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Does ABM work? Case Study Details and Insights

February 13, 2021 No Comments

Case study: An 80% CPM reduction and an 86% lower CPC since moving digital ad spend over to an account-based marketing strategy. See what we learned.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Seven enterprise SEO strategies and tactics that really work

February 9, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • A well-planned Enterprise SEO strategy includes everything that helps a business to dominate Google search.
  • Voice search optimization is critical to your SEO success.
  • Striking keyword targeting helpful to get more results in a short time.
  • Internal linking can boost time-on-site as well as boost your website’s visibility and rankings.
  • Scalability is the key to implement a large scale link-building campaign.
  • Structured data is helpful to decorate your content on SERP and boost CTR.
  • To add content to capture early to mid-stage, even transactional content, a blog is a great way
  • Improving your website EAT is one of the important things to future proof SEO.

Enterprise sites often belong to large corporations, even mid-sized companies that offer a wide range of products and services. A well planned enterprise SEO includes on-page optimization and high-quality content creation. It also helps to penetrate the local market by focusing on local SEO. Enterprise sites have to face cutthroat competition at every stage, particularly from brands with sophisticated SEO strategies. 

Let’s take a leading example, Airtel has a good position in the telecom sector but was not in the top three search results. It formulated a comprehensive enterprise SEO strategy by listing over 2000 keywords and by doing complete local optimization. The methodology paid off, and Airtel managed to be in the top three positions with 2100 keywords. 

 Given below are some beneficial tools to help you in making successful Enterprise SEO strategies: 

1. Adopt voice SEO

As the world of search continues to evolve by using voice technology, enterprises must revolutionize their SEO strategy to keep up with these changes. Voice technology has drastically improved and has become a major digital trend with a vast range of voice-activated technology like Siri, Alexa, Echo, Cortana, and Google Assistant. 

Google reports that 27% of the online global population is using voice search on mobile. Moreover, with voice searches, users are provided with the top result rather than a full search engine result page. Hence, enterprises need to stay on the top of their game to attract the highest inbound traffic. 

The number of enterprises successfully integrating voice SEO in their marketing strategy is increasing by leaps and bounds. Nestle, the largest food and beverage company, has created a custom-skill for Alexa, supporting voice cooking instructions while the user cooks. 

2. Target striking distance keywords

A striking distance keyword is a phrase used to describe a keyword that is not quite at the top of a Google SERPs but, with a little time and planning, could rise to the top of Page 1. In short, we can say it is the keyword that is within striking distance of the top of the first page of Google search. By targeting striking distance keywords, you can easily find the best opportunities by providing better visibility, increasing traffic, and conversions.

If you want a quick way to get keyword wins, identifying Striking Distance keywords, and refreshing your content with them is hands down the way to go.

It gives you a golden opportunity to revisit older content, and optimize the meta, adding new internal/external links, etc. The best thing about this strategy is that it takes little time while giving impressive results. 

3. Internal and external linking

Internal links help a viewer stay engaged with your website longer and encourage them to become a customer or follower. These links are easily accessible to viewers and increase the authority of your web pages and website. They are often used as a call-to-action as they might prompt a viewer to read or learn more about a topic by clicking on the internal link, or else ask a viewer to contact you or schedule a visit. Internal links also improve your website’s visibility and rank.

Backlinks (external links) are still one of the top-ranking factors. External links are outbound links from other websites that link to your site. These links improve your site’s credibility by proving that your content is valuable. Moreover, these links are a great way to reach out, make connections, and get your content in the desired limelight. An external link is a source of free traffic for your website and is a crucial element of Google’s search engine algorithm.

4. Featured snippet optimization

The short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google’s search result are called featured snippets. They can be a paragraph, tables, steps, or list. Its matter is automatically taken from web pages in Google’s index. The featured snippet box is referred to as Position 0 as it comes before the no.1 spot on the search page.Enterprise SEO strategies and tactics that really work - Featured snippet optimization

The easiest way to earn this spot is by making your substance worthy by bringing forth relevance and quality. Keep your section concise, use headers to break up content sections, and ensure that each section is between 40 to 50 words.

It is mostly questions that bring up featured snippets. Hence, make sure that your sections answer how, when, where, who, what, and why. Include photos and videos as people love to learn visually. 

