Author: Farhat Chowdhury Zishan

POWERFUL LESSONS ON HOW CEOS TACKLE FAILURE AND SETBACKS

In a world like ours, the only way to survive the hectic competition in the market is to climb to the top – head steady and strong. But like all things of nature following the basic law of physics – the higher they climb, the harder is the fall towards failure. All of the best leaders and entrepreneurs are well versed in this agenda, and keeping their minds clear through any storm is crucial to reach the top of the ladder, which is why you see their names on the best listings and billboards around the world. No company was built overnight and none had a straight path to the climb, which is why the leaders of the world all follow some specific strategies and tactics to help them set themselves up for the best results even in the worst-case scenarios.

Most successful people will let you know that they faced their share of failure in some point of their career but no one can put it better into words as the Co-founder of Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, who said “My mother used to tell me, ‘failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success.’ So at some point, I learned not to dread failure.” – And we couldn’t agree more. Failure is a part of the journey and without its part in this play, no one would be able to create things to the best of their abilities.

Sometimes there is a crossroad at the end of a failed project, and choices that are made is actually what determines where people go from there. Kathryn Minshew, the founder, and CEO of “THE MUSE” shared her experience about PYP Media – a website where Kathryn had invested all of her life savings. A power struggle over the company took over and she had lost all access to the website. She said and we quote “We could have sued, or we could have started over. We chose the latter.” Kathryn started brand new with her current cofounders, two of them who had left PYP Media to start The Muse, and ended up building a better product, stronger morals while raising over $2 million for the venture as well as reaching over 15 million people with their product.
Even Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple Inc. has said that the idea of death motivated him to never fear failure. The realization that life is temporary and could end at any given moment, failure seemed like a very small price to pay. He said and we quote “All fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” Apple was not a brand that was built overnight and Steve Jobs has had his fair share of multiple failures across his career is known to the world, yet it is the world’s top brand. His story is proof of how each failure is simply one step closer to success and Apple Inc is now labeled as the biggest tech company by Forbes.

Similar to Steve, Bill Gates also was a drop out from college and ended up building the empire of Microsoft as we know now. On multiple occasions, Gates has always mentioned the importance of learning from failure. Before his march towards success and enrollment at Harvard, he started his own company at the age of seventeen, named Traf-O-Data. The company was a computerized project that used a chip that could process and analyze traffic data, and even though the company was a failure at the time, he was able to use this experience and come build one of the biggest names in the tech industry. Microsoft itself wasn’t an overnight project either. Over the years Microsoft has also dealt with multiple failures one after the other, yet the company is standing strong with its brand name labeled as one of the best in the world. If there is anything to take away from the CEO of Microsoft, it is as he quotes “Once you embrace unpleasant news not as a negative but as evidence of a need for change, you aren’t defeated by it. You’re learning from it. It’s all in how you approach failures.”

Even the biggest names in the industry didn’t shy away from their struggles with failures and which is why all these great CEOs and entrepreneurs had their A-game straight. Some of the common tactics to fight off oncoming failures can be maneuvered into a synchronized music drop like the dramatic climax so that when the tempo comes on top again, it gets the whole orchestra into another level. 

SOME HELPFUL DEFENSE PLANS TO REMEMBER WHEN HANDLING AN ORGANIZATION SO THAT EVEN IN THE WORST OF TIMES, YOU ARE WELL PREPARED TO TACKLE THE SITUATION HEAD-ON.

1. LEARN TO ACCEPT FAILURE
Sometimes it is hard to see things that you have worked so hard on collapsing right in front of you, but embracing it and finding another route is something we have seen again and again which results in a successful venture. The managing director of Harvard Innovation Labs, Jodi Goldstein said that one of the most important lessons she can teach her students is to fail gracefully. If the top Ivy League schools of the world can prepare their students in this manner, surely there is always something to take from a failed project and working around it with a positive attitude.

2. BUILD A SAFE ENVIRONMENT TO THRIVE IN
Companies don’t build themselves, and every single employee is an important part of the project when it comes to building something new. While great leaders take responsibility of their employee’s work, it is also important to have a working environment where the employees feel safe to work and thrive as the lungs of the company to build it stronger, make amends to mistakes and create an overall strong bond which is significant for a resilient foundation atop which to erect an unwavering empire.

3. AMEND YOUR PROBLEMS
Mistakes are inevitable when it comes to working for something, and while being on top is a privilege, do not leave room for someone else to clean up your mess. Being attentive, honest and hardworking pays off in the long run and that includes taking responsibility and working after your actions.

4. APOLOGIZE WHEN NEEDED
Extending to the last point, when it comes to managing a lot of people under one roof, mistakes are inevitable but one thing that may happen within the office shouldn’t reflect upon your clients and potential target market and therefore always remain on top of your game, and apologize fast where necessary because leaving things for assumption overtime will make people lose faith in your work as well as your morals.

