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February 25, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Sejal Jamnadas

To a casual observer, it might seem consultants spend an excessive time on PowerPoint; re-sizing and aligning boxes, re-arranging slides and re-editing tag lines. We’re known for creating ‘pretty presentations’.

Not only that, most people are terrible at it. ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is all too real and commonpainful to read, even worse to listen to and unfortunately too easy to do.

Alas, beautiful PowerPoints do exist and are a pleasant harmony of structural and graphical design. And of course, they are existential to the consulting way of life. We (defending all consultants on the planet) inherently believe that PowerPoint is the ultimate tool for crafting compelling stories and framing important messages.

What most people don’t understand is that a PowerPoint presentation is (or should be at least be) an extremely concise showcase of months and months of client deliverables. Every interview, meeting, data analysis and research is turned into insightsso that only the most relevant knowledge makes it to the client in a nutshell. Not forgetting, the client sponsor is clearly an extremely busy, BUSY person and has no time for consultant bullshit, so it’s best to get to the point quickly.

This means the initial ‘information dump’ of 500 slides from all the work the team produced will eventually dwindle down to 10 slides. The client only wants to see the tip of the iceberg, which is the most important part anyway (likened to the 80/20 Pareto Principle).

In all respects, an impeccable PowerPoint presentation is clearly more complicated than most would think. Here are some important structural and graphical design considerations:

Structural Design

The message to the PowerPoint is key. What are you trying to achieve? What is the intent of the audience? The Pyramid Principle is a framework used to communicate the key message effectively and early in the presentation.

How do you use it?*

Structure the communication as a pyramid, presenting the main message first.

Develop the rest of the pyramid to support the main message, in ever greater detail.

Use topic sentences to tell the story mapped by the pyramid.

Why use it?

The main message, or the answer to the problem, is what the client wants to hear first, so it belongs up front.

People absorb information more easily when they know why they are receiving the information, and the main message creates that context. Stories are easier to remember.

Graphical Design

Now that we’ve covered sequencing and story-telling around main messages, we can focus on the singular frame.

Probably the most important element of each slide is the ‘Governing Thought’ title. The ‘Governing Thought’ title refers to an action statement which communicates the storyline of the slide in a short and understandable way. If necessary, a tag line may be required to describe a diagram or a set of points in the frame.

Of course, there are other important graphical considerationssome would consider almost “fanatical”…

Consistency is king. Use the same font, bullet, line, box, figure style and color throughout the presentation.

Use sober colors for a more professional look

Increase spacing between text to make it easier to read slide

Avoid use of clip art illustrations. Use simple illustrations to give a more professional look

Put conclusions below graphs

Never use shape effects*

Pick PowerPoint apart (say that 5 times in a row!) and you’ll begin to appreciate how subtle considerations in structural and graphical will alter the message. Beyond everything, we need to be constantly mindful of the ‘time-poor’ audience that want clear, relevant and logical answers…but don’t want to think too much about it either. That’s what consultants are for; to do the thinking, problem-solving, filtering, simplifying, tinkering, magic and wrapping it all up like a neatly-wrapped present.

*References made from Accenture 2013 Consulting 101

Sejal is a management consultant at Accenture with a keen interest in design and technology. She’s fascinated by design as a framework for creating meaningful human interractions with digital products, from AI, blockchain, e-commerce, social media tools and more. When she’s not in an office, you’ll find her tucked away in coffee shops eating “brunch food”, brainstorming for her next post and drawing stick figures as accompanying illustrations for the blog.



February 23, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jade Ong

How do we get more women investing? The economic reality women tend to face is full of gaps – super, wages, investing – and part of closing them involves gaining the knowledge and tools necessary for tackling the inequality.

It’s why we’re developing a series aimed at inspiring women to invest in their financial future (and in turn, themselves) by looking to others who are already on that journey.

I’ll be sharing my own experiences in finance to kick things off, detailing 4 things I would tell my 24-year-old self.

15+ years in financial markets taught me a lot about myself, and has helped develop the investing mindset I have today. While learning along the way is part of the fun, these are the things I wish I knew from the get-go:

1. Find your passion and pursue it

I’m a big believer in doing what you are passionate about, not what others say or think you should do. Haven’t quite figured it out yet? That’s okay, just never stop searching.

I’ve seen too many friends make life decisions, such as choosing courses and careers paths, based on what their families think.

They almost always end up with regrets.

When it comes to investing, I’ve learnt the same principle applies – invest in what you find interesting, because you’ll be naturally motivated to learn more and become well-versed in whatever it may be.

If you can align your passions and beliefs with what you’re investing in, it’s going to be a far less uncertain and stressful ride.

2. It’s good to take risks sometimes

At 24, I couldn’t possibly picture myself quitting an amazing job in investment management to go overseas and pursue my travel dreams (let alone stay there for nearly 4 years), then leave an established career in investment banking to found a start-up.

