Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise…not necessarily.

 

Waking up at an arbitrary time won’t help you succeed. Making a thoughtful decision to wake up at the time that’s most productive for YOU is all that matters.

Apple CEO Tim Cook starts his morning routine — not just his morning, his morning routine — at 3:45. General Motors CEO Mary Barra gets to the office by 6 a.m. Best-selling author Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) gets up at 4 a.m., has a smoothie and a cup of bulletproof coffee, and then grinds away. Ben Franklin of course woke at 6:30 each day and coined the phrase, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man health, ealthy, and wise.”

Clearly, waking up early works for them. 

But not for everyone.

As Adam Grant says, “The world’s most successful people aren’t worried about what time others wake up. They wake and work on the schedule that works for them.”

What seems right for early birds may not be right for you, because what time you start your day has nothing to do with your level of success.

Success is all about what you accomplish and, just as important, how you choose to accomplish it.

Early Birds.

Most people who choose to get up early do so because they can take advantage of a few hours of solitude. Fewer interruptions. Fewer emails. Fewer phone calls. Starting work earlier than everyone else lets you be proactive, not reactive, and lets you set the agenda for the day instead of having one set for you.

Others choose to get up early so they make sure they get their workout in and take advantage of the mood-boosting effect of exercise. (Research shows that as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise boosts your mood for the next 12 hours). 

Or maybe they just get up early because The Wall Street Journal says that 4 a.m. may be the most productive time of the day.

Later Birds

If you decide to start your workday at, say, 9 a.m., you can still structure your day in the most productive way possible for you. Simply create a routine that allows you to hit the ground running the way you want to run.

Maybe that means locking yourself away for a couple of hours. Maybe that means working from home, and then heading to the office. Or maybe that means shifting your quiet hours to the evening. No one says you have to start work before everyone else, you can just as easily finish work after everyone else.

Maybe that means training everyone around you to understand that the first two hours are your hours.

While that might sound impossible, don’t forget that everything you do “trains” people to treat you a certain way. Let employees interrupt your meetings or phone calls whenever they like, and people will naturally do so. Drop what you’re doing every time someone calls, and people will naturally always expect your immediate attention. Return emails immediately, and people will naturally expect you to immediately respond.

How you act and react “trains” people to treat you the way they wish, so start “retraining” them so you can work the way you work best.

The Most Successful Birds

When you start working doesn’t matter. When you stop working doesn’t matter. What matters is what you accomplish during the hours you work — and that means making an intentional decision about what time you get up and what time you start work.

Don’t get up at a certain time just because Tim Cook does. Don’t start work at a certain time just because Sallie Krawcheck does. 

It’s well known that many famous persons have had unusual sleep habits, da Vinci, Edison, Churchill, Clinton and even P Diddy. Recently I read a legend about da Vinci never sleeping more than 20 minutes at a time in any 24 hour period. The brain needs at least 90 minutes of sleep to go through the necessary phases to maintain health.

This system of sleeping (aka da Vinci sleep or Uberman sleep) is called Polyphasic Sleep. It uses short naps to reduce total sleep time to 2-5 hours a day. This is achieved by implementing many 20-30 minute naps throughout the day. Advocates say that polyphasic sleep allows for more productive awake hours. Heck even Google has power nap pods in their offices.540e44016da811784ef5facc-750-563

Though there are many variations of this form of sleep, a common schedule would be: 30 minute naps every fourth hour.

The reason many folks attempt to follow this alternate sleeping pattern is to increase their total waking hours. By decreasing sleep to only a few hours a day, these schedules do achieve that goal. In a year a “Poly” sleeper could gain an extra 45 days!

The main con to adapting an alternate sleep pattern includes being out of sync with the rest of the world, and difficulties maintaining such a rigid schedule.

Figure out what works best for you.

Success has nothing to do with what time you start. Or what time you finish. Success is all about what you accomplish.

Make a conscious decision about what time to get up. Not a reflexive choice or a copycat choice but a thoughtful, smart, and logical decision — based on what will make you most successful.

I think as I get older I will go with the da Vinci method.

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Buying From China Is in Fact Buying American

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Recently there are quite a few heated exchanges going on among the current roster of politicians running for president. Trump has been at the forefront of some of the criticism as even his own line of Trump clothing is made in China.

With boatloads of Chinese-made goods coming this way, and empty ships going the other way, some argue, we run a huge trade deficit. The argument then suggests that the “deficit” effectively exports U.S. jobs to China while we are importing goods from there. In my new company we are importers of high tech hardware from Shenzhen. I now believe that argument is complete nonsense.

Before I started my company I probably listened to too much of what our politicians preached. But then I began to look in more depth at the situation. Without using any Chinese-made products we would be lost, with no phones, no computers, no TVs, and so on. America has been running a trade deficit against China for a long time. It is importing from China lots of Apple iPhones, Dell computers, Gap shirts, Hasbro toys, Mattel dolls and Nike shoes. The list can go very long.

