The Chrome Extensions the WIRED Staff Can't Live Without

Nearly two-thirds of internet users turn to Chrome for their browsing needs, but far fewer take full advantage of its available extensions, the add-ons that elevate it from good to great. If you’re one of those plain vanilla Chrome users—or if you’ve only dabbled in the extensions game—check out these sprinkles of joy that the WIRED staff swears by.

The following list of Chrome extension recommendations is by no means comprehensive; there are plenty to explore and discover in the Chrome Web Store. (If you go exploring, just make sure you stick with reputable developers.) But these are the ones we depend on every day to keep our internet experience as sane and enjoyable as possible. May they do the same for you.

Wayback Machine

Have you ever clicked on an interesting link, only to be greeted by a 404 Error? Wayback Machine’s Chrome extension can help. Created by the Internet Archive—a nonprofit that preserves billions of web pages—the extension shows you what a website looked like in the past, even if has since been deleted. It can turn up the most recent version of a page it has saved, or go back to the first time the Internet Archive recorded it. That latter can be especially illuminating. For example, you can see what a user’s Twitter account looked like when they created it, or how a company’s website appeared when it first launched. One drawback: Wayback Machine doesn’t have a record of every webpage on the internet. But it can also help you prevent others from vanishing in the future: The extension lets you save the web page you’re currently visiting to the Internet Archive’s database. —Staff writer Louise Matsakis

The Great Suspender

You’ll find many tab management solutions on this list, but the best by far for my purposes is the Great Suspender, an extension which, as the name suggests, suspends any Chrome tabs that you’ve left fallow for a given amount of time. As someone who keeps well over a dozen tabs open at any given time during the day—and often more—being been an inestimable boon to my laptop and my sanity. And when it’s time to revisit a page, a simple click springs it back to life. It also lets you whitelist any tabs, like Gmail, that are too precious to suspend. —News editor Brian Barrett

PixelBlock

Have I read your email? That’s for me to know and you not to find out. This Chrome Extension spots and blocks attempts to track when messages are opened and send that data back to the sender. I know who’s tracking me by the small red eye icon that appears next to messages in Gmail. Sure, I’m not surprised that services like Mailchimp track when messages are opened, but I’m sketched out when professional contacts do the same. — Joanna Pearlstein, deputy editor, newsroom standards

animatedTabs

The best Chrome extensions effortlessly improve our lives in a small but impactful ways. And animatedTabs does exactly that. Once installed, the extension will automatically load a random GIF in the center of every new Chrome tab you open. Sound annoying? Come on, people, this is a pure delight. It seems like the GIFs largely source from Reddit’s /r/gifs/, so you mostly get previously undiscovered gems; there’s not much crying Jordan, or and shark cat on a Roomba. But what beats new? And all because you opened a tab to finally pay your three months overdue speeding ticket! The only downside to animatedTabs? You never know when it’s going to generate something NSFW or just dumb. But the real internet cred comes from not caring.
—Staff writer Lily Newman

xTab

Bedeviled by browser-tab clutter? Try xTab. It restricts the number of pages you can have open in a given browser window. Just set your cap and go about your business. When you exceed your limit, the extension gets to culling, automatically axing your oldest, least-accessed, or least-recently used tab. It can also prevent you from opening excess tabs altogether. I use that last setting the most; I like to do triage myself. Plus, I’m working on killing my reflexive tabbing habit, and being interrupted in the act helps keep my fingers in check. If you’ve tried other tab managers in the past and found them wanting, this could be your ticket; where most encourage you to cmd-T with abandon, xTab retrains you to curate a more manageable tabscape in real-time. —Senior writer Robbie Gonzalez

Go Back With Backspace

In July of 2016, the world changed for the worse. Up until that point, the backspace key on your desktop keyboard doubled as a back button in Chrome. It had been that way since the browser’s launch some eight years prior. By mid-2016, this action—a simple keystroke to go back one page in your browser history—had become hardwired in our lizard brains. But Google removed the backspace action that summer, because it caused a particularly Googley problem: People were losing work in web apps. When a user typed into a browser text field and hit the backspace key hoping to correct a typo, they’d sometimes inadvertently cause the browser to jump back one page, nuking whatever efforts they’d spent the last few minutes sweating over. Sure, that’s annoying. But imagine the outrage of millions of Chrome users when, upon the next browser update, the backspace key suddenly did nothing. Google had neutered one of the most useful mechanisms for navigating the web. Thankfully, the company recognized our plight and just weeks later released this extension, which restores the back-button functionality of the backspace key. Hallelujah. The preferred keystroke of Alt + left arrow is still the default in Chrome, and maybe you’re used to that now. But why force yourself to press two keys when you can install this extension and press only one? —Senior editor Michael Calore

