The World’s Most Valuable Resource Is No Longer Oil, But Data – The Economist

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A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era.

These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.

Such dominance has prompted calls for the tech giants to be broken up, as Standard Oil was in the early 20th century. This newspaper has argued against such drastic action in the past. Size alone is not a crime. The giants’ success has benefited consumers. Few want to live without Google’s search engine, Amazon’s one-day delivery or Facebook’s newsfeed.

Nor do these firms raise the alarm when standard antitrust tests are applied. Far from gouging consumers, many of their services are free (users pay, in effect, by handing over yet more data). Take account of offline rivals, and their market shares look less worrying. And the emergence of upstarts like Snapchat suggests that new entrants can still make waves.

But there is cause for concern. Internet companies’ control of data gives them enormous power. Old ways of thinking about competition, devised in the era of oil, look outdated in what has come to be called the “data economy” (see Briefing). A new approach is needed.

Quantity has a quality all its own

What has changed? Smartphones and the internet have made data abundant, ubiquitous and far more valuable. Whether you are going for a run, watching TV or even just sitting in traffic, virtually every activity creates a digital trace—more raw material for the data distilleries. As devices from watches to cars connect to the internet, the volume is increasing:

some estimate that a self-driving car will generate 100 gigabytes per second. Meanwhile, artificial-intelligence (AI) techniques such as machine learning extract more value from data. Algorithms can predict when a customer is ready to buy, a jet-engine needs servicing or a person is at risk of a disease. Industrial giants such as GE and Siemens now sell themselves as data firms.

This abundance of data changes the nature of competition. Technology giants have always benefited from network effects: the more users Facebook signs up, the more attractive signing up becomes for others. With data there are extra network effects. By collecting more data, a firm has more scope to improve its products, which attracts more users, generating even more data, and so on.

The more data Tesla gathers from its self-driving cars, the better it can make them at driving themselves—part of the reason the firm, which sold only 25,000 cars in the first quarter, is now worth more than GM, which sold 2.3m. Vast pools of data can thus act as protective moats.

Access to data also protects companies from rivals in another way. The case for being sanguine about competition in the tech industry rests on the potential for incumbents to be blindsided by a startup in a garage or an unexpected technological shift. But both are less likely in the data age. The giants’ surveillance systems span the entire economy:

Google can see what people search for, Facebook what they share, Amazon what they buy. They own app stores and operating systems, and rent out computing power to startups. They have a “God’s eye view” of activities in their own markets and beyond. They can see when a new product or service gains traction, allowing them to copy it or simply buy the upstart before it becomes too great a threat.

Many think Facebook’s $22bn purchase in 2014 of WhatsApp, a messaging app with fewer than 60 employees, falls into this category of “shoot-out acquisitions” that eliminate potential rivals. By providing barriers to entry and early-warning systems, data can stifle competition.

Who ya gonna call, trustbusters?

The nature of data makes the antitrust remedies of the past less useful. Breaking up a firm like Google into five Googlets would not stop network effects from reasserting themselves: in time, one of them would become dominant again. A radical rethink is required—and as the outlines of a new approach start to become apparent, two ideas stand out.

The first is that antitrust authorities need to move from the industrial era into the 21st century. When considering a merger, for example, they have traditionally used size to determine when to intervene. They now need to take into account the extent of firms’ data assets when assessing the impact of deals.

The purchase price could also be a signal that an incumbent is buying a nascent threat. On these measures, Facebook’s willingness to pay so much for WhatsApp, which had no revenue to speak of, would have raised red flags. Trustbusters must also become more data-savvy in their analysis of market dynamics, for example by using simulations to hunt for algorithms colluding over prices or to determine how best to promote competition .

The second principle is to loosen the grip that providers of online services have over data and give more control to those who supply them. More transparency would help: companies could be forced to reveal to consumers what information they hold and how much money they make from it.

Governments could encourage the emergence of new services by opening up more of their own data vaults or managing crucial parts of the data economy as public infrastructure, as India does with its digital-identity system, Aadhaar. They could also mandate the sharing of certain kinds of data, with users’ consent—an approach Europe is taking in financial services by requiring banks to make customers’ data accessible to third parties.

Rebooting antitrust for the information age will not be easy. It will entail new risks: more data sharing, for instance, could threaten privacy. But if governments don’t want a data economy dominated by a few giants, they will need to act soon.

