Strategies for Improving Workplace Behavior and Performance

From Leadership Expert Dr. Diane Hamilton

Curiosity: The Inspiration for Innovation, Resilience, and Sustainability

In an age of distraction, with market volatility, and constant uncertainty, organizations face challenges to their ability to maintain a resilient workforce. Issues that impact sustainability in innovation include the environment, society, and economics. In constantly changing times, taking the ground most traveled and embracing the status quo is no longer a viable option. Truly resilient organizations must embrace robust transformation. Lengnick-Hall described organizational resilience as, “the capacity to act robustly in the face of environmental turbulence and to adapt to the ongoing environmental changes.” Organizations must look to ideas never considered when developing innovation that is resilient and sustainable.   That is where curiosity can play an important role.

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Inspiring Employees to Innovate Requires Removing Barriers

Attend any leadership conference, and the buzzword will be innovation. The focus on artificial intelligence has made it inevitable. To be truly innovative requires employees who embrace the ability to question processes and policies. It is also essential for employees to feel confident their organization’s culture provides a haven for inquiry and discovery.

Some of the top research organizations have concluded that the need for innovation will require adaptability to focus on skills needed to compete. The McKinsey Global Institute conducted a study of more than 3000 c-level executives in seven countries in 2018, and they found executives believe there will be a need for more advanced technological and cognitive skills; there will be an increase in emphasis on team-based work; nearly 20% of companies believe their executives lack the knowledge to adopt artificial intelligence; and competition for skilled workers will increase, with firms who are early-adopters of automation likely to snag the best talent.

Continue reading “Inspiring Employees to Innovate Requires Removing Barriers”

Opportunity Cost and Its Relationship to Curiosity at Work

When recently researching content for my work on curiosity, I was reminded of the importance of opportunity cost. For those not familiar with the expression, it means, “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” In other words, what do you give up when you make a choice of one thing over doing something else? I meet many people who become paralyzed in their decision-making process because they find weighing alternatives challenging. However, what they might forget is that indecision is a decision.

In business leaders, often think about the benefits, profits, and values of actions and choices, but they often overlook how opportunity costs can be associated with people. If people’s skills are under-utilized and they are not aligned to jobs that match their interests, it is essential to consider the opportunity cost involved.

That is why it is important to consider the value of curiosity. I found that four factors hold people back from their natural levels of curiosity. These include fear, assumptions, technology, and environment. Fear can keep people from asking questions, from researching opportunities, and from exploring their natural creativity. Assumptions that employees might not like an activity or might not be good at it can keep people disengaged from improperly matched jobs. Inability to understand technology or fear of it is often overlooked. A culture or environment that does not promote curiosity can be the one thing that keeps the competition one step ahead in the race.

The opportunity cost of not developing curiosity in our workforce can lead to catastrophic results to the economy. Employees will need to learn new skills as technology replaces less-skilled labor. Organizations might have other opportunities for people who show initiative and creativity. Individuals who fear their jobs could be in danger, need to develop foresight to be proactive to change and become indispensable to organizations.

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Einstein, and others have all credited curiosity with their success. This experience drove me to determine how to ignite that desire in other people. What I discovered was that it was not enough to understand the value of curiosity; it was essential to determine the things that hold people back from being curious. That is why I created the Curiosity Code Index assessment to go along with the book, Cracking the Curiosity Code, to discover the things that impact curiosity and provide an action plan for how to improve.

Cracking the Curiosity Code and the CCI includes everything from:

  • How curiosity impacts engagement, creativity, innovation, and productivity
  • How fear, assumptions, technology, and environment (FATE) can impact curiosity
  • How to set strategies for overcoming the factors that hold people back

The book and assessment are due to be released by the end of 2018. To learn more and get notified of their release, please go to http://curiositycode.com. Consider the opportunity cost of not improving your curiosity. Can you, your company, and your employees afford it?

Top 10 TED Talks for Insight on Curiosity

Curiosity has been linked in engagement, emotional intelligence, communication, motivation, creativity, innovation, productivity and more.  As part of research for Cracking the Curiosity Code, combing through TED talks was a fascinating way to review some important research into the area of curiosity.  The following includes some highlights from some of the most insightful talks that inspire and educate regarding the importance of curiosity.

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Curiosity: The Key to Improving Innovation, Engagement, Creativity, and Productivity

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious” – Albert Einstein

Everyone is born curious. So, what happens? Why do some people become less curious than others? For individuals, leaders, and companies to be successful, they must determine the things that hold curiosity hostage. Think of the most innovative companies, and you will notice they employ people who do not accept the status quo, they are not reluctant to change, they evolve with the times, they look for problems to solve, and focus on asking questions.

Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates held a question and answer session at Columbia University. Just after the 5-minute mark, the moderator asked, “What is it that you two share?” They both answered with the same thing: curiosity. Buffett said, “Well, we both certainly share a curiosity about the world.” Gates said, “I think that curiosity that Warren mentioned, is an amazing thing.”

Continue reading “Curiosity: The Key to Improving Innovation, Engagement, Creativity, and Productivity”

What Holds Us Back? 4 Things Holding Our Curiosity Hostage

We are often told to follow our passion.  Even if we determine our passion, some things hold us back from pursuing our natural sense of curiosity.  Curiosity has been called a sort of mental itch.  There are surprisingly few studies about curiosity because it is difficult to study.  Some people are more naturally curious than others. It can be important to have curiosity hardwired into us because it helps us grow and develop.  There are factors like stress, aging, drugs, genetics, etc. that could impact our level of curiosity.  Outside of medical issues or lack of financial capabilities, I have found four major things that hold people’s curiosity hostage including fear, the way things have always been done, parental/family/peer influence, and technology.

Continue reading “What Holds Us Back? 4 Things Holding Our Curiosity Hostage”

It Wasn’t Curiosity That Killed the Cat

Lack of curiosity is holding people back from having a better job and fulling life. Having taught more than 1000 business courses, I have seen the same issue with thousands of students. The success of those who lack curiosity pales in comparison to those who embrace it. Over the last decade, I have researched the importance of curiosity to improve performance. I have also learned how successful individuals value and develop curiosity through interviewing hundreds of guests on my show. That has led to my interest in doing further research for my forthcoming book about curiosity.

Continue reading “It Wasn’t Curiosity That Killed the Cat”

To Become a Highly Effective Leader: Reduce Fear by Developing Curiosity

It might be surprising, but many leaders fear being discovered for not being as smart as they appear.  Realistic or not, people often look to leaders as if they should know everything. This external pressure often leads to internal pressure.  Leaders fear criticism, failure, making hard decisions, taking responsibility, or being unable to reach an important goal.  Because of this, leaders often surround themselves with experts in areas with which they have less experience or knowledge, which can be a very crucial to their success.  However, this can also keep them from developing some of these skills on their own.  There are other things leaders can do to be truly effective, including developing their sense of curiosity in areas with which they might not normally be comfortable. Continue reading “To Become a Highly Effective Leader: Reduce Fear by Developing Curiosity”

Improving Workplace Conflict Requires Understanding Preferences

How do we know how others would like to be treated if we only look at things from our perspective?  Understanding personality and generational preferences is so important because we learn about opposing or differing perspectives.  To improve some of the key challenges in the workplace requires this understanding.  These challenges include poor soft skills, low emotional intelligence, lack of engagement, and a negative culture.  Many articles address how these problem stem from Boomer and Millennial conflict. Continue reading “Improving Workplace Conflict Requires Understanding Preferences”

5 Top TED Talks for Insight on Employee Engagement

Whenever Gallup’s research comes out, it highlights the low levels of employee engagement that continue to burden organizations and cause leaders to scramble to do something about it. If only 33% of the workers are engaged, there are real problems with productivity, turnover, and a host of other factors that cost organizations more than $605 billion a year. As everyone seeks new ways to improve engagement, it may be helpful to look at what we already have learned through some of the best TED Talks. The following five talks give some great insight into what do to improve employee engagement. Continue reading “5 Top TED Talks for Insight on Employee Engagement”

Has a Book Become the New Business Card?

With the advent of self-publishing, realizing the dream of writing a book has become a reality for more people.  Many guests on my nationally-syndicated radio show have been authors. I was fortunate to interview Sharon Lechter recently, and she brought up how a book has become the new business card.  Sharon, of course, is the co-author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series and several best-selling books based on the recently re-energized Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich series.  Sharon is the ultimate example of a successful author.  Most authors do not have Napoleon Hill Foundation behind their work.  However, many have access to sites like Createspace and others to showcase their writing skills. Continue reading “Has a Book Become the New Business Card?”

One Key Word That Impacts Intelligence, Engagement, Sales, Soft Skills, Gamification, and Millennials

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There is an emotional component behind most of the things that will make or break employees’ and leaders’ success.  When someone first hears the word emotion, it may suggest emotional intelligence.  Developing emotional intelligence is one important factor that has been demonstrated to lead to success.  However, that is just part of the picture. Continue reading “One Key Word That Impacts Intelligence, Engagement, Sales, Soft Skills, Gamification, and Millennials”

How to Develop Top Soft Skills Not Learned at School or Work

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Job listings often describe the skills needed to perform in a position. However, many of the skills required for success fall under the category of soft skills.  Many employees may be hired for their knowledge and yet may end up being fired for their behavior or lack of social skills.  Forbes reported that 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months.  Mitchell Communications Group found that companies lose $37 billion a year in the United States due to miscommunication.  Research from Adecco Staffing considered what the C-suite thinks about the type of skills employees lack. They found that the C-suite believed 44% lacked soft skills including communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.  This has led to missed growth opportunity, low productivity, and reduced profits. Continue reading “How to Develop Top Soft Skills Not Learned at School or Work”

Managing Millennials Requires Understanding Their Values

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Millennials are one of the most misunderstood generations, which has led to frustration in the workplace.  With so many generations working together, it is not unusual that there would be some conflict. The biggest issues have revolved around the clash between Boomers and Millennials.  With varying views on political and leadership issues, as well as differences in the frequency at which they embrace technology, conflict management has become a top concern for many leaders.  Part of learning to manage this unique generation includes understanding and embracing their values. Continue reading “Managing Millennials Requires Understanding Their Values”

The Cost of Low Engagement and How to Improve It

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Many people misunderstand the meaning of engagement. It is important to note that engagement does not mean satisfaction. Engagement refers to an emotional commitment to an organization and its goals.  Engagement, generational conflict, emotional intelligence, and other communication issues are some of the most requested speech topics by organizations. This is not surprising because 60-80% of all difficulties in organizations stem from relationship-based issues.  Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between engagement and performance.  Leaders with high levels of engagement also were more transformational, had higher levels of interpersonal skills, and had a better sense of well-being. Continue reading “The Cost of Low Engagement and How to Improve It”

Soft Skills: Critical to Employee Success

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Attend any leadership conference, and someone likely will bring up startling statistics regarding how employees and leaders lack something they refer to as soft skills. This term is used to describe many qualities that include interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and other personality-based issues. The problem that many organizations have experienced is that people are hired for their hard skills, or in other words, for what they know (knowledge). Then later, are often fired for their lack of soft skills, or what they do (behaviors). If employers recognize the importance of soft skills, they can avoid costly hiring and training mistakes, improve turnover, and boost productivity. Continue reading “Soft Skills: Critical to Employee Success”

Entrepreneur Startup Terminology

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Entrepreneurs have created their own vocabulary.  The Wall Street Journal recently posted some important terms that every startup professional should know: Continue reading “Entrepreneur Startup Terminology”

Stop the Madness with Top Classroom Management Techniques

I have worked with educators in schools and universities across the United States since 2006.  My experience includes teaching, speaking, mentoring, training, program review, and curriculum design.  My goal is to help educators succeed and make a difference in the lives of students.  As a successful educator, coach, national trainer, and speaker, I promise to motivate and inspire educators through my on-site school training and district keynotes.  I share practical, proven strategies for immediate use in classrooms. Continue reading “Stop the Madness with Top Classroom Management Techniques”

Expert Speaker and Trainer, Dr. Diane Hamilton, Available for Corporate Events

I have updated my speaker and training bio. Please click on the picture below to watch the video. To contact me for an event, please go to http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/drdianehamilton/

Entrepreneurs: Help for Getting Started

I had to opportunity to interview Martin “Marty” Zwilling this week.  Marty has an impressive background.  He is a former executive with IBM.  He has served on multiple advisory boards.  He currently works as an author and consultant.  His company, Startup Professionals, is dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs succeed.  He gave some great insight regarding some of the toughest issues facing new entrepreneurs. The following is our six-part interview. Click on the link below the picture.  Scroll to next video with the arrow at the bottom after watching each one. Continue reading “Entrepreneurs: Help for Getting Started”

Entrepreneurs and Celebrities Use Kickstarter for Funding

 

Kickstarter has been a successful crowdfunding option for potential entrepreneurs to garner cash.  However it has not been without some issues.  According to The Wall Street Journal article The Trouble With Kickstarter, “The only thing worse than having to watch your friend’s arty movie is having to pay for it too.” Aside from the problems associated with pestering friends to donate, there have been some successful ventures thanks to this site.  The following list contains some of names of celebrities who have used the site:

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Facebook Better for Following Blogs than RSS

 

Facebook has made it so much easier to follow just about anything.  RSS feeds and Twitter are still an option for many people. However, with Facebook, once someone “likes” a page, it shows up in their feed on their homepage whenever anything from that page is updated.  Unlike Twitter and RSS feeds, on Facebook, it is easier to see pictures and information.

It is simple to create a Facebook page that includes links to blogs like this one.  What I think is great about a Facebook page is that I can incorporate links to this blog, to my other blogs, and any other sites.  It is an all-in-one spot to access information. To see my Facebook page, click here.

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A Professor’s Top 15 Book Recommendations

 

One of the hardest things I had to do when I moved was to get rid of some of my books.  My house was starting to look like a Barnes & Noble.  I kept the textbooks I use for my courses and a few others that I found especially useful or interesting.  The following list is in no particular order.  It contains some of my favorite books that I kept. I often recommend them to my students:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More than IQ by Daniel Goleman  – Goleman is one of the main thought-leaders in emotional intelligence.  This book is easy to read and explains the importance of emotional intelligence.
  2. The Happiness Advantage:  The Seven Principles of  Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by  Shaw Achor – This book included some interesting information about how to be happy.  I liked the author’s style.  It is entertaining and interesting.
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.  This book is required reading in many courses.  Although some students hesitate to pick up “self-help” books, this one is a classic for good reasons.
  4. Emotional Intelligence in Action by Marcia Hughes, Bonita Patterson, James Terrell, and Reuven Bar-On.  This book is a helpful tool to develop emotional intelligence in teams.
  5. The Pig That Wants to be Eaten:  100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher by Julian Baggini.  This strange little book was required reading for a course I taught about foresight.  My technology students love it.  It is filled with short stories. It is not for everyone. However, it is a book that will make you think.
  6. Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner. Gardner’s work in multiple intelligences is an important foundation for anyone studying personality assessments.
  7. The Effective Executive:  The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker. Drucker’s book is often required in management and leadership courses.
  8. The Bugaboo Review:  A Lighthearted Guide to Exterminating Confusion about Words, Spelling and Grammar by Sue Sommer.  This is a fun book to teach spelling and grammar.
  9. Between You and I: A Little Book of Bad English by James Cochrane.  This is helpful book to teach grammar.
  10. Eats, Shoots, & Leaves:  The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.  This is another fun book to explain the importance of punctuation.
  11. It’s Not You It’s Your Personality:  Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Modern Workplace by Diane Hamilton and Toni Rothpletz.  This is a book written by my daughter and me.  It explains all of the top personality assessments and helps readers understand how to get along with other people at work.
  12. The Elements of Style by William Strunk.  This is a classic book on  how to write correctly. Most authors keep a copy of this.
  13. On Writing Well:  The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zessner. I like how Zessner teaches writers to write in a simple way.
  14. The Online Student’s User Manual:  Everything You Need to Know to be a Successful Online Student by Diane Hamilton. This book will help new and continuing students to be successful in online classes.
  15. Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey.  This book contains a compilation of things that managers or entrepreneurs should know but may have never learned.

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Hiring Graduates Based on Personality Skills

HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987.  The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given.  What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, “Prospective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.”  Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits.  Korn also explained, “Measuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”

I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance.  I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test.  Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.

I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses.  Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.

When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact.  It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior.  In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.

It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them.  Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives.  The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change.  This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths.  Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels.  The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace.  The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate.  By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.

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The PayPal Mafia: What is a Serial Entrepreneur?

The PayPal Mafia refers to a group of individuals who created multiple companies that created a frenzy of growth in the Silicon Valley.  The entrepreneurs created PayPal before they set out to develop other multiple successful technology-based companies.  These men are serial entrepreneurs or individuals who, “continuously come up with new ideas and starts new businesses. As opposed to a typical entrepreneur, who will often come up with an idea, start the company, and then see it through and play an important role in the day to day functioning of the new company, a serial entrepreneur will often come up with the idea and get things started, but then give responsibility to someone else and move on to a new idea and a new venture.”

To learn more about some of the individuals associated with the PayPal Mafia check out the following members and how their initial success led to other serial successes:

For a more complete list of the PayPal Mafia members and their accomplishments, click here.

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Creative Disruption or Destruction?

Leaders often have to deal with the effects of creative disruption. According to CreativeDisruption.net, “Creative disruption intentionally brings the challenge or change right to the organization to force it to change and adapt in advance of a random, unpredictable challenge that will eventually reach the organization.” With the creation of innovation, there may be fallout in terms of lost jobs.  However, with loss, there may also be creation of new jobs.  A computer may replace work that was done manually.  At the same time, someone must run the computer.

Creative disruption may be necessary in order to remain competitive. If the competition embraces innovation, they may gain a foothold in the market.  The key is being able to recognize the type of innovation that will allow companies to grow.

Some ideas have actually led to the demise of companies.  An example is the invention of digital images and its impact on Kodak.  The invention of digital images occurred in a lab at Kodak.  This invention not only changed the industry but caused the eventual demise of the company.  Kodak tried to embrace changes, but lacked foresight.   Companies like Kodak may need to embrace new business models when faced with innovative changes.

According to the article Big Data and the Creative Destruction of Today’s Business Model, having a grasp on the importance of managing and understanding data is critical.  “Companies are increasingly experimenting with and implementing ways to capture big data’s potential for both short- and long-term advantage. The crucial success factors are to first think of data as an asset—as the foundation upon which to build propositions and business models—and then to diligently build out the capabilities necessary to capitalize on big data’s potential. And perhaps most importantly, embrace the creative destruction of today’s business models.”

Uber is Uber Cool

Uber is an app (iPhone and Android) that allows you to request a black Towncar or SUV rather than a typical cab in the U.S. and Canada.  When you use the app, it finds your location and allows you to order an “Uber”.  You can see all of the black cars in your area on a map.  You can simply pick the closest driver and the system will send you an alert on your cellphone to let you know the car is on its way.  The service alert includes your driver’s name and his cell phone.  You can even watch the vehicle coming toward your location on the map.

I spoke to a frequent user of Uber who told me that it normally takes about 5-10 minutes for the vehicle to arrive.  The driver opens the car door for you.  They usually have bottles of water, candy, gum, and other handy items. The price is a little more than a standard cab.  However, she felt that the few dollar difference was well worth it.

When you reach your final destination, you do not have to worry about having cash, tipping, or even dealing with negotiations.  Since your information is stored in the app, the receipt is simply sent to your email. They ask you to rate the drivers so that they can be sure they have excellent service.  I was told that drivers need to maintain a 4.7 out of 5 star rating in order to continue driving for the company.

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How to Use iPhone to Connect Computer to the Internet

If you are like me, you may want to use your laptop when you travel.  One way to gain access to the Internet is by using an iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature.  The cellular data connection on the phone will allow you to connect your laptop or desktop to the Internet.

To use this feature, go to the settings on the iPhone (3GS version or later) and chose general and then choose Personal Hotspot. Turn the Personal Hotspot to the “on” position.  The Wi-Fi password will be listed on the iPhone under the Personal Hotspot area next to Wi-Fi password.  The wireless connection should now be listed as a choice on the laptop or desktop computer.  To connect to the iPhone, go to the Internet Access area on the computer and select the iPhone connection option. Then enter that password listed on the iPhone when requested.

When the personal hotspot is turned on it may incur charges so it is important to turn it off when not using it for temporary access.  The Apple support website states that the Wi-Fi hotspot will turn off when no devices are detected, but I was told by a Verizon employee that there may be charges.  I was also told that the phone could not be used when in personal hotspot mode.

According to the Apple Support site, “While devices are connected to Personal Hotspot, the status bar will be blue and will indicate the number of connected users.  The maximum number of supported connections may vary depending on your carrier or iPhone model.”

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Are QR Codes Successful?

 

I am currently reviewing a text about marketing.  Schools hire me to do this on occasion.  One thing that disappointed me was there was nothing in it about QR codes and some of the other newest marketing techniques. QR codes have been around for a while. If you have not noticed them, they are the little barcode-looking square that appears on newspapers billboards, flyers, and even cars.

While QR codes offer some great marketing opportunities, they have not been as successful as other techniques.  In the article QR Codes are Dead! Long Live QR Codes, the author stated, “One of the most popular Tumblr blogs of 2012 is Pictures of People Scanning QR Codes. If you click through to the site you will see that it is empty. The joke here? No one scans QR codes (short for Quick Response code). It is obvious that QR codes have a bad rep and haven’t gained much traction on the consumer end of the equation.”

QR codes have been utilized well by some companies.  I am currently reading the book Neuromarketology by Brian Fabiano.  He is a marketing guru who was wise enough to put a QR code at the end of each of his chapters with the note, “scan to learn more!” Other examples of successful QR code use include:

For more information about how to use QR codes, check out the following articles:

Entrepreneurs Replacing People with Tablets

 

One of the hardest parts of getting a new business off of the ground is to have enough funding.  Many entrepreneurs use family members as personnel in order to avoid paying wages.  It may be quite expensive to hire people to take orders or process requests.  The Wall Street Journal article Can the Tablet Please Take Your Order Now included some examples of how some small businesses have begun to use tablets instead of people in the customer-ordering process.

If customers can order through a digital device, it may not only be cheaper but faster.  There are app-building tools that entrepreneurs can use to create a way for customers to input their orders.  Some companies have used QR codes to speed up the order process. Using apps is another logical alternative. With talk of increasing the minimum wage, some small businesses are looking for ways to remain profitable.  If tablets become a popular way to order, it may impact many minimum-wage workers.  “In all, one-third of low-wage workers are employed by businesses with fewer than 100 employees, according to the National employment Law Project, an organized-labor-backed advocacy group for low-wage workers.”

Not only may entrepreneurs experience some cost savings by utilizing tablets and apps, there may be some other entrepreneurial opportunities for the app designers.  According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Some entrepreneurs see a promising market in selling technologies to small businesses that might help them to streamline operations.”  While this may cost some minimum wage-earners jobs, it may also be opportunities to train them for higher-skilled positions.

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How to Avoid Paying 85% Tax on Social Security

 

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have found out some hard lessons recently about how easily their retirement money can disappear.  One thing they may not have counted on is how much they may be taxed on Social Security benefits.

According to the Social Security Administration Website, the guidelines for paying taxes on social security include:

  • file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
    • between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.

Many adults receive social security as their only form of income. If that is the case, there income level would be low enough that they would not have to pay taxes or even file a tax form.  See topic 423.

For individuals who are lucky enough to have saved a few bucks for retirement, check out the following articles for help to avoid having to pay this high percentage:

  1. When Uncle Sam Wants His Money Back
  2. Avoiding the Social Security Tax Trap
  3. History of Taxation of Social Security
  4. AARP: Social Security and Taxes
  5. How Much Social Security Benefit May Be Taxed

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Famous Entrepreneurs Provide Inspiration

There are plenty of examples of entrepreneurs who failed before they became successful.  Some of them even explain that failure has taught them their most valuable lessons.  While this may be true, many prospective entrepreneurs fear failure.  One way to avoid problems is to learn from those who have experienced negative issues and still managed to succeed.

Entrepreneur.com recently published the article 10 Inspirational Leaders Who Turned Around Their Companies.  In this article, author Stephanie Vozza explained, “From Apple’s Steve Jobs’ demanding personality to Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter’s frugal methods, these sometimes-controversial CEOs weren’t always popular with employees, but they earned the respect of shareholders.”

For some unusual entrepreneurial examples, check out the VentureVillage article The Top Ten Startup Founder Blogs Every Entrepreneur Should Follow.  These entrepreneurs offer a different perspective and update their blogs on a regular basis.

For more information for how to be a successful entrepreneur check out:

Linkedin Endorsements Poorly Utilized

 

Linkedin has provided an opportunity for networkers to endorse the skills of people with whom they are connected.  This was meant to be a time saver for people who normally wrote full recommendations. The idea had promise.  However, it is not being utilized well.  When users sign onto their Linkedin profile, they are given a list of people in their network and asked if they want to endorse them for a particular skill. There is the option of being able to endorse all of the people that pop up as choices.  The problem is, many people are doing that.  People may receive many endorsements from people who have not witnessed some of the skills they have endorsed.  At that point, the Linkedin endorsements become meaningless.

It is far too easy to choose the option of endorsing people as it is currently configured.  If the point was to make recommendations easier, it is understandable that there should be some way to do that.  However, if everyone is endorsing everyone for everything, there is no value to the endorsement.

To find out more about Linkedin’s Endorsements check out the following articles

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Have You Been Retargeted?

 

If you have ever shopped online for an item and then later noticed an ad for that exact item on another page, you have been retargeted.  It may cause some problems for people who are trying to surprise others with something special. Consider the scenario of the man who has searched for engagement rings. If his future fiancé should suddenly have ads for rings show up all over their shared computer screen, the jig may be up!

To see what it is like to be retargeted, try going to the site:  GreatCall.  Once you are on that site, you will notice they sell a phone service.  You might then decide to go to a site like Dictionary.com.  Once you get to the dictionary site, you might notice that suddenly there is an ad for GreatCall.

Now take a look at the top right corner of that ad. There is a little sideways triangle that you can click that explains AdSense.  “The AdChoices symbol appears on web pages and ads to let you know when information about your interests or demographics may have been collected or used to show you ads – what’s known as interest-based advertising. You can opt out of interest-based ads, as well interest-based advertising from other participating companies by visiting the aboutads.info choices page.” Click on the following link to find out how to manage your ad preferences.

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Problems with Crowdfunding

 

Crowdfunding occurs when people network through the internet to raise money to support other people’s ideas or interests. Crowdfunding became popular when Obama signed the JOBS Act bill in April.  Since then, sites like Fundable and Kickstarter have garnered media attention.  Not all information about crowdfunding has been positive.  The Harvard Business Review’s article The Road to Crowdfunding Hell explained some of the problems associated with the process.

The Wall Street Journal’s article Crowdfunding Efforts Draw Suspicion contains some of the latest problems.  The SEC was supposed to review the rules for crowdfunding by January 1.  They missed this deadline. In the meantime there may be some people who have taken advantage of the situatoin.  “State regulators already have taken or considered enforcement action against a handful of companies for allegedly exploiting online fundraising to commit fraud—or simply jumping the gun on the planned rules changes.”

There have been a large number of websites dedicated to crowdfunding.  Over 9000 sites include the word in their website name.  “Crowdfunding enthusiasts say the number of websites being registered reflects the pent-up demand for the financing targeted by the JOBS Act.”

The concern is that there is a lot of interest without a lot of control. “The association of securities regulators says the JOBS Act doesn’t do enough to protect investors.” Crowdfunding Insider claims Education is the Best Weapon Against Crowdfunding Posers.

The following video explains:  The JOBS Act and its impact on crowdfunding.

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Successful Virtual Teams

 

Teams may not necessarily occupy the same building or location.  This may create some unique challenges.  When I trained teams within organizations to be effective, we dealt with personality preferences.  Team members would take the Myers Briggs MBTI to determine their type.  Team members were more effective if they understood why people acted the way they did.

In virtual teams, it is still critical to understand people’s preferences.  However, there are some unique challenges.  Leaders may deal with loosely described job descriptions.  Members of a team may share similar roles.  If team members are in other countries, cultural differences may impact the speed at which decisions may be made.

Trust and communication are still critical.  However, influence may become affected.  According to the Forbes article The Four Keys to Success within Virtual Teams, “The upshot of all this is that managers with geographically scattered teams need a much broader skill set than those with traditional, co-located teams. More than that, they need the ability to switch between skill sets, based on the diversity of their team members and the distance between them. Welcome to a new virtual world of business.”

According to Virtual Team Builders, “80% of corporate managers work virtually at least part of the time; 40% of virtual team members believe their groups are underperforming; 1 in 3 executives agree that teams are poorly managed; 56% of poorly managed virtual teams experience misunderstandings as a result of cultural and language differences; and 70% of attendees multitask during meetings.”

For more information about virtual teams, check out the following articles:

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Top Links for Employee Onboarding

 

New employees go through a process that is referred to onboarding.  This is the time that the company can make employees feel welcome.  It is also a time when they can begin to work on things like creating open communication, sharing a corporate vision, and defining goals. In the article Employee Onboarding, the following list contains high-level objectives of onboarding:

  • Helping the employee to identify with their new employer.
  • Allowing the employee to understand some of the company’s values and priorities.
  • Building an optimistic attitude towards the company.
  • Avoiding misunderstandings.
  • Helping the employee feel valued.
  • Encouraging socialization and creating a sense of belonging.
  • Reducing new employee anxiety.
  • Setting of performance expectations.
  • Decreasing the learning curve.

For more information about how employers and employees can have a successful onboarding process, check out the following articles:

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Top Business and Career Trends for 2013

 

Potential entrepreneurs often look for the next big idea.  With changing technology, it is important to have foresight.  It is not always necessary to be the first company to offer a product or idea.  Facebook is an excellent example of this. Sometimes an idea can be improved upon or tweaked.

