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Insights About Startup Hiring In The Early Versus Growth Stages

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Building a startup team is something that you need to get right from the start. Here is what you … [+] need to know about startup hiring in the early versus growth stages.
For most entrepreneurs, the startup journey starts with an idea. You could argue, however, that the first time you involve another person in your venture is an even more significant milestone.
“You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible.” – Paul Graham.
It’s not a coincidence that Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator, started the list with good people. Early-stage startup ideas are bound to change a lot and have very little value before they are tested against reality (before it is proven that the product or service is something customers actually want). It is your early-stage startup team that seeks and finds this validation.
Consequently, building a startup team is something that you need to get right from the start. Here is what you need to know about startup hiring in the early versus growth stages.

The Early-Stage Startup Team
The early-stage startup team is to a large degree defined by the first and third parts of Paul’s advice. You need to attract the right people while carefully budgeting for the next stages of the business. This is a critical point because the more funds you have, the more time you will have to iterate on your ideas and try different approaches. And the better your team, the better your execution, and the higher the chances of building and marketing something people need.
The early-stage startup investment fund, First Round Capital, shows that teams of two or more founders outperform solo founders by 163%. This highlights the importance of the early-stage team. Having a team right from the very start is ideal.

Generally speaking, your team needs to cover two important areas:
First, you need at least one person adept at marketing and sales who knows the industry. This person would be responsible for talking to customers and gathering their feedback, which is the single most important activity if you want to ensure you are developing a startup product customers want.
Second, you need a person with the required technical ability to build the product with which you can test the market.
Once your startup manages to acquire resources (usually through fundraising after showcasing early-stage traction), it is a good time to expand your team. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are not yet a traditional business, which means you don’t need traditional employees. You need people with an entrepreneurial disposition, a high-risk tolerance, and most importantly – a lot of proactivity. 
Your early-stage team members act a lot like co-founders, so it’s imperative that you find highly-motivated people who are willing to pull their own weight and have energy left to spare.
The Growth Stage Startup Team
If your early-stage team is successful, your business will grow and you will have access to more resources, which would allow you to do more hires.
At this stage, the requirements of the business are also growing in complexity. You will need more salespeople and engineers, but you will also need people to take care of the legal and financial side of your business.
That said, one of the biggest startup killers is premature scaling, a part of which is over-hiring before the business needs can justify it. According to data from the Startup Genome project, 70% of the startups in their study suffered from premature scaling, and at the same time, not even one startup that scaled prematurely passed the 100k user mark.
In the growth stage, it is important to carefully decide whether to grow your in-house team or outsource all the functions you can afford. Growing your in-house team creates a lot of long-term intrinsic value (usually in the form of culture), but at the same time, it increases your fixed costs and makes your business less flexible. It is very hard to downsize and upscale fast enough, which could create dangerous liquidity problems.
If your cash flows are volatile (and they often are for growth-stage startups), it is usually a better idea to outsource in order to keep your core team small and flexible.
In conclusion, a good startup team is undoubtedly one of the prerequisites for startup success. Every business is different. However, as a rule of thumb, when it comes to investing your funds in recruiting an exceptional team or team member, think about how this investment will help you move your startup forward. A team is an investment and different teams will lead to a different return on your investment. Investing in the wrong team will have negative consequences.
There many startup areas where you should always be thinking about ways to reduce costs. It is different with hiring. Involving the wrong person or team can cost significantly more than the premium paid for the right recruits, especially in the early days when the goals of every team member must be aligned.

Bitcoin exceeds $ 47,000 and sets a new record

This level achieved that the digital asset will exceed its record set on Monday, February 8, after Tesla announced the investment of 1.5 billion dollars in the cryptocurrency.
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February 12, 2021 1 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Bitcoin surpassed $ 47,000 on Thursday, February 11, and set a new record. The cryptocurrency rose 7.9 percent and reached a price of $ 47,837.74.
This level achieved that the digital asset will exceed its record imposed on Monday, February 8, after Tesla announced the investment of 1.5 billion dollars in the cryptocurrency.
According to El Financiero , eToro analyst Simon Peters commented that these types of assets were entering the realms of traditional finance at an astonishing rate.
On the other hand, Mastercard, described them as “stable coins” that constantly combine their value with other assets such as the US dollar.
Mastercard has given cryptocurrencies new credibility this week by announcing that it intends to start supporting payments using them on its network this year.

These are the Latin Startups That Are Impacting the Different Industries in the Region