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15 Must-Reads Small Business Owners Can Choose from This Summer – Young Entrepreneur Council

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Summer is often a time of rest and relaxation, with plenty of time to sit out by the pool or on the beach with a good book. It’s no surprise that entrepreneurs fill up their summer reading list with books that will help them run their business better. There are the business classics like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Good to Great, but sometimes business owners can find valuable lessons in an unexpected read. We asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Quiet by Susan Cain

“I’ve been reading Quiet by Susan Cain and it’s all about introverts in a world that celebrates extroversion. As a leader, there are a lot of cues to take to better craft experiences and environments for both.” ~ Darrah Brusteindarrah.co

2. Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters

“I would recommend this book for growing businesses with a founder that makes too many changes too often (like me). It’s all about clarifying the roles of a visionary and an integrator in a business and learning when the founders need to let go for better execution.” ~ Sunny DesaiDesai Hotel Group

3. The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

“Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor, but he was also a Stoic philosopher. His Meditations aren’t a thrill-a-minute read, but they are full of insights that can be useful to entrepreneurs and managers. In stressful times, I often think of this quote: “When anything tempts you to feel bitter: don’t think, ‘This is misfortune,’ but ‘To bear this well is good fortune.’” ” ~ Vik PatelFuture Hosting





4. The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers by Alex Banayan

“Alex Banayan just released The Third Door, a book that took him seven years to write. I love it because it uncovers scrappy ways of getting to the likes of Bill Gates and Maya Angelou, how each of these “mega successful” people have all consistently found not the front door or the back door, but some “third” side door to bust into an industry or career.” ~ Beck BambergerBAM Communications

5. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is a memoir by the creator of Nike. It made me realize that even the biggest companies of our time have gone through the same challenges most entrepreneurs face during their formative years.” ~ Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

6. Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

“I love how this book outlines ways to make the most of your time, whether it’s during office hours, with friends or with family. Small business owners are notorious for burning the midnight oil trying perfect their businesses, and this book is an inspirational reminder that busyness isn’t the answer, and perfection isn’t attainable. It offers practical and implementable tips to be more present.” ~ Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

7. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

“This collection of personal essays illustrates how empathy works. If small business owners set out to solve problems and be a force of change, empathy is the muscle that needs the most exercise. These essays ask the reader to consider what makes the world around us meaningful, using music as its guiding lens. What if we used a similar principle when deciding how we fit into our customers’ lives?” ~ Sean HarperKin Insurance

8. Transform Your Life by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

“This is a book by Buddhist Master Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and it completely changed my approach to both life and work. The focus is on understanding that every experience is a perception of the mind, and that how we feel is based on how we choose to interpret situations. The more positive we are, the happier we become. This has helped keep me happy, which in turn, makes me more productive.” ~ Marcela De VivoBrilliance

9. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Aloneby Brené Brown

“I was inspired by this book’s message of becoming a true individual. More and more people are associating with people who already share their tastes and ideologies, and we see people with different opinions as “other.” She suggests disagreeing with the parts of your “tribe” that you disagree with and being true to yourself, even if it means having to walk alone and brave the wilderness.” ~ Alex FedorovFresh Tilled Soil, LLC

10. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

“Former head negotiator of the FBI Chris Voss’s book “Never Split the Difference” is a great book to read for anyone wanting to learn how to build their negotiation skills. There’s some atypical advice in there that works such as, “the fastest way to getting to yes is by getting to no.” ” ~ Kenny NguyenBig Fish Presentations

11. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch shares simple but powerful insights into why it is so hard for people to change their behavior. By sharing takeaways from anecdotes and scientific studies, small business owners can use the shortcuts presented in the book to implement personal change, as well as organizational change.” ~ Stephen BeachCraft Impact Marketing

“This book reveals that people fit into one of the following four tendencies: Questioner, Upholder, Rebel and Obliger. It helps you not only figure out yourself, it also provides insights to others and how they think and what motivates them. This makes it easier for you to work with them and find the best ways to communicate with them based on those qualities.” ~ Vladimir GendelmanCompany Folders, Inc


13. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou is about the collapse and scandal surrounding the biotech company Theranos. It’s an entertaining read, but it’s also important for anyone in business to read as a cautionary tale on what happens when people abandon ethics and run their business in a very secretive way. It’s a good primer on what not to do.” ~ Kalin KassabovProTexting

14. The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

“You wouldn’t think this book would give insight to small business owners, but it does. One part talks about Nietzsche, who proposed that we should see ourselves as gardeners in our life and in leadership. A freshly planted garden doesn’t seem like much, but a gardener knows the potential of it and works to cultivate it into something beautiful. The same can be said for starting a small business.” ~ Brian David CraneCaller Smart Inc.


15. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“I’ve read this book many times, and I plan on rereading it this summer. I love this book, especially for small business owners, because it reminds us never to lose hope. If we work diligently toward a goal, and we believe that we can achieve it, we will get there eventually.” ~ Zachary BurkesPredictable Profits

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Controlling Costs: Should You Buy New or Used Equipment? – Pj Germain

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Making a profit is the primary reason that most businesses are started. Nobody goes into business with the goal of losing money. Once you have committed to starting a business a large portion of your mental energy will be spent on trying to find ways to increase its profitability. Depending on the type of business in question, there may be various marketing methods that work better to spread the word and make potential customers aware of your offering.

While growing your business is the most obvious way to generate greater profits, there are other means to give your business a better chance of being successful. In the restaurant business, there are a number of ways that you can control costs through your purchasing decisions. Searching for better deals on locally grown produce and constantly comparing distributors for the best prices can help minimize costs and increase your profit margin. Finding a used food trailer or food truck for sale can save you a lot of cash when you are looking to expand your business outreach.

