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Tough love to the rescue



Globally, there is so much awareness on obesity. But many of us fail to bring conscious attention to a growing world epidemic, which is the loop that children are caught in. I’m talking about the loop of poor foods that have a highly addictive nature, obesity, depression, craving and the inability to break free from the cycle.

Parents are helpless and many parents struggle with internal battles, where they cannot say no. What is the solution? Is it to let your child stay addicted to these foods that make them obese and ignore the problem just for today? Or is it to show some tough love today so that we provide them with the tools that they need to stay balanced in the future?

The answer to this is very tricky. I know that as a mother, it is very easy to just give in to demands from my child for the highly inflammatory foods, especially as I struggle to navigate my time as a mom and as a professional. But would my convenience today be part of the reason why my child may struggle with physical and mental health in the future? You bet it would be.

What are the signs that your child is caught in the unhealthy spiral?

Children are not naturally unhealthy. Typically, a child is exposed to the foods from part of their culture, and most of them eat quite healthy until they get to school. Are schools to be blamed? To an extent. What is the pattern that happens over time?

1. A toddler is only exposed to simple home food, and most homes do not begin by introducing processed foods. Sometimes it does happen, but usually, when kids get to school, they are exposed to tuck shops, snacks brought by other kids which include chips and pastries, and the processed foods that are served in several international school cafeterias.

2. Processed foods are addictive in nature. One could go into the physiological addiction they create, ingredient by ingredient. However, the main thing to consider is that glutamates, sugars, and gluten are all addictive in nature. Sugar has been found to be as addictive as heroin in some research. Gluten occupies opiate receptors in the brain. The result is that a poor child has no option but to crave these foods.

3. The more a child becomes obese, the more their confidence is impacted. Some of them feel scared to go to school because they are ridiculed by their peers. We can absolutely support them by talking about it, by speaking with their school and teachers to address this form of bullying, and by having them counselled if it is required. This does not mean we should not encourage a change from these habits which are eventually at the root of all of this.

The common pattern is all or nothing. This need not be the case. Do provide your child with all the resources and support required to address their insecurities, lack of confidence, and depression. On the other side, they are never too young or too old to be guided on why something is harmful, and how it is important to make a change.

How can the process be easier for your child?

Believe it or not, every child has great potential for inner resilience. As parents, we may tiptoe around on eggshells, because we are afraid that they cannot handle change. The most important aspect to remember is that change does not happen overnight.

1. Change does not happen easily if you force your child to eat simple home food instead of all the fast food and processed food that they are used to. It begins with you making some of their favourite forms of food interesting but in a slightly healthier form. The continuum is always to move from a highly inflammatory diet to just one that is almost the same but with whole food options. This can include swapping a pizza for a whole wheat version, or a cheese toast with a whole wheat sandwich with some vegetables and a little cheese.

2. Ask your child what is most important to them. If losing weight is a big motivating factor, use that to create a vision for themselves. For some, it might be to not have pimples.

3. Most kids who are obese and struggle with food cravings, have suboptimal protein. You could even begin with no change in the diet, and just asking them to have a protein shake at breakfast. The moment they have string protein in the morning, the whole day their blood sugar will behave better. This means that they do not need to force themselves to try, and use will power to control themselves. Using willpower means that they will ultimately set themselves up to fail, and then feel bad, guilty, or more depressed.

4. Most cravings are also in the spiral of diets which are high in grain. Encourage them to have some vegetables in any form that they like, alongside their usual meal when they start to make changes. The additional fibre will offset some of the blood sugar imbalance. Give them a choice. Tell them that they can have their sandwich if they also have the roast vegetables.

5. Encourage them to point out the protein at every meal. You’ll be surprised how many children are confused about what constitutes protein. If they have a demand for you, have a demand for them. Make it fun, gentle, conversational, and encouraging.

6. Accept that there will be days when they get frustrated, with you, themselves, and the world in general. On those days, put aside all your rules, and give into their demands. But make it clear later, how food affects physiology and mood. There will be times that you take two steps forward and one step back. Managing this with your child is a lot like playing a game of snakes and ladders. Be kind to them and to yourself. One setback is not a failure.

Are you helping your child long term?

Showing some tough love today is the greater love. Love is not giving in to every demand for the worst food daily. Be prepared to have some battles, to have your child dislike you on many days, and to feel discouraged. However, always look at the bigger picture. Ultimately, showing your child the right tools and the right path, is a blessing to them. It is a gift that will serve them well sometime in their life, whenever and wherever that might be.

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Airtable chief revenue officer, chief people officer and chief product officer are out • TechCrunch



As part of Airtable’s decision to cut 20% of staff, or 254 employees, three executives are “parting ways” with the company as well, a spokesperson confirmed over email. The chief revenue officer, chief people officer and chief product officer are no longer with the company.

Airtable’s chief revenue officer, Seth Shaw, joined in November 2020 just one month before Airtable’s chief producer officer Peter Deng came on board. Airtable’s chief people officer, Johanna Jackman, joined Airtable in May 2021 with an ambitious goal to double the company’s headcount to 1,000 in 12 months. The three executives are departing today as a mutual decision with Airtable, but will advise the company through the next phase of transition, the company says. All three executives were reached out to for further comment and this story will be updated with their responses if given.