If you asked anyone who knew me at the time, they would probably say it wasn’t in my DNA. Fast forward a decade or so, (eek, I’ve just given away my age!) I’ve discovered that taking on these risks, which I now see as opportunities, has only led to positive outcomes.

If you can overcome the fear of failure; the experience gained is priceless.

“You’re unlikely to regret decisions you make, and more likely to regret decisions you don’t make.”

I’m not saying quit what you’re doing and jump on the latest fad, or try to double down on your life savings at the casino. But rather strive to develop a healthy relationship with risk – it can be quite rewarding.

Let’s take the stock market as an example. Numerous studies have suggested a major factor influencing a woman’s likelihood to invest is they fear it’s too risky.

However, once the fear is overcome, research has shown women tend to outperform their male counterparts – partly for the very reason they don’t enter markets in the first place. The research data (collected by Fidelity Investments) also showed that while men are more likely to make trades, which means trading fees eat away at their portfolios:

“Women assume less risk, such as not loading up entirely on equities. They also invest more in vehicles like target-date funds, whose automatic allocations make for smarter diversification”

I thought being in a career surrounded by men had changed my perception of risk over the years – turns out perhaps it was in my DNA after all.

3. Start investing early & think long term

Compound interest is a wonderful thing. It’s simple math we’re taught in school (if we’re lucky), that if I had fully appreciated at the time, I would have started investing sooner and started building wealth early on.

The beauty of it is you can start small, and watch compounding work its magic over time – supplementing it with a simple monthly savings plan based on what you can afford.

A close second behind compounding is possessing a long-term mindset. The share market will have its ups and downs, and unless you pride yourself in being a successful day trader, just let your investments build up over longer periods.

It’s your long-term mindset that breeds superhero-like qualities according to the Fidelity Investments study:

“If you want to invest like a wonder woman, that means shifting to a long-term focus, saving more up front and giving up on trying to time the market with brilliant trades.”

While it’s not gender that drives performance, there’s no harm in embracing your natural tendencies when they happen to work in your favour.

Don’t be hard on yourself if your long-term thinking hasn’t infiltrated your investing mindset yet. One of the key findings from ‘Enabling Change: A Fresh Perspective on Women’s Financial Security’ research report revealed:

“Equal numbers of men and women (around one in two) say they were taught about managing finances at an early age. But the situation is very different when it comes to investing. Only around one third of women have been taught about the benefits of long-term investing when they were young, with lasting effects on their behaviour and financial wellbeing.”

Take it into your own hands and have a long-term plan as early on as you can. The difference between putting away money for investing at 25 compared to 35 is stark.

4. Invest in what makes sense to you

As a young fund manager, I was encouraged to ‘put my money where my mouth is’ by investing my own personal money in the stocks I recommended. This taught me two things.

  • You should only invest in what you know about and believe in
  • You can spend all your time reading, but you learn so much more by taking part in investing yourself

Like with anything, learning the theory is good a foundation, but I found the best way to learn was through practical experience.

People always say the fastest way to learn a language is to spend time in that country, and immerse yourself in the culture.
Want to learn Spanish? Spend some time living in Spain. Want to learn about investing? Why not start investing? It’s a piece of invaluable advice I live by to this very day.

You should never settle for less than having full transparency over knowing what you’re investing in and why (especially when someone else manages it for you).

It can be as straight forward as truly understanding or believing in a long-term investment trend like e-commerce, or knowing a little bit about every global stock you own.

You might be surprised by how much you’ll already know about a stock given you’re probably using their products or services every day. That iPhone you’re using is made by Apple (a listed company on the stock exchange: NASDAQ), and that item you ordered in one-click was from Amazon (also listed on the same exchange).

If you stick to what you’re familiar with, you already believe in or are passionate about, it will be less tempting to give in to the latest get-rich-quick scheme or investment fad.

And whatever you do, just don’t forget to learn, invest and grow. Plus have some fun along the way.

About Jade Ong

Jade Ong is a Co-Founder of AtlasTrend, an online investment platform that makes it easy for anyone to learn and invest in trends transforming our world. Jade has over 15 years experience in financial markets including roles at Macquarie and IAG Asset Management.



February 12, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Sejal Jamnadas

An attempt to use design thinking could be likened to experiencing the peak of your professional imposter syndrome. I mean surely, somebody will eventually figure out that you have no idea what the final outcome will be of the session. All you have is some butchers’ paper, post-it notes, the people sitting in the room and a hope that the session won’t fall completely off the rails.

The reality is, using design thinking (rather than just reading about it) is messy and awkward. In fact, it can be a huge risk; but it pays to work through the initial awkward mess and focus on clear intended outcomes rather than worrying about the reactions of participants.

