How to create a heat map of your Foursquare check-ins using Google Fusion Tables

Do you want to create a cool heat map of your Foursquare check-ins? Of course you do! Who doesn’t like cool maps?! With Google Maps no longer supporting KML imports (which by the way makes no sense to me), Google Fusion Tables provides an alternative method for us map geeks to visualize our check-in data. Here are 3 steps to make it happen.

  1. Go to www.foursquare.com/feeds and click the KML link which will download a KML file of your check-ins.
  2. Log in to your Google Drive account which is where you’ll now find Fusion Tables under “Drive apps”.  Click create and upload your KML file.Fusion Tables
  3. Once uploaded, click on “Map of geometry” where you can toggle back in forth between a point map and a heat map.4SQ Feature Map

4SQ Heat Map

You can also import your KML file into Google Earth or give Mapbox (https://www.mapbox.com) a try. I have to admit the new Mapbox site is pretty stunning.

Enjoy!

How to Worry About the Right Things

By Billy Burle

How often do you hear about the destructive effects of worrying? Usually, the best advice given to those that worry is to simply stop worrying and relax or as the song goes, don’t worry – be happy. Sounds easy, right? In reality, this is much harder than it sounds, especially for people who are constant worriers. However, there is a different approach that harnesses the power of worrying and uses it for good. Worrying is so powerful because when you worry about something you become hyper focused on it and when that happens the subconscious brain is working to make that thing a reality – similar to self fulfilling prophecies. I’ll give you an example. Imagine you are on the first tee of a golf course about to hit your first drive of the day. The other 3 in your foursome are watching and waiting. It’s a tight fairway with all kinds of danger off to the right – trees, water, houses, and so on. All you can think about it what if I slice this ball, what if I break a window, I hope I don’t slice the ball! Please don’t let me slice the ball!

Chances are you are going to slice that ball. Worrying about it made you focus so intently on the outcome that it happened. Now let’s try a different approach that still involves worrying. Back to the first tee with the same scenario in place. Instead of worrying about the slice worry about something else. Try worrying about what if I crush this drive right down the middle. Sounds silly to worry about that doesn’t it? However, you can worry about the expectation level you’ll set or the fact that you told your friends you don’t play that much – will they believe you now. There are all sorts of things to worry about regarding things going right. Now you are so hyper focused on a perfect drive that chances are you’ll have that perfect drive. You just manipulated worry for your own benefit as opposed to trying to fight it.

I’ll give you another example from my own personal experience in putting this idea to the test. Several years ago I joined a local Toastmasters group to help me overcome my fear of public speaking. I made it known to the group that I was deathly afraid of public speaking and believe me I was. Early on it felt like going to an AA meeting – Hi, my name is Billy and I’m afraid of speaking in public – Hi Billy. I struggled with public speaking because most of things I worried about happening during a speech usually happened which just compounded the problem. Ironically, the turning point for me was giving a speech about this very topic. My mental preparation for the speech was to focus on worrying about the right things. I worried about what if I nail the speech, what if I do so well that the group thinks I exaggerated my fears, and of course the kicker was what if I do so well that I get asked to speak more.

The time came and I gave the speech…and I in fact nailed it. For the first time in my life, I felt like I nailed a speech! From that point on I realized I can do this and I never looked back. Since then I have given countless speeches to small and large groups without any fear of failure. If the nerves set in again, I just revert back to worrying about the right things – works every time.

Worrying is powerful but if you find yourself having difficulty fighting it – don’t. Use it to your advantage by worrying about the right things.

The One Thing You Must Do On Social Networks

By Billy Burle

There is certainly no shortage of social media advice out there saying you must have a strategy, calculate an ROI, get more followers, schedule or don’t schedule posts, be human, be awesome and on and on and on. While these are good discussions to have, I won’t be having them here, not today anyway. Instead, I want to to talk to you about one thing that will have the greatest impact – reply. Reply to posts. For the love of all that is good and holy in this world – reply to posts. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Yet so few do it! I’m completely baffled when I hear that anywhere from 60%-90% of social media posts to companies go unanswered or ignored. This summer I attended an event put on by Google, where they said 95% of posts to brands on Google+ go unanswered. That’s the equivalent of : (more…)

Instill a Sense of Scientific Wonder in Your Kids

By Billy Burle

‘If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate. We are competing with nations many times our size. We don’t have a single brain to waste. Math and science are the engines of innovation. With these engines we can lead the world. We must demystify math and science so that all students feel the joy that follows understanding.’  – Dr. Michael Brown, former Nobel Prize winner for medicine and the Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas

There are lots of discussions taking place about the need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education reform and I certainly agree the system needs reforming and additional programs should be available to elementary and middle school children. However, the education system isn’t the only education resource our children have.  As the proud parent of a bright and creative little girl, I feel part of the responsibility rests firmly on my shoulders.  I discovered that there are lots of fun ways to encourage learning and a sense of scientific wonder at home.  In fact, if this past summer had a (more…)

5 Tips for Disc Golf Newbies

By Billy Burle

If you are new to disc golf, here are a handful of tips and tricks that helped me drastically improve my game and hopefully will do the same for you.  Feel free to share any additional tips that have helped you in the comments section at the end of this post. If you have made it this far and find yourself wondering what on earth is disc golf, I recommend you watch this video: Disc Golf: It’s in the Air

  1. Keep it low!  When I first started playing the birds flying 30 feet above my head were in mortal danger.  My drives were high, short, and consistently off target.  Once, I began focusing on keeping the disc low, and when I say low I mean 3-4 feet off the ground, my drives instantly had more distance and greater accuracy…and the birds could once again rest easy.
  2. (more…)

6 Sales Management Tips I Learned from Hockey

By Billy Burle

6 Sales Management Tips I Learned from Hockey

In celebration of the start of hockey season, I wanted to share some sales management tips I’ve borrowed from the sport.

  1. Build a diverse team with a mixture of veteran all stars and young talent to ensure you’re always planning for the future and cultivating winning teams.
  2. Always keep your head up and on a swivel to constantly be surveying the situation to keep an eye open for unexpected obstacles.  The minute you drop your head you could get knocked out – just ask Eric Lindros.

  3. (more…)