UnCovered

Are You Destined to be an Entrepreneur?

Are You Destined to be an Entrepreneur?

Starting your own business might be a very tempting idea. You feel like you have the skills and you want to be your own boss. But before you quit your job, make sure that you are doing this for the right reasons and because you want to escape from some responsibilities that you have now. So what is the best way to know if you are an entrepreneur material? Here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself before you make any further steps:

1. Do you really want to start your own business?
Some people are just tired of being a part of a big company and feeling unrecognized. The fact that you are frustrated with your current job, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are meant to be an entrepreneur. You might just need to find a new one. But if you feel that you have a great idea and the skills needed to realize it, you have been thinking about starting a business for a long time, and you have done a lot of research on the topic, then you might be ready to start taking some steps towards entrepreneurship.

2. Do you know anything about sales?
Even the greatest product means nothing if people don’t know about it. Do you know anything about marketing and promoting your product? If not, do you have enough money to hire a marketing and PR agency that would do the promotional work for you? Staying realistic about your skills and budget is very important.

3. Do you have enough savings?
Before you start your own business, make sure that you have some savings. You will need some time before your business becomes profitable and knowing that you can survive for awhile without a salary will boost your confidence.

4. Can you take risks?
To be an entrepreneur, you will have to have high risk tolerance.

5. Are you good with people?
It is important for an entrepreneur to be a leader and to know how to influence others. If you are overly shy, it is a good idea to try to go out and talk to more people so you can overcome some of your shyness. If you can’t engage in a conversation with others, it will be hard for people to trust you, which is not a good start for you as a new entrepreneur.

6. Can you tolerate other people’s opinion?
Getting angry with others who might not share your opinion is counterproductive. Try to surround yourself with people who are slightly different from you and will challenge you. The most dangerous thing you can do for your business is to have around only yes-sayers who always agree with you. This will kill creativity and you will never be able to grow.
 

April 5th, 2013
Discussion

Tags:

  • marketing
  • entrepreneurship
  • education
  • skills
  • business

Make Your Marketing and PR Agency a Partner, Not a Vendor

Make Your Marketing and PR Agency a Partner, Not a Vendor

It seems that everyone now wants to become an entrepreneur. Many feel that a great idea and strong skills to execute it will make them destined for success. But while you, the new business owner, can’t do without strong skills, education and enthusiasm if you want your startup to be successful, choosing a marketing and PR agency to work with is of essential importance when it comes to your company’s publicity and media exposure.

With the growing number of entrepreneurs and startups, large and small PR agencies are trying to keep up with new technology and modern means of communications. Almost every agency now uses social media, in addition to traditional media, to promote their clients and build audiences. But when it comes to understanding clients’ products and needs, marketing and PR agencies are not all equal. Therefore, before committing to a particular agency, it is important for you to have a clear idea of what your expectations are. This could save you time, money, and quite a few moments of frustration.

In order to get the most out of a marketing and PR agency, business owners should see a it as a potential partner and strive for teamwork and collaboration. If you are a business owner looking for the best option for your startup, spend some time with different teams before you commit to a particular agency. While it is important to look over the the agency’s clients, don’t fall for impressive client lists since they might not be current. Besides, the fact that this agency was a great fit for someone else’s business doesn’t mean that it is the right fit for you. There are big agencies that handle clients from different fields, but many times the best choice for a startup is a niche agency that concentrates on products similar to yours.

The best approach when choosing an agency is to ask questions and state clear expectations. Make sure that the agency’s team understands your product and is genuinely interested in it. If people like the product, they will work hard to promote it. But if they don’t understand it, they might get bored, which means that they probably won’t do the best job promoting it.

In addition, you have to have a vision about the future of your company so when you meet with your potential marketing and PR agency, you can discuss not only your present, but also your future goals. Have a clear vision of what success means to you and make sure to communicate it to the agency’s team so they can work with you towards achieving these goals.

Many new entrepreneurs often have unrealistic expectations which leads to misunderstanding and moments of frustration between a client and an agency. Goals such as “I want to be on Oprah,” or a certain number of feature-length articles in major publications might not be the best place to start. A good agency will have a clear idea what is achievable within a certain period of time and should let its clients know what they could expect.

The most important thing to remember is that there should be a two-way communication and mutual trust between a client and an agency.
 

April 4th, 2013
Discussion

Tags:

  • strategy
  • technology
  • marketing
  • agency
  • media
  • sicial+media
  • entrepreneurship

Now and Later, the Future of Battery Life.

Now and Later, the Future of Battery Life.

Smartphone battery life is seemingly an ever losing battle. As smartphones become more powerful they remain limited by their size and the chemical makeup of their batteries while more is being expected from an already stressed system. Earlier this month The San Francisco Android User Group held a developers talk on the subject of battery consumption titled "Android Power Profiling" with guest speaker Frank Maker, a Ph. D candidate at the University of California, Davis. The talk focused mostly on the breakdown of battery usage within a smartphone and the limitations of smartphone batteries. Further reading “Who Killed My Battery:Analyzing Mobile Browser Energy Consumption,” gave more of a software side approach to battery consumption in relation to web browsing on a mobile device. While much of the hardware is limited until further chemical advances, there is a lot of room for improvement on the software side specifically web browsing. 

