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How to Get a Job, Fast

Whether you’re looking for your first job out of college or are switching careers, getting a job rarely feels easy. Applying for a job can be a long process with lots of rejection and disappointment along the way. 
The good news is that there are some great tried-and-tested tactics to help you with your job hunt. The key to making the job search a bit less painful is to get focused, strategic, and proactive. That dream job won’t just fall at your feet, you’ve got to go out and get it. 
Follow these steps and you’ll be flying through the hiring process, shaking hands with a hiring manager in no time. 
6 simple steps to getting a job fast
1. Don’t fall into the resume black hole of doom
A common mistake people make when looking for a new job is to apply to any job openings they find. Ramit describes this practice of throwing out resumes as “sending them into a black hole.” 
Hiring managers can easily sniff out applications that are copy-pasted and sent out to hundreds of job listings. If they lack any specificity for the company or role, it’s usually a giant waste of time to send them out in the first place. 
Instead, it’s time to get smart when applying for a job. Pay particular attention to a select few (1-10) relevant openings and tailor your applications to each one. Focusing on just a few job roles means you’ve got the time and energy to make them really perfect. 
Make sure you fit your applications to exactly what the job descriptions say. Match the terminology to the type of job so when someone scans your resume, you immediately tick all their boxes. Your resume is a tool to get you an interview. So, make it easy for them to invite you. 

With a great resume, recruiters will be dying to interview you
2. Focus on results
When creating resumes and cover letters, there are plenty of common mistakes to avoid. One of the biggest ones you can make is to throw out vague statements without any kind of backup. 
We’re talking about lines like “I’m a hard worker” or “I work well in teams and independently.” Besides being very unoriginal, these statements tell a recruiter absolutely nothing. 
How are you a hard worker? Can you give an example? Can you describe a real situation that demonstrates this?
Let’s take the line, “I have experience managing a team.” Great, but tell us more. What were your responsibilities, what challenges did you come up against? What is your leadership style? How do you give feedback? These are all questions potential employers will want to know, but they won’t necessarily pick up the phone to ask. They’ll move onto the next resume that does give details instead.
3. Get smart when networking
Networking is the next step that some job seekers don’t take after firing off resumes. But you’ve got to get it right because it’s easy to get wrong. 
The main mistake people make is connecting with people and having no strategy or follow-up.
Don’t just connect with 100 random people in your industry on LinkedIn. Connecting with lots of people is great, but unless you have a strategy to back it up, it sounds a bit like you’re waiting for them to do all the work.
Be proactive instead. Identify people currently working at the companies you’re applying to and connect with them. This isn’t to ask for a job but there’s no harm in asking about their job and what it’s like working at X company. 
Before you do this, take some time to do a bit of research on the company website and social media so you can ask smart, specific questions.
People love talking about themselves, so ask them. You’re more likely to be remembered for taking that proactive step and showing more interest than the 100 other applicants who didn’t bother. 
4. Build your professional brand 
What happens when a hiring manager Googles you? The best way to find out is to do just that. Don’t worry, Googling yourself isn’t narcissistic anymore. We all need to know what comes up when a recruiter searches our name. 
Ideally, only good things will come up. It’ll be your LinkedIn profile, website, or portfolio, something that says “I am a professional.” If that isn’t coming up, what can you do? 
Maybe your LinkedIn isn’t too impressive or your portfolio is years out of date. Spend some time making those little tweaks so you look like a shining candidate in the eyes of Google. 
On LinkedIn, make sure every section is complete, up-to-date, and clear. Write an eye-catching headline, get a good photo and banner. The key is not to look like a college graduate desperate for a job (even if you are). 
Go one step further and fill your timelines with useful, interesting content and interactions. This shows you’re serious about your chosen industry, you’re passionate and you’re trustworthy. 
5. Make it a conversation
Whether you’re networking over LinkedIn or you’re heading to a job interview, remember to make each interaction a real conversation. Interviews can be nerve-wracking but it’s important to come across like a real human. 
Show your personality, tell them a bit about the person behind the resume, and this can go a long way in winning them over. It’s way better than looking tight-lipped and robotic. 
You may give all the right answers but it’s not just about that. Recruiters are looking to see if you’d be a good company fit. They’re asking themselves, “Can I work with this guy?”
This also helps the people interviewing you to relax somewhat (sometimes they’re nervous too). When everyone’s a bit more relaxed, you can often glean more information about the company culture and the people you’ll be working with. Remember, a job interview is for you to see if you want to work there too.
6. Follow up after the interview
We’ve all heard this tip before no doubt. Many are probably still skeptical about whether a cute handwritten note is really necessary for this day and age. 
But it doesn’t need to be soppy or dramatic. All it needs to be is a quick email to whoever interviewed you. Thank them, reiterate your interest and why you think you’d be a good fit. 
It’s polite, leaves a good impression, and is a nice round-up to what was hopefully a good interview. Maybe it won’t get you the job offer alone, but it could make a small difference. If the competition is tough between candidates, a small difference is all you need. 
Getting a job offer is increasingly difficult in such a competitive market. We have to work extra hard just to get noticed. But with the above steps, more focus, and a proactive approach, you’ll have a great shot at landing a job you love. 
If you’re serious about finding a job, enter your information below to watch our video of the top 5 mistakes people make when searching for a job. This is a sneak peak from Find Your Dream Job,  our program that breaks down all the hidden steps behind landing the job of your dreams. 

Find out the top 5 job search mistakes, and how to avoid them

Should I Buy a House Now?

With record-low interest rates, buying a house might seem like a good idea. When asking yourself ‘Should I buy a house now?’, run the numbers to see if the time is right.
Jake Wengroff

With 10.1 million people out of work, why is the housing market hotter than it’s been in years?
In December 2020, the median sales price of an existing single-family home was $314,300. This represents a 13.5% increase from the prior December and is also the highest median price range for a December on record.
If so many people are out of work in the financial crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, how can others afford to buy a house?Answer: low interest rates. The average APR on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been hovering between 2.8% and 2.9% since the start of the year. 
Yet, just because the real estate market is hot, doesn’t mean you should call up a real estate agent and start looking at houses. Here’s why.  
Questions to ask before buying
Ask, research, explore, calculate: Ramit has a simplified checklist of questions to ask yourself when contemplating buying a house:
Will I live here for 10+ years?
Is my total monthly housing cost lower than 28% of my gross monthly income?
Have I saved a 20% down payment?
Am I OK if the value of my house goes down?
Am I excited about buying?
If the answer to any of these questions is a hard No, then it might be worth reconsidering the purchase of a home. It might not be your time to buy.
More on the second question regarding total monthly housing costs: Many simply consider this to be made up of the mortgage alone. However, the monthly cost can be much more than that. Think of it as your TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Additional “phantom” costs in the form of maintenance, taxes, HOA fees, private mortgage insurance, and inflation must be figured into that monthly payment.  For example, you might need to spend $20,000 to replace the roof in six years. Do your homework on upfront costs, anticipated maintenance costs per year or over several years, and spread those expenses into your monthly payment. You might be surprised by how much that monthly cost goes up.
Additionally, the 20% down payment is becoming more out of reach for many first-time homebuyers. While people might be finding ways to save more money and strengthen their finances, they might not be able to keep up with the skyrocketing prices of the current market.

