Month: April 2024

How LeBron James and the Lakers reached a critical crossroads

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LeBron James and his Lakers teammates were overcome with disbelief. They rushed to the monitor on the scorer’s table in Minnesota to see the play in dispute.

They pleaded and pointed at the zoomed-in image of the toe of James’ right sneaker and the blue three-point line it might or might not have touched.

James was sure he was behind it. Replay officials were not.

The shot, which would’ve tied the game and probably forced overtime, was ultimately ruled a two. They lost.

On Dec. 30 in Minnesota, the Lakers were an inch toenail away from a win, so close to some salvation after a brutal month.

“Stevie Wonder can see that, champ,” James said after the loss. “… Over there in the replay center or whatever, somebody over there eating a ham sandwich, or somebody made the call.”

With the Lakers’ season over, a frame-by-frame examination of what happened isn’t necessary.

“Your eyes will tell you,” said one Lakers insider not authorized to publicly discuss team operations.

There was no need to enlarge or enhance, no reason to squint. The Lakers were good, maybe even close to better than that.

Yet they weren’t championship good and maybe not even contender good, a precious season gone with a first-round playoff exit and changes likely on the way.

Too many one-sided minutes, too much bad injury luck. An aging star. A controversial coach. An in-season tournament title and a midseason crisis.

It never was going to end with a trip to the NBA Finals. No need for video review to prove that.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham, left, and forward LeBron James share a laugh after Anthony Davis (not pictured) celebrated a three-point basket.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Now that the Lakers’ season has ended, the impossible autopsy begins.

How good could the Lakers have been had they been healthier, had their two primary on-ball defenders — Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent — been healthy and a regular part of their rotation? How good would they have been if their coach, Darvin Ham, abandoned reliability and balance to lean into talent earlier by simply putting his most talented players on the court to start games?

Who is to blame? Who gets credit? Who returns? Who goes?

The questions start with James, who somehow established new highs in his 21st NBA season, playing 71 games (the most he has played in a season for the Lakers) and shooting 41% from three-point range. He averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds at 39 years old. No other player has done that after age 30.

He has done it five times.

James can turn down $51.4-million this offseason and exercise his player option, making him an unrestricted free agent. If he sought a max deal elsewhere, he’d be paid more than $55 million per season.

This season answered questions about his durability and effectiveness as he neared 40 (he’ll hit that mark next December), but his consistency on the defensive end was an issue.

Asked about his future before the All-Star Game, James praised the Lakers while giving himself wiggle room.

“I don’t know. I am a Laker, and I am happy and been very happy being a Laker the last six years, and hopefully it stays that way,” he said during NBA All-Star weekend. “But I don’t have the answer to how long it is or which uniform I’ll be in. Hopefully it is with the Lakers. It’s a great organization and so many greats. But we’ll see. I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it’s coming.”

He’s not the only Laker with a decision.

D’Angelo Russell can opt out, leaving $18.7 million on the table. Up until the postseason, that seemed like a lock, though it’s hard to know if his struggles against the Denver Nuggets will change that calculus.

Christian Wood, Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish also have player options for next season. Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince are unrestricted free agents and Max Christie is headed to restricted free agency.

The Lakers will pick 17th and 55th in the upcoming draft, though their first-round pick could end up with New Orleans. Insiders believe the Lakers, though, will end up keeping that pick while sending their 2025 first-round choice to New Orleans to finish the Anthony Davis trade.

Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt has his layup contested by Clippers guard Norman Powell during a game in January.

Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt has his layup contested by Clippers guard Norman Powell during a game in January. Vanderbilt played in only 29 games this season.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

After the Lakers were torched by Memphis’ Ja Morant for 28 points in the third quarter of a loss in February 2023, one player looked to Ham.

“That guy,” the player said, “needs to be better.”

In-game adjustments were slow that season — Morant exploited that. But a strong postseason helped the Lakers move past Memphis and Golden State before they ran into the Nuggets, the eventual champions, and were swept in the conference finals.

Scouts who questioned Ham during the season were impressed with his game plans in the postseason, the Lakers a step ahead of both the Grizzlies and the Warriors in the first two rounds. Ham and the Lakers’ run deep into the playoffs earned him and the roster a chance to run things back. Continuity was prioritized, the Lakers adding around the edges.

But the first signs of trouble for the revamped Lakers appeared in the preseason, Ham having one of his biggest decisions made for him with injuries to Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura.

