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Important Networking Follow-Ups: How to Get Those Job Leads Calling When you leave a networking event, you may be buzzing at the prospects offered by all of those new contacts you made, but soon, the cold reality sets in. How will you be able to convert those contacts you made over a glass of wine into valuable business opportunities for you? Successful networking is all in the follow-up. If you’re looking for a job, following up is all the more crucial. Without touching base after a networking event, you become just another face in the crowd of job hunting hopefuls. The first important rule for following-up with networking contacts is to lay the foundations for the follow-up during the initial meeting. At networking events, there can be a lot of empty promises thrown around. Use that first meeting to convey the message that you haven’t gotten caught up in “networking fever” but instead that you are very serious about exploring the job opportunity that you’re discussing with your new contact. Ask the contact when would be a good time to follow-up with them, and then reiterate the information back to them at the end of your conversation: “I look forward to speaking with you Friday at 2 p.m.” If they don’t give you a specific time, then suggest one to them. This rule holds true even if your contact is giving you a lead on a job not with them but with another contact of their own. Let them know you appreciate the information by saying, “Thanks. I will plan on calling Mary on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.” Not only will this convey your seriousness about the opportunity presented to you, but it may also get you some handy inside information, as the contact may reply, “Oh, no, Mary will be out of town until Thursday – call her then.” The next important rule to networking follow-ups is to follow up with EVERY lead a contact gives you. If a contact suggests that you call someone whom you know won’t really be able to help you in your job search, call him or her anyway. Otherwise, when your contact finds out you aren’t taking their advice, they may just decide not to give you any more the future and any business person can tell you that you never know from whom the most valuable lead will come some day. Keep the lines of communication open by giving any and all suggestions a whirl. Last but not least, do the actual following-up. Follow up with your contact exactly when you said you would, and in the exact manner you said you would (phone, email, letter, etc). If for some reason you can’t make contact at the arranged time, keep trying. If you haven’t made arrangements for a follow-up with a contact, then the rule of thumb is to follow-up with them as soon as possible after meeting them. Try to at least send an email or letter the next day saying what a pleasure it was to meet and that you look forward to talking more in the future, and then say in that note when you plan to follow-up with your contact by phone. Then, of course, stick to that new follow-up obligation. Even if the promises made by a contact while networking don’t pan out for you on the job front, don’t cross them off of your contact list. Keep them in the loop about your job search and your career goals. While they may not have been able to make if happen for you this time, you never know what they might be able to do for you in the future. Your most promising business contact may be someone you already know.

Copyright Music Infringement Copyright Music Infringement is Not Preferred Method for Music Lovers In recent years, copyright music infringement has seen an unprecedented leap in scope and scale. This is largely due to online services that allowed unchecked file sharing among their subscribers. While this abuse of copyright is not by any means limited to music, this is where the most profound effects of file sharing have been observed. Industry giants of file sharing are cropping up left and right with the demise of the pioneer for illicit file sharing, Napster. The Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA) has made copyright music infringement their primary cause to fight. They estimate that peer-to-peer file sharing takes around 4.2 billion dollars each year worldwide from the coffers of the music industry. I really cannot blame them that is a fairly large chunk of change. The problem with their estimates however is the assumption that people would actually buy every piece of music they download or that they aren't buying the music they would have bought at any rate. While I by no means condone copyright music infringement or any other copyright infringement I do believe they are overestimating the damage to the industry that is being done by these file-sharing programs. One of the primary arguments that the RIAA is using in order to, hopefully, discourage people from not supporting their favorite groups and artists by buying their recordings, is the fact that new and struggling bands are less likely to continue making music because it will no longer be profitable. The bulk of musician's incomes are the result of royalties, which depend entirely on the sales of their albums. The RIAA is using the legal system to back them up by taking the fight to court. Recent claims made by the RIAA include one rather controversial claim that people ripping CDs they have bought and paid for does not constitute fair use because CDs are not "unusually subject to damage" and that if they do become damaged they can be replaced affordably. This assertion has raised more than a few eyebrows and is giving rise to opponents of the RIAA who claim that the lawsuits and crackdowns against those presumed guilty of copyright music infringement are actually hurting music sales and the profits of the music industry. During the height of Napster popularity (the hallmark by which all file sharing seems to be compared) CD sales were at their highest rate ever. People were exposed to music and groups they otherwise may not have heard without file sharing. As a result of enjoying the music by these groups people went out and actually bought the CDs of the music they enjoyed. It's ironic that the very lawsuits designed to stop copyright music infringement have actually managed to stifle file sharing enough that CD sales are dropping noticeably around the world. Opponents and critics also challenge that rather than being a source of copyright music infringement, peer 2 peer networks offer unprecedented exposure for new artists and their music. Another argument against the RIAA is that the real reason for the lawsuits against file sharer is because they want to keep the prices for CDs over inflated while keeping the actual royalties coming to the artists relatively low. The copyright music infringement claims made by the RIAA have become suspect. The music industry is currently working on ways where fans can legally download music. This will mean that fans have access to the music they love from their PCs and directly to their music playing devices without resorting to illegal copyright music infringement. The truth is that most people want to do the right thing and given viable alternative will elect to do so.