If a 20% down payment is out of reach, it might be better to keep renting and wait until home prices cool a bit.
Beware the propaganda
Ramit advises to beware of an industry that praises homeownership and shames renters, pointing out two myths that the industry tries to tell renters in order for them to pony up and buy a house:
You’re just paying your landlord’s mortgage.
Possibly, but most likely not. Some landlords do sit back and bank your rent payments — the mortgage has been paid off and your money is the landlord’s income. Other landlords break even and, still others, actually lose money each month, as your rent payment is nowhere close to the monthly mortgage and expenses that they need to shoulder.
Your landlord can only charge you what the market can bear.
If you’re paying rent, you’re only throwing money away.
This of course is not true. There’s a roof over your head; a kitchen in which to prepare food; a place to sleep. With so many people working from home, you might consider your rental payment as part of an office lease, and so paying rent enables you to even go to work.
People often overlook the “use value” of that rent payment. If you enjoy your space and derive value from it, then it’s not money thrown away. For more on this, check out our article Buying vs. Renting: Which is the Best Option for You?
What about credit scores?
Low mortgage rates are not enough to get you a mortgage. There is also the matter of credit scoring, which lenders rely on to set your mortgage rate.
However, a curious thing happened during the pandemic: credit scores skyrocketed. If people have been struggling to pay bills, missed payments, or potentially have maxed out credit cards, how could the average FICO credit score hit a record high of 711 in July 2020? 
It was probably the federal relief packages, including stimulus payments, student loan forbearance programs, and extended unemployment benefits, that have helped people stay financially afloat. 
It’s worth noting that this might be only temporary, and part of the propaganda the homeownership industry uses to get people to buy when they might not want to.
While achieving a high credit score is an important part of your financial health, beware that a high score alone should not be the motivation to buy a house right now.
How you can run the numbers
If you’re strongly considering buying a home and are ready to buy, run as many numbers as you can. You can start by using a buy vs. rent calculator (such as this awesome one from the NYT) for house values in your area.
But don’t stop there: go deeper. Ask yourself: Is buying a home a better investment than say, buying shares in an index fund?
While it would be impossible to both invest your monthly housing costs AND use it on rent — just to see which comes out higher — consider what you might do with the “extra” funds you might have that would normally have gone on a house. That TCO mentioned above includes so many additional expenses that could be put to better use in an income-bearing investment.
It helps to think of your home as a part of your Rich Life. With this perspective, you can make decisions like buying a house for the right reasons. 

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5 Lessons I've Learned From Working With Novak Djokovic

February 19, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Novak Djokovic, the Serbian professional tennis player, is the No. 1 ranked male tennis player by the Association of Tennis Professionals, but this isn’t anything new. Djokovic has been ranked number one for over 300 weeks throughout his entire career, and has increasingly been called one of the best tennis players of all time. But I think I’ve learned more about how to be better at business than I could ever learn about being good at tennis just from my time working with him.
Over the last seven years, I have been fortunate enough to work with Djokovic on several international PR events, and each and every time we work together, I am always impressed about what I have learned from him, beyond a few tennis tips.
Here are five business lessons from working with Djokovic that I have implemented not only in business also in my life.
1. Be grateful to those who have supported you 
Djokovic has all the time in the world for his fans. I’ve seen how grateful he is for the opportunities he’s been given because of their support and commitment to him and his brand, and that he feels like he owes them all the time he can give to them. Whether it’s signing autographs at events, taking pictures or just joking around with people, he has as much time as necessary for all of them, and you can see how much the fans appreciate his energy. 
In business, it’s very common for successful people to forget where they came from and who helped them get there. But with Djokovic, the end goal is to make people know how much he appreciates their influence in his life. 
2. Always give back
Djokovic has made it clear to me that what comes with success and fame is the opportunity to give back and make a huge difference in the world. In 2007 he started the Novak Djokovic Foundation, an organization that helps preschool-aged children in  impoverished areas have access to education. Djokovic and his co-founder and wife, Jelena, have helped more than 30,000 children, and Djokovic has made it clear that he plans to keep going. Charity for him has no boundaries, and he is willing to go the extra mile to really make sure that his charity achieves every goal it puts forth.
Related: The Business Of Giving Back: Five Reasons Why Philanthropy Should Be At The Core Of Your Corporate Strategy
3. Never give up
For elite athletes, injuries are incredibly difficult to endure. Not only do they have to spend months recovering in physical therapy, but they also have to spend additional time getting back to the physical shape they were in before the injury. Djokovic has often had injuries that have made it incredibly hard for him to hold or return to his No. 1 ranking, but with every one of these obstacles he’s persevered and found that with a little time — and a lot of work — he has been able to get back out onto the court stronger than ever.
As entrepreneurs, we will always face many bumps in our journey to success, and throwing in the towel often seems like the only solution. Having Djokovic’s grit and commitment is an invaluable way to live by and ensure that you meet your life’s goals.
4. A healthy mind creates a healthy body
Djokovic lives on the strict principle that the body and the mind are connected, and that it’s important to make sure that both are healthy. If you put unhealthy food in your body, or are doing things that are bad for your mental health, you will get results that reflect that. Djokovic abides by a very strict gluten-free diet, exercises daily and makes time every day for something that will help him relax — he attributes all of this to his continued success. 
It’s easier for a professional athlete to abide by a strict diet than an entrepreneur, but anyone who makes healthier food choices will see that pay off in the long run. 
It all starts with a positive mindset, and the rest follows. Taking time out to reflect and meditate each day can do wonders and lays the foundation for a healthier body.
Related: 5 Easy Ways You Can Slash The Number Of Hours You Work
5. Stand up for what you believe in 
Djokovic has never been afraid to voice his opinion and voice his beliefs and point of view. This perhaps stems from growing up in Serbia, at the time a war-torn country, where kids didn’t have a voice and “did not dare to dream big” Djokovic has said. As entrepreneurs, we can often be fearful to say what we really think and and stand our ground, but not saying anything could be more detrimental in the long run.  
Having a strong point of view will make people respect you, and those who don’t will at least know where you stand. There’s nothing worse than just taking the middle-of-the-road approach and not being passionate. 
The lessons I have learned from Djokovic have left a lasting impression on me. By following some of his principles, I’ve been able to make my work more meaningful and effective, inspired by how deeply devoted he is to his career and life causes. I hope that you can learn from my experience with him and bring some of these lessons into your own business and life to get you to fulfill your dreams no matter what is served to you.
Related: From Down Under to On Top: 3 Lessons From Aussie Companies That Are Making Waves In The USA

