“Indigenous peoples across the continent will stand together to protect our rights and our traditional territories. 122 First Nations and Tribes have now signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion and we will work together and reach out and build allies to stop this project which threatens the lands, waters and environment,” said [email protected] APTN National NewsThe Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion has vowed to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Canada and the United States to ensure that the Keystone XL pipeline “never gets built.”The coalition that includes 122 First Nations and Tribes in Canada and the United States issued a release Friday after the multi-billion dollar project was approved by U.S. President Donald Trump followed by the State Department that had until today, witheld approval of the pipeline.“Governments should be supporting action to fight climate change and support Indigenous rights, not trying to ram through projects like the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,” said Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart in the release.In granting the permit, the U.S. State Department said it concluded that Keystone XL would serve the national interest after considering a range of factors including energy security and the environment.“This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement Friday.In Ottawa, Canada’s ministers were quick to meet with media to discuss approval of the project.“We’re very happy because it’s going to create thousands of jobs in Canada and in the United States,” said Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr who once threatened to use soldiers against pipeline protestors. “And it’s a very good example of how the integration of the energy economy in Canada and in the United States is in the interests of both countries … if you combine the approvals that we have already made in Canada and this one today, that’s going to be about 32,000 jobs for the energy sector in Alberta. That’s a very significant number, and we’re very happy about it.”However, Keystone XL faces more hurdles.TransCanada still does not have deals with all the landowners in Nebraska on the pipeline’s proposed route and it lacks a permit in that state. Protesters also promise they will try to stop the project, which would help carry Alberta crude to U.S. refineries.The Calgary-based company said Friday it would continue to work with key stakeholders throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction.This is good news for a Liberal government that is trying to get tar sands oil to foreign markets.Canada has been working hard to ensure that Keystone moved forward. Ministers, including Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, have been flying to Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers about Canada’s interests, including the environment and Keystone.“So in terms of the Keystone pipeline, that was a campaign commitment. We supported it before we were elected,” said McKenna. “As the Prime Minister said just last week, that you – we wouldn’t get pipelines approved without a serious climate plan, and we wouldn’t get a serious climate plan without pipelines, and so this is good news. It’s going to mean good jobs, but we’re – we’re all in on climate change, and I think you saw that in the budget by the significant investments. We’ve got a Climate Plan. We’re working with the provinces and territories.”Trump signed an executive order in his first week in office that invited TransCanada to reapply for a permit and promised a decision within 60 days. The 60-day timeline in Trump’s executive order was to expire Monday.“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure,” Girling said.
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the fight would be between the “United India” versus “some isolated people.”She was addressing the media after declaring the list of candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls at her Kalighat residence on Tuesday afternoon. “This election is going to be challenging because it will be a contest between the ‘United India’ forces versus some isolated people. It will also sound the ‘death knell’ for the BJP and bring an end to Narendra Modi’s “reign of fear”, Banerjee asserted. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”Never in the past have we seen such an arrogant Prime Minister. He has scared everyone — from mediapersons to government officials to the common people. Everyone in India is scared of him.” Banerjee also maintained that demonetisation, mounting unemployment, deprivation of the working class and farmers would be the key issues in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. “In the past five years, no development work had been carried out by the BJP-led Centre. They have tried to divide the country on the basis of caste and religion. The Dalits have been oppressed and tortured. They have changed history and politicised the institutions.” Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataReferring to the note ban, she said the Board of Governors of the Reserve Bank did not know about the matter. “The country wants to know under whose instruction the demonetisation of high-value notes had been implemented. I had reacted within half-an-hour after the ban of high-value notes came into force. Hundreds of people died and we want to know whose interest had been taken into consideration.” She also added that the demonetisation had badly affected India’s economy and the country’s GDP. “The Prime Minister had even said that the demonetisation would stop the flow of money to the terrorists. All rubbish,” she maintained. Rendering support to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s allegations against the government over the Rafale deal, the TMC supremo said: “I completely agree with what Rahul Gandhi is saying about Rafale scam. They (BJP) are threatening journalists like N Ram for speaking out the truth.” She also accused the BJP of pressurising the Election Commission to toe its line because of which the polling schedule was inordinately stretched to enable the Prime Minister to launch an extensive campaign across the country. She further added: “Tamil Nadu has 39 seats and the election will be held there in a single day. It is the same in Kerala as well which has 20 seats. In Bengal, there will be elections in seven phases and we all know what will be the weather in the middle of May.” She urged the Election Commission to ensure that no money was carried by air or road which would be distributed among the people. “Democracy is of the people, for the people and by the people and never of the money, for the money and by the money. I am in favour of Electoral Reforms and our MPs have played a major role in voicing this demand.”
