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An Odyssey in Search of Johnny Cash Telltales from the man in black

Country music legend Johnny Cash set a record 40 years ago by winning five Country Music Association Awards in a single night. The 43rd annual CMA Awards are this Wednesday, November 11. In the slide show above, tag along on a Johnny Cash journey — just be sure to keep a close watch on that heart of yours.

I was standing in the kitchen stirring a pot of tomato soup when an old friend of my mother’s called.

Kristi taught me how to ride a horse, steer a canoe, and drive a car. During my teenage years, she was the wise adult confidante who listened to my adolescent woes. By the time I reached adulthood, our relationship had developed into an easygoing friendship that transcended age and the nearly 700 miles separating Boston from my hometown. So when she asked if I’d go on vacation with her, I responded, “Hell, yeah!”

My last vacation with Kristi took place in 1988, when she, my mom, and I went to Florida. I was eight years old, and Kristi had a perm. “So,” I said, “where are we going?”

There was a slight pause. “I’d like to take a Johnny Cash pilgrimage,” she said.

Kristi’s obsession with the Man in Black had begun a year and a half earlier, around the time that 20th Century Fox released the Cash biopic Walk the Line. Kristi saw the film nine times — in the theater. Each time I went back to Ohio, her collection of Johnny Cash CDs, books, and DVDs had expanded. I jokingly referred to one of her bookcases as “the shrine.”

My first exposure to Johnny Cash came the day he died, September 12, 2003. I was working for a small newspaper in rural Virginia, and I laid out his obituary. I knew “Ring of Fire,” but my familiarity with the country singer ended there.

If anyone had told me that four years later to the day, I’d be standing by the man’s gravesite, I’d have laughed.

“NPR ran a two-hour Johnny Cash biography last week,” she announced, pulling out of the driveway. “I taped it.”

I opened one eye. “Seriously? It’s not even six in the morning.”

It was going to be a long ride.

Kristi snorted. “You’re making that up.”

“It’s the birthplace of American paleontology,” I added, closing the book with a thump. I yawned and stretched my arms. “God, I love a road trip!”

Kristi had spent months planning our pilgrimage. At first we’d meant to visit Nashville and Hendersonville, Tenn., the sprawling suburb where Johnny and June Carter Cash are buried. By September, the expedition also included two nights in Memphis and a side trip to Dyess, Ark.

“Arkansas?” I had shouted. “What the heck is in Arkansas?”

“That’s where Johnny Cash grew up,” Kristi said. “We can drive past his old house.”

We made a deal. I’d go to Dyess if she would agree to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, shop at a Piggly Wiggly, eat fried okra, and listen to “Old Man River” while crossing the Mississippi into Arkansas. “You’re very weird,” she said.

“Hey,” I retorted, “I’m not stalking a dead guy.”

Midafternoon found us driving through Hendersonville in search of Caudill Drive and the scorched remains of Johnny Cash’s lakeside home. The 14,000-square-foot house had burned to the ground not long after Bee Gees vocalist Barry Gibb bought it in 2006. Cash’s 2002 music video “Hurt” was filmed inside, and a replica of the house appeared in Walk the Line.

“I thought he lived out in the middle of nowhere,” I said, eyeing rows of cookie-cutter mansions and cul-de-sacs.

“I think all of this sprouted up in the last decade or so,” Kristi replied. We rounded a slight bend, and on the shores of Old Hickory Lake stood charred ruins. All that was left was the stone foundation, a wooden fence, and the gatehouse. Legend has it that whenever Cash was in a rage, he threw something into the lake, and its muddy bottom is littered with busted guitars, booze bottles, and other debris.

We parked the van and wandered over to the fence. “Will you take some pictures?” Kristi asked.

I was a few yards down the road snapping photos when Kristi jogged over and excitedly grabbed my arm. “You see that guy cutting the grass next door? That’s Marty Stuart!”

I gave her a blank stare. “Who?”

“Marty Stuart! He was in Johnny Cash’s band back in the ’80s and was married to Cindy Cash for a few years.” She clapped her hands. “I can’t believe it! Our first celebrity sighting!”

“If I don’t know who the person is, I’m not sure it counts,” I replied.

* * *

Johnny Cash is buried at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. The cemetery opened in 1965, amidst acres of rolling farmland. But as the community grew, housing developments, fast-food restaurants, and strip malls cropped up faster than dandelions. Today the city’s main thoroughfare, Route 31 — also known as the Johnny Cash Parkway — is a wasteland of big-box retail stores, gas stations, and parking lots.

“It’s certainly not as picturesque as I’d imagined,” Kristi said.

