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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 Things 2020 Taught Me About Remote Leadership

leadership lessons

Only one year ago, I shared how the trend was moving to remote work. According to a survey from CloudApp, more than 50% of younger generations were working from home at least part of the week, new startups were launching remote, and companies like GitLab were carrying the torch of possibility.

Little did I know how much that would be accelerated due to a global pandemic. In March, we were thrust into the unknown, and “2 years of digital transformation talks were crammed into 2 weeks,� said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. The tech world moved remotely. Here is what I have learned over the year leading a marketing org and company that previously was not remote.

1. Find your comfort zone

I started like most of you. Unsure of what to do and how to make it work. My first day was spent in my basement on an IKEA kids chair and laptop on my lap.

Day 1 of remote work.

Some remote setups are better than others.

I was literally and physically out of my comfort zone with my nice desk, big monitors, and complete quiet. It has taken time to adjust, to find a groove. I still haven’t quite figured it out and may not ever figure it out until we return to the “old normal.�

What I have learned is that it’s important to adapt and find peace with a new situation. At the very beginning, my team and I did 10-minute standup chats every morning. It was a chance to replace the familiar morning conversations that happen casually at the start of work. Those have gradually faded to a normal weekly cadence, but was a helpful way to stay connected.

I take productivity breaks at home, make sure to play with my kids during that time, so they aren’t desperate for my attention during an important meeting. I also try to separate work and home as much as possible, but I have definitely had a toddler join me on plenty of Zoom calls. These things have helped me to find some sort of comfort zone with change.

Once you find a new normal spot, you will be able to lead better. You can find ways to help others when you have taken care of yourself.

2. Capture the moment

Remote Startups
Be nimble as a remote leader.

Leading marketing at CloudApp, in which screen recorder and screenshot for mac and PC products help remote workers stay connected, I saw a unique moment to capture an audience and help them along the way with some remote work tips and tricks. We put out dozens of content pieces, including podcasts, webinars, blog posts, and guides. The content exploded and had over 100k views directly tied to it over a 45-day span.

Obviously, this moment was a chance for our company to lead and help in the situation. In my 15 years, I have found there are constantly opportunities like this for companies to step up and help their community. It’s important to be flexible and build in time for campaigns that capture a cultural moment in time.

These campaigns generally run hot for a few months and then peter out, but provide a good opportunity to build global awareness of your brand and strengthen ties with your community. Going through this exercise of trend content will also help you to learn how nimble your team is and how you can try and create success with similar campaigns in the future.

3. Over-communicate

remote team video conference
Meet often with your remote team. Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

It’s amazing the amount of side, informal conversations you have on a daily basis when you are side by side with your team. In remote work, those meetings are gone. How can they be replaced? I’ve taken a combination of technology and virtual meetings to do so.

Slack or Microsoft Teams can compensate for some conversations; just make sure to use them wisely. It’s important to block off time for yourself to not be available on these channels.

1:1s and team meetings can provide opportunities to give pass downs from other teams and stay connected as a team. It’s important to protect these on your calendar and not continually reschedule or cancel.

4. Project Management

All projects and campaigns should have a process to ensure they are launched on time and have good results.

Kick-off call – this can be a great time to identify the expected outcomes and timeline for a project or campaign. Everyone who is involved in cross-functionally should be invited to the kick-off call. I also love to use this time to introduce how we will track success along the way.

Project Management software – Having a place to track updates and make assignments is key to scaling, especially with multiple projects running simultaneously. Asana and Jira are both great options for project management.

The key is clear outcomes and milestones along the way. It is also helpful to have a lead for the overall project to help coordinate and ensure updates are put into the project management software.

Quick updates – these can be done with a CloudApp screen recording, a 15 min stand up meeting, or just over email/slack, whatever your company preference is. The key is to have some sort of check-in on measurement to ensure progress and accountability.

Post mortem – sometimes these can be too fluffy. Including things that went massively wrong along with the wins can be helpful in refining the process and making it smoother the next time around.

5. Have fun and celebrate

last minute gift ideas
Don’t forget to celebrate.

