The reallife eyedropper tool

first_imgDesigned to look like a diamond (cleverly linking to the diamond’s ability to break white light into millions of colors) the Nix Pro Color Sensor is a handheld device that allows you to scan/pick colors from the real world and record them, translating them into RGB, CMYK, Lab, HTML, and various other color standards, almost becoming like a dream for graphic designers, fashion designers, web designers, architects, automotive designers/CMF designers, and a whole variety of other professions.The Nix works on using its own light spectrum measuring sensor. The black design helps keep outside light and ambient interference out, while the Nix then shines its own calibrated light on the color patch you place it on. The sensor then captures the color value and translates it into a variety of industry standards suitable for paints, prints, cosmetics, textiles, plastics, and even food industries. All the data you capture gets stored on the Nix app on your phone, eventually making your mobile a veritable trophy-room of shades and hues. Gotta catch ’em all!Designer: Nix Sensor Ltd.BUY NOWBUY NOWSharePinShareFlipSharePocket13.6K Shareslast_img read more

A modular dog leash that is actually petfriendly

first_imgUnless you are a dog owner, you really don’t care about advancements in dog leash-design, and understandably so. For most of us, it’s just a lead that you hook your pet on, and take them out for a walk. In reality, dogs find leads very uncomfortable and folks like me melt when we have to maneuver them on the streets – it just feels very restraining. The Nestle Purina Lead is a modular lead that hopes to make the leash a lot more comfortable both the pet and the pet owner.Crafted from stainless steel, the lead features a quick-release system, that allows you to open up the loop in a jiffy. Anchor it around a pole and then open the T connection or slide it along the rope, to increase or decrease the size of the loop.This premium looking lead also comes with a running grip crafted from silicone molding, so that you can use it with ease when you run with your pet.Designer: Sam Weise for PurinaPrototypesSharePinShareFlipSharePocket913 Shareslast_img read more

New Education Study Shows Were Paying More for Less

first_img Share. Email New Education Study Shows: We’re Paying More for Less Google+ By Kathryn Hickok Advocates on all sides of the public education spending-versus-results debate cite various statistics to make their respective cases. Some argue that more money leads to better results. Others claim that spending more dollars per student―at least in the ways our public school system has spent them―makes little or no difference in educational outcomes; and it appears the evidence is strongly on their side.   A new Cato Institute study, State Education Trends: Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years, uses adjusted state SAT score averages to track educational performance trends over the last four decades. The findings are staggering: Academic performance has declined despite large increases in real per-pupil spending.According to Cato, “The study reveals that the average state has seen a three percent decline in academic performance despite a more than doubling in inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending. More strikingly, every state school system in the country has suffered a collapse in productivity over the last 40 years. Essentially, there has been no correlation between state spending and academic performance.”In Oregon, public education spending has increased 60% in real terms, yet SAT scores have been flat. The study’s results demonstrate that throwing more money at public education has been ineffective at improving student performance. Rather than spend even more, we should let parents direct education funding to the schools of their choice. Unleashing consumer power gets more bang for the buck throughout the economy; it’s time to put it to work in education as well.Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program at Cascade Policy Institute. on March 20, 2014 Twittercenter_img Facebook Pinterest 0 LinkedIn Tumblr E-Headlineslast_img read more

The Gear Fix in Bend Oregon ReSale Repair Trading Post

first_img Twitter Tumblr 0 By Gear Fix cobbler Luke Doney grinds down the soles of a pair of boots in preparation for repair. Photo by collinsrocksmedia.com Facebook Share. Email Google+ E-Headlines The Gear Fix in Bend, Oregon: Re-Sale & Repair Trading Post Pinterest Many Central Oregonians know how to generate revenue from outdoor gear they are no longer utilizing; sell it at The Gear Fix (TGF). On the same token, TGF provides an affordable outlet for obtaining second-hand adventure products. This unique trading post style service has been available to Central Oregonians and out-of-townees for over eight years. Recently, TGF has transitioned from a heritage in consignment to unite both re-sale and repair.Luke Doney, trained in the trade of cobbling, explains that TGF sells “all aspects of outdoor goods and over the years we saw how many things used and slightly broken could be fixed and made to work like new.”This knowledge led the shop to begin tuning skis, then bike repairs, and now clothing with a full sewing wing in a separate building behind the main retail space. Doney says they soon realized, “we could fix and repair all sorts of things and developed the idea of a shop that could fix anything it sold. Enter the shoe shop.”The most exotic onsite repair facility is the cobbling studio where cobblers like Doney seamlessly resuscitating beloved footwear. Viewing the studio, tucked above the retail floor, shelves and shelves of neatly labeled shoes line the walls. Massive industrial machines with leavers, buttons, knobs, and switches, all smelling of rubber musk and adhesive, grind or remove damaged soles. Shoes dry on stands stretched or fitted to one of the hundreds of custom foot molds. When standing in the repair space, the whole process does seem magical, like the the elves from a fairytale will pop out any second.Elves or not, Doney says, “The advent of cheaply made low cost footwear has all but made shoe repair obsolete.” Luckily, with costs much higher on weather proof performance oriented footwear, a niche market remains. “There are shops around that repair and maintain footwear, but not many that specialize in technical footwear repair and customization.”Since starting in the industry two years ago Doney has, “customized hiking boots, made custom modifications to climbing shoes, rebuilt snowshoes, replaced thousands of soles, hundreds of velcro straps, and customized ski boots.”He encourages customers to assess their footwear for damages. The most common shoe repairs have included, “stitching broken seams, replacing soles, conditioning and waterproofing leather, replacing slick chaco soles for grippy rubber.”Doney challenges, “dream something up and come see us! We will see if it can be done!”If re-sale and repair aren’t enough, TGF is also planning community education and engineering opportunities. As part of TGF commitment to helping influence the manufacture of well made and repairable goods, customers can look forward to clinics and short videos based around repair and do it yourself gear. They also increasingly stalk their shelves with supplies for repairing, customizing, and even making gear. Stop by TGF today to see how an established community trading post is becoming a resource center for repair.345 SW Century Dr, Bend541-617-0022 on December 2, 2014 LinkedInlast_img read more