Vanderbilt’s preseason was cut short because of a heel injury, and Hachimura had the first of his three multigame absences, this one because of a concussion in the Lakers’ third game.

It meant Ham turned to Prince, a player he previously coached in Atlanta, as a starting wing. Vincent, signed for his toughness, defense and firepower, quickly was sidelined because of a knee injury.

In a blink, the two best perimeter defenders, Vanderbilt and Vincent, were unavailable.

Nine games into the season, Ham moved Austin Reaves to the bench — a move that was unpopular inside his locker room. Reaves, coming off a strong summer for Team USA, was slowed by a hip injury early and struggled defensively (he showed improvement in the second half of the season).

Lakers guard Austin Reaves steals the ball from Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards during a game in March.

Lakers guard Austin Reaves steals the ball from Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards during a game in March at Crypto.com Arena.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Reaves stayed on the bench, with Ham using Reddish as a starter, hoping to unlock the former lottery pick as a defensive specialist. Through the lineup changes, the Lakers cruised to win the first in-season tournament, another sign they, and Ham, were maybe at their best when the stakes were high.

But immediately after the tournament, the season threatened to go off the rails. The schedule was cruel, the Lakers on the road for most of a month while the quality of opponents spiked. Emotional and physical fatigue intersected as the first trade rumors surfaced.

Desperate to establish more defensive identity, Ham would use Reddish, Prince and Vanderbilt as starters — meaning three key members from last season’s team, Reaves, Russell and Hachimura, all were coming off the bench.

Russell’s December put him squarely in trade talks, with some people involved with the Lakers wondering how much better they would’ve been had they landed Mike Conley instead inthe 2023 deadline trade that transformed their season.

Ham’s job security would be called into question as the team entered 2024 with the good vibes from the in-season tournament gone. After a so-so January ended with the Lakers getting blown out on back-to-back nights in Houston and Atlanta, James posted an hourglass emoji on social media, a reminder that his patience was waning.

He and Davis sat out the next game, in Boston, and the Lakers pulled off an incredible win. Vanderbilt, though, suffered a major foot injury and sat out the rest of the season.

Had Vanderbilt not injured himself, insiders believe he was headed for a reunion with a starting group that began 13 playoff games the season before. But because of injuries and Ham’s preferences, that five didn’t start a single game together during the 2023-24 season.

Without Vanderbilt, Ham committed to a new path, with Hachimura, Russell and Reaves all starting — the Lakers finally landing on a starting five that had roots in last season’s playoff run.

By then, Russell had emerged as the Lakers’ most consistent third option alongside James and Davis, staring down weeks of trade rumors to set a team record for three-pointers in a season.

That group reenergized the Lakers’ season, the team going 22-10 after inserting Hachimura into the starting five.

“With my craft and my talent on the floor, I’ve always felt like I was capable of doing things,” Russell said after a game-winner against Milwaukee. “Getting hot makes it a little more exciting throughout a game. Off the floor, obviously, you know what I’ve been through. Public humiliation has done nothing but molded me into the killer that ya’ll see today. And, um, I never lack confidence. I never fear confrontation. I want all the smoke.”

While the team surged and ended the regular season 12 games over .500, some within the team and organization often wondered how much better the record would’ve been had the Lakers made those lineup changes sooner.

The Lakers now enter the offseason unsure of what they were and what they can be — and, in the end, that’s probably what you’re in for with a team in their position.

With James still able to perform and earn maximum money, there is no time for patience and no prioritization for development.

Never has a player been more “win now” than James at this stage.

After a quiet trade deadline, those with knowledge of the Lakers situation not authorized to speak publicly regularly discussed the flexibility to potentially trade three first-round picks this offseason in an effort to add a player who would provide a bigger impact. Atlanta guards Dejounte Murray and Trae Young will certainly be discussed. Other players unhappy with their situations also could be available.

The Lakers could unbundle those picks and use them in multiple transactions to try to improve their supporting cast.

James’ presence certainly will play a major role in how they operate, as will that of Davis, whom the team signed to a long-term extension before this season.

As the organization tries to make sense of the season it just had, it will have to wrestle with a first-round loss in five games in which the Lakers led at halftime of all five games. It’ll have to deal with the knowledge the Lakers led for more minutes than they trailed, that the smallest mistakes had the biggest impact.

In a lot of ways, the end was a lot like that shot in Minnesota.

The Lakers were so close, one could really feel it. Yet close for this team at this moment isn’t anywhere near good enough.