Marketing Lessons I Learned From Fortune 500 Companies

These tips and tricks can help make your product or service more visable.
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February 19, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Based on the data collected from Revuze’s eCommerce insights dashboard, offering discounts to new customers and high-value customers — whether it’s a one-time discount for new customers or personalized discounts to high-value, loyal customers — will make for a happy customer, one who will also recommend your brand to family and friends. That said, your brand can learn from Fortune 500 companies that take their marketing strategy to a level beyond discounts. 
1. Ask yourself why customers buy your products 
By understanding the motives behind your customers’ purchases, you can market the aspects of your products most important to your customers. Fortune 500 companies understand why their customers want their products, and they continually match their products to meet their customers’ desires. 
For example, one of the most important features consumers want in headphones and earphones is audio quality. While they also value practical elements like battery life and connectivity, neither of those elements rank as high as audio quality in consumer reviews. By marketing your highly rated features, you’re matching the value your customers place on that aspect of your product. 
To ensure your headphones and earphones stand out among competitors, you must understand your customers’ motivation in looking for your brand’s type of product. In the long term, tweak your current products or even create new products to match the desires of your customers. You’ll not only attract customers but also secure positive reviews from those customers. 
Related: The Time for Diversity in Advertising Is Now
2. Respond quickly to changes in consumers’ behavior
Just as Fortune 500 companies quickly switched to ecommerce solutions and curbside pickup in response to the global pandemic, it’s important for your business to change with the times, too. Returning to the example of headphones and earphones, brands making such products should quickly respond to Covid-related increased data usage: During quarantine, data usage has increased 47 percent with more gigabyte and terabyte subscribers. 
With work from home, telemedicine, online entertainment, and online conference services, the increased data usage could easily be coupled with an increased demand for headphones and earphones. If you’re marketing headphones and earphones as part of the new normal under pandemic circumstances. Your headphones or earphones are in demand. Ensure your customers can find your brand. 
3. Ecommerce makes gift-giving quick and easy
Part of the quick response to the pandemic involves the transition to and expansion of ecommerce for big brands. Beyond reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic, ecommerce trends are here to stay. Making your products available online gives your brand flexibility while increasing its reach to customers. 
Enabling your customers to shop for your products online, ecommerce will increase your brand’s sales volume. Removing geographical location and rental costs restrictions by moving your sales online liberates your brand from brick-and-mortar limitations. 
Related: Get to Know the 3 Types of Influencers

Between Facebook’s 2.41 billion monthly active users, YouTube’s 2 billion users worldwide, and LinkedIn’s more than 600 million users in more than 200 countries and territories across the world, your brand can’t afford not to engage in digital marketing. 
While a Fortune 500 company employs an in-house team in addition to outside consultants to manage their digital marketing, there is no barrier to entry for any brand to engage with their customers in the social media world. 
5. Leverage online data to your advantage
Between social media and ecommerce, Fortune 500 brands can find online opinion data regarding all aspects of their products and adjust their marketing strategy accordingly. If you’re selling headphone or earphone products, you might also leverage data by researching reviews regarding audio quality, battery life span, connectivity, bass levels, comfort and noise cancelation. By tapping into the underlying data behind every review, your brand could market the positively rated qualities of your products, and it’s worth the effort to build a strategy around the best-rated aspects of your offerings. 

Your Brand Is Much More Than Your Logo. Here's What Really Makes Your Brand Stand Out to Customers.

February 19, 2021 9 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Branding is one of the most vital parts of growing a business. It’s how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s how you stand out from the crowd, and it’s what your customers feel when they think of you. It’s the promise you make to your customers, and your business’s success depends on how well you fulfill that promise. 
Your brand is the exact blueprint of how you will represent yourself to your customers. It’s the manual that tells you and anyone in your company who and what your company is not only from a design standpoint but also, who your customers are, what their wants and needs are, what the voice and tone of your marketing efforts and communication will look like. 
Branding is the upstream driver of everything that comes underneath a business’s marketing campaign. It drives culture, tells customers what to expect, and ultimately drives a business to succeed or fail.
We’ve all seen brands change and grow throughout the years. Logo changes, changes in marketing messages, new angles and approaches to delivering a product or service — a brand’s changes evolve and mold to fit different changes in the market. Most brands who’ve stood the test of time use these three ways to differentiate themselves and stand above their competitors.  
1. Sell emotions
If you look at great brands, you’ll see trends emerge. A mentor I once sought for advice used to say, “success leaves clues,” and while there is a lot left unseen when you look at large corporations… There are many traceable and tangible variables that can be monitored and valuable information to be gleaned from them. First and foremost is that most brands sell emotions.
Coca-Cola sells happiness. So does McDonald’s. Visa sells the feeling of freedom. Toyota sells freedom, reliability, adventure. Many large brands sell you a feeling and deliver it through service or product. They deliver it through an experience. 
Understand what emotions your customers are craving, and you will win your branding efforts. Oftentimes, a business’s marketing campaigns focus too much on delivery mechanisms and not the state the customer will be in once they receive the product or service. 
Most customers don’t actually want the specific item, service, or product they purchase. They actually want more safety, security, happiness… or less pain, less stress, less time or effort output, and more results. Most customers’ wants and needs are simple. While attempting to stand out, entrepreneurs tend to overcomplicate things and think that because their mechanisms of delivery for their products are so different from their competitors that their customers care as much about it as they do.
This isn’t true… Ask yourself questions like; 

What emotions are evoked when my customers receive my product or service?

What are the pain points that my customers are trying to solve?

What is the end-state of receiving my product or service for an extended period of time? 

What are the results my product or service delivers?

