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First World Problems

Meet The Man, The Myth, The Painter Of John Stamos

1. Meet Jim Warren.

2. Jim is the man who painted this magnificent tribute to actor John Stamos.

3. The masterpiece is approved by the man himself.

4. Jim also did one of Kristen Chenoweth.

5. Steve Jobs, too.

6. Jim believes in love.

8. Even the forbidden love between rock and foam.

9. Jim doesn’t believe in littering.

10. Jim loves horse creatures.

16. Jim definitely appreciates the female form.

19. This one’s called “Sexual Explosion” and was banned from public exhibition in the U.S. back in the ’70s.

20. Just a guess but Jim’s favorite Batman villain was probably Two-Face.

25. Jim believes that children are our future.

28. Or maybe Jim belives the children have no future. It’s hard to tell.

30. Anyway, here’s to you, Jim Warren.

31. Keep doing what you do.

32. And when you get the chance…

33. … paint one of Saget.

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Taylor Swift Makes Very Rare Political Statement in Support of March for Our Lives Protest

21 Stars Who Skipped The Grammys And Went Straight To The Grammy After-Parties

1. Chris Martin

Imeh Akpanudosen/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

2. Rihanna


Party Attended: Republic Records Grammy After-Party

3. Michelle Branch

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

4. Trey Songz

Imeh Akpanudosen/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

5. Ne-Yo*

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Midnight Grammy Brunch
*Joined by DJ Cassidy.

6. Jack Antonoff

Imeh Akpanudosen/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual GRAMMY Celebration

7. Ashanti

Valerie Macon/Stringer

Party Attended: Universal Music Group 2014 Post GRAMMY Party

8. Miles Teller

Michael Buckner/Staff

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

9. Nelly


Party Attended: Republic Records Grammy After-Party

10. Kate Beckinsale

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

11. Akon

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Midnight Grammy Brunch

12. Anjelica Huston

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

13. Ariel Winter

David Buchan/Stringer

Party Attended: 2nd Annual Billboard Grammys After-Party

14. Ryan Cabrera

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

15. Neon Hitch

Frederick M. Brown/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

16. Darren Criss

David Buchan/Stringer

Party Attended: 2nd Annual Billboard Grammys After-Party

17. Adrienne Bailon

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Midnight Grammy Brunch

18. Keyshia Cole

Valerie Macon/Stringer

Party Attended: Universal Music Group 2014 Post Grammy Party

19. Benjamin Mckenzie

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Warner Music Group Annual Grammy Celebration

20. Kat Graham

Valerie Macon/Stringer

Party Attended: Universal Music Group 2014 Post Grammy Party

21. Will Smith

Charley Gallay/Stringer

Party Attended: Midnight Grammy Brunch

Read more:

If you want to understand Blockchain, try to understand Switzerland

Ethereum is the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, with a total market cap of $75 billion dollars. The currency’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, is 24 years old and his net worth is estimated at somewhere between $400 – $500 million dollars.

The reason why the market has ascribed so much value to Buterin’s brainchild is because it represents the potential birth of an entirely new economic paradigm. This new economic paradigm relies on blockchain, or more accurately distributed ledger, technology.

What makes Buterin’s invention so special is that it takes the fundamental innovation of Bitcoin – that you can immediately have total trust in another entity without a third-party vouching for that entity- and adds a powerful layer.

The “smart contracts” that Ethereum enables by virtue of its status as “Turing-complete” means that two entities can conduct business with each other with no prior relationship and with near zero friction in establishing a trusted relationship.

It is a lot to get your head around. The good news, however, is that there is a shortcut to understanding the power of Buterin’s invention by studying something much more familiar: Switzerland.

Crypto Between the Mountains

Whether by accident, with 100% intention, or some combination of the two, Buterin’s choice to base the Ethereum Foundation in the canton of Zug, Switzerland gives us a clue about the future his invention is enabling.

Zug is now known as ‘Crypto Valley’ largely thanks to what has happened with Ethereum. Its formation, however, was catalyzed by a number of local crypto-visionaries, like Johann Gevers, Vasily Suvorov, Søren Fog and many others who saw in blockchains much more than a business opportunity.