Restaurants use a lot of different kinds of equipment to serve their customers. Some of this equipment is visible to the clientele and some is out of sight in the kitchen or a back room. This means that in some instances the appearance of the piece of equipment can be as important as its functionality. In other cases, the primary concern is that the item operates properly and looks are not a consideration when making the purchase.

When you are attempting to control costs in your operation you have the option of buying new or used equipment for your restaurant business. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and disadvantages of buying new or used restaurant equipment to help you decide which way to go when planning your purchasing strategy.

Buying New Equipment

New equipment usually comes with a higher price tag than used equipment. According to katom.com, there are a number of factors that may sway you toward buying new equipment despite the savings inherent in buying used items. Here are some of the major reasons you may want to purchase new rather than used restaurant equipment.

  • Reduced maintenance – New equipment is less likely to need maintenance than a used component. Service calls are expensive and can quickly eat up the savings that you thought you had achieved by buying second-hand equipment. Parts may also be hard to obtain in the event that a replacement is required.
  • Longer warranties – New equipment will have a manufacturer’s warranty that may extend for the life of the item. Contrast this with the short-term warranty you might get with a used piece of equipment.

Controlling Business Costs

  • Better performance – Technological advances will often mean that a newer piece of equipment will perform at a higher level and also be constructed to minimize water and power consumption. This leads to steady savings over the life of the equipment.
  • Get exactly what you need – If you are ordering a new piece of equipment you can insist on getting all of the features that you need and desire. You may have to make concessions when buying used and have to settle for a less than optimal component for your restaurant.
  • Conform to health standards – As technology advances and materials such as stainless steel are used more often to assist with cleaning, health standards also evolve. That used piece of equipment that you are considering buying may end up causing you some issues with the health inspectors and have to be replaced sooner than you had planned.

Buying Used Equipment

Used equipment can afford you substantial financial savings over purchasing brand new machinery. While at first glance, this may be all of the incentives you need to buy used stuff, slow down for a minute. As with any strategy that saves you money, there are some aspects of buying used restaurant equipment that you need to consider before making your decision. According to restaurant.org, here are some of the key factors to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing used equipment.

  • Know your requirements – If the equipment is an essential part of your business, such as a pizzeria’s oven, you should be cautious of used components. Make sure that the equipment that you are buying is actually what you need, and not a compromise determined solely by price.
  • Cost of the used item – Paying more than 50% of what a new piece of equipment would cost is probably not worth the savings.
  • Consider the total cost of ownership – You may save some money on the initial purchase, but over time a used item may end up costing you more in operating expenses. Saving on energy and water bills can help boost your bottom-line, and older models that are not as efficient can offset any saving made in the purchase price.
  • Reconditioned equipment – If the seller has reconditioned the item and perhaps replaced parts, it may be more serviceable than one that is bought “as is”, but will generally have a higher price tag.

Used Equipment for Sale

  • Warranties – Some dealers offer 30 to 90-day warranties on used equipment. This will not be the case for items bought at auction or through a private individual where no warranty is the norm.
  • Service and part availability – Can your equipment be serviced and can you obtain replacement parts? If not, it is a very risky undertaking if it is an important part of your operation.
  • Check the operability of the equipment – Ask the dealer to hook it up and see how it works. A reputable dealer will do that, though when buying used parts online this not practical.
  • Does the equipment stand up over time – Ovens, ranges, and stainless steel tables will last for a long time with no performance degradation. Other items like dishwashers and ice machines may not have as long a life if not maintained properly by the former owners.

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Apply These 10 Cool Techniques to Increase Sales and Marketing ROI for your Small Business

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There isn’t just one correct way for small businesses to make sales. You can use social media, content marketing, or even good old fashioned phone calls. No matter what tactics you use, it’s important to have a plan and a way to measure results. Here are some techniques suggested by members of the online small business community for increasing sales and marketing ROI.

Uncover Your Best LinkedIn Prospects

If you use LinkedIn for sales, then you need to know how to uncover the most relevant prospects on the platform. A recent Social Media Examiner post by Josh Turner features tips to help you use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find results and make more sales.

Take Advantage of This New Google My Business Feature

Google offers plenty of tools to help your local business get found. But if you ultimately want to get those customers on the phone so you can make sales, a new “call now” button on Google My Business could be another great solution. Learn more in a recent Search Engine Journal post by Matt Southern.

Quantify Marketing ROI with These Metrics

In order to determine which marketing and sales activities are worth your time and investment, you need a way to quantify ROI. In this Startup Professionals Musings post by Martin Zwilling, you can see some of the top demand generation methods to help you make those important decisions. Then you can see what BizSugar members have to say as well.

Automate Your Sales with Chatbots

AI offers plenty of opportunity for small businesses to automate processes. Chatbots in particular can help you make more sales by answering common questions quickly and concisely. In a recent CorpNet post, Samantha Engman outlines some of the chatbots with the best ROI for businesses.

Use These Marketing Tips to Increase Back to School Sales

Back to school season offers plenty of opportunities for some businesses to really increase their sales. But you need to have a solid marketing plan in place early. To kick off the season right, check out the tips in a recent Biz Epic post by Chad Stewart.

