Three Lunchtime TEDTalks for The Entrepreneur in You

Business Innovations

20 November 2018

Three Lunchtime TEDTalks for The Entrepreneur in You

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Jokes aside, who doesn’t love TEDTalks? Nothing beats these quick, bite-sized inspirational videos that showcase fascinating insights on topics ranging across the board. What began in 1984 as part of a conference on Technology, Entertainment and Design (yes, that’s where TED gets its moniker from, in case you didn’t know; I didn’t), is today a massive global community that shares ideas and triggers conversations.

A TEDTalk works in numerous ways: it can teach you to become a better professional and even inspire you to be a better person. It aims to help people get a deeper understanding of the world they live in. It sparks curiosity; it motivates; it teaches something new every time; a TEDTalk can shift your perspective and broaden your horizon; it can even show you what’s possible and help you reach you true potential.

As an entrepreneur, you need to constantly challenge your assumptions and beliefs. A TEDTalk will give you all that, and more.

However, with thousands of existing TEDTalks, and new ones being added regularly, knowing where to start can be daunting. If you’re looking for quick inspiration during your lunch break, you’ve come to the right place. Here are three short, yet essential, TEDTalks that you must watch:

#1 Creative problem solving in the face of extreme limits

Start-ups operate on the premise that there will be restrictions and limitations – of capital, resource and time. However, when is little too little? And how can a start-up apply innovation even in the face of these limits?

Watch this TEDTalk by Navi Radjou to understand creative problem solving techniques under extreme limitations. The demands of a start-up are high and relentless, and that is what drives greater creativity, much needed for innovation, scientific discovery and even social constructs.

The next time you feel backed into a corner, watch this talk to understand how you can turn this challenge into an advantage.

#1 The one reason start-ups succeed

Why do some start-ups manage to become more successful than others? Are there any factors at play here, or is it just a matter of luck, of being in the right place at the right time?

Bill Gross, a serial entrepreneur and a mentor for several startups, attempts to explain the reasons for this through his TEDTalk. In his vast experience in the business world he has seen rock-solid ideas flounder terribly, while doubtful businesses flourish. And it led him to wonder why.

In this video, Bill measures each start-up according to the power of its idea, the timing of the launch, the attributes of the team at the front, access to capital and also its business model. What he finds is how one factor leads to success more than any other. Watch the video to know which one.

#1 Do what you love

A no-brainer, right? Your start-up is your passion and that’s what you love to do. Watch Gary Vaynerchuk as he does a fantastic job of still convincing you of this in his inspiring TEDTalk.

Perhaps you decided to start off on your own attracted with the idea of making more money; or just the thought of running your own business and being your own boss got you excited. But those ingredients aren’t enough to be really successful. You also have to be part of something that you really care about; and you have to actually enjoy what you do.

Conclusion

If you haven’t watched these TEDTalks yet, then add them to your list right away. And in case you noticed, we’ve pegged them all at #1 because there really isn’t any criterion for comparison. Each of these videos will expose you to new ideas, opening your mind to new experiences. Your journey towards successful entrepreneurship hinges on this.

5 emerging ecommerce trends to follow in 2019

Business Innovations

17 May 2019

5 emerging ecommerce trends to follow in 2019

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The world of ecommerce is an exciting place to be in. It is seeing rapid growth with many shopaholics preferring to shop online over visiting a mall. The woes of traffic, challenges of parking and spending hours trying to find the perfect attire or accessories create a nightmarish scenario. Compare that to sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned environment, scanning thousands of options that can be bought with the click of a button. Then there is free home delivery, no-questions asked returns and exchanges. Stepping out to shop is so passé.

For businesses too, ecommerce is a great low-cost alternative to offer more variety to customers. They can also do away with expensive overheads and pass on the advantage to customers. Is it any surprise then that the ecommerce industry has been experiencing steady growth over the past few years?

Studies predict that global retail ecommerce revenue will amount to $4.88 trillion by 2021, with millennials making more than 50% of their purchases online.

This scenario, while exciting, does present a few challenges. Ecommerce businesses need a few tricks of the trade to keep up with this continuous growth and the competition that this brings to the marketplace.

Here are the top 5 emerging ecommerce trends that e-businesses can capitalise on.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping or Drop Shipping is an ideal business model for those ecommerce businesses that are just starting off and don’t have much capital. It means acting as the middleman between the manufacturer or supplier of the goods and the customer.