An Airtable spokesperson declined to comment on if the executives were offered severance pay. The positions will be succeeded by internal employees, introduced at an all-hands meeting to be held this Friday.

Executive departures at this scale are rare, even if the overall company is going through a heavy round of cuts. But CEO and founder Howie Liu emphasized, in an email sent to staff but seen by TechCrunch, that the decision – Airtable’s first-ever lay off in its decade-long history – was made following Airtable’s choice to pivot to a more “narrowly focused mode of execution.”

In the email, Liu described Airtable’s goal – first unveiled in October – to capture enterprise clients with connected apps. Now, instead of the bottom-up adoption that first fueled Airtable’s rise, the company wants to be more focused in this new direction. Liu’s e-mail indicates that the startup will devote a majority of its resources toward “landing and expanding large enterprise companies with at least 1k FTEs – where our connected apps vision will deliver the most differentiated value.”

The lean mindset comes after Airtable reduced spend in marketing media, real estate, business technology and infrastructure, the e-mail indicates. “In trying to do too many things at once, we have grown our organization at a breakneck pace over the past few years. We will continue to emphasize growth, but do so by investing heavily in the levers that yield the highest growth relative to their cost,” Liu wrote.

Airtable seems to be emphasizing that its reduced spend doesn’t come with less ambition, or ability to execute. A spokesperson added over e-mail that all of Airtable’s funds from its $735 million Series F are “still intact.” They also said that the startup’s enterprise side, which makes up the majority of Airtable’s revenue, is growing more than 100% year over year; the product move today just doubles down on that exact cohort.

Current and former Airtable employees can reach out to Natasha Mascarenhas on Signal, a secure encrypted messaging app, at 925 271 0912. You can also DM her on Twitter, @nmasc_. 

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Kubernetes Gateway API reality check: Ingress controller is still needed



No doubt the new Kubernetes excitement is the Gateway API. One of the more significant changes in the Kubernetes project, the Gateway API is sorely needed. More granular and robust control over Kubernetes service networking better addresses the growing number of use cases and roles within the cloud-native paradigm.

Shared architecture — at all scales — requires flexible, scalable and extensible means to manage, observe and secure that infrastructure. The Gateway API is designed for those tasks. Once fully matured, it will help developers, SREs, platform teams, architects and CTOs by making Kubernetes infrastructure tooling and governance more modular and less bespoke.

But let’s be sure the hype does not get ahead of today’s needs.

The past and future Kubernetes gateway API

There remains a gap between present and future states of Ingress control in Kubernetes. This has led to a common misconception that the Gateway API will replace the Kubernetes Ingress Controller (KIC) in the near term or make it less useful over the longer term. This view is incorrect for multiple reasons.


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Ingress controllers are now embedded in the functional architecture of most Kubernetes deployments. They have become de facto. At some point, the Gateway API will be sufficiently mature to replace all functionality of the Ingress API and even the implementation-specific annotations and custom resources that many of the Ingress implementations use, but that day remains far off.

Today, most IT organizations are still either in the early adoption or the testing stage with Kubernetes. For many, just getting comfortable with the new architecture, networking constructs, and application and service management requirements requires considerable internal education and digestion.

Gateway API and Ingress controllers are not mutually exclusive

As we’ve done at NGINX, other Ingress maintainers will presumably implement the Gateway API in their products to take advantage of the new functionality and stay current with the Kubernetes API and project. Just as RESTful APIs are useful for many tasks, the Kubernetes API underpins many products and services, all built on the foundation of its powerful container orchestration engine.

The Gateway API is designed to be a universal component layer for managing service connectivity and behaviors within Kubernetes. It is expressive and extensible, making it useful for many roles, from DevOps to security to NetOps.

As a team that has invested considerable resources into an open source Ingress controller, NGINX could have chosen to integrate the Gateway API into our existing work. Instead, we elected to leverage the Gateway API as a standalone, more open-ended project. We chose this path so as not to project the existing constraints of our Ingress controller implementation onto ways we might hope to use the Gateway API or NGINX in the future. With fewer constraints, it is easier to fail faster or to explore new designs and concepts. Like most cloud-native technology, the Gateway API construct is designed for loose coupling and modularity ­— even more so than the Ingress controller, in fact.

We are also hopeful that some of our new work around the Gateway API is taken back into the open-source community. We have been present in the Kubernetes community for quite some time and are increasing our open-source efforts around the Gateway API.

It could be interpreted that the evolving API provides an invaluable insertion point and opportunity for a “do-over” on service networking. But that does not mean that everyone is quick to toss out years of investment in other projects. Ingress will continue to be important as Gateway API matures and develops, and the two are not mutually exclusive.

Plan for a hybrid future

Does it sound like we think the Kubernetes world should have its Gateway API cake and eat its Ingress controller too? Well, we do. Guilty as charged. Bottom line: We believe Kubernetes is a big tent with plenty of room for both new constructs and older categories. Improving on existing Ingress controllers —which were tethered to a limited annotation capability that induced complexity and reduced modularity — remains critical for organizations for the foreseeable future.