They recognized that the technology represented an opportunity for Switzerland to export more than watches, chocolate and banking services. Their mission? Help the rest of the world understand that one of the critical components of Switzerland’s wealth, safety and quality of life is its decentralized operating system. For them, blockchain technology means that Switzerland’s ideals and experience with a “citizen-first” democracy, can be exported and implemented at global scale, while maintaining a deep respect for local preferences.

Trust Through Decentralization

Switzerland is the most decentralized country in the world. It is made up of 26 cantons and half-cantons (akin to states in the US) that retain a huge amount of power to determine their own affairs, with Swiss citizens also asked to vote on relevant national matters several times a year in what is the world’s largest display of Direct Democracy in action.

As in many countries, Swiss taxes are defined and implemented at municipal, state (canton) and federal levels – but unlike most countries, the proportion of total taxes levied at the cantonal level take the lion’s share, thus allowing cantons to effectively compete amongst themselves to attract economic development via a combination of incentives far more efficiently than what its equivalents in other countries can structure.

For example, the canton of Zug has a top tax rate of 10%. Unbelievably to some, this makes it only the 5th lowest in the country.

Because the Swiss put a priority on balancing the budget, which they do every year thanks to a constitutional amendment, and low inflation (.8% in 2017), they can afford to keep taxes low. This creates a strong incentive for investment

But that is just the obvious part of the story. In addition to being decentralized as a government, what the Swiss do particularly well as a society is incentivize the right behaviors and disincentive the wrong behaviors.  They put a high premium on contributing to the network (“adding value” as business people might say) and “Eigenverantwortung,” a German word which means “responsibility for yourself.”

This is exactly what the blockchain enthusiasts and innovators talk about with “asset programmability,” “mechanism design” and “self-sovereign” identity.  The world these tech leaders envision is one where the network, based on fair voting by members of the community (itself a huge topic of what constitutes ‘fair’), does exactly that. In a blockchain-based governance system, the protocol incentivizes the right behavior and punishes the wrong behavior. It’s just that the system of enforcement is the computer network, not the government or the police.

But the Swiss have this down to a science.

Swiss Social Governance Protocols

In Switzerland, if you are going to throw something away from your home, you need to use a special trash bag. Failure to use the special bags results in a steep fine.  The standard trash bag that most Americans buy for their home costs about $0.30 each. In Switzerland, the same bag costs roughly $1.50. It is not hard to imagine how this one rule might change your consumption habits.

Speeding is another example. Go 3 km/h (1.5mph) over the speed limit and it’s an automatic fine that starts at $40 CHF and goes up rapidly. It’s not unheard of to get a $250 fine for ‘crossing a light that had been red for 0.5 seconds’.

Unemployment also has structured incentives. Switzerland’s unemployment rate has averaged around 3.3% for the past 10 years and one of the reasons for that is that unemployment insurance goes for two years, maximum. If you are not a Swiss citizen and you do not have a job after your time is up, you will eventually need to leave the country.

There are also plenty of “community-enforced” informal protocols. Ask anyone who has been “tsked” for jaywalking. It’s not uncommon to see people waiting at “do not walk” signs at 11pm with no car in sight. A New Yorker would walk across and say something like, “what’s wrong with you, man?”

Rules like these abound in Switzerland and following the rules is encouraged and expected. The governance process for Switzerland makes it clear. “If you follow the rules, we will all benefit in terms of wealth creation, value, safety, and security.”

Sound familiar? It should. After all, this is the grand promise of blockchain-based protocols.

The Swiss Work Permit Is the Decentralized System’s Token

Like the founders of decentralized, blockchain-based protocols, the Swiss long-ago realized that the value of the network (in this case, the country of Switzerland) is dependent upon everyone who is able to make meaningful contributions. To participate in a decentralized network, you need a token. In Switzerland, you need citizenship or a work-permit.  Think of the Swiss passport or Work Permit as the “membership token.” As of 2011, 37.2% of the total resident population of Switzerland is made up of people of non-Swiss background.

Once you have a “token,” you now have a “stake” in the network that is Switzerland and it is your obligation to find a way to meaningfully increase the value of the network overall. It is the role of the government, akin to the protocol developers, to make the system as user-friendly as possible.

Many examples abound, but to bring it home, look no further than the Swiss Rail system. Switzerland has not only the world’s most dense railway network, but it is also a world leader in kilometres traveled per person.