Once an entrepreneur comes up with an idea, they must create a feasibility study.  After creating a viable plan, there are some unique ways entrepreneurs may obtain financing.  Crowdfunding and microlending are just one of the latest trends.  Check out the Top 7 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Obtain Funding.

Some experts have tried to predict the next big areas for innovation. There are even sites like Trendhunter that offer trend reports to help with predictions. For those interested in getting ahead of the game, check out some of the top articles on business and career trends for 2013:

  1. Top 4 Career Trends for 2013
  2. Consumer Trends for 2013
  3. Top HR Trends for 2013
  4. 2013 Trend Customers Will Be In Your Face
  5. Mobile Payments Trends for 2013
  6. Mobile Trends 2013
  7. 2013 Trends Affecting Businesses
  8. Biggest Trends in Business 2013
  9. Lean Start-Ups and Connected Economy Trends 2013
  10. 5 Business Trends to Ignore in 2013

The last article is an interesting one, because sometimes people look at trends as positive things.  That may not always be true.  An important point was made in that article.  Bringing value to customers should be a primary goal.

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When Employers Utilize Employee Background Checks

 

Employers have no shortage of prospective employees in this economy.  In order to determine the best candidates, it is not uncommon for employers to run background checks.   Employeescreen.com reported that there may be some debate over the impact of these checks:  “it’s argued by employers that conducting criminal background checks assists in ultimately ensuring a safer work environment for everyone, reducing negligent hiring and criminal activity in the workplace. From the EEOC’s perspective the increase in criminal background checks for employment could cause discrimination in the hiring process.”

Background checks are in the news right now due to The Supreme Court Case of Vance v. Ball State University.

According to the EEOC, the following shows the likelihood of a job candidate to receive a background check:

  • 91% of financial jobs (banking, etc.) with fiduciary responsibility
  • 46% of senior executive positions
  • 34% of positions that require accessing confidential information (medical, salary, etc.)
  • 30% of positions where there is access to property
  • 11% of positions where state law requires it (day care, medical practitioner)
  • 9% of positions with security responsibilities (security guards)
  • 8% of positions involving national defense
  • 5% of positions that involve safety (transportation operation)
  • 3% of positions that involve contact with children and elderly

When Michael Eastman, (Executive Director of the Labor Law Policy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) was asked about when credit checks were performed, he explained, “Different components of applicant background checks occur at different stages in the hiring process. Some employers may check references before an initial interview, some may do so afterward but before creating a final list of candidates. However, as I understand, most employers do not request credit history until the last stage of the hiring process. In other words, employers are not using credit history to compare the credit worthiness of several possible applicants. Instead, they are requesting credit history and potentially other information, on individuals that they are otherwise prepared to hire.”

For more information check out Michael Eastman’s Statement that includes the following issues regarding background checks:

  • Frequency in Use
  • Credit Scores and Information Utilized
  • Dialogue with Applicants
  • Can Credit History Ever be Job Related

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Marketing Based on Personality Type

 

QuantMethod is a site that offers ways to help companies market to customers based upon understanding their personality type.  The Quant Method assessment puts people into 1 out of 4 categories.  According to their site, these types include:

  1. Thinker – “The Thinker likes facts, details, proven examples and is highly organized. Their approach to business is thoughtful, logical and analytical.”
  2. Mastermind – “Masterminds are characterized by a more assertive approach to business. They tend to be fast-paced, results-oriented and get right to the point. They are efficient, logical and task-oriented.”
  3. Olympian – “The Olympian personality type is characterized by an expressive, aggressive approach to business, and aspires to great heights because “everything is possible.” They are emotive and have an easy-going” love of life” approach in her personal dealings.”
  4. Diplomat – “Diplomats are friendly, compassionate, “feeling” people that desire to contribute goodness to the lives of others. They are effective at doing this through their nurturing, insightful and encouraging nature.”

I took the test and I came out as a thinker. I assumed I’d either be that or a mastermind.  The results don’t tell you how close you are to another personality type. The site claims that my results puts me into the same category as George Washington, Michael Caine, Donald Duck, Eliot Ness, and Johnny Carson.  Hmmm … interesting group … especially Donald Duck.  Apparently half of U.S. presidents are “thinkers”.

In the results, it listed tactics about how to appeal to this type of personality in terms of suggested sales tactics.

This company surveys customers to find out their personality type. They claim their instrument is similar to Myers-Briggs MBTI but with 1/6 the size.  The thought process behind this business is that people like to deal with others that are on their same level of thinking.

Time Magazine article Get Personal with Marketing and Net More Sales reported that this Quant Method may be helpful because, “Knowing more about personality types can help you optimize email messages and websites to include specific landing pages with information that the four different personality types like in order increase conversion rates.”

While I find this to be an interesting way to market, it may be difficult to get people to respond to these assessments.  When marketing to a large database, it is not feasible.  I like the concept of targeting to the individual’s needs.  The real trick would be to get people to actually take the assessment.

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Data Reveals What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur

 

The Wall Street Journal recently listed some interesting statistics regarding entrepreneurs.  Ewing Marion Kauffman’s data was used to create an infographic.  According to the article By the Numbers:  Taking the Measure of Entrepreneurs, the following gives more insight as to who becomes an entrepreneur:

  • Age – The average age for an entrepreneur is 40 years old.
  • Education – Over 95% of entrepreneurs hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and over 47% have advanced degrees.
  • Background – Over 71% came from the middle-class and 1% came from extremely rich or extremely poor backgrounds.
  • Funding – For 70% of entrepreneurs, the main source of funding came from savings.
  • Family – First borns accounted for over 42% of entrepreneurs. They had an average of 3 siblings.  Just over half of them were the first in their family to start a business.  Nearly 70% were married and nearly 60% had at least one child.
  • Success – When asked what entrepreneurs felt was important for success, 73% listed luck as an important factor.
  • Location – The highest numbers of entrepreneurs are in Arizona, Texas and California. The lowest numbers are in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Hawaii.

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Companies Interested in Supertemps

 

Welcome to the ever-changing corporate environment.  As virtual jobs become popular, so have other non-traditional job types.  The supertemp is gaining popularity in the business world.  What is a supertemp? According to The Harvard Business Review article The Rise of the Supertemp, “Supertemps are top managers and professionals—from lawyers to CFOs to consultants—who’ve been trained at top schools and companies and choose to pursue project-based careers independent of any major firm.”

Entrepreneurial people may find the life of a supertemp to be appealing.  The author of the Forbes article Are You Ready for the Supertemp, explained that Supertemps may “now pick and choose from among many cool, well-paying projects, sometimes obtained through agencies that work with these high-end independents.

What type of people become supertemps? According to the Darton Equation article What is a Supertemp and Why Should You Care , “Supertemps are refugees from big corporations, law firms and consulting firms. Supertemps value the autonomy and flexibility of project-based work. Supertemps find that the compensation is comparable to what they earned in full-time jobs (sometimes even better). Supertemps leave behind endless internal meetings and corporate politics. Supertemps find any stigma on temporary jobs, and the people who chose them, as laughably dated.”

For those interested in becoming a supertemp, check out the CBS article: How to Become a $600K Per Year Supertemp.

Some job sites are now listing Supertemp in their job descriptions.  Check out this University of Virginia Supertemp opening.

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Glass Ceiling Under Magnifying Lens

 

The recent presidential debate brought attention to women in the business world.  The phrase glass ceiling is often used to describe the unofficial barrier to advancement that women may face in the working world.

In the Business Insider article Companies Really Lose Out When They Don’t Promote Women, author Max Nisen explained “Women are still vastly underrepresented at the top of companies. Only 20 percent of private companies have one or more women in the C-suite and only 6.5 percent have a female CEO.”

This information comes from a new study from Dow Jones Venture Source.  The data from this study showed that only “1.3% of privately held companies have a female founder.”  The good news was that “a company’s odds for success (versus unsuccess) increase with more female executives at the VP and director levels.  For start-ups with five or more females, 61% were successful and only 39% failed.” This data brings forth the question of whether companies could benefit from more female executives.

In the article Women Becoming More Successful than Men, it was noted that women are becoming better educated than men. Women are becoming stronger entrepreneurs as well. Forbes recently reported: “As of 2011, it is estimated that there are over 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Overall, women-owned firms have done better than their male counterparts over the past 14 years. The number of men-owned firms (which represent 51% of all U.S. firms) grew by only 25% between 1997 and 2011—half the rate of women-owned firms.”

The Washington Post explained that women’s issues helped shape the debate. Both candidates tried to show their support for women in business.

Business News reported that there are cracks in the glass ceiling as women gain boardroom seats. Though few women occupy boardroom seats, “Overall, growth equaled 1 percentage point in the past year among Fortune 1000 companies, but was larger among companies listed between 501 and 1000 by Fortune. Women made up 13.6 percent of board members at those companies, up 1.2 percentage points in the past year.”

The debates may bring more attention to women in the workplace, create more discussion and cause more than just cracks in the ceiling.

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Top 7 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Obtain Funding

 

The good news is that entrepreneurs have more options for funding than in the past.  According to Entrepreneur.com, access to capital is improving for small businesses. This may be a frightening time to begin an entrepreneurial venture.   However, there are an increasing number of available financing options. The following list contains some of the most prevalent in the current market.

  1. Banks – The number of people going to banks for loans is increasing. “According to a report this week on banks with more than $10 billion in assets, the overall volume of loan applications increased by 5.6 percent in September over August, reports Biz2Credit, an online credit marketplace in New York City that connects small and midsize businesses with lenders.”
  2. SBA Loans – Entrepreneurs have also traditionally gone with loans from the Small Business Association.  “In 2011… it backed $30.5 billion in 61,689 loans to small business.”
  3. Angel Investors – “Angels invested $9.2 billion in 27,280 startups in the first two quarters of 2012, a 3.1 percent increase in dollars and a 3.7 percent increase in number of entrepreneurial ventures over the same time in 2011, according to a report this week from the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.”
  4. Venture Capitalists – “In 2012, venture capital firms have raised $16.2 billion, representing a 31 percent increase from the $12.4 billion raised in the first nine months of 2011, according to a report from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association released this week.”
  5. Crowdfunding – There have been some unusual ways that entrepreneurs have managed to raise funds.  Crowdfunding has been growing in popularity.  Entrepreneurs can raise funds through networking on the internet.  Supports fund other people’s ideas or interests.
  6. Microlending – One of the top microlending sites is Kiva.org. Kiva is “a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.”
  7. PledgingKickstarter is a unique site allows entrepreneurs to keep ownership and control over their work while tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars to help finance their creative ideas. The idea must reach its funding goal or no money changes hands. Entrepreneurs that receive their anticipated funds, can test concepts without risk.

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Avoiding Entrepreneurial Failures

 

It is the American dream to start a business, achieve growth with that business, and possibly someday pass it along to children or sell it for a profit.  In the article, Boomers Can’t Retire, it was explained how some entrepreneurs have found that they are unable to retire. The American dream may not be as easily attainable as some may think.  The Wall Street Journal article, Venture Capital’s Secret: 3 out of 4 Start Ups Fail, listed some unfavorable start-up statistics:

  • 75% of venture-backed US firms don’t return capital investment
  • Around 30% of start-ups fail completely – 95% if the definition of failure is projected return
  • Nonventure-backed companies fail more than venture-backed
  • 60% of start-ups make it three years and 35% make it ten

Author and Professor at Harvard Business School, Noam Wasserman, has some advice for future entrepreneurs in his book The Founder’s Dilemmas:  Anticipating and Avoiding Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup.  In his book, Wasserman explains, “Often downplayed in the excitement of starting up a new business venture is one of the most important decisions entrepreneurs will face: should they go it alone, or bring in cofounders, hires, and investors to help build the business? More than just financial rewards are at stake. Friendships and relationships can suffer. Bad decisions at the inception of a promising venture lay the foundations for its eventual ruin.”

The new entrepreneur must consider problems they may encounter with people, as well as possible pitfalls he or she may encounter down the road.  By having foresight, the new entrepreneur can learn to be proactive to change.

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Do Job Candidates Lie on Personality Tests?

 

Companies often use personality tests like the Myers Briggs MBTI, emotional intelligence EQ-i, or others like the DISC to determine if potential employees’ personalities are a good fit for jobs.  I noticed a conversation about whether companies should use personality tests for screening employees. It seemed that many of the responses indicated that people will just lie to get the job.

There is the possibility that any subjective, self-administered test could be manipulated.  However, many of the tests have built-in detectors that try to catch inconsistent responses.  For those of you who have taken these tests, you may have noticed that it seemed like they asked the same kind of questions more than once.  Many of these tests reword things several different ways to determine consistency.

I took a personality test for a job as a pharmaceutical representative in the early 80’s.  Because it was a sales job, I knew that they were looking for sales-related qualities.  It was common sense to figure out that since I was applying for a sales position, I should use appropriate adjectives like motivated or driven to describe my personality.

The problem with lying on the personality tests is that in the end, you will end up with a job that does not really fit with what makes you happy.  Also the company will end up with an employee that is not the best match for the job.  In this economy, many people are willing to do whatever it takes to get any job.  However, the experienced HR professional should do more than just use a personality test to determine a good candidate.  These tests can be useful tools if used correctly.  However, they are just one of many tools.

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Apple and Other Top 10 Company Financial Statements

 

With all of the reports about the successes and failures of IPOs in 2012, there may be renewed interest in deciphering financial reports.  The follow are explanations of the four major financial statements.

  1. Income Statement:  One of the most important reports for a company is their Income Statement.  This may be referred to as the Statement of Income or the Profit and Loss Statement. This report shows profits and losses over a specific period of time.
  2. Balance Sheet:  The balance sheet is also referred to as the Statement of Financial Position. The balance sheet displays a company’s position at a single moment in time.
  3. Cash Flow Statement:  This may also be referred to as the Statement of Cash Flows. The Cash Flow Statement shows information about how money flows in and out of a business.  This may be helpful in determining the viability of a company.
  4. Statement of Retained Earnings:  This may also be referred to as e Statement of Changes in Equity.  This statement explains the company’s retained earnings over a period of time.  This will be reported under shareholder’s equity on the balance sheet.

The following are examples of the top 10 company financial statements:

Income Statements:

Balance Sheets:

Cash Flow Statements:

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Boomer Entrepreneurs Can’t Retire

 

One of the things entrepreneurs plan for is the time that they will eventually sell their company.  Currently many older business owners have found it difficult to reap the anticipated rewards of retirement. As the author of the Entrepreneur Exit Strategies for your Business pointed out, “it’s not enough to build a business worth a fortune; you have to make sure you have an exit strategy, a way to get the money back out.” If businesses were once very successful, the economy may have impacted their current worth.  Even with what may once have been considered a strong exit strategy, plans may have been affected by the economic downturn.

Boomers trying to sell their businesses are receiving offers that are not enough to finance their retirement.  In the Wall Street Journal article The Economy Stole My Retirement, it noted that one small business owner expected to sell for $2 million but recent losses from the recession has made that impossible.  She now has seen offers as low as $250,000.

Business owners who had planned to travel and relax in their golden years are now spending 10-12 hours a day or more working to salvage companies.  Some have no foreseeable chance of selling in the future.  Many have put all of their money into their businesses and would have to live only on social security if they let the businesses fail.

While it is admirable to have high expectations for an entrepreneurial venture, it is the wise business owner who does not keep all of his or her eggs in one basket.  Just as Enron employees learned the hard way, it is not a good idea to have all of your money invested in the company in which you work.  If the company goes under, people not only lose their jobs but their life savings as well.

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Companies Jump through Hoops to Please Millennials

Sixty Minutes did a great show on the millennial generation titled The Millennials Are Coming.  In that report, they explained how Generation Y or millennials are unique in their expectations at work.

The Wall Street Journal’s article Firms Bow to Generation Y’s Demands continues to explore how companies are offering incentives and jumping through hoops to keep millennials happy.  This has become a problem for older employees who feel this is inappropriate.

Companies are bowing to younger generations’ needs because, “they bring fresh skills to the workplace: they’re tech-savvy, racially diverse, socially interconnected, and collaborative. Moreover, companies need to keep employee pipelines full as baby boomers entire retirement.”

Companies like Aprimo are dangling the carrot of the probability of a one-year promotion to attract talent.  Their OnTrack program, launched in 2005, has had 100% of participates receive promotions and increased salaries within a year.

Companies are witnessing personality conflicts within the workplace because boomers may view that millennials receive special treatment.  “Boomers often gripe about their younger colleagues as arrogant kids who don’t know how to dress appropriately, deal with customers or close deals.”

The key to handling multiple generations within the workplace may revolve around understanding individual personality preferences. To find out more about personality types in the workplace check out:  It’s Not You It’s Your Personality:  Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Modern Workplace.

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How Businesses can Maximize Online Presence

 

While business leaders may constantly hear they need to maximize their online presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, there may be more that they could do to succeed.  Just having a Facebook or Twitter page is not enough. These sites need to be managed and constantly promoted.

Technology entrepreneur Alex Zhardanovsky was recently interviewed by Fox News about ways businesses can improve their online presence. He explained that Facebook can be used like a newsletter.  He stated, “The nice thing about Facebook is that if you spend money building a Facebook page, you have an audience that does not go away.” This gives businesses an advantage of the old style of having people click on a link and then closing a page where they may never return again.

Facebook allows for more of a conversation where businesses can reach customers on a consistent basis.  The best part is it is a free way to build a relationship with people that may later become paying customers. Facebook Fan pages are a very important thing for business to create.  Businesses can post interesting content so that people will want to interact on that page.  Facebook also allows companies to target specific demographics.

Zhardanovsky recommends using a company called AlphaBoost to help companies build better advertising.  This site allows potential advertisers see how the competition’s ads are performing.  They can see the likes, clicks and views of the competition’s ad. The thought process is that if the business is similar, they will receive a similar reaction to a comparable ad.  He explained that once companies get the “likes” from posting a similar ad, then that is when they can differentiate their business from the competition.

To hear more tips about Twitter and other social media platforms, check out the video interview by clicking here:  Small Biz Tips from Top Tech Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurs Finding Unique Ways to Create Business Plans

 

Entrepreneurs are faced with many challenges when creating a new business.  One of those challenges is to create a feasibility study and business plan.  Entrepreneur.com had a very interesting article about how businesses could utilize some unique ways to help create a business plan.  In the article Should You Create Your Business Plan on Pinterest, author Tim Berry created a sample Pinterest business plan based on a bicycle shop business.  He used charts created by LivePlan.

Berry admits, “The images don’t really tie together, but if this were an actual business plan, they would.”  The point is to show that a plan could be created with the help of a site like Pinterest. He explained, “The complete plan should be a collection of interrelated modules that lay out the goals of the business, the steps to achieve those goals, specific tasks and responsibilities, important milestones and dates, and basic metrics, including projected sales, costs, expenses, profits and cash flow. The business plan’s function is to help entrepreneurs manage better, optimize resources and steer the business into the future. Its form is supposed to follow function, so if you’re looking for a collection of visual images that summarize the plan, Pinterest is a perfectly reasonable platform to use.”

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Texting Offers Latest Marketing Opportunity

As mobile phones have taken over the way people communicate, it is a natural progression for texting to become a marketing opportunity.  In the Wall Street Journal article Teen Stores Try Texts as Gr8 Nu Way to Reach Out, author Christina Binkley explained, “Like many parents who have turned to texting to reach their teens, some youth-oriented fashion brands like Charlotte Russe, Claire’s Boutique and Vans are finding that young people are most accessible by text.”

Texting now can include more rich content, pictures and video.  Marketers can send shopping passes, discounts, and offers.  Rather than merely being a vehicle for chat, texting now offers a way to get customers to opt in and avoid illegal lists or spam.  Customers can selectively pick who they would like to receive offers from, which leads to a higher chance of the sales message being received.  The article stated, “People are five times more likely to open a text than an email.  Five billion people text on mobile phones, while about two billion people use the Internet.”

This new form of communication has increased the speed of receiving offers and acting upon them.  There is immediacy due to the ability to send messages that state things like “get 10% off if purchased within the next 3 hours.”

One of the hardest parts is to get people to opt in to receive the texts.  Retails often post signs to ask customers to opt in by texting short codes.  For more information, check out Top Links Explaining SMS and Short Codes.

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The Ethics of Google

“Don’t Be Evil” is Google’s informal corporate slogan. The founders of Google claimed that this motto explained their culture that “prohibited conflicts of interest, and required objectivity and an absence of bias.” According to Google’s code of conduct page this slogan is, “about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.”

Can Google do business in an ethical manner if they allow for people to search for unethical content? Laws may decide what is legal, but who decides what is unethical or evil?

Every day someone searches for how to do something illegal and/or unethical through utilizing Google’s search engine. How much content should Google censor?  The following articles address Google censorship issues:

U.S. News reported, “The company is based in the United States, and thus must comply with U.S. laws. As a part of its policy, Google already censors things like child pornography, and complies with copyright infringement requests (a heavy volume of which come from videos uploaded on YouTube). Yet because services such as YouTube and Blogger are popular around the world, the company must decide to what extent it will remove content deemed illegal or offensive to foreign governments.”

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Sheldon Cooper is in an EQ Stupor

 

The Big Bang Theories’ Sheldon Cooper is a classic example of why it is important to have a high emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). In the TV sitcom, Sheldon demonstrates what it is like to have a high IQ without a corresponding high EQ.  Daniel Goleman wrote about why this may be problematic in his book Emotional Intelligence:  Why it can Matter More than IQ.

Sheldon is a very intelligent human being. This is something that he constantly points out to nearly everyone he meets.  However, his high IQ is not tempered with interpersonal skills. Having strong intrapersonal and interpersonal skills are an important part of having a well-developed EQ.   Sheldon may be an over-exaggeration of someone that lacks these skills, but we have all met book-smart people who just do not seem to understand how to interact with others.

Some companies’ yearly performance reviews may consider how employees demonstrate  “concern for impact”.  In other words, the company want employees to be aware of how they came across to other people.  Any employee that has to deal with other people on a daily basis must learn to see themselves as other see them. What may seem as perfectly acceptable behavior to an individual may come across as offensive to someone else.  Companies are placing more importance on developing individuals’ EQ levels and hiring people that have already developed interpersonal skills.

Sheldon is almost robotic in his lack of people skills.  He does things because he has been taught that “it is the social convention” to do so.  For people who see any part of their personality in the Sheldon character, I recommend reading Goleman’s book.  I also think that it is important to read books about how to improve EQ levels.  There are some sites on the Internet that help people improve emotional intelligence.  Check out the following links:

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Patients Unknowingly Risk Their Lives with Fake Meds from Canada

 

Patients who obtain medications from Canadian-based suppliers may be risking their lives. Avastin is a legitimate drug used for cancer patients. Some fake Avastin drug has been discovered in the U.S.  It made its way here from Canada.  Although it originated from Turkey, it traveled through several middlemen.  U.S. citizens bought it from a Canadian pharmaceutical supplier. According to the Wall Street Journal article How Fake Cancer Drugs Entered the U.S., Kris Thorkelson’s Canada Drugs Group of Cos sold two batches of fake Avastin to doctors in the United States.

In my 15 years as a pharmaceutical sales representative, I sat through a number of speeches from company leaders regarding the dangers of obtaining medications from outside of the U.S.  My Arizona territory was close to Mexico. Therefore, I heard a lot of stories about patients going across the border to get cheaper medications.  Mexico seemed a little scary to some people due to the economy and developing nature of the country.  Therefore, later, Canada seemed to be the place people went to get a “good deal” on pricing.

Canada used to be able to obtain good medications more easily.  However the Wall Street Journal explained that, “by 2003, big drug makers seeking to protect their U.S. sales shut online pharmacies out of the Canadian supply chain, forcing them to seek supplies elsewhere.” It was at that point that pharmacies like Canada Drugs Group started looking to foreign countries to obtain medications.  Some of these countries do not have the strict guidelines that we have here in the U.S.

The sad thing about this particular case is that many cancer patients may have received fake medications that could cost them serious health issues.  The fake medication contained no active ingredient to help fight patients’ cancer.  The Wall Street Journal article cited a New York oncologist who claimed, “People who receive a fake medication instead of Avastin could have lost several months of their lives.”

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Marketers Use Retina-Tracking and Facial-Scanning Devices

 

The latest technological advances have allowed for marketers to perform experiments that used to be the things only considered in science fiction.   Shoppers may soon have their retinas and facial expressions scanned to determine their product preferences.  Although these scans are not available on the grocery store shelf, they have been used in product research.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “Kimberly-Clark’s researchers used computer screens outfitted with retina-tracking cameras when testing the newest packaging for its Viva paper towels in 2009. Their goal was to find which designs got noticed in the first 10 seconds a shopper looked at a shelf—a crucial window when products are recognized and placed in the shopping cart. They also wanted to know if the preferences held up on different count packages, from single rolls to multipacks.”

Researchers have found that they may obtain more accurate data this way than through the use of traditional surveys.  The retina-tracking devices are useful because the human eye can detect information very quickly.  It’s not just our eyes that can give marketers important information.  Some companies have used brain scans to determine product preferences.  Now with facial recognition software, even more customer data can be compiled as companies can “track involuntary facial expressions to gauge true emotional reaction.”

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10 Top Links to Explain Social CRM

 

Organizations use technology to keep track of customers’ information.  The hope is to build relationships with current and potential customers.  This is referred to as customer relationship management or CRM.  Social media has changed the way companies handle customer relationships.  The following is a compilation of some of the top sources that I have found regarding how social media has impacted CRM:

  1. How Social Media CRM Affects ROI
  2. Don’t Cold Call – Social Call
  3. Facebook is the Future of CRM
  4. Search Engine Marketing:  Effects on CRM and Online Exposure
  5. How Social Media is Changing CRM
  6. Connection Between Social Networks and Cloud Computing
  7. The Impact of Social Media on CRM
  8. Social Network Management Enhances Customer Relationship
  9. How QR Codes Affect Cloud CRM
  10. Empirical Study of Social Network Effects on CRM

As social networking changes and grows, organizations must keep up with those changes in order to remain competitive.  The company that does not create a Facebook page or is not on Twitter, may lose out to companies that have taken advantage of these sites.  There are unique ways to utilize these social networks.  British Airways uses online surveys for customer satisfaction.  Burberry launched a fragrance with Facebook, Salesforce.com and Twitter.

To find out more about social networking and CRM, check out a video by Salesforce.com titled:   What is Social CRM.  Paul Greenberg defines Social CRM as, “a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, process, and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.  Social CRM is the company’s response to customers’ ownership of the conversation.”

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LinkedIn vs. Facebook IPO Success

 

LinkedIn’s recent IPO performance appears to have crushed the perception of big named company IPOs from Facebook, Yelp, Zynga, Groupon and Pandora. Based on their recent closing price, LinkedIn is up 141%. According to BusinessInsider Linkedin is, “the best-performing IPO this year by a huge margin. The next closest competitor, Bankrate, is up about 28 percent from its initial public offering.”

Timing may have been a factor for LinkedIn’s success. They have also seen consistent growth in unique visitors. Investors waiting for highly anticipated IPOs like Facebook may have helped increase the success of LinkedIn as well.

Although Facebook has had a lot of negative press regarding its IPO, CBS news reported that Facebook’s IPO was actually a success. CBS explained, “LinkedIn (LNKD) shares popped from the start in the professional networking company’s 2011 IPO and more than doubled in the first few days.”  Investment bankers made a bundle. This led people to think Facebook had been a flop. However, CBS author Allan Roth explained, “my definition of a successful launch of a new publicly traded stock doesn’t rest on how much money the investment bankers make. It rests on how close the offering price is to where the stock actually trades. The fact that Facebook shares closed at nearly their offering price tells me that that investors thought it was fairly priced. That’s pretty amazing, in my view, given all the hype over Facebook.”

Colin Lokey from SeekingAlpha explained that when comparing Facebook to Linkedin, fundamentals show that Linkedin is overvalued. Lokey warned, “Investors should of course, keep in mind that the fact that LinkedIn is far too expensive doesn’t mean Facebook is fairly valued at half of LinkedIn’s price.”  Prices have been affected by the recent Facebook IPO. Yahoo’s Finance writer Jeff Macke did not share Lokey’s opinion on pricing when he stated, “Linkedin stock has been dragged down over the last few weeks by the undercurrent of the Facebook Titanic.” He sees LinkedIn as a “screaming buy”.

Only time will tell how well LinkedIn and Facebook will perform. BizJournals recently quoted Linkedin’s CFO Steve Sordello about the importance of a company’s IPO results. “”An IPO is a one-time event, and what really matters is the long term. If it rains on your wedding day, you’re going to remember it rained but it’s not going to influence the marriage.”

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What You Should Know About Push Notifications

 

Anyone who has installed iPad or iPhone apps has probably seen the notification: “Would Like to Send You Push Notifications” (with the options of don’t allow or OK).  IpadAcademy.com explains, “Push notifications are a way for an app to send information to your iPad or iPhone even when you aren’t using the app.”  If you’ve noticed the number of email listed on your email icon, that is there due to a push notification.  That notification reminds you that you have mail without making you actually open up the application.

IOS (Apple’s system) is not the only one that utilizes push notifications.  Android and Windows smartphones also use them.  Check out:  Not all Push Created Equal.

Apple’s IOS system provides 3 types of push notifications.  To manage these notifications for an iPad or iPhone, you “Go to Settings > Notifications to choose the apps you want to receive notifications from. You can also select what form you’d like the notice to take – sound, badge, alert or banner, depending on the options the app includes.”  For more help, check out:  IOS:  Understanding Push Notifications.

