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It's been a tough year for stocks. Not even blue chips have been immune to the weakness. Despite its latest recovery effort, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) is down 12% year to date. About half of the Dow's stocks are down even more. In some cases, they're down a lot more.

Veteran investors of course know these beaten-down names are often the best buying opportunities. On the flip side, stepping into a stock solely because it's been so deeply devalued isn't enough -- there's still got to be a solid reason to own it at any price. Otherwise, there may be more downside left to dish out.

With that as the backdrop, here's some food for thought if you're currently unsure about adding some sold-off, high-profile blue chips to your portfolio.

Worst of the worst

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If you're wondering, the year's worst-of-the-worst Dow stocks are Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), and Nike (NYSE: NKE), down a respective 28%, 33%, and 35% since the end of 2021. Notably, none of them are participating in the market's rebound effort that's been underway since the Dow Jones Industrial Average made a bottom in mid-June.

Blame economic and geopolitical turbulence, mostly. Already grappling with broken supply chains, consumers are now feeling the sting of inflation. Fears of a recession are growing too, prompting people to further cut their discretionary budgets. Companies are starting to clamp down on spending as well. Disney, Nike, and Salesforce are among the companies most vulnerable to this dynamic.

Still, these are solid companies with bright long-term futures. You can buy into all of them at a more than 30% discount from latest highs. Not bad.

For the record, though (and as was already noted), buying stocks just because they're deep in the red isn't a great reason to buy them. Those sell-offs are often deserved, with possibly more selling on the way. But if there was ever a case to consider heavily sold-off blue chips without worrying so much about the backdrop, this is it.

Too distracted to see the bigger picture

Don't misread the message. Investing will always be a case-by-case, company-by-company affair. You should be able to identify at least three specific reasons to step into a particular position, and at the same time, the company in question shouldn't be facing any glaring potential pitfalls. The stock's latest price action typically doesn't factor into the equation.

It just so happens that in these three cases, investors have been collectively ignoring reasons to own these Dow stocks, and instead have been pricing in only half the bigger picture.

Take Disney as an example. Shares aren't just down 36% for the year. They're half their value reached in March 2021, largely in response to slowing streaming growth, higher costs, and a lingering pandemic that's keeping people away from Disney's theme parks. The company's also been caught up in sociopolitical matters that have led to a handful of boycotts.

What's been lost in all the noise, however, is that Walt Disney is still one of the premier names in the entertainment and travel business. That's not going to change anytime soon.

Nike's challenge is different, although no less tricky. It's heavily reliant on foreign production of its goods, and equally reliant on a means of delivering finished products to their final point of sale to consumers. Supply chain backups and manufacturing delays are a major headache.

Except, the sports apparel powerhouse may not be in the dire straits its stock's 40% slide since November implies. Revenue for its fourth fiscal quarter ending in May was up 3% after adjusting for currency fluctuations, and higher by 6% for the full year. That's not red-hot growth, but it's also not atypical of its pre-pandemic growth pace.

In other words, Nike is pushing through the headwind. And analysts' forecasts for revenue growth of 8% and 10% this year and next year, respectively, with sharp earnings growth of 22% next fiscal year suggest the company will remain resilient even if the economy continues to weaken.

And as for Salesforce, although it caters to businesses rather than individuals, its stock is still suffering from similar misunderstandings. Shares are down more than 40% since November's high, largely on worries that demand for cloud-based customer-management software could be curbed by economic turbulence. The need for such solutions is bigger than any economic headwind, however, and in many cases is ultimately a cost-saving expense that ends up more than paying for itself. Its top line is still projected to Boost 20% this year, and by more than 17% next year, with earnings expected to grow at a similar clip during that two-year stretch.

Adapt as needed

The point is, while the market may efficiently disseminate information, it doesn't always respond rationally with all the information it's processing -- especially in emotionally charged environments like the one we're in right now. Sometimes it looks past data that doesn't fit a particular narrative. Other times it fills in the proverbial blanks with ideas and information that are (at best) misleading. And, funnily enough, these missteps aren't made consistently from one stock to the next.

Regardless of their reason, sometimes these blunders are so big that a severely beaten-down ticker is a compelling purchase even if the company itself is currently in less-than-perfect condition. These scenarios are exceptions to the norm, to be clear, but unusual circumstances call for unusual responses.

In other words, even if Salesforce, Walt Disney, and Nike don't quite fit your usual buy criteria, this is a case where you still might want to take a swing while they're so deeply discounted.

10 stocks we like better than Walt Disney

When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Walt Disney wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

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James Brumley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Nike, Salesforce, Inc., and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney and short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Mon, 01 Aug 2022 15:02:00 -0500 en text/html https://omaha.com/business/article_7fdf6f4e-a37c-5d7f-a4b0-5432b130ae5e.html
Killexams : Women Make Great Leaders: Four Ways To Embrace And Advance Your Leadership Skills

No matter your gender, it’s hard to deny that women are commanding new respect in 2019. Thanks to latest high-profile news -- last year’s midterm elections, for example -- women’s matters are now at the heart of our national dialogue. Truly, women are on the rise in many industries. But where do we stand in the day-to-day world of business?

