Simpliv LLC MD Shahanshah Manzoor on why CXO’s should blog

By Shahanshah Manzoor, Managing Director of Simpliv LLC

why CXO's should blog1

I have often been roiled by the question of whether CEO’s (or, I’ll put it more precisely, CXO’s) should blog. I know that the first question that comes to mind upon reading this point is: how do I do it? Does my busy schedule permit it? Shouldn’t it be something we leave to our content team? Well, a big no. I have discovered that it is not only important, but vital for CXO’s to blog.

Yes, we are busy people. My own 14-hour workday is crammed with umpteen mails, presentations, business meetings, discussions, and all the other stuff that senior managers do. Yet, squeezing the time to blog is an important exercise. It is important from a number of standpoints. Let me describe to you my reasons for which we CXO’s must make the time for blogging:

Opportunity to share our thoughts

Our thoughts matter. Period. Most senior managers are experienced in their profession and not many are in their seats by accident. CXO’s are executives who are valued for their insights that are a result of having seen the industry in and out. A person may gain a lot of knowledge by reading books, but insights are gained by experience. What CXO’s possess is as much insight as knowledge. Sharing this with people who are connected to your profession in one or another way is a terrific way of offering them a fresh perspective of things.

Chance to reach out to stakeholders

why CXO's should blog

It is not just our employees and colleagues, but also stakeholders who want to hear from us. As an MD, I have realized that money and finance are a small part of an organization. The value that the organization represents is much more valuable. In fact, it is priceless. What values does your organization represent? Does it ensure that its values extend to something more than just number crunching business deals? A blog is a really wonderful platform for us to express these values to our stakeholders. Whether it is the customer, the employee from the lowest to the highest level, the general public, the investor, the government, or any other, a blog sets a tone for what your company stands for and what they can expect.

Let your audience know your approach to problem solving

Telling your audience about some of the innovative ways in which you have tackled issues not only increases your standing with them but also gives them the opportunity to develop a new outlook, which they could put to use when they are in a situation that demands it. Like I said, interaction offers something very few books can. It helps them put into practice what they might not have learnt from textbooks.

Benefit number one: build your stock

Businessman looking at city through drawing business strategy

And, did I talk about the most visible advantage blogging by CXO’s brings? It is a fabulous opportunity to build your brand. Your blog becomes your identity over time. Over time, people come to you to read what you have to say. Your blog could become the source that will make people recognize you for and one to which they will come eagerly to know more about what you have to say about this or that matter, how you faced a certain issue or challenge, what vision you have for your company or where you see your industry headed over the next few years, and many other such points.

As a CEO, a blog helps you build your reputation as a thought leader. This position need not be gained by only speaking at forums and meetings. CEO blogs that are packed with insight and clarity help you establish your name among your peers. It could also inspire and motivate them to do something similar and add to the contribution from CXO’s to the community.

Agreed, it is not the easiest of tasks to write down your thoughts and share them with people whom you may or may not know directly, but if these are what blogging by CXO’s brings; then, I think we must stretch ourselves and come up with stuff once in a while.

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Shahanshah Manzoor is Managing Director of Simpliv LLC, a platform for learning and teaching online courses, Fremont, CA-USA based. It’s offers online courses on a wide selection of topics.

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What is the fourth industrial revolution 2022

Machines will overtake humans in terms of performing more tasks at the workplace by 2025 — but there could still be 58 million net new jobs created in the next five years, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in a report on Monday.

Developments in automation technologies and artificial intelligence could see 75 million jobs displaced, according to the WEF report “The Future of Jobs 2018.” However, another 133 million new roles may emerge as companies shake up their division of labor between humans and machines, translating to 58 million net new jobs being created by 2022, it said.

At the same time, there would be “significant shifts” in the quality, location and format of new roles, according to the WEF report, which suggested that full-time, permanent employment may potentially fall.

Some companies could choose to use temporary workers, freelancers and specialist contractors, while others may automate many of the tasks.

New skill sets for employees will be needed as labor between machines and humans continue to evolve, the report pointed out.

Machines are expected to perform about 42 percent of all current tasks in the workplace by 2022, compared to only 29 percent now, according to firms surveyed by WEF. Humans are expected to work an average of 58 percent of task hours by 2022, up from the current task hours of 71 percent.