Don’t Waste Time Creating Content That’s Too In-Depth

Content marketing can help you reach more customers and potentially make more sales. And in-depth content has an even better chance of getting you noticed. However, there comes a point where your time spent creating content might not be worth it, as Neil Patel discusses in a recent post.

Build Your Own Customer Support with Wix Answers

Customer service is absolutely essential to any effective sales strategy. And setting up a process for answering customers quickly online doesn’t have to be difficult. In a recent Smallbiztechnology.com post, Ramon Ray details how you can use Wix Answers to provide customer support.

Value These Successful Business Traits

Whether you’re looking to increase sales, build a team or complete any other important business tasks, you need to have strong instincts and leadership traits. In a recent post, Takis Athanassiou outlines some of the most important traits successful businesses have in common. You can also check out the commentary from members of the BizSugar community here.

Rally Around ROI and Prioritize Your Marketing Efforts

At some point in running your business, you might have to make budget cuts or prioritize certain tasks over others. In those cases, it’s important to keep ROI in mind. A recent TopRank Marketing post by Alexis Hall goes into some of the ways you can make the most of your marketing budget.

Don’t Believe These Myths Keeping You from Winning on Amazon

If you’re looking to increase sales on Amazon, you could have some long-held beliefs holding you back. You can read about some of those myths and learn the truth about succeeding with the online retail giant in a recent Marketing Land post by Andrew Waber.

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38 Sales Questions To Quickly Identify Your Customer’s Core Needs – Tony Alessandra

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Today’s buyers are complex. They have confusing wants and needs. They’re strapped for time. They’re hesitant to share information — yet have endless access to product details online.

To provide value to these modern buyers, we need to ask good sales questions. Whether you’re new to sales and looking for a go-to list of sales qualification questions or a manager looking to test new questions with your team, this list of great sales questions to ask customers will help you identify your their core needs.

Then, you can customize your sales presentations and pitches to their specific circumstances.

Best Questions to Ask in a Sales Meeting

When you’re speaking with a prospect for the first or second time, it’s crucial you ask the right questions. As a salesperson, your job is to discover their core needs quickly and succinctly. Here are a few questions to begin with:

  1. “What are your short-term goals? Long-term goals?”
  2. “What does this purchase mean to you? What does it mean to your company?”
  3. “What is your boss hoping to accomplish in the next year?”
  4. “How do your team objectives play into your department’s strategy?”
  5. “What do you perceive as your greatest strength? Weakness?”
  6. “How does your company evaluate the potential of new products or services?”
  7. “Who has your business now? Why did you choose that vendor?”
  8. “What are your buying criteria and success criteria?”
  9. “Where would you put the emphasis regarding price, quality, and service?”
  10. “What level of service are you looking for?”
  11. “What do you like best about your present supplier? What don’t you like?”
  12. “What do you look for in the companies you do business with?”
  13. “What might cause you to change suppliers?”
  14. “What do you like best about your current system? What would you like to see changed?”
  15. “What do you perceive your needs to be? How important are they?”
  16. “If you were me, how would you proceed?”
  17. “Which trade associations do you belong to?”
  18. “What will it take for us to do business?”
  19. “How soon can we begin?”
  20. “What is my best shot for getting back the account?”
  21. “What did we do in the last sale that impressed you most?”
  22. “What do you look for in your relationship with a supplier?”
  23. “Who was the best salesperson who ever called on you?”
  24. “If you could change one thing about your organization, what would it be?”
  25. “Do you struggle with [common pain point]?”
  26. “What deadlines are you currently up against?”
  27. “Which resource could you use more of?”
  28. “Would you rather cut costs, save money, or increase productivity?”

Best Sales Questions to Ask Customers

When you’re checking in with current clients with the hope of either upselling, cross-selling, or renewing, it’s imperative you ask the right questions.

If you fail to ask tough questions about the good and bad of your product/service, you risk missing warning signs they’re unhappy and would consider churning to a competitor. Don’t leave the door open. Close it with these questions:

  1. “On a scale of one to 10, how happy are you with our product?”
  2. “Why did you give us that score?”
  3. “Can you explain the weaknesses or challenges you’ve found in our product/service so far?”
  4. “What do you love about our product/service?”
  5. “How likely are you to recommend product/service to a friend or colleague?”
  6. “How has adoption and internal use gone?”
  7. “Do you feel you’ve received outstanding customer service?”
  8. “What can we do to earn your business for another year?”
  9. “Are you ready to renew today?” (Only if the first seven questions have had positive answers)
  10. “Would you be interested in our new add-on Feature X?”

Great sales questions enable you to tailor your messaging to your prospects’ goals and show them your solution is the best choice. Next, get tips on how to ask more effective sales questions here.

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Thinking About Becoming An Infopreneur – Michael Guta

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You probably have heard “Information is Power,” and in today’s digital ecosystem it has become much easier to turn this information into a business. The new infographic by Kajabi looks to answer how this is the right time to turn your knowledge and expertise into a business as an infopreneur.

Titled, “Knowledge Commerce: How to Turn Your Skill Into a Thriving Business,” this infographic shows how the market is ready for infopreneurs. According to Kajabi, there is now a huge opportunity  for knowledge commerce.

