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Pinterest is growing to be the most engaged social media network in the world. I love Pinterest and have spoken on the topic several times annually for the last two years.  What’s the #1 question I get asked by attendees? Whether or not they should buy Pinterest followers.

Getting a large following on Pinterest isn’t easy, especially if you’re a business without a strong following online.  It’s true that some businesses purchase Pinterest followers. But is this a good idea?

In my research I’ve found that you can purchase Pinterest followers from $10-85 per 1000 followers, with the average price around $20/1000.

Pros of Buying Pinterest Followers

Well, the most obvious benefit is that you look like you or your business is popular. This works on new Pinterest folks who haven’t checked out your account before (unless they look at your re-pins).

Buying Pinterest re-pins will make your pins look like they are very active.  These tend to come from inactive accounts, but it will still make you look very active and this is good for faking that you’re amazing.

Above is a screenshot of Organize’s Pinterest account, a company I help out with.  Did I purchase followers with this account?  Nope. I’ve built this account from the ground up.  I’ve worked on this for a long time and put in countless hours to be able to get 10k+ followers.  You’ll notice that my followers are very active and actively re-pin things that I do.

Why didn’t I buy followers? I’ll explain the cons of buying followers below.

Cons of Buying Pinterest Followers

When you purchase Pinterest followers and/or re-pins, to your Pinterest friends you will look like you are killing it. But your robot “friends” will see right through you.

Pinterest’s algorithm (much like Facebook and other social networks) works on popularity signals. This basically means that when your posts attract a lot of engagement, Pinterest will show you more often and at the top of the stream. If you post something and nobody likes or re-pins your shares, you’ll become less relevant.

Facebook used to refer to the concept of filtering content based on popularity factors as Edgerank. I’ll call Pinterest’s ranking on pinners and pins as Pinrank.  The more people that follow you that don’t indicate your pin is important, the more your Pinrank will go down. The more your Pinrank goes down, the less your pins will show up at the top of the Pinterest search results to popular pinners. (So if you’ve purchased Pinterest followers make the effort to keep your Pinrank up or you’ll be worse off than before.)

It reminds me of the old question “Would you rather have a million friends or 5 amazing friends”. Most people (especially ranking robots) say that it’s better to have 5 amazing friends.

Another reason not to buy Pinterest pins or followers is you run the risk of getting your account banned by Pinterest.  I’m aware of 2 or 3 accounts that were banned due to buying followers.  This is in violation of Pinterest’s Uses policy.

One account that got banned was for a company that had hired a full-time employee to manage their Pinterest account. After 8 months, the employee purchased about 10K followers and subsequently got the account banned.  The company lost everything, including the money they paid for the followers.  I wonder how many people have had this happen.

Another con for buying followers on Pinterest is traffic related reasons.  We all know that social networks influence traffic.  I’ve found and tested that when I buy pins I see an increase in traffic for 2-3 days then almost all the traffic will go away.  This potentially will hurt your search results and could cause ALL your traffic to go away because of spamming.

So should you buy Pinterest followers?

My personal recommendation would be to do everything legit and to not purchase Pinterest followers.  I think it’s just a safer bet, long term.  It’s much like black hat SEO.  You might get away with it for a while, but eventually you’re going to get caught.

Have you ever purchased Pinterest followers?  What was your experience?

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How To Identify A Good (And Bad) Business Analyst?

Over last 6 years, I have come across more than hundreds of analysts and have conducted almost equal number of interviews. Over this time, I have developed a knack of differentiating best analysts from good and good analysts from bad. If you face this challenge regularly, this post might help you.

So how do you differentiate between good and bad analysts?

Thankfully, it’s not that difficult. I have put a framework around how to judge an analyst. You can use the same to make your life simpler. This framework has it’s genesis in hiring guidelines at Capital One. I have modified it to adopt it in Indian Analytics industry.

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Structured thinking


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This is the most important attribute that distinguishes a good analyst from bad. This attribute is not only required to be a successful analyst, it becomes absolutely critical for a person managing Business Analysts.

So what is Structured thinking?

Structured thinking is a process of putting a framework to an unstructured problem. Having a structure not only helps an analyst understand the problem at a macro level, it also helps by identifying areas which require deeper understanding.

How do I test for structured thinking?

Typically I test this by throwing a open business problem at an analyst and then observing closely how he / she is solving it.

An example is asking a question like: “You have been appointed as CEO of a loss making restaurant at Delhi / London Airport and you are expected to join the company in a week. What would you want to do as a CEO of the company as soon as you join them?”