Wyden Broad Coalition of Senate Democrats Call on Top Consumer Agency to

first_img LinkedIn By CBN Tumblr Twitter Pinterest U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and a group of nearly 40 Democratic senators—including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senators Al Franken, D-Minn., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio—called on one of the nation’s top consumer advocacy agencies to quickly finalize an important proposal to limit the use of what is called “forced arbitration” in contracts that Americans sign when they need to take out an auto loan, sign up for a checking account or pay for college.Forced arbitration clauses are agreements that large corporations often slip into the fine print of contracts that Americans sign every day. And they have big consequences. By restricting access to the court system, these clauses prevent consumers who have been wronged from seeking meaningful legal recourse.Over the past year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been working on a new rule to limit forced arbitration in financial services contracts—things like credit cards, checking accounts, payday loans and private student loans. And today, the broad group of Senators threw their support behind the proposed rule and called for it to be finalized as quickly as possible.“Every day, Americans across the country are forced to sign away their constitutional right to access the courts as a condition of purchasing common products and services like credit cards, checking accounts, and private student loans,” the senators wrote in a letter to the director of the CFPB. “To restore Americans’ access to justice and hold financial institutions accountable, we strongly support the CFPB’s proposal to preserve the ability of consumers to band together in class actions when seeking relief through the civil justice system.”The letter was also signed by Senators Ed Markey, D-Mass., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Mark Warner, D-Va., Chris Coons, D-Del., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.The Honorable Richard CordrayDirectorConsumer Financial Protection Bureau1700 G Street NWWashington, DC 20552Dear Director Cordray:We write to commend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for its proposed rule to limit the use of mandatory, pre-dispute (“forced”) arbitration clauses in consumer financial product and service contracts. Every day, Americans across the country are forced to sign away their constitutional right to access the courts as a condition of purchasing common products and services like credit cards, checking accounts, and private student loans. To restore Americans’ access to justice and hold financial institutions accountable, we strongly support the CFPB’s proposal to preserve the ability of consumers to band together in class actions when seeking relief through the civil justice system.In recent decades, companies from a broad range of industries have increasingly employed forced arbitration clauses in their service and product contracts. These clauses require a consumer to submit any claim that may arise against a company to binding arbitration – a privatized justice system that studies show consistently produces results that favor large corporations and offers no meaningful appeals process. These contract provisions also frequently include a class action waiver, meaning that consumers are unable to band together through collective action to address widespread wrongdoings by powerful corporations. Depending on the claim, class action waivers can prevent consumers from seeking recourse altogether, because the claims are so small that consumers cannot afford to pursue them individually. As a result, consumers are left without redress, and companies are unaccountable for their unscrupulous behavior.In the context of consumer financial products and services, arbitration clauses are included in contracts for loans, such as auto loans, credit cards, or private student loans, prepaid cards, checking and savings accounts, credit reports, debt collection, debt management and relief services, check cashing, and payment processing—essential services that American families rely on every day.  Armed with these clauses, banks and financial companies are able to prevent consumers from raising disputes in court individually or as a class, which might otherwise deter practices that harm consumers.Recognizing the urgent need to address these troubling practices, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act  (Dodd-Frank) in 2010 to improve accountability, strengthen the financial system, and establish the CFPB. Dodd-Frank included several restrictions on the use of forced arbitration, including a mandate for the CFPB to take action on arbitration. Under Section 1028 of Dodd-Frank, Congress specifically directed the CFPB to study the use of forced arbitration in connection with the offering of consumer financial products and services,  and authorized it to “prohibit or impose conditions or limitations on the use of” such agreements based on the study results.  Section 1028 directed the CFPB to promulgate regulations restricting forced arbitration clauses “if the Bureau finds that such a prohibition or imposition of conditions or limitations is in the public interest and for the protection of consumers,” thereby acknowledging the potential for forced arbitration to insulate financial institutions from accountability and harm consumers. Indeed, the Dodd-Frank committee report language on Section 1028 shows that Congress was concerned about consumer harm resulting from forced arbitration: “The Committee is concerned that consumers have little leverage to bargain over arbitration procedures when they sign a contract for a consumer financial product or service.”  Dodd-Frank also included authority for the SEC to conduct rulemaking prohibiting the use of forced arbitration between customers and broker-dealers or investment advisers  and banned forced arbitration in mortgage loans in response to the housing crisis and widespread claims of misconduct.In fulfilling its Section 1028 mandate, in 2012, the CFPB initiated research into the effects of forced arbitration that lasted nearly four years and ultimately resulted in a comprehensive 728-page study.  Importantly, the CFPB engaged with key industry and consumer stakeholders and other interested parties throughout this process, issuing a comprehensive request for information  in the early stages of the study process seeking feedback on scope, methods, and data sources. The CFPB published preliminary results in December 2013, identifying nine additional work streams for inclusion in the report and seeking additional public feedback.  The CFPB also solicited public feedback on a consumer survey in June 2013 and May 2014,  and held roundtable discussions with industry and consumer representatives after releasing its final arbitration study in March 2015. Furthermore, in October 2015, the CFPB convened a Small Business Review Panel with the Small Business Administration and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget for additional small business and trade industry feedback.We commend the CFPB for its comprehensive study and for carefully considering extensive public input before issuing its final proposal. The agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking concludes that regulations restricting or prohibiting the use of forced arbitration serve the public interest, provide necessary protection for consumers, and are consistent with the findings in its study. We wholeheartedly agree, and we offer our strong support for the CFPB’s proposal that rightfully recognizes the expansive harms of forced arbitration, prohibits the unfair use of class action waivers, and requires greater transparency concerning the arbitration of individual claims.I.         Forced Arbitration Favors Financial Institutions at the Expense of ConsumersThe CFPB’s multi-year process found that forced arbitration clauses are ubiquitous in consumer financial service contracts, impacting tens of millions of consumers.  The study’s findings demonstrate that forced arbitration favors companies and provides no meaningful appeals process for consumers who do not agree with the outcome. For example, of the examined cases of forced arbitration in which consumers had affirmative claims, consumers were very rarely able to obtain affirmative relief.  In contrast, of the examined cases in which companies made affirmative claims or counterclaims, companies obtained relief in the vast majority of the disputes.  And for the consumers who did recover an award in their affirmative claims, the CFPB found that they won far less than they had claimed,  while the companies that obtained relief recovered nearly the entirety of their claim.Despite this obvious disparity, consumers can rarely appeal forced arbitration decisions if they feel the arbitrator got it wrong. From 2010 to 2012, the CFPB found evidence of only four consumer appeals, and no company appeals.  Finally, the CFPB also found that very few arbitrators arbitrate the majority of claims,  which suggests that companies using the arbitration process seek out repeat arbitrators who may have a strong financial incentive to rule in favor of the company that repeatedly hires them.Despite claims suggesting otherwise, the CFPB also found that there is no evidence that forced arbitration lowers costs for consumers or limits the availability of consumer credit.  Further, arbitration clauses are often opaque to consumers, which results in a consumer not becoming aware of their existence until a dispute arises. The CFPB’s study showed that three out of four consumers do not know if they are subject to a forced arbitration clause, and very few consumers factor arbitration clauses into their financial decisions.II.        Arbitration Clauses Frequently Prevent Consumers From Seeking to Vindicate Their Rights At AllThe CFPB’s study and proposal underscore the importance of class actions as a powerful tool to help consumers effectively vindicate their rights by returning billions of dollars to millions of consumers, in addition to achieving important non-monetary relief in the form of changes to harmful business practices.  Because the majority of individual claims against consumer financial services companies are worth only small amounts of money, as Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals once put it, “the realistic alternative to a class action is not 17 million individual suits, but zero individual suits, as only a lunatic or a fanatic sues for $30.”  The CFPB’s data confirms this: although millions of financial consumers are covered by forced arbitration clauses and class action waivers, the CFPB found that only a few hundred consumers file arbitration claims each year  and that very few file individual claims in court,  particularly when compared to the 32 million consumers who benefit from class actions each year.The CFPB’s proposal recognizes that class action waivers frequently suppress consumers’ claims entirely and prevent the effective enforcement of substantive federal and state laws aimed at protecting consumers – perhaps uniquely more so in the financial services context than any other area of the law, since consumers’ claims in the financial services context are frequently for low-dollar amounts. The proposal also rightfully acknowledges the limitations of the CFPB’s mandate, which requires that any proposal be directly tied to the study results. Because the CFPB’s study demonstrates that class actions are the most effective and often the only tool available for consumers to seek justice in this context, the proposal smartly preserves the ability of consumers to band together when seeking relief through the civil justice system by prohibiting class action waivers in consumer financial product and services contracts.Finally, while the proposal does not prohibit companies from forcing consumers to arbitrate individual cases, we strongly support the CFPB’s efforts to require companies to report certain information about individual arbitrations and the CFPB’s proposal to provide access to that information online. The collection and examination of this information will hopefully encourage more consumer-friendly behavior and accountability from the companies who frequently utilize this process.As the CFPB has demonstrated with its comprehensive study, forced arbitration shields corporations from accountability for abusive, anti-consumer practices, which only encourages unscrupulous business practices by allowing violations of the law to go unchecked. This comes at the expense of consumers, small businesses, and—just as importantly—law abiding businesses. Recognizing this, the CFPB has proposed a narrowly-tailored but important rule to restore access to our civil justice system and promote transparency within the forced arbitration system. We, the undersigned, strongly support the CFPB’s proposal and urge the Bureau to move forward quickly to finalize this proposed rule to protect American consumers.Sincerely,### Facebook Google+center_img E-Headlines on August 9, 2016 0 Wyden, Broad Coalition of Senate Democrats Call on Top Consumer Agency to Limit Unfair Arbitration Agreements in Everyday Financial Contracts Share. Emaillast_img read more