On the surface, the answer is dismal. The vast majority of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are men, and Fortune reported that women received just 2.2% of the venture capital funds invested last year. Yet, despite the numbers, I believe there are plenty of reasons that companies looking to grow should actively seek out female leadership -- and also why women thinking about starting a business should take the leap.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, here are five ways I believe women are shining in leadership roles and how you can Boost your own leadership skills to advance your career.

1. Be Deliberate

Laughable, dated stereotypes portray women as “overthinkers.” While a propensity to “overthink” is painted as a negative, in the business world -- especially in the startup world -- a leader can never be too careful with the funds and responsibility entrusted to her.

To make a decision that’s good for your business, it’s important to spend time deliberating on the options and carefully evaluating the trade-offs, as opposed to making a rash, off-the-cuff decision.

In my opinion, embracing the stereotype is a good thing if it lends itself to taking measured, calculated risks. The next time your company is making an important business decision, share your decision making process, and show fellow managers why taking extra steps to reach a verdict can lead to a better outcome for the business.

2. Turn Feedback Into Results

Data shows that women have leadership styles that are more participatory and collaborative, and it’s these qualities that can create a genuine openness to feedback. Feedback is meant to be a helpful vehicle for improvement (although it’s been shown that women are sometimes shortchanged when it comes to performance reviews), and for women, it often serves as a confidence booster or constructive way to Boost the business.

Openness to feedback and a propensity to take action from it helps business owners and entrepreneurs understand what’s working for their businesses and what their blind spots are. I always say that feedback is a gift. When working on projects, be sure to encourage team members to share opinions and thoughts every step of the way. It will not only enhance the quality of work across the business, but it will also encourage employees to offer support to one another in the future.

3. Let Your Emotional Intelligence Lead

Emotional intelligence includes a range of softer skills, like self-awareness, motivation, empathy and adaptability. Interestingly, in a study reported on by Forbes, women were found to outperform men on nearly every aspect on the emotional intelligence scale.

Sure, assertiveness and hard-nosed business acumen are important in a leader, but emotional intelligence is critical in leadership. We all know the ability to bring people and ideas together is a vital part of any successful business.

As a leader, emotional intelligence can help you find and acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of your employees and co-workers. Understand them, leverage them and create an environment that embraces them. This will help your colleagues to feel empowered, and you may build a stronger business because of it.

4. Be Ready For Change

Lilly Ledbetter, Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride -- these monumental ladies are just a few of the women who’ve paved the way for the changes just now taking effect. Thanks to the many women who’ve blazed a trail to gender equality, many women today are emboldened to speak up and speak out. Women who’ve been victimized in the past are realizing they’re not alone, often finding the courage to come forward and feeling empowered to stand strong.

More women than ever are holding leadership positions. They are pushing for equal pay and starting businesses.

Embrace and take part in these positive changes; join the conversations around you, and offer support to others in similar situations that you’ve found yourself in the past. You might find that you can gain new understanding, new information and new connections just by being an agent of change.

Change Is In The Air

What would our world look like with more female business leaders? For organizations, industries and employees, would it mean a happier, more balanced workplace? Think about what you can do to further the cause. Try supporting a woman-owned business each month, working on that business plan you’ve been thinking about or serving as a mentor.

How else can we work together to advance the role of women in the workplace? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sun, 03 Mar 2019 23:33:00 -0600 Marie Rosecrans en text/html https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2019/03/04/women-make-great-leaders-four-ways-to-embrace-and-advance-your-leadership-skills/
Killexams : Netflix's 'Cheer' Reminds Us That Purpose Is What Drives Small Business Success

Cheer, the binge-worthy Netflix docuseries, has all the ingredients of a modern classic: drama, suspense, tragedy, identity struggles and ultra-emotional success stories. Add the big Texas hair and gut-wrenching injuries, and it’s no wonder the show has become an instant hit.

The cheerleaders’ dedication to their team is wildly impressive, if not borderline masochistic. Watching their commitment sparked latent respect in me, something that started when I — the head cheerleader of my coveted eighth grade squad — didn’t make the team the following year. It was a painful lesson, but not undeserved. There were 80 of us trying out for six spots, plus I hadn’t practiced or conditioned, and I’d assumed my spot was safe. Three fatal blows, each worse than the next.

Now some 30 years later, Netflix’s Cheer has rekindled my love for the hearty challenges and emotional connections so vividly depicted. After binging the show in two nights, I’m pretty much an expert in baskets, stumblers and pyramids — but beyond the updated vocabulary and renewed respect for these superhuman athletes lies a much deeper lesson: the Navarro College cheer team succeeds because each of its members has a remarkable sense of purpose. And small businesses everywhere would be lucky to emulate such passion.