If the person lays out a nice structure about where the problems could be, he has already ticked one box. If he starts giving you answers out of his hat (e.g. I would be looking at what marketing are we doing?), you should consider it as a red flag. He will not be able to sail through the world of Analytics.

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Business understanding and problem solving


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There is a reason why Business Analysts are called so and not just Analysts. Until a person understands what he is trying to solve and the business owners are confident that he can solve problems in meaningful manner, he is a dead analyst.

So, how do you test for business understanding?

For an experienced analyst, I typically start judging this by asking about business context for the projects he might have worked on. If he can explain that clearly, it’s a good start. If he can’t, you can almost make your hiring decision here. Next, you can look at the answers a person gives in response to question asked for judging structured thinking. If he gives answers based on numbers only, you need to probe him further. He needs to put a business thinking hat and provide some out of box suggestions.

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Attention to details 



If a person is not detail oriented, he can never be a good analyst. Every analyst should have the ability to understand business at high level, but he should be able to get down to nuts and bolts of all the levers you might have.

So how do you judge for attention to details?

Start by looking at the CV of a person, has he spent time choosing words carefully? Has he mentioned impact of the projects he might have worked on?

For an experienced analyst, probe on the projects he might have worked on before. Did he consider all the aspects and possibilities? How much time does take to explain his previous projects?

Another way to judge it is by asking the candidate to  a guess estimate, something like “Estimate the number of smartphones used in India” and looking at how the candidate answers them. How many factors does he consider to come up with answers? How many segments does he consider to  arrive at sizing? These aspects should give you a good read on how detail oriented a person is.

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Ability to triangulate numbers & do back of the envelope calculations



While the first three characteristics help you identify a better than average analyst, this characteristic and the next differentiates best of analysts from good analyst. This is an activity I love to do and something I know every good analyst loves. This is the ability to set up equations on page and then do back of the envelope calculations to answer 80% of questions without touching any excel / calculator or laptop. It is also the ability to arrive at a number through various sources and then validating them.

How to judge ability to triangulate numbers and do back of the envelope calculations?

Guess estimate comes to your rescue here. Just ask the candidate to perform the guess estimate on a paper and then ask him to validate the number through an alternate approach.

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Communication skills – Ability to tell stories based on numbers



Any analyst is only as good as he can communicate. If a person can not take the complex world of numbers and create a meaningful story out of it, he will always be looked upon as a nerd. He can be a good analyst, but not the best one. Ability to create a story and present it almost has an equal, if not higher influence on your customers and hence increases the chances of success of any analytics project.

How do you judge communication skills?

You can get a sense on this through the entire interview. If this is very critical to the role you are evaluating for, you can provide datasets in excel and ask the person to present some open ended questions

Hopefully, this framework will help you for any analyst hiring in future. In case you have some suggestions, do let me know.

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The Good Side Of Bad Words

The Good Side of Bad Words A psychologist on why swearing can be beneficial to your health

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In the video above, Catherine Caldwell-Harris explains why the eff those terms we all know, and most of us use, are not necessarily effing bad.

Swearing is unlikely to make the desired impression on in-laws, but it could be good for your blood pressure. That’s the suggestion of recent research revealing that the use of four-letter words can relieve stress, ease pain, and build camaraderie.

Catherine Caldwell-Harris, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of psychology, is familiar with swearing, and even has become a recognized expert.

Eager to expand our own vocabularies, BU Today caught up with her and asked a few questions about how bad words can be a good thing.

BU Today: Can you describe your research on taboo words and swearing?

Caldwell-Harris: Between 1999 and 2003, I mentored a postdoctoral student from Turkey. I saw her learn English to proficiency in my laboratory.

One day we were joking around, and at one point when no undergraduates were around, we used a double entendre or an off-color phrase and she laughed along with us. We were surprised, so we turned to her and said, “Your English must really be improving, because you clearly know what we are talking about.”

She declared, “I can tell a sex joke in English, but I cannot tell a sex joke in Turkish.”

So we were all like, “What is going on here? What is it about using taboo words or sexual references in your native language versus nonnative that makes a difference?”

It seemed obvious that when you use taboo words in a language that is not your most proficient, they might not have the same emotional impact. So we started reading the literature and found that bilingual speakers in particular were saying they did not feel as much emotion when they used swear words in their nonnative language.

The idea I put forward is that swear words in a foreign language are a little like play money. You can use them without paying the emotional price.

