Page 1

sqwawqs business life

written by entrepreneurs, for everyone

May the Force Be With You. Pulling Top Talent Towards You How To Future-Proof Your Business In A Digital Age

Social media Are you making a commercial return? Facebook Algorithm Changes What you need to know in 2018

In Search of A New Rock Star

Are VC’s still funding StartUps?

Apple’s Phil Schiller on how the tech giant has changed and how it hasn’t Every firm needs to appoint a Chief Storyteller (even NASA has got one) 1

Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How to be a Social Media Superhero sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Contents Apple’s Phil Schiller on how the tech giant has changed - and how it hasn’t 06 In Searh of a New Rock Star


The Seven Myths of Entrepreneurship


Are VCs Still Funding Startups? 22 Finding Your Personal Brand, Tips for Budding Leaders






What Papa Johns and Dominoes can teach us about the Dangers of Public Sentiment 33 Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone


How Not to Fail Small Projects 40 No: Improvement is Not Innovation 47 Twelve Steps to Sustainable Business


Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


Contents The Impossible as Opportunity - Others see obstacles, I see the future 50 May the Force Be With You - Pulling Top Talent Towards You 61 Why Every Firm Needs to Appoint a “Chief Story Teller” (Even NASA Has One) 65 Need to Boost Your Share Price? Acquire a Tech Company 68




How To Future-Proof Your Business In A Digital Age

97 75

The difference between social selling and social spamming 79 Social media – Are you making a commercial return?


4 Social Media Trends you need to be aware of for 2018 87 Facebook Algorithm Changes 92 5 Major Reasons People Share on Social Media


Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


Contents How to be a Social Media Superhero: My Lessons from 4 Years on LinkedIn 102 Results of My 4 year Social Media study


6 ways blockchain is transforming Social Media


3 Things Our Technology Should Do In 2018






6 Items of Obsolete Tech That Millennials Just Don’t Understand 119 Imagination-Powered Technology 122 Understanding Ethereum 128 London viewed as most innovative tech city in Europe despite Brexit 134 How to build the Perfect Chatbot


What The End Of The Net Neutrality Could Mean For Streaming Businesses 142


Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

from the editor PUBLISHER

Onside Partners

Welcome to Issue 2 The new year is a time for renewed hope.

We make new promises, sometimes to ourselves, sometimes to others - that we maintain steadfastly that we will keep. How long those promises last, is down to our own discipline and determination to keep with that intent. New Year resolutions are a lot like starting a business. We start with great intentions and it is down to us as an individual just how far we take that resolve. Resolutions and businesses fail at various points through a lack of resolve. Best laid plans are quickly changed. I was watching a business talk recently and was reminded of a saying by Mike Tyson. ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’ It really does resonate true with the journey of an entrepreneur, indeed it can apply to people in many fields that have a lofty medium or long term goal. No matter how much we plan, prepare and analise, at some point we get punched in the face, and it is how we deal with those knocks, those disappointments and 5

Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


unforseen events that will define the future of our business. We always need to be positive, while keeping a realistic frame of mind on what is going on in the world around our business we ignore the will and wants of the market at our peril. But if we stay resolved, then the numbers will sway in our favor. It is simple maths - more effort will generally produce more result, but we must be patient for the outcome. Just as the person who decides at New Year they will go to the gym every day and give up by January 10th, we have to have the confidence in our effort and plans, to allow the fruits of our labor to evolve. Enjoy your January and if you have made a resolution, don’t just stick to it; use it as a platform to a fresh perspective for all of your efforts, in both your personal and professional life.

Best Regards Dean O’Grady Managing Editor

Managing Editor: Dean O’Grady Phone: +1 646 593 8887 Email:


Amanda Mitchell, Amit Dua, Andy Molinsky, Andy Sio, Ayla Verheijen, Dana Severson, David Deal, Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy, Douglas Rushkoff, Gijs van Wulfen, Gireesh Samrat, James Saward-Anderson, James Titcombe, Mark Schaefer, Michael Tefula, Naveen Joshi, Paul Cuatrecasas, Paul Spencer, Peter Smith, Pippa Malmgren, Richard A. Moran, Rita J. King, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, Rodney Williams, Seyi Fabode, Steve Blakeman, Thavash Govender, Tim Mulligan, Warren Knight, Yoshito Hori.

ADVERTISING & MARKETING Phone: +1 646 593 8887 Email:


To subscribe to updates, please visit and add your details via our subscription box. Subscription is free.

CREATIVE & DESIGN Onside Partners


All material appearing in Sqwawqs Magazine is copyright unless otherwise stated or it may rest with the provider of the supplied material. Sqwawqs Magazine takes all care to ensure information is correct at time of publishing, but the publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any information contained in either text or advertisements. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Apple’s Phil Schiller

on how the tech giant has changed and how it hasn’t 6

Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Cover Story: Phil Schiller

For a company that has a storied place in technology history, Apple prides itself on being resistant to nostalgia. Each year, the tech giant presents new versions of its entire line of products, so that almost all its revenues come from items that have been released in the last 12 months. Conversations with executives almost universally tend to be about the present, or the future. But this year, for a couple of brief moments, Apple has allowed itself to slip into the past. One came in the summer, with the opening of Apple’s new multi-billion dollar headquarters, whose auditorium was dedicated to late founder Steve Jobs. And the other came in January, which marked a decade since the iPhone was first unveiled to the world. It’s no surprise that Apple remembers. Many of its top executives have been at the company for decades, since before the products that made it a global giant were invented. Phil Schiller is one of them. Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing first joined the company 30 years ago, leaving before returning alongside Jobs in 1997. Since then, it has become the world’s biggest company and turned many industries on their heads. Surely the company’s growing size affects things “For me? No, zero,” he says. “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say Apple is a really large company that feels like a small company, it still feels like the company I joined back in 1987,” he says. “While so many things have changed, the very most important things haven’t at all.” 7

Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Cover Story: Phil Schiller


he years Schiller has spent in the Apple fold are clear. During our conversation, he hugs the familiar language of the company's slick marketing operation: people "love" Apple products, which are never given the definite article (the iPhone is described simply as "iPhone"). But Schiller’s responsibilities extend beyond his marketing-chief title. He is credited with the spin wheel design of the original iPod, runs the App Store, and was deeply involved in the development of the first iPhone, released in 2007. A decade later, more than 1.2bn iPhones have been sold, but this year, Apple did something new. It released two lines of the phone: the iPhone 8, a similar model to previous years with a smattering of upgrades; and the iPhone X, a re-imagining of the device that Apple has called the “future of the smartphone.” Shaking up a playbook that has worked so well was seen by some as a risky move. “It was a very new kind of year for us,” Schiller says. “It’s something we’ve been planning for quite a long time; we wanted the opportunity to create a newgeneration phone as we’ve done every year and that was 8. “At the same time we wanted to create something that was even more aggressive, even more of a departure from where iPhone had been going, and that’s iPhone X. It’s something we haven’t offered that way before, but it’s worked really well.”


Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Apple's Phil Schiller he dual launch – the iPhone 8 was released in September and the X last month – underlines how Apple itself has inevitably changed as it has got bigger. The company used to be known for a handful of popular products; it now has seemingly dozens of different lines of computers, tablets, and phones. In recent years it has branched into wearables and headphones, as well as vastly expanding its array of online services.

two-year-old SE - "it still exists in the line because it meets those needs". The model is rumored to be due an update early next year, but true to form, Schiller gives nothing away. "I can’t make any statements about the future." But Apple’s increasing sprawl has raised questions about whether it can handle it, and the company has been through an unfortunate series of events in the last few weeks.

In November, it was forced to delay the Even the iPhone now has five different lines HomePod, its smart speaker rival to the on sale, from the iPhone X, which costs £999 Amazon Echo, until next year. A week before I spoke to Schiller, researchers discovered and up, to the iPhone SE, a smaller model an embarrassing security hole in the latest at a third of the price that appeals to more version of Apple’s computer software, cost-conscious users and those who like small screens. MacOS, that allowed anybody to log in without a password. Schiller says they are all crucial, even the


Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >


Cover Story: Phil Schiller

ecently users have found bugs in the iPhone that corrected letters to incomprehensible symbols, and allowed hackers to take control of smart home devices. Critics have asked if Apple is getting sloppy. Schiller says there are "no excuses". "When we make mistakes it pains us all. We try to be very self-honest. If we make a mistake, we need to apologize and fix it quickly. The team has worked tirelessly to respond to these issues over the last week and put out updates and make things right very quickly." But he rejects that such issues are becoming more common. "We just had a bad week. A couple of things happened, that’s all. The team is going to audit the systems and look carefully at the process and do some soul-searching, and do everything that they can to keep this from happening again."

The delay of the HomePod is undoubtedly a blow. The market for smart speakers is taking off, and having to release it on the other side of Christmas will hit sales. Schiller is unapologetic about refusing to hit a deadline for the sake of it. "I’ll just say that it’s not ready yet. One of the things a lot of our customers appreciate is that we’re never afraid to wait to ship something.

"Not everyone in our industry follows that model. We’re at the very, very beginning of this market of intelligent music speakers that we want in our home. Some companies like to put things out even if they don't think it will succeed at the start, we care a lot about the quality of the things we want to put out there and so if it's not ready it's not ready yet." Next year marks a new anniversary for the company when another product turns 10: the App Store. Although somewhat less heralded than the iPhone, the portal of downloadable apps has been a central part of Apple’s success, as well as launching huge businesses like WhatsApp and Uber. 10 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >


s sales of the iPhone itself have slowed, apps have become one of Apple’s most important growth areas. Spending on the App Store grew to $28bn (£21bn) last year, up 40pc from a year earlier, with Apple taking a 30pc cut. In the last quarter, Apple’s services business, which includes the App Store, grew 34pc year on year and is now the second biggest division in terms of sales after the iPhone.

Cover Story: Phil Schiller charge of the App Store in 2015, oversaw a redesign of the service from the bottom up, aimed at making it easier to find new apps. "We’ve had this great success, but we can’t sit on our laurels; we always try to make things better," he says.

"When we first launched the App Store it was an exciting thing to open it up every day and look at what showed up. That’s what we all used to do in the beginning, and we wanted to bring back some of that excitement again." Schiller says there have been some "exciting numbers" but that it is However, there have also been suggestions too early to tell whether the changes have had an effect on the business. that we are downloading fewer apps, as the millions that are available become overwhelming. Schiller, who was put in

11 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Cover Story: Phil Schiller Apple is making a big bet on augmented reality (AR), a burgeoning technology that adds virtual objects into a phone’s camera feed, blending the physical and digital world. This year it released software that allows developers to easily create AR apps, and Schiller says the company is a “super big proponent of it”. Early examples of the technology include an Ikea app that allows users to see how furniture would look in their room before they buy it, and Pokémon Go.

“It’s just a fundamental technology that’s going to impact so many categories of software, of our experiences with technology,” he says. Apple is rumored to be working on a set of AR eyeglasses, which could well be the epitome of the technology, but for now, Schiller says the phone is currently the best vehicle. "It’s ubiquitous, and it makes sense; if the idea is to be able to see the digital world mapped onto the real world, you need something that's with you and mobile. There has never been a technology product category as big as ubiquitous as the phone." When I posit that many of the AR apps that exist today look more like demos than services that one might use every day, Schiller counters that nobody predicted what the most successful smartphone apps would look like. "[It’s] just like the first year of the App Store when none of us knew where it was going to go. "There wasn’t an Airbnb when it started; there wasn’t an Instagram … these are all things to come as brilliant people build on top of the technology and apply them in amazing ways, that’s what’s going to happen in AR."

James Titcomb Technology Editor, Telegraph Media Group Telegraph Media Group, London, UK. James is Technology Editor across the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph together with the Telegraph's online content. 12 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

In Search of a

New Rock Star

13 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

In Search of a New Rock Star


he moment was freighted with poetic symmetry: I was on my sofa reading Joe Hagan’s newly published Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine when I noticed our postal carrier dropping off the latest issue of Rolling Stone. The cover of Hagan’s book features Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner standing in front of a gallery of rock legends such as Mick Jagger. The latest issue of Rolling Stone features Elon Musk on the cover.

Welcome to the new generation of rock stars. The giants of Wenner’s generation wanted to change the world with music. Today’s rock stars want to use technology to re-imagine how we live. The contrast between the old and new felt stark as I read the first third of Sticky Fingers, when Wenner launches a magazine in 1967 as rock gods walk the earth. The first issue of Rolling Stone featured John Lennon. Think about that for a moment. You launch a new magazine with zero promise of ever succeeding and no credibility. And coming right out of the gate you land one of rock’s most influential artists ever. John freaking Lennon. Jann Wenner came along at a time when covering rock music meant reporting on the music of artists such as the Beatles, Doors, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and the Who — all of them in their prime, and all of them making music that shaped the lives of a generation. He knew he was witnessing greatness and was smart enough to publish a magazine that capitalized on the explosion of rock and youth culture. Wenner quickly became a myth maker. Being on the cover of Rolling Stone meant you had ascended to a new level of fame that we now know as celebrity. But 50 years later, Rolling Stone has lost its influence, reflecting the decline of mass media. The magazine’s readership and ad revenue are no longer what they were. Recently Rolling Stone marked the occasion of its 50th anniversary by putting itself up for sale. Meanwhile, the gods are dead and dying, one by one, and the survivors are dwindling. Bob Dylan is 76. Paul McCartney is 75. Mick Jagger is 74. No one has emerged to inherit the titles of resident rock icon once they finally stop playing. Rolling Stone has no more rock stars to put on its covers.

cont > 14 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

In Search of a New Rock Star

is tenure with the magazine coming to a close, Jann Wenner is making one more bid at myth-making. With a few exceptions, rock offers very few options. Since Rolling Stone has always been about rock culture as well as rock, Wenner can cast his net wider into adjacent industries. Fortunately for Wenner, Elon Musk is a willing participant.

In the cover story, Musk even sounds like a visionary rock star, making statements such as, “I think we should try to make the future better” (evoking John Lennon’s “Imagine”) and “[I]f you’re going to make a product, make it beautiful. Even if it doesn’t affect sales, I want it to be beautiful” (sounding like Keith Richards when he talks about creating songs as “a way you want to stretch yourself into other people’s hearts”). Musk isn’t the only visionary on Rolling Stone’s radar screen. Issue 1301 also offers mini-profiles of people such as K.J. Erickson, whose online marketplace, Simbi, is designed to allow people to exchange services (a “supplemental economy”), and Chase Adam, co-founder of Watsi, which seeks to turn your smartphone into a device for managing healthcare. Rock and roll isn’t dead. But the traditional rock star is gone forever. We’ll never again see the likes of a John Lennon – people who could rely on the power of radio and mass media to inspire others with their music. Occasionally a Kendrick Lamar in hip-hop will catch fire, gain a following, and challenge people with their art as the rock gods used to do. But the Kendrick Lamar's are the exceptions who prove the rule: the music industry rewards pop stars right now. Rock gods inspired people. Pop stars simply entertain them. And the media is too fragmented for the occasional true inspirational artists such as John Darnielle and Father John Misty to achieve the monumental fame that the music stars of the ‘60s and ‘70s enjoyed. 15 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

New stars have taken their place. They aspire to change lives through technology – such as Mark Zuckerberg with virtual reality and Elon Musk with the electric car and commercial space travel. They hold the real power now, and they’re not going to let go of the reins anytime soon.

David Deal David J. Deal Consulting, Chicago, US. David builds successful brands. He has have helped reinvent brands such as Razorfish and strengthen the reputation of leaders such as Accenture. Most recently, as founder of David J. Deal Consulting, I've been acting as an outsourced chief content officer for businesses that want to unleash the power of their employees' ideas. Aside from devising content strategies to speech coaching, David has written white papers, blog posts, and articles for media including; Advertising Age, Tech Crunch, CMO. com, Fast Company, Gigaom, and PSFK. He is the author of two recently published ebooks, "The New Music Moguls" and "Apple and Disney: Extensions of You."

The Seven Myths of


16 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The Seven Myths of Entrepreneurship

Myth 1: You need a great idea Everyone has a business idea in them, but they never think it’s good enough. This is because people often judge early ideas against already established businesses. However, no venture ever starts fully formed. Every successful idea starts small and over time can mature into greatness. Did you know, for example, that Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group started as a small mail-ordering business? The company would take orders through the post and mail music records to customers. In those early days, it is doubtful Branson knew how big his venture would become. The reality of entrepreneurship is that an idea does not have to be perfect from the get-go; nor does it have to be extraordinary. For instance, in a survey that involved 100 highly revered startups only 12 percent of the founders attributed their success to an extraordinary or unusual idea. The other 88 percent attributed most of their success to the extraordinary execution of an ordinary idea. In light of the above, the pressure we place on ourselves to come up with a revolutionary idea is unjustified. Few successful businesses ever start that way, and many great entrepreneurs simply execute an existing idea better than everyone else has done. In other words, you don’t need a great idea to start a business. You just need a reasonable concept to build upon.

17 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Myth 2: Entrepreneurs are born not made The founder of Nike, Phil Knight, did not realize he wanted to be an entrepreneur until he got into business school for his master’s. It was during a class when a lecturer asked students to invent a new business that Phil realized that’s exactly what he wanted to do as a profession. Was Phil Knight born an entrepreneur? No. He didn’t pursue the craft until his later years. Moreover, this is just one example among many where someone becomes an entrepreneur, but it wasn’t always something they had a natural inclination towards. And yet the myth that entrepreneurs are born lives on. The truth is there’s no evidence that some people are naturalborn entrepreneurs while others are not. Research indicates that entrepreneurs come from both entrepreneurial and nonentrepreneurial families. In one survey, which involved more than 500 company founders, more than half of the people surveyed (52 percent) were the first in their families to launch a business. If entrepreneurship is genetic, you would not expect this percentage to be so high. And so the conclusion is clear: you aren’t born an entrepreneur; you become one.

cont >

The Seven Myths of Entrepreneurship

Myth 3: Age matters Web entrepreneur and YouTube personality Zoe ‘Zoella’ Sugg was in her early twenties when she started to earn a reported £20,000 a month from her social media ventures. Fraser Doherty set up his jam-making business when he was just 14 and, by the time he was 18, he was supplying jam to the supermarket chain Waitrose. There’s no shortage of media coverage on young entrepreneurs because the younger they are, the more sensational the story. But these reports warp our view on the relationship between age and entrepreneurship. The reality is far more diverse. Doris Fisher co-founded Gap when she was 37 years old. Ruth Handler launched the Barbie dolls business aged 42. Giorgio Armani didn’t start his company until he was 41. And a 55-yearold pharmacist invented Coca-Cola. Most entrepreneurs actually start a business in their late thirties to mid-forties. In fact, the average age of a first-time founder is 45. The media, however, finds younger entrepreneurs more newsworthy so you’ll always hear more about the twentysomething millionaire and less about the mature businessperson. Does this mean that you should wait until you are 35–45 years old to start a business? Not necessarily. Starting a business when you are young has advantages. You have fewer responsibilities and can be more flexible. On the other hand, when you’re older you may have a mortgage and family to think about, and that restricts the sort of risks you can take. The upside, of course, is that you will have more experience, a better network of contacts, and perhaps even more cash to invest. Each age group has its pros and cons, but a major advantage to starting now is the flexibility and energy that comes with youth.

