US and Canadian airlines are continuing to use the aircraft despite a near worldwide ban.After the previous weekend’s Ethiopian Airlines crash which killed 157 people, most airlines around the world have grounded their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.The move comes after Sunday’s disaster was the second time the new 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed in the past four months, prompting concerns there is a major design flaw.China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Australia and Singapore have suspended airlines from flying the aircraft to and from their respective countries.The UK, France, Ireland and Germany have all gone a step further and said they will close their respective airspace to Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.Many airlines have taken it upon themselves to ground the plane, including Turkish Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, Icelandair, TUI, Aeromexico, Cayman Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Comair Airways, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Eastar Jet and GOL Linhas Aéreas.However, North American carriers have decided to continue using the aircraft despite complaints from passengers.American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Air Canada and WestJet have made no plans to change its operational policies or procedures.All 24 of American Airlines’ Max 8s run out of Miami, operating 90 flights a day. Blog March 12, 20192 Comments We will never operate an unsafe aircraft. We regularly monitor aircraft performance and safety parameters across our entire fleet.— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) 11 March 2019 North American carriers are refusing to ground Boeing 737 Max planes An American spokeswoman said the company maintains full confidence in the aircraft.United Airlines and Panama-based Copa Airlines fly a variant of the Max 8 with a longer fuselage, the Max 9.A United Airlines spokesperson said in a statement: “We have made clear that the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is safe and that our pilots are properly trained to fly the MAX aircraft safely.”Southwest Airlines, which has 34 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in its fleet, said it would “waive fare differences that might normally apply” for passengers wishing to re-book to another aircraft type.According to reports, some US carriers are making scared passengers pay more to avoid flying on the aircraft.Flydubai and Fiji Airways are also continuing to use the aircraft.
Every so often a product pops up that we can’t quite believe exists… and the incredible Hexbot is one of them! Hexbot is an all-in-one robot arm that is fit for anyone’s desktop. This interchangeable device can assist makers and designers in bringing their creations to life… and with insane precision! The modules satisfyingly clip onto the end of the arm, each offering a unique and usable function; from laser engraving, which allows for the creations of mesmerizing pieces of art or personalized gifts, right through to 3D printing, allowing your creations to come to life!The possibilities for Hexbot are bordering on overwhelming and its immense level of functionality doesn’t compromise the ease-of-use. It comes with its own intuitive software, so you can just concentrate on creating! All of this does come at a cost… a very affordable cost! So, having your very own robot arm is now more attainable than ever!Designer: Hexbot RoboticsClick Here To Buy Now: $349 $659 (47% off). Rasied over $950,000!The first versatile desktop robotic arm with extreme 0.05mm high repeatability that turns your desktop into a workshop. Hexbot’s functional modular design is aimed to complete any task from simply grasping, drawing to 3D printing and laser engraving.What Can You Make With Hexbot?What Makes Hexbot Different?The patented decelerator design reduces the gap between gears, allowing 0.05mm extremely high repeatability.Change Modules in One ClickThanks to the modular design, Hexbot no longer has unwanted screws on the end effector. Switch out modules in just one click.Free & Easy-to-use SoftwareHexbot gives you an intuitive and interactive way to control and bring your ideas in just a few clicks with our software.To keep Hexbot easy-to-use, they integrated Blockly into our software, which allows dragging and placing the code blocks to control Hexbot. Control a robot arm is as easy as play a board game.They also provide an API for experienced developers to control Hexbot in Processing, Python, and G-code.Colorful TouchscreenTo make controlling Hexbot even easier, we designed the 3.5-inch touchscreen allows you to check the status and command Hexbot within your hand. Download the G-code files to the SD card and start drawing/engraving/printing. No need to keep connecting to your computer.Drawing & WritingWith the pen holder module, Hexbot can write a letter, draw a picture, and turn your design into pen and ink. Bring arts to your home or write your homework…Laser EngravingHexbot can be easily transformed into a laser engraver with the laser engraver module. It is capable of engraving on wood, leather, paper and other materials. You can make a meaningful gift for your friends within a few minutes.3D PrintingWith Hexbot’s high precision, you can print a 3D object with the 3D printing module. The modular design expands the creative power for Hexbot. Gives us the ability to create more things with it.Pick & PlacingPicking and placing objects can be easily performed with the help of a suction cup and soft gripper.Tech & PlayDon’t know how to program? No worries. With the multi-function button on the base or the touchscreen, you can drag the arm and record the movements and make Hexbot repeat the movements. Drag, record, and play – just that easy.Click Here To Buy Now: $349 $659 (47% off). Rasied over $950,000!SharePinShareFlipSharePocket931 Shares
