Archives for October 2013

Google and Waze: Acquisition of Really Cool App


Ever heard of Waze? I hadn’t, until recently. My husband insisted that Apple Maps was awful and would lead me astray. I brushed him off and kept using it – until I was nearly an hour late picking up a friend from a small airport because Apple Maps told me that it was located in the middle of a lake. Um. No, it’s not. So while my husband briefed me about the history of the Waze app, I downloaded it. I’ve been smitten ever since. The small company also has a colorful recent history.

Waze is a really interesting hybrid of a map service and a social network. You plug in your destination and Waze will tell you how to get there. But the difference is that it uses data collected from other users to give you the quickest possible route. Other Wazers check in, offering information on slowed traffic, accidents, police, cars stopped on the side of the road, and more. The app also senses if you are going slower than the posted speed limit in that area and asks you if the traffic is heavy.

Users can also comment on events. For example, if an accident is noted on the map, there is a thread of conversation attached that users can contribute to. My family and I once discovered that we were going 5mph down the interstate because an RV had crashed into some trees in the median, even though the accident had been cleared by the time we got there.

Originally developed in Israel, recently Waze has skyrocketed in popularity. In 2013, both Facebook and Google attempted to acquire the company. Waze and Facebook could not reach an agreement, and in June 2013, Google was able to acquire the company for more than a billion dollars. However, Google is now being investigated for possibly violating competition law, as there are very few competitors for Google Maps and they just purchased one of the largest ones.

Waze is a free app that is supported by most smartphone platforms. It appears to support itself by the use of sponsored ads. While it is a very useful app here in the U.S. where its mapping system is considered complete, it is not yet complete around the world. Waze also relies on a strong community to keep the maps updated and other users current on what is going on. If you are in a remote area, while the map should be accurate, the social aspect may be lacking.

I don’t work for Waze or get paid to promote it, I just think it’s a really cool app that more people should know about!

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Maddie Heinen is a regular contributor to She is a freelance writer who specializes in blogging, content creation, and social media. When she is not working, she is taking care of her two kids, husband, and home in Central Florida. Maddie enjoys reading, shopping, and is interested in real estate. She is currently working on establishing her own internet-based media company, Red Hibiscus Media, which will specialize in both online content as well as print material.

Nebraska Fan and Brain Cancer Patient Scores another Touchdown


You probably recall the video of a young Nebraska boy, fighting a battle with brain cancer, scoring a touchdown in the Cornhuskers spring game earlier this year. It was all over the internet, and it likely generated a grin when you viewed.

The boy’s name is Jack Hoffman, and the video has been viewed over 8 million times on Youtube. The video of that exhilarating moment is below.


During a time of government shutdowns, world unrest, and endless shootings, here is some actual good news.

Jack Hoffman learned earlier this week that his brain cancer is in remission.

From the Team Jack Facebook page from earlier this week: “After a morning MRI and a day’s worth of medical appointments, we learned that Jack’s tumor is stable (in remission) and that his chemotherapy port can be removed.

While residual tumor remains, it is inactive as he has been off treatment for three months and it has not grown.

While it is likely that Jack will need more treatment in the future, doctors overall feel good about Jack’s case and have told us that it is possible, that he is done with treatment altogether. About 1/3 of all cases don’t relapse and you are done. We are praying that Jack is in that 1/3.

Regardless, we are so thankful to God for this day. Thank you for all of your love, prayers and support. It truly means the world. We continue to be buoyed by everyone’s support.”


To learn more about Jack Hoffman and the fight against pediatric brain cancer check out Team Jack Foundation.


5 Essential Truths about Social Media


There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that social media is taking over the world – both business and personal. Their immense popularity has caused the networks to grow and change very often. While this is good on some levels, it can also make for a confusing landscape for people who use it for a variety of applications.

Businesses in particular have faced changes to social media platforms and terms very often. Having to adapt to these new requirements and recommendations can be exhausting. But behind it all, there are a few principles that are important to follow when it comes to social media. I’d consider theses some of the most fundamental “truths” when it comes to using these networks. Here they are:

  1. The quality of what you post is so important. The old adage is of course, quality over quantity. The same is absolutely true with social media. Take the time to really figure out what kind of time and effort you can contribute to your pages. Then use that time to post quality information. If you can only make the commitment to post once every two days, but it is quality content, that is the way to go.
  2. Keep your focus on your followers. Don’t forget who you actually joined social media for. While you might be tempted to push your own agenda, make sure that you post things that you think they would like to see. By focusing on the people that you hope to engage, you’re more likely to achieve the results that you are looking for.
  3. Make your pages/accounts visually interesting. The more photos and video you post, the better. It’s a simple as that. On Facebook, changing your cover and profile photo often will make you more visible. People like visuals!
  4. Interaction is key. Use your pages to actually talk back and forth with your followers/customers. Don’t just give a canned reply to a question or comments. It’s important to keep checking back and continue the conversation until everyone is satisfied.
  5. Sharing is a good thing. While you shouldn’t share every single thing that comes across your social media path, your followers are likely to appreciate you sharing content that is relevant to their interests.

We all know that social media can either really help or really hurt a business. Make yours one of the good ones!

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.