18 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Myth 4 Entrepreneurs love risk Another common misconception is that entrepreneurs love risk and that you have to be a big risktaker to become an entrepreneur. However, when it comes to risk preferences business owners aren’t that much different from the general public. If you asked an entrepreneur to leave their car unlocked while shopping they would view the risk of theft to be just as high as anyone else’s assessment. There’s a possible key difference, however: entrepreneurs are generally more confident and optimistic. When reviewing a business opportunity, they have a strong belief in their ability to profit from a venture. In contrast, other people are likely to see threats where entrepreneurs see opportunity. On that account, entrepreneurs are not risk-taking enthusiasts. They simply believe that if they work effectively, they can turn risk into reward.

cont >

The Seven Myths of Entrepreneurship

Myth 3:

Nine out of ten businesses fail

One of the most common myths in entrepreneurship is that nine out of ten businesses fail. Fortunately, the statistic is an exaggeration. It’s too simplistic and ignores a component that, if removed, leads us to forget an even more bizarre reality: over a long enough timeline all businesses come to an end. A vivid example of this phenomenon is that of the world’s oldest business, the Japanese company Kongō Gumi. After running for an impressive 1,400 years, the company ended in 2006 – an impressive run, no doubt, since the average life span of a company is 40–50 years. The ultimate end of all businesses, which by the way should not worry you, given the timespans involved, highlights an important point: when we talk about business failure rates we also have to consider a time component. A more telling statistic should tell us how many businesses fail over a specified period of time. Fortunately, this data is available, and it is more encouraging than the usual nine-out-of-ten- businesses-fail mantra (see Figure 1.1).

19 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

According to a study by researchers from the University of Sussex and Barclays Bank, only one in six businesses (16.98 percent) fail in the first year. Over time this proportion increases, but even after six years, 30 percent of the original companies are still running. So next time someone tells you that nine out of ten businesses fail, ask them, ‘after how many years?’ With that said, it’s worth acknowledging that statistics are informative but not always instructive. Taken alone, the above numbers tell you nothing about the kind of things you can do to enhance your chances of success (more on this in Part 3 of the book). The numbers reflect a select group of businesses that might be completely different from your venture. As such, don’t assume that your fate has already been sealed. Your chances are better than you think!

cont >

The Seven Myths of Entrepreneurship

Myth 6: Starting a business is straightforward

Few people believe that starting a business is easy but many underestimate the effort it takes. Entrepreneurs generally work longer hours and at the early stage of a venture don’t get paid much. According to research from the UK, entrepreneurs work an average of 52 hours a week. That’s 63 percent longer than traditional employees. In America, the renowned investor David Rose says he has never met an entrepreneur who works fewer than 60 hours a week. He believes that starting a business is an ‘all-in sport.’ You can’t do things half-heartedly. Once the engine gets going, you have to commit fully (more on this in Chapter 15). In addition to the long hours, there’s usually little to no salary in the early stages of a venture. The founders of Innocent Drinks, for example, didn’t have any income for 12 months. It took them four years before they could earn a salary of £40,000, which was the same amount they had left at their corporate jobs. Paradoxically, entrepreneurs are happier than most people are. In a global survey of over 197,000 individuals, authors of the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report found that entrepreneurs score higher on ratings of happiness and life satisfaction when compared to nonentrepreneurs. So while it’s harder to start a business, it’s also often more satisfying than regular employment. You enjoy more creative freedom and the hours fly by when you’re working on something you really care about.

20 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Myth 7: You need lots of money


ou don’t always need a lot of money to start. The amount of cash you will need depends on the type of business you hope to start. For instance, there are many examples of people who started an online business for less than £100 but went on to make six-figure incomes. On the other hand, a small coffee shop that seats about 20 people might cost you between £15,000 and £20,000 to set up. The general pattern is that service companies have lower costs while product-based businesses (restaurants, manufacturers, retailers) tend to have higher costs. Regardless, in Chapter 15 we will look at some of the ways you can start with a minimal amount of resources. As a side note, it’s worth pointing out that there is a danger of having too much money at the start of a venture. You may be tempted to spend money on every problem. For example, if you aren’t generating enough sales you might be inclined to spend more money on marketing even if the product is not satisfying customers. In contrast, being short on resources instills a stricter discipline. You are forced to consider the underlying issues as to why something isn’t working, instead of using the brute force of cash to attack every problem.

cont >

The Seven Myths of Entrepreneurship

The truth about entrepreneurship You may have never considered entrepreneurship until now. You may still be at university, or you may be a graduate. Regardless of your current position, it’s never too late to start a business. The odds of success – especially if you are educated – are better than most people think; you don’t need a million dollar idea; your age hardly matters, and it’s possible to attain the business skills necessary to become an effective entrepreneur. This is a sample chapter taken from my career skills book Graduate Entrepreneurship. You can purchase a copy on Amazon at http://amzn. to/2DObA9V . Please refer to the book for references and sources of key statistics and data. Michael Tefula Associate at Downing Ventures Downing Ventures, London, UK.

21 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Are VCs Still

Funding Startups?

22 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Are VC’s Still Funding Startups?

Nearly every university is plowing money into academic programs on entrepreneurship. Nearly every major city is sponsoring and funding centers for innovation in the hopes of attracting startup companies. But wait, now the news is out that venture capital funding for early-stage companies is way down. And everyone is ignoring the fact and knocking on VC doors anyway. According to TechCrunch, since 2014 the amount of VC money pouring into tech companies worldwide has nearly shrunk in half from 19,000 that year to 10,000 in 2017. And here is the point worth noting for entrepreneurs: the amount of dollars invested is about the same – it’s just going into later stage companies, not into Series A companies. For the first time entrepreneur just starting out this is not good news. Everyone has theories about why this is happening including the shift away from funding apps and increasingly risk-averse angel investors. For some, there is also the belief that fintech, edtech and SasS startups are so last year. As an investor and former big firm venture capitalist, I have my own ideas about why the VC community is shying away from early-stage companies. Entrepreneurs take note! Too many early stage company ideas are just not big enough. When the venture community is talking about flying cars and curing cancer, it’s hard to get any attention. Entrepreneurs - make your idea big or don’t bother with VCs.

23 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Are VC’s Still Funding Startups?


Maybe we don’t need another app for finding coffee shops. Maybe we don’t need Siri with more accents. Maybe we don’t need a smarter pool sweep. Or, maybe we do, but the VCs aren’t biting. A big bunch of companies are waiting to scale up. Think of the pig in the python metaphor. Sometimes digestion takes a long time. Based on many investments in early-stage companies that happened earlier, we are now waiting for them to scale from a three million dollar company into a forty million dollar company. When that happens, there will be more capital available for the startups. Entrepreneurs – make sure you are always Venture fatigue. Startups are hard work. Some VCs just don’t want to put in the energy thinking of scaling up. to work with a pre-revenue startup, no Entrepreneurs take heart. The VCs are matter how good the idea. Entrepreneurs – not abandoning startups. A huge amount make it easy for a VC to help you. of venture capital is still interested in big ideas and great entrepreneurs. Many great Do we really need that? My favorite phrase firms only focus on and invest in early-stage from the venture world is, “There is an infinite demand for the unavailable.” Meaning, companies. All the good ideas are not gone. maybe there is no market for that early stage Take a deep breath and think of BIG, NEW ideas. idea. arly stage entrepreneur naiveté. Having a good idea does not mean it is right for a venture firm. Too many early-stage entrepreneurs just don’t understand how venture firms operate. Venture firms stake out the industries and areas in which there could be interest in investing. Any idea outside of that staked out area is not fundable. Entrepreneurs – know who might fund you and don’t waste your time with others. And don’t get your feelings hurt if all you hear is no.

Richard A. Moran President Emeritus, Menlo College San Francisco, US. Richard is the President Emeritus of Menlo College in Atherton, CA. He is a noted business leader, workplace pundit, bestselling author and venture capitalist. He is best known for his series of humorous business books beginning with bestselling, Never Confuse a Memo with Reality that started the genre of "Business Bullet Books." Moran previously served as CEO and Vice Chairman at Accretive Solutions. As a Partner at Venrock, Chairman of the Board at Portal Software and as a partner at Accenture. Moran has served on the

24 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

boards of Glu Mobile Games, Winery Exchange, and Mechanics Bank among others. He currently serves on the board of PerfectForms, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and the Steinbeck Innovation Foundation. Rich Moran also serves on the management team of the Irish Technology Leadership Group, is a Partner at SVG Partners, and a member of the Global Irish Network, a network launched in 2010 and comprised of 350 of the most senior Irish and Irish connected business people from over 40 countries.

Finding Your Personal Brand:

Personal Branding Tips for Budding Leaders Want to know a secret about being successful?

25 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Finding Your Personal Brand

In today's business world, customers both big and small are looking for ways to connect with the brands they work with. While many organizations have embraced this fact and started to build a personality for their company, few experts in the marketplace have recognized the need for personal branding, as well as commercial efforts. No matter which industry you're in, if you don't have a visible, and powerful personal brand, you'll be missing out on countless opportunities to grow and thrive. In fact, personal branding today has become such a significant requirement, that it's key for anyone who wants to grow their company, get a better job, or simply take their career to the next level. The question is, what is a personal brand, and how can you create one that empowers you to achieve incredible things in your industry? 26 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Finding Your Personal Brand

Personal Branding: The Solution for Stronger Leadership In simple terms, personal branding is the process of marketing yourself, and your career as a brand in your industry. It basically means creating an image of yourself that resonates well in the eyes of the people you might want to work within the future. What a lot of people don't realize, is that whether you're actively managing it or not - everyone has a brand. If you're not active in creating your own identity, then someone else will do it for you - building on what they know about your ethics and reputation. Interestingly, while all people can benefit from a refined personal brand, leaders may need more help establishing their brand than anyone else. After all, simply taking an executive position doesn't make you a leader in the eyes of the people that follow you. Instead, you need to make an impact through your actions, and the behaviors you use to inspire, influence, and engage. If you don't have a clear and powerful personal brand, then your ability to lead will naturally be restricted. That's because the people in your environment

27 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

won't know exactly what to make of you. They won't be able to determine what you stand for, or how they can learn from your behavior. A personal brand makes it clear exactly what you hope to achieve in your industry. At the same time, developing a personal brand helps you to find your voice as an authority in your niche. This helps to develop who you are as a person and gives you more confidence in your decisions as you continue to build and develop your brand. Regardless of whether you're looking to apply for a new career, get yourself noticed by the right people, or you just want to build your business up for success, it's safe to say that an attractive, powerful, and visible brand will always be essential. It's also the key to building up your reputation, giving you credibility, and ensuring you have the power to be successful in your personal life.

cont >

Finding Your Personal Brand

Why You Should Document, Not Create o, we know that personal brands are important, now all we need to do is figure out how to create an effective one. Ultimately, designing a personal brand is about being active and engaged online. It means taking steps to ensure that you're seen and heard as often as possible by the right people in your industry. In fact, Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most wellknown entrepreneurs in the world, suggests that most leaders looking to develop a personal brand should be thinking about sharing insights with their audience around 6 or 7 times each day.

The problem is, making a meaningful impact on your personal brand seven times a day requires a lot of time and effort - something that most business executives won't have access to when they're trying to develop a growing company. The key, according to Gary, and something I've embraced in my own personal branding efforts is to document your journey, rather than creating posts from scratch. By sharing insights based on the experiences you've had, you can show your followers who you are, without simply telling them what your personal brand is all about. At the same time, documenting is often a much quicker, and more productive solution to personal branding than trying to come up with seven blog posts or social media shares a day.

So, how do you document the right things?


ell, there are many ways that you can improve your chances of success when it comes to personal branding. However, the first thing to keep in mind is that your personal brand should be a solution that represents the value you can deliver to the people you're serving. In other words, you shouldn't be just promoting yourself on a consistent basis. Instead, you should

28 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

be developing awareness for your brand by showing off your success stories, your achievements, and your interactions with other people. Effectively managing your personal brand is a process that requires you to learn how to become a fantastic role model for your audience, as well as a mentor, and a voice that other people in your industry can depend on. Whenever I write a blog post or update my LinkedIn page, I'm particularly aware of what my community of readers expects from me.

cont >

Finding Your Personal Brand

How to Build Your Personal Brand Personal branding is all about making a mark in the world through your unique set of skills in an industry. You can use this mark to communicate your personality, your values, and the talents you have to the world.

While we all have the power to brand ourselves, few people take advantage of the opportunity. However, if you know how to build a personal brand properly, you can draw more people to your products and services, refine your ideas about your business, and make sure you're prepared to compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Step 1: Know Your Goals


ust like anything else in the business world, you'll generally find that you'll have a much easier time of personal branding if you know exactly what goals you're trying to achieve. Just as you'll work to achieve set results when you're mapping out your business strategy, think about what you want to accomplish as an individual in your industry.

29 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

For instance, maybe you want to: • Be known as an expert in your niche • Expand your position as a thought leader • Develop more confidence in your business ideas • Inspire people throughout your team When you're looking for new ways to establish your goals, make sure that you turn to the people you admire both inside and outside of your current sector. This will help to give you the inspiration you need to find your path if you're feeling a little lost.

cont >

Finding Your Personal Brand

Step 2: Know Yourself While there's nothing wrong with looking to your mentors for guidance when you're setting goals for the future, being successful with personal branding is all about knowing yourself and understanding what you want to accomplish as a growing professional. For example, try asking yourself what you're committed to most when you're

making decisions for your business, and which factors you refuse to compromise on, regardless of what trends might change in the marketplace. Once you know who you are, or at least whom you want to be, you'll be able to start establishing your personal brand based on what makes you unique, rather than simply copying and pasting the characteristics you might admire from other professionals in your niche.

Step 3: Audit Yourself Just like a commercial brand, a personal brand thrives on consistency. That means you need to make sure that you're sending the same messages to your followers, regardless of whether they're interacting with you on your website, in your team at work, or through social media. Take the time to search online for your name and find out what comes up. You can also use this moment of research to note any other people who pop up on the search results with a similar name to yours. After all, these are the people that you'll need to stand out against when you're positioning yourself as a leader. When you're looking at your websites and social media profiles, make sure that you audit them using the same strategies you would when you're refining a product strategy, or defining your business overall. Look at points like: • Consistency: Your biography, profile photo, cover photos, and links should all be similar. • Look or visual identity: The fonts, style, and colors you use should be consistent • Information: The facts that you have about your personal brand shouldn't change from one platform to another - be extra cautious when it comes to spelling mistakes and typos.

30 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Finding Your Personal Brand

Step 4: Begin Creating your Strategy


strategy is always useful when you're working towards success. Your strategy for personal branding should look a lot like a business branding guide, highlighting your values, your goals, and your expectations, and how you plan to achieve the things you want in life.

to spend all of their time promoting. Just like people don't want to hear the same old sales pitch from a company countless times a day, they don't want to hear you talking about yourself all the time either.

For instance, if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader in the product development world, then you'll need to search for common terms in your niche to see what comes up. If your name isn't among some of the first to appear, then you'll need to create a plan for creating relevant posts that are representative of your niche.

Take some time to find relevant events or articles that you can link your community to so that they know you're putting their interests first. This will not only build your position as a thought leader but also ensure that you don't frustrate your followers by being too "salesy".

An important thing to keep in mind is that one of the biggest mistakes people make in their personal branding efforts is assuming that they need

31 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Finding Your Personal Brand

Step 5: Keep Analyzing and Updating your Strategy


fter a few months of posting with your plan in mind, you might find that your personal branding efforts still aren't giving you the results you had hoped for. Maybe people aren't clicking on the links that you share on LinkedIn, or they're not engaging with your blog posts. Just as you would with any other marketing campaign, this is when you should be looking at your social media analytics, and determining whether you're responding and engaging with your followers in the right way. For instance, I connected with some of my followers to provide them with personal guidance for their problems, rather than sticking to a one-size-fitsall method. This allowed me to access better results for my personal brand. The more you learn about what works for you and your followers, the more you can discover your unique strengths and start to perfect them.

Andy Sio Founder of Strategic Quadrant | Agile Coach Sapience Consulting LLC, Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area, US. 32 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Personal Branding: it's Important for Everyone Ultimately, if you're only working within a small company, or you've recently started to explore online opportunities for lead generation, you might convince yourself that personal branding doesn't matter to you. Some people assume that a personal brand is only something you need if you want to be a social media expert, or you want to spend most of your time in the media. However, the truth is that a personal brand can be the secret sauce that really makes you stand out in today's saturated marketplace. If you don't take the time to develop your personal brand, then other people will do it for you. That's why trying to establish your personal brand is the most proactive way to control your development in your business, and give yourself the confidence you need to thrive. In fact, your personal branding could even affect the way you influence other people on your team in everything from strategic planning, to product design. Take control of your personal brand, and you'll also take control of your future.

Andy helps companies to produce more values faster and cheaper to customers by coaching companies' product teams strategy to execution, design thinking, agile and lean startup methodologies. He has helped companies like Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, Blue Cross Blue Shields, North Eastern University, CenturyLink, and BestBuy. A co-founder of multiple startups, one of which was incubated in the 500 startups accelerator program. His current venture Strategic Quadrant is a super easy collaboration tool for distributed teams to manage and prioritize business processes and product ideas. You can sign up for free here at https://www.

What Papa John’s and Domino’s Can Show Us About The Dangers of

Negative Customer Sentiment

33 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Negative Customer Sentiment


nless you’ve been sitting under a rock for the past month or so, you’ve likely seen a headline or two about Papa John’s latest debacle. After their quarterly earnings report came out recently, investors reacted negatively causing the stock to drop significantly in a single day. But that wasn’t the big news. The notable frontman, Founder and CEO, John Schnatter, stated on a call that the company’s downturn was due in large part to the NFL and the ongoing national anthem protests. Many people disagreed with his theory, instead blaming the quality of their product (or rather, lack thereof) as the reason for their decline. As one of the biggest sponsors of the NFL, the company clearly has the data to determine the impact their marketing efforts have had on their sales, so I'm not here to dispute their claim. It seems odd, however, that if they had been listening to the voice of their customers, they could’ve been prepared for the backlash they are now experiencing.

their NPS score. Even if that’s true, it seems likely that they haven’t been actually listening to the feedback from their customers. When executed correctly, NPS should serve as a preemptive measure in addressing AND predicting negative word-of-mouth before it occurs. The value of this benefit cannot be overlooked, especially in negative PR situations, such as the one that Papa John’s currently finds themselves in. Of course, NPS alone could not have completely prevented the negative messages from occurring (every brand has some level of detractors), but it absolutely would have made the company aware of the potential dangers (i.e. negative customer sentiment) ahead of a disaster.

Based on a quick search, there is some evidence to suggest that Papa John’s has been measuring 34 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Negative Customer Sentiment

How Domino’s Recovered From Negative Customer Perception Papa John’s certainly isn’t the first to suffer from negative customer criticism online. In fact, in 2009, their close competitor, Domino’s was surprised by a prank video that had gone viral. The video, posted on YouTube and amassing over 1 million views within the first day, featured two employees performing unsanitary acts, such as sticking cheese up their nose and spitting on food. The prank led to an onslaught of negative social publicity from customers, including those critiquing their product as “edible cardboard”. Unfortunately for Domino’s, the attention came as a surprise and at a time when they were actively revamping their recipe based on earlier critical customer feedback they had gathered. However, since they were already aware of their customer’s sentiment, Domino’s had the ability to respond accordingly. They started by quickly addressing the video in a carefully crafted response, targeted at the specific issues they were hearing. Knowing who their loyal customers were allowed the company to reach out and leverage them for support. This included asking them to help share/spread their response.

35 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Ultimately, Domino’s took their customer feedback to an extreme level. In late 2009, the company launched a massive nation-wide advertising campaign acknowledging the negative customer sentiment and admitting that their product was terrible. The (brilliant) campaign was designed to not only recognize the voice of their customer but also to introduce a completely revamped recipe, which had required 18 months and millions of dollars to perfect. As a result of both listening and responding to their customers, Domino’s was able to take a potentially company-crippling viral disaster and turn it into a massive win. In 2008, the company’s stock was worth just $4 per share. In 2017, Domino’s became one of the fastest growing stocks on the market, trading at over $215 at their high point. More importantly, though, they’ve been able to get even the staunchest of pizza critics, and former Domino’s detractors (AKA New Yorkers) to become promoters once again. Only time will tell if Papa John’s will have the ability to recover from this most recent crisis, but if they can learn anything from their competition, it’s to strategically embrace the voice of their customer.

cont >

Negative Customer Sentiment

Negative Word-of-Mouth Can Impact Any Company


times greater than positive ones.

hese two examples help illustrate the importance of understanding, responding to, and leveraging customer sentiment at ANY and EVERY point in time.

