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Social Skills: Valued Over Technical Ability?

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As technology and automation replace workers, new jobs are created in order to support the machines and adapt to the shift in the economy. But as robots begin to perform surgeries, do your accounting, and manufacture your goods, there will be a shift in skills demanded of workers. Here are a few key changes that can be expected in the coming years:

  • Education: While social skills are not emphasized in today’s curriculum, emphasizing team work can help improve the social skills necessary to survive in today’s job economy.
  • The Current State of Jobs: “Despite the emphasis on teaching computer science, learning math and science is not enough. Jobs that involve those skills but not social skills, like those held by bookkeepers, bank tellers and certain types of engineers, have performed worst in employment growth in recent years for all but the highest-paying jobs.”
  • Women Thriving in the Workplace: “Women seem to have taken particular advantage of the demand for social skills. The decline in routine jobs has hit women harder than men. Yet women have more successfully transitioned into collaborative jobs like managers, doctors and professors.”

At your own workplace, ensure that cooperation and teamwork is emphasized and nurtured. Though your job isn’t likely to be immediately threatened by incoming technology in the immediate future, it may be important to have a backup plan in case it is. This excerpt from the article best summarizes what jobs are under pressure, and which will come to thrive in the coming years: “Jobs that require both socializing and thinking, especially mathematically, have fared best in employment and pay, Mr. Deming found. They include those held by doctors and engineers. The jobs that require social skills but not math skills have also grown; lawyers and child-care workers are an example. The jobs that have been rapidly disappearing are those that require neither social nor math skills, like manual labor.”

Click here to read the full article in The New York Times.

Using the Latest Technology to Increase Productivity

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Part of maintaining a competitive edge in business is making sure you are keeping up to do with the latest technology. The right network and infrastructure can dramatically increase the efficiency of your employees and your company. That said, here are some infrastructure-enhancing technologies that can revolutionize the way your company does business:

  • High Performance Mobile Networks:With over half of all workers using their phones to access work-related content, it is important to have a solid phone and network that will be there when you need it.
  • Social Networking: Interact and target your audience using social media to drive sales and raise awareness for your brand.
  • Cloud Computing: Access your data anywhere with cloud computing technology. Increasing your productivity, data security, and efficiency, you should look into adopting software like Google Drive or Dropbox for your company.

Technology is core to keeping a business up to date. Adopting the technologies above will make for happier employees who are able to effectively do their job by empowering them to effectively manage their data and target your appropriate audience.

Here is the full article on Tech.co

3 Misconceptions About the Internet That Are Costing You Money

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There is no way your business can avoid using the internet, and understanding its users is key to gearing your product towards your audience. Many business owners tend to keep with tradition and will disregard all the business they’re missing online as they don’t see their customers as online shoppers. But the truth is that there is much to be gained from being online, and there are plenty of shoppers who can’t wait to have your product conveniently delivered to them.  Here are a few misconceptions that many companies have while they’re on the internet:

  • I Can Only Reach Young People: Though it’s often tech savvy millennials who are credited for owning the internet, people of all ages are using the internet now more than ever. While young people were quicker to adopt the internet, this simply isn’t the case anymore. Over 58% of seniors are online today!
  • It’s a Boys Club: Internet usage has reached gender parity, with 85% of men and 84% of women using the internet.
  • My Product is Too High End to be Sold Online: People who are online are much more likely to have attended college. Also, though the gap may have narrowed, there are still far more people on the internet who earn over $75,000 than people who earn below $30,000. This means any product will have plenty of potential customers online!

If you ignore the vast amount of customers waiting for you online, they will simply go to your competitors instead. Don’t let preconceived notions of what you think about the Internet hinder your business. Take advantage of what’s offered online by having a Search Engine Optimized (SEO) website, engaging your customers on social media, and generating sales via an e commerce suite on your website.

See the full article with graphs here.

The Price on Your Privacy

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What lengths would you go to in order to avoid having your information sold to a company? You consent to having your information used by Facebook, Hulu, and other web sites in order for them to optimize your experience. But what if a web site gets sold? Well your information now belongs to that new company and guess what: they can use it however they’d like! Many sites state that they will not sell your information to anyone. For example, Nest, an internet-connected thermostat company purchased by Google for $3.2 Billion currently states that your information is not for sale and does not sell its customer list to third person parties. However, how much can you trust the service once it gets bought?