5. LOOKING FORWARD
Sometimes the trauma of failure can work up a nightmare, yet it is important to know that there is nothing that can be done to what happened in the past. The ideal should be to guide the crew out of the sandstorm and plan for what is about to come next. Reminiscing on the past has its fair share of risks and as a leader blinds you to the opportunities in the competitive market. Moving on from trauma and looking forward to more prospects is the more empowering route for a successful leader.
However, when and if you are struggling to move forward from the failed project, these tactics and mantras that many great CEOs have shared over the years – which they have also used in their time of difficulties may be the guiding force you are seeking.

6. FIND OPPORTUNITIES WITHIN FAILURES
There is an abundance of quotes and articles that tells us to use failure as stepping stones, but the most important theme from the whole thing is that people are asking to keep a positive front. Failures are not the end of the world, rather an opportunity to do things differently, for something better. Unless a person can use this opportunity to move forward and build something newer and better, the project was already a lost cause.

7. RESEARCH ON YOUR REJECTION
Failing on a test is easier than hearing your teacher won’t take your exam. As humans, we were raised in a manner where rejection hurts our ego more than generalized failure, yet this is where many of us stand in the line of normal and superiors. While rejection makes some squirm and leave the room, others dig deep and try to find the reasons why they were rejected. They research, update and they come back into the room again, only this time they leave with a shiny medal in their hands as their prize. So always look into your faults because there is always room for improvement and building something even greater than you had previously thought of.

8. NEVER MAKE THINGS FORCED OR PERSONAL
While trying out for something new, it is not always easy to keep an open mind when rejections and failures are coming your way, however, emotional turmoil is the last thing you should keep in your mind when this happens. You need to get the negativity out of your system and keep an open mind to have the balance in your life steady, otherwise, your attacks will make you bottle up sadness, anger and result in painful anxiety hampering your stability with your loved ones. Instead, when faced with something difficult, you should remain more open and transparent to everyone about it so that there are fewer chances of you trying to reach an imaginary standard you have set up for yourself out of sheer pressure of filling in someone else’s shoes.

9. DO NOT DWELL
Just like food has a 3-second rule when it drops to the floor, dwelling on past mistakes for more than 24-hours is a complete no go. Some things have already happened and cannot be changed, so staying stuck in one place is not the doorway towards more opportunities. It might be the end of one chapter but it marks the beginning of a new one, so always keep your head forward and look for what is about to come.

Key insights in the world of Cryptocurrencies

With companies infusing technology at the core of their business processes, the world is changing like never before. The transportation industry has already embraced the concept of a shared economy, video streaming platforms have gained massive traction, top global brands have resorted to new-generation influencers. Ordinary consumer behaviors – how we eat, commute, interact – all have gone through massive paradigm shifts. Even the transaction of money is not an exception to what is becoming the rule.

For centuries we have resorted to the concept of trading banknotes and coins in exchange for goods and services. But with technology constantly becoming more mobile and the world rapidly converging to become one, single economy – the emergence of a cashless economy has now become a dire need. And that is where cryptocurrency comes in.

A cryptocurrency is digital money that operates with the help of blockchain technology. Any transaction that a user does via cryptocurrency gets encrypted by a decentralized ledger (i.e. the blockchain) – reducing probabilities of any fraud and money laundering. Thus with reliability and ease of use being its core propositions, cryptocurrencies can be easily transferred from one user to another without involving intermediaries like banks.

On 31st October 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym used by either a group of people or an individual (the mystery remains unsolved till today) published the white paper named Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System to explain the functionality of the Bitcoin blockchain network. And that was only the beginning. Fast forward a few years, Bitcoin has become the most widely used cryptocurrency on the planet, with Etherium joining the race in 2015.

 

Here are the biggest 5 must-know trends about Cryptocurrencies:
CRYPTOCURRENCIES GOING PUBLIC 
Similar to big corporations, cryptocurrencies have their own version of initial public offerings. Termed as ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), it allows firms to raise cash from investors in order to develop new blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. Issuing coins to investors instead of giving away company share is the key difference between an IPO and an ICO. In exchange for investing in these cryptocurrency startups, the investors get early access to these game-changing technologies as per their needs. A study claims that cryptocurrency-related projects have raised more than $1.6 billion via ICOs to date, while venture capitalists have provided only $550 million for cryptocurrency companies across more than 120 deals.