OneTab

You know when you open Chrome and the browser is like, “Are you sure you want to reopen 400 tabs?” (Yes I do, and rude!) Maybe it’s a selection of news articles you’re planning to read later, or the aftermath of clicking through dozens of Wikipedia pages. Maybe you don’t even know what’s in all those tabs. Either way, keeping them all open puts a huge strain on your browser. Close them all—without losing them forever—with the handy OneTab extension. One click of the button neatly collates all your open tabs into one list of links that you can revisit later. It saves your computer incredible amounts of RAM, speeds up the browser immediately, and keeps all those links handy for when you’re totally, definitely, someday coming back to read them. —Senior associate editor Arielle Pardes

HabitLab

My name is Tom and I have a Twitter problem—but I’m getting help from a Chrome extension called HabitLab. Anytime I look at the bird-logoed slot machine of trolling, outrage, and thinkfluencing there’s now a bold banner at the top counting up how long I’ve been on the site that day. If I open a Twitter tab but regain my senses and close it again quickly, a popup informs me how many seconds I just saved compared to my usual time-wasting visit. The message comes with a different “Good job!” GIF each time; most recently it was Jimmy Kimmel. HabitLab was developed by Stanford’s Human Computer Interaction group to help those of us suffering internet distraction disorder (most of us?) take control of our online habits. When first installed, it prompts you to identify the sites you want to spend less time on. HabitLab will then keep track of your wasted seconds, minutes, and hours, and display them in neat charts. It also offers a menu of “nudges” to help keep those trend lines moving in the right direction. One of them is the timer that now haunts me on Twitter, a nudge named The Supervisor. Others include GateKeeper, which makes you wait a few seconds before a page you’re trying to give up loads, and the devilish 1Minute Assassin, which kills a tab after 60 seconds. —Senior writer Tom Simonite

Eye Dropper

I am not a designer, and I’m sure that those who are have far better tools for pulling colors off of web pages than “Eye Dropper,” a mostly-but-not-always-functional extension that lets you eye-drop any color from around the web, and grab its RGB and Hex color codes. It’s particularly handy for quick fixes that don’t necessitate slowing down your computer by opening up Photoshop—like, say, updating the text on a WIRED section page to make it more readable. It isn’t the prettiest extension, and it’s all too easy to accidentally trigger the eyedropper if, like me, you’re prone to hitting alt-P instead of command-P when trying to print—but Eye Dropper gets the job done. —Digital producer Miranda Katz

Ghostery

If you’ve ever seen a Google ad follow you around the entire web and back, you know just how annoying and invasive online tracking can become. Ghostery is a fascinating way to see what services websites use to track and collect data about you. It creates a little icon with a number, showing you how many trackers every site uses. Wikipedia, for example, has 0. Most other sites have at least a few. You can see what they use to monitor their website traffic and serve ads, and block services that you don’t like. It’s not perfect; sometimes it will break sites you want to visit, and you’ll have to turn it off or pause it, although the latest release uses AI powers to help minimize the collateral damage. —Senior writer Jeffrey Van Camp

ProPublica’s What Facebook Thinks You Like

Facebook thinks I like arachnids because my brother writes for a TV show called Scorpion. It thinks I like Christmas Eve because Pearlstein, and it thinks I like flywheels because my late friend Eric Scott was in a band by that name. I know all of this thanks to ProPublica’s cool Facebook Chrome Extension, which helps me see what Facebook thinks about me, and then lets me rate how spot-on—or not—the site’s analysis is, using the aptly named Creepy Meter. —JP

Pocket

I fly a lot. In the past year, I’ve taken roughly a dozen round trips, each with their own fun, idiosyncratic layovers and delays. To pass the tarmac time, I could watch a bunch of downloaded episodes of The Crown or The Great British Baking Show. I could read a good ol’ fashioned book. Or I could connect to plane Wi-Fi and incessantly check Twitter. Instead, what I prefer to do before leaving for the airport is save a bunch of stories to Pocket. This nifty extension allows you to stow away things you want to read later, no internet connection necessary (though if you use the Pocket app on your phone, be sure to sync it over Wi-Fi or a network connection before going into airplane mode). Pocket also recommends stories, based on other users you follow or topics that interest you, and allows you to optimize your reading experience—I prefer a serif font with a black background and very large text to protect my fatigued eyes. But for someone who opens a million tabs with an intention to eventually read them all, it’s my preferred way to dog-ear a story. If you want to start saving, here’s a shameless plug to visit WIRED’s Backchannel page, chock full of excellent longform narratives that will transport you during your disconnected commute. —WIRED.com editor Andrea Valdez