And it won’t take much of a review to reach that conclusion.

Itel Unicon Pro smartwatch with personalised video watch face feature launched – Check price and features

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Itel has launched a new smartwatch under its newly introduced premium Unicorn Series – Itel Unicorn Pro. The Itel Unicorn Pro comes packed with features like a dual-core processor with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 1.43-inch AMOLED display that supports a peak brightness of 1,000 nits. Apart from this, it comes with features like an always-on display, 200+ stylish watch faces with personalized video watch face features and 24-hour health monitoring. According to the company, the Unicorn Pro is available at a price of Rs 3,799.

Itel Unicon Pro smartwatch – Colour Variants

This smartwatch is available in three colours – Copper Gold, Aluminum Silver, and Meteorite Grey. The smartwatch also features a stainless steel design. For connectivity, it comes with single-chip Bluetooth calling functionality. Also, it has a Magnetic rotating crown and two shortcut keys for easy navigation.

“Powered by the dual-core processor the smartwatch’s seamless responsiveness ensures that the user can stay connected and engaged in conversations without any inconvenience, keeping them in sync with their digital communication effortlessly without any lags or jitters,” the company said.

According to the company, the Itel Unicorn Pro offers a standby time of up to 15 days and a backup of up to seven days.

Itel Unicon Pro smartwatch: Health Monitoring

The company claims that Unicorn Pro can continuously monitor heart rate in real time while also tracking sleep patterns without sacrificing performance. The smartwatch also features several health features such as a mood Monitor, 100+ Sports Mode, 24 x 7 Heart Rate Monitoring, Sedentary Reminder, Breathing Exercise, Stress Monitor, Sleep Monitor, SpO2 Monitor, Female Cycle Tracking, Water Reminder, and SOS.

China lifts ban, allows tourists from Fujian province to visit Taiwan | Travel

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ANI | | Posted by Zarafshan Shiraz, Beijing [china]

China has lifted the ban on tourists from Fujian province visiting Taiwan, Nikkei Asia reported citing China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Sunday.

China lifts ban, allows tourists from Fujian province to visit Taiwan (Photo by I-Hwa CHENG / AFP)

According to the report, China’s Vice Minister Rao Quan announced the eased restrictions to a visiting delegation from Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), which seeks closer ties with China.

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The move comes ahead of the ceremonial induction of Taiwanese President-elect William Lai to office, whom China calls a separatist.

Nikkei Asia reported that travel would first be permitted to Taiwan’s Matsu islands, close to the Fujian coast, with group tours to restart once ferry service resumes between Fujian’s Pingtan and Taiwan’s main island.

China imposed tourism restrictions on individual travel by residents from the mainland, including Fujian, in 2019. Cross-strait relations deteriorated after the 2016 election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whose Democratic Progressive Party opposes unification with China in favour of the status quo. Lai is now vice president under the term-limited Tsai and ran as the DPP’s presidential candidate in 2024.

With the KMT becoming the top party in Taiwan’s legislative elections this January, the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought to strengthen ties with the party.

Xi met with former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT for the first time in more than eight years earlier this month in Beijing, hailing Ma’s opposition to Taiwan independence and his efforts to promote peaceful cross-strait development, Nikkei Asia reported.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

How to get tickets to Natasha Bedingfield anniversary show | Music | Entertainment

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Natasha Bedingfield has just confirmed she is bringing perhaps her most popular of all time back to store shelves.

Unwritten, the 2004 debut album, was Bedingfield’s breakout record, and it secure her spot as one of the century’s most recognisable singer songwriters.

The record included such hits as These Words, Single, Unwritten and I Bruise Easily.

Now, 20 years after the album’s release, Bedingfield is reissuing the album – and celebrating with a one-off show in London’s Koko.

Tickets for the massive anniversary show will be released later this week, and we have all the details you need to get involved.

May

Sat 25th – BIRMINGHAM, Pride Festival

June

  • Fri 7th – CAMBRIDGE, Cambridge Club Festival

July

  • Sat 13th – GLASGOW, TRNSMT Festival

August

  • Sat 3rd – CO. WATERFORD, All Together Now Festival
  • Fri 23rd – COTSWOLD, Big Feastival
  • Sat 24th – CORNWALL, Tunes In The Park Festival
  • Sun 25th – PORTSMOUTH, Victorious Festival

September

Why China’s latest motor show showcased our future in Australia

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There’s no denying that Chinese cars can be polarising.