Few of us knew or noticed the grim rigor with which top cheer teams practice and compete. It is downright cringing to watch the episode in which flyer Morgan continually clutches her ribs in pain, the result of repeated high-impact “basket” falls with no cushioning. She sneaks off to the ER in between practice sessions, only to refuse treatment when she learns the muscle relaxers would render her unable to participate in afternoon practice. Another injury, she’s told, could result in broken ribs, punctured organs, even death. Still, she practices.

It is easy for viewers to assess the risk-and-reward balance and “tsk, tsk” Morgan’s decision, yet her dedication is unquestionable. Cheerleading has given these teammates skills, drive and purpose. Each member of the team has a personal battle — whether they are facing depression or family abandonment — and cheerleading gives them meaning, identity and a path to stability and success.

If only the working world could provide such a carrot. A latest LinkedIn study shows that 71% of employees would take a salary cut to work for a company that shares their values and has a mission they believe in. And a PwC report shows that millennials who have a strong connection to the purpose of their organization are 5.3 times more likely to stay.

Too often companies try to fix culture problems with fun perks and salary boosts when the roots of the problem are actually much deeper. A purpose — some kind of North Star — is what creates engaged employees and meaningful results. And you don’t have to work at a nonprofit or impact organization to do this. Companies of every size can (and should!) create meaningful values, build company culture, foster personal development and provide their teams opportunities to make a positive impact on others.

What’s your business’s purpose? It has to be an invigorating challenge, something you’re excited to wake up to every day. If you’re just going through the motions, take some time to think about how you can add extra meaning. My team at Salesforce is mission-driven to help small businesses find more customers, win their business and keep them happy for life. It’s a big goal, but one we’re all aligned on.

Purpose Versus Mission

Keep in mind that “purpose” and “mission” are not one and the same. Your company’s mission may be to sell widgets, but your purpose offers something more aspirational. It defines how your employees and workplace community are making a difference and gives them a sense of meaning. It draws their enthusiasm, dedication and support.

To define your purpose, ignore your revenue numbers for a moment and think about how those widgets you sell have an impact on the well-being of the community. Do they offer health benefits, bring joy or offer peace of mind? Maybe your product or service helps other companies achieve great results, or perhaps it’s more about improving communities around you.

Once you define that purpose, make sure you not only communicate it and support it, but also weave it right into your onboarding, training sessions, meetings and team-building activities. That’s when your employees — like the Navarro cheerleaders — will align, try new things, take risks and help your small business grow. Three cheers for a purpose-filled culture!

When teams — business teams, sports teams or committed groups — are aligned toward specific goals, there’s no limit to the kind of dedication they can achieve. The Navarro Cheer team is an extreme example; while you’re likely not asking your small business crew to nail death-defying stunts, high expectations build a mindset and provide your team purpose. A little mat talk from Jerry Harris wouldn’t hurt, either.

The Navarro College cheer team is just one example that the most successful teams are the ones bound by trust and respect. When people are purpose-driven to work toward a long-term goal, they can achieve deep, lasting success.

Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:50:00 -0500 Marie Rosecrans en text/html https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/03/10/netflixs-cheer-reminds-us-that-purpose-is-what-drives-small-business-success/
Killexams : Entrepreneurship Webinars

Crossing the Valley of Death: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Commercialization at Tufts University

Presenter: Kevin Oye, Executive Director, Tufts Gordon Institute

The results of fundamental and applied research generated by universities often have little to no impact on society. Why? In many cases, the research both contributes to our fundamental knowledge and understanding, and provides a foundation for innovations that could benefit society. Unfortunately, there is often a gap between the research result, and the translation of the findings into a solution to a societal problem, along with a business and financial model that is investable.

At Tufts, we’ve been building our innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem with specific programs focused on accelerating the translation of research to commercialization, including launching a new MS in Innovation and Management that targets latest STEM graduates and in an intensive one year full time program, ignites and incubates all the skills necessary to launch ventures. This talk will share this program, and how it fits into the overall commercialization ecosystem at Tufts.

Fri, 19 Mar 2021 06:13:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.uml.edu/MSB/global-entrepreneurship/webinars.aspx
Killexams : Direct Public Offering (DPO)

What Is a Direct Public Offering (DPO)?

A direct public offering (DPO) is a type of offering in which a company offers its securities directly to the public to raise capital. An issuing company using a DPO eliminates the intermediaries—investment banks, broker-dealers, and underwriters—that are typical in initial public offerings (IPO), and self-underwrites its securities.

Cutting out the intermediaries from a public offering substantially lowers the cost of capital of a DPO. Therefore, a DPO is attractive to small companies and companies with an established and loyal client base. A DPO is also known as direct placement.

Key Takeaways

  • With a direct public offering (DPO), or direct placement, a company raises capital by offering its securities directly to the public.
  • A DPO enables a company to eliminate the intermediaries that are normally part of such an offering and ultimately cut costs.
  • Raising money independently allows a firm to avoid the restrictions of bank and venture capital funding; the terms of the offering are solely established by the issuing company.
  • Pre-DPO, the company must present compliance documents to regulators of each state where it plans on offering securities; but unlike with an IPO, the firm doesn't usually need to register with the SEC.

