Man kills ex-girlfriend, self in loans store in downtown Chicago

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A man shot and killed his former girlfriend and then himself on Friday in the downtown Chicago loans store where she worked, police said.


New Business? Don’t Stress About Which News Outlets Give You Press

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If you have recently launched a new company, chances are you’re going to want to start getting some media attention right away. Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal — you want coverage in all the most prestigious media outlets. The reality is that it can be hard to get the ball rolling when it comes to growing your business and getting the type of notoriety it needs to really take off. Yes, this process can be stressful, but there are some things that you can do in order to get the press that you are looking for.

Think Small

The first thing to do is to “think small.” Yes, as a new business owner you will want to get as much attention as possible. You may feel as though your new company deserves notoriety, but that doesn’t mean that you can jump straight to the biggest names out there. Don’t be so focused on landing big-name media outlets right away. While getting attention from mainstream outlets may seem like a great goal for you, focusing on these publications right away is likely a waste of time.

Instead, use your valuable time to focus on pitching ideas to smaller outlets. Big news publications such as Forbes don’t focus a lot on up-and-coming companies, and typically don’t shed light on new businesses (unless you’re a tech company with some very substantial backing numbers). They tend to talk about the same group of big mainstream companies over and over again.

This is why focusing on smaller outlets is a better approach. It may not give you the exposure that Fortune will, but it is a great place to start. Focusing on smaller outlets will still get you some attention and is not a waste of time and energy. It’s important to remember that getting noticed by these smaller outlets is better than not getting any attention at all.

Get Your First Big Break

Your focus should be on getting your first “big break,” or your first real exposure from a publication. Getting noticed once is a great way to break through and to start getting the type of attention that you are really looking for. Once you get picked up by one of these smaller outlets, you have something to build on and to reference going forward. Plus, exposure from a small outlet can still do a great deal for your company, even if you are just in the building or growing stages. You may be surprised by what a single article in a local newspaper can do.

Once you have this exposure, you can keep getting more attention from other publications and work towards being the type of established company that gets attention from big-name outlets. You have to start somewhere, particularly when you are growing a company. When you start pitching stories and distributing press releases, save yourself the headache of rejections from big publications and instead focus on some of the smaller outlets around you. If you create a list of small publications and focus on getting attention from them first, your chances of getting recognized will increase greatly.

Remember: even if you have big goals for your company in the future, you always need to start small, so stop stressing and start focusing on smaller outlets — it will do much more for your company in the long run.

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The Mathematics of Bluffing

A quick post about poker! That seemingly simple, deceptively complex game with a number of interesting parallels to investing. I just watched the MIT lectures on ‘Poker Theory and Analytics,’ an ‘Independent Activities Period’ mini-course, and for our mutual amusement, I worked through the math on bluffing, which is an interesting problem I had never done the full deep dive into.

Here’s how we set up a pure bluffing scenario:

  • There is a $1 pot.
  • There are 2 players. Player 1 flips a coin.
  • Player 1 looks at the coin, which represents his ‘hand.’ Player 2 does not see the coin.
  • If it’s heads, Player 1 has ‘the nuts,’ the winning ‘hand.’
  • If it’s tails, Player 1 has the worst possible ‘hand’, loses to whatever Player 2 has.
  • Player 1 gets the option to bet $1, or check.
  • If Player 1 bets, Player 2 can call the $1 bet, or fold. If Player 2 folds, Player 1 wins the pot without ‘showing down’ the coin. If Player 2 calls, the coin is revealed and best hand wins the pot (heads: Player 1, tails: Player 2).
  • If Player 1 checks, the coin is revealed and best hand wins the pot.

This maps pretty well to a poker bluffing scenario on the river. You either have the nuts 50% of the time, or the worst possible hand the other 50%. This only covers whether Player 1 should bluff and whether Player 2 should then call. Player 2 doesn’t have the option to bet if you check, raise if you bet, and the bluff amount is fixed.

How should Player 1 play?