RIPPLE CREATING WAVES ACROSS THE CRYPTO SPACE 
With Bitcoin dominating the entire portfolio of digital currencies, Ripple has now emerged as the new high-flyer. This promising underdog turned chief contender is set to experience the most growth due to its unique feature. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Ripple allows a user to connect with financial institutions (with the likes of Amex, MoneyGram, Western Union) by which they can then exchange their assets into other financial instruments. As a result, the company is likely to witness further growth due to its operations across 100 countries with nearly 200 corporate partnerships.

DEMAND FOR SECURITY TOKEN OFFERINGS INCREASE 
Despite all the seemingly endless potential that cryptocurrencies possess, veteran investors often shy away from investing in these startups due to the absence of proper security of their funds. As a result, capital raised by ICOs has lately begun to fall. On the contrary, Security Token Offerings (STOs) have started to gain traction as a measure of ensuring security in the holistic investing process. STOs are quite similar to ICOs, but has a few key differences – STOs are regulated by the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) in the U.S. while ICOs are not monitored by any authority of power. And the best feature of STOs is that they are backed by financial assets like company stocks, shares and other commodities – a contingency plan which ICOs clearly do not offer.

 

CENTRAL BANKS ARE SPECULATED TO ISSUE DIGITAL CURRENCIES 
As per a FinTech report by the International Monetary Fund, it is speculated that Central Banks are likely to offer digital currencies in the near future. Apparently, a number of central banks have reportedly been conducting research on Central Bank Digital Currency’s impact on financial stability, the structure of the banking sector, entry of non-bank financial institutions, and monetary policy transmission.

FACEBOOK IS THE NEW ENTRANT IN THE CRYPTO-ECONOMY 
The biggest surprise came in 2019 when social media giant Facebook announced its plans of venturing into this industry with its own cryptocurrency named Libra; which will enable users to buy things or send money to people with almost zero fees. Users can easily cash out their Libra online or at local exchange points. For further convenience and for a much more integrated experience, this digital currency’s wallet (better known as Calibra wallet) will be built into Whatsapp, Messenger and the platform of Facebook itself. Moreover, Facebook even built an alliance along with several other companies in order to enhance the newly introduced currency’s credibility and to add more technical prowess behind its framework. Known as The Libra Association – each founding member has to pay a minimum of $10 million to join the alliance and gain one vote in the Libra Association Council and be entitled a share of the dividends from interest earned on the Libra reserve. Esteemed companies like PayPal, Uber, Vodafone, Lyft and 23 others have joined alongside Facebook to make Calibra a reliable cryptocurrency in the days to come. While the invasion of privacy can still be deemed as a real threat, Facebook plans to pledge that none of the transaction data will be shared back to Facebook; as a result, the platform won’t be targeting you based on your Calibra reserve. But you can surely expect to see new offers and features being introduced on other digital platforms, e.g. Amazon or Spotify giving you a discount for paying in Libra; or maybe free tokens for completing 100 Libra transactions and so on. 

In short, whether it’s Libra, Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency – one thing is for certain – there is about to be a massive change in how we pay for the everyday transactions in our lives. Money and coins have replaced the barter trade systems and it is only about time cryptocurrencies replaces banknotes and coins; while leather wallets shall be replaced by a single app in our smartphone. The future is indeed here! 

Before the entire city wakes up, hawkers diligently work their way across the entire town. They rapidly paddle their way through the empty streets and start distributing their goods at a frantic pace, just in time to ensure the businessman or the university professor wakes up to see the day’s newspaper placed perfectly at the corner of their breakfast table. That’s how the day begins. Fast forward, we see the housewife idly sitting in her room, browsing through the pages of a lifestyle magazine. Even the teenager is exploring the wonders of the world browsing through the colorful pages of his favorite monthly science magazine. Whether we agree or not, print – as a media – has been an integral part of the human identity. Ever since the industry of printing witnessed its monumental inception before 220 AD, the industry has surely come a long way. From its humble beginning in China in the form of woodblock printing, print has evolved – becoming one of the most widely used forms of communication. Print media has witnessed its glory days, spanning across countless countries in the form of newspapers, tabloids, magazines, etc. And as the days have passed a new player has emerged in the scene, pushing print media into a battle for survival. The new player is none other than digital media. As the plethora of social networking sites and numerous apps increases, we, the readers are forced to speculate what the future of print media might be? Will print media face an unfortunate death, being replaced by digital media? Or will it morph into something entirely different, and reign as the most dependable form of media on the planet?