How to Start a Business Using Only the Cloud

first_img 0 on November 1, 2016 How to Start a Business Using Only the Cloud Tumblr (Photo courtesy of socialmonsters.org)According to a report from Emergent Research and Intuit, nearly 80 percent of U.S. small businesses will be fully adapted to cloud computing by 2020. It’s no longer necessary for entrepreneurs and startups to look to brick and mortar businesses to get their business up and running. Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll found nearly 37 percent of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted, a figure that’s climbed from just 9 percent since 1995. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools from robust back-up systems to lead magnet opt-ins to launch your business and keep it thriving. Here are five ways to get started.Choose a backup systemSafeguarding your data by choosing a reliable and encrypted backup system is crucial to your business. Juniper Research found the cost of data breaches could reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, increasing to almost four times the estimated cost of breaches since 2015. A data breach can range from hardware failure to having your system hacked. Combat the looming threat of any data loss by using a system like Mozy. Their system can automatically sync up to changes in your files and encrypts it with military-grade security. This lets you set it and forget it so you can work on your business instead of in it.Announce your servicesThere’s no one way to announce your services, but there are plenty of cloud-based resources to do it. Build a simple landing page designed to convert passersby into customers with a tool like LeadPages. Get up and running in minutes and connect it to your own domain. Create 10 high-quality, in-depth blog posts that better explain your services and mission to educate potential customers. Facebook ads are another way to announce your services, all while directing potential customers back to your landing page.Organize your accountingKeep your business financially fit by using tools that keep things organized. SageOne offers cloud-based accounting tools for reporting and bank reconciliation. You can also produce professional-looking estimates for your clients and convert them to invoices in a single click. Email to your clients or print and send along with your proposals to keep your business looking professional and streamlined instead of a money-making hobby.Engage your customersIt’s not enough to just meet people, hand over a business card and commit their face and story to memory. As your business grows and shifts, so do your customers. Keep up with what they’re looking for, where they’re working and what they need with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. CRMs are ideal for cloud-based computing and don’t require software or hardware. Salesforce is one place to start in your CRM journey to build meaningful customer relationships and brings a 43 percent increase to marketing ROI.Manage a virtual teamYour entire support staff can work remotely from around the world without ever meeting face to face thanks to online communication tools. Slack keeps tabs on projects and communication, and allows you to set permissions based on who needs to see what. You can also send messages directly, share files and store communication and notifications in an easy-to-access archive.Starting a business in the cloud doesn’t have to be complicated with the right strategy and tools in place. Make the hard work about providing incredible value to your clients, instead of how to keep your business running behind the scenes. Google+ Share. LinkedIncenter_img Twitter By CBN Pinterest E-Headlines Facebook Emaillast_img read more

Documentary Screening at COCC Explores Topical Border Issues

first_img E-Headlines Facebook By CBN on February 15, 2017 Tumblr Pinterest The Office of Multicultural Activities at Central Oregon Community College (COCC) is offering a pair of free screenings of the topical documentary, Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the U.S.-Mexico Border, at its Bend and Redmond campuses as part of its “Season of Nonviolence” winter event schedule. The film, free and open to the public, will screen at the Redmond campus on Wednesday, February 22, 4:30pm, Redmond Technology Education Center, Room 209, and on the Bend campus on Thursday, February 23, 4:30pm, Boyle Education Center, Room 155.Purgatorio, which has screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival, is a documentary that features a mosaic of vignettes about the everyday struggles of those who work and live in the borderlands separating Mexico and the United States. There will be a facilitated discussion after the film.In advance of college events, persons needing accommodation or transportation because of a physical or mobility disability, can contact Joe Viola: 541-383-7775.For accommodation of another disability, such as hearing impairment, contact Disability Services at 541-383-7583.For more information, contact Director of Multicultural Activities Karen Roth at 541-383-7412 or kroth1@cocc.edu. LinkedIncenter_img Email 0 Share. Twitter Documentary Screening at COCC Explores Topical Border Issues Google+last_img read more

Nominations Open for AlleyWatchs 2019 NYC Tech Influencers List

first_imgNominations Open for AlleyWatch’s 2019 NYC Tech Influencers ListDecember 6, 2018 by Reza Chowdhury 286SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: Uncategorized AlleyWatch celebrates the movers and shakers in the NYC Tech Community through NYC Tech Influencers – an annual list of the New York City-based business professionals driving the growth of the tech ecosystem.Nominate a NYC Tech Influencer today. The deadline for nominations is 12/15. Please submit your nominees here.How to nominateThe nomination process takes 5 minutes. Unlike other publications, the nominations are free. So that you can hit the ground running, here is the information we’ll need you to submit via the nomination portal:Nominee’s nameNominee’s titleNominee’s place of workDescription of why the nominee should be includedLinks to the nominee’s social profiles (LinkedIn + Twitter)Your name (we’ll only contact you if we need to follow up)If you’re ready to submit, please visit NYC Tech InfluencersHelp us spread the word. Let your network know about the nominations by clicking this link and sending out a tweet https://alleywat.ch/2019nominateEligibilityAnyone working at a tech-enabled company that is based, founded, and headquartered in NYC is eligible. New York City comprises the 5 boroughs that sit where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The 5 boroughs and counties are commonly known as Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond County.Consistent with our editorial guidelines, we will not consider service providers. Service provider in this context can be described as but not limited to legal, accounting, real estate including coworking spaces, crowdfunding platforms, hosting providers, data centers, advertising agencies, PR agencies, software development agencies, HR benefits platforms, payroll platforms, recruiting firms, large brands interested in reaching an entrepreneurial audience through corporate innovation programs and such, and legacy technology providers.These individuals and companies may wish to consider a paid partnership. We have executed a multitude of successful campaigns for companies in these spaces and maintain parity in our offering.  SponsorshipSponsorship of the NYC Tech Influencers provides your brand with unparalleled exposure in front of the largest tech-focused audience in the fastest growing tech ecosystem in the country.   Millions read the last iteration of this piece. The feature provides integrated brand placement to drive targeted direct response from our audience of key decision makers – 58% C-Suite/Board/Management, 51% earning over $100K/year, 34% grad school educated.Send us an email at sales@alleywatch.com to discuss how sponsorship of this feature will turn your organization into a household name within the NYC Tech Community at scale and drive value for your business.  It’ll be the smartest marketing spend you’ll make for 2019.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POSTlast_img read more

The AlleyWatch Startup Daily Funding Report 5222019

first_imgThe latest venture capital, seed, pre-seed, and angel deals for NYC startups for 5/22/2019 featuring funding details for RangeForce, Lucid Green, and much more. This page will be updated throughout the day to reflect any new fundings.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST 219SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Find qualified candidates by eliminating the hassle of needing to use multiple talent platforms to source candidates. Source tech candidates easily and in one place with Indeed Prime Lucid Green $1.35M Tagged With: Jaanus Kink, Larry Levy, Lucid Green, Margus Ernits, Paladin Capital Group, Paul Botto, RangeForce, Sten Reimann, Taavi Must, Trind Ventures Indeed Prime Get Started.center_img Lucid Green, the blockchain based supply chain information platform for the cannabis industry, has raised an additional $1.35M in funding. Founded by Larry Levy and Paul Botto in 2017, Lucid Green has now raised a total of $2.1M in reported equity funding. The AlleyWatch Startup Daily Funding Report: 5/22/2019 by AlleyWatch RangeForce, a cyber security simulation platform to train, recruit, and develop cyber security experts, has raised $1.5M in funding from investors that include Paladin Capital Group and Trind Ventures. Founded by Jaanus Kink, Margus Ernits, Sten Reimann, and Taavi Must in 2014, RangeForce has now raised a total of $1.9M in reported equity funding. RangeForce $1.5Mlast_img read more

