Check out this video tutorial demonstrating how to levitate an object using After Effects wizardry. In the process you’ll learn fundamental compositing techniques such as rig removal and keying.Interested in learning fundamental compositing techniques in After Effects? This video tutorial by Zach King (of FinalCutKing.com) shows you how to ‘magically’ levitate objects in your videos using the tools in AE. The techniques used in the video can be applied to any After Effects compositing project – really useful info to know.In the video Zach levitates a coffee cup using his hands (before the cup comes crashing to the ground). For a short, simple clip there is actually quite a bit of compositing necessary to pull off this effect.To achieve a natural floating effect he first dangled the coffee cup from a string on a blue screen background. After Effects rig removal techniques are used to remove the string from the final shot – first by tracking the motion and then keying out the blue screen background using AE’s built-in Keylight tool.Next you’ll see how to adjust the scale of the foreground image (cup) and keyframe natural looking motion for the levitation. This is an easy to understand simple demonstration of After Effects techniques that can be applied to much more complicated compositing projects. Thanks for sharing Zach! For more free tutorials and to download the project footage for this exercise check out FinalCutKing.com (FCP & Motion)
Take your reel from good to great! In this post, we share 6 tips for demo reels and showreels – critical marketing materials for any creative professional.Marketing yourself as a creative professional is obviously incredibly important, especially if you want to get new clients and more work. But what’s the best way to go about it? Here are six tips for creating a showreel or demo reel – good info to chew on when thinking about how best to showcase your talents and finding fresh ways to do it well#1 – We (Don’t) Need A Montage.Showreels are most often just a fast paced music montage jammed together with the biggest name brands, faces and expensive looking visuals you can muster. Like film trailers, demo reel and showreel styles tend to go through trends. Take action movies for example, sometimes its all about pounding beats and everything being as loud and as powerful as possible. More recently, there’s been a slew of trailers that try a different approach, contrasting action with peaceful orchestral music like The Dark Knight Rises trailers or Halo Reach.To me the best showreels, like the best trailers, go for something all together different. In the video above (which is actually a home page splash video) from my friends at Yodo Creative their audio overload is a great hook to entice potential clients to rummage further. But to push the point even further I’d suggest being funny or at the very least ‘fun’. Wow people with your creative wit, not just the usual montage. The fine people at Yum Yum London don’t have a reel either. They just make funny short films.#2. Don’t have a reel, have a portfolio.As a film editor I don’t have a showreel. I think its pretty easy for anyone to cut a music montage together and it doesn’t tell you much about how I might handle a drama, TV comercial or music video differently. So for editors, my suggestion is a portfolio of work clients can browse through and watch as much of a piece as they want.Now if you’re a DP, VFX creative, colorist or make up artist for example, then a montage probably IS your best bet…as a nice looking shot is a nice looking shot. But for directors, editors, composers etc I think clients are looking to evaluate your work in the context of the whole experience, not just the specific shots. Portfolio sites like Behance or WordPress plugins like Vimeography make creating a professional looking portfolio online, incredibly easy.#3. Explain What You Did, Specifically.More often than not, we have a greater appreciation for the value of something when we fully understand how much work went into it. UK animated and paper cut out specialist Kyle Beandoes a great job of celebrating how much time, effort and skill went into creating a 30 second TV ad for Peugeot (above) with this excellent behind the scenes video (below). Now understandably most of us don’t have the time or resources to create such a detailed video (maybe get an assistant to do it if you’ve got one?) but a short write up and a few behind the scenes photos, pre-vis or sketches can add depth to your work and help communicate just how valuable, talented and creative you really are.Also film is almost always a team sport so be sure to point out what you did specifically and give credit to those involved. As an film editor I’m always keen to point out to clients if the sound mix, visual effects, graphics or grade has been performed by someone else, so that they are not expecting me to re-create the work of 6 other experienced professionals on their project.#4. Only Include Your Best WorkIt may sound like an obvious point but only including your best work is crucial to having a great reel. If something is kind of old, out of date of just not as good as your other work then leave it out. The temptation is to feel like you might not have ‘enough’ stuff on your reel, but avoid that temptation! I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity.I remember a post production supervisor saying he hired someone to work on Troy because he saw a six second shot of an asteroid hitting cardiff and it had realistic looking dust in it. Six seconds in a whole reel (enough for Vine!) got him the job, because he could do dust and they needed dust. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Also don’t overly repeat stuff as it will just look like padding.#5. Add TagsMy friend Mike Bain is a spectacularly talented Supervising Texture Artistwho has worked on films like AvatarLord of The RingsInceptionJohn Carter to name but a few. You would probably recognise any shot from any of those films instantly. But what I like about Mike’s reel is that he has discreetly added short text captions to reference what he did in the shot and what project it is from.This is especially important if the shots in your reel aren’t as recognizable, enabling clients to follow up with you on specific shots (that they might like for some creative reason).#6. Front LoadGiven that a showreel is all about showing off brand names, recognizable faces and generally trying to impress your clients, make sure you put your best brands/names/shots etc up front as clients might not make it to the end of your reel. There isn’t much point in ‘saving the best till last’ but hopefully if you’ve only included your best work it should be gold from start to finish.Want even more demo reel tips? See our previous post: Top 20 Tips for Creating A Successful Demo Reel
