The Secrets Of A Successful Social Media Strategy For Startups

The age of social media has disrupted conventional ways of advertising and transformed the way that businesses reach consumers. In recent years, social media itself has undergone radical changes. Mike Mandell is a leading lawyer on social media thanks to the popularity of his legal tips and entertaining posts. Here he shares his advice for startups and their founders.

Alison Coleman: Why is it so important for startups to develop a great social media strategy for their business?

Mike Mandell: In the past, companies had to spend years amassing a large following to have any hope of a substantial number of views. Today, short-form video content, 15 to 30 seconds in length, is the cutting edge. Quickly produced videos can launch a business into the spotlight overnight, or even faster.

By studying what captured the public’s attention, companies can follow up with more viral content on a consistent basis, keeping their brand relevant and vital. Social media represents a quantum leap in identifying niche markets. Algorithms know things about users that they might not know themselves. As the software learns more about individuals, its ability to influence them only grows.

Coleman: Many startup founders lack the time, resources, and budgets to create valuable viral content; how can they compete?

Mandell: First, let’s talk about budgets. With the dominance of short-form content, it’s not necessary to have one. Posting consistent, quality content alone can create a huge audience for your work. That said, even a shoestring budget can go far on social media. Allocating a few hundred bucks to boosting your posts would allow you to experiment until you see enough leads to justify the time and effort.

The beauty of this system is that cost scales with your success. If you’re making money, you’ll eventually want to hire staff to handle your social media. Businesses can do this more cheaply than they might expect. A million young people ache for these jobs, and they don’t expect a fortune in salary. They want in the game. That’s it. Keep in mind that these skills are learnable, as well. Consider offering paid internships.

Coleman: What tips do you have for startups for building a winning social media presence that pays dividends?

Mandell: Build an inventory before you launch. Have 10 to 20 videos on hand as a cushion. Avoid making your topics too time-sensitive, if you require your ‘rainy day’ fund for later, rather than sooner. Keep a list of your thoughts. You’d be surprised how often you can forget a brilliant idea if you don’t record it. Listen to followers and consumers; they’ll tell you what they want. On social media they leave comments. Read these and let the feedback, both positive and negative, guide your future content.

The algorithms favor consistency, and part of maintaining your audience is ensuring followers know when to expect something new. If you release new content on Monday and Friday, then do that consistently. Even consider letting subscribers know you’ll be going away on vacation for a week. If your content isn’t seeing sufficient returns, consider taking a hard look at its appeal from an audience-centered perspective.

Coleman: What’s the key to going viral?

Mandell: Firstly, you don’t need to go viral to have a successful social media presence. The key is engagement, not the number of views or your follower count. The more people engage with your content, the farther along you are in creating a community of supporters who love your brand.

Focus on that. I’d rather have 1,000 followers who engage with me all the time than 500,000 who never comment. People want to do business with someone they feel connected to, and social media provides you with that opportunity. A tight-knit audience that has ‘buy-in’ will do more for you than a huge passive following.

When it comes to creating viral content, the keys are to innovate, engage with followers, produce solid material, and release it on a consistent schedule. Most importantly, persist. One of the quickest ways to fail involves assuming you’ll strike gold, failing to do so, and quitting. Building a following on social media can be a grind. Luck does indeed play a role. But the longer you push, the luckier you are bound to get.Coleman: What are the common social media mistakes made by startups and small businesses, and how can they be corrected?

Mandell: Don’t develop a persona and try to perform. Be genuine. People respond to authenticity. And don’t bandwagon. If you just echo what everyone else is already saying, then you’ll get lost in the shuffle. Most people can tell you are just fishing for likes or followers. Instead, create a purposeful brand and stick to it, even when others shift in another direction. People can change their minds overnight, and they might switch back before you know it. Your consistency will beget their trust.

Be careful what you say. What you put online stays there. This goes for private messages, which someone could screenshot and share on multiple platforms. Finally, long-form content is popular – but only if you have a base audience that wants it. If not, short means short. If it’s not essential to post, remove it.

I’m a freelance journalist, founder of Coleman Media. For the last 20 years I’ve covered business stories for national and international online and

Source: The Secrets Of A Successful Social Media Strategy For Startups

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Nobel Prize Winner Has a Simple Trick to Learn Anything Quickly

The physicist Richard Feynman believed that simplicity was the key to learning. Feynman worked on the Manhattan Project when he was only 20 years old. He went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his work in quantum electrodynamics, along with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga.

Feynman believed that truth lies in simplicity and that things are easier to learn and retain when they’re simpler. When your knowledge of something is full of complex explanations and terms taken from textbooks, you’re less likely to grasp it.