The average person doesn’t really care where their car is coming from, though, and with non-Chinese brands like Tesla, Mini, BMW, Volvo and others already making and delivering cars to our market from China, the idea of a Chinese car is actually rather blurry.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of actual Chinese brands like MG, GWM and Chery that are already operating in Australia and there are many more (Zeekr, Aion etc) that are set to launch in the near future.

The onslaught of Chinese brands in our market has only just started, and spending last week at the Beijing motor show made us realise just how much more there is to come and, more importantly, why it will come.

It was the very first motorshow we have attended where referring to ourselves as Car Experts probably didn’t apply. So many brands, so many cars… like a kid in a candy store not knowing what most of it was.

From four-door sedans with scissor doors, an almost limitless number of SUVs in differing sizes looking like G-Wagens and Defenders to endless hypercar-looking EVs that blended the very best of their donor’s designs, the Chinese carmakers were out in force to showcase what they had built and what they had coming.

To say that here in Australia, we have a good grasp of what is available in China in terms of automotive options would be laughable.

There is genuinely a car for everyone, and with the rapid takeover of electric cars, the capacity to take the same battery and motor setup and put it in as many body types and styles has created a fast-paced culture that should scare the hell out of the rest of the automotive manufacturing world.

While the Europeans and especially the Japanese have struggled to adapt to the changing world of electrification at the same rate as the Chinese, this movement is so much more than just EVs.

Almost every Chinese car we jumped in had more screens than any Japanese car on sale today, often using super responsive Android software that felt like the latest smartphone rather than the antiquated systems you’d find in most Japanese cars. The fit and finish of the interiors was also a huge step up from what we are used to here today.

The last time we attended the Beijing motor show was before COVID, and the rate of change has been marked as the Chinese have hired foreign engineers, production managers and designers – MG, for example, recently appointed the guy who penned the Bugatti Veyron as a designer.

Now I know you’re thinking, “But the quality is crap!” It’s really not. This may have had some truth a decade or even five years ago, but it’s categorically not the case now.

We sat in over 50 different cars and pushed and prodded as many things as we could and tried to scratch beneath the surface.

We also did the same to the non-Chinese brands at the show and of course, you can’t judge quality, reliability and durability based on sitting in a car, but in an apples-to-apples comparison, the Chinese cars seriously stacked up. In most cases, they were actually nicer to be in.

It’s a genuinely scary thought what has happened in that market and how quickly it has all come about.

Given the long warranty periods brands like GWM, MG and Chery have in Australia (seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranties for all), there is no question the carmakers back their products as well.

But why Australia? Why has our market become the Chinese battleground for so many emerging carmakers? The reasons are pretty simple when put into context. Australia is the closest and easiest Western market for Chinese brands to test their products.

Going to Europe requires billions of investment, and North America is even worse. As for Australia, a brand can set up a reasonable chain of dealerships in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide and cover the majority of the population relatively quickly.

This allows Chinese brands to test market acceptance before they invest significantly more and enter much larger Western markets.

This certainly was the case with MG, with the brand having come here, proven itself to be very successful, then ventured into markets in Europe and beyond.

Rewind 10 years to 2014 and only 4154 Chinese-made cars were sold in Australia. Last year, 193,433 reached Australian buyers, and they are only getting started.

New ICO Crypto’s Option2Trade and BlockDAG Dominate Crypto Sphere, Experts Predict 2000x Rally After Listing

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As Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG) prepare for their post-listing phases, the cryptocurrency community watches with bated breath. If these platforms can deliver, they could not only enjoy a 2000x rally but also fundamentally alter the cryptocurrency landscape. The success of Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG) could usher in a new era of innovation, setting the stage for the next generation of crypto technology.

Breakthrough Technologies Pioneered by O2T and BDAG

Option2Trade (O2T) is making waves with its sophisticated algorithmic trading platform that automates and optimizes cryptocurrency trading at scale. This technology is particularly appealing for traders looking to leverage advanced analytical tools to enhance decision-making and maximize profitability.

Conversely, BlockDAG (BDAG) introduces a novel blockchain architecture that departs from traditional linear blockchains to a directed acyclic graph (DAG) structure. This innovation allows for faster transactions, improved scalability, and reduced fees, addressing some of the most pressing issues faced by conventional blockchain technologies.

Why Experts Are Bullish on O2T and BDAG

The enthusiasm from financial experts regarding Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG) stems from several key factors:

– Innovative Solutions: Both O2T and BlockDAG (BDAG) are not just iterations of existing technologies but are groundbreaking in their approaches to solving complex problems in the crypto sphere.

