Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis - Harvard Business Review

Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis - Harvard Business ReviewLead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis - Harvard Business Review5 Best Home Business Ideas for People Who Love Books - News & FeaturesInnovation Finalists Pitch Ideas, Earn Seed Money at Big Idea Event - Colorado College NewsLead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis - Harvard Business ReviewPosted: 27 Feb 2020 09:03 AM PSTExecutive SummaryThe economic impacts of Covid-19 are significant, and as the crisis unfolds, many companies are trying to understand, react to, and learn lessons from rapidly unfolding events. While the full impact will only be clear in hindsight, the authors offer 12 lessons based on BCG's ongoing analysis and support for our clients around the world. ababil12/Getty Images The Covid-19 crisis has now reached a new critical phase where public health systems need to act decisively to contain the growth in new epicenters outside China.Clearly, the main emphasis is and s…

Adopting softer stance, Kazakhstan allows small-scale protests - Macau Business

Adopting softer stance, Kazakhstan allows small-scale protests - Macau Business

Adopting softer stance, Kazakhstan allows small-scale protests - Macau Business

Posted: 31 Aug 2019 06:15 AM PDT

Kazakhstan's government allowed pro-democracy youth activists to hold small-scale public rallies demanding constitutional reform yesterday, signalling more tolerance for its critics.

Public protests are effectively illegal in the Central Asian nation, and police have routinely dispersed those that have taken place. But state security agencies seem to be adopting a softer approach since Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took over as president from veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev in March.

Activists of the recently established Oyan, Qazaqstan — Wake up, Kazakhstan — a movement mostly made up of Kazakhs in their teens and twenties, held small-scale rallies in several Kazakh cities on Friday to mark the Constitution Day.

In Almaty, the former Soviet republic's biggest city, some two dozen activists marched through a central street demanding constitutional reforms and a switch to a parliamentary republic. Some carried banners quoting the articles of the constitution, which bar censorship and protect freedom of assembly.

Unusually for such rallies, police made no attempts to detain them or interfere with the march, although some activists had complained earlier about being summoned by police and warned against participating in the rally.

The Oyan, Qazaqstan movement has emerged since Nazarbayev abruptly resigned in March, after running the oil-rich nation for almost three decades. The 79-year-old Nazarbayev endorsed his ally Tokayev, 66, as his successor, but retained sweeping powers as head of the security council and leader of the ruling Nur Otan party.

Tokayev has pledged policy continuity, but he also invited some of prominent government critics to discuss future reforms at a special council and has shown greater lenience towards dissident groups such as Oyan, Qazaqstan.

The group has become prominent for its creative approach to protest,- from hanging a banner that read "You can't run away from the truth" along the path of a government-sponsored marathon to standing in square with an empty banner. Police arrested the lone protester anyway.

By Mariya Gordeyeva

(Writing by Olzhas Auyezov, editing by Larry King)

AI for small business is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. - Marketing Land

Posted: 28 Aug 2019 04:30 AM PDT

Time for a fight

Let's set the scene. It's an English pub on the outskirts of London. It's raining, obviously. There are four of us crowded around a small table.

Once upon a time, we worked together. We were teachers back then, and now we're marketers.

Every so often, when the stars align, we all meet up.

There is little time for politeness. There is scant regard for nuance. We laugh, we joke, we play dice games. We find out who's doing what and where. We drink, we argue and we learn from one another.

But on this particular night, things got lively. There was an unusual level of spice. And it all started with this.

"AI is expensive, and it can't be trusted."

Explosive AI potential

On one side, Jeff. He works in PPC marketing.

On the other, Richard, who works for a tech startup.

Let's frame their argument. Research by PwC suggests that by 2030 the UK's GDP could grow by 10% from AI alone. That's an extra $289 billion. Globally, it's closer to 13%.

Richard's line of reasoning: if you fail to capitalize on this opportunity, others will.

Things started badly. Jeff suggested that, currently, the vast majority of businesses cannot benefit from AI. It's a waste of their time. It will eventually be useful, but not yet.

Frankly, this is wrong. Richard told him as much. Regarding AI as an emerging trend – as something that's in the pipeline and not ready to deploy yet – is a dangerous mistake.

35% of Amazon's revenue is already generated by its AI recommendation engine. Spotify, Netflix and YouTube are champions in their field at using algorithms to get people to consume more content, more often and for longer periods of time.

Richard went one step further. Draining his pint, he said, "look, mate, it's become black and white. Either you embrace AI, or you don't. Either you seize your part of that money pot, or you don't. Change your ways or get left in the dust."

Shots fired, right?

"Okay," Jeff said, "the big boys are using AI. But small businesses can't. They don't have the money to invest in it or the time to train their staff."

Fair point. A Vistage study found that only 14% of small to medium businesses are using AI. 51% utilize it to assist in business operations; 46% to improve customer engagement.

And Jeff's flawed line of reasoning is widespread. It goes like this: AI technology is meant for larger companies. It's meant for Amazon, who can spend $22.6 billion globally on research & development.

