Etihad exec embarks on round the world record attempt

Senior Etihad Airways executive, Andrew Fisher, will embark on a journey of a lifetime on Sunday when he attempts to break the world record by flying around the globe in the shortest time frame on scheduled flights, and with the fewest number of sectors.

Fisher, who works as the airline’s vice president fleet planning, hopes to shave three hours off the current record of over 55 hours by completing the journey in only four sectors. 

His flight path begins in the early hours of Sunday morning in Shanghai, taking him to Auckland, Buenos Aires and Amsterdam before returning to the Chinese city in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

“It’s about time the job was done,” he said. “The planning has taken a long time, essentially to ensure the flight timings, routings and transits are kept as tight as possible and there is only a short window of opportunity for this to happen.”

The progress of Andrew’s record-breaking attempt can be followed on Twitter at @AndrewFisherNZ

Is BA to follow Emirates with new order for A380s?

Airbus is in talks to sell new A380 superjumbo planes to British Airways this year after securing a program-saving deal from Gulf operator Emirates, according to people familiar with the matter.

The UK carrier, which currently has 12 A380s in its fleet, had said in the past that it was looking for six to seven second-hand A380s. Now it’s considering taking a larger number of new ones, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Airbus’s outgoing head of sales,  John Leahy, said on Bloomberg Television Friday he was confident the European planemaker would secure one more A380 order this year. That customer is British Airways, the people said. Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, and BA parent IAG declined to comment.

British Airways is interested in the superjumbo because of the jet’s ability to maximize the number of passengers per flight at its London Heathrow hub, which is running close to capacity limits. The carrier’s main focus is on North Atlantic routes that are among the world’s busiest long-haul services, and it ranks as the No. 1 operator of Boeing’s 747 jumbo, the second-biggest passenger plane after the A380.

BA is examining a deal for new planes after concluding that refurbishing used examples of the Airbus behemoth for its own needs would be too expensive, one of the people said. The carrier’s superjumbos are fitted out in a four-class configuration featuring 469 seats, according to its website.
Order Drought

IAG CEO Willie Walsh has been mulling the business case for second-hand A380s for as least two years, with planes becoming available as the oldest ones come off lease from Singapore Airlines after a decade of service. Walsh also ran the rule over six younger aircraft deemed surplus to requirements at Malaysia Airlines Bhd.

An order for new double-deckers from IAG would help vindicate Airbus’s efforts to save the A380, which Leahy said Monday might be scrapped after failing to attract a buyer for more than two years. That was before Dubai-based Emirates announced its deal for as many as 36 planes worth $16 billion.

While Airbus says that order will keep the A380 production line going for more than a decade, it’s still looking at slashing build rates to just six annually from 12 this year. Follow-on orders from carriers such as British Airways are therefore still vital in lifting the annual tally to a level where the manufacturer can break even on each plane.

20 Businesses You Can Start for Less Than $20

Whoever coined the phrase “You have to spend money to make money,” probably had more than $20 in mind. Yet in today’s business landscape, it’s entirely possible to start your own company with a little help from President Andrew Jackson–and succeed!

You can start the following 25 businesses for less than $20. So empty your piggy bank, open your mind, and dive into entrepreneurship without drowning in debt.

1. Pet Sitting

Become a paid pet sitter with an investment of $0 thanks to one of many dog sitting services out there. It’s usually free to join and create a profile. and are popular services. 

2. House Sitting

Most people need a reliable, trustworthy house sitter at one point or another. Start offering your services to stay in peoples’ homes and care for pets, plants, and the property right in your neighborhood.

3. Babysitting

Advertise your childcare services for free on Craigslist, and other services, then start watching other people’s kids for no investment (other than the gas to get there).

4. Blogging and Promoting It

Set up your own website using a free service like Wix or WordPress and start creating original content for the world to see.

Then, utilize online services that can help you promote your blog through social media and other avenues. is an example. Once you gain traction, some of these services will even let you use the money you make on commissions to help promote other people.

5. Direct Sales

Trying the direct sales route can cost as low as $10 depending on the company. Avon and Mary Kay are some of the more famous companies in this space. The initial fee usually covers membership, training, marketing tools, and samples. 