So the study we developed was to use skin conductance — a physiological measure of emotional response — to try and demonstrate that when you hear taboo words in your nonnative language, your skin conductance amplitude is reduced. And that’s what we found. The overall finding is that there is reduced skin conductance in your nonnative language, not just for taboo words, but a host of emotional expressions, like endearments such as “I love you.”

My other taboo word study is with monolinguals. The insight we had in this study is that there is something with swear words that grabs attention — they are almost impossible to ignore. We used a technique from cognitive psychology called depth of processing. People were asked to read a study list of normal words (not emotional words) and process them either deeply or shallowly. With normal words, you remember them better when you process them deeply. Swear words are so emotional and attention-grabbing that they force you to process them deeply.

You’ve mentioned that swear words can build camaraderie in the workplace. Why?

When you are not allowed to use swear words and cursing, it puts a damper on your ordinary social activities with your peers. You feel constrained, sort of like your parents are admonishing you to speak correctly. The ability to freely express whatever comes into your mind in normal social interaction is a way of having control over your everyday life.

What did the latest research reveal about swearing and pain reduction?

Swearing allows people to vent, to blow off steam, and it could be seen as catharsis. On the other hand, one of the criticisms I have of the study is that it could simply be distraction. There are numerous studies showing that many things improve pain tolerance, like meditation, smiling, or holding hands with your romantic partner.

What are some of the wrong reasons to swear?

I think it’s helpful to think about why we are using these taboo phrases. Is it because we are seeking to relieve tension or is it to rile other people, show off, or take a special stance of “I’m cool” or “I’m an outlaw” or “I’m rebellious”? If your use of swear words is one of the latter, you need to think about whether that is helping your relationships.

Do you swear?

Like almost anyone in North America, I routinely use the full gamut of four-letter words in everyday conversations with my spouse, my siblings, my friends. But I’m in an interesting situation, where I’ve also been heavily socialized to be a professor. And I know that even when I’ve used a word like “shit” as an expression in a classroom situation, I see looks of horror on my students’ faces. So I’ve felt to some extent that I should not be using any expressions that are even slightly off-color around students.

So a dilemma was presented when I began researching taboo words. Like all psychology professors, I work with a team of undergraduates. We needed to discuss the linguistic stimuli — the four-letter words. I was not comfortable saying them with my research assistant. So it led to a lot of laughter and humor, where I was shown to be old-fashioned and restrictive, and while we ended up using common euphemisms, I don’t even want to say them in this conversation.

Who comes up with swear words?

Edward A. Brown can be reached at [email protected].

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Oneplus 8 Pro Revisited: The Good And Bad Six Months Later

The good

AMOLED, 120Hz, and QHD+ — that’s the good stuff.

This is all boosted further by the 120Hz refresh rate. While now far more common than at launch, OnePlus’ implementation remains one of the few that offers full refresh rate flexibility. Want the smoothest experience at all times with the highest resolution? That’s fine, a quick trip to the Settings and you can enjoy 120Hz in QHD+, but you can also set it to dynamically shift between 60Hz and 120Hz based on the content you are viewing to save battery.

Despite initial software teething issues, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s display is world class… with one other exception. We’ll get to that a bit later.


The OnePlus 8 Pro was and still is the most expensive OnePlus phone to date. That said, it’s still cheaper than a lot of elite flagships, especially following recent discounts.

Right now in the US, the phone is selling for $799 (down $100 from launch) for the 8GB/128GB variant and $899 (also down $100) for the 12GB/256GB model. Meanwhile, in the UK, the 12GB version has dropped to as little as £749 in sales. It’s also aggressively priced in India, starting at just Rs. 49,999.

Read more: How the price of OnePlus phones changed over the years

OnePlus’ stranglehold on the affordable flagship market has loosened in the latter end of 2023, with the OnePlus 8T’s $749 price tag putting it below the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE and the Pixel 5 in the value stakes. However, as far as true flagships go, the OnePlus 8 Pro with all its feature bells and whistles, powerhouse specs, and premium design heavily undercuts other popular full-fat rivals like the premium Galaxy S20 series and the iPhone 12 Pro, as well as more niche picks like the Sony Xperia 1 II, Motorola Edge Plus, and the OPPO Find X2 Pro.

The not so good

The 48MP Sony IMX689 main sensor — shared with the OPPO Find X2 Pro — is easily comparable with other leading camera phones, with true-to-life colors and white balance, and great dynamic range. The processing has a tendency to wash out faces in low light, but it’s improved a little in this regard since launch.

