Category Archives: Industry News

News You Can Use: 11/15/2017

  • I Learned a Lot About Strong Company Culture From Jeff Bezos — But There’s 1 Strategy I Won’t Copy

    Amazon’s culture is fairly cutthroat and trust does not run high. Every year employees are stack ranked and those at the bottom of the list are cut. In theory, it’s important to keep the bar for performance high and this is one of the ways Amazon does that. But, this practice pits employees against each other. Instead of working as teammates they compete as rivals. Trust is essential in building a healthy company. You need every person on the team to be willing to shift priorities and pitch in on initiatives that fall well outside their defined job role in order to make the company successful. You need a culture where people have each other’s backs. If you get the right people on board and align them all around a single vision, this will happen naturally.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/304037

  • Don’t Struggle Always to Be the ‘Smartest Person in the Room.’ Instead, Rely on a Mentor.

    Find several mentors who share your passions. When you reach out to mentors — and aim to have more than one — look for common ground according to your passion for similar challenges and objectives. Then, when you approach these individuals, emphasize these shared passions in a letter or speech to demonstrate the potential of a collaboration.

    Don’t just ask someone generically and blandly to be your mentor; you’ll risk coming across as a “social climber.” Mentors want to be aligned with those who share similar values and goals.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/304265

  • John Oliver: Economic Development (NSFW)

    Once again, I beat Mr. Oliver to the punch (Obviously I love Last Week Tonight, and just feel vindicated that we cover the same topics (and that I am a little ahead of the trend every once and a while).
  • Facebook, WeWork and others use this startup to make swag

    “People think of swag as junk but it shouldn’t be,” Swag co-founder Jeremy Parker told TechCrunch. “It could be an amazing marketing tool if it’s built right.”

    Swag.com offers products like water bottles, umbrellas, shirts, jackets, USB drives, bags and other items from brands like Patagonia, Case Logic. Once you pick the product, you upload your designs, specify how many you want printed and then wait for Swag to send you the production mockup for approval.

    Standard production time takes about 15 days while priority production takes 10 days and costs a bit more. Production doesn’t start until the customer has approved the mockup. Since Swag works directly with the manufacturer and vendor, it doesn’t have to hold any inventory.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/06/facebook-wework-and-others-use-this-startup-to-make-swag/?ncid=rss
    I really do enjoy good company swag and there is so much bad swag that I end up tossing.

  • How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

    Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

    Facebook isn’t scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer’s address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases.

    https://gizmodo.com/how-facebook-figures-out-everyone-youve-ever-met-1819822691

Photo: Jase Ess

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News You Can Use: 11/8/2017

  • MasterCard has finally realized that signatures are obsolete and stupid

    Companies are finally seeing the light. Starting in April 2018, MasterCard cardholders will no longer be required to sign their name when they purchase something using their debit or credit cards.

    The company has been moving away from requiring signatures for a few years now, with only about 80% of purchases (typically over a certain dollar amount) requiring a signature these days. MasterCard did some digging, though, and per its press release, realized that most of their customers “believe it would be easier to pay and that checkout lines would move faster if they didn’t need to sign when making a purchase.” So they are doing away with signatures entirely, and instead will rely on actually secure measures like “chips,  tokenization, biometrics and other newer and more secure methods” instead of scribbly signatures perfected in middle school.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40484347/mastercard-has-finally-realized-that-signatures-are-obsolete-and-stupid

  • Richard Branson to parents: Work from home, if you can

    Between 2005 and 2015, the number of workers who telecommuted increased 115%, according to a report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. That translates to 3.9 million workers, or almost 3% of the total U.S. workforce, who worked from home at least half the time in 2015.

    New technologies have made it easier for people to work remotely.

    Branson adds that having as much flexibility as possible where you work can also make all the difference for working parents. “I lived in a houseboat when my kids were young,” he recalls. “I was building Virgin. They were fooling around. I changed a nappy and I’d be on the phone. So I suspect I’ll see more of my kids and family than almost any father.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/23/news/companies/richard-branson-boss-files/index.html

  • Why Are Grandparents Running America?

    Some valid points but very aggressive messaging.
  • Verizon’s still figuring out how to deal with cord-cutters

    Verizon reported a net loss of 18,000 Fios Video customers (versus a gain of 36,000 in the year-earlier period) for the third quarter of 2017. That reflects the “ongoing shift” from traditional linear video to over-the-top services, CFO Matt Ellis said on a call with analysts, as well as competitive offers from rivals. At the end of the quarter, Verizon had 4.6 million Fios Video connections. The telco gained 66,000 Fios Internet subs in the period, to stand at 5.8 million total.