And thanks to the confluence of current technology and knowledge these businesses can be easily and quickly established by anyone. As long as you have the knowledge and expertise, you can make yourself available to a global customer base looking to consume what you offer.

What is an Infopreneur?

When Harold Weitzen came up with the term infopreneur in the 1980s, the internet was crawling at kilobits per second and smartphones, social media and gigabit speeds were still years away.

Fast forward to 2018 and access to massive amounts of data is literally in the palm of your hand — provided you have a smartphone. This availability gives entrepreneurs the rare opportunity to provide information to a massive audience almost instantaneously — and this is where infopreneurs come in.

An infopreneurs are people who take the knowledge they’ve accumulated and turn it into a money-making enterprise by teaching, consulting, engaging in knowledge commerce or creating knowledge-based media.

The Knowledge Market

Kajabi is a company which provides a platform for creating online courses. And in the infographic, the company claims the market for knowledge commerce is growing.

The E-learning market is expected to reach $241 billion by 2022 and with so much potential, Kajabi says experts can use the many different resources available to them to start a business or provide a second income.

The company first recommends you figure out in what area your expertise lies. This could includes taking an aptitude test to help you find your subject area and clearly identify your field.

You then need to market your brand — in this case, yourself! The infographic suggests publishing content on social media, blogs, your website, or in podcast and on YouTube while managing your time efficiently. And as with any other business, you have to create a product in which your customers will be interested and make it available at a great price point.

As Kajabi points out, the market is big and the competition is fierce, but “It’s all about combining your unique knowledge with your unique personality and viewpoint.”

Become an Infopreneur

Take a look at the infographic below to get some pointers on how to become an infopreneur today.

Can You Become an Infopreneur? (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Why Tech Workers And Global Companies Are Choosing Canada – Salim Teja

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Canada was the business world’s best-kept secret. Progress and innovation in Canada — especially in artificial intelligence, clean technology and health care — has been monumental for decades. Yet, we stayed humble through those years of innovation. That is, until the country embraced its position as a destination for commercial investment and a world leader in artificial intelligence.

Now, Canada is empowering new companies to compete on the global stage, hosting massive technology industry events featuring the world’s best innovators and attracting international talent to work on world-changing innovations.

Over the past year, I have seen talent begin to flow strongly from south to north. More than half of the high-growth ventures we support in the MaRS ecosystem reported a significant rise in applicants from the United States last year.

The number of skilled foreign workers seeking employment in Canada has skyrocketed in recent years and the country’s stock rises further each time the Trump administration pushes its restrictive immigration agenda.

Scaling firms actively hiring from overseas include: Element AI, a tenant in the MaRS building that has created 250 new jobs in Canada’s artificial intelligence sector after raising $137.5 million in first-round of funding last year; Drop, a consumer rewards platform that MaRS provides free advisory services to, which had 10 employees at the end of 2017 and recently reached a headcount of 30 in the midst of an aggressive hiring spree following a $21 million Series A raise

Eventmobi, another company MaRS provides free advisory service to which creates apps for events and last year grew to nearly 100 staff with plans to add another 45 positions this year. It’s not just talent heading to startups. Students and scientists are also arriving in record numbers. Recently, 24 top academics from around the world were recruited by the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, which is spending $117 million on seven-year grants for leading researchers.

They include Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, a professor at Brown University known for her work on fake news and Alán Aspuru-Guzik, a Harvard chemistry professor working on quantum computing and clean energy. A fair amount has been written about America’s technology industry brain drain over the past few years, but I’d argue that Canada’s recent brain gain has more to do with what’s working here – like inclusive public policies – than what’s not working elsewhere.

Through my own work with startups, corporates and government partners, I’ve seen clear evidence that talented engineers, tech entrepreneurs and investors are actively choosing to locate or launch in Canada – especially Toronto. Canada’s public and commercial sectors place a premium on growing entrepreneurial communities and connecting them with the best business and academic institutions. Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are growing as hubs for startups.

The expanding reputations of these cities is due to their proximity to key corporate markets in the U.S., local population diversity and prestigious academic institutions. In fact, the greater Toronto region is home to thousands of startups and multinational companies. There is also a strong stream of technical and nontechnical recruits from the University of Toronto, a MaRS partner, and the University of Waterloo welcomed by businesses each year.

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Canada’s warmth toward people and startups looking for opportunity has never been more visible – and impactful. The country’s open commercial atmosphere also helps turn ideas into successful businesses and connect people to amplify their work on a global stage. I believe that’s why a growing list of tech giants and enterprises like Google’s Sidewalk Labs, Uber, a tenant in the MaRS building and Microsoft, a MaRS partner, continue to launch and grow significant operations in Canada.

Increased access to venture capital and public funding grants for small businesses have also created a moment of opportunity for startup growth in Canada. The combination of competitive tax rates and business costs and a strong economy form a climate ripe for success. Further, moving your startup to Canada is now easier than ever thanks to government programs designed to welcome promising immigrant-entrepreneurs into a thriving marketplace.