99% of all featured snippets are from pages already ranked in the top ten SERPs in Google search. Hence, if you are already on the first page, you just need to format your matter the right way for featured snippets. If you have missed that slot, then no need to be disheartened as, by the end of this article, you will earn the best ways to get there.  

5. Structure data

If you are looking forward to making Google understand your site better, start using structured data. It is a standardized method to provide information about a web page. 

Just like any other programming languages, structured data needs to be in the correct syntax to provide immediate and easy to follow facts and figures. There are different sets of vocabularies like Schema.org and Microformats.org, and different syntaxes, like JSON-LD and Microdata, used for structured data. Google has laid down quality guidelines for using schema markup.  

One-third of Google search results include a rich snippet with Schema.org markup. The rich snippets help your web page appear eminently on the search engine result page (SERP).

One of its benefits is enhanced search results by making your data visually appealing and providing relevant information that accelerates traffic and improves CTR (click-through rate). In case your enterprise site uses AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), then include structured data markup on both AMP and regular pages.

6. The E-A-T approach

If you are planning to take the spotlight in an online search, then you have to strengthen your E-A-T strategy, meaning expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. As per Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, EAT is used to assess content creators, web pages, and web sites.

Google wants to make sure that the information it suggests is authentic and comes from the experts in that niche. So, how do you make your content and website more authoritative and trustworthy? Links, mentions, shares, and reviews can help you build your authority and enhance your online reputation.

Google looks for the highest level of standardization for the Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) sites that have a crucial impact on your safety, security, and stability. 

There are no shortcuts to gain expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. With proper E-A-T strategies, your business can have a positive online presence and undoubtedly the top spot in Google search.

7. Become a content machine (blogging)

Around 20 years ago, Bill Gates said, “Content is king”. This phrase is pretty relevant even today. Having a blog for your company website is still important and useful. Blogs bring forth the multimedia representation of your business, they keep the audience interested, generate trust, and creatively present your services.

By utilizing various SEO techniques like titles, keywords, internal and external links, the blog post can attain high visibility, thus helping your brand to get in front of hundreds of people. Every new blog adds a new page to your website, giving search engines more reason to re-crawl your website to find new subject matter. It also helps in keeping your website updated and fresh. Blogging works well to generate more diverse search results that your website is not able to attract otherwise.  

Conclusion

As the search engines’ algorithms are getting smarter day by day, the competition to rank on Page 1 is getting more difficult. Enterprise SEO can boost rankings, drive more organic traffic, and increase conversions. Right now, you may not be at the top of the search page, but with the right tactics and strategies, you can be a master of your game. Moreover, this is not an exhaustive list. You can try Page Speed Optimization, multi-channel marketing, and more. But the mentioned SEO strategies are the most fundamental ones that every enterprise must follow.

In the end, remember, a successful Enterprise SEO campaign attunes the short-term and long-term goals and contributes to the overall marketing plan.

Harpreet Munjal is the Founder of SEO services company, LoudGrowth.

The post Seven enterprise SEO strategies and tactics that really work appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Wall Street needs to relax, as startups show remote work is here to stay

November 28, 2020 No Comments

We are hearing that a COVID-19 vaccine could be on the way sooner than later, and that means we could be returning to normal life some time in 2021. That’s the good news. The perplexing news, however, is that each time some positive news emerges about a vaccine — and believe me I’m not complaining — Wall Street punishes stocks it thinks benefits from us being stuck at home. That would be companies like Zoom and Peloton.

While I’m not here to give investment advice, I’m confident that these companies are going to be fine even after we return to the office. While we surely pine for human contact, office brainstorming, going out to lunch with colleagues and just meeting and collaborating in the same space, it doesn’t mean we will simply return to life as it was before the pandemic and spend five days a week in the office.

One thing is clear in my discussions with startups born or growing up during the pandemic: They have learned to operate, hire and sell remotely, and many say they will continue to be remote-first when the pandemic is over. Established larger public companies like Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify and others have announced they will continue to offer a remote-work option going forward. There are many other such examples.

It’s fair to say that we learned many lessons about working from home over this year, and we will carry them with us whenever we return to school and the office — and some percentage of us will continue to work from home at least some of the time, while a fair number of businesses could become remote-first.

Wall Street reactions

On November 9, news that the Pfizer vaccine was at least 90% effective threw the markets for a loop. The summer trade, in which investors moved capital from traditional, non-tech industries and pushed it into software shares, flipped; suddenly the stocks that had been riding a pandemic wave were losing ground while old-fashioned, even stodgy, companies shot higher.