What’s more, the Swiss Rail system holds itself to a 3-minute mark to measure ontime arrivals, typically registering a rate of somewhere between 87% and 89%. Judged on the five-minute criterion, the country leads all of Europe as 96.8% of Swiss trains would have been punctual in 2014, compared with 96.7% in Austria and 94.5% in Germany.

What all of this means is people can move around like pieces of value in this decentralized network with minimal friction, a key benefit to removing intermediaries. One might say that the Swiss value “fast transaction and confirmation times.”

What the Swiss have proven is that by decentralizing decision down to individuals and fostering an environment where the government serves the people’s interests over its own, it is possible to create a multicultural, diverse environment for economic growth and mutual defense.

Understanding the Value of Decentralization

In some ways, this is the exact promise and hope of the innovators of the crypto-universe like Melonport and Etherisc, who have chosen to base their operations in Crypto Valley. They are taking advantage of the growing ecosystem of crypto service providers like MME (the premier firm for legal, tax and compliance matters), Lakeside Partners (the premier incubator of blockchain start-ups), and Swisscom Blockchain AG (the premier enterprise enabler of blockchain-based innovation), who have an innate understanding of the value of decentralized entities and thus are uniquely positioned to help them succeed.

All of this is further enabled by the cantonal governments who know that economic growth driven by innovation is the key to future wealth. After all, Switzerland knows a thing or two about wealth creation and preservation.

The key to much of Switzerland’s wealth in the last century was the the Banking Law of 1934, a strict set of rules that forbade anyone from revealing the name of the owners of a bank account. This provided the ultimate in privacy and security, much like some of the privacy coins like Zcash are focused on creating in a decentralized world.

Originally, the laws were helpful to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany and others fleeing oppressive regimes elsewhere as a way to store and protect wealth. After the war, it became problematic, as people could not prove their identity and reclaim their assets. Nevertheless, the bank privacy laws brought money and gold to Switzerland. Much like Xapo uses decommissioned nuclear bunkers in the Swiss Alps to store people’s Bitcoin, Switzerland as a country used their mountains to store people’s gold.

However, in the 1990s, the US applied tremendous pressure to the Swiss to remove these rules and through the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Beginning in 2014, U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States become required to report those assets to the IRS.

Pressured after the US Department of Justice went after 15 Swiss banks accused of helping tens of thousands of well-heeled Americans to dodge paying tax, the Swiss government retracted its bank privacy laws. The end result is that lot of the money and value left the country to other, more friendly locales, with Singapore being the primary destination.

Now, certain leaders within Switzerland recognize the crypto revolution as a potential export engine of epic proportions. For them, Crypto Valley is not a place, it is an idea that should serve as the model for any place that wants to live free, responsibly, securely, and with prosperity. And they are more than glad to help.

Their support of crypto technology extends to the Federal level, with a new Blockchain Task Force initiative/commission focused on accelerating adoption under way. Top officials are jumping on board as well, speaking out about how critical blockchain is for the country at events like the World Economic Forum in Davos and at the Crypto Finance Conference in St. Moritz, where their Minister of Economy claimed that they wish to go beyond Crypto Valley to become “Crypto Nation”.

Not Perfect, But a Great Model

Switzerland is not perfect by any stretch. They have their challenges like others, even with immigration. Furthermore, the benefit they have gleaned from not having fought another country in a war since 1815, and huge geographic barriers in the form of the Alps help preserve the country’s neutral autonomy.

At the same time, it cannot be argued that they have built of one of the world’s safest, most stable, most prosperous, high functioning societies where people pursue their own interests, but work towards the common good.

This is the ideal that Vitalik sees possible at a global scale.

Spending some time to understand how the Swiss do what they do can help you get a better glimpse of what the crypto-innovator class is trying to build….just without the people in the middle.


What does this all mean for marketing?

Check out Jeremy’s other posts here:

You can also check out our other blockchain content here.

The post If you want to understand Blockchain, try to understand Switzerland appeared first on ClickZ.

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How to bring marketing and sales together to optimize the customer experience

A modern business understands the importance of offering a seamless customer experience. However, consumers tend to be more demanding nowadays. This brings out the challenge of optimizing your customer journey to ensure that you’re offering a successful multi-channel approach.

A successfully optimized customer journey can help your company meet the customers’ demands and meet the key objectives. This can only be achieved by having multiple teams working towards the same goal.

