Category Archives: Marketing

HBX Core – Harvard Business Schools Extension Program

HBX Students


Harvard Business school runs HBX – Core, an online business learning platform.  HBX Core is composed of 3 classes: Accounting, Statistics and Economics for Managers all targeted at improving your business understanding and becoming a better manager.  Once you complete all 3 courses, you get the: credential of readiness.  What does the course cover?

Financial Accounting:

The course covers accounting transactions, financial statements and some basic financial analysis/forecasting.  It covers some accounting principles as well (historical pricing, consistency..).  It’s a great course if you want to understand accounting basics.  The instructor uses real life examples in his course including Cardullo’s located in Cambridge, Ma next to Harvard as well as Bikram Yoga, a yoga study in Natick, Ma.

Statistics (Business Analytics)

This course covers descriptive statistics: mean, median and mode, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals and regression (both single and multiple).  This is similar to an 1st or 2nd class in statistics.  It’s in my opinion a bit more intuitive in it’s explanations than the course I took in college.  One highlight of the course is it’s emphasis on statistic calculations n Excel, which are mostly single formula based.

Economics for Managers

This is an economics course that focuses almost exclusively on microeconomics.  The class can be evenly split into two parts: demand vs supply with the last portion emphasizing the intersection (market).  This course is cool in that all the examples are really intuitive.  You will explore demand curves by answering polls, supply curves by looking at the entire aluminum industry in an interactive graph, price wars by using financial statements and short vs long term markets by looking at the short/long term demand for lawyers.  This course also covers alternative distribution methods such as queues, the formation of secondary markets during a price ceiling, different types of auctions and the two-tariff price model (subscriptions that lower the average price charged per unit).  I liked this course the best.

HBX Courses


Something very similar in nature to the above program, but requiring significantly more time: CFA level 1.  CFA level 1 is 1 of 3 exams to become a Chartered Financial Analyst, a designation valued in the investor industry.  It covers ethics around investing, statistics focused on investments, financial statements, micro and macro economics (focus on interest rates and monetary policy).  The section dedicated to finance is twice as long as all the other sections combined.


Overall, it’s a descent program if you are interested in learning business fundamentals.  It’s also reasonably priced ($1950) and offered by a credentialed university (Harvard), which means you can expense it under most firms education reimbursement policy.


Yoast App

Yoast Application for WordPress

Yoast Application for WordPress


Yoast (website) is a group dedicated to SEO, which provides a free WordPress plugin to improve your website.  The plugin has useful features.  For example, it computes a readability score and scores your post for Google keywords:

Yoast plugin


Yoast plugin makes suggestions to improve readability of your blog posts.  On Yoasts website, you will see a summary of how to plan blog posts:

Practical tips to set up a clear text structure

Within the practical tips webpage, Yoast explains the importance of headers (<h1>,<h2>…).  Headers, larger text found above paragraphs, provide context about the paragraphs that follow.  This provides Google with benefit when matching search queries with your website.  The post discusses the use of transition words to connect and smoothen the flow of the paragraphs.  Yoast app automatically calculates this for the blog post you are typing.  It recommends that 30% of words be transition words.

Transition words are one of three main metrics I often work on to improve posts.  The other two are active vs passive voice and Flesch Reading Score.  Active voice places the emphasis of the sentence as the main object instead of the subject.  For example, “Chris plays the trumpet” is active voice vs passive “the trumpet is played by Chris.  Active voice is considered less confusing then passive voice. With passive voice, it is harder to figure out what the sentence is about.  More about passive voice below:

Passive voice

The last metric on readability is the Flesch Reading Ease test (wiki:Flesch-Kincaid readability test).  Flesch test provides a formula that is supposed to correlate with ease of use:


Flesch-Kincaid Formula


Flesch Score Results

Formula Conclusion

The major conclusion from this formula is that you want short sentences with few syllables.  This style of writing correlates with easier comprehension.  It also decreases the odds people will run away from your website.


Key Words

Another section of Yoast focuses on key words.  Key words are words in Google search queries that you would like your post to be associated with.  For example, I might want this specific blog post to show up when people type: “Improve blog post readability” or “Yoast features” into Google.  The underlined words would be my key words. The plugin provides key metrics on your chosen keyword:

Keyword Analysis

How do I look on Google?

The last cool feature worth mentioning is you can edit how you look like on Google.  Evidently, a website can provide some metadata (data about the webpage to Google), which tells Google how to present your webpage as a search result.  The below form provides SEO Title, the blue name (hyperlink) of your website.  A slug, which is the end of your url, in the below case (yoast is the slug):  As well as the description google uses for your webpage.

Google Metadata

Overall, Yoast provide a really cool tool set to improve your blog posts.  It also provides a study into what an expert thinks is great content.  Hoping this helps readers develop better content and improve their own readability!

Best luck blogging!


Related Posts:

SEO for Growth – Bend Google to your Way!

SEO for Growth

SEO for Growth Book

SEO for Growth

Bloggers often make fortunes with being a great example.  The question, how do you become a successful blogger and more importantly a successful marketer.  SEO for Growth by John Jantsch and Phil Singleton discusses how you can optimize your blog to beat those Google Search rankings and be listed on the first page.  That can be the difference between getting no traffic and being like this cute pug watching money fall from the sky.

Cute pug watching $1 bills fall

Isn’t he cute!

What does Google hate?

Spammy pages that look more advertisement then content!

You forgot smart phones exist!

You cover half your webpage with Eye Junk!  The other half is infinite scrolling.

You are a copy-paste king/queen.  Very original!

What Google Likes!

Google is in the business of answering search queries.  Anything that detracts from that is bad business.  Google is interested in original content that best answers search queries and penalizes websites that produce noise or distraction. To simplify marketers and web designers lives Google provides resources on best practices curate great content and provides tools to analyze your website (site maps, simulations of google crawls, viewing data and more).  Google also graciously provides paid advertisement as well:


Each day, 3.5 billon people ask Google a question.  Over a single year, that is 1.2 trillion searches.  That’s as many searches a day as Donald Trump is estimated having in cold hard cash.  You as an advertiser wants a slice of those people’s attention, which is where Adwords comes into (word) play.  Adwords let’s you bid on search terms, the questions people ask.  Rarer search terms have less demand.  SEO for Growth says this is fertile ground as you can bid for more targeted terms that better represent your customer.  In turn, your customer is more likely to convert into a purchase or blog reader.

Google Analytics! 

Everyone loves a dashboard.  Don’t they?  Google Analytics might be a Marketers Mecca in that it prevents a view of your audience.  Do people coming to your websites like your article on clothing or would rather stalk your About me page?  Google Analytics also tracks other useful information.  For example, where did the person originate?  Did they start on another 3rd party website or where they intensively Googling for an answer?  This type of information can help you fine-tune what appeals to your audience and, if you are clever, be utilized for A/B split test.  A/B split testing is when you send people to two webpages that differ by a single feature.  You then see who stays around, buys or clicks on more ads (group A or B).

Google of course provides a lot more tools than presented in this blog.  I will most likely get into more details in the future.  For now, I have a laundry list of site improvements mentioned in SEO for Growth!

Hopefully, with these tools, I can finally have my website pay for my next Latte!

Best Luck Blogging,