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Is Technological Progress Slowing Down?

Technology is amazing. And it seems to get even more impressive every year. Every day, there’s some new gadget or breakthrough in the news worth getting excited about. And every year, our collective capabilities as a species seem to be getting broader and further-reaching. 

For decades, we’ve seen a veritable explosion in technological development – an exponential curve of innovation that constantly takes us to new heights. And we’re told that this technological curve is continuing – that we’re still growing exponentially, with massive leaps forward every year. 

But is this really true? 

There’s a compelling case to be made that while technological progress is still moving forward, it’s slowing down. And if that’s true, we need to be prepared for the consequences of such a shift in momentum. 

The Low-Hanging Fruit

Our first clue that tech innovation is slowing down is a change to the traditional model of tech development. In many ways, technology is all about solving problems; every new tech advancement is a solution for some long-standing issue. It makes sense that our current wave of tech advancement resembles an exponential curve because new technologies make it faster and easier to solve other, often unrelated problems. 

For example, the development of the internet was revolutionary for technological development overall. People now can review massive databases of information, communicate with other like-minded professionals, share ideas, and even publish their ideas to a broader audience. These capabilities have led to new ideas and new technologies that otherwise could never have been possible. 

But this trajectory is limited. In the course of tech development, we often explore new territory very quickly – but only for a limited period of time. Think of it this way. As early human beings began exploring new territory, they found themselves surrounded by an abundance of game animals, trees, and fish. But as they hunted, harvested lumber, and fished, many of those resources began to dry up. In other words, they’d taken all the low-hanging fruit, and were forced to come up with new ideas. They had to explore new territory, invent new agricultural methods, and even find new sources of nourishment. 

Our current burst of technological progress could be almost exclusively focused on low-hanging fruit. We’re solving the easiest problems first, and we’re solving them in quick succession. But the hard problems – like general intelligence-level AI, efficient battery storage, and even finding a cure for cancer – show little progress even over the course of decades. 

Any futurist will tell you that all of humanity’s problems can be solved eventually. But we have to understand that our pace of innovation tends to slow down as we master all the “easy� problems and start looking at the “hard� ones. 

Digital Innovation vs. Chemical Innovation 

We also need to understand that most of the tech progress we’ve seen in the past 30 or 40 years has been limited to the digital world. These technologies have been astounding, accelerated by novel high-growth startups, but they’ve almost been exclusively focused on digital communication efficiency. The internet, software engineering, and AI have all taken amazing strides forward. But on the level of chemistry and physics, we’ve advanced very little. 

We’re still incredibly reliant on non-renewable resources to fuel our consumption. We haven’t discovered any groundbreaking new elements, molecules, or chemical processes. And our understanding of the universe at the base level of physics hasn’t changed much, if at all, since the 1980s. We’re still struggling to reconcile major physics ideas that were first introduced nearly 100 years ago. 

So what? Digital innovation may be so incredibly fast-paced that it can be the conduit through which we solve all other problems, right? 

That may not be the case. For the majority of the digital age, we’ve depended on the momentum of Moore’s law. Moore’s law is an informal observation that the number of transistors that we can fit on a dense integrated circuit tends to double every two years. In other words, our computing power can double every two years, leading to major breakthroughs in a number of different technologies. 

However, it appears that the age of Moore’s law may be nearing its end. There’s an absolute physical limit to the amount of space on a transistor chip. With exponential growth since the 1960s, we’ve gone from integrated circuits with 10 transistors to ICs with something like 10 billion transistors. How much further can we really go without breaking the laws of physics? 

We may be able to push things even further, but to do so, we’ll need to invest in high-end chipmaking equipment and innovate entirely new manufacturing methods. Doing so will sharply increase the cost of chip production, ultimately negating the cost-effectiveness benefits. 

Of course, there’s a solid counterargument here. It holds that digital innovation may continue at the same rate of exponential growth even if we’re unable to maintain the consistency of Moore’s law; even if the number of transistors on a chip remains more or less stagnant, we can find new ways to use the chips we already have. 

Consumer Products and Perceptions 

We see an endless conveyor belt of new gadgets and new consumer-facing technologies emerging on a constant basis. But how innovative are all these products, really? 

Apple introduced the iPhone, a game-changing new type of technology, back in 2007. It combined several existing technologies into one, comprehensive unit, and changed the way we think about mobile tech forever. In the past 14 years, how much innovation have we truly seen in this space? We’ve seen a flock of competitors coming out with smartphone options of their own. And of course, we’ve seen Apple unveil a new model of iPhone nearly every year. 

But these new, “innovative� smartphones only make marginal improvements to the original formula. Their cameras are sharper. Their processing power is beefier. Their storage capacity and battery life are more robust. But they can hardly be considered new technology, at least not at the same groundbreaking level of their predecessor. 

As consumers, we’re getting used to a slower pace of technological breakthroughs. We’re content to see new smartphones, new video game consoles, and new TVs that offer merely slight improvements over their counterparts, rather than completely changing the game – and this is enough for us to continue thinking that we’re living in an age of exponential technology growth. 

What Does a Tech Slowdown Mean? 

So what does all this mean? Is it really a big deal that there’s a major tech slowdown? 

Much of our economic growth depends on technological innovation. Countless retirement plans like 401(k) depend on the growth of the stock market, which in turn depends on baseline economic growth; a slowdown in tech innovation leads to a slowdown in GDP, resulting in a cascade of economic effects that could cripple the economy at large. 

The larger danger is that we don’t realize the tech slowdown is occurring until it’s too late. Tech stocks are being traded and inflated as if they’re inventing fundamentally new technologies; as a general trend, they multiply in price in response to even the most meager announcements. If carried out for years to come, this could result in a massive tech bubble, or a broader investment bubble, that pops once investors begin realizing just how slow our growth has crawled. 

Of course, this slowdown may be merely a temporary lull. Just as the digital era sparked the launch of a million new problem-solving technologies, we may be on the cusp of another, equally paradigm-shifting breakthrough. To get there, we’ll need to refocus our research efforts and accept the limitations of the digital space. 

Our half-century long honeymoon with explosive tech growth in the digital era has been incredible, but it’s nearing its end. If we want to keep moving forward (as we should), we need to reset our expectations, redouble our research efforts, and start looking into new territory for technological expansion. 

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Private Equity Jobs in UAE: Opportunities in Dubai

PE jobs in UAE

UAE (United Arab Emirates) has one of the most flourishing economies globally, and it continues to grow.

The bustling city of Dubai provides unparalleled opportunities for PE firms to establish themselves in one of the world’s most developed cities.

We will discuss how the world sees Dubai in terms of setting up private equity firms and how the wealthy investors see UAE-based PE (Private Equity firms as their option to make investments through.