Enterprise – TechCrunch



5 Ways To Make Your Landing Page Work Harder

November 8, 2020 No Comments

One marketing content pro discusses a few ways to make landing pages grab (and keep) readers’ attention.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Voice assistants don’t work for kids: The problem with speech recognition in the classroom

September 10, 2020 No Comments

Before the pandemic, more than 40% of new internet users were children. Estimates now suggest that children’s screen time has surged by 60% or more with children 12 and under spending upward of five hours per day on screens (with all of the associated benefits and perils).

Although it’s easy to marvel at the technological prowess of digital natives, educators (and parents) are painfully aware that young “remote learners” often struggle to navigate the keyboards, menus and interfaces required to make good on the promise of education technology.

Against that backdrop, voice-enabled digital assistants hold out hope of a more frictionless interaction with technology. But while kids are fond of asking Alexa or Siri to beatbox, tell jokes or make animal sounds, parents and teachers know that these systems have trouble comprehending their youngest users once they deviate from predictable requests.

The challenge stems from the fact that the speech recognition software that powers popular voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google was never designed for use with children, whose voices, language and behavior are far more complex than that of adults.

It is not just that kid’s voices are squeakier, their vocal tracts are thinner and shorter, their vocal folds smaller and their larynx has not yet fully developed. This results in very different speech patterns than that of an older child or an adult.

From the graphic below it is easy to see that simply changing the pitch of adult voices used to train speech recognition fails to reproduce the complexity of information required to comprehend a child’s speech. Children’s language structures and patterns vary greatly. They make leaps in syntax, pronunciation and grammar that need to be taken into account by the natural language processing component of speech recognition systems. That complexity is compounded by interspeaker variability among children at a wide range of different developmental stages that need not be accounted for with adult speech.

vocal pitch changes with age

Changing the pitch of adult voices used to train speech recognition fails to reproduce the complexity of information required to comprehend a child’s speech. Image Credits: SoapBox Labs

A child’s speech behavior is not just more variable than adults, it is wildly erratic. Children over-enunciate words, elongate certain syllables, punctuate each word as they think aloud or skip some words entirely. Their speech patterns are not beholden to common cadences familiar to systems built for adult users. As adults, we have learned how to best interact with these devices, how to elicit the best response. We straighten ourselves up, we formulate the request in our heads, modify it based on learned behavior and we speak our requests out loud, inhale a deep breath … “Alexa … ” Kids simply blurt out their unthought out requests as if Siri or Alexa were human, and more often than not get an erroneous or canned response.

In an educational setting, these challenges are exacerbated by the fact that speech recognition must grapple with not just ambient noise and the unpredictability of the classroom, but changes in a child’s speech throughout the year, and the multiplicity of accents and dialects in a typical elementary school. Physical, language and behavioral differences between kids and adults also increase dramatically the younger the child. That means that young learners, who stand to benefit most from speech recognition, are the most difficult for developers to build for.

To account for and understand the highly varied quirks of children’s language requires speech recognition systems built to intentionally learn from the ways kids speak. Children’s speech cannot be treated simply as just another accent or dialect for speech recognition to accommodate; it’s fundamentally and practically different, and it changes as children grow and develop physically as well as in language skills.

Unlike most consumer contexts, accuracy has profound implications for children. A system that tells a kid they are wrong when they are right (false negative) damages their confidence; that tells them they are right when they are wrong (false positive) risks socioemotional (and psychometric) harm. In an entertainment setting, in apps, gaming, robotics and smart toys, these false negatives or positives lead to frustrating experiences. In schools, errors, misunderstanding or canned responses can have far more profound educational — and equity — implications.

Well-documented bias in speech recognition can, for example, have pernicious effects with children. It is not acceptable for a product to work with poorer accuracy — delivering false positives and negatives — for kids of a certain demographic or socioeconomic background. A growing body of research suggests that voice can be an extremely valuable interface for kids but we cannot allow or ignore the potential for it to magnify already endemic biases and inequities in our schools.

