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Estonia is a Startup Paradise

Everyone is always looking for the next silicon valley and there are always rumors of which nation will rise to the challenge. Often times countries do not live up to the hype but sometimes there is merit behind all the buzz, the perfect example being Estonia. You can’t talk about digital excellence without mentioning Estonia in the same sentence, after-all they are nicknamed E-stonia for a reason. This European nation loves technology as their president Toomas-Hendrik believes the tech industry is the future and it is not uncommon for technology education to be taught at the kindergarten level. This is the same nation which were the brains behind Skype and Kazaa, which was once a file sharing giant.

This is a nation where voting can be done from the couch and you can sign documents digitally as Estonia has one of the fastest broadband Internet speeds in the world. In 2000, the government deemed Wi-Fi a human right and made this service free throughout the country, it is no wonder Estonia is home to so many wonderful startups.

15 Estonian Startups You Should Know About

1. 3D Wayfinder – 3D Wayfinder is a digital building directory that helps visitors find their way in large public buildings and building managers to earn new revenue through advertising sales. The solution has been designed to provide a pleasant and a convenient navigation experience.

2. Bondora –Bondora is a meeting place where individuals and businesses can borrow and lend money between each other. This website unites investors and borrowers from all corners of the world and allows them to borrow up to £10,000 quickly and easy.

3. Click & Grow – Click & Grow is a smart system that independently grows plants without the need of watering, fertilizing or any gardening know-how. They develop innovative plant growing systems from flowerpots to city farms.

4. DonateIT – DonateIt links together blood donors and donation centres in a quick and convenient way. They allow centres to inform potential donors when their particular blood type is needed and to keep them involved throughout the year. The app aims to promote regular blood donation, especially amongst younger people. It also tracks and shares your blood donations, how much you donated and when you can do it next. DonateIT makes donating blood socially engaging competing against one another for who can save the most lives.

5. Erply – Erply 3.0 gives retail stores a new operating system which adds social features to small businesses and makes them easy to use for everyone. ERPLY is a real-time POS & retail management system that manages all areas of your retail organization including point of sale, sales back office, inventory management, employee payroll, accounting, customer CRM, multi-channel/e-commerce and more, in a single integrated system.

6. Fleep – Fleep is a chat communication tool for teams and businesses. Incorporating some elements of Skype and email, Fleep is a simple tool that  strives to replace email in a business environment and helps you organise your multiple discussion streams easily.

7. Flirtic – Flirtic is the future of online dating, it makes dating more social and flirtatious, giving users the ability to express themselves more easily in order to find their perfect match. Flirtic.com incorporates the most popular and addictive features of social networks, including messaging, wall posting, ‘likes’ and entertaining games and quizzes. These features make it easy for even the shyest and most cautious people to help them to engage with new people, break the ice and start conversations.

8. Funderbeam – Funderbeam x-rays startups using standardised scores and familiar metrics from the financial markets. They provide startup intelligence to wealthy individuals and professional investors from start to exit and offer them unbiased analytics. They are a startup which provides information about other startups.

9. GrabCAD – GrabCAD is leading the open engineering movement, helping engineers get products to market faster by enabling truly collaborative product development. Their collaborative product development (CPD) tool helps engineering teams manage, view and share CAD files in the cloud.

10. HealthDiary – Using HealthDiary gives you a safe and a private place to keep, access and easily export all health-related notes, reminders, reports, pictures of children. You can record your child’s growth milestones, stomach troubles and doctor’s visits. Reminders help you keep track of important appointments. It also lets analyse your child’s data across the years or bring it along to the next doctor’s visit. HealthDiary is currently preparing for a beta launch, you can sign up now and be the first to use HealthDiary.

11. Lingvist – Lingvist is a personalised approach to language learning that makes every learner a fast learner. Using mathematical optimisation, Lingvist’s tool tailors tasks according to your knowledge and skills. They take languages apart and arrange them into microlessons that each learner completes in the order that is most efficient for them.

