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Interview With Christopher Owens – Why Millennial Networking Is Different

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Christopher Owens

Whether you are at an event passing out your business cards or chatting with someone a few states away through email, you’re familiar with networking. The question is, what changed? With the growth of technology, there’s no denying that millennials network differently. Meetups are organized and advertised through networking platforms or social media and filled with people of similar interests. Relationships are built and groups decide to stay in touch more regularly than just bumping into each other every now and then. We connected with the Founder of LincSphere, Christopher Owens. He built the app to optimize power networking and make it easier to connect with others. In this interview, Christopher was able to pinpoint networking flaws and gave advice on how to grow and optimize your network.

What are some tips you can give for networking?

When you meet or speak with a networking contact, be genuinely INTERESTED in them. Ask a lot of questions and be curious. To be clear, DON’T ASK PROSPECTING QUESTIONS. Just learn more about them, not only as a professional, but also as a person. Your goal for this line of questioning is, “Is there any way I can add value to this person’s professional or personal life.” Of course you might be able to help them by selling your product to them, but you should initially place that idea to the side and focus on other ways you can help.  

From interacting with this person, see if there is any reason you would want to develop the relationship. Of course, if they want your product, you would want to talk with them further, but there are many other potential reasons for engaging further. Maybe they could be a good referral partner for you. Maybe you have the same hobbies or feel strongly about supporting the same causes. Maybe you could see yourself mentoring them or vice versa. But either find SOME reason for wanting to engage further, or allow yourself to let that contact fall to the wayside, at least for now (maybe that will change the next time you run into them). It is true that you can be too narrow-minded in your networking, only keeping the business cards of potential customers. But it is also true that you can be too unrestricted in your networking, keeping the cards of every single person you meet ‘just in case’.  When you do that, you will end up diluting your interest for networking in general, because you feel obligated to follow-up with contacts you have no real interest in.

What are common networking mistakes?

1) Talking too much and too early about yourself instead of asking questions and listening to the other person.

2) Not following up regularly with the people you want to build relationships with. There’s a statistic in sales that 80% of sales happen from the 5th to the 12th contact with someone. The same basic principle applies to building relationships in networking.

3) Not networking until you need it. Networking is the LONG game. It takes time and repeated contact to build a relationship usually. Sure, there are occasional times you will get instant gratification from a networking contact (someone wants to do business with you right after you met them) but those instances are the outliers. Start building your network when you DON’T need it and it will be there for you when you do.

What is the biggest difference between small businesses and startups?

Well, the best definition I’ve ever seen is from author Steve Blank, who explains that a startup is not merely a smaller version of a larger company. It is a temporary organization in search of a business model. In other words, a startup ‘isn’t quite sure what it will be when it grows up’. Startups are often creating new markets, trying to solve problems others have not tackled yet, or finding an innovative way to solve an old problem. So startups are always operating on a certain set of ASSUMPTIONS about who their customers are, what their problems are and what kind of solutions they are looking for. The startup, in it’s early days, is testing their assumptions and seeing how the market reacts. In the end they may find that the customer they are really servicing and the exact problem they are addressing are a few (or many) degrees away from where they started, and so they adjust course and change their business model to fit that. Or they could find that they were completely wrong about the problem they were solving and might shut down.

On the other hand, a small business is starting a company of which there is already a clear market, clear customers, a clear problem and lots of competition. There are FAR fewer unknowns in a small business. Their main issue is just how well they execute the processes and methods that have already been proven out hundreds or thousands of times by other companies.

How has networking changed for millennials?

Well I can’t speak from the millennial perspective, because I’m not one. But the main difference I see now from a decade or so ago is that there are so many more ways to communicate. Used to be you could meet someone in person, call on the phone, or email and that was it. Now if you reach out to a networking contact you can call, text, IM, email, Skype, connect on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn or a host of other applications. For the most part, this a great advantage over what previous generations had. Not only because of convenience and being able to find the right communication medium your contact likes to use, but also because anyone has a decent chance these days of connecting directly with celebrities or business thought leaders if you do it right. And then there’s how easy international communication is. You no longer have to have a lot of frequent flyer miles in order to have an international network. It’s an amazing time to be networking.

What is the problem LincSphere is trying to solve?

There are two problems, actually. The first is that most people are not organized at all with their networking relationships. They collect a bunch of business cards at events and those cards sit in a pile somewhere on their desk or in a drawer, not doing anyone very much good. There has never been a complete business networking CRM-like tool for easily coordinating all of the actions a person does or should do when building networking relationships, and so we wanted to provide that.

The second issue is actually the more important one. It is that most networkers treat networking as a kind of a self-interested prospecting game. Kind of like cold-calling in person. When done like that it’s kind of like hunting or fishing where the person is only looking for the opportunities immediately available. But the best networkers out there – the power connectors – approach networking more like farming. They are planting seeds, caring for the growth of those relationships and playing the long game. They know that the watchword of all networking is “generosity”. They help their connections without any expectation of a ‘quid pro-quo’ or tit-for-tat. They view it more like ‘karma’ in that they give help freely and just figure it will come back to them somehow. And LincSphere was specifically designed in all its features to promote that generosity mindset in our users.

