Investor appetite in food delivery companies is growing, notwithstanding a rash of customer complaints about how these startups pay contract workers. On Thursday, DoorDash announced it had raised another $400 million in a Series F funding round led by Temasek and Dragoneer Investment Group. The cash infusion brings DoorDash’s total capital raised to $1.4 billion, of which $978 million came from funding rounds in the last year.
When you’ve developed mastery of something, you own that thing. You’ve learned the rules inside-out and now you have the ability, as an artist, to create your own rules. You have the ability to create a new game. Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, calls people with this level of mastery, “Game Changers,” because they don’t just play a game, they change the game………….
To make an impact at the enterprise level, the data science group can’t work in isolation, said Ian Swanson, Oracle vice president of machine learning and artificial intelligence product development, during a presentation at the recent Oracle OpenWorld conference. “In order to do data science right, it has to be a team sport,” said Swanson, former CEO of DataScience.com, which Oracle acquired earlier this year.
One of the data science group’s most valuable teammates is the IT organization, for multiple reasons, he said. The DS group relies on IT to manage and secure the data it uses; support the needed analytics tools; and deliver ready access to scalable bandwidth, compute, and storage capacity to build and train production-oriented analytic models.
Another important ally is the application development team. Developers must incorporate the models DS builds into their “ecosystem” as regular features among the many they use to build production applications, Swanson said.
That points to a significant attribute of production-oriented models: reusability. An ecommerce recommendation engine, for instance, might be reused for forecasting an item’s revenue stream, he said. A key performance indicator for one technology company Swanson worked with on a DS project was “how often that model was used by other parts of the business,” he said.
Line-of-business managers are a valuable constituency as well, because they’re tasked with performing the actions—and getting the results—from applications that use analytic models. An underestimated advantage line-of-business managers bring to the analytics model-building process, Swanson said, is their domain expertise—their experiences working with customers.
As for the top brass, they don’t need “to be involved in every step of the model, but they need to understand how it will be used, the opportunities it offers, the things it can achieve,” Swanson said. “If you’re not involving the top, if they’re not part of the team, data science is not affecting the heart of the business.”
Awash in Tools
Because data science is the new darling of the technology marketplace, the number and variety of analytics tools are staggering. Swanson said he worked with a company whose DS team had accumulated 682 different tools. “How is IT managing 682 different tools?” he wondered.
Still, building predictive analytics models is complicated, requiring a “full stack” of tools, libraries, and languages—preferably open source, which encourages standards and self-service, Swanson said. As DS matures, its practitioners will have to comply with enterprise programming standards, in particular version control. “If you’re writing production code, you should be using some sort of system that encourages working together to follow best engineering practices, such as checking in code and making sure its reproducible,” he said.
But enterprise data science goes beyond programming. “It requires a platform that removes barriers to production, improves collaboration, manages the tool sprawl, provides self-service access to data, and helps with model planning and retention,” Swanson said.
Calling data scientists “the architects and engineers of digital transformation,” Swanson noted that there are DS use cases “in every industry and function,” providing the means to generate “new business channels and new business models.” But achieving those goals requires the will—and a strategy—for extending the work data scientists can do as widely across the enterprise as resources will allow.
“It’s about creating a process that delivers reliable outputs to drive business outcomes,” Swanson said. “You need to put it into action—that’s real DS.”
Recently, we’ve seen upskilling and retraining programs emerge in workforces across the globe. Companies are taking the time to help their employees learn new skills for new positions as new technology emerges. This is great, don’t get me wrong, but I think we need to focus more on continuous learning for all employees. This definitely would work in conjunction with upskilling programs, but as leaders who are trying to drive transformation, the onus is with us to encourage learning across the organization…….
Real World Scholars is a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurial learning in classrooms all over the country. Co-founder Elyse Burden has turned her passion for children into a thriving business giving kids job training in the classroom. At Courtyard, everything we’ve done for the past 35 years – every decision, every detail – has been fueled by the same passion that moves some of the most talented young stars in business. Join us and Forbes 30 Under 30 to watch their stories…..
ONE of the time-honoured tropes of writing on business is the detailed description of the life of a corporate titan. Readers are expected to marvel at the stamina of Tim Cook, for example. Apple’s chief executive rises at 3.45am to deal with emails. Spare a thought for his underlings, whose iPhones buzz at 4am every morning. Some subordinates may have the fortitude to sleep through it all; many will be guilt-tripped into answering the boss. Highly effective people often inflict all their idiosyncrasies upon their hapless juniors…….
A whopping 94% of recruiters actively use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Professionals use LinkedIn when looking for new jobs and to showcase a career and stand out to recruiters. Does your profile have what it takes to stand out from the masses? LinkedIn released a report that reveals the top 25 in-demand business skills searched for in the hiring process. Discover all 25 skills, plus key jobs that use those skills and the salary (national average) of a U.S. professional in that industry according to Glassdoor…..