Some push notifications may be very useful.  However, TheNextWeb explained push notifications need to be smarter.  Having the ability to adjust how they work may need to be adjusted.  Lifehacker explained that push notifications may not be the best thing.  In the article You Should Forget About Push Notifications for Your Email, author Adam Pash stated, “the vibrating pulse in your pocket indicating the arrival of a new email; the unpredictable “ding” from your desktop’s email notification; these things are killing your focus and destroying your ability to work to your capacity.”

Push notifications are an effective marketing tool. Check out the following video explaining why:

MobileMarketer warned that apps need to be pushy but not too pushy to be effective. “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL is not an effective strategy in any marketing channel. An effective push notification strategy should maximize the likelihood of message relevance and a beneficial value exchange between brand and customer.”

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Entrepreneurs: Crowdfunding Options from Fundable

 

Crowdfunding is the latest buzz word in entrepreneurial lending. Fundable is a new company that offers “crowdfunding for startup companies”.  Crowdfunding occurs when people network through the internet to raise money to support other people’s ideas or interests. Fundable’s site allows entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding activities.  Fundable’s site states, “Startups create a funding profile that provides an overview of their company, their fundraising goals, and the rewards they are willing to provide potential backers. Thereafter, they reach out to their personal networks as well as the broader Fundable community to enlist their support.”

 

Backers may pledge money and/or offer assistance.  Fundable mixes Kickstarter-style and equity-based crowdfunding.  Fundable shares similarities to Kickstarter, in that the process involves all-or-nothing funding.  Goals must be met in order to receive the funds and there is no limit to the amount of money that may be raised. Scribd.com explained that there are differences between Fundable and Kickstarter.  “Fundable will seek to fund for-profit companies, while Kickstarter is all about creative projects, like literature, movies and the like.”

 

With the recent push for Obama’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, Fundable may be able to take advantage of the crowdfunding law to solicit funds online from unaccredited investors.  However, Mashable explained, “Crowdfunding legislation is so new that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hasn’t set rules for it and Fundable needs to be approved by the SEC as a broker/dealer before it can handle investments. In the meantime, the company is focusing on offering rewards-based deals — which makes it look, for the time being, like a less-populated version of Kickstarter.”

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Facebook Advertising Appeal

When a company like Facebook goes IPO, there is a lot of discussion about future potential for income.  One area where Facebook may increase revenue is through advertising.  Facebook took a big hit this week when GM killed a $10 million advertising campaign deal. GM claimed that Facebook ads were ineffective.  DailyFinance.com reported, “Click-through rates are much lower on Facebook than they are on the internet generally, or on Google (Facebook: 0.051%, Google: 0.4%, Average: 0.1%)”

One way for an ad to be effective is for it to reach the target audience.  Understanding a company’s target demographic is important.

According to Statista, “This statistic shows the age distribution of Facebook users in the United States as of April 2012. During that period of time, the majority of local Facebook users were between 18 and 24 years old. Furthermore, the most popular Facebook activities of U.S. users were posting on walls and checking the internal newsfeed.”

According to Facebook’s advertising Q&A area, there are some limitations regarding how advertisers may reach a specific demographic.  Other than age and birthday-specific advertising, Facebook targets based on location, interest, education and connection advertising.  This differs from Google that allows targeting by interest, keywords, remarketing, location and demographics.

BusinessInsider explained the difference between advertising on Facebook vs. Google in terms of reach and revenue.  “Total reach for Facebook is 51% of all internet users.  Total reach for Google is 90% of all internet users.  First quarter revenue for Facebook is $1.06 billion, down 6.5 percent year on year and down 32 percent sequentially.  First quarter revenue for Google is $2.09 billion, up 1 percent year on year and up 0.7 percent sequentially.”

Facebook is hoping to use friendships to sell products and brands.  Check out the following video to find out more about this and the importance of geofencing.  According to Amos Content Group, “A geofence is a virtual perimeter around a real area as in within a block of a restaurant. Marketers can use this location-based service to target a passersby who has opted in to send deals or information to smartphones.”  Facebook’s friendship-based approach could influence geofencing.

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Using Giant QR Codes on Cars to Promote Business

 

QR codes may offer sales people a new way to advertise.  Real estate agents are known to put company and contact information on cars as a form of advertisement.  Agents have even begun using QR codes on the “for sale” signs. Interested buyers can scan information about the home instantaneously into his or her cell phone.

Now that QR codes are on just about everything, why not make them into a magnetic attachment for an automobile?  Chevy has already used QR codes on automobiles to promote car sales. “The vehicles are currently undergoing Southern California road testing, so the displayed QR codes will allow consumers to get a closer look at this vehicle even before it is available for sale.”

 

How big can a QR code be?  Check out the 10,000 square foot QR code made that can be viewed from 2 miles up in the sky.

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Difference between Feasibility Study and Business Plan

 

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when creating a new venture.  Although the business plan is one of the most well-known documents, the feasibility study may be just as important.  Before the entrepreneur can seek funding, he or she must demonstrate that the idea is truly a good one.

Rochester.edu explained that a feasibility study, “can be defined as a controlled process for identifying problems and opportunities, determining objectives, describing situations, defining successful outcomes, and assessing the range of costs and benefits associated with several alternatives for solving a problem.”

In order to create a feasibility study, entrepreneurs need to define dimensions of business viability including:  market viability, technical viability, business model viability, management model viability, economic and financial model viability, and exit strategy viability.

A good outline for a feasibility study includes:

  • Introduction
  • Product or Service
  • Technology
  • Market Environment
  • Competition
  • Industry
  • Business Model
  • Market and Sales Strategy
  • Production Operations Requirements
  • Management and Personnel Requirements
  • Regulations and Environmental Issues
  • Critical Risk Factors
  • Financial Predictions Including:  Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement, Break Even Analysis, and Capital Requirements
  • Conclusion

A feasibility study is not the same thing as a business plan.  The feasibility study would be completed prior to the business plan.  The feasibility study helps determine whether an idea or business is a viable option.  The business plan is developed after the business opportunity is created.  StrategicBusinessTeam.com explained, “A feasibility study is carried out with the aim of finding out the workability and profitability of a business venture. Before anything is invested in a new business venture, a feasibility study is carried out to know if the business venture is worth the time, effort and resources. A feasibility study is filled with calculations, analysis and estimated projections while a business plan is made up of mostly tactics and strategies to be implemented in other to grow the business.”

While it may seem the feasibility study is similar in many ways to the business plan, it is important to keep in mind that the feasibility study is developed prior to the venture.  StrategicBusinessStream pointed out that “a feasibility study can readily be converted to a business plan.”  It’s important to think of the business plan in terms of growth and sustainability and the feasibility study in terms of idea viability.

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Today’s Organizations Embracing Virtual Business

 

Traditional brick and mortar businesses may become a thing of the past.  Today’s modern workplace has embraced the virtual environment.  In Managing Innovation by Tidd and Bessant (2009), the authors explained, “virtual organizations are increasingly a feature of the business landscape.”  In the article Virtual Organizations, the author noted, “The ultimate goal of the virtual organization is to provide innovative, high-quality products or services instantaneously in response to customer demands.”

Amazon is an excellent example of an organization that has pioneered virtual business.  Other successful organizations include:  e-Bay, Zappos, and Netflix.  There are some businesses that may not initially seem to be virtual organizations. Jet Blue is one of those companies.  In an article by Cisco Press titled, Defining the Virtual Business and Its Benefits, the authors explain how Jet Blue reduced inventory through standardization, reduced real estate expenses, and allowed employees to work from home.

In the book The Virtual Organization by Davidow, the author explained that virtual products may exist before it is even produced. “Its concept, design, and manufacture are stored in the minds of cooperating teams, in computers, and in flexible production lines.”

To find out more about virtual organizations’ background, characteristics, challenges, and future potential, check out Virtual Organizations.

 

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Facebook Recognizes Importance of E-Commerce

 

Companies are able to increase global reach through e-commerce (short for electric-commerce).  E-commerce occurs when products and/or services are sold over the Internet. Some examples of e-commerce include:  Online shopping, electronic payments, online auctions, internet banking, and online ticketing. E-commerce may be business-to-business, business-to-consumer, or consumer-to-consumer.

Facebook recently acquired Tagtile to grow e-commerce business. Tagtile is a company that is designed to keep customers engaged and motivated to continue to frequent a company’s website. This will help add to their strong advertising revenue. Zdnet stated, “Facebook needs to be able to bundle a solution to sell to brands who want to tap into Facebook’s store of data for closer customer connections. It needs to find an alternative revenue stream to keep its shareholders happy as it builds its e-commerce offerings post IPO.”

To find out more statistics about e-commerce, check out Statista’s site. Statista is a website that provides some important statistics available on the internet. Statista “provides business customers and academic institutions with an innovative and intuitive tool for the research of quantitative data, statistics, and facts.”

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Big Business Embracing Entrepreneurial Thinking

 

Wal-Mart recently inspired an unusual entrepreneurial competition. Inventors could submit product ideas, with the hope of having their product available on the stores’ shelves.  Wal-Mart is not the first company to recognize the importance of fostering creativity in unusual ways. In college-level innovation and entrepreneurship courses, one of the things students learn is that organizations place a high value on entrepreneurial thinking.

Wal-Mart initially created the entrepreneurial contest  to create buzz in social media.  The popularity of the promotion led to some creative ideas by inventors who sought attention for their creations. The Wall Street Journal reported that the winner would have the opportunity to sell on Wal-Mart.com as well as in the physical stores.

The idea of organizations recognizing the importance of entrepreneurial talents is becoming more popular.  Check out some of the following articles that demonstrate the value of entrepreneurship in the modern workplac

  1. Forbes: A Growing Startup Should Hire Only Entrepreneurs
  2. Bloomberg:  Need Innovation? Hire an Entrepreneur
  3. Economic Times:  Top IT Companies Hiring Failed Entrepreneurs
  4. Google Hires Digg Entrepreneur
  5. Andrew Hamilton: Large Companies and Entrepreneurs Can Work Well Together
  6. Companies Hiring Entrepreneurs for Innovation
  7. UC Will Hire Entrepreneur to Set up Companies
  8. Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Large Companies
  9. Leveraging Dynamics Between Large Companies and Entrepreneurs
  10. Entrepreneurs Organization

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Entrepreneurs: Funding Options from Kickstarter

 

Entrepreneurs often find that one of the hardest parts of realizing their dream is to obtain financing.  Some have tried microlending sites like Kiva.org.  Others have discovered a new lending platform called Kickstarter.  The site’s tagline is “a new way to fund and follow creativity.”

Kickstarter describes its site as the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.  This unique site allows entrepreneurs to keep ownership and control over their work while tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars to help finance their creative ideas.  The idea must reach its funding goal or no money changes hands.  Entrepreneurs that receive their anticipated funds, can test concepts without risk.

Kickstarter’s Blog offers advice to those interested in creating a new project. The site allows for people to browse current ideas or to create their own.  To begin a new project dedicated to film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and more, creators can check out Kickstarter school.

Once a project is listed on the site, it displays timeline and pledge information including:  Percent Funded, Amount Pledged, Number of Days Left to Receive Funds.  The picture displayed below demonstrates some examples listed on Kickstarter’s site.  On the site’s curated page, it lists “projects curated by some of the world’s foremost creative communities.” The site also allows users to view projects by staff picks, most popular, recently launched, ending soon, small projects, most funded, as well as by category and location.

 

For additional help with the entrepreneurial process, check out the Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur.  

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Top Entrepreneurial Topics and Value of SBA

 

Are entrepreneurs made or born?  That is just one of the topics addressed in The Wall Street Journal’s report about Entrepreneurs and the Small Business Administration.  The Small Business Administration is one of the first sources my entrepreneurial students consider when asked where they would obtain funds for their venture. Check out some very interesting debates about six small-business issues:

The article about whether entrepreneurs are made or born is something that is discussed in several of my courses.  The above graphic demonstrates some of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.  This discussion creates an interesting debate considering some very talented entrepreneurs dropped out of school.  However, as noted in this article, there is a lot to be gained from education as well as from real life experience.

For more comprehensive information about how to be a successful entrepreneur, check out:  Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur.

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A Day in the Life of an Online Professor

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane Question:  I noticed you work for a lot of universities.  I’m considering working for several universities as well and I am curious what is your typical day like?

Answer:  My days vary, based on how many classes I teach.  I like to teach between 10-15 courses at a time.  I also serve as chair for 10 doctoral students and work on 5-10 doctoral committees.  Additionally I take courses to keep up with technology, education, etc. A typical day usually includes about 8-9 hours of grading papers, providing feedback, responding to discussions/emails, guiding doctoral students with dissertations, and developing curriculum.

I usually look at one school’s information at a time. However, I may have several school sites open at once, if my computer or the site is running slowly.  It helps that schools have different due dates for assignments.  For example, one school may require a “deliverable” or an assignment to be due on Mondays.  Another may have assignments due on Fridays, etc.  Usually it works out that all of the big assignments are spread out over the week.  However, most of them have discussions going on that I respond to on a daily basis. I will go to a school’s site to handle all email, questions, discussion responses, and grade any submitted assignments.  I do the same for the next school, and so on, until I have responded to every single item.  I do not stop working until everything is graded.   Most schools allow instructors a week to grade papers. I do not like to make students wait. If someone has submitted an assignment, I grade it as soon as I log on that day.

On weekends, less homework seems to be assigned, so I work less hours.  I probably work around 3-4 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays.  I do not usually take any days off, but that is not required. Schools usually require 5 or 6 days of work per week.  The nice thing about working as an adjunct is that you can decide how many courses you can handle. You can start off  with just a few and add more if you find you have the time.

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Pharmaceutical Job Candidates: Stand Out With CMR

 

The pharmaceutical job market is extremely competitive.  One way for potential applicants to stand out from the crowd is to become a Certified Medical Representative (CMR).  The Certified Medical Representative Institute has recently launched a pre-hire program, designed for someone interested in entering the biopharmaceutical arena. The program is designed to provide basic knowledge that would help make someone a better candidate or provide deeper knowledge to enhance their abilities in a potential position.

When I obtained my CMR, I found that the training was excellent.  Adding the CMR designation to my business card also demonstrated that I had received training that went above and beyond the industry standard.

CMR’s latest program covers the following topics:

The Biopharmaceutical Industry

  • Overview of the Drug Development Process
  • Promotion and Advertising in Pharmaceuticals

The Sales Environment

  • The Evolution of Managed Care
  • Healthcare Insurance Plans and Healthcare Financiers

The Science of Medicine

  • Systems of the Body
  • Evaluation of Disease
  • Medical Terminology

The Science of Pharmacology

  • Basic Principles of Drug Actions
  • Classification of Pharmaceutical Products

The Biopharmaceutical Representative’s Job

  • The Role of the Biopharmaceutical Representative
  • Elements of Good Communication
  • The Business Planning Process

For more information, check out the CMR Institute.

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Top 25 Links to Change Your Body, Career and More

What is a Meme?

 

There may be some confusion as to the meaning of the word meme (rhymes with dream).  John Gunders and Damon Brown, authors of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Memes, define it as, “A cultural unit of measure.  It can be a thought, a phrase, a style, or any other cultural expression that can be imitated by individuals.  More important, a meme is a replicator; that is, a particle of culture that strives to get itself copied as many times as possible.”

Basically it is an idea that is replicated through imitation.  There is a lot of that going around on the Internet.  If an idea catches on there, it may be referred to as “going viral”.  There is much more than just Internet messages that are memes.  Gunders and Brown explain that things like philosophy, sex, religion and politics also exhibit meme qualities.

It is a unit of culture such as a tune, idea, habit, that makes its way from person to person. It must be short enough to catch on and easily understood.  There are a lot of versions of the following meme that are based on different job occupations.  The template of what others think that the job entails is the same.  People have had some fun putting in their own ideas of the different perspectives of a job.  Here is one for a sales professional:

 

Examples of Memes:

  • Technological:  Rick Rolling – Promising one web site but redirecting to Rick Astley’s music video.
  • Musical:  The opening five bars of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
  • Marketing:  Slogans like “Where’s the Beef?”  The trick is to have something be catchy, memorable and desirable.

The Players and How it Works:

  • The Creator:  Creates the Meme
  • The Hook:  The Enticement to Remember the Idea; Example:  Belief That Others Will Enjoy Idea or That Others Need to Experience the Idea
  • The Bait:  The Desired Result; Example: Positive Benefit of Meme is Realized
  • The Vector:  The Medium that Transports the Idea.  Example:  E-mail, Facebook, Youtube
  • The Host:  The Carrier of the Idea Who Initiates Delivery

Popular Internet Memes:

Popular Concept Memes:

Popular Video Memes:

Popular Picture Memes:

The following list are some websites that explain more about memes:

Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur

 

The following list contains the most popular articles used as supplements in my entrepreneurial courses.  Click on the title name to be directed to the article.

  1. Ten Entrepreneurs Who Hit It Big Before Turning 35
  2. Top 10 Companies Code of Ethics and Conduct
  3. Top 10 Company Mission Statements
  4. Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings
  5. Researching Apple: Top 10 Most Useful Links
  6. Value of Top Companies   
  7. The Top 10 Most Misunderstood Entrepreneurial Terms
  8. Top Five Things to Know to be a Successful Entrepreneur
  9. 50 Famous People Who Failed Before They Became Successful
  10. Top 50 Venture Funded Companies   
  11. Top 5 Networking Tips for Small Businesses
  12. Time for a New Career? Change the Daily Grind to a Job of Your Dreams
  13. 50 Excellent Lectures for the Small Business Owner
  14. An Entrepreneur’s Startup Business Model Checklist
  15. Importance of Being Proactive vs. Reactive
  16. Important Terminology for Entrepreneurs
  17. Chief Officer Acronyms Explained
  18. Top 20 TED Talks Not to be Missed
  19. Companies Rewarding Employees for Entrepreneurial Ideas
  20. Increasing Motivation:  Right Brain vs. Left Brain
  21. Women Becoming Successful Entrepreneurs
  22. Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women
  23. Capitalizing on Manic Depression
  24. What Happens When Genius Leaders Pass the Torch
  25. New Businesses Not Getting Loan Approval
  26. Serial Entrepreneurs Share Words of Wisdom
  27. 10 Famous Product Failures
  28. Microlending:  Funds for Small Businesses
  29. Brand Awareness:  The Importance of Facebook
  30. Top 25 Links to Change Your Body, Career and More

Brand Awareness: The Importance of Facebook

 

Youtube, Coca-Cola and Starbucks are just some of the most popular brands according to “fans” on Facebook.  Companies that have yet to embrace Facebook as an important marketing tool, are missing the boat.  Gourmet Marketing explained, “Businesses carve out an identity and following of customers through Social Media…none is more central than Facebook.”

Seattle Local Marketing’s article Tips on How to Find Fans for Facebook Fan Page stated, “Why is Facebook so useful? If you want to pull a lot of people to look and find out about your business then, the best way is Google since majority of these people use this search engines. However, Facebook comes almost as second in being one of the most accessed sites in the world.”

Social Media Today recently ran an article titled 15 Ways to Use Facebook for Business.  By creating a Facebook page, businesses can create a forum for discussion, facilitate word of mouth, research and test-market products, list press releases, and even hold contests.

Simply Zesty’s article Beer Company Generations $50.7 Million from 400,000 Facebook Fans demonstrates the impact on Facebook fan pages. New Belgium Brewing, “recently surveyed their Facebook fans and found that on average, their fans are spending $260 annually on the company’s products. This equates to $50.7 million in annual revenue, with 400,000 Facebook fans spread out across their products. Not a bad return on investment, given that the company had invested just $235,000 in 2011 in social media campaigns.”

 

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What is Typosquatting? When Misspelling is an Expensive Mistake

 

Typosquatting occurs when a website is created to prey on people who may have inadvertently typed in the wrong web address.  An example would be arifrance instead of airfrance.  Typosquatting is also referred to as URL hijacking, cybersquatting or brandjacking.

The registration of misspelled domain names is illegal. Sites like Wikapedia and Twtter have been shut down and fined $156,000 each.  Mashable reported that sites like these “are popping up on the web to trick unsuspecting web users into clicking on fake ads that claim the user has won a prize. In the case of these two sites, to receive a prize, like an iPad, people were asked for their cellphone number. The site sent a text with a pin and more texts with survey questions. Each time a person responded to the survey questions via texts he or she was charged.”

Alexa reported that some of the web’s most popular sites were typosquatted. Scambusters.org lists some helpful tips to identify typosquatting.  Some of the main uses for these sites include:

  • Revenue Generating
  • Transfer of Virus and/or Malware
  • Phishing Scams
  • Advertising Pay Per Click Scam

USA Today reported that, “most typosquatting domains lead to a bot network, used to steal passwords and obtain personal information such as financial or banking records. Bot networks aren’t obvious and can involve millions of computers.”  According to TGdaily.com, it is a good idea to get into the habit of bookmarking your favorite sites to be sure that you are landing on the correct page. Sixty Four percent of the typosquatted sites are US-based.  Bendelman.org compiled a list of popular domains and their typosquatted sites to compare number of daily visitors.  Click here for that report.

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What is Socialnomics?

 

In Erik Qualman’s 2010 book Socialnomics, he described how socialnomics exists “where consumers and the societies they create online have a profound influence on our economy and the businesses that operate within it.”

Social media is the new word of mouth.  Now that individuals look online to find out information about products from their peers, marketing has taken a new turn. Companies must create a social networking presence in order to survive.

Click here to see some examples of socialnomics in action.

The following video gives some interesting statistics about the social media revolution.

 

Top Links Explaining Texting (SMS) and Short Codes

 

Just as Twitter has grown to be an important marketing tool, texting is not just for stating LOL anymore. There are some very important uses for texting, aka SMS (short messaging service). Check out some helpful links to explain texting terminology and uses:

  1. Donate to Charity – Pew Research recently reported that almost 1 in 10 Americans donate to charity through texting.
  2. Search Sites Like Google – By texting GOOGL (46645), you can search Google without opening your browser. Check out:  Six Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do. Word/number texts like GOOGL (46645) are called common short codes.  Check out:  Basics of CSCs to find out everything you need to know about common short codes.
  3. Send and Receive Email – To find out how to use SMS to access email, check out:  16 Things You  Can Do With SMS Text Messages.
  4. Check the Weather – By texting 4CAST (42278), you can access weather forecasts.  Check out:  Five Great Things You Can Do With a Text Message For Free.
  5. Check Calendar – By texting GEVENT (48368), you can access your Google calendar and schedule appointments.  Check out: Ten Terrific Things You Can Do With Text Messaging.
  6. Track Packages – Your SMS can track your UPS, Fed Ex, DHL and other packages through TrackThis.  Check out:  Run Your Life with SMS:  10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do Via Text.
  7. Learn Texting Abbreviations – You may know LOL, but there is an entire site of information dedicated to explaining what all of those text messaging and online chat abbreviations mean and text message abbreviations.
  8. Text From a Computer – If you have a computer and someone’s 10-digit phone number, you can text them without needing a phone.  The following explains how to text people based on their carrier (i.e., Verizon, AT&T, etc.):  Text from a Computer.
  9. Create a Common Short Code (CSC) – You can create your own CSC campaign by leasing a code.  Check out:  Obtaining a CSC.  Remember the CSC is like GOOGL or 4CAST noted above.  Keep in mind that leasing the code is the first step. You’ll still need to negotiate agreements with each of the wireless carriers to activate your short code. To be part of the CSCA directory listing, click here.
  10. Enhance Business – Business can utilize short codes for contests, lead capture and more.  Check out:  Top 10 Business Goals Enhanced by Short Codes.

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Importance of Being Proactive vs. Reactive

Many good foresight or business courses teach students to be proactive vs. reactive to change.  Anyone who has read The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People will tell you that the very first habit Covey lists is to be proactive. Covey explained that to be proactive “means more than merely taking initiative.  It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives.  Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.”

When a person is in control of an expected or anticipated occurrence, they have taken proactive measures.  When a person is reactive, they are responding to something that they had yet to have anticipated.

In leadership courses, they often give examples of a proactive vs. a reactive leader.  The following chart gives an example of the different mindset of these two styles of leaders. Click on the picture for more information.

Carol Shultz’s article Proactive vs. Reactive Approaches to Your Business and Talent explained two cases that demonstrated how reactive companies lost employees for different reasons, and the associated costs.

There are a number of theoretical models for change that include the importance of being proactive.  Some of these include:

To read more about these and other models for change, click here.

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Top 18 Personality Theorists Including Freud and More

 

Freud, Jung, Adler and other famous theorists’ names are commonly mentioned, but many people do not know the basis of their important research. Theorists have grappled with understanding factors that may impact personality.  Many theorists have dedicated their lives to helping people deal with complex personality-based issues.

In the workplace, it is common to run into personality conflicts.  Many of these may be resolved by having a better understanding of personality preferences.  It’s Not You It’s Your Personality is a book that defines personality, gives detailed information about personality assessments, and explains how people can use this information to be more effective in the workplace. Personality assessments are based on the work of some very famous theorists. The following chart contains some of the top names in personality research. Click on links provided to find out more about these theorists and the importance of their research.

Top Personality Theorists Theory Top Points and Terminology
Sigmund Freud Psychodynamic Psychosexual DevelopmentId, Ego, Super-Ego
Carl Jung Psychodynamic Collective Unconscious, True Persona, Introvert-Extrovert
Alfred Adler Psychodynamic Social Urges, Conscious Thoughts, Compensation for Inferiorities, Birth Order
Karen Horney Psychodynamic Biological Influences on Personality Rather  Than Social Forces
Harry Stack Sullivan Psychodynamic Interpersonal Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem
John Bowlby Attachment Parent Child Relationships, Social Acceptance and Self-Esteem
Mary Ainsworth Attachment Strange Situation Theory, Observation of Parents
Erik Erikson Psychosocial Child’s Trust Relationship With Mother, Early Development
Carl Rogers Psychosocial Humanistic Theory Based on Subjective Experiences, Self-Understanding
John Watson Behavioral Environmental Impact on Behavior
Ivan Pavlov Behavioral Pavlov’s Dog, Classical Conditioning, Temperament
B. F. Skinner Behavioral Operant Conditioning, Rewards and Punishments for Behaviors
George Kelly Cognitive Self-Reflection, Perception and Interpretation Impact on Behavior
Albert Bandura Social Learning Human Capabilities, Structural Framework, Thinking Processes
Walter Mischel Social Learning Social Variables Explain Human Complexities, Delayed Gratification
Gordon Allport Trait Focus on Positive, Traits are Permanent
Raymond Cattell Trait Factor Analytic Trait Theory, 16 Source Traits Including Temperament and Dynamic, State and Roles Determine Personality
Hans Eysenck Trait Three Factor Theory, Introversion-Extroversion, Neuroticism, Psychoticism

8 Important Business Ethics Cases

For those interested in researching some interesting ethical businesses cases, there are plenty from which to choose. Business leaders may feel squeezed by shareholders to produce profits.  Some have made some ethical blunders in an attempt to remain competitive. Others have used their size to squeeze out the competition.  The following includes some important business ethics cases based on well-known organizations:

  1. Enron – Questionable accounting practices and manipulation of the energy supply brought down this company. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is an excellent documentary movie that explains the scandal.  Check out an excerpt from Enron’s Code of Ethics.
  2. Monsanto – Monsanto has been criticized for its mega-size.  Critics fear they are taking over the food supply as well as creating negative environmental issues. Check out Monsanto’s Code of Ethics for Chief Executives and Senior Financial Officers.
  3. Arthur Andersen – Arthur Andersen is known for its unethical auditing practices. Check out The Fall of Arthur Andersen for more complete details.
  4. WalMart – Studies have shown that WalMart may save people money but they may also negatively impact communities.  Their low prices may also hurt suppliers. The company received criticism when leadership announced they wanted to hire healthier, more productive employees. WalMart has been accused of being anti-union and has survived sweatshop and discrimination scandals. Check out WalMart’s Statement Regarding Code of Ethics.
  5. Countrywide – The company offered subprime loans that later resulted in default.  Critics have claimed that Countrywide employees told clients that their properties would increase in value and that their loans would be able to be refinanced when market values rose.  The market values declined causing many to lose their homes.  Check out Countrywide’s Code of Ethics.
  6. Beechnut – Beechnut’s ethics came into question when it was discovered that they were selling “apple juice” to foreign countries that contained something less than apple juice.  For more information on this scandal, check out Beechnut’s History and Apple Juice Scandal.
  7. Starbucks – Clustering strategy may force smaller companies out of business. There were so many Starbucks on street corners that movies like Best In Show made fun of how there might be one Starbucks right across the street from another.  Check out Starbucks’ Code of Ethics for CEO and Financial Leaders.
  8. Nike – Manufacturing practices included producing shoes offshore to save money. Nike has used its share of sweatshops in manufacturing. They have come under fire for human rights violations. Check out Nike’s Code of Ethics.

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Could Augmented Reality Technology Inspire the Next Steve Jobs?

 

One of the biggest obstacles the new entrepreneur faces is coming up with a unique idea.  The Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world have raised the creativity bar.  By creating augmented reality phone apps, certain companies are getting attention.  Autonomy has developed a new technology called Arasmsa that may change how people interact with objects.  It works with a smart phone and can reveal some things that are not readily visible to the naked eye.  Check out the following video:

With the popularity of QR codes and now new technologies like Arasmsa, there is potential for some amazing app possibilities.  For example, you can now point your phone at a magazine and have an app translate the material from one language to another.  There are a variety of augmented reality apps already available on the market.  Check out 40 Best Augmented Reality Phone Apps and 2 Augmented Reality Technologies that are about to Change the World.

The question is who will be the next Zuckerberg or Jobs to create an idea that goes above and beyond what is already out there?  Perhaps they are listed in the article 8 Important Silicon Valley Innovators Not Named Steve Jobs.  Only time will tell.