The hardest part of the process is usually convincing the team to congregate for 1 hour during the week to discuss how they might ‘align priorities’ and ‘build a roadmap going forward’of course, with the intention of using design thinking methods. On my most recent project, I knew the client would not immediately be receptive of a “design thinking session” where “everybody gets to write on post-it-notes”. I could only imagine the reaction would be disappointing and awkward at the very least.

Undoubtedly, it was going to take a lot more than just the promise of a colourful room filled with post-it notes and ‘innovative ideas’ to convince the client to participate in a design thinking session.

To help you relate or empathise, I’ve illustrated the key 5 awkward phases that goes through the mind of a ‘facilitator’ planning to run a design thinking session.

STAGE 1: THE REALISATION

You’re at a critical point of the project. You’ve found the ideal moment where you know the team could benefit from brainstorming their ideas, understanding the problem and context, or gathering feedback to come to a shared understanding. I like to think of this as the problem or ‘tension’ for which Design Thinking methods can be incredibly useful.

STAGE 2: THE ‘DREADED ASK’

Now you need to muster up the courage to tell the client that you’re intending to gather everyone in a room to try some ‘methods’…

STAGE 3: THE ‘WHAT WAS I THINKING’ MOMENT

You’ve sent the meeting invite to the team with a standard agenda which no makes no reference to Design Thinking. Nobody knows that you’re frantically sifting through 10–15 Design Thinking methods to construct the best recipe for the session to achieve its outcomes. You suddenly hate yourself for organising the session in the first place and end up drafting back-up slides in case it fails. You start to have dreams of the client team giving you disgusted looks when you explain to them “you can only write one idea per post-it-note with a black sharpie”.

STAGE 4: THE COMPROMISE

You think you’ve found the perfect recipe at least twice. But of course, you’re bound to wake up in the middle of the night and realise the recipe is shit, scrapping the recipe and starting again. The session is tomorrow so you settle for some ‘safe’ optionsyou think to yourself, a bit of rose-thorn-bud and affinity mapping is not overly time-consuming and not outrageously ‘creative’, so you decide that’s the bare minimum you’ll do. Of course, you know there’s a lot of other great tools you’ll have up your sleeve which you plan to use spontaneously if the session goes relatively smoothly. Although at this stage, you’ll be happy if the client doesn’t fire you on the spot.

STAGE 5: THE AWKWARD INTRODUCTION

You’ve finally made it to the session and you’re excited. You truly believe the tools you’ve prepared will help the team understand the situation better and come to a shared sense of clarity for an approach going forward. Only thing, the team is visibly confused when they come in with their laptops and notepads to a room full of post-notes and sharpies. Deep breath. You tell them what you’ll plan to do today, doing your best to ignore mixed their expressions of excitement, boredom…and of course, a heavy air of awkwardness and scepticism.

So now we’ve established the REAL emotional journey of design thinking in its 5 phases, here are my few simple tips on helping to overcome the inherent awkwardness of it all.

  1. Have a clear intention and vision of the outcome: Understand what stage of the project you’re in and what outcome is desired. Then find the methods which will help to achieve the outcome and communicate this intent to the participants.
  2. Know your methods, and practice it alone or with colleagues: Do the training, speak to experts, watch videos and tutorials.
  3. Avoid using the word ‘Design’ or ‘Design Thinking’: Unless the client reads the Harvard Business Review or Forbes, its generally a fairly vague buzz word which a lot of people don’t really respect. People who believe in it respect it, but unfortunately, you can’t assume everybody trusts the idea of design thinking. Best to avoid freaking people out.
  4. Have faith in the methods: If you doubt the methods, so will the client or the audience that is participating in the session. Be enthusiastic and engage everyone in the room so they all feel included in the process. 

 

 



February 10, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Lani Pauli

PR seems to be the golden child of a new business marketing arsenal. Send product to waiting journalist, get published, and watch the sales roll in, right? Sure, if you have a sizeable advertising budget to pair with that press release, but public relations in real life is a much longer game, and something that requires consistency, relationships and a little creativity!

This article is specifically for new businesses starting out, but the ‘rules’ can be applied to any business that’s just starting out their relationship with the media.

Firstly, when it comes to working with PR, if you’re still at the minimum viable product (MVP) stage, a fully-fledged PR campaign is unlikely to be the best use of your limited funds, time and resources. Journalists are looking for wins, runs on the board, case studies – the fact that you’ve launched often isn’t enough of a hook to grab their attention. At Deane & Co we have a saying, “Invest in getting your house in order.” That is to say, if you are about to open a bricks and mortar store you don’t throw open the doors, invite people in to look and shop with empty shelves. In this crucial time when you’re still working to prove your concept, spend the time getting your house in order with these simple steps.