This NYC Startup Raised 8M to Expand How You View Insurance

first_imgPREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Finance, Funded in the Alley, Funded in the Alley, Funding, Funding News, Interviews, Startups, Venture Capital This NYC Startup Raised $8M to Expand How You View InsuranceJuly 17, 2017 by AlleyWatch 400SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedincenter_img Life is short, and it’s often not worth taking a chance on missing life’s most precious moments. If you are looking to safeguard these important moments, then SURE is for you. SURE, the company that has created episodic insurance, introduces instant mobile insurance that helps you insure a much needed vacation, your wedding, or just time with your pets. With insurtech quickly expanding, our ideas of what can be insured are growing as well, and SURE is in the front lines of changing how we insure. The company has partnered with Nationwide, CHUBB and MetLife to protect your memories and hopes to help you go through life with a few less worries on your mind.AlleyWatch chatted with Wayne Slavin about the company and the process of securing their most recent round of funding.Who were your investors and how much did you raise? Our latest round was a Series A of $8 million. IA Capital led the round (arguably the smarted investors in insurtech). Menlo Ventures, FF Venture Capital, Nationwide Ventures, AmTrust, and Assurant participated as well.Tell us about your product or service.SURE is an insurtech platform that provides insurance to consumers when they need it most. We’re unlike most other disruptors in the space, we are modernizing the $5 trillion insurance industry by partnering with the world’s top insurance companies such as Nationwide and CHUBB to offer top-brand insurance policies to our customers and better technology to their customers.Consumers are demanding faster and easier digital insurance options – from purchase through to claims. We make the insurance industry digital and ultimately stronger through using mobile tech, AI, and advanced data analytics.What inspired you to start the company?Our main inspiration was looking at one of the largest pain points in the insurance market: how insurance is distributed. The current system is one that has not seen much innovation. For example, the insurance broker network will soon see significant changes with 400K brokers expected to retire in the next five years. How will people purchase the right insurance for them when there are significantly less brokers in the market? Also, who wants to go to an insurance office anyway? We decided to build technology that partners with large insurance companies. We are taking a different approach to disrupting the industry, one that enabled the insurance industry. We are offering policies from trusted insurance companies with the customer experience that would be expected of a startup.How is it different?We differ from other insurtech providers by offering a variety of personal insurance options and by partnering with trusted insurance carriers like Nationwide. We currently offer six different types of personal insurance categories: flight, baggage, renters, pet, wedding and smartphone. We want to be a one-stop-shop for all insurance needs and cover a person throughout their lifetime…from renting an apartment to celebrating a wedding to purchasing life insurance after a child. Many of our competitors only offer one or two categories and do not offer the policies directly from trusted insurance providers instead they create their own and often times leave coverage gaps that are included with our insurance carriers.What market you are targeting and how big is it? We are targeting the $5 trillion dollar insurance industry via a new distribution method so that consumers have easier access to quality insurance.What’s your business model?We partner with insurance companies that are in need of a new, mobile-friendly distribution method in the form of an easy-to-use app and when a customer purchases from us we’re compensated.Would you mind telling us about the experience building an insurance tech company in NYC?We love the energy and talent pool within New York City. For an insurtech startup, New York is the perfect city because the major insurance companies are headquartered here (and they are our partners), and we fit into the “Silicon Alley” scene too. We are leading the change in the industry and inspired by the innovation around us.What was the funding process like?We had strong interest from a variety of VC firms and many insurance companies. Our investors have become allies in our business and we’re grateful for their wisdom, patience, and support.What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?We have investors around the table that understand our industry and who can add value – we’re fortunate to have found both in our investors.What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?Our incredible traction in the market, both with customers and insurance companies.What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months? The Series A funding will enable the company to continue product development, drive user acquisition, boost marketing initiatives and bolster the team with new hires.What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?There are so many companies small and large who need solutions for legacy problems. These are great opportunities that, with some simple technology solutions, can become great companies without having to hire dozens of people or have an impressive office.Where do you see the company going now over the near term?In the near term we’re focused on creating a place where consumers can come and buy any type of insurance and expanding our insurance partnerships to include more companies. Our goal is to have users rely on us throughout their life whenever they need insurance, starting from when they need renters insurance for their first apartment, jewelry insurance for when they get engaged, pet insurance for their first pet and everything in between.What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?I have a soft spot for Café Mogador on Saint Marks.last_img read more

Tips On How To Approach Tough Decisions In Business

first_img Filed Under: Advice, Management, Resources Every so often a promising entrepreneur seems to freeze in the oncoming headlights and gets run over by his competition. Why is it that his idea which seemed so fundable only months ago fails to attract investors today? The team is the same. The company’s market is the same.The only change might be a visible new competitor, or another economy downturn, resulting in investors holding their money, and that makes all the difference. Herein lies a key principle of decision making – “Any decision is better than no decision.”Even better than any decision is a good decision made quickly. What separates good decision-making from bad decision-making? H.W. Lewis, author of the old classic book “Why Flip A Coin? The Art and Science of Good Decisions,” summarizes good decision making as:Identifying all reasonable actions.Listing the potential consequences of each action and the utility of each consequence.Evaluating the probability that each action will lead to a given consequence.Choosing the action quickly which has the best expected outcome or positive contribution.These points may sound obvious, but the process is certainly contrary to the popular “shoot from the hip” approach that is practiced by some entrepreneurs. The idea here is following a process can actually force you to think. You don’t have to do it perfectly to stay ahead of the game.Beyond not thinking, another failure is not really knowing what you want to achieve through the decision. This is a problem with many product-based companies. Their goal is to create profitable products, but too often they don’t research what their customers really want, and what they are willing to pay. It’s difficult to create a high-demand product by guessing.In all cases, be sure to distinguish between ideas and opportunities. A business idea is not a business opportunity until it is evaluated objectively in the context of a specific business plan. I like focus, but if you focus too early on only one business idea without a plan, you are more likely to become attached to it, and lose your objectivity.Some entrepreneurs seem to know instinctively that a certain product or service has great potential for success. This comes from much industry experience, and is not irrational. On the other hand many unsuccessful would-be entrepreneurs are unsuccessful precisely because they were irrational, so avoid that pitfall.Decision-making in the face of risk is one of only a handful of unique characteristics that successful entrepreneurs possess. After all, the very nature of a true entrepreneur is one that embraces risk. Often this risk-taking is mistaken in part to be “the reason” the entrepreneur succeeds in their business.Some decisions involve risk, at times a great deal of it, but there are a greater number of decisions that can be thought through and analyzed to determine on some basic facts, whether or not they are good or bad ideas. Smart entrepreneurs always use facts, when they have them, rather than their gut.If you are someone who never uses your gut, and exhaustively researches a purchase prior to making it, you are most likely not cut out to be an entrepreneur. This type of decision making, careful and cautious, is certainly a great attribute to have in the corporate business world, but it’s a killer in startups.Making no decision doesn’t work in any business. So your first test here is to see if you can decide which category of decision maker you best fit. The headlights are approaching…Reprinted by permission.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Tips On How To Approach Tough Decisions In BusinessOctober 11, 2017 by Martin Zwilling 296SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedinlast_img read more

