Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eliminating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit 2011

On April 15th,  I attended the third annual Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship (APTE) summit at OSU. The main objective of this summit is to empower people to take action and eradicate poverty, not through fundraising or donation, but through entrepreneurship.

The summit was pretty enlightening, convicting and inspiring. The speakers came from a variety of background and area of expertise.  The keynote speaker, Jessica Jackley from Kiva, gave a poignant and inspiring talk, urging people to see the possibility of eliminating poverty and to embrace changes and propose innovation. All, just like Kiva, began small and simple.

Erin Krampetz from Ashoka reminded us to do what we love to do. Sonya Perez from Opportunity International taught us to give a hand-up rather than a hand-out. Mark Rembert & Taylor Stuckert from Energized Clinton County emphasized the importance of finding local or community-oriented solutions to address global problems.

One underlying similarity that I identified from all these speakers was most of them, if not all, started to develop the passion for poverty eradication from traveling. By traveling, I don't mean a five star cruise to Caribbean or a trip to Las Vegas but an eye-opener kind of traveling where you visit a place that is not on the top 100 travel destination list. The experience is powerful, it humbles you and slaps you at the same time. It forces you to behold the reality outside your shell of comfort and to acknowledge the devastating effect of poverty. It exposes you to a different kind of world - a world where freedom is non-existent.

I was glad that I participated in this summit. I should admit that this topic has been a seasonal on-off kind of thing for me, going through a harsh season of hibernating and a season of reawakening. But, the passion has always been there, lying dormant until something trigger it. And this summit definitely gave me the jolt.

So, what resulted from that summit?

Pebo and me, following what Jessica said to "make things official", gathered several friends who have the same passion to start taking actions - as simple as brainstorming ideas or identifying problems or sharing resources. This, we hope, is the community that would see the possibility in eliminating poverty, this is the community that would challenge today's problem and propose solution for a better tomorrow. This, we hope, is the start of something big.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tips for Passing the Google Adwords Exam

It is rare to collect your cloud of thoughts and form them into one specific sudden determination. An epiphany I would say. And this rare kind of epiphany happened to me on one ordinary afternoon in my ordinary unremarkable office setting. Just in a split of a second, all the power in the universe (now I'm talking like Oprah) helped me to form one stern conviction

I am determined to be certified for Google Adwords. 

Well, fast forward four days later, I passed the first exam: Google Fundamental Exam. And don't worry, this post is not about me bragging, but about me giving tips since the test was more challenging than I thought. Plus, Google just renewed the test format last April, so as someone who just took the test, I can offer you the most relevant tips. It's about relevancy, relevancy and relevancy right?

First, Google changed the test time from two hours to three. This is a good news considering the number of questions remain the same. 113 questions for three hours!! You can even get a cup of coffee in the middle.

Second, here are some topics you might want to focus on.
1. Location & language targeting. Make sure you are unreasonably familiar with this concept. Lots of questions on how you target a person speaking in X language, residing in X location, with IP address from X country. Again, the level of familiarity: not pretty familiar or quite familiar but unreasonably familiar.

2. Although there were not tons of them, they were enough to startle you. Review some concepts on My Client Center (MCC). They are per se not on the study guide, but know what it is and the main benefit of having it.

3. Variety of ad formats and their best practices. If you were like me who deal mostly with text ad and tend to ignore the other format, I beg you not to. I think there were equal number of questions on each format - learn what's the best practice to improve the ad.

4. Google Search & Display Network. Know them like the back of your hand. This includes their difference, how certain attributes are evaluated differently on each network, how ads are displayed, contextual targeting vs managed placement, etc. This is a huge topic.

5. Access level - which access level warrant what action etc. Again, not on the study guide but Google simply thinks it would be fun to shock us and see how low our jaw dropped.

I think those were topics that came out a lot. Read them ravenously. For you textbook nerd, commit to understand them, not memorize them! There were only a handful of theoretical questions, most of them tested your understanding of the concept. You should have ample of time to review the questions. Remember to answer questions you know best first, mark those you're not sure of and review them later.

That's all for the tips. Whenever you're ready, here is the link to the test and I wish you the best of luck. I'm preparing for the advanced test now, glance over the materials and pretty much discouraged by the level of difficulty and the crazier amount of reading. Will post more information once I'm done with it.