The information being sold can be extremely valuable in targeting you as it is extremely personal. For example, a Texas-based dating company by the name of Truth.com had information on 42 million of its customers’ names, birth dates, sexual orientation, race, religion, criminal convictions, photos, videos, contact information and more. When the company was sold, the state of Texas had to intervene and stop it from using the data gathered from all of its customers as it had promised to protect customer privacy in the user agreement. Because of cases like this, companies are rushing to weaken the language protecting your privacy, and making it easier to be sold. Does a company selling your information bother you? If so, you should consider reading the Terms and agreements before you decide to give your information away.

Read the full story in The New York Times here.

The Key to Entrepreneurship: Patience and Discipline

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The New York Times’ Adam Bryant sat down with Jim Dolce, CEO of mobile security firm Lookout, to ask him about his experience in leadership, and what has led him to his success. As a seasoned entrepreneur, Dolce attributes his patience and company’s structure to his success. Here are a few key points from the interview:

  • On being patient in a fast paced environment: “It takes discipline … When you’re impatient, you attempt to get something done so that you can then, in serial fashion, go to the next thing. Instead, you have to go wide and work multiple issues at the same time and be patient on each of them.”
  • Accountability in Corporate Culture: “If we’re pushing down responsibility into the organization and empowering people to make decisions, then there has to be accountability. Otherwise, you’re just delivering the empowerment into a black hole.”
  • What He’s Learned From Being a Serial Entrepreneur: “When you’re working in a venture-funded start-up, time is of the essence. Investors get impatient. So the lesson there is that real breakthrough innovation is best achieved a step at a time. Technology is something that can be consumed in small bites. You don’t have to take a big bite all at once. “
  • What Advice Would You Give to Would-Be Entrepreneurs? “Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and know that this is going to be hard and there’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting and there’s going to be a lot of disappointment.”

Becoming an entrepreneur involves a lot of hard work, stress, and uncertainty. However, there are fewer things more rewarding in life than having your own business succeed. Through patience and realistic expectations, discipline and accountability, you too can find success with your firm.

For the full article on The New York Times click here.

Properly Engaging Your Customers with Mobile Apps

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With apps being at the core of a consumer’s mobile experience, more companies are optimizing their apps for their consumers. Your company’s app experience is the difference between maintaining an active, happy userbase and an entire demographic labeling your firm as out of date and irrelevant. Ensure your app promotes your business with these simple tips:

  • Keep it Simple: A minimal interface is best, as is an interface that lets customers tailor their app experience to their needs.
  • Make it Fast: Ensure that your app’s code is clean and functional to increase load speeds. Just an extra second added to the load time can lose you 16% of your users.
  • Keep Content Useful: Don’t have an app for just the app’s sake. Whether it is a price comparison tool or a reference book for your product, ensure that your app provides utility for your consumer so they’ll have a reason to download it.

Having an app is a great way to maintain contact with your customers. It will also help you reach a demographic of tech savvy people that otherwise would have never interacted with your brand. By following these tips, you’ll ensure your app maintains a healthy relationship with its users, resulting in an increased number of engaged and loyal customers.

Read the full article here.

Apple’s 5 Big Announcements That Are Important For Your Business

Apple’s WWDC 2015 took place yesterday announcing all of its upcoming releases. How will their upcoming developments affect your business? Here are a few of their new developments which we believe will be important for you:
  1. El Capitan:This is the name of the newest version of Mac OSX. It will be a free upgrade for current Mac machines and boasts increased speeds and a more refined version of Spotlight.
  2. iOS9: Your iPhone’s new operating system will feature improvements to Siri and multitasking. It also introduces a new battery conservation mode. This should make buying a new iPhone 6 or 6+ more compelling.
  3. Apple Pay: Apple Pay has being introduced in the UK, expanding payment options for you and your business abroad.
  4. News: This is the name of the new app that features content based on your history and current context to bring you up to the minute  news that is relevant to you. News will be launching with free articles from The New York Times.
  5. Swift: Swift is Apple’s new open source programming language which will have a huge impact in the programming community.
Having your company adapt to these upcoming technologies shouldn’t be a hassle but it’s important to know what they are and how to utilize them. When it comes to adapting to the latest technology, the goal is to make it an invaluable tool, not an expensive hurdle to overcome.
Don’t fall behind, be in the know.

Apple WWDC 2015 Recap from Mashable

Gain a Competitive Edge in E-Commerce by Optimizing Your Mobile Site

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With mobile transactions gaining an increasingly large share of the e-commerce pie, small business owners need to start asking themselves: how can I best accommodate mobile shoppers?

