members suggested there will be a number of discussions with potential vendor invitees and probably a prospective distributor or two to join the EDA as equal equity members. 

CNET -- Nokia has finally unloaded its mapping service.

The Finnish telecommunications giant said on Monday that it had agreed to sell its Here maps business to European automakers Audi, BMW and Daimler, who have agreed to pay a total of 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion, £2 billion, AU$4.2 billion).

The fact that the three major manufacturers have teamed up to buy Here shows how important mapping data is to the future of the car industry as new vehicles become more connected. The technology gives them a viable alternative to mapping services offered by Google and Apple. The deal also allows them to move past simple satellite-navigation-style directions and toward the next generation of navigation: cars that can collect data to share real-time updates on traffic, parking and other variables with other vehicles. Down the line, those highly accurate, up-to-date maps will be crucial for self-driving cars to know where they're going.

The 150-year-old Finnish company Nokia is best-known for making phones, especially in Europe. But since selling off its phone business to Microsoft last year, it has been reduced to its three less well-known divisions: Nokia Networks, making networking equipment; Nokia Technologies, researching and developing new technology; and Here. Nokia recently bulked up its telecom equipment business with the acquisition of rival Alcatel-Lucent.

Here is available to the public in the form of maps apps on Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but the majority of its business comes from licensing mapping data to other companies, particularly in the automotive industry. There were 17 million vehicles produced with navigation systems in 2014, according to research firm IHS. Those cars will all need a steady flow of map data.

Here is developing technology that will pull data from cars, phones and the furniture of the road to the cloud and deliver real-time and predictive mapping services. The business is also expected to play an important role in the development of self-driving cars.

Read the rest of the story here:

The Los Angeles Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo (CCE) will assemble the companies and innovators that are redefining the automotive and transportation business. The full day conference and exposition has outgrown its previous space at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will now occupy virtually the entire JW Marriott at the adjacent L.A. Live entertainment complex.

“Expanding our campus to include the adjacent JW Marriott delivers a presentation room with capacity for 1,500 seats, 60,000 square feet of exhibit floor and dozens of meeting and hospitality areas,” said the show’s EVP and General Manager Terri Toennies. “The demand on exhibit and hospitality space has already created limited availability.”

More than 25 speakers will outline their vision for the dramatic changes facing the auto industry as it collaborates with technology titans like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm and dozens of other fast-moving tech innovators. Influential experts from Google, Volkswagen, Continental, Movimento, HARMAN Redbend, J.D. Power, Pebble and others will converge in Los Angeles to debate some of the industry’s most critical issues and identify opportunities and challenges that lie on the road ahead. Selected by the CCE Advisory Board, this year’s conference topics focus on the hot-button issues including autonomous vehicles, car sharing, cybersecurity, 3D printing, over-the-air updates and much more. The full tentative schedule can be seen at:

In addition to the conference, CCE attendees will be able to discover the latest automotive innovations at the JW Marriott, where more than 30 companies will demonstrate their latest solutions and products. Companies participating include Auto Alliance, Covisint, Elektrobit, Faurecia, Garmin, Global Automakers, KPMG, Mojio, OnStar, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, QNX, whiteCryption, Wind River and dozens of start-ups and app developers. The exhibit floor will also serve as this year’s stage for several auto-tech press conferences on Nov. 17.

“This collaboration between major auto and technology players, combined with the emergence of thousands of disruptive start-up companies, creates an unprecedented need for an automotive-focused forum connecting this rapidly changing industry,” said Lisa Kaz, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Auto Show and CCE.

Part of the LA Auto Show’s broader Press & Trade Days, CCE is the award-winning conference and trade show that unites innovators, manufacturers, futurists and influencers to further the convergence of technology and the automobile. This year’s CCE kicks off with an evening welcome reception on Monday, Nov. 16, and is followed by LA Auto Show’s press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18-19. Other CCE events start on Saturday, Nov. 14 and 15, including the Mojio hackathon and the UCLA Anderson School of Business Connected Car discussion taking place after the Monday evening reception at the JW Marriott.

Registration is now open. CCE exhibitors and attendees with a three days pass will be able to witness this year’s vehicle debuts and have access to an all-new CCE networking destination at the convention center.