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Experiencing lasting business success isn’t something you do by accident, as a business owner there are skills that you need. Even if you don’t have the skills to start with, you can develop them. Never allow the idea that you need a certain skill set to intimidate you, rather, take it as a challenge to develop that ability.
Be Able to Think and Plan Strategically
Being able to look at the big picture and develop an overall plan for success is crucial for a business owner. The reason is that a business owner needs to be able to step back and see the big picture. For example, it’s important to understand how each action you take affects another part of your business directly.
Be Able to Set SMART Goals
You can learn all about SMART goals; entire books are written about this. The reason it’s so important is that it really works. A SMART goal means that each goal needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. When you create goals like that, it’s a lot easier to develop step-by-step plans for achieving the goal.
Be Willing to Learn Marketing Skills
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a marketer, as a business owner you are. You can hire people to help you, but you do need to understand something about branding, types of marketing, and more.
Be a Sales Person
Everyone likes to say they hate sales and aren’t a salesperson. But as a business owner, you’re a salesperson whether you like it or not. It’s good to learn how sales work from a psychological perspective for your audience, so that you can deliver what your market wants and needs.
Be Organized Enough
It takes a lot of organizational ability to run an entire business. Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you still need to run all areas of your business in an organized manner – whether it’s marketing, or accounting, or customer service. The way to get organized is to set up processes and use software to help you keep organized.
Be Able to Implement and Do Things
Any business owner knows the key to everything is “doing”. But you need to know which things are most important to do and which things can wait. Usually, the things that make money take priority over the things that make no difference to your ROI.
Know When to Get Outside Help
Sometimes being a good business owner who is successful means knowing when you need help. Everyone cannot be a rocket scientist. Sometimes you must hire someone to get something done. Often when you hire an expert, you’re going to experience many rewards for getting it done right the first time, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and doing it again.
Learning the skills that you need for lasting business success will make you even more confident in your ability to run a successful business. Even if you outsource certain things, it’s a good idea to understand the lingo and a little bit of the issue so that you can ensure that you’re moving in the right direction.
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First things first, let’s define exactly what a side hustle is. To put it simply, a side hustle is a business that you grow while keeping your day job, thus retaining the stability of income that a full-time gig affords you, as you test the waters of entrepreneurship.
Having a side hustle gives you security, reassurance, diversity of income, and most importantly, it gives you the possibility for something more than just the mindless 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Since a side hustle is really a business at it’s core, I’m going to argue that a business is nothing more than a format for channeling your skills, experiences, abilities and interests into a neat little package that helps people accomplish something meaningful.
When thinking about what it means to start a business, it’s easy to let your mind race around all of the to-do list items like writing a business plan, filing for an LLC, setting up your website, getting a logo designed, making business cards, optimizing your Facebook page, the list goes on and on.
But here’s the truth: None of these tasks matter at all today.
Especially as you’re still looking for the right side hustle idea for you and trying to determine the best way to go about getting started.
A business needs to be incredibly simple in the early days.
No fully baked products, fancy websites, email marketing tools, hi-tech automation systems or Facebook Ad campaigns. When you’re looking for the right idea (and just getting started), any moment spent not directly helping people is a waste of your time.
Let’s take a look at three key ways to go about finding the right side hustle for you, and how you can channel those skills, experiences and interests of yours into a vehicle for helping people accomplish something meaningful.
Observe what you already do at work
What’s your job title at work?
Regardless of your exact title and the daily responsibilities on your plate, chances are high that there’s a market for freelancers and consultants in this type of role.
Freelancing is simple, and it’s one of the best side hustles you can start doing today—as long as you have the right level of motivation and a willingness to deal with rejection. Freelancing is nothing more than taking the skills you already have (or are actively building) and pitching them to companies or individuals who could use your skills in their business, on a contract basis.
Just about any somewhat established company with at least a few employees is going to be receptive to hiring an external freelancer or consultant that demonstrates the ability to provide enough value. Many companies hire freelancers simply because they don’t want to hire full-time for the role, can’t afford to or want to test the waters with someone on a contract basis.
So, ask yourself what you do for work at your day job.
- Do you spend any time copywriting? Putting together blog posts? Creating proposals or presentations? Well, you could very easily make a run at freelance writing.
- The same goes if you’re a web developer or software engineer. Offer your freelance services on a project or hourly basis to companies that need tech help, but can’t justify another full-time hire.
- Designers, marketers, photographers, salespeople—all of these types of jobs have given you the opportunity to build your skills, and there’s high demand for good freelancers in all of these fields.
Getting started with freelancing is extremely easy.
Begin by digging deep into your existing network first, rather than immediately rushing to the freelance marketplace websites like Upwork, Freelancer or Fiverr, where you’re likely to be treated as a commodity. Instead, identify friends, family, former co-workers, classmates and teachers that either have worked with or currently work at cool companies you could see yourself freelancing for.