Reduce Employee Turnover and Produce a Great Employee For so many businesses in the United States it is the same picture they see year in and year out. Employees come, get trained, start to be efficient at work and then they leave. The company needs to train somebody new. To reduce employee turnover and produce a great employee, many things need to be established within a company as a support structure. Many companies so often neglect to ask and wonder what their employees might like or think would be helpful to make their work environment and conditions positive ones. Whether owning a small or a large company, your immediate concerns probably lie within making profits to be able to keep the company running and to be able to pay your employees. Of course, running a company takes a lot of effort and work hours spent solely on that. But every time one of your employees leaves, you loose capital--capital you have invested in his or her training and knowledge. The knowledge capital you loose is all the information that the employee has absorbed during his or her employment at your company and all the new skills he or she might have added during the course of his employment. So how can you make your company and working for your company more attractive and also produce great employees? There are many ways that this can be accomplished, most of them are rewards to the employee, but others that are just as important include the atmosphere and conditions at the workplace. This article will discuss just a few of the many possibilities you as an employer have to keep employee turnover low. For most employees, considering that they have an expectation towards the standard of living they have, a competitive salary is an important point. If you only pay minimum wages or never give raises and rewards, it is very unlikely to hold good employees that can make a lot more money somewhere else. To make their time worthwhile after hiring, you need to know what a competitive pay is and pay them either the average pay or slightly more. As for raises, raises together with evaluations will tell the employee that his or her effort and all the hard work he or she put into your company is appreciated. It also tells the employee how good his work is and what you will expect from him in the years to come. To produce a good employee, it is important to give the employee feedback on his work. Some companies reward their employees with bonuses for accomplished tasks or finished projects. Other companies will give their employees an award at the end of the month or year and generally attach a small bonus to that. Also consider a good benefit package. Many employees look for the benefits that companies offer to them and their family to make a decision whether they should work for this company or choose a different one. Often times, vacation is very important to employees. To be a motivated and good worker, employees need to spend time with their families or the things they love, like hobbies or sports. Yes, of course you would like them to work 60 hours for the 40 you pay, but consider this: an overworked overtired employee is most likely not able to work fast and efficient. That person also tends to be more error prone and unmotivated. Time off work to relax or regenerate is very important. Companies that offer ten days are often at the top of the list for employee turnover. Some companies offer flexible work times to accommodate for many different characters and situations at home. The employee that likes to come early and leave early versus the employee that likes to sleep long and then leave somewhat later feels just as welcome in this company or setting. Besides all these added factors, the work environment also plays a great role in producing great employees and reducing turnover. A respectful and good working environment is very important to keep employees happy and motivated. You know that a happy, motivated employee works better, faster and makes fewer mistakes.

Following Up on Fallacies about Getting Free Stuff “Free stuff” – the mere whisper of the words is often enough to make many people throw common sense out the window and head for the free goods like a missile to a target. And then there are those people whose eyes glaze over when they hear those words, because they can’t believe anything worth having can actually be free. The truth about free stuff is really somewhere in the middle. Yes, you can really and truly cash in on many freebie deals for things that you want to have, but a healthy sense of cynicism about free gear is also useful. Here are some of the important things to keep in mind about free stuff. The first myth you should throw out the window is that nothing good comes for free. The fact of the matter is that the price tag on a good doesn’t always match up to the quality, and there are many great free things out there. Case in point: music. Sure, everyone has heard the scare stories about file sharing online, and maybe some big record labels will come after you if you focus on their artists. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you can find a whole new world of really great bands that are more than happy for you to listen to their music over and over again. The same goes for free software. People on the cutting edge of technology who have a passion for creating new and efficient applications often develop open source code software. They’re doing it for the love of it, and they often have more talent than any ten suit-and-tie tech guys trying to hock their latest product for a mega profit margin. Here is where the reality part comes in, however. Yes, you can find wonderful things that are completely free – but yes, you can also find a lot of free things that aren’t worth your time at all and in some cases can cause you a lot of trouble. The net is a great place to fall victim to a “free stuff” scam, but you can also sometimes come across these scams in the mail as well. If something is free, but requires you to give your credit card number or bank details, run the other way. Another myth people have about free stuff, especially free stuff on the internet, is that when you try to cash in, the only free stuff you will be getting is an inbox full of more spam than you can handle. The truth about this is, well, that is can certainly be true. Many companies give away free things in exchange for your email address, so they can try to hit you up to purchase things in the future. What makes this a myth, however, is that it can be avoided. If you don’t want to choke on an inbox of spam, and who could blame you, set up a special (free) email account that you will use exclusively for freebie hunting. You’ll have the best of both worlds. The last myth about free stuff involves the “catch” people are always looking for. Often, for free stuff, the catch is a bit of junk mail or email or the fact that you have to submit to a time consuming survey. Sometimes, the catch is that if you get free stuff through a trial offer, if you don’t cancel it, it keeps coming, and this time you have to pay. The truth about these catches is, however, that the catch is in the eye of the beholder. These things don’t make products any less free; so don’t write off every free offer offhand. You might just find a catch you can live with to get a great free product you really want.