  • If Player 1 has the nuts, he (or she) should always bet for value. Why? Betting is always at least as good or better than checking:

    • If Player 2 folds, Player 1 wins the $1 pot (same as Player 1 checking first).
    • If Player 2 calls, Player 1 wins $2, the pot plus the called bet, better than checking first. Betting always has an expected value (EV) >= checking.1

  • If Player 2 has no hand, it gets more interesting!
    Suppose Player 1 bluffs when coin comes up tails:

    • If Player 2 then calls, Player 1 loses the $1 bet. EV: -1.
    • If Player 2 folds, Player 1 wins the $1 pot. EV: +1.

    Suppose Player 1 checks when coin comes up tails:

    • Player 2 checks and Player 2 wins the pot. EV: 0. (Only 1 outcome since we’re not letting Player 2 bet.)

When Player 1 has nothing, neither strategy dominates.

Here is a ‘pure strategy’ matrix.

P2 tight
Fold to any bet
P2 loose
Call any bet
P1 passive
Value bet heads, check tails
P1 EV: 0.5
P2 EV: 0.5
P1 EV: 1
P2 EV: 0
P1 aggressive
Value bet heads, bluff tails
P1 EV: 1
P2 EV: 0
P1 EV: 0.5
P2 EV: 0.5

There is no stable outcome to this game if each player sticks to a single strategy.

If Player 1 is aggressive, it’s better for Player 2 to be loose: he catches all the bluffs for $2, and loses all the value bets for only $1. If Player 2 is loose, it’s better for Player 1 to be passive: he always gets $1 value for betting, and never gets caught bluffing. In each cell, one player is better off moving counterclockwise to the next cell, and they chase each other around the matrix.

In the lingo, there is no pure strategy Nash equilibrium.

Now suppose each player can choose a mixed strategy. Player 1 randomly picks ‘aggressive’ pbluff% of the time. Player 2 randomly picks ‘loose’ pcall% of the time.

Now, if Player 2 calls 50% of the time, Player 1 is indifferent to betting or checking. Calling at random 50% of the time is an unexploitable strategy for Player 2.

Now suppose Player 1 bets 50% of the time he has no hand, and gives up the pot 50% of the time. This strategy presents Player 2 with a ratio of 2 value bets for every bluff.

  • 50% of hands Player 1 has the nuts and bets
  • 25% of hands Player 1 has no hand and bluffs.
  • 25% of hands Player 1 has no hand and folds, giving up the pot.

If Player 2 calls, 1/3 of time he wins $2 ($1 pot + $1 bet), 2/3 of time he loses $1. This has an EV of 0, same as folding. Player 2 is indifferent to calling or folding. Bluffing at random 1/3 of the bets (50% of time the coin is tails) is an unexploitable strategy for Player 1.

If Player 1 always bets for value on heads and bluffs 50% of the time on tails, while Player 2 calls 50% of the time, this is a mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium: neither player can improve by changing the mix of of strategies.

Player 2 breaks even on calls, Player 1 breaks even on bluffs, but wins $1.50 on average each value bet ($1 pot plus additional $1 50% of the time the bet is called). Player 1 gets $0.75 of the overall EV vs. $0.25 for Player 2. By bluffing, Player 1 gets 50% more EV per hand vs. only betting for value.  As an exercise, think about what happens to each player’s EV if one of them switches strategies.

So, that’s the picture of the problem and the Nash equilibria. Now let’s solve it more generally and get some more intuition for what the solution and P/L look like for different bet sizes.

Suppose we set up the problem more generally:

P: initial pot =1
S: bet size as fraction of pot
pbluff: probability of bluff
pcall: probability of call

Q: How often should Player 1 bluff?
A: Often enough to make Player 2 indifferent to calling or folding.

EVcall: 1+S when Player 2 calls a bluff. -S when Player 2 calls a value bet.
EVfold: 0

Setting Player 2’s EVcallEVfold

pbluff (1 +S) – (1 – pbluff) S = 0

Solving for pbluff:

There’s a simpler way of expressing this. Define ratio of bluffs to value bets as

Then

In our example, S=1, as bet = pot size; our game-theory optimal bluffing ratio is 1/2; We should bluff half as often as we value bet.