    As a hedge against declining pay-TV numbers, Verizon is looking to launch its own OTT television service, similar to Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now.

    http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/verizon-q3-2017-cord-cutting-ott-service-1202594015/

  • Your “Inspirational” Social Media Posts Are Hurting Your Career

    Your best ideas will take more than a few words to lay out, and that’s okay. The most difficult challenges out there–the ones that take real leadership to surmount–are complex. So while there’s an art to speaking about complicated subjects without dumbing them down, your real goal should be to motivate others to engage with complexity, not shy away from it. Tossing out generic remarks that stick to the surface level doesn’t help you do that. Worse, it suggests you aren’t capable of diving any deeper.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40488694/your-inspirational-social-media-posts-are-hurting-your-career

Photo: Gabriel Sanchez

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News You Can Use: 11/1/2017

  • The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.

    Their track record is mixed, but North Korea’s army of more than 6,000 hackers is undeniably persistent, and undeniably improving, according to American and British security officials who have traced these attacks and others back to the North.

    Amid all the attention on Pyongyang’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking the continental United States, the North Koreans have also quietly developed a cyberprogram that is stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and proving capable of unleashing global havoc.

    Unlike its weapons tests, which have led to international sanctions, the North’s cyberstrikes have faced almost no pushback or punishment, even as the regime is already using its hacking capabilities for actual attacks against its adversaries in the West.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/15/world/asia/north-korea-hacking-cyber-sony.html

  • CFOs Need Procurement as Their Right-Hand Man. Here’s Why.

    CFOs should also look to procurement for a fresh perspective when it comes to solving business problems. Due to its far-reaching nature (procurement departments are involved in most, if not every, department in the organization), procurement is uniquely positioned to see and understand departmental and overall business needs. This gives CFOs a more accurate look at what technology and processes will be most beneficial in the long run.

    The need for a future-focused perspective when making long-term internal strategy decisions is especially important to ensure high ROI on each investment that a CFO makes. As the report stresses, “This can be particularly important in extremely fast-growing organizations that need to move quickly to find innovative solutions for an ever-changing constellation of business needs.”

    http://daily.financialexecutives.org/cfos-need-procurement-right-hand-man-heres/

  • Equifax: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (NSFW)

    John Oliver is a little late, I covered this topic last month 🙂 
  • Sorry, Millennials — You Are Not Entrepreneurs

    However, the truth shows that millennials are full of shit. The number of people under 30 who own a business has fallen by 65 percent since the 1980s and is now at a quarter-century low according to the Wall Street Journal.

    The reason why entrepreneurs are generally older is that they are better suited to the risk involved with starting a business. Nine out of 10 startups fail, so those individuals that choose to create companies are generally better prepared and more experienced than a typical millennial. They aren’t discouraged by past failures. They learn from them and apply those lessons to future opportunities. Business is far from a fair or easily solved equation.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299996

  • Here Is Everything You Need To Make Your Conference Calls Not Suck
    Point 1:

    “The aim for a conference call or other kind of distance meeting should be to create the notion of sitting in the same room,” says Konftel’s product manager, Torbjörn Karlsson. “If you need to raise your voice to be heard or have a hard time to perceive what people say, you need to identify the weak components.”

    Point 2:

    “Today’s modern, minimalist rooms are the most common cause of poor sound quality in audio conferencing,” says Eriksson. “A cold room causes the sound to bounce around and gives a longer reverberation time.” He recommends taking several steps to minimize this “minimalist bounce” including furnishing the room with soft furnishings, and on the floor, fitted carpet or rugs; putting up long blinds, curtains, and wall hangings to absorb any bounce if the room has windows and large empty walls; and even decorating the room with potted plants.

    Point 3:

    “Before and during the meeting there are a number of minor tips that have an immediate effect on sound quality and cut irritating distractions,” says Eriksson. “Don’t tap your pen or fingers on the table. Remember that the screen on your laptop is a barrier between you and the microphone. Don’t place paper or folders over any expansion microphones on the table. Don’t put your chin in your hand when you’re talking.” All of the above can make it hard for the remote worker to understand you clearly. You’ll know exactly what Eriksson means if anyone on the call has ever asked “What’s that tapping noise?” and you’ve realized that it was your fingers drumming on the table.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40479345/here-is-everything-you-need-to-make-your-conference-calls-not-suck

Photo: Benjamin Child

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News You Can Use: 10/25/2017

  • Dear Silicon Valley: America’s fallen out of love with you

    In his famous book Zero to One, Peter Thiel writes, “Competition is for losers. Be a monopoly.” And that philosophy has come to prevail—the average venture capitalist would say that in a portfolio of 20, they are OK with 19 losers and one grand slam. Follow that to its logical conclusion: for every billionaire Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley, you’re OK with 19 broke people. It’s no wonder that inequality is at a 100-year high, entrepreneurial activity is at a 40-year low, and eight men control half the world’s wealth.