Kristi silently knelt by the graves while I examined nearby plots. Other members of the Carter family — Mother Maybelle, June’s sisters, Anita and Helen, and her daughter Rosey — were there, and Merle Kilgore, who co-wrote “Ring of Fire” with June, was nearby.

Glancing back at Kristi, I wondered what it was about Johnny Cash that so fascinated her. Dozens of trinkets left by previous visitors proved she wasn’t alone, but what compelled her to seek out the old stomping grounds of a musician she never knew?

“Lots of stuff!” she replied. “The Country Music Hall of Fame, Lower Broadway, the Ryman Auditorium. And I want to hit up all the souvenir shops for Johnny Cash shirts.”

I raised an eyebrow and nodded at her black T-shirt, boldly emblazoned with the name Cash. “But I want more,” she said.

We arrived at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame on the heels of a senior citizen tour group. The museum features memorabilia of more than 100 country music artists, including Hank Williams, Jim Reeves, and Loretta Lynn. But Kristi was interested only in the man who, at age 48, was the youngest living musician to be inducted.

We spent a few hours mulling over old guitars, 45s, and stage costumes. The exhibits were engaging, even for someone not particularly interested in country music. But Kristi was disappointed. “I thought they’d have more Johnny Cash stuff,” she grumbled.

“It’s the Country Music Hall of Fame,” I pointed out, “not the Johnny Cash Hall of Fame.”

She got her fix at our next stop. Marty Stuart, in addition to mowing his lawn, has one of the largest and most significant country music collections in Nashville, and it happened to be on display at the Tennessee State Museum. The exhibition, Sparkle and Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey, contained more than 300 artifacts, including a pair of Gene Autry’s boots, Maybelle Carter’s autoharp, and Patsy Cline’s leather makeup kit. More important, it contained enough Johnny Cash paraphernalia to keep Kristi occupied for days. She roamed the museum in a state of wonder, examining every item while I fulfilled photo requests.

We stepped back into sweltering September heat long past lunchtime, grabbed some food from the van, and made our way to Lower Broadway, a 10-block stretch of restaurants, gift shops, and honky-tonk bars. We then ducked into the Ryman Auditorium — former home of the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts — before hitting up the souvenir stores. Kristi bought two T-shirts, two CDs, and three DVDs.

“I guess I know what we’ll be listening to on the way to Memphis,” I cracked.

She responded by whacking the back of my head.

* * *

“We need to stop at this rest area,” Kristi said.

I looked up in surprise. We were only an hour outside of Nashville. “You have to stop already?”

“Not really, but we’re coming up on the Johnny Cash rest area.”

I nearly choked on my orange juice. “The what?”

The stretch of I-40 between Nashville and Memphis is commonly referred to as the Music Highway, because every rest area is named in honor of a musician. And sure enough, mile marker 170 is Johnny Cash’s.

“How did you even know about this?” I demanded. She handed me a book, I Still Miss Someone: Friends and Family Remember Johnny Cash by Hugh Waddell. I scanned a page she’d marked with a post-it note. “Stop at the Johnny Cash rest area,” I read aloud. “Sit by the sign and write a poem.”

We didn’t write any poems, but we did take some pictures.

Kristi could barely contain her excitement as our guide, a young musician named Zach, led us into the studio. An enormous photograph of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis hung on the wall above some old recording equipment. It was taken on December 4, 1956, during an impromptu jam session — the only time all four musicians sang together.

Zach led us to an old-fashioned microphone. “This is the microphone that Elvis used to record ‘My Happiness,’” he said. “Anyone want to try it out?”

Of course, everyone took a turn at the microphone. “Maybe Johnny Cash used it, too,” Kristi whispered to me.

* * *

“Arkansas is pretty desolate,” Kristi said.

Since crossing the Mississippi, we’d seen nothing but cotton fields, mile after mile of spindly brown plants, fluffy white bolls drifting lazily into the sky.

We turned off the interstate and rolled down a country lane until we arrived in Dyess. Laid out in the shape of a wheel, the town consists of a post office, tiny town hall, and some trailers and boarded-up buildings.

Dyess was founded in 1934 as a resettlement colony during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. At the height of the Great Depression, the community housed about 2,500 residents, including the Cash family. By 1950, when Cash joined the Air Force, the colony had faded, and today, only 515 residents remain.

A woman at the post office recognized us for who we were. “If you don’t live here, I know you’re here for Johnny,” she said. “There was a busload from Scotland that came through two days ago.”

She gave us directions to the old Cash homestead and encouraged us to knock on the owner’s door. “Tell him Janet from the post office sent you!” she called after us.