How a Direct Public Offering Works

When a firm issues securities through a direct public offering (DPO), it raises money independently without the restrictions associated with bank and venture capital financing. The terms of the offering are solely up to the issuer who guides and tailors the process according to the company's best interests. The issuer sets the offering price, the minimum investment per investor, the limit on the number of securities that any one investor can buy, the settlement date, and the offering period within which investors can purchase the securities and after which the offering will be closed.

On Dec. 22, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it will allow companies to raise capital through direct listings, paving the way for circumvention of the traditional initial public offering (IPO) process. In a direct listing, a company floats its shares on an exchange without hiring investment banks to underwrite the transaction as an initial public offering. In addition to saving on fees, companies that follow the direct listing process may avoid the usual IPO restrictions, including lockup periods that prevent insiders from selling their shares for a defined period of time.

What are Direct Listings?

In some cases, where there are a large number of shares to be issued or time is of the essence, the issuing company may employ the services of a commission broker to sell a portion of the shares to the broker’s clients or prospects on a best efforts basis.

Issuing companies can raise capital from the public without the stringent security measures and costs required by the SEC since most of them qualify for key federal securities exemptions.

Timeline of a DPO

The amount of time necessary to prepare a DPO is variable: it can take a few days or a few months. During the preparation stage, the company initiates an offering memorandum which describes the issuer and the type of security that will be sold. Securities that can be sold through a DPO include common shares, preferred shares, REITs, and debt securities, and more than one type of investment can be offered through the DPO. The company also decides which medium will be used to market the securities. Potential options include newspaper and magazine ads, social media platforms, public meetings with prospective shareholders, and telemarketing campaigns, among others.

Before finally offering its securities to the public, the issuing company has to prepare and file compliance documents to the securities regulators under the Blue Sky Laws of each state where it intends on conducting a DPO. These documents would normally include the offering memorandum, articles of incorporation, and up-to-date financial statements that show the health of the company. Receiving regulatory approval on a DPO application could take three weeks or several months depending on the state.

Most DPOs do not require the issuers to register with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) because they qualify for certain federal securities exemptions. For example, the intrastate exemption or Rule 147 excludes registration with the SEC as long as the company is incorporated in the state where it is offering securities and only selling the securities to residents of that state.

How a DPO Is Formally Announced

After receiving regulatory approval, the issuing company running a DPO uses a tombstone ad to formally announce its new offering to the public. The issuer opens up the securities for sale to accredited and non-accredited investors or investors that the issuer already knows subject to any limitations by the regulators. These investors may include acquaintances, clients, suppliers, distributors, and employees of the firm. The offering closes when all securities offered have been sold or when the closing date for the offering period has been clocked.

A DPO that has an intended minimum and maximum number of securities to be sold will be canceled if the interest or number of orders received for the securities falls below the minimum required. In this case, all funds received will be refunded to the investors. If the number of orders exceeds the maximum number of shares offered, the investors would be served on a first-come basis or have their shares prorated among all investors.

The United States Treasury has the most popular DPO system for its debt securities: TreasuryDirect is a 24-hour online system for individual investors buying and selling Treasury securities such as notes, bonds, bills, savings bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).

How a DPO Is Traded

Although an issuing company can raise funds from the company through a DPO, a trading exchange platform for its securities will still not be available. Unlike an IPO that usually trades on the NYSE or Nasdaq after its offering, a DPO will not have such a trading platform but can opt to trade in the over-the-counter markets (OTC). Like OTC securities, DPO securities may face illiquidity and risk if they are not registered and do not conform to the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

3

The number of major companies since 2018 to opt for a direct listing, rather than an IPO; they are Spotify in April 2018, Slack in June 2019, and Coinbase in January 2021. However, Slack was purchased by Salesforce in July 2021 and is no longer listed on the exchange.

Prominent Examples of DPOs

One of the earliest notable DPOs was in 1984 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, two entrepreneurs who needed approximately $750,000 for their ice cream business. They advertised their ownership stakes through local newspapers for $10.50 per share with 73,500 available, offering 17.5% of the company. Their loyal fan base in Vermont took advantage of the offer and the company, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, raised the needed funds in a few months.

Popular music streaming service Spotify (SPOT) launched a direct public offering on April 3, 2018. Spotify opted to underwrite its own shares via a direct listing, meaning that there is no supporting bank to buttress share prices by purchasing any additional stock if necessary. At the same time, Spotify's DPO was unique among offerings of this type: SPOT is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In previous cases in which companies have listed on exchanges as part of a DPO, there have typically been other special circumstances, such as previous bankruptcy filings, a shift from one exchange to another, and so on. Spotify was not subject to any of these conditions. As a company which already enjoyed massive popularity and cash flow positivity prior to its public offering, Spotify was able to bypass the typical publicity and fundraising efforts involved in an IPO.