1. Know what the purpose of PR is for your business

Public relations, specifically media relations, isn’t necessarily the thing that will make your cash register ring. PR is often more about brand awareness, introducing new customers to what you do, building relationships with journalists, influencers, customers… Don’t go into a PR campaign necessarily expecting a huge increase in sales. It takes repeated mentions of your brand and product across a variety of channels to encourage customers to make the leap to purchase, and relying on PR alone for sales is going to leave you disappointed.

2. Put your best foot forward

Make sure all of your other marketing and promotional channels are on point. Get your website looking beautiful, have professional images of your product, or yourself if you’re selling a service, make sure your social media channels are being regularly updated, and that you can actually handle it if sales do pick up when a journalist presses publish.

3. Create a 1-page general media release or fact sheet

Should media come knocking, you’re going to want an easy to access one page media release at the ready. It shouldn’t be a novel, but it should give readers the who, what, when, where, why and how of your business. At the very least it is brilliant practice at being able to succinctly describe what you do. Add a few quotes from yourself or your co-founder, include examples of the problem you solve, who the journalist should contact if they want more information and a link to hi-res images they can use in a story. Which leads me to the next point…

4. Have a library of images

Headshots and general lifestyle images of your product and/or service will be invaluable should you embark on a PR campaign. Aim for images that are a minimum of 1MB in size and don’t rely on the standard “founder standing against a wall in branded t-shirt” pose. Think outside the box and perhaps get the photographer to photograph you at your favourite cafe. Get a variety of images in portrait and landscape. The same applies to product shots. Lots of publications, both print and digital will only want deep etched (white background) images so they can create larger composite images with other brands. They may also want campaign shots, but it pays to have both easily accessible.

5. Know 5 things you could confidently talk about that are happening in your industry

Sometimes PR is talking about the bigger picture things influencing your industry. Think about and write down five things you could talk about relevant to your industry but doesn’t put a megaphone up to your startup and says, “Me, me, me.” For example, are you able to talk about what it takes to source an overseas manufacturer, have you started a business in a traditionally male-dominated arena, or are you seeing travel trends influence how consumers book and spend their leisure time? All of these are ways you can promote your experience and as a by-product your startup.

6. PR isn’t just about media

Public Relations can also include events, activations, working with influencers, community building activities and more – media isn’t the be all and end all for promoting your brand, particularly as publishers are becoming more aspirational and less a catalogue of potential purchases.

7. Think outside the box

The traditional media release really isn’t the way to get attention any more. Journalists get so many across their desks, they often don’t have time to read or respond. Instead, try emailing a journo with a very brief intro email, detailing the 3-5 hooks or headlines they might be able to write out of your story. Alternatively, send them something tangible – a colourful jewellery brand might send a jar of bright lollies with a ring hidden inside!

When working with startups, we strongly advise our clients to consider where they will get the most value for their money. If you’re chasing sign ups to your new app or really need to speak directly to people within a niche industry, the financial investment of engaging a PR agency or contractor in your early days might be better invested in, for example, engaging a business development manager, a digital marketing strategy or similar. Food for thought!



January 19, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jeannine Meyer

If you are currently active in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) or have a hankering to explore and understand the depths of machine learning, then you have most probably heard of recent PhD graduate and co-founder of Brisbane’s own AI meetup, Natalie Rens. What is even more intriguing is how this South African born ballet dancer turned neuroscience extraordinaire came to be one of Australia’s most up and coming AI experts.

Upon entering university life, Natalie first saw herself as an adventurer who would take a trip to the Amazon, discover unknown exotic plants and ultimately create brand new pharmaceuticals out of them. As fate would have it, her travel log and academic journey would deviate from where it originally began upon the completion of her undergraduate in biomedical science in England. Natalie continued her studies by undertaking a Masters in neuroscience in Portugal and France, which then led her over to Australia where she continued to pursue her interest in neuroscience and thus began her PhD at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

So, how does one write and submit a thesis in which they combine the works of both neuroimaging with machine learning? Natalie explains that she was first introduced to machine learning through one of the new techniques that had come out in neuroscience called “multi-voxel pattern analysis” (a tool Natalie used throughout her own research) which is presented in the context of “brain reading” programs that showcase how certain mental states can be picked out and translated. Natalie’s first study was created within virtual environments that revealed where in our brain the information for upcoming complex decisions was actually stored – similar to how Alice in Wonderland is required to find the right lock that fits the tiny golden key! Her study (just published – https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00610/full) showed widespread brain activity when individuals prepared to make their own choices, the opposite to when being told to follow instructions – (Bear with me I was just as astounded!).

Throughout Natalie’s next studies, she states she went more philosophical, saying she looked at whether you could decode whether somebody had another option available to them or not – with the idea, that if we navigate flexibly in our environment then we would store all the options available to us. Natalie found that she could decode whether an individual making a decision had alternative options available, but also, somewhat controversially, that the strength of this decoding correlated to how free they said they felt when making their decision.