6. Selling Used Books

Sell books that are sitting around your house for a profit on one of several online sites like Once you start making money, you can buy more expensive used books and sell them for even more. 

7. Cleaning

Clean houses, windows, or cars for less than $20 by purchasing basic cleaning supplies and marketing yourself to friends and family members.

8. Driving for Uber or Lyft

It’s free to sign up to drive for Uber and Lyft. If your vehicle doesn’t meet the required standards, try a rental solution from either of the two.

9. Consulting

If there’s something you know quite a bit about (website design, health and beauty, knitting, etc.) consider becoming a consultant.

This is of course easier said than done and can take a while. You’ll want to obtain any licenses that are necessary, research and choose which customers to target, all the while building your network so you can get to know the right people.

10. Tutoring

Market tutoring skills for free with people you know and online platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Many of the online services even help tutors find tutors themselves so they can expand what they teach.

11. Professional Organizing

Become a professional organizer with help from social media. A locally targeted Facebook ad for example costs $20 or less.

12. Tour Guiding

Offer tour guides by signing up for free with a one of the sites or apps out there. One called will find your tourists for you in exchange for a percentage of what you earn.

13. Tax Preparing

With tax season on the way, this is a promising option. Search “tax preparation no experience” online. Plenty of companies are willing to train you in time for tax season.

14. Flea Market Vending

Have old stuff you want to sell lying around your house? Become a flea market vendor for less than $20 per day.

15. Selling on Etsy or Ebay

It’s free to sign up on Etsy and start selling your handmade goods there. Your products can be virtually anything you make yourself.

Ebay is an enticing option (as is Craigslist, OfferUp, and other such resale sites) if you want to make money selling old stuff lying around your house or resell cheap thrift store finds for a profit.

16. Running Errands

Professional errand running is a popular niche if you have spare time and (preferably) a vehicle. Join TaskRabbit for an immediate customer base.

17. Delivering Food

Become an independently contracted delivery partner with one of many food apps. Some include Caviar, Doordash or Postmates. They allow you to make your own hours, be your own boss, and get paid–all for less than $20. It’s usually free to sign up.

18. Freelance Bartending

Start out with freelance bartending by volunteering to tend bar at charity events to get experience. Work with clients who already have the necessary equipment to keep it cheap.

19. Training Dogs

Try your hand at dog training. You might already have experience with your own pets or take to Google for some excellent tips and tricks. Start with friends and family and expand.

20. Managing Social Media

Many millennials have an advanced understanding of social media platforms. Turn your knowledge into cash by offering social media management services. You might be surprised what local businesses will pay. 

If you want to follow your entrepreneurial spirit but you’re low on cash, don’t give up – use these ideas to get you started without breaking the bank.

You can launch a business for little initial investment and with a bit of luck have it take off. If can start in a garage, so can your next big idea.


Which Design Style Is Best for Your Explainer Video?

According to researchers in Canada, the average attention span has dropped to eight seconds over the last decade. That means you have a shorter window than ever to capture your  customers’ attention and “sell” your product. Simple  animation videos, when done correctly, can provide this hook. Studies show they can engage your prospects and provide as much as an 80% boost in conversion rates, according to video marketing expert Rohan Kale, founder of But how do you choose between a 2D explainer video and whiteboard animation video? And what’s the difference between these two formats anyway? Kale walks through the options and when to use each format for optimal results.

2D Explainer Videos:

2D motion graphic promotional videos could be motion graphics and/or cartoon animationw,” Kale notes. “These videos are being used by a majority of the businesses on their websites, landing pages, social media, advertising, etc. They generally appeal most to the crucial 25-45 age demographic. Motion graphics are often used by B2B businesses such as financial services, software, health industry, e-learning companies, accounting firms, legal services and web technology.”

If you want to make a 2D video for your business, the best practices include keeping them short — under 2 minutes — and quickly highlighting the benefits of your product or services. “These videos should be colorful, dynamic and represent a brand very professionally,” Kale says. They should also “create an ‘aha’ moment in your prospect’s mind.”