Dubai-based private equity firms and employment opportunities offer finance graduates from all over the world.

According to Statista research, the number of VC (venture capital) deals raised by UAE-based startups in 2018 amounted to an overwhelming number of 366. A whopping 893 million US dollars got raised in venture capital the same year.

The unique factor, or USP, of Dubai, is that it has been among the fastest-booming economies for many years.

By the end of this year, UAE’s GDP will grow sky high, to USD 375 billion, as per expert opinions and forecasted by the Trading Economics global macro models.

Overview — PE Market in UAE and Dubai

PE market

The legal status of pre-seed startups in MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region in 2020. Statista

The national. ae, a reputed private English daily newspaper published in Abu Dhabi, the PE market in MENA (the Middle East & North Africa) has had struggled of late.

However, investment opportunities have increased by manifolds. The Great Recession of 2008-09 saw UAE’s private equity market surviving comfortably amid the crisis.

Excluding the disappearance of a small percentage of PE firms that could not cope with the heat brought by the recession. But, in the last few years, the public markets have overshadowed or outperformed the private equity sector.

The biggest roadblock to the growth of private equity firms in the UAE is the sudden emergence of too many firms in the PE sector of late.

Investments from Dubai’s Private Equity Firms

However, the number of investments made by Dubai’s top private equity firms has soared up in the recent past; contrary to that, some disappointments have been observed concerning PE in the said geographical region.

A few of such challenges faced by the best private equity firms based in UAE comprise a non-compatible geopolitical environment, continuous change in oil prices, and decreased federal spending.

Despite all of this, MENA’s geographical region is among the fastest-growing when it comes to gauging the median annual growth of GDP.

Services Offered by Dubai’s PE Industry

There are a limited number of services that get offered by the UAE-based private equity industry.

Compared to a wide range of services offered by its American and European counterparts, especially the US private equity firms.

Because the funds are lesser, the kind of services they offer is different than traditional funding.

You can make a private equity career in Dubai across three sub-divisions of PE.

Advisory Services

The number of funds available to private equity investment professionals in Dubai PE firms is less, but business relationships in the private equity sector matter the most.

The syndication and advisory services in the Dubai PE market are fully customizable and can solve customers’ financial issues.

Private equity firms, under advisory support — offer a significant range of services. The services include those from mezzanine and equity transactions to debt structuring. The general advisory service has all services available on demand.

Private equity professionals working in the Dubai PE market maintain healthy professional bonding with top financial institutions and investment banks globally.

Capital Advisory Assistance

Under the sub-division of Capital Advisory Assistance of PE, the services of Dubai-based firms offer major advisory services to Indian firms that seek to expand in the Middle East region.

The Capital Advisory Assistance helps as people consider Mergers and Acquisitions (M&E) deals.

Alongside offering assistance to the Indian businesses, PE firms in Dubai cater to small firms located within Dubai and the Middle East looking for expansion inorganically.

Funds Distribution

Dubai-based private equity firms are mostly MENA-region locale — but they’re regularly seeking investment growth opportunities.

The PE companies of UAE know how to make the commission or cut-it when offering advisory support. The Funds Distribution knows precisely what investors to tap onto.

The prospects PE firms of Dubai regularly seek comprise insurance firms, pension funds, large family-held assets, financial bodies under GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council), and sovereign wealth funds.

Top PE Firms of Dubai

Top Private Equity Firms based in Dubai:

  • Gulf Capital
  • CedarBridge Partners
  • The Abraaj Capital
  • NBK Capital Partners
  • Ithamar Capital

Recruitment Methodology for PE in Dubai

When seeking a position with a private equity job in Dubai or UAE, there is a protocol-process to land your perfect PE job.

Cover Letter and Resume

The first step to applying to a specific PE firm:

  • Go to the company website and find out as much about this company as possible.
  • Are you a good fit for them?
  • Find the Career section and look for HR’s email ID.
  • Send your detailed resume along with a cover letter to the HR email.
  • Ensure that your CV or resume is not more than two pages.
  • Similarly, have a precise and to the point cover letter.
  • Send these two documents to your preferred private equity firm.

Interview Shortlisting

Only 5-10 percent of all applications get shortlisted for personal interviews.

To make it to the short listings — you should give due consideration to what’s written on the “career” page of your chosen PE firm’s site.

Interview Rounds

First Round

The top-notch private equity firms in Dubai usually assign a recruitment agency for the initial round in the interview process.

The agency will conduct your first round of interviews in which your suitability for the job will be judged.

If the recruiter finds you suitable for the company, you will be sent to the next rounds of interviews for further testing.

Second Round

In the second round, you will be interviewed by the solicitor and partner of the PE firm. In the second round, you will be asked a few personality-related and technical questions.

If you qualify for this round, you will go to the next round, in which you will get to meet the HR and the MD of the firm.

Third Round

The third round is your final found. Generally, if you pass this round, you have a good chance of being hired by the firm.

PE Salaries in UAE

The Payscale of a private equity analyst in the UAE earns a median annual pay of AED 200,000.

CPEP (Chartered Private Equity Professional) Certification for those hoping to be hired as a PE Professional

CPEPâ„¢ by USPEC (the United States Private Equity Council).

This body of professionals is a globally-recognized accreditation body in the private equity sector. The CPEP by USPEC is one of the most valuable and industry-relevant professional certifications available to be acquired by the PE aspirants in recent times.

Founded on the world’s most powerful USPEC IFIS™ framework, the CPEP™ credential in the private equity sector has gained widespread prominence.

These professionals are among finance graduates and early-career PE professionals worldwide.

Check out applicability and candidacy for the PE certification before applying on the USPEC’s website.

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6 Brilliant Brain Hacks for the Remote Worker

brain hacks

What was once a niche work lifestyle has become commonplace. Millions of Americans now work remotely – and millions more are ready to join in. While remote working offers many benefits, it also has its own distinct challenges that must be worked through. Understanding how to power through friction and optimize productivity for better output is the goal. Here are six brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

Do you know where to start? Here is a practical guide to on-boarding remote engineers from a topmost expert. Consider these 6 brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

The Upward Climb on Remote Working

If you work from home, you used to be the anomaly. Today, you’re in good company. Pretty soon, you’ll be part of the majority.

According to Global Workplace Analytics and Quarterly Global, the leader in PR, marketing and advertising, the number of individuals working from home has grown by 173 percent since 2005.

Overall, 4.7 million employees (roughly 3.4 percent of the overall workforce) work from home at least half the time.

Approximately 40 percent of American employers offer more flexible workplace options today than they did five years ago. But with 80 to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce saying they’d prefer to work outside the office at least some of the time, this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

As remote working becomes more commonplace, so will the need for better remote working strategies.