 

Print Media – Survival in times of Digital
It’s no secret that print media has been witnessing a steep reduction in value and volume over the years. As the years have passed, not only did the global circulation numbers drop, but so has the advertising revenue. A research stated that in 2015, print media accounted for 4% of people’s time. On the flip side, mobile devices managed to capture 25% of people’s time. While local and widely celebrated newspapers like The Daily Guide or Buteman have discontinued their operations, the big players have still managed to somewhat ride the tide; by adopting several strategies. This year’s most notable survival story in the print has been the merger between two of the largest American newspaper publishers Ganett and GateHouse Media. The $1.4 billion deal will give rise to a new conglomerate that will own more than 250 daily newspapers; reaching an audience of 145 million every month. This portrays one survival strategy that the print media is adopting – combining forces and strengthening their base. Another tactic that is becoming more predominant these days is that newspapers are opening up their digital subsidiaries. New York Times, Huffington Post, the Economist, and many others have established their presence in the digital ecosystem. In 2018, The New York Times Company generated more than $709 million in digital revenue; which shows that they have a very high possibility of reaching their planned $800 million in digital sales by the end of 2020. The shift from their platform to digital is not just observed in print media; in fact, the very same is applicable for Electronic Media as well. CNN has recently raised quite an uproar by investing a total of $70 million in their digital storytelling company Great Big Story; with hopes of creating a next-generation “cable network” – without the cable TV part in it, ironically. Whether we accept it or not, a change is surely headed our way.

From News to Content – A paradigm shift
The entire transition can be summed up in one sentence – “A shift is being experienced from institutionally-controlled media to user-controlled media”. While print newsrooms continue to cut jobs, human resources – both youngsters and veterans – are swarming to work in content outlets that have moved into original news reporting. This exponential rise of content platforms, fueled by mass usage of social media, is anything but indomitable. According to Forbes, social media has now established itself as the main source of news online. With a gigantic pool of over 2.4 billion internet users, about 64.5% receive breaking news from Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Snapchat and Instagram instead of social media. However, a decrease has been observed in how many articles people read. In most cases, people simply scroll through their newsfeed and come across relevant news content but just go through the headlines or a short video clip of the piece. An average visitor is likely to read an article for 15 seconds or less and the average video watch time online is around 10 seconds.

This shrinkage of our attention span, preference of short-form content and our increasing penchant towards social media platforms is the fuel that has fed the growth of next-generation content platforms. In 2006, Buzzfeed was just another small start-up in New York. In 2019, this small startup has grown on to expand their locations in 11 countries and has more than 108.7 million visitors swarming their website every month. One of Buzzfeed’s most notable competitors – Vox Media – is also worthy of praise. With the integration of multiple media brands, a self-developed publishing platform as well as a content studio, Vox Media has set out to change the future of journalism and entertainment. Vox Media is primarily made up of eight media brands: The Verge (technology and culture), Vox (general interest news), SB Nation (sports), Polygon (gaming), Eater (Food and Nightlife), Racked (shopping, beauty, and fashion), Curbed (real estate and home), and Recode (technology business). All of Vox’s brands are built on “Concert”, the publisher-led marketplace for advertising, and “Chorus”, the proprietary content management system. Such a phenomenal integration of multiple media brands catering to the information needs of carefully segregated demographics have given this American company a meteoric rise that only a few could imagine. As of yet, Vox Media has had an investment of $200 million by NBCUniversal and is valued at $1 billion.

Fusion – The rise of Aggregated Content
Apart from the obvious rise of digital media; another thing that has also picked up in recent times is the rise of News Aggregators. Simply put, aggregators pull together and allow you to assemble news from a variety of sources in one place. An example of an aggregator is Pulse, which allows you to select from sources of content (whether magazine, blog or your social streams) to customize your news reading experience on mobile devices. It’s a next-generation platform that’s been strong on the content side. A similar service is Google Currents, which doesn’t have the social integration like most but does provide a deeper experience with its publications by creating sections with each. So, if you want to dive into Slate’s news and politics section or Popular Science’s gadget section, you can. Like Pulse, Currents also curates top stories across categories with the help of algorithms. The most widely used of the newsreaders has been Flipboard, which terms itself as “your social magazine”. Its apps led the way in providing a pleasant, magazine-like reading experience from your social streams along with a customizable set of sources. It also comprises of an editorial team that curates timely and interesting content into a variety of channels – which improves the quality of the channels over those driven by algorithm alone – and that also creates event-driven packaging of sources. The company has grown to over 100 million monthly active users and is valued at more than $800 million. Flipboard has also ensured global dominance over the years, with strong readership bases in Germany, Spain, France, and Italy apart from the U.K. and the U.S.