February 12, 2021 7 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

COVID-19 arrived in the Latin American region in February 2019 when Brazil confirmed its first case. Since then, the region has been one of the most affected in the world; Brazil has registered more than 7 million cases so far. The virus came to affect an already fragile region, negatively impacting economic growth and social development.
The consequences are clear and direct, theEconomic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) indicated an increase in unemployment: 11.6 million more unemployed in 2020, compared to 2019. Some indicators reveal little encouraging numbers: increase in the poverty level by at least 4.4% (28.7 million more people); The International Monetary Fund anticipated that the region’s economy will contract by an estimated 8.1% this year, when before the pandemic GDP was expected to grow at a rate of 1.8 in 2020.
From a social point of view, overcrowded living conditions that do not allow working from home, lack of sanitary conditions that could potentially lead to more infections, increase in informal work, often unregulated, and lack of access to social security. Furthermore, an increase in unpaid domestic work, carried out mostly by women and girls, a cut in family income that puts educational opportunities at risk and forces young people to enter the labor market prematurely, are not very encouraging conditions that put in a serious situation to an already vulnerable part of the Latin American population.
Driven by the pandemic, entrepreneurs want to be part of the solution to these problems. In addition, meeting the challenge of COVID-19 has given them additional motivation to help their local economies reach new levels of development and change. Therefore, Seedstars is pleased to bring in the local winners of the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 for the Latin America region.
Image: Courtesy of Seedstars.
Business Technology
Most companies in the Latin American region use contact-based biometric machines and spreadsheets to manage time and attendance. Companies have to manually consolidate attendance data from log books or fingerprint scanners to process payroll. Due to the pandemic, contact-based fingerprint biometrics have declined in use, as they have been identified as focal points of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. That is why SIA , based in Panama and led by Christian García, has developed easy-to-use cloud software to help companies with time management and scheduling, human resource requests, and connectivity between employees and employers through an application in which employees record the time using facial recognition. The application runs on generic devices, such as tablets and mobile phones, and the solution aims to save companies between 2% and 8% per month in payroll errors.
On the other hand, from Chile, Javier Graterol brings Cuantix , a B2B company that helps socially conscious organizations understand, manage and communicate their social impact in a simple and accessible way through specialized software and support. In the process, Cuantix will also provide the tools for the beneficiaries themselves to get involved in the process, closing a gap that separates the people who want to do good from the people who need it.
COGNITIVA , the third winning startup in the field of business technology, was born with the aim of closing the industrial competitiveness gap in Latin America compared to Asia, Europe and North America, which in the medium and long term can create obstacles in the promotion of employment , innovation, and quality of life to all Latin American society. The Ecuadorian company created a complete ecosystem of digital operational management tools based on IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and cyber presence, to boost performance, transparency, security and synchronization of industrial companies in the region. CEO Paúl Rivera leads a team of 4 passionate professionals (half women) who work to bring development and economic empowerment to the region.
Health Technology
The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that half of the world’s population still lacks access to essential health services. Despite increasing life expectancy and declining infant mortality figures, access to health care in the Latin American region remains uneven. Some countries still lack adequate numbers of health workers, training, or adequate facilities. The costs that health services have on families’ budgets are also clear, according to the Economic Study of Latin America and the Caribbean : households cover more than a third of health costs through direct payments and almost 95 million of people have very high health expenses. In addition, 12 million are impoverished as a result of this expense.
Bitmec enters the scene with a telemedicine hardware and software package that facilitates access to quality healthcare. Managed by David Barac, the Guatemalan startup, it collects data that will later become actionable information for the decision-making of suppliers, intermediaries and governments, through the integration of Artificial Intelligence. Clear information and data are critical in healthcare, and that is why PEGASI is committed to making medical information accessible, clear and useful to physicians and patients in the developing world, while tracking epidemic diseases. and endemic, it also creates actionable information that helps strengthen health care systems.

“In regions like Latin America, more than 70% of clinical information remains unstructured and adverse events affect 1 in 10 hospitalized patients, due to unclear, inaccessible or insecure information,” says CEO Luis Santiago.

The startup devised a platform that increases patient access to better and more efficient healthcare while driving the improvement of collective healthcare through the use of data. Lowering public and private health costs can also be significant and ultimately help rationalize resources and facilities, so scarce in certain communities.
Financial Technology
In the fintech world, and with the premise of fighting financial illiteracy, Alfi from Peru transforms users into sustainable financial clients using gamification and behavioral economics. In a region where half the population is in debt and another part outside the financial system, the ultimate goal of the company is to provide “financial education for all.”

“We know that a lot of effort has gone into educating people, but there really hasn’t been a long-term impact. Financial Education is latent throughout the life cycle of people and promotes better financial decisions to improve their well-being, ”says CEO Víctor Morales.

Tourism Technology
The Own The Trip winner from the Dominican Republic wants to change the rules of the game in terms of how people plan their leisure and business trips. The technology platform aims to improve the way people plan their trips while providing visibility to high-quality travel professionals. The idea is to connect personalized travel requests with travel professionals who select, quote and submit offers that travelers can book directly on the Own The Trip website. The website incorporates the factor of uniqueness and personalization into the equation while promoting the work of local tourism professionals and businesses and consequently helping to increase their income. The company led by Avanthi Reddy Obulreddigari currently operates in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Education Technology
The pandemic drastically changed the way learning happens, with the prioritization of distance and home study solutions, including tests / exams. And EduSynch from Brazil came into the game to help. By offering an online platform designed for educational institutions to deliver exams remotely, securely and at scale; The system works hand in hand with educational teams around the world to help assess students in many ways, from high-stakes admission tests, which grant students admission to universities or colleges, to midterms and final exams. Consequently, this creation allows institutions to keep the flow of students relatively normal and allows students to take their exams normally and continue with their courses, which deters the education system from stopping.
By enhancing industrial competitiveness and productivity, by providing decentralized health services and analyzing essential health data, financially educating uninformed communities, allowing the tourism sector to access empowerment platforms, and not allowing education systems to stop, these new companies are driving solutions. This will not only serve those who use them directly but also the entire Latin American region. They create jobs, fuel economies, promote knowledge acquisition, and ultimately these companies, led by people for people, will help the region improve its standards of living.

15 startups from the Latin American region will compete to represent their country in the Regional Finals of the World Seedstars Competition. From February 8 to 10, you will be able to see how these innovative startups take on the Seedstars regional stage through Seedstars on Facebook .