The Top Remote Working Challenges

Remote working is highly appealing and advantageous for freelancers, employees, and employers alike. But it’s not a perfect setup. There are plenty of challenges, including:

Blurred lines

Everyone wants to talk about tearing barriers between work and personal life, but too much overlap can equally problematic. One of the keys to maintaining optimal work-life balance is being able to separate the two. When you work out of the house, it’s challenging to carve out a meaningful division between each area. This can make you less effective in both aspects of your life.

Distractions

Have you ever tried to work from home when you have a house full of rambunctious children? Or what about participating in a conference call in the middle of a loud coffee shop? Wherever you’re working, distractions abound.

Procrastination

Whether you’re an employee or freelancer, your remote working status typically comes with greater freedom in how you manage your time. If you aren’t careful, procrastination can get the best of you. Over time, it may even become habitual.

Inconsistency

When working in an office, there’s something to be said for the predictability. You basically know what to expect. Your desk is in the same place, you see the same people, and you go through the same basic routines. Remote workers rarely have the luxury of consistency. This makes it hard to get in a state of flow.

Communication

We may have more communication methods than ever before, but there’s still nothing that can fully replicate being face-to-face in the same physical space. For remote workers, trying to communicate via a combination of phone, email, SMS, and video chat creates an extra layer of friction.

Isolation

Finally, remote working often gives rise to feelings of isolation – particularly in people with extroverted personalities. This can lead to boredom, pessimism, and a lack of drive. It can even have serious side effects, like anxiety or depression.

Most people ignore these challenges, and the results show. But if you’re someone who wants to increase productivity and maximize output, you need a better strategy.

You need to find what works.

And once you discover what works, you need to bottle it up and use it to your advantage.

Powerful Brain Hacks for Better Results

Brain hacking.

It sounds like a buzzword – and it kind of is. But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Our brains are constantly being shaped by events, experiences, external stimuli, and other environmental factors. And as weird as it may sound, the human brain is subject to regular physical and cognitive changes.

The neuroplasticity concept says that the brain, like muscles in the body, becomes weaker or stronger over time. It’s continuously changing and rewiring. Over time, targeted techniques and purposeful strategies can morph into automatic habits and processes.

These targeted techniques and strategies are brain hacking. And it’s something that every remote worker can do to overcome the aforementioned challenges and optimize productivity and output.

Here are some brain hacks you may find helpful:

  1. Try Intermittent Fasting for Better Focus

Intermittent fasting is a biohacking concept that involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. There are various techniques, but the most common is to eat all of your meals in one eight-hour window. In other words, you’re fasting for 16 hours every day.

If you’re someone who loves food, this probably sounds impossible.

However, it’s not nearly as difficult as it initially seems.

It basically means you eat your first meal at 11 a.m. and your last meal at 7 p.m. (or whatever variation works for you).

Aside from the fat loss and metabolism benefits, intermittent fasting actually helps with focus. The consolidated intake of food prevents wasted energy from digesting food. Instead, you’re able to allocate those energy reserves to concentrate on work-related tasks.

On a related note, be mindful of what you eat.

While health professionals have spent years telling people to avoid fat, the truth is that you need healthy fats to maximize cognitive functioning.

Why?

It’s pretty simple: The human brain is 60 percent fat.

When you eat, try incorporating items like eggs, avocados, nuts, salmon, trout, and coconut oil into your meals.

  1. Eliminate Digital Media from Your Morning Routine

Bing! Bing! Bing!

Your morning alarm goes off.

You slap the snooze button. Once. Twice. Three times.

Once you finally come to your senses, you grab your phone, pull up Instagram, and start scrolling.

Then you get out of bed, walk downstairs, and turn on the news.

While watching the news, you reply to a couple of late-night texts that came in while you were sleeping.

Over breakfast, you check your email.

It’s not even 8 a.m., and you’ve consumed more digital media than your brain can process. You’ve also unintentionally heightened your stress level, stifled your creativity, and destroyed your focus.

When you start your day with digital media, you’re actually beginning your morning playing catch-up on what happened yesterday. You’re also letting other people dictate how you feel. You haven’t even started working, and stress, worry, and discontentment become the resounding feelings of the day.

Try taking a digital fast for the first two to three hours each day.

In a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia, 124 individuals were asked to check their email frequently for one week. The next week, they were told only to check their email three times per day (and to disable all notifications).

The data was analyzed against the time spent viewing email, and participants reported feeling significantly lower stress levels and higher feelings of positivity when email exposure was limited.

Once you cut back on exposure to email, social media, news, and other digital media forms, you’ll start to feel the positive effects.

While everyone can benefit from less digital media exposure, it’s especially helpful for remote workers close to digital distractions like the TV, video game systems, and personal smart devices.

  1. Leverage the Pomodoro Technique for Better Scheduling

Americans have a love affair with multitasking. We wear our ability to juggle responsibilities like a badge of honor.

But research shows that multitasking actually suppresses productivity. And if you work from home, where personal distractions are omnipresent, it can severely limit your output.

Enter the Pomodoro Technique – a revolutionary brain hacking method that remote workers have been using for years to increase focus and productivity.

The Pomodoro Technique consists of breaking your workday into 25-minute sections of work separated by five-minute breaks. Each one of these half-hour chunks is referred to as a Pomodoro. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you take an extended break of 15 to 20 minutes.

These 15- to 20-minute breaks can be used for remote workers to do tasks around the house – such as folding laundry, fixing lunch, or taking a shower. This allows you to be productive with work while also taking full advantage of the fact that you’re home.

  1. Use Parkinson’s Law to Avoid Procrastination

In a satirical piece written for the Economist in 1955, British naval historian Cyril Parkinson made the following statement:

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.�

He would later write a book that fleshed out this idea. Eventually, people would refer to this concept as Parkinson’s Law.

In a remote work setting, Parkinson’s Law states that the time it takes to complete a work project depends on how much time you allot for it. In other words, if you give yourself eight hours, you’ll slow down and make it take eight hours. If, however, you only give yourself five yours, you’ll block out distractions and get it done in five hours.

If you’ve grown weary of procrastination and hope to finish your work faster and more efficiently, you need to set tighter deadlines.

Instead of telling a client, you’ll have the project done by next Friday, tell them you’ll have it in by next Tuesday. By tightening the time constraints, you force yourself to work more efficiently.

  1. Optimize Your Home Office for Productivity

One of the major challenges of working from home is that you’re forced to create a professional workspace in the middle of a very personal place.

But this is also one of the distinct advantages.

You have the capacity to design your own workspace – so why not optimize your at-home workspace in a way that puts your brain in the right frame of mind to be productive?

For starters, choose a room in the house that’s as far away from communal living areas as possible. In other words, being located right off the living room isn’t ideal. You’re much better off positioning a home office in the back corner of the house.

