3 Keys for Running a Cohesive Global Business Team in a Virtual Work Environment

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Virtual collaboration has become a pillar of today’s workplace, often involving workforces that extend across international borders. The number of companies that use an entirely virtual business model grew from 26 in 2014 to 125 in 2016, the latest FlexJobs annual update reveals. Organizations with multinational operations are over twice as likely as U.S.-based operations to use virtual teams, SHRM reports.

But managing a transnational workforce can be challenging. Approximately half of companies that use virtual teams find team building and managing time differences can be obstacles, SHRM’s research shows. The majority of virtual teams struggle to meet their goals and satisfy their clients due to difficulties with virtual communication and collaboration technology, Harvard Business Review says.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to address these issues. Here are three strategies you can implement to help make your global business team run more smoothly in a virtual workplace environment.

Use Telepresence Tools to Promote Face-to-Face Interaction

Lack of face-to-face interaction is one of the biggest challenges for managing virtual teams. Interacting with managers and coworkers exclusively on a computer or smartphone can discourage worker engagement. Employees who work only remotely have the lowest engagement rates with their jobs, a Gallup poll found.

You can compensate for lack of physical presence by using virtual office tools to make your workers feel closer to your company. Unified communications solutions that include video chat and web conferencing capability allow your workers to see each other as well as share visual aids so that everyone is looking at the same thing. Schedule regular video meetings to make face-to-face interaction part of your workplace routine.

Take Steps to Bridge Time Differences

Another major obstacle for global virtual teams is dealing with time zone differences. When your managers and workers are operating on schedules eight or 12 or more hours apart, keeping projects on time and meeting deadlines can be a hurdle.

To get your workforce on the same page chronologically, let employees know your expectations before you hire them. Establish what work hours are, and use time tracking tools to log billable hours if needed. In some cases, team members in one or both locations may need to shift schedules. If your team can’t be on the same schedule, one way to handle this is to have periodic five-minute check-ins at a time when parties on both ends of the conversation can be present.

Build Trust With Virtual Team Building Exercises

Reduced face-to-face interaction makes building trust a challenge in a virtual work environment. The lack of physical presence makes it vital to take proactive steps to promote trust between workers, managers and coworkers.

Allowing team members opportunities to socialize remotely can help build trust. Holding periodic meetings to share personal updates, creating online discussion groups and sending group emails are a few ways to do this. Encouraging team members to play each other in online games is another strategy. Another idea is having virtual coffee meetings where each team member goes to their local coffee shop before logging in for a group video conversation.

NY Startup Founder’s Baby Was Sitting In Wet Data: Internet Of Things Comes To Diapers

Smart Diapers, Pixie Scientific, Sensors, NY Startup, Internet of things

Back in October when All Thing’s Digital’s Kara Swisher was speaking at Chicago IdeaWeek, she said that sensors would be the big thing this year. She was absolutely right. There are sensors monitoring everything from your car, to your workout, to your dog’s workout, and now a baby’s diaper.

Last year Yaroslav Faybishenko, the founder of New York startup Pixie Scientific was in the car with his wife and their baby daughter. His wife had asked him if their daughter had a wet diaper. According to this New York Times article, that’s when Faybishenko realized his daughter was sitting in data.

Now you may be thinking, like I was, that sensors to tell if your baby had a wet or soiled diaper may be on the brink of pure laziness. Typically a parent can smell or otherwise observe that their baby’s diaper is full. No sense in getting an app for that, but Pixie Scientific’s “Smart Diapers” are much more than that.

With the Smart Diaper, a urine analysis square is put inside the diaper and when it becomes wet it’s scanned with a smartphone app. The app returns helpful data about the levels of glucose, ketones, proteins, and other things found in urine.

According to babycenter.com, urinary tract infections in babies can be very hard to detect. Sometimes a fever is the only symptom. When a baby has a fever without any other kind of symptoms it can be troubling to the parent. They’re also difficult to detect because it’s hard to get a bacteria free sample from a young baby. Smart Diaper’s technology would provide a great data source for pediatricians.

How much data?

Well there are 360 million diapers changed per day.

smartdiaper2

Smart Diapers aren’t just about UTI’s though. The sensor can tell if the baby is properly hydrated or if other harmful things are in the urine. There is a sensor with a qr code built in that is on the outside of the diaper. The parent just scans the qr code with their iPhone and all the data sent to the cloud comes back down to their phone with a complete analysis of the child’s latest urine.

Smart Diapers has taken to Indiegogo to raise $225,000, they have 59 days left as of the writing of this article. They’ve received a ton of national press including appearances on ABC News, BBC, CBS, and more.

