Articles

Because we create content for so many different verticals, we need to stay informed in numerous areas. Occasionally, we come across articles that we think would be of interest to our clients and prospects as well.

 

Why This CEO Appointed An Employee To Change Dumb Company Rules”
Hootsuite’s “Czar of Bad Systems” has the authority to fix processes that aren’t working–anywhere in the company.

Forget Coding: Writing Is Design’s “Unicorn Skill”
In a new report, John Maeda explains why writing is a must-have skill for designers.

The One-Page Cheat Sheet To Your Most Productive 90 Days Ever
Here’s how to break down your big-picture goals into steps you and your team can actually take this quarter.

Video: Top 5 ways to update your management style
If your team has been less productive lately, it might be time to tune up your management techniques. Here are some tips.

6 Ways To Manage A Partly Remote Team (With Some Help From Dilbert)
What if one or two people in a team need to work remotely? When the entire team is not remote, this decision can be a tough one to make.

12 Habits Of Genuine People
There’s an enormous amount of research suggesting that emotional intelligence (EQ) is critical to your performance at work. TalentSmart has tested the EQ of more than a million people and found that it explains 58% of success in all types of jobs.

Three ways to change how your business uses social media in 2017
Social media is more pervasive than ever and ready for a unique metamorphosis in 2017: reborn as a hyper-focused business tool, more targeted, simpler to use and possibly more effective than before. Here’s how to stay ahead of the curve...

Does technology improve employee engagement?
The endless parade of technologies to improve workforce collaboration has certainly led to the shrinking of time and distance, but has it actually let to a long-term increase in engagement and business performance? What should enterprises do today?

Can we achieve a better, more effective digital workplace?
As a confluence of new apps and devices steadily flow into the enterprise, they're encountering a growing sense that the digital workplace has become too complex and fragmented to be properly effective. What can organizations do?

A year’s worth of excellent advice in six quick points
At this self-improvement time of year, I like to take a look back in the old inbox to review some of the best ideas gleaned from the newsletters I received over the past twelve months.

Are you taking advantage of free advice and information like this?


Video: 3 invaluable tips from famous tech entrepreneurs
Running a small business requires optimism and wisdom. Here are three pieces of useful inspiration from a trio of successful tech entrepreneurs: Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs.

Why free university 42 breaks all the rules for educating engineers, and is coming to the US
French entrepreneur Xavier Niel and educator Nicolas Sadirac have crazy ideas about how to train software developers and run a university. Could 42 transform higher education in the US, or is it just an edge case?

Happy Birthday HubSpot! 9 Lessons From Our First 9 Years
9 years ago today, on June 9th 2006, HubSpot was officially started. I remember the day, because it was also the day I graduated. (I had promised myself I'd enjoy my 2 years in grad school without too much distraction, so deliberately picked graduation day as the official start-date for HubSpot.)

So far, we've had a pretty good run. HubSpot is now public [NYSE:HUBS] and still growing fast. More importantly (at least to me), I'm still having a great time.

Rather than bring out the party hats and cake, I thought I'd reflect a bit on some of the hard-won lessons we've learned across our 9 hear history in the hopes that it will be helpful to some of you. (Note: The below picture of a cake is from our 2nd birthday party. Now, we'd need a bigger cake)


As a franchisee, I understand I will need to follow the rules of the franchise. But can I still scratch my entrepreneurial itch?
Are you thinking of becoming a franchisee because you consider yourself an entrepreneur? The idea of being in business for yourself, but with the support of a proven brand and system sounds great, but will you be able to scratch that entrepreneurial itch?

In a franchise, operators often get so focused on running their day-to-day business that they forget to step back and think outside the box. Yes, the operational system is in place for a reason, and that reason is that it works, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t put on your thinking cap and exercise your natural-born creativity.


How to invest in your employees beyond giving a raise
Most organizations create e-learning as a means to improve employee performance. Courses are supposed to deliver knowledge and skills that make workers better at their jobs. So if e-learning doesn’t improve job performance or the bottom line, most organizations don’t want to invest in it.

