Tag Archives: New York City

Foursquare Ads Now Open to All Small Businesses Worldwide

Foursquare ads

Back in June we reported that Foursquare was offering a paid promotions program to New York City based businesses in a limited pilot.

Today Foursquare announced that its paid ads program now is open to all small businesses.  The company says it has 1.5 million claimed-business users.  The expanded ad program would give business access to consumers in the pool of 40 million consumers that use Foursquare.  An update on the company’s blog notes:

“Here is a problem that all local business owners know: They want to get more customers, but tons of people walk by their storefront without coming in. We created Foursquare Ads to solve this problem. We can connect great local businesses with the people nearby that are most likely to become customers.

Today, we’re opening Foursquare Ads to all small businesses around the world. We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a “like” or a “click” has any meaning in the real world; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store.”

Ads appear at the top of the user’s list, in a different color along with the word “Promoted” next to them (see image above next to the arrow).

Businesses can create an ad using the Foursquare ad platform online or via mobile.  Businesses will only be charged for a consumer who actually ”acts on your ad – either by tapping to see your business details or by checking in at your business.”

The ads will be shown to those consumers who are near your business and who Foursquare says are likely to become customers.  Foursquare will evaluate the consumer based on whether they’ve checked in previously at similar places or searching for something similar to your business.  Foursquare says it will never show your ad to someone who is already at your business — thus you won’t be giving up discounts to those who are already customers.

Right now American Express is offering a $50 ad credit to U.S. based small businesses to try the new Foursquare ads.

Nothing else about how you use Foursquare as a business appears to have changed.  It remains to be seen whether this will result in less activity unless you pay for it.



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Ask the Critic: Here’s How Tipping Actually Works

20130114-ask-a-critic.jpg[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

Editor’s note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We’ll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you’re looking for. Email with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!

How Much Do I Tip A Bartender Who’s Serving My Dinner?

What’s the etiquette on tipping when dining at the bar?  By “the bar,” I mean a nice bar at a reputable restaurant and by “dining” I mean drinks and a full meal.

My date and I went to a well-regarded Lower East Side restaurant recently at about 8 p.m. on Saturday night. Looking at a 90 minute wait for a table, we opted instead to have dinner at the comfortable-looking bar. We started with a cocktail apiece and ordered three shared appetizers plus a shared entree. Service started shaky but nothing unforgivable (slow to make our drinks and then added a wrong ingredient so had to start again; didn’t provide menus until about ten minutes after we asked; water glasses sat empty) but later improved. When the food came it was generally dropped off by a runner except for one dish that the bartender placed in front of us.

Now, the bartender did care for our meal by providing us with silverware and clearing empty dishes but does that sort of service require the same tip as what you’d give a waitress at a table in the dining room?

To answer that question, we’ve gotta get into the nuts and bolts of how tipping actually works in New York City.*

Unless you’re in the habit of tipping with a handshake, sliding a $20-or-whatever directly into your server‘s hand, here’s the reality: your tip does not go directly to your waiter.

Read that last bit again, it’s important. Probably the biggest misconception of the dining public.

Many restaurants allot payout via a points system, in which tips are pooled, then distributed at the end of the night. Think that the extra amount you’re penciling in goes into the pocket of helpful waitress Lauren or bartender Steve? Well, not quite.

*And here, we are talking about New York City; practices vary across this nation of ours.

Here’s An Example

Head down the math road with me for just a mo’.

Let’s take a medium-sized Manhattan establishment, a restaurant with a decent-sized bar. Say there are 2 bartenders, 6 servers, 2 bussers and 2 runners. And let’s say, in this establishment, that the servers and bartenders get 10 points and everyone else gets 5. (There should probably be more staff and the runners might make more than the bussers, but I needed an example with nice round numbers, ‘kay?)

That’s 8 ten-pointers (2 bartenders, 6 servers) and 4 five-pointers (2 bussers, 2 runners), making for 100 points in total (8×10 + 4×5). Let’s say the restaurant took in $3,000 in tips last night. Under this system, each “point” is worth $30 ($3000 total intake/100 total points). Thus, the bartenders and servers get $300 each. The other folks, $150. Not too bad.