– Potential Market Impact: The technologies behind Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG) have the potential to attract a broad audience, from individual traders to large financial institutions, thereby expanding their user base exponentially.

– Strategic Market Timing: As the crypto market matures, there is a growing appetite for new solutions that provide real-world applications and improved efficiency. Option2Trade (O2T) and BDAG are launching at a time when the market is ripe for fresh innovations.

Implications for the Broader Crypto Market

The potential success of ICOs like Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG) could significantly impact the broader cryptocurrency market:

– Setting New Standards: The technologies introduced by Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG) could set new industry standards, forcing existing platforms to innovate or face obsolescence.

– Increasing Market Capabilities: With enhanced trading tools and more efficient blockchain structures, the entire crypto ecosystem could see increased capabilities, leading to more robust investment and trading environments.

What This Means for Investors and Traders

For investors and traders, the rise of Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG) represents both opportunity and caution. The potential for high returns is considerable if these platforms perform as predicted; however, as with any investment, especially in the high-stakes world of ICOs, there are risks involved. The key will be in thorough due diligence and perhaps a bit of strategic diversification.

Conclusion: A New Era in Cryptocurrency Innovation

As the digital currency landscape evolves, two new Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Option2Trade (O2T) and BlockDAG (BDAG), are emerging as significant game-changers. The buzz around these platforms is not unfounded—both are introducing revolutionary technologies that could potentially redefine the standards of cryptocurrency operations and investments.

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Avoid Traditional Marketing Metrics To Prove Content’s Real Value

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There’s something in the air. In the past week, I’ve been asked more questions about how to measure content marketing than I have in two years.

So, let me welcome you to the wonderful world of content marketing measurement.

I can already hear your response: “I went into content and marketing because there would be no math.”

Well, the good news is that all kinds of tools can help you do the math. The bad news? None of those tools will help you understand what content means for your business.

And here’s the secret to meaningful content marketing measurement: You must convince whoever receives the analysis that content requires specialized insight into the actual numbers.

Put simply, you have to measure things differently from how you’d measure traditional marketing.

Here’s what I mean.

Classic marketing measurement vs. content marketing measurement

Marketing is classically measured by how it shortens the time between a product’s availability and the customer’s purchase (i.e., the efficiency of the buyer’s journey). How many more buyers do you reach than average? What percentage of buyers move onto subsequent stages?

Any improvement in either or both metrics for the same effort and/or budget means you’re spending the budget more efficiently.

In growth companies (like startups), the emphasis may shift toward more customers. In value companies (legacy brands, for example), the focus shifts toward higher conversion.

Inevitably, business leaders want both success measurements.

However, measurement operates differently in content marketing. The objective is to use valuable content to develop a deeper relationship with a broader group of people than immediate buyers. Sometimes, you intentionally slow down the process so that a visitor becomes sufficiently educated to become a buyer. You’re playing the long game — developing a meaningful relationship so that when a person is ready to buy, they view you as a trusted provider.

This is the critical difference. Content marketing measurement assesses the depth and scale of a relationship that may influence the buying process. You measure what your content marketing audiences do that other audiences don’t, showing how these better relationships impact the overall marketing strategy.

And that means you must start your content marketing measurement journey with a shared and well-communicated objective.

Get everybody on the same page

Shared objectives without measurement analytics are visions without direction. Measurement analytics without shared objectives are like having a map but no agreement on where to go.

When you start with a shared objective and an understanding of how you know if you achieve it, you can then define that success with numbers that have a purpose and, more importantly, meaning.

Think of your company as a football team. Your shared goal is to win the game. Everybody knows that you need to score more points than your opponent. But unless you have a shared understanding of how many points result from a field goal or touchdown, no one knows if they’ve scored enough until someone declares the winner. If you’re the loser, it’s too late to change it. If you win, nobody understands why.

What’s the answer?

Align on an objective, not a measurement data point.

Recently, a marketing manager told me his team’s quarterly goal was a 30% increase in web traffic. “Why?” I asked. “Because more traffic equals better marketing,” he replied.

But that’s not necessarily true. If the objective is more high-impact leads, more traffic might be the worst thing to focus on.

That’s why you must design shared objectives in clear, unambiguous terms before selecting the key performance indicators to show what’s working (and what isn’t) on the path to reaching that shared objective.