1Password

Getting a password manager extension means getting a password manager, so definitely do that. All the major managers—LastPass, Dashlane, 1Password, KeePass—offer Chrome extensions, and they’re crucial to making password managers easy to use. The browser extensions act as a quick control center to fill login forms, generate new passwords, and save new credentials into your manager. And though password managers can work without extensions, switching back and forth to a standalone desktop application can be clunky while you’re browsing online. These extensions do carry some potential security risks, but if they’re what get you on a password manager in the first place, they’re worth it. —LN

Google Calendar

You probably use Google Calendar every day—many, many times. Instead of letting it permanently squat on valuable tab real estate on your desktop, try the Google Calendar Chrome extension instead. It puts a small Calendar icon in the upper right of your browser window, right where you’d expect. Tap it, and a box drops down, showing you all the meetings you have coming up. I like the design because it reminds me of the wonderful Google Cal widget on my Android home screen. It’s just a one-shot view of the meetings and events you have coming up in the next week or two. You can customize which calendars appear, which is also nice, because if you’re like me, you have a ton of them. For more display options—or to get crazy and log into two Google Calendars at the same time—try the Checker Plus for Google Calendar extension. It’s not official, but works well. —JVC

And More

WIRED editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson swears by Grammarly, an extension that checks your emails, tweets, Facebook posts, and other online missives for spelling and grammar mistakes. Features editor Mark Robinson recommends Reader View, which he describes as a “one-button, rather lo-fi instant Instapaper,” stripping web articles down to the bare essentials. And while senior writer Andy Greenberg has not and likely would never use it, he did find an extension called Kardashian Krypt, which encrypts your messages in images of Kim Kardashian using a technique known as steganography.

The Chrome Zone

What Do Customers Want? Insights from IKEA's Founder and Beetle Bailey's Creator

Regular readers of this column know that I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes people tick.

That’s because I learned long ago that the secret to appealing to customers, stakeholders, audience members and anyone you care about is to understand who they are and what they want.

And that’s why I carefully read the obituaries of two men who exemplified this philosophy: Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, and Mort Walker, the creator of “Beetle Bailey,” a comic strip about a lazy Army private. (Both men died this week.)

Wait–what could these two possibly have in common?

Well, start with the fact that each man was extremely successful in his field. When Kamprad was 17, he launched the store that, over the next seven decades, became the world’s largest seller of furniture (with 400 stores and $42 billion in revenue). And Walker created the comic strip that would ultimately be syndicated in 1,800 newspapers around the world; he had the longest tenure of any cartoonist on an original creation.

Although they were in very different realms, here’s what united Kamprad and Walker: their deep connection to their customers.

For example, in a Forbes interview in 2000, Kamprad summed up his approach this way: “I see my task as serving the majority of people. The question is, how do you find out what they want, how best to serve them? My answer is to stay close to ordinary people, because at heart I am one of them.”

And, as Richard Goldstein wrote in Walker’s New York Times obituary, “‘Beetle Bailey’ used the Army as its setting, but its popularity derived from everyday life and the universal battles against authority figures and mindless bureaucracy.”

When the Defense Department congratulated Mr. Walker on his 80th birthday, he said: “Human frailty is what humor is all about. People like to see the foibles of mankind. And they relate to the little guy, the one on the bottom.”

For both Kamprad and Walker, their understanding of customers–readers or shoppers–wasn’t theoretical or informed only  by data; it was based on personal experience.

Walker spent a stint in the Army, and he stayed in touch with servicemen throughout his life. And although Kamprad became very, very rich, he regularly flew economy and popped into his stores unannounced to replicate the customer experience.

These men knew that in order to break through today’s noise and nonsense, you have to not only know your customers; you have to love them.

As I’ve written, your love has to be real–not manufactured or manipulative–and unconditional. You have to clearly see your customers’ faults, but love them anyway. Your love has to be unwavering, despite inattention, inconstancy and even infidelity.

Only by truly loving your customers can you deliver in a way that’s truly about them, not about you. The leap to loving brings you in touch with what matters to people. Suddenly you’re able to communicate in ways that profoundly connect. You’re not on the other side of the chasm from your customers: You’re right there next to them, talking softly, saying what they’ve always wanted to hear. As a result, you can give customers what they actually want.

6 Proven Ways to Generate Good Luck Every Day

Nearly everyone wants to be luckier. Some people think success is about preparing for luck, while others think success is about what you do with luck when you find it. There may be different perspectives on luck, but everyone agrees you can’t go wrong with more of it, as long as it’s good.

