B2B sales strategy digital-first embrace new tech Marketing Sales Tech

How Can B2B Sales Go Digital-First Even After Covid-19?

digital-first b2b sales

Covid-19 has taken growing trends and accelerated them at exhilarating speeds. This has made it difficult for businesses to keep up with new consumer needs and best practices. Juggling social distancing and quarantine periods has been difficult enough; now organizations need to figure out how to thrive in a post-Covid world.

One such trend is that of digital and virtual sales. A study conducted by McKinsey and Co. shows that 90% of B2B decision-makers are confident that virtual sales will continue even after Covid-19 has passed. While remote/digital sales became necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, businesses should prepare to make this a part of their full-time strategy entering 2021.

Changing your B2B sales strategy is easier said than done. To help you make the transition effectively, keep the following tips in mind. They’ll help you get started on the right foot.

Embrace New Technology

Transitioning to digital sales will be a challenge if your business isn’t equipped with the right tools. A carpenter will be much more productive with a table saw than a sheet of sandpaper. Your digital arsenal will need a boost if you hope to find success with virtual sales.

Here are the types of tools you’ll need to succeed with digital-first B2B Sales — especially during and after this pandemic.

  • Videoconferencing tools enable more fluid and personal interaction with customers.
  • Customer relationship software keeps track of customer information and sales leads.
  • Data analytics tools let you know which strategies are working and which aren’t.
  • Email marketing software automatically sends email messages to generate leads and close sales.
  • An online sales navigator organizes the sales you make online over platforms such as LinkedIn.
  • Sales presentation tools broaden the capabilities of your videoconferencing calls, increasing their effectiveness.

While even one of these tools will help, the best strategy implements multiple tools. Start with your digital sales goals and pick out the tools that will help you reach them.

Learn How to Build Relationships Digitally

A huge part of sales is the relationship-building process. How can you develop close ties with customers and partners without seeing them in person? Just like with sales pitches, you’ll need to take a different approach to really reach your clients on a deeper level.

Charles Gaudet, CEO of the business coaching and consulting firm Predictable Profits, offers the following three-step guide for building relationships digitally:

1. Social Selling

Your social media sites can be used for more than just marketing. Interacting with clients’ pages by liking, commenting, and sharing their content helps establish a digital relationship with them.

2. Video

As with sales pitches, video is more effective than text or voice alone. Video calls are more personal than emails or even phone calls. While all three should be used to a degree, great success comes from making sure video is a part of your relationship-building strategy.

3. Steady Communication

As important as the platform you use to contact customers is how you communicate with them. Such is true with any partnership or relationship. Prompt follow-ups, honest inquiries, and genuine care expressed through steady communication will go a long way.

These three simple steps will help you start developing relationships with your customers virtually. As you get used to the process, you can adjust it to meet the needs of your customer base and fit it to your team’s strengths.

Learn How to Sell Virtually

Traditional sales tactics aren’t as effective in the virtual world. Some techniques will translate over nicely, but your general sales approach will need some tinkering to align with virtual interactions. These small adjustments are what set a successful digital sales strategy apart from the rest.

For example, in-person sales meetings often involve reading and expressing body language. Body language helps the sales rep gauge buyer interest and figure out what keeps them engaged during a presentation. Your appearance, expression, gestures, and posture also carry more weight in an in-person meeting.

What methods will you use in your digital sales strategy?

Virtual meetings don’t allow for as much physical expression, so you must learn how to generate interest and attract attention using other methods. For example, a study performed by shows that deals close 127% more quickly when video is used. Video allows you to connect with customers more effectively and use visual resources that can be of great benefit to a sales pitch.

Be Aware of Pitfalls

Digital sales isn’t a fairy wonderland of endless cash flow and paying customers. There are still pitfalls and obstacles that stand in the way of success. Recognizing and anticipating these pitfalls will prevent you from getting stuck in a sales rut.

“The biggest pitfall of a digital-first sales approach is the ability to get and keep your prospects’ attention,� notes Gaudet. “With every enterprise sales organization using a digital-first strategy, inboxes are flooded with messages. To counter this challenge, companies must use an omnichannel approach to prospecting.�

An omnichannel approach means using a variety of sources to contact and connect with customers. Email, social media, and cold calls are all methods that work better together than separately.

Grab Hold of Digital Assets

Prospects will do their research when shopping online for products, services, or business partners. Due to their careful research, you’ll need to have your digital assets lined up and displayed to attract their attention and lure them to your company.

Your first digital sales weapon is your website.

Your website is often the first exposure a customer will have to your brand. Your website should have educational resources, clear pricing and product/service options, as well as a certification of authority in your respective field.

Your online sales and marketing strategies will bring customers over to your website and social pages, where the content they find will influence them just as much as any sales pitch would. Take the time to review your digital assets to look for ways to strengthen them, display them better, or add to them.

Give digital sales a try — and get good at this type of sales.

Ready to give digital sales a try? Remember that your remote sales team is important and will need training for these unprecedented times. Better now than later, because this trend will sweep you in its direction eventually whether you like it or not.

The sooner you start working on your digital sales strategy, the sooner you can optimize it to shatter your sales goals in 2021.

Image Credit: pexels; pixabay

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Dear Robinhood CEO: Here’s What You Should Have Done Instead


It takes years to build a reputation and only moments to destroy it. Amidst an unprecedented (ugh – not that word again!) trading surge, the Robinhood CEO had an impossible tension to navigate. How to address big-picture business concerns, while appeasing the interests of investors and company employees.

I’m sorry to say that employees got picked last.

Robinhood Employes Not Happy

Robinhood CEO experiences employee backlash.

Employees Feeling Disenfranchised

According to its website, Robinhood’s mission is “democratize finance for all.� But the decision was made this past week to restrict transactions on highly volatile stocks (do I even need to tell you which?). And team members were left wondering if they had been lied to.

“In the knowledge economy, employees espouse the brand values as much as their title or their paycheck,� says leadership expert, Robert Glazer, of Acceleration Partners. “One wrong move is often met with grace. But wrong moves compounded with poor communication can cause a revolt and an employee backlash�

Robinhood apologized to its one thousand employees by issuing a $40 DoorDash credit. This gesture occurred after the company secured an additional billion dollars to cover margins. A necessary operational response? Absolutely. But not the message they were looking to send internally.

“The recipients were patronized,� says John Ruhlin, author of GIFT∙OLOGY, a playbook for B2B gifting. “Everyone on the planet is watching your every move. And the best you can come up with is a $40 gift card? This adds insult to injury.�

Foundations of Employee Gifting

In Robinhood’s defense, most business leaders are horrific gift-givers. One recent study documents how givers and recipients place different value judgments on the same gift. The disconnect can be so massive that, according to another study, the wrong gift does more to hurt than help.

Ruhlin says he’s seen it happen. “Loyalty is fickle because feelings are fickle. We have clients that come to us and say: ‘we tried gifting, we messed it up, can you salvage this?’ Fortunately the answer is almost always yes.�

So what should Robinhood’s CEO have done? And how can you successfully execute strategic gifting in your organization? The following tips will help.