That’s why it’s critical to calculate the cost-benefit of your e-learning course before you start to develop it. You want to show ahead of time that the benefits of creating and administering the e-learning course outweigh the development costs associated with it.


Eight ninja characteristics to help you control your time and attention
Most organizations create e-learning as a means to improve employee performance. Courses are supposed to deliver knowledge and skills that make workers better at their jobs. So if e-learning doesn’t improve job performance or the bottom line, most organizations don’t want to invest in it.

That’s why it’s critical to calculate the cost-benefit of your e-learning course before you start to develop it. You want to show ahead of time that the benefits of creating and administering the e-learning course outweigh the development costs associated with it.


How To Calculate the Cost-Benefit of E-Learning
Most organizations create e-learning as a means to improve employee performance. Courses are supposed to deliver knowledge and skills that make workers better at their jobs. So if e-learning doesn’t improve job performance or the bottom line, most organizations don’t want to invest in it.

That’s why it’s critical to calculate the cost-benefit of your e-learning course before you start to develop it. You want to show ahead of time that the benefits of creating and administering the e-learning course outweigh the development costs associated with it.


25 Core Areas of a Successful Franchise Brand
Franchisee profitability is the foundation upon which all aspects of the franchise model rely.

Five lessons Walt Disney and Steve Jobs can teach us about innovation
There are startling parallels in the lives of Walt Disney and Steve Jobs. Their dedication to product quality and innovation transformed industries.

As IT job market tightens again, companies look to training rather than hiring to fill gaps
The number of unfilled jobs in IT is rising and companies are having a difficult time finding next generation skills. The answer for many is training their best employees in those cutting edge areas.

The Biggest Mistake Made in Employee Engagement!
In this short blog series with HRD Business Summit, Marshall Goldsmith was asked questions that are highly pertinent to leaders, especially leaders of HR. The first question he was asked is: “why engage employees?” The simple answer: Employee engagement is critical for business success.

Five lessons Walt Disney and Steve Jobs can teach us about innovation
There are startling parallels in the lives of Walt Disney and Steve Jobs. Their dedication to product quality and innovation transformed industries.

Warren Buffett's 9 key rules for running a business
Warren Buffett is legendary as an investor, but he's also an incredibly successful businessperson, too — a fact that sometimes gets lost in the millions of words that have been written about his advice on how to buy a stock.

That advice can be summarized with a just a few words. Appearing on the CNBC-produced syndicated program "On the Money" in 2014, Buffett said, "If you own your stocks as an investment — just like you'd own an apartment, house or a farm — look at them as a business."

Using that viewpoint, you shouldn't buy a stock simply because you think it will go up in price sometime soon. Instead, you should buy a piece of a business that you think will generate profits for a long time to come.


6 Things Great Leaders Do Differently
Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that leadership skills are natural traits that belong only to a lucky few.



10 lessons from video gaming that have helped my career

Mark Kaelin has been playing video games since the 1970s. Despite the typical gamer stereotype, he thinks gaming can teach some important career skills.



10 Things the Tech World Should Leave Behind

As technology evolves, some things need to fall by the wayside. Scott Matteson thinks these 10 things are holding back progress.

The Number One New Year's Resolution Every Leader Should Make

Jack Welch's thoughts on the importance of employee engagement.


Startups: How to Do a Pre-Mortem (and Prevent a Post-Mortem)

Doctors conduct postmortems to figure why people died. They do this to solve a crime, prevent the death of others, and satisfy curiosity. However, once somebody dies, it’s too late to help him. Entrepreneurs and their investors also often analyze why a product, service, or company died—especially if it’s someone else’s company. And, as in the case of dead people, a postmortem is too late to do much good for a defunct product, service, or company.


10 Easy Ways to Punch up Your Presentations

If your presentations have lost their pizzazz, these tips will help you revitalize them.


Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.