Q: How often should Player 2 call?
A: Often enough to make Player 1 indifferent to checking or bluffing.

EVbluff: P=1 when Player 2 folds. -S when Player 2 calls a bluff bet of S.
EVcheck: 0

EVbluff = (1 – pcall) – pcall S
EVcheck: 0

Setting Player 1’s EVbluffEVcheck

(1 – pcall) – pcall S = 0

Solving for pcall

Plotting bluff ratio, call probability, and EV as a function of pot size:

Bluff and Call Strategy as a Function of Plot Size

 

Interpretation: When bet size (S) is close to 0 as fraction of pot, it is always worth it for Player 2 to call a small bet to get a chance at a big pot and to make sure Player 1 is honest. As S → 0, calls approach 100%. Best response for player 1 is to never bluff, and they just split the pot. As bet size goes up, it’s more costly for Player 2 to call a big bet to win a small pot and keep Player 1 honest. Therefore bluff frequency goes up as S goes up, and Player 1 gets a higher fraction of the pot. As S → ∞, Player 1’s EV → 1 and Player 2’s EV → 0.

If we do a 3d plot of EV against each player’s strategy with S = 1, we get this:

poker2

Here is an interactive version you can explore from various angles by clicking and dragging.

It’s a saddle anchored in 2 upper corners and 2 lower corners at EV=0.5. The four corners represent pure strategies of 100% aggressive/passive/tight/loose. At the Nash equilibrium of bluff ratio = 0.5 and call % = 0.5, the 2 axes along which each player can adjust his strategy form a horizontal plane: neither can unilaterally improve by changing strategy. However, if one player moves away from the Nash equilibrium on the axis representing his strategy, he becomes vulnerable to exploitation by the other: movement along the other player’s strategy axis can improve the other player’s EV.

If we change S from 0 to 1, we see something like this (rotated 90° clockwise from above):

Animation

 

Conclusions: 1) Poker is a pretty deep game (this wasn’t as quick a post as I thought!) and 2) This is a way to get some game theory intuition about one part of the game – bluffing and calling. If you’re into this sort of thing, I recommend the MIT online poker class mentioned above (this is a deeper dive into part of the last lecture by Matt Hawrilenko), and Mathematics of Poker, by Bill Chen, a math and finance quant at Susquehanna who has won a couple of WSOP bracelets.

This is just an analysis of a simplifed model of one street! And yet, heads-up limit hold’em was recently weakly solved. Computers simulated 2 players playing each other as well as possible for 900 CPU years, iteratively improving complex strategies (terabyte databases of all possible moves and responses) until they were provably so good that no one could have an advantage of more than 1 big blind per 1,000 hands. See if you can beat that near-perfect strategy!

No-limit hold’em with up to 10 players adds giant levels of complexity…No-limit bots are pretty good, but the pros still beat them.

1 We say that the Player 1 strategy of always betting when the coin comes up heads dominates the strategy of checking: it is sometimes a better decision and always at least as good. If it is always strictly better than an alternative strategy, we say it strictly dominates. In our case Player 1’s strategy of always betting heads sometimes leads to the same outcome as checking (if Player 2 never calls), so we say it weakly dominates the strategy of always checking.

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Just Promoted to Manager? Here Are 5 Strategies for Success

It’s a quiet afternoon at work when you get a phone call from your boss, asking you to come up to her office for a quick chat.

Could it be? You ask yourself… Am I finally getting a promotion??

You’ve been waiting for this. You’ve put in hours of work, smiled through thousands of late nights, and taken on extra work in an effort to prove your mettle. So when she utters those glorious words – “I’m promoting you to manager” – you think you might actually die of happiness. You feel like you’re on top of the world as you spend the next few days fantasizing about your fancy new raise and title, not to mention an office with real walls and an actual door.

Within the first hour of your new role, one of your employees asks you to make a decision on an urgent client request.

Your excitement has officially evaporated.

You look around for someone who’s authorized to make the judgment call, and then you realize…that someone is you.

And then you panic.

