Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Anonymous Hacking continues

The holiday week saw the resurgence of the online vigilante group Anonymous. Their latest operation, Operation Lulzxmas, sought the attacks on major firms such as strategic intelligence company Stratfor, Mastercard and government websites around the world. Operatives within the group called the Christmas weekend release of data pertaining to customers of security firm Stratfor one of the biggest actions the group has ever accomplished. The goals according the Anonymous spokesman Berrett Brown is to reveal major players that have “conspired against Wikileaks and other activist groups.”

The second is to use the credit card information gathered from its top executives and use it to donate funds to charities. “We steal from the rich & give to the poor, taking from the 1% and giving to the 99% and giving Santa Claus a break,” as one hacker described it when interviewed on the mission of #Lulzxmas. Members of the internet community would ask what they would like for Christmas and with funds generated from the hack many of them received what they asked for in forms of “iPads mostly but also iPhones. We gave away PS3′s VPS Servers & gift cards, just to name a few.

The attack on Stratfor is only the latest in a continuous set of hacks targeting supporters of what Anonymous calls “colossal attackers on freedom and the flow of information.” As the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed through Congress and Senate, activists opposing the legislations have embarked in similar operations to expose congressman and corporate sponsors that supported the bills.  The next step according to one hacker is Operation #FireSale, which is set to target “everything to do with the media. We’re going to take over and hijack T.V. and radio shows, hack media and news websites.”

So are these guys Santa Clause or the Grinch? You’ll have to be the judge.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Online Profiles Need Scheduling, Too

At one point or another we have all bowed down to the social networking sites, becoming slaves of this online community. The virtual persona we muster up, whether our profiles are personal or business oriented, seems to be so significant in our world today. We know the precautions one must take when posting content online, but have you ever thought about how others perceive how often you post?

According to the article How to Create a Social Media Marketing Schedule written by John D. Levy for Entrepreneur Magazine online edition, November 11th, “your commitment to social networking should be consistent, compelling and informative.” Creating a social networking presence is important no matter how small or large your business is. You have to find your balance; neglecting your online profiles can be hurtful to your business, yet being a “social media maniac isn’t the right persona either.”

How do we maintain a balance? Developing a social networking schedule that doesn’t run into your personal or business life makes your online and offline worlds more organized. The article suggests to “Choose a schedule and stay the course for at least six months. As you find success, you can slowly grow your social networking persona.”

Some examples of how to become more balanced are given. Weekly or on weekends build Twitter lists, scan Linkedin for discussions and updates, add new content to Facebook and keep an eye open for new social networking venues. Throughout the week schedule out what days you will tweet, when you will join various conversations, when to blog and update your website.

These tips will help you maintain a healthy online presence as well as a healthy time management plan. To read How to Create a Social Media Marketing Schedule, please visit

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Business the Angels for the Small Guys

As capital and investments start shrinking for small businesses in these economic hardships, a glimmer of hope has appeared for small businesses looking to grow. Angel investors are not as commonplace as we would like them to be, but if you and your company have what it takes you can be seeing major growth and experience in the future. With uncertain and tentative bank financing, big companies have become an alternative to small and mid-sized companies looking for venture funding. Angel groups usually invest in only 1%-10% of those who applied.

Small companies on the prowl for extra cash may benefit from the deep pockets large companies possess. According to a recent study, more than 800 companies cash balance have quadrupled since 2001. Those deep pockets can help growth companies find weary investors with renewed liquidity.

“If the large corporates make more acquisitions and create more exits, they may get people more excited about investing again” -Jeffry Sohl Center for Venture Research

Large companies looking to speed up their growth are looking to sink their money into companies that can help them do so. With the new partnership established, investors and small and medium CFO’s can become closely involved with the business. The experience gained from these partnerships will not only benefit the CFO in regards to management but would also progress the company in new ventures.

 “In the past, they kind of stood back and did not take board seats or an active role. Now they want to be integral part of helping that company grow to the next level.” – Mark Hessen, President of National Venture Capital Association

So what’s the moral of the story? With some creativity and persistence high growth companies can find ways to acquire much needed capital from investors both large and small. To do this successfully, CFO’s should research what investment groups are looking for and sweep them off their feet once your meeting is penned in. Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crime Reviews

Two books published by Soho Press were mentioned in the New York Times Book Review for the Sunday, December 4th edition. The review titled, Favorite Crime written by Marilyn Stasio showcases Soho’s Stagestruck by Peter Lovesey and The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis.