YPO member Stuart Lacey is considered by many to be an extremely lucky guy, personally and professionally. He married the woman of his dreams, lives exactly where and how he wants, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He’s built 5 successful companies, including Trunomi, a customer consent data rights platform. Bank Innovation even named Lacey as an Innovator to Watch. Lacey has made respecting luck a regular part of his business activity. He even created a mathematical formula to analyze and replicate it.

Lacey’s Lucky Formula

% Luckiness =

(experience)

+

(situational awareness) x [perseverance (work ethic / heart)]unlimited x (# of times attempted)failure is good x (choice to act)binary x (Respect and EQ)

/

(tolerance for adversity)

Here are Lacey’s tips on making your own luck daily:

1. Use Your Education and Experience

Lacey likens experience to the process of securing a patent. “Anyone can file for a patent in a matter of hours for a few hundred bucks. But without a deep understanding of the technical, engineering, design, and geo-political aspects, and without appreciating the importance of opportunity cost and due diligence, the chance of receiving that patent is practically zero.” And Lacey understands that outside factors can influence the outcome, explaining, “Of course experience can be borrowed, for example, by using a world-class (and equally expensive!) patent attorney.” But in the long run, no amount of money can make up for a lack of experience.

2. Have Situational Awareness

Lacey asks a frightening question: “When you’re in a movie theatre, do you actually know where the exits are?” Lacey asserts, “Having situational awareness can multiply by a thousand your chances of survival.” The same is true in business. In a less frightening scenario, Lacey suggests it’s like skiing: “When you’re at the bottom of the mountain, have the foresight to recognize that the last on the ski tram is the first one on the slope. You can totally change your experience just by thinking ahead.” What you do when you get there is up to you, but you can maximize your potential by understanding what’s going on around you.

3. There’s No Substitute for Heart

A hockey fan, Lacey likes to quote Luc Robitaille, who said, “You can find someone smart, but never underestimate heart.” Lacey says, Passion and work ethic usually trump everything else, and luck does not favor those who don’t put in the hours.” It helps, of course, when your career is doing something you love. But when you put in the solid work, the rest will follow with more ease.

4. Embrace Failure

Lacey is a firm believer in the adage, “Fail quickly, fail cheaply, and fail often.” Lacey says, “The willingness to accept and learn from one’s mistakes is vital for luck.” Mistakes here can multiply. “You have to invest time with your head down, ready to constantly pivot and adjust. Embracing change and innovation IS to embrace failure.” People are told from childhood that failure is bad, and this is a crutch that any entrepreneur has to overcome.

5. Take Action

“How often do you look at something new and say, ‘I thought of that a while ago!'” Lacey asks. “There are so many stories of inventions that never occurred or were greatly delayed until someone else took the initiative to act.” It’s not always easily done. “It takes courage,” Lacey acknowledges, “and a willingness to fail and bounce back.” But the alternative is always worse. Lacey asserts, “Either you act and luck has a shot, or you don’t act and the chances of your influencing the outcome are nil.” Take the chance on yourself, and don’t be afraid – failure is an opportunity.

6. Attitude Matters

For Lacey, it’s important to remember that people are human. “If your flight is cancelled, it’s not the gate agent’s fault. I have always found that a kind, supportive, appreciative tone, with a strong measure of compassion, works absolute wonders.” No one likes being unappreciated or disrespected. “Focusing on the human element of interactions at all times is a multiplier of your chances for a lucky outcome.” Another important element is to maintain optimism. Lacey explains, “I’m realistic about the work required, but I’m also aware the future is one that we will create and craft. You need to have the ability to accept bumps in the road while keeping your eye on the prize.” Further, a willingness to accept compromise is key. Be humble, and remember to exercise emotional intelligence.

Each week Kevin explores exclusive stories inside YPO, the world’s premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.

China's Lenovo posts third-quarter loss due to U.S. tax reform

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese personal computer maker Lenovo Group reported a quarterly loss of $289 million on Thursday against a $98 million profit a year earlier, due mainly to a one-off charge of $400 million resulting from U.S. tax reform.

Revenue for the three-month period ending December was $12.94 billion, compared with $12.17 billion a year ago.

Lenovo said its core PC and smart devices business group posted an 8 percent rise in revenue to $9.25 billion as sales exceeded shipments growth thanks to better average selling prices driven by innovative products and a better product mix.

Its struggling mobile business – which the group had set a target to turn around by the end of the financial year in March – reported a narrower operating loss before taxation of $92 million, compared with a loss of $132 million in the preceding quarter.

($1 = 6.2842 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Sijia Jiang and Donny Kwok; Editing by Stephen Coates

LibreOffice, the best office suite, gets even better with LibreOffice 6.0

Who needs to pay for Microsoft Office when you can get LibreOffice 6.0 for free?