What to Know When Applying for a New PPP Loan By March 31

Recent revisions made it possible for more businesses to get in on the federal Covid-relief program, but there is some key information to keep straight.
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February 12, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) let businesses apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Through forgiveness of PPP loans, these businesses could have portions of the loan proceeds used toward eligible costs forgiven in full.
While the applications for PPP loans closed in August 2020, some recent revisions in its provisions allow businesses to apply for a new PPP loan. But applicants wanting to apply for the new loan must do so by March 31.
For existing loans, the program also allows borrowers to apply for loan forgiveness. More than five million loans were issued under the PPP. However, businesses were able to request forgiveness since August.
Related: New Legislation Would Grant Automatic Forgiveness of PPP Loans Under $150,000
Loan forgiveness under PPP
Borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness once they use all loan proceeds for which they are requesting forgiveness. The SBA allows them to apply for forgiveness any time up to the loan’s maturity date. However, if borrowers do not avail of it within 10 months after the last date of the covered period, then the loan payments will not be deferred. They will need to start making loan payments to their PPP lender.
Depending on the business’s circumstances, it can apply for loan forgiveness using one of the three loan forgiveness applications. These circumstances include the type of the business, the loan amount, and the reduction in staffing, salary or wages.
Firstly, there is the 3508EZ Form, which is available for self-employed individuals with no employees or those who kept their employees count, and salaries and wages at a specified level.
The second form is Form 3508S for loans of $50,000 or less. Form 3508S makes the process less complicated for eligible applicants and is designed for any businesses that don’t qualify in the above categories.
Businesses can get their first draw and second draw PPP loans forgiven. However, during the eight-to-24-week covered period following the loan disbursement, they need to have:
Maintained employee and compensation levels.
Spent the loan proceeds on payroll costs and other eligible expenses.
Spent at least 60% of the proceeds on payroll costs.
For second draw PPP loan forgiveness, they must also ensure that they have maintained employee and compensation levels similar to the requirement for the first draw PPP loan.
Related: How to Obtain an SBA Coronavirus PPP Loan and Have It Forgiven
Applying for loan forgiveness
Businesses must contact their PPP lender and complete the correct form to get their PPP loan forgiven. As mentioned, they can use one of the three forms to do so. They must also compile their documentation that goes with the forgiveness application. These documents can either relate to payroll or non-payroll expenses.
For payroll expenses, the documentation required includes the following:
Bank account statements or other third-party payroll service provider reports. These statements or reports should document the amount of cash compensation paid to employees.
Tax forms overlapping with the covered period. These include payroll tax filings reported to the IRS and state quarterly business and individual employee wage reporting and unemployment-insurance tax filings.
Payment receipts, canceled checks or account statements. These will document the amount of any employer contributions to employee health insurance and retirement plans included in the forgiveness amount.
For non-payroll expenses, businesses must provide the following documentation:
Copy of lender amortization schedule and receipts or lender account statements for business mortgage payments.
Copy of current lease agreement and receipts or canceled checks for business rent or lease payments.
Copies of invoices and receipts, canceled checks or account statements for business utility payments.
After compiling the required documents, businesses must submit their forgiveness form and documentation to their PPP lender. The lender may request additional documentation, which they must also provide.
The SBA may take some time to approve the forgiveness application. During this time, businesses need to stay in contact with their PPP lender, who notifies the borrower when the SBA takes a review of their loan and the decision it reaches. Businesses also have an option to appeal certain SBA loan review decisions.
Best of luck to everyone trying to keep their company afloat in this extraordinary time.

Esteban Kolsky of SAP: The Role of an Evangelist is to Open Conversations – This is All We Do

The term “evangelist” has been thrown around a lot over the past couple of years.  I’m not talking Jimmy Swaggart, TD Jakes or Joel Osteen.  I’m talking about the evangelist role in terms of technology and business.  But what does that mean and what do they really do?
Recently me and my CRM Playaz co-host Paul Greenberg hosted a LinkedIn Live conversation with three of the leading CRM vendor evangelists to dig in a bit and find out what it really means to be an evangelist, what they do and how it differs from the perceptions out there for who evangelists are.  Joining us were:
Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist for Salesforce
Esteban Kolsky, Chief CX Evangelist for SAP
Martin Schneider, Chief Evangelist and Head of Market Strategy for SugarCRM
Below is an edited transcript from a portion of our conversation.  To hear the full conversation click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

Defining Evangelism in CRM
Paul Greenberg: Vala, how does Salesforce look at it? How do you look at it given your role at Salesforce? Because you have a very big public presence, too.
Vala Afshar: When I think of the word evangelist in the technology space, the first name that comes to mind for me is Guy Kawasaki. I think he was the first individual, when he was working for Jobs bringing Apple 2 to market, publicly labeled as an evangelist. I take no credit for the title. The title was given to me by Alex Dayon five years ago. Alex was President of Products at Salesforce, and it was Alex who suggested the title. I tend to lean definitely towards Esteban’s view in terms of … I’ve had people that have followed me for years, didn’t know I worked at Salesforce, so I rarely, if ever, speak to products. But as a 12 year customer of Salesforce, my company became a customer in 2003 and in ’04 we launched Service Cloud Sales Cloud, so really early on, I’ve been with the company five years, so 17 years I’ve been with the company, but 12 as a customer. My point of view in terms of storytelling is based on a practitioner’s point of view.
I ran engineering when I was tasked to bring Salesforce into our company and then services support and then my last assignment was CMO. A lot of the writing and the content for podcasts or anything that I produce, really speaks to market trends, line of business, roles and responsibility of a CIO, CDO, CMOs, because I served in that capacity. I have 54,000 colleagues that speak to products and our solution set. We’re not configuring a product and can’t use the product. It’s just, I think, to educate and inspire and cut through the noise that exists today, you really have to speak to outcomes. You need to speak to the why, not the what and the how. The product is the what and the how. The why, I think, is what you need to overcome, where your story resonates.
Paul Greenberg: So Esteban, what’s the day to day in your case too? I mean, I know it’s newly minted, it’s a newly minted role at SAP, period.
Esteban Kolsky: One third of my job is educating the people of what it is to be an evangelist and how to engage me. I’m sure that Vala had some of that at the beginning when he was brought in by sales people or account executives, and were like, “Okay, we’re trying to close this deal, would really, really help if you can say commerce is the best thing ever.” But that’s not how it’s going to happen because I could say whatever, but if I don’t have the data or I don’t have the stories to tell behind it, it really doesn’t go anywhere. So once I get past that education, it’s mostly research and finding information, talking to customers, talking to you guys, talking to consultants, talking to everybody. Like I said, it’s the same job that I did as an analyst. You just aggregate information and then put together stories.
Virtual Evangelism
Vala Afshar: My entire company received an email from our head of legal first week of March that said no more travel. I was on the road probably 40, 50% of the time, engaging with customers, partners, conferences, events, so that faucet was turned off. So I immediately made the determination that 2020 was going to be the year of content. And so from March to present day, that translated to 122 ZDNet articles, another 20, 30 articles in other publications, so I’m writing three, four articles a week. Ray and I, Ray Wang and I, did 50 plus podcasts, religiously, weekly, and then probably even more number in terms of keynotes and what we call SICs which is Intimate Workshops with Customers. So that’s the source of the articles, the show, and then the almost daily … I just left a customer call before this session. It gives me plenty of opportunity to identify good stories and good people and good outcomes.
Keys to Effective Evangelism – Listening and Reading