Careful eyes may immediately spot that those are all American companies. In fact, in a recent Forbes magazine article, Baizhu Chen, a professor of clinical finance and business economics at USC Marshall School of Business, pointed out the San Francisco Federal Reserve’s study that found 55% of the value of American imported goods from China actually goes to American companies and workers.

In comparison, American companies and workers only capture 36% of the value added of the import from all countries combined. Buying from China gives America a much better deal than buying from other countries in the world.

My manufacturer, Foxconn, is the same company that makes the iPhone so lets look at that as an example. In 2009, iPhones contributed about $2 billion, equivalent to 0.8% of the Sino-U.S. bilateral trade deficit. One iPhone 3GS is sold for about $600. These phones were exclusively manufactured by Foxconn.

To produce them, Foxconn had to import $10.75 worth of parts from American companies. The rest of its $172.46 components came from Korea, Japan, Germany, and elsewhere. Out of a $600 iPhone, how much does China get? A puny $6.50, or 1% of the value. Apple makes vastly more. Combining with other American companies making parts, America receives close to 70% of the value. The portion of America’s trade deficit against China truly contributed by iPhones based on value-added calculation is only a very small portion of $2 billion. Most of that $2 billion is, in fact, value captured by Apple and other American companies.

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China makes it possible for those companies to reward their shareholders handsomely and to provide thousands of high paying jobs in America. Yet our politicians, though they likely also use Chinese made Apple iPhones, blame China for stealing American jobs. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, America imported $375 billion of goods and services from China in 2010 and exported $115 billion to China. The Sino-U.S. bilateral trade deficit is $260 billion, more than 50% of America’s total of that year.

If we calculate based on value-added contribution by the two countries, using the San Francisco Federal Reserve study, America actually has a trade surplus of $70 billion. So it is quite puzzling to me that people in Washington are worried about America’s trade deficit with China. Using trade policies such as the trade bill being debated now to punish China for alleged currency manipulation actually penalizes companies like Apple, Dell, Gap, Hasbro, Mattel, Nike, and others. It penalizes not only poor American families and small businesses, like my own, that make ends meet by relying on inexpensive Chinese products, but also thousands of high-paid American workers who work for those companies

Apple’s iTunes Turns 10.

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I was a typical iTunes consumer. Since it was launched 10 years ago I used it often to download songs, but not as much as I used to.

Today however there are so many other options, such as free online radio services Pandora and iHeartRadio, music-listening on YouTube and on-demand services including Spotify and Rhapsody that let you listen to millions of complete songs for a monthly fee.

Now as Apple prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the iTunes Music Store on Sunday, it sees a radically different music landscape not as predicated on downloads.

Ten years ago, record stores were in full force (although hurting) and music downloading was something young folks did at pirate websites. The introduction of iTunes, where all songs were 99 cents and could be easily transferred to an iPod, made downloading mainstream.
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“We thought if consumers had a great, legal way to download music, they would embrace it,” says Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue. “Apple was floored, as were the labels, when customers bought over 1 million songs during the first week.”

The iTunes Store launched with 200,000 songs and now has 26 million. Within 10 years, it would become the top retailer of music, selling more music than Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy. Record store chains Tower and Sam Goody are out of business.

When Apple reported its quarterly financial results this week, it said it sold a record $4.1 billion worth of media on iTunes, but that includes music, movies and TV shows, books and apps. In 10 years, some 25 billion songs have been sold on iTunes. Less clear is how long the music download party will continue.

“There is a major shift to how consumers consume music, and it’s driven by the smartphone,” says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

The ubiquitous smartphone — whether it be the iPhone, an Android model, or a recent BlackBerry or Windows phone — has storage for our contacts, a Web browser and the ability to listen to multitudes of songs over the air.

The iTunes store dominated by downloads “is on its last gasp,” says Bob Lefsetz, a former music industry lawyer and blogger at the Lefsetz Letter. “YouTube is where most young people listen to music now.” (More than 1 billion people visit the site each month.)

“When iTunes turns 15 years old, we won’t be talking about downloads, because Apple won’t be selling them,” he says.

Apple until now has resisted expanding beyond downloads, saying consumers wanted to own songs, not “rent” them.

But this year, perhaps as early as June, it is expected to unveil a personalized radio service similar to the popular Pandora (which has 200 million registered users) that would get prominent display on Apple devices.

When the service analysts have called “iRadio” launches, downloads will no longer be as dominant, says Ted Cohen, a former executive with record label EMI who runs the Tag Strategic consulting firm. “People will say, `Why didn’t anyone think of this before?’ Apple wasn’t the first to have music downloads. But when iTunes Store launched, people acted like it hadn’t been done before, because Apple did it so well.”
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In a sign of the times, Apple appears to be testing the waters for online streaming. In iTunes now, a preview of country singer Kenny Chesney’s new Life on a Rock album can be listened to in its entirety online — several days before the album is available as a download sale. Earlier this year, Apple streamed new albums from Justin Timberlake and Depeche Mode.
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Yet despite the acclaim for music services such as Spotify and Pandora, downloads still dominate how consumers obtain digital music, says Russ Crupnick, an analyst at researcher NPD Group.