SmallHD’s 5″ FOCUS monitor will give your camera a big upgrade without breaking the bank.All images via PremiumBeat.SmallHD’s FOCUS monitor is a 5-inch, 800nit display with rotating capabilities that might be one of the biggest selling points for anybody shooting tutorials, vlogging, or working without a cameraperson. The FOCUS offers a bright display that eases shooting in the middle of the day or in intensely lit circumstances. Let’s dive in for a closer look.The SmallHD FOCUSSmallHD calls this monitor, “the monitor you can see outside.” So, I took the monitor outside in the middle of a 100-degree summer day in Texas and can report the screen works wonderfully in that regard. I’m shooting on a Sony a7S II, and its display isn’t really the clearest in daylight, so the FOCUS is an absolute must for visibility.Clearly seeing what’s in or out of focus is a huge benefit. The Focus Assist and Peaking assists help a lot with color customization options — and they’re easy to access. In general, the monitor is fairly touch sensitive with a quick reaction time. The swiping-touch feature isn’t perfect, but it’s still a step up from past SmallHD monitors that lacked touch screen capability altogether.SmallHD FOCUS Monitor SettingsAside from controlling the live image, the FOCUS allows you to toggle your image display. The monitor is very helpful for ensuring you get the exact image you want, and it offers many levels of customization, including brightness, aspect ratio, image rotation, pixel zoom, and even volume control for your headphones.There is a cold shoe mount on the side so you can mount a small LED light or mic, which can help balance the rig and keep it from becoming too top heavy. There are also three 1/4″ 20 mounts on the top, bottom, and the side of the monitor for any other pieces of equipment you’d like to add.If you’re shooting with Canon, sometimes the camera doesn’t output the entire image, so the FOCUS lets you scale up with these cameras (such as the 7D and 5D).One of the most enticing features of the FOCUS is the swipe feature for different setups. If you’re going to be shooting different locations and lighting setups, you can have all your custom pre-made settings ready to go.Using the SmallHD FOCUS ToolsThe touch screen allows you to touch-zoom in to check your focus and control the display by adding crosshairs to help center and stage your shot.Each tool offers a simple tap and swipe motion to toggle the tool on or off. Once you’ve set proper exposure, focus, and aspect ratio, you can swipe left or right to the next page to further correct and play with your image. By tapping the name of the tool in the top left of the monitor, you can customize the tool by changing the color of exposure and focus points. As far as touch screen sensitivity goes, it did feel awkward at times to use two hands to zoom in or out to bring up the monitor settings. That being said, it’s still an easy-to-use, small, touch screen monitor.As you can see above, the different pages allow you to simultaneously check the Waveform or False Colors, play with the histogram, and ensure your subjects are in focus with the Focus Assist.The monitor also comes with a headphone jack, so if you’re using the Sony a6300 or a6500, you can listen to the audio you’re recording from an attached microphone instead of using an external audio recorder. The monitor also has an SD card slot for uploading your custom LUTs to the monitor — you can save these looks under Profiles.There are also preset LUTs on the monitor you can work with. The SD card slot will accommodate future firmware upgrades, and you can save certain profiles to the SD card, saving time on your next shoot — especially if you need to run and gun.The FOCUS also allows you to power your camera through an auxiliary out cable — which you must purchase separately. This is obviously a major advantage. If you’re working with Sony cameras (which are notorious for sub-par battery life), this capability will come in handy. In the same vein, if your camera is prone to overheating, using a dummy battery while the monitor powers the camera can help keep your camera relatively cool.SmallHD FOCUS Price and BundlesSmallHD sells the monitor by itself (including the micro HDMI and USB cables, cable clips, and tilt arm), for $499 USD. You need to purchase an L series battery separately, so expect to spend a little more on this monitor.You’ll also need to purchase an additional $60 power adapter if you want to power your camera with the monitor. SmallHD currently sells five different power adapters for Sony, Nikon, Panasonic, and Canon cameras.The best deal SmallHD offers are the camera specific bundles, which are about $600 USD, an average savings of $180 USD. With the bundle, you’ll receive an ANTON BAUER L series battery (47Wh), a dummy battery with charger, the tilt arm, HDMI, cable clips, and USB cable. There are camera-specific bundles for whichever brand you shoot with. I personally recommend spending the extra money so you receive all the necessary products with the monitor at the same time.Side note: the cable clips that come with the base monitor option are an excellent way to manage the inevitable three cables you’ll need to attach to the ridged back of the monitor.General ThoughtsAt first, I wasn’t completely sold on the apparent gimmick of the bright display and charging capabilities, but while writing this review, I went out on the town with my a7S II and quickly discovered why the FOCUS would be a valuable asset. Given the short battery life of my camera, giving the battery a longer lifespan is a major bonus.Aside from the obvious features that make this product stand out, the most notable is the size. For somebody like me on the go, traveling and avoiding weight and bulk, you can keep your rig can minimal and fun to shoot with. So, what you’re getting for the price is well worth it.Here are the official specs for the 5″ SmallHD FOCUS Monitor:IPS Touchscreen5 inch display1280×720 resolution800 nitsAdjustable BacklightStereo Out (headphones)Micro USB6.0v-8.4v powerSony L-series Battery7.09g heavyCustom LUTsThe FOCUS is now available for order. You can purchase one here.Does this monitor sound like something you’d add to your camera bag? Let us know in the comments below.