Now let’s say your server was terrible. Totally distant and indifferent, mixed up orders, left you alone for long periods of time, spilled something on your date and didn’t apologize, screwed up the check. First of all: you might want to mention something to the manager, rather than just take it out in a tip. But it’s an understandable impulse to tip less. Let’s say your dinner was $100. You’d usually tip $20; tonight, you tip $5. That’ll show him!

And sure, there’s a bit of a psychological hit, a wake-up when someone tips you a measly 5%. But how does the money actually play out? You didn’t knock that waiter down by $15, as it may seem. You knocked thepool down by $15. So let’s take the scenario above. Now, the total tip haul of $3000 is down to $2985. Each point is worth $29.85. So that terrible waiter makes… $298.50 instead of $300. The difference? $1.50.

A buck-fifty, six quarters, is the difference between 20% and 5% for that waiter, on a pretty sizable check. We call tipping an incentive. How much of an incentive is that, really?

Of Course, It Varies

Sure, there’s a lot of variation. In some restaurants, for instance, the bar keeps its own cash at the end of the night. (Though still, that money isn’t just going to “your” bartender; there are barbacks, too, the guys who cut the garnish and fill your water and do just about every damn other thing, who need to be tipped out.) Here’s the real truth of it: you don’t know where your tip is going. And there’s no way to know, unless you’re going to be that guy who asks how the tips are distributed just so you make sure your money is going to the “right place.” (Please don’t ever be that guy. I hope that guy doesn’t exist.) Think of it like paying taxes. You may want more for education or less for the military or more for city police, but the vast majority of us just fork over our share without any real idea of how it works out.

If you want a better chance of your server keeping the tip, always tip in cash. If you see your tip as a very specific thank-you—a host managed to sneak in your party of 10 last-minute, a bartender spent all night mixing off-menu drinks for you, a server pulled out all the stops for your date’s birthday—that’s best handled with a bill or few slipped into a handshake. (Though even that should be on top of a standard, on-table tip. Or you’re stiffing those food runners again.)

So to answer your question—the bartender did care for our meal by providing us with silverware and clearing empty dishes but does that sort of service require the same tip as what you’d give a waitress at a table in the dining room?yes, it does. Because, between the runner and bartender and busser and everyone else you interacted with, the service you received essentially adds up to what you would’ve gotten at a table.

It’s a messy system, right? It’s a messy system for the workers as well. Imagine taking a job where you don’t know your own salary. And where there isn’t a definitive way to know. My significant other is a bartender and cocktail designer, and within the last year, got a job offer from a very well-regarded and always-crowded restaurant, where the “cheap” beers start at $8; wine and cocktails, $14. At first, he was thrilled; those crowds and check prices must translate to a lot of money for the staff, right? But he talked to a few other bartenders and realized… they were making around $100 less per night than he was at his current job, where the crowds weren’t as thick and the average check wasn’t as high. Why? There were so many staff on the floor that the pool got stretched thin, and the tip distribution wasn’t favorable to the bartenders. Every restaurant is different.

Occasionally I’ll visit him at work, and sometimes I don’t end up with a bill; my drinks are rung up on his buyback check. But even when I don’t get charged, I always tip, at least 20% on what I “should have” paid. He pushed back my money once; “Why don’t you just keep that $15 and take a cab home?” It’s not for you, silly. It’s for your barback with a 5-year-old whose wife is 8 months pregnant, who always makes sure my water glass is full and keeps me in good conversation when you’re at the other end of the bar; and it’s for everyone else in the establishment. (And yes, some of it’s for you, too.)

Moral of the story? Always tip the full now-standard 18-20%, because it’s not just your waiter or bartender you’re paying out; it’s the runners who are sending money home to their parents, and bussers who are supporting kids on their tip money, too.

Don’t like the system? Thinking “Why is taking care of the employeesmy business?” Well, because you’re eating at a restaurant in America, and by doing so, electing to participate. And maybe some day we’ll figure out a different system, like every other goddamned country. But for now, this is what we got.



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183154_10151533598074842_389516587_nby Logan Knight, Technology Recruiter, Redfish Technology


The job market in technology is hot! Engineering, development, product management, sales and business development, these are hot roles in the tech sector and there’s a lot of competition by companies to attract and retain top talent these days.