“Are you really going to knock?” I asked as Kristi pulled into the driveway.

“No,” she replied. “That just seems too …”

“Obsessive?” I suggested. “Stalkerish?”

She glared. “Invasive.”

We climbed out of the van, giggling at the absurdity of the situation. Here we were in Arkansas, staking out a dead man’s house. It reminded me of the time Kristi and I broke into an abandoned log cabin at Spangler Park. I was seven, utterly intrigued by this mysterious structure in the woods. My parents never let me explore it, but Kristi did. She was always my coconspirator, my partner in crime.

Shaking with laughter, I snapped a photo of her standing in front of the house. “Thank you,” I whispered.

That night, back in Memphis, we walked the length of Beale Street. Blues drifted from clubs, and the air was heavy with the smoky scent of barbecued ribs. We splurged and took a ride through the city in a horse-drawn carriage. It was just about perfect.

The nearest Piggly Wiggly was on Elvis Presley Boulevard, a few blocks away from Graceland. We bought bananas. “The Piggly Wiggly was the country’s first self-serving grocery store,” I told Kristi as we waited in the checkout line.

“Is that why we had to come here?” she asked.

“No,” I replied. “I just really like the name.”

Neither of us had any interest in visiting Graceland, but as long as we were in the neighborhood, we figured we should at least walk past it. We didn’t see much. A woman wearing a glittery Elvis Presley shirt and bejeweled sunglasses walked past us. “I think Elvis fans are even weirder than Johnny Cash ones,” I said.

Kristi nodded. “Hey, do you mind if we stop at the cemetery when we get back to Hendersonville?”

My jaw dropped. “You want to go back?”

She blushed. “Well, I wasn’t wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt the first time we went.”

The sun was beginning to set when we pulled into Hendersonville Memory Gardens. I followed Kristi back to the Cash plot and waited while she stood at the grave, her hands jammed in her pockets. I turned away to give her some privacy, and when I looked back, she was scribbling something on the back of a business card.

“Are you leaving him a note?” I asked.

She laughed. “Shut up. And don’t judge me.”

“Oh, it’s way too late for that,” I said.

As we walked back to the van, grasshoppers leaped across the wilted lawn, their chirping overriding the hum of traffic on Route 31.



“Why Johnny Cash?” I finally asked. “What is it about this guy…”

She shrugged. “Back when I was a kid, I used to watch his TV show every week. And my dad listened to him.”

Kristi didn’t talk about her childhood. I knew only that her parents divorced when she was four, and although she adored her father, she saw him rarely. He died when she was 18.

The pilgrimage remained unconventional, but made more sense now. The journey wasn’t really about tracking down Johnny Cash the musician, celebrating Johnny Cash the icon, or ruminating about Johnny Cash, the Man in Black. It was about using Johnny Cash as a connection, a way for Kristi to acknowledge that she “still missed someone.”

“I’m glad I came with you,” I said.

She smiled. “Me, too.”

The 43rd annual Country Music Association Awards air on Wednesday, November 11, on WCVB-TV, Channel 5, at 8 p.m.

Davide Nardi (CAS’11) will perform at BU Central’s Acoustic Café on Saturday, November 14, at 9 p.m.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at [email protected].

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Uses And Examples Of Cash Equivalents

Definition of Cash Equivalents

Cash equivalents are those short-term investment securities that are highly liquid, i.e., which can be easily converted into cash. They generally have a maturity period of 90 days or less and do not have any restrictions attached to them, which makes it easy to convert them into cash in a shorter period. They usually carry a low level of risk and high credit quality.


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Examples of Cash Equivalents

Here are some examples :

Commercial Papers: Large corporations issue a bearer instrument or promissory note to satisfy their immediate liabilities.

Treasury Bills: Treasury bills or T- bills are generally government securities. Once the government pays the full maturity amount for the mature securities, they normally offer no interest but are issued at a discount.

Certificate of Deposit: Banks offer certificates of deposit (CDs) to raise money from the secondary market. CDs have a fixed interest rate and a set maturity time.

Marketable Securities: These products are exchanged on a public exchange and include both equity and debt. They are regarded as cash equivalents since their pricing is readily available on the open market.

Other Money Market Instruments: Apart from the above, there are other money market instruments as well, such as bankers’ acceptances, bills of exchange, repurchase agreements, short-lived mortgages, asset-backed securities, etc.

What Does Not Belong in Cash Equivalents?

The concept behind cash equivalents is that there shouldn’t be any restrictions on the particular investment instrument and that it can be easily converted into cash.