The 10 Qualities of Exceptional People

Counter to what many believe, accolades are not really what success is about. To be rich is to have money and status, but to be wealthy is to have physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness plus financial abundance. Exceptional people are those who seemingly have it all. They have monetary success along with a deeply felt happiness and satisfaction in life.The truly exceptional focus on cultivating their inner worlds and the more soft-spoken qualities of their character because they know to be wholly successful, it takes being a really good human being.


Five Ways To Make Failure Your Best Competitive Advantage

We have long been taught to avoid and run from failure but a big part of the future of work is embracing failure because ultimately this is what leads to innovation.


StereoLabs announces huge hardware breakthrough: Human vision

Earlier this month, a Bay Area startup called StereoLabs quietly introduced the first affordable high definition stereo camera. This is a big deal, and autonomous machines will never be the same. Here's why.


DNA of Change: Design Principals for Organizational Transformation

Organizations that thrive in changing circumstances behave more like organisms than machines. They adapt and evolve rather than reprogram and retool. They share a common DNA that helps them bend without breaking.


4 Methods to Increase Employee Productivity

A list of steps to help improve efficiency, engagement and productivity in the workplace. Some of them may seem to defy logic but entrepreneurs will find that following them can lead to a happier workplace and an increased ROI.


12 Habits of Exceptional Leaders

Twelve essential behaviors that exceptional leaders rely on every day. Give them a try and you can become a better leader today.


9 Ways to Attract and Retain Great Employees

An important question every entrepreneur should ask: What makes someone really care about their job?


2015 tech trends to watch: Smartwatches, algorithms, 'glance media,' and more

Alex Howard presents what he thinks might be the most important tech trends in 2015, which includes the hidden power of algorithms, continuous partial attention, and wireless body area networks.


Why giving just 70 per cent can be better for your life

The idea, promoted by fitness and work-life-balance gurus, is to stop “giving it your all” in every area of life and see what it feels like to devote 70-per-cent effort in most areas, most of the time. And since the pressure to be all things to all people is linked to anxiety, sleep disorders, irritability and other forms of psychological distress, a 70-per-cent approach could be a strong defence against these all-too-common health concerns (when there isn’t an underlying mental illness).


If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em: Why software firms are turning competitors into codependents

The software industry is hyper-competitive, with thousands of global firms jostling for “winner-take-all” market share and financial returns. What separates the winners from the also-rans and failures? Increasingly, the differentiator is less about the software itself and more about business practices.


Facebook at Work: Here's what you need to know

If the social network decides to make its foray into the enterprise world, here's what it needs to do.


Everyone wants to reinvent email, workflow: Here's what we really need

The fatal flaw for the latest round of technology to help us collaborate and communicate: We don't need technology to help us communicate. We need to be taught how to communicate.


The three traits of a successful startup CEO

Being the CEO of a startup requires a distinct skill set. Here are three traits that differentiate startup CEOs from their corporate counterparts or other startup roles.


Victoria's Secret, Horse Manure, and Why Choosing Yourself Saves The World

Roy Raymond was a sad pervert. He'd buy bras and panties at the department store and all the clerks thought their thoughts about him. Roy felt embarrassed. He wasn't really a pervert. He just wanted to buy lingerie for his girlfriend. So he solved this major problem he was having. He created a space where men could feel comfortable coming in and buying sexy lingerie for their partners. He called it Victoria's Secret.


Dell, HP signal desktop reinvention ahead

Dell on Wednesday outlined its vision for reinventing the desktop with a smart desk concept that combines multi-touch LCD screens with a work surface that includes touch and a stylus. The demonstration of Dell's smart desk was more concept than actual product and shows up a week after Hewlett-Packard unveiled Sprout, a blended reality interface that also includes touch and a stylus as long as a projector.


You’ll never hear successful people say these 15 phrases

If you want to become more successful as an entrepreneur or in your career, you can start by making a habit of talking and thinking more like the people you know or read about who are already successful. Here are some phrases you’ll never hear a successful person say:


8 Ways to Reduce the Stress of Balancing Work and Family

Work-life balance doesn't always work for entrepreneurs – especially for those just launching a business. And this can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. But while some founders may need to be burning the midnight oil, there are a few ways to better manage your own business and take care of your family without getting overly stressed out.