We sat down with the DP of Netflix’s “Tales By Light” to talk about his approach to shooting an award-winning docuseries on wildlife and human impact.In 2014-2015, international award-winning director, producer, and DP Abraham Joffe ACS created the stunning six-part docuseries Tales by Light. The series travels the world “capturing indelible images of people, places, creatures and cultures from new, previously unseen angles.” He followed this with Big Cat Tales, a series following the lives of lions, leopards, and cheetahs on the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya.Here’s what he had to say about cinematography and the work.PremiumBeat: Abraham, how did you get started as a cinematographer?Abraham Joffe, ACS: Cinematography was always my first love. I never set out to become a director or producer, per se — I just loved creating images and shooting. When I was a teenager, my parents traveled around Australia, writing books on the fascinating characters they came across. So, during that time, I sat in on hundreds of interviews, and was exposed to the beauty of the natural world. I think these years infused in me a curiosity for human stories, and the environment.I was inspired by pioneering wildlife filmmaker Malcolm Douglas. I remember meeting Douglas when I was about 12 years old, and for several years afterwards, I sent him the projects I was working on. One day, he asked me if I wanted to be a camera operator for his upcoming adventure series. I said yes, and then spent the next several months traveling and shooting with him in the remote Kimberleys in Western Australia. I was 19 then, and that whole experience solidified what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Living and capturing life in its extreme, and sharing it with others.PB: What experiences led you to creating your Netflix series, Tales by Light?AJ: In the years following my work with Malcolm Douglas, I had further experiences filming around Australia and my first shoots in Africa. It was then that Canon Australia approached me about shooting a series of short profile pieces on some of their Canon Masters. This was originally supposed to be a talking head interview, with a few of their best photos, overlaid. But, I thought rather than just show their work, why don’t we go and shoot these photographers, in the field?One of the first photographers we followed was Darren Jew, a renowned underwater photographer, who was shooting a series on Humpback whales in Tonga. So, I pitched Canon on joining Darren and filming him doing his day job. This was in the days before DJI had exploded, so I worked with an experienced hexacopter drone operator. So, we were able to capture these amazing aerial shots, as well.Canon loved the piece, and I was invited to showcase the film at the Sydney Opera House, for one of their events. Afterwards, I found myself face-to-face with the director of Canon Australia, and I pitched him on expanding this concept to a television series for Australian TV. To my amazement, they loved the idea, and the series moved forward. Eventually, we got it in front of Netflix, and they picked it up.If it wasn’t for passion projects — just going out there and doing it, and not chasing the money — this success wouldn’t have happened. I was passionate about telling these stories. I think that rubbed off on the right people — people who were ultimately able to finance it.PB: Tales By Light takes place in many fascinating and remote locations around the world. How are you structuring your shooting days?AJ: It depends a lot on the subject matter and location. But there are some common processes.In terms of must-haves, we make sure that we have enough batteries and cards for an entire day’s worth of shooting — this is very important. One thing that does limit us to how “rough” we go is that we do need power at night. With that said, we’ve gone to some pretty remote locations, like up the Sepik River in Papua, New Guinea. We were working off generator power for three weeks, in grass huts, along mosquito-infested rivers.When we hit the ground on location, we’ve already done a lot of research and preparation. On special occasions, wherein we’re working with high profile talent — such as the case in S3.E1.: “Children in Need,” where we travel with Orlando Bloom through Bangladesh — we’ll actually do a location scout, ahead of time. I do believe in the adage that just getting to the location (and being prepared), you’re 80 percent there.We max out at about three weeks — or 21 days — of shooting time, for a single shooting period. Each day, we’re getting up early in order to capture that early morning light, and we’re often chasing the light, at the end of the day. This is especially true when working on wildlife shoots. When we’re working in the Masai Mara (S2.E1.), we actually like to be on location and shooting in predawn light. So, that little bit of light before the sun rises. This means we’re up and trying to locate wildlife in the dark.A double backup always happens at the end of the day — back at the hotel, motel, tent, or hut. We can, at times, shoot up to 2TB+ of data, each day. I run double laptops to two separate SSDs, just to wrangle all of the data we shoot. Of course, it’s always a plus when we have a dedicated data wrangler on set, but this isn’t always the case. We’ve also used a NAS on some shoots, which is able to pull data quite quickly.PB: At the end of shooting days, are you and your team reviewing dailies?AJ: I’d love to, but mostly, we simply don’t have the time. For me, I’ll open a few shots just to check for any issues, like sensor dots. I’ll do a quick listen to our audio from that day as well.PB: How big is your production crew for a docuseries like Tales By Light?AJ: Typically, our crew is made up of 3-4 people. I do like working with predators — multi-skilled filmmakers who can operate, run sound, fly the drone, etc. I like working with them because you can adapt, you can split into small groups, if necessary. This is good because this allows us to remain small and operate in a low profile. Oftentimes, we’re shooting in sensitive areas that cannot support large footprint productions. It’s also less intimidating for our subjects, as well. Not to mention the cost savings, per location, from having a smaller crew. We keep it casual, agile, and respectful. Our main goal is to leave these places in better shape than we found them.PB: There are so many amazing moments captured in Tales By Light. I’m thinking in particular S1.E2.: “Himalaya,” where you and your team are following Rich I’Anson, as he enters a Buddhist monastery. How are you and your operators splitting up the coverage of your subjects and locations?AJ: The end goal for me is to find a balance between the beauty shots — the big shots, the hero shots — and what I call the “gritty doc coverage,” where you’re in the scene and letting it unfold as it’s happening. In Tales By Light, we’re trying to create something that is visually striking, that does justice to the locations, while at the same time, shooting real events and trying to document what’s happening.In the scene where Rich enters the monastery, we certainly filmed that several times. In a scene like that, I would typically start with the drone, especially if there’s a chance that the scene could change continuity-wise (i.e. monks coming and going, villagers might pop in and out, the weather could turn, etc.). After that, I would step in and capture a few follow shots on the gimbal.So, in general, I’ll start wide and then go in for closer shots. When shooting wildlife, sometimes it’s the opposite.PB: Are there any episodes, in particular, wherein you found a good balance between the cinematic shots and the more gritty doc coverage?AJ: Season 3, Episodes 1 & 2: “Children in Need” were good examples of how we were able to combine those strong cinematics with more gritty realism. This was achieved by how we structured our shooting schedule. In that scenario, we actually arrived in Bangladesh, a few days before Orlando Bloom. During the time before he arrived, we went and filmed interviews with some of the kids, and we also filmed coverage of their day-to-day. The shoot involved us going to these factories where child workers suffered in horrendous conditions. We weren’t allowed to stay there long, but when we were there, we shot really hard. We didn’t have to worry about Orlando