Use the answers to these questions to understand what your brand or business delivers. Create a roadmap of the emotional journey your customer goes through. Then speak to each part of the journey in your marketing messages. 
When people are first learning about your product or service, what are the emotions they are feeling? As they move from a cold/unaware person to a warmer and more educated lead, what emotions and thoughts do they have about your product and service? 
Map the customer journey using emotions as the basis for transformation and let your marketing then speak to each segment as they move through the conditional logic that is your marketing funnel. 
Related: 4 Ways to Sell More Using ‘Customer Journey Optimization’ Strategy
2. Consistency is key
Consistency is the key to any branding campaign. Since branding is a promise, you make to your customers. This promise MUST be made consistently throughout your front and back-end marketing campaigns to maintain integrity.
One of the hardest things about our current entrepreneurial world is how many shiny objects fly around our purview and get us distracted. I have often found myself exploring new and deeper territories of marketing, new ways of advertising, or new ways of delivering our product or service. 
It’s so easy to see a gap in the market and innately rush to try to fill it. As entrepreneurs, we capitalize on the opportunities we see in front of us. That’s the job of an entrepreneur… It’s to see room for improvement in society and then create that improvement. 
When you define your brand, you create a container for your business. You figure out what fits into “the box” that defines who and what your business is and who it serves. You understand what it is that you do you and what you don’t do. When you’ve created this roadmap, it allows you the ability to say no to opportunities that will create inconsistencies in your business. 
Define your brand, create a consistent message that speaks to your audience’s emotions, and make sure you continually measure any and all new possible products, services, or marketing channels against who and what your brand is. If it fits, run it. If it doesn’t, you’ll know, and saying no will be so much easier.
Related: 5 Steps for Making Your Brand Identity More Consistent 
3. Create Community
Branding isn’t just about messaging anymore. It’s not just about consistency either. It’s also about creating community. The best brands created communities accidentally. For instance, Costco didn’t intend to create a community with their memberships, but you know if you’re a Costco member and you’ve had a discussion with another member that you’ve likely talked about some product or service they have. Maybe you like their gas or their return policies… Maybe it’s the deals on dried mangos (that’s me). I often find myself sharing tips, tricks, or items I have found valuable there… but it’s only relevant to those that have a membership.
You’ll find that communities are created inadvertently by large brands. If you own a Toyota 4Runner, you’re a part of a club that only 4Runner owners can be in. That community of enthusiasts then created more containers for the community online through forums, Facebook groups, and other places to gather and exchange knowledge.
eBay is another great place to look at community building done through forums. If you google nearly anything about eBay, you’ll find that their forums generally dominate the SERP. In those forums, you’ll find sellers and customers collaborating to find answers to their questions. 
Large brands create community by their prominence in society. Just by buying a product or service, you signal to others in the world that you are a person who “does things like that,” as Seth Godin would say. 
Related: 4 Reasons Why Focusing on Community is Your Best Brand Strategy
If you buy a Tesla, you signal to the world that you’re forward-thinking. Maybe you like technology, renewable energy, or you just like fast cars? No matter what emotional reason you bought the car, fun, safety, prestige, status… or any other reason, you still signal to the world that you’re the type of person that would buy a Tesla, and you join a silent club of Tesla owners. 
Great brands don’t just silently induct you into communities… Great brands create communities and places for their customers and clients to congregate, communicate and create new relationships. Look at Peloton and the gamification and ability to ride in classes with others or look to Literati, the online book club curated by celebrities and thought leaders that allows you to not only get access to the knowledge that has shaped Stephen Curry, Malala Yousafzai, and Richard Branson’s life’s, but you actually get access to a community where you can speak to other book club members and the curators themselves. 
This type of community creates 2 powerful psychological processes.

Habituation

Reliability

In the age of information… finding the information we actually need is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. We often find ourselves with answers, but because the internet is open source, it’s hard to trust that the information we get is true or exactly what we need…
When you create a community and involve celebrities and thought leaders, you do two powerful things for your customers. You allow them to relax and trust the information’s validity (compared to a forum or googling.) You’ve earned social authority with them by leveraging someone they know, like, and trust… 
At the end of the day, branding is much more than marketing or a logo… Branding is exactly how your customer feels about you and your products/services and every touchpoint they’ve ever experienced from your business. It’s about providing your customers with solutions to their problems that create a change in their lives and, most importantly, in their emotional state and quality. It’s about creating a consistent place of business where they can reliably come to get their needs met. And most importantly, it’s about creating a community where they know their answers will be met with the best and most reliable information they possibly can get. 
As information and technology become even more widely democratized, your business and brand will win or lose based on these three foundational factors. Can you define who you are, who you serve, and then consistently provide solutions and community? Answer yes to these three questions and your brand will inevitably grow, win more market share and become a staple in your customers’ lives.

Jay Upchurch of SAS: Analytics and Transformation Go Hand in Hand to Present Unique Opportunities for SMBs to Survive and Thrive

Everything we do today creates data. From every click to every swipe.  And when the pandemic forced us into sheltering in place, it also exponentially accelerated those clicks and swipes…and Zooms…and Uber Eats and Door Dash orders…. And you get the point.  Many of the cash-based face-to-face transactions we’d make going into stores have turned into digital transactions and interactions.  And all of this data can provide companies with important insights that can help guide companies during times of crisis into making the right calls on make-or-break decisions.
To get some real insight into how all the data coming from all these digital interactions can be (and is being) used to help small and midsize businesses during times of crisis like we have faced the last year, I recently had an informative LinkedIn Live conversation with Jay Upchurch;  CIO of SAS, a leading analytics platform provider.  We spoke at length on a number of issues, including how the role of data and analytics have changed during the pandemic, the opportunity presented by AI to help SMBs not only survive but also thrive in times of crisis like what we’re still facing a year into Covid-19, and more.
Below is an edited transcript of a portion of our conversation.  Click on the embedded SoundCloud player to hear the full conversation.

