I graduated high school a year early on the condition set by my parents that I attend a junior college. So I enrolled for a couple of night classes at what was locally referred to as UCLA or University Closest to Lambert Avenue, better known as College of DuPage in Lombard Illinois. I signed up for a couple of classes. One class was Intro to Business and after a couple of days into the class I was really enjoying it. Our instructor was like no teacher I had in high school he had an unorthodox method of getting his points across and when he began the course he started by telling us that he wasn't going to teach us the way business was done by the book, he was going explain business in the real world and how to be successful in it. This got my attention and when he told us that he caught Mitsubishi's initial listing on the American stock exchange making millions and was only teaching there for 1 dollar a year, he had my full attention. At the age of 17 I didn't know what I wanted to do, I only knew what I didn't want to do, and that was working in a 9 to 5 grind for the rest of my life.
Without getting on a rant here, one of the main points he kept emphasizing was to spot trends in business and consumer behavior. I look for trends daily and one source I keep going back to is BusinessInsider.com. If there's any indication of what the future holds it will be a change in currency. Follow the money trail here, there are several start ups in the financial sector where investment is in internet financial vehicles, financial tools, cryto-coins, lending platforms and investment can be viewed more of a diversification of the current financial institutions. The finance industry knows which way the wind is blowing, they're closer to the ground floor of business in general, they know what the numbers are. Here's a link to some of the top Nordic startups.
The obvious investment is clicks and bricks, solid online business models. And, whatever you're doing, it will be online.
As we approach the 4th quarter of fiscal year 2015, and soon to be at the midway point of this decade, I started to look at the predictions and indicators for internet growth by year 2020. Sounds futurist the year 2020 and I think we are starting to enter into the steeper slope of the curve now. In 2010 the internet had 1.7 billion users, today it has a little over 3.1 billion and by 2020 it should be at 5 billion. Check out the stats by country here on InternetWorldStats.com.
Forecasting the future of the internet is that hard to predict just look at what we do and ask yourself are we going to be doing any less of it. Twenty-five great points are listed in this article on Marketing in 2020 by Jeff Beer of FastCompany.com. By looking at marketing we can see the direction society is taking by observing the force trying to get in-front of the mass. Some key points I took away were virtual reality is reality, brand transparency and through technology it's about to get really personal.
Don't forget to consider the growth of the machine usage with the Internet of Things IoT. Both machine and human usage almost double in the next 5 years!
Here's a great idea for the taking, the magnification card or Mag Card. In the extra space above the magnetic strip, during manufacturing process, create a clear magnification lens out of the card plastic or mold it into the card meld the surface so it doesn't pop out when flexed. The benefit being no need for a reading glass to see your bill or glance over a menu.
Great idea? Well it's here for anyone to develop and patent. I hold a design patent and several copyrights on other products. And after going through the patent process a couple of times, I've learned that if you're not going to make it your life's work and defended it into possible bankruptcy, it's really not worth doing.
The Mag Card has great potential and I'd just like to have one built into my debit card. I'm hoping someone runs with this idea and makes the world a better place (leave the lawyers out of the loop).
The Mag Card was hatched in the early hours of the morning involving the perfect combination of alcohol, an attractive waitresses and a bar tab the size of a federal invoice. If you decide to manufacture and end up making millions, throw a little this way.
TechCrunch has a great article on the growth of enterprise software featuring a 3 trillion dollar opportunity, but it's bigger than that and there's so much room for small business and start ups. In short, mobile collaboration for your workforce with direct integration to product partners and stakeholders is the only model to develop for, anything else would be a disservice to your client.
Just five years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined that a farmer or construction worker could be an information worker. But with products like Farmlogs, Planet Labs and Airware in farming and agriculture, and PlanGrid or Skycatch in construction, all new demographics of the workforce are being supported by information technology. And this is just the beginning. As every employee on the planet is enabled by a smartphone, the addressable market for enterprise software grows from about half a billion people to the billions of workers leveraging mobile devices to do their jobs.