Another exception is inventory, a current asset that cannot be readily converted into cash in a general market scenario.

Uses of Cash Equivalents

These have a number of uses, as follows:

They can be applied to short-term obligations of the company, including account payables.

They can be used to make purchases such as operating costs, inventory, and other items.

They indicate the liquidity position of the company. The higher the cash equivalent, the higher the liquidity.

They help in the financing of acquisitions.


The company often invests to earn interest on the funds until they do not need them.

They are highly liquid, and thus, they can be easily converted into cash at a time of need.

Sometimes it helps in financing acquisitions of the company.

In a way, it is a loss of revenue. Suppose a company invested more cash equivalents than necessary due to market conditions or other reasons. It would undoubtedly result in a loss of income because the company would have earned a higher rate of interest if it had invested the money somewhere else.

They generally have a lower rate of return, and they need help to keep up with the inflation rate.


It is clear from the above discussion that cash equivalents are an integral part of the company’s current assets and working capital. It helps maintain liquidity, meet operating expenses, and pay off short-term debts. The amount of cash equivalent on the balance sheet provides information regarding the company’s operating strategy. It differs and depends on the industry the company is operating in and its growth stage and strategy.

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Penelopiad Reimagines The Odyssey Through The Eyes Of Penelope

Penelopiad Reimagines The Odyssey through the Eyes of Penelope CFA stages Atwood’s spirited all-female tale

Christine Hamel (CFA’05) as Penelope in the College of Fine Arts production of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, a reinventing of Homer’s Odyssey with an all-female cast, plays tonight through March 2 at the Calderwood Pavilion’s Wimberly Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. Photo by Cydney Scott

In Margaret Atwood’s play The Penelopiad, based on Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Odysseus’ spouse, Penelope, is portrayed in a way we’ve never known her: caustic, crafty, and unflinching. The biting, often giddy romp of a play, features an all-female cast, led by Christine Hamel (CFA’05), a College of Fine Arts assistant professor of theater. The School of Theatre production runs tonight through March 2 at the Calderwood Pavilion’s Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts.

In this contemporary reimagining of The Odyssey, which the author adapted from her 2005 novella, the dead Penelope narrates her tale from a 21st-century Hades, in a state she describes as “liplessness, breastlessness.” Joined in the underworld by her 12 unfaithful handmaidens, who were hanged upon Odysseus’ return, Penelope recounts her teenage marriage, her desolate Trojan War decades, and the way she outfoxed a parade of suitors during the wanderings of her husband, whose story we all know well.

Known primarily as a novelist (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin), Atwood has also written poetry collections. She has received numerous prizes, among them the Man Booker Prize.

Atwood’s play “is a wonderful blend of both classical and contemporary sensibilities,” says director Elaine Vaan Hogue (CFA’97), a CFA assistant professor and head of theater arts. “Her twist on this well-known myth turns it on its head by giving Penelope the opportunity to tell her story in her own voice.”

Vaan Hogue, whose wide range of directing credits includes the recent staging of The Kite Runner by New Repertory Theatre at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, notes that in Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope is the faithful, if occasionally restive, wife, who for part of her husband’s 20-year absence famously delays her suitors by weaving a burial shroud by day and unraveling it at night. But in the play, she lets loose, “exposing her human frailty by daring to speak without pretentiousness. Her vulnerability is revealed through her finely honed sense of humor and sarcasm,” says Vaan Hogue. As reimagined by the playwright, Penelope is exceedingly entertaining.

“It is an echo of an echo of an echo,” Atwood has said of her looking glass turn on the Homeric classic. “Both voices—that of Penelope, and that of the 12 handmaidens—speak from the Greek Underworld, where they are free to tell their story, and stretch credulity in The Odyssey.” In the play, Penelope “wants to tell” the audience “that she’s not what people thought, that other people had told stories about her, but now that she is down in the underworld she doesn’t care about social convention; she’s going to tell her own story,” Atwood said in a 2005 Guardian interview. “Penelope was short, and people emphasized her intelligence, because she obviously wasn’t as beautiful” as Helen of Troy. “By the time the suitors got around to her, she was quite old for those times, so you know they were after the loot.”

“The play spans 20 years, but its narrative arc is totally nontraditional,” says Hamel, who is joined in the cast by 12 acting students. “Atwood’s tone and point of view are so cheeky and wry that we can really play. Bringing these broadly drawn but oh-so-familiar male and female characters to life is joyful,” she adds, and the cast delights in poking holes in “one of the most famous texts in the canon of world literature.”