Motion graphics can also be helpful for explaining a process, how a product works or why a service matters. For example, this video for Blue Triangle Tech explains how their platform works — quickly and in terms anyone can understand.

Cartoons are another option in this category. “Cartoon videos are mostly used by B2C businesses that have a light-hearted and fun brand. Some of these businesses are App providers and Software-as-Service (SaaS) companies,” Kale says. “Cartoon videos, like this one for Energizer, are loved by consumers. Clients can relate to the character in the video, which makes them more appealing.”

2D explainer videos are not simply good for online sales. They can also create an impact during conferences, investor pitches, trade shows, events and anywhere else the company meets the public. Kale says you can’t go wrong as long as “the graphics used for 2D videos depict the things that your prospect sees/feels/hears and does on a daily business basis,”

Whiteboard videos:

Whiteboard videos have been pretty popular since the early 2000s. Kale notes that “due to the nature of video, where a hand does the concept explanation, these videos are mostly popular with the 40+ age demographics.”

Whiteboard videos are mainly used on websites to explain detailed offerings. As a result, they tend to be slower and longer than 2D explainer videos, generally running from 3-5 minutes or more). “The best use of whiteboard video is to break down a complex concept into a step-by-step procedure or process,” explains Kale.

These videos can be used in both B2B and B2C spaces. “Businesses like the educational training industry, insurance business, or dating industry benefit a lot from them,” Kale adds. Because you watch as the pictures are being “drawn,” they can make even relatively flat content (like the contents of this Water Allocation Plan) visually interesting. “The graphics used for whiteboard videos should depict a detailed story about how the customer goes from point A to point B,” Kale says. Because they are easier to make than 2D explainer videos, they tend to be cheaper, which is an added attraction for users.

“Both 2D explainer videos and whiteboard videos can work for your business. Which is best depends on your industry, your demographic, and your budget,” Kale notes. He adds that these videos can always be used in combination as well. “The most important thing is to take that first step towards video marketing,” Kale counsels. “The goal of both is to make video more engaging, so that the user takes the necessary call to action.” The above advice can help you pick the right style for your audience. If you have not considered a video as part of your 2018 marketing plan, now is the time.



Adidas Just Released Smart Sneakers That Go Where No Sneaker Has Gone Before

It’s no surprise that all 500 pairs of the limited edition sneakers flew off the shelves. People lined up days in advance to secure a chance at buying a pair, à la Ikea.

The shoes? Adidas EQT Support 93/Berlin.

The allure? These sneakers have a fabric Berlin transit card stitched into the tongues. It’s valid for an annual pass across the A and B zones on Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Berlin’s public transportation company.

The equivalent annual pass costs about $931. The sneakers — free annual pass included — cost just €180, or $220. If you got your hands on a pair and use Berlin’s trains, buses and trams to get around, these were a steal.

Public transportation riders don’t need to scan their feet to enter the subway or hop on a bus. Berlin has controller who check riders’ validated tickets. If you’re sporting a pair of the Adidas EQT Support 93/Berlins, all you have to do is point to your feet. For your “ticket” to be valid, you must be wearing both shoes.

But now for the bigger question: Why exactly did Adidas make these sneakers? It’s part of a collaboration with BVG. BVG wants to communicate the message that riding public transportation is cool, according to a piece in The Guardian. They’re hoping this move boosts ridership among younger people.

Bitte nicht nachmachen!⠀ ⠀ Der @adidas_de EQT Support 93/BERLIN ist am 16.01. (11 Uhr instore) bei uns erhältlich.⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ @bvg_weilwirdichlieben ⠀ #weilwirdichlieben #adidaseqt #adidasoriginals #adidas #bvg #teamoverkill #overkillshop #overkillshop #teameqt

A post shared by OVERKILL® (@overkillshop) on Jan 15, 2018 at 6:38am PST

The sewn-in BVG transit card is just one design element of these sneakers. They also feature the black, blue and red camouflage pattern from BVG’s train seats. A small yellow heart stitched onto the side represents BVG logo.

The translated tweet reads: “Yes, these are sneakers in the BVG design. Yes, they are valid as an annual ticket. No, you can’t put them on the seat.” (Even though one picture features someone putting their feet on the seat.)