Even if you aren’t looking for another job, you may be approached with another opportunity. Let’s say you really weren’t looking to make a move but you were polite on the phone, and next thing you know you’re curious about what you are hearing.

An initial phone interview led quickly to a face to face, and now you have an offer. It is an exciting opportunity with bleeding edge technology. You are motivated because of the new company’s work environment, culture, benefits, salary, location, perks, and such so before you know it you’ve accept the offer.

Shortly after you give notice, your manager makes a pitch for you to stay on and he makes you a sweeter offer than the new company. Oh geez, you are asking yourself “Should I stay or should I go?”

The Clash had it right, (paraphrasing) if you go there may be trouble, but if you stay it will be double. While it is flattering to be wanted, and it is validating to get competing and improving offers, what happens once the dust settles?

Most of the time, the work environment is going to suffer; the trust factor cannot be recovered. Your employer is now wary of your motives and your loyalty. When it comes time to build a new team for a mission critical product launch, will you be trusted to see it through? What happens if there is a change in fortunes at the company and a belt needs to be tightened, who do you think will be among the first laid off? Perhaps your work was critical at the time of your offer and the upper management felt you had to be kept to see it through. What then when the project is done, might the company’s loyalty wane like yours did? When it comes down to it, you kissed another girl and Susie is not going to forget it!

Another by-product of this bidding war occurs with your colleagues. Co-workers may know or suspect that you got some sweet deal to stay and they will probably resent you for it. Will your colleagues be supportive and collaborative if they question whether you are one of them? Might some employees try a similar move hoping to leverage an outside offer into better pay where they are, and whether successful or not the human dynamic is certainly going to be affected, and not likely in a positive way.

And guess what will happen if you stay after accepting the outside offer. You got it, that employer is going to blacklist you. The recruiter you worked with will never represent you again. And word will generally get around creating a negative perception.

But remember, even if you weren’t initially looking for another opportunity, you did get excited enough to go through a hiring process and accept an offer for good reasons. Perhaps you weren’t feeling appreciated, or you felt you deserved better pay. Maybe you needed a new challenge or work environment. Whatever the case may be, you can’t go back.

The great majority of professionals who accept a counteroffer to stay are gone within a year, whether of their own volition or being asked to leave. So don’t pick up that phone or be ready to honor your word. The answer is don’t take the counteroffer, no matter how sweet.


About Redfish Technology:

Founded in Silicon Valley in 1996, Redfish Technology is an award-winning talent acquisition firm specializing in high tech and clean tech sectors. Partnering with growth mode companies, small and large, Redfish staffs executive functions and builds out the teams below. The company provides services nationwide and has offices in Silicon Valley, the East Coast, and Sun Valley.


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Good (and Not So Good) Ways To Publicize Your Message

Bad adverts

Amid the current commotion and busyness of today’s media-soaked world, it can be difficult to publicize your brand or business effectively, and many people have adopted some creative methods for spreading their message.

Traditional advertising is still alive and well, but in today’s market, many people have opted to up the ante in a bid to get attention, for better or for worse. Not only does this include social media, but various innovative and creative methods by which customers can receive added value and satisfaction.

Innovative Thinkers

Recall the case of Kari Smith, a mother strapped for cash, who sold advertising space to an online casino across her forehead. She had the casino’s brand tattooed just below her hairline for all the world to see for the sum total of $10,000. Her intentions were noble: she maintained that she would save the money and it would go toward her son’s education. Hopefully her son appreciates the length she went to on his behalf.

One of the more noteworthy publicity stunts came at the hands of Edward Bernays (nephew of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud). In the 1920s, cigarette companies were a booming business but only for half the population. Men smoked freely but women were less inclined as it was a practice deemed less than ladylike;in many cases, smoking in public outside of designated areas was outright forbidden.

Rather than let this market opportunity slip by, cigarette makers called upon Bernays to upend the social stigma of smoking and get women smoking with pride. His solution was simple: stage a mock-protest in New York City. He hired professional models to march alongside the Easter parade procession with lit cigarettes, or torches of freedom.

The move was seen as a legitimate gesture toward empowerment and gender equality, and the outcome of this social experiment achieved its purpose; women began smoking in droves. Before long, smoking was seen less as a taboo and regarded with a sense of elegance.