In the review, Stagestruck was recommended for someone who has a “hankering for a civilized British detective story.” The Boy in the Suitcase was classified under the paragraph titled, “Favorite Mystery with a Social Conscience.” Stasio gives a brief description of the book: “The criminal mistreatment of children is [in] the focus of the Danish thriller, which follows the efforts of a nurse to identify the 3-year-old boy she rescues at the Copenhagen train station.”

For more information about our client, Soho Press, please visit their website at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Russia’s Big Book Award

With a top prize of 3 million rubles, Russia’s Big Book Awards is one of the largest literary awards second only to the Nobel Prize. This year’s top winner was Mikhail Shishkin, who won first place with his novel Letter-Book. Letter-Book, or Pismovnik in Russian, bids a unique plot in which the story unfolds through letters written by two star-crossed lovers. The novel blurs the past and the present while the lovers seek to reconnect.

Vladimir Sorokin author of The Blizzard was awarded second place. The Blizzard archives the travels and thoughts of a doctor rushing to treat people suffering from Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, a zombifying disease, while driving through a horrendous Russian blizzard.

Third place was awarded to Dmitrii Bykov for his work the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The story is set in Leningrad, revolving around the tales of Russia’s last Freemasons in the 1920’s. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice mixes history with magical realism in Russia’s grim past.

Big Book also honored Peter Mayer of Overlook Press (and client of Benay Enterprise) for his contribution in promoting Russian literature and translating Russian works into English.

So a big congratulations to this year’s winners and of course Peter Mayer’s amazing dedication and contribution to literature worldwide. 

Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival is Right Around the Corner

The Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival is the first original Brooklyn-focused film and arts program. The gathering presents programs that illuminate the abundant, diverse cultural history of Brooklyn. Since the first screening of Brooklyn films in 2007, the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival has presented Brooklyn-focused programs in screenings at the Brooklyn Historical Society and Long Island University.

This year, the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival is being held in St. Francis College Friday, December 16th. The evening will be focused on the Brooklyn non-fiction literature program, with readings by five finalists for the Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize with discussions with each writer following their readings. The winner of the 2011 Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize will be announced at this event.

Following the readings, Brooklyn focused films will be screened to include: Under the Roller Coaster Directed by Lila Place, Hot Bagels directed by Nick Manning and Coney Island Winter directed by Doug Webb. After the screening, the public will have the opportunity to discuss the films with the directors.

The Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival will be open to the public so all are welcomed!

Get ‘Em, Keep ‘Em

Acquiring your biggest account is difficult enough, but maintaining a great relationship with that customer may be even tougher. Luckily there are a few tips to not only keep the relationship you have with your biggest customer, but to also keep them happy. In the article 5 Ways to Keep Your Biggest Customer, written by Geoffrey James for November 8, 2011, tips to conserve your customer relationships are simple:

First you must differentiate yourself. Be unique and offer “must haves” the customer can’t find anywhere else. This makes the customer need your services and want to do business with you. Follow up with providing expertise. Share some knowledge and services that can be strategic in helping the customer fulfill their goals. Your customer will appreciate the extra effort, which will most likely assist in the creation of a valuable and ongoing relationship between you and the customer.

Don’t forget to create a high replacement costafter the sale is made. This will help prevent the customer from replacing your firm’s products and services with any competitors. Next, really know the account. Become familiar with the workings of the customer account in order to be a part of their strategic planning. And lastly, generate reverse credibility. In short, a smaller company can help create a market reputation for a larger firm by helping the larger business gain credibility in a new market. This generates a strategic relationship between the small and large companies.

These are just some of the ways Benay Enterprises has been able to uphold great relationships with our clients. No matter how you run your business, remember there is always room for improvement.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Akashic: The Beast Master

It’s a battle for Earths very existence, as an alien race of religious extremists plans to ritualistically annihilation our planet. The only man aware of this imminent threat is an untouchable media baron by the name of Milan Marlowe.

Earth’s only move is to fend off the invaders according to their holy law and issue The Challenge of the Heretic—a winner-take-all gladiator battle for our right to exist.  In order to find Earth’s champion, Marlowe launches Beast Wars, a televised interspecies competition intended to select Earth’s
strongest champion. On a remote island, sharks, tigers, bears, and gorillas square off to an excited crowed.

Enter Bruno-bolo, a single father, blue’s belter, and alligator wrestler from the swamps of the Everglades. Overwhelmed by personal demons, corporatized killer sharks, Yeats-quoting pit fighters, and looming alien slayers, Bruno will rise as our distressed planet’s final hope.