You can support them at Indiegogo here.

 

This Louisville startup puts sensors in a tooth brush.

EE-LASTCHANCE

List.ly is the Slideshare for Lists

Listly, Canadian startup,startup, startup interviewHave you ever read a “Top 10…” list and thought, “Hmm, they missed something”?

Now, with Listly, brands and content companies can make lists interactive and embeddable. Communities love it because they can share a whole list or just part of one. They can even contribute to a list by interacting with it right in blog posts. No more scrolling through comments to find out if people agree with your list.

Listly is also great for brands. As we all know, these days, content is king, and the more content a brand can produce, the more opportunities they have to reach their audience. Lists are easily the most popular content on the web, and Listly makes it easy for brands to create and use those lists.

What is your startup, what does it do?

List.ly.

We take the most effective form of content marketing, the numbered list post, and we make it collaborative, interactive, and embedable. Human beings simply love to consume information in the form of numbered lists. This explains who 30% of posts are in the familiar form of “10 ways to..” “17 tips to…” “27 things you must not …”. We simply bring life these blog posts by letting people vote and contribute directly on the list. We make it easier to share and embed these interactive lists. You can share the whole list or just an item. You can embed the whole list or just an item. We track where and when your lists are seen and we also track who and how people interact with each list.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Shyam Subramanyan  & Nick Kellet

We’ve both got a background in startups and building brands. We make a great team. We complement each other.

Where are you based?

We’re based out of California in the Bay Area.  I live in Canada.

What is the startup culture like where you are based?

San Fran is about a tech as it gets. I live in Kelowna in BC, which has an aspiring tech culture. Exits like Club Penguin, Vineyard Networks, and Workfire put Kelowna on the map. Plus there’s an event called Metabridge that is really working to connect Kelowna to Silicon Valley.

What problem does your startup solve?

 We help brands get found and we help them foster engagement with the community.

 

What is the greatest challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

The list hasn’t evolved since the invention of HTML. That is the opportunity we are creating. We are to lists what slideshare is to slides. You put your lists on Listly and embed them back on your blog. The model has been proven for static content like slides, videos and audio. Were just taking that model one step further as lists evolve over time and can be contributed to by many. People are always skeptical when a new type of data is created. The challenge we have overcome building the credibility needed for people to place their lists with Listly.

 To this point with have lists embedded on 5000+ blogs. We have thousands of publishers who’ve signed up and used the platform. 

 

What are some of the milestones your startup has achieved?

 Lots of iterations along the way, but three major:

V1 – Simple social embeddable lists

V2 – Scaling / cachable lists and synchronizing the experience between listly and blogs

V3 – Responsive Listly – A simpler, consistent experience across smart phones, tablets and desktops.

All these build on Listly as a publishing platform and a serious piece of internet infrastructure.

 

What are your next milestones?

We’re focused on small incremental steps right now and in driving our adoption metrics and our monthly active user count. Our core focus is to get more embeds. We’re also building out our API so people can build the use of Listly lists into their applications and workflows.

What’s next for your startup?

More of the same. Were focused on removing friction, driving up the number of embeds, and on building brand awareness so people are happy to jump in and vote or contribute to a list. We’ll also be putting more focus on our premium product to cater to the needs of bigger brands and publishers.

Where can people find out more, and what is your Twitter username?

@listly, @nickkellet @shyamster

Hollywood Hack A Day, Final Recap

It’s like a party, you are afraid that no one will show up”

Rahim Sonawalla mentioned to me about his fears about putting together Hollywood Hack A Day. But boy did they show up. While Kyle was in Memphis for a Launch event this past weekend, I was on the West Coast. More specifically Hollywood California to witness Hollywood Hack Day taking place at io/LA which was nice enough to provide their location to use for the weekend. Put together by Ryan Chisholm, Rahim Sonawalla and Abe Burns, this weekends event expected around around 70 developers, graphic artist, and visionaries to show up. Battling 80 degree crystal clear skies, developers spent all weekend from 0900 on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday putting together not only presentations but working projects as well.

Read More…

Startups: Dot Registry LLC Has Filed For Four New Top Level Domains

The folks at Dot Registry LLC realize that we’re running out of good .com domain names. The newer .co is taking over as a recognized worldwide domain name, in fact LeWeb founder Loic Lemur recently changed their web presence from a .net to a .co domain name, ahead of their new event in London.

Dot Registry LLC has filed for some domain names that may be real appealing to both startups and small businesses. The extensions that they filed for are .LLC, .INC,.LLP and .CORP these four domain suffixes mean that many of these new startups can register their official company name as their domain name.