Indeed, Canada is home to some of the world’s best technologists, a welcome business environment and a localized innovation community with global reach. I believe that’s why startup conference Collision has decided to move here from New Orleans in 2019, Amazon shortlisted Toronto for its second headquarters and why the nation provides a compelling environment for young companies to grow.

Canada offers prime real estate to business leaders, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and a diverse set of people looking for opportunity. If the country was an entrepreneur, that would be its elevator pitch on why people and ventures should choose Canada for talent, technology and trade opportunities.

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The Difference Between Being Busy and Being Productive – John Spencer

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Breaking Up with Busy

When I was a new teacher, I believed I had to give 110% in everything I did. I thought that the best teachers were the ones who arrived first and left last. I was a busy teacher, taking on all kinds of committee work and saying yes to every project. But then I had a moment when I decided to “break up with busy.”

About eight years ago, I arrived home from work and my five-year-old son was already holding up a baseball.“We can play, but I don’t have a lot of time,” I told him.

All I could think about was my to-do list. I had a department meeting to plan, papers to grade, and small projects to finish. However, as I slipped on the baseball glove, something changed. I forgot about my list. We tossed the ball back and forth.

But my son kept asking, “Is there still time?” Is there still time?I couldn’t answer it. So, that night, I met with my wife and talked about my schedule. It was a hard conversation, where we talked about long-term priorities and what kind of a dad, husband, and teacher I wanted to be. I realized something critical: I was chasing perfectionism and trying to make a bunch of people happy and neglecting the people who mattered most.

That’s when I broke up with busy. I quit committees. I limited my projects. I set a curfew for myself at work. I learned when to give 110% and when to give 11 or 12 percent.

See, I was drowning in busy and yet I’d been wearing busy like a badge of honor; like I was winning some imaginary competition. But life isn’t a game. Actually, Life is a board game and I think it’s also a cereal (at least according to Mikey).

But here’s the thing: You don’t get a trophy for packing your schedule with more projects and more accomplishments and more meetings.

All you get is a bigger load of busy. But busy is hurried. Busy is overwhelmed. Busy is fast. Busy is careless. Busy is a hamster wheel that never ends and a sprint up the ladder without ever asking where it leads. There are moments when life gets busy. I get that. But I never want busy to be the new normal. I never want to look back at life and say, “Wow, I was really good at being busy.”

I Became More Productive When I “Broke Up with Busy”

When I made the leap and decided to “break up with busy,” I noticed something happening. I actually became a better teacher. After the difficult conversation with my wife, I remember thinking that I would be making sacrifices as an educator. However, that’s not what happened. I actually had more time, more energy, and more mental bandwidth to create epic projects for students. It turns out that I was more productive when I was able to rest. Here’s what I mean:

  1. I crafted better projects. I finally had the time to prepare project-based learning unit plans and resources because I wasn’t spending insane amounts of time inputting grades or putting together bulletin boards.
  2. I took creative risks. Once I found the root cause of overworking, I began to experiment with student-centered learning and get over the fear of making mistakes as a teacher. I had already been shifting toward project-based learning and design thinking but now I felt the freedom to take it to the next level.
  3. I started transforming my practice. I began to focus on the things that mattered most and giving myself the permission to be less-than-perfect in areas that were not as important. This ultimately helped me to prioritize and focus on transforming instruction in my own classroom.
  4. I became more of a maker in my own life. I began to engage in creative work in my spare time. For example, I started to do a Thursday evening Genius Hour project which ultimately led to things like a novel or sketch videos. I still make time for passion projects each week. For years, my wife and I have both taken one night a week to go work on our own passion projects.
  5. I shifted further toward student agency and empowerment. I had already been asking the question, “What am I doing for my students that they could be doing for themselves?” I was on the journey toward empowering students with voice and choice. However, once I was truly able to “break up with busy,” I took this student ownership to the next level by letting students self-select the scaffolding, engage in their own project management, and assess their own learning.

Being Busy or Being Productive?

There’s a difference between being busy and being productive. Being busy is about working harder while being productive is about working smarter. Being busy is frantic while being productive is focused. Being busy is fueled by perfectionism while being productive is fueled by purpose. Being busy is about being good at everything while being productive is about being great at a few important things.

As I shifted away from busy, I found myself asking the following question:

“How do I make time for the things that matter?”

We’ve all asked ourselves that at some point, and I bet these statements sound familiar, too:

  • I’m completely overwhelmed.
  • I’m struggling to differentiate between the urgent and the important.
  • I want to engage in my own creative projects but I can’t find the time.
  • I want to do creative and innovative projects with my students but I’m feeling tired, overwhelmed, and stressed out.
  • Being a teacher has consumed every spare minute of my life and honestly, I’m not enjoying it as much anymore.
  • I work on school stuff constantly and yet I’m never done . . . and I still feel like I’m not doing enough.
  • Something has to change.

I often meet teachers who want to innovate in their own practice but they are tired and overwhelmed. However, this requires a break away from the busy and toward the productive. Sometimes that can feel overwhelming.