This sort of fear or perfection paralysis explains why 60% of new managers underperform during their first two years on the job. Needless to say, no newly promoted manager works for a decrease in output and work performance, so how is this data so real? Are new managers just not ready for the challenges that await them? According to one Harvard professor, the problem lies in the fact that many employees who get promoted to managerial positions get there by doing great work and generating value for the company.

What’s so wrong with that, you ask?

Being a manager is about so much more than just producing stellar results on your own. You’ve already proven you can do that. It’s about teamwork, trust, and professional leadership, and those traits can’t develop if you’re treating your new role simply as a higher-profile version of your last one.

In other words, your stellar performance as an employee is no indicator for your management capabilities.

Here are a five best practices to get you started:

1. Develop a professional persona. This is a biggie for new managers, especially those tasked with overseeing older employees. It’s understandable that these managers want to be liked, but it’s disempowering to lead with that persona. The social self is the natural default setting: As children, we were fiercely taught the importance of likeability, and have been taught from a young age to seek approval. This identity has been refined and reinforced, and can be incredibly damaging when it shows up in the workplace. Ask yourself: “Do I want to be liked or respected?” Sometimes you can score both, but there are many times as a new manager that you will have to pick one. The ability to draw a distinction between your social self and professional self enables you to maintain an intentional career path with boundaries that support you.Creating a new workplace persona may feel unnatural, but making an intentional choice about who you want to be as a professional is more powerful than a natural default setting.

2. Take responsibility. Even the best employee will disappoint you, defy you, or let you down at some point, and their screw-up doesn’t change the fact that you, as the manager, are responsible. It can be tempting to point fingers, especially when your boss is breathing down your neck, but throwing the wrongdoer under the bus is the quickest way to disempower your team.It’s an amateur move that makes you look reactive, untrustworthy, and self-serving–especially to your superiors. The most effective manager is the one who can swallow his or her pride, own up to the error, and turn it into a growth opportunity for everyone on the team, regardless of who was at fault. The leader takes full responsibility for her actions, and by doing so, imparts the message to those around her that they need to do the same.

3. Lead with results. Your head needs to exist in the world of results. Your life at work revolves around satisfying whoever it is that stands as your boss, be it your client, your supervisor, or someone else. Rather than taking a by-the-book approach to management, look for ways to accommodate your teams’ talents and skill sets so that they’re inspired to put forth their best effort every time.A good manager has the potential to increase an employee’s commitment to their job by 34% and one of the most effective ways of doing this is by allowing your employees’ unique brilliance to shine through. Does the team accountant do her best from home? If possible, let her. Does the administrative assistant have a talent for graphic design that would be useful to a particular project? Let him make magic in your corner office while you cover his phone shift and keep the coffee pot brewing. Sure, you graduated from assistant positions years ago, but acknowledging that the team’s success is more important than your ego is a powerful and energizing way to lead by example and get the best results.

4. Build rapport, everywhere. Great managers understand that they shouldn’t limit their professional relationship-building efforts to the people on their team. They also recognize that getting to know the people at the bottom of the ladder is just as important – if not more so – than getting to know the people at the top. People who get big things done are people who know their resources, both inside and outside of the company.Remember, the best time to get to know someone is when you don’t need anything from him or her, so go ahead and set up an informal lunch and start building a friendly rapport.

5. Focus on business development. The fastest way to becoming invaluable to a company is by identifying and dedicating time to business development opportunities–even if your job has nothing to do with it. Every organization has a bottom line, and if you’re bringing in new opportunities, you will always be seen as adding to, not depleting, the company’s resources. Keep your business radar receptive to the opportunities that exist in your daily life, and watch how you translate a long line at Starbucks into a business opportunity with the person in front of you. At all times, and be sure to let your boss know if you’re going on lunch dates that could lead to new accounts or partnerships.If you can bring in meetings and think strategically about networking and creating opportunities for your company, you are the head honcho in no time.

The “manager” title may feel like a heavy hat to wear, but don’t be intimidated by it. Rather than questioning your capabilities, focus on maintaining a positive mindset and honoring the professional identity you have created for yourself. Look for opportunities to build relationships, take responsibility for your team, and never let a bad day – or several bad days – deter you from your vision.