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Learn Terminology Before Changing Careers

In the current economy, many people have discovered that they must change careers or reinvent themselves in order to keep their current positions.  Some are entering into fields that contain jargon with which they are unfamiliar.  In the article 13 Words Every Sales Training Manager Should Know the author defined words and phrases like:  knowledge transfer, sales enablement, funnel, pipeline and more.  Those entering the field of sales and are unfamiliar with those terms, may feel frustrated and left out of the information loop. 

For those considering a new career, here are some important links to help learn terminology and avoid some embarrassing mistakes:

  1. Terminology Used in Sales
  2. Terminology Used in Business and Entrepreneurship
  3. Terminology Used in Technology
  4. Terminology Used in Online and Education
  5. Terminology Used in Social Networking Sites Like Twitter
  6. Vocabulary Words Adults Should Know
  7. Company Executive Title Explained
  8. Most Misunderstood Entrepreneurial Words
  9. Top Grammar Mistakes
  10. Social Media Writing Mistakes

To find out more about career reinvention click here.

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Chief Officer Abbreviations Explained: CEO, COO, CFO and More

 

There are a lot of abbreviations for top leadership positions that contain the words “Chief and Officer” in the title. It may be confusing to keep the players straight. It may help to explain that a corporate officer holds a management-level position, such as a President, Vice President, or General Manager. Other common positions include:

  • CEO – Chief Executive Officer – This person is the highest ranking corporate officer.  They are the head of management for an organization.  They report to the board of directors. They make high-level decisions about policy and strategy.  The people that report to the CEO include:  The CBDO (Chief Business Development Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), COO (Chief Operating Officer), CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), CCO (Chief Communications Officer), CLO (Chief Legal Officer), CTO (Chief Technology Officer), CRO (Chief Risk Officer), CCO (Chief Creative Officer), CCO (Chief Compliance Officer), CAE (Chief Audit Executive), CDO (Chief Diversity Officer), and CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer).  Steve Jobs was an example of a top CEO.  To find out more about these other chief officer positions, click here.  Check out:  The Best Performing CEO’s in the World.
  • COO – Chief Operating Officer – This person is responsible for the day to day operations or an organization.  Not all companies have one.  In 2006 more than 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies did not have a COO.  This person may also be called the company’s President.  This person could be thought of as the second in command behind the Chairman or CEO.  An example of a top COO is:  Tim Cook was the COO for Apple before replacing Steve Jobs as CEO. Check out: List of Famous Chief Operating Officers.
  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer – This person manages the corporation’s financial risk.  They deal with data analysis, financial planning and record keeping.  Although they report to the CEO, they may also sit on the board of directors.  Peter Oppenheimer is Apple’s CFO.  Check out:  Bonus Babies . . . The Best Paid CFO’s.
  • CMO – Chief Marketing Officer – This person is the head of sales, product development and all things marketing-related.  The CMO can report to either the CEO or COO. Their job is to obtain growth through sales and marketing.  The CMO has become more commonly discussed in recent years.  Check out:  The Chief Marketing Officer . . . A new Boardroom Role.
  • CIO – Chief Information Officer – This person is the head of information technology.  They may report to the CEO, CFO or COO.  They must create strategic goals to increase information accessibility and manage integrated systems.  The CIO and CTO roles are often confused.  Check out:  What is the Difference Between CIO and CTO.

There may be other chief officers’ positions in other industries as well.  For example in hospitals there could be a CMO (Chief Medical Officer), a CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) and a CMIO (Chief Medical Informatics Officer).

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Impact of Boomers Working Past Retirement Years

 

As people are living longer and the age for receiving social security payments is extended, baby boomers have found that they are working well into what used to be considered retirement years.  USA Today reported, “The Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll found a baby boom generation planning to work into retirement years — with 73% planning to work past retirement, up from 67% this spring. The poll involved online interviews with 1,095 baby boomers.” According to the Examiner, “boomers are likely going to work five to 10 years longer before retiring.”

There are currently 77 million baby boomers.  This group has found it difficult to retire because “41% of boomers said they are expecting to have to scale back their lifestyle in some way in retirement and 31% believe they will struggle financially.”

Having a lot of baby boomers in the workplace has had an impact on the post-boomer generations.  In the article Millennials Hoping for Boomers to Retire, it was noted that many people who used to retire in their 60s are continuing to work, making it harder for Millennials to find employment.

There are currently four generations coexisting in the workplace. These 4 generations include:

World War II Generation (aka depression babies) – Those born prior to 1945

Baby Boomers – Those born 1946 to 1964

Generation X – Those born 1965 to 1982

Generation Y (aka the Millennials) – Those born after 1982

Baby Boomers represent the largest segment of the American work force.  However, millennials will be replacing the baby boomer group soon.  According to Harvard Business Review /HBR.org, “The makeup of the global workforce is undergoing a seismic shift: In four years Millennials—the people born between 1977 and 1997—will account for nearly half the employees in the world. In some companies, they already constitute a majority.”

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Top 10 Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big Before Turning 35

 

There was a time when it was unusual to hear about an entrepreneur becoming successful at a very young age.  With the technology boom, the story is becoming more commonplace.  The following list contains the top 10 entrepreneurs whose dreams came to fruition and made them very rich before they hit the ripe old age of 35.

  1. Apple – Creators:  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  Apple was established in 1976, the year Steve Jobs turned 21 and Steve Wozniak turned 26.
  2. Amazon – Creator:  Jeff Bezos.  Amazon was founded in 1994, the year Jeff Bezos turned 30.
  3. Disney – Creator:  Walt Disney.  Disney was founded in 1923, the year Walt Disney turned 22.
  4. Facebook – Creators:  Mark Zuckerburg and his college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Facebook was launched in 2004, the year that Mark Zuckerburg turned 20.
  5. Google – Creators:  Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Google was incorporated in 1998 the year that Larry Page and Sergey Brin turned 25.  Google’s IPO was in August of 2004, the year the men turned just 31.
  6. Groupon– Creator:  Andrew Mason.  Groupon was created in 2008, the year Mason turned 29.
  7. LinkedIn – Creators:  Reid Hoffman and founders from PayPal.  LinkedIn was founded in late 2002 the year that Hoffman turned 35.
  8. Microsoft – Creators:  Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  Microsoft was established in 1975, the year Bill Gates turned 20 and Paul Allen turned 22.
  9. Twitter – Creator:  Jack Dorsey.  Twitter was created in 2006, the year Dorsey turned 30.
  10. Yahoo! – Creators: Jerry Yang and David Filo.  Yahoo! was incorporated in 1995, the year that Jerry Yang turned 27 and David Filo turned 29.

Click on the company names above to find out more details and top stories about these unique companies.

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Things To Know Before Investing in an IPO

 

There is a lot of talk about IPOs lately.  IPO stands for initial public offering.  When a company decides to make shares of the company available to the public, it may sound like a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.  However, it may not be easy or sometimes wise to buy into an IPO as soon as it is offered.

USA Today had an excellent article about Five Things You Should Know Before Investing in an IPO.  According to this article, some of these things include:

  1. Learn the Lingo – Do you know what a red herring is or an IPO offer price?
  2. It’s Difficult to Get In – It may not be impossible, but you may have to be a preferred client.
  3. First-Day Investing May Be Risky – If you like the thrill of rolling the dice, the first day can be a wild ride.
  4. Know the Sales Figures – Find out about the company’s annual sales performance.
  5. Know the Long-Term Outlook – “The Federal Reserve identified two characteristics of successful IPOs in a 2004 study: The companies have been around longer than other companies issuing stock for the first time, and they’re making a profit before they do so.

To learn more about each of these 5 areas, check out the article by clicking the link listed above.

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Companies Rewarding Employees for Entrepreneurial Ideas

 

Gone are the old days of having a suggestion box at work.  Today’s modern company has set up some much more sophisticated ways of obtaining knowledge and creative ideas from their employees.  The following list contains some useful tools that employers have utilized that have even replaced their need to go to outside consulting firms:

  • Innovative Management Programs – Sites like Brainbank, InnoCentive and Spigit are just a few of the popular sites that companies use to allow employees to submit and vote on ideas.
  • Idea-Management Websites –  PriceWaterhouseCoopers created a company site to gather employees’ input about cost cutting, improving customer service and other ways to improve revenue.  These sites can be very successful.  IdeasAmerica, an association for suggestion administration, surveyed customers and found that ideas submitted by employees saved over $110 million or an average of $1256 per idea.
  • Set up KiosksBruce Power is one of many companies who have set up idea kiosks.  Resembling ATMs, these kiosks are easily accessible and allow employees to vote on ideas.
  • Create Financial IncentivesCompanies may give rewards for employees’ ideas that result in cost savings.  They may receive financial incentives or points to use toward rewards.
  • Set Up Idea ChallengesAllstate created an online challenge for its employees to come up with some good ideas about how to create their company app.

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Unusual Uses for QR Codes in the Classroom and Job Market

 

QR codes are those little barcode looking squares that are popping up everywhere.  They are an excellent marketing tool.  They have some unique applications as well.  The article 50 Great Ways to Use QR Codes in the College Classroom lists some unusual uses such as:

  • Using QR codes on name plates to find instructor office hours
  • Adding QR codes to the syllabus to link to classroom calendar
  • Adding to class announcements to create buzz for upcoming events
  • Linking QR codes to lectures, videos or answers to commonly asked questions
  • Linking QR codes to digital portfolios

These are just some of the unique classroom uses.  Click on the link above to read all 50 uses.

For more articles about using QR Codes check out:

Stand Out In Job Market with Mini Resume Cards

Combining a resume with a business card in a smart, easy to read fashion, is a great way to capture a future employer’s attention.  ResuMiniMe is a site that has done a nice job of creating such a card.  In just minutes, job-seekers can create a traditional-sized business card that promotes their strengths while serving as a nice ice-breaker for networking opportunities.  Prices start at $90 for 1000 cards.  Gift packages are available.  A free profile on LinkedIn is required. 

They offer two style choices for the back of the card.  A traditional standard style that lists education and experience is one option.  Also offered is the option to include a QR code on the back.  For more information about using QR codes to find a job, click here. 

The following are examples of the cards that can be created on this site.  The back of the card is shown vertically here for easy readability.

Front (although not listed here, a phone number may be included):

Back Traditional:

Back QR Code Version:

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Top 10 Most Misunderstood Entrepreneurial Start-up Words

 

Some of the most interesting companies right now are considering going IPO?  If you are confused about what that means, you are not alone.  I find that a lot of my students would enjoy reading articles about new start-up companies but avoid them due to the writer’s use of confusing terminology.  Having taught entrepreneurship for many years, I have come up with a list of some of the most misunderstood words that have to deal with entrepreneurs and start-up companies to make things a little easier to understand.  Click on the links provided below for more information about the definition of the term:

  1. Angel Investors – Investors getting startup from self-funded stage to obtaining venture capital.
  2. Bridge Loan – a short-term way to obtain a loan that meets immediate needs for capital.
  3. IPO – Initial Public Offering – when a private company offers stock and becomes a public company.
  4. Limit Liability Company or LLC – legal form of a company providing limited liability.
  5. Me-Too Product – when competitors’ products are basically indistinguishable for yours.
  6. Portfolio – Holdings of a private investor or institution.
  7. Seed-Funded – investment to start a business until the business can fund itself.
  8. Start-up – Differing opinions on this . . . Check out the article:  How do you define a startup?
  9. Valuation – Company’s market worth.
  10. Venture Capital – Money or capital provided to start a business.  Those providing money may be referred to as Venture Capitalists.

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Top Links for Help with Deciphering Web Analytics

 

Sites like Alexa, Compete, Google Analytics and Quantcast can give some important data about website visitors.  If these were the only choices available, it might not be so difficult to choose the best tools for web analytics.  However, there are a lot of sites out there.  They may also have some techy jargon. Some terms that may be confusing to some who are trying to decipher the data include:

To explain the importance of the type of visitor, check out the article: Total or Unique Visitors:   What is the Difference? While many people focus on unique visitors, in an article titled Unique Visitors are not Everything, Jakob Nielson was quoted as saying, “Chasing higher unique-visitor counts will undermine your long-term positioning because you’ll design gimmicks rather than build features that bring people back and turn them into devotees and customers.”

To try and keep it all straight and pick the correct site based on individual needs, check out the following top 10 links with information about web analytics, explanations of popular tools and what they measure:

  1. Web Analytics Demystified – Unique visitors ONLY come in one size.
  2. Alexa Analytics Explained – Take a tour of Alexa’s analytics.
  3. Compete Analytics Explained – Where they get their data and PDF of methodology.
  4. Google Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Google Analytics issues.
  5. Quantcast Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Quantcast Analytic issues.
  6. Top 24 Web Analytics Software Packages – Top software packages explained.
  7. 11 Best Web Analytic Tools – Includes Google, Yahoo, Crazy Egg, Compete, and more.
  8. Alltop Web Analytic News – News about all analytic issues.
  9. Web Analytics Review – Side by side comparison of top web analytic tools.
  10. Yahoo! Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Yahoo! Analytics issues.

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Top 20 TED Talks Not To Be Missed

 

TED.com contains some of the most inspirational, educational and entertaining videos on the Internet.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  The site shares video-recorded talks given by some of the most intelligent and interesting people in the world.  There are plenty of top TED presentation lists on the Internet, that are created based on people’s interests.  One of the most recent subject-specific lists I’ve seen is 20 Essential Ted Talks for Entrepreneurial Students.  This is an excellent list for potential entrepreneurs.

However, TED has far more than just entrepreneur-related topics to offer.  If you plan on getting lost on any site on the Internet, do it on TED. I try to view to as many TED talks as I can possibly fit into my schedule.  Of the ones I have watched recently, I have created my own top 20 list of TED talks that I feel should not be missed:

  1. Arthur Benjamin on Doing Mathemagic
  2. Alain de Botton on A Kinder Gentler Philosophy of Success
  3. Ted Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation
  4. Deb Roy on the Birth of a Word
  5. Dennis Hong on Making a Car for Blind Drivers
  6. Oliver Sacks on What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds
  7. David Bolinksy on Animating a Cell
  8. Anthony Atala on Printing a Human Kidney
  9. Stewart Brand on Does the World Need Nuclear Energy
  10. Adam Astrow on After Your Final Status Update
  11. Jeff Hawkins on How Brain Science Will Change Computing
  12. John Hodgman on Aliens, Love and Where Are They?
  13. Cameron Herald on Let’s Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs
  14. Edward Tenner on Unintended Consequences
  15. Misha Glenny on Hire the Hackers!
  16. Gregory Petsko on The Coming Neurological Epidemic
  17. Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce
  18. Joshua Walters on Being Just Crazy Enough
  19. Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice
  20. Steve Jobs on How to Live Before You Die Speech at Stanford

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Women Becoming More Successful Than Men

 

Women are passing men in their abilities to get a degree, handle families and garner success at work.  As men are falling behind, women are making huge strides.  CNN reported that, “For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men.”

Over half of college degrees are now being awarded to women. “In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women’s earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.”

Women are becoming stronger entrepreneurs as well.  Forbes recently reported:  “As of 2011, it is estimated that there are over 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Overall, women-owned firms have done better than their male counterparts over the past 14 years. The number of men-owned firms (which represent 51% of all U.S. firms) grew by only 25% between 1997 and 2011—half the rate of women-owned firms.”

A study by Barclays Wealth and Ledbury Research may have some of the answers to why women are surpassing men.  One of the reasons they found is that women are less likely to take unnecessary risks or make rash decisions.  The Huffington Post backed up this point stating, “A 2005 study by Merrill Lynch found that 35% of women held an investment too long, compared with 47% of men. More recently, in 2009, a study by the mutual fund company Vanguard involving 2.7 million personal investors concluded that during the recent financial crisis, men were more likely than women to sell shares of stocks at all-time lows, leading to bigger losses among male traders.”

Women Dominating Sales Positions

 

Women are becoming a dominant force in sales positions.  In the article 10 Most Lucrative Industries for Women it was noted, “A recent study found that women are coming to dominate certain areas of sales, a traditionally lucrative field for those who excel. In fact, the study seemed to show that women tend to have better selling skills than men, translating into substantial earnings for saleswomen.”

When women were asked what their top 10 more desired sales careers would be, they chose:

1.    Pharmaceutical Sales

2.    Biotech Sales

3.    Dental Sales

4.    Insurance Sales

5.    Healthcare Sales

6.    IT Sales

7.    Medical Sales

8.    Advertising Sales

9.    Medical Equipment Sales

10.  Real Estate Sales

This is good news for women in the current questionable economy. Monster reported, “In 2010, more employers were willing to invest in their sales forces, having some faith that customers could be cajoled into buying. In October 2010 there were 145,000 more workers employed in sales and related occupations than a year earlier.”

For additional resources about women and sales positions, check out some of the following links:

Women Turning to Cosmetic Sales

Community of Women in Professional Sales

50 Best Careers of 2011

Sales Jobs for Women Search Site

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SitePal and Voki: Add Pizzazz to Your Website or Classroom

There are some fun sites that can be used to animate pictures to add pizzazz to websites or online classrooms.  One of these sites, Voki, is free and is available for non-commercial use.  For commercial use, SitePal starts at just $9.95/month.

Are you looking for a way to create content for an online classroom?  Consider adding a link to Voki.  “Voki enables users to express themselves on the web in their own voice using a talking character. You can customize your Voki to look like you or take on the identity of lots of other types of characters… animals, monsters, anime etc. Your Voki can speak with your own voice which is added via microphone, upload, or phone. Voki lives on your blog, social network profile and will soon be integrated in various instant messaging platforms. You will also be able to download it to most video supported phones.”

Click on the picture below to see what happens if you add a link to your Voki-created file.   Be sure to hit the play button to hear the message once you get there.

 

If you are looking for a way to stand out on your website, resume, email signature line, or other form of social media, consider SitePal. “SitePal is an easy-to-use service that allows you to create a speaking avatar for your website and empower your online communication.” Click on the picture below to see that animation.

 

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Purchasers from Amazon Responsible for StateTaxes

 

Article first published as Purchasers from Amazon Responsible for StateTaxes on Technorati.

Amazon has enjoyed an advantage over their competition.  They have not had to add tax to the purchase amount in states where they don’t have a physical presence.  Slate reported, “According to Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, companies are only required to collect sales taxes from their customers when they have a presence in the state in which they reside.”

This has been a sore spot for many of Amazon’s competitors.  Many of them feel that if they should have to handle the taxes for customers, so should Amazon.  This advantage has made them undersell big competitors like the Apple Store and Best Buy.

Purchasers from the Amazon site may think they are getting a better deal. In reality, there may be taxes owed, but it won’t be by Amazon.  What many people in certain states like Arizona don’t know about their purchases on Amazon, is that it is going to be up to them to keep financial records of what taxes are due.  At the end of the year, when they file their tax returns, these taxes should be included in any amount owed to the government.

According to the Arizona Republic, “If you buy something online from a retailer who doesn’t have a physical presence in Arizona and they don’t charge state tax or the tax from the state where they’re located, then you’re probably liable for the use tax – the 6.6 percent tax. The safest thing to do is if you buy something online and you get a receipt, save it. It’ll probably show if there was any sales tax from the state where it was charged. If there’s not and there is no Arizona tax, then you should think about paying the use tax on that.”

What if you haven’t kept all of your Amazon receipts?  Go to your account page on Amazon and under Order History, click on Download Order Reports.  This tool allows you to put in the date range of purchases to request a report of purchased items.

According to Amazon’s site, “Items sold by Amazon.com LLC, or its subsidiaries, and shipped to destinations in the states of Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, or Washington are subject to tax.”  It is wise to check with your state to see what your tax obligation is.  For more information from Amazon regarding taxes, click here.

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Famous Computer Geniuses with Asperger’s

 

 

In a recent TED.com talk by Misha Glenny, titled Hire the Hackers,Glenny noted at the end of his talk that many famous computer hackers have characteristics that are consistent with Asperger’s Syndrome.  He mentioned he discussed this with Professor of Development Psychopathology at Cambridge, Simon Baron-Cohen, who “confirmed Gary McKinnon who is wanted by the United States for hacking into the Pentagon suffers from Asperger’s.  Cohen explained that certain disabilities can manifest themselves in the hacking computer world as tremendous skills.”

 

This is not the first time that there has been mention of famous hackers having this disorder.  Adrian Lamo, once hunted by the FBI, was institutionalized and diagnosed with Asperger’s.  Cnet News recently reported, “Ryan Cleary, the 19-year-old charged in the U.K. on five counts of computer hacking activity, has Asperger’s syndrome.”

According to Wired.com, “There are no reliable figures on how many people have Asperger’s, but anecdotally a lot of them are drawn into the computer field, particularly the logic-heavy world of coding. BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has diagnosed himself with the disorder, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is frequently speculated to have it.” According to Businessweek, Bram Cohen’s disorder is, “a condition that keeps him rooted in the world of objects and patterns, puzzles and computers, but leaves him floating, disoriented, in the everyday swirl of human interactions.” In the movie The Social Network, some of the mannerisms that the Mark Zuckerberg character displayed may have implied he had Asperger’s as well.

Some other famous minds that have been noted as having Asperger’s include Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.  The article, The Potential Genius of Asperger’s contains a long list of famous people who have been thought to have this disorder.

Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen developed an AQ test that measures the Autism Spectrum Quotient.  “In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger’s report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.” To take the Asperger’s test, click here.

The following is Misha Glenny’s talk from TED:

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Facebook Now Allows Subscriptions to Your Site

Facebook announced a new feature that will allow for people to expand their exposure on Facebook.  People can subscribe to your feed if you set it up for them to do so.  This is a useful tool for companies who have a profile but not a separate Facebook page to promote.  Without having a page set up, the profile site previously required an acceptance by the owner for people to view the content. 

With the new subscribe feature, all that has to be done to allow others to view the profile, is for the owner of the profile to look for the word subscriptions under their profile picture.  By clicking on that, they can enable others to see their updates.

 

This isn’t the only change announced by Facebook. According to TechCrunch, “In addition to Subscriptions, Facebook is also making it easier to tweak the amount and types of content that show up your News Feed. Now, when you’re viewing a user’s profile, you’ll be able to hit a button and choose from three subscription settings:

  • All updates: Everything your friend posts
  • Most updates: The amount you’d normally see
  • Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move

You’ll also be able to choose what kinds of content you want to see (for example, you could opt to block all game-related updates from one of your friends, but keep their photo updates).”

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Top 10 Companies’ Code of Ethics and Conduct

Companies have something called a code of ethics that outlines how they will run their business.  Sometimes they refer to this as their code of conduct. There aren’t always laws to govern things like ethics.  Therefore, it is up to companies to define some of their ethical behavior.

 

via searchenginewatch.com – Google a Little Evil

According to the International Labor Organization, “Unlike labor law, corporate codes of conduct do not have any authorized definition. The concept “corporate code of conduct” refers to companies’ policy statements that define ethical standards for their conduct. There is a great variance in the ways these statements are drafted. Corporate codes of conduct are completely voluntary. They can take a number of formats and address any issue – workplace issues and workers’ rights being just one possible category. Also, their implementation depends totally on the company concerned.”

Click here for an article on the difference between laws and ethics.

The following is a list of some major companies and their code of ethics:

In researching these companies, it was interesting that Facebook didn’t have a clearly defined code of ethics listed in the same way other companies did.  For more about Facebook, check out the Wall Street Journal article:  Facebook Agrees to Work With Government on Germany Privacy Code.

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Scary Things Doctors Do: New Investigative Tool for Patients

 

Most doctors do wonderful things. They take care of their patients and work very hard. I’m married to a fantastic doctor, so I know they exist.  However, having spent 15 years as a pharmaceutical representative, I saw some scary things out there.  It’s important to keep in mind that someone had to graduate last in their class.  Here is a list of things that I actually saw occur in doctors’ offices while I was in the field.

  1. Illegal drug use in doctor’s office – There was one office where the receptionist actually had her boyfriend shoot something (I assume heroine) into her arm while I talked to her through the glass partition that separated the waiting room from the doctor’s area.  The reaction she got from the medication made it clear it was some form of illegal substance.  The doctor walked right by and had no reaction.
  2. Doctors popping pills – There was one doctor I called on who would take Prozac while he chatted, bragging, “I take these things to lose weight.”  This same guy was always popping some form of pill, usually for an off-label use.
  3. Doctors committing fraud – Another doctor in my territory was arrested for charging the government for testing blood that he never actually tested.
  4. Doctors not using best medications to save money – I called on a doctor who once told me that he would not prescribe a drug that he thought he was good for his patients because, as he put it, “that comes out of my budget  . . . if they go to the ER, someone else pays for it.”  He had no problem telling me that he didn’t mind if his patients suffered if it meant he could make a few more bucks from the HMO.
  5. Doctors getting paid by pharmaceutical companies – It is not unusual for a doctor to get paid to speak for certain pharmaceutical companies.  I remember calling on a particular doctor who made it very clear that he not only spoke for a particular company but also had a great deal of stock in that company. Because of this relationship, he had no intention of using competitive products even if they were better.

The good news is that the Internet allows for patients investigate issues with their doctors.  According to the article, How To Find Out if Your Doctor and Drugmakers Are In A Relationship, “The nonprofit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica has a tool you can use to see how much money your doctor has received from drug companies.”  To find out if your doctor is profiting from drug companies, click here to go to the ProPublica site.

 

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Researching Apple: Top 10 Most Useful Links

 

The following list was created to put all of the most useful information about Apple in one easy to find location:

  1. When Was Apple Incorporated?  “Apple was incorporated in the state of California on January 3, 1977.”
  2. When Apple Went IPO Apple’s initial public offering was on December 12, 1980 at $22 per share. “The stock has split three times since the IPO so on a split-adjusted basis the IPO share price was $2.75.”
  3. Apple’s Mission Statement:   Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.  The Apple website officially lists their mission statement as:  “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.”
  4. How to Find Up to the Minute Price on Apple Stock Apple’s ticker symbol is AAPL – click here for 20 minute delayed price.
  5. The First Apple Logo Featured Isaac Newton Newton was sitting under a tree with an apple about to fall on his head.
  6. The Name iPod Came From 2001: A Space Odyssey “As soon as I saw the white iPod, I thought 2001,” Chieco told Wired in 2006. “Open the pod bay door, Hal! Then it was just a matter of adding the ‘i’ prefix, as in ‘iMac.'”
  7. Apple Lists Detailed Information About their Environmental Footprint:  The Apple site lists their total footprint including information from manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and facilities.
  8. Apple’s Annual Report  “Apple does not produce a glossy annual report. Apple’s Form 10-K is available on our website. If you require a hard copy, go to the Request Information form and select the Form 10-K.”
  9. Apple’s Dividend History:  Find Apple dividend and stock split information.  Apple has had three 2- for-1 stock splits in 1987, 2000 and 2005.
  10. Apple Press Releases: This link includes all press releases, including Steve Jobs’ Retirement Letter to the Apple Board of Directors.

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Famous People Capitalizing on Manic Depression

Manic depression or bipolar disorder is a mood disorder where people experience abnormal levels of high energy or depressive states. While generally thought of as a disorder, there are many examples of people who have this disorder and used it to their advantage.

In the article Manic Depression: The CEO’s Disease, the author points out that many leaders can be successful due to the mania involved.  They also may not even realize they have the disorder.  “On average, it takes 10 years from the onset of the illness for a manic depressive to receive a correct diagnosis. In the interim, some of them do very well in business. And as more and more such sufferers come forward, many psychiatrists are convinced that their good fortune is at least partly a result of their illness. Dr. Sagar Parikh, head of the Bipolar Clinic at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, says 10% of those who have manic depression actually perform better in their jobs than a “healthy” individual. “[Manic depression] gives them that extra bit of panache to do the big deal,” says Parikh.”

In Joshua Walters’ Ted.com video, he points out the importance of being just crazy enough. He explains that as a performer, the crazier he is on stage, the more entertaining the audience finds his act.   He decided to embrace his illness and now walks the line between what he calls mental illness and mental skillness.  He points out that there is a movement to reframe the hypomanic part of the illness and to look at it is a positive.  He refers to John Gartner’s book The Hypomanic Edge where Gartner writes about how this edge allows people to compete.  Walters explains that being this way maybe doesn’t mean you are crazy, but that you are more sensitive to what others can’t see or feel. 

In the New York Times article Just Manic Enough:  Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs, author David Segal explained how people could take advantage of being in the bipolar spectrum.  Segal noted, “The attributes that make great entrepreneurs, the experts say, are common in certain manias, though in milder forms and harnessed in ways that are hugely productive. Instead of recklessness, the entrepreneur loves risk. Instead of delusions, the entrepreneur imagines a product that sounds so compelling that it inspires people to bet their careers, or a lot of money, on something that doesn’t exist and may never sell.”

Tom Wooten, author founder of the Bipolar Advantage, has made it his “mission to help people with mental conditions shift their thinking and behavior so that they can lead extraordinary lives.” He sees it as being bipolar without requiring the word disorder.

The following is a list of famous successful people who have been labeled as having manic depression:

Ted Turner Manic Depression

Jim Carey Manic Depression

Abraham Lincoln Manic Depression

Vincent Van Gogh Manic Depression

Christopher Columbus Manic Depression

Edgar Allen Poe Manic Depression

Steve Jobs Manic Depression

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Manic Depression

Ludwig van Beethoven Manic Depression

Robin Williams Manic Depression

For a more complete list of famous people with manic depression, click here.

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How to Publish or Self-Publish Your Book

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  I am thinking about publishing a book.  What do I need to know about finding a publisher or trying to self-publish?

It can be quite challenging to get your first book published through a large publishing house.  Many new authors find that they must end up self-publishing.  Some are choosing to self-publish now because of the way that the industry is changing as well.