12. Marinexplore – Marinexplore provides a proprietary cloud platform that helps streamline ocean data workflows and make sense of large-scale disparate ocean data. They help customers make better business decisions faster by dramatically reducing data handling time and mitigate environmental risk in offshore and maritime businesses.

13. SignWise – SignWise service cloud offers legally binding e-signing and strong user authentication both in-country and across borders. Their technology allows anyone to sign a document legally across the border on any device in just minutes. Here’s exactly how it works.

14. Realeyes – Realeyes is able to understand people’s feelings and behaviour based off their body language and gestures. Using this data, Realeyes enables brands, publishers and agencies to make profitable marketing decisions by measuring emotions via webcam in real-time.

15. Wellbiome – This wellness service adds scientific precision to your dietary decisions and helps to improve your quality of life by providing you a DNA analysis of your gut microflora. Wellbiome’s mission is to give people insight into their body and increase wellbeing and quality of life with relatively small effort.

 

Education Is Good, But What Kind?

Education is good. It is good in a different way and for different purposes than you might have thought. College is necessary. It is needed for the advancement of technology, humanity, and to make sure we live like humans. There is no better indicator of societal advancement than the level of education the masses receive.

The conventional wisdom that investing in a college education is the best way to guarantee a better financial future is true. But here is the biggest problem with a college education:

No matter what you go to college for, you won’t learn to be financially independent, and you won’t learn how to make money.

Even medical doctors are being sent out to start their own practices without having more than a few hours of instructions on how to actually run their practice so that they can enjoy it and make money in the process. As a result, there are quite a few medical doctors whose practices don’t make it in the market economy.

In college, you won’t learn money management, financial freedom, financial intelligence, and business savvy. What you do learn is how to become a highly functional “ant” in the job-based economy of the western world. We learned about finance in theoretical concepts that had absolutely no application to making money for ourselves. We were taught about micro- and macroeconomic concepts of how national economies compete against each other. With all that, however, we did not learn much at all about how we could take these concepts and make money with them on our own.

That’s why I say that school is the worst place to go to learn how to make money. They don’t teach you what you need to know about that subject.

You need education that you can actually apply, that helps you succeed in life—particularly financially. You need an education that teaches you how to deal with money. I’m not talking about just any type of education; I am speaking of a specific kind of education.

If you want to be financially successful, you must learn:

• How to invest

• How to tell a good investment from a bad one

• How to make more money in your life in—and outside of— your job

• How to find ways to invest in the stock market without the risk of losing money (there are strategies for that)

• How to outsource cheaply the things in life you don’t enjoy so that you can spend more time on doing the things you do enjoy and which bring you forward personally and financially

• How to get more than the 1–2 percent that banks offer on your deposits in a safe way. For example, there are ways to get 12–36 percent on your money in government-guaranteed investments, like tax liens

• How to find cash flow investments that will give you Forever Cash for, well, ever!

If you are the entrepreneurial type and want to start a full-blown business, you also need to educate yourself on:

• How to manage a business by the numbers

• How to hire the right people

• How to run businesses remotely without having to be there every day or even without having to live close by

• How to do marketing for your company

• How to find opportunities at every corner and how to tell which opportunity is a good one

• How to keep your cost under control

• How to have a strategy that works for your business and how to implement that strategy

When you have that kind of education, even just the first part of the list I just gave you, you are prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Unfortunately, this kind of knowledge is not being taught in a “regular” college. But you can find it. You can learn it.

An excerpt from Forever Cash: Break the Earn-Spend Cycle, Take Charge of Your Life, and Build Everlasting Wealth by Jack Bosch

 Jack Bosch is the author of Forever Cash: Break the Earn-Spend Cycle, Take Charge of Your Life, and Build Everlasting Wealth. He is an entrepreneur, nationally recognized speaker, and wealth mentor who became a cash and Forever Cash millionaire through real estate investments and online business.

What Is Negative SEO and What Can You Do To Combat It?

