Explained: ISPs, Your Data, and Internet Privacy

Recently, the US Congress has made moves enable widespread data collection from Internet users in the United States. Internet service providers (ISPs) see this as a big win. Why? How are they going to use your data? Here it is explained:

What’s an ISP?
Internet Service Providers or ISPs handle all of your network traffic– meaning they can see everything you browse, watch, click on, and more unless it’s encrypted. Even when it is encrypted, they can still see most of what you’re doing online.

ISPs are different from web companies like Google because you can use the internet without Google but you can’t use the internet without an ISP.

Who Regulates ISPs?
Last year while Barack Obama was in office, the Federal Communications Commission or FCC created major privacy rules for ISPs that gave consumers more control over what’s collected and how it’s used. The rules were slated to go into effect this year but now, those rules will never go into effect.

ISPs want to be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission or FTC instead of the FCC. That’s because they say that the FCC is stopping them from innovating. The FCC tends to write rules that govern the current marketplace while the FTC tends to provide broad guidelines that lay out what constitutes harm and deception of consumers.

What’s at Stake?
There are two things at stake here: our privacy and money from the growing online advertising industry. Currently, Google and Facebook are the largest sellers of digital advertising. ISPs want some of that money and they plan to make it selling your browsing data to advertisers and other companies. One thing they really want to do is help advertisers figure out who you are across all your devices like your computer, tablet, phone, and TV.

Innovation with your data could get weird. For example, ISPs could sell your data to HR technology firms who decide not to hire someone because they don’t like something in their browsing history or insurance providers could use purchased browsing data to deny coverage for someone because it looks like they’ve been on WebMD trying to self-diagnose a health issue.

Currently, ISPs are able to opt you into data collection schemes by default. However, opting out of these schemes can be difficult because ISPs don’t want you to do it.

Now you decide: by letting ISPs be collect and sell your data by default, does this support innovation or does it abuse consumers?
Answer in the poll now and leave your comment below.

Further reading on this issue:
• Google’s Terms of Use state that Gmail users: “give Google (and those [Google] work[s] with) a worldwide license to use … create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services) … and distribute such content.” See http://bit.ly/2oemAJr.

• Here’s a transcript of Obama’s speech at the FTC on the internet and personal privacy

• This is a pro-privacy pressure group in Washington and this is a think tank that believes that personal data in the open is good for the economy

• Here’s a podcast episode about this issue from NPR

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The Well-Balanced Ego (Excerpt from The Confidence Code)

*Find the full course here and grab a $5 coupon while you’re at it: http://bit.ly/palmer5*

In this excerpt from our course, The Confidence Code: Self-Esteem and Empathy w/ Palmer Jones, Palmer describes how an ego that is too big or too small can hold you back in your life and career. Listen to what Palmer says about getting your ego in check and having empathy for others.

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QUIZ: What kind of freelancer are you?

freelancer quiz

If you’re a freelancer and anything like me, you’ve developed a very particular style and way of doing things. You have to…being financially independent comes with a lot of responsibility so focusing on perfecting your offering and your service (so it’s right for your client AND for you) comes with the job.

Take this quiz to learn more about how you deal with clients and sticky situations. Share your result in the comments below!

What kind of freelancer are you? I’m really curious…let me know your results in the comments.

How to Design Your Offering as a Freelancer or Online Business Specialist

Learn how to reinterpret concepts for enterprise strategy so that they’re relevant for you as a freelancer or online entrepreneur. The fact is this: strategic thinking is crucial, but the academic/business education world doesn’t apply these concepts for small businesses, freelancers, and online businesspeople.

This video is an excerpt from our course, Freelancing: Launch Your Career as a Successful Freelancer.

From TEDx: David Allen and The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Productivity guru and coach David Allen talks about “Stress Free Productivity” at TEDxClaremontColleges.

David Allen created a methodology for productivity that we can all integrate into our lives and benefit from. Watch David’s talk on TEDx to change your perspective on your To Do List and set yourself on the path to stress free productivity.