The customer views the products on your portal, you process the purchase, but it gets shipped directly from the manufacturer without you even seeing the actual physical product.

Why is this getting so popular?

  • You’re buy the product only after a customer places an order
  • There is no inventory
  • Your overhead costs drop drastically

Dropshipping is great for businesses that deal in bulky items that eat up warehouse space. Of course, there are also some challenges with dropshipping:

  • You have no control over the shipping duration
  • Unprofessional or unethical sellers could negatively affect the customer experience. It is important to whet your sellers, and establish shipping and service rules.

Multi-channel Selling

There are numerous avenues for your customer to make a purchase. While brick-and-mortar stores are still an alternative, even within the online channels there are options like Amazon, branded stores online, eBay, Facebook and even Instagram now.

As a merchant, you need to have a presence on multiple channels to cater to the needs of the omni-channel shopper. Besides your own website, create a strong ecommerce presence on social media sites as well as other online stores.

No one says it will be easy; you will need to set up a team to manage all these diverse channels. You can also use the services of ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce that help streamline online sales across multiple channels.

Smarter Payment Processing

Did you know that nearly 79% of customers abandon their online shopping cart at the payment gateway if the checkout process isn’t effortless and smooth? Even after researching and considering several products thoroughly, customers are willing to leave it all if the final step isn’t quick and easy.

To stay ahead, you need to relook your payment gateway this year. If your business is global do you offer a local payment option? Can you accept payments in other currencies? Or are you expecting international customers to click again for the ‘other country’ selection?

Look at ways to consolidate all your payment options in a single gateway. Yes, compliance might make it difficult to manage all currencies on one platform. This is where you can consider a third party service provider like Payoneer.

Omni-Channel Personalisation

We bring up omni-channel selling again to highlight another important facet. It’s not enough to just be available on multiple channels; you need to also offer an inclusive brand experience by recognising the customer as the same person irrespective of which channel she is on. Else you might end up offering an irrelevant experience which can be quite irritating and intrusive.

A great personalised experience can make the difference between a one-time customer and a repeated shopper. Apply AI-driven targeting to identify customers and match the right experience across multiple channels.

Custom Packaging

Packaging still matters. Studies have shown that customers perceive packaging as part of the product, and 68% of the shoppers in the study believed that a brand becomes more upscale simply by its packaging. And the more unique the packaging, the greater the customer’s engagement with your product.

Take the time and effort to design customized packaging for your product. This should help set you apart in the marketplace and make your brand more recognisable.

Conclusion

The ecommerce industry is on a roll, growing, changing dynamically with each passing day. And the advent of AI is taking it to unheard of realms, creating new experiences for consumers. By combining omni-channel marketing and consolidating payment options, ecommerce businesses can manage operations more effectively.

2019: will it be the year of the coolest tech?

Business Innovations

08 March 2019

2019: will it be the year of the coolest tech?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

There is no doubt that tech is finding newer, better and more extraordinary ways for businesses to connect with the consumer. You can’t really say technology is evolving anymore as that would indicate it builds on existing tools; instead, technology today is disruptive. It challenges the status quo and comes up with answers to questions that haven’t even been asked yet.

When we scoured the internet for cool tech finds of 2019, we were truly taken aback by the sheer array of amazing ideas and innovations that are coming up. There are hundreds of super cool tech gadgets and gizmos that have made it into 2019, and our hearts. But in all the din that is the latest and the craziest, only these six have made it to our list of the coolest tech of 2019.

Family Hub Refrigerator

There was a time when the kitchen or the dining area would bring the whole family together. Today, if Samsung has its way, this role looks primed to be taken over by a single gadget in the kitchen – the Family Hub Refrigerator. The Samsung Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled family refrigerator comes with a 21” touchscreen and a Bixby voice control that takes food refrigeration to a whole new level. The Family Hub synchs up food storage, better connects the family and can also be networked with the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem allowing consumers to control their washing machine and smartphone from the refrigerator’s console.

You can digitally label foods with expiration dates, check the content of your fridge from the grocery store using your smartphone, and also leave a digital note for other family members on things to get done before you return. You can even synch up the screen to your Samsung television so you don’t miss the action while cooking.

A television that rolls away when not in use

If you are in the market looking for a new television that blends in with the décor of your home, how about looking for a television that can disappear?