While these two scenarios feature massive consumer brands with hundreds of thousands (or perhaps millions) of customers, negative word-of-mouth can impact a company in any industry and at any stage of growth. A TARP study revealed that while positive experiences are only shared with a few people on average, negative experiences get shared with an average of 12 people by comparison. What’s more, they found that each of those twelve people tends to mention the occurrence with six others.

To makes matters even worse, it’s been proven that negative experiences spread twice as fast as positive ones, as well as have an average of 2.4% greater impact on your financials. That’s all to say that regardless of your industry, customer type, stage of growth, etc, you need to understand the true sentiment of your customers, the drivers of that sentiment and what your customer personas are before any potential crisis destroys your business. With word-of-mouth marketing (both positive and negative) impacting the majority of all purchases made today, you need to have a constant pulse on the customers that are driving it. Net Promoter is the most proven and effective way to do that if used correctly.

Ultimately, that leads to negative wordof-mouth experiences spreading 30 – 35

Dana Severson Director of Marketing at Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul, US

36 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Dana is the Director of Marketing at, Co-founder of and founder of, a gourmet beef jerky subscription box. He is an AngelPad alum, a weekly contributor to, and the former CEO of Wahooly. Rated one of the top 10 writers on Entrepreneurship in 2015. You can find him on twitter @danerobert. Director of Marketing at and cofounder of Startups Anonymous. Founder at, a gourmet beef jerky box with an attitude. Former founder/CEO of Wahooly. Writing at and Inc. Marketing & growth guy. AngelPad Alum.

Why Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone is the Key to Being a

Successful Entrepreneur

37 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Most people think that being an entrepreneur is about having that big idea.


ut what I've found from interviewing multiple entrepreneurs who focus on consulting, the internet, and software development is that without the capacity to execute an idea -- to take an idea and turn it into a living, breathing, viable organization -- you're doomed to fail. So how can idea-oriented entrepreneurs become doers and learn to raise money, pitch to investors, hire, and fire employees -- especially when it forces them outside their personal and professional comfort zones?

38 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


Identify what's holding you back When you decided not to pitch that top venture capital fund in New York, was it really because you didn't need the money? Or was it because you were terrified of being rejected? When you took so long to get a prototype to market, was that really in the company's best interest to delay, or were you scared of having your first major effort be so visibly critiqued? Take an inventory of your excuses and ask yourself if they are truly legitimate. If someone else offered you those same excuses, would you see them as legitimate reasons for them to decline?

cont >


Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Convince yourself the pain is worth the gain

Instead of rationalizing why the behavior is something not worth performing, actively brainstorm all the reasons why it is worth performing. How can taking the leap advance your career, give you a chance to grow and learn in exciting ways -- or achieve whatever other goals you happen to care about?


Make it easier for yourself

If you need to pitch to investors but hate asking for money, script out the first few sentences of your message, or bring a colleague with you who makes you feel more confident or who can help with your pitch. Instead of feeling pressured to meet everyone at a networking event, focus on one or two people and actually try to get to know them, perhaps with the ultimate goal of arranging follow-up conversations in a more comfortable setting for you - like over coffee or even on the phone.


Start small

Instead of jumping right into speaking at an industry event, sign up for a public speaking class. Instead of speaking up in the boardroom, in front of your most senior colleagues, start by speaking up in smaller meetings with peers to see how it feels. And while you're at it, see if you can recruit a close friend or colleague to offer advice and encouragement in advance of a challenging situation. Although most people equate entrepreneurship with ideas, the real challenge for many is psychological - having courage to do and try things you never thought were possible. And with these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way toward achieving your goals.

Andy Molinsky Author: GLOBAL DEXTERITY & REACH; Brandeis Professor; Harvard Business Review writer Brandeis International Business School, Greater Boston Area. US Andy is the author of Reach and Global Dexterity, and the creator of the new online course Mastering American Business Culture.

39 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How Not to Fail Your

Small Projects

40 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How Not to Fail Your Small Projects

Projects fail. Small projects fail twice that much. The overrun in budget and schedule may go beyond multiple times. And time after time managers make the same mistakes. There is a misunderstanding in a way we manage small projects. Once that is fixed you will handle them with ease. 3 Small Projects Misconceptions There are three major problems that we need to fix our mindsets:

1 Small Projects are Not Important


ou can manage such projects with your sleeves down. Nobody cares, it is a tiny part of a massive treadmill machine. Your attitude towards the project’s value will influence your team. If they are not interested in your project, they will surely find something else to do. The same goes for stakeholders. If you don’t show that you care and focus on results, their engagement will drift away. Therefore, the very first thing you must do on all levels is to take your stand. Find the reason this project is important for your organization, stakeholders and the project team.

41 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

How Not to Fail Your Small Projects

2 You Can Lead Several Projects Easily

I was there as well. At some point, I was managing seven small projects in parallel. Here is what your management does not understand: Four small projects are not equal to the one project with the same team size and complexity. Know why? Communications overhead. There will be much more stakeholders, and they will be less engaged, each problem will require much more attention from your side.

3 You Can Manage all of Them Using the Same Approach

Even if projects share the same nature, they are unique. You will have an urge to standardize the approach to make it fit for all them. That is a pitfall. They will be in different stages. There will be different stakeholders. Teams will have different experience level. They will have different approaches to work. The goals of the projects will be different. Sources of risks will be different. The only common trait is you. Tunnel vision is the cause of many failed projects. A small project does not mean it is simple and standard. It still requires the same level of the analysis from the perspective of project management.

Here is what You Need to Manage a Small Project. You cannot allow yourself to go through a full project management cycle. You don’t have time for that. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that you can skip on project management plan. You do need to think through all the aspects of the project. However, tools and techniques will not be the same. While analyzing the needs of the current project for processes and tools you need to focus on the following areas: 42 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

How Not to Fail Your Small Projects


Select Right Tools and Processes


ost of the tools and processes from PMBOK® Guide doesn’t work as is from the box. The main reason is that they are universal fit-all-industries-and-sizes solutions. Most likely they will not be efficient. While managing a small project, you need to focus on visualizing the work for the team. Working towards tangible results is the only way to finish the project successfully. I find list and whiteboards the most efficient tools here. They should clearly communicate: The next task for each team member Upcoming risks Deadlines Impediments Should you go for something more robust? Unless it is a flexible integrated project management system – no. Keep to the lists and whiteboards.

43 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


Plan ahead. It is Crucial!

Planning for a small project is more important than for a large one. Why? The margin for failure is much smaller. Did not identified a part of project scope. Bam! 25% over budget and 50% behind schedule. A key team member got sick for two weeks. The project cannot be completed! The learning curve for a substitute is the same two weeks. While in absolute values the overruns are not that scary it is a failed project in the long run. What are the most critical areas to plan? Scope Management Risk Management Change Management

cont >

How Not to Fail Your Small Projects


Scope Creep is Devastating

There is not enough space for Rolling Wave Planning when you manage a small project. You must know the scope before you start it. Creating a quality Work Breakdown Structure is crucial. But again go for a list representation. I’ll repeat it again. Working towards identified deliverables is the only way to finish a small project successfully.


Any Change Warrants Project Plan Update


Risk Management is of Utter Importance

Risk Management on a small project is different. For example, you have a team of 6 persons. Two of them got sick for two weeks. Can you develop an effective risk response to mitigate that? You can have substitutes. But they should be familiar with your project and tasks at hand. Otherwise, it may take quite a lot of time to start delivering any value. In some cases, the only effective way is to accept such risks passively. However, you must communicate such possibilities to stakeholders beforehand. Risks hit hard on small projects. Therefore, you must proactively identify them. Focus most of your efforts to avoid or mitigate the risks.

It is a rule I keep to on small projects. There is no such thing as a small change. Every change request impacts the project. That is why it is vital to devote enough efforts to Scope and Risk Management. Variances in those areas will warrant changes to the project plan. With that said, it is also important to have a change management process in place. First of all, it should focus on analyzing the impact on the project as a whole. 44 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

How Not to Fail Your Small Projects

Communication Is Crucial

With three areas I mentioned above, it goes without saying that communications with stakeholders should be on a high end. It means you either need to make your emails really efficient or you have to find a better way for communication. Here you can use something like Asana. It shines with small projects. And quite in line with what I talk about here.

Managing Multiple Small Projects What can you do when you have three, seven or eleven small projects at once. I can say for sure it will be challenging. The best visualization of the reality is the number of communication channels versus the number of people you have to manage. Don’t take this numbers as abstract communication channels. The same diagram depicts a number of serious decisions you need to make, conflicts you have to resolve, stakeholders you must engage, emails you need to write. So, here are some practical tips:

Combine Project Teams If you are using shared resources, it is better to share their time among your projects only. So, you need to try to create one team that is 100% dedicated to your projects. From one side it removes the necessity to communicate with other managers about time allocation of resources. Moreover, it gives you an ability to level resources workload. And, if needed, boost the lagging with relatively free resources from other projects. That is not all.

45 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

How Not to Fail Your Small Projects

Build up Leadership Within Teams Within one team you can build up a better hierarchy of team’s responsibilities. In a long-term perspective, it is the best investment of your efforts. By developing strong leaders for subteams, you will free up yourself from the daily routine. Your ultimate goal as a project manager is the same. You need to build a system where you can manage a project at the highest level.

Track all Projects as a Whole Taking into account level of decomposition of project scope several small teams should start and finish dozens of tasks per day.

Conclusion It is a common case when a junior project manager gets a small project first. If he or she shows good results, new projects will come and stack up. In the end, less experienced PMs manage several projects at once. Which is, in fact, requires lots of skills and experience. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about it.

You don’t want to control them on the level that low. Set up milestones for each project. Let your team leaders take the ownership for monitoring and controlling daily work. Let them do the reports for you as well.

Manage it as One Project

By Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy,

In most cases, no one cares how you allocate resources among the projects. People are properly billed. If you deliver results on time – everyone will be happy.

Mentor, Project Management Basics, New York, US.

Therefore, use the benefit of a combined team to cover up risky projects. With that said, you do need to ensure that each project is adequately staffed. You need enough resources to handle all projects. 46 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Project Management Basics is the community of people dedicated to personal and professional growth as project managers and leaders. Join PM Basics today:

No: Innovation

Improvement is not

47 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Improvement Is Not Innovation

Innovation is vague: so many people, so many opinions. In essence, everybody agrees that it always refers to something new. A new product, service, - process, - business model, - way to engage customers, whatever.

48 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The main criterion is the newness of the offering. The unclarity starts with 'what do you consider new?'‌. Take for example the first 10 Apple iPhones from 2007 2015. Which of them do you consider new? 1. The first iPhone June 2007; 2. iPhone 3G: with 3G and GPS; 3. iPhone 3Gs: with video; 4. iPhone4: with a design upgrade and a lot more pixels; 5. iPhone 4S: with a camera upgrade and Siri, a digital assistant; 6. iPhone5: with a bigger screen and aluminum frame; 7. iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c: with cosmetic changes and touch-identification; 8. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: with a design upgrade and a bigger version; 9. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus: with some slight modifications; 10. iPhone 6SE: smaller and cheaper.

cont >

Improvement Is Not Innovation

Well? I only consider the first iPhone new. That was a great big new idea. All other iPhones are improvements of the first device. Now don’t get me wrong. Some of the next versions of the iPhones, which I use myself, add great value. But that’s not the point. The main criterion is the newness of the offering. Apple improved their iPhone; they did not innovate it. The iPad, that was their next real innovation. As a business economist I love improvement. Striving for operational excellence and fostering improvements generates your profits today. Being profitable today creates the conditions for being innovative in the future. Striving for innovation excellence though will generate your profits the day after tomorrow. Striving for innovation excellence will generate your profits the day after tomorrow. You improve in small steps, and you innovate in big jumps. And I like to add more differences between improvement and innovation:

Improvement: • • • • • • • •

small steps, continuous, clear goals, relatively sure outcome, tight, structured process, lower chance of failure, smaller investment in both time and money, for tomorrow.

Due to all these differences improvement is not innovation. Continuous improvement, LEAN, 6Sigma are in practice way more popular than innovation. It’s quite clear why: 'why jump if we still can gain a lot from just setting the next step?'. So please improve, but don’t forget to innovate in time. Wishing you lots of success on your personal innovation journeys. Ps. My definition of innovation? An innovation is a new solution to a relevant customer friction (or dream), with a business model.

Innovation: • • • • • • •

big jumps, once in a while, diffuse focus, relatively unsure outcome, iterative process, high chance of failure, bigger investment in both time and money, for the day after tomorrow.

49 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Gijs van Wulfen Global Speaker, Trainer, and Author of Innovation Hilversum, Netherlands Gijs is an inspiring international speaker, trainer, and author on innovation.

Twelve Steps to Sustainable Business

50 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Twelve Steps to Sustainable Business

Nobody cares about how we got here. They just want solutions for how to get out of the trap. CEOs are struggling to create value for corporations programmed only to accumulate more capital, drain local economies, and externalize the costs.

51 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

So I've been ending my talks with specific, actionable suggestions for how companies of all sizes and stages can become more sustainably profitable in the current environment. It amounts to a 12-step program for getting off the addiction to growth. If you need to grow in order to survive, then you're not a real business - you're just a brand name on debt. Here's the quintessence of the recommendations to be gleaned from hearing my talks, reading my book Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, or listening to my TeamHuman podcast. Of course, if you read the book you'll see the arguments for why these strategies will work, and how they expose the false assumptions we've been working under for a few centuries, now. But here are the basic principles:

cont >

Twelve Steps to Sustainable Business

1 2 3

4 5


In all decisions,

optimize for the velocity of money over the accumulation of capital. How do we keep money moving instead of piling up? If you are sitting on money that can’t be deployed, you are taking too much out of the system.

Make them rich.

Make your customers, suppliers, partners, and even your competitors rich. If you drain the value from your marketplace, your customers won’t have money to spend with you. If you squeeze your suppliers on margins, they will be looking to do business with anyone else at the first opportunity. If you make everyone who comes into contact with you wealthy, they will want to keep working with you.

Employ bounded investment strategies.

Think of the US Steelworkers, who invested their retirement money in construction projects that also put steelworkers to work. Or their subsequent decision to invest in projects that hired them to build nursing homes for their own parents. This triple and quadruple dipping is not a conflict of interests, but the leverage that comes with bounded investing. With boundaries, you can generate the cyclone effect required to enhance the velocity of money. Don’t earn ten dollars once; earn one dollar ten times.

Push for a tax policy that promotes revenues instead capital gains.

Shareholders are addicted to growth of share price because dividends are taxed higher. Reverse the tax code to promote flow over growth. Dividends and payroll should be tax incentivized; passive capital gains, discouraged.

Organize as Platform Cooperatives.

Think Uber, where the drivers own the company. Even if they’re getting replaced by autonomous vehicles, they are going to own the company for which their labor served as the R&D and machine learning. Labor must participate in ownership of the means of production, instead of simply getting a redistribution of spoils after the fact through taxes. Coops like Winco beat shareholder companies like Walmart wherever they compete.

Local crowdfunding.

If you run a bank or credit union, instead of giving a 100k loan to a small business, give 50k contingent on their ability to raise the other 50k from the community, through advance-sale discount coupons. Customers pay $100 for $120 of pizza at the restaurant when it finishes expansion. Locals invest in their community and Main St, instead of outsourcing investment to the S&P, and draining local coffers.

52 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Twelve Steps to Sustainable Business

7 8 9 10 11 12

Develop favor banks and local currencies.

An economy is people with needs and people with skills. They shouldn’t be hampered by lack of a means of exchange. Local currencies and favor banks allow for the exchange of value without borrowing at interest from a central treasury. This also means local businesses in the chain can transcend the artificial growth requirement.

Cooperative businesses cooperate.

Do everything open source, open API, and without “trade secrets.” Maintaining secrets shows you believe your company’s best innovations are in the past. Sharing secrets means you know your best innovations lie ahead, and that you benefit from everyone being smarter. It positions you as the center of competence in your field, dedicated to promoting a culture of learning and innovation.

Larger companies can enact economic experiments as local,

limited trials. No need to turn the whole ship. Sell the ideas to the CEO or Board as public relations stunts, then use their success to promote them throughout the company. Walmart can introduce an aisle of locally produced goods; supermarkets can open parking lot to a farmers market on Sundays; banks can offer local crowdfunding apps. Promote disruptive ideas as if they are just one-offs, not the radical, game-changing innovations they really are.

Run your company like a family business.

Family businesses do better in every metric than shareholder-owned businesses. They make more money in the long run, have better-paid employees, more stability, less damage externalized to the community or environment, and so on. They are concerned with legacy, the family name, the relationship of their own families to communities in which they live, and the company itself as the inheritance they are bequeathing subsequent generations.

Develop new metrics for success other than growth.

Put them down on paper. How prosperous is the community in which we are operating? How many unsolicited resumes from qualified candidates are coming in? How well are our suppliers doing? Do our frontline employees feel they are being supported by the company?

Your goods and services are your product - not your stock.

Don’t build a company to sell it to someone else; build it to run it, yourself. Companies are not disposable. An “exit strategy” is for Ponzi schemes. The world is connected. The environment is limited. The economy is circular. There is nowhere to run. Douglas Rushkoff Author, Host at Team Human Team Human, New York, US. Douglas is author of the book Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity.

53 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The Impossible as Opportunity - Others see obstacles, I see the future

54 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


hen a huge financial services company drops a challenge that everyone says is impossible – using sound as the conduit for a secure, fast, and reliable electronic payment solution – the only two options are to fail or innovate. Who better to pull off that kind of industry-disrupting technology achievement than a kid who leases comic books?

In that case, I was the adult version of that kid. But when I was six, I supplemented the magazine collection my mom had in her beauty shop in Baltimore with kid’s magazines. Considering the investment I’d made in building that collection, a buck a copy was a reasonable ask for the opportunity to avoid the home decorating and fashion rags. That was a notable start to my lifelong practice of getting to know and then getting around the limitations of any given situation.

So starting a company that would perform the impossible was a reasonable thing for me 55 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The Impossible As Opportunity The Impossible as Opportunity to do. LISNR® has been doing the impossible since opening its doors in 2012, and that includes working with a select group of institutions that believed that we could pull off the revolutionary idea of data-overaudio. Six years ago, the process of transferring data using an audio signal didn’t exist. It was just an idea I scribbled on a piece of paper during lunch. I was working at Procter & Gamble (P&G) as a brand manager for Pampers. That environment was great for learning about product management and developing innovations in order to “break the business” and then create better practices. But like all large institutions (and corporations), the resistance to change was greater than the opportunity to pursue the impossible. Even though I was the first marketer in the company to write three digital patents, there was a limit to how “out there” I could get. So, the more I experimented with audio data transfer, the more potential I saw, and I knew I had to pursue it. Others weren’t so easy to convince. A few, dedicated computer engineers were up for the challenge, becoming our inventors, but venture capitalists were always skeptical. The use of NFC, Bluetooth, and other wireless protocols (and the related expense) were so entrenched that the idea of a simpler, safer, cheaper alternative seemed more like wishful thinking than a viable product. Needless to say, I was hooked.

cont >

The Impossible As Opportunity The Impossible as Opportunity

Evolution on ten wheels It takes a strong commitment to prove the naysayers wrong, and it takes cash. The first engineer who agreed data-over-audio could work said it would be expensive to build, so everything depended on overcoming the financing hurdle. Chris Ostoich, a “startup guy” and LISNR® co-founder, agreed to work on that with me. So, we climbed aboard the StartupBus in 2012. The startup competition begins during a bus ride to the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Texas. Data-over-audio caught the imagination of the top engineers and creatives who were also participating, and they wanted to work with us. At SXSW, we blew away the audience. Pepsi and Disney wanted to arrange calls as soon as we stepped off the stage. A dinner invitation with a local Cincinnati investor, CincyTech, followed. Their group took us out to dinner that night (at Lamberts BBQ) and became our first investor. Because of this event and follow up meetings, we were able to secure $850,000 to get started. We assembled a small, dedicated team of engineers (founders) and got to work.

was no small task when people take their phones everywhere from bars and concerts to sports arenas and the gym. Then we had to develop the audio signal that could carry data using a near-ultrasonic frequency. Music and live concerts were the ideal combination of venue and audience. For example, when the app was open, a specific song that contained a LISNR® tone activated a light show or provided additional content. The app was a success and gaining traction in the music industry, but investors and the wider business market wanted something more - the ability connect devices. Using sound had greater potential for helping more people, expanding the reach of the technology. It was a gut-wrenching choice between a popular, familiar product (an app) or the risky unknown and the greater need for universal connectivity.