Makan Delrahim compared the digital giants to previous companies that the US

first_img The DOJ recently took antitrust oversight of Google and Apple Inc., while the Federal Trade Commission agreed to scrutinize Amazon and Facebook Inc.Alphabet Inc.’s Google loomed large over Delrahim’s speech — first as a potential beneficiary of the U.S. government’s antitrust case against Microsoft Corp., and then as a company that pursued potentially problematic agreements itself in the search market.Delrahim described “coordinated conduct that creates or enhances market power,” citing a proposed 2008 agreement between Google and Yahoo to have the former power search ads for the latter. The department told the companies it would file suit against the agreement and the companies backed away, Delrahim said.The European Union charged Google with antitrust violations for agreements that forced phone makers to preinstall Google apps in return for using the Android operating system for free. Google is appealing. Apple and Google are both facing growing complaints about the fees that they charge developers on their mobile app stores.When “a dominant firm uses exclusive dealing to prevent entry or diminish the ability of rivals to achieve necessary scale,” that can limit competition, Delrahim explained. Microsoft was accused of using dominance of PC operating systems to quash competition in the web browser market by bundling its Internet Explorer product. The company was ultimately forced to offer rival browsers with the Windows operating system.Delrahim played a cameo role in the Microsoft case, which he said arguably paved the way for companies like Google, Yahoo, and Apple Inc. to enter the market with their own desktop and mobile products. During the case, he served as counsel to then-Senator Orrin Hatch, who was Microsoft’s chief legislative antagonist. Delrahim quoted Hatch on Tuesday, noting that robust antitrust enforcement to preserve competition in technology was preferable to later regulation.Many U.S. antitrust experts have dismissed calls for a crackdown on tech companies, arguing that there’s no consumer harm in their conduct because the businesses offer free or cheap services and products. Delrahim dismissed that line of thinking as blinkered.“The antitrust division does not take a myopic view of competition,” he said. “Price effects alone do not provide a complete picture of market dynamics, especially in digital markets in which the profit-maximizing price is zero.”Delrahim argued that “harm to innovation” is also an important dimension of competition that can have far-reaching effects.“Consider, for example, a product that never reaches the market or is withdrawn from the market due to an unlawful acquisition,” he added, immediately after noting low prices or free services from Google and Amazon.com Inc. “The antitrust laws should protect the competition that would be lost in that scenario as well.”Delrahim said that lack of competition can degrade product quality, citing privacy lapses and free speech questions as examples. Tech platforms such as Google and Facebook Inc. have come under fire for mishandling of these issues.“By protecting competition, we can have an impact on privacy and data protection,” he said.The acquisition of startups is a common strategy by tech giants, but some some critics say this can block the rise of potential competitors. Delrahim said he might not be able to define when such purchases are problematic.More must-read stories from Fortune:—Phishing hackers can now bypass two-factor authentication—Apple’s sign-in feature is a “shot across the bow” at tech giant rivals—Uber’s CEO has absorbed the COO role for more control—Google is changing its search results. Here’s what to expect—Listen to our new audio briefing, Fortune 500 DailyCatch up with Data Sheet, Fortune‘s daily digest on the business of tech.You May Like Struggling with Team Conflict? Three Ways Leaders Can… Sponsored Content Makan Delrahim is comparing big tech firms to companies that have been broken up by the U.S. government in the past.Chip Somodevilla Getty ImagesThe Justice Department’s antitrust chief came out swinging against Google and Amazon on Tuesday, arguing big technology companies are “digital gatekeepers” that may struggle to defend themselves by arguing their products are free or really cheap.Makan Delrahim, who recently launched a probe of the industry, compared the digital giants to previous companies that the U.S. government broke up, such as Standard Oil, and defended the power of antitrust laws to police anticompetitive conduct in the tech sector, such as agreements to bundle products.“The current landscape suggests there are only one or two significant players in important digital spaces, including internet search, social networks, mobile and desktop operating systems, and electronic book sales,” Delrahim said in a Tuesday speech. A Work Culture Built for All Generations by Ultimate Software Sponsored Content By Disney Institute HealthFormer GE CEO Jeff Immelt: To Combat Costs, CEOs Should Run Health Care Like a BusinessHealthFor Edie Falco, an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ After Surviving Breast CancerLeadershipGhosn Back, Tesla Drop, Boeing Report: CEO Daily for April 4, 2019AutosElon Musk’s Plan to Boost Tesla Sales Is Dealt a SetbackMPWJoe Biden, Netflix Pregnancy Lawsuit, Lesley McSpadden: Broadsheet April 4last_img read more

Fiverrcom Keeping It Simple

first_imgHave you ever heard of a website called Fiverr.com? It’s a site where people post what they will do for $5, and to me, this idea is simply brilliant. When I first heard about this, I was like, huh? What people will do for $5? I felt the need to check it out instantly. What a cool way for people to post some talents or services they offer in their free time to make some extra cash. If they have a bunch of positive feedback from past customers, it couldn’t hurt to try out one of interest to see if it’s beneficial. Some people’s posts are just plain ridiculous or comical, but other’s are actually useful.I did a little more research and found that this site has a growing buzz online. I can see this being useful for folks looking for some business growth strategies at the very early stages of starting a business. Some of the services listed could also offer a low cost opportunity for your product and development needs when it comes to logo design options, or by buying some $5 advertising to help get the word out about your company or product. This type of simple approach is more proof that implementing a creative idea alongside an easy to use business model, could be the recipe for a thriving online company. I didn’t see any notice of Fiverr raising any venture funding as of yet, but I’d say it’s only a matter of time.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more