Work-Life Balance is Bull

As parents settle into the new school year — a time for new schedules, new activities and new demands — the pressure to balance life and work is ever present. But to suggest there is some way to find a perfect ‘balance’ (i.e., to focus equal time and attention on work and home) is impossible in my mind. Or to put it more bluntly – the whole concept of work-life balance is bull.


Oculus Rift in the classroom: Immersive education's next level

The popularity of immersive education is growing. But as cool and cutting-edge as the technology is, is a virtual reality environment conducive to learning?


MinecraftEdu: From game room to classroom

An educational version of the wildly popular Minecraft take kids' passion for the game and directs it toward their educational experience.


Meet Zuta, the tiny printer that drives itself to make documents on the go

Think printing is boring? Check out this independent little printer, and think again.


Canada is good at inventing, not so good at selling

In the late ’90s, Moncton-based Micro-Optics Design Corp. had the best eyeglass manufacturing machine on the market. By 2003, it had raised $50-million in funding, including $34-million in venture capital.That’s also the year the company went bankrupt.


10 ways to supercharge your applications

To make sure your apps are well built, easy to maintain, and serve the needs of the business, it's important to follow the best practices on this list.


What do the world's most successful people have in common?

There is no clear-cut way to ensure you are successful within your working life. Talent, determination, social skills and knowledge can all play a role -- or it may come down to a single flash of inspiration turned into a profitable venture. However, if we look closer at some of the most successful people out there, patterns do emerge -- whether they belong to the realm of business, academia or research. The Week explains how some simple mantras on life can make you more successful in your career -- and to start with, hard work is key.


Top 20 Education Systems in the World

The economic growth of a country is directly connected to the skills of its citizens. The tough part, and one some countries do better than others, is figuring out the best way to give those skills to students.


Make Twitter more useful: Start an unfollow strategy

Twitter is the pulse of the internet. But, if you want to keep your Twitter stream healthy and useful then you need to develop an unfollow strategy.


Study finds benefits in flexible work program at Fortune 500 company

If you’ve ever looked around the office and wondered if your company could embrace a more flexible work culture, a new randomized control trial may offer hope. Sociological researchers out of the University of Minnesota found they were about to set up a successful flexible initiative within a department of a large Fortune 500 company. And after six months, employees assigned to the flexible model reported huge benefits.


‘Not scared of pushing the envelope’: A serial ‘intrapreneur’ offers his secrets to success

Ferhan Bulca didn’t plan on being a serial intrapreneur. It just turned out that way. The mechanical engineer was working for an aerospace company when his boss shipped him off to do a joint-venture project in Colorado. The experience showed him he had a propensity to “push the envelope” of innovation without preoccupying himself with the processes that tend to stunt creative development. He also discovered he could articulate ideas without over-complicating them with techno-babble that often went over the heads of those holding the purse strings. That revelation led the native of Turkey down a path that would see him pilot numerous successful innovation drives at life sciences, steel manufacturing and IT organizations before developing a business-innovation certificate program at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies where he currently teaches the tenets of intrapreneurship to the next generation of business leaders. Mr. Bulca recently spoke with FPs Dan Ovsey about what it takes to create and maintain a culture of intrapreneurship within a large organization, how to identify and recruit intrapreneurs from within and outside a corporation, and how to keep intrapreneurial endeavours from going terribly awry. Following is an edited transcript of their conversation.


3 tips for building a successful business that doesn't burn out workers

Ryan Carson, the co-founder and CEO of Treehouse, has a fascinating article on Quartz describing three ways his company has increased efficiency so that time isn't wasted on the job, employees have more time outside of work, and the company still thrives.


If 40% of us think we're in the top 5%, what do the actual top 5% think?