The Penelopiad runs tonight through March 2, with curtain times Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday, February 24, at 2 p.m. (with talk-back), and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, February 26, 27, and 28, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for BU alumni, WGBH members, Huntington Theatre Company subscribers, students, senior citizens, and groups of 10 or more. Members of the BU community can get one free ticket with BU ID at the door on the day of the performance, subject to availability. The Calderwood Pavilion is at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston. By public transportation, take the MBTA Green Line to the Copley Square stop or the Orange Line to Back Bay. Purchase tickets here, call 617-933-8600, or visit the Calderwood Pavilion box office.

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Monthly Cash Flow Forecast Model

Monthly Cash Flow Forecast Model

Inputs, assumptions, processing, and outputs in a cash flow forecast model

Written by

CFI Team

Published April 1, 2023

Updated July 7, 2023

Monthly Cash Flow Forecast Model

With a rolling monthly cash flow forecast, the number of periods in the forecast remains constant (e.g., 12 months, 18 months, etc.).  The forecast is rolled forward every time there is a month of historical data to input.  Rolling forecasts work best when key cash flow drivers are modeled explicitly and directly drive forecast cash flow inputs.  We’ll look at the structure of a robust and flexible monthly cash flow forecast model for a retail store business in the following sections.

Inputs and Assumptions

Here are five important points to creating a strong input section for a cash flow forecast model:

Image Source: CFI’s FP&A Monthly Cash Flow Course.

1. Key cash flow drivers should be modeled explicitly.

In our example, a retail store business should start with the number of stores it plans to operate each month, then build up from there, based on the number of square feet and sales per square foot.  This will help the business to compute its revenue.

2. Inputs should only need to be input once.

It is important to group all inputs in the assumptions section so users can easily find, add, and modify them.

3. Inputs should be organized logically.

This helps users of the model to quickly understand and update the model when they first jump into it.

4. All model inputs should be of the same color.

Using identical colors for inputs allows users to easily distinguish between inputs and other calculated outputs.  Most financial models use a blue font or yellow shading for inputs, and black font for formulas.

5. Document your sources for model inputs where possible. Processing

The processing section of a cash flow forecast model is located on the right-hand side of the historical results.  All cells in this section should be in formulas.

Image Source: CFI’s FP&A Monthly Forecasting Course.

1. Model calculations and processing should be transparent and easy-to-follow.

Use step-by-step calculations that are short in length. If the formulas are becoming too long, it is always a good practice to break them down into simple steps to allow efficient auditing and updates.

2. Hard-coded calculations should be avoided.

Everything to the right of the historical results should not be hard-coded.  All calculations should draw on explicit input drivers.

3. Put complicated calculations and processing on a separate worksheet.

Keep only the final figures on the output worksheets, and separate long and complicated formulas and calculations on another section of the model or worksheet.

4. Document how and why complicated calculations are structured.

This allows easy usability and audit-ability and brings confidence to the general process. All formulas should be transparent, clear, and well-documented so people can easily understand how the model works.


The output section contains all the important figures we would like to get out of a cash flow forecast model.

Image Source: CFI’s FP&A Monthly Financial Modeling Course.

1. Models outputs should be easy to find and understand. 2. Model outputs should be grouped logically in one area.

Outputs are typically placed at the bottom of the cash flow model and grouped together using the Grouping function in Excel.

3. Model outputs should be formula-driven with no hard-coding. 4. Outputs should provide key results to aid decision-making.

Charts and graphs summarize the health of the business, point out any issues that need to be considered or addressed, and make it easy for executive management to understand what is going to happen over the period of the forecast and, thus, make important decisions.

Categories of Cash Flow Forecast

A rolling monthly cash flow forecast can be derived from a balance sheet and income statement driven by explicit inputs.  There are three categories of cash flow forecast:

Operating cash flows forecast

Starting with net income from the income statement, add back any non-cash expenses that are included in the income statement such as depreciation from the PP&E breakdown.

Adjust for changes in operating assets and liabilities (or working capital). Examples of working capital are trade and other receivables, inventories, and trade and other payables.

Forecast working capital using working capital ratios such as receivable days, inventory days, and payable days. For a monthly cash flow forecast, the following ratios should be used:

Monthly accounts receivable = Receivable days 30 * Sales

Monthly accounts payable = Payable days 30 * Cost of sales

Monthly inventory = Inventory days 30 * Cost of sales

Investing cash flows forecast

Cash outflows include money invested in property, plant, and equipment (PP&E) in the form of capital expenditures or acquisitions of new businesses.

Cash inflows include proceeds from disposals of PP&E or businesses.

Financing cash flows forecast

Cash inflows include cash raised by issuing equity or debt.

