How to Immigrate Into the United States Permanently
Immigrating permanently to the United States of America can be a very challenging process. It will take persistence and patience but with over 41 million immigrants living in the US, it is clearly possible to navigate the system successfully.  Whether you are doing it to escape persecution, to stay with a family member, for an employment opportunity, or just to start a new life, this guide should help you along the way.
Applying For Permanent Resident Status Edit
What is the Plenty Of Fish (plentyoffish.com) dating site all about?
After being inundated with “you should check it out” countless times by so many of my friends, I decided – “sure, ill check it out”. Plenty Of Fish (POF) is a dating site that professes to be completely free. On this site, you don’t have to pay to message anyone, view profiles or meet. For this reason, POF tends to be a very popular site. POF also offers an upgrade for as much as $80.68 if you want to be highly featured.
The last time I looked more than 171,000 users were online. Now, I have to get one thing out of the way. While I have (at the time of writing) been single for close to 8 months – my core motivation for being on POF was curiosity. I tend to have an opinion about dating sites that would be best served in another blog post. Needless to say, if I had met a women, that would be great – but it was not my core motivator. If you are single and curious, or if you are not single and wondering what people are talking about – let me show you.
At the signup stage you are asked for all sorts of basic information and essentially told that you “have to” include a picture. As the signup progresses, you are then asked to pick a username (because of the sheer volume of users, expect to use random characters – I went with fcgx). Also, you are given a basic screening test to determine “matches” that the site purports to find. One of the more interesting aspects of the site is the lack of screening involved. You are free to change you picture, profile details and description without it being approved later. In fact, the changes appear to take effect immediately. When you first login, you’re served a deceptively simple page:
My profile page was the central point of interest in the beginning. I went back to it several times to tweak my message. My intent was to make the message as simple as possible an include a few pictures that give others an idea of what I looked like.
I had heard from others that using older pictures was a problem on the site. I was an offender nonetheless, placing a number of pictures that date back a year or more. Based on what I had seen early on, my “description” section was longer and more in-depth than most users.
What became immediately apparent after using the site for a few minutes – the intention here was for me to meet a woman by way of volume and speed. Many parts of the site were built to get you connected to others – fast. One example of this is the “Meet Me” section. When I first saw this, I was thinking something like Hot or Not (remember that one?). What I found was that I was simply clicking “No” numerous times not knowing exactly what the impact of the actions were.
After a few days it was clear that clicking on “No” did nothing (but possibly changing a background algorithm), clicking on “Yes” would send a notification message to that user, and “Maybe” – that was not clear what the effect would be. When receiving notification messages, the email subject line is cleverly crafted as to not mention Plenty of Fish or POF.
Also interesting here, is that much of the interface lends itself to sending a massive number of messages (hint: use a templates message you just paste in for best results). Given that, I could, in one sitting, send out more than 100 simple messages to prospective women easily; I had the feeling POF might have been designed specifically as the Twitter of dating sites. You could send a full long-form message to a user – but there was also this small, “Quick Message” box there starting at you waiting for you not to form a full sentence.
Over the few days I was on the site I received a number of messages like “I’m curious too” or “Curiosity killed the cat”. I didn’t know what to make of that. This all reminds me of a joke a friend made some years ago about picking up women:
“All you do is go up to every woman that look good and ask her to have sex with you – you bound to find one that says yes”. POF is probably the site for him.
While on the site (or Online), your odds of others seeing you and interacting with you go up considerably. When you are online, your more likely to be featured on most of the interaction functions and contacted. Others users can see your online status as a small message below your picture that says either “Online Now” or “IM User”. What’s great about this is all the information you’re given right from the get-go. You can tell which users are currently available, which ones are willing to chat and even get a list of users that have “Viewed” you. This is the most information about others I have ever seen on a dating site (admittedly, it’s been years since the last time).
Also somewhat hidden in POF’s interface the option to limit who can talk to you as well as a number of other things. You’ll notice me asking about this feature in the chat above. Accessing these limits happens in the “Inbox” section of the site and then “Mail Settings”. I found that you can really control what kind of people contact you – very impressive.
Some of the site was very unusual too – for example – the choice of advertising was seriously wrong sometimes. I wonder if the women who are on POF actually know that what’s presented next to their picture is sometimes this:
I started to wonder how this connects with the whole “speed” theme. If men are on this site seeking to connect to women in volume, distracting them with these unusual ads may run counter to that.
That seems to be the design goal of POF – make the site as busy as possible. The effects of clicking links are not 100% clear – accessing all of the features of the site are not possible from the home screen, and in most places you find yourself on POF – there is no “Home” link to take you back to the first page. What I do appreciate about a site like this, however is the obvious lack of “free” tactics you find on others sites, like the lack of:
1. Various click popups, pop-unders and full screen ads
2. Moving ads or unpredictable ad locations on the screen
4. Overuse of flash animations or graphic elements
If you are looking for that “someone” you sure could do worse than Plenty of Fish. other dating sites make money of some of the basic things you do here for free. For that, and the sheer number of people on the site – you’re bound to find someone to love. If you are in a relationship now – consider your curiosity quenched.
The owner of POF also has a blog, check it out here. Something that may also be interesting is the list of POF success stories.