By John Furgurson on September 7, 2017 Marketing – The Important Distinction Between Strategic Thinking & Tactical Acting Google+ Share. 0 Pinterest Tactical people jump right into answers. Creative people jump right into execution, because that’s where they live. That’s the fun part.I’ve been writing the Brand Insight Blog since 2008 and the single most popular post focuses on the difference between marketing strategy and marketing tactics. Thinking and planning vs. doing.Seems there’s bit of confusion there, even among marketing professionals.For example, a list of your target audiences does not belong under the header of “Strategy.”Launching a FaceBook contest is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.Content Marketing is not a strategy. It’s a tactic.I recently saw a blog post titled “Top 10 Social Media Strategies.” But it was nothing more than a tactical to-do list. Not a strategy to be seen.Here’s a quick tip: If you see the word “strategieS” it’s probably not really a marketing strategy. Strategy is singular. Focused. Unique. Tactics are done by everyone, including your competitors.Think about Insight vs. Execution. Insight is the crucial strategic thinking that has to happen before you execute the everyday tactics like Facebook posts. Think, then act.My friend Graham Robertson was a Brand Manager in consumer packaged goods for 25 years. He talks about the difference between strategic thinkers and tactical implementers.“To me, the difference between a strategic thinker and a non-strategic thinker is whether you see questions first or answers first.”Whoever wrote that blog post titled “10 Social Media Strategies” definitely sees answers first. And social media is it.“Strategic thinkers ask a lot of “what if” questions before they begin to develop solutions. They study, they think, they reflect, they plan and they stew on things before they act,” Robertson said.Many business owners fall into the category of non-strategic implementers. They believe that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. They opt for action over thinking, so it often turns into a “ready, fire, aim” scenario. They do a lot, but without clear direction they often do a lot of the wrong things. They’re all over the place and they get frustrated with strategic thinkers.It’s like Captain Kirk in an old StarTrek episode: “What we need now, Spock, is a little less analysis and lot more action!”Spock was the strategy guy. Captain Kirk was the execution guy.Strategists will sometimes think themselves to death and never get anywhere.“While pure strategy people make great consultants, I wouldn’t want them running my brand, Robertson said. “They’d keep analyzing things to death, without ever taking action. And while tactical people get stuff done, it might not be the stuff you actually need done. I want someone running my brand who is both strategic and tactical, almost equally so.”In other words, the best marketing people wear both hats. We are shape shifters, but it’s a rare breed these days.In fact, Robertson estimates that only 15 to 25 percent of all marketing people are legitimately “strategic” in their approach to their jobs. There are far more tactical marketing implementers than there are strategic thinkers, especially in small markets like Bend.My firm is often brought in for tactical projects because most clients don’t see a need for strategy. But in almostevery case we have to work our way back “upstream” to answer key, strategic questions before we jump into creative execution.The website, ad campaign, social media effort or whatever has to wait until the bigger, strategic questions are answered.It’s the only way to stay on target and produce results.Tactical implementers never paddle back upstream. They don’t stop to think about the bigger strategic issues, they just go with the flow and crank out the Tweets or whatever’s on the list.If you’re a typical business owner, manager, organizer and list-making delegator, you’ll probably want to find someone for your marketing team who can fill in the strategy gap.You can’t just suddenly decide to “be strategic.”Being strategic means reading between the lines, delving deeper than just factual data, and trusting your instincts. That takes years of practice and a certain personality type.There are plenty of successful design firms and small ad agencies that have no strategic thinkers at all. The account executives coordinate the list of tactics they’re given. The creative specialists — writers, graphic designers, web programmers, SEO guys, photographers, and social media specialists execute those tactical projects.There’s nothing wrong with being a good tactical implementer who gets a lot of stuff done. Just don’t pretend that it’s “strategic.”Companies that already have a well-defined brand and a clear-cut marketing strategy can do well with tactical agencies or freelancers. But it doesn’t work if the business owner doesn’t have her story spelled out on paper.If no one has done that strategic thinking, the tactical implementers will spin their wheels and go through a lot of costly false starts before they hit on something that strikes a chord with the client and with consumers.The most common mistake is a lack of focus. A strong strategy demands focus, but most business owners want to be all things to all people.I met with the owners of a real estate firm recently who were thinking of rebranding their company. They had all their “specialties” listed on their website; First time home buyers. Second time home buyers. Golf homes. Down-sizers. Upscale, low scale, middle of the road scale.Nothing was left out, which made the whole idea of specialization ridiculous.Time to start swimming back upstream.But strategic thinking is tough. It involves hard decisions and thoughtful contemplation that many business owners simply don’t have time for.One of the biggest strategic “what-if” questions is this: What are you going to hang your hat on? What’s the ONE thing that you can shout from the rooftops? What if it’s this? What if it’s that?The strategic considerations are considerable… You have to think about relevance, credibility and differentiation for every option.Here’s an example… Imagine that you’ve decided on outdoor advertising as an advertising tactic. You’ve chosen several billboards along the highway that will ensure high visibility and you’ve allocated the budget to maintain those for at least a full year. That’s a tactical decision. One small piece of your media buy.The strategic question is, what are you going to say on those billboards? You get one idea and one idea only. Five words max. Otherwise, everyone whizzing by at 65 will miss it.Figuring out What To Say is a strategic decision.How To Say It is the creative piece of the puzzle.Putting those two things together is what makesexceptional advertising. The wording will be different for a billboard than it will be for a TV spot, but the strategy stays the same.Think strategically. Act tactically.BNBranding.com BrandInsightBlog.com Facebook Tumblr Twitter LinkedIn Business & Industry, E-Headlines Email
E-Headlines 0 Twitter Share. By CBN All businesses go through various periods of growth over the years. New companies may experience a sudden spurt early on, while established businesses tend to grow at a steady pace. Growth brings the need for additional equipment, employees, and building upgrades. Many of these expenses fall outside of the regular budget. Many business owners use their personal savings to get back on track, resulting in debt. A business loan can be used to help prepare your business for the next step.Keeps Business and Personal Finances SeparateBusiness owners often put their own money up front to get their business started or to manage things that they need. This, however, can be the beginning of a large personal debt problem. Business and personal finances should be kept separate to avoid a strain on personal responsibilities. Most business loans do not interfere with your personal finances, since they are taken out for a business entity. Default on a business loan does not warrant collections from your personal savings. The loan is only focused on the company. If your business fails, the debt does not fall to you personally for the loan. Be sure to clarify with your banking institution, as some loans do not follow these rules.Equipment, Updates, and SuppliesThe necessity of new equipment is a main reason for the acquisition of a business loan. Equipment covered by these loans can vary in cost and size. Most loan companies are willing to allow a loan to cover things like, computers, software, and furniture. During times of growth computers may need to be replaced with newer models to handle the increased workload. Furniture is a part of many businesses, as well. Furniture is pertinent for employees working on computers and clients in waiting rooms. Property maintenance can often be worked into the monthly budget, however, large repairs or changes to buildings may require large amounts of money. Supplies may include things like merchandise. A new company may need an initial supply of merchandise to bring in its first revenue. Once the company is making a regular profit, the loan can easily be paid back.Secures your Employees Employee wages are not usually eligible for support from a loan since they are an ongoing expense. A loan, however, can help you secure payment to your employees by freeing up monetary responsibility from other things. If you find that you are barely covering your monthly expenses due to extra purchases, you may need to consider a loan until things return to normal. You do not want to take a chance on losing workers due to the inability to pay their salary. Use the loan to fund the growth you are experiencing, while keeping valuable employees paid properly.Most businesses need a little help sometimes. Times of growth usually lead to increased revenue. Loans can help fund the items necessary to continue this growth. Pursue a loan to help your business while keeping your personal finances intact. Use the money to help replace or update computers and other equipment. Merchandise purchases are also a necessary part of proceeding with your business. A business loan is often the best option for expanding you company. Facebook on March 1, 2018 Your Growing Business: How a Business Loan Can Help Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr Email
Twitter By CBN Pinterest 0 Email Finding a job that you will be working at for the rest of your life is no easy task. Often, people choose a college degree right after they finish high school, but they don’t take enough time to reflect on whether or not it is their ideal career choice.Rather than jumping into a job without so much as a second thought, take some time to consider exactly what it is that you want to do. Many hours of your day will be spent at this place of work, after all. Plus, who wants to spend their days being depressed or sad, due to the fact that they simply don’t like their job?Here are some tips to consider how you can find your ideal workplace.Think about your personalityYour personality should be one of the first factors you consider when choosing a job. Can you picture yourself in a career that requires you to travel? What about communicating on a daily basis?If you consider yourself to be an introvert yet choose a career where you are talking on the phone all day to investors, you are hardly going to be happy.You may even want to do some online tests at some point, in order to narrow your possible options down, as to what you should do.Make a list of your possible optionsIf you are stuck between various different career options, you should put that list down on paper. Once you do this, make a point of doing further research on what it means to be in a specific role. Why not even