Secondly, you need natural light. It plays a catalytic role in brain performance, creativity, and focus.

Thirdly, paint your office walls a soothing color. The principles of color psychology suggest cool greens, blues, or neutrals. Avoid colors like red and orange, which provoke feelings of urgency.

Finally, eliminate distractions by avoiding clutter. While some creative minds thrive in messy environments, the vast majority of people wilt. Clutter zaps up energy and makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. By adopting a minimalist environment, you can get more done with less effort.

  1. Keep a Schedule

The human brain thrives on predictability. Remote working is far less predictable than working in an office where you’re expected to show up, take lunch, and go home at the same time each day.

If you want to give your brain a solid framework to latch onto, a consistent schedule is necessary.

Start your day by having your alarm go off at the same time every single morning.

After waking, implement a consistent routine that helps you transition from personal duties to professional responsibilities.

Start working each day simultaneously and use a couple of familiar tasks to help your brain slip into the right frame of mind.

Taking lunch at the same time is also advisable – particularly if you’re leveraging intermittent fasting.

The hardest part for most remote workers is “clocking out� at a consistent time. It’s easy to continue working and filling time until late in the evening. To prevent this from happening, try scheduling obligations in the evening. This makes it less likely that you’ll keep working.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Not all of these brain hacks and strategies will appeal to you. It’s all about finding your best approach and leveraging whatever it is that helps you achieve a state of flow.

What works for you?

How can you set yourself up for max productivity?

Your approach will differ from the next person’s – so don’t try to mimic or replicate what others are doing. Instead, become like a scientist in the laboratory. Mix, match, and blend proprietary formulas until you discover a brain hacking system that puts you on a path for success.

Image Credit: David Cassolato; Pexels

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HR Automation – The Way to Ensure Stable Business Growth

automate HR

We are living in the age of technology and innovation. Traditional processes and workflows have become outdated. Operations and process models are being reinvented to increase cost-effectiveness. However, not all businesses are adapting to the revolutionized business process, which results in increased costs, a lack of efficiency, and halted growth. Outdated processes end up damaging your business and cause loss of customers.

First and foremost, you need to consider which processes add value to the foundation of your business. To your employees. Businesses often focus on acquiring and retaining clients and customers, all the while neglecting HR processes. This works well initially, but as organizations grow, problems due to lack of process start piling up.

HR management is one of the key pillars of any business.HR processes ensure the recruitment of new employees, training professionals, and ensuring compliance with local labor laws.

Today automation is becoming part of a continuous transformation of HR processes. The main task is to release department employees from routine work, digitize the paper processes, and leave more time for planning and strategy. Thus, business reduces costs and time spent on previously inefficient HR processes.

By automating human resources management, organizations can quickly design, optimize, integrate, and implement the required services at a significantly lower cost. With the right implementation, HR automation can bring indispensable perks.

Just check out some benefits of HR automation:

  • Increased productivity through rapid data processing and sharing
  • Reduction of staff turnover due to increased employee involvement
  • Reduced storage and printing costs associated with paper processing
  • Stay away from the risk of non-compliance or policy violations.
  • Increase organizational growth through effective recruitment at optimal operating costs

It is necessary to identify the most vulnerable spots in the HR workflow accurately to reach these benefits. Typically, the most critical aspects are:

Image for post

1. Onboarding

Integrating an employee into all work processes is still one of the most “manualâ€� HR processes. It includes verification, providing access to new employees’ tools, raising requests for devices, and much more. Due to the software, even such processes may be automated.

The onboarding software for employees offers a simple checklist to which all users involved in the process can refer. In a few hours, the new employee will have access to corporate standards, all the essential documents will be delivered just in time to the mail, and maintenance specialists will equip his workspace remotely.

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2. Time Tracking and Vacation requests

In short, manual time tracking is ineffective. Time tracking software automatically marks when an employee is in and out of work, allowing the manager to track how many hours an employee has spent on a particular task and evaluate its effectiveness. HR processes become more organized, rapid, and efficient.

Vacation approval documents are the headache of any HR manager. Preparing financial documents, coordinating with supervisors, and calculating salaries manually slows down the process. With the automated leave management process, all this can be done automatically, without getting stuck in someone’s mailbox.

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3. Assessment

Assessment is a permanent HR process that monitors, measures, and analyzes an employee’s performance concerning business goals. The software allows ensuring repeatable quality and increasing professionalism of each employee in the long perspective.

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4. Exit interviews

Exit interviews play an important role in increasing staff involvement. However, exit interviews conducted on paper and manually are tedious, time-consuming, and inefficient. By automating the Exit interview process, enterprises can recognize potential problems and derive data that can be used to improve retention rates.

The most crucial issue is what spot of HR activity should be transformed into your company and how? What software requirements should be adjusted specially to your business needs and company growth opportunities?

It is even more complicated to take actions to digitize each area of HR activity without unnecessary spinning for both department personnel and employees of the whole company.

However, if you expect us to tell you how to automate your HR department in a few clicks, we have to disappoint you. We do not possess a universal solution for automating your HR processes. Each business is unique.

To create the right software, a digital transformation consultant needs to be part of your business. We are ready to be involved in the process. Due to the fact that only the right software gives the right result.

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How to Create a High Converting Email: Best Practices and Key Considerations

email

Looking to take your email marketing game up to the next level? Here are the best practices and key considerations that will help you create a high converting email marketing campaign to win going forward in 2020 and beyond.

  • Personalization is still king

Consumers expect brands to provide personalized experiences. In fact, studies suggest that as many as 80% of surveyed consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a brand if it offers personalized experiences.

Further research suggests that the conversion rate is 10% higher when personalization is part of the email content.

Personalization is key to a high-converting email marketing campaign because subscribers want to be seen as individuals. Therefore, personalization is one of the key strategies you should employ (if you have not already) to win email conversions.

Email personalization tips that will help you increase email conversions.

  • Include each subscriber’s name in the subject line.
  • Send emails from real service representatives instead of a corporate account.
  • Include a customer’s first name in every email.
  • Consider user demographics and locations to create more personalized email copies.
  • Change visuals and copies in emails to make them more appealing to different audience segments.
  • Send out personalized recommendation emails concerning each customer’s buying history.

Here is an outstanding example of how a beauty product retailer Sephora uses personalization in emails.

 

Image Source: Sephora

  • Don’t forget about mobile experiences

As more and more consumers use mobile devices to communicate with brands and shop online, you want to make sure your emails are responsive and mobile-friendly. Studies show that mobile opens account for 46% of all email opens. This means that by failing to provide mobile experiences, you are risking to lose almost half of your audience. Further studies show that customers delete emails that do not display correctly on mobile devices within three seconds.