I decided we had to stay uncomfortable, so we ripped apart everything we already learned and developed in order to figure out what we could use to evolve that into a communications technology. It would mean changing the direction of the company to an SDK/API or software focus. That meant While our engineers struggled to overcome making the technology work for any device the technological challenges, I fought to created by any manufacturer, overcoming the open the minds of investors and potential limitations of each - a level of interoperability customers alike, to see a new possibility. Even no software has ever accomplished. So, no with that inauspicious beginning, our team pressure... believed (and still believes) that people work hardest and are most inspired when they’re And it would mean a significant shift at a time uncomfortable. Pursuing the impossible is when we were running low on funds. I chose never comfortable, so I knew we were bound to buy the time I needed by keeping staff to succeed. focused on work while I quietly paid salaries from my personal account and sought more That initial excitement carried us through funding. 2013, building an app that “listened” for our audio signal in any environment. That alone

56 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

The Impossible As Opportunity The Impossible as Opportunity

Silicon Valley is irrelevant While we worked to meet our commitments to existing app customers in 2013, we started creating a nearultrasonic audio technology that could be added to any device. This technology would make it possible for any device to identify and connect with other devices in order to send data through sound. The demand for this kind of connectivity was growing in tandem with the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) because other solutions failed to maintain reliable, close-range connectivity.


s more and more people used mobile technology, they needed and expected their devices to connect better. And the more frustrated they became with the limitations of manufacturer proprietary technology. I was one of those people who was fed up with not being able to have my phone, tablet, laptop, car, and other devices automatically connect and share information. I wanted the convenience that should be possible, and I didn’t want a bunch of devices that couldn't “talk” to each other.

Because I’m all about making things easier for people, including direct connections for access to what they need, it drove my focus for the LISNR® technology. And that’s one of the reasons my company is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Getting mired in the technology culture of Silicon Valley is the opposite of the type of innovation 57 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

we were creating. Like P&G, there are brilliant people there, but the culture is too focused on pattern matching. I’d rather take a group of smart and focused individuals that think are outside of the status quo. This produced a group that was more curious and creative around attacking problems or technology limitation. The combination of the freedom to explore what seems impossible with the mindset of making the impossible a reality is how I inspire our team to overcome current technology limitations, RF (radio frequency) in particular. Those connections have an initial failure rate of up to 10-30 percent (on average). Combined with limited security, these factors made it essential that LISNR® outperform existing connectivity options. But we had a small team working on two different products. Neither functioned at optimal performance. We had to choose one or the other. The market made the decision for us. We closed our Series A at $3.5 million in early 2014. I was able to attract additional engineers interested in creating a new technology, even if it would be in the Midwest. By focusing on a new and better way to connect devices, we created the opportunity to improve everything that was bad about our original technology. We enhanced core performance metrics such as battery inefficiency, low data throughput, reliability, and platform scalability. And we attracted the kind of technology partners that could further develop and distribute our technology.

cont >

The Impossible As Opportunity The Impossible as Opportunity

Revolutionizing contactless payments Investments by Intel Capital, Cisco, and Techstars made it possible for LISNR® to focus exclusively on developing our core technology throughout 2015. To respond to the growing demands of our customers and the push to innovate, we maintained (and still have) a staffing level of 80 percent engineers. Our technology with supporting IP has accomplished the impossible. But we set a higher bar for the industry in 2017 with the greatest technological advancement in data-overaudio to date.

transmission without the costly hardware infrastructure of other electronic transaction solutions.

The original challenge – secure, fast, and reliable wireless payments using sound – is now a reality. We also secured a strategic investment from Synchrony Financial, a premier consumer financial services company. This investment announcement followed the KAB, positioning this technology as a viable solution for financial services. And we’re doing all of this from the city The KAB® (Kilo Audio Bit) is the first data- was originally supposed to be called Porkopolis. over-audio solution to transmit data at 1,000 bits per second locally, from one device to another device. This level of data The number one focus driving our innovation continues to be how we throughput is unprecedented, making can reshape the end-user experience possible the first truly viable solution for while adding value for businesses. So, secure data transmission using sound. my ongoing challenge is to make sure Data throughput has been the number businesses know what sound can do for one limiting factor because it restricted them. security and encryption capabilities, as well as the speed of authentication. Audio data now has EMV-like data

58 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

The Impossible As Opportunity The Impossible as Opportunity

The sound of work and play As a #NoDaysOff kind of person, I get jazzed when something I do at the office makes it possible for someone else to realize a better work day or better play time. There’s tremendous satisfaction in knowing that the drive our team and I put into constantly enhancing, updating, and testing new options is achieving that kind of result. LISNR® is the kind of technology that can be used in any industry for nearly any close-proximity connection is simple and yet powerful. Just put “sound” in front of any kind of communication, transaction, or authentication activity to see what I mean: Sound… ...ID ...payment ...ticket ...text ...key card ...appointment

Our “impossible” technology is finding it’s way into everyday life. We’re excited about Ticketmaster incorporating LISNR® into their future event tickets. Using sound as a medium for ticketing data will mean quicker entry, shorter lines, and less fraud - I can get behind that. But the coolfactor goes up a few notches with our Jaguar Land Rover partnership.


he company is enhancing their connectivity by making it possible for vehicles to have the ability to recognize and broadcast LISNR® via any device. This will enable a number of secondary actions in and around the vehicle, including vehicle access and incar personalization (fast pair) and using the vehicle to pay for things outside the vehicle (parking, fuel pumps). We are really excited about making it possible for the car to communicate with devices outside the vehicle. Unfortunately, for some of the future engineers I hope to hire, we’re undermining their ability to fake class attendance. A nationally known education technology company is using LISNR® in the classroom to automatically identify students during a class or lecture.

...reminder …gateway ….pair/link/sync

59 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

The Impossible As Opportunity The Impossible as Opportunity

Realizing a dream These first steps into mainstream technology prove that my crazy idea wasn’t so crazy after all. When a new staffer asked, “What’s next?” my answer was simple change the world. Data-over-audio will become a part of everything we do. And we achieved a huge first step toward conquering the connected world this year. To make sure all of our devices will automatically communicate with each other, companies such as Intel and DSP Group are working to add our audio technology to the chipset layer of devices. These chips are used by nearly every brand of electronics. Sound will enable reliable, secure, close-range connectivity. With the help of our strategic partners, we’re on track to reach 100 million devices in 2018. Any innovation is all about the process, and that path to success is never simple. Building a visionary technology asks that you create and plan for a future that doesn’t exist or hasn’t been realized. That often creates a sense of anxiety, but it also powers the creativity that can’t exist until there’s a problem to solve. As LISNR® continues to grow and innovate, we continue to thrive and propel ourselves with a feeling of purpose and discomfort. We actually enjoy the feeling!

Rodney Williams CEO: LISNR (2X CNBC Disruptor 50) Cincinnati, Ohio, US In 2012, LISNR was created around the core premise that sound can do more. The single insight that sound can be leveraged as a conduit for wide-scale connections everywhere. More specifically, using sound to connect more people and devices in ways that had never existed before. Since arriving at that insight, LISNR has grown into the world’s most advanced ultrasonic technology. LISNR is ultrasonic inaudible technology; a communication protocol that sends data 60 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

over audio. We use ultrasonic audio called Smart Tones™ to transmit information. We’ve accomplished functionality that engineers and innovators said was impossible. We’ve grown our list of partners, clients and investors to include some of the best in the world. #TeamLISNR has worked to make the best product in the market, give the best customer service and create the magical moments that impact a consumer at the right time and place.

May the Force Be With You: Pulling Top Talent

Towards You

61 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

May Towards The ForceYou Be With You Talent

Some of you may be disappointed that this post is not about the new Star Wars movie that has recently been released. However, it's about something that's just as newsworthy. Record levels of low unemployment in parts of the country has created havoc among employers who can’t fill jobs fast enough, as magnetic leaders stand by and watch talent flock towards them. I bet you’re wondering what those leaders are serving in their organization that you’re not dishing out. I can tell you in two words—Magnetic Leadership. Let’s be honest here. Companies are at a loss these days when it comes to attracting talent. Tales of what it’s really like to work for an organization are posted daily on sites like, where employees can anonymously leave reviews about their workplaces. As if that weren’t worrisome enough, former employees like Susan J. Fowler, who became an overnight sensation, much to the dismay of her former employer Uber, are posting their own tell-all tales. Companies are spending crazy amounts of money on perks that don’t work, as employees continue to grow fat from free snacks and weary as a result of working for leaders who are repelling talent. Here’s what they should be doing instead. 62 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

May Towards The ForceYou Be With You Talent

Hiring and Promoting the Right People into Leadership Roles Have you ever wondered why some people were ever promoted or hired into management? If so, you’re not alone. In my latest book, The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers, and Profits, I write about a recent TinyPulse NewYear Employee Report, where one thousand working Americans shared their workplace wishes for the New Year. Participants were asked what one thing they wished they could change about their manager. The second most popular answer was to have their manager quit! This response aligns with what I see in my consulting practice. Many enthusiastic employees are working for managers who are unclear about how to connect with their people in a way that is memorable for the right reasons. That’s because all

63 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

too often employees are promoted into positions without even being asked if they want to be in management. Other say yes to a management position, but do so for the wrong reasons. They see management as the only way to move up the career ladder. I advise my clients to be very careful as to whom they let into their management ranks. People don’t work for companies. They work for people. The easiest and least expensive way to hire talent is to have them come to you. That’s exactly what happens when word spreads about how great it is to work with some of your leaders.

cont >

May Towards The ForceYou Be With You Talent

Provide development opportunities for your people I’m still surprised in this day and age how little companies are investing in the development of their people. I suspect it’s because they have no idea how much it’s costing them, not to do so. Workers today, especially younger workers, have career development high on their wish list. Companies that are doing a great job of providing development opportunities for their people are having a much easier time attracting talent than those who are not. Career development comes in different shapes and sizes, which is a good thing, as

this levels the playing field for small and midsize companies and enables them to compete with the big guys. Suppose you can’t afford a full-blown leadership development program. You could instead, set aside monies for your people to attend industry conferences. You might also choose to hire someone to facilitate group coaching sessions for your managers. Here’s a secret that many people don’t know. Authors of newly published books are often willing to come speak to your employees in exchange for a commitment to purchase books for all your people. This is a great way to provide on-site development opportunities, without breaking the bank.

Be visible In my book, The Magnetic Leader, I write about Raymond Pawlicki, former CIO of Biogen. Throughout his career, Pawlicki rarely paid a third-party agency fee for talent. He didn’t have to because he was known as someone who others wanted to work for.

your visibility. Volunteer to take a leadership role in your local industry association group. Establish relationships with college professors who can provide you with introductions to those who will be soon entering the world of work.

Pawlicki would make it a point to speak everywhere. He’d present at conferences and would speak to students as college clubs. He never turned down a request for an informational interview. He was frequently quoted in the media. His reputation for being a magnetic leader helped him attract top talent that would stick around. This talent would follow him from one place of employment to another.

Attracting top talent these days is doable if you’re willing to do the work. My hope is that you are. It also takes an army, all heading in the same direction, to make this so. You probably have the army, yet, you haven't been successful winning the war on talent. Maybe it's time to consult with someone who can help you turn your troops around, so they're all heading in the right direction.

Think about what you can do to increase

May the force be with you as you explore how to best expand your solar system of talent!

Roberta Chinsky Matuson President, Matuson Consulting, Boston, US Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer® and President of Matuson Consulting (www., helps world-class organizations like General Motors, New Balance, and Microsoft achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She’s the author of four books, including her most recent, Suddenly in Charge and The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers, and Profits. Follow her on Twitter @matuson. 64 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Why Every Firm Needs to Appoint a

“Chief Story Teller” (Even NASA Has One)

65 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Why Every Firm Needs A Chief Storyteller

Technology is moving so fast that people can’t keep up – AI, robotics, quantum computing, genetic editing, new materials, neural networks, brain prosthetics…the list goes on. The problem is that scientists can’t or won’t explain what they are doing in plain English and the public can’t or won’t learn the complicated science. But, if people don’t have a story they’ll make one up – The current storyteller of our science-led, high-tech future is Hollywood. Their vision isn’t pretty. In the future, we will have permanent rain, no economy, killer robots, bad makeup and constant angst. This seems entirely at odds with the 4th Industrial Revolution which is solving problems in every sector at an extraordinary pace. The solution is to appoint storytellers. 66 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

It’s an old problem. Sir CP Snow explained in beautifully in his 1959 Rede Lecture, The Two Cultures. He said we have two cultures, two communities that cannot speak to each other. One can explain the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics but can’t quote Shakespeare or see why that might be useful. The other group can quote Shakespeare but has no idea about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, nor do they see why that might be useful. The Arts and Sciences have stopped speaking to each other, and society is paying a high price for this. Snow was wellplaced to make the case because he was both a scientist and a novelist. The best scientists are always storytellers. What made Richard Feynman so compelling? Of course, he was an extraordinary scientist. But it was his ability to explain science to an ordinary person in an exciting and compelling way that made him a historic figure. Remember his O-rings in ice and his Ode to a Nano-daisy? Einstein’s genius was that he could do the science and explain discoveries, no matter how complex, in language a regular person could comprehend: think of his “spooky action”. Happily, the public wants to hear the storytellers. Look at the massive success of today’s scientific storytellers like Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson. The best ones are always remembered. Think of Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, Jakob Bronowski and Jacques Cousteau.

cont >

Why Every Firm Needs A Chief Storyteller ut, these generalists are not enough. Firms are trying to offer new products and ideas to consumers that are based on the new science. So firms need someone internally who can not only explain the benefits the company offers but also craft the narrative. This is not something a firm’s PR firm can do for you. They can help you position your story. But your firm has to figure out - what is the story? Storytelling is the modern version of education. Companies are definitely in the education business if they want to build strong brands and foster client trust. Peter Drucker always said it is not enough to be profitable. That’s required. If you are not profitable, you are dead. But beyond that, the real question is “what social purpose does the firm serve?" Without that, Drucker said, no brand can be sustained, no customer loyalty is possible. The only way to convey social purpose is to explain with stories.

We live in a world where we prize rational, level-headed, quantitative-based scientific analysis. So, arguing for the soft, qualitative, touchy-feely business of storytelling won’t sit well with the hard-nosed, hard-headed crowd. But, those same folks are losing the argument as the public reacts against science, fearing a dystopian future. Fears are being fuelled by Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking who keep saying that scientific advancements will literally kill us. But, AI is also going to save us by solving the cancer problem and by making everything more efficient. Both stories have truth in them but which will capture the public imagination the story that is better told! The only option is for firms to become better storytellers. The smartest thing we can do is to follow NASA’s lead. They’ve had a “Chief Storyteller” for years. If NASA needs one, your firm probably does too.

Dr. Philippa Malmgren is a bestselling author, public speaker (, economic advisor ( and a manufacturer ( Through, Pippa Malmgren DRPM Group, she helps companies, investors, and policymakers better understand how risk and Manufacturing Aerial Robotics, Economista, prices will move across the economic landscape. Bestselling Author, NED, Tech/AI/Blockchain She connects the dots, bringing together insights about markets, politics, policy, and geopolitics Interfacer, Presidential Advisor that signal important and investable trends. She London, UK. was the financial market advisor to President for George W Bush. She participates in the Global Strategic Trends Working Group for the British Ministry of Defence. 67 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Need to Boost Your Share Price?

Acquire a Tech Company.

68 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Need to Boost Your Share Price?

“We are at the beginning of the fourth industrial — Klaus Schwab, Founder, and Executive Chairman, revolution, which entails World Economic Forum. nothing less than a transformation of humankind.” The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” that Klaus Schwab refers to is not based on politics, financial markets, regulation or globalization. It's based on one thing — technology.

human history will be AI…the impact of AI is so huge that it will not only disrupt the IT industry and the advertising industry, but it will disrupt EVERY industry…it will redefine every industry….”

So far we have seen technologies like computer chips, sensors, broadband, mobile devices, apps and social networks transform the way we live and work. But this is just the beginning. Our world is about to be completely rocked — in a way that Bitcoin is just starting to rock people in finance — by a whole series of transformative technologies that are growing at an exponential pace.

The incredibly rapid pace of disruptive change and value creation from technology is already upon us; it is starting to build speed and mass, like a tidal wave. Ten years ago, only one technology company — Microsoft (worth $270b at the time) — was among the ten largest companies in the world by market cap. In contrast, today 70% of the world’s ten largest companies by market cap (the “Top 10”) are technology companies.

What are these technologies? Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented / Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Robotics, IoT, Nanotechnology, Quantum Computing, Autonomous Vehicles, Electric Vehicles, Drones, Synthetic Biology, Solar Power, Battery Power, 5G. And more. AI alone is enough to change the world. Masayoshi Son, Founder and CEO of Softbank, who is on his way to raising $800 billion in the coming years to invest in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said at a conference on Oct 25th that “the greatest tool in

69 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The market value of tech company representation within the Top 10 over these last ten years has increased by 1,442%, from $276 billion to $4.3 trillion. Meanwhile, the market value of non-tech companies in the Top 10 has declined by 56% from $2.8 trillion to a $1.2 trillion. This value creation is not a bubble. And it’s not just the largest companies that represent this shift in power.

cont >

Need to Boost Your Share Price?


aking a broader view, in the last five years, the tech companyheavy NASDAQ 100 (“NDX”) generated a return of 153% versus the established-company heavy Dow Jones Industrial Average (“Dow”) return of 80%. Over the last ten years, the Dow has risen only 79%, while the tech-heavy NDX has risen by 234%. Taking a longer term perspective, the gap increases to a 621% return for the NDX versus only a 246% return for the Dow over the past 20 years. Only Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson and Exxon Mobil remain in the global Top 10 as “non-tech” companies. But soon they will be tech companies too, whether they know it or not. They don’t have a choice. The force is just too powerful — it’s like gravity. Berkshire Hathaway’s businesses, a chunk of which are insurance related, are under disruptive threat from all sides. J&J’s products will come under increasing threat from start-ups in nanotechnology, synthetic biology and other technological areas and Exxon Mobil is facing total disruption if not extinction in the next ten years from the threat of solar energy and electric vehicles, among other things.

toys. What happened? Was the Toys R Us filing for bankruptcy protection in September 2017 a result of its $5b debt and $400m annual interest payments? Yes and no. Yes Toys R Us had a crippling level of debt, but it could have grown out of it. Not only did the company not innovate, but it did not acquire tech companies like its bricks-and-mortar retail peers, Walmart ( and PetSmart (Chewy. com) did. It did not convert its stores into American Girl Doll experiences. It did not create a “National Lego Championships” or equivalent. It did not create Pokemon experiences, or slime craze contests. You could buy the same toys from Walmart anyway while you pick up your groceries, or through a YouTube channel link or on Instagram. The list goes on. With Toys R Us, as with so many other companies, you evolve, or you die.