being there — we could focus 100 percent on getting strong visuals.A few days later, we returned with Orlando. During this shoot, we were able to focus solely on doc-style coverage (i.e. Orlando’s reactions to the environment, etc.) If we only scheduled a single visit to knock out both doc-coverage and our strong cinematics, we would’ve likely not been able to do both.PB: What approaches do you take when lighting your subjects?AJ: We’re using natural light for most of our work. In the field, we don’t do a lot of lit interviews. Having said that, we’re always thinking about the light. We use reflectors, we use cutters, scrims. Sometimes we’re turning off lights, if we’re shooting interiors. If we’re in vehicles, we’re positioning the vehicle so as to make the best use of light.PB: Last question, Abraham. Since season one, what’s been your biggest takeaway from shooting Tales By Light?AJ: One thing we always want to be doing is shooting on the best sensor, with the best optics. But, if that’s at the expense of our mobility, that’s not good. I think I err on the side of having more flexibility. If we aren’t bogged down with a huge rig, the production is going to be richer because of the improvement of the coverage, and therefore, the story.As the series has progressed, I’ve begun to prefer the more leaner, meaner setups. I think this is especially important for documentary work.To learn more about Tales By Light, Big Cat Tales, and Abraham’s other award-winning work, check out www.untitledfilmworks.com.au.All images via Untitled Film Works.Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.Industry Interview: The Composers Behind American GodsThe Costume Design Behind Star Trek, House of Cards, and Greek WeddingTom Cross on Editing First Man and Working with IMAX FootageInterview: Composer Dan Marocco of Brooklyn Nine-NineScreenwriter Patricia Resnick on Altman, Mad Men, and Working 9 to 5
I am worried . . .. . . that you are waiting for your company’s marketing department to provide you with the insights and ideas you need to go and make a difference for your clients.. . . that you don’t know that salespeople need to also be first rate marketers with the business acumen of a good general manager. I’m worried that you aren’t spending enough time working on the only real asset you have for producing all of the results you will ever produce.. . . that you believe opportunities are going to come to you without the extraordinary effort it takes to open relationships now. I am worried that you believe that there is single method of prospecting that eliminates the need for all others, as well as the hard work.. . . . that your sales manager doesn’t understand that his role is more leadership than management. I’m more worried that your company burdens their sales managers with managerial tasks that prevent them from being great leaders. I’m worried that you’ve been set adrift alone.. . . that you belong to a generation of business people that have been taught to believe that the only value worth creating is a lower price. I’m more worried that you believe that more value can be created at lower and lower prices, forever and ever, without ever reaching the bottom. I’m worried that you don’t know we reached the bottom a long time ago.. . . that you are going to allow your client to underinvest in the results they need and, by doing so, allow them to fail their clients. I am worried about your client’s clients who also bought on price alone and, as a result of that decision, also failed their clients.. . . that you don’t know what you are capable of, that you haven’t given yourself permission, and that you are wasting time waiting for someone to come along and tap you on the shoulder. I am worried that you aren’t going to make the difference that you know you are capable of making–and the difference the world is waiting for you to make. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now
A start-up doesn’t make you an entrepreneur any more than idea does.Too many young people, enamored with and influenced by the great technology and social boom, mistakenly believe that being an entrepreneur is about the start-up culture. They think it’s about getting venture capital money with a slick idea, some technology, and a deck. It’s about hustling angel investors to fund the business from the start.They worry about the logo, the schwag, the parties, and identifying themselves as “serial entrepreneurs.”Worst of all, too many “could be” entrepreneurs think about becoming a unicorn, exit strategies, comparables, and getting rich quick.Be a Finish UpEntrepreneurship isn’t about starting up. It’s about finishing up.Entrepreneurs start real businesses. They believe in their business concept enough to go and get real customers and clients. They don’t ask people for money to test their idea. They get money from customers.Entrepreneurs bootstrap their growth by taking a pay cut, working for little money, and working long hours. They love the business enough to pour their heart and soul into it, putting it before anything and everything else.They’re not worried about impressing anyone with their logo, and they don’t buy schwag in an attempt to convince others that what they are doing is cool. The only people they want to impress are the people who will buy what they sell.Entrepreneurship is about selling, not about flipping a business. It’s about selling the product, service, or solution to the people who benefit from it. It’s about selling other people to join your team and helping you get the business off the ground. It may be selling the bank for a loan using your invoices as collateral, or signing personally and risking what you own.America needs more entrepreneurs. It doesn’t need more start-ups. We need more finish ups, real entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a real business they intend to lead and grow.
Hustlers pursue their goals and dreams with great enthusiasm. There is no hedge, no half-measures, nor self-doubt. Once the hustler has set her sights firmly on her goals, her enthusiasm moves her ever forward towards those goals.The would-be hustler doesn’t possess this same enthusiasm. Their lack of confidence and their ideas prevent them from allowing their passion to overtake them. They hedge. They doubt themselves.Enthusiasm is driven by a deep belief that what you are doing is important. It’s something that you absolutely must do. It doesn’t matter to the hustler how long it will take to reach their goal; enthusiasm creates a sense of urgency. It matters not that the hustler doesn’t yet have everything they need to succeed. Their passion propels them to act despite the fact they are missing resources.Enthusiasm turns drudgery into play. And play increases your enthusiasm. An excited passion for a project or a goal makes even the most onerous tasks pleasurable. The would-be hustler doesn’t easily give themselves over to their passion, and so enthusiasm eludes them. The hustler, however, allows themselves to be swept up by their passion, and work no longer feels like work.The hustler’s enthusiasm provides them the stamina necessary to focus for long periods of time. Never let anyone convince you that the hustle is conferences, parties, being seen, and pitching investors. The hustle isn’t glamorous. Hustlers work. Long hours. Early hours. Late hours. Enthusiasm is what fuels the work being created and completed.Hustlers infect others with their enthusiasm, drawing people to their cause. You can’t sell an idea about which you are not over-the-top passionate. If you are madly in love with your goals and your ideas, your enthusiasm will spread to others. The would-be hustler, lacking passion and enthusiasm, cannot move others to action because they are unable to move themselves. Enthusiasm is the catalyst for ideas to spread and for others to take up your cause.If you are going to hustle, you are going to have to allow your enthusiasm to overtake you. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now
Even if your client wants to skip stages, the process of change requires that you do what is right, not what is easy. Skipping steps costs you deals, and it costs your clients the better results they need. Professionally push back, and gain the commitments that allow you to control the process.
There is a reason that no one wants to see your demo: people don’t buy drills, they want to buy holes.
Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now The words “create value” are used so often and in so many different contexts that it can be challenging to know what it means—or what you are supposed to do to create value. I have written about something I called Level 4 Value Creation to describe a way of thinking about creating the highest level of value possible for your clients and dream clients by focusing on their strategic outcomes. I did my best to make it practical and tactical, but there are limits to the size and scope of a book.Win customers away from your competition. Check out Eat Their LunchI am going to start with broad intentions and outcomes, going from general to specific.First PrinciplesValue is in the eyes of the beholder—or the recipient, for our purposes here. You have the right to develop a theory as to what should be valuable for another person, but they possess the right to determine their worth. Because perceptions about value vary, you may have to explain why your dream client should perceive the value in the way you view it.The person receiving the value needs to be better off in some way having received it. If the person is no better off having received the attempted value creation, it is not value.Value exists on a continuum. Some things are more valuable than others. My view of this continuum of value in sales is 1: Product Value, 2: Experience Value, 3: Tangible results, and 4: Strategic Value.Value has a contextual component, meaning something that might have been valuable in the past may not be helpful in the future. Something that would be valuable in one circumstance might be less useful when the conditions are different.Value creation tends to degrade over time; it has a half-life. The value you created in the past is not likely to be as valuable to your clients as the value you create now.Value creation may also build on prior value. It is possible to create an upward spiral of higher value over time.The greater the value you create, the more relevant you will be to your clients and your dream clients. An inability to create value will make you irrelevant.Value creation is found in your understanding. It is as much in your learning as it is your teaching. While it is important you help your clients discover something about themselves, it’s equally (or more) important that you allow them to educate you if you want to create a preference.Value Creation: In IdeasOne of the ways we create value is with ideas. This is why sharing the slide deck with your company’s history, logos from all your well-known clients, and an exhaustive list of products and services, does not create much value (unless your client is sincerely interested in learning more about your company.Ideas that help your client understand why they are struggling to produce the results they need: When you can explain to your client or prospect why they are not able to achieve the results they need, you have created value by educating them.Ideas that help your client understand what is possible: There is a better state available, but your client may not be aware of what that better start is—or how to get there (which will give more attention in the next point). Sharing ideas about what is possible is value creation.Ideas about how to get to a better future state: The value of your dream client knowing why they are struggling to produce results followed by what the future state might look like leads to the value of understanding how to generate those better results.Ideas that help prepare your client for the future: One of the areas where clients perceive value is your keeping them abreast of what’s coming in the future and how they might need to prepare themselves. If you want to be a trusted advisor, you have to be vigilant and protect your clients from harm.The reasons listed here are why nurturing your dream clients over time provides them value and increases their willingness to explore change with you.Value Creation: In Providing AdviceIdeas and advice are different. The word consultative may not mean what you think it means. While “being consultative” does suggest something about your bedside manner, what it means is that you tell people what to do, you advise, you offer counsel.Advice on following a process that will produce better results: In The Lost Art of Closing, I wrote a chapter on Controlling the Process. In that chapter, I made the case that one should guide their clients through the sales conversation, helping them make and keep commitments. The advice you offer here is value when it prevents your client from making mistakes that hurt their chances of producing the better results they need.No more pushy sales tactics. The Lost Art of Closing shows you how to proactively lead your customer and close your sales. Advice on what your client needs to change: The very heart of selling is making a change. In The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, I included a chapter on managing change. You create value when you advise your client on the things they need to different to produce a better result.Learn Anthony’s core strategies & tactics for sales success at any level with The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever NeedAdvice on when and how to change: Telling your dream client how to change is valuable when your client has a gap in understanding what they need to do to produce whatever outcome they are chasing. Telling them when to change is also value creation, especially when you are proactive enough to provide that advice before what they are doing harms them.Advice on trade-offs, choices, and decisions: Your subject matter expertise, business acumen, and situational knowledge combine to allow you to guide with the value of knowing what trade-offs your client might need to make, what choice they should consider, and what decisions they should make.Value Creation: In ExecutionThere is value in assisting your client with the execution of everything above. If your client struggles to execute, you create value by providing it.Execution as a pair of hands: Sometimes, what your client needs is a pair of hands to do some work they can’t do because they lack resources. In some circumstances, it means doing something for your client. In other situations, you will recognize this as outsourcing, taking over all the work for them to produce a result that can’t or don’t want to do.Execution in delivering results: You create value when you provide the results you sell. You eliminate value when you don’t (along with your client’s trust—and their future business). Better execution is more valuable to your clients. They also find more strategic outcomes more valuable.Execution and accountability: You create value by owning the outcomes you sell, taking responsibility for producing results, ensuring your team resolves your client’s issues. You also create value by mitigating any challenges by being resourceful and solving problems. You own the outcomes, but your team owns the transactions, which means you are accountable for your organization.There is more to say about execution and results. In part, it may be made up solving problems and eliminating challenges. It might also be made up of taking advantage of opportunities. Some issues are small, making the value creation equally small. Other problems and challenges are enormous, and solving them creates massive value. Opportunities also exist on a similar continuum.Value Creation: In ContextAn important consideration is the context in which you are trying to create value. The idea of context suggests one needs and other-orientation.Value in understanding what your client needs to know now: You need to be able to recognize where your client is now to understand what they need to know. It is okay to have a theory, and it is okay to be wrong. However, if you want to create value, helping your client learn what they need to know is a good starting point.Value in understanding the context in which you are offering advice: There is a reason we explore change with our clients to know what they need, why they need it, and what the best choices are for them specifically. You create value when you match your advice to the client, getting things right—something difficult to do if you don’t spend time learning from them as well as teaching.Methods of ValueThere are several ways you can create value for your clients and your dream clients.Inform: Providing information that helps your client understand something they want or need to learn is value.Educate: Teaching your client something they need to learn is a form of value creation. You create even greater value when your client wants to learn.Inspire: I am using the word “inspire” in a particular way here. If you believe selling is about helping people change in a way that improves their lives and their businesses as I do, then helping them believe it is necessary to change and take action is value creation.Entertain: You can improve how you create value by using methods that engage the people for whom you are creating value in a way that makes it easier to deal with the challenges of changing.On Being a Value CreatorIf you want to create value for others, the ideas here will give you a framework for thinking and acting in ways that others will perceive as value. If you want to produce better results for yourself and your clients, and if you’re going to do work that is purposeful and meaningful, there is not anything that does more for you than doing more for others.Being a value creator is a choice. It is a personal decision you make. Only others can determine whether what you do is valuable to them or not. You alone can decide to do what is necessary to produce some result that might make them believe you are a value creator.