Speech recognition has the potential to be a powerful tool for kids at home and in the classroom. It can fill critical gaps in supporting children through the stages of literacy and language learning, helping kids better understand — and be understood by — the world around them. It can pave the way for a new era of  “invisible” observational measures that work reliably, even in a remote setting. But most of today’s speech recognition tools are ill-suited to this goal. The technologies found in Siri, Alexa and other voice assistants have a job to do — to understand adults who speak clearly and predictably — and, for the most part, they do that job well. If speech recognition is to work for kids, it has to be modeled for, and respond to, their unique voices, language and behaviors.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Facebook extends coronavirus work from home policy until July 2021

August 9, 2020 No Comments

Facebook has joined Google in saying it will allow employees to work from home until the middle of next year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions about these matters, we are allowing employees to continue voluntarily working from home until July 2021,” a spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency.

Facebook also said it will provide employees with an additional $ 1,000 to spend on “home office needs.”

Late last month Google also extended its coronavirus remote work provision, saying staff would be able to continue working from home until the end of June 2021.

Both tech giants have major office presences in a number of cities around the world. And despite the pandemic forcing them into offering more flexible working arrangements than they usually do, the pair have continued to build out their physical office footprints, signaling a commitment to operating their own workplaces. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, given how much money they’ve ploughed in over the years to turn offices into perk-filled playgrounds designed to keep staff on site for longer — with benefits such as free snacks and meals, nap pods, video games arcade rooms and even health centers.)

Earlier this month, Facebook secured the main office lease on an iconic building in New York, for example — adding 730,000 square feet to its existing 2.2 million square feet of office space. Google has continued to push ahead with a flagship development in the U.K. capital’s King’s Cross area, with work resuming last month on the site for its planned London “landscraper” HQ.

In late July, Apple said staff won’t return to offices until at least early 2021 — cautioning that any return to physical offices would depend on whether an effective vaccine and/or successful therapeutics are available. So the iPhone maker looks prepared for a home-working coronavirus long haul.

As questions swirl over the future of the physical office now that human contact is itself a public health risk, the deepest pocketed tech giants are paradoxically showing they’re not willing to abandon the traditional workplace altogether and go all in on modern technologies that allow office work to be done remotely.

Twitter is an exception. During the first wave of the pandemic the social network firmly and fully embraced remote work, telling staff back in May that they can work from home forever if they wish.

Whether remote work played any role in the company’s recent account breach is one open question. It has said phone spear phishing was used to trick staff to gain network access credentials.

Certainly, security concerns have been generally raised about the risk of more staff working remotely during the pandemic — where they may be outside a corporate firewall and more vulnerable to attackers.

A Facebook spokeswoman did not respond when we asked whether the company will offer its own staff the option to work remotely permanently. But the company does not appear prepared to go so far — not least judging by signing new leases on massive office spaces.

Facebook has been retooling its approach to physical offices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing in May it would be setting up new company hubs in Denver, Dallas and Atlanta.

It also said it would focus on finding new hires in areas near its existing offices — including in cities such as San Diego, Portland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said then that over the course of the next decade half of the company could be working fully remotely. Though he said certain kinds of roles would not be eligible for all-remote work — such as those doing work in divisions like hardware development, data centers, recruiting, policy and partnerships.


Social – TechCrunch


Remote work helps Zoom grow 169% in one year, posting $328.2M in Q1 revenue

June 3, 2020 No Comments

Today after the bell, video-chat service Zoom reported its Q1 earnings. The company disclosed that it generated $ 328.2 million in revenue, up 169% compared to the year-ago period. The company also reported $ 0.20 per-share in adjusted profit during the three-month period.

Analysts, as averaged by Yahoo Finance, expected Zoom to report $ 202.48 million in revenue, and a per-share profit of $ 0.09. After its earnings smash, shares of Zoom were up slightly Update: Zoom shares are now up 2.3% ahead of its earnings call; investors had priced in this outsized-performance, it seems.

Zoom grew 78% in its preceding quarter on an annualized basis. The company’s growth acceleration is notable.

Investors were expecting big gains. Before its earnings, shares in the popular business-to-business service were up by more than 3x during the year; Zoom has found itself in an updraft due in part to COVID-19 driving workers and others to stay home and work remotely. Zoom’s software has also seen large purchase amongst consumers hungry for a video chatting solution that was simple and that works.

If the company could sustain its valuation gains going into this earnings report was an open question that has now been answered.