If you manually adjust the zoom for anywhere between 1.1x to 2.9x the phone instead crops the main sensor and ignores the telephoto camera entirely leaving images looking aggressively soft. This main-telephoto switcheroo also occurs in low light conditions… sometimes. It’s very inconsistent.

Throw in the mediocre Night Sight mode and plus the bizarre, gimmick-tastic color filter and you’ve got a camera suite that’s good, but just a few stops short of greatness.


Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

It’s probably a surprise to see software in the negatives column for a OnePlus phone. After all, OnePlus offers great support for its phone through updates and community feedback. Plus, Oxygen OS is and always has been a fan favorite Android skin. Or maybe that should be was.

Recently, OnePlus updated its custom skin to Oxygen OS 11, bringing with it some feature tweaks including — after years of asking — always-on display support. However, it also introduced an entirely new UI design language that jettisoned the traditionally stock-like aesthetic of Oxygen OS for something far more stylized.


Okay, so the OnePlus 8 Pro’s design is by no means terrible. Generic, though? A little bit.

It’s a premium glass sandwich that looks and feels like a flagship phone. The more unique colorways — Glacial Green and Ultramarine Blue — have a nice soft-touch shine that keeps fingerprints away. It’s also got OnePlus’ signature alert slider and it even has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance — a first for OnePlus.

Six months later: Do you think the OnePlus 8 Pro is still a good buy?

5332 votes

While it might be tempting to save a little more cash and opt for the OnePlus 8T, the OnePlus 8 Pro has the flagship extras and a far superior camera suite. There’s still room for improvement with the upcoming OnePlus 9 series, but until then, the OnePlus 8 Pro can easily trade blows with any 2023 flagship despite falling a little below the dreaded $1,000 mark.

OnePlus 8 Pro

Killer flagship

OnePlus is all grown up. With the OnePlus 8 Pro, you get an unabashed flagship, with all the bells and whistles. Powerful specs, an amazing display, fast wireless charging, and water resistance make the OnePlus 8 Pro a great alternative to the Galaxy S20 Plus, and it’s up to $300 cheaper.

See price at Amazon



5 Not So Good But Bad Things About Android 5.0 Lollipop

There are numerous reports that reveal the new features that would arrive alongside the update. For your reference, the Material Design, new notification system, enhanced battery life, multiple user support, 64 bit processor support and many others are welcome and are believed to make the Android Lollipop a good one. However, there are some aspects that need further improvement.

Text Messages

With the Android 5.0 Lollipop update having made its way to the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 devices lately, there is a major issue faced by some owners. The update brings an unpleasant bug that is preventing them from sending text messages. According to the complaints that are getting piled up on the Android Issue Tracker, the problem is persistent with some carriers and it should be related to the specific device or software that they are using to send text messages.

As of now, there is a diverse group of carriers including Vodafone and Mobistar and also those virtual operates connected to these networks. It has reported that Google has halted the updates that are affected by this text message bug and that it will resume rolling them once a fix is ready. However, there is no issue in receiving a text message and the problem appears to persist even on the Nexus 6.

Tap & Go

The Tap & Go feature is a NFC and Bluetooth powered data transfer functionality that moves all the Google Account details, data, configuration settings and applications to a new device just by placing the old device against it. It does not spare even the widgets and wallpapers. However, it appears like this feature is only half done. Of course, this feature eradicates the necessity of third party applications or rooting to achieve a smarter setup. But, it fails to restore those third party app settings as in iOS.


It appears like the Face Unlock is similar to TouchID, but it does not require the user to touch. The issue with this feature is that it is not reliable at all times as it does not function properly. Google will have to create a fingerprint biometrics system for Android that can be used by the device manufacturers.

Lack of Silent Mode

It appears like Android 5.0 Lollipop does not let the users to mute the device completely. Well, lowering the volume of a Lollipop device will put it to the vibrate mode instead of going to the silent mode. When the volume is turned to ‘0′ on Android smartphones running on Android 4.3 and below, it activates vibration mode and silent mode is activated by turning volume up once again. On the Android 4.4 KitKat and higher devices, reducing the volume below vibrate mode activates silent mode. But, it appears like there is no silent mode in the Lollipop powered devices as turning down the volume below ‘0′ takes the users only to vibration mode and there is no option to activate silent mode.

Soft Keys

Other Annoying Aspects

Some Nexus 5 users have raised complaints regarding battery drain and charging issues after receiving the Lollipop update. Several Nexus users claim that Google Now is apparently crashing and freezing. Apart from these issues, there are problems in syncing after downloading the new update and other issues related to Wi-Fi, sound, Contacts and more. These are few issues that the Android Lollipop users are facing and there are many more complaints flooding Google’s forums.