Cash outflows include cash used to repurchase or repay equity or debt, and dividends paid out.

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The State Of Seo Agencies 2014: An In

During the period of August and September 2014, my company linkbird conducted an in-depth study on the international SEO services industry. In this post I’m publishing the results of our study with some of the most important insights and recommendations based on the results. But first: a short prelude.

Why Did We Do This Research?

As an SEO management tool provider, we often get questions from agencies and other companies about the trends and best practices in the SEO services industry. While searching for valid answers, we decided to throw the questions right back at the SEO agencies themselves including their (potential) clients and those refusing their services:

How much money are companies spending on SEO?

What are the best ways to connect with interested clients or trustworthy agencies respectively?

What are the key reasons for companies to hire SEO service agencies?

Which are the most popular services and activities?

Which are the most effective activities?

What are the main challenges of agencies and the main concerns of companies?

What are the top goals for agencies and companies in the coming year?

The market asked and we answered – the goal of this study is to create a juxtaposition of agencies, clients and non-clients in the context of the why, what and how of SEO.

You can get a detailed report with all the insights and recommendations here, on our website:

PDF Report: The State of SEO Agencies 2014

Before addressing each of the questions above, a quick word on the methodology of this study.

How Did We Collect Our Data and Who Are The Respondents?

We collected our data through an online survey, which we created with SurveyMonkey and distributed to 10,000+ recipients via email, social media direct message, and social media seeding of the survey link. In the course of August and half of September, we collected a little over 400 responses – and although you can still take part in the survey, we only included the responses collected up to mid-September in our analysis.

Position of Respondents Company Sizes

The vast majority (75%) of our respondents are from small companies with less than 50 employees. This was expected as agencies (accounting for 44% of the total sample) tend to have smaller teams of specialized personnel. 14% are medium-sized companies (50-250 employees) and 11% are large companies with more than 250 employees. Within the medium and large-sized businesses the ratio of agency to non-agency company is one to six (16%). In essence, there are very few agencies that have more than 50 employees.

Company Location

By far the highest response (55%) came from Germany, which isn’t surprising since linkbird is a Berlin based company with market leader position in the DACH region. The remaining (45%) are international respondents from mainly USA and UK (24%) – due to the fact that the survey was only provided in German and English.

Agency vs. Non-Agency Model

The proportion of respondents with agency background is fairly equal to the ones from non-agency companies, where each group accounts for 44%-56% of the total sample respectively. The 56% of non-agency companies split up into three groups based on their relation to agencies. These groups are 1) companies that have in past or are currently working with an SEO agency (“clients“), 2) companies who have not worked with SEO agencies but are now planning to (potential clients), and 3) companies that have never and are not planning to work with SEO agencies (“non-clients“). In short: the survey collected data represents opinions and thoughts of a variety of people engaged in the SEO industry.

How Much Money are Companies Spending on SEO?

We asked our non-agency respondents to indicate their online marketing budget and the proportion of the budget that is spent on SEO. Additionally, we asked our agency respondents to indicate their yearly revenues and the percentage of it spent on SEO for their clients. The following is what we found.

Revenues and SEO Spending of Agencies

When it comes down to revenues, there are either big SEO agencies with €1M+ revenues (28%) or small SEO agencies with less than €250K revenues per year (53%). The centre portion representing agencies with annual revenues between €250K and €1M accounts for 18% of the total sample. Agencies spending more than 25% of their revenues on SEO services are believed to SEO specialist agencies, this group represents 30% of the agencies in our sample. One in four (26%) agencies spends between 10% and 25% of revenues on SEO. These agencies have SEO as one of their core activities but not as their main focus. Finally, about one in two (45%) agencies is a full stack online marketing agency spending 10% or less of their revenues on SEO activities for its clients. There seems to be a preference for being a full stack agency rather than a specialized one. This preference, we believe, is a response to the SEO environment which requires a holistic approach to SEO combining content marketing and online PR.

Online Marketing Budgets and SEO Spending of Non-Agency Companies

Two in every three non-agency companies spend €5K (about $6329 USD) or less on online marketing per month. The distribution of online marketing budgets of (potential) clients and non-clients are quite similar. However in general non-clients tend to have larger online marketing budgets than (potential) clients. We believe that companies spending less than 5% of their online marketing budget on SEO take a holistic approach to online marketing, and companies spending more than 25% of their online marketing budget on SEO rely heavily on SEO for their online marketing success. This range should be seen as a spectrum instead of seeing the two extremes as poles. We named the former type the “holistic marketer” and the latter type the “SEO focused marketer“. There are two key differences between SEO spending of companies which hire agencies and companies which don’t:

More than half of all non-client companies are holistic marketers which spend 5% or less of their marketing budget on SEO, in contrast to only one in five (21%) (potential) clients which belong to this group.