Esteban Kolsky:  I read an infinite number of PDFs in the last three weeks trying to find good data points that would be like conversation openers. I see the role of evangelists as somebody who has conversations. We open conversations. I mean, this is all we do. You need to have a good conversation opener. 86% people will change their providers because of a bad experience. That’s a bad opener because it’s crap. But you know, 70% of companies actually evolved their digital revolution last year by at least three months and at most three years, that’s a good opener.
So it’s just finding and updating information that you’re going to take to open the conversations, and then it’s what Vala said. I mean, after that, where are you and what do you need? Do we need to align the executive team with a workshop behind a common purpose? Do we need to do a little discussion, like a round table around this? Can we bring 10, 15 customers and have a discussion about what it was like to survive COVID as a company in the airline industry? I mean, it really varies.
Martin Schneider: For me, it’s a lot of what Esteban is talking about. What I think is really important for me is we have this evangelism term, which kind of seems very outbound, but the listening to the customers is really important. Even before COVID, when I was traveling and going out there and meeting with a lot of customers, what was really important was taking the time to listen. We had a really fascinating couple of engagements where we went in with some kind of like, okay, these guys are having some trouble, they’re doing this kind of stuff, and just listening and being that person in the room who wasn’t a salesperson, who wasn’t the product guy, and who wasn’t maybe the deployment partner from the IT or from the SI side, and just listening to, “What are you trying to do??
Not, “What are you trying to do with Sugar,” for example, or, “What’s this process or that.” And trying to bring it up a bit and saying, “What are your problems? What are your goals?” And then being able to kind of retrack, sometimes come back out, realizing that possibly the partner wasn’t the right partner for different reasons, or possibly the product that they were using and the combination of products that they were using, weren’t the right ones. Putting Sugar in, taking Sugar out sometimes in some facets. And really just listening. And that was really fascinating. Being able to do that even easier now, because I can do it at much more scale. That’s a big one.
Bringing the Outside World View Back Inside
The interesting part about what I do is still running so much of product marketing and doing all that kind of stuff, I get to have all these interactions and then bring back a lot of feedback. So again, listening, and then putting that back into our release cadence in what we’re doing, has been a lot of fun because I can come out there where you’ve got engineers who are just basically sitting at computers, typing code, giving them the reason why this should be prioritized over that one. So really cool stuff there.
But then it’s been really busy over the last couple of years with the company because we’ve rebranded, we’ve made this wholesale move to a cloud-first portfolio, we’re rolling out these AI products that are really real stuff. Firmly embedded in the product, not something you have to go out and buy and hope it works and do a big deployment. It just works on day one. So there’s been a lot of the kind of behind the scenes work with that. It’s almost a blessing and a curse. I would have been annoyed if I was doing all this internal work over the last year, not being able to spend this time out there at events, doing all this stuff. This work needed to get done, so it’s was almost lucky that COVID happened so I could take the time with the team to go in there and really re-spin some messaging, re-spin some of the high level kind of positioning and versions. But also just really get some amazing products out there.
We’re now embedding seamless omni-channel, AI, cool stuff. Not to be [inaudible 00:09:37] stuff, but things are really exciting to me and things that I can spin stories around that I would have been bogged down in that and not being able to be at an event or something like that. Now I can’t be at the event, but I can log in and go do something virtual that takes me 90 minutes instead of three days. So it’s been really a kind of weird productivity boost for me to be able to play both those internal and external roles almost better than ever before over the last year.
Esteban Kolsky: Truly honestly, the bigger value to our employers is bringing back everything that we find and then disseminate it internally. I know I talked about this with Vala before, how sometimes it’s really hard to find the right people to give the right information and everything. You have to have internal vision of how you’re actually going to coordinate and create a coherent message across a company. Your role is to bring back what’s important, but also make sure that everybody within the company speaks the same language and tells the same stories.
I mean, we all work for complex companies with lots of products and it would not be unheard of to have three different things said by three different people about the same solution, the same products. The internal effort is more coordination and coherence than it is like evangelism. 
You know, the people that work in product, the people that work in sales, the people that work in product marketing, they have a goal and an objective that is different than mine. My objective is to create a good conversation, to create a good framework in which to make a decision by the customer. That’s my only objective. So I can actually do what Martin and Vala said and listen with an open mind instead of going, “Oh, this one, I’m going to say my feature solves that product,” instead of going like, “Okay, I’m trying to understand everything that you’re saying,” and trying to understand at the level that I’m talking to, whether it’s an executive level or a lower level, different level of conversations, and then provide value to that by adding data points, by adding stories to that, and then have them walk away with a better framework in which to make the decision.
Words for aspiring evangelists

Vala Afshar: Aspiring evangelists listening, measure your success by repeat conversations. Are you invited again to the table with the client? That’s one measure. How many times do you have one conversation and never see the client again? If that’s the case, you need to adjust your methodology because success is … Godfather of CRM once said, “Customer engagement is the ongoing interaction between the company and the customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.” Just replace company with evangelist. If they choose to come back to you, ongoing, you’ve got a healthy engagement. But if it’s a one-off you don’t. So that’s one.
The other is how much of a connector you become over time. Are you connecting the person that you’re advising to other members of your organization? The more successful you are as a trusted advisor, the more connections you’re going to make, because you don’t have all the answers. So, humility is important. When somebody asks me as the chief evangelist, if I have an answer to something and I have no clue how to advise them, I say, “I have absolutely no idea how to provide your feedback, but I do know an expert in this area. Let’s make a connection.” And it’s really rewarding when you take advantage of the network effect and create an ecosystem of trusted advisors, because that’s when you sustain momentum. And the minute you pretend you know something and you give false guidance, you lost all that hard work of establishing trust. So, when you don’t know something, just raise a hand and say, “I don’t know.”
This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it’s an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.