After gaining some insight into Natalie’s studies, I wanted to immerse myself completely into her story. I personally find AI to be quite a specific yet complex area, and so I was curious as to what led Natalie here. She claims that while you are in academia you are in a bubble of theoretical knowledge of science, however one day she heard that a cohort from San Diego were visiting UQ and were talking about the future of emerging technologies, including AI. It was then that Natalie discovered how significant the impact would be as she came across a powerful discussion amongst the panel surrounding AI and how important it was for companies and society alike to be aware of the engineering and increase in computers that attempt to appear more human and thus, replicate human intelligence. Her fascination led her to Silicon Valley in 2016 where she became passionate about the idea that people needed to have an understanding about AI in order to not fall behind but to also be able to utilise it. As Natalie says, “it allows you to do everything, better”.

I wondered what the defining characteristics of the Australian AI market are and are there any top courses that a novice, someone like myself, could go to learn more about AI? Sadly, Natalie tells me, that in terms of AI courses here in Brisbane, it does not look too promising at the moment and that it is actually quite a problem as there are currently no tertiary institutions in Queensland that promote specialised AI programs, however Natalie recently spoke to some of the universities here who are looking at introducing programs in the near future. With the help of the established AI community, Natalie says they recently finished running the first Brisbane AI deep learning project course. In addition to developing their own projects, participants followed an online course from Fast.AI, a research institute dedicated to making deep learning more accessible, which is run by its democratic AI founders Australian data scientist Jeremy Howard and American academic Rachel Thomas. The 8-week project course just concluded, however she intends on expanding this into a series of courses this year, encouraging people to come along and learn.

Natalie explains that Australia is slightly disadvantaged in the way that “we don’t have the numbers that other countries do”. She goes on to say that, we do not have federal policy yet on AI development and technology start-ups here also struggle to find investment, in comparison to bigger hubs such as Silicon Valley. However, she says, “We can actually grow a good independent scene without having to necessarily face all the competition that they do”. She believes we have an advantage, especially in Queensland, which is home to a strong health community that boasts some of the best health research such as biofabrication research, robotics for healthcare and bionics research companies. With a confident tone, Natalie says Australia has the opportunity to just grow and start a niche start-up AI scene here – and that is exactly what Natalie has done by successfully establishing the first-ever Brisbane AI meetup.

The Brisbane AI meetup was created post attending a conference in California two years ago where Natalie asked the question, “There is this concern about the fact that if only technology companies really know what is going on and they are the only ones utilising this technology, what are we going to do?” Upon her return, Natalie attended a Brisbane robotics meetup where she spoke to Juxi, who would become future co-founder, about the idea of having a place where people could come together to learn about AI. The idea grew rapidly – to the point where they had 150 people attend their first ever meetup. The representation of females, however, within the Brisbane AI community is small, reflecting global numbers that stand at 13% – a percentage that Natalie hopes will increase as word gets out, as there is a huge demand for women in this area.

Natalie expresses that she knows there are many women out there in this environment and should you want to be involved in the community then simply reach out to Natalie or to anyone else in this space! “We are all there to support one another”. Natalie says she hopes to host another “Woman’s cocktail hour” before the next Brisbane AI meetup so that she can get more women together and form a consistent, ever-growing group of female AI leaders!

You can visit/contact Natalie Rens at the Brisbane AI website or sign up and head along to the next meetup –

https://www.meetup.com/Brisbane-Artificial-Intelligence/

https://brisbane.ai



December 17, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jeannine Meyer

As Holly Tattersall straps on her hiking boots ready to traverse the palm-fringed beaches of Mexico all the way down to the archaeological wonders of Peru, little does she know that this adventure will be the springboard into her entrepreneurial life.

Devoted to the industry, Holly is a renowned leader in the digital world. Founder and CEO of Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co, Holly defines herself as a zealous digital career advisor and diversity advocate. Holly’s great passion for organisational change, people and diving into the depths of psychology, discovering why people do the things they do, formed a vision for Holly that illustrated a career in human resources and recruitment. Toward the completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with majors in International Business and HR, Holly credits the reputation of the University of Queensland as being a platform that assisted her in obtaining an internship before she graduated and then a marketing graduate position at the Brisbane based award-winning agency, Reload Media. Once Holly had some industry experience under her belt, she broke out of the Brisbane bubble and headed for Central and South America with a group of friends. It was in Colombia where Holly would later fall in love and end up spending 2 years building and forming her first business in tourism which focused on organised tours.