“ It is our goal to create increased integrity for  business representation online by developing gTLDs that represent specific business entity  classifications. Through our corporate gTLD strings we will work to decrease the possibility of  identity misrepresentation in a cyber setting and assist small to medium size businesses in legitimizing their services online.” Dot Registry LLC CEO Shaul Jolles said in a statement today.

DOT Registry worked closely with many Secretary of State’s offices to develop their registration
policies, which call for transparency in reporting and annual verification. Additionally, securing
support letters from these Secretary of State’s offices in order to affirm the necessity of
restrictions surrounding the strings LLC, INC, LLP and CORP. DOT Registry was informed by
the position of the National Association of Secretary of States Business Services Committee in
regards to business identity theft in a cyber setting and has taken a position similar to that
described in NASS’s White Paper in regards to the importance of accurately representing
businesses online.

In a March 20, 2012 letter to ICANN the Secretary of State of Delaware, Jeffrey W. Bullock
whom protects the integrity of Delaware’s legal entity registration system, which is home to
nearly one million legal entities and 63% of Fortune 500 companies indicated that, “it is
absolutely critical that if ICANN determines to grant such name extensions (. INC, .LLC, .CORP)
… that it does so in a restricted manner that is intended to protect consumers and the community
of interest that exists among validly registered US companies” he further indicated that “at
minimum, any approval for company ending strings be restricted in such a way that reasonably
assures that the legal entity is, in fact, an active and validly registered legal entity in the United
States, as DOT Registry LLC has proposed within its application.”

Jolles indicates that his, “ team has worked tirelessly to develop guidelines that will be both user
friendly and allow our registrars to appropriately determine if an applicant is in fact a registered
US business. Over the last six months we have created strong partnerships with the leading
corporate registration companies in order to have the most efficient and credible registration
process possible. As a corporate affiliate of the National Organization of Secretary of States
(NASS), we feel an acute sense of responsibility to uphold our company’s mission and guidelines
in order to deliver a strong product and we are excited to participate in this newest evolution of
the Internet.”

Linkage:

For more information on these top level domains visit Dot Registry here

We’re the voice of startups everywhere else, here are some great interviews from everywhere else

Yahoo Kills Livestand

Yahoo, a company with a brand new CEO, Ross Levinsohn, is shutting down it’s News stand that it started just months ago. In an application I nor many of you have ever heard about Livestand, was supposed to be Yahoos response to Flipboard which like many of Yahoo’s recent projects has failed. In an attempt to turn the company around Levinsohn is trying to streamline what the company does.

While we received great feedback on Livestand’s design and it earned a 4-star rating in the App Store, we committed ourselves to continuously measure and scrutinize what’s working and what isn’t. We have learned a lot from Livestand and are actively applying those insights toward the development of future products that are better aligned with Yahoo!’s holistic mobile strategy.

Regan Clark mentions on Yahoo’s Blog. While never making any inroads or showing any interest in Android, Yahoo is said to be wanting to push full steam ahead with Mobile, as seen with it’s recent launch of Axis.

Read More…

Facebook To Buy Opera, To Gain More Of A Footprint In Mobile

 

In a move that makes as much sense as buying a company for $1 billion only to release an application just like it weeks later, rumor has it Facebook is looking to buy Opera. Facebook, which is now having to go before the SEC over how it handled its IPO is rumored to want to buy the Browser. Facebook which listed Mobile as a major interest in it’s IPO filing is quickly pushing full steam ahead to build it’s Mobile footprint. Which the acquisitions of Lightbox, Instagram and others Facebook looks to be pushing forward to the often rumored and mythical Facebook Phone.

With getting closer and closer to 1 billion users, having a browser will no doubt send shock waves in what is already a fierce battle between Google with Chrome and Microsoft with Internet Explorer. With the addition of a browser, rumored Application store, buying/built a Camera interface with Instagram and it’s own newly released iOS application, Lightbox for gallery. The only thing left for a full on blitz is an operating system. However after seeing what Amazon did with the Kindle, could a Forked Android version be what Facebook is soon to be looking at building or would buying RIM for it’s Blackberry OS finally push FB into building it’s own phone.

Source: Pocket-lint

Launching Tonight Yahoo’s Answer To Chrome, I Think

 

Yahoo, tonight is launching what they are calling a “Chrome Killer”. But there is a problem, as you can see right now you can download a plugin to use it on…guess what? Chrome.

I don’t get it either. As of now, when you go to axis.yahoo.com you are able to “Download it now”(Chrome Extension) view a video of it or see an ad for it. While having a new choice in browsers is nice, I’m still not sure why Yahoo will try something else it’ll fail at instead of fixing their problems they have now. Visually, it looks good until you realize how much quicker Chrome is to use, and return to using it.