watch some videos online, of people talking about the day to day tasks of that particular job?Try to picture yourself in each of the different fields, and start to narrow your choices down, while being realistic over what you can picture yourself doing. Keep in mind that the money you would make from that career path should not be the highest priority, as it isn’t what will make you happy at the end of the day.Volunteer within a certain field to better understand it Volunteering is another good way to understand what your roles within a certain job would be. You could even opt to shadow an individual that works in the profession you are considering.The good news is that volunteering will also always look good on your resume, and it will give you a career boost.Out of all the research you do, having hands-on experience will always help you decide whether or not that particular industry is for you.Getting your school education In order for you to excel within the job you have chosen, it’s important to get the necessary education. This often means attending college, or, you can even get your degree online in this day and age.Regardless of what you choose to do, you will grow to be an expert in your field by learning more about the given subject.For instance, can you imagine becoming an engineer without having a background in it? You wouldn’t know the first thing to do once you stepped foot at your new job. Taking this a step even further, you may want to consider advanced education as well. Taking the example of engineering, again, you can always get a masters in civil engineering online through an institution such as Michigan Tech.Convenience is something that is prioritized by many people, and you can achieve this as a result of obtaining a degree no matter where you are currently located, and where you sit to learn the necessary information, such as from your living room couch.Research and compile a list of your top companies To be working in your ideal job, you must also find the best possible company to work for. What is the company culture like? What does that particular business value and what does it expect out of its employees?You hardly want to be in an organization that will require you to work around the clock every single day, as you also want to have time for hobbies, family time, and other endeavors that you choose to pursue.Don’t be afraid to switch careersWhat if you choose a job, and you realize that you are not happy with the choice that you have made? Rather than sticking to it, and spending your days being unhappy, it’s important to note that it’s never too late to change your career.Even if you are older, there is always time to go back to school or pursue another degree online. What is the point of staying at a job where you are not fulfilled, and that simply does not make you happy? Your health will also be impacted as a result of this, and it’s not a good situation to put yourself through.Despite what you may think, you always have time at your disposal.Pursue your passions and take risks The takeaway advice is that you should pursue your passions and take risks. The amount of money that you will make should not be high on your list of priorities when looking for a dream job; the money can come later, as a result of you being good at what you do.Moreover, if you feel that nothing in society fits with what you want to do, you can also consider becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business. It’s important to believe in yourself, and the success from doing so will come after the fact.A person’s job can easily be tied to their level of happiness. If you wake up in the morning dreading to go into the office, or you are counting down the days until the weekend arrives, the chances are that you are not in the proper place of work for you. Keep in mind that it’s never too late to switch careers and it’s incredibly important that you do so, especially considering that if you are happier, your health will stand to improve as well. on February 7, 2019 Google+ Share. LinkedIn How You Can Find Your Ideal Job Tumblr Facebook E-Headlines
0 Upper Deschutes Watershed Council’s Annual Fundraiser, UPSTREAM May 17 Google+ Share. E-Headlines on April 18, 2019 Pinterest Twitter (Photo | Courtesy of Upper Deschutes Watershed Council)A salute to streams, students and stewardship! The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council will be hosting their annual fundraiser, UPSTREAM, at 5:30pm on Friday, May 17 at Brasada Ranch in Bend. UPSTREAM is a community event focused on sharing the work of students and celebrating watershed education. The event is a fundraiser for The Upstream Project, the education program of the Watershed Council which seeks to educate, engage and activate the next generation of watershed stewards.This celebration is the ninth annual UPSTREAM event. The evening will include a silent and live auction featuring local artists and businesses, a gourmet dinner catered by Brasada, and inspiring presentations and artwork by Upstream Project students. The event supports place-based education opportunities for thousands of Central Oregon youth.The mission of the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council is to protect and restore the Upper Deschutes River through collaborative projects in habitat restoration, watershed education, and long-term monitoring. The Watershed Council works with approximately 2,000 students across Central Oregon schools every year. Through streamside learning activities in science, art, writing and music, The Upstream Project helps students develop an informed sense of place for our local rivers and streams. Connecting students to the natural world in active and meaningful ways allows students to develop a sense of civic responsibility as they learn the importance of stewardship in their home watershed. “One action can create a chain reaction and, soon, hopefully everyone will want to take care of the place I am blessed to call home,” says an Upstream Project student from Sisters High School. Kolleen Miller, the education director for the Watershed Council, affirms, “Today’s students are the future caretakers of our rivers and streams!”UPSTREAM is an amazing opportunity to support the movement to connect youth to the natural world and ensure a legacy of stewardship for generations. Tickets are on sale for $90 per person and tables for eight guests are $700. For more information or to buy a ticket visit restorethedeschutes.org or contact Kolleen Miller, email@example.com By CBN Tumblr Facebook Email LinkedIn restorethedeschutes.org
PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST This NYC Startup Will Change Your Next Vacation’s ItineraryNovember 3, 2017 by AlleyWatch 334SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Hospitality, Interviews, Launching in the Alley, Startups, Travel Every traveller knows the feeling of journeying to a new country yet not feeling immersed in the culture. Often stuck in the role of a tourist, you need a way to access a more authentic lifestyle. Enter MYrago, the Startup connecting you with locals that provides you with the cultural activities and experience every traveller is after. Whether you want to zipline through a wildlife monkey reserve, learn an ancient war dance from a Māori Warrior or simply herd goats in Portugal, MYrago gives you what you need to make it happen.AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder Yashika Shah about the company and how it plans to change the tourist industry terrain.Tell us about the product or serviceWe are an experiential travel startup that brings locals and travelers together for super offbeat, #NotATourist experiences. For instance:Be a Goat Herder for a Day in PortugalGo on a Jazz Crawl with a celebrated Jazzist in HarlemLearn the war dance from a Maori Warrior in New ZealandCook in the Jungles of Thailand with a MonkThese are experiences that cannot be found in typical travel guides and open a glimpse of the local life to the traveler.How is it different?Our goal is to be the first for all things offbeat and non-touristy when it comes to travel. We want our clients to come to MYrago to understand everything from- what to do, eat, drink, know and where to go when exploring the unknown (i.e. no Yelp, FB, or Google Reviews but authentic suggestions coming straight from locals) Launching offbeat Experiences is phase 1 of ultimately establishing that one-stop-shop credibility with our clients.What market are you attacking and how big is it?The tour & activities market is currently at $135B and scheduled to grow to $185B by 2020. Getting a sliver of that won’t be too shabby!What is the business model?We take a 20% cut of all experiences booked.What inspired the business?So, this may sound too kumbaya and/or political but to be completely honest it is mainly because of the stuff that’s going on right now. Both my cofounder and I are immigrants from varied cultures. The world has a lot of hate going around. One of the main reasons for this is a lack of understanding of where the other person is coming from. We are quick to jump and put people in boxes when they don’t match our viewpoints. What if we were to take a step back to understand the experiences and the local cultural landscape that has shaped this person to form his/her viewpoint? Imagine the kind of world we could create if we agreed to disagree or at least understood why a person thinks the way they think! Travel is a great way to break this barrier down and open a window into the local life. But more often than not, we forget to truly appreciate the reasons of what makes a city, country and its people so beautiful. We want to change all of this through MYrago.This same idea has been tried countless times before. Why will your startup succeed?That’s a great question and in full transparency – we have no experience in the travel industry other than traveling to a number of countries and undertaking local activities. However, what we do have is unwavering passion, determination & hard-work to make a difference in the way people travel & experience life – qualities that cannot be quantified but can only be felt. To help make our case, in the 5 months that we have been operating, between my co-founder and I, we have been able to onboard ~335 experiences and ~135 locals across 22 countries on our platform.What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?Our focus right now is only on growth – our 6 month goal is to have a steady month over month growth rate of 20%What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?It is more important to start than to start right. – If you don’t start your business, nothing will happen. Whatever it is that’s keeping you from launching is the very thing you either need to ignore or tackle head-on.If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey – the cofounders of WeWork. They literally disrupted a traditional industry and popularized the shared workspace culture by making it more accessible to the average Joe and Jane. Technology has reduced the need to be tethered to the corporate desk but WeWork added the missing piece of having a portable workspace where innovation can take place. We would love to chat with them mainly because the space we are venturing into is also about changing mindset. We would love to gain valuable lessons and insights that they could share about their successes and failures, which are generally not covered by the press.Why did you launch in New York?Energy of the city – you cannot find this combination anywhere in the world! Running a startup is stressful enough, why not do it in a city that you love and feels like home?What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?Cheryl’s Global Soul –its this soul food restaurant in Prospect Park which also does amazing brunch!