The numbers prove that responsive email design is an absolute must if you want your subscribers to convert. That is why you want to have a strategy in place for optimizing your emails to display well across all mobile devices. This includes not only smartphones, but also tablets, laptops, and other devices, like smartwatches.

When designing your emails, make sure to build a logical content hierarchy that will make sense across different devices. This means structuring your content blocks in a logical way that will make sense when viewed both from a computer screen and a mobile device screen, like so:

Image Source: webdevs dot com

  • Implement persuasion techniques

Implementing persuasion techniques can help you shape a more positive attitude towards your brand and lead email subscribers to make the desired action.

Let’s take a look at the best persuasion techniques and practices worth applying to your email marketing campaign.

Personalization

98% of marketers cite personalization as a major factor that improves customer relationships. Indeed, the majority of marketers implement some form of personalization in their marketing campaigns.

Yet, not all of them know that the effectiveness of personalization has a lot to do with how human brains work. Personalization in emails works because of selective attention and human ability to distinguish their names from the background noize.

Social proof

The social proof persuasion principle revolves around the idea that a person who doesn’t know how to behave in a certain situation will look at other people to imitate what they’re doing.

Humans use social proof as a confirmation that their behavior is socially acceptable, and therefore, correct. So, you can use customer testimonials, reviews, user-generated content, and other forms of social proof in your email copies to increase conversions.

Bribery

Bribery is another powerful persuasion technique you can use to increase email conversions. It is based on the idea of offering extra benefits in return for a conversion.

In the context of email marketing, you can offer discounts, contests, coupons, special offers, sweepstakes, or generally anything free and extra.

  • Artificial intelligence is on the rise

 

Image Source: Pexels

Experts from Essay Writer suggest that with artificial intelligence (AI) on its rise, it is expected to be the number one technology to improve and streamline many marketing processes, including email marketing.

While many marketers already use email automation tools, AI can take your email marketing game up to the next level.

Email automation only streamlines processes but, unlike AI, does not improve decision-making. It makes sense to use AI for tasks that cannot be performed by your fellow marketing team.

A few applications of AI in email marketing that can help you increase the conversion rate dramatically.

  • AI can help you improve deliverability by restructuring email copies, optimizing send times, and cleaning up email lists.
  • AI can help you draft email copy and subject lines by analyzing other subject lines and email copy.
  • AI can help you create smarter email newsletters by sending out hyper-personalized automated newsletters.
  • A/B test, adjust, repeat

Before A/B testing was invented, an average marketer developed its strategy, implemented it, and just hoped for the best. Luckily, modern testing methods allow marketers to evaluate the effectiveness of each email element and give you hard data on what causes conversions.

Let’s take a moment to make sense of A/B testing. A/B testing is a testing method that allows you to measure the effectiveness of each email element.

Here is how it works. Let’s say you have two identical email drafts with just one difference: the image choice. You want to know which image better resonates with your audience and causes more conversions.

You send out two versions of the same email with two different images to two different groups of your email subscribers. Then, you use data evaluation tools to see which email version caused more conversions.

The main idea behind A/B testing is sending out two versions of an email to different halves of your audience to see which one performed better. You can run A/B tests to examine the performance of the following email elements:

  • Subject lines (length, word order, content)
  • Call-to-actions (button vs. text)
  • Visuals (images vs. no images, style of visuals)
  • Copy (length, content, tone of voice)
  • Personalization (personalization vs. no personalization, positioning)

Keep in mind that proper A/B testing requires you to test only one email element at a time. This means that you need to run multiple A/B tests if you want to test out multiple email elements. This way, you will get unbiased and objective testing results.

Wrapping it up

In the world of continuously changing digital trends, it is hard to stay in line with the competition and deliver the most effective email pieces. Hopefully, these five practices and key considerations will help you create a high converting email marketing campaign.

Before you go, let’s quickly wrap up what you have learned today about creating an email that will convert.

  • Including a personalized element will make the email more relevant to the subscriber and increase the chances they will convert.
  • As almost half of the email users check their email from mobile devices, creating responsive email design is an absolute must to increase conversions.
  • When implemented correctly, persuasion techniques are a powerful way to get more subscribers to convert to paying customers.
  • AI can help you streamline and optimize your email marketing efforts.
  • Next time you run an email marketing campaign, consider conducting A/B tests to identify which email elements cause more email opens and conversions.

You can start adjusting your email marketing strategy now and win in 2020 —  and beyond.

The post How to Create a High Converting Email: Best Practices and Key Considerations appeared first on ReadWrite.

Categories
Grow Marketing Startups

4 Rockstar Tips to Grow Your Business

grow your business

A startup may have an excellent product or service that will bring infinite value to a market in need. Still, we live in an era of noise, and any nascent business leader will need a clear marketing strategy to cut through the static and grow their business.

A business is more than its product or service. It is about the value it delivers to its customers. But that value must be communicated clearly, trust must be built from the ground up, and requisite talent must be sought.

Here are 4 actionable tips that will help get your startup to take off.

Invest in Content Marketing

Content marketing is a long-term investment. The ROI for each piece of content is related to the value that content brings to your audience and the new audience members it attracts.

While hopping on the latest trends can help capture attention, it’s important to make your content perennial, if possible. Great content can last for decades and become a reliable revenue engine and act as a pillar for other content.

The best part about content marketing is that it attracts potential customers to you in a wholesome way. You give something of value to them in the form of information or entertainment, and they come to rely on and respect your business as an authority in your industry or niche.

Content marketing builds brand, engages new audiences, inspires trust, and respect… but does it increase sales?

Let’s look at the stats.

According to a report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers say content marketing is vital to their marketing strategy.

CMI reports that 77% of B2B marketers and 78% of B2C marketers rate content marketing as moderately, very, or extremely successful for their business.

Here are a few more stats to give you an idea of content marketing ROI:

  • Increases engagement according to 72% of marketers (CMI report)
  • Increases leads according to 72% of marketers (CMI)
  • According to this case study, quality video content is responsible for a 60% returning customer rate of an online nutritional retailer.
  • Custom content positively affects attitude toward a company, say 82% of consumers.
  • Marketers that emphasize blogging are 13(x) more likely to have a positive ROI.

While it is difficult to quantify a general ROI for content marketing, it is safe to say that it is a relatively inexpensive way to increase traffic, build brand loyalty, introduce potential customers to your sales funnel and pipeline, and create a long-term marketing strategy.

Create a Robust Sales Pipeline

First, we must distinguish between a sales pipeline and a sales funnel if you truly want to grow your business. A sales funnel concerns the process of lead conversion, while a sales pipeline is about the steps taken to nurture and close a deal.