In fact, pick any non-tech company in the Fortune Global 500, with the exception of a few proactive, forwardlooking companies such as Walmart, GM, and BBVA, and I can make a case for their potential demise via technology disruption and market value destruction in the next 5 to 10 years. Look at bankrupt Toys R Us. It was the dominant niche retail leader of a huge industry —

70 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Need to Boost Your Share Price? you are an established, “non-tech” company, you should be afraid. Very afraid. Start-up tech disruptors are wellfunded, rich with talent and multiplying. They are everywhere, and they are coming to get you. They’re hungry, they’re impatient, and they are driven to win. They want your customers. They will do almost anything to get them. The fact that tech will win is almost a forgone conclusion. Already mobile devices are everywhere, with apps for everything, and soon every “thing” will be connected. Including your own brains (yes, VCs are pouring capital into the original AI device — the human brain. Since 2016, VCs have invested more than $600m into companies working on devices and therapies using some form of brain-computer interface, neurostimulation or implantable devices). Soon is not 20 years. It is 5 to 10 years. We have to keep reminding ourselves — these technologies are not growing linearly; they are growing exponentially. Even policy makers are now starting to ask searching questions, Rob Kaplan of the Dallas Fed says: “These two forces (globalization and technological advances) are colliding. The cyclical forces we have understood historically; the structural forces are somewhat new, particularly technology-enabled disruption.”

When industry disruption is closing in, every day that you delay is a gift to your competition. — Mark Raskino, Gartner Fellow Change — change in what your customers are buying, and change in how they are buying what they buy — is going to happen faster than you think.

71 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Need to Boost Your Share Price? Consider this — a Chinese search engine company, Baidu, has recently announced it is investing $1.1 billion in a self-driving car fund. It says it will invest in 100 autonomous driving projects in the next three years, as it wants completely autonomous cars on China’s roads by 2020. In another recent example of technology disruption, Nike, with its revenue flattening out, has recently moved to cut out the middleman and sell directly to the consumer. CEO Mark Parker says Nike wants to offer “the most personal, digitally connected experiences in the industry.” Sales at large traditional companies are declining. Campbell Soup, an iconic $15 billion market cap company, posted its 11th consecutive drop in quarterly sales. Sales at General Mills, the estimable consumer foods company with a $32 billion market cap, have dropped by approximately 11% since 2015. Sales at Conagra Brands, a $15 billion market cap packaged foods company, have plunged 14% from $9.1 billion in 2013 to $7.8 billion in fiscal 2017.

Once a Moore’s Law pace of innovation applies to your products and services — every day that you delay adds to the exponentially widening gap between your current customer value proposition and what has become technically possible. Mark Raskino, Gartner Fellow.

72 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Traditional activist tactics such as costcutting, factory closures, and asset sales are not enough. These companies must leverage technology — and technology companies — so that they can transcend obsolescence and thrive well into the next era. They must not only find new ways to grow but to create lasting market value. Today true market value creation can only be achieved, on a sustainable basis, by leveraging technology companies.


hat makes technology so special as a value driver? As McKinsey reported from its recent research study (September 2017), “[technology] opens new markets, stimulates growth and provides opportunities for companies that seize leadership positions to capture an enormous value.” Indeed, according to this McKinsey research, of more than 2,400 publicly traded companies around the world, the economic profit generated by TMT (Technology, Media, Telecoms) companies grew 100-fold, or by $200 billion from 2000 to 2014. Some 70% of the companies in the sample generated economic profit during 2010– 2014, up from 45% during 2000–2004. Significantly, each of the five subsectors that make up TMT was among the most profitable of the 59 industries analyzed. As I stated at the beginning of this article, it’s not just the large companies that are benefiting. They are also nurturing a group of middle-tier companies (in the 20th to 80th percentiles in terms of economic profit) that is leading the sector in profit growth. Their economic profit grew by a factor of ten between the 2000–2004 period and the 2010–2014 period, or more than 3x the growth rate of the large technology giants.

cont >

Need to Boost Your Share Price?

continue to tell me they “have no interest in acquiring a technology company” or “it is not in our strategic plan to acquire a technology company.” To them, I ask “why not?” If investing is about the future, then what is the future about if not technology? If you are not already a technology company, then it is highly unlikely that you are going It is this last point that should instill fear to grow technology leadership purely through organic efforts. Things are in the minds of established companies. moving too fast now. The only way to Industry barriers are breaking down. get and grow technology leadership is In another recent McKinsey research to acquire it. study (July 2017), in which the firm interviewed 300 CEOs worldwide, To win, as Wayne Gretzky famously across 37 sectors, about advanced data said, one has to skate to where the analytics, one-third of the CEOs “had cross-sector dynamics at the top of puck is going, not where it has been. Technology companies are the power mind. Many worried, for instance, that in industry now. This power is not a ‘companies from other industries have clearer insight into my customers than I fad or a trend or a bubble. It can’t be do.’” “managed” by regulatory authorities. We’re in the end game to the Singularity. Acquiring technology companies is Even as industry barriers are breaking how established companies will need to down from technological advances and new competition that emerges play the game. In the end, the leading established companies will become as a result, CEOs and corporate technology companies. executives running established nontech companies in traditional industries s McKinsey says of these middle-tier companies “some have latched onto existing platforms and designed business models that scale rapidly. Others are disrupting non-TMT profit pools, such as retail. Many are using programmatic M&A to move into adjacent industries.”

73 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Need to Boost Your Share Price? Acquiring a tech company is risky, and it can look “expensive.” It can be scary. Of course, it could go wrong. Most people thought Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook had lost the plot in 2012 when he agreed to acquire a company with 13 employees and zero revenue — Instagram — for $1 billion. But Instagram today is probably responsible for at least $100 billion of Facebook’s $500 billion market value. Walmart faced scrutiny when it announced the acquisition of the fast-growing tech company,, in August 2016 for $3.3bn. The conservative Fortune 100 company, Walmart, paid a 13x revenue multiple for Jet.Com when Walmart’s own revenue multiple was only 0.57x. In the 16 months since announcing the Jet. com acquisition, Walmart has created over $50bn of market value, almost all of it driven by When it comes to taking a risk, Mark Zuckerberg says “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” — Warren Buffet. If Walmart, GM, and BBVA can successfully acquire tech companies then so can you. Plant that tree. Become a technology company before a technology company becomes you.

Paul Cuatrecasas Founder & CEO, Aquaa Partners London, UK Paul is the Founder and CEO of Aquaa Partners, a boutique M&A and strategic advisory firm that advises established companies on managing transformation to create exponentially increasing market value, revenue and profits. Paul founded Aquaa Partners in 2010 after watching the trends in technology acquisitions with his TMT clients. He previously founded and co-founded two successful TMT M&A advisory firms - Alegro Capital in 2003 and ARC Associates in 1993 - and has advised on over 50 TMT M&A transactions around the world worth over $25 billion and over 70 corporate finance advisory and strategic consultancy assignments. 74 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How To Future

Proof Your Business In

A Digital Age

75 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How To Future Proof Your Business

I have had a very busy couple of weeks, as I am moving house. I have also had a lot of clients all over the UK, and when traveling to these clients, there was something I noticed.

As I was sat on a 2-hour train going to visit a client of mine, I looked up from my computer and saw that the train was extremely busy. I looked at the people on my train. Every single person was either on their phone or on their laptop. It didn’t matter what their age or gender was; they were on a piece of technology. This got me thinking. We are in the digital age where we are so attached to our technology, that we don’t notice what is happening around us (most of the time). In the digital age, I am both a consumer and business. Technology facilitates me in both building my business, and purchasing products/services. I am lucky to have started my business journey into technology as the digital world started to evolve. I evolved with it. All of the above brought me to the conclusion that to have a successful business over the coming years; there has to be a shift within a business, regardless of its size. We have to look at how to future-proof your business in the digital age. We know that the digital age is constantly expanding, evolving and growing. I want to share with you some of my thoughts around how you can future-proof your business in a digital age.

76 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

How To Future Proof Your Business

THE IMPORTANCE OF GENERATION C Generation C is a term used to describe are those who are engrossed in technology. They thrive on the three C’s; connection, community, and creation. They are the most engaged online audience and are willing, and ready to search, find and purchase online products/services.


If you are looking to future-proof your business in the digital age, technology will be a huge part of this. I’m not talking about the ground-level technology that you use on a day-to-day basis. I’m talking about what you use when creating business processes.


One of the main building blocks for a successful business in the digital age is transparency. This is more important now than ever before. Transparency comes in many forms.


If you run an online business, you will likely need to adapt the ideology of working remotely. The demand for office space is going to be cut over the next five years. The costs for office space are going to increase as less will be available, and more will be converted into other types of space.

77 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The reason why Gen C is so important is because they are difficult to reach through traditional media. They are the people who are living in a digital age and are looking for you online. They have influence and are willing and ready to become brand advocates if you can understand them, and engage with them.

New technology is being released daily, and you need to future-proof your business and the processes now so that you are ready for the ever-changing digital age.

You need to be open, and honest with your communication online, and with the way you run your business, and the strategies you create. The future of your business is dependant on building a transparent brand online.

Start understanding how best to work remotely now, so that you can prepare for this in the future. Your productivity is key, and understanding how best you can work remotely now, will have a positive impact on the future of your business.

cont >

How To Future Proof Your Business

GO MOBILE 50% of startups that went on to become market leaders in their industry used mobile technology at the heart of their product. Look at Uber. They are primarily app-based, and yes, they are experiencing a few legal issues, but you cannot deny the popularity, influence, and power they have all from a smartphone app.

Look at ways in which you can take your business mobile now. We are already in a digital age, and having mobile functionality should already be a given. If you’re still deciding whether this is the right route to take, it 100% is.

YOUR STRATEGY I have spoken briefly about strategy above. One of the most important things that will change when looking at how to future-proof your business in the digital age. There are a number of questions you will need to ask yourself as a business owner. Here are a few of them: - How will going through a digital transformation affect your current business model?

- How are you going to identify new digital trends in your industry? - What problems are you going to face when future-proofing your business? - How are you going to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry? I hope that all of the above will help you future-proof your business in a digital age. If you are already going through this process, I would love to find out what changes you have already made.

Warren Knight Professional Speaker, Top 100 Global Influencer, Digital Transformation Expert, Author and Award-Winning Entrepreneur Think Digital First, London, UK. Top 100 Global Influencer, Digital Transformation (DX) Strategist, award-winning technology entrepreneur, blogger and author of Think #Digital First with over ten years experience online.

78 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The difference between

social selling and social spamming

79 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Social Spamming or Social Selling

Marketing technology now provides us with this intoxicating opportunity to automate our sales messages … we can blast product pitches to hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of people through LinkedIn, email, Twitter, and other channels. 80 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

But just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. The amount of automated sales spam I receive has just gone out of control. Some of them are so cleverly worded that I have to click to make sure it isn’t something legitimate, which further wastes my time. All these automated pitches — now averaging dozens each day — are wearing me down. These are unwelcome and un-invited messages. In other words, spam. And yet, the technique seems to be gathering steam. So I thought I would address this issue. Will it make a difference? Not likely, but maybe it will convert at least one person from the Dark Side of sales spam.

The business case for automated pitches I posted about this problem on LinkedIn and had a response defending automated sales pitches: “We’re expected to blast pitches because one out of a million will actually respond. Maybe it hits them with the right message at the right time.” True. But you are also probably annoying 999,999 people. I’ve had several people tell me that they’ve built a solid business by generating relentless sales spam. I’m open-minded enough to recognize this possibility. But maybe there’s a better way. Instead of shooting buckshot into the air hoping to hit that one in a million, maybe you can use a bazooka and have more directed success.

The business case for authentic connection Here is how many automated pitches I respond to: zero. Here is how many requests I respond to from people I know: All of them. An example …

cont >

Social Spamming or Social Selling


agdalena Urbaniak is the global communication director for Brand24, a cost-effective social media monitoring company based in Poland. This is exactly the kind of company who would like to “pitch” a social media influencer. But, she didn’t. Instead, Magda followed me on my social platforms, commented on my blogs, and sent me ideas through email. Because she seemed friendly and helpful, I tried Brand24 and really liked it. In fact, I have used it for more than two years now. I gave them some feedback on the product to help their business along.

that country. She said, “I’ll make that happen.” And sure enough, she did. I was invited to speak at an amazing event in the magical city of Gdansk, but most important I got to spend some quality time with Magdalena and the other folks from the company. We had transformed a weak relational link of a social media connection into something actionable. Over the next few months, we kept exploring ways we could work together and eventually Brand24 became a sponsor of my Marketing Companion podcast and now we’re collaborating on a few other projects.

I’m sure there will be lots of other ways we can work together in the future, but none of this would have happened if her company simply Magda and I started to become friends. I made “pitched” me. Magda took the time to earn a comment on social media one day that I had my trust, and when that happens who knows where it will lead? never been to Poland and I would like to see

81 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Social Spamming or Social Selling

Social selling works

Over the years, I have formed 100 percent of my business partnerships through friendships that started on social media. I pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for services, designers, tech support, writers, editors, admin support, and more.

Building social capital

I work with people I know and trust, and many of the people I work with have been with me for five years or more. But not one of those important business relationships started with an unsolicited “pitch” or an email blast.

In my mind, this case study shows the difference between “social selling” and “social spamming.”

I know there is an enormous amount of pressure to “sell” and make the quarterly numbers. I’ve been in that world myself for a long time!

Effective social selling means building social capital with your ideal audience. It means making an investment in a relationship before asking for a withdrawal.

But to win in the online world today, you have to move from a mindset of “sell sell sell” to “help help help” and that starts with an investment in social capital, not a request to draw from the bank.

It’s not rocket science. Being good at social selling is simply being more of who you are at your best, an extension of your best sales relationships. Even in the”old days” of B2B selling, I worked on long-term relationships that led to business opportunities by visiting people, having dinner with them, or bringing them information that created an exchange of value. Have those common sense best practices been blurred by the irresistible temptation of email blasts? You see, I am not a prospect, I’m a person. Maybe someday I could be a prospect, but for now, I’m a person, so treat me like a human being instead of a target for spam and “lead nurturing.” 82 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Mark Schaefer Keynote speaker, marketing consultant, author of KNOWN, executive branding coach. Knoxville, Tennessee, US. Mark is a globally-recognized blogger, speaker, educator, consultant, and author. As Executive Director of U.S.-based Schaefer Marketing Solutions, he specializes in marketing strategy and social media workshops. Clients include both start-ups and global brands such as Adidas, J&J, Dell, AT&T, U.S. Air Force, and the UK government. An author of 6 books which have been translated into 12 languages and can be found in more than 700 libraries worldwide. He was listed as one of the Top 10 authorities on Social Selling by Forbes.

Social media Are you making a commercial return?

83 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Social Spamming or Social Selling

I get asked a lot of questions around social media, mainly because I love it, I really do. My personal belief being that this is the next for hotels, the next big recruitment tool for your business and your window to the world more than your very glitzy webpage! It’s not only Instagram I use, I have Facebook (more for family stuff), Twitter (more for work), Instagram (a real mash of them both) and LinkedIn for this great platform to engage and talk to you guys, something I really love to do and also to learn from others on here.

Europe with over 24 hotels in 11 countries growing in size to close to 50 hotels by 2020 (I’m pretty busy and LOVE IT) so I have been able to review, study and learn about social media impacts in countries across Europe as I opened, managed and supported hotels, restaurants, and bars.

The big reality check is if you want to drive more direct, profit-rich cash this is how to do it. It’s not through a flyer that you hand out at the local craft fair or an ill-printed advert in the local rag or even paying a ton of commission to some third-party agent who drives volume, but with a profit margin so small it’s actually not worth it at all.

Firstly let me say social media is like a beautiful plant, the more you water it, talk to it, nurture it, the more it will grow and flourish, equally if you leave it to long it will look like the majority of plants in my house and shrivel up and die!! (please don’t buy me a plant for Christmas) so it takes the investment of time and care.

To generate a commercial return, you need to generate content that attracts The question posed not only by owners that I work with, but also asked a lot of you followers; these followers stay because they love your content and then guys on here, is how important is social media to this? Equally, how do you drive become loyal to you, so you can start to sell, promote and start to generate a commercial return through it? Actually, two really good questions. The good thing a commercial return. That sounds so easy right. All too often you see hotels, about this article is it’s not selling you anything; I’m not promoting something, restaurants, and bars setting up social accounts getting all their team and their I talk from years of experience as an avid mates to follow and BOOM straight off the fan and passionate business operator. mark start selling something to you. To give some context over the last 3 Whoaaaaa there. years I have been privileged enough to look after an upscale boutique brand in

84 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Social Spamming or Social Selling


ou need to generate content. Think of it as starting a conversation with someone; social media is the digital version of that. It’s a way of engaging and promoting your brand via conversation (content). Create a conversation that’s interesting, talk about what makes your business unique, get your team to be involved (build relationships), create content that adds value to someone visiting your page. Imagine if you had a Boutique Hotel in Brighton and you spent the time promoting reasons to visit Brighton (don’t be obvious), what secret gigs are there, speakeasy bars with the best martini, pop up food experiences. Think about how you create content that allows your guests visiting to experience something unique something to boast about, something that their neighbor doesn’t know. Give more reasons for people to visit, help reinforce that visiting you is part of a bigger experience. Create content that gives this kick. Of course, splattering it with details on your business, photos of your rooms, your specials, little boomerangs (if you don’t know what this is you need to) of cocktails being made.

followers. These followers start to create loyalty; loyalty means sharing with their likeminded friends which creates more followers. Building over and over more people that like you and your business. Yes, it takes some time but boy when it works it really flies! So now you have a base of people you can start to promote to, who are loyal, and interested in you. The other option is, of course, you set up a page, get some mates to follow it, start banging out crappy offers to it and then sit in your office wondering why no one is buying the offer… well HELLLOOOOOO it’s because it’s your mates and your teams mates following it. You then come to the incredible view that social media is crap and give up and go back to your overpriced promotions on WOWcher or something like it paying over 30% commission nice one! Honestly, no one wants to see another Sunday lunch promotion to your 37 followers or a picture of a fake Christmas tree with some multi colored lights on and a poor waiter in a Santa hat promoting Christmas.. come on guys, let’s get into this!

The use of this little beauty # the hashtag is epically important. Know what’s trending (look it up) tag people, hashtag your city and the relevant tags that are highly searched. You need to get out there. Give them a reason to follow you. Don’t instantly bang out 2 for 1 lunches in your restaurant; it smacks of desperation. So why do this? Well if you create content, you drive

85 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Social Spamming or Social Selling One of my other lessons is that when promoting a hotel, it’s okay for the language to be English as you are usually promoting to a wider in-bound market, as well as local market. You can mix it up between the two languages giving a share of each. Not forgetting your feeder markets. But.. and it’s a massive but…

serious! Nothing looks more like your grandfather (I’m assuming he’s not a social media junkie) answering a letter than that. It’s social media… have some fun, short, sweet responses… use language that is suitable to your brand and also in a tone that reaches and touches your followers. Go back to my earlier point; these guys are loyal to you.

By no means is this a check list, think of When you open a new restaurant or bar it more as the new normal. Social media in a country you MUST be in the language like it or not can be your best, most costyour reaching out to and appealing to a effective way of driving sales. So instead local crowd, show some respect for that, of treating at as a thing that young people be a little humble. Yes, you might have the do, start to actually make it work for you. world’s best Martini which hotel guests will buy, but it’s more important for your And please, locals to get it, as they create the buzz in your spaces that hotel guests want to mix For me, with… honestly! Sounds logical right, so many times it’s missed. Stop posting shitty offers and start building engaging content. Now the conversation is equally two way. Your followers will ask you things, post things about you and want to engage with you. So the very worst thing you can do is nothing. Actually, I’m lying the very worst thing you can do is reply three days later…. That’s one hell of a pause in the conversation. You’re out there in the world so expect some conversation. Keep it simple. Paul Spencer Like peoples posts and share them (makes Head of Boutique Operations, Europe them feel cool), someone asks a question at InterContinental Hotels Group answer it with a Gif (again if you don’t (IHG®), Edinburgh, United Kingdom know what this is you should) interact with your fans/followers/friends they deserve it. Oh, there is one condition. Ditch the formal stuff. Please for me, I’m asking nicely, stop replying “Dear Mr. Smith1232” are you

86 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Passionate about creatively evolving how we deliver hospitality, and always looking for opportunities to positively influence business performance. Been very privileged to been able to deliver some innovative key note talks regarding an industry I love.