But this isn't true. And if the position isn't challenged, then gigantic firms will grow bigger still and the opportunity gets lost.

Entry-level AI

Backpedalling, Jeff explained he already used rudimentary forms of AI to automate.

He used an Account Anomaly Detector –  a freely available Google Ads script that detects and alerts you when an account is suddenly behaving differently. He'd set up a zero impressions emergency alarm too.

Fair enough. Any sane PPC manager will be automating at least some part of their Google Ads workflow. If they're not using a platform to achieve this, they're using scripts.

"Not good enough though," Richard fired back.

There was a collective groan from the table.

Making things work

Richard doubled down.

"See, in a world of increasingly intrusive software, AI-driven automation software can actually let you relax. It can let you stop worrying about work. Tonight, already, I've seen you check accounts at least five times," he said.

Jeff shifted in his seat.

"It's Friday night," Richard said. "You should be able to go to the pub with some friends and have a drink without doing that."

This makes sense. Automation technology supplementing what you do is something I've argued for previously. Set up automation rules in a platform so that if something's fishy, you get notified. Or pause the offending campaign, ad group or ad until you can diagnose and fix things later.

Now, all-encompassing marketing software exists. I had worked with Adobe Marketing Cloud at a retail & leisure industry giant. Richard had used Kenshoo.

They're full, all-in-one packages that let you deliver a unified marketing strategy all under one banner. AI-driven software pushing insight, automation and scale.

"But," Jeff complained, "the pricing is insane for a small business. We don't have the budget, the time or the expertise to make that work."

Zero alone time

However, there are better options out there for small businesses.

In fact, there's a dizzying array of platforms to choose from when it comes to optimizing, automating and managing PPC campaigns at scale.

Now, full disclosure, these days I work for one of them: Adzooma.

And that allows me to say with full confidence: it isn't acceptable for any PPC Manager in 2019 to work without some level of automation.

No human being should be handling the increasingly complex world of PPC alone. Nor should they be surrendering full control to a machine.

Instead, the best approach is to have a human being supported by a machine (or platform). This will win every single time.

Why do I know this?

Because it's my job to know my industry inside out. I know what the competition is pushing; what issues they're skating around. I know what they do well and what they don't.

Provide smart PPC results quickly, one site will say. Pay a monthly subscription to download PPC scripts. Put things on autopilot. Optimize everything automatically.

But, in reality, you want to automate parts of your workflow while retaining control of the big strategic decisions.

You're looking to save time and get more from your budget. You're looking for smarter, more effective advertising. But, most importantly of all, you're still the boss.

Control is king

And that was Jeff's issue. When pressed, he owned up.

"Yeah, fair enough," he admitted. "I'm worried about losing control. I'm worried about a platform making a decision on my behalf that's wrong. I don't trust it."

But that just doesn't wash.

Adzooma's automation feature lets you set up simple rules. It can pause adverts if your Quality Score falls too low. It can pause whatever you need when impressions, clicks, conversions, spend, CPC or CPA aren't where you need them to be. Or, alternatively, notify you.

This eliminates the brutal time cost of manually checking everything. It prevents someone like Jeff wasting their time.

It also allows you to scale. And this is precisely how small businesses can capitalize on AI-driven platforms like Adzooma.

It's precisely how people like Jeff can claim their part of that AI money pot.

The Opportunity Engine

But it's not just about automation.

Adzooma's Opportunity Engine is our name for a wide range of recommendations that can optimize accounts.

Our platform constantly analyzes your data and presents ad managers with opportunities. They can review them and apply most with a single click.

This allows small businesses to do two things.

One, it allows a small business to run successful PPC campaigns without having a dedicated, technical PPC manager on the payroll.

Two, it allows a small business agency to scale up their operations – which is, incidentally, why we built Adzooma in the beginning.

We didn't want our account managers spending hours and hours performing routine, manual work on every account. We wanted to give them more time to acquire and onboard new clients.

Avoiding the woe

Look, you can be like Jeff. You can do manual and supplement your workflow with scripts. Here are 162 Google Ads scripts that can supercharge your campaigns.

Here's one of the very best. It's a script to find the best text for new ads using an n-gram analysis. The original post, shared by Daniel Gilbert, concerned finding the best and worst search queries. Regardless of your setup, you must try this.

But, realistically, you need a platform behind you to get to the next level.

It would be a ludicrous lie on my part to tell you that any platform can replace a smart, strategic, business-oriented human being. But woe betide any human being delivering success without a powerful Adzooma-esque machine whirring away behind them.

David, not Goliath

Do not fall into the dangerous trap of thinking you're too small for AI.

Small, disruptive, innovative businesses have been important since the dawn of capitalism. The little guys don't always win, but they do push the engine along. And, when they're smart, they win big. Very big.

The potential is ridiculous.

You don't need to become an AI expert, and you don't need to hire one. You need to identify and select platforms, like Adzooma, that has AI embedded into them and works for the goals you want to achieve.

If you want to capitalize on the AI boom, you need to get started right now. Optimize, automate and win.