On June 20, 2019, enterprise software company Slack debuted on the New York Stock Exchange via a direct listing; the stock opened at a share price of $38.50, more than 48% above the $26 per share reference price set by the NYSE. Slack was purchased by Salesforce in July 2021 and is no longer listed on the exchange.

Wed, 03 Aug 2022 01:23:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/directpublicoffering.asp
Killexams : 8 expert design tips for your outdoor kitchen

Yes, this is the latest TikTok obsession.

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Outdoor kitchens are taking over social media—spurring plenty of outdoor kitchen ideas so you can create the look at home.

New research from a study by Atlas Ceramics has crowned outdoor kitchens the most in-demand kitchen trend of 2022, with over 2 million annual Google searches, 71 million views on TikTok and more than 475,000 Instagram hashtags.

Outdoor kitchens are also on the top of the American Institute of Architects’ project trends list.

From outdoor enhancements like weather-resistant outdoor TVs and Wi-Fi-enabled smokers to having your basic grill and eating around it too, kitchens can run the gamut in price and extravagance.

To get the lowdown on the best outdoor kitchen ideas, we went straight to home design experts.

“Your setup doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, as long as it provides easy cooking, fresh air and fun. From large stone pizza ovens to Solo stoves, outdoor cooking spaces need only provide a place to enjoy the combination of cooking and nature,” says Annie Elliott, product/design manager of New Again Houses, a company that transforms old houses into modern homes.

Here are eight outdoor kitchen ideas to keep in mind.

Get deals and shopping advice delivered straight to your phone.  Sign up for text message alerts from the experts at Reviewed.

1. Plan for enough prep space

Keep a clean space by utilizing storage options.

Even if it’s simply for s’mores or hotdogs, outdoor kitchens need a sturdy prep space and plenty of air flow, according to Elliott.

“Having a clean space to set down items and food is essential to making your space not feel chaotic or like rough camping,” she says. “Fresh air helps your cook stay cool and the space feels like the outdoors rather than your dining room.”

Try a portable storage cabinet, like this one from Keter, for keeping all your utensils and supplies clean and organized.

Shop at Amazon

2. Select the right outdoor appliances

Choose an appliance that is rated for outdoor use.

While you don’t need any real appliances to enjoy your DIY kitchen, adding some (think an ice maker, blender, mini fridge, or pizza oven) will make the experience far more enjoyable.

If your appliances are to be permanent within your kitchen space, such as a dishwasher or wine refrigerator, be sure to choose those rated for outdoor use like this outdoor mini fridge or an outdoor pizza oven.

When inclement weather takes hold or when you just want a clean surface area, store away smaller plug-ins in a nearby shed or your garage to protect it from the elements and make them within reach to pull out for party time.

Shop at Home Depot

Shop at Home Depot

3. Make sure you’ve got power to plug in

You can easily bring these solar panels to different locations.

While outfitting your kitchen with its own electrical source would be, that can become a pricy endeavor based on your outdoor kitchen’s layout and location from the home. Enter the portable solar power station, like this one from Yeti.

Easily brought from place to place, these panels can chase the sun during the day and provide you an excellent way to power appliances big and small, based on the size of the charge.

Shop at Amazon

4. Add plenty of seating options

Keep things casual and conversational with outdoor counter stools.

Good seating like outdoor patio furniture is one way to make sure both chef and guests relax and enjoy the kitchen space.

“We all know that crowds tend to gather around indoor kitchens, and the same can be true if you’re cooking outside. Add seating to draw the crowd outside,” says Audrey Scheck, founder of Audrey Scheck Design in Austin, Texas.

If the area allows, have a place for people to lounge or dine near the outdoor kitchen, like this set of two outdoor wicker bar stools by Christopher Knight.

“Outdoor dining tends to be more casual, and we often find that lounge furniture can double as a dining area on a patio,” she continues. “Keep it simple and focus on making the space comfortable for anyone to enjoy regardless of whether or not they’re eating.”

For optimal durability, choose metal or teak furniture which offer the most all-weather capabilities.

Or for an intimate and casual open kitchen vibe, place outdoor counter stools along your cooking space to keep the chef in the spotlight of conversation.

Shop at Amazon

►Related: 6 creative ideas for outfitting your outdoor shower

►More: Vibing nature? Here’s how to get the look in your home

5. Don’t forget about an outdoor kitchen sink

You'll thank yourself for installing an outdoor sink.

If you’re able to run plumbing to your outdoor kitchen, Scheck definitely recommends including a sink, like this one from Ruvati.

“Having a sink nearby always comes in handy when cooking outdoors during the summer months, and it will be just as useful during the winter when you need a place to clean snow and rain gear,” she adds.

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6. Use outdoor lighting to create focal points

Stay up all night outside with adequate lighting.

While the sun dips below the horizon, avoid keeping your cook in the dark with great outdoor lighting to spruce up your landscaping.