New York Times reviews The Boy in The Suitcase

The Boy in the Suitcase received a favorable book review in the New York Times Book Review highlighting the books success here in the United States. The novel was written by two women about the criminal and inhumane mistreatment of women and children. Compassionately told from the female perspective, Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis have written an exemplary novel where each character has a story to tell but none of them are pretty.  

The book deals with the repercussions of an alarming discovery. An old friend of Nina’s reenters her life with instructions on how to find a particular suitcase and a plea for her to protect its contents, but inside the suitcase is a nearly dead three-year-old boy. Nina’s attempts to unravel the mysteries surrounding the child lead her down a dangerous path. Cara Black, bestselling author of Murder in the Marais, says the novel is "…stunning. Hooked me from the beginning. Immigrants, the Danish bourgeoisie, and the criminal underworld collide in a moving, fast-paced thriller with psychological depth." Now that an English translation is being published, a whole new international audience can enjoy this exciting story.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Fight Against Censorship

Introduced to the House of Representatives by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith. It is being called the “great firewall of America.” SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Act is intended to drive-out copyright-infringing websites. The bill would allow the Attorney general to come up with a blacklist of websites that they see as engaging in infringing activity to be blocked by internet service providers, search engines, advertising networks and payment site all without a court hearing or trial. SOPA would also remove the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and require social websites that host user content such as: YouTube, Tumblr and Facebook to be held responsible for ensuring the blockade of user posted infringement materials.  Sponsors and advocates proclaim SOPA is needed to help U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders fight online traffic in copyrighted intellectual property and ensuing revenue and job losses. SOPA was introduced to help the entertainment industry combat online piracy estimated to cost $200 billion annually but has been met with fierce opposition.

Opponents call the bill pure censorship and that it will “break the internet”, cost jobs and that it will threaten whistleblowers and other free speech provided by the internet. Along with everyday internet users and internet communities such as 4Chan and Reddit the nine giants of the Internet: Google, eBay, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, Zynga, LinkedIn, Mozilla and Twitter have placed full-page ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the Washington Times as part of their efforts to fight back against SOPA. The blatant infringement of internet anonymity goes against the institutions that have been in place in this country since its existence. Democracy and the Constitution protect the rights of We the People and should be protected by every citizen. Fight internet censorship.

To learn more about Democracy and the constitution read: Democracy For Beginners and US Constitution For Beginners

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The secret...Book Clubs

The opportunity to meet your dedicated and even potential fan base cannot go undone for published authors. In comes the book club. These meetings are the best opportunity to stimulate discussion about your work through social networking, online and public communities and other outlets. “Not only does our group of about a dozen buy the selected book,” one book club member acknowledges, “but when we connect to the authors directly, we tend to read everything they put out next, even if we don’t do it as a group.” 

Authors benefit with direct sales when attending these meetings. One author sold 30 copies of his first two novels to members and took home orders for 50 more copies. Though the financial aspect is rewarding, the creative critiques are also empowering to an author. Blunt questions directed to the author force the author to evaluate where the author is and how they can grow in order to make the next novel more appealing to a potential fan base. “The sales spike is minimal even if members buy future books,” an author notes, “but the interaction is invaluable. You’re building your brand and reader base.”

Along with other benefits book clubs can provide, authors cite opportunities to get members to post reviews on websites such as Amazon and Barns & Nobles and use them to promote forthcoming titles. All in all book clubs are an excellent way to self-promote your titles and get in touch with your fan base to better your artistic literature. “I usually come home feeling like a rock star” one author recalls the benefits are there. Go and reap them young authors!


Dr. Siri, Laos’s national coroner, was on the verge of retirement before he was dragged into one last job for the Lao government: supervising an excavation for the remains of a U.S. fighter pilot who went down in the remote northern Lao jungle ten years earlier. This was a high profile project that involved both U.S and Lao politicians, scientist and excavators. After on member of the search team was found dead, it set off a chain of mysterious murders.  As the bodies start piling up, Dr. Siri realizes there is more to this search than a dead Airman. 

Follow Soho through the jungles of Laos with this new gripping installment of the Dr. Siri mysteries.

Murder at the Laterne Rouge

After the disappearance of her long-time friend Meizi and the discovery of a dead shrink-wrapped body with her photo, Aimee Leduc can’t figure out how the murder is connected to Meizi’s disappearance. The mysterious dead body was sitting on a discovery that has France’s secret service keeping tabs on him now are following Aimée. A missing friend, botched affairs of the heart, dirty policemen, the French secret service, secrets and a murderer on the loose, Soho has done it again.