Gains

Zoom’s growth in its Q1 fiscal 2021 generated some notable profit results for the firm. The firm’s net income, an unadjusted profit metric, rose from $ 0.2 million in the year-ago quarter to $ 27.0 million in its most recent three months.

And Zoom’s cash generation was astounding. Here’s how the company described its results:

Net cash provided by operating activities was $ 259.0 million for the quarter, compared to $ 22.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. Free cash flow was $ 251.7 million, compared to $ 15.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

It’s difficult to recall another company that has managed such growth in cash generation in such a short period of time, driven mostly by operations and not other financial acts. Zoom’s customer numbers were similarly sharp, with the firm reporting that it had 265,400 customers with more than 10 seats (employees) at the end of the quarter, which was up 354% from the year-ago period.

Though not all news for Zoom was good. Indeed, the company’s gross margin fell sharply in the quarter, compared to its year-ago result. In is Q1 fiscal 2020, Zoom reported a gross margin of around 80%. In its most recent quarter that number slipped to around 68%. In short, the company managed to convert many free users to paying customers, but still had to carry the costs of free usage of its product, something that has exploded in recent months.

Looking ahead, Zoom expects the current quarter to be another blockbuster period. The company noted in its release that it expects “between $ 495.0 million and $ 500.0 million” in revenue for Q2 of its fiscal 2021 (the current period). Looking ahead for the full fiscal year, Zoom anticipates revenues “between $ 1.775 billion and $ 1.800 billion,” numbers that take into account “the demand for remote work solutions for businesses” and “increased churn in the second half of the fiscal year” when some customers might no longer need Zoom if they can return to their offices.

Its shares might have priced in these results, but the numbers themselves are simply massive. Just three months ago Zoom turned in revenues of just $ 188.3 million. That’s less than it generated in free cash flow during its next three months.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Startups Weekly: Remote-first work will mean ‘globally fair compensation’

May 31, 2020 No Comments

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT). Subscribe here.

Most tech companies base compensation on an employee’s local cost of living, in addition to their skills and responsibilities. The pandemic-era push to remote work seems to be reinforcing that — if you only skim the headlines. For example, Facebook said last week that it would be readjusting salaries for employees who have relocated away from the Bay Area.

But Connie Loizos caught up with a few well-placed people who see something else happening. First, here’s Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic (WordPress), which has been almost entirely remote for its long and successful history.

“Long term, I think market forces and the mobility of talent will force employers to stop discriminating on the basis of geography for geographically agnostic roles,” he told Connie for TechCrunch

Mullenweg went on to detail how the process was still complicated, and that his company did not yet have a universal approach. But ultimately, he thinks that for “moral and competitive reasons, companies will move toward globally fair compensation over time with roles that can be done from anywhere.”

Connie also talked to Jon Holman, a tech recruiter who is living and breathing the new world, in a separate article for Extra Crunch. The market forces will ultimately favor talent, he concurs, and companies that want talent will pay according to what they can afford. “If a good AI or machine learning engineer is working elsewhere and demand for those skills still exceeds supply,” Holman explained, “and his or her company pays less than for the same job in Palo Alto, then that person is just going to jump to another company in his or her own geography.”

Taking stock of the future of retail

Our weekly staff survey for Extra Crunch is about retail — will it exist? how? A few of our staffers who cover related topics weighed in:

  • Natasha Mascarenhas says retailers will need to find new ways to sell aspirational products — and what was once cringe-worthy might now be considered innovative.

  • Devin Coldewey sees businesses adopting a slew of creative digital services to prepare for the future and empower them without Amazon’s platform.

  • Greg Kumparak thinks the delivery and curbside pickup trends will move from pandemic-essentials to everyday occurrences. He thinks that retailers will need to find new ways to appeal to consumers in a “shopping-by-proxy” world.

  • Lucas Matney views a revitalized interest in technology around the checkout process, as retailers look for ways to make the purchasing experience more seamless (and less high-touch).

We also ran two investor surveys this week, with Matt Burns producing one on manufacturing and Megan Rose Dickey and Kirsten Korosec following up on their autonomous vehicles series.

How to think about strategic investors (in a pandemic)

Maybe you could use some more money, distribution and partnerships these days? Those are the eternal lures of corporate venture funding sources, but each strategic VC has a different mandate. Some are there to help the parent company, some are just there to make money… and some may be on thin ice themselves given the way that they get money to invest.