Seth Godin, is a well-established author who used to use the big publishing houses, recently decided to self-publish.  Godin decided to do this because he had enough customer relationships and felt he no longer needed the publisher.  Publishers can offer a lot of advantages for a new author.  However, once an author is established and has identified their audience, they may not be as necessary.  According to the Wall Street Journal Godin is quoted as saying, “Publishers provide a huge resource to authors who don’t know who reads their books. What the Internet has done for me, and a lot of others, is enable me to know my readers.”

If you decide to go the publisher house route, here are some things you must keep in mind.  There is a very high probability that publishers will turn down you book unless you have an agent, a strong proposal, a very unique book idea, and most importantly a strong platform.

The word platform gets tossed around quite a bit in the publishing world.  What they mean when they say they want you to have a strong platform is that they want you to have a “following” of people that will probably already want to buy your book once it comes out.  They would like to see you have a popular blog, a TV show, a radio show, are a celebrity or have written previous books, etc.  If you don’t have a platform, there is a good chance that they will turn you down.

If you do have a platform and want to use a publishing house, you will need to start the process by finding an agent.  To do this, you must develop a query letter.  Once you develop a good query letter, you will send this to agents that handle the type of writing that interests you.  I suggest reading Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents.

Once you send your query letters to agents, you may get some that respond.  If so, you must be prepared to have a strong book proposal to give them.  There are plenty of books about how to write a book proposal based on the type of book (fiction or nonfiction). There is a very specific format about how to write a proposal and it is important that you stick to that format.  The proposal will contain several things including some brief information about the proposed chapters.

Many people think they need to have written the complete book prior to finding an agent. This is not true.  It is good to have one solid chapter to send to the agent, though, in case they do like your proposal.  Do not send this chapter until it is requested though.  It is important to start with the query letter. If there is interest, then you would send the proposal.  If there is interest, then you would send the sample chapter.

 

If you cannot get a publishing house to publish your book, many people go the route of self-publishing.  There are some very simple ways to self-publish including using Amazon’s CreateSpace. Sites like this have made it easier and less expensive than ever before to get your book published.  The nice thing is that the days of having to print large amounts of books that require storage are gone.  With sites like Createspace, books are printed as they are ordered.

Self-publishing has changed the publishing industry.  Because of sites like Amazon, many stores like Borders have had to close their doors.  People have enjoyed the ability to have a variety of book choices and the ease of ordering online.

If you do decide to self-publish, be sure that you have a good editor and an indexer.  Createspace and others like them, offer help with a lot of things like cover design and more.  The more things that you need help with, the more it will cost.  However, these sites have made self-publishing a much easier and more realistic choice for authors than anything offered in the past.

Make a Free Easy App Without iTunes

It can be quite frustrating and difficult to create an app that iTunes will accept.  I found a quick little way to create a free app that is easily accessed through a site called ConduitMobile.  You need to access the site to create the app through Safari instead of Explorer though.  If you don’t have Safari, you can download that easily for free.  

Once on the ConduitMobile site, it is very simple to create a decent app that contains things like RSS feeds, websites, Youtube feeds, contact forms and more.  When you are finished creating the app, you can test it on your computer screen to see how it looks.  When you are happy with the app, you can simply pick the option of “Web-based App Open on Mobile Phone”.  This will generate a QR code that you can scan with your QR Reader.  You can have this QR code and link sent to your email address.

If you scan the QR code, that will open the page to your app on your phone.  At this point, you click on the icon at the bottom of your iPhone that looks like a circle with a pen in it.  At that point, it will ask you if you want to open in Safari.  Pick yes and this will open up the website on your phone so that you can save it to your home screen. 

To see how it works, scan this code into your reader or click here to see more about the code and app.  By scanning in my code listed below, you can have access to my articles, Youtube videos and more on your iPhone. 

An even easier way to get the app onto your iPhone is to just use the link that is sent to your email that contains the QR code.  The link for the one above is http://drdianehamilton.mobapp.at/.  Simply open the site like this one on your phone and save it to your desktop.  You can also go to that link and forward it to people by entering their email address.  Keep in mind though that, unlike an app you download from iTunes, this app will be web-based and will require an Internet connection to display the information. 

Watch the following video for step by step directions about how to create your free app without having to go through iTunes:

Increasing Motivation, Right vs. Left Brain, MBTI and Who Will Rule the World

Dan Pink, author of several books about motivation and left vs. right brain thinking, presented a very entertaining and informative talk at a TED.com conference called Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation. The premise of his presentation was that there is a mismatch between what science knows about, and what business does, in terms of motivating people.

He made a strong argument for the importance of how having autonomy may help creativity.  A famous example he used is how Google allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on any project they want.  He noted how ½ of all products developed at Google are created during this time.  He argued for something he called ROWE which stands for Results Only Work Environment.  This is when people don’t have to have schedules, attend meetings or do anything specific other than to be sure that they get their work done.  By following these guidelines studies have shown it will increase productivity and reduce turnover.

Two of Pink’s books include:  Drive . . . The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us; and A Whole New Mind . . .Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World.  After looking through his book on “right-brainers”, I found a lot of what he had to say to be quite interesting.  He pointed out the importance of empathy which is a big part of emotional intelligence.  For my dissertation, I studied quite a bit about empathy and the part it plays in one’s emotional intelligence.  Researchers like Daniel Goleman, Ruevan Bar-On and others have shown that emotional intelligence can be developed.  In this respect, what Pink had to say is good news for everyone because we can all work on becoming more empathetic.

The part of Pink’s information that may not be such good news for me and others like me is that he thinks that, as you can see from the title of his book, right-brainers will rule the world.  Before reading any further, you might want to take this right or left brain quiz to find out your type.  I’ll let you know that I received a 2 which means I am strongly left-brained.  Not much right-brained thinking going on here!

 

To define the difference between left and right-brained, think of it this way:  Left-brainers are sequential, logical and analytical.  Right-brainers are non-linear, intuitive and holistic.

His theory supports that those with a high N or Intuitive personality type in the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) may be the ones who rule the world.  The N is the opposite of the S or Sensing personality who uses their senses rather than intuition in their processing of information.  In my training to become a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, I learned quite a bit about the differences between the personality types assigned by the MBTI. One of the main things researchers have found is that your MBTI results don’t change much over time.  It’s about preferences . . . .like whether you prefer to write with your right or your left hand. Think of the MBTI results as your preferences for how you obtain information and this won’t change.  So if you are an intuitive or an “N”, you will always be an intuitive and if you are a sensor or “S”, you will always be a sensor.  Some people may be very close to the middle of the scale between S and N and so their results won’t be as cut and dry as they may find their type changes slightly when they take the MBTI.

Dichotomies
Extraversion (E) – (I) Introversion
Sensing (S) – (N) Intuition
Thinking (T) – (F) Feeling
Judgment (J) – (P) Perception

In our book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, Toni Rothpletz and I gave several examples of famous people with different MBTI results.  The qualities of the right-brainer, as described by Pink, fall very much into the category of the “N” or intuitive personality portion of the 4 letter type given by MBTI. What is interesting to me is that less than half of people have an “N” or intuitive personality type according to Myers-Briggs MBTI which is close to the about 50% figure experts say are right-brained.

If our type is pretty much set in stone, then 50% of us aren’t going to rule the world!  I guess I am OK with that.  However, I do take solace in knowing that my MBTI personality type, ESTJ, accounts for l0-12% of the population and of that population some very big names also share that type including Sam Walton, creator of WalMart.  He may not have ruled the world, but he came pretty darn close.

How to Use QR Codes on Your Resume and Business Cards

QR codes are the latest thing in marketing.  They are in the newspapers, on billboards and on just about every kind of marketing material you can imagine. Now you can utilize this amazing new technology to make your business card and/or resume stand out from the rest.  This is an innovative way to show prospective employers that you are tech savvy.  It also can redirect them to important information on your website that you cannot include in your resume. 

Here is an example of how to put one on your business card. 

Anyone with a smartphone that has an app for reading QR codes can easily point their phone at your card and find out more information about you.  If you don’t have a QR reader app on your phone, they are easy to download from sites like iTunes and they are free.  I use QR Reader for iPhone.  Once you have the app on your phone, open it, and point the phone’s camera at the square on my card.  See how it directs you to a site. 

The QR codes are simple to create.  Check out this article:  how to create your own QR codes.

Here is an example of how to include them on your resume:

 
If you used your reader to scan these codes listed here, you can see they each will send you to a different site.  You may just want to send them to your LinkedIn page or some other website that showcases your abilities.  You could create a presentation in Google Docs or on YouTube that would make you stand out from the crowd.  If you have always felt that you could get that job if only they could see you, now is your chance.  Just be careful to create quality content on the site where you direct potential employers. 

To see QR codes in action, check out this video about how QR codes are changing the way people shop:

Neuromarketing: The Future of Advertising

In Morgan Spurlock’s movie, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, there is a scene where they discuss neuromarketing. Spurlock is put into an MRI machine and shown product images.  The information obtained showed dopamine was released when he looked at images of Coca Cola.  His desire for the product was actually visible on the brain scan. 

What is neuromarketing?  Tech.FAQ defines neuromarketing as, “a field of marketing that involves studying the way people react to marketing techniques and adjusting those techniques to maximize sales and inform the public about a specific product, idea, or campaign. Neuromarketing includes the use of biometric sensors, social studies, and subliminal messaging. While neuromarketing is a relatively new technique, it has been widely implemented in recent years and nearly every marketing agency and medium-large company in the world now uses it.”

Just less than a year ago the question was asked:  Is neuromarketing the future?  AdvertisingAge stated, “Neuromarketing offers a chance to get accurate, factual data about the buying habits of target markets.” However, they also pointed out that, “At the end of the day, neuromarketing is still in its infancy. A technology that is unproven outside of laboratory conditions, prohibitively expensive, and potentially a legal minefield is a technology that requires a lot of capital and a solid brand to experiment with.”

The future may be here sooner than anticipated.  Combining neuroscience and marketing may just be the next big thing available through the use of apps.  ThreeMinds reported, “large companies like Google, Disney, Microsoft and Chevron have already begun to dip their toes in the neuromarketing waters.  And research vendors have responded, recently announcing the availability of portable EEG devices that can wirelessly transmit brain scans to iPads, as well as “full-brain home panels” for original research studies.”

Marketing professionals may be able to use this technology prior to products coming onto market.  Currently researchers from Duke and Emery are studying how products appeal to the human brain

iTunes offers a free series of videos from the University of Warwick about neuromarketing. In these videos, find out how “Cognitive neuroscience has revolutionized our understanding of the consumer’s brain – a fact with huge implications for business and marketing…you will hear from practitioners, clients and academics at the forefront of neuromarketing. Hear how neuroscience is being applied commercially to research and develop new products and services, improve the effectiveness of communications and boost revenue.”

Young Adults and Unique Identity Theft Issues

As more people have embraced technology, more opportunities for identity theft have been created.  PC Magazine author Larry Seltzer interviewed a cyber-crimes expert and found that there are some unique new ways that people have their identities stolen.  One of the things that may come as a surprise is that misconfigured peer-to-peer apps like Limewire can share information from your “My Documents” folder.

While you may be hip to the Nigerian scams, you may not be aware of skimmers on ATMs that can read your credit cards. Seltzer explains, “These are devices which install over the reader appear to be part of the machine. When you insert your card the skimmer reads it and records the information on it. They are often used in combination with surreptitious cameras to record the keys you press for the PIN. Skimmers are especially popular on gas pump, but they are also being used on the smaller point of sale readers found in stores.”

CNN Money reported that the top consumer complaint is identity fraud.  “The Federal Trade Commission counted 250,854 complaints about identity theft in 2010, according to a report issued Tuesday. That was 19% of the 1.3 million total complaints the agency received, putting it at the top of the consumer complaint list for the 11th year in a row. The most common form of identity theft was through fraudulent government documents. Credit card fraud garnered the second highest number of identity theft complaints, followed by phone and utilities fraud.”

Many young adults are going back to school soon.  College students may feel they are invincible and not notice identity theft as quickly as they should.  They are less likely to track their bank accounts and credit card statements.  Mainstreet.com reported, “Studies have shown that it takes 18- to 24-year-old Americans twice as long to find out they’ve been the victim of I.D. fraud – which is usually too late to do anything about it.”

Wells Fargo has come up with tips for college students to safeguard their financial information.

Fraudpreventionunit.org also has listed 10 Tips for an Identity-Theft Free 2011.

Doctors’ Time Running Out To Meet HIPAA 5010 Requirements

Effective January 1, 2012 there will be a new HIPAA 5010 version that will be a required for doctors to use for electronic filing.  If physicians don’t use version 5010 for all HIPAA electronic transactions by that date, their claims will be rejected and they won’t be paid.  Doctors are feeling the pressure to get their systems ready for this change.  Many physican practices have not embraced the electronic age as well as other businesses have and are now behind the eight ball, scrambling to meet these new standards.

Medcost.com reported, “The purpose of 5010 is to facilitate the country’s ongoing goal of transitioning to an electronic health care environment by updating the current standards for electronic health care and pharmacy transactions. The updated 5010 versions replace the current versions of the standards and will promote greater use of electronic transactions. This change has been driven by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”

There are some helpful resources to show doctors how to prepare for this transition.  GetReady5010 offers free webinars.  The AMA also has some excellent resources. Despite all of these free offerings, many physicians are not prepared for this change. American Med News reported, “Many physicians have not even begun to see if they are compliant with what are known as HIPAA Version 5010 standards. According to a survey released in March by the Medical Group Management Assn., 56% of practices have not scheduled any internal testing for 5010, and 61% have not scheduled any testing with their major health plans. The survey covered 349 practices with 13,290 doctors.”

What’s new in the HIPAA 5010 version? Some of the changes include:

  • Physicians must submit a nine-digit, rather than a five-digit, ZIP code
  • Physicians may distinguish between principal diagnosis, admitting diagnosis, external cause of injury and patient reason for visit codes
  • 5010 set will allow for the inclusion of ICD-10 codes

Nextgen.com listed the following frequently asked questions relate to HIPAA 5010 to help understand requirements.  Click on the links for answers to each of the questions.

  1. What is HIPAA 5010?
  2. Who will need to upgrade to HIPAA 5010?
  3. Why must I upgrade to HIPAA 5010?
  4. How is HIPAA 5010 different from HIPAA 4010?
  5. What are the key dates for HIPAA 5010 and what is the deadline for HIPAA 5010 implementation?
  6. What happens if I’m not ready by the compliance deadline?
  7. Is there a chance for a delay in the compliance date?
  8. What do I need to do to prepare for the upgrade to 5010?
  9. If I finish all of this work before the compliance deadline, can I start to use the 5010 transactions?
  10. What provider transactions are implemented with HIPAA 5010?
  11. Where can you obtain the X12 Technical Reports?

Who is Buying Stocks When Everyone Is Selling?

With the recent stock market drop, there was a mass sale off of stocks.  This may lead to the question:  If everyone is selling, is there a chance that there are stocks that no one wants to purchase?  The answer is technically no.  There are always as many buyers as there are sellers and that keeps the system going. 

If you are wondering who would want to buy stocks when the market is going down, the answer is:  a lot of people.  Some shares are picked up through options and some are picked up through money managers that have been waiting for a strike price. 

There are many people who set up stock limit orders so that when a stock hits a certain dollar amount, it is automatically purchased.  According to Money.cnn.com, “If you place a market order with your broker, then you are saying that you’re willing to buy at whatever happens to be the prevailing price for the stock. If you have a specific price in mind, you can set a limit order specifying the price you’re willing to pay. If the stock dips down to that level, your order will be automatically filled. Limit orders can be left open for a single day (a day order) or indefinitely (good until canceled). After you’ve bought a stock, you can instruct your broker to sell it if the price drops to a level you specify (a stop loss order). That’s a kind of insurance; it means that no matter what happens to a stock’s price you’ll never lose more than a specified amount.”

Some may look at this as legalized gambling.  A capitalist is always on the look out to get a better price or better dividend yield.  Dividend yields are based on the price of the stock.  If the stock goes down, the yield may go up.  For example since dividends are in dollar amounts and not percentages, if a $1 dividend is divided by a $20/share price then the dividend yields 5%.  If that $1 dividend is divided by an $18/share price then that dividend yields more at 5.5%.

The sheer volume of trading is staggering.  A local stock broker looked up today’s trade volume.  For August 9, 2011, 9 billion shares traded. 

Loss Leaders and the Old Bait and Switch

Go Daddy is in the news right now due to their consideration of global expansion. One of the ways they have become so successful is that they utilized a marketing technique where they offered a “loss leader”.  For those who have not taken a business course, this term may not be familiar.  The Business Dictionary defines a loss leader as a, “Good or service advertised and sold at below cost price. Its purpose is to bring in (lead) customers in the retail store (usually a supermarket) on the assumption that, once inside the store, the customers will be stimulated to buy full priced items as well.”

In Go Daddy’s case, they charged customers only around $10 to register domains while their competition charged closer to $35.  The Arizona Republic reported, “Then, they were able to capitalize on that by figuring out that domain names are a loss leader or a low margin item, and the way you really make money in the business is not with the domain names, but it’s with everything else that people buy with them.”

How does a loss leader differ from what people refer to as the “old bait and switch”?  First of all, the old bait and switch is considered fraud.  “Customers are “baited” by advertising for a product or service at a low price; then customers discover that the advertised good is not available and are “switched” to a costlier product.”  This is considered false advertising.

The use of loss leaders is a smart marketing move because it gives customers what they want at a lower price and allows companies to make more money on any additional items purchased.  The old bait and switch is illegal and causes a loss of business in the end through word of mouth about shady practices.    

Importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Anyone who has taken a business course has probably seen the acronym CRM. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to ways of keeping track of interactions with customers.  However, it is much more than that.  Bain.com does a nice job of defining CRM:  “Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process companies use to understand their customer groups and respond quickly—and at times, instantly—to shifting customer desires. CRM technology allows firms to collect and manage large amounts of customer data and then carry out strategies based on that information. Data collected through focused CRM initiatives help firms solve specific problems throughout their customer relationship cycle—the chain of activities from the initial targeting of customers to efforts to win them back for more. CRM data also provide companies with important new insights into customers’ needs and behaviors, allowing them to tailor products to targeted customer segments. Information gathered through CRM programs often generates solutions to problems outside a company’s marketing functions, such as supply chain management and new product development.”

Forward-thinking companies must learn to embrace CRM to remain competitive.  An article in BusinessBalls.com pointed out, “The ultimate purpose of CRM, like any organizational initiative, is to increase profit. In the case of CRM this is achieved mainly by providing a better service to your customers than your competitors. CRM not only improves the service to customers though; a good CRM capability will also reduce costs, wastage, and complaints.”

In the business world, Pareto’s Principle is often cited.   This principle states that 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes.   This has been translated to:  companies obtain 80% of their business from 20% of their clients.   As the BusinessBalls.com article pointed out this also means:

  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your turnover
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your profits
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your service and supply problems

In order to avoid wasting time and energy, relationship building is critical.  To develop these relationships, it is important to have a strong CRM system.  There are plenty of web-based CRMs.  A popular cloud-based CRM is available through Salesforce.com.  This popular system boasts ease of use stating, “Using Salesforce CRM is as easy as buying a book on Amazon.com. That means your employees will actually use it, so it will be a more effective tool for your business.”

Apps are popping up all over to help with CRM.  Salesforce.com has their own that is good for a sales-based industry.  SmallBusinessTrends.com did a nice review of some other top CRM apps that are useful for small businesses.

Female Career Choices That May Surprise You

On the first day of work as a pharmaceutical representative in the 80’s, I was struck by the similarity of my newly-hired peers.  There were about 10 of us that started at the same time.  Nine out of 10 of us were women.  I hadn’t given much thought as to whether women dominated in the pharmaceutical business at that time.  However, sitting at that long table full of women, most of whom had business degrees, made me realize that things were changing for women and their career choices.

Since I currently teach for many different online universities, a recent article about women and their online degree choices caught my eye.  In the article 10 Majors That Are No longer Male-Dominated, the author pointed out, “Historically, women have dominated majors like education, English and psychology, while men were more likely to study engineering, computer science or math. Although this may ring true at some schools, it isn’t the standard at every traditional or online college. More than ever, college women are opting to study traditionally male-dominated majors and are breaking enrollment records while they’re at it. As the line between male- and female-dominated academic fields continues to fade, there will be less segregation in the job market and more opportunities for both sexes.”

The article lists the following online majors as currently female-dominant:

Computer Science

Business

Engineering

Agriculture

Biological Science

Construction Management

Fire Science

Criminal Justice

Information Technology

Sports Management

For more information about the increase in women majoring in each of these areas, click here to read the full article.

Are Women Making Teams Smarter?

Harvard Business Review recently published an article about how having women on a team makes the team smarter.  Although they didn’t find a correlation between the collective intelligence of the group and the IQ of individuals within that group, they did find that if women were in the group, the collective intelligence was higher. 

The Female Factor:  The chart plots the collective intelligence scores of the 192 teams in the study against the percentage of women those teams contained. The red bars indicate the range of scores in the group of teams at each level, and the blue circles, the average. Teams with more women tended to fall above the average; teams with more men tended to fall below it.

Professors Anita Wooley (Carnegie Mellon) and Thomas Malone (MIT) gave “subjects aged 18 to 60 standard intelligence tests and assigned them randomly to teams. Each team was asked to complete several tasks—including brainstorming, decision making, and visual puzzles—and to solve one complex problem. Teams were given intelligence scores based on their performance. Though the teams that had members with higher IQs didn’t earn much higher scores, those that had more women did.”

Finding the right mix of people on a team has been a consideration many organizations have dealt with in the past.  These researchers hope to see how this information can help teams perform better in the future through changing members or incentives. 

In the past, I taught teams how to get along better through the use of the Myers Briggs MBTI personality assessment instrument.  Through understanding personalities, team members could learn about each other’s preferences for how they like to obtain information. This became more useful to the team as a whole.  In my training experience, I found that even if a team had members with high IQ’s, they needed to understand why other members of the teams did the things they did and required the information they required in the format that fit their needs.  It was important to understand the collective needs of the team in order for the team to be successful. 

With the study by Wooley and Malone, they bring up the use of their findings in understanding collective intelligence.  According to Malone, “Families, companies, and cities all have collective intelligence. But as face-to-face groups get bigger, they’re less able to take advantage of their members. That suggests size could diminish group intelligence. But we suspect that technology may allow a group to get smarter as it goes from 10 people to 50 to 500 or even 5,000. Google’s harvesting of knowledge, Wikipedia’s high-quality product with almost no centralized control—these are just the beginning. What we’re starting to ask is, How can you increase the collective intelligence of companies, or countries, or the whole world?”

Value of Top Companies

The following is a list of the estimated value of some of the top companies in 2011.  They are listed in order of highest to lowest value.

Apple – TechCrunch recently reported that Apple’s value is now worth as much as Microsoft, HP and Dell combined.  Valued at over $300 billion, Apple continues to grow.  For more specifics, click here:  Apple Value

Microsoft – Recent estimates put Microsoft’s value at about $200 billion.  Skype – Microsoft’s recent purchase assessed Skype’s value at $8.5 billion.

GoogleGoogle’s value has been estimated to be $192 billion as of January, 2011.  For more specifics on this income including Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s net income, click here:  Google ValueYoutube – Recent estimates put Youtube’s value around $1.3 billion.  Google paid $1.6 billion for Youtube in 2006.

FacebookFacebook was valued at $82.9 billion in January and that number continues to grow.

Amazon – In January, it was reported that Facebook passed Amazon’s value.  Amazon still showed a $75.2 billion worth.  For more specifics, click here:  Amazon Value

HP – Recent estimates put HP’s value at about $72.8 billion.

Dell – Recent estimates put Dell’s value at about $29.3 billion.

Groupon – Recent estimates put Groupon’s Value at as much as $25 billion.

Twitter – It is suggested that Twitter’s value is around $7.7 billion.

Linkedin – Recent estimates put LinkedIn’s value at over $4 billion.

The Most Useful Articles about How to Use Twitter

As Twitter grows and develops, so does the need to understand how to use Twitter as an effective marketing tool.  Companies and individuals that still have confusion with understanding hashtags, obtaining followers or how to remove annoying followers, should check out this list of the top Twitter articles:

  • Best Twitter Articles of 2010 – Bloggodown.com gives an exhaustive list of everything you want to know about Twitter. 
  • How to Find Hashtags on Twitter – This article explain hashtags and joining conversations on Twitter.  Hashtags are a popular way to start up a conversation about a specific topic within Twitter.  By putting the # sign before a subject, it creates a conversation that others can join.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Getting Twitter Followers – Dave Larson from Tweetsmarter.com explains the 6 ways to get Twitter followers including how to build a reputation, self-promotion, becoming a reciprocator, understanding automation, joining following groups, and avoiding spamming.    
  • Deciphering Twitter:   Twictionary Terms can be Very Intwesting – As Twitter grows in popularity, so does the number of terms that are associated with the site. Check out some of the most popularly used Twitter terms.
  • How to Block People on Twitter – One big difference between being on Twitter as compared to being on Facebook is that people can follow you without your consent.  That may lead to some situations that you find to be bothersome, including unsolicited contact or having to sift through a bombardment of tweets on your homepage. 

     According to AssociatedContent.com you can block people on Twitter by:

    • “Log into your Twitter account using your unique username and password. If you use a public computer, do not forget to mark the ‘Do not remember me on this computer option’ to protect your personal info.
    • If the user you wish to block is already following you, go to your ‘Followers’ list. Browse among your connections and click on the personal profile of the unwanted contact. Alternatively, just type the person’s Twitter name on the search box and click on enter.
    • While on the person’s profile, you will see a gear icon on the top center of the screen (next to the ‘Message’ box). Once you click on it, a drop-down menu will reveal the options ‘Mention,’ ‘Block,’ or ‘Report for spam.’
    • Click on ‘Block’ and you have successfully blocked the spammer. Moreover, a box ‘Blocked’ with a red line will appear on the user’s profile replacing the ‘Following’ box.

   What happens later if you decide you blocked someone that you would rather not block?  Check out  how to unblock Twitter followers.  

 

Defaulting on a Mortgage: How it Affects Your Credit Score

Many consumers have taken a financial hit with the recent economic climate.  As more people are defaulting on their home loans, it is interesting to see the impact on FICO scores. 

What may be a surprise is how many wealthy people with good credit are going into foreclosure.  A recent article by the Arizona Republic mentioned how affluent, savvy homeowners are choosing to default on their home loans based on weighing the pros and cons to such a decision.  “Recent research suggests that affluent people tend to be the main strategic defaulters, and these individuals are also the ones who would sustain more serious credit-score damage.  This chart shows the resulting credit scores for two hypothetical consumers – one with an average initial score of 680 on the FICO scale and another with a high initial score of 780.”

Situation Initial 680 Score Initial 780 Score
     
30 days late on mortgage 600-620 670-690
90 days late on mortgage 600-620 650-670
Short sale, no deficiency 610-630 655-675
Short sale with deficiency or foreclosure 575-595 620-640
Bankruptcy 530-550 540-560

The savvy homeowner that sees their home investment as a money pit, may go ahead and buy what they perceive as a better home  purchase, perhaps a short sale, before they default on their original investment.  In this way, they have good credit to purchase the new home before they take the hit to their credit score caused by the default of their original home purchase.

What to Know before Investing in IPOs like LinkedIn or Pandora

Is investing in an initial public offering (IPO) a good idea?  With the recent LinkedIn and Pandora IPOs and talk of future IPOs with Twitter and Facebook, this is a question that many investors may be considering.  Imagine getting in on the ground floor of a giant like Coca-Cola? It might have been a wild ride, but those that hung in there, had a nice payoff.  Joshua Kennon of About.com reported, “A single share of Coca-Cola purchased for $40 at the IPO in 1919, for example, crashed to $19 the following year. Yet, today, that one share, with dividends reinvested, is worth over $5 million.”

Kennon suggests that if you have the stomach for risking your investment, you might want to consider whether the company can grow at a rate high enough to justify its price, whether there are any patents or trademarks to protect the business, whether you’d want to hold onto this stock for 30 years and if it fell by 50% would you have the stomach to handle it?

DailyFinance reported some additional questions to ask before investing in an IPO: (1) Is there an attractive market for the product? (2) Does the company have a significant share of the market? (3) Is the company’s management team experienced? (4) Is the company growing and profitable?

The following list shows some more recent IPO original offering prices compared to their current price (as of July, 2011):

Google Initial Offering Price, 2004:  $85/share

Google Price July, 2011:  $530/share

Pandora Initial Offering Price, June, 2011:  $16/share

Pandora Price July, 2011:  $19/share

LinkedIn Initial Offering Price, May, 2011: $45/share

LinkedIn Price July, 2011:  $98/share

Many employees of companies like Google became wealthy overnight when their companies went IPO. The New York Times article Google’s IPO 5 Years Later stated, “When the offering finally happened, it turned an estimated 1,000 Google employees into millionaires, at least on paper. Since then, many more millionaires have been minted inside the Googleplex, the Web search company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.”

Not all startups have been this successful.  Businesspundit lists the 25 Internet Startups that Bombed Miserably. MSMoney also warned, “Many investors fret they’ll miss the next big thing because they have no access to the IPO market, but study after study has proven that IPOs historically underperform the broader markets.” FIGuide echoed that same sentiment in their article Should You Invest in IPOs, stating that there might be better options.  “A seminal paper published in The Journal of Finance looked at IPOs from 1970 to 1990. During the five years after issuance, investors in these IPOs got average annual returns of only 5%.(1) By contrast, the overall stock market’s average annual return from 1970 to 1990 was more than double that figure, at 10.8%. To put this in perspective, $1,000 invested at 5% for 20 years would have generated $2,653, while $1,000 invested at 10.8% would have generated $7,777, almost three times as much.”

