Published on in Fujitsu and SMEs

Guest post by Charles Orton-Jones

coj-magic-wanded-jpeg Still getting your news from print newspapers? Oh, please. This isn’t the 1980s. In the internet age companies need to know the finest online salons and news sources. By knowing the best websites you’ll find market niches before your rivals and improve your mind until it’s sharper than a Samurai sword.

So, delete your browser bookmarks and replace them with these essential websites

1 Lifehacker

All the productivity tips you need. Lifehacker covers technical productivity advice such as keyboard shortcuts and the ten best uses for Dropbox, through to life skills such as achieving a monk-like focus and organising to-do lists by energy level. Pro tip: read the comments for extra insight. Unusually for the internet, the readers of Lifehacker offer brilliant insights into the tips being offered.

2 Quora

The question and answer website. Yes, there are lots of these online, and some are terrible). Quora is light years ahead. The questions are profound. And the people doing the answering are experts. For example take the question “what is the process when recording a unique Christmas album?” The top answer is by three-time Grammy winning crooner Michael Buble. Stephen Fry is a regular. A question on internet monetisation gets answered by Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter. The quality remains high because Quoreans use their real names, and answers are up-voted to get the best to the top of the thread.

3 Carbonmade

Need a designer? The pre-internet method was to use the Yellow Pages, or call your local art school. Today all designers are online, and most have an account at Carbonmade. You can browse tens of thousands of portfolios. The designers come from all corners of the globe. Whether you need a graphic designer or typographer, architect or copywriter, Carbonmade should be your first port of call.

4 Wired.com

All businesses are technology businesses. And the best place to understand the future is still Wired magazine’s online domain. Detailed enough for PhDs, accessible for everyone else, Wired manages to cover emerging technologies such as graphene and 3D printing in a way you’ll love, and its reviews of phones and hardware are reliable and impartial.

5 Jonathan Portes

Disintermediation. It means cutting out the middle man. Internet retail is built on it. And by going to Mr Portes blog you can disintermediate economics. Portes is the director of the NIESR, the most respected economics think tank in the UK, and former chief economic advisor to the cabinet. He says stuff. Economics writers relay it. Then politicians spout it. Then some journo rehashes it. Fortunately, Portes blogs. Read his stuff direct and you’ll get his unadulterated, unfiltered insight. Pretty soon you’ll be reading other economists direct, such as Brad de Long and Simon Wren-Lewis. And you won’t need the media to give you a view, you’ll have got your own.

6 Khan Academy

The management guru Peter Drucker used to master a new subject every three years. Follow in his footsteps with the Khan Academy. This online university runs intelligently structured courses in maths and physics to history and economics. You can use the courses to progress from 1+1=2 to graduate level maths. Excellently, it’s completely free. Similar sites include coursera.org and edx.org.

7 Tim Ferriss

The author of the 4-hour work-week is the Jedi Master of business productivity. Ferriss’ tricks include cutting the news out of your life (99% is redundant to your life) and outsourcing pretty much everything (including your job and love life).

8 Tableau

Businesses need to make charts. Yet they are surprisingly hard to get right. Adobe Illustrator is fiddly, and the chart function for Word is unusable. Your best bet is Tableau, an easy to use yet function-rich chart-maker. Best of all, the charts can be embedded into websites in a dynamic form – allowing users to click and play with the data to manipulate the information.

9 The Marketer

Every business needs to market, and the finest source of information is the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s official magazine The Marketer. All the articles in the magazine are available online, though some are paywalled. Also worth a look: Marketing Donut.

10 Blog Maverick

US entrepreneur Mark Cuban sold Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion at the peak of the first dotcom boom. Cuban trousered more than two of those billions. Since then he’s been America’s most vocal venture capitalist, using his blog to discuss subjects from net neutrality to design of his Dallas Mavericks basketball team’s new uniforms. Cuban is a prolific investor – to the point of calling himself a one-man stimulus package. His blog, Blog Maverick, offers extraordinary commercial insights, practical help, and inspiration for even the most jaded entrepreneur. Highly recommended.

11 Charlie Rose

Bloomberg’s interviewer-in-chief Charlie Rose is staggeringly under-appreciated in the UK. The format is intense: half an hour of chat with world leaders and entrepreneurs. It’s highbrow: no comedy double takes like John Stewart’s Daily Show. Rose’s genius is that he really lets his guests talk at length. There is nothing like this on British telly. Here’s Rose grilling George Osborne. Can you think of any British show which has spent so long with the chancellor? Nor us.

12 BoingBoing

“The web’s favourite zine devoted to the weird, wonderful and wicked things to be found in technology and culture” says the strapline. BoingBoing is jammed with stuff you’d never normally notice. This is the site hipsters quietly steal their ideas from.

13 UK Business Forums

Old school! UK Business Forums has been the forum of choice for British entrepreneurs for a decade. The banter at the low-tech site is practical: “Can I expense volunteer work?” and “What is the best EPOS software?” sort of thing. Unmissable.

14 Upworthy

Depressed by the negativity of the modern press? Then let Upworthy revive your spirits. A collection of intelligent, honest and above all, uplifting articles and videos collected from all other the internet. Try this short video about the philosophical changes experienced by astronauts.

15 The Register

Hands down the best place for tech news. Editor Andrew Orlowski is worth bookmarking in his own right. If you want to know how Spotify will make money or whether BlackBerry will survive, El Reg is your #1 destination.

16 Philosophy Now

Everyone needs light relief. So, subscribe to Philosophy Now. This print and online journal combines intense musings on Philosophy – such as John Searle on neurobiology and free will – with a student-y sense of humour. For £15.50 a year you will be replacing transient broadsheet newswith logic and rigour. Your neurons will thank you for it.

17 Leechblocker

God knows how much time you are wasting each day on Facebook, Twitter and the Daily Mail’s Sidebar-of-Shame. So install Leechblock browser add-on. It locks you out of specified websites either for certain time-periods or durations. Distractions: gone.

 

 

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Jim Millen

Digital Content Editor at Fujitsu
I'm the editor for the Fujitsu UK & Ireland blog, and love to write about the exciting work Fujitsu do in digital & technology innovation.

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