Small Business Trends: How has the role of data and analytics in business organizations changed in the year since the pandemic started, particularly with respect to customer engagement?
Jay Upchurch: You start with trust. You earn that trust over time. It’s not just given to you, and you earn that through your interpretation of the data. So to your point of, do you have access to the data? Can you interpret the data? Can you analyze the data? And can you make meaningful action on that analysis? And do those actions yield the result? And then as that continuous cycle gets up and going, trust starts to come with it. And so, again, in uncertain times, and these are certainly uncertain times, nothing is more important than how you interpret that data and take action against that.
For so many years, businesses and frankly some of the best leaders in the world – it doesn’t matter if it’s business or not – they were always viewed upon as being heroic because of what people saw was, “Well, that’s intuition.” They had a gut feel or they were smarter or something. Something made them better.  And today, in today’s playing field, data normalizes that for all of us. Then so it’s a question of, do you have the talent around you, as you were saying a minute ago, Brent, to access the data, normalize it, transform it, make it what you need it to be, and then analyze it and make decisions out of that? That’s the hard part of this industry today. And I would tell you, we talk about it a lot, it’s a talent famine. So one of the things that we try to deal with is, how do we make everybody a data scientist? Because there’s only really a few that come out every year that are truly data scientists. So how do we make data available to all, and provide tooling to anybody that can come along and do work on it? That part is what’s fascinating to us. Another part of that we think a lot about is just the maturity curve that everybody has to go through when thinking about analytics and AI.
So, as an example, getting access to the data, analyzing it, and then just showing it on a dashboard or a report card, that’s step one fundamentals. And people learn and start to see more and more streams of data that come in the more and more insights I can get out of it. And then the next mile is, okay, I have these insights. Now, what do I go do? How do I take action with that? And how do I automate that? And how do I put models in place and maintain those models because the data all around us continues to change? Same thing with this pandemic. We thought we had the right data in March, April of last year. Think about how that’s changed over the last nine, 10, 12 months and where we are now. It’s the same thing, the model that you might’ve had specific to COVID-19 back in March last year, probably dramatically different than what you have today.
Changes in Data Leads to Changes in Business
Small Business Trends: It rolls right into this question that my buddy Alan Berkson has. “How has the data that you look changed from before the pandemic until now? And what we might see after the pandemic?” Because a lot of the things that we used to do, be able to go to the grocery store and just go in and buy a loaf of bread and then pay with cash and then walk out. There was no data on that kind of interaction or exchange. Now, you have to buy your groceries online that means the store knows it, and if it’s being delivered, the delivery people know it. So there’s a lot more data, there’s a lot more things that you could look at. And so how has that changed over the last year or so?
Jay Upchurch: Yeah, you’re exactly right. Data now is exploding. There’s more of it coming from a lot of different areas, and it’s not just big data sets that are shared or that people contribute to. It’s coming out of, going back to the grocery example for a second, Brent, I mean, that’s a great case where IoT is coming heavily into play, and we’re getting data out of sensors that people are interacting with without even understanding or realizing it. And so just thinking about all the different data sets that we have and marrying that data up, cross cutting it with data from a variety of sources. You mentioned it’s cold outside, so if I’m a restaurant, how do I take advantage of the data that I know around forecasts for weather with the data I have in supply with the data that I have with people coming in? Maybe updating in real time with, is everybody ordering something hot versus cold? How do I bundle for optimizing my profit?
There’s a whole lot of different data sets that are coming now, and people are coming to companies like SAS with the question of, “Well, how can you help me make sense of all this?” And it’s not only, again, thinking about the data and the sources, how to consume it, especially in a cloud world now, because data comes structured, unstructured, in a stream, after the fact, and it comes in a lot of different ways. But how do you take action on that analysis? And do you have the talent around you to take advantage of it? I think back to our conversations around small business, that’s a big challenge for the small business market and really the mid market too. I’ll tell you, the enterprise guys are having challenges with it as well. So where do you get that consult from? Where do you get those advisory services from? And then what kind of tools do you bring to bear to help put it into action for your business?
Can SMBs Survive Without Transforming?
Small Business Trends: In terms of small and mid-sized businesses, a lot of them before the pandemic… there were still a pretty significant amount of small businesses that were not using or utilizing the cloud as effectively as they possibly could have. I think there’s a stat where maybe 50% or so of SMBs still didn’t have a website. There weren’t a lot of them percentage-wise doing e-commerce. So how does the pandemic change the usage of the cloud? How does it change the uses of things like websites and IoT? How important is it for small, mid-sized businesses to begin to utilize these things? Maybe they were able to get and do things to a certain extent before the pandemic without using these tools, but can they survive if they don’t make these moves, start utilizing these tools more efficiently and effectively?
Jay Upchurch: That’s a great question. I find it hard to believe that you’re going to be able to survive without it. I think we are all faced with the question of, what does the future of work look like? And there are plenty of opinions about when people may come back to the office place, when they may not, when people return to some normal level of life. And I think that there’s still going to be a long tale of things that we have learned, things that we’ve started to accept as normal, that will remain or will become the new normal, if you will, as we move forward. And I think in the case, when you look at the new norm, I think it forces all businesses to become digitally enabled. I think some people talk about digital transformation and everybody wants to have that Uber transportation moment where, “Oh, we’ve got this idea. We’re going to totally transform an entire industry,” and that’s not necessarily the case.
You’ll see one of those out of a million. I mean, not everybody’s going to have that moment. And so how do you drive transformation in your business? I tell people all the time, it’s based on your maturity model, your digital maturity model, and you’ve got to take small steps in going through and figuring out, do I have a process? Is it well understood or is it still in the heads of a few? Is it put into a system? Can you actually automate it and understand it and use it? And then can you optimize it? And then later on, have you earned the right to eventually transform it? And so there are those natural steps. So I think you come back to the small business owner who may have had a local presence. They had a great local viral experience that helped grow their business to a certain scale. All of a sudden, 180 degree change. People stopped coming in. Everybody’s doing it remote. It forces you to adopt digital technologies.
So I actually think that the pandemic helped take the governor off the car a little bit when it comes to how fast you can go to adopt some of these new cloud native technologies. And I’ll tell you, at SAS, and this not an infomercial for SAS, but we’ve been faced with this for quite some time. I mean, trying to figure out how we transform our own products to being more digitally native, more cloud native, and how to drive adoption. You mentioned data a minute ago. The world around us right now is changing at such a rapid pace that our platforms, the tools that we give our customers in the market to be able to use, has to embrace open source, the open source community, the new technologies that are coming. We have to remain open, because it would be terrible for us to say, “Well, here’s your tool, but ignore this data set or that data set. We don’t want to give you access to whatever, our tool doesn’t allow it.”