Too often, marketing leaders set goals and objectives for their teams, while sales leaders establish goals for their teams. Meanwhile, executives set their objectives for the company. But no group has communicated or aligned these objectives with one another. So, the five most important things on marketing’s to-do list differ from the five most important things on sales’ to-do list.

As a marketing vice president recently shared, “The sales team is measured on the value of opportunities that turn into customers. Marketing is measured by the number of leads created. And content marketing is measured by traffic to the blog. That sounds like a match, but it’s not.”

If you don’t have a clearly defined and shared vision for what content marketing success looks like, you can’t measure anything meaningful.

Creating shared success measurement

Once you set a shared objective, you can set up the metrics to define its success.

Objectives and key results (OKRs) have emerged as a useful measurement architecture. OKRs are a fantastic method for measurement that matters because they center on a shared objective.

I prescribe a four-step OKR approach for my clients.

Let’s walk through each step.

Step 1: Set the objective

Once you have a shared objective, you should clearly express how content marketing will contribute to that objective and the time it will take to achieve success.

It might take a quarter, a year, or multiple years to realize the objective, so you might have short- and long-term goals within the larger objective.

TIP: Don’t shy away from setting long-term strategic objectives for fear of marketplace shifts or evolving assumptions. You’re just boxing objectives into a timeframe to understand how quickly you need to change.

Now that you have a shareable strategic objective, you can start defining success.

Step 2: Define success with your key results

Decide which metrics will unambiguously define success. Don’t be afraid to use more than numbers. In many instances, you may measure qualitative impact or capabilities, not just transactions.

For example, key results such as learning a skill or developing a capability might have graded (A, B, C, etc.) key results. Or you may have contextual key results. For example, the objective may be year-long, but the key results reflect quarterly progress.

Just remember the objective is change. These key results define the progress toward that change.

This graphic illustrates the concept of setting your objectives and key results, starting with the statement: “We will (objective) as measured by (key results).”

The objective completes this sentence, “We will accomplish (something).”

That sentence is supported by four types of key results:

  • Performance key results are unambiguous (i.e., agreed upon) and verifiable results that indicate the objective has been met.
  • Context key results are aligned by context. For time-based results, for example, you could note the objective is multi-year, and the key result is quarterly.
  • Learning key results may be enabling but not necessarily performance-based (e.g., learning a skill or developing capability).
  • Graded key results can also be based on a grade rather than performance (e.g., 50-plus equals an A, and 40 to 50 equals a B).

Keep in mind that OKRs are not KPIs (key performance indicators). The objective and the key results define the desired change, and KPIs equal progress toward that change.

Here’s an objective-setting example. Let’s say the strategic objective is to drive a 25% increase in net new sales in the next year. So, you might come up with an objective for the content marketing approach that says, “We will prompt 10% of all net new sales opportunities in the next year.”

That’s a shareable objective, but it doesn’t define how you’ll achieve that success. So, you need to support it with key results:

  • Increase new high-quality leads with content by 15%.
  • Increase conversion rates of free trials by 25%.
  • Decrease cost-per-thousand advertising rate by 20%.

Now, you’ve defined how the shared objective will relate to profit over cost. That’s the key.

Step 3: Design your KPI metrics

Your key results will most likely combine measurements. In the example above, the first key result specifies high-quality leads. Therefore, you wouldn’t measure the total number of leads; you’d measure the number of leads that matched the targeted opportunity persona.

You’ll have to combine a few metrics to derive that number. These aggregate measurements are the KPIs that indicate progress toward the key results.

That brings you to the final step.

Step 4: Design your analytics

Multiple key results and KPIs naturally require multiple single metrics. At this point, the more transactional nature of measurement — web analytics, conversions, SEO metrics, downloads — becomes important. These numbers (in combination) feed your KPIs, which assess whether your key results are on track.

Design the measurement pyramid

Think of all these steps as forming a pyramid showing what you need to measure and why.

In this image, the single block at the top represents the objective — the shared goal. Below are two key results blocks — the unambiguous investment values achieved from the shared purpose.

These rest on a row of three KPIs — the unique, aggregated measurements that inform progress toward the shared goal. A row of metrics — the detailed actions/conversions that help improve the efforts — forms the pyramid’s base.

In this image, the single block at the top represents the objective — the shared goal. Below are two key results blocks — the unambiguous investment values achieved from the shared purpose. These rest on a row of three KPIs — the unique, aggregated measurements that inform progress toward the shared goal. A row of metrics — the detailed actions/conversions that help improve the efforts — forms the pyramid’s base.