According to Caroline Danielson, director of showrooms, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery, when it comes to outdoor kitchen lighting, Dark Sky is the perfect choice. This light rating reduces glare and visual discomfort by using warmer lights, allowing guests to gather and converse while enjoying watching a meal being cooked al fresco.

Homeowners can also draw attention to their favorite outdoor appliance by creatively illuminating it with a Dark Sky-rated light like this one from Lowe's. Dark Sky lighting reduces light pollution by using bulbs that point downward, creating visual interest.

“The homeowner who loves grilling can make the grill the focal point of the outdoor kitchen,” says Danielson. “Or for those who love a bit of flair, they can highlight their electric pizza oven.”

For a little extra special touch around dark corners, turn to the ever-useful twinkles or outdoor smart string lights like these from Hampton Bay.

“You can’t go wrong with still string lights,” adds Elliott. “They easily create a magical outdoor oasis that’s both relaxed and classy. They provide enough soft light to cool as well as relax.”

Shop at Lowe’s

Shop at Home Depot

7. Stay cool with an outdoor fan

Stay cool all summer long.

Being outside doesn’t certain a constant cool breeze, as much as it’s welcome while cooking during hot and humid days.

Scheck suggests installing a fan to keep the air flowing. Not only do they keep guests and the chef comfortable in the heat, they also tend to keep insects away, like this option from iLiving.

“When purchasing outdoor fans for patio ceilings, make sure you order a down rod length that's long enough to position the fan at least 96 inches above the floor,” she explains. “We also like to order fans with the largest possible blade diameter. To do this, provide yourself at least 24 inches from the blade tip to the nearest wall on all sides.”

If you don't have space for a ceiling fan, consider a wall-mounted or freestanding fan that can sit on the countertop.

To add an extra element, choose a ceiling fan without a lighting fixture, then install a few thoughtfully placed Dark Sky-rated lights to illuminate the cooking area.

A dimmer is also a nice touch adjusting the amount of light in your outdoor kitchen when you finish cooking for that extra ambiance.

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8. Go for a simple layout

Choose a layout that suits the entertaining you'd like to do in your backyard.

When it comes to your outdoor kitchen, don’t overthink it. Often the simplest and most instinctive layout makes the most sense. A design-your-own set like this outdoor kitchen collection from West Elm is a great way to build out a custom space.

“Making sure the chef isn’t isolated from their relaxing guests and that there’s plenty of seating with good lighting should be the focus and the rest will all fall into place,” says Elliott.

Lauren Lerner, founder and principal designer of Arizona-based Living with Lolo, agrees that outdoor kitchen layouts don’t need to be elaborate to be functional, noting that “one kitchen does not fit all.”

“It [can be] a great space to cook and to entertain and provide a space similar to an island in a kitchen where guests can gather around,” she said. Lerner recommends starting with a simple plan to determine the best way to design your outdoor kitchen.

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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 8 outdoor kitchens ideas to recreate in your backyard

Fri, 15 Jul 2022 06:09:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.yahoo.com/now/8-expert-design-tips-outdoor-182328376.html
Killexams : 6 Tips to Smarter Shopping for Above-Floor Plumbing Systems

CAMBRIDGE, ON, July 7, 2022 /CNW/ -- Residential renovations can be tricky, especially if you want to add a bathroom or kitchen to a part of a home where plumbing drainage doesn't exist, cautions Phil Warren, managing director for Saniflo Canada, a prominent plumbing systems manufacturer in Canada.

"Adding plumbing to basements, attics, garages and unfinished spaces usually requires breaking through concrete or doing a major structural renovation that can compromise a home's structural integrity," Warren notes. However, above-floor plumbing systems, like macerating toilets and drain pumps, can dramatically simplify home-improvement projects.

There are many above-floor toilets and other macerating technology products on the market today, but not all are created equal. Warren suggests six critical factors to keep firmly in mind when buying a macerating pump system for either a new addition or to replace an existing one.

1. Go for quality

Home renovations can be expensive. It may be tempting to opt for cheaper options, but they might cost more if they break or cause damage to the home. This same principle applies when buying above-floor plumbing systems. "While there are cheaper options out there, it is important to research all the options and pick a product known for quality performance," says Warren.

2. Known product source = greater reliability

Where a product is made can significantly impact its quality. In-house manufacturing means a company can ensure the highest quality control possible, which isn't guaranteed or easy to verify when manufacturing is outsourced.

Why does this matter? Knowing where a macerating pump is made speaks directly to its quality and reliability. For example, a recognized maker of macerators such as Warren's Saniflo brand — the inventor of the concept more than 60 years ago — is made and assembled entirely in-house near the company's headquarters in France. These products are shipped to be distributed to the company's two headquarters in North America (Canada and the United States) and then sold to professional, Canadian installers through Saniflo's nationwide distribution partners.

"Knowing that the macerating toilet or drain pump has been tightly controlled throughout the production and distribution process is the best way to gain peace of mind," Warren comments.