 

Rogue Anonymous Member Takes Responsibility For Downing The Ship Of Pirate Bay

 

Two days ago we reported on how Pirate Bay, the leading site for illegal torrents was being attacked by DDoS attacks. However, at the time no one including Pirate Bay knew who the attack was coming from. Leading votes where from the MPAA, RIAA or a Government, after Anonymous claimed it wasn’t them. That’s when the thought came to me that It could be someone(team) that has defected from the collective and that’s what it turned out to be.

Read More…

Apple Now Censors Jailbreak From iTunes Store

Apple, taking a page out of Twitters arsenal and censoring things it doesn’t like has added another one. The word JailBreak will no longer be found in the iTunes store. For those that don’t know, Jailbreaking: iOS jailbreaking, or simply jailbreaking, is the process of removing the limitations imposed by Apple on devices running the iOS operating system through the use of custom kernels.

So with Apple, not liking the fact that people pay hundreds of dollars, or even body parts, to own not rent/barrow the device. They are trying to get rid of any and all evidence about such products. So besides Applications being disallowed for political reasons into the iTunes store, any mention of Jailbreaking will now be as well.

Source: Cult Of Mac

[Updated] Anonymous Denies Attack Yet Pirate Bay Still Downed By DDoS Attack

Down goes the ship. That’s what’s been happening over at Pirate Bay for the last couple of day. The popular torrent site has been plagued by  non-stop DDoS attacks. Known to be one of the most prolific sites for illegal torrents(Simply, a torrent is data about a target file, though it contains no information about the content of the file. The only data that the torrent holds is information about the location of different pieces of the target file. Torrents work by dividing the target file into small information chunks, found on an unlimited number of different hosts. Through this method, torrents are able to download large files quickly) As well as legal torrents. However, in recent times the site has come under legal attack in Europe by forcing ISP’s to block access to the site.

In reaction to that, Anonymous has targeted multiple sites, including UK’s Virgin Media, which Pirate Bay actually condemned them for those actions. However, Anonymous has sent out multiple comments on different social sites claiming those attacks on Pirate Bay are not their doing.

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Wolfenstein 3D Free to Play Online

Screenshot from Wolfenstein 3DThis is something that may make some people feel old, Wolfenstein 3D, turned 20 years old recently. To commemorate the event, Bethesda Software, has released the full version of the game as a free in-browser game, which can be found here.

Wolfenstein 3D was the brainchild of John Carmack of id Software, and is seen to many as one of the first FPS games that really brought the genre to the masses on PCs everywhere. The free in-browser game contains all three levels of the game, and all four difficulties.

While Wolfenstein was one the first hits that id Software has on its hands, it was by no means the only hit that they had. A year later John Carmack along with John Romero had another hit on their hands with DOOM.

How many people are excited to go back through the original Castle Wolfenstein and fend off the Nazi soldiers, attack dogs, and the mutant monsters?

Source: Bethesda

 

Cloud Storage, Which Is Best For You

 

 

With Cloud Storage gaining more and more popular with companies like Dropbox, SugarSync and Box we take a look at what would be best for you. They are differ in many ways, Box for one, has a great Android tablet UI, where Dropbox goes for the more minimal approach. We also highlight a new company trying to come around with SpiderOak which prides it’s self on customer service along with price. You’ll see all the cost,storage and some features each has.

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Not Anonymous This Time: 15 Year Old Austrian Boy Arrested For Hacking 259 Businesses

Austrian officials admit they are still investigating and totaling up the damage however as it stands 15-year-old who goes by the hacker handle ACK!3STX has been arrested, and so far charged with hacking over 259 businesses.

The damage includes stealing data from businesses and publicly posting it, defacing company websites, and of course breaking security infrastructures. There was no specific target. The young hacker hacked everything sports sites, travel sites, tourism sites, adult sites and more, reports ZDNet.

The Austria Federal Criminal Police Office reported that as soon as the boy was questioned he admitted to the attacks. All of the hacking happened between January of 2012 and March of 2012. He said he was bored and wanted to prove himself, and proving himself is exactly what he did. He found a hacker forum that gave points for successful hacks, after three months he was in the top 50 out of 2,000 hackers registered on the forum.

At some point the young man either forgot to use anonymizing software or his anonymizing software failed him and his IP address was traced back to his residence in Lower Austria. From there authorities were able to get a search warrant and track him down.

The investigation is on going and its also been reported that Europol is trying to determine the number of attacks in both Austria and abroad. The hacker’s real name was withheld because of his age.

source: ZD Net
image courtesy of ZDNet via Sebastian Gruber