Artificial intelligence and its impact on jobs has become a hot topic of debate and many experts have predicted that machines will ultimately replace millions of jobs in the next decade. Still, the conventional wisdom among many business executives is that AI will also create new jobs.

An analysis from global audit firm PwC also made similar predictions. It said that AI, robotics and other forms of “smart automation” technologies could boost productivity and create better products and services. While some jobs will be displaced or “fundamentally changed in nature,” new jobs will also be created and the long term net effect should be positive for the economy as a whole.

The WEF report was based on a survey of human resources officers, strategy executives and CEOs from more than 300 global companies in a wide range of industries. Respondents represented more than 15 million employees and 20 developed and emerging economies that collectively represent some 70 percent of the global economy.

The outlook for job creation remains positive even though nearly half of all companies expect their full-time workforce to shrink over the next several years, the WEF report. That is due to the fact that firms now have a better understanding of how technology creates new business opportunities.

While automation could give companies a productivity boost, they need to invest in their employees in order to stay competitive, according to Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum.

“There is both a moral and economic imperative to do so,” Zahidi said in a statement. “Without proactive approaches, businesses and workers may lose out on the economic potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution basically refers to the ways new technologies will alter the way people live, work and relate to one another.

Companies, governments and employees need to work together to tackle skills shortages that occur due to automation, according to WEF.

Ultimately, if companies can effectively manage upgrading the skills of existing workers and splitting tasks between employees and machines, they would create the opportunity for higher productivity growth, the WEF said.

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The Future of AI

There seems no area untouched by Artificial Intelligence (AI). An ancient saying, popular in the Orient, which runs into something like: there is no place the sun has not been to; should perhaps be modified to insert AI in place of the sun. Another poetic metaphor, which says that what Ravi (the Sun) has not seen, Kavi (poet) has, has more relevance to our world, if you substitute the poet with AI. But there is one crucial difference: AI scientists put imagination into action.

So, what is the future of AI? This question is perhaps as old as AI itself. Like all developments in all scientific fields, AI has had its share of admirers and detractors alike. To those amongst us who are witness to the most dramatic changes technology is bringing into our lives; AI has quite a few aces up its sleeves. Want to consider my optimism misplaced and over enthusiastic? I don’t mind, but see if these developments fire your imagination.

AI is going to substitute a good part of the work that humans have been created to. Like Google Assistant, for instance. The product that Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled in mid-2018 is a case in point. The version of Google Assistant he revealed may not in itself change our lives beyond imagination but is symbolic of the enormity of the possibilities it can create. When taken to its logical outcome, it can do things that we have only been imagining about machines till now.

The World Will Not Be What It Is Now

This innovation is just one of the umpteen changes AI can bring about. When combined with its partners in crime (joking) — machine learning, deep learning, data science, and Big Data — it can be lethal, but for the right reasons. What are the implications that the changes in AI will bring into this world, apart from the obvious economic ones, which will see the industry adding a trillion dollars a year until at least 2022?

  • There could be widespread robotization. The implications of a development like this can be as social as well as economic
  • There could be clarity on the data that Big Data throws, enabling Big Data scientists to make greater sense of the data they get and harnessing it for the better
  • These are but a small sample of what to expect. It is already being predicted that areas as diverse as media to medicine and from law to designing could greatly get impacted by AI
  • There will be greater pressure on governments to regulate this technology, as its interaction with humans and with other machines can cause either bountiful benefits or bring horrors, depending on how it is used.

Will This Year Be the Year of AI Shift?

Which of these changes are likely to come to fruition by the end of 2018? Google Assistant is a good case in point of a new paradigm having been set in motion. Not everything that is visualized (some of it may be off track by a mile) could happen this year, but technology grows over time. It is the cumulative benefits that add up to make what it finally becomes. Will this year be a watershed year for AI? We have to wait and see.

Inspiring Prospects for Online Education in India

What does one call a growth of eight hundred percent in four years? Exponential? Phenomenal? Trailblazing? Adjectives aside, the fact is that online education in India, the world’s fastest growing economy among countries whose GDP exceeds $50 billion, is set for the kind of growth that could fit into any of the descriptions made above.