What is SEO? Okay, so that’s quite an ambiguous question, but many businesses still treat Search Engine Optimization like it’s some kind of mythical Shangri-La, so it’s well worth touching on.

In its simplest form SEO is a series of activities undertaken to increase a site’s search engine visibility and performance, but it’s also so much more than that. Perhaps that’s why there are still a lot of small businesses out there who are unsure of where to start when it comes to SEO.

However, just because you’re not doing something, that doesn’t make you immune to it. Sometimes site owners will use a type of SEO designed not to improve their own search engine rankings but to harm those of a competing websites. Negative SEO can have serious ramifications on sites that aren’t prepared for it or those who are unable to identify and rectify it should it happen.

What is Negative SEO?

To sum it up in one sentence, Negative SEO is any malicious activity undertaken in an effort to lower a website’s search engine rankings. Sites have been known to use this technique on their competition in order to rank higher for certain keywords.

Although there’s been a lot of talk about negative SEO and its subsequent effects lately, it’s worth noting that negative SEO is not actually a new process. People have been employing suspect tactics across the web for as long as there’s been a web to use them on.

That being said, it’s not as rampant a risk as many expect, and it can be an incredibly costly (in both time and money) process to undertake. In many aspects, when people believe they have been “hit by negative SEO” it’s highly likely that they are just suffering from something they have failed to notice or change on their own site.  

Google’s algorithms are constantly changing; which means that more often than not what people suspect to be the effects of “negative SEO” are actually caused by old links which have lost their value or old, stale content on their site holding them back against their competitors.

It’s still important to remember that some people do still carry out negative SEO though. Knowing what you should be looking out for will allow you to identify the signs early and deal with the problem accordingly.

What to look out for

Google’s algorithms analyse and inspect every website they come across, looking at what’s happening both on-site and off, and which sites are linking back and forth. Those sites with suspicious link profiles are at risk of seeing their search engine rankings drop.

One common negative SEO tactic is to purchase a large quantity of unnatural, spammy backlinks for a site. This kind of link behaviour is highly frowned upon by search engines, as it gives the impression that you’re trying to manipulate your own site’s PageRank.

Another tactic is the scraping of content. Copying and pasting one site’s content onto a number of other sites across the web can cause serious duplicate content issues. Search engines will flag that your content is not unique, and unless the original source of the content is abundantly clear, it will have a damaging effect on your site.

What can you do about it?

Whilst it may seem like there is little you can do to properly protect your site from negative SEO, you’re not completely defenceless.

For example, if a competitor really wants to carry out negative SEO against your site then it takes a lot of dedication and investment on their part for it to actually have a serious effect. If you stay vigilant you can recognise the warning signs of it happening and work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

To begin with, make sure you regularly check Google Analytics for any anomalies. Create custom alerts for when you have any sharp increases or decreases in traffic, and for when you see any extreme increases in your sites bounce rate.

You should also regularly perform an in-depth audit of your inbound links. You should regularly check your link profile to ensure that that they’re relevant to your site and that they use suitable anchor text.

Use backlink analysis tools like Majestic SEO to identify any anomalies in your link profile. Whilst most of the backlinks you’ll receive will probably be perfectly natural, if you do notice any strange activity you can work to remove or disavow the links, through the Google Disavow Tool.

Also, check your anchor text ratio.  If you spot a large number of links with exact match anchor text, then it’s well worth looking into, as search engines tend to find this kind of behaviour suspicious. Try to ensure that no more than 10-20% of your anchor text is made up of exact-match keywords and that at least 50% is branded.

People spend a lot of time creating high-quality content, so it can be disheartening to find your content copied across the web. You can use tools like Copyscape to check if your content has been plagiarised by other websites.

While you can’t directly protect yourself from the effects of Negative SEO, it’s well worth knowing what to look out for. With basic knowledge of the above you’ll be able to monitor your site and work quickly to remedy the situation should any issues arise.

Ben Norman is a leading UK SEO Expert with an extensive knowledge of search engine marketing. He regularly writes straightforward search related posts for his SEO blog.