Reality of Being Seen Live on Facebook, Google+ and Facetime

Today Facebook announced its new integration with Skype that will allow video calling and group chatting. Zuckerberg is touting “ease of use” as one of the key benefits of this system. Facebook can now compete with Google+ and their video chat service named Hangout.

The question now becomes, do you really want to have the capability of having people see you? Recently I was having a conversation with my husband on my iPhone using Apple’s Facetime application. As my husband took his iPhone around the office and said, “say hello to so and so”, I realized that as I could see them, they could also see me in my jammies with no makeup, hair up on top of my head and wearing my reading glasses. It wasn’t glamorous.

Many people use these video calling services when they are at home. Do we really want to see what everyone looks like when they first wake up in the morning? As we start opening up our homes to people with our video capabilities, we may also be showcasing things that may be better left unseen. Think about the dirty dishes in the sink or the unmade bed. Now more people than ever will know everyone’s dirty little secrets.

Baby Boomers Keeping Plastic Surgeons Busy

The popularity of plastic surgery is undeniable.  What may be interesting to note is how much of an impact the Baby Boomer generation has on the number of plastic surgery procedures performed.  Baby Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964.   Karen Zupko and Sheila Hall from the Aesthetic Society News magazine recently reported some interesting Baby Boomer, cosmetic and plastic surgery statistics:

  • 7,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 per day in 2011 – This will jump to 10,000 per day over the next 18 years according to Pew Research.
  • People age 51-64 account for 28% of total plastic surgery procedures
  • People over 65 account for 7.3% of total plastic surgery procedures
  • Baby Boomers make up 35% of plastic surgery patients
  • The rate of men age 50-64 who color their hair grew from 3-10% from 1999 to 2000
  • 2,437,165 Botox procedures were performed in 2010 (all age groups) – Non-invasive procedures are growing with men accounting for 15% of injectable market and 26% of skin rejuvenation market.

How can plastic surgeons capitalizing on this demographic?    The authors suggest a few ideas to appeal to this group:

  • Have marketing material in larger font for ease of reading
  • Offer a pampering environment
  • Don’t waste patients’ time by making them wait
  • Focus on men too as they are becoming more interested in plastic surgery
  • Don’t focus on age in marketing because according to Pew Research, this group feels 9 years younger than their true age
  • Make things convenient for them

For those targeting Baby Boomers in their marketing plan, they may want to consider television advertising as Boomers watch more television than any other generation.

For more information about plastic surgery and specific procedures, click here.

Prezi Presentation about Education That Blows PowerPoint Out of the Water

Prezi is a presentation software similar to Powerpoint.  Check out this very interesting use of Prezi “Future Proof Your Education” from Maria Andersen where she explains “How do you prepare for uncertain career paths where technical knowledge doubles every two years? You pay attention to the skills that surround the content: Interact, Flex, Learn, Explain, Analyze, and Focus.”

Andersen does a nice job of incorporating the “Did You Know?” video into her presentation while showing how to utilize Prezi to its fullest.  Click on the presentation below to find out more about choices and how knowledge and skills can affect career paths.   Particularly fun is the “Little Billy” video showing what happened to Billy and others when they entered the workforce and experienced information overload syndrome.

If you have ever wondered how to make the most out of using Prezi, this presentation can show how to do this.

 

Nepotism: Consequences Good and Bad

Nepotism may be frowned on in some companies, but that is not to say that some very famous people have been helped by it.  In Latin, nepotis means nephew.  Nepotism is now more broadly defined as:  When someone gives favoritism to a relative without necessarily basing it on their abilities or merit.

Accountingdegree.com had a very interesting article recently titled:  10 Famous Businesspeople Who Benefitted from Nepotism.  This list contained some very recognizable last names including:  Forbes, Trump, Hilfiger, Kraft and Walton.  The article pointed out the hypocrisy that may exist in terms of when nepotism is considered alright.  “At the blue collar level, when friends hire friends or a father expects his children to join the family business, we often believe it’s a sign of strong family values, not unethical or slimy business. But at the executive level — where millions and billions of dollars can be earned — favors are made in secret. It might be tempting to help your children or siblings get a great job, but in the public eye, it’s shameful.”

Viewshound recently wrote about whether nepotism is an unfair advantage or a sensible employment strategy.  Whether it was a sensible strategy or unfair practice is something that will be debated in the current lawsuit where Murdoch News Corporation is being sued by its shareholders for buying the chairman Rupert Murdoch’s daughter’s business for $675 million.  According to the Huffington Post, “The lawsuit seeks damages and a declaration the board breached their fiduciary duty to shareholders.”

Top 5 Things to Know to be a Successful Entrepreneur

The typical entrepreneurial personality has the drive and ambition for success.  Like anything in life, though, it is always harder to do something the very first time.  This can discourage many new entrepreneurs from taking that initial leap and to start their own business. 

I teach several entrepreneurial courses and have put together some important articles that I recommend to my students.  The following list contains many of these articles and some of the most important things that entrepreneurs should do in order to be successful:

  1. Read Success Stories and Attend Lectures:  An excellent way to be inspired and learn from other entrepreneurs is to read their success stories.  Onlineuniversities.com recently came up with a list of 20 Biographies Every Serious Entrepreneur Should Read.  These books include important success stories from Ben Franklin to Sam Walton.  Another very important article to read is:  50 Excellent Lectures for Small Business Owners.
  2. Learn the Truth About Failure:  Many entrepreneurs are stalled in their pursuit of success due to their fear of failure.  Even some of the most famous entrepreneurs met with failure before success.  To find out more about this, check out:  50 Famous People Who Failed Before Becoming Successful. Also see:  Famous Business Failures: Is it as Gloomy as it Sounds? Also see:  10 Famous Product Failures and the Advertisements That Did Not Sell Them.
  3. Learn the Truth About Finances Required:  Not all entrepreneurs come from wealthy families.  It can be challenging to come up with the funds required to begin a business.  Find out how some very famous entrepreneurs became successful in the article:  Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings.
  4. Learn How Women Have Become Successful Entrepreneurs:  Some very successful entrepreneurs have been women.  Check out:  Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women.
  5. Learn How to Network:  One of the best ways to get a product or company known is through social media.  Part of an entrepreneur’s success is through finding their customers and their niche.  Check out:  5 Top Networking Tips for Small Businesses.

Once an entrepreneur has developed a strong idea of the direction they want to take, they need to work on their feasibility study.  Investors will want to see this to be sure that their idea is sound. Another important aspect of creating their new business is deciding on a vision and mission statement.  Check out The Top 10 Mission Statements in 2011. Once an entrepreneur has received enough funds to get their new business off the ground, they may want to consider whether or not to go IPO.  Many companies like Facebook have waited and not gone this traditional route.  Find out Why Companies Are Not Going IPO due to fear of the past dot com crash.

Boomerang Generation: College Graduates Giving up on Employment and Moving Back Home

There has been an unusual trend with recent college graduates.  After working so hard to become educated for their new careers, recent grads are not jumping into the workplace right away.  This has caused an increase in the numbers for unemployment in this population.  However, this unemployment has been influenced by some of these grads actively making the choice not go to work.

It’s not only that employers don’t want the recent graduates. In fact, Wall Street Journal reported, “Employers plan to hire 19% more new graduates this year than in 2010.” Part of the choice has been due to the graduates opting to do other things. In that same article, it was reported, “Career counselors at colleges say that in the past two years they have seen increasing numbers of graduates opting to travel, volunteer, or get unpaid work experience rather than head straight into a tenuous job market.”

Recent statistics show that up to 54% of those under the age of 25 are without a job. Many of them feel that the economy is so bad at this time that they would be wasting their time even trying to get into the workplace.  This has caused a trend of young adults moving back in with their parents.  The New York Post reported, “This year, some three million young people are expected to graduate from college. Facing a double-digit unemployment rate for young people, 85 percent of them will initially move back home with their parents, and that’s up from 67 percent in 2006, according to a poll by researcher Twentysomething Inc.”

Some have referred to this new generation as the Boomerang Generation.  Just as parents think their children have left the nest, they turn around and come right back.  Some students are holding out for the job they want rather than taking “just any job”. Having gone through the time and effort to get a higher education, they are not willing to take employment beneath what they feel qualified to do.

Using QR Codes to Get a Job or Promote Your Business

You probably have seen QR codes and don’t even realize it.  Perhaps they were on a marketing ad or a flyer someone handed you.  You might have seen them on a promotional piece or on a poster at a local store.  It may have looked so under-stated that you probably passed right by it and didn’t give it a second thought.

Start looking for them.  You’ll be surprised at how many places are using them.  What are they?  Think of them like a bar code that lists a lot more information and can direct you to specific websites.  Companies are creating these codes to be used with smartphone apps.  This is an example code that I created for my book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality:

It’s really simple to make one.  You can go to a site like Qurify.com and type in the information you want to be encoded.  It may be something as simple as a website address.  You can go to the Qurify site and type in your website URL address. If you don’t have a website, consider putting in your Linkedin profile page.   Click on the Qurify button and then download the image it creates as a jpeg file.  Now you can take this file and put it on your business cards, on your resume, or on any other information you create. 

Anyone who has a QR Reader app on their phone can simply start the app on their phone and point it at your code.  When they do that, they will be directed on their phone to the URL address you entered on Qurify.  It couldn’t be easier. 

This can really make you stand out from the rest in the job search.  Just having that code on your resume will make those that don’t know what it is, look into it why it is on your resume.  For those that do know what it is, they will appreciate how technologically you savvy are.

If you have your own business and want to promote different parts of your website, these can be useful as well.  To show examples, I created several of these QR codes for Dr. Robert Spies’ plastic surgery site.  To see how they work, first download a free QR Reader app onto your smartphone.  Then open that app and point it at the codes listed below.

This code directs you to information about facelifts:

This code directs you to information about tummy tucks:

 This code directs you to information about breast augmentation:

 By having different QR codes like this, you can customize your marketing material to direct people to the appropriate websites.  For companies like a plastic surgery practice, this can be a very effective tool to target people that have a strong enough financial background to own a smartphone as well as those that are interested enough to point their phone at the code for more information.  It is a great tool to specifically target the appropriate population. 

To find out more about how these codes work, check out information from the guys at how stuff works technology podcast. 

Marketers Target Impatient Customers through Smartphone Quick Response QR Codes

 

Quick Response or QR codes are the latest bar code system that allows customers to use their smartphones to obtain discounts, gather information and even order products ahead of time so that they are ready upon their arrival.  For an instant gratification generation, these new codes can connect customers to products faster than ever before.

Companies are putting these codes in their advertisements and on their products so that customers can scan them with their smartphones and gather more information, find out about discounts or even order the product.  Although these codes aren’t that new, companies are starting to use them more due to the increased frequency of consumers using smartphones.

It’s simple to install an app on a phone. In fact some even come with the app pre-installed.  Wall Street Journal reported, “Scanby Inc., a New York company that develops and manages QR codes, estimates that 30 million people in the U.S. have a code-reader app on their phone.”

Companies like Ethical Bean are taking advantage of the code to get their coffee products into their customers’ hands more quickly.  Customers simply need to order their coffee through the use of these apps and it will be ready when they arrive to pick it up.

These apps can also give more information about the products being purchased.  Customers can find out recipes, ingredients and more.  The Wall Street Journal had some statistics about the use of these codes:

  • 32% of consumers in a recent survey said they’ve used a QR code
  • 70% plan to use QR code again or for the first time
  • 53% are motivated to use it by getting a coupon, discount or deal
  • 52% are motivated to use it by getting more information

How to Find Hashtags on Twitter

 

Hashtags are a popular way to start up a conversation about a specific topic within Twitter.  By putting the # sign before a subject, it creates a conversation that others can join.  For example, if I wanted to tweet about plastic surgery, I could include #plasticsurgery within my tweet and it would list my comment on the discussion being held within Twitter about that topic.   As you can imagine, a recent popular hashtag topic was #royalwedding

The challenge comes with finding all of the conversations you would like to join.  One site that is helpful is called What the TrendMediabistro.com reported, “What the Trend shows you the top hashtag and non-hashtag trending topics. It lists the 10 top trending phrases at any given moment on Twitter, along with a short description of each. Just underneath the written description is how long ago this phrase started trending, and when it received its description. What the Trend also shows you the top trending topics in several geographic areas. You can also view all of the trends from the past 24 hours, and sort by verified trends, explained trends and much more.”

Trendistic is another site that can tell you just how popular a hashtag is on Twitter.  If you type in the hashtag phrase into their search, it can tell you not only the most recent conversations about that phrase but also how active it has been for the last 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days and 180 days. The site also gives embedding information so that you can put their charts on your blog or website.  Check out the right side of the main Trendistic site to see a list of the top trending topics.

You Are Only as Good as Your Last Deal: Top 5 Ways to Avoid Being Expendable at Work

There is an expression that is often used in sales:  “You are only as good as your last deal.” What is meant by that is that management has a short-term memory and no matter how good you were in the past, they are focusing on what you can do for them right now.  It may seem unfair to those who have worked very hard throughout the years to find out that their jobs may be on the line due to one poor month of performance.  However, this is a reality in this market.

The new movie, Larry Crowne, with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, is about Hanks’ character, a top performing employee who has won the employee of the month something like 8 times.  He is self-confident that management has requested his presence in their office to tell him that he has just won for the 9th time.  Instead, he finds out that they are letting him go due to his lack of a college education.

This is a pretty common situation that happens in today’s workplace.  Employees are becoming concerned about keeping their positions.  There are a lot of people with strong work histories out there that are in the market for a job…your job.   There are some important tips to keep in mind when trying to avoid being expendable at work.  These include:

  1. Work harder than your coworkers.  That may seem to be common sense, but it is surprising how many people overlook the fact that they may not be number one in the office.  There is an old expression:  I don’t have to outrun the bear.  I just have to outrun you.  Think of being laid off as the bear and you have to be better than your coworkers to survive.
  2. Multitask.  One way to be more efficient at your job is to multitask.  Some may argue that there is no such thing as true multitasking but there is such a thing as combining small jobs together so that you get more done in less time.  I often share an example with my students of how I would type my call notes while “dialing for dollars” so that I could make twice as many phone calls as my coworkers who waited until the call was completed to type up their notes.  Find ways to combine things like this to be more efficient.
  3. Add value through education.  The Tom Hanks example is a good reason why you should consider furthering your education to compete. You might find that a certification is enough.  You might find that an MBA would add value.  Find the thing that makes you stand out from your fellow coworkers.
  4. Put in the time.  If you are the last one to get to work and the first one to leave, you may find that management has noticed.  Look around your office and pay attention to who gets there late, who lollygags around and doesn’t work hard.  Put in the hours but also be sure that management sees how hard you are working.  There is no shame in copying them on things that show you have done well.
  5. Work smarter vs. harder.  Some people think that just putting in more work hours means they are working hard.  If you are the guy/gal who plans the plan to plan the plan, then you are not efficient.  A plan is important to keep you on track. Just be sure you don’t spend all of your time planning and none of your time doing.

If you do these 5 things, you’ll be well on your way to outrunning your coworkers and avoiding the bear (loss of employment).

Fear of Past Dot Com Crash: Venture Capitalists Only Interested in Consumer-Targeted Companies like Facebook or Groupon

 

The dot com crash has had a big impact on how venture capitalists invest in the current market. To understand why, it is important to know a little history about the impact of the Internet and why these investors are leery.

The Internet became commercially popular in the mid-1990s.  By 1995, there was an estimated 18 million users on the net.  This led to the creation of online businesses which led to speculation about how big these companies could grow.  The problem came with how much these companies were actually worth vs. how much they were perceived to be worth. 

What causes a bubble and eventual crash?  When people get excited about a company stock, it can drive the price up but if it inflates to an unrealistic point where investors get wise to the fact that the company can’t be worth as much as they hoped, people bail, sell the stocks, the price drops, and the company crashes. 

The pain of those dot com crashes are still felt today.  Venture capitalists now may be more hesitant to invest.  Tom Abate with SFGate.com said that venture capitalists in 2000 made about 8000 investments valued at $100.5 million.  “In 1999 and 2000, Wall Street invested in 534 venture-backed initial public offerings.” Those, who cashed in early, made a lot of money.  As large amounts of money were being put into the market and speculation was growing, the bubble was forming.  NASDAQ hit its peak on March 10, 2000 at 513252, only to lose 78% of its value by October, 2002 when it dropped to 11411.

In 2001-2002 while a lot of companies were over-valued and going bankrupt, people found their stock purchases were not such a great investment.  So now when Facebook and Twitter are considering going IPO it has some potential investors concerned.  This is especially true in the case of Twitter that has yet to publically show their business plan. 

What has the effect been on venture capitalists investing?  An article in Investopedia stated, “In the year 1999, there were 457 IPOs, most of which were internet and technology related. Of those 457 IPOs, 117 doubled in price on the first day of trading. In 2001 the number of IPOs dwindled to 76, and none of them doubled on the first day of trading.” SFGate.com reported, “In 2008 and 2009, a total of just 18 venture-backed companies went public.”

Investments have picked up for the consumer-oriented companies like Facebook and Groupon.  However there has been a venture squeeze for companies with business products.  Wall Street Journal reported, “In the first three months of this year, venture-capital investment in consumer tech companies nearly tripled to $874 million from $310 million a year earlier. Meanwhile, investments in tech firms with business products rose at a slower rate to $2.3 billion from $1.9 billion a year earlier.  The shift away from business-oriented technology start-ups has been gathering steam over the past few years. Venture investment into such companies was $11.9 billion in 2010, down 35% from $18.4 billion in 2006, according to VentureSource. The overall number of financing rounds these companies received also dropped 18% to 1,261 during that time.”

Coexisting with Four Generations in the Modern Workplace

The modern workplace has seen growth in the 16 to 24-year olds and over 55 year olds.  With people living and working longer, this growth has led to four generations of workers trying to coexist. This may present challenges to management.  According to The East Valley Tribune, “It’s not merely age that differentiates these workers, said AARP officials, but rather how they approach accomplishing different assignments and tasks, as well as how much “work” defines their everyday lives.” 

These 4 generations include:

World War II Generation (aka depression babies) – Those born prior to 1945

Baby Boomers – Those born 1946 to 1964

Generation X – Those born 1965 to 1982

Generation Y (aka the Millennials) – Those born after 1982

According to the Tribune each of these groups has unique needs:

World War II Generation – appreciate a logical approach to work, with clear job expectations that are fair and consistent. This group prefers face-to-face communication rather than phone or email. . .are reluctant to buck the system, uncomfortable with conflict and reticent when they disagree with their boss or fellow co-workers.

Baby Boomers – represent the largest segment of the American work force. There are roughly 77 million Boomers who are service-oriented, appreciate a team perspective, and are motivated workers . . . appreciate personal communication and the telephone, are not necessarily “budget-minded” and are uncomfortable with conflict. In addition, some may put “success ahead of result.” They also insist on phased retirement and health and wellness programs to foster a healthy lifestyle.

Generation X – are independent and creative souls who are adaptable, technology-literate and like to buck the system. They don’t need a boss constantly looking over their shoulder as they enjoy being turned loose to meet deadlines. . .this group enjoys communicating by voicemail and email and is looking for development opportunities and to add certifications to their resumes for upward mobility.

Generation Y – brings to the workplace optimism, a can-do spirit and the ability to multitask, but they are often inexperienced and require supervision and structure. This group, which prefers instant messaging, blogs, text messages and email, has difficulty communicating in the workplace and likes to be spoken with one-on-one.”

Inspired by One Tweet: Quakebook’s Creation is Helping Japan Raise Money

An expatriate in Japan, Our Man in Abiko, sent out a call with a single Tweet to social media contributors that eventually led to the creation of an e-book called Quakebook.  “The idea was to share the stories and experiences of people actually on the ground during the earthquake,” claims Quakebook.org. “In just four weeks, the 2:46 Quakebook project has turned an idea first voiced in a single tweet, into a rich collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by individuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it.”

Quakebook is available on Amazon for $9.99.  Amazon stated the intentions of the editor who created the book, “is to record the moment, and in doing so raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society to help the thousands of homeless, hungry and cold survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the price you pay (net of VAT, sales and other taxes) goes to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. ”

The book has the title 2:46 Quakebook because it begins by showing the effects at 2 minutes and 46 seconds after the quake hit.  There are over 30,000 words of accounts and over 200 people who have chipped in for this project.  This whole project was completely volunteer-oriented and the e-book became available in only one month after the disaster.  Quakebookorg stated, “The contributions in 2:46 Aftershocks have come from a wide variety of sources, and include photographs, personal accounts, drawings; each telling their own tale.”

Click here to read some excerpts from 2:46 Quakebook:  Aftershocks Stories from the Japan Earthquake. To follow on Twitter, check out #Quakebook.

Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings

 

The movie The Social Network showcased Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to create an enormous business from seemingly nothing.  Not all entrepreneurs have been accepted to Harvard like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to hit it big. However, having the intelligence to get there doesn’t hurt.

I grew up next door to a very smart man who worked his way through a state college and started a little company with $5000.  That man was Leonard (Sam) Shoen who created U-Haul by asking gas station owners to let him rent trucks from their lots.  Amerco is now the parent of U-Haul and is a far cry from the corner gas station beginnings.

There are plenty of Leonard Shoen and Sam Walton stories out there.  Accountingdegree.com recently published a list of 10 big businesses that got started in a garage including: 

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Mattel
  4. HP
  5. Amazon
  6. Disney
  7. Microsoft
  8. MagLite
  9. Yankee Candle Company
  10. Harley Davidson

For more detail regarding how each of these companies got started, you can click on each individual company or read the article by clicking here.

To see Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech at Stanford explaining how he started Apple watch the following video:

 

Importance of Facebook Like Button: Millennials and Women Likely to Hop On

Businesses are increasing their presence on Facebook in hopes that users will pick the “Like” button about their company, product or service.  This is becoming today’s “word of mouth” through technology. 

A research brief from the Center for Media Research claims, “Apparently a consumer approval on social media trumps other messages when people want to show their support for local businesses. Leading ways that users show support are:

•75% of people tell their friends

•20% of people say they “Like” it on Facebook to show their support, compared with only 13% who write a review

•Millennials and women are even more likely to hop on Facebook

•40% of people under 35 “Like” a business; 49% in the 18-24 group, versus 18% who said they would write a review

•25% of women hit the “Like” button, versus 11% who write reviews”

This does not mean that Facebook will capture all business.  “The study also showed:

•52% of adults under 35 visit more than two websites before checking out a local business

•63% of respondents under 35 head to Google

•24% visit Facebook;

•21% look at reviews sites and

•17% clicked on the first link on the search results page

•8% of people said a deal is the number one thing that influences them to try a local business”

Facebook and Twitter Getting Free Advertising through Redirection

Have you noticed lately how many companies post somewhere in their advertisement that they have a Facebook or Twitter page?  Perhaps you have seen wording like:  “Follow Us on Facebook” or “Follow Us on Twitter”.  Imagine if your company was mentioned like that on everyone else’s advertisements and you didn’t have to pay for that.

This is something that is new in the advertising world.  In the past, you would see companies listing their websites to direct their business to their own companies.  They still do this, of course, but now they are also directing business to Facebook and Twitter to get people to come to their website indirectly. This redirection may have implications on web analytics, making it more difficult to know how many customers are seeing the company’s message.  However, the advantages for using sites like Facebook for advertising can be significant.  Tnooz.com reported, “With one in every 13 people on the planet using Facebook, the potential exposure that Facebook advertising offers can be massive, costing a fraction of what a TV advertising campaign might cost.”

This redirection of business is something that is growing.  It can be easier to get people to go to Facebook or Twitter initially due to their popularity.  Sites like bit.ly allow links to be shortened and more information to be included in a tweeted message.  This can also be useful for redirection to mobile devices.  Webupon.com reported, “Facebook and Twitter are two of the most user-friendly sites on the mobile web – and that’s great news for those who are going mobile with their websites, because it means people can right-click on bit.ly links in Twitter – and be automatically taken to a mobile version of your site, if they’re accessing it from Twitter.”

Sites like Facebook are helping increase what used to be called word of mouth advertising by allowing people to pick “I like” on a product page.  Trendwatching.com refers to the F-Factor involved here, meaning Friends, Fans and Followers on Facebook who can influence purchasing decisions. Check out an article by Converge2003.com that suggests there are 10 tactics to increase your number of Facebook likes.   For more information about adding a Facebook Like Button to your site, click here.

Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women

Men are often listed as examples of successful entrepreneurs.  Oprah’s name may be mentioned, but far fewer women get the same recognition.  To give women their due, accountingdegree.com came up with a list that they name:  15 Female Entrepreneurs Who Are Incredibly Inspiring.

On their list they included Oprah Winfrey as number one (of course).  However, some of the other names listed may not be as recognizable, including:  Diane Von Ferstenburg, Madame C. J. Walker, Ashley Quails, Estee Lauder, Mary Kay Ash, Nelli Cashman, Caterina Fake, Kamila Sadiqi, Judi Henderson-Townsend, Sara Blakely, Ishita Khanna, Lauren Bush, Ama Pomaa Andoh, and Deborah Meaden.

Having taught entrepreneurial courses for many years, I have seen Oprah and Mary Kay listed as excellent examples, but most of these other names could use more recognition.  A few names that I might add to the list would be:  Debbi Fields of Mrs. Smith’s Cookies, Coco Chanel and J. K. Rowlings.  In fact, J. K. Rowlings’ rags to riches story is so fascinating, a new movie, starring Poppy Montgomery, will be coming out about how she made her $800 million fortune.  For more information about background of the 15 female entrepreneurs listed above, click here.

Millennials Actually Utilizing LinkedIn Rather Than Just Having an Inactive Profile

Linkedin has a lot of people with profiles. Quantcast reports “Linkedin has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally.” However, that doesn’t mean they are all taking advantage of the site.  Dynamic Business reported, “According to the 2010 LinkedIn Career Trends Research, a staggering 60 percent of professionals surveyed on LinkedIn do not use social media channels when it comes to advancing their careers – despite 87 percent believing an online profile will help their professional identity and career progression. This mirrors results for business adoption of social media, with only 28 percent of small businesses surveyed using social media despite a similar number believing it would help their business.”

That may be changing.  The day of looking for a job in the classified section has gone. Millennials are moving away from newspaper ads.  SMH reported results from I Love Rewards and Experience Inc. that showed, “28 per cent say they will use LinkedIn to find a job, compared with 7 percent the previous year. Newspaper ads are moving in the opposite direction with 28 per cent saying they would turn to newspapers, compared with 34 per cent for the previous year.”

Millennials have been shown to have unique expectations in the working world.  Mashable reported more information from this study showed, “Millenials about to hit the workforce don’t care what size company they work for and that 64% of them plan to stay at their new job for two to five years. Another 24.1% say they plan to stay with their employer for more than 10 years. However, the average tenure for millennials is actually 1.5 years, according to the Department of Labor.”

What is Your Favorite Celebrity’s Personality Type? New Fun Beta Site

In the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there are a lot of celebrities listed as examples to explain personality types.  Although that book covers most of the major personality assessments out there, one of the most important assessments it addresses is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

A new beta site CelebrityTypes.com is now available with information that identifies intellectuals, authors, and other public figures according to their psychological type based on the MBTI.  I, Diane Hamilton, am an ESTJ.  The example celebrity shown for that type on the celebrity types site was Dr. Phil.  It would be interesting to see Dr. Phil’s actual results because he comes across as making decisions based on his values which may put him more toward an ESFJ.

Is this site completely accurate?  Maybe not and they note that there as well.  Without the person actually taking the MBTI, it can be a lot of guesswork.  The authors noted, “a reported type must be regarded as a hypothesis and never as an exact, final depiction of that person.”

Whether completely accurate or not, it can be fun to speculate. On the left side of the site, there are links to each type where you can see other examples of celebrities within each type.  Other examples of this author’s ESTJ type include:  Condoleeza Rice, Michelle Obama, Judge Judy, and Ivanka Trump.

This site does a nice job of listing the percentages of people within each type, best romantic matches, and general information about what it means to be a certain type. For more information about this site click here.  For more information about It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, click here.

For specific celebrity examples, click on the link below:

Bones Brennan Character Exemplifies Lack of Empathy

 

Having empathy is a part of emotional intelligence as defined by leaders in the field of EI such as Rueven Bar-On.  Daniel Goleman describes three types of empathy including: cognitive, emotional and compassionate.  In the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, it is noted that having empathy is a big part of interpersonal skills.  It has to do with how much we care about other peoples’ feelings and whether we can see things from other peoples’ perspectives.

A recent episode of the TV show, Bones, showed an excellent example of how Emily Deschanel’s character Temperance Brennan lacked empathy.  For those unfamiliar with the program, the Brennan has a high IQ but may lack in the EQ or emotional quotient department.  In this episode, Bennan lacks the ability to realize that her logical thinking and lack of understanding of others’ emotions is rude.  In the episode, Feet on the Beach. Brennan must work with a podiatrist that she feels lacks her superior training and skills.  While this may be fodder for entertainment, people may run into a similar situations at work where they may feel their abilities are being dismissed.

How can someone so smart lack empathy?  It may be difficult for people to do what Dr. Jeremy Sherman refers to as “shoe shifting” or putting ourselves in another’s shoes.  “When you put yourself in another person’s shoes you risk seeing yourself as others would see you—not quite as special as you think”

How do we improve our empathetic abilities?  One way is to improve our listening skills.  For more tips on improving empathy, check out Sherman’s article in Psychology Today.

MBTI and Business Executives Inflated View of Emotional Intelligence

 

Those interested in how personality affects performance often study the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or Emotional Intelligence (EI) and the relationship to leadership.  Rarely do I run across studies that look for relationships between MBTI and EI.  Leary, Reilly and Brown published a Study of Personality Preferences and Emotional Intelligence where they examined the “relationships between the dispositional factors measured by the MBTI and elements of emotional intelligence (EI) as measured by Bar-On’s emotional quotient inventory (EQ-i).”