At Last, A Netbook Worth Buying: Samsung’s N120

It’s been nearly two years since the first netbook, the Asus Eee PC 4G, became available to U.S. consumers. Even so, I just bought my first netbook, the Samsung N120. Why did I wait so long? (Several reasons.) And was it worth the wait? (Absolutely.)

Why I Waited

As second- and third-generation netbooks appeared, I still refrained. Despite their low prices (often $400 and under), the netbooks I tested came with too many compromises: cramped keyboards, awkward touchpad buttons, and batteries that wound down too quickly (in some cases, in under 2 hours).

In recent months, though, Samsung has been prolific in the netbook department, pushing out new models such as the N110 and N120.

Why I Bought the Samsung N120

While the N120’s keyboard is smaller than a typical laptop’s, it’s noticeably more comfortable for typing than any other netbook keyboard I’ve tested. (The HP Mini 2140 keyboard is a close second.) Keyboard comfort is extremely important to me, as I’ve suffered from repetitive strain injury (RSI) in the past and I’m not about to awaken that sleeping tiger by using a child-size keyboard.

The N120’s battery life is another big draw. In PCW video-playback tests, the N120’s battery lasted an impressive 7 hours, 43 minutes. I managed to go for over 5 hours typing on the N120 at a recent Twitter conference, with Wi-Fi on and the screen’s brightness cranked all the way up. Even better, the six-cell standard battery protrudes only slightly, compared to the bulky six-cell battery options you’d get on the HP Mini 2140 and some other netbooks.

Other laudable features:

Its speakers have a subwoofer, so it delivers audio that’s a bit better than the average netbook.

The N120’s casing has a matte finish that doesn’t show fingerprints as easily as the glossy finish on other netbooks, such as the NC10.

The touchpad has a large area dedicated for scrolling, making it easy to navigate to the top or bottom of Web pages and other documents. There’s only one touchpad button, but I find it easy to use.

Samsung includes some useful software tools, such as Samsung Battery Manager, which gives you three different power consumption modes; software for troubleshooting and restoring; and an easy-to-understand user’s guide.

Good, fluid playback of videos through Apple iTunes.

A glossy, bright 10.1-inch widescreen display that’s highly reflective, yet still readable in bright sunlight.

A built-in 1.3-megapixel Webcam.

Even after the N120 has been running for several hours, it doesn’t run hot, as some netbooks (and laptops) do. There’s no noisy fan turning on and off, either.

A Few Quibbles

Why did Samsung put the dedicated Windows Start key on the keyboard’s right side, instead of on the left, where it normally lives?

Samsung overachieved with status lights. The N120 has a total of seven indicators, for power on/off, wireless on/off, and, oh, I forget the rest.

No ExpressCard slot–though this is still a rarity among netbooks and not something I’ve had a need for yet.

No built-in cellular modem–though I don’t recommend using these anyway. A better choice is to buy a USB cellular modem, so your netbook or notebook cellular connection isn’t tied to a particular carrier’s network.

The Wrap Up

Even though there are less expensive netbooks on the market, the N120 is a good value for $410, especially if you get free shipping and pay no taxes. Honestly, if you’ve been holding out for the right netbook, you may have just run out of excuses.

Mobile Computing News, Reviews, & Tips

T-Mobile myTouch 3G: Hot on the heels of the Apple iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre comes T-Mobile’s second-generation Android phone, myTouch 3G. The $199 phone (with two-year contract) features a virtual keyboard instead of a physical one. Otherwise, the myTouch 3G isn’t hugely different from the T-Mobile G1 Android phone that debuted last year.

What’s Missing from the iPhone 3GS: Apple’s third-gen iPhone offers several improvements over previous models, including video recording, copy and paste functions, and universal search. But there are at least five things we’d still like to see, including the ability to drag and drop files directly onto the device and a better camera.

Suggestion Box

Is there a particularly cool mobile computing product or service I’ve missed? Got a spare story idea in your back pocket? Tell me about it. However, I regret that I’m unable to respond to tech-support questions, due to the volume of e-mail I receive.

Contributing Editor James A. Martin offers tools, tips, and product recommendations to help you make the most of computing on the go. You can follow him on Twitter. Jim is also the coauthor of Getting Organized in the Google Era, to be published by Crown in March 2010. Sign up to have Mobile Computing e-mailed to you each week.

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