For more information visit and

Entrepreneur -- The economy is improving. Consumer confidence, although still volatile, has returned to pre-recession levels and business confidence has rebounded to near-record highs. A majority of small business owners anticipate revenue and profit increases in 2015. So, why isn’t small business access to credit improving accordingly?

In that piece last year, I expressed concern about the "choke point" in small business financing. I'm still concerned. The 2014 Year-end Economic Report of the National Small Business Association cites an uptick in small business owners’ overall positivity about the economy, but also notes that “nearly one in five small firms cannot meet increased sales demand due to inability to garner financing.” Perhaps the most appalling statistic I’ve seen recently is that 50 percent of small businesses ($250,000 to $1 million) received none of the financing they had applied for in the first half of 2014.

The relationship between credit and growth is particularly significant for small businesses. The NSBA survey reveals that 47 percent of the businesses denied credit were forced to delay business expansion. Twenty percent of small business owners relied on credit cards and business earnings to finance their credit needs. Other businesses delayed hiring.

It confounds me that in a year of record lending by the Small Business Administration, entrepreneurs still struggle to get the financing they need even when all indicators point to the opportunity for growth. In a positive move, the SBA recently launched the LINC program, an online matchmaking service that helps connect creditworthy small business borrowers with interested lenders. You start by filling out a simple online form to answer 20 questions. Your completed form is sent out to LINC’s network of local, statewide and national lenders, and potentially puts you on a fast track to consideration and approval.

But if you are denied traditional bank financing, don’t give up! Follow the lead of many of your fellow entrepreneurs, who are finding funds through well-established financing alternatives. In fact, my own company, Guidant Financial, created a tool for entrepreneurs to pre-qualify online for traditional and nonstandard forms of small business financing.

Read the rest of the story here:

Automotive News -- It might seem strange that BMW's redesigned 7-series sedan, priced at $81,300 plus shipping, would have to compete with a $499 iPad from Apple.

But that's exactly what's happening, as automakers realize that their cars are being compared not only with other cars but also with devices brought into the back seat.

An estimated 259 million tablets will be sold globally in 2016, topping sales of traditional PCs and laptops for the first time, according to consultancy Gartner Inc. Many of those slim, handheld screens will be used as onboard entertainment for restless children in minivans or bored executives in chauffeur-driven cars. 

This is a real challenge for automakers, which have sold flip-down TV screens as lucrative add-ons for decades. To protect that business -- as well as the primacy of their brands -- luxury car manufacturers are beginning to offer tablets that are more integrated with their cars than any iPad. 

Audi plans to sell a tablet bearing its four-ringed logo in the redesigned Q7 crossover later this year. BMW designed a charging dock for a customized tablet into the back of its redesigned 7 series, offering the tablet as part of a $2,700 entertainment package or a $3,900 comfort package that includes massaging rear seats. 

"We want to stay on the cutting edge," Jason Chan, a product planning specialist at BMW of North America, said in an interview. "With innovations continuing to improve tablets, we have to improve how our systems work in the car."

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- Busy entrepreneurs: Treat your marriage like a business or it will fail. So what if it’s not the sexiest approach? It’s practical and it works, says Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary. (They don’t call him “Mr. Wonderful” for nothing, ladies.)

“The number one reason for divorce is not infidelity or falling out of love,” the 61-year-old Canadian mutual funds magnate tells Entrepreneur on the set of the hit reality show. “It’s money. It’s one partner outspending the other. It’s going into debt. It’s not respecting the joint finances. If you avoid doing all of that, you’re in it for the long haul. If not, forget it.”

The shrewd Canadian billionaire tied the knot with his wife, Linda, in 1990, all of a quarter of a century ago. He credits their lasting union with one thing -- and it’s not necessarily love, passion or sex. The real reason they’re still going strong: They’re on the same page about money, and they’d better be. O’Leary’s other half is an actively involved executive at their successful wine company.

Together the pair have two grown children, Savannah, a college student, and Trevor, a music producer, neither of whom will inherit their parents’ fortune by design. They weren’t always a perfect or even whole family unit. O’Leary admits that he was largely “an absentee parent” while building his empire, which nearly ended his marriage.

For two years he and his wife lived separately and came extremely close to divorcing each other. “We were at the point of dividing the assets,” O’Leary told a Canadian news outlet last year. “But as we neared it, we decided not to do it. We have reunited and kept the family together. I’m glad we did that.”  