Mobile’s global average share of e-commerce is 34% and in countries like Japan and South Korea that share is over 50%. While US conversion rates from mobile shoppers are still around 2.46% compared to Japan’s 9.35%, it is still important to note that one can gain a significant competitive advantage from optimizing their mobile e-commerce suite.

Here are a few common shortcomings of small business and easy solutions:

  • Use Mobile Solutions that Make Sense: Opt for all-in-one desktop and mobile e-commerce solution with write-once-publish-everywhere capabilities that will streamline your online presence into a cohesive entity.
  • Ensure Your Site is Mobile Accessible: Avoid large images or too much information in a single page as most mobile users are still running off of the slower 3G network. 40% of users will abandon a site if doesn’t load within 3 seconds so ensure your site will load quickly to avoid losing potential customers.
  • Use Everything that Mobile Has to Offer: Mobile users give your site a lot of information when they go onto your website. Take advantage of this data by adding elements that personalize the user experience for the customer.

Recently, Google has started to give an overwhelming priority in its search engine rankings to websites that are optimized for mobile. Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly will sharpen your competitive edge and vastly improve your online presence. Don’t let your business fall behind – optimize your e-commerce site today!

Click here for the full article on GetElastic

Properly Extracting Value from Data

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Is big data overrated? In a world ruled where metrics are king, raw data is being used to assess the quality of subjective things. We use big data to quantify the quality of teachers, students, and our fitness, but what insights are we drawing from that data?

In the mid-nineties, websites like Facebook were using human judgement to help discern quality insights over mindless data. Asking people how they felt about what was presented to them in their newsfeed granted them insight on what was an absent-minded click and what was an actual engagement.

Big data often fails to consider human factors that are often left unaccounted for. In the case of teachers, big data may determine that a certain teacher is doing poorly, but small data will tell us why that is. Conversely, it can tell us what a teacher is doing right to yield better results amongst children. Big data does a great job of explaining results, but a poor job of explaining how or why you got there. There is no replacement for human inspection and expertise, as much as companies try to avoid doing so.

As optimistic as we’d like to be about using big data to improve our lives and save us money, we can’t let it replace traditional decision making. Instead, we should use it as a tool to make more educated decisions.

To read the full article on The New York Times, click here.

Marketo and LinkedIn Team Up to Offer Personalized Ads

14257556613_4cfd6d3aa7_oMarketo, a digital marketing automation software company, has struck a deal with LinkedIn to use its metrics and database to target ads specifically to LinkedIn, allowing marketers to better hone in on their target market. With GE as its first customer, it is looking forward to engaging consumers with a brand in a more professional context which was previously unavailable. Here are some key points from the article:

  • LinkedIn and Marketo are partnering up: “Marketo brings to the partnership software that automates digital marketing across the Web, email and social and mobile channels. That’s being integrated with LinkedIn’s new ‘Lead Accelerator’ product, which helps marketers deliver more relevant ads by combining data about what part of the brand’s website the person browsed with demographic information from the person’s profile on the LinkedIn professional networking site.”
  • How is this different from LinkedIn’s previous advertising? “The integration essentially bridges paid advertising on LinkedIn with the digital marketing that Marketo is known for and helps advertisers tell a consistent story across those channels, said Marketo Chief Executive Phil Fernandez.”
  • Consumers respond to ads that are consistent through multiple devices: “‘Consumers are expecting relationships to follow them around as they move through all those places,’ Mr. Fernandez said in an interview. ‘We move around devices and apps without thinking about it, but what brands are saying to us doesn’t.’”
  • This advertising strategy adapts for consumers who may take several paths when researching a purchase: “There are multiple paths a customer might take to research and make a purchase decision, including a combination of online channels and offline interactions, like conversations with an actual salesperson, said Andy Markowitz, general manager for GE’s Performance Marketing Labs.”
  • Marketo will not stop with LinkedIn: “For Marketo, the LinkedIn partnership is the latest in a series of deals that aims to help marketers create continuous conversations with customers across digital channels. The company recently reached a deal to integrate its software with Google AdWords and Google Analytics products as well as Facebook’s custom audiences.  Marketo this week is also rolling out new products to help marketers reach customers across all major digital channels through a single software platform.”

LinkedIn and Marketo are sure to make waves with this new service, and will open the possibility of advertising B2B product and services through social media. There is no denying that personalized ads are the future of advertising, and with Marketo and LinkedIn becoming bigger players in the game, we can expect many more changes to come.

For the full article on The Wall Street Journal, click here.