LG’s OLED TV R is a television that simply rolls out of sight when you are done with it. The screen drops away slowly into its console with the push of a button to come out when you beckon it again. Besides this truly amazing feature (and we really can’t get over it), the rolling television has support for Alexa voice controls as well as the Google Assistant. Hold on, there is more. The television has also integrated Apple’s AirPlay2 for seamless media playback. And you can do all this when your television is rolled out of sight.

Foldable phone by Samsung

If you are still dazed by the rolling television, here’s something just as extraordinary, but for something that fits your pocket (but maybe not your wallet).

The Samsung Galaxy Fold (umm, a less obvious name would have been fun) can be literally folded to half its size depending on your need. There are two screens, a full one when the phone is open and a smaller one for when it is closed. The layout of the intuitive UI will immediately change depending on whether the phone is open or folded. You will also get app continuity. So, if you are using an app in the folded screen and you open the phone, the app will automatically continue there. The larger open screen will allow you to run three apps simultaneously on the display, taking multitasking to a new dimension altogether.

The phone has three rear cameras like the earlier Galaxy A7, but the ones on the foldable phone promise to be more powerful. Now it’s simply a question of waiting for the phone to come out so we can snap it up in a jiffy.

First ever Quantum computer

When it comes to computers, there’s a new kid on the block – quantum computers – and both IBM and Google are racing with each other to see who can build the nextgen supercomputers first.

Quantum computer

Without getting into the details of quantum mechanics, let’s just say that these computers deal with atoms and molecules. This will allow the machines to work with far greater precision than ever imagined on tasks like complex chemical processes which our current crop of machines can’t even wrap their heads around. It’s like comparing two digital cameras, identical in all respects except that one has more pixels than the other.

It can get tad technical, so if you want to read a bit more about quantum computing, this should help.

5G: the possibilities are just getting better

The next thing after 4G, fifth generation or 5G, is expected to be better and faster. Yes and yes, and so much more.

5th Generation

5G capabilities include higher data rate (cheers to that!), reduced latency, cost reduction, energy saving (cheers to these two!), higher system capacity and improved device connectivity. Basically all your cellular woes thrown out the window. The biggest draw of 5G is that it will be 100 times faster than the current cellular technology. While the first phase is expected to be completed by April this year, the technology will be available to all consumers by 2020. It seems a long way off, but it is definitely something worth waiting for.

Nreal Light Mixed Reality Glasses

It might seem cool to own funky digital glasses, but the sheer size and image quality of a lot of players left much to be desired.

So when a Chinese startup, Nreal, jumped into the market with something interesting, it was worth giving a second look. These are low-profile mixed reality glasses that look and feel just like ordinary sunglasses but let you do so much more.

These glasses project digital imagery on the real life scene unfolding in front of your eyes. So you get the best of both worlds. Lightweight, and with a host of features like dual microphones, brightness control switches on both arms, and even Bluetooth headphones if you wish, the possibilities with the glasses are mindboggling – video games, entertainment, telepresence calls and more. Have prescription lenses? No problem. The Nreal takes care of that so you don’t need to wonder what to do with your existing pair.

Conclusion

Six cool tech ideas that have got the whole world excited. We can’t wait to see some of them in person. While the costs for a few might be prohibitive for some of us, there’s no harm in checking them out when they hit the stores soon.

 

What’s been your favourite tech gadget till date? Also, let us know which of these excited you the most

 

What’s in a name? How did some of our favourite brands get their names?

Business Innovations

08 February 2019

What’s in a name? How did some of our favourite brands get their names?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Brands and brand names are deeply entrenched in our lives; almost staple, one could say. We all ‘Google’ information, Skype with friends, and love to treat ourselves to a Häagen-Dazs ice cream every now and then.

But did you ever stop to wonder where these brands got their names from? Surely someone or a group of people sat in a boardroom and came up with these names. But what do they actually mean? Let’s look at some of our favourite ones, shall we, in no particular order?

Google is a typo!

Google’s founder, Larry Page, was brainstorming with a bunch of graduate students at Stanford University to create a massive data-index website. Someone (no one is sure who) suggested ‘googolplex’, which means the largest describable number. A student misspelled the name and that’s how ‘Google’ came to be.

And you thought Adidas stands for ‘All Day I Dream About Soccer’?

Sorry folks, the Adidas name has nothing to do with athletic sports. Story goes, the founder of the brand, Adolf Dassler, started making shoes when he returned home after WWI. He needed to give a name to the brand, so he combined his nickname Adi, with the first three letters of his last name. As simple as that. Now use this knowledge to correct someone else’s misinformation.