Best Practices

Your efforts toward generating publicity don’t need to be quite so elaborate or questionable (or detrimental to the public health). Something as simple as sprucing up your ride with your message or brand can help build interest in a small business or local project.

Custom car wraps can significantly boost attention and garner prospects for your product or service. All the better if your company maintains a fleet of vehicles with a strong presence in a high-population area. Car wraps can fit something as small as your commuter ride or as large as an RV, bus, truck, boat or cable car, and can display your brand vibrantly to a local audience.

In today’s world of fast-moving ideas and technological advancements, it is important that businesses see the whole picture and look forward when it comes to marketing and branding. Innovation, creativeness and, most importantly, return on customer relationship, is a vital factor for continued success and growth.

Find a method to spread your message that works best for you. The options are plentiful, but might I suggest you opt for something less indelible than a forehead tattoo?

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

About the Author

W. Craig Smith is a writer from Salt Lake City whose subjects include lifestyle, business, arts and culture.



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When Should You Hire A Keynote Speaker When Planning An Event?

orator in public

Did you know that if you are having a meeting, event, or convention, that having a great keynote speaker is a critical part of making your gathering a success? Whether you are looking to have a light-hearted even, or a serious conference, it is critical to hire the right keynote speaker.

When Is the Right Time to Look Into a Keynote Speaker for a Big Conference?

But when should you hire your keynote speaker? In some cases, the sooner, the better. If you have  a big budget for your event, and it is a high-profile gathering in which you want a speaker at the level of former president Bill Clinton, who generally gets six figures for each speech, you may need to hire a speaker a year ahead of time, or even longer. After all, the most expensive speakers are in big demand, which means that they are hard to book.

On the other hand, keynote speakers for, say, political conventions pick their keynote speakers pretty late in the process. Instead of a year or two ahead of time, it could be only a month or two ahead of time. That is because such speakers are based on timeliness, and political victories.

For example, if there is a state political convention, and there was a big battle to get the nomination for the U.S. Senate, the keynote speaker could potentially be the politician who won the battle for the nomination. On the national level, the keynote speaker could be an ally of the person who got the presidential nomination. For example, Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, was a longtime ally of Mitt Romney and one of the first major politicians to endorse Romney. He was rewarded for that role with the honor of being the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Of course, his speech was overshadowed by Clint Eastwood and a chair, but still, Christie was given the honor.

Maybe your company is somewhere in the middle, where you need to spend some time looking for a keynote speaker, but you only need to get the speaker a few months in advance. It really depends upon your individual situation.

How Do You Get Everyone on Board for Agreeing to a Keynote Speaker?

Whether you are a business or an organization, it is important to have a policy in place in which you can decide on a keynote speaker. You do not want to have petty squabbles that prevent you from agreeing on a keynote speaker, and that could mean that you get either a lackluster speaker – or no speaker at all.

So depending upon your company or organization, you should have some sort of policy in place for picking a keynote speaker. Perhaps you have one person hiring the speaker. Perhaps it is a committee. At any rate, it is important to have some guidelines at selecting a keynote speaker. Are you looking for a motivator, a trainer, or somebody who simply puts everyone in a good mood? Deciding what type of keynote speaker you want can go a long way to finding the right keynote speaker for you. To learn more, click here.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Lisa Swan writes for a variety of business and technology sites. She lives in New York City.



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10 Of The World’s Dullest Trade Conferences

It’s true that what’s ‘cool’ and what’s ‘dull’ are pretty subjective and one person’s best trade conference ever could be an event of excruciatingly boring proportions to someone else. Despite this, there are some trade conferences that most people are not going to consider exciting, no matter which way you look at them – such as these 10 of the world’s dullest trade conferences.

1. The International Water & Effluent Exhibition ( might well be of interest to those within the industry, but to the rest of the world, a conference that deals with the disposal of various different types of waste and water technology is not going to float many boats.

2. Kiosk Europe Expo ( It’s a trade conference about self-service terminals – enough said really.

3. The International Portable Toilets and Public Health Facilities Exhibition ( is definitely something of an acquired taste and unlikely to hold much allure for anyone without a very specific interest in certain types of sanitation.

4. Contamination Control & Cleanroom Products Exhibition ( no doubt deals with some essential issues, but for the average Joe, the subject matter of this exhibition isn’t going to be worth cancelling any plans for.