Cornell University psychology professor David Dunning's prior work explained why people tend to rate themselves as more competent and more highly skilled than they actually are, AKA the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Many smart and successful people, however, seem to have the opposite problem. They tend to rate themselves as less competent than they are and feel like frauds when they're praised or awarded for their work. Studies have shown that up to 70 percent of Americans struggle with imposter syndrome, this feeling that accolades are undeserved and their success is a fluke, at some point in their lives. How is it then that most of us also overrate our own abilities?


10 things to help you bridge the IT/end user divide

As long as there have been IT departments and end users, there have been misunderstandings and miscues between the two groups. Here are some ways to close the gap and foster better relationships.


15 predictions for the digital future

Twenty-five years ago it would have been impossible to imagine all the ways the Internet would change the world. We can only imagine how the digital age will evolve and transform in the next decade.

But that's exactly what Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and Elon University have done. To mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web, the team solicited predictions from hundreds of experts in the technology sector about what the digital world will look like in 2025.

Pew then synthesized their responses into 15 common predictions -- both positive and negative -- about the state of the Internet in 2025.


How to bring the collaboration and sharing economy to the boardroom

The collaborative (or "sharing") economy is a force that is already changing the business landscape, even for the most conservative, established corporations.


Want VC funding? Don't make these mistakes

Raising venture capital funding has become a misunderstood rite of passage for startups. Understanding what you want and why you need it can make all the difference.


IBM’s predictions for 5 innovations that will change the way we live in 5 years

The 5 in 5 is an annual view from IBM’s research centre, looking at five innovations that will change the way we live, from classrooms that learn to cyber guardians, within the next five years.


Why ignoring the end-user makes you seem incompetent

IT product developers who don't try to understand the needs of end-users are doomed to fail.


Ten habits of the world’s best connection makers

Over the years of my deep study and fascination with people and social dynamics, I’ve noticed that the world’s best connectors do things in a pretty similar way. We all know the people who meet people with ease, seem to always have the influencers in their corner and are constantly surrounded by passionate and inspiring people.


10 mistakes CIOs should not make

The CIO is a difficult job to pull off, but don't make it even harder by making these mistakes. Here are 10 things to watch out for.


Tuesday is the most productive workday

It looks as though the workweek will be all downhill from here, at least when it comes to workplace productivity.


B2B Marketing: Measure What Matters

Did you know that only one to five percent of the people who "Like" your Facebook page actually see what you post on Facebook? Better still, only about 1.5 percent of those who like your Facebook page will ever return to your Facebook page?


The most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn profiles in 2013

In this case, being responsible is overrated. It’s the No. 1 most overused buzzword on LinkedIn profiles in Canada, and globally, in 2013.


Hottest Social Media Sites for 2014

A new year calls for a new look at the way businesses can use social media to leverage their marketing strategies. Keeping in mind the major trends that ruled 2013, let's look at four social media sites that will be the hottest in the coming year.


7 Critical Mistakes You're (Almost Certainly) Making On Social Media

If you are marketing on social media (and you should be) you are probably making some of these mistakes. Here's how to recognize and fix them--from the gospel of Gary Vaynerchuk


3 Personal Bad Habits Entrepreneurs Need to Break…Yesterday!

Running a successful business is one half what you do, and one half what you don’t do. You’ve heard about the popular Seven Habits series, well, you can take or leave many of them, as success is something that you define on your own terms. There are, however, bad habits that will almost certainly hinder your progress no matter what industry you’re in or what you’re doing right. Here are some of the worst habits of small business owners and entrepreneurs:


10 ways to build good coworker relationships

Good office etiquette helps build the foundation for a healthy work environment. Here are 10 tips to make the most of your interactions with coworkers.


The surprising traits of successful entrepreneurs

It’s easy to look at someone like Mark Zuckerberg — the young Facebook founder who came up with the idea for the company in his dorm room at Harvard — and think that if we haven’t come up with a great business idea by now that our time has probably passed.