Fridays are festive days at Pachokhara.For nearly half-a-century now, farmers, cattle-rearers and tradesmen have made the weekly trip to the cricket stadium-sized grounds of the Upadhyay family— prominent local land-owners — to trade cattle.A dirt road splits the ground into a section for buffaloes and another for cows, bulls, oxen and goats. There’s cash changing hands, frisky calves, hillocks of dung and no spot safe from a restive bovine’s quick but lethal flick of the hind leg.And yet, it’s a lean day in Pachokhara in Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, a good 230 km from the national capital.Slowdown in business“Usually, Fridays are so crowded that newcomers will not be able to make their way to the exit…but now business is down,” says Anup Upadhyay (34), one of the younger members of the family, who oversees the functioning of the market.There are multiple causes for the slow day. July to November are considered peak months for the cattle trade because farmers have spent money for sowing and other crop operations and are usually in need of cash till the harvest. Then there’s the weather, with the hot months generally considered insalubrious for the ferrying animals.This year there’s another obstacle in the form of the amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1961) that governs the treatment of animals. On May 23, the Environment Ministry decreed that buffaloes and cattle could not be sold for slaughter at animal markets. Moreover, bovines once sold at such markets, cannot be traded for at least six months and all sales and records will come under the purview of a dedicated District Monitoring Committee.To Mr. Upadhyay, these rules are the final blow to the cattle-trading business, which has been reeling under the assaults of cow vigilante groups. The danger of being waylaid and harassed — by both the police and vigilantes — for appropriate papers has already prevented several farmers from bringing their animals to the market.“There is a fear and lots of rumours… Buffaloes cannot be sold…Bulls can’t be sold. These fuel uncertainty and keep farmers and sellers away,” he said, listing the pressures on the business.Private marketsThe Upadhyays run one of 3,000 cattle markets across Uttar Pradesh. Unlike in Haryana and Punjab, these ‘Pashu Haats’ are privately managed. Land-owners provide a venue for buyers and sellers to come together and charge a commission on every animal sold. There’s also a space for registering the transactions and several rooms in the Upadhyay home, where disputes over prices and conditions of sale are negotiated and resolved.Over a 1,000 head of cattle are paraded every Friday and about 300 of them sold during market hours that begin as early as nine in the morning and go till four in the afternoon.Though the Pachokhara fair is reportedly the second largest in the State, the transactions overwhelmingly deal with the sale and purchase of milch and draught-animals. “No more than 1%-2% of the animals here are likely make their way to the slaughter houses,” said 65-year-old Brijesh Upadhyay, Anup’s uncle, who heads the cattle-market operations.So far the market has not been significantly impacted by the notification because cattle markets have three months (from May 23) to implement the new rules. And the managers are hoping that in the interim, certain aspects of the proposed notification would be withdrawn.“The cow is our sacred animal…we are Brahmins after all,” said Mr.Brijesh Upadhyay adding, “but the government should remove restrictions on all other animals…buffalo, bulls, oxen.”For the first time, managers of the 3,000-odd animal markets are planning to meet this week and formally protest the May 23 notification. The senior Mr Upadhyay also does not put a number to the potential economic losses but says that if restrictions were imposed, farmers would be forced to start selling their animals at half the market rates because they wouldn’t have access to the several, potential buyers that would be present at a cattle market.“You would have a few buyers approaching farmers at their farms and they would resort to distress sales,” he said. “There would be protests and agitation, like in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh [referring to ongoing farmers’ agitations].”Cattle are farmers’ assets that they turn to during an emergency. Khairpal, who has come to sell his buffalo at the market, said he would no longer be able to support his older animals and would have to turn them loose on the roads. “In the evenings, you can see herds of male animals clogging the roads…they graze on standing crop and are a liability,” he told The Hindu.Suraj, who helps transport animals from the fair, said “half” the buffaloes brought here were eventually for slaughter.Ashok Kumar, who manages a cattle fair in Dalshahpur, close to Agra, said the government had not provided a solution for managing unproductive animals. “Gaushalas mostly exist on name only…such moves are hitting at an established revenue stream of farmers,” he told The Hindu over the phone.
Among the numerous casualties of the violent statehood agitation that has swept the Darjeeling hills over the past 10 days has been the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) — an engineering marvel and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999.The services of the DHR from New Jalpaiguri station to Darjeeling along the 87 km route was suspended for an indefinite period from June 12. Officials of DHR said the pro-Gorkhaland supporters were not allowing station masters to function. However, shutting down services has not protected the heritage railway. “On June 15, miscreants tried to burn the Gayabari Station but the locals saved the heritage property from any major damage,” Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relation Officer of the North East Frontier Railway said. Two days later Ghum Station turned into a battle ground between the security forces and GJM supporters.
Pune: The Pune District and Sessions court on Thursday extended to June 21 the police remand of four of the five activists arrested for alleged Maoist links and for their role in organizing the ‘Elgaar Parishad’.Judge J.D. Wadne, who passed the order, remanded the fifth accused, human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling, to judicial custody till June 21 on health grounds.Four of those arrested — noted Dalit activist-publisher Sudhir Dhawale, tribal activist Mahesh Raut, Nagpur University English Professor Shoma Sen and activist Rona Wilson — were produced before the court late afternoon amid tight security.Arguing for the extension of police custody, Special Prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar said that the investigation had definitively proved that the arrested “were involved in anti-national activities”.“The accused have been charged with committing acts inimical to national security…the police need more time to examine the electronic material retrieved during searches at their residences,” said Ms. Pawar.In his counter-arguments, advocate Tosif Shaikh, one of the defence lawyers, said that there was no justification for extending the remand as the police have “made no further progress since the arrest of the accused.”“In the first place, the arrests of the five activists are in violation of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),” he said later, speaking to The Hindu.The Pune police ought to have first informed the State before invoking the Act, contended advocate Kumar Kalel, another defence lawyer.Last week, Mr. Gadling was admitted to the Sassoon General Hosital after he complained of high blood pressure. The authorities have said that Mr. Gadling’s condition is presently stable and that he had undergone medical tests.All five arrested were booked under the stringent Act on June 6. Besides having links with top Naxal leaders, they were also charged with organizing the ‘Elgaar Parishad’, on Dec. 31 last year, and fomenting the Bhima-Koregaon riots, which occurred the next day.