More than one-fourth (29%) of the (potential) clients are SEO focused marketers (spending more than 25% of the online marketing budget on SEO), in contrast to that only 6% of non-clients are SEO focused marketers.

In other words, companies which take a holistic approach to online marketing – combining content marketing, social media, online PR – are not likely to employ agencies for their SEO activities. The reverse is also true, where companies which heavily rely on SEO are likely to outsource (part) of their SEO activities to an agency.

Part of SEO Spending Dedicated for Outsourcing

Deep diving into the spending of (potential) clients, we also found how much of their SEO budget is dedicated for outsourcing SEO activities. Clients that are willing to spend less than 5% of the SEO budget on agencies are “makers”. Makers prefer to only outsource SEO activities when they (temporarily) lack skills, resources or time – they do not see outsourcing as a long-term solution. In contrast, clients who are willing to spend more than 25% of their SEO budget on outsourcing are “buyers”. Buyers tend to outsource as part of their strategy – regardless of whether they lack the skills, resources or time.

What are the Best Ways to Connect with Interested Clients or Trustworthy Agencies? What are the Key Reasons for Companies to Hire SEO Service Agencies?

We asked our respondents of the category “(potential) client” to share with us: what are their top three SEO challenges, what goals do they have when outsourcing SEO activities, and why would they outsource SEO to an agency. The following is what we gathered:

SEO Challenges For Companies

About half of the SEO challenges are directly related to increasing organic traffic through raising visibility and acquiring quality back links. One in five SEO challenges is related to creating content (11%) or combining SEO and content marketing (10%). This statistic goes a long way to show that even though content marketing gained enormous popularity in the last few years, many marketers are still struggling with becoming proficient in it.

Goals to Achieve by Outsourcing SEO Activities Reasons for Outsourcing SEO to an Agency

Let’s talk about the reasons why companies choose to outsource their SEO activities to an agency: lack of resources (31%) and lack of expert knowledge (28%) are cited most often. In practical terms this means that, most of the companies which outsource their SEO lack knowledge and human resources to successfully do it themselves. The third most cited reason for outsourcing is to save time (23%). This shows that, oftenSEO agencies are hired for operational reasons and not necessarily for financial ones.

Which are the Most Popular Services and Activities?

One of the things we wanted to investigate is which activities are considered to be the most important ones, and whether there is a mismatch between demand and supply of services. So we asked our three groups (agency, potential clients, and non-clients) to indicate which activities are the most popular.

Activities Most Often Requested From Service Portfolio of Agencies

Activities Most Often Outsourced by Companies Activities with Most Budget Allocation in Companies that Don’t Hire Agencies

Companies that don’t hire agencies tend to spend only one-fourth (28%) of their time and resources on search engine marketing (off-page SEO, on-page SEO, and SEA). The rest is spread over various activities including analytics (9%), email marketing (10%), social media marketing (11%) and content creation (12%). This statistic reiterates the point we made earlier based on the budget analysis that non-client companies are mostly holistic marketers.

Supply and Demand

There is a mismatch between what agencies focus on and what (potential) clients want to focus on. Search engine marketing seems to be the most important service area for agencies, however it is less important for (potential) clients and far less important for companies who don’t hire agencies at all. Non-clients tend to take a holistic approach to marketing, undertaking content marketing, email marketing, SEO, and online PR with about the same intensity across the board.

Which are the Most Effective Activities?

In addition to popularity of activities, we also wanted to know what works and what doesn’t. We asked our agency and client respondents what are their most effective service deliveries and outsourcing experiences respectively.

Agency vs. Clients Perspective on Most Effective Activities

Client Satisfaction and Agency Industry Net Promoter Score (NPS)

We asked our respondents (who have hired an agency in the past) to indicate the likelihood they would recommend the agency they worked with to a friend or colleague. Based on the data, we calculated the Net Promoter Score of the (SEO) agency industry. We found a shockingly negative NPS of -27%, which indicates a high rate of dissatisfaction.

What are the Main Challenges of Agencies and the Main Concerns of Companies?

The SEO industry is a challenging one, that much is known and understood, but the reason we wanted to do a study was to find out: what are the challenges faced by agencies in delivering satisfactory service to clients, what are the concerns clients have when hiring agencies, and what are the reasons some companies don’t hire agencies.