“The motivation behind the collaboration is really to get young people on to public transport,” BVG spokesperson Petra Reetz told The Guardian, “We wanted to tell young people public transport is cool – you don’t need to buy a car.”

Simple 5 Step Plan to Improve Your Company and Yourself in 2018

The start of a new year is a great opportunity to better yourself —and your company. And the road to improvement is easier than you think.

As the year goes on, and you start to get bogged down by seemingly endless new projects, it’s easy to sacrifice your long-term betterment for short-term wins for both you and your team.

But not this year.

While you’re still in New Year’s resolution mode, here are five habits to think about as you enter 2018.

Lead by listening.

Office environments where things are questioned and challenged tend to produce better results–sometimes slower results, but better ones nonetheless. A diversity of opinions and viewpoints makes for better products, and the best way to foster that is simple: just listen.

Resist the urge to give snap judgments toward anybody’s input–even if you don’t initially agree. It only takes one quick rejection for an employee to fear that they aren’t being heard.

The best office dynamics are ones where employees don’t just feel compelled to offer opinions, they know that management is listening. And creating that atmosphere isn’t as difficult as you may believe.

Know the weight of your words.

Google’s Eric Schmidt has sound advice for CEOs and other influential executives: Choose your comments wisely.

In a meeting environment, if you comment on each and every topic mentioned, your employees won’t be able to tell what’s most important to you. Likewise, while meeting with your employees, avoid coming to the table with an overload of ideas. If you mention five different objectives, you risk employees taking on too much in an effort to complete them all.

Instead, think of the most important thing–and just say that. Understand that you have an obligation to be clear, and you’ll be rewarded with productivity.

Schedule a lunch with all your employees.

Depending on your company’s size, it may be easy for your employees to feel overlooked by management. To begin the year, take time to ensure that doesn’t happen.

If possible, schedule a lunch meeting with each of your employees. If that’s not feasible, go for groups of five or 10. A little facetime can go a long way, and you might be surprised at the conversations that sprout from a simple lunch.

Each time I visit my company’s office in Russia, I have a sign-up sheet sent to all our employees for a one-hour small group lunch each day.

I request that each person come with three questions and two pieces of feedback for me. These lunches have sparked great ideas and conversation, and also present an opportunity to be transparent about recent management decisions.

While you’re at it, schedule a few meetings with yourself. It may sound crazy, but as I’ve written in the past, scheduling a pair of 90-minute “meetings” every week are a great opportunity to organize and prioritize your goals.

Give yourself permission to value you.

Nine out of 10 people would probably tell you they prioritize their family first. But how many of those are consistently home in time for dinner with their spouse and kids?

This year, get in the habit of disconnecting and leaving the office when your business day is over.

Similarly, dedicate time to your personal health. Start with just one sixty-minute time block each week for a workout, a meditation session or anything that can improve your physical or mental health.

Things like proper nutrition, exercise and getting enough sleep may seem elusive, but granting yourself enough time to satisfy your wellness will pay long-term dividends–both in and out of the office.

Read a new book every month.

There’s one thread that almost all great leaders and executives have in common: They’re all voracious readers.

Growing and diversifying your bookshelf will help you think about innovative approaches and could open your eyes to viewpoints or strategies you hadn’t ever considered.

I’m constantly putting my own twist on ideas I read when applying them to my company, Arkadium. A book that I recently read, called Learn or Die by Ed Hess, gave me some great ideas on how to revamp our learning and development program.

Don’t limit yourself to how-to guides or philosophy reads, either. Elon Musk credits a science-fiction novel as one of the books that helped shape his outlook. Oprah Winfrey calls Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird one of her favorites.

Open 12 new books in 2018, and this year might be your most eye-opening one yet.

The NFL Needs a Massive Rebrand. Here’s the Group That Might Be Able to Spearhead It

With compounding scandals plaguing the NFL and controversy over the handling (or mishandling) coming from fans, players, politicians, and even between the 32 teams and their franchise owners, the league is in desperate need of a rebrand. And the decision over who will be the next owner or owners of the Carolina Panthers could be pivotal in how the NFL repositions itself.