If you’re taking a fresh look at getting strategic funding now, check out this set of overview articles from Bill Growney, a partner at top tech law firm Goodwin, and Scott Orn of Kruze Consulting. The first, for TechCrunch, goes over how corporate funds are typically structured (and motivated). The second, for Extra Crunch, covers questions for startup founders to anticipate and other recommendations for dealing with this type of VC.

Calm chooses a more enlightened path to growth

It is high times for meditation and “mindfulness” apps, as people look for ways to adjust to pandemic life. Sarah Perez, our resident app expert, took a look at a new app store analysis on TechCrunch, shredded some of the top-ranked companies for opportunistic marketing, and came away with a positive feeling about the global market leader.

Calm, meanwhile, took a different approach. It launched a page of free resources, but instead focused on partnerships to expand free access to more users, while also growing its business. Earlier this month, nonprofit health system Kaiser Permanente announced it was making the Calm app’s Premium subscription free for its members, for example — the first health system to do so.

The company’s decision to not pursue as many free giveaways meant it may have missed the easy boost from press coverage. However, it may be a better long-term strategy as it sets up Calm for distribution partnerships that could continue beyond the immediate COVID-19 crisis.

Mindfulness pays. On that note, subscribers can read her excellent This Week In Apps report every Saturday over on Extra Crunch.

Around TechCrunch

TechCrunch’s Early Stage, Mobility and Space events will be virtual, too

Win a Wild Card to compete in Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020

Extra Crunch Live: Join Initialized’s Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan for a live Q&A on Tuesday at 2pm EDT/11am PDT

Join GGV’s Hans Tung and Jeff Richards for a live Q&A: June 4 at 3:30 pm EDT/12:30 pm PD

Across the week

TechCrunch

AI can battle coronavirus, but privacy shouldn’t be a casualty

Living and working in a worsening world

How to upgrade your at-home videoconference setup: Lighting edition

Equity Morning: Remote work startup fundings galore, plus a major court decision

Extra Crunch

API startups are so hot right now

Investors say emerging multiverses are the future of entertainment

Dear Sophie: Can I work in the US on a dependent spouse visa?

Fintech regulations in Latin America could fuel growth or freeze out startups

The secret to trustworthy data strategy

#EquityPod

From Natasha:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week’s show took a break from regularly scheduled programming. Our co-host Alex Wilhelm, who usually leads us through the show, was on some much-deserved vacation, so Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas took the reigns and invited Floodgate Capital’s Iris Choi to join in on the fun. It’s Choi’s fourth time being on the podcast, which officially makes her our most tenured guest yet (in case the accomplished investor needs another bullet point on her bio page).

This week’s docket features scrappiness, a seed round and a Startup Battlefield alumnus.

Here’s what we chewed through:

  • LeverEdge raised seed funding to get you and your friends a volume discount on student loans. Fintech has been booming for years now, and startups often crop up around the painful world of student loans. Yet this startup still caught our eye, and it has a little something to do with its choice to use collective bargaining power as its modus operandi.
  • Stackin’ raised a $ 12.6 million Series B for a text-messaging service that connects millennials to money tips, and eventually other fintech apps. According to CEO Scott Grimes, Stackin’ wants to be the “pipes that port people around fintech.” We get into if the world needs a fintech app marketplace and how it targets younger users.
  • D-ID, a Startup Battlefield alumnus, digitally de-identifies faces in videos and still images and just raised $ 13.5 million. We’re all worried about our privacy concerns, so the funding news was a refreshing change of pace from the usual headlines we see around surveillance. Now the company just needs to find a successful use case beyond the goodness in people’s hearts.
  • ByteDance, the Chinese parent company that owns TikTok, hit $ 3 billion in net profit last year, reports Bloomberg. TikTok also recently snagged former Disney executive Kevin Mayer for its CEO. This one, as you can expect, made for an interesting conversation around privacy and bandwidth. We even asked Choi to weigh in on Donald J. Trump’s recent tweet threatening to regulate social media companies, as Floodgate was an early angel investor in Twitter.
  • We ended with a roundtable of sorts on how the future of work will look and feel in our new world, from college campuses to offices. We get into the vulnerability that comes with being on Zoom, the ever-increasing stupidity of “manels” and how tech talent might be flocking to smaller cities but investors aren’t just yet.

