I love Washington, DC and I am proud to call it home. It’s a beautiful city – and much like other cities around the world, it’s undergoing rapid change. This change has everything to do with how we treat one another and whether we choose to involve ourselves in shaping society. That requires people listen to each other, reflect and act. Are you doing enough? Are you aware of others’ perspectives?
People ask me a lot about 1776. It’s my place of choice to work alongside other entrepreneurs. 1776 tailors the support it provides members, including events and an online, informative community. A Managing Director there, David Zipper, wrote a nice piece about Electric Vehicles (EV) and China’s recent commitment to curb urban air pollution.
Chinese purchasers of Electric Vehicles can get a government rebate of $30,000, enough to cover half the car’s original cost.
Analysts expect the Chinese government to invest $15 billion by 2020, and the country urgently needs Electric Vehicle infrastructure like charging stations.
In 2010 I noticed countless EV mopeds, but few charging stations. This is a huge opportunity and I’m sure there are many players.
David goes on to write “The growing enthusiasm for Chinese Electric Vehicles creates tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs. Samsung, Berkshire Hathaway and Tesla are all players in the Chinese Electric Vehicle market.” With such business interest and investment momentum, we need to be careful.
I’d like to see a wholistic, environmental sustainability perspective promoted and executed around China’s new investment. Ground water and other aspects of the environment become threatened with increased production of EV batteries and charging infrastructure, especially in a Chinese, build-build-build mentality. We don’t want this to be yet another ironic development in green investment. I really want to believe the industrial development this spurs will be implemented properly. I would encourage entrepreneurs and others involved to think of this as so much more than an initiative to reduce the number of combustion engines in use.
For some time, I’ve worked with key business partners to develop ImpactHub.org – an online marketplace for businesses to find and engage with social impact outsourcing firms around the world. I’m pleased to say that we are getting closer to a re-launch of this venture with re-focussed mission.
It often takes a human touch to accurately process business documents, databases and imagery. Companies are increasingly looking for ways to outsource digital tasks in a socially-responsible way. It’s a win-win: businesses get quality work and communities thrive.
The practice of socially-responsible outsourcing, also called Impact Sourcing, recently touched down in Washington, DC.
We connected a local tech company with high-tech workers in Kenya to process architectural drawings. We helped migrate the work to the Nairobi-based team and provided business process improvement.
The Washington Post described Social Tables as “a fast-growing digital business that has raised more than $1.5 million from D.C.-area investors and has more than 500 customers, including hotels.” Their online platform provides dynamic diagramming and guest management solutions for the international hospitality industry. The company’s diverse list of clientele ranges from hotel chains such as the Hyatt Hotel Corporation to academic special events teams from Harvard Business School to corporate meeting teams such as Goldman Sachs.
Social Tables received many architectural drawings from event venues that were converted into floor plan layouts compatible with their software platform. The Kenya team followed stringent rules to trace the architectural diagrams and create new versions. Converting architectural diagrams into more usable, digital floor plans was vital to the planning and support process for their customers.
As a result of our efforts, they reduced the size of their processing queue by over 60%. The customer success team said their “efficiency has never been higher.” Event planners and global hotel brands, such as Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H), benefited from the work. Social Tables’ CEO, Dan Berger said “Nick and his team have done an incredible job. The confidence we have in their team is a direct result of the high quality of their efforts.”
Many such businesses have emerged in Nairobi, but our provider partner intentionally employs people from economically disadvantaged communities. The staff receives valuable technology training and a steady paycheck–often their first. Studies show that this practice of socially-responsible outsourcing, or Impact Sourcing, translates into a better quality of life for workers, their families and their communities.
For a number of years, I’ve done digital creative agency work as Team Lead of Social Grinder. We try to spend more time growing our business and less time running it. We reviewed payment and accounting tools in search of a fully automated billing solution. We use FreshBooks to log team time spent on various client projects. It’s one of many web-based accounting system that sends invoices to our clients. They make it easy for us to accept credit card and PayPal payments, but fees can quickly add up. Electronic bank payments are the best low cost alternative, but even the most popular apps for processing such payments (i.e. Dwolla) require manual effort from the customer and vendor with each transaction.
Bill.com was the best solution we found that connects with FreshBooks (through OneSaaS) and enabled us to fully automate accounts receivables for willing clients. Tech startups get it: If there’s trust, just review invoices when there’s time to do so – but let the transactional nature of work continue anabaited.
Watch our video to learn how to do this for yourself.
What do your Facebook Likes really say about you? According to a study, the pages, posts and public figures you Like on the social networking site can reveal surprisingly accurate information about your political and religious views, drug use, IQ and sexual orientation
The study, published by Cambridge University in the journal PNAS, analyzed the digital activity of more than 58,000 Facebook users
Participants volunteered their Likes, demographic profiles and psychometric testing results through an online application; the Likes were then fed into algorithms and verified with the information from profiles and personality tests
Mass Relevance CEO Discusses Sports’ Social Media Takeover
Austin-based Mass Relevance may be more deep-rooted in the sports social media space than any company not named Twitter or Facebook
The two-year-old startup curates and analyzes social chatter to highlight relevant posts and analyze overall conversation for a surfeit of brands, media companies and digital agencies across several industries. So pervasive is Mass Relevance’s reach, in fact, that Twitter made the company its first official social engagement and curation partner last year.
Sports make up a significant chunk of Mass Relevance’s work; its clients include Major League Baseball, ESPN, the New York Giants, TaylorMade and others. But why the special relationship between sports and social? We recently interviewed Mass Relevance founder and CEO Sam Decker to explore just that
Twitter is about to start attaching value ratings to users’ tweets
The value judgements will be assigned to the public metadata of tweeters’ posts, and used by Twitter’s streaming API to help developers more selectively curate massive amounts of status updates
Designations of “none,” “low” and “medium” will most likely debut on Feb. 20, according to a post by developer advocate Arne Roomann-Kurrik on the Twitter developers’ blog. A “high” value option will be rolled out sometime after the initial batch
Facebook Educates Developers With New Live Video Series
Facebook launched Developers Live Wednesday, a new way for developers to stay on top of everything Facebook.
An extension of Facebook’s existing developer’s site, Facebook says the new live portion of the site will be a “central place to learn about the latest tools and to get access to product manager and engineers who created them.”
The curated video channel will include live as well as recorded broadcasts, often with an interactive element for developers to get questions answered by Facebook staff. Videos on growing your mobile app and Graph Search have already been added to the site’s video library
Community management has come a long way since the first Community Manager Appreciation Day in 2009. We’re interacting with our audiences in new formats and on new platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest. Our online conversations have become more sophisticated with tools that allow us to curate social updates and host live video chats. Success measurement is more streamlined, and we’re shaping our strategies around both organic and paid growth.
But amidst the excitement of these advancements, it seems something has gotten lost. We’ve forgotten why we got into this business and what, at its core, it’s really all about: people.
Sharing your health woes on social media can be beneficial for tracking disease outbreaks, a new study says
Researchers at Brigham Young University found that Twitter‘s speed and volume can help health officials use the site as an early-warning system to monitor diseases
Tweets with location information may allow officials to plot points on a map to detect a trend, then alert providers to gear up for a possible outbreak. Though accurate information is available for only about 15% of tweets containing GPS data, it’s enough for a system to monitor key words like “fever” or “coughing” in a specific area. Check out the video, above, for more