    Over the past fifteen years, big has crushed little in Silicon Valley, to an increasing degree. The former giant-slayers like Apple and Google have become giants themselves, shutting out or buying up new entrants.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/08/dear-silicon-valley-americas-fallen-out-of-love-with-you/?ncid=rss

  • Why Corporate Tax Cuts Won’t Create Jobs

    In other words, if we are serious about growth, competitiveness and job creation, we should look elsewhere besides the tax code for answers. We can remain open to immigrants in search of better economic opportunities. We can invest in our public schools and universities. We can upgrade vital business infrastructure such as airports, land transportation systems, the internet backbone and our power grid. We can heighten our vigilance about anti-competitive behavior and regulatory capture by very large corporations that make it difficult to start new businesses.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/opinion/corporate-tax-cuts-entrepreneur.html
    I am not a fan of this practice, especially when States are trying to get companies to move in (see SourceCast Episode 87), but sadly it is reality for the cities and States being left behind NYC, Chicago, and San Fran).

  • Are We Born Optimistic? Or Is It a Coping Skill We Learn as Adults? | Lori Markson
  • Just Got Passed Up For A Promotion? Do This Next

    Although you might be fuming, it’s important that you take a step back from the situation and give yourself the opportunity to cool off before doing anything else. You certainly wouldn’t want to lose control and torpedo the professional reputation you’ve strived so hard to build before you’ve had to the chance to gather all the facts.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40479877/just-got-passed-up-for-a-promotion-do-this-next

  • In Eric Ries’ new book, he tells companies to turn every unit into a cash-strapped ‘startup’

    You first have to look at whether you’re treating the people who work for you like entrepreneurs or something different; if you’re expecting your product managers to achieve instantaneous success, that’s not [the standard] to which you were held in the early stages of your company.

    Along the same lines, if you aren’t [giving teams] clear, metered funding, how are they going to have that scarcity? It’s that mindset, that hunger, that let’s you say “no,” [to dawdling]. [Companies have to fight] that entitlement funding because the more money you have, the less you want to expose yourself to risk.

    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/13/in-eric-ries-new-book-he-tells-companies-to-turn-every-unit-into-a-cash-strapped-startup/

Photo: Clem Onojeghuo

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News You Can Use: 10/18/2017

  • I Was a Skeptic, Now I am Convinced Unlimited PTO is Good Business

    Even if it’s just symbolic, unlimited paid time off (PTO) reinforces the fact that we hired you because you seem like the type of person who can handle a little freedom. If I say that I trust you, and then follow up that supposedly heartfelt declaration by shackling you to your desk, you can be certain of two things:
    1. I don’t trust you.
    2. You shouldn’t trust me, either.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298410
    Unlimited PTO sounds lovely, but I can barely manage to take the time I have off. I think for many, by not having set days off employees will take even less days, and I think companies like Netflix knows that.

  • Podcast: Ariba: Talking Treasury with Jerry Bernard

    From investment decisions to monitoring regulations and managing currency fluctuations, the treasurer’s life is never boring. Join us in this conversation with SAP Ariba’s own treasurer, Jerry Bernard, to hear about a day in the life of a corporate treasurer and to get an idea of which issues he feels are most important in the field.

    https://www.ariba.com/resources/library/library-pages/makeprocurementawesome-with-sap-ariba-episode-6

  • Want to Boost Your Career and Income? Develop a Side Project or Hobby
  • Struggling With A Work Setback? Reflect On Your Childhood (Yes, Really)

    Reflecting on my childhood and young adulthood isn’t just daydreaming–the point isn’t to avoid my present challenges by indulging in escapist nostalgia. Instead, it’s to try and remember the sequence of experiences that led me to where I am now. I try to reach beyond the fear and constraints of the moment so I can reconnect with something deeper and more permanent.

    When I work with clients who are struggling with professional difficulties, I ask them to do the same–to remember what inspired them to move along the career path they chose, no matter how frustrating the circumstances that path has led them into right now: What was in their work that originally gave them the feelings of pleasure and fulfillment that they’ve built their career on? What was an early moment of discovery and delight that first got them excited?

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40477510/struggling-with-a-work-setback-reflect-on-your-childhood-yes-really

  • One Year After Its Fake-Accounts Scandal, Wells Fargo Isn’t ‘A Better Bank’

    Indeed, the scandal has only gotten worse since it first came to light. Since Stumpf’s appearance before Congress, the estimated number of accounts affected has been revised up to 3.5 million. Additionally, a separate scandal, involving auto loans the bank issued, affected some 500,000 customers, who had insurance policies taken out in their names that sometimes resulted in defaults and vehicle repossessions.

    While Sloan tried to focus on progress made in the past year—bringing up changes made to the bank’s organizational structure, review processes, plans for repaying customers, sales incentives, and corporate culture—the senators focused on how long it took Wells Fargo to open official inquiries into the claims of fake accounts, the predatory nature of the sales processes, and the compensation executives received. The committee members dwelled on the questions of how the bank’s practices could be improved and whether it should be allowed to continue operating in the first place.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/10/wells-fargo-fake-accounts-sloan/541875/

Photo: Patrick Hendry

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