I still do a terrible job at this. I am a much more fun leader in person than I am remote. What I have learned, though, is that there needs to be time to celebrate. The best thing we do at CloudApp is a Cloud9 channel in Slack. This is a place that every organization can celebrate small and big wins.

Finding time to celebrate asynchronously and also in team meetings really creates a culture that wants to continue winning and connects to a leader who can help to continue that focus.

Image Credit: rebrand cities; pexels

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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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Build Learn Software

The Do’s and Don’ts of Product Roadmaps

product roadmap

You wouldn’t start a cross-country drive without a roadmap (or GPS), and neither should you attempt product development without one.

A product roadmap is what connects the near-term product changes to the mid-term strategic milestones and the long-term vision. It communicates the sequencing of priorities and helps you plan all your product-based initiatives.

But many leaders are confused about what goes into a product roadmap. Ultimately, there is no right answer: different types of roadmaps suit different companies.

They can show lots of detail or very little; they can be intentionally scrappy or highly organized with color-coding, iconography, team associations, and more. We’ve seen them printed on ten-foot-wide poster paper and contained on a simple Google Sheet.

While there is no “best way of making a roadmap,� there are a few do’s and don’ts that can guide you in crafting your roadmap document.

The Do’s of Building a Roadmap

Let’s start with the do’s.

  • Do clearly categorize specific roadmap initiatives. Based on our experience, we’ve realized that all product development activities can be placed into one of three categories: innovation (making progress towards the vision), iteration (getting better results from what you’ve already built), and operation (maintaining your product and running your business). If possible, on top of categorizing each initiative, communicate the allocation target for each category to remind the audience of the level of investment that was agreed upon.
  • Do paint a picture far enough in the future that it helps other teams to plan accordingly. For example, marketing may need to start working on communication plans for a large product release well in advance.
  • Do clarify the rationale behind the work you’re planning on doing. The problems you are solving, the value you are attempting to create, and the key outcomes you are trying to deliver are often more important than the features you currently intend to build.
  • Do leave room for plans to shift. Development timelines are notoriously difficult to predict in advance. As you experiment and validate assumptions through customer discovery, you will want to be able to react to what you learn, and the roadmap should allow for that.

The Don’ts of Building a Roadmap

And now, the don’ts, which are just as important as the do’s.

  • Don’t try to predict development plans so far ahead that you’ll almost certainly change them before you get there. Offering this false precision is a common way to erode trust between the product and the rest of the company.
  • Don’t worry about providing the same level of fidelity for every team. It’s okay for the roadmap to have a “ragged edgeâ€� in which some items are better understood than others, or some teams’ plans extend farther into the future than others.
  • Don’t make commitments that are unnecessary or that are unlikely to actually be met. Generally speaking, it’s better to avoid feature-date pairs unless there’s a specific business reason the date is as important as what actually ships.
  • Don’t get in the habit of playing roadmap Tetris to force as much in as possible. It’s far better to under-commit and over-deliver than vice versa, and you’ll need some buffer to accommodate the ripple effects when development doesn’t go according to plan or critical feedback comes in.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Communicating the Roadmap

Building the roadmap is only the first step. After that, you need to share it with all the stakeholders. Here are some do’s and don’ts for how to most effectively communicate your roadmap.

  • Do share it with your executives first, because if you get buy-in from leaders in the organization, they can help build agreement and excitement about its contents with the rest of the employees.
  • Don’t present it to the whole company at once. Each major group within the company will have different needs and concerns. By presenting to each group separately, you can best address these needs and concerns and help everyone get what they need out of the presentation. We recommend having separate meetings for each of the following groups:
    • Engineering, QA, Architecture
    • Sales and marketing
    • Account management, customer success, and customer support
    • Everyone else not in those groups (HR, finance, etc.)
  • Don’t be boring. Your presentation-quality matters tremendously, and it’s your job to make your presentation engaging. Use charts and other visuals.
  • Do create a system for answering questions and getting feedback. Some of this can be done in the presentation meetings. However, some people don’t feel comfortable asking questions or offering feedback in front of others, so also consider conducting anonymous surveys after the presentations.