When is the launch date?

Well as far as the iPhone goes, we ARE launched. The app has been out since summer 2016. We are working on building a web interface now and we’re also working to bring on investors so we can launch the Android version and do a lot more.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

You Need To Know What Happened To Snapchat Stock

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snapchat stock

Released in September 2011, Snapchat brought time-sensitive photos to the social media realm. It encouraged users to rely on those images to show their friends interesting, funny or memorable things. March 2018 data reveals Snapchat stock is down more than 15 percent compared to the previous month, leading some people to wonder if it’s too risky to own Snapchat shares. Well-known pop culture stars can capture the attention of people all over the world by posting material on social media. Snapchat got reminded of that twice recently. What’s happened with the brand recently to cause the downward trend in Snapchat stock? And what’s likely ahead for the app?

The App Got a Recent Redesign

In November 2017, Snapchat revamped the application’s interface, but that decision caused an uproar among some users. Despite the pushback, Snapchat is sticking with the new look. Before rolling it out, site representatives acknowledged some users find Snapchat “difficult to understand or hard to use”. The app partially prompted a different layout that allows people to sort the content they see, among other things. Snapchat clearly aims to keep the service fresh and exciting for current and potential users. But, besides the new layout that’ll reportedly be tweaked throughout this year, what else can people expect?

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel spoke favorably about the facelift, saying, “While we are still very early in the rollout, we are optimistic about the potential to unlock additional growth with the redesign of our application. As expected, it will take time for our community to get used to the changes, but overall, we are pleased with the initial results and will be making the redesign available to our entire community in the first quarter.”

Indeed, it does take time for people to adjust to change, and user bases often aren’t happy when their favorite social media sites debut significant changes. That’s why I expect this displeasure about Snapchat’s evolution will blow over soon. However, that’s not the only problem the service has dealt with lately, and you can see it in Snapchat stock.

Unfavorable Mentions From Two High-Profile Celebrities

 

First, in February 2018, Kylie Jenner confessed she doesn’t open Snapchat anymore and asked if anyone else had stopped using it. Afterward, Snapchat stock prices sank 6.1 percent, causing a loss of $1.3 billion in market value.

kylie jenner

Then, less than a month later, Snapchat came under fire again for allowing a phone game advertisement to run that asked viewers if they’d rather “slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown.”

Many angrily took screenshots of the offensive ad and recalled the 2009 incident, which involved Rihanna and then-partner Chris Brown. He was arrested after an assault on her that occurred the night before that year’s Grammy Awards ceremony.

Soon, Rihanna posted a response on her Instagram feed. It’s no longer visible there, but people quickly took screenshots of it while reporters quoted the singer’s irate words.

Rihanna Snapchat

In a quote given to the BBC, Snapchat said, “The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines. We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware. We are sorry that this happened.”

The apology did not stop people from accusing Snapchat of allowing content that made light of domestic violence. The site might be doomed after Kylie Jenner and Rihanna’s comments. After Rihanna’s statement, Snapchap stock plunged again by nearly 5 percent.

Also, people chimed in to say if Rihanna advised people to delete their Snapchat accounts, they would. The hubbub even caught the attention of former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who called the ad “just awful” in her own tweet.

It’s also likely there will be more sudden action with Snapchat stock prices. Despite the plunges due to Kylie Jenner’s and Rihanna’s comments, the company had the biggest one-day jump in Snapchat stock history this February due to news it added nearly 9 million more daily users.

Snapchat Bans ICO Ads

Snapchat announced a ban of all advertisements for initial coin offerings (ICOs). They’re following the lead of fellow social media site Facebook, which outlawed all cryptocurrency ads of a non-educational nature. The news came in mid-March shortly after the Rihanna incident. T could cause some people to wonder if the site is cracking down on other kinds of advertising.

That recent occurrence is not the only evidence that suggests the two social media sites pay attention to each other’s actions. Last spring, Facebook began letting people post content that disappears after 24 hours, just like Snapchat stories. Users could also personalize the Facebook content with stickers and filters, which Snapchat offers too.

New Features Are Continually Available

At the end of January 2018, Snapchat announced a way for people to depend on visual references from selfies while creating their Bitmojis. They are Snapchat avatars that represent site users. Snapchat calls the feature “Bitmoji Deluxe.” It lets people study selfies to make their bitmojis as realistic as possible.

A couple of years ago, Snapchat dropped hints about the possibility that people could create Bitmojis automatically with help from facial recognition technology. There’s no sign of that ability in this latest update. But since an increasing number of today’s gadgets identify people by their faces, it makes sense Snapchat might offer it relatively soon. They’re already focusing on making the Bitmojis better.

When Snapchat made the Snap Map feature available last summer, it attracted attention while catering to people’s desire to know what’s happening in real time. Although some might say Snap Map triggers FOMO, other people think the location-sharing feature is cool. Those who don’t want to use it have the option to stay in “Ghost Mode.”