The managers who succeed are those who wake up day after day committed to moving beyond their comfort zone, despite the fear they feel in doing so.

It’s this simple: successful people are willing to do what other people aren’t.

Visit www.LandMoreJobOffers.com for my FREE TRAINING on how to get multiple job offers and a big salary hike.

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Brazil probes World Cup corruption

Brazilian prosecutors launch an investigation into allegations of corruption and overpricing in the construction of a stadium used during the 2014 World Cup.

Create Change That Matters

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3 STEPS TO CREATE CHANGE THAT MATTERS

In the next 10 minutes, over 1,000 people will die worldwide. Many will pass away never having made a truly powerful difference, moreover a global difference. We all have a calling and the ability to create positive change. This is core to who we are as human beings.

Today’s technology allows us to extend our reach, giving individuals and corporations an opportunity to touch lives on a global scale, to create international movements, and to transform both themselves and the world. This is particularly true to the large portion of the world that has access to the internet.

In this article, I’ll discuss three simple, but critical, steps to making your difference. These steps will allow you to connect deeply with your audience, attract a loyal and committed following, and build stronger relationships.


STEP #1: DISCOVER YOUR TRUE NORTH

Each of us has a True North within ourselves. Your True North is your passion, purpose, and strengths combined. It defines the difference you wish to make and see in our world. Ask yourself the following questions: What are your deepest passions? What are the differences you wish to make? What are your natural strengths?

Your deepest passions are the interests, hobbies, and activities that you enjoy so much, that when you engage in them, you easily become so absorbed that you lose all sense of time. Your deeper passions touch your heart and bring a sense of joy to your whole being.

Your inner-purpose is best identified by asking what are the differences you yearn to make. Perhaps these are ways in which you seek to help others or help them excel at higher levels. Maybe you want to assist businesses to help them grow. Or, perhaps you want to make a specific difference to a group of people, your community, or in your nation.

Your core-strengths are those which are natural for you. While you may have had training in them, you were likely better than most people at these even before you sought education in these areas. These are the ways of thinking, activities, or behaviors that you do them almost perfectly instinctively.

By combining your answers to your deepest passions, inner-purpose (difference you want to make), and natural core-strengths, you will discover your True North. By doing so, you will develop a clear direction and focus. This leads you to discovering your path for providing massive value to society.

However, knowing your True North alone isn’t enough. You also need to use it to look for, and notice, opportunities – for seeing your path for providing massive value to society.

STEP #2: SEE YOUR OPPORTUNITY

With your True North defined, the next step is to find your audience and your opportunity. Today, each of us has the opportunity to not only make our difference, but to take it to another level. Social media has brought the entire world together as a small, hopeful community. Leveraging these social mediums will connect you to like-minded audiences eager to hear your message and share in your purpose.

If you already have a cause or are running a business, ask how you can make shifts to integrate your True North, and thereby make a bigger difference. Are your long-term and daily objectives fulfilling your passions and delivering on your true purpose? In what ways could you leverage yourself and your desire to make a difference by using social media? Ask how you could make a ten fold, hundred fold, thousand fold or greater difference through social media.

STEP #3: EXECUTE TO CREATE CHANGE

When you identify an opportunity to make a difference in your community and around the world, act quickly and passionately to implement your ideas. Launch your social cause or conscious business plan across multiple channels and get your message of change out to the world.

Today, many businesses are driven by more than a drive to achieve profit margins and revenues. In particular, many small businesses are not only for their own success and benefit, but for the benefit of the customers they provide for and the communities and societies in which they operate.

Sustainability businesses are providing tremendous value to consumers and enjoying substantial successes, while operating with energy efficiency and environmental concern.

Many businesses have created channels within their organizations to support causes relevant to their corporate initiatives. They donate percentages of their revenue or product to organizations and individuals around the world.

Non-profit organizations are springing up around the world, dedicating themselves to the generation of revenue specifically to be reinvested to make a difference in communities around the globe.