Choose your words carefully 

The most important part of an apology is to mean it. Jonathan Bernstein, founder of Bernstein Crisis Management and author of ‘10 Steps of Crisis Communication,’ suggests leading with empathy. “Your messaging must make it clear you have compassion – stakeholders must understand your message the way it was meant to be understood.� In other words: you must genuinely care.

Proper wordsmithing is crucial even when you’re not apologizing. Would you rather eat something 95% lean or 5% fat? If your goal is sincerity, avoid clichés and corporate platitudes.

Good leaders communicate from the heart. Not through the lens of legal permissibility or marketing spin.

Get them what they want

While this might be blasphemous to some, these five studies make a convincing argument to involve the recipient in gift selection. Monika Kochhar is the co-founder of SmartGift, a platform that enables business leaders to connect with others in a virtual world.

“Modern day technology allows us to re-imagine the traditional gifting experience. Instead of saying, ‘here – I got this for you,’ we can now say ‘I got this for you – which color, what size, and where do you want it shipped?’� SmartGift uses artificial intelligence to help match recipients with the right item at a pre-determined price point.

No more ‘one size fits all.’ Something Robinhood employees (and critics) might have appreciated.

Spend the right amount

So how much should Robinhood have spent on their gift? Both Ruhlin and Kochhar cited similar numbers from their client experiences. “Our biggest successes are practical luxuries, in the $100-$300 range. It’s high enough to afford quality, but not so low to appear stingy.�

Kochhar suggests not obsessing over price-tags. “Employee gifting is an investment. Leaders don’t audit the salaried costs of two hour Zoom calls. Yet we’re going to pinch nickels with appreciation? Double standards do not serve us.�

It’s not about you.

The fastest way to devalue a gift and turn it into an advertisement is by putting your company’s name on it (this StoryBrand podcast explains it nicely). Over the years, I have received a thrift store’s worth of logo-covered tote bags, clothing, and water bottles. All have been donated, trashed, or relegated to the garage.

Robinhood might not have done this explicitly. But the immediacy of their gesture suggests more of a reactionary appeasement than genuine remorse. You wouldn’t give your spouse a gift with your name on it. Don’t do it for your employees or clients. And never make your gifts about the optics.

The right perspective. Always.

Leaders like Gary Vaynerchuk encourage leaders to play the long game – both with gifting and decision-making. While I am empathetic to the chaos surrounding Robinhood’s CEO this past week, this saga feels less like a passing tabloid headline and more like THE BIG SHORT. Or at least an extended 30-for-30 episode.

Unlike certain investment strategies, there’s no benefit to volatile reputations. In today’s media-crazed environment, brands explode (or implode) when the CEO makes the right moves. Our opportunity as leaders is to build reputations out of stone, not plastic. When we execute strategic gifting the right way, we create an environment of stability and confidence. And a brand to match.

The post Dear Robinhood CEO: Here’s What You Should Have Done Instead appeared first on ReadWrite.

AI data analysis data capture firm election results and data capture Georgia runoff spending ReadWrite using AI for data capture

Data Capture Firm Uses AI to Dissect Georgia Runoff Spending

georgia runoff spending

With majority control of the Senate at stake, it’s no surprise that the recent Georgia runoff elections were the most expensive political race in American history. Wherever campaign dollars flow freely, as they did in Georgia, accountability questions proliferate. Where did that money come from, where did it go, and what influence (if any) did those spending choices have on results?

Election law requires that campaign expenditures be made public. Even so, it often takes weeks or even months for analysts to sift through a dense forest of information and build usable datasets. Important decisions have to wait; only after a dataset has been given the green light can anyone even begin to search for associated outcomes and trends.

Many have wondered whether there is a legitimate place for artificial intelligence in harvesting public data repositories. Can machine-generated data really be trusted? And even if it can be, can it replace human analysts?

When Data is Public but Nearly Useless

Each TV and radio station is required to carbon-copy invoices for political advertisements to the Federal Communications Commission, which makes them public record. This sounds great on paper, but the FCC mandate is to merely publish the invoice documents — and each election comes with tens of thousands of invoices.

The invoices are important because of the dates, callsigns, and amounts listed on them page by page. The data allows analysts to build spending maps and scrutinize campaign behaviors, but the data needs to be aggregated in a spreadsheet first. A spreadsheet analysis would ordinarily mean going through this massive amount of invoices by hand.

A Better Use of Data

Of course, it’s not just the FCC receiving invoices — all businesses receive invoices when they trade with each other. Any company of size faces the same problem as the data analysts who would like to use the FCC data.

One automation software company that solves the problem of translating business documents to data for enterprises decided to unleash its automatic data capture on the FCC invoices for the Georgia runoff elections. The vendor Rossum, in partnership with analysts from the fund, just published the resulting data set.

AI-Powered Reporting Follows the Money

Ever since the 1976 film “All the President’s Men,â€� many of us have internalized the admonition to “follow the money.â€� The practice remains a tried-and-true method for discovering unseen relationships and shedding light on patterns of activity and motivations that we might otherwise miss.

Data capture technology cannot read the minds of campaign managers — something for which we can all be thankful. But the new breed of automation based on artificial intelligence might at least enhance our ability to better see the tracks they’ve left.

Accelerating Data Collection

In addition to eliminating the time-consuming tedium of keystrokes and accelerating data collection, policy analyst Jordan Shapiro found that Rossum’s processing of the Georgia spending data produced a greater degree of granularity. This granularity, in turn, enabled her to better grasp the thinking that lay behind decisions made by the various campaigns.

Following the Spend

“As a political analyst, Rossum’s data about 2020 Georgia runoff election spending gave me the opportunity to get inside the heads of the campaigns to see which areas they thought were more or less competitive based on how much each candidate spent in that region,� says Shapiro. “Particularly helpful for my work was the ability to compare county-level spending patterns with a shift in vote share between November and January.�

Data Suggests a Shift from Red to Blue

Southern states have historically been fertile territory for Republicans seeking election, but that appears to be changing.

An NPR report from January 2020 found more Black Americans are moving south, and as they relocate, they are contributing to a shake-up in election results. In 2000, Rockdale County (southeast of Atlanta), for example, was a predominantly white area with a Black population of approximately 18%. Today, that same area has a 55% Black occupancy.

Changing Demographics

Shapiro notes that Georgia’s changing demography, heavy campaign spending by Democrats, increased voter mobilization at the grassroots level, and a tumultuous national political stage all played a hand in what many saw as upset victories. Political turmoil and civic unrest on the national scene rocked Republicans and set the stage for Democratic wins. Both races were reasonably close, with Ossoff winning his race by about 55,000 votes and Warnock winning his with around 93,000 votes.

Regardless, Rossum’s analysis found something even more important than spending-outcome correlations: reasons to default to AI-driven analysis.

Why AI-Enhanced Reporting Will Be Big

The mandatory availability of campaign spending records affords skeptics and naysayers an opportunity to fact-check any reporting that emerges after an election. Reports that have been compiled using AI-powered scanning techniques can be fact-checked just as easily as traditional reports constructed by workers furiously pounding away on keyboards.