What the Future Holds for Bitcoin Under the Biden Presidency

February 12, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The future of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is under scrutiny following the success of Joe Biden in the recent U.S. presidential election. Outgoing President Donald Trump was outspoken in his views on cryptocurrency, famously declaring himself “not a fan” and notably included many other Bitcoin skeptics among his appointees.
Biden, however, is more favorable towards digital currencies, hence hopes are running high in the cryptocurrency world right now.
What do we expect to see under the new administration, and will regulations regarding these currencies be amended to encourage greater use?
An opportunity
The executive director of the Blockchain Association, a body that represents the cryptocurrency industry, is Kristin Smith. Smith has commented that Biden appears more willing to accept the future involves Bitcoin and has shown signs of interest by installing Gary Gensler as one of his team members overseeing plans for Wall Street.
Related: This Is Why Bitcoin Will Hit $59,000 In 2021
Gensler is a notable name. Not only an ex-Goldman Sachs banker who is now a financial regulator, but he also teaches digital currencies at MIT Sloane School of Management. Having such a name in the position is certainly a positive move for the cryptocurrency industry.
Gensler is also knowledgeable about the laws and regulations surrounding cryptocurrency, an area that is a significant problem facing the industry as traditional bankers and lawmakers are well-versed in the area. “He is very familiar with crypto and blockchain and hopefully can put the right team of regulators together that will be more willing to work together to advance policies,” Smith said of Gensler’s appointment.
Regulations are clearly the obstacle that the industry needs to address, so let’s talk about how cryptocurrencies are currently regulated.
Cryptocurrencies and regulations
One of the main problems facing the cryptocurrency market is that of regulation. Along with a widespread lack of knowledge of the subject among the traditional banking industry, this leads to a lack of stability in Bitcoin and other such currencies.
Vertex.Market, a peer-to-peer crypto platform, recently posted a report into the relevant regulations and their application and the effect on cryptocurrencies. The report covered many areas of regulations relating to cryptocurrencies with some interesting outcomes.
It deduced that any new regulations would harm the price of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
The research, published in a reputable journal, Research in International Business and Finance, looked closely at more than 100 news events surrounding regulations and reported by leading news outlets such as the BBC, Reuters, and Financial Times, among others.
The findings included the discovery that anti-money laundering regulations lead to a reduction in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as did the introduction of revised exchange regulations.
Conversely, where regulations were lessened, the opposite occurred. The cryptocurrencies rose in value.
Why is this important in the world of Bitcoin? Because freedom is an intrinsic element of cryptocurrencies and their usage, and because the industry is still young and growing, there are likely to be,  as the article states, many more regulations covering cryptocurrencies and their usage in the future. Should we be concerned?
Related: Bitcoin Billionaire Cameron Winklevoss Says God Could Be the Next GameStop
What the future holds
Users and traders in cryptocurrencies should not be worried about the future but should be cautious and aware as changes will be made. In its report, Vertex.Market has shown — by a survey conducted in December 2020 among its clients — how peer-to-peer exchanges are a growing trend in the crypto world, and they showed how this, unlike crypto purchases, is not conditioned by regulation or political events.
As we stated at the beginning of this article, the Biden administration is likely to be more open to digital currency but will also be cautious in getting to know what it’s all about. The appointment of Gensler is a major positive to take note of but doesn’t mean the U.S. is suddenly going to open up to cryptocurrencies.
The advice for traders is, as of now, to keep a close watch on regulatory changes. These will affect the value of cryptocurrencies, but it is difficult to predict the direction of that effect.
While some will result in a loss of value, others may boost the price of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
There is no doubt the Biden’s victory is a major boost for the industry, but we must remember these are still early days. The industry needs to prepare for the regulatory changes that will come — even though we don’t want them — and find ways to comply without losing the appeal and overall point of Bitcoin and the hundreds of other cryptocurrencies.
A close eye on what happens following Biden’s inauguration should be the first point to remember.