How to Find and Hire Great Inside Sales People

first_imgTo cel­e­brate the launch of the Open­View Labs site in 2010, we are regifting the most pop­u­lar arti­cles of the year every day this week. Today’s arti­cle fea­tures insights building an exceptional inside sales team.  It was orig­i­nally pub­lished on Novem­ber 26th.  Since then it has accu­mu­lated the second great­est amount of page views on the site.  Enjoy!How would you define the ideal inside sales candidate?Are they affable and engaging, intuitive and resourceful, or maybe confident and competitive? The best inside sales reps are all of those qualities and more. But how do you find and hire them?At the expansion stage, it’s imperative that companies have well-prepared, productive, and motivated inside sales teams. Yet, in my years working with growth stage software companies, it seems that one of the biggest challenges those companies face is assembling, training, and retaining them.Because of their relative infancy, some of those companies simply lack experience hiring, managing, coaching, and developing their inside sales people.The first step is hiring the right people with the right disposition to succeed. Inside sales reps need to be coachable, strategic, disciplined, and fearless. It’s not always easy to find those people, but it can be done. Here are some suggestions to help complete that goal.Hire Commitment Over CompetenceIf you have a good 90-day ramp up program, you can invest in competence. Companies cannot, however, coach up commitment. You’ll want to look for core competencies, but don’t let sales experience be the thing that keeps you from hiring someone. If you can tell that the candidate is teachable and will dedicate themselves to the craft, hire them.Focus on BehaviorsPay special attention to a potential employee’s behaviors. Are they competitive, goal oriented, and career driven? Is the person motivated in industry? If they have those qualities already in place, you can teach them about your company, product, and customers.Don’t Be Afraid to Hire Out of CollegeWhen expansion stage companies are hiring sales reps, experience can be costly and many experienced inside sales reps come with the baggage of previously learned bad behaviors. Invest in your team’s development and you’ll be rewarded. Sales can be taught, work ethic and intelligence cannot.Always Over HireNo matter what you do, inside sales attrition is inevitable. Make use of metrics so that you know when to hire staff and what each hire will cost you. Companies can start by hiring low cost individuals, focusing on proactive activities with a career path to deeper sales roles and more reactive selling activities.Set Culture in Motion from Date of HireWhen you hire an inside sales rep, it’s critical that you set expectations when that person interviews, is offered the job, and begins orientation. Communicate your investment in those individuals’ competency development so that they know that you’re committed to their success.Invest in RecruitingUse the obvious resources to find talent, including paid online job boards. This AllBusiness.com article discusses a few other ways to recruit online, like browsing resume banks and using social networking sites like LinkedIn. It’s a good idea to partner with local colleges, too. Companies can work with those college career departments, offer internship and co-op programs, and use business school professors to source the best talent.Evan Klonsky at Inc. Magazine wrote this article in September, advising start-up and growth stage companies how to recruit on college campuses. Klonsky’s piece provides some great pointers on how smaller companies can overcome some common recruiting hurdles, including name recognition. Among his suggestions:Young, growing companies offer employees the chance to make an impact and a name for themselves. Emphasize that opportunity, communicate your strengths, and connect on a personal level with the individuals.Partner with student associations and leadership groups that are in line with your business and the position you’re hiring for.Focus on specific schools or programs that you’ve had success with in the past.Be creative in your approach. Cloud computing start-up Box.net placed this ad in the Stanford University student newspaper to narrowly target potential candidates for their company.Each of those tips are helpful, but you’ll need to tailor your approach to target inside sales candidates specifically. Just as Box.net placed a targeted ad with a complex math problem to target Stanford’s elite engineering students, companies can take a similar approach to find students with the right inside sales makeup.  If you are still stuck on recruiting, here are 8 tips for hiring at startups.Offer a Referral Incentive ProgramSales people will generally recommend only talented individuals, so look to your own employees for top-notch referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask candidates you interview for referrals, too. If you’re going to hire that candidate, they might be a perfect source for prospecting additional talent. Putting the right people in place is important for every company, so exhaust all possibilities to make sure you get the best of the best.Inside sales staffing is a little bit more complicated than recruiting for other positions, but it’s not impossible to find the right people. Human capital is one of the best investments a company can make and by constantly sourcing the best talent, companies are making the most of that investment. Remember, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. But unless you’re prepared to spend time sourcing on a regular basis, the best talent may be going to work for someone else.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more

Your Business Model in 10 Words or Less

first_imgCan you say your complete business model in 10 words or less? If not, your startup may not be getting the attention it deserves—or the profitability.When creating your business model, make it a strategy—and avoid hip business jargon like:StrategicMission-criticalWorld-classSynergisticFirst-moverScalableBusiness Insider suggests taking a look at (and stealing) other company’s business models when crafting your own, such as:Facebook: Everything’s free; money’s made through advertising.eCommerce: Electronic catalog and shopping cart.Shopkeeper: Displaying products and services for customers to see.For more speed-centric suggestions, check out the full story.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more

What is Content Curation Tosh0 as the Ultimate Example

first_imgWhat is content curation? As content marketers, we get this question ALL the time, especially now that curation is becoming an even more important part of our online marketing strategy–and when I try to explain in laymen’s terms, I find myself bumbling a bit, but Paratus Communications says it well: Content creation is the organizing and sharing of the most relevant content on a finite subject – in other words, it requires a recognition that people outside your own organization have relevant things to say and that adding this insight to your own commentary makes you a better resource within the communities you operate in. But if you really want to break it down for your non-marketing friends, I suggest comparing your work to that of Tosh.0 – the internet clip based show on Comedy Central. This features the best (or worst, depending on who you ask) video clips from the internet curated by the host, Daniel Tosh. True to the definition above, Tosh provides “insight” and “commentary” into the clips, adding additional value for the viewer. Check out the clip below for an example–this whole segment is based on one internet video, which is then commented on and evolved to create new, unique content.Tosh.0 I’m Better Than You – Hula Hoop World RecordTosh breaks his show up into interesting segments, showcasing different curation styles. Two examples are “Web Redemptions” where those who were embarrassed on the internet get the chance at a re-do and “Video Breakdowns” where he has 20 seconds to come up with as many funny comments as possible about a video. This strategy keeps things fresh throughout the 30 minute program.So, if curation is part of your content marketing strategy, throw out Tosh.0 as an example when you are trying to describe curation to non-marketers. Though I’m not sure we should look to Tosh.0 as an example of a best practice process, there are definitely lessons to learn!AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more

What Do Your Sales Candidates and Rappers Have in Common

first_imgSales Candidate Compensation: A Lesson from RappersNegotiating sales candidate compensation? Be careful. When it comes to talking about how much money they make, salespeople are just like rappers.A recent headline on Bloomberg Businessweek, Jay-Z is Right: Most Rappers Are Lying About Their Money, got me thinking. The article compares the alleged wealth of 12 rappers with their actual wealth. It is very interesting to see how inflated (to say the least) some rappers’ sense of their wealth is. Then I thought…the same is actually true for salespeople.On Target Earnings vs. Take Home PayWhen hiring salespeople, I am always cautious of the “inflated wealth” they may reference regarding their current/prior compensation. When it comes to hiring, there is one major difference that sets sales roles apart from other positions: there is no straight salary. Compensation is complicated by a base plus commissions structure that adds up to on target earnings or OTE. OTE gives a salespeople an idea of what they can expect to make if they hit or exceed their quotas. The problem is that hitting quota does not always happen, thus the OTE is not necessarily the “take home” compensation they actually make. Sometimes when I interview a sales candidate they harp on their OTE and insist they need a bump up from where they are now in order to make a move. I always respond by asking the question, “Did you take home your OTE this past year?” Their answer tends to weed out the candidates who think they make money from the ones who actually do.3 Questions to Help You Get the Real Story Behind Sales Candidate CompensationWhen hiring for sales, it is important that you do not simply accept OTE as a definitive answer when it comes to compensation. Instead, probe further with questions like:“Did you take home your OTE last year?”“Can you break down your quota for me?”Or, if they missed quota for a quarter (or year): “Can you explain to me what factors contributed to your missing quota and what you could have done differently to remedy it?”It is not enough to simply accept target earnings and make an offer based on that. You do not want a sales person in place who consistently missed quota, or who consistently did not hit their target due to their performance. You want someone who exceeded their quota and who can show you they have the skills to back up their compensation demands. If you are looking to hire top sales representatives you have to ask the tough questions and dig in on their numbers. Otherwise, like the rap stars, they may be spinning a story to make you think they’ve made more money than they actually did. Don’t hire someone like that for your sales team.Have you ever hired a sales rep without digging in to their background? How did it turn out?AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more