He’s famously been quoted as saying, “You must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” The goal of learning is to understand the world better. But more often than not, the way we learn doesn’t help us to achieve this.

You end up memorizing something exactly as it’s written in a book or as the teacher explained it to you, so it doesn’t take long for this knowledge to disappear. This is where the Feynman technique comes in.

The idea is to make things simple enough for anyone to understand. In doing this, you can acquire a deep understanding of the topic you’re studying. The Feynman technique has four steps.

1. Choose a topic and start studying it

Feynman’s technique isn’t limited to mathematics or physics. You can apply it to anything.

2. Explain the topic to a child

This step allows you to establish whether you’ve learned what you studied or you just thought you had.Explain the concept in your own words as if you were trying to teach it to a child.

When you try to break things down into simple ideas with plainer vocabulary, you’ll realize whether or not your knowledge of the subject is sufficient. This makes it easy to identify any gaps in your knowledge.

3. Go back to the study material when you get stuck

Only when you can explain the subject in simple terms will you understand it.This means the knowledge will stick with you and not disappear, as it can when you try to memorize something.

Review your notes and study material for anything you still don’t understand.Try to explain it to yourself in an easy way. If it’s too difficult or if you have to use terms from a textbook, then you still haven’t got it.

4. Organize and review

Don’t stop until you can deliver a simple, natural explanation.Go back to steps two and three as many times as you need. It probably won’t take as long as you think.

By: and ,

Source: Nobel Prize Winner Has a Simple Trick to Learn Anything Quickly


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Will Cryptocurrency Face a Quantum Computing Problem?

“If current progress continues, quantum computers will be able to crack public key cryptography,” writes CNET, “potentially creating a serious threat to the crypto world, where some currencies are valued at hundreds of billions of dollars.” If encryption is broken, attackers can impersonate the legitimate owners of cryptocurrency, NFTs or other such digital assets.

“Once quantum computing becomes powerful enough, then essentially all the security guarantees will go out of the window,” Dawn Song, a computer security entrepreneur and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Collective[i] Forecast forum in October. “When public key cryptography is broken, users could be losing their funds and the whole system will break….”

“We expect that within a few years, sufficiently powerful computers will be available” for cracking blockchains open, said Nir Minerbi, CEO of quantum software maker Classiq Technologies. The good news for cryptocurrency fans is the quantum computing problem can be fixed by adopting the same post-quantum cryptography technology that the computing industry already has begun developing.

The U.S. government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, trying to get ahead of the problem, is several years into a careful process to find quantum-proof cryptography algorithms with involvement from researchers around the globe. Indeed, several cryptocurrency and blockchain efforts are actively working on quantum resistant software…

A problem with the post-quantum cryptography algorithms under consideration so far, though, is that they generally need longer numeric encryption keys and longer processing times, says Peter Chapman, CEO of quantum computer maker IonQ. That could substantially increase the amount of computing horsepower needed to house blockchains.

The real quantum test for cryptocurrencies will be governance structures, not technologies, says Hunter Jensen, chief technology officer of, a company using cryptocurrency for a targeted advertising system… “It will be the truly decentralized currencies which will get hit if their communities are too slow and disorganized to act,” said Andersen Cheng, chief executive at Post Quantum, a London based company that sells post-quantum encryption technology.

A quantum attack algorithm permutes and combines the wave functions of the qbits in a way to arrive at the right answer being the most likely. Run it a few times and the most likely answer will be the most common.

We know of two primary algorithms, Shor’s and Grover’s. Grovers reduces the complexity of a dictionary lookup to the square root of the normal complexity. So effectively halves the key size. Shor’s solved the dlog and factoring problem efficiently breaking RSA and ECC public key systems.

The approaches to making post quantum secure algorithms for Grover is to increase the key size. The approach for public key systems involves coming up with new public key systems based on other mathematics for which you can show there is no permutation or combination of the qbit wave functions that will yield and answer.

That part is a solved problem and there are many such algorithms, however the other problem is you have to show that your quantum secure algorithm is also secure from conventional cryptanalysis and this is where many promising algorithms (E.G. ones without ridiculous key sizes) have failed. The others will never make it anyway because they require silly amounts of data to be sent back and forth. Check out the NIST post quantum cryptography contenders for the current leaders in the pack.

Ignore any idiot telling you to just double encrypt – it doesn’t solve the public key problem and a block cipher is a bijective mapping. A bijective mapping applied to another bijective mapping is just another bijective mapping which will not upset Grover’s algorithm much. The problem space is in the realm of public key cryptography.