Subscriptions – Rethinking Revenue Models of the Print Media
As more and more digital consumers start to flock into digital content platforms, the battle of surviving in this highly competitive media landscape has increasingly grown fierce among the goliaths of the media industry. Media companies now cannot solely rely on advertising revenue to ensure their long-term sustainability. Instead, they have turned their attention to their customers, i.e. the readers/viewers/listeners to extract more value. Enter, subscription models. With an annual membership fee, the customer gets access to unlimited or highly curated content – allowing them to discover more of the platforms’ offerings. Consumers have always played around the idea of subscribing to ‘content,’ whether it was a newspaper, magazine, or cable television subscription. But the trend of consumers subscribing to digital content has been on an upward curve. Netflix has 93 million subscribers, Spotify 40 million, Apple Music 20 million, Hulu 12 million, and HBO NOW 2 million. The New York Times and The Financial Times are increasingly replacing their digital advertising revenues with digital subscription revenues. The key revenue driver for the New York Times has been its digital subscription business, which added more than half a million paid subscribers in 2016. Deloitte has also predicted that by 2020 half of U.S. adults will have four online-only subscriptions, up from two today. And that is a trend that print media companies are aspiring to tap into globally. In an industry which now revolves around the readers, media companies are constantly trying to add more revenue by making sure they gain a sufficient number of subscribers – in exchange for access to content that will keep the readers of today updated and well-informed.

Fake News – Overcoming today’s biggest challenge
The challenges that the print media has faced a decade ago has also started to change. Challenges related to printing cost, paper cost or employee benefits still prevail; but the industry has faced certain new challenges over the years. One key challenge that has started to threaten the entire industry is the proliferation of fake news. According to a recent survey conducted by IPSOS on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), fake news can be considered to be a global epidemic. The survey, conducted with 25,000 respondents across 25 countries discovered that 4 out of 5 internet users have been exposed to fake news. Among them, nearly 86% of the respondents reported having initially believed that the news was real. With the increasing usage of social media, the creation and mass spreading of fake news across any particular community has become very easy nowadays. Add to the that people’s lack of orientation towards social media usage and our natural tendency to deviate towards controversial information. This is one aspect where veteran media companies get to exercise their bargaining power. Backed by seasoned journalists and full-fledged editorial crews, traditional print media companies are always a step ahead when compared to the upcoming content platforms. However, apart from the industry divide, the proliferation of fake news is alarming for the entire industry as a whole. Social media platforms, the breeding grounds of such fake news, have also started to take proactive steps. Facebook has started to surface more information about the publisher with each article. Users will start seeing the letter ‘i’ near the headline of an article which will give users information about the publisher’s Facebook and Wikipedia pages, as well a ‘related articles’ feed and stats on how other users are sharing the information. This gives readers more power and information and allows them to verify the authenticity of the news by themselves.

The Road Ahead
Where will the decline in the readership of newspapers eventually lead to? Will subscription models as well the wide array of technological innovations of the digital media work in the long run? Or will they instead give rise to serious threats like fake news and propaganda-based content? We cannot necessarily predict, but the forecast surely seems to be full of potential. As readers and their media consumption plan continue to evolve, so are the forms of content. Advertisers have jumped on the bandwagon as well – creating branded content to forge meaningful bonds between their brand and the consumers. Renowned American TV Journalist once prophesied, “Think of it: television producers joining with newspapers to tell stories. It’s the journalism of the future. Advertising will follow the crowd – the ‘crowd’ being viewers and readers, of course, which could bring revenue back into journalism.” Needless to say, his prophecy did indeed come true. The future will determine the survival, growth, and evolution of print media.

Human Resource Management (HRM) has been around us long before we can imagine. The strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization’s most valued asset – the people – have been existing ever since the early days of trade and commerce. Tracing back the roots, HRM begins with the presence of consistent methods for selecting tribal leaders in the ancient era. The practice of safety and wealth was then carried forward from one generation to the other and sustained until human civilizations scattered all across the globe and achieved growth in their distinct forms. From 2,000 B.C. to 1,500 B.C., the Chinese used employee screening techniques, and the Greeks had a system of appointing apprentices, both of which continued until we arrived into the age of industrial revolution and beyond.
Now whenever we think about Human Resource Management, we have this specific general picture in the back of our minds that HRM is probably all about white-collar managers running around with papers, interacting with employees, giving out instructions and much more. However, with the advent of technology, the entire HRM industry all around the globe has been set towards a revolution. Everyday actions related to HRM have been optimized for the presence of new gadgets and apps. The holistic process of managing the effectivity of employees in the workplace has begun to change.

Virtual and Augmented Reality and Real-life Training
On-the-job training is already prevalent in the current HRM practices and has now been further optimized for the integration of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to it. With the industry about to be worth $150 billion by 2020 (as per The Bank of America Merrill Lynch), VR and AR have already started to redefine essential HRM functions like onboarding, recruitment, and effective learning. A tour around the company, in multiple locations across the world, with a speech of CEO can now be easily made via VR technology. The merits are that it saves both time and transportation cost. The British Army has even started implemented Virtual Reality to train their recruits recently. Companies like Boeing and NASA have been using VR to train their pilots for quite a while now. Even BMW has now joined the fleet by developing an AR training for their service engineers.