Book mark this post for those days when you are feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, I just put it on in the background on a Monday morning so I can start the week focused.

Useful links:
David Allen’s Getting Things Done Methodology
David Allen on Facebook
Getting Things Done Network on LinkedIn
David Allen on Twitter

About TEDx:
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.



Does the Government Hate Freelancers?

As tax time comes in the US, Eazl has a question: does the government hate freelancers? Should we rework the tax code to make sense for self-employed people? Have your say! Answer the poll at the end of this video or leave your comment.

• The New 40%: Freelancers and self-employed people represent the fastest-growing portion of the labor market in the US and in many countries around the world. There are currently 55mm freelancers in the US and by 2020 freelancers will be 40% of the work force [1]. This trend will only continue as millennials and Gen Z are the largest groups who opt in to the freelancer work style.

• Support for Big Business: Meanwhile, governments around the world continue to flow money towards massive corporations. For example, the CATO Institute found that $10bn in farm subsidies went to publicly-listed industrial agriculture businesses, $4.4bn in special financing was directed towards Boeing, and Walmart has received more than $150mm in land grants and financing at the expense of US taxpayers. [2]

• 43.3% Tax Rate: Now that it’s tax time, freelancers are cutting relatively huge checks to federal and state governments… and taxes on self-employed people are rising. In her Piece for the Huffington Post, Nancy Humphries shows that freelancers who make under $110k annually pay an effective tax rate of 43.3% in the US [3]. That’s a higher rate than most billionaires! The US isn’t alone in raising taxes on self-employed people. The UK just passed a hugely controversial law requiring self-employed people to pay higher National Insurance Contributions [4] which many self-employed people say makes it even harder to survive.

[1] See https://www.slideshare.net/upwork/freelancing-in-america-2016/1
[2] See https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa592.pdf
[3] See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-k-humphreys/selfemployed-pay-highest-_b_2397853.html
[4] See https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/09/self-employed-nics-increase-budget

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Be Your Own Inspiration: Hai Ninh Nguyen Modernizes a Vietnamese Tradition

hai ninh nguyen

Did you know that Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer in the world after Brazil and that coffee is a huge part of Vietnamese culture? Neither did I until I came across Hai Ninh Nguyen’s profile on Instagram.

I was looking for entrepreneurs who have experience manufacturing their own products when Ninh’s post about his modernized Vietnamese coffee press –called a phin– caught my eye.

A year of side hustling. Last year I started my second venture, my first physical product. It’s been a huge learning curve ever since and I learned how important it is to create prototypes before going into mass production. Fortunately, we live in a world were services such as 3dHubs or Shapeways can make our life so much easier. I created a blog post with all essential tools that you need to create a physical product. Follow the link: bit.ly/ToolsForPhysical⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #design #designer #designers #designinspiration #designing #designporn #designerlife #designproject #industrialdesign #productdesign #designprocess #inspiration #prototype #3dprinting #3dprinted #vinabrew #coffeeset #ceramics #sidehustle #entrepreneur #entrepreneurlife #lifestylebusiness #instadaily #picoftheday ⠀

A post shared by DESIGNER⠀ & ⠀ENTREPRENEUR (@ninjaninh) on

Ninh’s Creation Journey
I love Ninh’s story about modernizing a product used in everyday life in Vietnamese culture and exposing those who aren’t Vietnamese to this important part of life in Vietnam.

Check out Ninh’s beautiful and informative post about the traditions of Vietnamese coffee, how the traditional phin works, how he assessed ways that the traditional coffee press could be improved, his materials testing and prototyping, and the tools he used to create the first version for marketing purposes.


Ninh’s How to Create Physical Products from Scratch
Ninh also developed this guide for creating a physical product from scratch (and it’s SUPER useful!).

“I created this article to help you design and manufacture a physical product from scratch and sell it for profit.

I will take my own product as an example to guide you through each step and cover as many aspects as possible so you can apply the knowledge to your specific product.