4 87 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Social Media Trends You Need To Be Aware Of In 2018

2018 will be a defining year for anyone with an interest in Social Media marketing. I believe this to be the case, as I can see how many people are adopting Social as an important part of their marketing mix.

88 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

4 Social Media Trends

I think there are a lot of exciting developments in the world of Social, but I believe there are four trends, in particular, that will emerge next year and really dictate the tone of 2018 on Social.


4 Social Media Trends

Live Streaming & Serialised Content

I really believe 2018 will be the year when we move away from seeing content creation as a sporadic exercise in organized forms of serial content. From a practical angle, Facebook Watch will be released, which is being billed as the new platform for shows on Facebook. This means that small business owners are going to have to put more thought into the storytelling element of their content creation. 2017 was the year when the light bulb went on for a lot of business owners, who realized that social media was the number one channel they should exploit for their marketing efforts. In 2018, we will start to see the mass adoption of Social Media by businesses, which means that engagement will become increasingly hard to gain. The winners here will be those who can tell stories and create serial forms of content to hook their buyers. This is actually a lot harder than it sounds. For example, “document don’t create� is a phrase I always remind myself of when I am stuck thinking about what kind of content I am creating. I often pick up my phone at this point and start filming myself or my staff, and boom you have a bit of content. Facebook even recommends the kind of content that does best in this format, which it describes as: - Shows that engage fans and community. - Live shows that connect directly with fans - Shows that follow a narrative arc or have a consistent theme I have seen first-hand with our work that the winners on Social are those who embrace content creation and embed it into their everyday lives. They understand that engagement is digital currency and you can turn this into hard pound notes if you understand how to Social Sell.

89 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

2 4 Social Media Trends

B2B Influencers Will Play A Larger Role

Influencer Marketing took the B2C Market by storm in 2017, but I believe it will be the turn of B2B influencers in 2018. What swayed me on this was LinkedIn’s move into video, which has essentially opened the doors for a series of influencers to emerge. If you want to take Social seriously, then you cannot ignore the power that influencers have in this space. By the end of the year, I predict that we will see thousands of individuals appear who consistently get high engagement. These individuals will represent the first wave of true B2B influencers.


The Rise Of Dark Social

“Dark Social” refers to hyper-localized Social Media activity in a private network. In simple terms, it is the personal network groups of friends that you have on your WhatsApp group. Facebook has backed platforms that hugely encourage this behavior. In 2014, they acquired WhatsApp and this year they have continued to invest heavily in their messenger platform with the beta launch of Facebook for Work. I think we will see the first wave of successful marketing at these Dark Social networks in 2018, and hyper-localized campaigns will see a huge ROI, as it will feel more authentic and real. For example, I could see a sports brand using some of their athletes to join special WhatsApp groups where users could join and ask questions. That group would also have exclusive content from the athlete, which would make the users feel incredibly connected to the brand. In the context of the B2B mix, I think businesses will increasingly adopt WhatsApp as a form of communication with buyers. We will see specialized groups dedicated to solving certain issues provide buyers with lively communication among their peers.

90 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

4 4 Social Media Trends

Chatbots Will Increase In Prominence

With Messenger apps on the rise, we will continue to see more engagement with virtual assistants on social. This will have huge ramifications for companies that use Social Media as a customer experience tool. I see Social becoming an increasingly important channel for improving customer experience. After all, it is where many people spend most of their time when browsing online.

Studies show that consumers are experiencing mobile app fatigue. This is partly down to saturation, but it is also due to falling demand in the requirements for them. One of those exceptions is mobile messaging apps, as consumers are now spending an increasing amount of time on messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WeChat, and others.

In the B2B context, I think chatbots will become more intelligent and be able to solve increasingly complex problems. We could see data science companies deploying chatbots to help their customers deploy technology that previously needed a human to explain. Chatbots can also be connected to a variety of data sources via APIs to deliver information and services on demand, ranging from weather forecasts to order requests.

These are just a few of my predictions. What do you think? 91 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

James Saward-Anderson,

Co-Founder Of The Social Selling Company And Fitness World Record Holder, London, United Kingdom

James is obsessed about the power of networks in the digital landscape and am on a mission to make businesses navigate this new domain more commercially.

Algorithm Changes:

What You Need to Know in 2018

92 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Facebook Algorithm Changes

Facebook has announced three News Feed algorithm changes in quick succession at the tail end of 2017. You'll want to take these changes into account as you hone in on your 2018 social media strategy.

The good news is if you're Page has been abiding by Facebook's News Feed values; you likely have nothing to worry about. As always, quality content is rewarded, and poor quality content is penalized. With December's announcements, we've only received more clarity on what tips the algorithm's scale one way or the other.

cont > 93 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Facebook Algorithm Changes

Engagement Bait and Switch


acebook takes on "engagement bait" in the latest algorithm change to hit the site. The social network will use a machine learning model based on hundreds of thousands of posts to detect and demote content that falls within the category. While spammy posts have long been demoted in the News Feed rankings, today's announcement very explicitly lays out what Facebook considers unacceptable. "Tag a friend who..." "Comment 'YES' if..." "Like and Share this post if..." These common tactics are used to artificially inflate the News Feed ranking of subpar content, taking advantage of Facebook's engagementfavoring algorithm. Under the new rules, Pages that "systematically and repeatedly" use engagement bate will see stricter demotions on the Page level — meaning that not only will the bad post not show up within your

94 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

audience's News Feed, but all Page posts will see their rankings lowered. But is Facebook's algorithm smart enough to tell the difference between a genuine engagement request and the spam it's trying to filter out of the News Feed? Facebook had this to say. Posts that ask people for help, advice, or recommendations, such as circulating a missing child report, raising money for a cause, or asking for travel tips, will not be adversely impacted by this update. While this plays out, it's important to focus your brand Page's social media strategy, and vigilantly avoid engagement bait tactics.

cont >

Facebook Algorithm Changes

Watch and Learn Facebook's questionable rollout of "Watch"— a somewhat uninspired YouTube dupe no-doubt intended to capitalize on the internet's pivot to video — has been met with mixed reviews. An odd smorgasbord of content ranging from thoughtful documentaries to straight up algorithm spam, the internet hasn't quite decided what to do with Watch. With Facebook's Dec. 14 announcement, we've been given a better idea of where Facebook is looking to take the platform.

Intent and repeat viewership matter. Videos that resonate with your audience and keep them returning for more will surface higher in the News Feed. Whether your audience is looking to rewatch the same video, or seeking similar content from your brand, you should see a spike in impressions. It is now more important than ever to curate a brand that is known to produce high-quality, engaging videos.

From Facebook: As we’ve said, watching video on Facebook has the power to drive conversations, and News Feed remains a place people discover and watch videos. Engaging videos that not only bring people together but drive repeat viewership and engagement, will do well in News Feed.

95 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Facebook Algorithm Changes


They Snooze, You Lose he answer to Twitter’s mute option, Facebook introduced Snooze to the world on Dec. 15. Snooze lets you temporarily unfollow a person, Page or group in your News Feed for 30 days. Especially helpful during oddly tumultuous times in the News Feed (i.e., the 2016 election cycle) this new feature will keep users from permanently disconnecting from friends and brands in favor of a brief stasis. I could see this feature being particularly useful if Facebook introduced a way to track Snoozes as a metric within business Page Insights. Allowing brands to analyze which content is “Snooze” worthy could help determine future content decisions and give brands a second chance to capture a user’s attention.

Amanda Mitchell Digital Marketing Manager, Lippert Components, Inc. South Bend, Indiana. US

96 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Experienced Digital Marketing Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the manufacturing industry. Skilled in Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, CRM, AdWords, Mobile Marketing and Content Strategy.

5 Major Reasons Why People Share On Social media:

Social Media Psychology And

97 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Social Media & Psychology

Social media has taken the internet by storm. There are 31.25 million Facebook messages, 347,222 tweets, 17,361 LinkedIn profile views, 48,611 Instagram pictures, and 300 hours of YouTube videos uploaded each minute. The internet is full of content that’s constantly being created or shared.

98 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

We already know what is happening, but let’s dig a little deeper and get to the “why” of it. Why do people love sharing on social media? What’s the psychology behind it? As luck would have it, a study by the New York Times Consumer Insight Group found the answer for us. Researchers concluded that there were five major reasons why people share on social media:

cont >

Social Media & Psychology

1. Entertainment Perhaps this is the most obvious answer, but it was also the least common reason out of the five. Everyone loves a good dog video or a funny prank that they can laugh at and share with their friends. After all, what is the internet for if not entertainment? Less than half of shares are motivated by entertainment or passion. Nevertheless, it does explain the tendency for funny YouTube videos to go viral as people want all their friends to see it.

99 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

2. Supporting a cause It’s almost impossible to go onto social media and not see someone talking about a cause they are passionate about. The study found that 84% of respondents use social media to share their support for a social cause. Whether it’s fighting against immigration bans or police brutality, social media remains a powerful tool for expression. A perfect example of this would be the Ice Bucket Challenge. Politicians, celebrities, athletes, and hundreds of others all participated in this viral challenge which helped raise over $130 million for various ALS organizations.

cont >

Social Media & Psychology

3. Self-Fulfillment Related to the above point, many people share on social media to feel good about themselves. A simple click of a button can let all your Facebook friends know how they can best provide relief to hurricanes or donate to their local homeless shelter. Sure, some might call it slacktivism, but it’s hard to overlook just how excellent social media is for raising awareness of important causes. It’s an easy way for people to make themselves feel better while fighting for a good and noble cause.

100 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

4. Expressing Yourself The study found that 68% of respondents love sharing things that they feel helps them express who they are. Whether someone is showing the world their love of dogs or how excited they are for the latest blockbuster summer hit, there’s something that just feels good about expressing yourself. No places are as good at showing someone’s uniqueness as social media. It only takes a few clicks to let the world know who you are and what you like. Many people don’t have the chance to divulge such details about themselves in the regular world, so social media provides a wonderful vehicle where they can truly be themselves without fear of judgment or restriction.

cont >

Social Media & Psychology

5. Friendship This last point takes us to the social aspect of social media. More and more people are making new friends and connections online. It doesn’t matter if you’re finding your next hot date on Tinder or connecting with a potential new business partner on LinkedIn— social media and the internet has made meeting new people much easier than ever. According to the study, 78% of respondents share on social media to keep in touch with old friends. It makes sense when you consider that the vast majority of Facebook friend lists are people that most users never keep in touch with. Sharing content allows them to reconnect with those who they haven’t talked to in a while and rekindle old friendships.

Conclusion It’s impossible to deny the massive influence that social media has in our current day and age. The influence of companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also allows brands to capitalize on new opportunities as they can reach people who are just casually scrolling through pages from the comfort of their phone. Take a look at your content and ask how it plays into one of these five psychological factors. You never know what sort of marketing strategies might arise after a little bit of introspection.

Gireesh C Samrat, Founder, Digital Samrat Mumbai, Maharashtra, India For years I studied everything I could about ONLINE MARKETING, APPS, and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING. Over time I became the "Go-To" leading authority on online marketing and social media and opened my agency Digital Samrat. I'm passionate about sharing my knowledge of Social Media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, SEO, PPC and Social Selling as a powerful lead generation tool to grow your business.

101 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How to be a

Social Media Superhero: My Lessons from 4 Years on LinkedIn

102 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How to be a Social Media Superhero

Once upon a time, it was only possible to post articles on LinkedIn by invitation. Back in June 2013, I was one of just four Japanese people (including the Prime Minister) asked to contribute to the site. I recently had my readership stats analyzed based on a sample of the last ten articles I’d posted. Some of the findings were surprising—in a nice way.

One of my articles got over 472,000 readers. This was three times more than the most read articles of Richard Branson and Bill Gates from the same sample. Thanks to this one hit, my average reader number was ahead of Bill Gates. On average, two out of three of my followers read my articles. This gave me a reader-to-follower ratio of 1:1.5 which compares very favorably indeed with Richard Branson at 1:227 or Bill Gates at 1:232 Of course, there’s one obvious reason why my reader-to-follower ratio was so much better than Branson’s or Gates’s. I have way fewer followers—just 80,000 versus around 12 million for Gates and Branson. Paradoxically, that makes it easier for me to get a good percentage of them as readers!

103 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

How to be a Social Media Superhero

What do Follower Numbers Mean? As far as I can see, the number of followers that LinkedIn contributors have is determined more by how famous they are than what they write. People follow worldfamous businesspeople like Richard Branson and Bill Gates because of who they are. If you want followers, global celebrity is probably the best place to start! If you’re less well known (like me), then, even when your articles go viral, the conversion rate for turning onetime readers into full-time followers is very low. Building up followers is a slow and arduous process!

How to get More Shares If you want your articles to get read by lots of people, you’ve got to get them shared. What prompted nearly half a million people to read that recent article of mine which went viral? It seemed to be partly to do with the photo (a rather ugly baby whose face set off jokes in the comment thread), partly to do with the title (about the role that positivity plays in leadership) and partly to do with the content itself. Either way, 12,000 people shared it with their friends, creating a nice flywheel effect. Aside from using pictures of ugly babies (!), I have a few tried-andtrusted techniques that I believe boost my number of shares. Here are the 4 Rules I follow.

FOLL OWERS 104 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

1 2

Solicit Engagement Always end the article with a question that invites feedback. This triggers a virtuous circle of engagement, when the commenters start debating with one another, and the comment thread takes on a life of its own.

Be Straightforward


Try to discuss things in a frank and personal way that your audience recognize as sincere and unique to you. Superfamous people like Bill Gates or Richard Branson have all sorts of reasons for being careful about what they say. They don’t want to cause a political storm or to give away too much information about their private lives for security reasons. Relatively unknown people like me, who are free from such worries, can be more fearlessly honest. People will share posts that they think are authentic and heartfelt.

Enjoy the Experience

Be Persistent & Be Humble If you want to get the occasional share-driven breakout hit, you’ve got to be patient. Even though you may not get high reader numbers, just keep on posting. At some point, you’ll produce a hit article which will take off and get lots of shares. When one of your articles does finally find a large audience, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve found the magic formula. In my experience, online success is hard to replicate and has a large element of randomness. A proportion of your articles will hit the sweet spot and attract readers, but you will probably not be able to predict which ones or why.


Remember, for an individual to be able to communicate directly with a global audience is still something quite new and extraordinary. It’s important to enjoy the process, from thinking up topics to addressing reader feedback. The biggest proportion of my readers come from the United States. They have never heard of me, or of GLOBIS, my Japan-based business school. It’s fun for me to connect with a wholly new audience.

105 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How to be a Social Media Superhero

My Global Communication Platform I am Japanese. Japanese is my mother tongue and my business is headquartered in Tokyo. Inevitably, I do most of my social media posting on Twitter and Facebook in Japanese. Here on LinkedIn, I find myself at a double disadvantage: I’m less comfortable with the language and less familiar with the issues. Still, LinkedIn is the only online forum where I write in English and therefore the only one where the context is global rather than local. It’s my chosen venue to reach out globally—and I am making the most of the experience.

Yoshito Hori Founder and President of GLOBIS. GLOBIS Corporation, Tokyo, Japan

Yoshito Hori is founder and president of Japan’s largest business school and one of the country’s most prominent entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Through his prime startup venture GLOBIS, Hori has provided business 106 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

education to over 70,000 people, invested billions of yen in over 100 ventures and disseminated management expertise to over 1.3 million people through the GLOBIS MBA book series. Hori is a leading driver of change in the Japanese and international community. He is a regular speaker at such forums as the World Economic Forum and World Knowledge Forum, has acted as Japan's representative on the board of the World Economic Forum’s New Asian Leaders and sits on the board of Keizai Doyukai (the Japan Association of Corporate Executives). He founded the Japan Chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) in 1995 and became the first board member of EO Int’l in charge of the Asia Pacific region in 1996. He also served on the Harvard Business

Results of my 4-year

social media study what really works (from the heart) (going from an average of 4 -5 likes to an average of 40-50 likes from a place of authenticity)

107 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


My 4 year Social Media Study

our years ago, I had no clue what I should put on social media. On average, I’d get 4 or 5 likes on my posts. Still, I felt a lot of excitement. I intuited the potential power of social media. And I strongly felt that I had a valuable story to share. (my experience mainly comes from Facebook, but the same applies for other social media)

Learning a new language It felt like I had to learn a new language. It was frustrating at times. But I knew I just had to share my story. So I made a decision. I was going to master the ‘language of social media’. Whatever it would take. Most ebooks I read about it kind of sucked. “Videos get more engagement” “It’s best to post at Monday 11.45am” “Use ‘How to’ in your title and 5x more people will click on it”

108 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

These tips can be useful, but are only scratching the surface. I wanted to get to the core. So I did. For 4 years, I studied social media posts like Darwin studied the birds on the Galapagos islands. Intensely. Watching every detail.

Cracking the code After scrutinizing hundreds of very popular posts and people (and posting a lot myself), I started to see a pattern. I can summarize it in the following words: ABUNDANCE AUTHENTICITY COURAGEOUSNESS / BALLS CALLING CONNECTING

cont >

My 4 year Social Media Study


is a good one to start with. Don’t focus on how many likes are coming in, but focus on what you have to give. And next, give. Abundantly. Share your deepest insights, the energy of your most beautiful moments, your gifts, your unique viewpoint on life… Also engage with other people’s posts. I think it’s a bit ridiculous to expect many people to like and love your post, if you never like other people’s posts.


the key factor. We are related to YOU, so we want to see, taste and experience YOU. Forget about formalities, and forget about the strict barrier between your company and yourself. When I started to be fully myself on social media, my personal timeline on Facebook became my best marketing instrument. Even if for 75% of the time, I wasn’t writing about my company and services.


are needed if you fully want to fulfill your potential (offline and online). It’s very easy math. I can see that the posts that were the scariest for me to post, are also the ones that broke all my like/comment records (I don’t want to turn this into a match, but likes can definitely be a good reflection of where you’re at). It takes courage to fully speak your

109 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

truth. But once you’ve done it, you will see that you serve many other people with it.


is a very thing nice to have. Nice being the biggest understatement of the year here. Your calling or mission is your fire, your biggest gift to the world. If you fully connect with your calling, posting on social media becomes much easier. It’s very hard for our minds to grasp how the power of your calling works, because it works nonlinearly. I’m not saying “write about your calling all the time”. Rather, I’m saying: “tune into the frequency of your calling, and write from that place”. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, just come and visit my office for a chat about it: http://


sounds kind of obvious right? You’re on social media, not on hermit media. Still, connecting on social media is a tough cookie for many of us. For most people, connecting in real life is easier then connecting through words and images. It is a special art to write as if you were speaking. To truly envision your audience when you are typing out your story. What do they need? What are they looking for? What lights them up? Forget about yourself, and reach out to them as if they were standing live in front of you.

cont >

My 4 year Social Media Study

And yes, it works My posts get between 25 and 240 likes. Last week, I received three requests from people to work with me. I had never heard from them, but they were super enthusiastic, and we matched wonderfully. They all came through social media. Not on the basis of one post, but on the basis of hearing about me from different corners, and getting inspired by my posts on a regular basis. Social media offers me a possibility to live my own calling, and to support other people in living their calling. My calling is “people shining their light”.