Snapchat Merchandise

I think Snapchat will incorporate a much more stringent ad-screening process based on the recent Rihanna fiasco. Plus, 2018 could be the year Snapchat re-enters the physical merchandise realm after its 2016 foray that saw it offering glasses that take pictures from a first-person perspective and let people upload them to Snapchat.

The company is reportedly currently developing new versions of those spectacles that are water-resistant. They come in more than one color and could be available as soon as this fall. That effort for the company to diversify makes sense, especially if Snapchat wants to profit from indirect income streams.

Google recently debuted its Cilps camera, which uses artificial intelligence to decide when to snap photos that seem most interesting. Similarly, there are rumors Spotify wants to start selling products such as speakers.

The months ahead will be action-packed for people who use Snapchat regularly. Those who are curious about the performance of this social media service will be following closely. If the service can achieve the growth it seeks from the redesign and continual rollout of features, it’ll likely be in the headlines even more than usual.

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Why Amazon’s Second HQ Should Choose Nashville

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Amazon's Second HQ

Nashville is amongst 20 cities being considered for Amazon’s second headquarters site. The “Country Music Capital of the World” hopes to boost their state’s job market with the new Amazon Headquarters. Amazon’s second HQ expects to invest more than $5 billion to build the 8-million-square-foot facility and promises to create as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs over the next 15 years. Before any decisions are made, the company created specific requirements to be met for each city. Some of the requirements include a metropolitan area with over a million people, a time distance of 45 minutes from an international airport, direct access to public transportation, and to be able to expand 8 million square feet in the next decade.

The Unemployment rate is on the rise in Nashville. City officials have their sights set on the on the jobs that Amazon’s Second HQ will provide for 50,000 residents. “It is going to increase the size of the economy,” University of Tennessee Economist Bill Fox stated, “It is going to bring in a really highly skilled labor force that is not already there, a lot of community leaders. To have somebody with the worldwide vision of Amazon look at Nashville and say, ‘This is the place we want to be’ is really good for the brand.”

The aspect of new jobs may not be enough for some to welcome the online retailer with open arms. Residents of Nashville fear the new site would affect the housing market for low income families  in the process. “If you look at the size of Nashville, a headquarters like this bringing tens of thousands of jobs, it’s going to radically affect what the housing landscape looks like,” said Javier Vivas, Realtor.com’s director of economic research. Amazon’s decision creates an atmosphere for the conservation of gentrification not only for Nashville, but the other 19 cities in the running. “We have a housing crisis now and all this would do is throw gasoline on the fire,” said John Summers, a former Metro Council member who now leads the Coalition for Nashville Neighborhoods. “We cannot build affordable housing to replace what’s being lost by the rapid gentrification in all of our inner-city neighborhoods.”

The community of Nashville are now able to broadcast their opinions on Amazon. While state officials deal with the financial benefits, agencies and businesses within Nashville are now able to give insight on their city as well. This is why Amazon’s second HQ should choose Nashville.

If you are an agency from Nashville, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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Why Amazon’s Second Headquarters Should Choose Northern Virginia

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Amazon’s second headquarters

Among the top 20 shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters, Northern, Virginia is not a stranger to the massive tech company. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have frequently conducted business in the region. Bezos is known to own The Washington Post and Amazon’s cloud service AWS is situated in a huge data center in the northern Virginia region. It is no surprise that Northern, VA is listed on the list. This region proved to be a safe home for Bezos’ businesses, it would only make sense that Northern, VA is the next home for HQ2.

While the nation waits for the announcements of Amazon’s second headquarters, speculations rise as Amazon employees crowd ARLnow.com. The local news-source for Arlington Virginia have reported major traffic from an internal Amazon site. The article reporting the county’s green building council had received over 6,000 page views and 3,500 visitors from an Amazon web page that is only visible to Amazon employees. Amazon’s interest in the community’s dedication to sustainability is predicted to help the company’s future development of a sustainable building of their own.

The area is surrounded by copious international airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Richmond International Airport for Amazon’s consideration  of transportation. The bid for Amazon had reports of the Hub property as a potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters. This 85-acre undeveloped location is near the Dulles Airport, perfect for Amazon’s demands.

Amazon’s second headquarters

Amazon announced that they are developing a second headquarter of up to 8 million square feet in order to accommodate 50,000 workers. The plan to bring in 50,000 lucrative jobs to the new location will create billions of dollars in investment for the community. This opportunity for economic expansion does not come often, but neither does a perfect business location in Northern Virginia that is close to Bezos’ other businesses.

A possible site for Amazon’s second headquarters is on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties along Metro’s Silver Line. “We are very excited that Northern Virginia is included on the short list as a potential location for Amazon’s second headquarters,” spoke the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova. “Fairfax and Loudoun counties are able to offer a great quality of life coupled with an innovative and business friendly culture for future Amazon corporate neighbors and employees. With our highly educated and talented workforce and a location close to Dulles International Airport and a new Silver Line train station, we hope we will have the opportunity to welcome Amazon HQ2 to Virginia.”

Small businesses and agencies within Virginia are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Virginia.

If you are an agency from Virginia, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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