For those unfamiliar with the MBTI and the EQ-I, the MBTI measures our preferences for how we like to receive information.  The EQ-i measures our emotional quotient or EQ.  Emotional intelligence has often been defined differently by various authors.  One of the easiest ways to think of emotional intelligence is by defining it as the ability to understand your own emotions as well as those in others.

In the Leary et al study, their results showed a relationship between Myers Briggs extroversion and emotional intelligence components.  Also noted in the study was a “positive and significant relationship between a preference for the use of feeling in decision making and an individual’s EI.”

When discussing “feeling” as defined by the MBTI, it refers to how one bases their decisions on their values.  When discussing “extroversion” as defined by the MBTI, it refers to how people prefer to focus on the outer world of people and things.  Leary et al concluded, “The positive and significant results for the extroversion and feeling hypotheses seem consistent with the view that EI is related to the ability to accurately perceive and manage relationships.”

I found the relationship for “feeling” to be the most interesting part of the study due to the high number of “thinking” as opposed to “feeling” executives in the workplace.   The study suggests that using “feeling” when making decisions shows awareness of others’ feelings.  This would be indicative of having emotional intelligence.

If there are more “thinking” people in business executive positions and this study showed people that were “feeling” had more of a relationship to emotional intelligence, what does that say about our business leaders?  A study of nearly 5000 people by Sala revealed that executives may have an inflated idea of how high their emotional intelligence actually is.  “The results of this study demonstrate that higher-level employees are more likely to have an inflated view of their emotional intelligence competencies and less congruence with the perceptions of others who work with them often and know them well than lower-level employees.”

What is interesting to note is that one’s MBTI type does not usually change over time.  However, one can develop their emotional intelligence.  The “thinking” personality type bases their decisions on data.  They tend to be logical.    If people with a strong “thinking” preference do not show as high of a correlation with emotional intelligence now, can they develop this based on their understanding of this data?   It seems logical to conclude this is possible.

As with any self-reported data, there are possible limitations to these studies.  I personally have studied emotional intelligence and its impact on sales performance.  I had to take the EQ-i and the MBTI in my training to be a qualified instructor for both assessments.  I came out as an ESTJ and had a high EQ-i score.  I may be an anomaly, but from what I have seen from the work of Daniel Goleman and others, whether someone is a “thinking” or a “feeling” personality, it is important to always be working on one’s EQ in order to be successful.

Myers Briggs MBTI: Testing Your Relationships

Myers Briggs MBTI personality assessments are often utilized by organizations.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, the article Do You Get an ‘A’ in Personality discussed the importance of utilizing personality assessments in family situations as well. 

Greg Cellini from WSOU 89.5 FM interviewed me recently about this very topic.  One of his questions Greg had for me was if using the MBTI was helpful for families.  It definitely can be.  The reason is that a lot of misunderstandings occur due to the fact that many people don’t realize “why” other people do the things that they do. 

By understanding personality preferences, we are more likely to be tolerant of others.  In the audio clip that follows, Greg Cellini and I discussed the difference between the J and P personality types.  For those of you unfamiliar with Myers Briggs, there are a lot of articles you can access on this site. The J personality is someone who is very structured and on time.  If you tell them to be somewhere at a specific time, they’ll likely get there early to be sure they are not late.  The P personality is more spontaneous and less structured.  If you tell them to be somewhere at a specific time, they’ll likely get there on time but may wait until the very last moment.  By realizing that the opposite personality functions the way they do for a reason, frustration can be avoided.   For more about this, check out the excerpt from the recent radio interview that follows.

If you have not taken the Myers Briggs assessment, I highly recommend doing so.  You may find out some valuable things that could help you with your relationships at home and at work.  In the article from  WSJOnline.com, they noted that in order to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator you can “Go to MBTIreferralnetwork.org to find someone to administer the test. You also can take it online and receive a one-hour telephone feedback assessment for $150 through the Center for Applications of Psychological Type at www.capt.org. Or take a computer-scored version of the test at MBTIcomplete.com for $59.95. When family members take personality tests, their self-awareness goes up and they quickly figure out their strengths and weaknesses, says John Williams, a life coach in Portland, Ore., who uses a test in his work with teenagers. “People realize they are different from other people,” he says. “The personality test becomes a road map.”

If you can’t afford to take the actual Myers Briggs MBTI, check out this link to help you discover your personality preferences.

Google and Facebook April Fool’s Day Jokes

On April Fool’s Day the Internet is full of contributors trying to play on our gullibility.  Facebook has its share of people listing today as their birthday or reporting unusual updates.  The following is Google’s attempt at playing the game:

Japan Breach Danger Increases: Explanation of What This Means

There is a lot of fear of radiation due to the nuclear reactor damage in Japan’s recent earthquake.  Many people fear what could happen should the facility not be able to be kept under control.  AOLNews reported an update today claiming, “Two weeks after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a crisis at a nuclear plant, the facility is still not under control, and the government said Friday there is a suspected breach at a reactor. That means radioactive contamination at the plant is more serious than once thought.”

Just the words Nuclear Meltdown can bring panic.  The podcast “Stuff You Should Know” with Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant includes an excellent explanation of how nuclear meltdowns work.  An interesting thing they point out in that podcast is that the earthquake was not as damaging as the tsunami that followed.  For a written explanation of How Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Works, click here.

Retired for Hire: More Seniors Working, Shopping, Donating and Spending

 

A report released last week from Scarborough.com showed in 2010 that 6.2 million people over 65 are working. This group has been referred to as the Retired for Hire. Many of these workers are not in dire financial straits either. In fact this report showed, “Adults over the age of 65 who are still working full-time or part-time are slightly more likely than the average adult to have an annual household income of $150K or more.”

This report has some interesting profile information about this group including:

  • They were financially in good shape with an average income over $150K
  • Of those working, 57% worked part time and 43% worked full time
  • 22% of them shopped at Wal-Mart in past 3 months
  • They were 30% more likely to donate to green causes
  • They were avid patrons of the arts
  • They were 92% more likely to have donated to political organizations
  • They were just as likely as the normal population to go to the gym
  • 48% of them were into gardening
  • Their use of HDTV’s is up 150%
  • 80% had desktop computers
  • They were more likely to spend money on home improvements
  • 41% made a purchase at Home Depot in the last year

Scarborough concluded, “The 6.2 million adults working past retirement age in America tend to be financially sound, with robust investment portfolios and higher than average incomes. This suggests that financial service providers such as banks, investment firms and personal services such as accounting firms and financial planners have a robust marketing target in Retired for Hire.”

Multi-Tasking and Time Management: Are We Really Attention-Switching?

 

Short of sleeping while ironing, I am constantly doing more than one thing at a time. After giving a speech to a local career group, a man from the audience came up to me and said that “there is no such thing as multi-tasking.”   This is an interesting thing to debate.  This topic became popular a few years ago when scientists were doing a lot of studies on multi-tasking. 

Paul M. Jones claims that the many things we call multi-tasking are actually attention-switching.  According to Jones, “You cannot perform two or more non-trivial tasks at the same time; at best, you pay attention to one and mostly ignore the other, then you switch your attention to the other and dismiss the first one temporarily, and then you switch your attention back to the first again. This is far less effective than completing the first task, then moving on to the second task, because of the time and mental effort it takes to switch between tasks.” 

Some of what people are referring to when they say science has proven that multi-tasking is a myth is due to the results of several studies.  One of those studies was completed by Neuroscientist, Daniel Weissman,  who studied subjects’ brains as they performed different tasks.  For more information on these brain studies, check out NPR’S report by clicking here

I’ve read some of the literature.  Perhaps the wording multi-tasking is the problem. I’m happy to use the term attention-switching. However, for me, if I waited until I completed one thing to start something else, I would be missing a lot of opportunities to fill in some gaps.  I often have several programs open on my computer.  As I am working in one program, waiting for the page to refresh or for something to calculate on screen, I can switch to another program and be working on something else.  If I simply sat and waited for my computer to finish thinking, I’d be doing a lot of staring at my computer’s hourglass.  Saying that multi-tasking is a myth and calling this act attention-switching is fine.  However, I do not agree, at least for me, that tasks must be completed in entirety before moving onto something else. 

In a job where I “dialed for dollars”, I would type my sales call notes as I spoke to my customers over the phone.  This helped me to not forget the most important parts of the conversation.  It also allowed me to have at least an hour more phone productivity time as compared to other employees that waited until they got off the phone to write their notes. 

Whether you want to refer to doing more than one thing at a time as multi-tasking or attention-switching, there is a lot of wasted time out there that I believe more people should be looking for in order to become more efficient.  If you have time management issues, I would suggest looking for things that you can do simultaneously as in my example of the call notes.  Some things can be combined to make your day more productive.

Blog Overload: Who Has Time to Read it All?

There is no question that the blogosphere is growing.  According to webdesignerdepot “WordPress has statistics for both WordPress.com (15.1 million blogs and counting) and self-hosted WordPress installations (17.4 million active installations), which gives part of the picture. There are more than 10 million tumblogs on Tumblr. Blogger doesn’t offer any public statistics on how many blogs they host. Technorati is currently tracking more than 1.2 million blogs. And there are likely millions of other blogs out there hosted on other services like Movable Type, TypePad, Expression Engine, and other CMSs.”

There is no shortage of blog search engines to find blogs that contain information of interest. There are also lots of articles by sites like Forbes and others who occasionally list their idea of top blogging sites.  Google and Google News features can be incorporated into an iGoogle page, and can be another way to keep up with topics to follow.

With all of this information out there, who has time to read it all?  Bloggers know it can be good form to make comments on others’ blogs.  However, finding the time to not only read these blogs but formulate insightful comments may be difficult. Even if people find a good blog to follow and subscribe to their RSS feed, as sites continue to be added to the feed, the feed reader may have more information than people have time to visit.

There has been speculation about when blogging popularity will die down.  The latest discussion is whether Facebook will replace blogging and company websites.  Cnet reported, “Even if Facebook doesn’t somehow supplant lots of Web sites, though, there’s no denying the social network is becoming more important to marketing, and it’s adapting to the idea.

 

Top 50 Venture-Funded Companies for 2011

The Wall Street Journal had a couple of very interesting articles about start-up companies and their ability to obtain funding.  The following list of top 50 venture-funded companies for 2011 came from one of those articles.  Of particular interest to me was the ease that some young entrepreneurs are finding in terms of ways to obtain capital, should their startups be technology-based.  Everyone is looking to get in on the next Facebook or Google.  Entrepreneur Aaron Levie, 26, was able to raise $48 million in less than 3 weeks for Box.net, his online storage company.  Check out what WSJ.com claims are the top 50 start ups for 2011 below:

Rank Company Name Location Industry Why It’s Hot 2010 Rank Total Equity Raised in Millions
1 Castlight Health Inc. San Francisco Health Care As consumers pay more of their health-care bills, Castlight lifts the veil on medical costs. 14 $81.00
2 Xirrus Inc. Thousand Oaks, Calif. Information Technology Founder Dirk Gates previously took another start-up, Xircom, public and then sold it to Intel. 9 $80.25
3 Xactly Corp. San Jose, Calif. Business and Financial Services Xactly’s partners include Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.com, which invested last June.   $69.00
4 Recycle Rewards Inc. New York Business and Financial Services Recyclebank is expanding internationally and currently operates in 29 states. 25 $73.35
5 ExteNet Systems Inc. Lisle, Ill. Information Technology ExteNet raised $128 million in a January 2010 round led by George Soros’s investment firm.   $191.90
6 Cyan Optics Inc. Petaluma, Calif. Information Technology CEO Michael Hatfield previously founded Calix Networks, which held an IPO last year.   $90.83
7 Aster Data Systems Inc. San Carlos, Calif. Information Technology Aster helps companies analyze data to understand customer behavior and detect fraud.   $47.00
8 Glam Media Inc. Brisbane, Calif. Consumer Services Glam’s sites attract 198 million monthly visitors world-wide. 13 $154.20
9 Carrier IQ Inc. Mountain View, Calif. Information Technology The software sits on 140 million devices world-wide, providing data to Sprint and Vodafone.   $48.00
10 Imperva Inc. Redwood Shores, Calif. Information Technology CEO Shlomo Kramer co-founded one of Israel’s largest tech companies, Check Point Software.   $54.00
11 Vidyo Inc. Hackensack, N.J. Information Technology Vidyo powers Google Chat and bundles its software on Hewlett-Packard PCs. 35 $61.19
12 Etsy Inc. Brooklyn, N.Y. Consumer Services It’s profitable and in August it estimated 2010 revenue of $30 million to $50 million.   $51.25
13 RGB Networks Inc. Sunnyvale, Calif. Information Technology RGB acquired mobile-video rival RipCode in June.   $119.00
14 IronKey Inc. Sunnyvale, Calif. Information Technology Founder and Chairman David Jevans helped develop Apple’s Internet strategy.   $50.30
15 Appia Inc. Durham, N.C. Information Technology Appia is moving to build app marketplaces for the likes of AT&T and Samsung.   $18.25
16 The Active Network Inc. San Diego Business and Financial Services Having raised at least $275 million, Active has made numerous acquisitions.   $272.44
17 Nimble Storage Inc. San Jose, Calif. Information Technology Nimble has built an appliance that provides primary and backup storage in one box.   $24.27
18 PatientSafe Solutions Inc. San Diego Health Care After raising $30 million in February, PatientSafe completed and launched its iPod Touch system.   $71.50
19 Glaukos Corp. Laguna Hills, Calif. Health Care Glaukos is developing a new medical-device treatment for open-angle glaucoma.   $117.55
20 Fusion-io Inc. Salt Lake City Information Technology Executive team boasts Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. 2 $111.50
21 Achaogen Inc. South San Francisco, Calif. Health Care Has support from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.   $103.00
22 NeuroPace Inc. Mountain View, Calif. Health Care Filed for approval of a system to monitor and stop epileptic seizures. 12 $130.30
23 Xoom Corp. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Two large, undisclosed public equities firms led its last $33 million round.   $81.44
24 Workday Inc. Pleasanton, Calif. Business and Financial Services The latest effort from Dave Duffield is challenging his earlier creation, PeopleSoft. 16 $110.00
25 SpiderCloud Wireless Inc. Santa Clara, Calif. Information Technology Helps carriers meet the growing demand for mobile broadband on corporate campuses.   $54.10
26 Jive Software Inc. Palo Alto, Calif. Information Technology Financed by Google backers Kleiner and Sequoia, Jive Software brings social-networking tools to big business.   $57.57
27 Federated Media Publishing San Francisco Consumer Services Federated Media has made three acquisitions since August to bulk up its advertising and publishing network.   $57.25
28 Boku Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services CEO Mark Britto previously led Ingenio to an acquisition by AT&T and Accept.com to Amazon.   $38.00
29 Zoosk Inc. San Francisco Consumer Services The “social” online-dating company has more than 15 million active monthy users. 42 $40.10
30 EndoGastric Solutions Inc. Redmond, Wash. Health Care With $120 million total raised, EndoGastric is pushing to profitability.   $128.68
31 Chegg Inc. Santa Clara, Calif. Consumer Services Chegg recently acquired two firms to expand into other student services. 32 $166.20
32 Everyday Health Inc. New York Consumer Services Everyday Health’s sites host 26.5 million visitors a month. In January, it partnered with AOL.   $77.20
33 Xsigo Systems Inc. San Jose, Calif. Business and Financial Services Xsigo’s board of directors includes Veritas Software’s Mark Leslie and HP’s chairman Ray Lane.   $60.00
34 Soasta Inc. Mountain View, Calif. Information Technology Soasta tests the mettle of online services prior to launch by simulating heavy traffic. 36 $21.05
35 Rally Software Development Corp. Boulder, Colo. Information Technology Rally was named the sixth best place to work in the U.S. by Outside magazine last year.   $49.25
36 Prosper Marketplace Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Prosper leveraged the credit crisis to build a service matching lenders and borrowers.   $54.24
37 Pivot3 Inc. Houston Information Technology It says bookings doubled each of the last four years.   $78.00
38 Suniva Inc. Norcross, Ga. Energy and Utilities One of the only start-up solar-cell makers in the U.S. that’s enjoying rising demand. 15 $130.50
39 Veracyte Inc. South San Francisco, Calif. Health Care Developing minimally invasive molecular tests to provide earlier cancer diagnoses.   $49.00
40 ExactTarget Inc. Indianapolis Business and Financial Services Exact Target scrapped an IPO in 2009 and has bought three companies in 17 months.   $155.50
41 OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. Redwood City, Calif. Health Care OncoMed has shown an ability to attack cancer stem cells, which resist traditional chemotherapy.   $168.02
42 ExaGrid Systems Inc. Westborough, Mass. Information Technology ExaGrid’s technology is similar to that of Data Domain, the subject of a $2.2 billion EMC-NetApp bidding war.   $78.10
43 SeeSaw Networks Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Founder Monte Zweben previously founded Blue Martini Software and Red Pepper.   $19.59
44 Silver Peak Systems Inc. Santa Clara, Calif. Information Technology Silver Peak is growing quickly and taking on larger rival Riverbed Technology. 20 $59.80
45 Zilliant Inc. Austin, Texas Information Technology Zilliant uses scientific data to maximize profits by fine-tuning pricing.   $62.47
46 Yammer Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Called “Facebook for business,” Yammer has been embraced by employees at large companies.   $40.00
47 Bivio Networks Inc. Pleasanton, Calif. Information Technology Its government contracts helped it navigate the recession better than most.   $78.30
48 TxVia Inc. New York Business and Financial Services CEO Anil Aggarwal has a decade of experience running electronic-payments firms.   $51.50
49 Service-now.com Inc. Del Mar, Calif. Information Technology Founder and CEO Fred Luddy was CTO of Peregrine Systems and Remedy. Former Documentum CEO Jeff Miller and Proflowers.com CEO Bill Strauss became directors last year. 45 $54.86
50 Aprius Inc. Sunnyvale, Calif. Information Technology Cofounder Peter Kirkpatrick hails from Intel and CEO Varun Nagaraj led NetContinuum.   $31.00

Source:Dow Jones VentureSource

5 Top Networking Tips for Small Businesses

 

Entrepreneurs are often looking for ways to promote their new businesses.  On March 18, the local YOB (Your Own Business) Fair will be a place where Arizona business owners can go to find out tips to help them promote their business.  I will have a booth there and I hope you will join me.  In the meantime, please check out some of the top networking tips that small businesses should be considering in order to succeed: 

  1. Find out where your customers are and connect to them through social networking.  It is important to network with as many people as you can, but remember to try and focus on those that have connections.  Spend some time looking through contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter to see who your friends and contacts know.  Get into groups on sites like LinkedIn and start threads about topics that would be of interest to people you’d like to target as customers.  Become an expert in the Q&A area on LinkedIn as well.  Create Facebook pages for your company and products.  Link your sites together so that your updates get posted to all of your social networking sites.  If you don’t know where to begin to learn how to social network, check out letsgetsocial.com for a reasonably priced series of videos to show you how to become social-networking savvy.  If you have the funds, you could hire a social media expert to do it for you.
  2. Give people something so that they will want to come to your site.  If you aren’t on Youtube, you need to be.  Create several short (3-4 minute) videos offering people something for free and post them on Youtube.  End your video with a link to your landing page to have them sign up for a free newsletter or some other free item.  This will allow you to capture their email address and get them on your mailing list in a legitimate way.  The videos do not have to be fancy.  A simple video camera can create all you need.  You can also make a PowerPoint presentation and then overlay it with Camtasia so that your file has your voice and presentation without necessarily having to have a video of your face if that makes you more comfortable.  You can upload the file to Youtube and also link to it from your website and/or blog. 
  3. Ask for word of mouth.  One of the best ways to get noticed is to have people talk about your business.  If you aren’t asking your satisfied customers to tell other people about you, then you are missing the boat.  Happy customers are usually more than willing to tell others about you if you ask them to do so.  Many just haven’t considered it until it is brought up.  Ask people if they know people who could use your service.  If they do, ask them if they will tell people about you and give them your cards or flyers to give to these people. Remember to ask people to do things based on assessing their level of comfort.  Part of connecting with others is to understand individual personalities
  4. Keep records of contacts you make.  If you have a software package like ACT! or Outlook, you can keep notes there.  Keep a record of everyone you meet and make notes about everything you know about them.  Every time you meet someone new, find out something about them that you can write down into your file and bring up later.   If you can figure out their birthday from Facebook, always send them a note saying “happy birthday”.  Find reasons to stay in contact.  Put notes into your calendar reminding yourself to drop a note, asking if the baby was born yet or how the wedding went.  Showing an interest in people draws them closer to you.  Avoid promoting your products and yourself in all outgoing messages.  Make it be about them or give them information that helps them and makes them want to come back to you.    
  5. Be a resource or mentor.  Find ways to offer your services for free to others and it will bring people back to you later.  On LinkedIn, you can answer questions in the Q&A room to help others and get recognized.  Join local groups and volunteer to do things to become noticed.  People remember kindness and are more willing to give out your name to others if they associate you with good things. 

Can’t Afford to Take the Myers Briggs MBTI? A Free Way to Determine Your Personality Type and Job Preferences

 

Myers Briggs MBTI personality assessment is one of the most reliable and valid instruments on the market.  Employers and job-seekers alike have found the results to be useful to explain personality preferences and match job applicants to appropriate positions. However, in a tough economy, not everyone has the financial resources to take the actual MBTI.  While, there are a lot of free MBTI-like tests on the Internet, most of them are set up to obtain your email address for future promotions.  Although I highly recommend taking the actual MBTI, there are other ways to get an idea of your individual personality preferences.   The following is not nearly as reliable or valid as taking the actual MBTI, but it can give you some insight as to where you fall within the personality types described by Myers Briggs.

Wikipedia does a nice job of explaining the MBTI model and Myers Briggs work.  The site explains that  “individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of thinking and acting. The MBTI sorts some of these psychological differences into four opposite pairs, or dichotomies, with a resulting 16 possible psychological types. None of these types are better or worse; however, Briggs and Myers theorized that individuals naturally prefer one overall combination of type differences. In the same way that writing with the left hand is hard work for a right-hander, so people tend to find using their opposite psychological preferences more difficult, even if they can become more proficient (and therefore behaviorally flexible) with practice and development. The 16 types are typically referred to by an abbreviation of four letters—the initial letters of each of their four type preferences (except in the case of intuition, which uses the abbreviation N to distinguish it from Introversion). For instance:

  • ESTJ: extraversion (E), sensing (S), thinking (T), judgment (J)
  • INFP: introversion (I), intuition (N), feeling (F), perception (P)

And so on for all 16 possible type combinations.”   In order to discover your 4 letter type, you must consider how you prefer to obtain information, what energizes you, how you make decisions and how you approach life.  The chart below lists some words and phrases that may best describe your personality.

Using the chart listed above, look at the qualities listed under each of the headings and pick the letter that best represents you.  You will pick either either an E or I for extroversion or introversion; an S or N for sensing or intution; a T or F for thinking or feeling; and a J or P for judgement or perception as the personality type that you feel best represents you based on the words listed below each heading.  In the end you will have a 4 letter type.   Once you know that 4 letter type, you can look at the chart below to look at jobs that match well with your personality preferences.

There is no shortage of information on the Internet regarding jobs that match MBTI results.  Once you are able to obtain your 4 letter “type”, you can search for more information about that type online.  For more information about personalities and type, check out:  It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.

Are Teachers Being Treated as Inventory? LIFO Used as a Method of Deciding Teachers’ Fate

 

Any business major should probably be able to define LIFO and FIFO.  These letters stand for “Last in First Out” and “First in First Out”. They are usually associated with how inventory is handled.  For example, if you had produce on a truck, and you dealt with it in a LIFO method, that means the last produce put on the truck would be first to come off of the truck.  That would probably not be good of a method in that situation because the produce put on first would get rotten.  So in that instance, FIFO would be a better system…First on the truck, first off the truck so that the inventory would stay fresh. 

LIFO is now a term you may be hearing when schools are considering laying off teachers.  In other words, last teachers hired would be the first teachers fired.  CNN reported, “A wave of layoffs will likely happen this summer…StudentsFirst.org, calculates that at least 160,000 teachers are at risk of losing their jobs. What makes this even tougher on kids is that the majority of the country’s states and school districts conduct layoffs using an antiquated policy referred to as “last in, first out.” The policy mandates that the last teachers hired are the first teachers fired, regardless of how good they are. As it stands now, teachers’ impact on students plays absolutely no role in these decisions.”

In the produce example, using FIFO made sense for the sake of product freshness.  In the example of how to decide educator layoffs, schools may be choosing LIFO for reasons of fairness to those who have put in their time.  However, does being on the job for extended periods of time, make the employee a better employee?  Michelle Rhee, author of the CNN article, thinks not.  Rhee launched StudentsFirst to defend children’s’ rights in schools. “StudentsFirst formed in 2010 in response to an increasing demand for a better education system in America.”  For more information about StudentsFirst, click here.

Is Facebook and Twitter Keeping You Out of College or Helping You Get In?

Employers often use Google or other online research sites to find out about prospective job applicants. If there is embarrassing or incriminating information out there, it may not just be prospective employers that find it. 

Universities are also performing online searches on prospective students. According to Latimes, “College admissions officials look up applicants on Facebook and Twitter, experts say. Details revealed through social media can make or break a good impression.”

Keep in mind, social media can be a way to have employers and universities find out good things about you as well.  In the Latimes article the editor of StudentAdvisor “suggests following the school’s Twitter feed or “liking” its Facebook fan page. Students also can post a video resume on YouTube or blog about volunteering efforts or other extracurricular activities and provide a link on their applications.”

For more information, check out the Online Reputation Guide

Online Reputation Guide for College-Bound Students

Amazon Takes on Netflix Offering Movie Subscriptions

Those interested in immediate gratification have made Netflix a popular choice for movie viewing.  Amazon has now taken on the challenge of competing with Netflix.  Amazon’s “Prime” subscription program costs $79/year which includes their 2-day shipping on purchases.  Prime also includes more than 5,000 video-streaming movies and television shows.  Most of what they offer includes older television seasons and movies.

Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” program costs $7.99 a month and video-streams over 20,000 titles.  This brings their price to over $95/year.  Many of their movies are newer, but their TV shows consistent of previous seasons.

Amazon is entering this market in hope of increasing their digital business.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “The streaming-video offering could lead customers to buy or rent the 90,000 movies and shows that Amazon already offers on an a la carte basis.”

In an effort to compete, Netflix has entered into a two-year deal with CBS to provide television shows.  WSJ reported, “Netflix will pay CBS hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the nonexclusive, two-year licensing pact, which gives CBS the option to extend it for up to two years and add more content in return for higher compensation.”

How will this affect the cable and satellite industry’s relationship with TV networks?  That is something that TV executives must consider as more than $30 billion a year comes to networks from subscriptions.

Netflix is no stranger to competition.  Netflix’s competition with Itunes, led to their removing limits for streaming of video. PCworld reported, “Previously the amount of streaming content subscribers could access was dependent on their subscription level. For example, the $16.99 membership allowed for 17 hours of streaming movie content. With the new unlimited plan, all subscription levels, with the exception of the lowest $4.99 plan, will be able to stream as many Netflix movies and TV shows as they’d like to their PCs.”

Itunes has been tough to beat in movie downloads.  As Forbes pointed out, “ITunes already dominates the world of movie downloads. In 2010 the service accounted for 64.5% of all movie downloads and rentals.”

Was Alexander Hamilton Ever President? Have a Laugh on President’s Day

History was never one of my strongest subjects in school.  However, in my youth, I  managed to learn one history lesson about why Alexander Hamilton was on the ten dollar bill. Having the last name of Hamilton may have caused my unusual interest.  Many assume those on our U.S. currency are all presidents.  This is not actually always true.  Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin are both on currency and neither one was ever president.  The following video is a great bit by Asylum’s Anthony Layser.  Have a little laugh today on President’s Day:

Controlling Emotions at Work: Part of Core Employment Skills?

 

Lesley Wright’s recent article in the Arizona Republic offered some insight into a new book by author and ASU professor Vincent Waldron.  Waldron’s book, titled, “Communicating Emotion at Work”, due later this year, will include information from his 20 years of studying emotions in the workplace.

In the book, “It’s Not You It’s Your Personality” similar topics are covered in chapters about emotional intelligence and concern for impact.  Concern for impact may be defined as how much we care about how others perceive us.  In the Arizona Republic article, “Waldron argues that emotional communication should be a core employment skill.”  Emotions are a buzz word in the workplace since Daniel Goleman helped increase the popularity of emotional intelligence with his book about why emotional intelligence could matter more than IQ. Books about emotions in the workplace can be a very effective tool to help explain why people act the way they do.  This can be very important, especially in a team setting.  As more companies are creating teams, understanding one’s fellow employees and their emotions can be critical to the success of a team and their projects.

Some of the things that Waldron pointed out in his interview with Wright tied into having concern for impact which can be an important part of one’s success in the workplace. Waldron claims, “The theme of this book is that emotions, both positive and negative, have in a sense evolved to serve a purpose. Emotional communication is a tool for making our organizations and our lives richer, more moral, more humane and potentially building better workplaces. Sometimes that means regulating and suppressing emotions. So we need to be competent at understanding the emotions and learning to regulate them. I’m sort of arguing for a heightened awareness of how emotion makes us good. I don’t think there is any competitive disadvantage to being emotionally competent.”

Top Branding Failures

Companies are always looking for that next Old Spice campaign that will become viral on YouTube and get people talking.  Effective branding is crucial for a company’s success.  The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

Branding needs to be credible and motivate buyers.  According to MarketingAbout.com, “It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It’s a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without.”