Also well-hidden is the process to delete your account. To do that (as of this writing):
I’m no longer using Plenty of Fish – to be sure – five days was enough for me. And, during my five day experiment I sent about 5 messages back and forth, and the number of women I met in-person: none. Do you have experiences or thoughts about POF? Share!
Greenlight is a debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones
Greenlight, a three-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based startup, is trying to solve a problem that any parent of an elementary or junior high school student can well understand: how to give kids money without worrying that they’ll lose it or spend it on something they shouldn’t.
It isn’t the first reloadable, prepaid card. MasterCard, Visa and American Express each offer parent-friendly debit cards, among other outfits. But Greenlight — backed with seed funding from its executive team and a startup incubator at Georgia Tech called the Advanced Technology Development Center — is hoping to take on these giants by adding every imaginable bell and whistle to its FDIC-insured offering, as well as making its pricing affordable and straightforward.
Because I have a seven- and nine-year-old — both of whom reliably lose whatever money I give them for field trips and the like — I was curious to learn more. Co-founder Johnson Cook answered some of my questions earlier this week.
TC: Greenlight is a nice idea, but it has plenty of competition. How does what you’re offering differ from what’s out there already?
JC: [We think] Greenlight is the first card with store-level controls — in other words, the ability for a parent to give a child a specific amount that he or she can spend at a specific store or website — like Starbucks, Chick-fil- A, the neighborhood market store, Amazon.com. We found that the ability to choose the specific stores where their kids can shop really resonated with parents.
TC: What are some of the card’s other features?
JC: Parents can automate allowances very easily in the app. We’re also rolling out a Greenlight Savings account and Greenlight Giving, which will give parents and their kids a full view of their finances across spending, savings and giving. We’re very focused on empowering parents to raise their kids to be financially smart: to learn to spend wisely, the importance of saving so they can cover unexpected expenses, how to build wealth through investing, and the importance of credit.
TC: What about notifications? I’d think these would be pretty important to parents.
JC: Parents are instantly alerted any time the card is used, letting them know how much was spent and where. And notifications are customizable for both parents and their kids. You can receive notifications for when purchases are made, transactions are declined, the child makes a new request, low balances, funds transfers, for when the card is turned on or off, and messages received.
TC: You charge $4.99 per family per month for up to five kids. How did you settle on that particular price point, and why do a monthly fee versus take some percentage from each transaction?
JC: We have two revenue streams: the subscription fee and the card interchange revenue from the card spend. While some card products try to exist only from interchange revenue, we don’t believe that kids are spending that much per month. We also discussed charging per card, but want to encourage families to get all of their kids — and both parents — using Greenlight, so we decided to go for a per-family price to quickly acquire market share and get big faster.
TC: Can kids use this as debit card? Can they access cash from an ATM if they’re in a situation where a vendor takes cash only?
JC: Right now we’ve found that most parents prefer that ATM access and cash-back is disabled. We do plan to eventually enable parents to set a specific amount that their child can withdraw from an ATM for parents who want that ability.
TC: Say a kid calls from somewhere needing money; can a parent transfer funds to the card immediately?
JC: Everything in Greenlight is instant. As soon as you approve spending in the app, the card is instantly updated. Kids can be standing in the checkout line and realize they don’t have enough money and make a request. As long as the parent is ready to approve it, their card is updated instantly.
TC: What age children are you targeting? I’d think junior high and high school kids wouldn’t need this; they have mobile phones and Apple Pay.
JC: We went to market expecting the sweet spot to be kids ages 10 to 18, and so far our average age of kids that parents are signing up is 12. The most common story we hear is that as soon as kids get their first mobile phone, the kids start to be more independent, spending more time with their friends without their parents, and that’s when families start running into the problem that Greenlight solves.
TC: A VC tells me you’re raising $3 million right now.
TC: How would you describe the fundraising scene in Atlanta. Do you feel you need to talk with Silicon Valley and East Coast venture investors after a seed round, generally speaking?
JC: Atlanta investors are awesome, but we’ve definitely seen the need to go outside Atlanta — mainly to the Bay Area and New York — to find investors experienced with B2C startups and consumer brands. That said, Atlanta is a hotbed for fintech, so we’re talking to some local investors who haven’t done much consumer but are interested in Greenlight because of the fintech angle.
TC: What’s been a common reaction while you’ve been pitching? What are VCs most focused on?
JC: VCs are most excited about the opportunity to build a huge consumer brand associated with empowering families to raise financially smart kids. This consumer is underserved by the banks, and schools don’t teach kids this type of stuff. There aren’t any good products with a user experience designed specifically for parents to teach their kids how to be smart with money.
[To answer your other question], the VCs we’ve met with have all wanted to see our customer acquisition cost. The good news is we acquired 1,200 customers in our first couple weeks and our average CAC is well below where we thought we would be starting.
TC: I understand you have three kids. Are they customers?
JC: Yes, and having kids ages 11, 8, and 5, I can tell you Greenlight solves a very real consumer problem that I live with every day. Having a company that’s so personal is bringing me closer to my family, too. My 8- year-old, the future entrepreneur, is constantly coming up with ideas. “Dad, we should advertise Greenlight inside school buses,” and “Dad, we need a Super Bowl commercial, don’t we?”