Every job is software-enabled, every industry is digitized. Read more at TechCrunch.com
How can you conduct business if you can't speak the same language? Skype Translator will enable the global exchange of information and help your business build international relationships. Skype is about to add a translation tool to their VoIP app that will allow face to face real time translation. I've been wondering how to break into the Chinese market and for 2 cents per minute, less than half that with a subscription, I see endless possibilities.
Microsoft is coming out with the desktop app by the end of this summer and has also removed the signup requirement. This is another big win for Microsoft. Add this app to your Surface Pro and your are truly ready for the world. Take a closer look at Skype Translator here.
Global transactions for small businesses are the next big thing. These are very exciting times for entrepreneurs.
Introducing the Intel Compute Stick. It transforms any HDMI TV or monitor into a full computer. All you need is a wireless keyboard and mouse and you’re all set. When you combined the use of cloud applications and storage, what do you need the rest of the box for?
It comes equipped to go with Windows 8.1, Intel's Atom Quad-core processor, 2gb ram, 32gb storage, built-in WiFi, a USB port and a Micro SD card slot.
Perfect for gaming in the family room, replacing a projector or turning your old TV a smart device. You can pickup the Compute Stick for about $150.
Upgrades I'd like to see in the next version: Make it the size of a pen with the ability to write, a holographic display that will work in daylight and a flawless speech recognition system. Still this very cool, bravo Intel.
Spoiler Alert - If you haven't seen the final episode of MadMen, read no more. MadMen was weekly TV series that ran on AMC and just came to a brilliant concluding episode. I found the show intriguing on multiple levels. First as a period piece into the advertising industry roots of the 50's to 70's. The characters were well formed and wisely engineered into an almost historic account of advertising growth as it was woven into American culture. The final episode tied it together with a twist I didn't see coming until the classic Coke ad brought it home.
Don Draper's smile while chanting as the new dawn arose could have been that he finally found peace, or was it that he just got the idea for one of the best ad campaigns in history. The next scene was the 1971 "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" commercial. Brilliantly written, directed and executed. (standing ovation). Through the course of the series the ad firm grows into a multi-million dollar empire. What's ironic now is that there is a new dawn in advertising again. The ad firms and TV stations that got rich during the MadMen period a now seeing a seismic shift in the platform, welcome the internet. The dawn is over but the sun hasn't full risen. The day hasn't even begun to warm yet. It'll be interesting to see how history and culture remember this segment of our development, who'll be the next Don Draper's and just how technology will evolve.
Opportunities are everywhere. Internet growth and online advertising are set to explode. Where will your business be?
Mobile Enterprise is already the next big thing and is only going to get bigger and better with continued improvements in cellular and handheld technology.
Accessing your business from anywhere and conducting business from anywhere is not just productive, it's a competitive edge that small business and entrepreneurs must have. Applications like Stripe that allow taking payments at the point of sale are solid concepts, like a cell phone years from now, we'll wonder how we ever did without.
From the tech start-ups pouring into this arena to corporate giants trying to keep market share, the mobile enterprise industry represents the bleeding edge of tech with a real purpose. Enough of the social kid toys already. If you haven't already, check out Stripe. (A real domain name too, not like SomethingICantRemember.whatever)
I stumbled upon the topic of technology camps and had to delve a little further. First the term 'tech camp' reminded me of some of the sweat shops I've worked in, they could be described as a 'camp', but more I found out there are quite a few tech camps catering to all ages, genders and vocations.
When I think of summer camp, I envision a lake in the mountains where kids roast marsh-mellows, ride canoes, fish and generally relax for a week or two. What's becoming more popular are tech camps for kids ages 6 and up and they're taking classes like programming, audio video engineering, robotics, and app design. I found technology camps not just for kids, but for teachers and executives to tune up with. Instructional design is the way of the new classroom any anyone that's familiar and comfortable with technology is going to be well ahead of the game. (And there's even game development classes.) At the college level there are even more camps to excel or catch up.
Tech camps aren't a new concept, but are growing. Here's and article by Tony Wan from 2013 with a list of popular kids camps. Camps and programs like these may just spark the genius in your child or expand an executive's insight.
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