Here are the steps of a sales pipeline:

  • Lead generation is about exposure. You want to identify your ideal customer and develop a strategy that targets them.
  • Lead qualification happens when a lead is recognized as a potential customer, and the sales process is initiated.
  • Initiate contact is the point in the process when a sales rep sets out to discover how your business can meet the needs of the lead.
  • Schedule meetings to demonstrate or further articulate your products or services.
  • Negotiation happens when the lead is already convinced, but there is still room to discover an optimal set of conditions for your deal.
  • Close the deal and record the final outcome. If the lead is not ready to buy, you should not consider them a loss, instead, try to nurture them into a customer.

The length of the cycle of your sales pipeline will be determined by the complexity of your business, the source of your leads, and the customization of your product or service.

Creating a robust sales pipeline does not have to be complex, but there are definitely ways to increase the likelihood of success and efficiency.

Before you begin to develop your sales pipeline, you absolutely must identify your target market. If you do not have a target in mind, your attention won’t be focused, and your conversion rate will suffer. This pipeline is not meant as a channel for profits, not a drain.

Identify your Target Market

Put simply, your target market is made up of the people you believe will be the most likely to purchase your product or service, allowing you to grow your business.

Your target market is not necessarily distinguished by demographics, rather, what defines your target market is their relationship to your product, regardless of demographic differences.

Nevertheless, your target market is likely to share some common characteristics, and understanding what those commonalities are will help you shape the way your market to them.

Say you are selling email marketing services. Nearly every business uses email marketing services, but selling to ‘every’ business will dilute your message. As the saying goes, “a dog that chooses two rabbits catches neither.â€�

Rather than selling to everyone, pay attention to who has been buying from you consistently, and what characteristics those customers have in common. If you don’t have customers yet, then determine who your product or services will benefit the most and create a customer profile around your ideal customer.

As your business grows, you can target a wider market, but in the beginning, it’s easier to add unique value to a more niche target market.

So maybe your particular email marketing services pay unique attention to aesthetics and design. You could target industries that are more focused on aesthetics like architecture, artists, video games, etc. This will make it easier to target your value proposition to that particular market.

Once you’ve become established among your target market, you can reach out to different markets with the testimonials and confidence you’ve gained from your successes.

Tap into the Freelance Marketplace

With more than 57+ Million Americans freelancing this year, it is easier than ever to find talent. A physical workplace is great for company culture and ease of communication, but hiring freelancers makes for a nimble and easily adaptable business. You can test out various talent and find niche freelancers for niche projects.

One way to find freelancers is to post on job boards. The proof of job boards is variety. The con of job boards is variety. You may have to sift through a mudslide of applications. Aside from that, it’s a pretty simple process if you have the time. Here are some job boards:

  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • Flexjobs

You can post on freelance platforms where they have profiles with testimonials. Here are some of those platforms:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • 99Designs
  • WorkGenius

You can also find freelancers through social media as well. LinkedIn is an obvious choice here, but Facebook and Twitter can also yield new business relationships.

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you like someone’s work.

Be as clear as possible about what you’re looking for in a freelancer: experience, skills, examples of previous work, project expectations, etc.

While past success is a great way to test for future success, an experienced freelancer will come at a premium. You may be able to find a talented freelancer who is just starting their career. Do not be afraid to test someone out on a less critical project if they seem promising.

Wrapping Up: Tips to Get Your Startup Off the Ground

Any startup will make plenty of mistakes. But it’s important to make the right mistakes. Always put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

Ask yourself what do they need, not what you want them to need? If something isn’t working, re-calibrate, and try something new. Being an entrepreneur is all about creativity and experimentation when trying to grow your business.

Enjoy the ride, iterate, and learn.

Image Credit: edmond dantés; pexels

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Grow inside sales Sales Software

Walnut Secures $2.5M in Seed Round Led by NFX to Enable Remote Sales

walnut secures seed round

Product demonstrations are a staple of the sales world. But when everyone is working in separate spots, putting one on isn’t as easy as it used to be.

Many salespeople have embraced Zoom. But screen-sharing doesn’t solve the first half of the equation: the demo itself. A PowerPoint presentation looks amateurish, and screenshots simply can’t show live action. Showing the actual product in real-time risks an embarrassing failure.

To find out what the remote sales world needs, I checked in with Yoav Vilner, Walnut’s co-founder and CEO. Walnut just raised $2.5 million in seed funding to roll out an inside sales platform that re-imagines how demos work, while substantially increasing their conversion rate.

Led by venture capital group NFX, the round also received investments from other Silicon Valley leaders. Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami; Graph Ventures partner Matt Wyndowe; Plangrid co-founder Kenny Stone; Mercury CEO and former YCombinator PT partner, Immad Akhund; and Roundforest CEO Alon Gamzu also joined the round

What’s Vilner’s vision, and what can Walnut do that other sales demo platforms can’t? To Vilner, it’s about two things: a codeless approach, and analytics.

Sales Tech for the Non-Technical

Once a product demo is set up and executives seated, a single salesperson can manage the affair. But behind the scenes, all sorts of other team members may be involved.

Putting together a single demo shouldn’t take a clown car. If websites can be built with drag-and-drop tools, why not product demonstrations?

To Vilner, that’s the question sales leaders should be asking. Graphic designers, R&D staff, and product managers are highly paid professionals. With Walnut, sales teams can put together live demonstrations without back-end help.

Walnut’s “storylines� — templates for demos built around past successes and for specific use cases — make it easy for salespeople to tell an engaging story.

Underscoring the stakes of showcasing products in real-time, Vilner points to the now-infamous release of a Windows 98 feature. As Bill Gates began the live event, he was shocked to see the “blue screen of death� flash on the projector screen. Although Gates took the snafu in stride, it could’ve been a major setback for the operating system.

While technology has changed immensely since 1998, the stress and fear that salespeople feel around live presentations haven’t. Layer on the remote element of today’s product demos, and there are more opportunities for something to go wrong than ever.

Even if nothing goes wrong in a sales demo, however, doesn’t mean everything has gone right. To ensure product presentations are effective, Walnut has focused on a second area of the tool: analytics.

Removing Guesswork With Analytics

The ultimate sign of a demonstration gone right is simple: whether the audience invests in the product and converts to a paying client. But there’s always more data to dig into, from presentation length to actual human behavior, which Walnut will use to predict and match the right demo to the right client.

“Our mission is to turn inside sales from an art to a science,� Vilner said. “By doing so, we can remove the guesswork from the methods with which tech companies currently sell their products, mostly relying on the human touch and personal talents of salespeople.�

Sales work will always call for the human touch. But by automating things like templatization and data capture, Walnut frees salespeople up for things like networking and negotiation.

For obvious reasons, investors are interested in solutions that save sales teams, time. But that’s not the only reason Walnut has attracted investors’ attention.