April 19, 2011 6 min read Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. We all use bar codes to buy things. Now small businesses may be able to use them to sell things.For pure techno hip factor, it’s tough to beat quick response codes. Known as QR codes, these bizarre-looking, black-and-white gridded squares are actually straightforward: They render information in a way that digital devices can easily understand. I like to think of QR codes as physical hyperlinks — like barcodes on the side of most products — that connect names, numbers, and other data to physical objects using the camera on a smart phone or other portable device.QR codes are popping up not only at hipster events like the annual South by Southwest music and digital conference and festival in Austin, Texas, but also in mainstream corporate marketing. TAG Heuer, Macy’s, and the car-maker MINI now sell using QR codes. Some uses seem rather mundane: Retail giant Sears went as far as to place QR codes in a recent mass-market tool catalogue. Until recently, it was difficult for small firms to use bar codes as big firms do — to connect promotions, company information, calls to action and other marketing tools to business cards, flyers, signage and other business collateral. Scanning, creating and matching the back-end digital infrastructure of QR codes was a complex and expensive proposition.No more.Now several QR code vendors are offering sophisticated scanning tools, content-creation systems and even integrated marketing platforms any small shop can use to improve how it communicates with customers by linking the “virtual” and “real” worlds.Related: Using QR Codes to Promote Your BusinessBecause I am looking at using QR codes in my firm to connect my company’s marketing materials, contact information and content portfolio to my business cards and Web assets, I have been testing many of these tools. Here are the best, in my view, of three types of QR code tools to consider.1. RedLaser (free)What it is: This is probably the most fully featured app-based barcode reader on the market. RedLaser, which was acquired by eBay Inc. in 2010 from a Boulder, Colo.-based app development firm Occipital, as a means to drive usage of the retail giant’s online market, installs easily on most any Android or Apple OS smart phones. Once installed, the app — which has more than 9 million downloads — translates QR codes and most every form of barcode on the market into information that can be shared and compared.Why you might like it: RedLaser is simple to install and use, and allows for a slew of tasks from searching for related business components to buy online to testing your QR marketing campaigns. These tasks are likely to be easy for a typical business owner. The tool can be especially handy for comparing prices when shopping for business supplies.Why you might not: RedLaser is a scanning tool only. It does not help you create QR codes from your data. You will need other software for that. And RedLaser’s dozens of functions can be a bit overwhelming. Some patience is required to learn to use it properly.2. QR Generator (free)What it is: QR Generator is an easy-to-use, well-designed online QR code-creation software application. It takes company information like names, addresses and websites and turns it into a gridded QR code that can be tracked. There are many similar QR code creators on the market such as Qurify and Kaywa, but the QR Generator, Slovenia-based Avivo, is by far the most elegant and the easiest to use as of now.Why you might like it: QR Generator allows just about anybody to turn basic company data into a QR code that can be injected into company marketing. The layout of the Web-based service is clean, the types of data it can manage are what most small firms will want to include, and some simple tracking functions can show who scanned a code and from about where on Earth. If you are new to QR code creation, start with QR Generator.Why you might not: The code’s simplicity is also its downfall. You must choose from a limited pull-down menu of what can be encoded into a given QR code, which limits functionality to information like names and numbers. If you want more sophisticated marketing options, this product is not for you. Note: The website runs best on Windows Explorer in my testing.Related: A Look at Three E-Mail Newsletter Tools3. ShareSquare(Basic service: free; a pro package, with advanced features: $99 a month; an enterprise package with more features and access to Internet ad networks: $499 a month)What it is: ShareSquare is a Web-based, QR code management tool that seeks to combine the creation and publication of QR codes with company content. The tool supports