The original owner of the Carolina Panthers, Jerry Richardson is selling his rights to the team after it became public that the Panthers organization made multiple confidential settlements for incidents of sexual misconduct and a racial slur by Richardson.

It’s not just Richardson though. The last five years have been the perfect storm of scandals contributing to indicators of slowing growth in the NFL brand. The newly formed Carolina Keep Pounding, LLC, a diverse ownership group, is shaping up to be the bid that could help the NFL brand pivot to put a bigger emphasis on fan value.

Scandal Effect Indicators On Brand Value

The NFL is the most popular sports league, reportedly earning over $14 billion in the 2016-17 season. It’s not new to dealing with potential brand (and revenue) damaging scandals. But the long-term effect of compounding scandals potentially impacting the bottom line should be the most troubling for brand NFL:

  • Drop in TV Ratings – Ratings and viewership has been trending down due to a slow adoption of new media arrangements and controversial sponsorship with DraftKings and FanDuel that has fallen flat with many fans.
  • Empty Seats – The divisive scandal involving kneeling during the National Anthem is reported to have been impacting ticket sales with many fans streaming videos of low attendance and empty stadiums.
  • Decreased Interscholastic Football Participation – The pervasive concussion problem has resulted in lower enrollment of kids playing football. According to the California Interscholastic Federation, football participation decreased by 3.12 percent this year and is down 10 percent this decade.
  • 20 Percent Dip In Product Sales – The National Anthem and sex scandals have been noted by licensees as contributing to the problem of declining merchandising revenue. If you follow my column you know how frequently I cite the statistic that 85% of retail sales is controlled by women. NFL merchandising is no different and the effect is being seen at the cash register with a reported 20 percent dip in NFL merchandise, the largest decline in a decade. Note: The Washington Redskins name controversy alone, led to a year-over-year drop of 43.8 percent.

Carolina #KeepPounding In Charlotte

So who’s behind Carolina Keep Pounding? It’s a coalition of seasoned and multicultural entrepreneurs, investors, Hall of Famers, political figures and philanthropists aiming to acquire the Panthers and keep the team in Charlotte. The group is led by Charlotte-bred entrepreneur Arthur Wylie, whose team of advisors includes civil rights pioneer and Washington Post proclaimed power broker Bob Brown, and his firm BC International’s senior partners, Osyris Uqoezwa and Larry Yon. BC is the oldest and most respected minority-owned global strategy firms.

In addition to Wylie, Brown, and Uqoezwa, the Carolina Keep Pounding team also includes: former Carolina Panthers; John Mazzarino, founder of the $2 billion fund Cherokee Investment Partners; Michael Rollins who runs Jamaica’s Rose Hall Estates and is a member of the Rollins family, the commercial services company behind Orkin Pest Control; and Dale Godboldo philanthropic investor and actor (“The People v. OJ Simpson”). The group is already gaining support from local and state government officials for the city of Charlotte and the Carolinas. Discussions are underway with other high-profile investment partners in efforts to build a well-resourced, diverse team.

Do They Have What It Takes?

If this group is committed to developing everything they need to be a strong franchise partner and direct the Carolina brand, then they need the right skills for brand value zone coverage. Every good brand needs to have these four critical factors to build sustainable growth value:

  1. Media Business Skills: In this case, being business savvy means media and merchandising more than it does sports. The members of the Carolina Keep Pounding team have depth in many diverse areas of media and sports business strategy, investment and tactics making them a fit to steer a brand franchise.
  2. Fan First Focus: According to the Carolina Panthers Twitter page, “The fan is the most valuable member of our team.” Understanding who Panther fans are and why they love the team is essential to building fan trust – the real key to brand growth. 
  3. Integrity Heart: This goes deeper than supporting local charities, having a youth program and wearing camouflage on Veteran’s Day. This is a commitment to the responsibility as role models and people of integrity. Doing what has heart has always been a better bottom-line strategy.
  4. Diversity: Again this goes deep…deeper than skin color. This is about diversity in perspective, age, political leanings, cultural experience, gender, and economic background. Retail brands that have homogeneous management have weak products and even weaker fan loyalty. 