What Investors See in Demo Tech

Product demos can make a night-and-day difference for sales teams. A study by independent researcher Knowledge Networks PDI found live demos lifted sales by 475%, boosting the wider product line’s sales by 177%.

Those figures vary by industry, but the big picture does not. Gigi Levy-Weiss, NFX managing partner, highlighted Walnut’s worth to a wide range of sales teams. “Besides having a great team, we found Walnut an appealing investment because it solves a broad-market, cross-vertical problem. Nearly every company has to demonstrate its products live on sales calls.�

Although Walnut doesn’t post its sales figures publicly, Levy-Weiss pointed to Walnut’s popularity among early-bird clients like Varionis and Namogoo. Walnut also has a robust waiting list, Levy-Weiss added.

Walnut may still be a young startup, but its team gives investors confidence. Vilner, a serial entrepreneur who founded Tel Aviv’s flagship marketing firm at the age of 22 and an anti-bullying startup, started the company with Danni Friedland. In his 16 years of software development, Friedland, Walnut’s CTO, founded and sold Javo Analytics to WalkMe. As a senior developer, Friedland worked for The Gifts Project, which was later sold to eBay.

Product demonstrations, much less the wider world of inside sales, will never be a walk in the park. But with Walnut, there’s no need for it to be a nerve-wracking, teamwide slog. And whether remote work is the “new normal� or not, a smarter demo experience sure ought to be.

Image Credit: bongkarnthanyaki; pexels

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business innovation Entrepreneurs Grow Lead Leadership women tech leaders

10 Innovative Business Leaders to Follow in 2021

10 Innovative Business Leaders

2020 has thrown a wrench into almost everyone’s plans. It’s been hard to gain momentum in a year full of so many concerns and setbacks. The new year will be a welcome restart after 12 tumultuous months.

If you’re trying to regain your footing, or want to set some ambitious goals for 2021, take your cue from the world’s most innovative CEOs and business minds. These dynamic leaders are poised for a great year, and you can join them for the ride.

How We Found These Innovative Leaders

Innovative leaders don’t just announce themselves. Many of them work quietly, building next-generation companies and products without a lot of media attention.

So how did we find them? In a few ways:

  • Word of mouth

When people do extraordinary things, word gets around. We checked in with members of our networks to find out: Who’s innovating like nobody else? Who’s going above and beyond creatively, technically, or financially?

  • Digital content

Innovators get written about. We took a look around online to see what our favorite publications had to say. In sites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc., these leaders are getting a lot of attention.

  • Online communities

Social media is the new town square. We pored over Twitter trends, Facebook groups, and Instagram galleries to get the skinny on which business leaders are making a real difference.

  • Market data

Metrics like CAGR and market capitalization speak volumes about a business leader’s acumen. More innovative leaders grow companies faster, larger, and more sustainably than their peers.

To be sure, we spotted a lot of innovative leaders. But to us, the following 10 stood out.

Innovative Leaders Overview 

From Fortune 500 CEOs to up-and-comers, there are 10 industry leaders I’m keeping an eye on. These individuals are constantly looking for ways to improve their companies, their communities, and the people around them:

1. Jeff Wong

A technology aficionado who is shaking up professional services 

2. Stephen Dalby

A concerned — and creative — father who saw a huge parental problem and solved it

3. Tracy Grace

A second-generation entrepreneur and diversity champion who heads a fast-growing IT consulting firm

4. Brent Shafer

An innovative business modeler who is working to transform the American healthcare industry

5. Ritch Wood

An innovative mind in customer service and beauty products

6. William Richards

A web-based systems guru who created the world’s leading URL redirection service

7. Safra Catz

An acquisitions master who is leading Oracle into its next decade

8. Zach Ferres

A tech entrepreneur who helps companies achieve digital transformation

9. Mary Barra

A trailblazer in the male-dominated automotive industry

10. Asheesh Mani Jain

A marketing mastermind whose creativity is matched only by his generosity

What You Can Learn From Them

What can these innovation leaders teach you? Let’s take a look:

1. Jeff Wong, EY Global Chief of Innovation

The “Big Four� refers to the largest professional services companies on earth. This is a very exclusive group, captained by only the best of the best. 

One of these companies is Ernst & Young, which employs Jeff Wong as its global chief of innovation. This former eBay executive has forged a successful career in Silicon Valley, but his insights on modern technology in business are valued by C-suite executives in every corner of the world. He’s certainly one of the most innovative leaders in professional services. 

2. Stephen Dalby, Founder and CEO of Gabb Wireless

Stephen Dalby is a father of eight children, so he’s well aware of the issues that come with parenting in the 21st century. When looking at options for his son’s first phone, he noticed that every smartphone was expensive and unnecessarily high-tech, so he created a cellular network for kids in Gabb Wireless. 

While Stephen is pro-technology, he realizes that kids don’t need unlimited — and potentially dangerous — features at a young and impressionable age. He founded Gabb Wireless to help other parents solve this problem with a safety-focused phone for kids.

3. Tracey Grace, President and CEO of IBEX

Tracey speaks passionately about diversity in the tech industry. As a black female entrepreneur in IT, she wants to pave the way for minorities to have opportunities in STEM fields. Along the way, she has built IBEX into a thriving tech company, proving herself a strategic leader in her industry. Her experience shines in the consistently high quality of her work. 

4. Brent Shafer, CEO of Cerner 

Brent has a long track record of creating value-based business models that yield big returns. After successful stints at other major corporations, such as Hewlett-Packard and Philips, he is currently applying his innovative approach at Cerner. 

As part of the Healthcare Leadership Council, Brent’s new mission is to transform American healthcare as we know it. It takes a fearless and brilliant mind to tackle such an undertaking. 

5. Ritch Wood, CEO of Nu Skin 

Few organizations are as innovative as Nu Skin. You can thank CEO Ritch Wood for that. His mindset is one of constant progression and improvement. “Innovation is the lifeblood of any company and determines long-term success,� he says. “We all know of companies who have failed because they did not innovate.� 

Ritch’s recipe for innovation includes identifying actual customer needs and using industry-leading technology to solve them. This approach led Nu Skin to be named the world’s No. 1 at-home beauty device system brand in 2018.

6. William Richards, Founder and CEO of EasyRedir

William’s two decades in the tech industry led to the founding of EasyRedir, now the world’s leading URL redirection service, in 2014. His experience building web-based technology systems and launching tech companies provide a powerful résumé for one of the most innovative minds in the tech industry. Building and growing EasyRedir is the cherry on top, providing a needed service to companies at a world-class level.

7. Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle

Founded in 1977, Oracle has long been a leader in software development and implementation. Much of its success is thanks to the innovative mind of Safra Catz, who has been a part of the organization since 1999. She is also a director of the Walt Disney Company, further showcasing her ability to think outside the box. She is credited with over 100 acquisitions since joining Oracle, a bold strategy that has paid off tremendously. 