About The Author

Adzooma is a technology platform in the advertising space. We started life as a small agency and struggled to find a powerful but easy-to-use way to manage and optimize our ad campaigns at scale... So we built one. Since then, we've become a Google Partner, Facebook Partner, and have seen our business grow over 3000%. Why? Because we kept the plan simple by disrupting the market, making online advertising easier, more accessible and more cost effective for all businesses irrespective of their size.

How Israeli businesses are announcing themselves on the world stage - The Times of Israel

Posted: 30 Aug 2019 07:50 PM PDT

2018 was a record-breaking year for startups emanating from the young nation of Israel, now its fledgeling businesses have their sights set on global success. 

Throughout 2018, a total of $6.47 billion was invested in domestic startups – an increase of 17% on the year prior. The value of investment is made more impressive by the fact that it's more than double that of 2013. 

Founder and CEO of OurCrowd – an equity crowdfunding platform – Jon Medved said of the developments: "2018 broke all records of capital raising by Israeli tech startups with most of the capital invested going to growth-stage companies. With 4X the number of funding rounds greater than $20 million compared to 5 years ago, the interest in 'Start-Up Nation' clearly shifted to the 'Scale-Up' phase."

Venture capital raised by Israeli fund. Source: Wikimedia

But how straightforward will this newfound scaling phase of the Start-Up Nation be? And how are Israeli companies marketing themselves to organisations worldwide? Here's a deeper look into the scaling of the Start-Up Nation.

Consolidating reputation

Israel has worked hard on developing and building a reputation for innovation among new businesses for some years now. To be recognised as the Start-Up Nation in a world that understands the importance of embracing technology is no mean feat. 

In particular, Tel Aviv's record of embracing new businesses has seen the city welcome new industry and staff alike. Innovation Israel charts the number of paid employees in technologically driven industries at 13,200 alone in Tel Aviv

The championing of Tel Aviv has helped external businesses to pinpoint the cauldron of tech innovation worldwide and thus know exactly where to look for strategic partnerships

The rise of the Start-Up Nation is further aided by Israel's position at the western world's gateway to Asia – allowing companies from the eastern hemisphere to operate alongside businesses from Europe and the US. 

Marketing to the world

In recent years, Israeli companies have enjoyed plenty of small scale success – after all, the nation boasts more startups per capita than any other country in the world – but has traditionally struggled when it comes to expanding. Precious few Israeli startups have progressed in attaining a value of over $1bn, and only one firm, Teva, rank within the world's top 500 companies in terms of market capitalisation. 

For such a prolific nation, this is evident evidence of underachievement. But things are changing for the better around the tech hubs of Tel Aviv and beyond. In the summer of 2019, Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. joined forces with Israel's Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. in a bid to tap into the potential of the Start-Up Nation's burgeoning tech industry. 

Talking of the newfound partnership, Harel CEO, Michel Siboni said: "The entry of a Japanese corporation into investments in Israeli hi-tech sectors creates vast potential for Israeli startups and entrepreneurs." While Makoto Okada was similarly ambitious regarding future collaboration, explaining that Harel "can bridge us to Israel innovation eco-systems."

Example of Copywriting. Source: Solvid

With the rise of foreign investment in Israeli startups, the task of marketing to the world becomes much more achievable. Marketing in the west is made simple through content and copywriting organisations, while domestic companies can build their appeal towards Asia through accurate translation services.

Preemptive solutions 

Tel Aviv's thriving technological landscape could hardly be better timed. As the world becomes ever-dependent on innovative tech, Israel's dedication to the industry has become virtually unignorable.

Companies within the nation are already hard at work in preempting the solutions to questions that haven't yet been asked regarding the future state of retail, communications and manufacturing to name but a few. 

For example, Nexite, an Israeli firm working on optimising customer experience within retail outlets could play a major role in saving the worlds' high streets from the looming spectre of online shopping. 

Nexite has designed an RFID-enabled tag for garments in-store that allows customers to securely complete their check-out process online and leave the store with their new item without the need of attending a checkout. When a remote purchase is made by scanning the item's tag, the tag is disabled allowing the shopper to leave the store with their goods. If the purchase hasn't been completed, a silent alarm will alert security should the customer leave with their item. 

Another Israeli startup, Personali, utilises AI to assess a user's shopping behaviour and purchasing patterns to customise offers and individual item prices based on who's viewing which product and when.  

AI. Source: Pexels

Such innovations could help to keep retail thriving at a time where uncertainty dominates outlets worldwide, and Israel's influence could be even more profound in other industries like cybersecurity and healthcare. 

The rise of Israel's technological hubs has become unignorable now the world has become dependent on interconnectivity and increasingly keen on investing in the prospect of the Internet of Things

The scalability of Israel's startups may be relatively modest compared to the country's wealth of startups, but the future looks bring for the Start-Up Nation.

Dmytro is a CEO of Solvid, a creative content creation agency based in London. He's also the founder of Pridicto, a web analytics startup. His work has been featured in various publications, including Entrepreneur.com, TechRadar, Hackernoon, TNW, Huff Post, and ReadWrite.


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