OK, if you are tied at the hip to Microsoft Office I can see why you’ll continue to pay year after year for your Office subscription. But, seriously, if you’re not, why aren’t you using the newest version of LibreOffice 6.0?

The bottom line is the open-source LibreOffice just works. I’ve used every office suite since WordStar and DataStar were things. LibreOffice is every bit as good as Microsoft Office and it’s free to boot.

You can run LibreOffice on Linux, macOS, and Windows. You can also use on your web browser, if you deploy LibreOffice Online as software-as-a-service server on a cloud, bare-iron, or in a Docker container.

This latest edition of LibreOffice boasts much better file compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. I checked this by sending a manuscript to an editor of mine who always found problems with LibreOffice’s docx formatting. At last, with LibreOffice 6.0, she’s happy with formatting.

Specifically, LibreOffice 6.0 comes with improved Microsoft Office Open OOXML interoperability. This includes: iSmartArt import and ActiveX controls import/export for embedded text documents and spreadsheets, export of embedded videos to PPTX, export of cross-references to DOCX, export of MailMerge fields to DOCX, and improvements to the PPTX filter.

In addition, you can now export Writer documents to the ePub ebook format. You can also import QuarkXPress files. In short, if you want to publish ebooks straight from LibreOffice, you can now.

There’s also an improved filter for importing Enhanced Metafile Format Plus Microsoft Office documents. Some improvements have also been made to the Open Document Format (ODF) export filter, making it easier for other ODF readers to display visuals

I’m not a big fan of ribbon style user interface (UI) on any program, but if that’s what floats your boat, the LibreOffice Ribbon UI now has two new versions. The first, Groupedbar Full, put three levels of buttons on the bar. The other, Tabbed Compact, is a minimalist version of the standard Tabbed Notebook Bar. To use them, or the other ribbon UIs, you must take the following steps:

  1. Click on the menu Tools > Options
  2. Select ‘LibreOffice’ > ‘Advanced’
  3. Check ‘Enable Experimental Features’
  4. Press ‘OK’

And then restart the application. Me? I’m sticking with ye olde toolbar.

There are also four significant feature improvements. These are:

Writer PDF Forms: A Form menu has been added. This makes it easier to access one of the most powerful and little-known LibreOffice features: The ability to design forms and create standards-compliant PDF forms. The Find toolbar has been enhanced with a drop-down list of search types, to speed up navigation. A new default table style has been added, together with a new collection of table styles to reflect evolving visual trends.

Improved Writer Mail Merge function: It’s now possible to use either a Writer document or an XLSX file as data source.

Calc command standardization: ODF 1.2-compliant functions SEARCHB, FINDB, and REPLACEB have been added, to improve support for the ISO standard format. Also, a cell range selection or a selected group of shapes (images) can be now exported in PNG or JPG format.

Impress enhancements: The default slide size has been switched to 16:9, to support the most recent form factors of screens and projectors. As a consequence, 10 new Impress templates have been added, and a couple of old templates have been updated.

A minor improvement, but one I’ll really like, is that user dictionaries now allow automatic affixation or compounding. In the past, if I entered a new word, I’d also have to add the plural or LibreOffice wouldn’t recognize it. For example, I’d need to add “dog” and “dogs”. Now, instead of manually entering several forms of a new word, LibreOffice’s Hunspell spell checker can automatically recognize a new word with affixes or compounds, based on its “Grammar By” model.

An experimental feature which the security conscious will appreciate is you can now sign and encrypt your ODF documents with OpenPGP keys. To enable this, you must install GPG software for your operating systems to generate a PGP key. That done, you can encrypt your document by calling the key with the command: File > Digital Signatures.

How good is LibreOffice 6.0? Well, after playing with betas, I’m already installing it on all my desktops and laptops.

That said, LibreOffice’s parent organization, The Document Foundation, would like to remind you that “LibreOffice 6.0 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open-source office suites, and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters, and power users. For enterprise class deployments, The Document Foundation maintains the more mature 5.4 family — now at 5.4.4 “

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Facebook is Killing National News for Local News in Your News Feed

There’s a new development in Facebook’s ongoing saga to clean up the news feed of fake news and poor quality content. Through a recent post on his own page, CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed intent in further promoting local news from “trusted sources”.

Local publishers are considered as those with “links clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area.” Mark Zuckerberg believes having Facebook users be made more aware of what’s happening in their own communities can encourage them to be more involved and “make a difference” through civic engagement as a result.

As stated in Facebook Newsroom, “There are no constraints on which publishers are eligible, which means large local publishers will benefit, as well as publishers that focus on niche topics like local sports, arts and human-interest stories. That said, small news outlets may benefit from this change more than other outlets, because they tend to have a concentrated readership in one location.”