Embracing All-Things Digital
With the millennials coming into the workforce, companies have already started to witness a colossal change in the workplace environment. Unlike their previous generations, this generation has embraced technology to their very core and have integrated electronic gadgets with almost every aspect of their lives. Hence companies in many cases had to adapt to this demographic feat and design their training programs accordingly. As a result, digital learning methods have now replaced traditional methods of employee training. Video, audio and digital simulations have replaced long lectures in the after-hours. Moreover, personalized training contents have also started to emerge. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, a leading professional services firm, 40% of the companies around the world are all set to ‘transform’ all their employee training platforms into digitized versions. Moreover, with 50% of the workforce being taken up by millennials within 2020, these companies and others better be ready to do so.

Prepare to Wear: Technology in your Attire
With the enterprise wearables market set to be worth $18 billion by 2019, its implication on the HRM industry is visible. Till now all we have mostly seen about wearable technology is its ability to monitor health responses – but other matrices are also being developed these days. It has been forecasted that stress levels and productivity can also be computed in the not-so-distant future; thus, ensuring employee retention and workplace wellness. Companies like Bittium have introduced smartwatches in the retail sector, where employees can be notified of required actions based on real-time needs: alert cashiers when to switch turns, customer-facing personnel on where help is required, etc.

Taking Organization to New Height: The Cloud-based Systems
HR personnel in the past had to rely on legacy HR software to store information. Nevertheless, these are now rapidly being replaced by cloud systems. With the arrival of cloud technologies, the revolution of making workplaces go ‘paperless’ is also being heavily fueled. Collection and storage of data being a crucial aspect of HRM, information storage until the last few years was limited to hard drive spaces, piles of paper filing cabinets and desk drawers. This methodology quite naturally led to inefficiencies, security issues, data loss and chaotic office spaces. Now with cloud-based systems on board, data collection has been automated, and the storage process is entirely electronic; allowing the company to be much more efficient and steer clear of the previous data-storage methods.

Piloting through the Cloud
What can cloud-based systems possibly be if there were no Big Data? In fact, according to a 2013 SAS study, 6,400 organizations all around the world will implement Big Data analytics in their workplaces by the end of 2018. Company employees, just like customers, generate data. From the number of leaves taken all throughout the year to the change in output levels, such employee-generated data can be stored, interpreted and used for better decision making. This function defines the critical function of Big Data in HRM. Big Data with the combination of other technologies provides a tremendous amount of insight and allows the HR professionals to make decisions backed by concrete information and processes that are more efficient. Analyzing these data allows for better risk-management decisions, such as identifying the employees who could benefit from additional training by looking at their past output records as well as finding out the ones who are lagging behind. Moreover, recruitment has also become more factual and rational rather than intuition-driven. By analyzing all the information provided by a potential recruit, companies can highlight his/her principal strengths and decide whether to hire that individual or not; rather than just hiring based on hunches. Besides, tracking down a potential employee’s digital footprint and skimming through a pool of 20 candidates to find that one ‘perfect’ fit is now possible – thanks to Big Data. And what’s more interesting is that Big Data has even managed to earn itself a nickname among today’s leading HR professionals, as they now prefer to call it “People Analytics.”

Let the Bots Do The Talking
Chatbots have recently been integrated into the social media strategy of many reputed companies. A computer program designed to simulate the conversation with human users over the internet, chatbots have been taking several industries lately. Chatbots, now from HRM viewpoint, makes recruitment seem like a piece of cake. Providers like Ari, GoBe, and Xor are already offering chatbots specifically for recruitment purposes. And Sergeant Star, the chatbot that the US Army uses for recruitment, has already earned some reputation on its own.

The New Kind of Paycheck
The HR department oversees the remuneration or salaries paid to all the employees in an organization. Although much change has not been introduced in this sector globally, some countries seem to be quite ahead of the curve. GMO Internet Group, a Tokyo-based leading internet company in Japan, has recently adopted a policy of paying their employees using virtual currency or as they are more famously known nowadays – bitcoins. The company has initiated this plan last October via launching an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), where their employees can choose if they want to be paid in bitcoin. Although this concept is quite new but with the price of a single bitcoin being worth $13,000, many cryptocurrency experts have stated that this trend of paying newer forms of remuneration is very likely to catch on.
With all these advancements taking place, one might think that all these complex robots and technologies might replace the ‘Human’ aspect of ‘Human Resource Management’ pretty soon. But experts are thinking quite the opposite. Ian O’ Keefe, Google People Analytics Lead, highlighted a similar issue at the People Analytics & Future of Work conference in January 2016. He talked about his team’s efforts to quantify elements such as efficiency, effectiveness and employee experience by looking at hiring decisions, team climate, and personal development. At the end of the research, he along with his team concluded that people equipped with better data make better decisions than algorithms alone can do.
This conclusion surely goes on to prove the fact that even after all the massive technological improvements that the Human Resources Management sector is witnessing, the ‘human touch’ is still not replaceable. Managers will still have to work hard to bring out the best performance from all the employees, but will have better tools in the sleeves this time around!