Twitter means just what it stands for.

The podcasting company, Odeo, was brainstorming one day. Jack Dorsey, who was then an undergraduate student at NYU, came up with the idea of an individual using an SMS service to send messages to a small group. The original name given for this service was ‘twttr’, an idea inspired by Flickr as much as the five-character length of American SMS short codes. In fact, the service was launched as ‘twttr’ also because twitter.com was already taken. Six months later the domain was purchased and there’s been no looking back since. According to Dorsey, “…we came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.”

Did you also believe IKEA to be a Swedish word?

IKEA is a fine example of a make-believe word. And no, it has nothing to do with Sweden, not directly at least. Founder Ingvar Kamprad created the brand name by combining the initials of his name, IK and then adding on the first letters of the farm and village where he grew up in southern Sweden: Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd. We, for one, are glad that he went with the initials only. Can you imagine saying those names aloud!

Amazon is named after the world’s biggest river.

Amazon, launched in 1995 as a bookstore, was meant to be called Cadabra by its founder, Jeff Bezos. It seems, however, that the company’s first lawyer, Todd Tarbert, felt the name sounded too similar to ‘cadaver’. Bezos then chose Relentless (if you visit relentless.com you will get redirected to the Amazon website. Try it, we just did.), but he eventually decided on Amazon – the world’s largest river. In fact, the company’s first logo even had an image of the river.

Starbucks finds its origins in Moby-Dick.

Starbucks cofounder Gordon Bowker tells an interesting tale of the origin of the name. They definitely wanted something that began with ‘st’ because it sounded powerful. Somehow the conversation veered to the old mining map of the Cascades and Mount Rainier. The old mining town of Starbo caught their eye, and Gordon immediately thought of Melville’s first mate, Starbuck, from Moby-Dick.

Häagen-Dazs is real, but the name is all made up.

Reuben Mattus, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, wanted to pay tribute to Denmark (the only country that saved Jews during WWII) and decided to name his ice-cream company Häagen-Dazs. The name doesn’t mean anything, but the combination of letters, especially the umlaut, does the job splendidly.

Xerox isn’t random, unlike what you might have thought.

We’ve seen made-up names and names that used initials of the founders or those that got their inspiration from entirely unrelated subjects. Xerox isn’t one of those; it has a clear etymology. It comes from the word xerography, which is a technical term for the dry copying process used in photocopiers, which itself is derived from the Greek words xeros (dry) and graphos) writing. That ‘x’? It was added for some techy punch. So popular is the brand name that today Xerox has gone on to become the generic word for the act of photocopying.

Sony needed something simple in English.

Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering) made perfect sense in Japan, but wouldn’t have the same impact in the US. How did the company overcome the hurdle? By reinventing the brand as something short and simple. Sony seemed to be a good choice as it was easy to say, and additionally it also suggested ‘sonus’ which is Latin for sound. Moreover, it was similar to ‘sonny’ an American slang for a young lad. That made the name friendly and approachable.

Facebook or Facemesh?

When Mark Zuckerberg was studying at Harvard’s University, there used to be an online directory of all the students in the college called Face Book. The idea behind this was to familiarize all the students with each other. If you’ve seen The Social Network, you will be familiar with how Mark hacked the servers and created a competition of sorts to ask people to choose who looked better. He initially named it Facemesh. This later evolved into a networking site where people could communicate with each other and even put up their photographs, and he reverted to calling it Facebook.

Then there’s Pepsi, named after dyspepsia (meaning indigestion) because it was meant to aid digestion. McDonald’s is named after the two brothers Dick and Mac McDonald who ran a burger restaurant. Gap literally indicates the generation gap between adults and kids. Nike is the Greek goddess of victory (apt, isn’t it?). Skype is derived from ‘Sky peer-to-peer’, which was shortened to ‘Skyper’. However, the domain name was already taken, so the ‘r’ was dropped to make it Skype. Gatorade was launched as an energy drink for the Florida Gators.

Whew! The list of brand names and their origins is actually endless, but these are just some of the more popular ones that we encounter almost daily.

Conclusion

What does this list tell you? Original, unique and catchy names are very important to building great brands, as against descriptive or rational ones. Fun business names have more power and it is important to think out of the box when naming a brand.

Do you have any names that you think are quirky in their own right? Tell us in the comments below.