If designed correctly, you’ll measure only things that matter to meeting an objective. Other measurements may be interesting or relate to what you’re tracking, but your focus should be on these four elements.

You will have one measurement pyramid for each strategic objective. Once you have all the strategic objectives and their measurement pyramids, you might roll them into the overall business objectives.

What would that look like? You could design it like an org chart, with the overall business mission segmented into strategic objectives. Each segment connects to the OKR pyramid and the source tool for each metric that goes into it.

An org chart with the overall business mission segmented into strategic objectives. Each segment connects to the OKR pyramid and the source tool for each metric that goes into it.

Click to enlarge

Meaningful measurement

Now you’re measuring what’s meaningful, not just anything you can. If the game is won, everybody will know why.

I’ll admit it — measurement isn’t the most enjoyable part of anyone’s job. Many content marketers want to avoid thinking about it.

Have you heard the saying, “Create a life so good that you don’t need a vacation to escape from it”?

You can echo that sentiment in your approach to measurement: “Create an analytics and measurement strategy so good that you don’t have to do any math to support it.”

It’s your measurement story. Tell it well.

Updated from an October 2021 article.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Education Ministry asks NCERT to review, update textbooks on yearly basis

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The Ministry of Education (MoE) has asked the NCERT to conduct a review of its textbooks and update them on yearly basis, according to sources.

So far, there has been no mandate on the frequency of updating NCERT textbooks. However, the National Council of Educational Research and Training has been occasionally revising and updating content since 2017.

A rationalisation exercise was also conducted in view of the closure of schools due to the pandemic but there were allegations from a section of agenda-driven editing.

  • Also read: NCERT panel suggests replacing India with Bharat in textbooks

“In the fast-changing world of today, it is important that the textbooks are absolutely updated. The NCERT has been asked to conduct a review on a yearly basis and update them ahead of the beginning of the new academic session… they are soon going to put a system in place,” a source said.

“NCERT books once published should not remain the same for many years. They should be reviewed every year before printing and if any changes have to be made or some new facts have to be added, they should be included in the books. For instance, topics like Artificial Intelligence are very evolving,” the source added.

Currently, the NCERT is in the process of developing textbooks according to the New Curriculum Framework (NCF) announced last year.

“The textbooks as per the new curriculum will be ready for all classes by 2026… it will take at least two years for all textbooks to be released for all classes in line with the new NCF,” the source added.

This year, the NCERT has introduced new textbooks for classes 3 and 6.

US health experts recommend less alcohol as new research challenges benefits

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  • Global drinking guidelines are shifting towards recommending less alcohol consumption.
  • More than 200 health conditions have been linked to alcohol, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Genetic studies show that people with a gene variant making alcohol unpleasant tend to have lower heart disease risks.

It’s wine time. Beer Thirty. Happy hour. Five o’clock somewhere.

Maybe it’s also time to rethink drinking?

Moderate drinking was once thought to have benefits for the heart, but better research methods have thrown cold water on that.

WOMEN WHO DRINK MORE THAN 8 ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES A WEEK ARE AT GREATER RISK OF HEART DISEASE: NEW STUDY

“Drinking less is a great way to be healthier,” said Dr. Timothy Naimi, who directs the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Bottles of alcohol sit on shelves at a bar in Houston on June 23, 2020. Moderate drinking was once thought to have benefits for the heart, but better research methods starting in the 2010s have thrown cold water on that. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

ARE DRINKING GUIDELINES CHANGING?

Guidelines vary a lot from country to country but the overall trend is toward drinking less.

The United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Holland and Australia recently reviewed new evidence and lowered their alcohol consumption recommendations. Ireland will require cancer warning labels on alcohol starting in 2026.

“The scientific consensus has shifted due to the overwhelming evidence linking alcohol to over 200 health conditions, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases and injuries,” said Carina Ferreira-Borges, regional adviser for alcohol at the World Health Organization regional office for Europe.

From Dry January to Sober October to bartenders getting creative with non-alcoholic cocktails, there’s a cultural vibe that supports cutting back.

“People my age are way more accepting of it,” said Tessa Weber, 28, of Austin, Texas. She stopped drinking for Dry January this year because she’d noticed alcohol was increasing her anxiety. She liked the results — better sleep, more energy — and has stuck with it.

“It’s good to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol,” Weber said.