And that was the show! Thanks to our producer Chris Gates for helping us put this together, thanks to you all for listening in on this quirky episode and thanks to Iris Choi for always bringing a fresh, candid perspective. Talk next week.


Startups – TechCrunch


Challenges of remote work during COVID-19: Talking with nomad marketer Jason Barnard

April 18, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • With the COVID-19 virus striking, the world has been subjected to “self-quarantine”, “social distancing”, and “remote work”, there’s a high chance that remote working is here to stay for a lot of people.
  • Karina Tama, founder of Senior Care Clicks caught up with Jason Barnard, the Brand SERP guy and keynote speaker to talk about the challenges of remote work during COVID19 and share some tips.
  • It takes a lot of self-discipline (and understanding co-home sharers) to stick to your daily work plan.
  • Get dressed for meetings and webinars – getting dressed up changes my state of mind and encourages me to take things seriously.
  • Take a 10-minute break every two hours.
  • Dive in for tips, tricks, and advice on video call meetings, and more.

With the COVID-19 virus striking, the world has been subjected to “self-quarantine” and “social distancing”, there are several businesses across the globe that have been compelled to support remote working. While some of them struggle and some are successfully able to adapt to the “temporary” new normal there’s a high chance that remote working is here to stay for a lot of people.

Karina Tama, founder of Senior Care Clicks caught up with Jason Barnard, the Brand SERP guy and keynote speaker to talk about the challenges of remote work during COVID19 and share some tips.

Jason Barnard1. How did you start your digital nomad journey, working remotely?

I have never had a proper job in a stable office. After leaving university, I joined a touring folk-punk band and lived a nomadic life. Then I started a website for kids in Paris but moved to Mauritius (in the Indian Ocean, just off Madagascar) to build and run it. Less nomadic, but very remote.

I worked from home, right there on the beach, with the business end of things in Paris and the servers in the USA. That taught me a lot about self-motivation, work-day structure, separating work from family life, dealing with long-distance communication and even working with people you have never met.

Since then, I have combined remote work and nomadic living – without a home, constantly travelling and working remotely.

In the current situation, I am obviously no longer changing country on a weekly basis – it’s now AirBnB on monthly contracts and staying in France.

For me, in terms of working, nothing much has changed. For many people, remote working is new, difficult and perhaps scary. Hopefully, I can provide some tips, tricks, and advice to help.

2. In your opinion what is the advantage of working remotely?

You set your own timetable and can organize yourself in a way that suits you. If nobody is standing, looking over your shoulder, then that obviously brings freedom. I find that it makes me more productive since I don’t need to fit in with someone else’s vision of how work time should be organized.

Also, you avoid interruptions from work colleagues which can easily distract your flow – “fancy a coffee”, “can you just help me with this”, “that doesn’t look right” and so on.

3. Do you think working remotely has disadvantages and what are they?

Although it saves you from work-related distractions, it is so easy to get distracted by home and family stuff. It takes a lot of self-discipline (and understanding co-home sharers) to stick to your daily work plan. It is tempting to do the washing up, or cleaning, or turn on the TV, or play with the kids. That’s not a problem as such since they make a nice break. But this can easily become hours of missed work-time that become difficult to catch up on.

4. During COVID-19 most of the people are working from home for the first time. What advice will you give to them?

Probably the biggest is to have a dedicated workspace if possible. Obviously not on the kitchen table (you’ll get interrupted and moved elsewhere on a regular basis), at least on a desk that serves only that purpose, and if possible in a room alone. One frequent problem is that when people see you in a home environment, they have a tendency to forget that you are working. If you are in another room, they forget about you until you reappear.

Get out of your pajamas, take a shower and put on clothes. Maybe even shoes. I don’t follow that particular rule – I often stay in pajamas all day and it works fine. But I do get dressed for meetings and webinars – getting dressed up changes my state of mind and encourages me to take things seriously.

Take a 10-minute break every two hours. This helps with concentration during the other hour and 50 mins and will make the work time more productive. Importantly, do something that isn’t on a screen. Even more importantly, do something that only takes 10 minutes. Starting a game of monopoly with the kids is a bad idea. Playing three rounds of pen and paper hangman or I spy is a good idea. If you get other people involved, (a good idea if you can since the social aspect is a great brain-changer) make sure it is very clear to them that this is a 10-minute activity – especially important with children. It isn’t easy, but if you say “10 minutes now, then 10 minutes in 2 hours” and you stick to it 100%. For the first few days, everyone gets into the habit and it becomes easy, fun, and much less terrain for disagreements.