3. Customer support begins at home

Opting for cheaper above-floor plumbing solutions could well lead to a defective product down the line. The inevitable next step would be to call the manufacturer's toll-free number to solve the problem. But, chances are, customer service based in another country is likely to be less than helpful or reliable — or just plain hard to talk to.

In contrast, Canadian-based customer service agents should be able to provide quicker responses, more reliable problem-solving and more effective communication. Purchasing from a manufacturer with a Canadian-based salesforce should also ensure faster, more efficient customer care.

4. Is the product code-compliant?

It's essential to determine if a product is made according to Canadian codes and standards, especially when it comes to above-floor plumbing. A reputable company invests in testing its products to be in compliance with major plumbing codes. This way, the product will be approved to be installed anywhere in Canada, while safeguarding the customer from any potential issues.

Macerating technology uses a pump powered by electricity, and any electrical product that contacts water is potentially hazardous. As Warren notes, "a product not compliant with established safety standards is an accident waiting to happen."

5. Insist on a multi-year product warranty

Many above-floor plumbing systems offer a product warranty of up to one year only. This can be a problem if the product breaks down or fails further along, resulting in costly repairs or replacement. A major brand, such as Saniflo, offers customers a standard three-year warranty for their macerating pump products. Here again, they have offices and multiple warehouses throughout Canada, ensuring optimal availability and distribution, especially during global supply-shortage challenges.

6. Make sure it can be insured

As mentioned above, issues can occur with electrical products that come in contact with water. It's crucial that these products be insurable should something occur. But not all brands of macerating pump products can obtain or offer insurance.

"Products should carry some type of third-party certification to vouch for their reliability in protecting property, as well as the health and safety of those who use them," says Warren.

Examples of independent laboratories that test for compliance would be "CSA" and "IAPMO."

These nationally recognized laboratories test products to conform with ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards for code compliance in Canada.

"Without such certifications," Warren advises, "products could likely be deemed unreliable or even unsafe by insurance carriers."

These six tips will make shopping for an above-floor plumbing system a more reassuring process with the outcome being a product that will perform well for years to come. Learn more about the role of macerating technology in home renovation at www.go.saniflo.ca

SOURCE Saniflo Canada

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View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/July2022/07/c5691.html

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 05:15:00 -0500 en-CA text/html https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/6-tips-smarter-shopping-above-171300497.html
Killexams : Evabot secures fresh capital to inject AI into corporate gifting

The idea of corporate gifting to maintain client relationships isn’t a novel concept. In fact, there's a cottage industry of "gifting-as-a-service" startups that promise to streamline the task, ranging from companies such as Reachdesk and &Open to Sendoso and Goody. Vendors claim their industry is a profitable one (worth an estimated $258 billion) because the evidence suggests corporate gifting works. One study found that 66% of people who received a promotional product or gift could recall the brand that sent it, and 79% would be likely to do business with the company again.

But according to Rabi Gupta, the co-founder of Evabot, there's "a lot of clutter" in the corporate gifting space. He argues that many vendors do little more than send company-branded swag like T-shirts and thermoses, which don't exactly foster loyalty. In one latest survey, companies cited the inability to purchase from multiple brands, managing inventory and storage, and the limited range of products as their top challenges where it concerned gifting.

Evabot itself is a vendor. But Gupta asserts that the company's AI-driven approach, which uses a chatbot to poll potential gift recipients about their likes, preferences and lifestyles to personalize presents, is more effective than most.

Investors agree. Today, Evabot announced that it raised $10.83 million in a funding round led by Comcast Ventures with participation from Alumni Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Precursor Ventures, Forefront Venture Partners and Silicon Valley Bank. Gupta said that the proceeds will be used to scale Evabot's operations, product development and growth, as well as its investments in AI to build "fully automated" gifting experiences.

"Every enterprise wants to really 'know' their customers and employees so as to be able to create thoughtful experiences and touch points. Every enterprise cares about building relationships but they need to do that at scale," Gupta told TechCrunch via email. "Since most of us are remote now, businesses need a better way to connect with their customers and employees."

Evabot

Image Credits: Evabot

Gupta co-launched Evabot, which previously went by the name Vizzi, in 2016 with Satwick Saxena, Ashish Kumar and Akshay Gupta shortly after they immigrated to the U.S. Prior to Evabot, Rabi Gupta, Kumar and Akshay Gupta worked together at India-based iCouchApp, a social app for discussing TV shows and channels.

Like other corporate gifting platforms, Evabot provides an array of gifting services ranging from holiday and birthday gifts to employee onboarding items. To autofill details like names and contact information, Evabot connects to customer relationship and HR systems like Salesforce and Workday. Once recipients finish a questionnaire sent via the aforementioned chatbot, Evabot automatically selects and mails the gift -- complete with a handwritten note.

Evabot rival Alyce uses AI, too, to plug into various apps and track relationships to personalize gift recommendations. But Rabi Gupta says that Evabot leverages AI in a variety of ways, not just for gift suggestions.