While O’Leary recommitted himself to his wife, his friends left theirs. The author of Cold Hard Truth: On Family, Kids and Money (Doubleday Canada, 2011) says “all” of his friends are divorced and he’s learned a lot from watching their marriages crumble.

The worst mistake he says most of his divorced friends made was failing to thoroughly financially vet their partners, just as they would a potential business partner, well before popping the big question. Doing so, whether on your own or with the help of a professional, is something he highly recommends to anyone considering coupling with someone, in sickness and ideally in fiscal health, til death do them part.

Don’t stop at running a financial background check on your future husband or wife. Demand a prenuptial agreement, O’Leary further advises. “It forces you [and your betrothed] to tell the truth about your financial past...It’ll save you hundreds of thousands of depression and grief and it may save your marriage to find out.” A prenup can also make it easier to divide your assets clean in half should you exhaust your options and eventually split, which he thinks you should never do if you have children together. 

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27 Jul

11 Secrets of Irresistible People

Monday, 27 July 2015

Entrepreneur -- Some people, regardless of what they lack—money, looks, or social connections—always radiate with energy and confidence. Even the most skeptical individuals find themselves enamored with these charming personalities.

These people are the life of every party. They’re the ones you turn to for help, advice, and companionship.

You just can’t get enough of them, and they leave you asking yourself, "What do they have that I don’t? What makes them so irresistible?"

The difference? Their sense of self-worth comes from within.

Irresistible people aren’t constantly searching for validation, because they’re confident enough to find it in themselves. There are certain habits they pursue every day to maintain this healthy perspective.

Related: Are You a Leader or a Follower?

Since being irresistible isn’t the result of dumb luck, it’s time to study the habits of irresistible people so that you can use them to your benefit.

Get ready to say “hello” to a new, more irresistible you.

1. They treat everyone with respect.

Whether interacting with their biggest client or a server taking their drink order, irresistible people are unfailingly polite and respectful. They understand that—no matter how nice they are to the person they’re having lunch with—it’s all for naught if that person witnesses them behaving badly toward someone else. Irresistible people treat everyone with respect because they believe they’re no better than anyone else.

2. They follow the platinum rule.

The Golden Rule—treat others as you want to be treated—has a fatal flaw: it assumes that all people want to be treated the same way. It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention.

The Platinum Rule—treat others as they want to be treated—corrects that flaw. Irresistible people are great at reading other people, and they adjust their behavior and style to make others feel comfortable.

3. They ditch the small talk.

There’s no surer way to prevent an emotional connection from forming during a conversation than by sticking to small talk. When you robotically approach people with small talk this puts their brains on autopilot and prevents them from having any real affinity for you. Irresistible people create connection and find depth even in short, every day conversations. Their genuine interest in other people makes it easy for them to ask good questions and relate what they’re told to other important facets of the speaker’s life.

4. They focus on people more than anything else.

Irresistible people possess an authentic interest in those around them. As a result, they don’t spend much time thinking about themselves. They don’t obsess over how well they’re liked, because they’re too busy focusing on the people they’re with. It’s what makes their irresistibility seem so effortless.

To put this habit to work for you, try putting down the smart phone and focusing on the people you’re with. Focus on what they’re saying, not what your response will be, or how what they’re saying will affect you. When people tell you something about themselves, follow up with open-ended questions to draw them out even more.

5. They don’t try too hard.

Irresistible people don’t dominate the conversation with stories about how smart and successful they are. It’s not that they’re resisting the urge to brag. The thought doesn’t even occur to them because they know how unlikeable people are who try too hard to get others to like them.

Read the rest here:

Reuters -- German carmaker Daimler is planning to test self-driving trucks as early as this year, executive board member Wolfgang Bernhard told a German newspaper.

"We are positive that we will get approval for tests on German motorways within the next weeks," Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung quoted him as saying. "Then we will start immediately."

First tests of semi-autonomous trucks will take place in Daimler's home state Baden-Wuerttemberg while the start of production is 2-3 years away, Bernhard, who is in charge of Daimler's trucks business, told the paper.

"We are leaders in this technology and will stand up for ourselves," Bernhard said, acknowledging that Apple, Google and other companies were trying to position themselves in the promising business of autonomous driving.

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