One More Do and Don’t

We’ll leave you with one final do and one final don’t.

Do dedicate the time and resources to creating a roadmap. It’s one of the most important documents guiding your company’s actions and initiatives.

But don’t stress about making a “perfect� roadmap. The best roadmaps evolve and develop with the company and serve to spark the right conversations about priorities.

Whether you opt to build a highly detailed, organized roadmap with color-coding and more, or a broader, intentionally rough one, following these do’s, and don’ts will help ensure that you craft and effectively share your roadmap.

For more advice on product roadmaps, you can find Build What Matters on Amazon.

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7 Insightful Podcasts You Should Start Listening to Before 2021


By now, we’re all tired of Zoom calls and webinars. So, when your eyes need a break, why not relax with a podcast?

Informative, entertaining, silly, or thought-provoking, podcasts let you choose exactly what you want to hear and empower you to listen on your own time. No fiddling with password-protected meeting invitations or sitting through virtual keynotes — just the quality content you need whenever you’re ready to hear it.

Although great podcasts are worth every minute, bad ones make every minute feel like 10. If you want to get the most from your podcast time, don’t waste your ears on boring hosts or dull topics. Get the most from every listen by optimizing your downtime with engaging content that entertains you, teaches you, or helps you escape for a while.

Here are the top podcasts you should start before the end of the year:

1. HawkeTalk

Great stories make the world go round, and HawkeTalk is filled with some of the greatest stories from the greatest people. Host Erik Huberman, founder and CEO of Hawke Media, goes behind the scenes to reveal the origin stories of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, and more.

HawkeTalk is a newer offering, so you still have time to catch up before more big names create a crowded backlog. Listen to former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman detail his difficult journey to the top, then see what drives Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price to pursue his vision. Be sure to check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s episode to hear how the Wine Library entrepreneur got his start shoveling driveways at seven years old.

2. Home Cooking

For many, quarantine became an opportunity to fine-tune their skills in the kitchen. Everyone needs to eat, so taking some time to develop your cooking skills with a bit of help from the masters is always a worthwhile investment.

Listen to Samin Nosrat (author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) and co-host Hrishikesh Hirway as they help you decide what to cook and how to cook it. Pleasant conversations and humor mix with food insights to deliver a can’t-miss podcast experience for home cooks of all skill levels. Learning to cook may not help you grow a business or get a promotion, but if you’re going to feed yourself anyway, you may as well do a good job of it.

3. Decoder Ring

If you ever find yourself daydreaming about questions that start out, “I wonder what…” then this is the podcast for you. Willa Paskin brings a delightfully curious approach to answer nagging cultural questions that range from the mundane to the extraordinary.

Never could figure out why “Karen” became the most popular insult of 2020? Too afraid to ask about the history of unicorn poop? Wondering what happened to the term “metrosexual” and the scores of people who embraced it? Whatever your curiosity, Decoder Ring probably shares it and is willing to do the legwork to unravel the mystery.

4. Bodies

Despite the fact that everyone has a body, all bodies seem to work differently and experience different problems. Every other person has a story about an issue that medical professionals had trouble diagnosing. Some, of course, have more trouble than others.

Bodies follows the trickiest stories to provide a practical yet personal examination of stories of women who have struggled to get the right diagnosis or treatment. This podcast not only brings some sobering and necessary insights into the medical world, but also challenges each of us to examine our biases. Why do we think what we do of others? How do we decide what to believe and what to doubt? Bodies is a masterclass in thought leadership to help answer these questions and more.

5. Entrepreneurs on Fire

First off: no, this is not a version of Hot Ones aimed at entrepreneurs. Rather than eat spicy wings and try to withstand the pain, entrepreneurs appear on Entrepreneurs on Fire to reveal the stories, strategies, and worldviews that helped them grow their businesses. Past guests have included Tony Robbins, Amy Porterfield, and more than 2,000 others.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur yourself, a professional, or someone who just enjoys great stories about amazing people, don’t let this one slip by. It may be difficult to catch up with all 2,000-plus episodes before New Year’s, but don’t let the immense back catalog discourage you. Find a few names you know, then kick back and listen to stories you never would have suspected.