The Need for a Roadmap

Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re to blame or just need to manage your time better. There’s nothing wrong with YOU. The problem is the overwhelming demands of the job and the culture of perfectionism in education. When you’re overwhelmed, you don’t have the time, energy, or mental bandwidth to figure out HOW to change, and you’re too exhausted to follow through, anyway. You move into survival mode and grow risk-averse. In other words, your productivity plummets as your busy-ness increases.

You need an actual plan. It’s not enough to say, “I’m just going to break up with busy.” You ultimately have to tackle the root cause of the stress and overwhelm (in my case it was perfectionism). It also helps to create your own boundaries and find practical strategies for spending your time differently. But it also requires a different way of thinking about time.

It’s possible to figure this out on your own but you may want a coach and community to help you along the way. For me, it’s like the difference between going for a run or joining a gym and getting a personal trainer.  This is one of the reasons I love the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club.

It’s a teacher-tested system that’s guaranteed to work, and ongoing support so you don’t have to figure everything out on your own. There is no one in the world better at helping teachers solve this problem than Angela Watson. When I first chose to “break up with busy,” Angela had specific ideas and frameworks that I could use as I moved forward on this journey of time and stress management. She gave me concrete action steps that I could implement from day one.

The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club has already helped teachers around the world shave hours off their workweek, and become purposeful with their time. I am excited about partnering with her as an affiliate of this club. She provides necessary resources along with a trusted community that helps you to do “fewer things better.”

Angela Watson continues to inspire me in my own practice of prioritizing and making time for what matters. It’s not about working 40 hours a week, it is about finding the number of hours per week you should/could/can be working and make those hours productive and meaningful so you can thrive as a creative teacher. It’s about shifting the focus toward student ownership and empowerment so that you can innovate in your own practice.

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3 Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Crowdfunding Campaign – Roy Morejon

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When Retro Computers turned to Indiegogo for crowdfunding, it promised $100-level funders a handheld gaming device called the Vega+. With promises from the company that the device would come equipped with more than 1,000 games, the console quickly gained a following, and more than 3,600 people pledged $100 each to receive one.

The successful campaign gained U.K.-based Retro Computers more than half a million dollars.

But when the time came for those backers to receive the handheld devices, Retro Computers wasn’t able to deliver. Legal battles and production issues caused hiccups. The promised September 2016 delivery came and went. Users began getting upset — more and more publicly.

Finally, after unwanted media attention and, just this month, a lawsuit, Indiegogo intervened. The crowdfunding platform announced on June 6 that it was siccing debt collectors on Retro Computers in an effort to reimburse its donors.

Despite that tale of woe, entrepreneurs can’t ignore the potential of crowdfunding. Kickstarter has hosted nearly 150,000 successful projects, raising $3.7 billion since 2009, and Indiegogo has raised more than $1.5 billion since 2008. Done correctly, crowdfunding could provide the perfect building block for your next venture.

The ups and downs of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding’s popularity is not all hype. It can yield benefits beyond financial backing, helping your company build a loyal customer base and establish credibility before you’ve even launched. But you can’t just set up a Kickstarter page and watch the money roll in. The right strategy is essential to reap the rewards.

Pebble shows how it can and should be done. One of Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns of all time, the company raised more than $20 million from 78,000 backers — exceeding its goal by 4,068 percent. Pebble turned that consumer confidence into more than 2 million sales of its smartwatch and was ultimately bought out by Fitbit.

But when it comes to crowdfunding, there’s more to consider than whether your project will meet its fundraising goals. Even a successful campaign without serious forethought and planning can encounter challenges that will sink a business before it gets off the ground.

Coolest Cooler, on the other hand, might be one of the most disastrous campaigns in Kickstarter history. The company raised $13 million, but it wasn’t prepared to operate in the wake of such success. Coolest Cooler couldn’t fulfill rewards for its 62,642 backers.

Remember: It’s not just about hitting the goal. Even in successfully funded projects, 9 percent fail to deliver on promises to backers. That’s a hard hurdle to overcome in the beginning stages of any new business.

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Campaign mistakes to avoid

It’s easy to think of crowdfunding as easy money, but campaigns should be hard work if you’re doing them correctly. If you want to start your project on the right foot, avoid these common mistakes:

1. Kicking off without leads in place. Crowdfunding campaigns have short time lines. What’s more, campaigns rely on a momentum of interest. You’re going to have difficulty hitting your goal if you don’t have leads in place ready to back your campaign on day one. Not gathering enough leads before launching is the problem partially to blame for nearly every failed project.

Set up a landing page ahead of time describing your product and promoting your upcoming project. Include a contest in which people can enter their email address for a chance to win your product. This will give you a list of already interested folks to reach out to the day you launch your campaign.

2. Ignoring Facebook for potential conversions. Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have large audiences, but if you rely solely on the backers already there, you probably won’t hit your goal.

So, look elsewhere. Facebook advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a highly targeted group of people that is likely to convert.

Consider the PEEjamas Kickstarter campaign, which my company mounted. That project hit its $14,000 goal early on, but my company wanted to see how far we could go. Funding increased from around $26,000 when we started the ads, to $227,469 by the time the campaign closed. I highly recommend working with a team of Facebook Ads specialists who can make the most of your ad budget.