As AI-powered processes continue to improve, confidence in this newer methodology is certain to grow as well. As that happens, voters can expect to see more accurate, useful information in the run-up to Election Day.

AI-driven reporting benefits democracy in at least four ways:

1. Enhanced Transparency of Public Data

Much data is the subject of public record, but too often, it is not readily available for analysis and therefore carries only a fraction of its potential. The problem with campaign spending records is that key dates and amounts are scattered through scanned documents instead of being aggregated in a spreadsheet that can be readily analyzed for new insights. This problem is common for many registries, FoIA data releases, and internal government operations.

2. Rapid Data Analysis

The speed advantage of AI-enabled reporting systems over traditional methods of computation will make relevant data available much earlier than in past election cycles. Earlier delivery of results could, in turn, open up new options for campaign managers to consider as constituents respond favorably or negatively to various messages.

3. Added Depth and Surfacing of Less-Obvious Correlations

As noted above, Shapiro was able to take Rossum reporting on election data and cross-reference it with migration data. In doing so, she discovered a trend in specific Georgia counties shifting from presumed Republican strongholds to surprise Democratic wins.

4. More Informed Policymaking and Decisions

Tightening the link between election results and policymaking can serve as a check on any politician’s temptation to drift away from the will of the people they serve. A democratically elected official can only disregard his or her mandate for so long. Faster access to accurate information allows voters more time to assess a politician’s voting record.

What’s Coming in 2022

With another election cycle coming entirely too soon, keep an eye out for new applications of AI. Both parties will use the technology to unearth patterns, analyze results, and suggest new political strategies. Policymakers will check proposals against their constituents’ latest voting trends.

Will 2022’s political environment be any less fraught than the 2020s? Maybe not — but it will be more data-driven.

Image credit: edgar colomba; pexels

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Top Futurist Speakers to Have at Your Conference in 2021

top futurist speakers 2021

The future always arrives faster than you think and it often hits before you’re ready. Some people, though, have a talent for spotting trends. They see which technologies will make an impact, how new innovations will change society, and what’s coming up next for business and commerce. They also share what they’ve discovered. I’ve put together a list of the top futurist speakers to have at your conference in 2021.

Here are 25 of the best futurist keynote speakers. Each of these futurists speaks at major tech events — and when they’re not sharing their knowledge with audiences, they help top-level executives and marketing teams to prepare for the future.

  1. Joel Comm

Joel Comm tops the list with his almost 25 years of doing business online. He co-created Yahoo! Games, published 15 books, built a chart-topping iPhone app, and hosts a top blockchain podcast. He now leads the way with digital collectibles, a fast-growing field that combines blockchain technology with collection-building.

Comm is a top futurist speaker who helps businesses and brands arrive before the competition, and makes seemingly complex material easy to understand, refreshing, informative, and entertaining.


  1. Lisa Bodell

New technology and work practices can be complex and confusing. Lisa Bodell makes it simple. As the CEO of FutureThink, an innovation training firm, she provides innovative solutions that cut through the complexity.

Bodell spots new changes, identifies the most important characteristics that companies need to understand, and teaches them how to adapt and use new innovations.



  1. Bran Ferren

Bran Ferren used to have the best job in the world. After creating special effects for movies and theme parks, he became president of research and development and creative technology for Walt Disney.

Ferren is now the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Applied Minds, a design and invention firm. He also invented the pinch-to-zoom technology popularized by Apple. Ferren’s talks focus on the value of innovations and explain why we should care about new technology.


  1. Tan Le

For Tan Le, it’s all about the brain. A former refugee from Vietnam and now the founder and CEO of EMOTIV, a neuroinformatics company, Tan Le uses electroencephalography to deepen understanding of the brain and to develop brain-computer interfaces.

Her work has won her a host of innovation awards. Tan Le is the speaker you need to hear when you want to know how you’ll be using your brain in the future.



  1. Kate Ancketill

Kate Ancketill is the co-founder and CEO of GDR Creative Intelligence, a consultancy that helps brands to identify innovation trends. Her talks are packed with research that has been tested in the field and shown to help brands stay ahead of upcoming changes.

Ancketill explains how big companies change with technological and social innovation, and adapt to new customer behaviors.



  1. Brian Solis

Brian Solis is the Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce where he focuses on thought leadership and research into digital transformation, innovation and disruption, and the cognitive enterprise.

Solis is also the creator of “Lifescaling,� a model for living a creative digital life without diversions, focused on what’s important and making the most of the possibilities that technology offers.



  1. William Higham

William Higham is the head of Next Big Thing, a consultancy whose clients have included Amazon, HSBC, and MTV. He started his career in the music industry but his focus now is on consumer trends. He helps businesses and leaders predict changing tastes and adjust to meet them.

Higham’s successful trend-spotting has included helping the drinks industry cope with the rise of the New Sobriety, identifying Wellbeing Consumers, and championing Strictly Come Dancing, a surprising hit BBC show.


  1. Travis Wright

Travis Wright is the co-author of “Digital Sense: The Common Sense Approach to Effectively Blending Social Business Strategy, Marketing Technology, and Customer Experience.� He is the co-presenter, with Joel Comm, of the Bad Crypto Podcast, the leading guide to blockchain technology, and is also a pioneer in the world of digital collectibles.

Wright’s views of AI, machine learning, the blockchain, and martech has brought him to keynote stages around the world, including the annual Martech conference.



  1. Poppy Crum

Poppy Crum is an Adjunct Professor in Computer Research at Stanford University and the Chief Scientist at Dolby Laboratories. She has practical experience of using an understanding of human behavior, data, and combinations of wearable and immersive technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning to build commercial innovation.

Crum helps organizations to rethink their understanding of personalization and explains how technology can make products more personal and less technical.



  1. Ben Casnocha

Ben Casnocha is a venture capitalist. He’s a co-founder and partner at Village Global, a $100 million investment fund, and was the chief of staff of LinkedIn chairman Reid Hoffman. They’ve written a couple of books together, and Casnocha has helped to form an organization to promote Hoffman’s strategic priorities.

Casnocha’s has also founded e-government firm Comcate, and mentored at startup incubator, Techstars. Ben Casnocha’s speaking topics have covered the new employer-employee relationship, millennials at work, and the importance of thinking like an entrepreneur in today’s work environment.


  1. Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is best known as a theoretical physicist who is trying to complete Einstein’s unified field theory.

Kaku is a Physics professor at the City University of New York is also a trendspotter. His book “Physics of the Future,� includes interviews with 300 of the world’s top scientists to understand what the next decades, and century, will mean for science.

The science includes the future of computers, robotics, biotechnology, and more. Kaku’s talks cover both the physics of the future and the future of the mind.


  1. Vivek Wadhwa 

Vivek Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program. He’s the author of five books and has been named by Foreign Policy magazine one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.� His research focuses on the effect of technology on employment.

Wadhwa has explored the role of corporate training programs in the rise of Indian companies, diversity in Silicon Valley, and the risks of America’s visa program for skilled workers. His talks cover ways to navigate technological change, disruption and opportunity, and the role of technology in medicine.