Our tool and platforms and our industry solutions are only as good as the data that feeds it and your own mind’s creativity and how to interpret those results. [inaudible 00:08:50] landscape, it’s changed. I mean, there’s so many different tools that out there today. There are small niche tools that are easy to come in and adopt plug in and plug out after you try them. There are big systems that obviously are continuing to be highly disruptive and give us new power and everything else. Somebody’s got to help make sense of all of that, and then run your campaigns across that in a way that is meaningful in terms of how you measure your engagement. And sometimes that’s a challenge in and of itself, just making sense of the ecosystem that you’ve, interesting enough, volunteered to take on.
The Need for Speed
Small Business Trends: We’re getting all this new data, like you talked about. It’s coming from a variety of places. Who was talking about things like Clubhouse last year? Probably nobody, but now that’s a channel and there’s probably going to be some interesting data coming out of that. More and more of us are involved with live streaming and in virtual events, so there’s all this stuff coming at consumers and companies alike, and it’s coming from a variety of areas and it’s coming with this unrelenting speed. And yet still it feels like if you don’t do something with that information quickly, you lose an opportunity to create a meaningful interaction. So what about speed and the speed of data, but also the speed to be able to react to the data and turn it into something meaningful, fit in this equation?
Jay Upchurch: Yeah. The scary thing is that the data is coming at you at a rate of pace that you literally cannot consume. We talk about our events processing technology, which is again a type of technology that allows you to consume real time data off of sensors at incredible speeds. So my point there is that it’s going to be difficult just to even keep up with, and that’s where the models that you create has to have technology that can ingest that data, interpret that data, and give back a result that’s meaningful. There’s no way that anybody in today’s day and age can interpret all that data, correlate it, and come back with an insight in a manual manner. So the platforms, the tools, the solutions that are available, SAS, non-SAS, everything that’s out there empowers the business. And it doesn’t matter if you’re small, medium, or large.
I think the other thing about speed is we have a natural hesitation as humans not to be as curious as we should be. I talked about this in an article that I published about a month or so ago, and it just talked about the power of curiosity, and it’s actually one of our core values at SAS that we really stress. You have to be curious about the data. The data will paint the picture for you if you allow it, but you’ve got to empower your team, the people around you, yourself, to be curious. And it’s funny, because as children, we’re naturally curious. And I’ve got three sons, there’ve been plenty of times where I’ve had to beg them to stop asking questions. Shame on me for that, because I don’t want to suppress that natural curiosity because later on in life, it’s actually what helps you be successful, and it’s what helps you be successful with data and analytics, is your own personal curiosity.
So I think from a speed standpoint, don’t be afraid to jump in and have those science experiments. Play with it and see. Understand the impact of moving data in and out and what that does to your models. I think there’s another aspect of speed, and that is model management. Your models atrophy because the data around you changes, again. At a rate of speed that we cannot really comprehend today. And so you have to be mindful that what worked for you yesterday may not necessarily work for you today. And so there are plenty of applications, again, SAS, being one of them, where we stress that model management, that model, that analytic life cycle, if you will. So you’ve got to make sure that just because you’ve stood something up and you’re working with it that you’re continuing to care and feed and expand on it.
And then I think the last one that I would say on speed is you’ve got to make sure that, again, it doesn’t matter what size business you are, you’ve got to make sure that your science experiment is something that will scale up with you as you grow. And that’s an interesting place again, where you come back to trust of, are you leveraging tools? Are you leveraging datasets? And are you leveraging aspects of your business that you trust that will allow you to scale and grow up? Because this thing can take on a life of its own if you allow it. So, again, that’s a place where we as SAS feel like we’ve done a pretty good job over the last four years. And when the market around you moves and having the data and the insight to know confidently how to pivot your business into a new area for, again, for your business survival, that is really one of the things that I think most companies under appreciate around analytics.
Analytics, AI and SMBs – A Formula for Surviving and Thriving the Pandemic
Jay Upchurch:  A lot of people think about analytics and trying to put analysts into action more as a means to an end for cost containment or profit maximizing, or whatnot. But it actually allows you so much more than that. If I think about the digital twin capability and the way to test new ideas and explore them in a way that is a lot less risky than maybe in the past, that’s one of the things I think is really impactful. We’ve got a friend of mine who talks to me a lot about the taxi business, and he mentions how bad the taxi industry has been disrupted throughout the pandemic. And there’s an example of a firm that has pivoted more into food delivery and using the fleet and the systems for routing and for scheduling for food service instead for traditional human passenger service.
Small Business Trends: Right.
Jay Upchurch: And it’s one of those things where you’re like, “Yeah, you know what? That’s a logical natural extension of the use of technology.” But again, the use of data, the use of analytics allows you to pivot into that industry seamlessly and meet, again, where the demand is. So they already had the supply side of it figured out. That, to me, is really interesting.
AI is really just taking analytics and putting it much more into automated action and instrumenting and coding and beyond that.
Through some natural language processing, for instance, in customer service, you can be a small business and apply these technologies and suddenly operate at enterprise scale. And again, back to our conversation on how you take experiments and turn them into scale, that is a big part of what I think some companies struggle with in trying to figure out, how do I move these beyond just the experiments of the world?
AI is fascinating. I was on a panel about a month ago for North Carolina Technology. It’s a local, statewide firm that does a lot to help promote startups and SMBs, any technology across North Carolina. And on that panel, we talked a lot about AI and the future of AI, and the fact that we’re just now starting to meet the promises of what AI was back in the ’70s and ’60s when it started coming up and people started dreaming about all of these different things. And now, as we start to put more and more of those in reality, the fun thing is people don’t even realize how much of it is under the hood and your day to day actions. You don’t even realize it’s there, it’s around you, it’s participating in the world and it improves your life without you even really even realizing it.
And so I think as small businesses and medium businesses, as we move into that and we embrace that, I think it will actually give us more competitive advantage. It gives us the ability to operate at scale that we would have 15, 20 years ago looked at and been envious of the enterprise. And now we say, “No, no. We can compete. That barrier to entry is now much lower”.
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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.