If you are on your own, ideas might be a walk around the garden, looking out the window and inventing stories for people you see, or playing a musical instrument (that’s mine – a strict regime of “three tunes on the ukulele, and back to work”)

5. Can you share some of your proven strategies to work remotely and be productive?

Video meetings become tetchy affairs if anyone at the meeting has a bad connection – dropped sentences, misunderstandings, interruptions, it all builds up quickly to ruining a good meeting. So a great internet connection, if only for those is something that could make or break a deal, keep or lose you your job.

Tip one for online meetings:

Don’t be afraid to cut the video to make sure everything is heard – great audio is the single most important thing in a conversation.

Tip two for online meetings:

If everyone in the house is on the same internet connection at the same time, your bandwidth might be limited. Rather than shouting at everybody in the house to get off, which causes frustration and isn’t very family-friendly, try your mobile phone as a hotspot, or get a dedicated mobile hotspot. As a nomad, I use Ubigi because it’s reliable and works internationally. That isn’t part of the equation right now, so I bumped my mobile plan up to 100 Gigs/month and use that. Last week, I appeared on over six hours of webinars. I did them all on my laptop, using my mobile phone as a hotspot – not a single glitch, and my video and sound quality were actually better than with the house wifi as you can see here. So experiment with that. Do a try-out meeting with your parents or your friends. Or a virtual pub.

You can do a test speed – My example: 8MB on the house wifi (just about enough for video, but not great), and 40 MB/sec using my mobile phone as a hotspot (easily enough to broadcast on a webinar in HD with great sound).

When I was in Mauritius, I had a young family. Small kids need your attention and don’t understand that you can’t break off from work every time they want you to. Here is my method for dealing with that. My daughter would ask for my attention, and I would systematically ask her to wait two minutes. I could then either finish the immediate task or write down what I needed to remember in order to carry on where I left off. Then I could give her my full attention. But anything she wanted me to do that required more than five minutes had to wait for the “official” 10-minute break, lunch or after work.  I found that by being very consistent with the system and making sure I always kept my word, a mutual understanding settled in and it ceased to be a problem for either of us.

When you think “coffee” or “snack” double-ask yourself whether you even really want them… or is it boredom? Probably boredom. Allow yourself a couple of quick 2-minute stretch-and-look-out-the-window breaks in between official 10-minute breaks.

But when the time comes, force yourself to take that 10-minute break. Do something different to switch off your work-brain. Physical, if possible. Get some fresh air if you can. If not, look at the world from your window and think about what you see there for a moment. Perhaps play a musical instrument (perfect time to learn) or a game – it reboots the brain, and keeps you sane (sounds like a song I could play on the ukulele).

6. What’s your suggestion for people on balancing life while working from home?

Going to work is important. Have breakfast, announce you are going to work, and stick to it on weekdays.

Go home for lunch (it’s not far). Maybe make a joke about it – I started singing to my daughter “I’m home for lunch” and she LOVED it.

Going home is important. At the end of your working day, close the office door (or put the computer away) and disconnect from work in a similar manner to when you went to the ‘real office’. My phrase was “home again, home again, jigged jig” – that was the signal for every day that my attention became 100% family.

Separating work and home is the single most important strategy for keeping both of an even keel.

7. What do you think will happen after COVID-19 with companies that didn’t allow their employees to work from home earlier?

I am not the best person to ask since I have no experience of “the other side”. But, assuming the boss is smart, I would hope that if the work people are doing from home is as good and valuable to the company, more companies will allow people to work from home a part of the time.

And that could just be one thing to help motivate people working from home for the first time. This is perhaps an opportunity – if it goes well for you and for your boss, you may well be able to choose to switch to a mixture of office and home-work.

It has been a learning opportunity for me to talk with Jason, and I will definitely put into practice his tips. I am working from home for a while now. But I still sometimes face the fact of losing focus and get easily distracted at home. I think that now due to the pandemic, a lot of people that are new at working from home will go through the same challenge. I can only say that it is a learning opportunity and an adapting process.

Karina Tama is the founder of Senior Care Clicks and a contributor for Forbes, Thrive Global and the El Distrito Newspaper. She can be found on Twitter @KarinaTama2.

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