With cell phones today constantly adding new features but staying relatively the same size and utilizing only natural convection and radiation cooling and with no active cooling, fan for instance, it’s becoming a challenge to balance new features and battery life. Maker detailed all the components and the approximate amount of battery life they wear down while in use. He stressed the difficulty in measuring individual battery usage by component. Concluding the presentation with a demonstration of how to measure

Using precise instruments a team of researchers was able to record the amount of battery power used during web browsing, even being able to break it down to individual web elements like Javascript and CSS. Using this data the researchers were able to reconfigure sites like Wikipedia to be more efficient and developed guidelines to building more efficient websites. For instance the researchers found that using JPEG images as opposed to GIF or PNG images saved significant amounts of battery life.

Both the paper and the event provided valuable information on the outlook for smartphone battery usage. It’s apparent that while next generation battery hardware may be some distance in the future; presently there are changes that can be made on a software and website makeup bases that could improve battery life. 

April 2nd, 2013
Discussion

Tags:

  • science
  • mobile
  • battery
  • life
  • online
  • technology

Mind the Bridge

Mind the Bridge

At the Mind the Bridge Winter 2013 demo day in San Francisco, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs presented their projects. The startups at the demo included Atooma, In3D Gallery, map2app, badseed, Weendy, and Myze.

Before the presentations began, Tom Draper from Draper University discussed the school for innovators that he founded in order to educate and help talented and driven entrepreneurs in their rode to success. Draper stressed on the social value of entrepreneurship, arguing that in order to be a successful entrepreneur one has to have a vision and a higher goal to improve the status quo. The best entrepreneurs strive to change things that are wrong or haven’t been working well.

Draper expressed his belief in hands-on, street-smart education. “It is important to know how to survive in the real world and that’s why we change the rules to everything. You thought you knew the rules of a certain game? Well, we change them in a way that even basketball doesn’t have to be played always with one ball” he said arguing that this is the kind of attitude that leads to success.

During the presentations, there was plenty of the attitude that Draper described. Everyone presented with a high level of enthusiasm and one of the best opening lines in a pitch belonged to one of the founders of Myze, an app designed to maximize credit card rewards. He began with explaining how he came up with the idea for the app while in a movie theater with his wife. “Before the movie started, there was a sign on the screen saying that some of the people in the audience didn’t pay for their tickets. They used discounts offered by American Express. There were two reasons why that made me angry: first, I had an American Express card; second, I didn’t know about any discounts.” Then the idea for an app that lets users maximize the value they get from a credit card was born.

In3D Gallery empowers creativity and allows the user to build a 3D virtual space. It is a great service for photographers, painters, or anyone who values the visual beauty of presentations.

The rest of the presentations were also interesting and attention-catching because of the innovative ideas they incorporated.

The event ended with coffee and some more networking.  

March 26th, 2013
Discussion

Tags:

  • education
  • entrepreneurship
  • apps
  • technogy
  • innovation

What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about User Data and Privacy

What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about User Data and Privacy

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and member of the press gathered on Thursday, March 14th to discuss online personal information sharing and privacy issues. They made it clear that new methods are needed to avoid oversharing of users’ private data.

Tech journalist Rafe Needleman, currently a platform advocate for Evernote, lead the discussion and asked questions regarding social media profiles for children and personal data ownership rights. It was mentioned that it is impossible to know people’s real age when they create social media profiles and the question was how to prevent children under 14 years of age of creating one. As the Federal Trade Commision revealed its plan to toughen the Children’s Online Privacy Act starting July 1st of this year, the participants, including Ted Hollifield from Alston & Bird, pointed out that it is hard to track who actually creates the profile. Hollifer along with audience members argued that it is acceptable for youngsters to have Facebook profiles with the consent of their parents. It is impossible, however, to know if the claiming “parent” is the actual mother or father.

Another big topic was the issue of rights ownership when it comes to Internet users’ private data. Mary Hodder, co-founder of Customer Commons, argued that users who shop online and share their information with the site they are using should split the rights to their data with the site in question. Hodder compared data ownership with owning the rights of a song created by two people. She pointed out that in such case, both owners have the right to use their song however they wish without asking each other for permission. According to her, the same should be the case with sites handling user data since there are two owners here as well - the user and the site that this user shares his or her personal information.

There is a growing concern among users about how much they have to share. Hodder discussed survey conducted with people from different parts of the country. Participants were asked if they have ever given a false information when asked to register to a site. She was shocked to find out that about 70% answered positively. The conclusion is that people care about their privacy and how their personal information is used.


 

March 26th, 2013
Discussion

Tags:

  • privacy
  • online
  • facebook+twitter
  • social+media
  • children