The north Indians excluded from the updated draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam resent being called ghuspethiye, meaning infiltrator.Though NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela has said that the 40 lakh persons left out of the draft cannot be marked “illegal migrants”, many political leaders call them infiltrators, even in Parliament. “What pained me more than the exclusion was the implication that those who missed out are foreigners or Bangladeshis. Is U.P. in Bangladesh,” asks a Guwahati-based businessman, Manoj Singh.Mr. Singh, 49, and his family had relocated from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh in the 1980s. The NRC officials rejected his documents, as was the case with Hindi writer Satyanarayan Mishra from Chitrakoot, also in U.P.Like them, scores of people from U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab have not made it to the list. They include Surinder Singh, a Sikh businessman whose family shifted to Guwahati from Imphal in the 1970s.Mr. Singh’s forefathers had settled in Manipur from Punjab more than a century ago. His parents were listed in the pre-1971 electoral rolls in Imphal, “but it is impossible to get hold of those rolls to prove we are genuine Indians”.Many casesRajkumar Sharma, a 51-year-old media professional, and his businessman brother Gajanand Sharma from Haryana’s Bhiwani, face a similar situation. So does Dibrugarh-based Sarada Devi, 48, despite producing documents linking her to Ramgarh in the Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan.She had provided papers linking her daughter and two sons to her deceased husband Fakir Chand Bhargav’s family tree.Priest Bhanwar Lal Sharma, 69, of Mariani town in central Assam, too is surprised by the exclusion of his family despite providing land documents with registration done in 1937. “We also submitted papers tracing our roots to Sri Dungargarh in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan, but in vain,” he said.‘States to blame’NRC officials blamed the exclusion of ‘mainlanders’ — a term used for people from Indian States beyond the northeast — to the indifference of these States in processing documents sent for verification. “We sent 5 lakh documents to States across the country. Most did not respond, leading to the exclusion of people who should not have been [excluded],” NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela said.West Bengal, for instance, sat on 1.2 lakh documents for years and returned only 15,000 of them after verification.No one knows it better than Sajan Krishna Das, 65, and his friend and neighbour Ajit Talukdar of Lal Ganesh locality of Guwahati. Their wives are from West Bengal.“NRC officials sought our marriage certificate signed by the Durgapur Circle Officer (CO), though we had certificates signed by the Mayor and Ward Commissioner. The Durgapur CO referred us to his counterpart in Asansol and Burdwan, but nothing happened,” Mr. Das said.Similarly, the papers of Mr. Talukdar’s wife did not return verified from Ranaghat in West Bengal. The wives did not figure in the draft NRC, neither did their children.Mr Singh sent letters and emails to the Jaunpur District Magistrate as well as to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister requesting verification of papers. He did not receive any reply.Post-bifurcation woesMany Assamese and non-Assamese people have suffered because they had migrated from parts of Assam that became Nagaland (1963), Meghalaya and Mizoram (1972). “We could not provide legacy data,” said retired banker Nurul Islam Laskar, 68, who divides his time between Guwahati and his original home in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong.“Legacy data had only 1951 NRC and electoral rolls up to 1971, but the States carved out of Assam took possession of the voters’ list pertaining to their areas. So these areas were not included. But we had provision for 14 other documents, including passport,” an NRC official said.The passport of Mr. Laskar’s wife, however, did not count for much. “She is a retired Central School teacher and a passport holder for 40 years, and she is from Kishanganj in Bihar. Maybe officials in Bihar did not deem it necessary to vet her papers,” he said.Many in southern Assam’s Barak Valley, who shifted from Mizoram after an uprising by the Mizo National Front in 1966, also had a tough time going back to villages in the hill State for documents to prove their citizenship.They include the Silchar-based mother-in-law of Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla’s legal advisor and a farmer from Lakhipur in the Cachar district, whose father fought the Japanese army in Myanmar during World War II
Hitting out at both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi said on Tuesday that minorities and backward communities in the country were never more oppressed since the Modi government came to power in May 2014.Mr. Owaisi, along with Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) chief Prakash Ambedkar, addressed a rally in Aurangabad which saw a huge turnout of members from the minority and other backward communities (OBC). The rally marks the first public event of the two leaders who recently forged an alliance with an eye to consolidate the Dalit-Muslim-OBC votes ahead of elections next year.“Who has given us the Indian Constitution? Was it the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or Narendra Modi or [Devendra] Fadnavis or the Gandhi family?” he asked. Mr. Owaisi said the country’s electorate was torn between the impotent policies of the BJP and the vote-bank politics played by the Congress for the last 70 years.“While I’m aware that today is October 2, I maintain that it is Babasaheb Ambedkar, and not Gandhiji, who was the greatest leader the country has seen for it was he who truly gave us the concept of equality through the Constitution,” Mr. Owaisi said.A total of 12 such public events are expected to be held across the State by both parties, focussing on a wide range of issues ranging from the injustices committed against the backward communities and minorities, to the plight of farmers.“This [BBM-AIMIM coalition] is an alliance engendered by oppression, forged by peoples from all oppressed classes in the State and country. Our problems are the same. I urge everyone to safeguard our Constitution by rallying behind Prakash Ambedkar , the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar and overthrow the ruling BJP at the Centre and the State,” said the AIMIM chief.Mr. Ambedkar questioned why the BJP-ruled government was targeting activists by labelling them ‘urban naxals’, but was not interested in investigating the activities of the right wing Sanatan Sanstha.Both Mr. Ambedkar and Mr. Owaisi have presented the alliance as an alternative to the divisive politics of the BJP and the hollow promises made by the Congress and NCP during their terms at the Centre and State.In the 2014 elections, both BBM and AIMIM failed to win a single seat. In the Assembly polls that year, AIMIM won two seats and the BBM secured one seat in the Maharashtra legislature.
Continuing his diatribe against the BJP leadership, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said his party, if elected in Rajasthan, would work with empathy for the common people and help out the farmers and labourers, who he said were suffering in the BJP rule. Mr. Gandhi assured that the Congress regime would waive farmers’ loans once again. Mr. Gandhi addressed a Maha Sankalp Rally in Bikaner at the end of his two-day visit to Rajasthan, where he undertook a roadshow in three districts and addressed the national executive meeting of the Youth Congress and a convention of young entrepreneurs in Jaipur.Addressing the huge rally at the Medical College grounds in Bikaner, Mr. Gandhi said the Congress would not make “tall and unrealistic” promises before the Assembly polls, but would work with honesty and diligence to resolve the grievances of unemployed youth, farmers, small shopkeepers and those spending their lives in penury.“Our Chief Minister’s doors will be open for everyone. The party workers will get respect. Rather than the Prime Minister’s ‘mann ki baat’, we will hear the voice of the unheard,” Mr. Gandhi said, taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio programme.Trying to strike a chord with the audience in the region that has benefited from the Indira Gandhi Canal Project, Mr. Gandhi said the nation was not run by the political parties or individuals, but it was the “youth, farmers, mothers and sisters who were constantly putting in their energy to build the country and their lives.”Mr. Gandhi said the Congress workers at the grassroots would be given importance in the distribution of tickets and no preference would be accorded to “parachute candidates”. “I will cut the parachute threads of someone who joins Congress and wants a ticket at once. Let him work for at least five years.”