Source: Will Cryptocurrency Face a Quantum Computing Problem? – Slashdot


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Forget Everything You Think You Know About Time

In April 2018, in the famous Faraday Theatre at the Royal Institution in London, Carlo Rovelli gave an hour-long lecture on the nature of time. A red thread spanned the stage, a metaphor for the Italian theoretical physicist’s subject. “Time is a long line,” he said. To the left lies the past—the dinosaurs, the big bang—and to the right, the future—the unknown. “We’re sort of here,” he said, hanging a carabiner on it, as a marker for the present.

Then he flipped the script. “I’m going to tell you that time is not like that,” he explained.

Rovelli went on to challenge our common-sense notion of time, starting with the idea that it ticks everywhere at a uniform rate. In fact, clocks tick slower when they are in a stronger gravitational field. When you move nearby clocks showing the same time into different fields—one in space, the other on Earth, say—and then bring them back together again, they will show different times. “It’s a fact,” Rovelli said, and it means “your head is older than your feet.”

Also a non-starter is any shared sense of “now.” We don’t really share the present moment with anyone. “If I look at you, I see you now—well, but not really, because light takes time to come from you to me,” he said. “So I see you sort of a little bit in the past .” As a result, “now” means nothing beyond the temporal bubble “in which we can disregard the time it takes light to go back and forth.”

Rovelli turned next to the idea that time flows in only one direction, from past to future. Unlike general relativity, quantum mechanics, and particle physics, thermodynamics embeds a direction of time. Its second law states that the total entropy, or disorder, in an isolated system never decreases over time. Yet this doesn’t mean that our conventional notion of time is on any firmer grounding, Rovelli said.

Entropy, or disorder, is subjective: “Order is in the eye of the person who looks.” In other words the distinction between past and future, the growth of entropy over time, depends on a macroscopic effect—“the way we have described the system, which in turn depends on how we interact with the system,” he said.

“A million years of your life would be neither past nor future for me. So the present is not thin; it’s horrendously thick.”

Getting to the last common notion of time, Rovelli became a little more cautious. His scientific argument that time is discrete—that it is not seamless, but has quanta—is less solid. “Why? Because I’m still doing it! It’s not yet in the textbook.” The equations for quantum gravity he’s written down suggest three things, he said, about what “clocks measure.” First, there’s a minimal amount of time—its units are not infinitely small.

Second, since a clock, like every object, is quantum, it can be in a superposition of time readings. “You cannot say between this event and this event is a certain amount of time, because, as always in quantum mechanics, there could be a probability distribution of time passing.”

Which means that, third, in quantum gravity, you can have “a local notion of a sequence of events, which is a minimal notion of time, and that’s the only thing that remains,” Rovelli said. Events aren’t ordered in a line “but are confused and connected” to each other without “a preferred time variable—anything can work as a variable.”

Even the notion that the present is fleeting doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. It is certainly true that the present is “horrendously short” in classical, Newtonian physics. “But that’s not the way the world is designed,” Rovelli explained. Light traces a cone, or consecutively larger circles, in four-dimensional spacetime like ripples on a pond that grow larger as they travel. No information can cross the bounds of the light cone because that would require information to travel faster than the speed of light.

“In spacetime, the past is whatever is inside our past light-cone,” Rovelli said, gesturing with his hands the shape of an upside down cone. “So it’s whatever can affect us. The future is this opposite thing,” he went on, now gesturing an upright cone. “So in between the past and the future, there isn’t just a single line—there’s a huge amount of time.” Rovelli asked an audience member to imagine that he lived in Andromeda, which is two and a half million light years away. “A million years of your life would be neither past nor future for me. So the present is not thin; it’s horrendously thick.”

Listening to Rovelli’s description, I was reminded of a phrase from his book, The Order of Time : Studying time “is like holding a snowflake in your hands: gradually, as you study it, it melts between your fingers and vanishes.”

By : Brian Gallagher

Brian Gallagher is the editor of Facts So Romantic, the Nautilus  blog. Follow him on Twitter @BSGallagher.

Source: Forget Everything You Think You Know About Time


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Can Consciousness Be Explained By Quantum Physics?

One of the most important open questions in science is how our consciousness is established. In the 1990s, long before winning the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for his prediction of black holes, physicist Roger Penrose teamed up with anaesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff to propose an ambitious answer.

They claimed that the brain’s neuronal system forms an intricate network and that the consciousness this produces should obey the rules of quantum mechanics – the theory that determines how tiny particles like electrons move around. This, they argue, could explain the mysterious complexity of human consciousness.