That online education in India is set for enormous numbers should ordinarily not surprise anyone. We have all that it takes to make something like this a success:

Huge population in the learning age: We all know that India has more than one-sixth of the world’s population (1.3 billion out of 7.6 billion). While this in itself is very notable and is something that will have marketers and investors drooling; what is more important is this: a whopping two fifths of the entire Indian population is under the age of 20. An amazingly high number of adolescents make up India’s population: In 2011, UNICEF India estimated that one in every five adolescents in the world is an Indian, which means that nearly a quarter of a billion people in the country is an adolescent, in the ripest learning age. This is a very huge focused market size by any stretch of imagination.

Adaption of technology: Another major advantage India brings is the prowess it has in technology. India’s IT strength is a major factor in the world of technology today, and we are being modest in saying this. As more and more people move into IT and adapt technologies with ease; the prospects of use of technology for a number of areas such as education are huge.

Huge online education resources: A supplementary factor in online education is that fact that India has an appetite for building up resources related to online education. An offshoot of the technologies at which Indians have shown a high degree of adaptability; the www is flooded with innumerable websites pertaining to online education in India. This makes access to any information related to online education a lot easier than through the traditional offline medium, hastening the push towards a decision about taking up online education courses.

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Future of the Artificial Intelligence and What 2018 Could Bring to it

There seems no area untouched by Artificial Intelligence (AI). An ancient saying, popular in the Orient, which runs into something like: there is no place the sun has not been to; should perhaps be modified to insert AI in place of the sun. Another poetic metaphor, which says that what Ravi (the Sun) has not seen, Kavi (poet) has, has more relevance to our world, if you substitute the poet with AI. But there is one crucial difference: AI scientists put imagination into action.

So, what is the future of AI? This question is perhaps as old as AI itself. Like all developments in all scientific fields, AI has had its share of admirers and detractors alike. To those amongst us who are witness to the most dramatic changes technology is bringing into our lives; AI has quite a few aces up its sleeves. Want to consider my optimism misplaced and overenthusiastic? I don’t mind, but see if these developments fire your imagination:

AI is going to substitute a good part of the work that humans have been created to. Like Google Assistant, for instance. The product that Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled in mid-2018 is a case in point. The version of Google Assistant he revealed may not in itself change our lives beyond imagination but is symbolic of the enormity of the possibilities it can create. When taken to its logical outcome, it can do things that we have only been imagining about machines till now.

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7 Tips to get the most out of online courses

Online courses have become an important channel to gain skills, education and certification. Over the past decade, online courses have grown to cater diverse learning needs and reach out to students in all corners.

And that’s not surprising. Online courses offer some unique advantages. One of the most important advantages is that if you enroll for an online course, you can choose your own pace of learning. That is quite different from a physical classroom, where you are forced to go at the pace of the instructor.

Next, online courses permit you the benefit of choosing your own timings. For working professionals, this is a boon. They may go to the online course at whatever time they wish to. This means there’s no fear of missed classes or gaps in learning.

Finally, online courses offer you almost limitless revisions. If you didn’t understand a particular topic or a certain session, you can revisit it as often as you wish. There’s nothing to stop you revising and viewing lectures again and again until you’re fully confident you’ve grasped the subject.

With all these advantage, it’s important to know how to get the most out of online courses. With a little bit of discipline and planning, you can not only get the full worth of your fees but also substantially improve your current skill-sets. This enlarged skill-set will provide you a better career and growth opportunities in future.

Here are the 7 tips to make the most out of online courses:

1. Define your learning objectives

Internet and modern technology have opened up a virtually limitless ocean of knowledge from where you can learn. There is no limitation as to how much you can improve yourself.

But that also means a huge number of choices. And with a huge number of choices, it’s also easy to be confused about why you’d want to take a particular course. Hence the very first thing you should do is to set down your learning objectives.

This is how you do it. Let’s assume you’re aspiring to be a digital marketer. Ask yourself: what is the current level of your proficiency? If you think you’re a beginner, look for courses that are clearly marked ‘for beginners’. If you wish to learn only about LinkedIn or Instagram, there’s no point taking up a course in Facebook ads or Google PPC.

Defining your objectives helps you understand what to expect from the course and stay motivated right through the course.