Filed Under: Advice, Management, Resources, Strategic Business Today Needs More Focus On The People AspectFebruary 8, 2018 by Martin Zwilling 295SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Most entrepreneurs assume that success is dependent on their product expertise, coupled with some knowledge of how to run a business. In fact, I have found from personal experience and mentoring that both of these are necessary, but not sufficient, for building a business. Successful entrepreneurs today must practice human-centered leadership to compete and win.There are many leadership styles out there that may have worked well in the past, including authoritarian and paternalistic. But in this new age of relationships, these often work against your business. There is more and more evidence that a more human-centered or heart-centered leadership yields the best results with your team and with customers in the long run.As top business consultants and leading proponents of this leadership style, Susan Steinbrecher and Joel Bennett, in their classic book “Heart-Centered Leadership: Lead Well, Live Well,” do a good job on the details of why and how this approach leads to greater satisfaction and well-being for the team, and by extension, to the bottom line profit and impact of the business.Here are some examples from their book and my experience of the many indicators, challenges that entrepreneurs will probably recognize, which highlight the value and need for increased focus on the human element:Collaborative team sessions seem to drag on. Entrepreneurs often complain about the amount of time wasted in meetings, because one of the team members just wants to be heard, or feels that what he or she has said is not valued. Great leaders learn to listen actively to conversations, so people don’t hold up progress just to be understood.Disruptive office politics start to show. Startups with weak directives, poor communication, and ineffective cultures are breeding grounds for negative interpersonal dynamics. Office politics are really about self-interest and self-esteem. Heart-centered leaders create engaged teams that are too highly motivated to waste time on politics.Investments and acquisitions fail. Failure is often not due to fiscal irresponsibility or lack of due diligence. Business-to-business relationships usually fail because the leadership team underestimates the impact and the importance of recognizing the human element. Effective entrepreneur leaders focus on getting people needs satisfied early.Team conflicts become personal fights. A conflict and a fight are not the same thing. The best entrepreneurs understand their people and embrace constructive conflict for steering through the maze of innovation and change common to every startup. Toxic relationships are emotional, often personal, disagreements which are counter-productive.Demand for coaching, counseling, and discipline training is high. The most-used workplace training programs are really about matters of the heart. Managers need training in coaching, counseling, and discipline because they resist or have difficulty communicating with team members. Punishment at work is not a motivator to change.Difficulties retaining key employees. Top team members rarely quit the company. More often than not they quit their boss. All too often, quitting is a response to a perceived lack of leadership or appreciation by key executives. Human-centered leaders connect with each team member at a personal level to assure ongoing commitment.Evidence of crossing the line ethically. If entrepreneurs show only an exclusive focus on the bottom line, team members may convince themselves that they have to bend the rules to be successful, which can easily lead to lying, cheating, and stealing. Leaders need to focus on a human-centered culture in their actions, as well as every message.Customer relationships culture is slipping. Your startup can’t sell and compete on the strength of your customer relationships, if the business culture in your startup is not human-centered. That startup culture has to come from the beginning and from the top, meaning heart-centered leadership from the entrepreneur.There is an increasing body of evidence that teams and leaders focused on the human element not only live well, but are winning in their profit-making objectives as well. Examples of exemplary companies practicing this model include Starbucks Coffee and the Whole Foods. Both of these are human-centered businesses that boast high growth, high loyalty, and low employee turnover.How evident in your leadership style is your commitment to personal understanding, open-mindedness, authenticity, trust and integrity? If you haven’t tried it, or you aren’t getting the feedback from your team than you want, maybe it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. It’s never too late to learn.Reprinted by permission.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST
3 Reasons You Should Write Unit TestsApril 19, 2017 by Jared Brown 226SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Using unit tests can ensure functionality and save you time in the long run.We write a lot of unit tests at Hubstaff. Testing is something we have taken seriously from day one, and as a result it’s a big part of our development culture. If you’ve been on the fence about writing unit tests but haven’t dove in yet, let me tell you why you should. You’ll save yourself a bunch of pain and work happier overall. Plus, happy programmers write better code. And there’s no better medicine for a software product than a frequent dose of high quality code.Myths About Unit TestsMost developers don’t write tests, and it’s easy to understand why. Tests take time (and in most cases money) to write. Maybe your boss or client thinks that your progress will slow down. Maybe your company doesn’t think the cost is justified. Unit tests do increase the size of the code base, which means more lines of code to maintain.So you skip writing unit tests because you think that you’ll