Top 10 Apps That Are Positively Impacting Our Society

February 12, 2021 8 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It is cold, isn’t it? Did you check the weather today? It is difficult to wake up in the winter without an alarm. Did you set yours? Or did you ask your friend to call you? The chances are that if you did any of these things today, you probably used an app. They are everywhere, and we depend on them for almost everything.
You want to listen to music? You use Spotify. Are you struggling to find your destination? Download Google Maps. As the pandemic took over our lives, our reliance on apps only increased. We used Amazon to order the things we needed and Facebook to stay in touch with our friends. Apps are a fundamental part of our society now because they make our lives easier.
As the place that apps occupy in our lives increases, so do concern and criticism. People are worried about all the data that apps collect. Where is the data going, and what are app makers doing with it? Maybe we are too dependent on apps, and eventually they will come to control us. Their algorithms are designed to keep us hooked, to keep us scrolling until we buy enough products. But even for the skeptics, it is important to remember that apps can have the effect of positively changing our society.
1. PAPP App
The app PAPP, which stands for Police and Parenting Partnership, is revitalizing the broken relationship between the citizens of Baltimore and Baltimore local educational agencies. The app aims to create a collaborative environment between parents and police officers to help bring down crime rates in Baltimore.
The app functions with three different modules: the parent’s module, the officer’s module and the children’s module. Parents can use the application to arrange for mentorship sessions for their kids with local celebrities and police officers who volunteer their time to engage with the community at rec centers, parks and churches. The mentorship sessions can help kids focus on developing skills outside of school and have role models to look up to.
The app is helping children across Baltimore have a better educational experience, tying in their school records with mentorship opportunities, rewards and prizes. This incentive model pushes children to focus on learning using all the app’s features, which are available for free.
App Store Rating: 5.0Play Store Rating: N/A
2. Ecoasia
Ecoasia is a search engine with advertisements, but how it is different from Google and Bing is after every 45 searches, the application plants a tree. Internet searches remove around 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide from the environment. Since its inception in 2009, Ecoasia has planted 80,000,000 trees. 
An added positive effect is that the application does not save your searches or sell your data, and its monthly financial reports are wholly transparent and available for viewing on its website.
App Store Rating: 4.7Play Store Rating: 4.6
Related: 3 Ways to Drive More Sales In Your App
3. Khan Academy
If you are a student, you may already be acquainted with Khan’s Academy’s website for last-minute algebra preparations and English revisions. The company has now built applications accessible on Apple and Android products. Besides aiding in those dreaded all-night study sessions, Khan Academy is massively positively changing society for the better.
All its thousands of exercises, videos, and articles are absolutely free. So if you would not otherwise have access to adequate resources in your personal or academic life, Khan Academy comes to the rescue with its quizzes, tests and lecture-based videos heavy on visual learning. 
You don’t need to pay for tuition or costly classes for premium, quality education. It is now all at your fingertips, for zero cost, helping formulate a more learned society. 
App Store Rating: 4.2Play Store Rating: 4.4
4. Share the Meal
Share the Meal is a charity-based application developed by UNWFP (United Nations World Food Programme) aiming to fight the rising rates of hunger with a single tap. Share the Meal has, to date, distributed almost a hundred million meals to four million people through UNWFP. Through small donations, you can feed a hungry child wherever you are and can track where it goes. You get to see where your donation ends up and who exactly you are sharing a meal with: real families. You can help with the hunger crisis by simply sharing your meal with another. 
App Store Rating: 4.9Play Store Rating: 4.8
5. Too Good to Go
This ingenious app is another effective strategy targeting food waste. Do you ever notice the aisles and aisles of produce, packaged goods, and cans and wonder what happens to them if they don’t get bought?
Well, I have bad news for you. A lot of it is simply thrown away, even if it is still edible and even if it is still fresh. It does nothing to help the food wastage crisis and is terrible for the environment too. 
This is where Too Good to Go comes in. Through this application, you benefit from exclusive deals and low prices for perfectly fine food that would otherwise get thrown away. You can help reduce food waste while getting discounts on fresh produce, canned goods and more by searching restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets on nearby store finders. 
App Store Rating: 4.9Play Store Rating: 4.8
Related: 3 New Productivity Tools That Can Automate Your Workday
6. GoFundMe
You may already have been aware of GoFundMe, and perhaps even have used it for funding a cause that spoke to you. GoFundMe helps empower individuals in need. 
You do not have to give donations to large organizations, unsure of where your money ends up or if it truly makes a positive impact on society or ends up lining the pockets of some higher-up in the company. That is not the case with GoFundMe. 
You can start or support fundraisers by donations easily for various (even local) issues like medical bills, funerals, education or even charity at large. You also get run-time updates and see through a transparent linear progression how your donations make a difference to a person, changing their lives for the better. 
If you are unable to donate, you can also share the post, which brings awareness to the cause and can help the in-need individuals find donors who are willing and able to contribute. 
App Store Rating: 4.7Play Store Rating: 4.4
7. Deedly
Deedly is yet another powerful, innovative tool helping educate, as well as give to people in need. Using positive reinforcement, the app educates students about various world issues and how charities target or eradicate these issues. 
This information makes students more aware and conscious individuals. As you complete the exercises, you unlock money that is donated to various charities that are working on the issue you are studying. It is a great way to learn while helping others also.
App Store Rating: 4.5
Related: The 5 Best Apps To Manage Your Projects With in 2021
8. Good Guide
This application aims to make you more self-aware about your everyday choices. Are the products you are purchasing produced in a socially responsible manner? Is the company ethical toward its workers? Safe for the environment? Good Guide, through a simple barcode scan, provides you scientific, environmental and social ratings for almost 200,000 products. 
App Store Rating: 3.5
9. Charity Miles
Have you been wanting to start walking or biking but can’t find the motivation to do so? Well, Charity Miles can help with that. You can start exercising for a great issue or charity while making a healthy lifestyle change.  All you have to do is walk, run or bike, and you will earn money according to the distance and the mode of transport. Bikers can earn 10 cents per mile and 25 cents on foot for the long list of charities provided by the application. All you have to do is allow the application to track your virtual footprint through the GPS system. Your exercise can make a difference in lives. 
App Store Rating: 4.8Play Store Rating: 2.8
10. Change Creator Magazine
This application is a great source of technical information that can help people who are thinking about starting a business or entrepreneurs make mindful choices in terms of their goals. This way, you are able to make a sizable profit from your endeavor while also remaining socially conscious about how your choices affect people and the environment at large. This application shares important strategies that can be used to solve social issues around you while maintaining a successful business. You can help be a part of redefining oppressive systems and eventually the world of business at large. 
App Store Rating: 4.7Play Store Rating: 4.7
This list may be a helpful guide toward redefining the way we see applications. Apps don’t just have to be about social media or Netflix. Without even touching your credit card and wallet, you can donate to charities, nonprofits and even directly with real people around you. 
These apps are designed to be easy to use. Most allow small donations at the tap of a finger, while others showcase innovative, fun and engaging methods of helping change people’s lives, be it going out for a walk or simply watching an educational video about the water crisis in a country in Africa. Download them now to help positively change yourself and society at large.

Corona and Burger King Will Make a Home Wedding Possible This Valentine's Day

The companies launched a call through social networks to find three couples and marry them.
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February 12, 2021 2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Last year both brands presented the alliance “La Unión de Dos Reinos” to enjoy a combination of unique flavors of grilled meat with the quality of Corona.
The winners will be selected through a dynamic on social networks and will only be valid for Mexico City.
Corona Ligera presents by the hand of Burger King® “La Unión a Domicilio”, a call to marry three couples in Mexico City on February 14th who had to postpone their wedding in 2020.
The beer and the fast food chain launch a call through social networks for the couple to share why they could not get married; the three best stories will be the winners of a marriage bond with a civil judge who will visit the couple’s home.
Without guests and only the delivery man as a witness, the marriage will be carried out under all security protocols with a space enabled to carry out the union at home; In addition, the newlywed couple will celebrate with a Whopper® and Light Crown combo.
Image: courtesy of Corona and Burger King.
“Corona Ligera is the perfect drink to savor a delicious grilled burger. Undoubtedly “La Unión a Domicilio” is the combination of two flavor icons to give couples a unique moment this February 14, directly in their homes and without leaving home, ”said Clarissa Pantoja, director of Corona in Mexico.
To participate, the couple in love must register and fill out a form on the official page of the contest . Subsequently, the companies will marry the winners at home this Valentine’s Day.