2. Understand the course structure

Some courses can be finished in fewer than 7 hours. Others may take weeks or even extend well into months.

When you narrow down to a few course, check their requirements in detail. Does the course permit the kind of flexibility you want? Will there be a certification at the end of the course? Would you need to submit some assignments online?

Next, assess their difficulty level. In the American context, a course marked 101 is typically the easiest level of the course, while the one marked 201 and higher will be accordingly more intense. So if you take up Adobe Photoshop 101, you must know the course is meant for beginners, while Adobe Photoshop 301 would be for fairly advanced learners.

Finally, a very small number of course may require you to hold some university degrees. See if you’re eligible and whether you meet all the course requirements.

3. Explore the instructor’s competence

Online courses mostly have excellent instructors. However, don’t assume anything – understand how qualified an instructor is to teach a course.

There are a number of ways of understanding the competence of the instructor.

Firstly, the course might offer to let you view a free lesson before you sign up and pay fees. Don’t miss the free lesson – that’s a pretty neat way of finding out the level of the instructor firsthand. Second, see if there is a rating system of the instructor. If there is, look at her ratings and carefully read the accompanying remarks from those who have taken the course earlier. Go through her educational and professional background wherever possible.

After that, look at the way the course has been broken down. A good instructor will have a very detailed breakup of the course, while an instructor who’s not very organized will have a rather poorly constructed course outline.

4. Verify the course completion requirements

Some courses don’t have any completion requirements. Others require you to take one or more online quizzes in order to be qualified for some certification. Still others may have more detailed assessment practices.

Ask yourself what you are looking for. If learning is all you want, it’s ok even if you miss a quiz. If, on the other hand, you wish to use the certification to advance your career, you must ensure you will be able to meet those completion requirements.

You’d be in big trouble if you pay your fees first and later find out you won’t be able to meet certain requirements. It’s a good idea to check out everything in writing before you sign up.

5. Fix your learning schedule

Signing up for an online course is only half the success story. The other half is how much you respond with your schedule.

For that, you must be clear about your own schedule. Will you be able to devote the kind of time the course requires? Should you take a shorter course? Or, alternatively, if you think you will be able to cruise through easily, should you take up a more intensive course?

If you’re a full-time student at a school or university, you must plan well in advance when you will carve out time to view the videos of the online course or hear its podcasts. If, on the other hand, you’re a working professional, try and see whether your professional commitments and traveling will leave you with enough time.

The truth is most of us have enough time to take up online course. The challenge is to schedule smartly and carry on with self-discipline. But you can’t succeed without proper scheduling.

6. Join online communities to maintain your motivation

Depending upon how old the platform, the course or the instructor is, there are chances there will be an online community around the course. It could be a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group of students who have enrolled for the course and have learning requirements like yours.

Make sure you join such communities and be an active participant. There are three major advantages of joining such communities. Firstly, you can learn not only from the instructor but also from your fellow-students. Secondly, you can build a professional network of people with similar skills and background, a network that help you in your professional life.

Finally, joining an online community gives you strong support and motivation. There would be times where you are low on motivation or feel like quitting. Sharing your concerns with the community will help you tide over such challenges. That’s because the community members will share their own experiences and help you jump over the obstacles and put you back on track.

7. Develop self-discipline

Online courses are one of the best of ways of learning in the new age. However, there are challenges associated with online course, and one of them self-discipline.

Make sure you keep away from unnecessary distractions while learning. One of the distractions could be social media. When you sit down for your online course, turn off all the notifications and, if possible, turn off your mobile phone as well. Devoting an hour with full dedication can be worth ten hours of undedicated work. Use your time best.

These aren’t the only things you need to understand, but they are certainly some of the most important for your course to be a success. Feel free to add to this list.

END OF POST

Author intro:

Mayank Batavia is an edupreneur since nearly 20 years and a freelance content writer and a blogger. He

also runs a technology blog www.almostism.com which deals with how technology impacts us. You can follow him on Twitter through his handle @MayankEmpower.

Note: This is a completely original written work. Not to be reproduced without written consent.

7 New Technologies Shaping Online Marketing For The Better

virtual reality

 

Online marketing is influenced by a number of tightly interconnected factors, one of the most important of which is the development and popularization of new technology. We take for granted many of the new technologies that have revolutionized our industry—such as social media platforms, or even reaching back to radio and television—but these are only the beginning. There will always be new technologies on the horizon, ready to change the industry in new and exciting ways, and it’s hard not to wonder about how they’ll impact our work.