6. Reply All

Reply All is a podcast about the internet. Kind of. In reality, Reply All starts with a focus on technology, then uses that as a launching pad to talk all things modern life and the ways in which technology has reshaped what it means to be a person.

The show has more than 150 meaty episodes to dig into, but new listeners can check out the Where to Get Started page for a curated collection of some of the show’s best. It would be impossible to cover the range of strangeness that Reply All manages to dig out from the corners of the human experience in one paragraph. Push past the deceptively boring title and dive in headfirst. You can thank yourself later.

7. HBR IdeaCast

In case you were unaware, Harvard Business Review tends to attract some fairly smart people. HBR IdeaCast gives listeners a direct line to those smart people’s brains with episodes on everything from remote management to trauma recovery.

The hosts are not all Fortune 500 CEOs, either. Megan Rapinoe, U.S. women’s soccer star and World Cup champion, shared her thoughts on leadership and allyship earlier this year. Two prominent psychologists joined forces for an episode to argue against the modern concept of work-life balance for working parents (hint: leading and parenting are a lot alike).

Two decades ago, people would have paid top dollar for the insights that podcasts give away for free today. Why let all that value go to waste? Listen to a podcast while you exercise, take a walk, cook dinner, or tune out of a Zoom meeting you didn’t need to attend in the first place. Your eyes could use the break, and your brain will thank you for the change of pace.

Image credit: Magda Ehlers; Pexels

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


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.


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 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.

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Should You Create a Corporate Wiki for Your Business?

corporate wiki

Knowledgeable, informed employees build successful companies. The question is, how can you get that knowledge out of employees’ heads and distributed to the wider team?

One way to do so is with a corporate wiki. Wikis have existed for a while, but only recently have companies adopted them for internal knowledge-sharing. But wikis don’t build themselves; on teams that aren’t willing to invest time in them, they may create more confusion.

The alternative is doing it the old-fashioned way: Employees ask each other questions as they come up. But that method pulls people away from their work and, when an employee leaves, may result in lost knowledge. 

Is a corporate wiki right for your business? Find out by asking yourself these questions:

1. How much does the organization of knowledge matter?

Some companies simply have more knowledge to organize than others. A lawn care company, for example, might not need much more than a customer address book and accounting documents. 

Contrast that with a law firm. Misplacing an affidavit or pre-trial document could be disastrous to a client’s case. Across a few dozen clients, there might be a warehouse’s worth of documents to organize. 

Corporate wikis are easily organized and searchable. Because they’re accessible by the entire team, employees can update and recategorize old pages. And because corporate wikis are digital and cloud-hosted, there’s no risk of information getting lost. 

2. What tools must be synced?  

The typical enterprise uses 91 marketing cloud services, not to mention those associated with other departments. On teams that use a lot of tools, integrations are critical. 

Does your company use Slack for communication? Do you have important documents stored on Google Drive? Does your sales team live in Salesforce?

Many corporate wikis integrate with all those tools and more. When in doubt, ask: A provider may be willing to develop a new integration if it would help them close a sale. 

3. How important is collaboration?

Three in four employees believe collaboration and teamwork are important in the workplace. With that said, some roles and teams are more self-guided than others.

A freelance writer may only need to communicate with one editor about his or her work. But on a highly collaborative team, knowledge must be shared freely. Otherwise, operations may grind to a halt. 

Remote work has made collaboration even more challenging and critical. Employees in different locations are much more likely to miscommunicate than those sitting next to each other. 

Corporate wikis facilitate collaboration from anywhere. Teams using them can discuss, collaborate, and communicate no matter how far they are apart. 

4. Is oversight important?

Because everyone can share and edit the content within them, corporate wikis require oversight. Some contributions may be more professional or accurate than others, creating inconsistencies. 

Before implementing a corporate wiki, it’s important to appoint an internal content manager. This person may also be in charge of external content, like a content marketer, or be a subject-matter expert. 

The biggest benefit — and the biggest pitfall — of a corporate wiki is its collaborative nature. Ask the manager you appoint to set some ground rules: In what situations should a page be revised? In what situations should it be left alone? How can workers know whether they’re qualified to make changes?