Penrose and Hameroff were met with incredulity. Quantum mechanical laws are usually only found to apply at very low temperatures. Quantum computers, for example, currently operate at around -272°C. At higher temperatures, classical mechanics takes over. Since our body works at room temperature, you would expect it to be governed by the classical laws of physics. For this reason, the quantum consciousness theory has been dismissed outright by many scientists – though others are persuaded supporters.

Instead of entering into this debate, I decided to join forces with colleagues from China, led by Professor Xian-Min Jin at Shanghai Jiaotong University, to test some of the principles underpinning the quantum theory of consciousness.

In our new paper, we’ve investigated how quantum particles could move in a complex structure like the brain – but in a lab setting. If our findings can one day be compared with activity measured in the brain, we may come one step closer to validating or dismissing Penrose and Hameroff’s controversial theory.

Brains and fractals

Our brains are composed of cells called neurons, and their combined activity is believed to generate consciousness. Each neuron contains microtubules, which transport substances to different parts of the cell. The Penrose-Hameroff theory of quantum consciousness argues that microtubules are structured in a fractal pattern which would enable quantum processes to occur.

Fractals are structures that are neither two-dimensional nor three-dimensional, but are instead some fractional value in between. In mathematics, fractals emerge as beautiful patterns that repeat themselves infinitely, generating what is seemingly impossible: a structure that has a finite area, but an infinite perimeter.

This might sound impossible to visualise, but fractals actually occur frequently in nature. If you look closely at the florets of a cauliflower or the branches of a fern, you’ll see that they’re both made up of the same basic shape repeating itself over and over again, but at smaller and smaller scales. That’s a key characteristic of fractals.

The same happens if you look inside your own body: the structure of your lungs, for instance, is fractal, as are the blood vessels in your circulatory system. Fractals also feature in the enchanting repeating artworks of MC Escher and Jackson Pollock, and they’ve been used for decades in technology, such as in the design of antennas. These are all examples of classical fractals – fractals that abide by the laws of classical physics rather than quantum physics.

It’s easy to see why fractals have been used to explain the complexity of human consciousness. Because they’re infinitely intricate, allowing complexity to emerge from simple repeated patterns, they could be the structures that support the mysterious depths of our minds.

But if this is the case, it could only be happening on the quantum level, with tiny particles moving in fractal patterns within the brain’s neurons. That’s why Penrose and Hameroff’s proposal is called a theory of “quantum consciousness”.

Quantum consciousness

We’re not yet able to measure the behaviour of quantum fractals in the brain – if they exist at all. But advanced technology means we can now measure quantum fractals in the lab. In recent research involving a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM), my colleagues at Utrecht and I carefully arranged electrons in a fractal pattern, creating a quantum fractal.

When we then measured the wave function of the electrons, which describes their quantum state, we found that they too lived at the fractal dimension dictated by the physical pattern we’d made. In this case, the pattern we used on the quantum scale was the Sierpiński triangle, which is a shape that’s somewhere between one-dimensional and two-dimensional.

This was an exciting finding, but STM techniques cannot probe how quantum particles move – which would tell us more about how quantum processes might occur in the brain. So in our latest research, my colleagues at Shanghai Jiaotong University and I went one step further. Using state-of-the-art photonics experiments, we were able to reveal the quantum motion that takes place within fractals in unprecedented detail.

We achieved this by injecting photons (particles of light) into an artificial chip that was painstakingly engineered into a tiny Sierpiński triangle. We injected photons at the tip of the triangle and watched how they spread throughout its fractal structure in a process called quantum transport. We then repeated this experiment on two different fractal structures, both shaped as squares rather than triangles. And in each of these structures we conducted hundreds of experiments.

Our observations from these experiments reveal that quantum fractals actually behave in a different way to classical ones. Specifically, we found that the spread of light across a fractal is governed by different laws in the quantum case compared to the classical case.

This new knowledge of quantum fractals could provide the foundations for scientists to experimentally test the theory of quantum consciousness. If quantum measurements are one day taken from the human brain, they could be compared against our results to definitely decide whether consciousness is a classical or a quantum phenomenon.

Our work could also have profound implications across scientific fields. By investigating quantum transport in our artificially designed fractal structures, we may have taken the first tiny steps towards the unification of physics, mathematics and biology, which could greatly enrich our understanding of the world around us as well as the world that exists in our heads.

By: / Professor, Theoretical Physics, Utrecht University 

Source: Can consciousness be explained by quantum physics? My research takes us a step closer to finding out


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