I see many entrepreneurs around me who have something beautiful to share with the world. I wish for all of them to be able to express themselves fully. We are here to learn from each other, and social media offers us a unique possibility for this. My main advice to you would be: really truly fully be yourself online, not 50%, not 70%, but a 100%. You have a unique story to tell. And we are waiting for it. (PS Not for all entrepreneurs, social media is relevant. Saying things like “in these times, you just should be on social media” is simply a scare tactic. With social media, it’s the same as with all other things in life: if it doesn’t excite you, don’t go there.)

Ayla Verheijen Shine Online, Utrecht, Netherlands Ayla is an exponent of ALIGNED MARKETING. Real power comes from the inside, not from the outside. Ayla coaches people to tap into this power, by aligning their marketing with their calling.

110 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


ways blockchain is transforming social media

111 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Blockchain Transforming Social Media

As social media holds the possibility of compromising user privacy, the need for transforming social media has arrived. Have you ever wondered how you’re seeing all those ads pop up on your screen, selling you something you’ve been planning to buy but don’t remember telling anyone anything about it? Well, you did tell someone – the Internet! How? While using your social media account you knowingly or unknowingly divulged information about yourself, say your location, hobbies, profession, demographics, likes, and dislikes, etc. By a process called ‘Digital Profiling,’ information about individuals is gathered and analyzed from their interaction with a digital data network. Our social media accounts are an example of such a network. However, weak security standards on such platforms can lead to the leakage of sensitive and classified personal information. And this is exactly why transforming social media has become a requirement and blockchain is being used for this.

112 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The blockchain is a technology that gives prime importance to security and privacy of information (a feature that was lacking in traditional social media). This is probably one of the main reasons why several social media applications are already leveraging it. For example, ‘Nexus Social’ is a decentralized social media platform that supports e-commerce as well as social networking in a tightly secure and private environment created using blockchain. Then there is Obsidian, a blockchain powered social media application that ensures secure and anonymous messaging to anyone on the globe. And that’s not it! Listed below are six stunning ways blockchain is transforming social media.

cont >

Blockchain Transforming Social Media

1 2 3 4 113 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Anonymous Messaging The blockchain is capable of transforming social media in such a way that applications can be created to support anonymous messaging for people. People of those countries where access to certain social media websites is banned can use such social networks.

Decentralized Social Network Since blockchain decentralizes the entire system, it becomes extremely difficult for a hacker to hack into the social media networks and then into somebody’s account. In such a system, the data is distributed over the network and has been stored in several other systems. As a result, there is no single point of attack.

Secure Currencies Within the Platform Using blockchain, social media can also be converted into an online market portal where people can buy or sell via secured transactions using cryptocurrency or cryptocurrency wallets. Applications such as Nexus Social and Obsidian work that way. They have their currencies, which can be used to purchase on the blockchain enabled social media platform.

Control over Self-Created Content In traditional social media, the content we post does not usually stay under our own patent. Anybody from any part of the world has access to the content that we post on our social media profile. They can further copy our content and take credit for our creation. This has resulted in people losing out on credits that they deserved. Using blockchain-enabled social media platform, people have total control over the content that they have created and earn credits for what they have generated.

cont >

Blockchain Transforming Social Media

5 6

Verified News Feed A lot of times, social media has been reported to post misleading news posts. These posts often lead people into believing something that never happened. With people accepting blockchain-powered social media, the news feed that we are shown is checked for its authenticity and can therefore never be misleading.

Inaccessible for Google Indexing As of now, all our details can be found using the indexing feature of Google. By using this technique, many companies gain access to people’s information that may breach an individual’s privacy. By accepting blockchain in social media platform, indexing won’t be a possibility. Earlier, it was assumed that blockchain has no other application beyond Bitcoins. With enhanced research, the number of fields turning to blockchain is gradually increasing. This is why it won’t be an exaggeration to say that it would be correct to say that blockchain will revolutionize social media soon.

Naveen Joshi Founder and CEO of Allerin Tech Pvt Ltd. Mumbai, India A seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large-scale IT deployment. Currently working on IoT solutions with Big Data Analytics. Specialties: Solution Design and consultancy, Data Science, Machine Learning, Deep Learning Enterprise Application Planning, Cost Optimization.

114 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

3 Things Our Technology Should Do In

115 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

3 Things Our Tech Should Do in 2018

In light of Bloomberg’s ‘The Pessimist's Guide to 2018’, I thought it would be great to offer a slightly more positive spin on the things I hope technology does for us in 2018. Because I remain optimistic about what our technologies can do. And especially since there is research to back up where I believe we find ourselves in our (social) technology cycle…

116 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The Kuznets Curve Explains The Evolution of Technology The Kuznets curve, a hypothetical inverse u-curve graphing economic inequality against income/capita over the course of economic development (time), while an interesting concept, has been criticized for the weakness of the data used in the analysis. Simon Kuznets himself admitted to this weakness; he’d used data from countries where income inequality was outside of the bounds of average. The hypothesis, developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, has also failed to account for the rapid economic growth and, consequently, the growth of a middle class (China is a great example). But, even as it fails to predict inequality, the Kuznets curve perfectly explains the evolution of technology effects. According to Futurist ‘John Smart’ The Kuznets Curve suggests that: First-generation tech usually causes ‘net negative’ social effects; second-generation ‘net neutral’ effects and by the third-generation of tech — once the tech is smart enough, and we’ve got the interface right, and it begins to reinforce the best behaviors — we finally get to ‘net positive’ effects. I’d suggest that, even as we see the backlash against our giant social networks and the erosion of civil discourse, we might be on the cusp of second-generation ‘net neutral’ effects in the following three areas that will bring some positives into the lives of consumers

cont >

A Technologies That Solve The Problems of The Working Poor Even as incomes rise for workers in the US, “stagnation of wages at the bottom of the US wage distribution over the past several decades and continuing low rates of full-time work, especially in single-parent households, often leave families below the official poverty threshold” leading to a condition of the working poor. Living above the poverty line and (more aspirationally) the accumulation of wealth — a stock of assets accumulated over time, providing its owner with a foundation of economic well-being- a cushion in the event of short-term economic shocks, funds to purchase big-ticket items a source of retirement income, and social and economic capital to pass to one’s children/grandchildrenare just pipe dreams for a huge chunk of the population (no matter how you slice and dice it). Using artificially intelligent products, the companies that will thrive over the next few years will, by fully understanding the customer's context, assist their customers (some of whom work more than 50hrs a week) to slowly but surely move out of the poverty. And, utilizing fancy algorithms that currently help the wealthy get wealthier, some of these products will actually assist their users in accumulating wealth.

117 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

3 Things Our Tech Should Do in 2018

B ‘Universal You’ Co Due to their own business model considerations, big technology companies have ‘overfitted’ their products/services to capture the commodity that they most desire from you and I; our attention. This ‘overfitting’ has led to sub-optimal outcomes for customers in the form of filtered bubbles of misinformation on Facebook, cheapest but not necessarily the best product recommendations on Amazon, cookie-cutter data-developed bingeable TV shows on Netflix bullying and hundreds of thousands of retweets of offensive content on twitter etc These sub-optimal outcomes for you have led to optimal financial outcomes for these companies. It’s time for the tables to turn, even if just a little, in favor of the users. It’s time for a slight modification of an idea Kevin Kelly posits in “The Inevitable,” ‘Universal You’ Co. UY Co would be a tech company that learns your desires/needs because you’ve personally trained the AI. Instead of the current model where Facebook decides what I see by using what I’ve done. And the product filters your experiences, letting in some of the curated experiences/content that your friends/ colleagues have trained it on and consequently collects payment on your behalf from any company that wants to get the benefit of your attention. As Nobel prize-winning social scientist Herbert Simon suggests ‘In a world of abundance, the only scarcity is human attention.’ It’s time for companies to pay for our attention.

cont >

3 Things Our Tech Should Do in 2018


Solving For The Sameness of Cities & Experiences I traveled to a few places I’d never been before in 2017. Like many travelers I know, I love to experience the peculiarities and nuances of any new city/town while also yearning for some familiarity in the things that I seek out in these new locations. The problem is that most of these cities are starting to look and feel Exactly. The. Same.

This sameness became standard for most cities in the US once suburbia became desirous. But people are now yearning for more authentic ‘place’ experiences. Unfortunately, smart cities (with technology overlaid on everything) will further accelerate this move to sameness. Airbnb was providing this authentic experience of a new place through engagement with locals but, in their need for - Every Starbucks has baristas that make your drink, for the most growth, they are pretty much part, exactly the same. now building hotels! I don’t know - The hotel rooms are the same in if it’s virtual reality that’ll get us every city. Exactly the same. Even there, but I hope not. It would be a the bedsheets are folded the same. shame to lose the humanity, quirks - Traffic is gnarly in the middle of and all, behind the experiences we share with people. the city. Despite the congestion zones. And people are driving the same cars. Technology has driven us further - Busy professionals in these cities apart in our desires but much closer in how frustrated we are now dress the same. about the state of things. That’s - Even in their attempts to be unique we all now shop in ‘local why, despite all the pessimism stores that have global locations.’ around tech, I hope we can start using our tools to solve the real And we all don’t seem to see problems we have. the irony of that phrase above anymore.

Seyi Fabode Tech Strategy, Asha Labs Austin, Texas, US I've been at the forefront of technology strategy and innovation as an analyst, operator, investor, consultant and mentor. I enjoy working with old-style incumbents/industries to update their products, processes and people with new technologies.

118 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018


Items of Obsolete Tech That Millennials Just Don't Understand

119 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

6 Items of Obsolete Tech

From Floppy Disks to VHS, Twitter went down memory lane recently to fondly reminisce about the things that modern tech has killed that our kids will never understand. The thread was started by @mattwhitlockPM who started the discussion by simply asking:

"Without revealing your actual age, what's something you remember that if you told a younger person, they wouldn't understand?" Within a few hours, tens of thousands of people had made a slew of suggestions, and I've compiled a little listicle of my six favorites:


Cassette tapes

I have distant yet fond memories of inserting a TDK 90 into my Philips minirecorder, simultaneously holding down the Play / Record / Pause buttons and then mastering the art of taping your favorite songs from the Top 40 rundown while editing out the voice of the DJ. Let's face it; the technology was pretty crap (although not quite so bad as 8 Track). I can't tell you the number of times the player in my Ford Escort 1.1 Popular chewed up my favorite mix tape and I then had to retrieve the magnetic tape from the guts of the machine. Once retrieved I then had rewind it back into the cassette using an incredibly high tech solution... called a pencil.


There once was a time when the weather was inclement that the picture on your screen resembled the conditions outside. Indeed static was often described as being foggy or snowy. I had a portable black and white Binatone TV (yes kids, believe it or not there really was such a thing as a monochrome screen) when I was at University which had an internal aerial and a dial to change the channel (nothing as inconvenient as a remote control or even a button which saved the stations). It also had settings for both UHF and VHF which, to this day, I still have no clue what it did. I spent half of my life fiddling with both the aerial and the dial to try and obtain the best picture and sound combination which, at best, was like watching through a veil of spaghetti.

120 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

2 cont >



6 Items of Obsolete Tech

Engaged Tone



Long before the days when you immediately get your call gets diverted to an answerphone when someone is busy, there used to be an engaged tone. Depending on the country you were in it was a monotonous loop of bleeps and clicks (much like today's music if you ask me).


Every Yuppie (remember them?) worth his red colored braces had a first generation pager. I've explained this one to my kids, and they couldn't stop laughing. "So it's like a phone, but it only sends text? And no letters only numbers? In black & white? And you can't talk into it? And no-one can talk to you? It just tells you the number of someone who has tried to call you? And you can't access the internet? This is a joke right?!"

Who needs a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One with all their fancy graphics and realistic gameplay? Nah, the cutting edge of gaming in the 1970's was Pong by Atari. The gaming unit was roughly the same size as a chest of drawers (clearly to house all the 'sophisticated' circuitry) which produced two paddles at each side of the screen and a square-shaped pixellated ball. Now that, my young friends, was cutting edge.


Steve Blakeman MD Global Accounts, OMD Worldwide London, UK.

My current role is Managing Director - Global Accounts for OMD based in London / Paris leading Groupe Renault. Prior to this role I was CEO for 121 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Fax Machine

You might moan about email its predecessor, the humble fax machine, was as clunky as it comes. Basically a photocopier with heat sensitive paper which created a facsimile of an original document which was sent down telephone wires. The received document rarely looked like the original when it got to the other end and was slower than an asthmatic snail crawling across a desert.

OMD in Asia for 4 years based in Singapore. At OMD I increased billings by +60% to over US$ 5bn and won 1000+ industry awards including agency network wins at the Cannes Lions (2013) and Festival of Media Asia (2013). Now in my 31st year in the industry, I have worked on a variety of global clients – Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Coca Cola, Renault / Nissan and Visa to name but a few. A true hybrid media professional combining the best of creative channel planning and data driven analysis. I am also a regular judge at prestigious award events such as the Cannes Media Lions, AME’s, EFFIE’s, Festival of Media, Cristal and Spikes.



122 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Imagination Powered Technology

We have a lot to think about when it comes to keeping up with advances in technology, but what if we have our priorities wrong? What if we started with imagination first? I recently gave a talk at Samsung on the subject of Imagination-Powered Technology. This article is an edited, condensed version of that event.

What is AI? Everyone is talking about AI. The term has become a catch basin for all technologies that are perceived as artificial and intelligent. Instead, I want to challenge you to think about AI as Applied Imagination. I will describe what Applied Imagination is and how it can be practiced. If we think about intelligence as artificial, it enables us to outsource our ethics to machines and software, which can be very dangerous. How can Mark Zuckerberg say that he couldn’t have possibly imagined the impact that Facebook would have on the election? The reason he can say that is because we know that we are not great at thinking about the extrinsic consequences of our actions.

I direct Science House, a strategic consultancy based in Manhattan. An inventor, his specialty is innovation, and as a futurist, my specialty is imagination. At Science House, we say innovation without imagination is directionless, and imagination without innovation is philosophy. We are always struggling to find the pragmatic sweet spot between innovation and imagination. Applied Imagination is a combination of ideas and focused execution.

When Brian Reich interviewed me for his book The Imagination Gap, I was at the tail end of the interview process, and he had a lot of his research done. He told me that I was the first person who talked about The term artificial intelligence also enables imagination as a tangible, practical skill. I us to think of technology as something asked him what people said, and I wasn’t that is separate from us. And right now, surprised by the answer. Imagination is it is, though that feeling we get when our indefinable. It’s something creative people phone batteries die reveal that the feeling of do. It’s daydreaming. It’s letting your mind separation is, increasingly, an illusion. wander. And those people are correct. Those are all things that our imaginations Technology used to be a differentiator. can do. Our imaginations can also conjure Of course, for many companies that still many dark visions. But that’s now how I build their own technology, it still is. define Applied Imagination. But increasingly, you don’t have to build your own. You can buy it. So what is the Everyone is creative. Creativity is differentiator? At this point, it’s really only everywhere. The only difference is how just imagination. people tap into it. Along with founder James Jorasch, who is an inventor, investor, and entrepreneur, 123 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Imagination Powered Technology

Fantasizers and Followers Think about a dial between two extremes, Fantasizers and Followers. Fantasizers have wild imaginations. They can conjure up anything and they love to daydream. And there’s something beautiful about that. But fantasizers aren’t applying their imaginations to a specific problem, the way entrepreneurs need to do in order to stay in business. They don’t necessarily care what’s feasible or know how to execute, and sometimes they don’t think it’s fair that they should even be expected to. On the other side are Followers. Followers are people who like a path cut for them. They go with the herd. And they also aren’t applying their imaginations. Applied imagination is between these two extremes. It is pragmatic. It is about thinking your way through a problem and sticking to what I call the tedium of creativity to make it real. When you know you need to get from one place to another, Applied Imagination is the best way to get you there. I have a mental map I use. I want to share it with you.

The tangible elements are easiest for us to understand because they are familiar. Unfortunately, sometimes those familiar concepts are outdated, but we still prioritize them because they look and feel as if they belong there. The nebulous aspects are harder to see and understand. Because of this, we gravitate to the familiar, often to our own detriment, but it feels right because it makes sense. The trick is to question assumptions about the tangible elements and learn more about the nebulous elements to constantly reprioritize your focus areas and update your thinking. When I first started developing my framework around imagination more than a decade ago, it was because I noticed that my clients, mostly leadership teams across industries, all seemed to be having the same problem.

They all wanted to jump straight out of the Industrial Era and land in the Intelligence Era. The transition isn’t easy, though, because For the sake of illustration, think of a path there are ten thousand little hooks in our from where you are now to where you want brains. Leaving an era isn’t just as simple as to end up. From Point A to Point B. It could be moving into the future because we have been from mind to market, or from the beginning trained in outdated ways of thinking, being of a massive software project to the end, or and working. from your first to last day at university. The goal is to hit your target, even if your target The Industrial Era is particularly sticky changes along the way. because it was very easy for our brains to understand. Engines, looms, factories, ships, Every path from A to B includes nebulous and contributing to the whole one piece at a time tangible elements. when the conveyor belt moved along. People punched in and punched out.

124 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Imagination Powered Technology


the Intelligence Era, by contrast, there’s no clear line that tells us when we’re at work and when we’re not. The products we create and consume are far more complex, and not at all easy to visualize. You might not understand how a combustion engine worked during the Industrial Era, but you could picture an engine and easily understand what the machine did. In the Intelligence Era, very few people truly understand how algorithms work, to use one of many examples. Even software engineers are having a hard time understanding how software architecture works now that companies are using new development methodologies to create software. One of the most entrenched hooks remaining in the brains of modern companies is the idea that people need to work faster and faster. The conveyor belt

125 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

is moving at maximum speed for most humans. The key now is to work smarter. But how? To help create a period of transition in between, I invented a concept called the Imagination Age. You can read more about in other places, including here and here, and in these books. Here’s a list of Principles of Applied Imagination. Imagination is necessary for working smarter but also for making sense of what’s happening in the world. How many of you have heard of Sophia the robot? Just like Amazon’s Alexa, she doesn’t need to have a gender, which Sophia actually pointed out during an interview with Aaron Sorkin in Saudi Arabia, when she became the first robot granted citizenship there. This is not a woman. This is software and hardware. There’s another video of Sophia called Hot Robot at SXSW says she wants to destroy humans. Same Sophia.

cont >

Imagination Powered Technology

While we’ve been arguing about whether there will ever be a general AI that’s “smarter than a human,” we’ve missed a lot of things that AI can do. How many of you watched Google’s DeepMind, AlphaGo, beat the human Go champion Lee Sedol? Go isn’t a big deal in the United States, but it is in Korea. The games took place in Seoul, and I stayed up all night to watch them. The excellent documentary AlphaGo shows the story behind the story. Do you know what Lee Sedol said? He learned from AlphaGo what was the art of the possible in his own game, a game that he, as a human, had dedicated his life to mastering. This is what I mean when I say we have hooks in our brains. He learned from other humans, with their limited understanding of their own field, just as we learn from our predecessors how to live and work. Now DeepMind has moved on to other things, like creating AI that has imagination. DeepMind researchers created what they're calling "imagination-augmented agents," or I2As, that have a neural network trained to extract any information from its environment that could be useful in making decisions later on. These agents can create, evaluate and follow through on plans. To construct and evaluate future plans, the

126 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

I2As "imagine" actions and outcomes in sequence before deciding which plan to execute. Now, Google has even created an AI that can create its own AI that outperforms any ever created by humans. We debate about whether it might be possible to create an AI that can think for itself, like a human. Can humans think for themselves? We are so much more predictable than we think we are. All of this creates an uncomfortable awareness that we are not maximizing our potential as human beings. Some people have an apocalyptic vision of robots stealing our jobs. Others have a utopian vision of robots finally giving us the leisure that we deserve. But are we even equipped to give ourselves a sense of purpose to keep ourselves occupied? Even in the utopian vision, we still have shortcomings as human beings. But I think we can fix that. No matter what happens in the future, we have a golden period of humanity right now, upon us, we can put our imaginations first and ask ourselves what kind of companies and organizations can we create that connect humanity. I don’t mean to serve better ads, I mean to really connect us and help figure out what defines us as human beings.

cont >

Imagination Powered Technology

Ethics and the Imagination Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking and a bunch of other smart people got together and tried to come up with principles for creating AI that serves humans instead of the other way around. These Asilomar Principles are a great starting point. But I question #10 and #11, both of which are focused on human values. 10) Value Alignment: Highly autonomous AI systems should be designed so that their goals and behaviors can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation.