5. How tech-savvy is the team?

Corporate wikis are digital tools. Teams with members who struggle to navigate software might want to think twice before investing in a corporate wiki. 

While wikis are easy to set up, they do come with a learning curve. Different team members learn at different speeds and in different ways. 

To ensure employees know how to use a corporate wiki, you’ll need to set up a corporate training session.  Check your training budget and your team members’ schedules. Both in terms of time and money, make sure you can accommodate at least two training sessions. 

If your employees have tech skills but sometimes struggle with motivation, you might also need to budget for incentives. Use small awards, like “Most pages created� or “Most valuable contribution,� paired with gift cards to encourage corporate wiki use. 

6. What proportion of knowledge is sensitive? 

Remember, corporate wikis are searchable. Before investing in one, ask yourself how much of your company’s knowledge is sensitive information. You might not want your customers’ credit card numbers searchable by the entire company, for example.

Some corporate wikis employ a practice known as “data masking.� Any information that fits a certain mold is automatically stripped or obfuscated before being uploaded with this process. Data masking is ideal for financial, healthcare, and business strategy details you need to keep private.

The bottom line is, you get out of a corporate wiki what you put in. If you’re willing to curate content as a team and invest in training, it’s a great choice for managing your company’s knowledge.

Image credit: mentatdgt; pexels

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Digital Education is Here to Stay if it Tackles the Digital Divide

digital divide

Education and tech have collided like never before in 2020. People have realized that the tools needed to do remote business or accomplish remote learning education is possible with tools like Zoom. Here is all about digital education and how it is here to stay — if it can only tackle the digital divide.

Like Zoom, Canvas has seen a similar rise in popularity and the number of users. The learning management system is now statewide in 13 states and has over 30 million users. Larger institutions are also using a tool called Construct to build digital-specific lessons and game-based content.

Large video game makers are also jumping into education. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has added Borderlands Science inside their popular Borderlands franchise. For in-game rewards, players can help map the human gut microbiome. So now, when a parent tells a kid to do something productive instead of playing video games, they have a great comeback.

A new Instructure study details the State of Education During COVID-19: what’s working, what’s here to stay, and what will need to be fixed and addressed as we move forward.

As with any advancement in tech or disruption of an industry or institution, there are unintended challenges. Here is what this study found to be the most important.

Faculty-to-Student Engagement is Still Key

With an increase in remote learning and digital education, the definition of student success will have to change. There is also a broadening conversation happening on emphasizing retention and aptitude versus being present and remembering facts. As kids already have access to a million things on their phones, critical thinking skills, and how to use their resources best becomes more applicable.

Still, the big key in retaining information is engaging content and hands-on instruction. 86% of students list this as their key to driving future success.

Engagement is key, too, because only 69% of students feel engaged with their classwork during these massive disruptions to conventional learning.

Improved Views on Remote Learning

That said, most people are pleasantly surprised by what kids are achieving remotely. Just like with workplaces and Zoom calls, the shift wasn’t seamless, but it worked.

60% of administrators and 50% of students have a more positive attitude toward online learning now. That means even after we conquer this pandemic, there may no be a majority that wants to continue online — but just like in business, there will be many who have done better because of remote learning.

Short-term remote learning challenges.

There are still challenges in the short-term. 70% of students are reportedly falling behind in some way due to the pandemic. Falling behind can be due to a variety of factors including slow changes to cut quickly on the technology in the spring, or school closures from in-person classes in the fall.

It takes an adjustment period, but there are larger potential benefits going forward with online education. For example, parents will be able to more easily stay engaged with their students and know exactly where their kids are in lesson plans. A parent will have a better grasp on when to step in and help their child when school-teacher-and students are on track in real-time.

Addressing an Increasing Digital Divide

The digital divide is the most pressing issue that needs to be addressed for the future of online education.

Access to devices, Wi-Fi and other tech varies across households. More remote learning also means variance in household distractions and support.