videos, downloadable files, biographical information and many other features and then serves up this information live on the mobile Web for free.Why you might like it: ShareSquare offers an easy on-ramp for sophisticated marketing with QR codes. Simply log in, create a free account and start uploading company content. In about 20 minutes, you can have a functioning QR code-based marketing campaign. The rendered code, which can work on printed marketing materials and the Web, links not just to simple names and information, but company brochures, Facebook feeds, Twitter content and promotional campaigns. You can even run a contest with the tool. What’s more, the analytics on the service accurately track the consumption of ShareSquare content. I saw right away that my test QR code was seen by five unique visitors and viewed 18 times. Impressive.Why you might not: ShareSquare requires that an ugly black-and-white design be prominently displayed in your business identity, and not off, out of the way as is possible with simpler QR tools. This QR code is not only utterly meaningless to the vast majority of customers, it is potentially alienating. The unknowing will clearly think it is a mistake.What to do: When marketing with QR codes, businesses will want to be clear to customers that the code adds value. And please keep in mind, only customers with properly enabled smart phones can use QR codes. So be sure your customers are in this niche, and ready for the concept of QR codes.Considering the movement toward lower cost, ease of use and marketing potential for QR codes, it’s certainly worth an hour or two of your time to download any of these apps, scan some bar codes, create some simple QR codes and try a small campaign. Assuming you keep that test limited, whatever QR code weirdness factor that might emerge will be minimized.Just remember, QR marketing is right in the middle of a classic Web hype cycle with its claims wildly overstated by proponents. Like all marketing, it must be treated as a trial-and-error affair. Move slowly, and if you are not seeing results, drop it.Related: Tools for Keeping Track of Work Hours Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals
Register Now » August 23, 2016 7 min read When I left my high-paying job at a successful private equity firm in San Francisco, I broke “the rules.” For the first time in my life, I felt free but also very afraid. It’s every financial professional’s dream to become a partner at a private equity firm where the compensation can amount to tens of millions in a lifetime. But me? I left the partner track to move to Tulsa. No, that’s not a typo. My fifth generation Native American roots were still there in my hometown where my parents had raised me 20 years before. I chose Oklahoma over New York, Chicago or San Francisco because I wanted to give back and transform the landscape of business in Tulsa. I am a builder in every sense of the word. I like to build businesses that contribute to the economy, but first I needed to search for and acquire a business that I could nurture.After 16 months of cold-calling entrepreneurs, in 2010 I finally unearthed the perfect company. The ConsumerAffairs website was originally created in 1998 as a news resource for journalists looking for trends in consumer complaints. Since then, my acquisition team has transformed the website from a complaint forum into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform with more than 250 partner brands, representing 98 percent of our revenue and all our growth.Related: 6 Leaders Share the Secrets to SaaS Startup SuccessIn the process, a new revenue stream emerged involving subscriptions as opposed to advertisements. As we increased offerings and improved the overall user experience for consumers and businesses, clients expanded their partnership with us. We broke the rules, and it worked.Each month, more than six million visitors come to ConsumerAffairs.com to research, review and engage with the more than 5,000 brands represented on our site. Recent additions to our user experience include expert reviews, buyers guides, how-to articles and best match tools to grow the available resources we offer consumers as a platform for purchasing advice.Many CEOs have an idea of what they want to do with a business, but not many are thinking about how they can overhaul and revamp revenue streams. Collaborating with the brightest minds can help because the future value of a company is based on innovative ideas, products, services and revenue models that have yet to exist. Whether it’s relocating headquarters or adding new product lines and revenue streams, experiencing a breakthrough requires finding new ways to break the rules that