Perfection Not Required

February 19, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In our role as a franchise consulting firm, one of the things we frequently see is business owners constantly trying to build a better mousetrap. They spend their days trying to refine their business model. They worry their business must be perfect before they consider franchise expansion, and they wonder if they can even hope to expand if they do not offer something that is perfectly different from everyone else.
While franchise systems must constantly evolve and become better, the simple truth is that no business is perfect. And while a systemized approach to business growth requires constant improvement of the business model, it also acknowledges that growth should not be delayed while waiting for perfection. 
Perfection is the enemy of progress.
Related: Perfection Is a Trap, and It’s Keeping You From Being Successful
Think, if you will, to one of the early founders of online retailing — Webvan. Founded in 1996 by Louis Borders, the founder of the brick-and-mortar Borders bookstores, Webvan planned to deliver goods and groceries to its customers in a 30-minute window of their choosing. And, in the middle of the dot-com boom, Webvan was able to raise nearly $400 million from venture capitalists and another $375 million in a public offering in 1999, providing it with what should have been plenty of capital. 
But Webvan, trying to perfect their business overnight, burned through their money quickly, buying HomeGrocer for some $1.2 billion in stock, placing a $1 billion order to build warehouses, and buying a fleet of vans to expand into a planned 26 markets in three years. By spending all of its money on building the perfect internal infrastructure — instead of leveraging the warehouses and delivery services of others — it incurred huge bills, which among other strategic mistakes, ultimately contributed to its failure.
Amazon, by contrast, had a market value of $438 million when it went public in 1997, but instead of focusing on the much more difficult market of low-margin perishable goods, it focused initially on what many might think would be a strength of a business founded by Louis Borders — books.  And instead of spending all of its money on creating its own ideal infrastructure, it initially acted as more of a broker — using the facilities and inventory of others to facilitate its growth. It was not until a decade later in 2007 that Amazon launched its foray into the online delivery of groceries and another decade later that it acquired Whole Foods. And it was not until 2018 that it bought 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans to initiate its last-mile delivery service. Amazon’s storied success was built not by focusing on ensuring everything was perfect on day one, but rather by being flexible and adaptable as the market changed.
Related: Why (and How) Amazon Created the Kindle and Changed the Book Industry Forever
And perhaps, most notably, in 2011, Amazon bought the Borders Group out of bankruptcy.  
How does all of this translate into assessing when a business is ready to franchise?  
The key to success in franchising is not necessarily doing something completely new and unique in the marketplace and it certainly isn’t based on perfection. The key is in great execution. A strong franchise model that is well-executed beats a perfect system that is poorly executed every time.
On a related note, companies also often wonder if size matters when considering franchising. Does a company need five or 10 units in operation before it can franchise, or can it franchise with just one corporate-owned unit? It depends.
Five Guys wasn’t the first hamburger franchise by a long shot. They had over a dozen units in place before they began franchising to assure they had all their systems refined and had a repeatable concept to take on franchising giants like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s.
Conversely, Massage Envy had only one unit in operation for only three months, when they started the franchise development process. Their goal was to expand rapidly because what they had was new and unique in the franchise marketplace. Obviously, with over 1,000 franchise locations now nationwide, they have achieved that goal in spades.
While perfection is not required, the decision to franchise must start with an honest assessment of the business itself. There must be a sound and profitable business at the core of every successful franchise. Smart decisions must be made in terms of necessary infrastructure and resources. Market conditions and trends must be evaluated. And while there are dozens of questions to be answered when making this assessment, in the end, it really all comes down to three core criteria for franchise ability. The franchisor should be able to duplicate the business, be able to sell franchises to qualified franchisees, and be able to provide franchisees with an opportunity to realistically earn an appropriate return on their investment in the business.
Related: How a Well-Timed Redesign Helped Boost the UPS Store’s Growth
A concept does not have to be deemed perfect before franchising. It simply needs to be well-prepared and market-appropriate. Business owners need to understand that “perfection” is an ever-moving target that will never be achieved. So while striving for it is a key part of any successful business, it should not be a barrier to progress. 

The 9-Step Structure of Impactful Remote Workshops

February 19, 2021 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The way we work and teach has changed. Sticky notes have been replaced with collaborative digital tools and coffee chats with breakout rooms on Zoom. We don’t interrupt, we click on the raise hand icon. We don’t exchange looks anymore, we shift our focus from window to window. 
Among leaders and educators, the opinion is unanimous: “It’s not the same.” The biggest complaint when it comes to remote workshops is the lack of engagement. Are our attendees even paying attention? There are so many nonverbal cues lost when we switch from a face-to-face setting to an online environment. How can we ensure our learners are engaged and interested behind the screen? 
To address this concern, I’ll be using Robert Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction adapted to a remote environment.
1. Gain attention
Gagne identified the mental conditions for learning in his book Conditions of Learning, first published in 1965 and still highly relevant for instructional designers today. The first of the nine events is “gaining attention,” and it seems obvious if we think about it. If you can’t capture your attendees’ attention, why would they even want to hear what you have to say? 
This principle can be easily applied to remote workshops. For example, introduce a topic with a thought-provoking question, or pique attendees’ curiosity with an interesting story or problem. At this stage, the key is to surprise them, get them involved, even incorporate an icebreaker if needed. This works best when your workshop is indeed fully remote. If half your team is sitting together and the other half is remote, then make sure each person is logging from their own computer. It’ll be best if you make sure everyone is involved and no one is left behind. Now that you have their attention, they are ready to listen to you.
Related: 5 Professional Icebreakers You Can Do Remotely
2. Inform your audience of the objectives
If you managed to get your audience excited, well done. The next step is to manage expectations. This is often overlooked even under typical circumstances, which greatly impacts how engaging and meaningful the experience is. What will your attendees learn? What will they be able to accomplish by the end of the session? How will this training even benefit them? If it has a direct impact on their job, what’s their required performance? Make sure you provide this information and also examples so that everyone understands clearly what is expected of them. This is especially important when you’re conducting a remote workshop, because as long as your learners understand the benefits and risks, they’ll be more motivated and receptive to the training. 
3. Stimulate recall of prior learning 
Making sense of new information isn’t easy, and it can easily demotivate your learners if the topic is completely alien to them. In a remote environment, where many people might not feel comfortable speaking up (not to mention the dreaded delays), it can be especially overwhelming to learn something new. A simple way to address this problem is to ask your learners about their past experiences. What’s their understanding of related information? If you’ve covered the same topic in previous workshops, make sure they can relate to past concepts. Ask them questions, do a pop quiz, make it fun.
Related: What to Expect After a Year of the Unexpected
4. Present the content 
Now you’re ready to do the teaching. Several learning strategies and approaches can be applied at this phase, but when it comes to remote workshops, there are some key considerations to remember. Present the information in small chunks and implement breaks often. Zoom fatigue is real. No matter how attractive your topic is, you’ll lose your audience’s attention if you present for too long. Keep your materials varied by using videos, text, images and practical examples. Make sure your learners are involved and it’s not only you doing the talking. Invite them to discuss the topic, incorporate activities and encourage everyone to ask questions. Tools like Zoom breakout rooms or digital whiteboards can help you make the workshop more interactive. 
5. Provide learning guidance
This step is crucial for any remote learning activities. When people interact face-to-face, it becomes natural to ask for additional guidance. In a remote workshop, you have to make the extra effort to be present and provide appropriate guidance for learning. For example, if you’re doing an icebreaker activity that requires a specific tool, make sure everyone understands how to use it. Provide examples every time you can. If you split your audience into groups and breakout rooms, do the same you would in person: alternate between groups and help them complete the activities required. The last thing you want is your learners to feel unsupported, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the tech tools.
6. Elicit performance (practice)
Give a chance for your audience to apply what they learned. This often means giving them homework in a remote environment and a well-deserved break away from the computer. If the activity requires your learners to be in the same environment together, consider scheduling a separate session. While it’s easy to host a one-day event in person, the same can’t happen remotely. Don’t force your attendees to sit in front of the computer for hours. You need to adapt your training to remote circumstances. 
Related: How Modern Technology Is Reshaping the E-Learning Industry
7. Provide feedback 
Once your learners have attempted to apply what they’ve learned, they’ll need to receive feedback. Feedback is the most effective when it’s immediate, personalized and detailed. If you aren’t able to give feedback during the session, make sure you provide written feedback on any assignments or tasks. Consider combining your input with peer evaluation and self-evaluation. For example, you can provide a self-assessment form before addressing the task in detail in the following session.
8. Assess performance
How effective was your training? You can only answer this question if you measure the success of its learning outcomes. To do that, you’ll need to assess your audience’s performance. There are different ways to measure the impact of training, depending on the workshop goals. Written assessments can help us understand the progress and general understanding of a certain topic, but they are often not enough. Especially in a remote environment, where it’s easy to look for information online, we often face the dilemma of memorizing or understanding versus applying. Make sure you’re tracking the right goals so you can assess the real performance and impact of your training on your audience.
9. Enhance retention and transfer
The purpose of any workshop is that your audience (team, company, clients) is able to apply what they’ve learned to real-world situations and enhance their performance or skills based on that newly acquired knowledge. An effective training program has a focus on performance and facilitates retention and transfer on the job. By the end of your workshop, your attendees should feel prepared and empowered to apply what they’ve learned on their own. Present your learners with real-life examples and allow them to practice within the safe space of your workshop. Repetition, recall, feedback and practice are critical in this process. If there are reference materials that will be helpful for your learners’ daily tasks, make sure you provide them.
Applying Gagne’s nine-step model to a remote workshop helps you create a training program that is effective, engaging and meaningful. Gagne’s framework can also be used in combination with other methods and popular training models. A training program is only successful when learning occurs. For learning to happen, we need to understand the science behind how people learn and apply these principles to each unique context. That’s the heart of our new remote digital-first environment.
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Leaked Email Reveals a Tesla VP Expressed Concern About Employees Coming to Work With COVID-19 Symptoms