There have been many marketing blunders when advertising has missed the mark.  Bschool.com lists what they consider to be the 10 Most Ill-Advised Ads of All Time.  Remember those singing Quiznos rodents?  Some of us wish we could forget.  Check out the top 10 list by clicking here.

Famous Business Failures: Is It As Gloomy As It Sounds?

Many hopeful entrepreneurs secretly have concerns about failure.  Although the failure rates are often misquoted, they are a natural concern.  It is not unusual to hear someone say 9 out of 10 businesses fail within 2 years. That statistic may sound impressive, but it is probably inaccurate.  According to smallbusinessplanned.com after 4 years, 50% of small businesses are still open.

There are a lot of successful business owners out there that didn’t necessarily make it on their first try.  The good news is that they didn’t give up and eventually found success.  For a list of 50 famous people who failed before they became successful, click here.

That is not to say there haven’t been some incredible blunders.  Accountingdegree.com has an interesting article about 13 of the biggest business blunders of all time. That list includes:

  • Enron
  • Charles Ponzi
  • Pan American
  • British Petroleum
  • SwissAir
  • Woolworth’s
  • Rafaello Follieri
  • Toyota Recalls
  • Washington Mutual
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Fashion Café
  • Bernie Madoff
  • Napster

To read the full article and find out more about how these business blunders occurred, click here.

InMaps from Linkedin: Map Your Social Connections If You Can Get It To Work

Have you ever wondered what your network actually looks like?  With Linkedin InMaps, they claim you can get a map of colors to show your connections and how they inter-relate.  Colors represent groups within your professional connections.  It’s a way to see how you know people and visualize relationships.

It sounded very interesting so I thought I’d check it out.  I was unable to view InMaps through Explorer or AOL.  It suggested using Google’s Chrome or Firefox but it never worked with those applications either.  It just gives a never-ending processing swirl on the page.  I was curious if it had to do with Windows 7 so I tried it on my Mac with no luck either. Granted, I have a lot of connections on Linkedin, but the processing swirl never stopped. 

Perhaps they are just having problems with the site that will resolve.  If anyone has had good or bad things to say about InMaps, I’d be curious to hear about it.

Do Introverts Make Good Speakers?

This is a very interesting topic that was recently brought up in one of my foresight in technology courses I teach.  Many of my  technology students are introverts. The Myers Briggs MBTI classifies people as introverts and extroverts.  The introvert tends to think before they speak. The extrovert tends to think as they speak.  Because of this, many may assume, the time lag preferred by an introvert may not make them the most likely candidates to be a good speaker.

However, really good speakers have spent long hours in preparation of their presentations.  This is an ideal way for the introvert to deliver information.  They have time to think and arrange their thoughts in a way that comes across in the way they intended. 

Classic introverts, like Bill Gates, can deliver wonderful speeches.  The problem introverts may experience in the speaking circuit would probably have more to do with the question and answer session at the end of the presentation.  At that point, once questions are asked, the introvert speaker could answer things very quickly if it is something they are familiar with and have answered previously.  However, should a heckler get into the crowd and ask something way off topic, in that case, it might not be the ideal situation for the classic introvert. 

An example of an introverted leader/speaker feeling as if they are under pressure during a Q&A session would be the Mark Zuckerberg video where he had flop sweat.

401K Reinrollment: Why Your Money May Be Put Into Target-Dated Funds

Target-dated funds are mutual funds that automatically adjust the asset mix of stocks, bonds and cash usually based on the investor’s future retirement date.  Companies have been offering these options for their employees for many years.  Some companies are now even having employees have to acknowledge if they don’t want to have their money put into target-dated funds.

In the hope of helping employees keep their money safe, companies are stepping in and trying to control where they hold their retirement funds.  Employees can continue to choose from their company’s listed fund choices, but if they don’t opt out of the target-dated funds, their money may just be moved for them.

For those people who don’t want to hassle with choices and watching their funds, this may be a good choice.  For those who are more financially savvy, the target-dated funds may not appeal to them; they may prefer to have control over their investments.

There are pros and cons to using target-dated funds based on gender, age and risk tolerance.  For more information about target-dated funds and employers utilizing them, check out a recent article by the Wall Street Journal by clicking here.

The Future of Apple and Facebook: What Happens When Genius Leaders Pass the Torch?

With the recent absence of Steve Jobs, there is a lot of discussion about the future of Apple should he leave the company.  There have been examples of problems with successful companies when their founders or leaders step down. 

A classic example is the problem that Starbucks faced when Howard Schultz left.  As Starbucks became seen as too generic, he came back to rescue to the company. 

Do leaders like Jobs, Gates and others have a cult-like status?  According to Newsweek, “Michael Dell has cautioned about the importance of the founder not creating a religion around himself or herself—and he takes practical steps to avoid that. Dell says he works to make other stars visible with an institutionalized review process that exposes up-and-comers to the board of directors.”

Can companies like Facebook live without Zuckerberg?  Some companies have managed to survive without their visionary leaders and some have not fared as well. Some examples of the impact of leaders leaving include:

McDonald’s – Ray Kroc empowered his franchisees to be successful.

Disney – Walt Disney didn’t do as good of a job finding a successor. After two decades, the company did recover.

Walmart – Sam Walton  and his ideas have made Walmart still a dominating force today.

Visionaries have created some highly successful companies.  The key may be to have replacement leaders that are visionaries in their own right.  They will never be the founders but they may offer their own unique spin.

For now, the Jobs and Zuckerbergs of the world are showing us that there are shining star examples for people to emulate.  According to Newsweek, “we must realize that founders are not like the rest of us. We are so much better off with these creative brains than without them. After all, Sigmund Freud observed that society is changed by its discontents—the iconoclasts who challenge the status quo. They are more narrowly focused than many of us on an entrepreneurial dream, they have talents most of us lack, and they make superhuman sacrifices that benefit us all.”

Baby Boomers Turn 65 This Year: Keeping the Illusion of Youth While Staying Healthy

This year the oldest baby boomers will turn 65.  If you call a baby boomer “elderly”, you might find that is not a term they take lightly.  The days of older generations taking it easy and moving to quiet communities have faded.  This is a very proud group that wants to remain vital and active for as long as possible.

Although boomers may not have noticed it, marketers are using subtle targeting methods to reach this group without insulting them. Some companies are using larger typefaces and avoiding colors that are hard to distinguish between to allow for their packaging to be distinct to older eyes.  If aging boomers haven’t realized their clothing size may remaind the same, while their body size increases, they may not be aware that clothing companies are doing something called vanity sizing.  Although not necessarily unique to only boomers, Mesh.com reported, “Gap, the parent company of Banana Republic, was contacted to ask about the new double-zero size. They said they’re responding to the demands of their customers. They said women want smaller sizes.”

Boomers may dress for success still but father time is creeping up on them.  Companies are doing their best to allow boomers to age gracefully, keeping their dignity intact.  WJS.com reported, “Kimberly-Clark spent two years overhauling its Depend brand, anticipating boomers would demand changes to the image and design of a line long considered too diaper-like and institutional. By 2020, Kimberly-Clark expects 45 million boomers will need incontinence products, up from 38 million currently.”

Those not ready for diapers, are not ready to sit on the porch swing and rock either.  In the past, retired generations paid off their mortgages to live their twilight years free of debt.  Boomers may be downsizing but many plan to move into new homes.  “A big driver of boomers’ increased spending is the fact that over one-third plan to move to a new home within five years of becoming empty nesters.”

Boomers may not be retiring as early either.  The stock market crisis is partly to blame, but there are other reasons.   Another issue facing this generation is that they often have to not only care for their children but their own aging parents.  They have often been called the sandwich generation because of this.  US News Money reported, “Almost a third (31 percent) of relatively wealthy Americans are supporting older and younger immediate family members at the same time, according to a new Merrill Lynch Wealth Management survey of 1,000 people with investable assets of $250,000 or more.” The stress from this has caused many boomers to have difficulty with their jobs and health, leading to a generation that experiences higher rates of depression.

RetirementBoomerStyle listed some recommendations for this generation and how to stay as healthy as possible, “So, while baby boomers are caring for the health of their family, they should keep themselves in mind as well. A diet that is high in fiber is ideal for the baby boomer, and including lean meats in the diet will provide the protein that is needed for energy and muscle toning. Baby boomer women should also considered taking a supplement that includes omega-3 fatty acids; this will improve memory and brain function, and make it easier for the body to fight off free radicals. In addition to taking supplements, women should also be sure to eat some form of fatty fish each week, such as salmon or tuna. Men of this generation should be sure to eat foods that are rich in lycopene, a substance that can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene can be found in foods like tomatoes and watermelon, so eating these fruits fresh a few times a week can make a big difference when it comes to preventative health.”

25 Improv Tricks to Help Become Business Savvy

For those looking for some advice about how to be a better business person, Business Schools Directory had some unique ideas taken from improv.  “At first glance, improv might seem like the direct opposite of the business world. It’s silly, raucous, and spontaneous. But improv actors are sharp professionals who have an incredible ability to pull from past dialogue, anticipate future scenes and relationships, and engage audiences in just moments.”

To learn how to be more business savvy, based on tactics gained from improve actors, including how to introduce yourself, how to use your body, and more click here:  25 tricks that work on stage and may just work in the business world.

Gainful Employment Rule: Effect on For-Profit Schools and Graduation Rates

 

For-profit education is beginning to feel the squeeze.  July 2, 2012 marks the day that the U.S. Department of Education rule goes into effect.  This rule restricts students from using government aid to pay for schooling that doesn’t include occupations that have a strong entry-level salary.  

This isn’t the only issue that for-profits are facing.  A loophole has been close that would allow schools to financially reward admission counselors for enrolling students.  This is one of the reasons enrollment is down at some of the major for-profit universities.  This has also led these universities to increase tuition to cover their losses. 

The programs that are considered not high paying enough to meet the Gainful Employment rule will be shut down.  The New York Times reported that accounts for only about 5% of these schools’ programs. What happens to the students already enrolled in them? The Arizona Republic reported  that they are allowed to continue with the program under the “teach out” rule.

Many for-profit universities are implementing new programs to help face their new challenges including:  orientation programs to improve retention, trying to bolster brand awareness, and finding ways to comply with the July deadline to meet the Gainful Employment Rule. 

Many of the guidelines that are changing now are to protect students and to be sure that they are graduating with degrees that will be worth their expense. Politics Daily reported that a study completed by the Committee of Health Labor Education and Pensions found “94.4 percent of students attending for-profit schools take out loans, compared to 16.6 percent attending community college and 44.3 percent enrolled in traditional four-year public schools. Much of that money comes from federal Pell Grants, which help low-income applicants attend schools of higher education, but is often never returned if they don’t graduate.”

It is important that students are able to complete their programs, not only to pay back the loans, but to move ahead in their careers.  The New York Times claimed, The report, “Subprime Opportunity,” by the Education Trust, found that in 2008, only 22 percent of the first-time, full-time bachelor’s degree students at for-profit colleges over all graduate within six years, compared with 55 percent at public institutions and 65 percent at private nonprofit colleges.

For now, for-profit colleges are making some needed changes. The Arizona Republic reported that Peter Wahlstrom of Morningsar, who tracks major for-profit education companies, stated, “What you are trying to do is create a solid program based on academic quality, which, in turn, helps with student outcomes. That helps with retention, that helps with enrollment, and that eventually helps with financial results.”

LinkedIn IPO May Be Sooner Than You Think

LinkedIn has already completed the first step in the IPO process.  With over 90 million members in over 200 countries and an estimated worth of $2 billion, its growth is undeniable. All Things Digital reported, “LinkedIn, the online business networking site, is likely to file regulatory documents for an initial public offering as early as today, according to sources close to the situation.”

Linkedin may not be the only big name going IPO soon.  According to All Things Digital, “LinkedIn’s entry into the public market is one that many expect will be followed by other Internet firms in the coming year, including Zynga, Chegg and, most anticipated of all, Facebook.”

Global Warming: Answers For Both Sides From The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See

In a foresight class I teach, we compare Al Gore‘s and Glenn Beck‘s views on global warming. It brings up some interesting discussions. A student recently posted this link in class and I think it is very well done and explains the two sides and how we may need to think about the subject.

The amount of interest in global warming may be dropping.  Denverdailynews reported,  “A poll by the Pew Research Center states that the public’s priorities for 2010 did not include global warming. In fact, global warming ranked last as a priority, with just 28 percent of the public considering it a top priority, according to the 2010 poll.”

Quora Confusion: How to Navigate This New Social Media Site

image via google.com

Quora is a social media site created by former Facebook employees.  It is designed to be an interactive question and answer site.  It appears to me to be like the Q&A section on LinkedIn where someone can ask a question and receive an answer in a more sophisticated way than a simple Yahoo Answers response.  Unlike Yahoo Answers, users must be a member of the site to view the discussions.  

I have received several notifications that people were following me recently on Quora, so I decided to give it another look yesterday.  Interestingly, this morning, the Wall Street Journal did a piece on Quora.  I was a bit relieved to hear that I wasn’t the only one who finds the site to be a bit confusing.  According to the WSJ article, “The site lacks instructions on how to use it; people just have to figure it out as they go. For example, a newcomer might not know that Quora answers can be voted up or down by seeing two tiny triangles that appear beside each answer. If I select the up triangle, this indicates I voted for that answer, and news of this vote is shared on the Quora home page of anyone who follows me. A number beside each answer indicates how many votes it has received so far. But unless you’ve used the site for a while, you wouldn’t know any of this.”

I like the Q&A section in LinkedIn and I think Quora has some possibilities.  I will have to give it another try.  I recommend reading the article in the Wall Street Journal to learn more about Quora and how to navigate within the site by clicking here

For now, I have answered questions on Quora including one titled: How do you know if you are emotionally intelligent?  If you are on Quora and want to see my response to that question click here.

50 Excellent Lectures for the Small Business Owner

Many are now just completing their MBA or considering starting their own small business. There is a great article from BSchool that includes 50 excellent lectures about entrepreneurship, practical tips, innovation, leadership, technology and the economy.  The courses come from sources like the University of California through UCTV.  The one I first watched was an hour long and had four accomplished entrepreneurs discuss the excitement and challenges of starting a business. It offered an insight into what to expect as a new entrepreneur and pitfalls to avoid.

These are excellent lectures. To see the complete article, go to BSchool’s link by clicking here.  Bschool.com is an online resource for MBA programs and top
online business schools. They provide thorough information on MBA subjects, specialty MBAs and business school rankings.

To see the the types of lectures, I have included an excerpt from the  bschool.com article:

Entrepreneurship

These lectures tackle topics in entrepreneurship, from appealing to the consumer to making great pitches.

  1. Entrepreneurs: Four entrepreneurs share their journeys to open a new business, and the talks inspire passion and excitement.
  2. Entrepreneurship and Society: This talk from UCTV is led by Tom Kemp, President and CEO of Centrify Corporation. He talks about what new ventures need in order to effectively appeal to the modern-day consumer.
  3. Women Entrepreneurs: Consider the differences between men and women as business leaders and owners.
  4. Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship: President Obama gives a talk to an international audience on entrepreneurship and realizing the American dream.
  5. Entrepreneurs: Then and Now: Guy Kawasaki compares the foundation of entrepreneurial strategy during the late 1990s and what’s popular and effective now.
  6. Leadership and Entrepreneurship: This lecture from MIT World features three business leaders from completely different fields but who have relied on their instincts and bold ideas to get their ideas off the ground.
  7. Whatever it Takes to Stay in Business: Frank Levinson encourages entrepreneurs to lose their pride, just like a baby, in order to please their customers and stay in business, whatever it takes.
  8. New Media Entrepreneurship: This talk is from 2008 but still has valuable tips on developing a good, emotional, factual pitch and going for the gold in order to move up in business.
  9. Behaviors of Successful Business Owners: Ron Finkelstein from Akris, LLC shares how entrepreneurs can make more money and develop productive employees, all with an efficient use of time.
  10. David S. Rose on pitching to VCs: In this TED lecture, serial entrepreneur David S. Rose helps you to pitch and prove yourself to venture capitalists.

Practical Education

From management to marketing, here are lectures that give you new ideas to help you build your business.

  1. John Gerzema: The post-crisis consumer: Learn how to appeal to the post-recession consumer here.
  2. Team Process Leadership: James Seferis’ innovative philosophy on business leadership and success involves active participation from all team members.
  3. Finding Gold: Hiring the Best and the Brightest: Watch this lecture from UWTV to build an invaluable team that’s focused, motivated and cooperative.
  4. Customer Relationship Management: Former Amazon.com executive Bill Price weighs in on customer relationship management.
  5. Marketing a Start-up: Learn how to develop a smart marketing strategy before attempting to sell anything.
  6. The Case for Sustainability: Sustainability isn’t really an option for new business owners in today’s society: it’s a necessity. Here you’ll learn how to develop a sustainable, environmentally conscious business that’s also attractive to consumers.
  7. The Naked Corporation: Learn how to be a more transparent and honest business owner, in an age when positivity is just as important as profitability.
  8. Talk to an Angel: Crucial Connections to Early Stage Capital: This group from MIT helps entrepreneurs find the right investors when they’re first starting out.
  9. Joseph Pine on what customers want: Writer and consultant Joseph Pine gives tips on selling authenticity to modern consumers.
  10. Choosing people — the ultimate talent?: Look over the transcript from this lecture given at Gresham College to choose the right senior people so that you have less managing to do later.
  11. Challenges of Managing: Firing People: Gajus Worthington is a proponent of firing employees in order to produce a healthy, successful business. This 22-part lecture series offers tips for firing and recruiting.
  12. Business Ethics: These lectures given by top business executives and professors will clue you into integrity, corporate responsibility, and ethical leadership culture in the business world.
  13. No Sweat Speaking: Whether you need to work on giving pitches or improving upon your networking skills, this public speaking lecture will teach you how to tell a good story, make use of the audience, and relax before speaking.
  14. Chinese Business Culture for Business Travelers: If you plan on doing business in the East or recruiting from China, watch this lecture.

Innovation and Leadership

Learn how to effect change and inspire your workers here.

  1. Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty: James Parker and Barbara Stocking discuss strategies for energizing and motivating all employees of an organization, from the top down.
  2. Bringing Creativity into an Organization: Ignore the classic MBA management strategies if you want to really cultivate creativity in your workplace, argues Robert I. Sutton.
  3. Building the Next Generation Company: Innovation, Talent, Excellence: Lecturer John Chambers came out of the last recession with big profits, and in this speech, he explains how you can beat the recession, too.
  4. Seth Godin on standing out: Don’t bury your creative ideas because they seem outrageous: those are the ones worth nurturing.
  5. Howard Rheingold on collaboration: Learn how to work with team members around the world with technology, new media and open culture.
  6. Richard Branson’s life at 30,000 feet: Notable entrepreneur Richard Branson is interviewed about his larger than life ideas, his major struggles, and his motivations.
  7. A Policy on Leadership: If your business is struggling — or you want to prevent a fallout — watch this lecture to learn how to create a fact-based analytical organization and good management teams.
  8. Values-Based Leadership: Strive to be a leader with character, and you’ll end up inspiring your employees to work just as hard as you do.
  9. Innovative Leadership during Economic Crisis: Let this lecture help you to think outside the box, no matter what kind of crisis is getting in your way. You’ll learn how to be innovative in three areas: with customers, people, and products.
  10. How great leaders inspire action: Simon Sinek’s TED speech uses examples like Martin Luther King, Apple and the Wright brothers to explain how the mark of a great leader is his or her ability to inspire action and change.
  11. Composing a Career and Life: Get inspired to take a nonlinear path when obstacles are tossed into your plan.
  12. Derek Sivers: How to start a movement: Don’t settle for selling goods or services. Learn how to start a movement.
  13. The case for collaborative consumption: Rachel Botsman’s lecture focuses on our natural desire to share, and how collaborative consumption is a powerful economic force.
  14. Gerd Leonhard: Find out why ego doesn’t have a place in business anymore, and what that means for your business plan.
  15. Video Player The Power of Competition: How to Focus the World’s Brains on your Innovation Challenges: Conversely, Fiona Murray believes competition is healthy, too, and asks business owners to embrace it in order to add a jolt of energy to the enterprises.
  16. Nurturing a Vibrant Culture to Drive Innovation: Here’s another lecture on inspiring innovation in order to nurture a talented, unique team that drives your business.

Technology

Become a smarter user of technology so that social media and other tools end up working for you.

  1. Technology and the Recession: how new technology is changing the way we do business: Consider technology’s new role in business.
  2. Craig Mod: Publisher and developer Craig Mod discusses the changes coming for the book publishing industry, but as one commenter notes, the questions raised are relevant to all business ventures.
  3. Why social network mess can benefit your business: Euan Semple’s talk should convince you to get involved in social media, even though it’s always changing.

The Economy

Discover how to work with the economy, even in bad times.

  1. Shaped by Booms and Busts: How the Economy Impacts CEO Management Style: On your way to becoming a CEO, find out how to make room for economic changes.
  2. Video Player The Economic Meltdown: What Have We Learned, if Anything?: Paul Krugman delivers this lecture to MIT to help us learn from our mistakes.
  3. Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises: Consider the notion that free trade has opened us to global collaboration and an idea-sharing culture.
  4. Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women: Get statistics on the rise of women in the workforce, and their newly appreciated value in the economy.
  5. The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage: Here you’ll learn why it’s important to organize your company so that it can withstand catastrophe, from an economic downturn to an event like 9/11.
  6. Making Globazliation Work for All: Watch this lecture to learn how to make use of globalization without succumbing to immoral practices, like using sweatshops.
  7. Business, Knowledge and Global Growth: You’ll learn about the true impact that MBAs and business schools have had on the economy.

Career Dreams are Attainable: Expert Guides Readers to Ultimate Success

 

01.17.2011– Dr. Diane Hamilton is the go-to expert on all things career. The author of three books, she urges readers to not be afraid to try new things. Most importantly, students and job hunters alike must be self-aware, allowing them to know what they want and to allow them to have the career of their dreams.

Bill Gates is not the only one who believes that online education is the wave of the future. In The Online Student’s User Manual: Everything you Need to Know to be a Successful College Online Student, Hamilton guides readers through the process. It took Diane many years to become a successful online teacher and it is the job she loves the most from her 30+ year working career. It’s time readers heed the advice of seasoned professor Hamilton.

In her second book How to Reinvent Your Career: Make More Money Doing What You Love, Diane delves deeper into the importance of taking that degree and making life choices to better oneself. After reinventing herself over 10 times in her career, Diane Hamilton learned many business and life lessons along the way, making her the consummate professional for advice regarding all things career. This in-depth book covers everything from how to properly use social marketing to studying the marketplace. A detailed analysis of up and coming careers is also included. Getting down to the “nitty gritty,” Diane Hamilton proves with this book that she has the power to convey what would be overwhelming information in a concise, no-nonsense yet friendly approach.

“With my first two books, I based my writing on life experience and sharing what I know,” said Hamilton. “Then I wanted to take it to the next level, taking advantage of my training and certification in personality assessments. I chose to have some fun and co-authored my third book with my daughter, Toni Rothpletz. Together we created a book, meant to be entertaining learning for post-boomer workers trying to decipher personalities in the workplace.”

Personality tests abound. Which one is right for each individual? Together Hamilton and Rothpletz analyze each test and leave it up to the reader (with guidance) to find the personality test that works for them. They make the case that having a certain level of self-awareness prepares those of all generations for the complicated personalities issues in the modern workplace. “New Gens,” a term coined by Hamilton and Rothpletz, includes Gen X, Gen Y and the Millennial generations. The authors explain how this unique group has specific expectations in the current working environment. Honing in on the fact that Americans spend a large majority of their time in the office, Hamilton and Rothpletz claim that it is not only encouraged but necessary to find a way to get along with all generations. It is a vastly diverse workplace in 2011 with boomers still working and Millennials soon to be taking their place. With Hamilton’s and Rothpletz’s sound advice new workers will be geared up for career success. A fun, entertaining, inspiring read, It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Modern Workplace, is a must-have for job seekers and survivors in today’s every-changing work environment.

Hamilton has taken it to the next level this year, offering three informative reads. With her work, readers can navigate the often scary and unchartered world of careers. The US is the land of dreams and opportunities. Authors like Hamilton can help guide readers to improve their potential. Careers can be fun. Careers can be reinvented. Most importantly—dreams are attainable. Dr. Diane Hamilton has proven that.

About the Authors:
Diane Hamilton currently teaches bachelor-, master-, and doctoral-level courses for six online universities. Along with her teaching experience, she has a Doctorate Degree in Business Management and more than twenty-five years of business and management-related experience. She is a qualified Myers-Briggs instructor as well as a certified Emotional Intelligence trainer.

Toni Rothpletz has a Bachelor Degree in Global Business Marketing and is currently working on receiving her MBA. She currently works as a business developer/sales executive in the computer industry. Her background includes working in several industries including computer software, identity theft, and social networking organizations.

To find out more about their writing or to schedule an interview, visit Dr. Hamilton’s website at http://drdianehamilton.com or her blog at http://drdianehamilton.wordpress.com/.

Review copies are available.

The Online Student’s User Manual: Everything you Need to Know to be a Successful College Online Student by Diane Hamilton—August 2010 ($14.95/Amazon). ISBN: 9780982742808

How to Reinvent Your Career: Make More Money Doing What You Love by Diane Hamilton—September 2010 ($16.95/Amazon). ISBN: 9780982742815

It’s Not You It’s Your Personality: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Modern Workplace by Diane Hamilton and Toni Rothpletz–December, 2010 ($19.95/Amazon). ISBN: 9780982742839 Approximately 220 pages

PR Contact:
Rebecca Crowley, RTC Publicity
649-619-1178
rebecca@rtcpublicity.com

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2011 Top 10 Things You Should Not Put On Your Resume

image via google.com

In a tough economy, many people are trying to perfect their resumes.  It is a very competitive market out there, with many competing for the few coveted jobs.  It is important not to make the mistake of including inappropriate information in your resume or cover letter as this is the first thing that companies use to judge you.

I read an interesting article about whether you should include your MBTI and IQ results on your resume.  AskaManager.com didn’t think this was a good idea explaining, “Resumes are for listing your accomplishments; they’re not for personal traits. Listing that you’re an “ESTJ” does give me some information about you, but it doesn’t tell me what you’ve achieved and experienced, which is what I’m looking for when I look at your resume.” 

This made me think about all of the resumes I’ve screened that had inappropriate information listed on them.  Here is my top list of things you should never include on your resume:

  1. Age, weight, height, religion, race, political affiliation, pets, marital status and other personal information
  2. Salary requirements
  3. Inappropriate email names (example:  Toosexy at blahblah.com)
  4. Medical issues
  5. High School Information, High School Memberships
  6. Photograph
  7. Personal negative feelings about a position or employer
  8. Hobbies or activities that imply religious affiliation
  9. IQ, EQ, Personality Results, Mensa, GPA
  10. Overly large or busy fonts and colors on resume and cover page

Some career sites note that the objective and reference sections are not a good addition.  I don’t personally think those are as much of a problem.  In fact, I think an objective statement can help if a person’s past jobs aren’t in line with the job they are hoping to obtain. Including the phrase “References Available Upon Request” is still acceptable although not required.  It is not correct to actually list the people being used as references unless they are requested.

Top 10 Company Mission Statements

Image via n2growth.com

Companies often list their vision and their mission statements on their sites. The difference between a mission statement and a vision statement is that a mission statement focuses on a company’s present state while a vision statement focuses on a company’s future.  However, some companies tend to blend these statements.  The following are some of the top technology-based company mission statements:

Amazon:  Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.  (They list this as their mission as a combination mission/vision on their site).

Apple:  Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

Dell:  Dell’s mission is to be the most successful computer company in the world at delivering the best customer experience in markets we serve. 

Facebook:  Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Google:  Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Microsoft:  Microsoft’s mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

Skype:  Skype’s mission is to be the fabric of real-time communication on the web.

Twitter:  Twitter lists its mission as “a work in progress” as it has yet to be fully developed.

Yahoo!:  Yahoo!’s mission is to be the most essential global Internet service for consumers and businesses

YouTube:  YouTube’s mission is to provide fast and easy video access and the ability to share videos frequently

Millennials Education and Workplace Success – Improving Emotional Intelligence

In 2010, research from Pew Center showed Millennials were not only the happiest of workers but they were also considered the most educated generation in history.  JustMeans.com reported, “Approximately 1-in-5 Millennials are college graduates while 26% are in school, and 30% are out of school but have plans to pursue a college degree. Some Millennials work, and others are in school– 24% do both and are employed while seeking an education. According the Pew Center, Millennials who are older and employed may be “the happiest workers in America.” More than one-third of employed Millennials describe their job satisfaction as “very happy,” while 29% of Baby Boomers and 27% of Gen Xers feel the same way.”

Even well-educated generations may not be savvy in all areas that could lead to their success at work.  Part of what makes a successful and happy worker is having the ability to get along with coworkers, having strong interpersonal skills and being emotionally intelligent.  The book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, addresses all of these important areas.  By understanding personalities and the psychology behind “why” people act the way they do, Millennials and all generations have a better chance of success at work and beyond.

A big part of understanding relationships and personalities is to understand emotional intelligence.  Authors such as Daniel Goleman have shown that one’s Emotional Quotient or EQ may be considered as important as one’s IQ.  Phoenix.Edu explained the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace:  “Emotions play a primary role in both conscious and unconscious decisions. It is often easy to be reactive instead of proactive, and in the workplace, if the wrong choice is made, this can quickly lead into a danger zone. An inability to keep emotions in check can result in problematic issues that can either harm the individual’s career or tarnish the reputation of an organization. Examples of situations where emotions can come into effect are conflict management, colleague tension, dealing with irate customers, organizational power struggles, negotiations, competition, organizational resistance to change and even coping with managers who bully.”

To find out more about understanding personalities and emotional intelligence in the workplace, click here.