Making Sense of All the Information
As Big Data assembles all the information in perfect order, Advanced Machine Learning extracts the patterns or necessary information from them by using various sets of algorithms, machine learning programs and abundant sources of data-building patterns. It also identifies vital insights alongside. This technology can improve the efficiency of the initial analysis that humans can do, allowing employees to look at higher level results and focus on more complex analysis as a result.

With Bangladesh propelling towards becoming a middle-income economy and the integration of technology in almost every sector imaginable – we are living in the era of endless opportunities. Bangladeshi companies are thriving beyond borders as well, and many new ideas are taking shape into reality. Amidst all this glory and positive energy, what if you’re a student still pursuing your university degree? What if you are absolutely sure that you have an idea that can change the entire country? What if the inner entrepreneur in you is dying to come out of your cocoon? Do you take the leap of faith? Or do you graduate, take a job, gain experience, grow your network and then ‘safely’ start pursuing your dream after a decade?

Well, the latter is definitely a less risky option, but in case you belong to the first group, the following tips might come in handy for your upcoming entrepreneurial crusade:

1. Form a liaison with your faculty members – The teachers that take your courses every semester might be your biggest source of help at the moment. Not only do they possess immense knowledge across various disciplines, but many are former corporate personnel. Thus, you get a mixture of both experience and academics in your armament to carve your business idea to perfection. And there are even times when faculty members introduce you to other students that he/she thinks you can collaborate with; helping you to find several potential co-founders for your business.

2. Get in touch with your alumni – Often we run across our seniors and instead of just a casual interaction, reach out to the ones that you are close with. Tell them about your idea, try to get some meaningful feedback and let them hook you up with industry experts or any other resource that you might need. Alumni or seniors often have this sense of belonging to their alma mater and helping a fellow junior out is often an emotional journey for them. Hence, the amount of effort or passion that they will have in lending you a hand might surprise you!

3. Be a networking ‘spider’ – The secret to turning your idea into a fully functioning business lies in the fundamentals – knowing the right people. Robert Kiyosaki, a renowned American businessman, often used to say – “The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for a job”. Knowing who can help you with which piece of your puzzle is vital. And the platform to get acquainted with these individuals? Your university itself! There are countless seminars, workshops, business competitions taking place nowadays. Hop in, find your target and strike up an interesting conversation. Someone might even be interested in funding your business, you never know!

4. Seek help from your friends – One great thing about starting your business in your university days is the ability to have all your skilled friends at your fingertips. And to make things much better, most of them have plenty of spare time and would love to put their hammers in action. You have a diverse group of friends bringing an equally diverse set of skill sets to your business. And it’s way cheaper than a ‘formal hire.’ Need a brand identity plan for your startup? Treat your graphic designer friend on a fast-food joint and voila!

5. Utilize the ‘Buzz’ – You are practically part of the most vibrant community in the country. You have plenty of people eager to try your new product/service out and give you honest feedback. And besides, it’s comparatively much easier to get the word out. If your business luckily involves the student community or has anything to do with them, news about it will spread like wildfire. Your benefit? Unimaginable business growth with negligible marketing effort.

6. Easier to ‘cold call’ industry experts – Now this is a two-faced cannon. The upside is that you use your entrepreneurial charm to baffle a CEO and make him realize the potential of your business. On the downside – his receptionist might not respond to your phone call. But as Jay-Z puts it, “Gotta fake it till you make it.”

7. No external pressures –You’re in your 20s, your energy level is at its peak, and you have the whole world in front of you, waiting to be explored. You’re still not tied down to a rigid family life, and so, there is room for trial and error in your ventures. Besides, better to fail now than later, right? Do you want to fail and lose a million dollars right when your son will need his college tuition or do you want to fail now, learn from your mistakes and recuperate? Now is time to put your ideas to the test and filter out that one idea that hits the perfect note. Drew Houston, the CEO of Dropbox had a famous saying that fits beautifully in this scenario – “Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.”