The Shiv Sena on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer whether the Rafale deal was meant to strengthen the Air Force or a financially-troubled industrialist. The party’s remarks came after a report in The Hindu on Friday claimed that the Defence Ministry had raised strong objections to “parallel discussions” conducted by the PMO during the negotiations over the ₹59,000 crore Rafale deal between India and France. The Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana said Mr. Modi gave a speech on “patriotism” in Parliament on Thursday and defended the deal. “But the very next day, the ‘black page’ (document) came out, which silenced those raising patriotic slogans and thumping benches in the House,” it said. Without naming anyone, the Shiv Sena said that Mr. Modi was expected to answer if the deal was finalised to strengthen the Air Force or a financially-troubled industrialist. Referring to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s constant criticism of the government on the Rafale issue, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party also asked why the opposition should be blamed for it. “The opponents may perish (politically), but truth will stay alive,” it said.“The prime minister made the oft-repeated allegation (in Parliament) that the Congress does not want strengthening of the defence services. And the next day, documents surface, showing how extreme Modi’s personal interest in the deal was. What to make out of it?” the Sena asked.“Modi was directly ‘dealing’ in the Rafale transactions. Key people like defence minister, defence secretary were kept away from it. Modi himself took decisions on issues like prices of Rafale (planes) and who would get its contract. Hence, he will have to face allegations and criticism,” it claimed.“How does seeking explanations on issues of national security become criticism of the country,” the party asked. Mr. Modi had Thursday said in Parliament that the opposition could criticise him and the BJP, but not the nation over the issue. The Sena on Saturday further alleged that the definitions of nationalism and patriotism stood “changed” under the current BJP-led regime. “Those who sing paeans of Rafale deal are patriots, while those raising questions about its pricing are being labelled as traitors now,” it claimed. The BJP’s warring ally added that people of the country would keep asking questions till they get a satisfactory answer on why a plane costing ₹500 crore was bought at ₹1,600 crore. It also said that Mr. Modi had ruled the country single-handedly for the past four-and-half years. “Yet, blaming the Congress for issues such as price rise and corruption is akin to shrouding own (the government’s) failures,” it said.
About 68% of 2.57 crore voters exercised their franchise in the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections for 13 of the 25 seats in Rajasthan on Monday. Chief Electoral Officer Anand Kumar said here that this was the highest-ever voter turnout in the Lok Sabha polls in the State, as 64.48% of the electorate had cast ballot in 2014.A total of 115 candidates were in the fray in the 13 constituencies which went to polls. The highest voter turnout was recorded at 73.14% in Barmer, which is the country’s second largest Lok Sabha constituency, while the lowest turnout at 62.18% was reported from Pali.Despite the scorching heat, long queues of voters were witnessed outside the polling stations, as women also came out in large numbers for voting. The voting was largely peaceful, except some stray incidents of scuffle and altercation, in the 13 constituencies where a total of 28,182 polling booths were established.Mr. Kumar said two incidents of attempts to damage the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were reported from Barmer and Ajmer and FIRs were registered in both the cases. After the complaints of EVM glitches, 49 ballot units, an identical number of control units and 305 VVPAT machines were replaced.The Chief Electoral Officer said four election officials had died while performing duty during the polling in Rajsamand, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Ajmer districts.Gehlot, Raje cast voteChief Minister Ashok Gehlot, along with his wife Sunita Gehlot, cast his vote in his hometown Jodhpur, where his son Vaibhav Gehlot has made an electoral debut and is contesting as a Congress candidate. Former CM Vasundhara Raje cast ballot in Jhalawar.
Rama Devi, the sitting BJP MP and the party candidate from Sheohar in Bihar, was booked on Saturday after local police recovered 4 lakh in cash from her hotel room at Motihari of East Champaran district, on Friday night. Ms. Devi is contesting against mahagathbandhan candidate Syed Faisal Ali (RJD).Local police said an FIR was filed against Rama Devi at Chhatauni police station of East Champaran district. Ms. Devi has been staying in the hotel for long. “I’ve done nothing wrong…the money recovered was donations from people which happens during election time…I’ll provide details of the seized money to the authorities concerned in due course,” Ms. Devi told a local journalist in Motihari.Ms. Devi is the wife of the late Brij Bihari Prasad, former RJD MLA and the minister for science and technology, in the previous RJD government. Rama Devi was elected from Sheohar in 2014 and is seeking re-election from the constituency.
The pika does not ask for much. Something green to nibble on, a hole to hide from hawks, and cool air to breathe. Especially that last one, because the chubby gopher-sized relative of rabbits overheats and dies in temperatures greater than 26°C. Thanks to global warming, the pika has disappeared from many of its natural mountain habitats in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and those that remain tend to migrate to higher elevations. But pockets of pikas are bucking that trend by living stably in shady talus slopes, the accumulated rockfall debris at the base of mountains. The mystery is that there is very little to nibble on down there. Now, a study of the diet of these lowland pikas reveals the food that allows them to eke out a living: moss. Very few herbivores bother with moss because it is mostly rough fiber with not much more nutrition than paper. But the pikas in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge rely on it for 60% of their diet, the team reports today in the Journal of Mammalogy. To squeeze out every bit of sustenance, they poop the moss out in a form called caecal, which concentrates protein from the plant sixfold. Then they eat it and redigest it. Mystery solved.See more ScienceShots.*Correction, 17 December, 6:20 p.m.: Pikas rely on moss for 60% of their diet, not 80% of their diet, as was previously reported.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)*Correction, 18 December, 11:50 a.m.: The art has been replaced; the previous art depicted lichen, rather than moss.