3. Failing to consider scale. You might have a goal in mind, but what happens if you exceed it? Is your business model scalable? Are you going to be able to fulfill rewards? Don’t be Retro Computer or Coolest Cooler.

Make sure the price of each of your rewards is sufficient, whether you hit your goal exactly or raise more than you anticipate. Have a plan in place for shipping and fulfillment. Examine your profit margins closely as you set your funding goal, and determine product pricing. Consider factors such as minimum order quantities, manufacturing costs, marketing costs, platform fees, shipping costs and more.

One last thing to consider: Kickstarter and Indiegogo both have a 5 percent use fee and a 3 percent to 5 percent processing fee. Factor this into the goal you initially set.

Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have broadened the horizons of startups and consumers alike, but getting the most value out of crowdfunding requires forethought and planning. There are plenty of Cinderella stories out there but also just as many cautionary tales. Avoid their mistakes to make the most of your fundraising endeavor.

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How To Boss It Like With Claire Davenport – Kitty Knowles

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There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures who are changing the world.

We’ve previously asked CEOs, founders and thought leaders like Alex Klein (the cofounder of Kano), Clare Gilmartin (CEO at Trainline), and Justin Rosenstein (cofounder of Asana), how they get so much done in an impossibly short amount of time.

Today we find out “How To Boss It Like” Claire Davenport, CEO at HelloFresh UK, the meal-kit company based in Berlin.

Davenport cut her teeth working in banking at Goldman Sachs and JPMorganChase, before going on to work for digital leaders like Skype, FutureLearn and VoucherCodes.

Today, when she’s not heading up HelloFresh’s British division, she’s sharing her knowledge at pivotal events like this week’s Etail Europe.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

Most mornings I get up at 7 a.m. and have breakfast with my two daughters before cycling down the canal from my house to Oxford train station. I pick a quiet carriage so I can catch up on emails and news and prepare for the day on my commute into London.

Two mornings a week I have breakfast blocked for mentoring or networking. Doing everything I can to level the playing field for people from different backgrounds—to realize their full potential in their career or with their startup—is very important to me. I try to help with introductions or advice or just giving a confidence boost where needed.

Saturdays and Sundays I run on Port Meadow in Oxford with my running buddy, Alison. We run 4-5 miles to stay fit and catch up on the week.

What smartphone do you have?

iPhone 7 with 128 GB capacity (lots of photos and videos). Normal black with a HelloFresh cover.

What apps or methods do you use to be more productive?

I have tried various productivity apps over time but find having a system I stick to with my emails and trusted Moleskine notebook works best for me.

Sometimes I like to be offline or away from my phone. Okay, that’s not true.

But sometimes I happen to be offline (train or tube or once I have gone to bed or when I am trying to set a good example for my daughters) and I still have ideas and thoughts I need to get down, so a paper notebook is essential.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

Every day is slightly different. On any given day, there are normally around 100-200 people working at our Shoreditch office or around 200 at our distribution center in Oxfordshire.

Both workspaces are sociable places, and I sit in a different seat most days so that I can really understand what all the teams are up to. I like the variety of sitting in our customer-care area and listening and speaking to customers on the phone one day to spending time with our marketing team the following day.

We keep meetings short at HelloFresh so I have in-depth conversations with 20 people a day roughly. I regularly meet customers as we like to host events at our office to learn more about their experience with HelloFresh.

A couple of evenings a week, I like to meet up with friends or people in my network.

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What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager by David Caruso and Peter Salovey is a book I return again and again. It really changed my thinking on EQ and people management. I’ve bought copies for our offices because I think it’s a book everyone can benefit from.

I also like Act Like A Leader, Think Like A Leader by Herminia Ibarra, which is great for people thinking about their leadership style and is lovely and practical.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

Go for it. It’s better to take an opportunity and get the experience it gives you rather than procrastinating and losing time. You can always pivot when you see what you enjoy about the opportunity.

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind-down routine?

Most evenings when I don’t have events, we eat a HelloFresh meal together as a family around 8 p.m.

My husband or daughters often start cooking while I am commuting home—I am guilty of emailing or reading news or Facebooking until late, but then I listen to audiobooks to wind down before I fall asleep.

I have a history of waking up with an idea at 3:30 a.m. and, at one time, I had quite a reputation for the 4 a.m. email among my colleagues.

After a while, I learned how scary it is for my team to receive a 4 a.m. email from me, and now I just save it as a draft and, if it still seems as important in the morning (about 10% of the time), I send it then instead.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

I’d ask Barack Obama for his best piece of advice on leadership and his awesome public speaking.

What do you think your industry will look like in 10 years? 

I think more and more people will rely on meal kits in the future as it’s just such a convenient way to cook and enjoy nutritious food. Personalized nutrition will become a bigger trend as consumers are able to access data and food that meets their specific needs. And delivery will continue to develop, and we’re likely to see more and more automation in this area.

I believe my grandchildren will be bemused by the idea of owning a car or going to a supermarket to shop for a week’s meals in advance!

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