Elon Musk and Steve Jobs both have been trail blazers in their own industries – disrupting entire fields and changing their courses forever. Tesla is one of the world’s leading automobile companies that makes electric cars while Apple barely needs any introduction – the tech juggernaut that’s become a household name thanks to the iPod, iPhone, MacBook and its plethora of other electronic devices. Both of these companies have redefined their respective industries and have accomplished the near ‘impossible.’ Since both Tesla and Apple are fueled by groundbreaking innovation, the heated debate of whether Tesla is the next Apple has been part of every tech enthusiast’s conversation lately. Analyze their founders, skim through a few market data, forecast the future – and you can easily understand why Apple is no match for Tesla. Allow us to break it down to you from scratch:

THE MEN BEHIND THE MACHINES
Steve Jobs is perhaps the greatest marketer, orator, thinker that the modern world has ever witnessed. His vision behind creating a product that will reflect human excellence has taken Apple to unprecedented heights. On the other hand, Elon Musk seems like a man from the future. Founder of twice the number of companies that Steve Jobs ever built, Musk envisions something much bigger than gadgets – human colonization on Mars. So these visions alone can give us a synopsis of what these founders have set to accomplish.

Elon Musk

MASS MARKETING TAKES TIME
Whether it’s Apple or Tesla, both these companies have individually segregated target markets. And using Bangladesh to talk about Tesla is like hypothetically planning to introduce Lamborghini Nano for Indian mid-tier markets. Developing countries, right now, barely have the infrastructure to build electric charging-stations that Tesla electric cars would require. Meanwhile, Tesla is focusing on their R&D and making way for more efficient, environment-friendly automobiles. Yes, Apple might be having a huge share of the Asian subcontinent’s smart phone and tech market, but how could we not take Samsung, OnePlus, and Xaomi (just a fraction of Apple’s competitors on these grounds) into the calculation? The bottom line: will Tesla be able to market to the masses? Yes, but it requires a bit of time.

iCar:
A LOOSE-KEPT SECRET
Apple might just be investing its resources in building a supercar. The Silicon Valley tech giant has an R&D budget that is twenty times more than that of the world’s top 14 automaking companies’ combined. Now, will this new Apple product be able to engulf Tesla’s market? The answer lies in numbers – and a few other companies. Tesla Motors has more than 1200 patented devices that enable them to be at the top of their game; restricting Ford, Toyota, and other car makers from tapping into the market of electric vehicles. So will Apple be ever able to get into the race of making highly-efficient electric cars? Maybe yes but by then Tesla will have finished running the lap a dozen times.

SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FUTURE
Many deem Tesla as a rebelling company – forcefully trying to push electric cars into the robust market of automobile vehicles running on fossil fuels. Truth be told, you’re ignoring the big game. With the rate at which fossil fuels are depleting, the consumers today might have a lot of preferences when choosing which car to buy. However, in just a couple of decades, we’ll be entering a time when fossil fuel will be completely depleted, and consumers will have one leading, trusted option – Tesla – to make everyday transport possible with the help of renewable energy. There’s a notion that Tesla is on a fragile rope which may break at any time, but the reality is that Elon Musk is ignoring the rope that other automobile companies are clinging onto and is building a brand new rope from scratch. A rope strong enough to make transportation more feasible, efficient and environment-friendly.

MUSK’S LONG-TERM PLANS
Elon Musk has a handy trait of gaining knowledge from across various disciplines and combining them to form a holistic product. Now let’s take a look at Musk’s newest venture – The Boring Company. This company plans to dig underground tunnels all across cities to eradicate traffic jams altogether. So a few decades down the line, what if The Boring Company decides to merge with Tesla? Or what if SolarCity (Musk’s other company) comes up with some other source of highly efficient renewable energy and decides to incorporate it with Tesla? Tesla does have a smaller portfolio compared to Apple, but future prediction does pave the way to a time when Tesla will expand to the production of several other electric-run vehicles. At that point, if Elon Musk decides to assign significant resources from his other ventures to Tesla, then Apple will have to start counting its days.
Steve Jobs has done his fair share of work in amusing the entire world with the Apple gadgets, but when it comes to Elon Musk, this is merely the beginning. From redefining how humans undergo monetary transaction to making human houses on Mars more than a mere possibility, the real life Iron Man has proved time and time again how capable he is at transforming industries and the way we perceive things. Apple is considered to be the epitome of modern day technology, with its hands trying to grab every possible industry out there – watches, music player, operating systems and so on. But Tesla sings of a brighter day. Steve Job’s brainchild will not be losing its throne to Elon Musk’s captivating cars anytime soon, but if we take a closer look at the future and how every single market is inclining towards long-term sustainability and renewable energy – we can see the mark of a new rule. A kingdom of Tesla – accelerating human life with electronic technology.

This article offers a different perspective to the “Why Tesla Can’t be the New Apple” article published in the IBT July issue (pg. 60). The writer can be reached at farhatchowdhury95@gmail.com.