save your company money, finish your work early and make it home in time to watch “Game of Thrones.” However, give me a chance to change your mind.To quickly cover what unit tests are, this is an RSpec test, but most unit test frameworks look and work similarly. These tests assert certain conditions. A test does X and expects Y. If the test does not get Y, it fails. It’s that simple.3 Reasons You Should Write Unit TestsYou Can Find Out If Your Code Really WorksUnit tests aren’t a replacement for functional testing, but they are the solid foundation on which the rest of your testing process should be built.Opening your app and taking new features for a test drive is a good practice. This is a standard part of our testing process at Hubstaff. We don’t ship code if it hasn’t been functionally tested. I’d also recommend getting one or two other people to open the app and exercise the new feature too. But this sort of functional testing is far from ideal.Functional testing is an imperfect way to test new code for several reasons:Usually you (the developer who wrote the code) performs the functional testing. You’re going to use the feature as expected since you designed it. But software usually breaks when you use it in unintended ways.Functional testing is tedious. It requires you to think up ways to test the feature. If you are not the developer, you probably have no clue where the fragility in the feature is. I’ll often email the people who will be performing the functional testing a list of things to check because I know what code I changed and what it’s likely to affect. That’s exactly what writing unit tests is all about.It is usually unscripted. So if you ever do regression testing, this feature will be tested differently and almost certainly not as thoroughly the second time around. Conducting functional regression testing isn’t reasonable or a good use of time.Without unit tests, you really don’t have a testing process. You have testing chaos. That chaos will result in a lot more time spent than it takes to write unit tests.It Will Save You a Lot of Pain (and Time)I don’t like interruptions while I’m working. Who does? So I’ll do just about anything to avoid them. One of the worst types of interruptions is when something breaks in production and I have to stop what I’m doing to put the fire out. Unit tests are one of the best ways to prevent this. You look at your code through a different lens when you are writing tests. This causes you to see the fragile parts a lot easier. You’re much more likely to catch errors that you would have missed before shipping the code to production if you are taking the time to examine it. I have stopped spending my time putting out fires and can focus almost all of my time on forward progress.The unit tests are really just the documentation of how your code should behave. Some people will tell you that this documentation is valuable and I would agree. If you cannot tell from looking at the code what it is trying to do — which is a problem in itself — at least you have the unit tests to tell you the story. This is especially helpful if you are working with someone else’s code. But even if it’s your own, how well will you remember all the edge cases in six months?Another often overlooked advantage of unit tests is being able to work through a problem faster. How many times have you received an error message when you test a feature in the app? Think about how much time it takes to have to launch the app, try something, see that it breaks, look at the code, rinse and repeat. It’s much easier to just write a test that causes the error and tests for the successful condition. Then change your code and rerun the test. Your development cycle will improve by an order of magnitude.It Makes Deployments a SnapBefore I learned about continuous integration, I thought I had a really simple deployment process. We use Git and GitHub. We do all of our work in branches and use pull requests for code reviews.I used to: run tests on my feature branch, pull down the latest changes from master on GitHub, merge the feature branch into master, run tests on master, push code to a remote repository and run database migrations.There are all sorts of things that can go wrong in this process. I could easily make a mistake and forget to run the tests on master after I merge in my feature branch. I would often forget to run the database migrations after deploying the code to production. Life was not good.Then I discovered continuous integration. Since we prefer using fully-managed, hosted solutions, we use CircleCI. We have found that CircleCI has the best grasp on the technical issues that need to be tackled with any continuous integration service. My six-step process above was reduced to one.With CircleCI, all I have to do is review the pull request on GitHub and merge it since CircleCI integrates with GitHub. It previously runs that branch when I push it to GitHub and tells me if they all passed. Once the merge occurs, it runs all the tests on the new version of master. If those pass it pushes the code to staging and automatically runs the migrations.To push code to production, all I have to do is merge master into production. It takes care of the rest. If a test happens to fail, the deployment halts. Life is good.What to Do If You Already Have Thousands of Lines of CodeIf you’re convinced but already have thousands of lines of code in your code base, I recommend the following strategy:Don’t ship any new features without writing unit tests for them first.Write a few tests for existing code with each new feature.If something breaks in production, write a test for it at the time that you fix it.Little by little you’ll increase your code coverage without grinding development to a halt. BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners. Image credit: CC by Pablo BD.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Filed Under: Advice, Inside the Code, Resources Tagged With: Code writing, deployments, Developers., efficiency, functional testing, jared brown, unit tests