Meanwhile, users concerned with how it may affect the content they like may use the “See First” feature to make sure they have their favorite pages show up in their news feed. They can also share the content from those pages with their friends and family to help make them more credible.

How good or bad these changes are for Facebook users, we still have yet to fully figure out over time. Big publishers certainly don’t benefit from them, especially since every change to Facebook’s algorithm almost always messes up their marketing strategies and eats away at their online influence.

However, this is something Facebook has to do in order to gain trust from regulators, investors, and users who are concerned about the quality and authenticity of the content they consume in their News Feed.

According to Facebook, implementation of this emphasis on local news is now being rolled out in the United States. It will be applied for other countries around the world later this year.

Yale University's New Class on Happiness Is the Most Popular Course in Its 316 Year History. Here's What It's About

How unhappy are students at Yale University?

It’s arguably the toughest college in the country to get into–and more than half of its students wind up seeking mental health care while they’re there.

That might not be a coincidence. A Yale professor says that’s likely because if you get into Yale, you probably had to spend years of your life doing things that made you really unhappy.

Striving. Getting good grades. Ensuring that you beat the next person behind you on your high school honors list by a zillionth of a grade point average.

I give sincere credit to students for seeking help when they need it, but the state of affairs amounts to a “crisis,” in the words of Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos.

So she decided to do something about it–introducing a course that I like to call Happiness 101 for short.

Technically, its name is “Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life,” covering positive psychology and behavioral change. 

Regardless, the question of (lack of) happiness has made it into a monster hit.

On Day 1, 300 students signed up. Within a week, its enrollment grew to a record-breaking 1,200 students–about 25 percent of the entire undergraduate student body.

“A lot of us are anxious, stressed, unhappy, numb,” Alannah Maynez, 19, a Yale freshman, told the New York Times, adding her fellow students are “tired … of numbing their emotions — both positive and negative — so they can focus on their work, the next step, the next accomplishment.”

That isn’t going to be a shock to regular readers of this column, or perhaps to anyone with a high-achieving kid in this first quarter of the 21st century. A continent away, former Stanford’s dean of freshmen made a similar point in her book, “How to Raise an Adult.” 

It seems to hits hardest with the kids we expect the most of. As the Times put it, Yale students are taking the class because 

in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school, adopting harmful life habits that have led to what Dr. Santos calls “the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.”

Teaching such a gigantically popular class brought with it logistical challenges–and apparently, jealousy.

First, they had to hire enough teaching fellows at the last minute (24 of them), and find a big enough room on campus.

They live-streamed for half the class during the first few weeks, they finally settled on Woolsey Hall, a 2,650-seat auditorium usually used for things like symphony performances.

Then, Santos had to combat the quick reputation the class gained for being easy–even though she refers to it as “hardest class at Yale.” 

Santos encouraged students to reduce stress by taking it pass/fail, and and doesn’t monitor whether students do homework assignments.

“With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture,” Santos said.

Only one problem: So many students took Happiness 101 that it left other professors’ classes empty–or at least emptier than they would have been.

And that means the happiness course left other people at Yale feeling unhappy.

“It wouldn’t be fair to other courses and departments to take all of their students away,” Woo-Kyoung Ahn, director of undergraduate studies in psychology at Yale, told the Times. “It causes conflict.”

So if you missed out on Happiness 101, you’ve missed out forever.

They’re not planning to teach it again. 
 

Tezos funder pledges to 'step back' once crypto-venture's woes are solved

ZURICH (Reuters) – The president of a foundation that controls funding for a cryptocurrency project called Tezos has pledged to “step back” from his role once the project is back on track, after months of dysfunction and public battles with Tezos’ founders.

Tezos raised $232 million in a “initial coin offering” in July, but the project was quickly derailed by disputes between co-founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, who control the code, and the Tezos Foundation, which controls the funds.

Having had financial transactions frozen late last year, the foundation has regained access to limited banking services, allowing it to start paying creditors and software developers again, the foundation’s president, Johann Gevers, said in a blog post on Sunday. It has also made progress in recruiting, hired a new law firm and is working on finding an accounting firm.

“I have consistently communicated … my intention to step back from the Foundation as soon as things are on track with a new board that is independent and has the support of the Tezos community,” Gevers wrote on the site Medium.

Gevers removed the post on Monday for what he called “prudential reasons,” but said in a replacement post that the foundation was following through on the plans he had outlined. Reached by Reuters, Gevers confirmed that he had authored the posts but declined to elaborate.

The Breitmans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gevers’ writings are the latest chapter in a saga that began after July’s controversial coin offering. Although structured as donations for a technology project, some contributors believed they were investing in an asset similar to bitcoin because they were promised coins called “Tezzies.”