Kids in upper economic households (56%) feel two and a half times more engaged in their schoolwork than kids from lower-income households (21%). These issues could merely come from closer-quarters in lower-income households. As parents are better trained in the needs of their children (i.e., need for a quiet study atmosphere) most adults will step up to the task, and we’ll all have a better experience.

What will lessen the digital divide?

Four times more students from lower-income households find it harder to stay engaged during online learning. But these discrepancies have always been present in varying income households.


What will it take to change the stats? Innovation. In the late 70’s the innovation was Sesame Street that suddenly catapulted lower-income students to be able to compete with higher income students. As tech rapidly progresses we will see more and more innovation that can bring everyone up to speed.

Tech, Time, and Innovation

The issues to bring about a satisfactory resolution will include technological advances, time and the innovation to impliment new processes. It starts with the tech. We are transitioning to long-term online learning principle as we learn how to learn. We are teaching teachers how to teach in this forced digital climate.

As we forge ahead with new ideas and innovation — we lessen a digital-divide and make things better for all. Education has always had to move with the times and now is no different. Teaching and learning is becoming more consistent and uniform as we face the challenges of the digital — and pandemic — learning.

More discussions will need to take place and we’ll want the experts to weighin.

Household distraction and time to complete work are more systemic going forward now. Greater discussions are taking place about the need for parental workplace flexibility amidst pandemic issues.

Large companies and employers in different industries are addressing the challenges with the knowledge that our world has become complicated and won’t continue the same after this current pandemic. Many businesses are working on a departure of what work has looked like in the past. Introductions to flexible working and all that entails is being discussed.

Cost Saving in the Digital Divide

One of the interesting possibilities about education and a potentially huge benefit to more online learning will be cost savings.

Institutions, such as schools, will incur less hard costs with its buildings and leases. Large structures require upkeep, cleaning, power, gas, electricity and extensive repair.

However, moving forward we will still face what we have always faced. Logistics. Finding and retaining good employees in the education sector. Competent salary to retain quality teachers.

As we get better technology in the hands of every student, and pay our teachers a salary comensurate with what their job entails — our education system will get better and we can compete better in the global arena.

But for now — let’s keep the kids engaged — and tackle the digital divide.

Image Credit: julia m cameron; pexels

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I Used These 5 AI-Powered Background Removers and Here is What I Found

background removers

Have you ever needed to remove the image background? There are so many use cases in business and marketing when you need to do it quickly and professionally — from making a transparent logo to optimizing a product image for eCommerce to creating eye-catching ads with photos of products placed in unexpected backgrounds. This straightforward operation is usually so time-consuming.

Luckily, with the advent of artificial intelligence and smart photo-editing tools, things have changed. Here I would like to share my investigation of the best AI-powered background removers to help you save time and efforts when preparing images for social media, advertising, branding, or other purposes in your everyday life. 

Background Removers Can Help Your Business and Marketing

Photo via Unsplash

Background removal or placing objects in different backgrounds have become very trendy today. Whether you want to add more style to your photo for CV or prepare teammates’ photos for the “About Usâ€� page on the company’s website, you may need a magic wand that makes it within seconds without the help of a professional photographer. Here we will consider a few more cases when a digital marketer, blog editor, or entrepreneurs can face this challenge.


There is no secret that many eCommerce platforms accept only product images with transparent backgrounds to demonstrate its essence and beauty without distracting the customer from unnecessary details. Adhering to this eCommerce tendency, many eCommerce website owners also cut their products out of the images and place them on solid white backgrounds when preparing product visuals for a catalog.

Creative Advertising

You might notice that most of today’s ads promoting webinars, courses, or conferences include the photo of a speaker with a solid-colored background. As well, many companies have fun with their ads by adding products into the craziest and most unexpected backgrounds. Just imagine a banner showcasing a fridge that stays at the snowy top of the iceberg in the ocean. It must look eye-catching, doesn’t it? From my experience, this simple yet engaging trick helps draw the customer’s attention and convert more sales.


The trend of solid-colored or creative backgrounds has also come into blogging. You may need to edit a featured image for your blog article and remove its backgrounds to distinguish the central object. Probably, you would like to create a cover image for your next video on YouTube or post a selfie with a creative background in your feed on Instagram — there are many cases when you need a background remover.