Challenges of Agencies in Delivering Results

One in five (20%) agencies cite Google updates as a challenge in delivering results to clients. Related to Google updates, a little more than one in six (18%) agencies have trouble educating their client about the changing SEO environment. Number 3 (17%) most cited challenge is related to workflow. The three challenges are very much interconnected. Here’s the scenario as we see it: Google updates its algorithm and with that changes the SEO environment, which (when significant enough like Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird etc.) forces the agencies to change the way they work and in turn change their workflow.

Concerns Companies Have When Hiring an Agency

On the demand side, we saw clients often have trust issues with agencies. One in five (23%) clients is concerned about the lack of transparency, about the way agencies work and the black-hat tactics that service providers might use to achieve short-term results. Clients also worry about service delivery (22%) and are less than confident that a qualitative service will be provided. There seems to be a general lack of confidence in agencies’ capabilities (16%) as well.

Reasons Why Some Companies Don’t Hire Agencies

One in three (33%) companies that don’t hire agencies cite that they have in-house capacity to undertake their SEO activities, effectively making agencies irrelevant for them. About one in six (18%) companies state that they find the costs of hiring agencies too high. One in eight (13%) companies thinks SEO is outdated, and would rather focus on content marketing.

What are the Top Goals for Agencies and Companies in the Coming Year?

One in five (21%) agencies state increasing revenues is their main goal in the coming year. Obviously increasing revenues and increasing number of clients (15%) are goals every company has, but the fact that these were stated by our respondents indicates agencies are not convinced they are living up to their full potential. Developing staff (17%), improving workflow efficiency (12%), and finding out cutting edge ways to increase clients’ Google ranking (12%) have to do with developing a satisfactory service. About one in ten agencies (11%) list developing know-how and skills in content marketing as a strategic goal. Although a small percentage, we believe that more agencies will follow suit. On the clients’ side, one in five (19%) of the non-agency companies report increasing revenues from organic online marketing as a goal for the coming year. In support of the main goal, many companies want to achieve higher Google ranking (13%) and increase organic traffic to their site (12%). A little more than one in ten companies find it important to improve the workflow of their SEO related activities.

All images used are created by linkbird. Full infographic can be found here on linkbird’s site.

How To Search For Only Video Files In File Explorer Of Windows 11

File Explorer is a tool in Windows OS that lets users manage files on their system. There is also a search feature in File Explorer using which users can search for specific files in a particular directory. Like other regular users, you must have used the File Explorer search feature to search for some specific files. Most of the users type only a simple text while searching for the files in File Explorer. Do you know we can apply filters to our search by using syntaxes? In this post, we will talk about how to search for only video files in Windows 11 File Explorer.

How to search for only video files in Windows 11 File Explorer

The syntax feature in File Explorer becomes useful when it comes to search for a particular kind of file in a directory that contains a large number of files with different extensions. Here, we will talk about how to:

Search for only video files in Windows 11 File Explorer.

Search for only the video files with a particular name in Windows 11 File Explorer.

Search for only the video files with a specific format in Windows 11 File Explorer.

Let’s start.

1] How to search for only video files in Windows 11 File Explorer

To search for only the video files in a particular directory on your system, you have to use the following syntax:


The steps to use this syntax are as follows:

Launch File Explorer on Windows 11.

Open the folder in which you want to search for only the video files.

Hit Enter.

After that, File Explorer will show you only the video files with all extensions in that directory.

2] How to search for only the video files with a particular name in Windows 11 File Explorer

Above, we have learned the syntax to search for only the video files. Now, let’s narrow down the search pattern. Let’s say, you have to search for only the video files with a particular name or a specific word in their name. In this case, you have to write that word before the syntax. For example, if you want to search the videos with the name New Year Celebration, you can use any of the following syntaxes:

new year kind:video new year celebration kind:video

Now, let’s assume another condition, where you have named some of your videos as New Year Celebration and others as New Year Eve. If you want to find all New Year videos, you have to type only New Year before the syntax. If you type New Year Eve before the syntax, Windows will not show you the videos with the name New Year Celebration and vice-versa. In this case, the syntax should be like this:

new year kind:video

3] How to search for only the video files with a specific format in Windows 11 File Explorer

The syntax used to search for the files with a specific format is different from that we described above in this article. The syntax is as follows:

ext:.file format

In the above syntax, you have to replace the word “file format” with the actual format of the video file. For example, if you want to search all .mkv video files, the syntax should be like this:


You can also add words before this syntax to narrow down your search results. For example, if you want to search for the Christmas Celebration video files in .mp4 format, the syntax should be like this:

christmas celebration ext:.mp4

Read next: How to decrease the space between the items in Windows 11 Explorer.

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