Upon her return and living back in Australia, Holly found herself frustrated as she realised that the experience of owning a tour guide business was difficult to translate into a career path. Thus, she began to navigate her career in digital recruitment, however, like other women, was faced with a range of challenges. With obstacles that were linked to lack of confidence or from encountering people with ample force and conviction, Holly networked her way into finding a female mentor who happened to be an executive at Deloitte Digital. By having a mentor who took an interest in Holly’s career and who understood the importance of networking and building self-confidence, she quickly realised that this type of support and guidance could benefit other women – and that’s when 2014 welcomed the formation of Women in Digital. Looking back, Holly acknowledges it as being “a personal experience” that saw her “coming out of adversity and figuring out what I can do next”. The combination of owning and managing Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co, which was founded in 2016, fills Holly with purpose and appreciation as Digital Talent Co helps people successfully find themselves within their career, whereas Women in Digital brands Holly with the opportunity to promote diversity in the industry.

As a female myself, close to graduating university and about to enter the industry, I wondered: What could’ve been some of the challenges for Holly that were inextricably linked to her gender? Holly expresses that she hasn’t actually faced any challenges in that sense, and that most of her challenges have been self-limiting. She finds that most women in Australia are highly valued and that having a female executive or CEO is considered a trophy. She was, of course, confronted once by a male CTO who said to her “I don’t understand this drive for women in technology. At the end of the day, if you have a female and a male programmer who start together on day 1, by day 100 the man is going to be better because his brain is more hardwired. It’s more rational.” So, obviously there are some outmoded opinions, but for the most part people have modernised and recognise the importance of value and diversity.

As the large workforce revolution approaches, Holly advises that women equip themselves with as much digital education as possible. Education, solid networking skills and a flexible personality are the three tickets that’ll launch any woman’s career and ensure that they have as much of an opportunity at being considered for board positions later down the track. Holly shares that she has been asked whether she has always been out-going and self-assured, but claims she has had to teach herself to be confident and extroverted. A recent conversation with a female sales leader backed her up by saying “In order to get where you want to go, you need to go against your natural grain if you’re someone who’s naturally introverted”.

Now, what’s been her biggest adventure? Holly describes building a business and taking the leap of faith to start Women in Digital and Digital Talent Co has taught her life’s invaluable journey of self-discovery that encompassed learning about her potential, skills, weaknesses, who she is as a leader and how she can grow as a person. Holly encourages all women to start and create their own career paths and to defy the fear that sometimes arises when you decide to own your own business.



December 14, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Sejal Jamnadas

A new year calls for a fresh new outlook on the tech landscape ahead of us. 2017 was the year of de-mystifying buzz words of techblockchain, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, bots and IoT. Of course, these technologies are no longer a “trend” or an idealistic future state. Professionals across all industries, from legal, accounting, tech, arts and manufacturing are now required to be well-versed in a basic understanding of the concept and its application.

Looking into 2018, the tech itself is not going to be vastly different or revolutionary. Rather, as the tech becomes more intuitive, we now need to filter the noise of buzzwords and actually ensure the tech is relevant for people and organisations. The trend will be to better understand the application of these technologies through experimentation, prototyping, refinement and ultimately ensuring the platforms align 100% with the company’s vision. In short, institutions will be constantly obsessing over humans; creating value by ensuring their workers and customers are more satisfied.

The coming year will be about experimenting with wild possibilities, but also understanding how the core principles underlying block chain, virtual reality, cognitive computing and e-commerce will transform our experience of work and consumption.

Here are my Top 4 trends for 2018:

1. BLOCKCHAIN

Blockchain has long been (mostly just the last 5 years) the “star-studded techn trend”, best known for its underlying foundation for cryptocurrencies. If you haven’t invested in bitcoin or ethereum yourself, then you probably have a colleague that will boaster about their massive gains (or losses) as they check its market value on their phone every 10 minutes. Blockchain, simply put, is a distributed ledger that provides a way for information to be recorded and shared by a community. Beyond the popular hype of cryptocurrency, the impact on workflow processes, agreements and tasks have the potential to revolutionise supply chains. Nowadays with blockchain, it’s possible to track back products to the origin of raw material used, quickly determine supply, time-to-customer and exchange confidential business information from orders, shipping and contractual documents.

The next wave of change may not necessarily be centred around the shiny aura of speculative bitcoin trading. Rather, blockchain will shine again for its transformative benefits in an organisation’s most costly, laborious and outdated departments

2. AUGMENTED REALITY

Until now, we’ve mostly seen augmented reality (AR) delivered through our phones; Snapchat filters and Pokémon Go are the perfect example of simple mainstreams applications of an otherwise complex technology. While trying on puppy dog filters on Snapchat might seem relatively trivial, Snapchat’s inherent ability to process and interact with data through multiple mediums opens doors to a myriad of exciting applications. AR is the concept of overlaying contextual information on the immediate physical environment before our eyes, blending digital components and experiences with real life. The technology has become part of products itself, from viewing AR instructions for the maintenance of a hydraulic valve, to visualising the X-ray of a car’s engine and undercarriage. Beyond products, AR will dramatically improve performance across an organisation’s value chain, particularly in the areas of communication and collaboration, training and simulation and the re-invention of end-user customer experience.