A common problem in many companies is the lack of visibility across different departments. Marketing and sales team don’t always work together, which leads to the problem of being aware how your work can contribute to the wider objectives.

There are numerous benefits of having the marketing and sales departments work together. The company can become more:

  • Efficient
  • Productive
  • Transparent
  • Successful

It’s easy though to miss the importance of communication when focusing on your own goals. That’s why the shifting consumer journey can serve as a great reminder to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. Each team may have a different perspective, but they still have a shared vision.

A successful company wants to offer a great customer experience to all the consumers and that’s how both marketing and sales work towards achieving this goal.

A marketing team is working in designing funnels and content that will attract new consumers while engaging the existing ones. It has to do with different consumer journeys and how each one of them can bring a prospect closer to a purchase.

Meanwhile, a sales team wants to find new prospects to start a conversation that will turn them into customers. They want to be able to see a growth in the number of leads before they’re up to the challenge of conversion.

Thus, both teams understand how their tasks are interweaved as part of a wider mission.

And according to MarketingProfs, organizations that align sales and marketing see 36% higher customer retention rates and also 38% higher sales in rates.

By the time both departments understand that they can benefit from a closer collaboration, it’s time to focus on the next question.

How can we really bring marketing and sales teams together to optimize the consumer experience?

Here are four tips:

  • Analyze the customer journey holistically: a great benefit for blending the marketing and sales teams is the ability to explore a holistic approach of the customer journey. An analysis of consumers’ habits can go beyond a marketing or sales perspective, which can be helpful in understanding how they behave and how to approach them.
  • Share different perspectives when optimizing journeys: The best way to optimize a customer journey is to analyze its performance from different perspectives. A combination of the marketing and sales backgrounds can help you shape a more detailed journey that is perfectly optimized. It can also make it easier to analyze the attribution points, when the sales enablement happens and how you ensure that the whole process will be smooth. The process can be more efficient and successful by bringing together two teams that work on different stages, as you can understand where the problems are and how to fix them.
  • Switch sides to understand the journey: A useful practice when optimizing the customer journey is to allow the teams to switch sides for a moment. The marketing team can explore how a sales conversion is completed and the sales team can learn more about the marketing attributions and why it’s important to analyze them. This way, both teams are able to understand how each part of the journey is important, while they are helping each other in the optimization.
  • Learn to appreciate the value of each task: A great way to improve your customer journey is to spend an equal time on each part of the journey. The conversion is ideal, but you also need to optimize the key points that will lead to it. Moreover, by blending the marketing and sales teams you can work towards a shared mission that appreciates how each task can contribute to the end goal. This can enhance collaboration, transparency and also efficiency when trying to understand consumers.


There are many ways to benefit from breaking down the silo between a marketing and sales team. When it comes to user experience, there can be useful insights from both teams that can lead to more successful results.

If you want to learn more about this topic, don’t miss our next webinar with Tim Flagg, ClickZ Podcast Host at ClickZ and Mark Bornstein,VP Content Marketing at ON24 on the March 29 on why bringing the gap between marketing and sales can lead to a seamless user experience.

The post How to bring marketing and sales together to optimize the customer experience appeared first on ClickZ.

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Fermi paradox

Skinny Mannequins With Visible Rib Cages Are Not Helping Body Image Standards (Photos)


A mannequin with visible ribs is caught in the middle of a female body image debate.

Body image activists are demanding that New Zealand clothing chain Glassons use mannequins that showcase more realistic standards.

The controversy began when law student Emily Robins, 25, uploaded a photograph of the mannequin to Twitter, commenting,

Purging is in this season!


Glassons representatives say that the mannequin’s body type is anything but unique to this clothing brand. Topshop and Dior, among others, allegedly use the same mannequin.

Graeme Popplewell, CEO of Glassons Group, maintains that the mannequin represents a healthy body mass index, based on her height and approximate weight.

The key is that due to the position of the mannequin with the arm elevated and slightly twisted, the rib cage is naturally enhanced as it would be in real life… store lighting spotlights also increase this effect.

While Glassons has yet to remove the models, it wouldn’t be the first company to do so. British chain Primark and lingerie retailer La Perla have also exchanged thin mannequins for those with more curves.


H/T: Stuff, Photos Courtesy: Twitter

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Why the fuck is increased thoughts of suicide a side effect of my anti-depressant.