  • You will learn about each step of creating a physical product
  • You will learn how to prototype products
  • You will learn how to find manufacturers
  • You will learn how to communicate with manufacturers
  • You will learn how to order first samples of your product”

hai ninh nguyen

More Resources
You can follow Hai Ninh Nguyen on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

If you are interested in hearing additional perspective on creating physical products, check out my interview with Jessika Jake of Rist Wellness, an entrepreneur in San Diego who learned how to design and manufacture her own wellness products.

Content That Will Fuel Your Soft Skill Power

soft skill power

For the next couple of weeks, I challenge you to spend some time developing your soft skills. According to recent studies, soft skills have moved into the top listed skills that employers are looking for. Beyond helping you get hired, possessing soft skills will help you be a better manager, get you better results when you work on teams, and help you get where you want to be faster.

Here are a few pieces of content we’ve created that will help you skill up:

  1. 5 Ways to Feel More Empowered Today
    We, at Team Eazl, have been thinking about what role we want to play in the world of education because, really, it isn’t about us. It’s all about you and feeling empowered in your career. Whether you are a professional in the traditional workforce, an entrepreneur, or a freelancer, the more you know about how to build a good life for yourself through your career, the better. The less encumbered and “in the dark” you are about how things work, the more capable you are to truly have control over your life.

successful content

2. Build Your Digital Networking Muscles
It seems like all that anyone talks about anymore –whether in entrepreneurship or a traditional career path as an employee– is networking. And with good reason! Many are terrified of the idea of reaching out to a stranger. Plus, digital networking has added a whole new element to the mix.

successful content

3. From the vaults: FAMILY + BIZ Month: Tools for a Holistic Approach to Work
This compilation posts of self-empowerment, productivity, and self-development content we’ve created in the last couple of years will give you the fuel you need to develop your soft skills, which are some of the most powerful skills you can possess.

successful content


Have any favorite soft skills resources? We’d love to hear about it! Tweet at us

soft skill power

Viri Vlog: VIRI is Dead (+ What We Learned)

Well, it’s over. It was a fun ride, VIRI. In this vlog, you’ll find out why we decided to kill VIRI (and return our investors’ money) and what we learned from this experience.

What’s next? Bigger, better, stronger Eazl. Soon, Davis, is going to launch an equity crowdfunding vlog where you will see how we’re organizing communities around local entrepreneurs, helping them create jobs, and improving communities where people live . Our goal is to create a small business revolution and keep putting power into the hands of individuals. Ludell is going to be working on Eazl’s first physical space!

Link mentioned in this video:
How I Built This Podcast

Note: if you have full access to VIRI’s files, you will continue to have access to those files.

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How Supporters Get Money from Community Owned Businesses

☆ Learn how Eazl is organizing communities with equity crowdfunding at or join the Facebook group at ☆

Part 1 of 4 in the Community Owned Business Series
Community Owned Businesses (COBs) are funded and partially owned by neighbors and other people who support the launch of a small business through an equity crowdfunding campaign.

What’s Equity Crowdfunding?
Equity crowdfunding is like Kickstarter but instead of a reward, supporters get a small ownership piece in the campaigns they support. Learn the basics of equity crowdfunding here.

The Community Percentage
Community Owned Businesses operate with one slight difference to other small businesses: a small percentage of gross revenue is diverted into a community dividend pool. For example, if Joe’s community owned coffee shop gets $90,000 in sales over a 3 month period, his business might have agreed to put 2% of those sales or $1,800 into a dividend fund for the business’ supporters.

Ongoing Money to Supporters
Supporters of community owned businesses receive a proportional amount of the community dividend pool as a check from the businesses they support on a semi regular basis. For example, if you put $500 into a campaign that raised $20,000 to launch a new small business, you might receive $45 every three months as a dividend for your support.

Learn how you can get involved in the community owned business movement here and stay tuned for the other three parts of this four-part series:
Part 2: How to Turn Supporters into Advocates
Part 3: How to Sell a Small Business with Equity Crowdfunding
Part 4: Community Owned Businesses as a New Asset Class

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