8. Zach Ferres, CEO of Coplex

Corporate transformation is the name of the game, and Zach is the master. In 2012, he was named CEO of Coplex, which aids businesses in their digital transformations. By purchasing the company in 2016, Zach doubled down on his work. In the modern world, businesses cannot thrive without an active and effective digital presence, an innovation that Zach is spearheading with his own company.

9. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company

Mary joined GM when she was 18, and she is now the first female CEO of an auto manufacturing company. With GM diving into more electric cars and competing on innovation with companies like Tesla, it will be interesting to see what the leader of GM comes up with. 

10. Asheesh Mani Jain, Business Head of Relevance

Asheesh is one of the smartest marketing minds that I know. Many of the people on this list are those who have built or run massive companies. Asheesh is one of those smart people who consistently brings creative strategies to different forms of marketing. He’s also one of the world’s kindest people — always trying to bring innovative ideas to people who need help.

What Makes an Innovative Business Leader

Innovative business leaders are not one-size-fits-all. Different leaders made this list for different reasons. Let’s look at a few notable ones:

  • Standout products

Some leaders shine in the products they develop. Nu Skin’s Rich Woods, for instance, is behind many of the latest skincare innovations on the market. Mary Barra of GM is building trendy, affordable electric cars and SUVs.

  • Smart processes

Many of the quietest innovations are also the most important. Tracy Grace, CEO of IBEX, has her high-diversity hiring system down pat. And while Coplex doesn’t build physical products, it’s the best in the business when it comes to digital transformation.

  • Results relative to experience

When you were 18, what were you doing with your life? Mary was climbing to an executive-level post at one of the world’s most valuable auto companies. Leaders who do incredible things for their age are undoubtedly innovative.

  • Growth, mergers, and acquisitions

Massive growth, whether achieved organically or through corporate acquisitions, is impressive. CEO Safra Catz couldn’t have integrated 100 businesses into Oracle without some serious innovation chops.

Whatever the future holds, it’s a good bet these innovation leaders will be there to meet it. They’re setting the example not just for their companies and industries, but for all of us in business. 

Image credit: Matheus Bertelli; Pexels

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Fund funding Grow hackernoon

Hacker Noon Adds Quantitative Social Proof and Web Monetization Standards

Hackernoon homepage 2020

Hacker Noon launched new functionality for contributing writers, and announced a strategic investment of $1M by Coil.

Less than a year ago, Hacker Noon replaced Medium’s software with its own content management system. Since then they’ve created over 100+ years of reading time, and historically have published over 12k+ writers, according to the company’s about page.

I caught up with Hacker Noon’s Founder & CEO David Smooke to discuss the publishing platform’s growth over the last year, the company’s recent funding announcement, and where the future of digital publishing could be headed.

Streaming Micropayments in the Browser

Coil was founded in 2018, uses a proposed open web standard called Web Monetization to stream micropayments to creators in real time. Coil has been making other strategic investments in community content destinations, like Imgur.

“With this partnership, Hacker Noon writers can now add their Web Monetization meta tag to their stories, and we’ll experiment with streaming micropayments to writers based on how much time Coil users spend reading their stories,â€� said Smooke.

Will automatically streaming payments via the browser actually work?

“As the ecosystem is young and innovation requires experimentation, these payments will start small,â€� said Smooke. “But from the beginning, the browser was designed to power the exchange of monetary value. The HTTP status code ‘402 Payment Required’ is a nonstandard client error status response code that has been reserved for future use. Maybe that future is sooner than we think? Additionally, we’ll offer a way for writers to donate their earnings to charities that are dedicated to making the Internet a better place.”

On the Hacker Noon platform, here’s what it looks like for contributing writers to add their Coil Web Monetization Tag:

Hackernoon profile rewards

A Total Frontend Overhaul on Hacker Noon

On April 20th, Hacker Noon announced that they had switched their primary reader experience from static pages to the open source NextJS framework.

“It allows us to deploy changes at Hacker Noon without having to re-render every post and to publicly cache pages,â€� said Smooke. “So between deployments, if one user visits a new story that hasn’t been pre-rendered, it gets rendered, hydrated, and then stored for future visitors.”

With this frontend re-architecture, the Hacker Noon product team made major improvements to all of its public facing pages. Writers can now add their call to action not only to their profile page but also on the story pages themselves, driving more traffic to an external source. And readers, who are not required to log in since the launch of the new site, have a generally better and less distracting reading experience with wider images, better typography, and even a dark mode.

“We still have a long way to create the best reading experience we can,â€� said Smooke. “Currently, we rely on Algolia integration to allow for a clean pathway to content discovery, that includes filters by tag among other things. With the next iterations, we want to optimize for reader-centric features such as subscriptions by tags and authors, annotations and emoji reactions, and overall more meaningful engagement to each piece of content.”

Quantitative Social Proof

Platforms are under siege: how should they frame contextual information to the users’ content? And when should they step in to actually take down the content? Instagram has addressed this by removing like counts, and Twitter – in a more explosive manner – has started fact-checking the President’s tweets.

Hacker Noon has made their own move to provide quantitative social proof. The publishing platform has started to surface “time reading created� on contributing writers public profiles:

Daniel Jeffries - HackerNoon

“A platform has a responsibility to frame how others interact with the content,â€� said Smooke. “The simplest measure of engagement is time. As we are a place to read, it makes sense for us to provide our readers with quantitative measurements, such as reading time created.”

Smooke confirmed that writers only ‘earn’ this feature when they exceed one day of reading created, and writers can turn on or off this data on their profile page via their settings page.

The Future of Publishing

Hacker Noon exists in an interesting overlap between traditional columns and opinions (think Forbes, WSJ, and NYT) and social platforms (like Twitter or Reddit). Many publishers are trying to become more like social networks, and many social networks successfully capture publisher revenue. Hacker Noon has never charged its readers but also is not focused on paying writers, until the introduction of the Web Monetization tag. But even now, it’s a third party, Coil, that is paying the writers.

What does Smooke think the role and responsibilities of platforms like Hacker Noon with its contributors?

“We have never been, and will never claim to be, the Jesus of publishing. Our writers are responsible for their own content. We provide another set of eyeballs to help improve the quality and distribution of the story. We call it the second human rule. And we will continue to provide more rewards and opportunities for publishing on Hacker Noon. We are not the arbiters of truth. What we can do right now, is amplify the voice of technologists who have deep expertise in their domains. We have a good business and well on our way to making a better business. In my humble opinion, Hacker Noon’s highest ceiling remains the creation of the time reading token.”

Seems lofty.

In the short term, Hacker Noon has raised money, and will expand software, sales, and editorial resources. I’ll be following where this goes…

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