  1. Kate Darling

For Kate Darling, the future is all about robots. A research specialist at MIT’s Media Lab, Kate Darling conducts experiments into the way that humans and robots interact. She’s taught a robot ethics course at Harvard Law School and has researched incentives in copyright and patent systems.

Although Darling has a background in law it’s her insights into the behavior of robots and how humans will interact with them that make her talks so vital.



  1. Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Mitnick is unusual among futurist speakers in having once been placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He had hacked into more than 40 major companies to see whether he could do it.

Mitnick is now one of the world’s most skilled white hat hackers, hired by governments and corporations to test their security and cyber defense systems. Mitnick’s talks cover a range of cyber defense issues from digital privacy to remote workplace safety and social engineering.




  1. Crystal Washington

Crystal Washington helps businesses apply technology to increase their profits. She plots a path through social media’s most effective functions, explaining technology hacks that can increase sales.

Washington talks through her own strategies for building an effective and efficient home office, and she ensures that technology serves her clients instead of forcing companies to accommodate themselves to new innovations.




  1. Gary Shapiro

Gary Shapiro is the president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the owner and produce of the Consumer Electronics Show. He’s a leading lobbyist, pushing for more skilled employees, immigration, and free trade, and the elimination of regulatory and tax burdens on innovators.

Shapiro’s talks focus on the place of innovation in America and how it can create jobs and build new industries.




  1. Chike Aguh

Chike Aguh is a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at the Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and a Venture Partner at New Markets Venture Partners with a focus on workforce technologies.

Aguh talks about the future of work and explains how automation could change as much as two-thirds of jobs. He also discusses the social impact and the effects of the gig economy, re-skilling, and a multi-generational workplace.




  1. Cate Trotter

Cate Trotter is the founder and Head of Trends at Insider Trends. Her focus is on retail. She looks for the effects of trends like wearable technology, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things, and explains to brands how those changes will affect the customer experience and future commerce.

As an entrepreneur, Trotter has created and run two companies of her own. She is able to describe both theory and its practical effects and provides these explanations to brands.




  1. David Hanson

If tomorrow’s world is filled with robots, it will probably be because of David Hanson. The founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics, Hanson started his career at Walt Disney, as a sculptor and a technical robotics consultant.

Hanson has now used artificial intelligence and new skin materials to create a realistic android called Sophia. David Hanson’s talks explain how the world will look when it is filled with androids.



  1. Gary Hamel

Gary Hamel is the author of “The Future of Management,� a future he’s been bringing to businesses throughout his career. As a consultant, he’s helped a number of large brands update their management and production processes, helping them get more out of their employees and develop more efficient ways to generate innovation.

While many futurist speakers focus on how demand will change, Gary Hamel talks about how management will change to meet that demand.



  1. Hakeem Oluseyi

Most futurist speakers focus on how the future will affect business. Hakeem Oluyesi is more about the science. A difficult childhood, which involved ten schools in seven years, led to plenty of reading and science television.

After completing a Ph.D. at Stanford, Oluyesi worked on computer chips in Silicon Valley then moved to NASA where he is now the organization’s Space Education Lead.

Elon Musk might be building the rockets that will take us to space but Hakeem Oluyesi understands what we’ll find when we get there.


  1. Magnus Lindkvist

Magnus Lindkvist notices the small stuff. In his book, “Minifesto,� he explains how small ideas will help to build large narratives.

At the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship, Lindkvist created the world’s first academically accredited course in Trendspotting and Future Thinking. His talks focus on how we think about the world, and how we can use those thoughts to understand, predict, and build the future.




  1. Rachel Armstrong

Much of the future will focus on building and improving sustainable environmental solutions. Rachel Armstrong is a professor at Newcastle University in experimental architecture. She looks for innovative environmental solutions to address challenges such as carbon capture, recycling, smart materials and sustainable design.

Armstrong’s expertise is in synthetic biology which she believes could offer sustainable solutions to built environments.



  1. Richard Watson

Richard Watson is a Futurist-in-Residence for the Technology Foresight Practice at Imperial College and a founding member of Futures House, a scenario planning consultancy.

Watson’s talks focus on trends and strategic foresight, but his skill is applying those trends to innovation, retail, and other industries, and explaining how those industries will need to adapt.



  1. Rohit Bhargava

After 15 years at two of the world’s biggest marketing and branding companies, Rohit Bhargava struck out on his own, forming three companies. He is the founder of the Non-Obvious Company, and also its Chief Trend Curator.

Bhargava’s Non-Obvious Trend Report is published at the end of every year and is read by more than a million people.




Top Image Credit: maria eduarda tavares; pexels

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5 Tips for Making Onboarding Global Employees Easier than Ever

onboarding global employees

Onboarding is the process companies use to integrate new employees into their teams, the keyword being “integrate.â€� Employees need to become one with the company quickly. The employee who fails to assimilate both the needed information and culture will be headed for the door — taking the company’s initial investment with them.

Onboarding any employee is a challenge. Onboarding an internationally-based employee is a different beast entirely — requiring special care and teaching ability.

Creating a solid onboarding strategy can help you avoid the loss of promising talent at home and abroad. Here are five tips you can use to make onboarding your global workforce a little easier:

1. Prepare to pay up.

The first question of onboarding will always be about payment processes. For global workers, those can be complex. Different countries have different rules and regulations for cross-border payments. Not all banks are prepared to facilitate such transactions.

Implementing an international payroll system is a huge undertaking, but it’s necessary to ensure employees are paid promptly. Lean on a payroll partner to handle all the taxes and withholding required by the team member’s home country.

If you want your international workers to trust your business, you need to back up your word with hard cash. A global payroll system is part and parcel of being reliable to international employees.

2. Be proactive — and reactive.

Your onboarding plan must be comprehensive and tailored to each of your international locations. Onboarding begins with pre-boarding and lasts throughout the first year, with a half-dozen or so key milestones along the way.

Step one is to provide access to your online onboarding portal as soon as an employee accepts your offer. Ensure this portal has accessibility features, such as translation tools for people whose primary language is not English.

As soon as possible after hiring, employees should be introduced to important company individuals and to their primary team. Company introductions tend to focus on the home country; make sure to include information about your company’s global workforce as well. Explain the roles and responsibilities of existing team members to give your new hire a sense of their place in the business.

Check-in at the one-month, three-month, six-month and one-year marks. Don’t just throw your onboarding program out there to see what sticks. Provide substantive feedback from new and seasoned hires.

Remember not to rely solely upon your HR manager to gather feedback. Fellow employees, supervisors, and mentors might provide the most in-depth insight. Even interns and contractors can provide new hires with meaningful feedback, though you may need to prompt them to provide it.

Don’t forget to solicit feedback, too. What did your new team members like about their onboarding experience? What are their suggestions for improving it? Welcome both positive and negative feedback, as long as the information is constructive.

3. Mind your language.

There’s no beating around the bush: American English is full of idioms, which can be problematic for non-native speakers. Add in industry catchwords, abbreviations, and slang, and you can confuse even fluent global hires.