Fortunately, for those of us out of college, the young high-school dropout or dorm-room entrepreneur isn’t the norm for highly-successful entrepreneurs. Vivek Wadhwa a former entrepreneur and current academic sets the record straight on Quartz:


Revelation: people pay premiums for products with compelling backstories

The ability to tell a compelling story, in human terms, isn’t just marketing happy talk. It actually increases the value of products, and ultimately, the price at which they can be sold. This point was recently raised by Ty Montague in an HBR Blog Network post, in which he urged enterprises to tell a better story around the things they sell.


6 traits of the best workplace on earth

How do you create the best workplace on earth?

Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones ponder that question in the latest issue of Harvard Business Review, summing up their discussions with hundreds of executives.


When employers duck responsibility for training, Canada loses

The uproar over the federal government’s temporary foreign worker program exposed a disturbing workplace undercurrent.

Too many employers would rather import workers than train their own.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce economist Benjamin Tal says he often talks to chief executive officers about the skills dilemma. And what he hears are sentiments such as: “I’m not in the business of training. I’m in the business of making a profit.”


Coffee dates: Network gold or time thief?

I may have to say good-bye to coffee. Not the caffeinated beverage, but the activity of “having coffee” to network with a potential business associate.

Enjoying a cup of java while engaging in stimulating conversation is one of my favourite activities, especially enjoying an iced caffeinated beverage on a patio in the summertime. So why wouldn’t I try to turn that into a productive, work-related task?


8 Things Really Successful People Do

Most people claim to want success. But not everyone is willing to do the hard work and the smart work to get there. Often opportunities present themselves and because people are distracted, they miss them or give up on them before things fully develop.

Truly successful people don't leave much to chance. They are disciplined and focused. They constantly seek new methods to achieve more, in bigger and faster ways. Listed below are eight different practices that will help you concentrate your efforts on rising above the tide.


Q&A: Linda Stone, former tech exec, on conscious computing

The first iPhone was released six years ago. The first iPad only three years ago. Amazingly, we interact with these glowing prosthetics as much as (if not more than) we engage in old school tête-à-têtes.

When it comes to our overall wellbeing, what are the consequences of this massive shift?

Linda Stone, who was at the epicenter of computer technology in the early years of the Internet, has tried to answer this inquiry — at least, in an ‘ask more questions’ Zen-like way.


15 Things Successful People Do

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

Whether in business or life, there's a fine line between success and failure. Booker T. Washington’s quote highlights the inevitability of obstacles on the path to success. In fact, I firmly believe success and failure go hand-in-hand. Those looking to succeed must first fail or learn from those who failed.

Successful individuals aren’t just born, there’s a lot more that goes into the equation. I've found those who are highly successful have a lot more in common than we may think. If you’re seeking success, these habits may come in handy.

10 IT staff development strategies

There’s little doubt that today’s IT pros need ongoing training to keep up with rapidly developing technologies. But how can IT managers make that happen?

Note: Most of these principles apply to corporate training and growth, and not strictly IT.

Ban social media as a distraction? No, it boosts productivity

Any manager who thinks staff should be banned from using social media at work is seriously misguided and could be doing grave damage to the business.

How to be the ‘disrupter’ and not the ‘disrupted’

In his eye-opening 1970 book, Future Shock, Alvin Toffler said that changes in technology and trends were happening so fast that people and society could no longer psychologically keep up. Now, even the most innovative and technologically advanced companies can’t keep up with the pace of change — markets are now being disrupted in a matter of days, versus months or years.

The PC of 2023 is your smartphone and cloud

In 10 years, what we refer to as personal computing will be radically different than what we experience today.

Want To Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better Writer

The number of poorly written emails, resumes and blog posts I come across each month is both staggering and saddening. Their grammar is awful. There are dozens of misspellings. Language is much wordier or more complex than necessary. Some things I read literally make no sense at all to me.

Q&A: Michael Michalko, creative thinking expert

As a consultant for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, Michael Michalko knows how to bring out the creativity in even the most uninspired mind. Michalko, the author of Thinkertoys and Creative Thinkering, spoke with me last week about how school teaches us to be less creative, the role of creativity in business and how to use thought experiments to expand our minds.