WAIT, MODERATE DRINKING DOESN’T HAVE HEALTH BENEFITS?

That idea came from imperfect studies comparing groups of people by how much they drink. Usually, consumption was measured at one point in time. And none of the studies randomly assigned people to drink or not drink, so they couldn’t prove cause and effect.

People who report drinking moderately tend to have higher levels of education, higher incomes and better access to health care, Naimi said.

“It turns out that when you adjust for those things, the benefits tend to disappear,” he said.

DRINKING ALCOHOL WEEKLY COULD BE CONNECTED TO 61 DIFFERENT DISEASES, STUDY FINDS

Another problem: Most studies didn’t include younger people. Almost half of the people who die from alcohol-related causes die before the age of 50.

“If you’re studying people who survived into middle age, didn’t quit drinking because of a problem and didn’t become a heavy drinker, that’s a very select group,” Naimi said. “It creates an appearance of a benefit for moderate drinkers that is actually a statistical illusion.”

Other studies challenge the idea that alcohol has benefits. These studies compare people with a gene variant that makes it unpleasant to drink to people without the gene variant. People with the variant tend to drink very little or not at all. One of these studies found people with the gene variant have a lower risk of heart disease — another blow to the idea that alcohol protects people from heart problems.

HOW MANY DRINKS CAN I HAVE PER DAY?

That depends.

Drinking raises the risk of several types of cancer, including colon, liver, breast and mouth and throat. Alcohol breaks down in the body into a substance called acetaldehyde, which can damage your cells and stop them from repairing themselves. That creates the conditions for cancer to grow.

Thousands of U.S. deaths per year could be prevented if people followed the government’s dietary guidelines, which advise men to limit themselves to two drinks or fewer per day and women to one drink or fewer per day, Naimi said.

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One drink is the equivalent of about one 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a shot of liquor.

Naimi served on an advisory committee that wanted to lower the recommendation for men to one drink per day. That advice was considered and rejected when the federal recommendations came out in 2020.

“The simple message that’s best supported by the evidence is that, if you drink, less is better when it comes to health,” Naimi said.

Confused About Cooking Oils? Here Are 3 You Absolutely Need

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when we say cooking essentials? Many of you will surely say ‘cooking oil’. You will find different types of cooking oil in the market, each having unique characteristics, benefits, and uses. While some are best for deep-frying foods, some are used just for marination. That’s not all. The use of cooking oil also differs from place to place, depending on the type of recipe. For example, the Southern part of India witnesses major dominance of coconut oil, whereas people in the Eastern region use mustard oil in most of their foods. Then there are options like groundnut oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and the list goes on. Let’s agree, it can be confusing at times. Fret not, we have made things easy for you.

In this article, we will introduce you to three major cooking oil options, which according to health experts, are essential in every kitchen setup. Nutritionist and health coach Lovneet Batra took to Instagram to explain, “No one oil is complete. It’s important to use a variety in your kitchen.” Hence, she got us the best options to go for on a daily basis. Let’s take you through.

Also Read: How To Safely Dispose Of Cooking Oil After Frying? Viral Video Explains

3 Essential Cooking Oils You Need In Your Kitchen:

Option 1. A2 Cow Milk Ghee:

Benefits:Ghee has always been considered a superfood due to its extensive health benefits. As per Lovneet Batra, the high concentration of butyric acid in cow milk ghee helps promote gut health by supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. It is also known to prevent inflammation, further reducing oxidative stress in the body.

Use: Cow ghee has a high smoke point and can be heated well without breaking down the nutrients. This makes it a great option for sauteeing and deep-frying foods.

Option 2. Mustard Oil:

Benefits:Mustard oil is known to contain a high amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which the nutritionist states can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the body, further aiding heart health. Lovneet Batra further explains that the oil also contains compounds like allyl isothiocyanate and erucic acid, which exhibit antibacterial and antifungal properties. “These properties can help fight off infections when used topically or consumed orally,” she adds.

Use: Mustard oil too has a high smoking point and a strong aroma that makes it unique. These factors make this oil perfect to use for curries and tadka.

Option 3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Benefits: Extra virgin olive oil is considered a potent source of antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamin E. These further help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, states Lovneet Batra, adding that it can also contribute to overall health by reducing the risks of chronic diseases.

Use: Extra virgin olive oil is very delicate in nature and can be consumed raw. You can use it to drizzle on salads and for other cold preparations including making sandwiches.

Make your food choices mindfully and enjoy good health!