Yes, the Gateway API will help us improve Ingress controllers and unleash innovation, but it’s an API, not a product category. This new API is not a magic wand nor a silver bullet. Smart teams are planning for this hybrid future, learning about the improvements the Gateway API will bring while continuing to plan around ongoing Ingress controller improvement. The beauty of this hybrid reality is that everyone can run clusters in the way they know and desire. Every team gets what they want and need.

Brian Ehlert is director of product management at NGINX.

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4 Ways to Use Social Media for Market Research



Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Social media has undoubtedly changed the way brands think about digital marketing. Just a few years ago, networks like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn only played a small part in global marketing strategies. But as their user numbers have grown, so has their importance for digital marketing. Today, social media channels offer digital marketers excellent market research opportunities.

How market research sets brands apart

Market research has always been an integral part of building a brand. Conducting market research means gathering information and learning more about your target market, establishing potential customer personas, and evaluating how successful your product could be.

Market research also helps quantify product-market fit. Once your product or service has been launched, research allows brand teams to check whether customers receive the messages they want to communicate.

With a company’s marketing goals, market research forms the foundation of successful brand marketing strategies. In short, it is hard to overstate the importance of market research. Still, there are drawbacks. Traditional market research techniques, such as interviews and focus groups, can be time-consuming. These tools can also be tough on resources if the research is done thoroughly, forcing some brands to launch a marketing strategy built on hunches rather than data. Others limit the scope of their study in the hope that findings may still be valid. Both of these options are putting brands at risk.

Related: The 7 Secrets of Truly Successful Personal Brands

Social media lifts market research limitations

Social media platforms have all the tools necessary to provide brands with answers to market research questions. Social media can offer insights into branding, content messaging and creative design, as well as improve awareness of competitor activity and industry trends.

Much of this is made possible by the sheer number of potential customers brands can access via social media. Facebook alone has nearly three billion active users every month, which has been growing for nearly a decade. Instagram continues to gain ground, with currently around two billion active users.

Social media usage figures are projected to grow for at least the next few years. More than 4.26 billion people spent time on social media in 2021. Statisticians believe that figure will rise to nearly six billion within five years.

But social media can do more than provide user numbers. The companies behind Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok know a great amount of information about their users, starting with demographics and including lifestyle preferences. These insights enable brands to access the right audience faster than ever before and at lower costs.

Related: In a Crowded Field of Emerging Franchises, Only the Strongest Brands Thrive

How to use social media for market research

Social media channels allow brands to access several layers of information about their industry, the brand itself, competitors, messaging and creative design.

1. Industry insights

Using social media channels is an efficient way to assess industry trends in real-time. Channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram make it easy to spot and isolate leading trends and changes in those trends. A few years ago, images captured consumer attention. More recently, however, video-based channels like TikTok have cemented the importance of video as a tool to connect with customers. Of course, brand teams can choose to ignore certain trends, but it is still important to understand the drivers behind the industry.

In this context, industry drivers are not only topics or tools. Social media has created a relatively new digital marketing phenomenon — working with influencers. Identifying and working with the right influencers can be a critical driver of business growth.

Before the advent of social media channels, gathering similar information required more time and in-depth analysis simply because the information was not as easily accessible.

2. Competitor research

Social media has made it easier to conduct competitor research. Companies from virtually every industry sector have started embracing social media channels to connect with customers and partners. As a result, it is far easier to understand your competitors’ marketing strategies and analyze which marketing tactics and channels work best for them.

Following a competitor’s social media channels helps brands understand what audiences engage with and which content they ignore. Brand teams gain a deeper insight into the mindset of their competitors’ clients. Following these channels regularly allows you to clearly understand your competitors, their audiences, and their marketing approach.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Competitive Research for Small Businesses

3. Brand positioning

Are your target audiences perceiving your brand the way you would like to be perceived? Monitoring social media allows your marketing team to answer this question quickly. Hashtags and search functions make it easy to assess how a brand is being discussed without any delay associated with traditional market research methods.

As a result of gaining instant insights, your team can adjust and correct its brand messaging quicker than ever.

4. Content messaging and design

A traditional approach to determining advertising messages might involve A/B testing, among other methods. While these types of market research are important for developing successful (traditional) advertising campaigns, they can be expensive and delay the campaign.

Social media channels allow brands to test their content messaging and design directly with minimal costs. Through likes and comments, brands gain instant customer feedback. Throughout a few posts, it will become clear whether customers are more likely to engage with images, videos or webinars, for example.

If a brand uses social media to generate sales, conversion figures will quickly deliver more tangible insights than A/B testing can. Those insights can immediately be applied to the advertising content, allowing brands to conduct market research and put their findings into practice simultaneously.

Using social media channels for market research lets brands learn about industry trends and competitor activity in real-time. Brand teams can also assess brand perception, messaging and content design without delay, optimizing market research results and overall campaign performance.

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