3 Key Steps to Make Your Business More Efficient and More Profitable

By effectively managing and prioritizing your business’ inputs, you can release greater outputs and ultimately revenue.
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February 12, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably imposed more challenges to the way companies have done business than any other single event in living memory, if not longer. Whilst the external pressures on a business have increased, many enterprises are still handicapping themselves by not building-in even the most basic system efficiencies. By effectively managing and prioritizing your business’ inputs, most particularly the labor-hours of you and your senior team, you can release greater outputs and ultimately revenue.
Related: Manage Your Company More Efficiently with This 22-Course Project Management Training
Here are three key principles for optimising efficiency, to release your business from self-imposed constraints, in 2021.
1. You are not a manager, you are a leader
Leadership and Management are both the same, right? Wrong, couldn’t be more wrong – stop it! Warren Bennis, Professor of Business Administration and an Organisational Consultant is quoted as an opening: “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it”
Even this simple change of mindset will release you from one of the most pervasive inefficiencies in business. If you see yourself as a manager you are strategically no better than a caretaker, taking what you have and merely preserving it. Entrepreneurship rests on the foundation of leadership: identifying a business’s strengths and weaknesses, implementing positive change whilst taking others on the journey with you. Use the ‘Plan’ ‘Do’ ‘See’ ‘Act’ system. Develop an efficientcy idea, trial it, review and then roll it out for system-wide effectiveness
True leadership has a compounding effect on efficiency. If you identify yourself as a leader you will improve your business through efficiencies. If you teach your team that they are leaders too, then they will identify efficiencies upon efficiencies at every level in your business.
Related: 10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader
2. Get lean
Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System which gave rise to ‘Lean’ working said when asked about Lean thinking: “All we are doing is looking at the timeline, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the timeline by reducing the non-value adding wastes”
The key question here is ‘What are the things you are doing that people won’t pay for, and why are you still doing them?’. (1) Identify what your client wants, (2) identify what workflows are required to bring about the client’s goals and (3) automate the ‘system pull’ so that (1) naturally flows, without bottlenecks, from (2). Waste can arise from a range of sources including over-processing, unnecessary motion of goods and staff, and simple erroneous thinking within system design. Cut it out, because no one is paying you for it, but be careful not to inadvertently devalue your brand by dehumanizing your process
Related: How to Apply Lean Principles to Your Startup’s Productivity and Time Management
3. Invest in real business efficiency review
Kevin Zhang, the eCommerce entrepreneur behind HEMPX clothing brand and the Branded Niche eCommerce (‘BNE’) approach, has a unique way to ensure business efficiency is at the heart of his business. Every month, Kevin spends one-week logging everything that he did that week, hour by hour, and then closely examines any inefficiencies. Kevin looks at his schedule and determines which activities are high value-add and which can be automated through hiring new talent
The difference between a successful start-up and a scaled-up business is the development of systems to build growth on the foundation of a verified concept. The University of Oxford identifies scalable infrastructure as one of the three key requirements for a business to move to the next level, alongside strong leadership and appropriate marketing. This includes IT systems and production or manufacturing systems, as well as office space and workforce arrangements. If a business owner is spending all of their time in the weeds of their business rather than constantly thinking about growth, then, of course, their business is not going to grow.
Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately
A focus and commitment to removing inefficiency is like removing shackles from a business’s potential. It requires courageous leadership, and ability to identify what your client needs and supply that in the most streamlined fashion, and a willingness to stop and take stock to ensure you are using your time effectively to guide your business in the right direction.