How a Price Change Can Impact Your SaaS Metrics Example in Action

first_imgIn an earlier post, “Predicting the Impact of SaaS Pricing Changes,” we looked at how price changes can impact SaaS metrics and what questions you should ask before making a price change.Let’s look at what happened at some real companies when they made price changes.The critical metrics we are concerned with are Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) — the classic SaaS metrics (to refresh your memory see David Skok SaaS Metrics 2.0). Are these the only metrics you need to be concerned about as you manage your business? Of course not. You also worry about cash flow, growth momentum, user engagement, and how much value you are actually creating for your customers. But unit economics (CAC & LTV) are a good way to see if your business makes sense and just how well it will scale.Note: We are in the real world now, where data is patchy and not always reliable. This case study is based on an actual company with some details disguised. When I was preparing this series of case studies (two more coming) I talked with ten companies, but in most cases there were too many non-pricing factors at play to draw any clear conclusions. And some companies did not want to have anything made public even with identifying information removed.Real-World Example 1: SaaS Company with Large Professional Services ComponentKey LessonsPrice increases must be coordinated with changes to the product and marketing efforts (pricing is part of an integrated strategy).There can be a tradeoff between different metrics. For this company, improving strategic metrics resulted in a negative effect on unit economics (you can’t always optimize everything at once — be strategic).Our first case is a US B2B company that combines a SaaS platform with a relatively large professional services business. The company sells supply chain management software to makers of industrial equipment. The company has a stated strategy to increase the share of software subscriptions from about 50% of revenues to 70%. Professional services include configuration and integration and business consulting.The price increase was made as part of a significant product upgrade and a marketing campaign that led to increased customer acquisition costs. It was part of the strategy to increase the proportion of subscription revenues. No change was made to professional services pricing, where the company tries to get 3X staff costs, but generally ends up with closer to 2.5X staff costs (yes, I know this is cost-based pricing — pricing professional services is worth a post of its own.) Anecdotally, the increase in the average value of a subscription did make it easier to sell larger professional services projects.price increase impact chartThe good news: revenue growth accelerated after the price increase. But remember, the price hike coincided with a product upgrade (additional value provided to customers) and a marketing campaign dedicated to communicating the value of that upgrade. All three of those elements — the price increase, the product upgrade, and the communication — had to be planned and executed together in order to generate the observed results.It took about two months for these changes to really impact revenues. The price increase largely held, and there was no apparent impact on discounting (this company has good sales discipline and marketing and sales work well together).revenue chartOn the other hand, the unit economics were not as good after the price increase. Yes, LTV improved from $21,000 to $24,000, because of the higher selling price and an improvement in customer retention from 95% to 97%. But greater marketing efforts sent CAC from $3,400 to $5,200 and the critical LTV/CAC ratio went from a very healthy 6.2X to an adequate 4.6X.Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 3.00.42 PMIn summary, the company implemented three coordinated actions:Upgraded its offerIncreased its priceStepped up marketingThe results:Higher revenuesMore profitHigher customer lifetime valueIncreased customer acquisition costsSharp drop in LTV/CAC ratioWas it Worth It?Overall, these changes helped the company to accelerate growth and shift the revenue balance from professional services to subscriptions, which is the strategic goal. The decline in unit economics was deemed acceptable, although the company does intend to keep a close eye on this and look for ways to increase LTV (it does not plan to trim marketing).Now look at your own company and ask:What is the strategic metric you are working to improve and what are you willing to let slide in order to succeed with your strategic metric?How are your key metrics connected? If one changes (say CAC or pricing) how will this impact other metrics?To help you estimate the impact of basic changes ahead of time, download our pricing change impact calculator.Photo by: Maria MolineroAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis3last_img read more

3 Ways Virtual Workers Make Organizations More Effective

first_imgVirtual Teams Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Avoiding in-office distractions can be a major plus for your company. 5 min read Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Add to Queue Next Article Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Image credit: Tetra Images | Getty Images Enroll Now for $5 February 27, 2017 As the American workplace evolves, more and more companies are thinking of ways to increase productivity without reducing the caliber and engagement of their teams. Additionally, there is increased pressure on venture-backed startups to operate leaner until they can generate revenue. As a result, many companies are turning to virtual employees, found through sites like Upwork and similar services, to manage administrative tasks at a more sensible rate.One survey found that 64 percent of employees at international companies participate in virtual teams and that 52 percent of those teams were based outside of the company’s home country. Now that technology is bringing us closer together, it is easier than ever for companies to leverage top talent at reasonable rates from all around the world.Related: 4 Reasons While Small Companies Are Going RemoteA common misperception of virtual workers is also slowly fading as data suggests that the global workforce is becoming more skilled in English and cross-cultural work. A global HR report from SHRM details that 57 percent of English-speaking workers in Asian countries have a moderate to high proficiency in the language.Another survey indicates that 73 percent of employees believe the challenges that may come with virtual teams are overshadowed by the benefits. Perceptions of virtual work are changing, especially as more companies create positions that are completely virtual or remote.Eric Taussig is the founder and CEO of Prialto and an expert in the world of virtual employees. He is convinced that one of the main reasons virtual work is on the rise is because “today’s companies need to be super focused on doing a few things very well.” As such, companies are more readily outsourcing tasks that are not within the main scope of their business.Here are the top three ways virtual workers make executives and organizations more effective.1. Administrative efficiency.Just like a business has to focus on being excellent at a minimal number of important tasks, executives need to be effective at the tasks that create the most value for their company. “Managed teams of assistants maximize an executive’s time by optimizing their schedule, making sure they have the right information and developing detail-oriented procedures to prevent missed opportunities or oversights,” said Taussig.So why are virtual workers so effective at reducing administrative roadblocks? One reason is that remote work helps them avoid distractions that often occur in office settings. Additionally, virtual workers are often better versed in social tools that help streamline collaboration.Related: When to Hire Virtual Assistants and Outsource Help2. Providing best practices.The arrival of sites like Upwork created a marketplace that connects companies with virtual workers all around the globe. The trouble with these marketplaces, however, is they created an entirely new problem. How do you recruit, vet and hire the right talent? And then what does managing that talent look like? These issues can create more work for companies, minimizing the benefits of outsourcing administrative functions.Taussig shares that the issue is not just helping workers find employers but rather, “the issue is creating the common framework and context so that they can work together more effectively once they have found each other. That’s exactly what a managed service does. It creates the context, the use cases, and the processes so that people can be effective working together across physical and cultural distances.” Virtual assistant companies add a crucial layer of curation and management to the freelance economy, benefiting both the companies that hire them and the talent that works for them.3. Resource allocation.Global Data Analytics research found that Fortune 1000 companies from all around the world are changing their office spaces in light of recent trends in mobile work. Since employees aren’t at their desks 50 to 60 percent of the work week, offices are condensing into smaller locations, saving vital costs for other key business functions.Fortune 1000 companies are not the only ones to benefit. A lot of small to midsize companies are considering office expenditures, so reducing the number of on-site employees could help alleviate the need for larger, more expensive office spaces. This is not to say that virtual workers will always be cheap — finding good talent will always cost more — but the other costs they can save, like time and space, often make them a better option than on-site or domestic employees.Related: Going Virtual: Hiring the Right Team for the Right WorkWhen considering whether or not integrating virtual workers into your business, make sure to look at your motivations and ensure that they align with the real benefits of outsourcing that talent. Instead of evaluating the decision based solely on the percentage of payroll costs it will save, consider how much of your time, energy and management efforts will be saved and what that would mean for your business. 3 Ways Virtual Workers Make Organizations More Effective Guest Writer Sheila Eugenio 284shares Entrepreneurlast_img read more