You are lucky if you have a designer sitting nearby you at the office. However, if you work at a startup with 2-3 people (and none of you is a designer) or you just consider it impractical to hire a full-time designer, you may lack easy-to-use creativity tools to make visuals look professional. When it comes to processing brand assets or getting a transparent logo, a background remover may also come in handy.

How AI Makes Background Removal a Breeze

Photo via Unsplash

Since most traditional photo-editing software for casual users don’t have a background removing function or perform it very inaccurately, there is a growing demand for intuitive tools that offer a one-click problem solution.

Fortunately, artificial intelligence has revolutionized many industries, and photography isn’t an exception. AI-powered image-enhancing software has become an answer and made background removal a breeze. 

Most of the AI-driven tools allow you to cut even the most complicated objects like hair or entire body silhouettes with the highest accuracy within a few clicks. Usually, you only need to mark an object and undesired background, and artificial intelligence will do all the other hard work for you.

5 Best AI-Powered Background Removers

When preparing promotional visuals for clients, I have often encountered a challenge of background removal. So, I needed to find the best and most user-friendly solution to solve my everyday creative issues related to ads.

After trying out dozens of alternatives, I have selected these top five AI-driven background removers that are almost equally cool and helpful.

SocialBook Free Background Remover

It is one of the best free AI-powered background removers available on the web. You don’t need to spend time on setting up software or app since SocialBook allows you to remove the image background online.

You just need to enter a website, upload your image, or add an URL to it. Several clicks and voila! You can download your picture with a transparent background. 

It’s my favorite tool when it comes to background removal. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it allows you to select the most complicated objects very precisely. SocialBook Background Remover is particularly helpful when you need to cut people out of the photo.

Its AI-based technology recognizes an object automatically, removes the background, and doesn’t add a watermark on the image.

Topaz Mask AI

Topaz Mask AI is an AI-based image background remover that uses MI and trimap technique. It is very user-friendly too. You will not see as many buttons and tools inside of this software as in Photoshop. If you don’t need to do professional photo retouch but only remove the background, Topaz Mask AI may be an excellent solution. 

There is great news for those who always spend much time on precise cutting edges out. The neural network of this tool has been trained to distinguish tough edges. The only con I’ve found is the price. Topaz Mask AI is quite expensive if you only use it for background removal.


Fotor is a convenient image background eraser that allows selecting the area and cutting it out from the picture almost instantly. Its particular feature is that you can preview all the changes and adjust your selection if needed.

Moreover, Fotor’s functionality is not limited by only one function and has an extensive photo-editing toolset, which, however, comes only in a paid plan. Its slight disadvantage is that it puts a watermark on the image.


inPixio is a free tool that allows removing undesired backgrounds without extra-efforts. You only need to upload an image and use a red brush to select an area you want to erase. The rest work will be done by this smart tool.

The size of the brush is adjustable, so you can use it to cut even the smallest details in foregrounds. It’s easy to use, doesn’t put a watermark, and doesn’t require a subscription. The only con is that you need to remove the background from images manually.

Bonanza Background Burner

Bonanza is an online tool that doesn’t require special setup, unlike its alternatives. Using advanced algorithms, it can cut out objects from the image automatically. Before showcasing a result, it offers you several versions of the image with different changes, so you can choose whichever you like most.

Although it enables you to remove the background very quickly and easily, it doesn’t do it accurately enough, especially when it comes to cutting out people from the photo.


Here is my selection of the most helpful and easiest to use background removers. Thanks to artificial intelligence, image enhancement and background removal are now easy to do even for non-professionals.

The tools mentioned above can help you prepare amazing images for eCommerce, advertising, blogging, and branding within several minutes. I hope that this overview has been useful for you and will help find a background remover that suits you best.

Top Image Credit: liborio dibuono; Unsplash

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Code coding Learn Software The Right Stack

8 Mistakes Keeping You from Landing Your Dream Coding Job


Software development has been the most in-demand job in the country for three years running — yet many coders struggle to break into the industry. Here are eight mistakes that are keeping you from landing your dream coding job.