"[Gifts are] picked by our AI based on the data collected and attributes like past gift ratings, weather in a location, gift budget, and more," Rabi Gupta said. "[To create the] personalized note that’s added to every gift, we use the data collected by our AI and the natural language generation tool GPT-3. Evabot also collects birthdays from the gift recipients, and then data like this becomes a trigger for the sender to send another gift or a thoughtful note or email."

Rabi Gupta tells TechCrunch that the business model is a combination of software-as-a-service subscriptions and per-gift revenue. It's pricing that's proven attractive -- Evabot has shipped more than 125,000 unique gifts to date for over 1,000 customers, including health services giant Cigna. Most of the gifts come from "artisanal" direct-to-consumer brands and local vendors, Rabi Gupta says.

But what of future growth? The corporate gifting market had a rosy outlook as of 2020, when a poll found that 54% of companies planned to increase their investment in gifting over the next two years. Despite Rabi Gupta admitting that he's seen a "slowdown," Evabot's co-founders believe the company is in a position to perform despite the headwinds.

"There is definitely some short-term slowdown [in the corporate gifting space] since companies are slowing down hiring ... But overall, we are seeing very strong interest from enterprises who care about long-term relationship building," Rabi Gupta said. "Before raising our Series A, we were profitable. Right now, we have two years of runway, and the idea is to get to profitability and scale 4x within the next 18 months."

Evabot has raised a total of $13.83 million in capital to date, which includes a previously undisclosed $3 million seed round. The company employs 60 people across offices in San Francisco, Dallas, and cities in Canada and India, a headcount Rabi Gupta intends to grow to 70 by the end of the year.

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 01:53:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.yahoo.com/now/evabot-secures-fresh-capital-inject-130023843.html
Killexams : TikTok's global expansion stumbles as executives leave and concerns flare over data security

TikTok, the globally popular short video app owned by China's ByteDance with over 1 billion users worldwide, is facing fresh challenges in its global expansion push amid the departure of key executives and renewed scrutiny over its data collection practices.

David Ortiz, the New York-based leader of TikTok's monetisation product, wrote on LinkedIn on Tuesday that his role was "being eliminated in a much larger reorganisation effort".

Ortiz, an alumnus of cloud-based software company Salesforce and social media firm Snap, joined TikTok in 2020 as one of the Beijing-based company's first recruits outside China to build international product management and engineering teams.

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His post echoed a report on Monday by tech publication Wired that TikTok had alerted some UK and US-based employees about upcoming job cuts. Others in Europe were told to expect meetings with human resources representatives in the coming weeks, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.

Personnel changes have taken place at the higher levels as well. Last week, TikTok announced that Roland Cloutier would step down as global chief security officer and move to a strategic advisory role in September.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but spokeswoman Anna Sopel told Wired that the company often makes adjustments to its staffing to support its goals. "There are a small number of roles within the operations and marketing teams that shifted in focus - that can't be called a 'companywide restructure'."

The moves come as concerns flared anew about TikTok's data security practices in key overseas markets.

Last week, Italy's data protection authority said the app may have breached European Union rules by delivering targeted advertising without user consent. A TikTok representative said at the time that the company "strives to build a personalised experience" and is "committed to respecting the privacy of [its] users".

This week, Australian cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0 accused TikTok of collecting an "excessive" amount of user data. Researchers said the app checks device location at least once an hour, continuously seeks access to contacts even after a user denied previous requests, and maps all installed apps on a device.

In response to a report by the Australian Financial Review about the findings, TikTok said it was "not unique in the amount of information it collects, which is less than many popular mobile apps".

Australian politicians also questioned TikTok's protection of overseas user data after the company's chief executive Chew Shou Zi admitted in an internal email that China-based staff who cleared internal security protocols can access certain information on TikTok's US users, including public videos and comments, although he said that none of the data was shared with the Chinese government, Bloomberg reported.

In the US, Federal Communications Commission head Brendan Carr openly requested Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, alleging that the app poses national security risks due to extensive data harvesting.

The logo of TikTok's parent company ByteDance is seen at its booth in a Beijing exhibition centre. Photo: Reuters alt=The logo of TikTok's parent company ByteDance is seen at its booth in a Beijing exhibition centre. Photo: Reuters>

To address those concerns, TikTok has set up a new division called US Data Security for the purpose of "minimising employee access to US user data and minimising data transfers across regions - including to China", Michael Beckerman, head of public policy for TikTok Americas, wrote in a statement this month.

This marks a fresh wave of scrutiny on TikTok that began in 2020, when then-US president Donald Trump threatened to ban the app unless its US business was sold to an American company. Trump's successor Joe Biden has since revoked the executive orders.

To reassure authorities and users, TikTok previously said it planned to set up so-called transparency centres in Los Angeles, Washington and Dublin to explain the app's source code and how its algorithm operates.

TikTok has also repeatedly said that its user data is locally stored, with backups in Singapore. In June, the company said it was starting to move all US data to servers controlled by Oracle.

"We maintain a strong focus on data privacy and security excellence", Chew wrote on TikTok's website last week.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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