A Tesla exec expressed concern in an email about employees coming to work with COVID-19 symptoms.
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February 19, 2021 2 min read
This story originally appeared on Business Insider
A Tesla human-resources executive expressed concern in a February 9 email about employees who were coming to work after displaying COVID-19 symptoms or coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for the disease. Insider reviewed a copy of the message.
“Recently, we have had a number of people come on-site, even though they were showing COVID-19 symptoms or were knowingly exposed to a COVID-19-positive person,” Valerie Workman, Tesla’s vice president of people, wrote. 
“When you come into work despite having a COVID-19 exposure or COVID-19 symptoms, you are putting everyone’s lives at risk,” Workman said later in the email.
Related: 61 Books Elon Musk Thinks You Should Read
Workman did not specify the number of employees who came to one of Tesla’s facilities under those conditions or the locations of the offices or factories to which they reported.
Workman encouraged employees who are able to work from home to keep doing so until vaccine availability widens, unless they have “critical business” that requires them to go to one of Tesla’s facilities. Employees who are forced to take time off work for reasons related to COVID-19 will receive pay without having to use their sick days, Workman said. The email did not specify the number of days of “COVID-19 pay” each employee can use.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The electric-car maker temporarily closed its factories in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic surged. CEO Elon Musk has at times downplayed the threat the disease has posed, saying young people aren’t vulnerable to it, predicting last March that “the panic will cause more harm than the virus,” and fighting with authorities in California over shelter-in-place orders that shut down Tesla’s Fremont plant. 
Some Tesla employees expressed frustration about the company’s response to the pandemic last year, citing Musk’s comments about it and a fear that they would be punished for staying home, despite Tesla’s insistence that they would not.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says Bitcoin Purchase is “Less Dumb” Than Holding Cash

Elon Musk tweets in defense of Tesla’s $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase as Bitcoin price hits a new record.
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February 19, 2021 3 min read
This story originally appeared on ValueWalk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is talking more about the automaker’s bitcoin purchase. In response to a comment from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, he called Tesla‘s $1.5 billion bitcoin purchase “adventurous enough for an S&P500 company.”
Tesla CEO defends bitcoin purchase
Zhao told Bloomberg in an interview that he was surprised that Musk was “so gung-ho on Dogecoin.” Binance is the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by volume, and it recently launched Dogecoin futures. However, Zhao also pointed out that Tesla purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin rather than Dogecoin.
In response, Musk tweeted that Tesla’s bitcoin purchase “is not directly reflective” of his opinion. He also said owning bitcoin is “simply a less dumb form of liquidity than cash” and is “adventurous enough for an S&P 500 company.”
The Tesla CEO also said that he isn’t an investor and doesn’t even own any publicly traded stock aside from Tesla. He added that “when fiat currency has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere.”
“Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money,” Musk tweeted. “The key word is ‘almost.'”
Bitcoin price hits a new record
Following Musk’s tweet, the bitcoin price soared above $52,000 to a new record high. Bloomberg notes that the Tesla CEO’s remarks highlight one of the markets’ biggest problems right now. With governments pumping so much cash into the financial system due to the pandemic, investors are getting concerned about inflation and looking for other places to invest. This week alone, the bitcoin price is up by approximately 10%.
Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest companies that are still managed by their founders. Although Musk said Tesla’s bitcoin purchase doesn’t reflect his opinion, it seems clear that he had something to do with it. The automaker probably wouldn’t have bought the cryptocurrency if Musk hadn’t become a believer in it recently.
Some speculated that Tesla’s bitcoin purchase would lead other major companies to dive into the cryptocurrency, but Fortune reports that it isn’t happening. Gartner Finance conducted a survey earlier this month asking chief financial officers if they plan to buy bitcoin this year. Ninety-five percent of respondents said they didn’t intend to buy the cryptocurrency this year.