This installment of Funded in the Alley is presented by Bond Collective. Leading the way in hospitality and luxury office space, Bond Collective designs environments that empower individuals and companies to be the best versions of themselves. We build collaborative workspaces curated around communities, and provide affordable alternatives for modern businesses to call home. Have any questions about what Bond Collective can offer your company? We’d be more than happy to offer you a personalized tour of any of our locations in the Financial District, Flatiron and Brooklyn.Navigating the environment to purchase health insurance has become a daunting task with pending and recent legislative changes adding further complexities. It’s has been as equally as difficult for brokers and marketplaces to offer the most up-to-date information on all the offerings available while maintaining a cohesive experience for the user. Wellthie has emerged to tackle this problem. A previous graduate of Startup Health, the startup offers a suite of broker and carrier shopping tools so that the process of obtaining health insurance is efficient and accurate for individuals and small businesses. Back in 2015, we named them one of the 30 HealthTech Startups with Real Potential to Change the World and the company’s progress since then is ensuring that shopping for health care insurance will be a seamless experience.AlleyWatch chatted with Founder and CEO Sally Poblete about the startup and its latest round of funding.Who were your investors and how much did you raise? Wellthie raised $5M in a Series A financing. The round was led by IA Capital Group, with participation from Aflac Ventures, other institutional investors, and insurance industry leaders.Tell us about your product or service.Wellthie is an insurance technology company that offers leading broker and carrier shopping tools that simplify insurance distribution and optimize insurance choices for small businesses and individuals. Our product is a next-generation e-commerce marketplace for brokers to quote, guide, and enroll small businesses in the cover choices that best service their specific preferences and needs. Like the Zillow of health insurance, Wellthie uses advanced algorithms, best-in-class user experience, and licensed broker support so that brokers using Wellthie can multiply their market opportunity while increasing consumers’ access to health insurance.What inspired you to start the company?I spent almost two decades in the healthcare industry, and led product for one of the nation’s largest health insurance carriers. Wellthie was born out of the notion that finding health insurance shouldn’t be headache-inducing, that the shopping process consumers experience can be seamless, modern, and friendly.As the Zillow of health insurance, Wellthie offers the first and only e-commerce marketplace to find the best value insurance through best-in-class UX and smart decision support. Our team has the unparalleled insurance and technology expertise required to transform the gigantic, 100-year old industry.Regardless of how regulation unfolds in the coming months, Wellthie provides the much needed navigation, comparison shopping, and support that small businesses and individuals need to make the optimal choices about their health insurance.What market you are targeting and how big is it? Small businesses today represent 90% of U.S. enterprises and nearly 5 million small businesses. Wellthie targets the $100B+ small group insurance market, where 55 million small business employees rely on 500K brokers to buy health insurance.What’s your business model?Wellthie’s business model is a SaaS licensing revenue model.NYC is increasingly become the place for insurance-tech. Has there been a defining event that has catapulted this interest?New York has always been home to many large insurance companies — EmblemHealth, Empire BCBS, MetLife, Guardian, AIG, New York Life, and so many others. It has also been increasingly the center of technology innovation. So, it’s no surprise that there’s lots of insuretech innovation happening here.What was the funding process like and what challenges did you face?Like most entrepreneurs say — it takes longer than one would hope. It’s a challenge for an entrepreneur to take time out of growing the business to focus on funding.What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?Insurance is a gigantic market ripe for technology innovation, and we have the right team with deep domain expertise and entrepreneurial leadership to seize the opportunity. Our approach to our product is to partner with the insurance stakeholders to modernize and simplify the distribution of insurance to small businesses.What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months? Growth in our customers, team, and product offerings.What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?Regardless of funding stage, it is always useful to be prudent with cash.Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?Our team members always have a suggestion! I’m always game to check out the next hot spot. This installment of Funded in the Alley is presented by Bond Collective. Leading the way in hospitality and luxury office space, Bond Collective designs environments that empower individuals and companies to be the best versions of themselves. We build collaborative workspaces curated around communities, and provide affordable alternatives for modern businesses to call home. Have any questions about what Bond Collective can offer your company? We’d be more than happy to offer you a personalized tour of any of our locations in the Financial District, Flatiron and Brooklyn.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST This NYC Startup Just Raised $5M to Revamp The Way in Which You Buy InsuranceMay 8, 2017 by AlleyVoice 526SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Funded in the Alley, Funded in the Alley, Funding, Funding News, HealthTech, Interviews, News, Startups, Venture Capital