The fast-paced nature of business conversations compounds this challenge. For global workers who aren’t native English speakers, reading is likely easier than listening to company leaders speak. Put onboarding details in writing online where it can be accessed at any time — including team meeting minutes. Having a portal with all information available at all times gives global hires more time to read and absorb information.

As with pre-boarding materials, make meeting minutes available in employees’ native language when possible. If nobody on the team can translate, invest in professional translation services. The payoff is worth the price: Your new hires will more intimately understand the nuances of your company.

Be understanding if a new team member stumbles over their words when communicating with you. Remember, starting a new job is intimidating. If their language skills aren’t perfect, chances are good they will flub a phrase or two. Don’t take it as a demonstration of their skills.

4. Address cultural differences.

New hires aren’t a one-size-fits-all group, so onboarding shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all process. Engagement is the key to retention, so make sure you provide a culturally meaningful onboarding experience.

If you’re building a global workforce based in a number of foreign countries, it can be tough to grasp the nuances of each culture your workers hail from. Sometimes, the easiest way to bridge cultural divides is by encouraging employees of different cultures to educate one another. Encourage them to ask questions if they don’t know what is being said.

Start things off on the right foot. Hold icebreakers where workers can talk about their backgrounds in a productive way. Facilitate “did you knowâ€� and “would you rather sessions.â€� Questions are not only less intimidating in this climate — but they make it easy for team members to get to know each other.

It’s vital that collaborative teams understand one another on both personal and professional levels. There’s no easy way to bridge cultural gaps, but one of the best is through casual interactions. Make space for chit chat, fun activities, and other diversions to bring workers closer together. The result will be teams that are more understanding, better informed, and more efficient than they would be otherwise.

5. Watch the clock.

Navigating time zones can be tough for global teams. The more offices you have, the more time zones you have to work with.

If offices are in three or more time zones, consider scheduling meetings and events using Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC is a time standard, not a time zone. Employees can calibrate their local time to UTC without the need to Google everyone else’s time zone. There are various calendar apps and scheduling apps that will make these conversions for you so that you don’t have to stop and calculate time.

Regardless, the responsibility is on you to schedule times that work well for everyone. No new employee wants to be embarrassed by missing a meeting because it’s at 3 a.m. local time — or someone miscalculated the time or date. International workers’ hours may not always align with your own, but giving them some breathing room is crucial for getting off on the right foot.

Business is an increasingly international game. Building a global team is the only way to rise to the challenge. By onboarding your international hires well, you’re setting your business up to win in the 21st century.

Image Credit: andrea piacquadio; pexels

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Blockchain collectible nft non-fungible token Play wax

Top Digital Collectibles on WAX Blockchain of 2020

wax blockchain

The world of collectibles has changed. There was a time when the only place to trade collectibles was with a stack of dog-eared cards in the corner of the schoolyard. That was fun until you left school. eBay created a market that was always open and now covers everything from baseball cards to works of art. It’s a place where sellers can always find buyers, buyers can always find sellers, and everyone can find current prices. But even eBay still requires shipping goods, and buyers still need to hope that a rare item on offer is as genuine as the seller claims. Here are to top digital collectibles on WAX blockchain of 2020.

Digital Collectible Have Changed and Will Keep Changing

Digital collectibles have changed everything again. Instead of packing up a card or a figure into a box — the exchange takes place online. And instead of hoping that you haven’t accidentally bought a forgery, the blockchain provides an immutable record of ownership.

While Ethereum gets a lot of attention for artists seeking to distribute and sell their digital art, a blockchain called WAX has quietly become a leading distributor of digital collectibles that bring back the nostalgia of opening a “pack� of cards.

Known in the community as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) listed here are the ten best digital collectibles that came out on the WAX blockchain this year.

  1. Blockchain Heroes

Blockchain HeroesBlockchain Heroes demonstrated not only that a new intellectual property can succeed, but it also showed how to build and engage with a community and innovate technology.

The collection of colorful blockchain heroes and villains are dynamic and vibrant, but they’re also set in a dramatic universe where the evil Centralizers seek to wrestle control from the people. Events bring players together on Telegram, while gamification allows collectors to improve their items.

  1. KOGs

KOG'sKOGs are the biggest-selling intellectual property on the WAX blockchain. As well as collecting and trading KOGs, owners will soon be able to play games with them, extending their functionality and enhancing the fun. And they’re endlessly varied.

KOGs introduced the notion of variations of collectibles, ensuring a steady stream of unique items. The Telegram group is at

  1. Topps Garbage Pail Kids

Garbage Pail Kids The Garbage Pail Kids were the first major intellectual property to reach the WAX blockchain. First released as cards by baseball card maker Topps in 1985, the return of the property in digital form on its 35th anniversary showed that digital collectibles could work even for major brands.

The theme of a set of collectibles didn’t have to focused only on the digital world. Powered by a wave of nostalgia, the first series of collectibles sold out in 28 hours.

  1. Bitcoin Origins

Bitcoin OriginsBitcoin Heroes celebrates the characters who fight the centralizers and battle for freedom from authoritarianism.

Bitcoin Origins marks the most important moments in that fight. Using artistic renditions of 15 key Bitcoin moments, Bitcoin Origins give collectors a record of the Genesis Block, the creation of the White Paper, propagation, and more. Together with Bitcoin Heroes, it’s history you can own. Join the Telegram group.

  1. GoPepe

GoPepeGoPepe claims to have the “dankest collectibles� on WAX. The team behind the Pepe-the-frog-inspired collection is anonymous, ensuring that all of the attention remains on the cards and their artwork. And on the cards’ burn mechanism.

Although the initial release was for 160,000 cards, 140,000 of them are burnable. Collect five identical cards, and you can upgrade them to a rarer card, burning away the five you’ve collected.

It makes digital collecting even hotter and gave makers of digital collectibles a new template.

  1. UpliftArt

UpliftArt Musician Michael Blu created the world’s first NFT music video and he continues to pioneer digital collectibles with a series designed to benefit charity. is unique in its attempt to give collectors genuine works of art, created by artists, and supported by the WAX blockchain. Collectors can still trade and burn their way towards rarities but they can also keep and admire some valuable artworks.

A portion of the drops support children in Haiti. Join the Telegram group and support some creative philanthropy.

  1. CryptomonKeys

CryptomonKeys So what do you do once you own some rare digital cards? You want to share them. You want to show them to the community and see them move around as memes. CryptomonKeys come from SoggyApplePie and bantano, core team members of the cryptocurrency project BANANO. The collection features a set of fun monkeys to own and trade, with a portion of funds raised from secondary sales going to charity. Community is everything at CryptomonKeys. You can join it on Telegram.

  1. NiftyWizards

NiftyWizards The KeeperNiftyWizards puts NFTs to use. The digital collectibles function as tools in a choose-your-adventure game played entirely on Telegram. You’ll need to collect gold and scrolls and keys, as well as beer and weed, and trade them to complete quests.