These seven technologies are in development or just around the corner, ready to change our industry for the better (or so we hope):

1. Augmented reality.

Augmented reality is a technology that’s been around for several years now, but it’s still in its infancy both in terms of its sophistication and in terms of user adoption. However, the augmented reality game Pokémon Go’s recent popularity may be the marker of a turning point in the technology’s importance. With millions of mobile users flooding to the augmented reality concept, marketers are already racing to develop new AR apps, take advantage of AR games and apps already in circulation, and find new ways to engage audiences by bridging the gap between the physical and virtual worlds.

2. Virtual reality.

Speaking of the virtual world, AR may only be the beginning; virtual reality (VR) is even more immerse, completely generating a digital reality for willing participants. Sales for the landmark Oculus Rift device are projected to exceed $2 billion by the end of the year, and though we haven’t yet seen any truly revolutionary functions for the technology (or people wandering around aimlessly with headset attached to their faces), it’s poised for a significant takeoff in the next few years. Advertisements and messages can now occupy a completely immersive realm, and online shopping could be dramatically reimagined with VR capabilities.

3. AI assistants.

Personal digital assistants have gone from being an inside joke among smartphone owners to a reliable means of finding information and performing functions for users all over the world. Siri and Cortana are just two landmark examples of AI systems capable of communicating with users. So far, they’ve already begun to reshape the landscape of search as users have started relying on voice-based queries and more immediate, generalized results that extend both to the web and on-device content. Now, they’re starting to make their way to more home-based devices like Amazon’s Alexa, and they’re only going to develop further from here.

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4. Machine learning algorithms.

Google made headlines last year when it announced the deployment of RankBrain, an algorithmic modification working in conjunction to the Hummingbird update, which works to better understand the semantics of user queries and produce search results that cater to a user’s perceived needs. What makes RankBrain special is the fact that it’s a self-updating machine learning algorithm, capable of gathering and interpreting information about its own functionality and improving itself over time. This could open the door to a bevy of new developments, increasing the pace and complicating the nature of future technological breakthroughs.

5. Data visualization.

“Big data” has been a buzzword for a few years now, but it’s still an important concept in the business realm. We now have access to insane amounts of consumer data, giving us hypothetical access to significant insights about consumer behavior, subsequently leading to better marketing campaigns. But having that data isn’t enough to form those meaningful insights. Instead, we need a means of simplifying, presenting, and automatically interpreting that information—and that’s where data visualization comes in. there’s a danger in allowing a simplification to define our paths forward, but this could be a powerful tool for marketers everywhere.

6. Marketing automation.

We’re also seeing a rise in marketing automation technology, from platforms that allow the scheduling and syndication of social media posts to software programs that can write content from scratch (and sound like a human wrote it). These developments are making marketing jobs easier, more straightforward, and more cost efficient, but there’s also a major potential drawback; relying too much on automation could rob you of your creativity, resulting in non-engaging, flat campaigns that alienate your audience.

7. The Internet of Things (IoT).

Finally, there’s the Internet of Things, the term for all the Internet-capable, interconnected devices we’re bringing into our homes such as smart ovens, smart TVs, and appliances that can be remotely programmed and integrated into the same overall system. This technology is convenient for consumers looking to manage all their devices in one location, but it could be just as important to marketers trying to communicate with those consumers. Imagine being able to advertise a product as consumers are using a similar product, or communicating with consumers immediately within their homes.

Keep these promising new technologies in mind as you develop and refine your online marketing strategies, however they’re currently manifesting. It’s hard to say exactly what effects they’ll have; some may yield countless new opportunities for marketers, while others may needlessly complicate our efforts. Some may stick around for many years, until we take it for granted like older communications technologies today, while others may fizzle out as temporary fads that never truly caught on. Only time will tell, and you’ll need to be prepared for anything to have the best chances for success.

Founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing firm, as well as EmailAnalytics, an email productivity app, and Kwippy, an iOS/Android app in which users receive themed photo challenges randomly throughout the day. I’m on a mission to demystify and simp…

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