Look how we act now. I understand that this group has a specific set of aspirational values in mind, but much like Enron having "integrity" as a core value, we have to deal with reality, not wishful thinking, when it comes to the AI we create. So I just want to pose the question: are those really our human values? In Yuval Harari’s excellent book, Sapiens, the author points out that we didn’t domesticate wheat. Wheat domesticated us.

So will we learn from technology what it means to be human? Above all, we need imagination for the biggest future task no matter what future we find ourselves in, and that is to find purpose and meaning in this world. Either way, we have a Let's stop for a moment and really use our weird road ahead. There’s no downside imaginations to think about what kind of to developing your imagination. We will world we will create if intelligent systems, face the need for purpose, and helping far more intelligent than we are even capable of intellectualizing, take our human ourselves and more people achieve it. values as the basis for their decisions. 11) Human Values: AI systems should be designed and operated so as to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity.

Rita J. King Co-Director, Science House Science House New York, New York, US

127 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Co-Directer of Science House in Manhattan, where teams work to create the future they can imagine. Working with senior leadership teams at companies and organizations around the world. Rita delivers keynotes for leadership teams, including at Amazon, GE, FedEx, and IBM, amongst others. Her work has appeared in major media globally, including in The New York Times, Psychology Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Al Jazeera, TIME, CNN, Fox News, NPR, the BBC, the Christian Science Monitor, The Village

Understanding 128 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Understanding Ethereum

Right now is absolutely the prime time to talk about cryptocurrencies. In November 2017, the value of Bitcoin exploded, surging so quickly, that it was the catalyst to bring Bitcoin into the public lexicon. However, Bitcoin is just the most well known of the cryptocurrencies - there’s a whole world of them out there. Many people who have been investigating cryptocurrencies have come across something called Ethereum. What is Ethereum?

129 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Well, Ethereum is NOT a cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. Ethereum is a platform. Ethereum is an open source platform, which exists to build and distribute decentralized applications. These applications will operate on a network of hundreds of thousands of nodes across the globe. There will be no central “server” for these applications; they operate in a peer-to-peer fashion. These decentralized apps are known as “dapps”, and many are excited but the potential they offer. The value of the Ethereum platform increases as more apps are written for it. There are benefits to this approach. Applications that are centralized could, for example, have a higher risk of attack. In a decentralized architecture, there is no single point of failure.

cont >


Understanding Ethereum

The Blockchain


ne trait shared with Bitcoin is the reliance on “Blockchain” technology at the heart of Ethereum. Bitcoin, as a digital currency, was the first and most wellknown use of the blockchain technology. Ethereum makes the blockchain technology available to uses other than cryptocurrency. Technically, you could say that Bitcoin is the first “dapp,” with the cryptocurrency being the first widespread application of blockchain technology. The proponents of Ethereum, however, will tell you that the real potential of the blockchain is to come. The blockchain nodes could run everywhere, on-premises or in the cloud. The developers writing applications to run on Ethereum need to write in something called a “smart contract.” This refers to a series of steps that will define how a transaction is handled. The smart contract can store data, perform logic or interact with other contracts. Developers can use Smart Contracts for things such as asset registration, land ownership and anything else where keeping a permanent record is essential.

130 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

Understanding Ethereum

Who is backing it? Back in 2015, Microsoft became the first of the tech giants to really talk seriously about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Firstly, Microsoft announced that it would support Bitcoin as a currency for purchases on the Microsoft online store. The details of how to go about this can be found here: com/en-us/help/13942/microsoftaccount-add-money-with-bitcoin However, when it comes to Ethereum, Microsoft announced that it was betting big on Ethereum as a platform. Microsoft rolled out Coco, a framework designed to facilitate blockchain adoption by adapting existing blockchain protocols or by creating entirely new protocols, and the Azure Blockchain service, a BaaS (blockchain as a service) that enables businesses to quickly and easily configure and deploy a blockchain network. The main advantages of the Coco framework is its ability to process over 1,600 transactions per second, something which neither the Bitcoin nor Ethereum public blockchain can support at the moment (This would be for your private Blockchain). The Coco framework will also use a unique technology called trusted execution environment (TEE). The trusted execution environment will be able to host the blockchain code in a secure box which will use Intel’s Software Guard Extensions or Windows’ Virtual Secure Mode in order to validate the environment. the Coco framework works with a few Blockchains, but Ethereum is probably

131 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

the most popular so far. Now what is interesting, is that at the AWS re:Invent summit in November 2017, AWS has, surprisingly to many, not announced anything around Blockchain technology. Time will tell as to whether this is wise. So what am I actually buying on my crypto exchange ? What you buy, if you’re investing in Ethereum, is something called Ether (ETH). This is the cryptocurrency piece of Ethereum. What is the relationship between the two ? If you write an application on Ethereum, why should someone running a node process your program’s transactions? Well, because you pay them to do so. And you pay them in Ether, the currency of Ethereum. From - “It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations. To put it another way, ether is the incentive ensuring that developers write quality applications (wasteful code costs more), and that the network remains healthy (people are compensated for their contributed resources).” If Bitcoin is compared to DIGITAL GOLD, an asset that is worth investing in, then Ether can be compared to DIGITAL OIL. Now that is a comparison that many of you would understand.

cont >

Understanding Ethereum

Some thoughts (with no end in sight), I decided that this wasn’t a great idea (I then saw that you don’t need to download the entire thing). Still, some are saying that the Firstly, many are actually investing in Ethereum blockchain will be more than Ether hoping to see similar returns as with Bitcoin. In other words, they want 1TB very soon. Good thing that there is to see the price of Ether go through the talk of a sharding system. roof. Wouldn’t this be bad for people Thirdly, transaction speed has always running applications on the Ether Blockchain? If the price of Ether is both been an issue with cryptocurrencies. highly volatile and also quickly inflates, Bitcoin, believe it or not, can only really process about five transactions per how does that make Ethereum an second. Looking at other platforms : attractive platform to run applications (Since your running costs for your • DASH - 10 transactions per second application are in Ether)? Now, to add my thoughts/concerns to the Ethereum debate.

On the other hand, if it's too low, there is no incentive to mine??

• Ethereum – 20 transactions per second

Secondly, there’s the issue of blockchain size. While researching Ethereum, I decided to get into the spirit of things and do some mining, not to really make much profit, but to experience how it all works. After installing Geth, I waited for it to download the blockchain and I could then start. After downloading over 20Gb on my crappy connection

• PayPal – 193 transactions per second average

132 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

• Visa – 1,667 transaction per second • Ripple 1000-24000 transactions per second

cont >


Understanding Ethereum

So Ethereum is better than Bitcoin in transaction speed, but considering what it wants to do, the current transaction speed is not enough. There has been talk of a project called Raiden, however, which aims to dramatically improve scaling of Ethereum. The other thing we’ve already seen is the blockchain become “jammed” and a whole backlog of unprocessed transactions form. Thousands of transactions can sit unprocessed in the blockchain. Once again, perhaps something like Raiden will address this. Fourthly, there is the debate about running Ethereum nodes in the cloud - is this counter to decentralization? The one thing I can think of is the potential benefit of energy efficiency. There is already a debate about the inefficiency of mining from

an electricity perspective, and how this, in turn, makes cryptocurrency inefficient. If nodes are in the cloud, however, remember that the large data centers are built at tremendous economies of scale, and you will not find better efficiency in smaller scale DCs, so from that perspective, it may help somewhat. Is Vitalik Buterin a snake oil salesman? Well, in spite of the early issues mentioned, there really is a sense in the community that Ethereum could be the Internet of the 2010s, and that we’re on the verge of something big. At the very least, it provides us with options. As for Ether, I cannot tell you whether to invest in it or not, but as you can see, you do want to be following it very closely over the next few months.

Thavash Govender Data and AI SSP, Microsoft Johannesburg, South Africa An Engineer by trade, Thavash loves technology, has a strong technical background across hardware and software, and, being involved in technical sales for the last seven years , is also very interested in the business benefits of IT. 133 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

London viewed as most innovative tech city in Europe despite Brexit

134 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

London Still Most Innovative Tech City

HubSpot, a leading CRM, marketing, sales, and customer experience platform, last month released findings from a new survey that examines London’s startup scene. Despite initial fears following the EU referendum in June 2016, the results show that the UK capital’s reputation remains intact as a hub for startups and innovation, with London being named as the top choice by respondents from Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin, while 53% of the city’s residents believe it still holds this title. 135 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The research, which also questioned Londoners on their perception of the capital and its prospects, paints an optimistic picture post-Brexit. A huge 81% of those asked believe London is a ‘great city for innovation,’ with East London Tech City (also known as ‘Silicon Roundabout’) now recognized as the third-largest technology startup cluster in the world after San Francisco and New York City. Some of the research’s findings did indicate a level of uncertainty about the city’s future once Brexit is finalized at the end of March 2019: only 71% of those asked feel confident that they will consistently be able to find employment in London. However, this speculation is juxtaposed by a wider sense of enthusiasm for technology-focused career paths, with 53% stating they aspire to work in the sector. If these aspirations can be married with training and skills development, they could prove instrumental in solving the UK’s digital skills gap, which currently costs Britain £63 billion per year.

cont >

London Still Most Innovative Tech City

“A vibrant accelerator community, a growing number of jobs, and a willingness to move into the tech sector help make London the most innovative city in Europe,” says Christian Kinnear, Managing Director of EMEA at HubSpot. “We were encouraged to see over half of the respondents questioned have aspirations to work in the techindustry; no doubt driven by the lucrative opportunities available. In fact, 78% would actually leave their current job to move to a startup because of the benefits and perks offered.” Kinnear continued: “If this enthusiasm for technology professions can be harnessed, this could solve recruitment challenges and enable London to maintain its status as a thriving hub for innovation long after Brexit is finalized.”

136 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Peter Smith Global Head of Industry Policy Liaison TISA, St Albans, UK. Peter is currently Head of Industry Policy Liaison at TISA which is a unique, consumer-focused membership organization. Their aim is to improve the financial wellbeing of UK consumers by aligning the interests of UK consumers, the financial services industry, and the UK economy. They achieve this by delivering innovative, evidence-based proposals to government, policy makers, and regulators. TISA’s members represent all sectors of the financial services & FinTech industries.

How to design the

perfect chatbot...

137 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How to design the perfect chatbot

Since chatbot-based marketing and customer services are heating up, it is imperative that you develop a chatbot that makes you rise above the pack.

A chatbot is an AI-driven computer program that holds textual or auditory conversations in a usual chat stream on messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or other independent mobile applications for your smartphone. According to a report, 35 percent of customers want more companies to use chatbots for communication, and 21 percent of customers see chatbots as the easiest way to contact a business. The bottom line is that your customers expect you to set up chatbots and you need to give them what they want. Since chatbot-based marketing and customer services are heating up, it is imperative that you develop a chatbot that makes you rise above the pack. It can’t be anything less than perfect. Unfortunately, most companies commit the following mistakes:

138 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >

How to design the perfect chatbot

Dull personality Chatbots mimic human interactions. Since they are just programs, they do not have an inherent personality of their own. Hence, conversations with a chatbot, even if they seem almost human, lack a certain degree of character. If you fail to give a ‘botsanality’ to your chatbot, you cannot expect it to perform like humans.

Limited linguistic know-how Chatbots that use only emojis, other expressive symbols, or limited phrases can’t make logical and personalized conversations. Is your chatbot smart enough to respond even to sarcasm and insults? A few bots don’t even know how to land at the right answer due to poor comprehension skills and a frail capacity to separate sentences that don’t agree with the pre-built bot library.

Dead-end conversations When a human customer service executive asks, “How can I help you?” it sounds nice and polite. If you design your chatbot on similar lines, it could end the engagement right there. A chatbot needs to be direct and present a call-to-action immediately. For instance, “Hi, glad to serve you. What kind of pizza would you like to order?” is more direct. Unfortunately, most chatbots stop at the opening question.

Neglected security After all, a chatbot is a machine and uses your data to communicate. If your CRM framework, classified servers, or other platforms where the chatbot is hosted do not take into account data and system security, a disruption can pulverize everything. A chatbot should provide information not just with the aim of fulfilling a function but also to create an experience for the customers. So how do you design the perfect chatbot? Here are some best practices.

Give it a personality Siri has a unique personality. If you tell Siri that you hate her, she will have an uncanny answer for you. Then there is Poncho the Weather Cat which cracks jokes and talks in memes.

139 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

cont >


on’t make your chatbot generic. Decide how it should work — should it be a softspoken, helpful assistant or a quick-witted one? Let it have a lucid and logical personality. It should be able to reply to a generic “How do you do?” as well as a complicated question like “What time is my flight and what food will be served on it?” equally well. To form such a dynamic intelligence within the program, it is imperative to keep on testing and refining it. A human-like approach would entice users to interact more with the chatbot and thus deliver a more satisfying user experience. A word of caution here — don’t give the bot your personality! Humans are flawed characters, with differing motivations, tolerance levels, and reactions to situations. You are no different. A chatbot should be an engaging conversationalist without the flaw of being frustrating or irritating to your end clientele. Now, where do you get this personality from? Bot designers usually refer to the ‘Big Five’ personality trait model according to which each personality has five dimensions — agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, and openness. You can take these traits into consideration and design conversation around them.

140 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

How to design the perfect chatbot

Build the right conversation flow One of the most difficult parts of outlining design for a chatbot is to influence the conversation to flow as normally and productively as can be allowed. Most people are new to communicating with chatbots and require some initial direction, and first association is vital to building up how the client will decipher the chatbot. Your chatbot needs to take the initiative. The conversation should ideally have these steps: - Introduce itself - Outline the fundamental services your brand offers - Suggest the next course of action - Use words, but don’t make it wordy You want the chatbot to be conversational, not too chatty. A crowded conversational interface will lead to unclear communication. So, it is advisable to design a concise and comprehensible interface. A message comprising 50–200 characters is considered ideal. At the same time, design the chatbot such that it keeps the conversation going and engages customers. It need not talk in paragraphs, but at least prompt the customers when conversations appear to hang. Take for example a chatbot called Right Click, which helps create websites. It starts with general short questions during the conversation like “What industry you belong to?” and “Why do you want to make a website?” and then moves on to specific questions. Based on the answers, it recommends customised templates. Even if the customers try to digress, it pulls them back into the actual conversation.

cont >

How to design the perfect chatbot

Concentrate on the microcopy Don’t assume that your customer is a highly literate person or belonging to any one gender. Keep in mind who your audience is. A chatbot should be designed in a way that it can cater to them smartly and give clever answers to make discussions more engaging. It shouldn’t utilize jargon or complex grammar and dialect structures. Simplicity is the key.

Amit Dua

Co-Founder & CEO, Signity Solutions and ValueAppz Solutions Pvt.Ltd. India. Amit is the Co-Founder of Signity Solutions – a technology platform with the vision of delivering high quality, scalable and highly reliable solutions/services in the space of digital enablement, spanning across mobile apps, web & social media presence along with enterprise productivity solutions/ integrations. He is also the Founding Partner of ValueAppz Solutions - ValueAppz helps businesses small and large - leverage the benefit of mobile & web technology for the critical extended reach.

141 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Protect for user privacy The security of your users is paramount. If you have deployed a transactional bot that accepts payments or seeks personal information, you need to be especially careful. Use security tools and payment gateways that are reliable. According to a wonderful article authored by Rob Guilfoyle, Co-founder of Abe AI, chatbots can be secured using the following measures: User ID authentication Two-factor authentication Authentication time-outs End-to-end encryption Biometric authentication Self-destruction messages Planning chatbots requires an absolute grasp of technology and human behavior. In the event that you consider a chatbot to be another touch point in your brand communication, customer experience and security should be your utmost priorities.

What The End Of The Net Neutrality Could Mean For

Streaming Businesses

142 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

The End of Net Neutrality


On December 14th the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on whether or not to end the regulation around net neutrality. New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai believes that net neutrality issues are no longer needed, because the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can protect consumers from broadband providers. Ajit Pai, one of the first appointees of President Trump’s administration, back in January 2017, is an advocate of the current government's deregulation push. However, at the same time, the administration’s Department Of Justice DOJ) is currently legally contesting the proposed AT&T and Time Warner merger on the grounds that it is anti-competitive and will give the new combined entity excessive control over consumer choice, through its distribution and content capacity. 143 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Aside the disconnect between two parts of the same administration around the implementation of net neutrality, the DOJ’s pursuance of this court case could lead to a gap in post-net neutrality regulation. This is because the crux of the legal debate is around whether or not the FTC has the authority to penalize AT&T for throttling customers’ mobile connection options with unlimited data plans. AT&T has argued that it has common carrier status, which prevents the FTC from regulating its business activities. In August 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found in favor of AT&T’s position. In 2015, the FCC classified internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers. As a common carrier, AT&T came under the regulatory oversight of the FCC. December’s FCC voting was to decide whether or not to eliminate the common carrier classification of broadband. This means that suddenly there will be a regulatory gap for ISPs. However, in May 2017 the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in another ruling, ordered the AT&T / FTC case to be reheard in full. This may result in reconfirming the FTC’s regulatory supervision of ISPs. However, if the FCC proceeds to eliminate the common carrier classification, then there will be no regulatory framework in place for US broadband providers.

cont >

The End of Net Neutrality

What the end of net neutrality would mean for the current digital economy


F FCC Chairman Pai succeeds in his stated aim of ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’ then suddenly the digital landscape becomes a lot tougher for streaming services. Discretionary control over consumers’ use of data effectively means that the ISPs can selectively limit access to high data consuming services such as social apps and streaming services. Effectively digital service businesses and content IP would be dependent upon their relationships with ISPs. And, as AT&T’s ongoing legal dispute with the FTC demonstrates, it is keen to maximise revenues through its distribution channel. In the US’s post-net neutrality digital landscape, two key realties would rapidly unfold. Firstly, consumers would be charged a premium for accessing dataintensive services – as is currently the case in post-neutrality Portugal, where access to Facebook is now a value-add data service for consumers. Secondly,

services that have ISP owners for all or part of their equity would receive preferential data treatment for their customers. An example of this in the US music streaming market whereby Softbank, which owns one-third Tidal, also has a stake in Sprint Mobile, the fourth largest US telco. This suddenly gives struggling Tidal (with 1.2% penetration in the US market according to the latest MIDiA Research consumer survey data) a competitive advantage against market leader Spotify, with 19% penetration in the US market. The possible end of net neutrality is one of the key drivers behind Time Warner agreeing to sell itself to AT&T, and why 21st Century Fox is likely to sell most of its TV, and all of its film entertainment assets to either Disney or ISP leader Comcast. Make no mistake, December’s ruling has huge implications for the future of the digital economy in the US, and where the US leads, others will surely follow.

Tim Mulligan Senior Analyst, Video MIDiA Research United Kingdom Tim heads up MIDiA’s online video research practice. Tim provides analysis and insight for all companies involved in the online video space, from TV broadcasters, through production companies, technology vendors and online video services. His research encompasses the entire online video economy including streaming services, short form strategy, cord cutting, video subscriptions and ad supported models.

144 Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018

Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018  

Magazine for entreprenuership, business and startups, featuring advice & information from business leaders in the fields of marketing, strat...

Sqwawqs Issue 2 January 2018  

Magazine for entreprenuership, business and startups, featuring advice & information from business leaders in the fields of marketing, strat...