19 Times Elon Musk Had the Best Response

first_imgElon Musk 19 Times Elon Musk Had the Best Response Next Article Being a Silicon Valley billionaire comes with its pitfalls, one being that everything you say will be scrutinized by the public.Elon Musk doesn’t seem to mind though. Despite his position as the CEO of Tesla and chairman of SolarCity, Musk has noted his lack of filter and marketing skills, and the results are sometimes, well, perfect.Musk often takes to Twitter, most recently representing his Gigafactory in “units of hamster.” He also outwitted analysts this week after they asked him if the SolarCity merger was due to a conflict of interest. Fine Musk, you win.To celebrate him and his lack of filter, here are 18 times Musk made us laugh:Additional reporting by Nina Zipkin1. He trolled the trolls.While companies such as Google and Facebook grapple with how to weed out false news stories, Musk took to Twitter to weigh in on the work of a mysterious person named “Shepard Stewart,” who has been publishing fake pieces about him and his companies. He included a South Park reference, naturally.Can anyone uncover who is really writing these fake pieces? Can’t be skankhunt42. His work is better than this. https://t.co/Qs69AFMGE5— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 20162. Musk personally canceled a blogger’s Tesla pre-order after receiving a “rude” letter.Stewart Alsop, a California venture capitalist, learned that an open letter to Musk was a quick way to get his Tesla Model X order canceled.The letter claimed that the reveal of the Tesla Motors Model X started late, was too crowded and focused too much on safety.Musk personally responded to the blogger and canceled his order. He then went a step further to address the media.Must be a slow news day if denying service to a super rude customer gets this much attention— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 20163. He denied his cousin a family discount at Tesla, or rather, offered a family discount to everyone.Lyndon Rive, SolarCity CEO and Musk’s cousin, made the mistake of asking for a family discount on the new Tesla.Musk’s response? “Yeah absolutely. Go to TeslaMotor.com, buy the car online, and the price you see there is the family discount,’” Rive told Tech Insider. “Everyone gets a family discount.”Rive wasn’t too offended. He has the Model S and his wife has the Model X. He also told Tech Insider that the response was “totally fair.”Related: 4 Pop Culture Fixations of Elon Musk4. He brought backseat reading lights back to the Model S because his son called it “the stupidest car in the world.”One of Musk’s most important critics, his son, complained that he couldn’t read in the back of his dad’s car.The Model S originally had reading lights in the back, but Tesla took them out to increase headroom in the back seat. One of Musk’s five sons thought that idea was stupid.Musk brought the backseat reading light back to the Model S, even offering to put the lights into cars that had already been delivered — for free.5. When Musk was asked about his personal life, his reaction was hilarious.Musk has joked in the past about how marriage hasn’t worked out for him, with his first marriage ending in divorce, and his second marriage also recently ending in divorce.But when asked about his personal life, the billionaire definitely seems to know what he’s doing.”I think the time allocated to the businesses and the kids is going fine,” Musk told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. “I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. How much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours?”6. Apparently for Iron Man, getting wasted is in the job description.Musk told Bloomberg that Robert Downey Jr., who plays Marvel’s Iron Man, once showed up at the SpaceX office playing on the notion that Musk has been called the real Iron Man. Bloomberg’s reporter noted that Musk didn’t seem to have the bad-boy personality Tony Stark has.Musk replied, “Hey, I went to Haiti last Christmas and visited some pretty dangerous parts. I got wasted, too, on some drink they call the Zombie.”7. Musk got a little off track when introducing the bioweapon defense mode on the new Tesla Model X.As you may have heard, the Tesla Model X comes with a bioweapon defense mode.Originally designed to protect against pollution, Musk jokes that it could also protect against other hazards.“If there’s ever sort of an apocalyptic scenario, of some kind, hypothetically, you just press the bioweapon defense mode button,” Musk said, laughing. “This is a real button.”8. Musk made a sexual joke on The Late Show and then laughed at it while everyone else was still processing it.While on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Musk made a joke that even Colbert had to take a moment to think about.After showing a video of a “snake charger” that automatically plugs into your car, Musk joked, “For the prototype at least, I would recommend not dropping anything when you’re near it.”9. And Musk’s response to warming up the planet sounds incredibly nonchalant, but warning, it’s not.Musk frequently talks about Mars, which he refers to as a “fixer upper” planet. He has frequently been asked about the possibility of inhabiting the planet.The answer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? Maybe we can just drop nuclear bombs on the north and south poles, he says casually.Related: 7 Takeaways in the Success of Elon Musk for Young Entrepreneurs10. Musk doesn’t recommended using the Model S as a boat, or does he?Sure, the Model S can float, but it’s not recommended by Tesla or Musk.After a man in Almaty, Kazakhstan, posted a video driving his Tesla through a flooded tunnel, Musk tweeted:We *def* don’t recommended this, but Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. Thrust via wheel rotation.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2016Sounds a bit like a recommendation.11. He most certainly doesn’t lie about what it takes to run a business.In an interview with Limitless Stars, Musk doesn’t exactly suggest starting a business. “Starting a company is like eating glass staring into the abyss of death. Um, if that sounds appealing, go ahead.”He sure makes it look easy though, simultaneously running two incredibly successful companies while taking care of five children.Click here to see the video. 12. He defined his Gigafactory in “units of hamster.”Elon Musk has been hard at work with his Gigafactory, dedicating more than $5 billion into the facility that will apparently be one of the largest buildings in the world. Musk made headlines in 2015 when he ramped up the construction schedule.Despite the serious nature of the factory for Tesla’s future, Musk posted on Twitter the “units of hamster” that the Gigafactory would take up. Yes, units of hamster. Some were unsatisfied with the animal chosen, requesting it be in units of puppies.Gigafactory in units of hamster pic.twitter.com/9BAchcBX73— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 201613. He shut down analysts on Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity.After Tesla and SolarCity made the announcement that the two would be merging, analysts started to question Musk, mostly because he owns around 20 percent of both companies. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?“The conflicts of interest,” Musk said to an analyst on Monday, “are if we don’t merge.”Well, when you put it like that.14. He was painfully honest about his struggles.When a Twitter user asked whether the ups and downs Musk has had make for a more enjoyable life, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX responded in a painfully honest way.The reality is great highs, terrible lows and unrelenting stress. Don’t think people want to hear about the last two.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017I’m sure there are better answers than what I do, which is just take the pain and make sure you really care about what you’re doing— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017Yeah— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017Maybe not medically tho. Dunno. Bad feelings correlate to bad events, so maybe real problem is getting carried away in what I sign up for.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 2017If you buy a ticket to hell, it isn’t fair to blame hell …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 30, 201715. He corrected the record after a news story about the world’s “first crewless ship” published.When The Verge tweeted a story explaining that the “world’s first crewless ship will launch next year,” Musk had a one-word response.Umm … pic.twitter.com/bjJ0lNYK35— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2017Musk was referring to SpaceX’s three existing autonomous ships that support sea landings of its Falcon 9 reusable rocket.16. Even with a busy schedule, he provides customer service.Even while running Tesla, SpaceX and his side companies, Musk makes time for customers. After a Tesla customer tweeted about a poor experience he had in one of the Tesla stores, Musk responded directly to the person letting him know he was taking care of the issue.Def not ok. Just sent a reminder to Tesla stores that we just want people to look forward to their next visit. That’s what really matters.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 16, 201717. He trolls his competition.In response to a USA Today story about Daimler’s announcement that it would be investing $1 billion in electric vehicles, Musk tweeted that $1 billion wasn’t enough to compete with Tesla. Daimler responded to Musk in agreement, saying that the figure was missing a zero and the company was actually spending $10 billion.Good— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 25, 2017People began speculating whether Musk’s tweet motivated Daimler to increase its investment, which turned out to be untrue, but Musk took the credit anyways.Yes, I did :)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 201718. He “groans” at his competition.After The Verge reported on Delphi Automotive’s $450 million acquisition of autonomous vehicle startup nuTonomy, Musk responded to the tweet with a groan … literally.Groan— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 24, 201719. He rips rival projects sarcastically.When asked about Uber’s flying car initiative as compared to the Boring Company’s more underground pursuits, Musk made it clear, dripping in sarcasm, that he isn’t the biggest fan of the idea.If you love drones above your house, you’ll really love vast numbers of “cars” flying over your head that are 1000 times bigger and noisier and blow away anything that isn’t nailed down when they land— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018But it turns out that his criticism wasn’t lost on Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who had this to say about a potential way forward for the project.Challenge accepted. Improved battery tech (thx 2 @elonmusk) and multiple smaller rotors will be much more efficient and avoid noise + environmental pollution. https://t.co/563U0RqDYF— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) February 22, 2018 This is the break you were looking for. Grace Reader Add to Queue 10 min read Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.center_img Contributor Guest Writer February 23, 2018 Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. –shares Image credit: Bloomberg Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Enroll Now for $5last_img read more