Touch base with the people in your network, not with a hidden agenda that you need to immediately land a freelance gig with them, but just to let them know you’re now taking on freelance projects.
Organize your best work into a very simple portfolio site using a platform like SquareSpace. Something that can show your prospective clients the type of work you’ll be able to deliver for them.
Examine the problems you’re good at solving
If you’ve been able to solve a meaningful problem for yourself in a repeatable manner, there’s all but guaranteed to be an existing market of people (or businesses) who will pay for quicker, more effective access to that solution.
You can offer the solution as a freelancing service. Or under the right circumstances, you can package what your service does into a physical product that replicates the solution, or even digital products that do the same. You can also get into creating educational resources that train others how to get up to speed, so they’re able to solve their own challenges.
Start by asking yourself these questions to examine whether or not there’s a market for solutions to the problems you’re good at solving.
- Are there any particular problems or topic areas that people tend to come to you asking for advice and assistance with?
- Are you seen as a resource or a resident expert at something?
- Do you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again in the office?
- Is it easy for you to connect people you know to others who are good potential customers, partners, investors or otherwise?
- Have you built your own internal tools or processes for doing something quicker?
- Do you have a coveted skill that seems difficult for others to build and replicate?
If so, this is an opportunity to take something you’re already good at and monetize it into a physical product, service or digital offering that helps people overcome the challenges you’re good at solving.
For example, take the proliferation of product management tools that have been borne out of the need for proper organization, better internal collaboration and faster launching of new projects. These tools are classic examples of taking your personal expertise at doing something, shepherding a new product through to completion, and turning it into a productized, step-by-step system others can follow to achieve similar results.
However, it’s dangerously easy to get attached to your idea, and find yourself spending a lot of money bringing it to life before you’ve truly validated it with paying customers, or by getting pre-orders from people who are willing to pay you for this solution.
Noah Kagan, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Sumo.com, agrees. He shares, “Don’t waste time or spend money on non-core issues when starting a business. In fact, don’t spend any money until you make some.”
This reinforces the business advice that dozens of the world’s top entrepreneurs have shared with me: No matter the type of business, get your customers first.
If you can build a rough, basic version of your solution that works well enough to actually help people achieve their goals (and convince them to pay you before it’s perfect), then that’s when you know you’re really onto something.
Ask yourself what pisses you off most
This is my personal favorite tactic for finding new side hustle ideas, because the focus isn’t necessarily limited to what I’m good at today—or what I’ve identified as a market opportunity.
Instead, the emphasis is on taking a look at the problems, situations, processes, products and services that you feel are subpar and are seriously motivated to improve upon. This is the recipe for discovering a labor of love that you’ll want to pursue.
Here’s an example: I get asked about business ideas and for business advice all the time.
Something that really pisses me off is seeing the friends, family, former-classmates and readers of my blog who ask me for advice, struggle endlessly with trying to validate their ideas and build a business. To address this problem over the past few years, I’ve written extensive guides, created courses, recorded videos and held live webinars, all with the goal of teaching the people I know how to get their first customers. This is something that’s typically been fairly intuitive and relatively easy for me to do. And one of the biggest reasons it’s so difficult for many people, is because they over-complicate the process.
So, I decided to try something radically different. In order to show my community just how easy it can be to validate a business idea if you approach it the right way, I launched a month-long challenge for myself. I asked my readers to vote on a few different options for ideas I’d spend the month trying to validate—and I posted weekly updates sharing progress with exactly what was working and what wasn’t.
By the end of the experiment, I pre-sold a dozen copies of a book that didn’t even exist yet. The sales largely came from friends, mutual connections and people I’d gone to school with who shared an interest in the topic the book was going to be about.
Nothing complex at all. I didn’t build a website, run Facebook ads, spend exorbitant amounts of money, or do anything else that distracted me from just connecting with real people and working with them to come up with a product concept they were interested in. Then, I asked them to pre-order it, and because I’d incorporated much of their personal feedback into the product outline, it was a no-brainer for them to say yes.
Eventually, this public experiment led to hundreds of people commenting on the post and sending me emails, asking for help in replicating this process with their ideas. After consulting for a dozen of these people and helping them get results, I productized this service into an online course that’s now grown to be a large portion of my business.No matter what type of business you want to start, the common denominator of successful entrepreneurs is that their product, service or solution helps people solve a meaningful problem.
And that problem needs to be one that you personally have experience solving, for both yourself and others.
Here’s the beauty about starting as a side hustle: regardless of where you’re at, you can start today. You don’t need to be the world’s foremost expert on your subject in order to charge for your services. To ask people to pre-order your product. To get someone on board for your coaching program that might eventually evolve into a course.
All you really need is the courage to start today. To continue your journey of becoming an expert at your craft. To use your skills to help others, chase your interests, do something, take control. Because the one thing you absolutely cannot afford to do is to wait around for the right idea to just magically fall into your lap.