This Carolina Keep Pounding team seems to cover the field with cultural and age diversity, heart, media experience, and passion as fans and as locals. But the question remains as to whether or not they fit the brand plans and re-brand efforts by the NFL and its ownership. There is a tremendous amount of NFL franchise brand value riding on the decision of who will be awarded this elite investment opportunity. It is not just about who can write the biggest check.

Chuwi SurBook Mini hands-on: A compact workhorse that ticks all the boxes

I have been using the Surbook Mini for several weeks now as my main work machine — initially as a tablet PC with a stylus, but for the last week, as a PC with the additional keyboard.

Windows 10 Surface Pro 4 lookalike: Chuwi’s Surbook goes the budget route

Chuwi has unveiled a Surface Pro 4 clone, but one that features Intel’s lower-end Apollo Lake processor.

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At first glance, the Chuwi SurBook Mini looks exactly like its big brother, Surbook, which I reviewed in September 2017. But there are some subtle differences in this mighty mini.

Obviously, it is a smaller device overall. The product size is 268.9mm x 183.9mm, and it is 8.7-mm thick. The SurBook’s aluminium body has dimensions of 297.8mm x 203.3mm and 9.4mm thick. The Mini weighs 686g.

Inside this Windows 10 tablet PC, there is an Intel Apollo Lake N3450 quad core 64-bit CPU with a ninth-generation Intel HD 500 graphics card at 700Mhz frequency. Its 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage should be more than enough for the road warrior or commuter.

Read also: Windows 10 on MacBook Air clone? Latest Chuwi budget laptop is Apple lookalike | Chuwi Hi13 review: The tablet that thinks it’s a laptop | Windows 10 laptops: Chuwi prices its new hi-res display Lapbook 12.3 at $350

The screen is an impressive 10.8 inches, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The side borders of the screen are quite wide at almost an inch. I do feel that Chuwi could have reduced the bezels and increased the screen real estate. Like the SurBook, the kickstand extends up to 125 degrees.

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The SurBook Mini has a simplified array of ports on the side of the housing. There are two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C for video, audio, and device charging. It also has a 3.5mm audio jack. Its 8000mAh battery is more than adequate for several hours work

I was disappointed with the camera on the SurBook Mini. It has a 2-megapixel front camera and 2-megapixel rear camera. This resolution is perfectly adequate for video calls, but it lacked on still image quality. The larger SurBook managed to squeeze a 5-megapixel rear camera into its body.

Read also: Chuwi’s Hi13 13.5-inch convertible tablet is $369 Surface Book alternative | Chuwi Hi 10 plus tablet review-a low cost dual boot tablet with great performance | Elephone S8 hands-on: A solid, no-nonsense phone for business use

I noticed the difference between images taken with each device. However, this was not a showstopper for me, as I take most of my pictures from my mobile phone.

Installing Windows 10 was a breeze on this Windows 10 Creators Update 15063 build. Cortana voice prompts let you do most of the install by voice. After many, many Windows 10 installs, I really enjoyed this one.

Cortana is also ready as soon as the PC has finished building. Previously, I had to manually download the speech and language modules for UK English before I could use this feature. This version just works well. I was impressed.

Performance is good for such a compact device — faster than a lot of Android tablets I have tried — and the smaller format keyboard (additional purchase) is well laid out and has good key travel.

The additional stylus is very responsive. Overall, this is a very nice mini Windows 10 device, and for around $250, you cannot go far wrong.

Previous and related coverage

Chuwi SurBook hands-on: A high-performing Surface clone

The Chuwi SurBook is an affordable, high-performing alternative to the Microsoft Surface and the Apple iPad Pro.

Windows 10 Surface Pro 4 lookalike: Chuwi’s Surbook goes the budget route

Chuwi has unveiled a Surface Pro 4 clone, but one that features Intel’s lower-end Apollo Lake processor.

Chuwi Lapbook Air hands on: A slim, beautiful PC — but no touching

Chuwi’s Lapbook Air is slim and lovely, and it looks like a laptop costing twice as much.