Board member Guido Schmitz-Krummacher resigned from the Tezos Foundation in December because of the conflict, and several class action lawsuits have been filed over the offering. Contributors have still not received any Tezzies.

Reuters first detailed the battle between the Breitmans and Gevers in an investigation published last October. (reut.rs/2gPOMNH)

In his post, Gevers said the foundation’s financial service providers froze all of its transactions from October to December, due to what he called a “breakdown of trust.” That made it impossible to pay creditors, he said.

Although Gevers did not say his issues with the Breitmans had been resolved, the foundation was recently able to restore its financial relationships, he wrote. It has also hired an interim executive to oversee operations while it looks for a long-term CEO, Gevers wrote, without naming the executive.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich; Additional reporting by Steve Stecklow in New York; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Rosalba O’Brien

Don't Quit Your PR Program Unless You've Considered These 3 Things

Whether you are looking to gain awareness, improve SEO, or increase sales, having great exposure can help you get there. But PR is not a band-aid for an overarching business problem–nor is it a get rich fast technique.

A great PR strategy can take many years to build. Over the years, I’ve seen many companies start their efforts, only to stop before they’ve given the program enough time to develop. I’ve heard dozens of marketers and founders explain that they quit their PR efforts after their pitch didn’t get picked up by enough outlets in the first few weeks. Gaining great coverage takes time, pitch optimization, and persistence.

Often times, if a brand could have taken a step back after a rejected story to tweak their angle and try again, the second story they pitch could have been widely successful. Here’s why you shouldn’t throw in the towel for your PR outreach just yet:

1. Relationships take time to build.

Imagine you are at a party. You immediately start talking about you, your business, and your news. Very quickly, many people will not want to talk with you.

The same holds true when you’re building relationships with the media. It takes time to get to know a reporter and what they are writing about and then creating relevant pitches that are helpful to them. When you build trust and rapport with reporters, they’ll be more likely to open your emails, which is the first step to gaining great coverage.

You can build a better relationship with reporters by becoming well versed with their past writings and looking for opportunities to tell them stories of interest. Take a look through their Twitter accounts and personal websites to learn more about what they’re covering and the news that is important to them.

When you reach out to a reporter for the first time, show them that you are knowledgeable about their area of coverage and that your story fits their angle. When we reach out to reporters we make sure to spend time reading their past work to ensure our pitch is the right fit for their area of expertise.  It can be easy to burn a press bridge simply by not personalizing an email enough–take your time, do your research, and get to know reporters for the long term. Slow and steady wins the race.

2. SEO is a long-term game.

When you receive a press mention, you’ll likely see a spike in traffic on the day it’s published–but don’t discount the future traffic. If you are a mattress company and you get listed as “The Best Mattresses Ever Made,” you’ll benefit from both the spike and also later from people who are searching for mattresses and come across the article. Traffic from press articles should be monitored for months to come, even after publication.

An authoritative link will not only drive traffic, but will also help your website in the search engine rankings. This boost will not happen instantly. With time and relevant inbound links, you’ll see not just your referral traffic grow, but also your organic search traffic from Google.

3. Press takes commitment–and a bit of luck.

It takes a while to learn about the best way to pitch your product. Each time you pitch, you’ll learn more about what copy and message resonates with reporters.

If you’re not seeing any success, it does not mean you don’t have an interesting story. It might mean you are pitching to the wrong reporters, your email subject line needs work, or you simply didn’t follow up.

By tracking your emails with a tool like SideKick or Yesware, you’ll be better able to see who is opening your mails, what they’re clicking on, and how many times they went back to the email. You can use this data to refine your pitch the next time. With the media always changing, it also takes a bit of luck to pitch at the right time to the right reporter with the right story.

Pitching takes a strong backbone and you’ll get a lot of rejections. If you haven’t had success yet, keep trying. And if you’ve been pitching for months with still no results, it might be time to call in a PR pro to help you optimize your pitch and press kit.

If you’re looking to reap the benefits of the press, start early, optimize often, and plan your strategy for the long haul. This time next year, you’ll be glad you stuck with it.

20 of Marc Benioff's Interesting Startup Investments

Whether you use it daily or have heard about it from 10 of your closest friends, you’re likely well aware of Salesforce. The behemoth CRM has become a multibillion-dollar industry leader; unsurprisingly, its founder and CEO, Marc Benioff, is seen by some as the “champion of innovation.” Salesforce is built to integrate with other apps — a fact developers are encouraged to take advantage of — and Benioff backs tech companies with his own money.