AR will further become an imperative as society tries to address the fundamental disconnect between the wealth of digital data and the physical world of ‘people and things’. Torrents of data produced by billions of smart, connect products won’t nearly be as useful as extracting them onto a 3-dimensional medium and allowing humans to experience a new form of information processing.

3. COGNITIVE COMPUTING

Cognitive computing, used interchangeability with artificial intelligence, instantly brings to mind the sea of uniform silver robots in the 2004 Will Smith movie iRobot. The closest we ever really got to seeing human-like robots is the baby robot which greets customers outside of Tokyo’s flagship UNIQLO store. The qualities of these idealistic robots, however, have already had promising applications in manufacturing, professional services, agriculture and health care. Cognitive computing comprises of technology platforms which process information and mimics the human brain to reason, predict and make decisions.

The challenge going forward will be to make non-machine judgements on how we manage the impacts of a displaced workforce and ensure our judiciary, policy-making and education system factor in a future shared with machines that continue to learn.

4. E-COMMERCE

E-commerce is nothing new, but it continues to disrupt business models and consumer behaviours at an unprecedented rate. In 2018, e-commerce will be a magic brewing pot of augmented reality, virtual reality, cognitive chat bots, digital marketing, optimised and traceable supply chains, delivery drones, mobile platforms and personalisation through data. The recent intrusion of Amazon in Australia appears to be the classic trigger for consumer goods markets that are re-visiting their entire company vision.

The focus on customers will be a critical objective for all retailers, whether they play purely e-commerce, or a hybrid with brick-and-mortar stores. The competitive advantage won’t be in the number of technology platforms available, rather it will be that one time you spoke to a friendly customer assistant that offered you credit for the late delivery of your parcel.

Don’t believe everything the internet tells you

My tech trends for 2018 will definitely not be the same tech trends as thousands of other individuals and organisations that present their own research and points of view. What tech trend have you read about the most? More importantly, what intrigues you the most?

Check out some of my top references for staying on top of tech:

Deloitte Tech Trends 2018

Medium



November 12, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Joan Labador

Most people would believe that the most rewarding aspect of being a part of an innovative tech start-up is the ability to be cutting edge or the reputation for ingenuity and creativity. While both make working for a company like Houseandland.com.au a challenging and rewarding adventure, they aren’t the only benefits.

Personally, the most rewarding part of contributing to a tech start up business comes from the people we touch every day. For me, it is about going home at the end of the day and releasing that I have assisted in making the dreams of most families come true – to own your own dream home.

Technology has always been a part of my life, when I was in my 4th year in high school, I was waiting for my diskette to finish formatting when it dawned on me that I wanted to become a developer. Being a developer for me is less of a profession, and more of a lifestyle.

Houseandland.com.au is an innovative national start-up company that utilises a revolutionary algorithm to create the perfect house and land combination for consumers. It enables families and individuals to match specific home designs with land and estates that suit the design and size, while also allowing the builder and developer websites to integrate the technology for their own customers.

In essence, I am helping to merge a number of communities that haven’t had the opportunity to interact in the past – something that is truly rewarding. As consumers become more time poor, technology must evolve to make people’s lives easier, particularly with the clutter of conflicting information available on the internet. I am giving the consumer complete control in a very important life choice – what house do I want to settle down in and see my family grow.

Personally I think consumers valuable time and money should be spent in framing their family photos not manually searching for their dream house and location. What I have helped develop for Houseandland.com.au is enabling consumers to glide through the selecting process and jump straight into becoming a homeowner, the true Aussie dream!

As a businesswoman and developer, I have seen the magic of watching a young couple find their first home near a secret beach or a large family seeking a spacious home in a quiet suburb. It’s something I love being a part of and crosses back to my earlier top to always follow your passion – if you aren’t passionate about what you do you won’t have the drive to do it to the best of your ability!

About Houseandland.com.au

Houseandland.com.au is an innovative National start-up company, founded by Dean Kyros. Following a career in property law, project management and development, Dean recognised a gap in the market in connecting buyers with their ideal house and land options.

Utilising a revolutionary algorithm, Houseandland.com.au creates the perfect house and land match for consumers, with home designs by Australia’s leading builders and developers, along with the best estates and land across the country. It enables consumers to match specific home designs with land and estates that suit the design and size, while also allowing builder and developer websites to integrate the technology for their own customers.



November 3, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

Technology is a universal language, however no matter where you go, technological developments are always different in structure and process. They live in a complex and unique environment and I count myself very lucky to have found such a binding interest in this environment at such a young age.

My name is Joan Labador, I am a Senior Developer at Houseandland.com.au and I have had over 9 years of IT experience in designing and developing web and mobile applications. I am originally from the Philippines, but work lead me to Singapore and now on to Australia. As a woman in the technology space, I do feel that I’ve had to work harder and smarter to be recognised in a male dominated industry. I don’t perceive this to be a negative however, as I know that where I am today has been a result of my own devotion and hard work. Making it all the more rewarding.