Landing Your Dream Coding Job

I hear the same complaint come up again and again.

“I’ve applied to hundreds of positions, and I haven’t gotten one interview!�

“Do people even hire software developers anymore? They only want web developers.�

“I’m a great coder, but no one will hire me, because I don’t have experience.�

Does any of this sound like you? If so, there’s a good chance one of these eight mistakes is keeping you from landing your dream coding job.

#1: You Learned the Wrong Stack

A top mistake coders make is learning the wrong coding language stack.

By far, the most useful, most popular, and most employable stack is the .NET stack, which includes several languages (C#, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and SQL), a design pattern (MVC), and a program (Visual Studio).

The .NET stack allows you to design web applications, which is the most in-demand position in America, and it’s the number one choice for almost every business with a web development shop.

With its popularity and practical applications, .NET is the first stack you should learn if you want a career in this industry.

#2: You Didn’t Learn Practical Coding Skills in School

A lack of practical skills is a huge problem preventing many coders from being hired.

Employers want coders who can solve real business problems. Unfortunately, many universities focus on theories, not practical skills.

Many universities fall into the trap of teaching a little bit of everything. There’s a class on C#, one on HTML, one on databases, and so on. All these classes are interesting and informative, but the skills are never brought together and connected to full-stack coding projects.

If you didn’t learn practical coding skills in school, you need to develop them on your own.

#3: You Have a Weak (or No) Portfolio

Especially if you’re a new coder, without experience, having a weak portfolio or no portfolio at all is a major mistake.

Without a portfolio, you have no proof that you’re as good at coding as you claim to be, which immediately puts you at a disadvantage. With a portfolio, you can show employers just what you’re capable of.

For your portfolio to be effective, it must include projects that demonstrate skills a business would need. Useless, silly programs can be fun to code, but for your portfolio, focus on projects that show off useful, real-world skills.

#4: You Struggle in Interviews

Many skilled coders struggle to get hired simply because they’re not good at interviewing.

One of the problems is that interviewers often play a “code trivia� game, quizzing you on obscure code lingo and knowledge. If you suffer a brain blank and flub even one question, you can be taken out of the running.

Instead of playing this game, take control of the interview by shifting the focus to your portfolio.

Talking about your portfolio demonstrates you have the necessary coding skills and knowledge, making the “code trivia� questions less important.

#5: You Don’t Have a Recruiter

Not having a recruiter is a mistake that puts you at a significant disadvantage.

In most cases, by the time you apply for a position online, a recruiter has already submitted ten qualified candidates. This is part of the reason you could apply to hundreds, even thousands of positions and never receive a reply back—it’s because a recruiter already filled the position!

The simple truth is, if you want a job, you need a recruiter. Without one, you may never even get in the door for an interview. That’s just how it works.

#6: You’re Too Picky About Your First Job

Many coders’ careers are derailed because they’re too picky about their first job. For instance, many coders don’t want to work in web development, but this is the most in-demand position.

If you turn down your first job offer, there’s no guarantee you’ll get another one, and your coding skills can quickly grow rusty and out-of-date, making you unhirable.

To get your dream job, you first need to build experience. So when you receive your first job offer, take it. You may need to start in web development, but once you gain some experience, you can get a different job.

#7: You Need to Work on Communication

Poor communication can hold you back from your dream career.

To improve your communication, engage in conversations with a desire to be helpful. When your boss needs to know the timeline of your project, give her your best estimate. When asked about your code, explain how it works and how you arrived at your decisions.

Also, try to make your work seem less mysterious to those without a technology background. Avoid technical terms and acronyms, and compare your work to something others find more relatable.

When you can code and communicate well, you become a rock star coder.

#8: You Need to Specialize

To get your first job, you just need to know the most popular coding languages, but if you don’t eventually specialize, you’ll never advance to your dream job.

Web development jobs—the most common coding jobs—most often focus on the .NET stack. However, apps, games, AI, and phone operating systems usually work with different, more specialized languages. If you want to compete for these high-demand jobs, you need to learn the relevant coding languages.

Look up job postings for your dream job to identify the languages you need to learn, and then start studying in your free time.

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