5 Hard Truths on Human Nature From the Britney Spears Documentary

February 12, 2021 9 min read
On the face of it, there’s not a whole lot about Britney Spears’ story that your average Joe can relate to. She’s a superstar whose public meltdowns — triggered by abusive treatment by paparazzi and unkind media scrutiny — landed her in the “crazy” bucket and got her placed under an extremely unusual conservatorship. (These court-ordered guardian arrangements are typically reserved for elderly people who can no longer care for themselves.) Her dad Jamie Spears, whom she hadn’t been close with in years when he became her conservator in 2008, has been in charge of her $60 million fortune ever since. 
In other ways, Spears, with all her messiness and imperfections, had proved deeply relatable to fans for decades. That’s partly why a #FreeBritney movement has snowballed in recent years, with fans looking to Britney’s often cryptic Instagram account for clues on whether she is trapped in the conservatorship against her will. Now, New York Times Presents documentary Framing Britney Spears takes a hard look at all of this: the #FreeBritney movement, the shrouded-in-secrecy conservatorship and how Spears was treated by the media before and after her meltdowns. In the film, it becomes evident how many different ways Spears was betrayed. And although we might not all have millions of dollars and paparazzi snapping at our heels, there are lessons to be learned about finding people in life we can trust, and how to push past the surface-level judgments of others to be the version of yourself you want to be.
1. You can’t please everyone
This was something made abundantly clear to Spears from the beginning of her career. Even as she skyrocketed to fame, sold out world tours, and entranced millions of fans, she was harshly criticized for her image and appearance. Her “Baby One More Time” schoolgirl persona enraged critics who accused her of sexualizing little girls — who also happened to be her most devoted fans. But Spears was just 17 at the time herself. It’s hard to imagine that a teenager who had just signed to a powerful record label was a) making all the decisions behind the looks she wore or b) should be held accountable for how her outfits made little girls want to dress. And it certainly didn’t warrant Diane Sawyer informing Spears in a 2003 interview that the wife of the governor of Maryland, Kendel Erlich, had said, “Really if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would.” What’s even worse is that Sawyer then seems to justify Erlich’s comment, saying, “Because of the example for kids, and how hard it is to be a parent.” 
Spears looked genuinely aghast but retained her composure, saying, “Oh, that’s horrible. That’s really bad… that’s really sad that she said that. I’m not here to babysit her kids.” Sawyer continued to press her, showing Spears pictures of herself in different skimpy outfits, asking “What happened to your clothes?” Spears responded, “It’s about doing a beautiful picture. I feel comfortable in my skin. I think it’s an OK thing to express yourself.”
2. If you don’t take control of your narrative, other people will 
In that same interview (which was pretty awful by feminist standards beginning to end) Sawyer also questioned Spears on the specifics of her breakup with Justin Timberlake, including his unfounded allegations that she had cheated on him. Sawyer even asked whether Spears was still a virgin. Spears wouldn’t give any details about their relationship, though she later said she’d really believed they would get married. Timberlake and Spears were the first true celebrity couple at the height of celebrity tabloids. They’d met as kids on the Mickey Mouse Club and stayed friends until they started dating in their early twenties. They often professed their love for each other publically, and wore matching outfits to red carpets. The country was obsessed. When they broke up, Timberlake implied that she had cheated on him in his music video “Cry Me a River,” and he told Howard Stern they’d had sex. The paparazzi attention and media castigation of Spears after this was brutal and undeniably contributed to her downward mental health spiral soon after.
About the way the media automatically took Timberlake’s side in all of this, New York Times culture critic Wesley Morris comments, “What can you say about misogyny? There’s a whole infrastructure to support it, and when it’s time for people to come, in a misogynistic culture, for a woman, there’s a whole apparatus ready to do it.”
3. If you’re a woman — especially a mother — expect judgment to be relentless 
Things really started to go south after Spears married her backup dancer Kevin Federline and had two kids with him. As a new mom, her every move was photographed by paparazzi. They would crowd her and her sons the minute she stepped out the door, following her everywhere. Once, trying to escape a situation that alarmed her, she drove away with her oldest son on her lap, and the condemnation was swift. In a 2006 interview, Matt Lauer told Spears that people were saying she was a bad mother. She responded, “That’s America for you,” but later broke down crying in the interview, saying she didn’t know what it would take to get the paparazzi to leave her alone. 
Related: Hollywood’s Go-To Divorce Attorney Has an Online Solution so …
4. People’s lives can’t be reduced one picture or headline
Perhaps the seminal image that comes to mind when people think of Britney Spears’ unraveling was the picture of her with a shaved head, attacking a paparazzi’s car with an umbrella. That moment was mocked relentlessly by the media and talk show hosts. The reaction was almost giddy. But the paparazzo who took the images, Daniel Ramos, was interviewed for the documentary, and his account brings to light a fuller picture of what happened. Firstly, while her decision to shave her head was then seen as irrefutable evidence of her having descended into insanity, on closer examination it was obviously a calculated — if impulsive — statement, and a desperate plea to be left alone. It was a way of stripping away the last of the bubbly, innocent Britney that the media lambasted her for not living up to. In the documentary, Morris says: “She’s saying essentially, with no hair: I quit. Whatever you guys are looking for, in terms of me coming back and being that person again, that person is gone, and you have destroyed her. The idea that people could look at that and only see a crazy person,” he adds, “well, that just tells me what a vulturous society she was working with to begin with.”
Moreover, the night that Spears attacked the paparazzi’s car with the umbrella, she had just been trying to see her kids, who were with Federline. By then she and Federline were in the midst of a messy divorce, and Federline wouldn’t let her into the house to see the kids. Afterward she was bereft, sitting in the car at a gas station waiting for her cousin to come out, when the paparazzi came up to her car and started taking pictures of her, right by her face in the window, while asking her how she was doing. Finally, after making an anguished entreaty for privacy, she grabbed the umbrella. In the documentary, Ramos said, “Working on her for so many years, she never gave a clue or information to us that ‘I would appreciate you guys leave me the eff alone.’” The documentary interviewer says, “What about when she said, ‘Leave me alone?’” Ramos replies, “There were times when she [was] like, ‘Can you leave me alone for the day? But it wasn’t like, ‘Leave me alone forever.’ You know what I mean?”
5. Money brings out the worst in people
During that time, Ramos says, he could get $1 million for a photograph of Spears. The messier, more candid the shot the better. “It sucks you in,” he admits in the documentary, “and it’s hard to get out of it once you start making the kind of money that these guys were making.” During that time, celebrity commentary was out of control, everywhere from nighttime talk shows, to print mags like Us Weekly, to celebrity blogs. Sites like Perez Hilton and even Jezebel reported breathlessly on Spears as a spectacle, and got a lot of clicks doing it. Spears was begging for relief from the attention, but no one cared, because covering her was fun and financially lucrative. 
The motivations of the people closest to her were no less suspect. In 2007 Spears met Sam Lufti, a sketchy figure who has been attached to numerous vulnerable celebrities, including Amanda Bynes. He attached himself to Spears during a period when she was in desperate need of support, and her family became alarmed that he was controlling her for his own financial benefit. In a restraining order filed against him in 2008, Britney’s mom, Lynne Spears, says that Lufti “essentially moved into Britney’s home and has purported to take control of her life, home and finances.”
Lufti has continued harassing the family for the past decade, and in 2019 a judge granted the Spearses another five year restraining order. During the trial for that case, however, while Britney’s father Jamie Spears was being questioned by the judge, he admitted, “Me and my daughter’s relationship has always been strained.” From the beginning, critics of the conservatorship have stressed that Jamie Spears was enriching himself from his daughter’s wealth. Apart from a $130,000 a year salary the conservatorship paid him, he also made 1.5% of the $137.7 million his daughter earned for her Las Vegas residency. In August 2020, Britney made it clear that she wanted out of the conservatorship, and her court-appointed lawyer said she “strongly opposed” her father being in charge of her affairs. The judge ruled that a third party (a bank) would share the conservatorship with Jamie, reducing his power, but did not remove him from the conservatorship. 
Related: 5 Lessons ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Teaches Us About Achieving …