Monthly Archives: September 2014

marijuana industry

Colorado is ground zero for marijuana technology and industry

marijuana industry

I drafted this article and am reposting it now. I get hired to write advertorials from time to time. This particular piece was placed under the byline of Shane Paul Neil; a good writer in his own right.

Marijuana and Tech: Colorado is Now Ground Zero

My oh my, what Colorado has done to turn the tables on America’s “war” on drugs.

Having approved marijuana for legal sale, distribution, and cultivation, Colorado is leading the way in attracting all kinds of investors and luminaries who seek to cash in on this nascent industry, not just with dollars but also with disruptive technology that’s being developed by professionals of all stripes and colors.

Think of agricultural engineers, technicians, food and science specialists; the marijuana industry casts a wide net, capturing different types who can contribute their expertise on the growing of a cash crop for which the sky’s the limit. Marijuana remains a Scheduled 1 drug, of course, but that hasn’t stopped the industry from developing in all sorts of new directions thanks to the majority voters who have approved medical and/or recreational pot in their respective states.

Since retail sales began in January, the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) estimates about 10,000 people are employed in Colorado’s marijuana industry, with thousands more being added each month. Behind marijuana production lies technology. Companies like Boulder-based Surna, a manufacturer of disruptive equipment for the cannabis industry, are developing patents to facilitate the aggregation of the industry, leading the way with their own proprietary services.

“The approach is more synchronistic than people would imagine, and, as a result of that, we’ve been able to get some provisional patents filed that we think are incredibly disruptive and will be the technology that drives the growth of this industry,” said Tae Darnell, VP and General Council of Surna.

Led by CEO Tom Bollich, a robotics engineer and co-founder of online gaming company Zynga, Surna has developed its own patented water-chilled climate control system designed for large marijuana production facilities. Darnell told me that Surna’s ultimate goal is to push the boundaries of the industry itself, maximizing yield and experimenting with different potencies and their health benefits.

Cultivation of cannabis in the 21st century just might take off the way industrial hemp did before its production was shut down by the federal government. The times are a-changing, indeed. With more states on track to legalize cannabis for medical use, companies like Surna are looking to take advantage of this expansion and set the standard on such key issues as consistency, including food safety and the burgeoning edibles marketplace.

If the federal government continues to take a hands-off approach towards states that choose to legalize medical and/or recreational marijuana, this could very well go global, creating new business opportunities for U.S. firms. Uruguay stepped up to the plate having recently become the first country to legalize marijuana possession, use, and sales. Canada recently opened up its medical marijuana market to improve upon the production of quality-controlled marijuana.

“There is no doubt that the international and domestic markets are exploding, ” said Darnell. “Surna plans to do for cannabis what General Electric has done for the medical industry and other sectors.” Colorado wants to serve as a beacon for other states interested in embracing both marijuana regulation and the technology that is being developed to manage it.

The U.S. is still fragmented in its policies towards marijuana with 23 states now openly challenging federal laws that have approved it for medical use. But the potential remains huge, hence the excitement surrounding this fledgling industry. I have no doubt that if and when the federal government finally comes down on the side of regulating marijuana that we will one day see commercially available cannabis products nationwide.

Some of these brands will assuredly begin trading on the stock exchange, and before you know it, you’ll be standing in line waiting to order your Blackberry Kush-infused latte, or Purple Urkle smoothie.

Originally posted on HuffingtonPost:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shane-paul-neil/marijuana-and-tech-colora_b_5715319.html

LinkedIn Pro

5 Tips for writing successful LinkedIn articles

 

LinkedIn continues to be all the rage when it comes to publishing your content. Near the start of this year, LinkedIn finally opened up its platform to all users, allowing them to promote content and improve their credibility. While this was something of a bonanza to those who are already professed LinkedIn gurus, many still find it difficult to get their content promoted via LinkedIn and help their content get the views that it needs to thrive. At the end of the day, you need a strategy that helps you realize your goals. You need to discover what types of content work best on LinkedIn.

How to write articles that help you succeed on LinkedIn

Of all the social networking sites on the Web today, Instagram is growing at the fastest rate having increased its active user base by 23% during the last six months of 2013, according to research published by GlobalWebIndex. Now Instagram still falls behind Facebook, YouTube, Google+, but interestingly enough, LinkedIn ranks third in the top 20 platforms used. LinkedIn remains tops when it comes to directing traffic to your website.

I’ve put together these tips to help you generate greater amounts of Web traffic via carefully targeted LinkedIn posts.

1. Consistency is what wins races. Publish regularly and on schedule.

If you want to create and build an audience, the best way to do so is begin by posting at a frequency you’re capable of. If you’re a follower of this blog, you’ll note that I don’t publish frequently, nor do I publish regularly. In this case, do as I write, not as I do.

The general rule of thumb is to post once per week.

2. Select topics that you’re LinkedIn audience will care about

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is filled with professionals. These are people who are using this platform primarily for networking, finding new jobs, and also keeping up to date with latest “water cooler” talk.

If you’re going to post about the passing of Robin Williams, you’ll want to try and see how you can tie it in with what your audience cares to read about. Since Robin’s passing was covered by just about every publication under the sun, you better have something novel to say other than RIP. 

3. Limit the word count of your posts to 900 words or less

Posts that are short and too the point usually win the race when it comes to online publishing. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t post a story that easily surpasses 1,000 words. But who is reading your posts?  Are they working professionals?  Or are they folks “in transition” and currently unemployed? The latter will certainly be willing to spend more time on a post that’s 1,000 words or more IF there is something of concrete value in it. The former, however, won’t afford you that luxury. Hence, if it’s working people you are targeting, keep it short and punchy.

4. Don’t ignore your post. Respond to comments.

When I consult with clients about their social media presence, including the effectiveness of their blog, I always remind them that its important to readers that they know they are interacting with someone human on the other end. This is particular true on LinkedIn.

The more you interact with your readers in your posts, in addition to responding or submitting comments on other people’s LinkedIn posts, the more authority and influence you will gain on the site. LinkedIn admitted in a blog post as much. Over time, you will find yourself building a reputation, and in turn, more people will begin to follow your and your posts. Don’t forget to like and comment on other people’s posts.

 5. Review LinkedIn analytics

From time to time, LinkedIn will email you a snapshot of your analytics. It’s an opportunity for you to review which of your articles and posts are getting the most views, comments, shares, etc…Take advantage of it and review it!

Super extra tip!

Aside from posting your article within LinkedIn, you should be promoting it outside the platform as well. By building traffic to your LinkedIn posts with external links you will gain further visibility on social media channels. Content marketing success is all about where you’re featured and what links can help you send traffic.