bind most entrepreneurs. I threw away some of the top entrepreneurial rules shared among the business community to find a new level of happiness, prosperity and company success.Rule 1 — Follow the money.Anti-rule — Time is more important than money.I could have been a partner at a San Francisco private equity firm, but instead I chose to take a 60 percent pay cut and acquire my own company.Had I stayed at my 90 hour a week job, my career would have been purely about financial gain rather than the broader context of cultivating my own company. My acquisition of ConsumerAffairs.com has resulted in adding jobs to the overall Tulsa economy. Another benefit has been spending more time with my wife and two children. Unlike money, time is something that cannot be made.Rule 2 — Web-based businesses belong only in the Bay Area.Anti-rule: Anywhere but Silicon Valley.Bringing our headquarters to Tulsa was a pearl clutching moment because conventional wisdom says you’re supposed to build a consumer web business in Silicon Valley. Tulsa, Okla., is not typically seen as a tech town. It is still dependent on oil and gas even as we see declines in those sectors. Related: Why You Don’t Need to Found Your Startup in Silicon ValleyAlthough not being based in San Francisco has encumbered our product and ability to attract engineering talent, by headquartering in a smaller market, we have a significant cost structure advantage. It’s worth the trade-off in talent acquisition so that we can scale the company to further success without spending millions of dollars in rent to be located near Google or Microsoft. It just so happens that there is a lot of new development happening in Tulsa, making business overhead more affordable. As an early adopter, ConsumerAffairs is at the forefront of that economic development.Rule 3 — Don’t buy a technology risk laden company.Anti-rule — Acquire companies with innovative or technology potential.The processes of the original CEO from whom I purchased ConsumerAffairs were largely manual. When I acquired the company, I had to build a technology platform that did not already exist. After hiring a team of 29 engineers and four product managers to overhaul manual operations, the original business is now only 3 percent of our revenue.Even though we had to create a platform on top of the existing business, we’ve grown the company at a compound annual growth rate of 91 percent since 2012.Rule 4 — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.Anti-rule — When the ground is shifting under your feet, try pivoting even an established company.Conventional business wisdom says that entrepreneurs should not change anything about a stand-alone acquisition for at least two years — especially not its revenue model. Pivoting is supposedly only for start ups because achieving product/market fit and monetization is a near miracle for most, and earning money at something new is really hard. But with a business goal of doubling revenue consistently, we had to rethink our advertising-based revenue model, pricing and processes. I waited only 30 days to start tinkering.Breaking the two-year rule paid off when we launched the ConsumerAffairs for Brands accreditation program. The goal now is to dispute and enable the use of feedback and analytics to drive operational improvements in customer service and product offerings.Related: How ConsumerAffairs Survived Pivoting and Improved ProfitabilityOver the past two years, we have engaged more brands in solving consumer issues, expanded our platform to include dispute resolutions and offered brands a chance to provide documentation if they are unable to facilitate a resolution with a consumer. This is what’s unique about our partnership that no other review platform provides.Reducing reliance on the website’s advertising model enabled us to improve the consumer experience dramatically, and by developing new products born from the need to service brands, we have seen a massive return on equity. Rule 5 — Micromanage for better employee results.Anti-rule — Unleash your staff.Instead of micromanaging, I enable talent. Our corporate culture promotes freedom and responsibility by not having any rules. Some 60 percent of our workers telecommute. We offer unlimited paid time off with a paid vacation stipend. We maintain a well-stocked bar with the best beer selection for those who enjoy an alcoholic drink at lunch, and we have Uber on speed dial so that people can get home from work safely if they take good advantage of this employee perk. Freedom as a core belief is paying off. Our 2015 retention rate was 92 percent, which is unusual in the corporate and sales sectors. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.