5. American Coatings Show ( is three whole days of events and exhibitions dedicated to – yes you guessed it – coatings; that’s paints, sealants, adhesives and the like to the rest of us. Unless you have a very specific interest in coatings, you may well be better off watching paint dry…

6. The Plastics Design & Moulding Exhibition & Conference ( certainly seems to deserve the title of one of the 10 of the world’s dullest trade conferences – I mean there’s not a lot you can say about plastic design and moulding is there.

7. The Festival of Quilts ( may have limited appeal for those in the professional quilting business, or anyone who wants to indulge in several days worth of quilting talks, demonstrations and presentations. For most of the rest of the world though, it’s not going to offer anything groundbreaking.

8. The International Cheese Technology Expo ( is a focused event for those in the cheese and diary industry – looked at as a percentage of the world’s population, that’s not a huge figure, so the number of people who might find this expo more interesting than cleaning out the fridge is likely to be small. Buy tickets for this for any enemies you have with a dairy intolerance.

9. Harrogate Flooring Show ( claims to be the UK’s only dedicated flooring event, a title that it may well hold for very good reason. This is one very specifically for the flooring enthusiasts – there’s not even a roofing exhibit to break up the monotony.

10. Lets face it, offices are pretty dull places at the best of times, and tend to be somewhere most people try to spend as little time as possible. A whole trade conference about offices then is only for real gluttons for punishment. The Office Show ( offers two days of presentations, Q&As and exhibits about office equipment, stationary, office furniture and the like, creating a giant office-like environment.  Yay.

Although there might be some strange souls among us who relish the thought of events like these, on the whole it’s probably fair to say that these 10 of the world’s dullest trade conferences give each other a run for their money in terms of the yawn factor.

John wrote this guest post on behalf of Just Displays who provide exhibition displays and pop up stands which will make even the dullest trade show look a bit more exciting!


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Ron Bruder; From Real Estate Developer To The Youth’s Advocate

Light from the dark

An interesting listing on the annual Times 100 most influential people list is a certain individual that caught our attention, Ron Bruder. When the city of New York was plunged into chaos with the September 11 happenings many people agonized over loved ones caught in the centre of the devastation and Ron Bruder was at the centre. On the day of the attacks Ron Bruder had no idea whether his daughter Jessica was dead or alive as she worked close to the World Trade Centre. His life was changed forever and so was his career path. From a successful real estate business in some office lease Tucson, Ron Bruder packed his bags and headed to the Middle East.

The light bulb moment

Ron Bruder a Jewish-American entrepreneur planted his roots as an extremely successful real estate developer enjoying many renowned projects, one being a successful integration and evolution of a electric generating plant in Manhattan to a residence. After the September 11 attacks his life was to change forever and so was his career. Instead of turning to resentment for the attacks, Ron Bruder instead embarked on a mission to go to the source and help in any way possible. He spent the next few years of his life travelling through the Middle East looking for ways to help and improve the situation. Through his travels he found a specific need for practical education programs and programs that taught high school and college graduates skills that they could utilize in the work place.

The Change

After Ron Bruder’s findings of the change needed he set off and set up the Education for Employment Foundation (EFE). He first introduced of the program was in Jordan for youths that are at risk and he taught them the skills to repaid air conditioning systems. Ron Bruder then brought the foundation to the war torn Gaza strip and West Bank where he taught engineers to become project managers. Other Middle Eastern and African countries that the foundation was set up in are Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and soon Tunisia. The success of Ron Bruder’s Education for Employment Foundation has seen substantial growth and continues to have the potential to change youth’s lives. In 2011 there were 1,300 graduates recorded and the predictions for this year are 2,000 graduates and 5,000 for 2013.

Social media like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have now started to infiltrate into Middle Eastern countries and freedom of speech and expression is becoming more prominent in a incredible stringent society. Although these are ideals that the youths should be enjoying and partaking in, Ron Bruder is teaching them more important skills, the importance of finding and keeping productive careers and jobs when the protests and turbulence is over. Some of these youths may even enjoy some work abroad in some serviced office London or anywhere across the world.

Jemma Scott is an avid writer and explorer of influential and inspiring people.


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