Every person who reads this article can do the same, by creating a socially conscious business or acting as an individual on behalf of a specific cause. We can all make our difference and become a force for good, touching lives on a global scale in a matter of days. Discover your passions, your purpose, your True North and seize the opportunity. This is your time. Take another ten minutes to think about how you can create change that matters.

Follow J V Crum III on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jvcrum

Connect on LinkedIN: www.linkedin.com/in/jvcrum/

Join the Conscious Millionaire Community on FB

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Manufacturing Has Come Back And More Gains To Come

The U.S. manufacturing sector is coming back, we learn from the Federal Reserve’s industrial production report. Last month’s gain was 0.9 percent, more than making up all the ground lost in the early months of this year. Looking forward, production will continue to expand, but don’t expect a lot more […]

7 Ways to Combat Pre-Interview Stress

By: Maisie Devine

This new job could be life-changing. It comes with more responsibility, a swanky title, and a cushy salary bump. After researching the company, the team, and position, you know that you want it — want it bad! The stars have aligned and you have a chance at true career bliss, so much better than the ephemeral sort that comes from a large Nutella croissant or the latest Dan Brown book.

There are so many things that could mess it up: subway delays, trick questions, sweaty palms… the list goes on. We put together some tips from industry experts to combat your pre-interview stress so you can walk in confident and poised.

A week before:

Get organized

A few days before the interview, print out your resumes and plan your personal grooming. Look up the interview location on Google and map out your route. Most map apps estimate the travel time, but we recommend adding a 15-20 minute buffer.

Do your research

A few years back, one of my friends was interviewing a candidate for an analyst job at one of the Big 4 banks; when the interview was over, she decided to throw in two more “what should be obvious” questions: “Who is the CEO? And do you know what the current stock price?” Blank stare. The person had no idea.

This scenario is easily preventable. The vast majority of companies has a Wikipedia page that includes most of this information. You can also check out the company website’s About page and read at least 10 different news articles.

Jaime Petkanics, job search advisor and founder of The Prepary, also recommends learning about your interviewers. Just as you would for a first Hinge date, check their social media. Read their Linkedin profiles and bios on the company page. “By doing this, you have insight into how you might be able to connect with them, based on what you have in common,” says Petkanics.

Do a few practice runs

Grab a friend, find a nice quiet coffee shop, and give them a list of common interview questions to ask you. If you treat this meeting casually, you won’t be as productive. So set a time limit on the session and run through all the questions without stopping. When you are finished, get feedback, and then do it again with 3 more friends. By the time you are finished with latte #4, you will feel completely prepared and ready to rock that interview. (Maybe consider making those last 3 lattes decaf.)

Make time for mindfulness meditation

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that mindfulness meditation can help improve stress levels and soothe anxiety. Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a practicing physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, backed up their research noting, “Mindfulness meditation makes perfect sense for treating anxiety.”

Incorporating meditation into your pre-interview week can help you manage your stress levels and keep you grounded. Don’t know where to start? We like the app, Headspace. They even give you 10 free sessions when you sign up.

Bonus: You can even take mindfulness meditation into the interview with you. If you have a frazzled moment, remember this great quote from Thich Nhat Hahn’s book Being Peace: “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.”

The night before, or every night if you can:

Get good sleep

There is a whole breadth of research on the connection between sleep, stress, and cognitive function. You may have heard that driving while sleep deprived is worse than driving drunk, and that is 100% true according statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority (U.S. News & World Report). You would never go into an interview drunk, so make sure that you get the sleep you need to perform your best.

The morning of:

Get moving

After a great night’s sleep (see above), wake up early and, as the Mayo Clinic puts it, “get moving!” A 20-30 minute workout will pump you full of endorphins, reduce tension, and lower anxiety. According to the staff at Mayo Clinic, “All these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and life.”

Eat a pre-game meal

After your morning workout, make sure to eat properly before heading out the door. The right foods can improve cognitive function, memory, and concentration – so make sure you capitalize on those benefits.

And with all these strategies under your belt: Go get ’em, tiger! Your dream job awaits!

This article was originally published on Savvy.

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