According to the worldwide music trade group, the IFPI, some $5.6 billion was spent on digital music in 2012, with downloads accounting for 80%. Revenue from music services grew from 14% in 2011 to 20% in 2012.

Customers of services such as Rhapsody (with over 1 million subscribers) and Spotify (5 million) are in major population centers, NPD’s Crupnick says, and they don’t care as much about owning music. Elsewhere, though, “there are tens of millions of people who still, even if it’s on a phone, still want their iTunes collection,” he adds.

NPD gives Apple a 63% market share for music download sales in the most recent fourth quarter, compared with its closest competitor, Amazon, at 22%. Last year 44 million Americans bought at least one song track or album download, a statistic that has remained stable over the last three years, Crupnick says.

“If downloads were still important, we’d all need more storage,” Lefsetz says. “Apple knows which direction this is going.”

Google Caught in Our “Cookie” Jars

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Google intentionally circumvented the default privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser, using a backdoor to set cookies on browsers set to reject them, in the latest privacy debacle for the search and advertising giant.

Google immediately disabled the practice after the Wall Street Journal disclosed the practice this week..

Safari, which accounts for about 6% of desktop browsing and more than 50% of mobile browsing, is the only major browser to block so-called third party cookies by default..at least I thought so before the article…

When you visit a website, all browsers, including Safari, allow that site to put a small tracking file on your computer, which allows the site to identify a unique user, track what they have done and remember settings. However, many sites also have Facebook “Like” buttons, ads served by third parties, weather widgets powered by other sites or comment systems run by a third party.

Safari blocks the sites that power those services from setting or reading cookies, so a Facebook widget on a third-party site, for instance, can’t tell if you are logged in, so it can’t load a personalized widget. Google, along with a number of ad servers, were caught by Mayer avoiding this block, using a loophole in Safari that lets third parties set cookies if the browser thinks you are filling out an online form.

Google’s rationale seems to be that Apple’s default settings don’t adhere to standard web practices and don’t actually reflect what users want, since the browser never asks users if that’s the privacy setting they want. Facebook even goes so far as to suggest to outside developers that getting around the block is a best practice! Ha we are all already concerned about privacy and they call this back door approach a best practice?

Google said it used the backdoor so that it could place +1 buttons on ads it places around the web via its Adsense program, so that logged-in Google+ users could press the button to share an ad. Without the work-around, the button wouldn’t be able to tell Google which Google account to link the button to.

Now if Safari weren’t so dominant on mobile to the popularity of the iPhone, it’d hardly be worth the code to get at the 6% of desktop users.

But more to the point, if this is a problem for Google and Facebook, and if the defaults actually do mess with user’s expectations, it would seem that there are better ways to bring attention to the issue than getting busted working around them. What do you guys think? Are we watched every cyber second of the day?

My American business hero died today…Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs the innovative co-founder of Apple who transformed personal use of technology as well as entire industries with products such as the iPod, iPad, iPhone, Macintosh computer and the iTunes music store, died today.

The iconic American CEO, whose impact many have compared to auto magnate Henry Ford and Walt Disney— whom Jobs openly admired — abruptly stepped down from his position as CEO of Apple in August because of health concerns. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, a former Apple board member, called Jobs the best CEO of the past 50 years — perhaps 100 years. I would agree…he has become almost a cult hero among all of us in the tech community.

A seminal business and technology leader, Jobs’ success flowed from a relentless focus on making products that were easy and intuitive for the average consumer to use. His products were characterized by groundbreaking design and style that, along with their technological usefulness, made them objects of intense desire by consumers around the world.

He was known as a demanding, mercurial boss and an almost mystical figure in technology circles as well as American popular culture. Author and business consultant Jim Collins once called Jobs the “Beethoven of business.” He was one of the figures who made Silicon Valley the capital of technological innovation and related venture capital fortunes.
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He revolutionized the computing business with Mac, he revolutionized the music business with iTunes and he turned the telephony business on its ear with the iPhone. He reinvented several businesses too, Pixar gave animation a whole new life. A fact that I just learned today as a retailer, Apple Stores are the most profitable per square foot retail spaces in the world.

And finally as a marketer…my former ad agency network produced the advertising for Apple and without a doubt created some of the most outstanding commercials in the industry for the Apple Brand. Who does remember the famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial or the iconic “think Different” campaign.
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Jobs’ work at Apple and other projects made him a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine in 2011 at $8.3 billion. He was No.110 on Forbes’ list of billionaires worldwide and No.34 in the United States, as of the magazine’s March 2011 estimates.

It will surely be missed and everyone has to wonder who will lead Apple not just in the Boardroom but in the “kitchen” where the ideas are created.

Unusual CEO

Steve Jobs earned a $1 annual salary every year since he rejoined Apple in 1997. While many $1-a-year CEOs reap big back-end stock and options packages, Jobs was almost a financial ascetic: He collected no stock awards most years, no cash bonuses and no perks, even turning down a 401(k) match from Apple.

Apple’s market cap has risen from less than $2 billion to over $355.6 billion under Steve’s leadership, making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.