In 2016, I received CSC’s Global Top Talents and Top Projects award in Singapore, one of the highest forms of recognition in the IT industry. That moment was a nod to all Australian females who are in a male dominated industry, and I felt so proud to be representing them and all of the hard work they do in the digital space daily.

I began my career in the Philippines in 2007, I was riding the wave of the technology boom in a country that fostered female talent.

In 2010, I took a big leap of faith and I moved my career to Singapore. At the time I was the only female working in my development team, however I relished the opportunity to challenge myself amongst the best. It was less friendly and less flexible than the Philippines however it enabled me to learn fast and produce quality work to ensure I kept up.

The technology space challenges you to be your best every second of every day. You need to be on the ball and working efficiently in order to maximise the experience you can gain.

One of the best benefits of being in such a tough environment was the recognition for great work. I have found in my time working as a developer overseas, has toughened my skin and made me realise that women have a long way to go when it comes to having our voices and opinions heard.

From my own experiences I have developed a number of tips I’d give to women looking to enter the technology space or continue their journey in this rewarding landscape:

  • Don’t be intimidated: you will work with a number of people who assume that intimidation will further their case/make you think you’re inferior/make them look better to the boss – no matter the reason, ignore them. Learning how to manage up and down in any work place is a skill people develop over time.
  • Keep going: this one for me is simple – nobody can stop us but ourselves. It’s common place that women place perceived limitations on themselves everyday which can limit our ability to think creatively and find solutions for problems in the work place.
  • Take a giant leap: whether it be a move overseas, a new job or just a new way of doing a task you complete every day, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
  • Keep your mind open and let your passions lead the waySimply speaking don’t be afraid of setbacks and always be open minded. Letting your passions lead the way will keep you on track to smashing your goals.

About Houseandland.com.au

Houseandland.com.au is an innovative National start-up company, founded by Dean Kyros. Following a career in property law, project management and development, Dean recognised a gap in the market in connecting buyers with their ideal house and land options.

Utilising a revolutionary algorithm, Houseandland.com.au creates the perfect house and land match for consumers, with home designs by Australia’s leading builders and developers, along with the best estates and land across the country. It enables consumers to match specific home designs with land and estates that suit the design and size, while also allowing builder and developer websites to integrate the technology for their own customers.



November 1, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

Amazon is setting up shop in Australia, isn’t that great for consumers?

It’s happening. Amazon has officially confirmed it is setting up an online shop in Australia. This is great news for many Aussies who right now can only buy through offshore Amazon online stores (e.g. in the U.S.) with much higher delivery fees and longer delivery times to Australia.

There are reports Amazon will also offer prices up to 30% cheaper than local stores. Combined with the Amazon Prime delivery (a yearly fixed fee for unlimited free priority shipping as well as access to Netflix competitor, Amazon Prime Video), consumers look set to be the big winners.

Why should Aussies worry about losing money?

Do you have any investment exposure to Australian retail companies?

This could be direct investment in listed shares or indirectly through your super fund. One of Australia’s largest retailers Wesfarmers (which owns Coles, Kmart, Target) alone has over half a million direct shareholders. The arrival of Amazon should be a concern for shareholders of Wesfarmers and other Aussie retailers.

Richard Goyder, the outgoing CEO of Wesfarmers, has gone as far as saying Amazon will “eat all our breakfasts, lunches and dinners” unless the retail sector innovates. The chart below clearly shows why he is right to be wary of Amazon’s disruptive power.

Aussie retailers will no doubt fight back. This may involve competing on price, providing much better customer service and properly investing in a world class online shopping experience.

The problem is this will cost money while Amazon will still increasingly capture market share. For example, investment bank Credit Suisse estimates companies such as JB-Hifi and Myer could lose a third to over half their earnings respectively in the coming years because of Amazon. This cannot be good news for their share prices.

That is why many Aussies may stand to lose more money from their investment exposure in Australian retailers than they’ll actually save from shopping at Amazon.

Is this an investment opportunity?

Yes. If you have any investment exposure to Australia retailers, it is time to take a good hard look at how they are responding to Amazon’s arrival. Some companies (like Wesfarmers) are investing in innovation to compete while others like Gerry Harvey (the billionaire chairman of Harvey Norman) take a more confrontational approach calling Amazon a parasite. (Read More)

The other opportunity to consider is an investment exposure to Amazon itself and the broader online shopping industry. You could do worse than start investing in a sector that will fundamentally transform the way society shops over the next decade.

This article was submitted by AtlasTrend (www.atlastrend.com).

At the time of writing, the AtlasTrend Online Shopping Spree Fund and the AtlasTrend Big Data Big Fund both own shares in Amazon.

To learn more about Online Shopping and other mega world trends, CLICK HERE.

 

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