How to “Learn” for Free

Have you Googled it?

People often assume that because technology is so pervasive, everyone naturally gains those skills. In reality, technological savviness has to be learned and honed.

Many older folks have even taken a class on “how to Google” and “how to effectively learn.” Today, the response “have you Googled it?” can often solve most problems. 

As a CEO, when I don’t know something, I read up online for hours; in fact, I spend several hours every day learning new things as well as comparing experiences and seeking advice from other startup founders. 


That is why the FIRST lesson you need to know is how to Google effectively. You are here because you need to raise money and while money solves many ills, if you don’t have it, you’ll have to figure out most of your problems on your own. 

We’ll cover A LOT in this program. Trust me.  You need to continue to learn, however, so make sure you know how to use your best resource.

How to Search on Google:

We have access to a compendium of all human knowledge for the first time in history and it is the best tool and weapon in your arsenal to solve just about ANY problem. Got a question? Google it first, my friend. Tell your team to do the same. It’s free. 

Here are some of the basics on—why you should Google more often, how to Google, and some tips and advanced features you may be missing out on.

You may be asking why this is important. Every company and team is different and while 70% of advice may copy-and-paste over, often you find yourself in a dilemma which neither you nor your team or advisors have faced before. Unless you are curing cancer, there is a very good chance that someone else has had the same problem as you and posted about it online.

1. Use quotes to search for an exact phrase.

This one’s a well-known, simple trick: searching a phrase in quotes will yield only pages with the same words in the same order as what’s contained in the quotes. It’s one of the most vital search tips, especially useful if you’re trying to find results containing a specific phrase.

2. Use an asterisk within quotes to specify unknown or variable words.

Here’s a lesser known trick: searching a phrase in quotes with an asterisk replacing a word will search all variations of that phrase. It’s helpful, for example, if you’re trying to determine a song from its lyrics, but you couldn’t make out the entire phrase (e.g. “imagine all the * living for today”), or if you’re trying to find all forms of an expression (e.g. “* is thicker than water”).

3. Use the minus sign to eliminate results containing certain words.

You’ll want to eliminate results with certain words if you’re trying to search for a term that’s generating a lot of results that aren’t of interest to you. Figure out what terms you’re not interested in (e.g. jaguar -car) and re-run the search.

4. Search websites for keywords.

Think of the “site:” function as a Google search that searches only a particular website. If you want to see every time TIME.com mentioned Google, use the search “Google site:TIME.com”.

5. Search news archives going back to the mid-1880s.

Google News has an option to search over 100 years’ worth of archived news from newspapers around the world.

6. Compare foods using “vs.”

Can’t decide between a burger or pizza for dinner? Type in “rice vs. quinoa,” for example, and you’ll receive side-by-side comparisons of the nutritional facts.

7. Filter search results for recipes.

If you search your favorite food, and then click “Search Tools” right under the search bar, you’ll be able to filter recipes based on ingredients, cook time and calories. It’s the perfect tool if you have certain dietary restrictions.

8. Use “DEFINE:” to learn the meaning of words—slang included.

Streamline the dictionary process by using, for example, “DEFINE: mortgage.” For words that appear in the dictionary, you’ll be able to see etymology and a graph of its use over time alongside the definition. Google will even sift the web to define slang words or acronyms. Try out “DEFINE: bae” or “DEFINE: SMH”.

9. Tilt your screen by searching “tilt.”

This is one of the fun additions built in by Google engineers. Try it out yourself (search without quotes).

10. Search images using images.

Ever come across a photo that looks strangely familiar? Or if you want to know where it came from? If you save the image, and then search it on Google Images (with the camera button), you’ll be able to see similar images on the web.

More Helpful Tips:

Tip 1: Start with the basics.

No matter what you’re looking for, start with a simple search like “Where’s the closest airport?” You can always add a few descriptive words if necessary.

If you’re looking for a place or product in a specific location, add the location. For example, “bakery Seattle.”

Tip 2: Search using your voice.

Tired of typing? To search with your voice, say “Ok, Google” or select the Microphone . Learn more about how to search with your voice.

Tip 3: Choose words carefully.

When you’re deciding what words to put in the search box, try to choose words that are likely to appear on the site you’re looking for. For example, instead of saying “my head hurts,” say “headache,” because that’s the word a medical site would use.

Tip 4: Don’t worry about the little things.

  • Spelling. Google’s spell checker automatically uses the most common spelling of a given word, whether or not you spell it correctly. 
  • Capitalization. A search for New York Times is the same as a search for new york times.

Tip 5: Find quick answers.

For many searches, Google will do the work for you and show an answer to your question in the search results. Some features, like information about sports teams, aren’t available in all regions. 

  • Weather: Search “weather” to see the weather in your location or add a city name, like “weather Seattle,” to find weather for a certain place.
  • Dictionary: Put “define” in front of any word to see its definition. 
  • Calculations: Enter a math equation like 3*9123, or solve complex graphing equations.
  • Unit conversions: Enter any conversion, like 3 dollars in euros.
  • Sports: Search for the name of your team to see a schedule, game scores and more. 
  • Quick facts: Search for the name of a celebrity, location, movie, or song to find related information.
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