The game even has its own currency, DUST, that you earn as you play. You can join some unique, old school fun at

  1. Dark Country

Dark CountryDark Country shows that digital collectibles don’t have to be cute and whimsical. With a grim story, ancient rituals, and card collections made up of a ghostly ancestral guard and the reanimated dead, the collectibles combine the best of classic card games with unique social features and tangible digital assets. Players chat and swap their ghost stories on the Telegram channel.

  1. The Nifty Box

The Nifty Box The NiftyBox proves that it’s possible to apply a subscription-based sales model even to the world of digital collectibles.

For a set annual fee, members of the world’s first subscription box for digital collectibles and NFTs receive a regular airdrop of collectibles to their wallets.

They get at least 8-10 drops every month, the ability to redeem NFTs for physical products, and they even have the right to transfer their membership card. That’s not something you see often in real-world subscription models.

Top Image Credit: 3_RezPhede_Auditor

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Connect Connected Devices sales tools

Top Sales Tools for Virtual Selling

virtual sales tools

We are in unprecedented times in business because of COVID-19 — and extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. All of the world’s problems, at present, have forced the tech industry to rapidly pivot to develop products and services to match business virtual needs. Virtual everything is at the forefront of everyone’s mind — and virtual selling will keep business and the economy moving. Here are the top sales tools for virtual selling.

Top Sales Tools for Virtual Selling

Prezi Video

  1. Prezi Video 

It’s time to say goodbye to screen-share. Sales pitch presentations are no longer happening in person, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the face-to-face connection for virtual selling.

Prezi Video is a sales tool that lets you interact with your on-screen content like a newscaster or weather-person as you present on live or recorded video. Prezi Video allows sales professionals to have a presence within their visual content while maintaining eye contact with their audience. Many professionals don’t understand the eye-contact as essential to help establish the human connection and facilitate the two-way conversation — but Prezi Video gets that eye-contact is essential for effective sales pitches.

Through Prezi Video, you can visualize data, share case studies, and showcase products as you engage and build rapport with potential customers on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, Google Meet, and most video conferencing platforms. Sales pros can also use Prezi Video to record engaging and memorable prospecting videos to share via email or social channels. Nifty.

Owler virtual selling

2. Owler

News monitoring tools like Owler can ensure you stay on top of industry updates, announcements, and events without the added effort. With Owler, you can create a customized news feed for competitor news – the platform allows users to filter in the most relevant information, provides complete company profiles, and generates automatic insights.

Owler Daily Snapshots feature is akin to having your very own theSkimm tailored for your business. If you were looking for a sign to graduate from Google Alerts, this is it.

Khoros virtual selling

3. Khoros

Community management can feel like a whirlwind at times with the sheer volume of conversations happening at any given moment. Khoros turns cacophony into a streamlined dialogue by simplifying social media listening with automatic insights and providing a clean interface to ease community management.

Customer acquisition and engagement doesn’t have to be dizzying if you have the right sales tools.

Regie virtual selling

4. Regie
Many sales tools offer endless optionality and functionality. While that might be nice for expansive enterprises, most companies drown in the product. It’s like attempting to mow your lawn with a helicopter; it’s technically possible, but you’re probably wasting your time (and money).

Regie is a sales engagement tool with guardrails. This tool takes your marketing list (or buyer persona) and turns it into qualified sales meetings. Regie streamlines your workflow and focuses on the most important leading indicators — sales meetings and qualified opportunities.

Regie automates repetitive sales operations tasks and offers timely recommendations on your sales and prospecting strategy. Regie is different not because of the endless things it can do, but because of what it won’t do — waste your time.

Salesforce virtual selling

5. Salesforce

As its name suggests, Salesforce is a powerful sales tool. This multifaceted customer relationship management platform helps with everything from task management to customer service, employee performance management, and tracking. You can customize Salesforce to your needs using the sleuth of add-ons and build your own sales toolkit.


RankTools virtual selling

6. RankTools

RankTools is essential for any sales team who relies on SEO and moving into 2021, that will be just about everyone as digital marketing has become more important than ever. RankTools offers a variety of different products that help with reporting and analysis and is pretty much a one-stop-shop for all your SEO needs.

The RankTools SEO Tool package fully analyzes your website to ensure you’re implementing all the necessary practices for the best SEO optimization, and you can even track your competitors’ websites to see what you’re up against. It doesn’t just show where you’re lacking but informs you of the steps you need to take to improve.

Lucidchart virtual selling


8. AeroLeads

Any B2B business knows how tedious manually digging for leads can be and how time-consuming it is to keep databases up to date. AeroLeads scouts contact information and stores it in an easy-on-the-eyes interface while checking in on your existing contacts for outdated information. Use this tool to simplify your contact research and keep your data current and organized.

CircleBack virtual sales

9. CircleBack

We’ve all had that moment of endless scrolling through email threads looking for that one person whose name we vaguely recall. Can you count how many business cards you’ve lost or accidentally thrown in the trash? With CircleBack, you won’t ever have to spend another minute of your time digging.

CircleBack pulls contact information from the depths of your conversations (whether they be email exchanges or text messages) and compiles them into a single neatly organized address book. You can scan contact cards for safekeeping in an instant, automatically delete duplicates, and trust this tool to save contact information from all your interactions so you can stay productive.


Having great connectivity with your customers and understanding your customers persona has always been a hallmark of good sales in business — and never so more than now. Find sales tools that will catapult your sales in the new year — it all begins with a finely-tuned virtual sales tool at present.


Top Image Credit: nataliya vaitkevich; pexels

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How to Capitalize on 2021’s Sales Tech Trends

sales tech trends

Tech is no longer just the domain of the IT team. First, marketers got their hands on analytics tools. Then finance swapped spreadsheets for cloud accounting tools. Human resources adopted personnel management platforms soon after.

As tech becomes ubiquitous in the modern office, it’s sales’ turn: industry-shifting tech trends are at hand. In 2021, they’ll revolutionize how teams sell.

Sales tech can already help teams operate more efficiently, but the newest developments in software are pushing performance to new heights. Some of the most promising trends to keep an eye on in the coming year include:

Conversation Management

A sales innovation poised to make a difference in 2021 is the ability to track customer conversations. Through email tools, sales teams’ conversations with prospects will be more efficient and more effective.

Salespeople need to know whether their communications are getting through to plan their attack. Email tracking enables salespeople to see who’s opened their emails and when. Someone who hasn’t opened one email in ten probably isn’t worth continuing to follow up with.

Existing best practices, such as A/B testing, can benefit from email tracking as well. If one subject line gets twice the opens that a second option does, it’s a safe bet the first will be more effective with untested prospects.

Email tracking is not entirely new, but 2021 is likely to be the year it sees market-wide adoption. Given the pandemic’s downward pressure on sales and upward pressure on remote selling, expect to see an uptick in the use of email tracking.

Channel-Agnostic Communication

These days, many sales teams work entirely remotely. Emails and group messages fly back and forth all day. Social media messages mixed in make things even more confusing.

2021 may be the beginning of truly cross-channel dashboards. Slack and Microsoft Teams, among others, seem headed this direction. Beyond text-based messaging, these tools facilitate calling and integrate with Google services.