Benioff’s wagers beyond Salesforce have proved fruitful. These are the 20 investments Benioff has made that are currently among the most successful.

1. Zuora

Subscription box services have become more popular in recent years, meaning these companies need software to help them manage their increased order volume. Zuora has not only curated a list of customers that includes several top brands, but it also recently purchased Leeyo, a revenue recognition platform.

2. Illumio

As news headlines have proven, cybersecurity has become an increasingly large challenge for businesses to tackle. However, automated threat monitoring could make the task a bit easier for them, and Illumio is among the companies gaining attention for this technology — the business earned a billion-dollar valuation in 2017.

3. AnyRoad

AnyRoad specializes in experience relationship management (ERM), which is essentially a CRM for the real world. The brand’s software helps businesses leverage data from real-life brand experiences and empowers companies like Honda, Diageo, and the Golden State Warriors to measure shifts in brand perception and purchase behavior, enabling them to establish deeper relationships with their fans.

4. Convoy

Technology is seeping into every industry, including logistics, and Convoy offers cutting-edge trucking technology. The software company, which provides real-time shipment management, signed a multiyear partnership with Anheuser-Busch in 2017.

5. Compass

Consumers can function as their own information-gathering real estate agents, thanks to apps like Compass. The real estate brokerage reported revenue of more than $180 million in 2016, just three short years after it launched.

6. PernixData

After its purchase by Nutanix in 2016, PernixData continued to expand the market for its virtual server-side flash memory. While the space has plenty of competition, PernixData’s write caching and clustering set it apart.

7. Highfive

No stranger to competition in the wide videoconferencing arena, Highfive is elbowing its way out of the pack. One feature that sets it apart is its ability to now be deployed directly from a user’s browser.

8. Thrive Global

Founded by Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global is focused on individual and workplace wellness and provides science-based content and tools to reduce stress. After raising $30 million in Series B funding in 2017, the company partnered with Times Bridge to venture into the Indian market.

9. Duetto

With more than $63 million in funding, Duetto has grabbed attention in the hotel revenue strategy sphere. A new partnership with GuestCentric stands to push the software platform to the next level, allowing hotels to customize pricing in real time based on a customer’s past behaviors.

10. Kano

Believing coding is a big part of the youngest generation’s future, Kano makes the process of learning to code fun for children through kits. The company raised $28 million in Series B funding in 2017, which it put toward releasing its products to retail outlets.

11. Gigster

Gigster aims to provide businesses with the tools they need to innovate using artificial intelligence. The software development recruiting platform, which connects freelance developers, designers, and project managers to companies needing on-demand project work, recently landed a Series B funding round that put its total capital investments at $32 million.

12. RedOwl

Among the acquisitions grabbing headlines in 2017 was Forcepoint’s purchase of RedOwl, which followed at least $21 million raised in venture capital. RedOwl’s specialty is software that detects unusual activity on users’ systems.

13. Vicarious

Vicarious’ advanced AI, designed to improve robotics, has earned the company investments from Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, in addition to Benioff. Among its most recent innovations is technology to improve the CAPTCHA process.

14. Rainforest QA

With revenue growth of more than 1,500 percent over two years, Rainforest QA’s success has proven that quality assurance testing is a field in strong demand. The QA-as-a-Service platform recently raised $25 million to expand its AI-fueled testing.

15. Wingz

Competing in the crowded ride-sharing market can be tough, but airport ride company Wingz strives to beat Uber and Lyft by promising to undercut prices, even during high-demand times. A 2016 purchase by Expedia gave the company a welcome boost, bringing its total funding to $13.7 million.

16. Domo

Domo’s SaaS-based platform helps business leaders transform the way they manage business through direct access to data. The company was named to the 2017 Inc. 500 after growing more than twentyfold in three years.

17. Cloudwords

Marketing localization company Cloudwords kicked off in 2010 with $3 million in seed funding, including Benioff’s investment. In April 2017, the global marketing campaign solution partnered with translation productivity startup Lilt.

18. Mashery

After Tibco purchased Mashery from Intel in 2015, the API management company continued to grow, with Gartner repeatedly naming it a leader in full life-cycle API management.

19. Kyriba Japan

Specializing in next-generation financial management and cloud treasury software, Kyriba Japan recently launched a module dedicated to detecting and stopping fraud as it’s attempted.

20. Nuzzel

It can be difficult for busy consumers to sift through the news for the pieces most relevant to their lives, but Nuzzel makes it easier. News items are curated from a user’s social network, which now includes LinkedIn.

Marc Benioff’s eye for business means his investments signal the technologies consumers and businesses need to watch. These innovations are proof that Benioff has his finger on the pulse of the software space, and that’s likely to continue as he looks for new ventures to support.