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think they could add native social media integrations in 2021. Even popular streaming platforms, such as Twitch, may become grounds for brand-prospect communication.

Seamless integration between chat, phone, email, and social media channels will keep your team from wasting time trying to find relevant information. And the less time they spend hunting down details like address and company role, the more time they can spend actually selling.

Social Selling Tech

Making sales is all about building relationships with potential customers. That’s always been and always will be true. Knowing that fact, however, doesn’t make developing these relationships any easier.

Thanks to Covid-19, sales conversations that were once had in person are happening on social media. Social analytics tools can help you not just see where they’re happening but how positive or negative they are. These tools will pull out keywords that signal a user is ripe for engagement by a salesperson.

For sales teams, that data is as good as gold. Consumers who are talking about a brand in a good way are highly likely to buy from it. Those that are bashing it online aren’t worth your sales team’s time. Ambivalent conversations call for a quick message, not an in-depth one.

2021 will see steady adoption of sentiment analysis tools by teams outside of marketing, starting with sales. Social media is the marketplace and analytics the accelerator.

Pitch and Proposal Personalization

Personalization has been a best practice for years now, but some sales teams have been slow to adopt the technology. Because sales are already so personal, some salespeople see additional customization as unnecessary. 2021 will prove that reasoning wrong. Case and point: Many customers already expect it at this point, with 76% of consumers wanting the brands they interact with to anticipate and understand their needs.

One hotspot will be pitching. Salespeople have a bad habit of pitching products before they build rapport with potential customers. Personalization tools will nip that tendency in the bud.

Next-gen sales tools will track how leads interact with your website and spit out potential needs. By playing on those, salespeople will be able to show that they understand the customer’s goals and motivations.

Similar tools may do this for proposals. An email tool could look at how many times a customer mentioned a particular pain point, such as price. By recommending a discount, such technology could ease barriers to purchase in a personalized way.

Everyone wants to feel special. In 2021, invest in sales tools to make each customer feel like an individual. Because they are, and they’ll be more likely to buy when they’re treated that way.


The artificial intelligence transformation is upon us, but it may not yet be clear what exactly is getting transformed. Cybersecurity? Sure. Accounting? Of course. But what role does AI play in sales?

So far, much of the focus on AI has been limited to how it can be used in the context of customer interactions — think analytics and messaging automation. In the next year, AI will make a night-and-day difference in sales forecasting.

How will the pandemic’s pace of recovery impact your sales, for example? Well, AI tools can look at how not just the broader economy but businesses like yours are recovering. These sales tools will allow you to plug in the potential brand and market events for “what if� forecasting scenarios.

By 2021’s end, software may be able to predict which customers will purchase again and suggest when it’s time for salespeople to pursue new leads. By analyzing customer behavior in this way, AI will make boosting sales a matter of plugging in more data points.

Making changes to your sales tech can feel like taking a leap of faith. Why tune a sales engine that’s not broken? Isn’t it better to keep running at full tilt than to make a pitstop to integrate new technologies?

Without improvements under the hood, the truth is that your company’s sales function will never become faster or more powerful. There may be growing pains, but no disruption to your sales process will be more difficult than 2020 has been. And compared to a pandemic, these technologies have a lot more potential.

Image Credit: fauxels; pexels

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Gifts give something nice Hanukkah gifts holiday gifts last minute gifts Lifestyle ReadWrite

If You’re Headed to a Hanukkah Party Take a Gift, or Last Minute Gift Ideas

last minute gift ideas

If you are headed to a Hanukkah Party in the next eight days — don’t be a schmuck. Seriously, take a gift — just as you would for any other holiday celebration you are invited to attend in December.

This year of 2020 may be the most important year to show people that you care about them — the COVID-mentality is killing us all — and you may make all the difference to someone.

Flowers and candy are always appropriate to take to your host or hostess — but, since I’m unusual, I like to take something different as a host or hostess gift. My family expects something awesome for the holidays — so I really keep my eyes peeled for good stuff that will be appreciated.

Here are a few more last-minute gift ideas for any of your holiday celebrations with friends, family — or colleagues.

take a gift
CLEAR2O — PERSONAL WATER FILTER – for your hiking buddy.

With COVID on my mind, I’m making sure I’m more prepared for disasters — I got this water bottle for my hiking buddy — and yes, I’m taking it to a party! (Covid-careful-party-of-course.) It looks pretty cool, too. CLEAR2O® Personal Water Filter Dual Filtration transforms open water sources by removing bacteria and parasites, preventing waterborne disease.
Easy to use and drink directly from streams and lakes, or fill up a container and enjoy clean water on the go. Be prepared during most natural disasters with CLEAR2O®
foot massager
DeCare Foot Massager, Kneading Shiatsu Therapy Massage — for my buddy’s wife.

2. DeCare Foot Massager, Kneading Shiatsu Therapy Massage, Relieve Foot Pain 

I’m taking this foot massager to the same party, same household. The wife is running around madly, taking care of three kids who are SO active. I think she’ll get a kick out of this foot massager. I got one of these massagers for myself from Amazon — try to get this particular one — but if they are out, or you have a party tonight, I heard Walgreens has some good ones.

This is such a great gift — it even fits large feet. The timer can be set at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 minutes. It’s really quiet, so I’m trying to think about how I could keep one under my desk. Soothes tired feet and reinvigorate energy.

The massager also heats up, which is relaxing and relieves pain and improves blood flow — including in your legs. I really like that you can pull out the removable cover and wash it. Washes and dries quickly.

VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder
VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder

3. VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder 

When saying this grinder is for your techie — this grinder IS for your techie. They can’t believe it! Wrap up some exotic beans with this gift and everyone there will get a fresh cup. The grinder is one that you can stick in your suitcase for travel (when we can really travel, after COVID this will be even MORE awesome.
It has a long-life stainless steel burr, which is faster and more effective than your regular coffee mill. You can grind from coarse to fine — even as fine as espresso. It only takes about 45 seconds for a cup — and you know the taste is better with fresh ground beans.
Early morning — can you smell the fresh cup…?
ATUMTEK dual monitor
ATUMTEK dual monitor arm stand with full 360* rotation

4. Dual Monitor Arm Stand with Full 360° Rotation for 15”-32” Screens

Customizable support dual monitors can be easily adjusted to provide additional comfort and support for the user. This is true ergonomic help for all of us. I’m working on getting these dual monitor stands for all of my team members — especially those who are getting their home offices in shape for the long-haul. These also have universal accessibility.
You can spread these monitors out to 32 inches (that’s big), swivel the monitor around to show the screen to a colleague — or, ya know — quickly swivel the screen to show your wife something on your screen from your office — when she’s sitting in her office across the hall.
SimpleSENCE Home Leak Detection
SimpleSENCE Home Leak Detection

5. SimpleSENCE Home Leak Detection

This is a leak and freeze sensor for in-home use and it’s WiFI connected. It a multi-sensor system that instantly detects and alerts you on your phone if a leak starts. If you’ve ever had a leak while you’ve been out-or-town, you know what a disaster that is.
Now, you’ll be alerted, and you can hurry and call a neighbor or repair person. No more ruined wood floor because you’ve been out-of-town for two weeks during a leak. This little sensor is a way to really feel safe — especially when you’re away from home.
3 in 1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer
3 in 1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer

6. Coraluv US 3 in 1 UV Sterilizer and Dryer

NOT JUST FOR BOTTLES — read on — truly transformative. Serializes and dries baby, household, and all kinds of day to day items without the need for water and heat. Kills 99.9% of germs in as little as 10 minutes.
This sterilizer and dryer has smart UV-C technology making it possible to sterilize plush toys, mobile phones, stuff around the office people keep touching — eyeglasses, kitchenware, and much more.
abode iota smart home security syster
abode iota Smart Home Security System

7. abode iota – Smart Home Security System

The abode iota smart home security system has great video streaming capabilities. The iota is a built-in HD camera with a motion sensor, 93db siren, and two-way voice. I like that these are easy to install, and you can put them anywhere — and they are less noticeable than your other cameras.
The WiFi connectivity allows you to take advantage of its features by putting it in a spot that makes the most sense for you. You’ll want the starter kit, and then you can build on more features in your system from there.
CR-X Series Creative Reference Multimedia
CR-X Series Creative Reference Multimedia

8. Mackie CR-X Series Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors

You’ll have to hop on the site to get all the specs on these beauties. They have a sleek brushed metal grille and outlined design. These monitors stand out in your home office — and especially “showy” in your downtown office. They have premium woofers and tweeters, have high-headroom amps that deliver what you want: a clear, punchy sound. You can control the volume and side of the desk you want more volume delivered to.
You can use these for professional-grade optimized sonic performances — use pro tools for first-rate professional recording (recording software and plugin package included). You won’t believe the sound quality. So, making music, create content, or just relax to your tunes. Okay — I bought these for a friend but kept these for myself — but I WILL  get another set for that friend.
Kyvol Cybovoc E31
Kyvol Cybovoc E31

9. Kyvol Cybovac S31

I have the Kyvol Cybovac S30 and decided to see if the Kyvol Cybovac S31 update was worth the extra cash —  and it is. The best is the auto emptying dustbin — especially for those with the honey-do-lists. The vac picks up dirt, pet hair, and all the dust — but it digs deeper inside carpets with a really strong suction (3000Pa). I like that it’s pretty techie and fun to show off. Has remote cleaning and voice control. You can even run the vac with your Alexa or Google Assistant.
The Kyvol S32 has an external water tank for mopping — and thankfully, it’s quiet — about like a microwave sound.
This is a little expensive for a party gift (for me), but you should get one of these for your own home — and maybe one for the mother-in-law.

10. DropLabs


Music to your soul — by DropLabs

These are the coolest shoes — now you can have music in your soul —  and you feel the vibes down deep. This is the new digital entertainment coming to life right before your feet!

If you haven’t felt like exercising the last few months because of COVID — or whatever — these shoes by DropLabs will help your motivation.  You feel the vibrations of your tunes in your feet.

11. GOTRAX V2 Commuter Scooter 2020 Edition

GXL V2 Commuter Scooter 2020 Edition

This scooter is the improved 2020 model — the GXL V2. It’s an improvement on the already top-selling electric scooter. It has an improved console, battery life, folding mechanism, and has passed all of the stringent QC testings.

All I have to say here is that you have to have this scooter. It will take a minute or two for you to jump the curb — useless you ride all the time. Serious fun here. Each person at the office has had to take this baby home for the weekend.

A must for the self-gifter — and for someone special.


I’ve found that if you really want to be less stressed for the holidays — you should have a few items already purchased around your house at varying degrees of expense.
You WILL forget someone important and special on your list — not because you want to, but because we are all extra-stressed right now.
If you didn’t prepare for the holidays early — or you decided to keep something great for yourself — most of these items can be delivered by the next day from Amazon.

Give a nice, thoughtful gift for the holidays this year — make sure that something will be great in the year 2020 for your team, family and colleagues.

Image Credit: anna-louise; pexels

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AI Covid-19 changes things CRA ReadWrite

How Covid-19 Made Contract Review Automation a Risk-Management Must

contract review automation

Enterprise legal teams struggle to make time for lunch, much less contract review. They’re turning to automation, not just to get their lunch break back, but to address risky clauses automatically. Here is how COVID-19 made contract review automation (CRA) a risk-management must.

CRA monitors contract activity based on predefined internal legal policies to protect against risk in contracts under negotiation​. The technology helps companies mitigate risks that are tough to spot, even by trained legal eyes.

The efficiencies of CRA have proven popular in the Covid-19 economy. 

LawGeex, the pioneer and global leader of CRA, recently raised $20 million, cementing the NYC based startup as the de facto standard for legal teams looking to do more with less during uncertain business times.

What do firms like Corner Ventures see in CRA? They see a lot more than a risk management tool.

CRA’s Benefits Beyond Risk Management

Despite its recent funding boost, LawGeex began developing CRA in 2014. It’s since released six versions of the technology, earning it recognition by Gartner and HBO as a legal innovator.

“Each version incorporates customers’ requests and supports a rapidly growing demand,� says Judi Crimmins, LawGeex’s director of global marketing.

LawGeex leverages AI and machine learning to review, redline, and fix contractual issues during negotiation. Thanks to those innovative technologies, CRA is scalable and adaptable. Beyond mitigating risks, it cuts legal costs and shifts labor-intensive tasks away from legal teams.

“CRA doesn’t just work faster than people; it completes the work with greater accuracy,� Crimmins explains. “It helps future-proof and mitigate risk in contracts by ensuring all contracts are reviewed consistently.�

CRA does more than reduce risk and save money. By optimizing and accelerating the contract review process, CRA can also help organizations attract and retain young, talented lawyers. “Today’s law graduates aren’t eager to spend hours reading through contracts and discovery documents,� Crimmins notes, “They want to know they have a clear path forward.�

Ultimately, CRA offers a trio of benefits: Legal teams can increase enterprise capacity while retaining talent and maintaining control over risk mitigation. In doing so, CRA tools deliver sustainable business growth at scale​.

Remote Work Has Fueled CRA

Contract review is an ongoing business need. So why are venture firms betting so heavily on CRA in 2020?

In a phrase, remote work. Legal teams need to do more with less, and they need to do it all digitally.

“Videoconferencing for meetings and court appearances is now commonplace, as is the use of cloud computing software to facilitate remote work,� explains Nicole Black, a New York-based attorney and MyCase legal technology evangelist. Black points to CRA as a “next level� solution for remote legal teams that spend large amounts of time on contract analysis and drafting.

The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated both the development of and interest in AI-based technologies like CRA. Gartner research suggests that nearly 75% of enterprises will be in the “full operations� stage of AI implementation by 2024.

“Companies are looking for solutions that provide rapid results and can be operated from anywhere,� adds Crimmins. “CRA is a must to stay on pace with the new normal.�

In 2014, when LawGeex created CRA, it was a nice to have as a bonus. These days, Contract Review Automation is a must for cost-effective, high-quality legal services. And unlike human attorneys, CRA never needs a lunch break.

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