Tech Insights is a new series where we speak to experts in the DWEN community about hot technology topics.
The NextWomen Technology Theme.
Yifan Zhang tells us about the early days of her tech startup, which has been funded and supported by Techstars, Startup Chile and Resolute.VC.
One of the most common questions I get asked about my startup GymPact is, “How did you come up with that?” I take pride in hearing that because to me it means we’re doing something so innovative that people can’t imagine even thinking up the idea. After all, GymPact gives cash rewards to those who meet their exercise goals – paid by the non-exercisers!
Three years ago, I was a senior at Harvard College. I had just written a paper for my behavioral economics class on loss aversion, which says people hate losing money 2.5x more than they like gaining the same amount. I could not stop thinking about this idea, and I wondered if this stronger motivator of loss could impact hard-to-change behaviors like exercise. (yes, this is what I spent senior spring doing).
This annual event seeks to showcase the most promising woman-led companies from around the world and will invite finalists to compete for cash prizes, global visibility and the chance to pitch in front of an international audience at the Fourth Annual We Own It Summit in London on June 27.
Applications are open until New Date: June 1, 2013! Click here to apply.
Has your business run out of cash? Jo Haigh looks at your options.
You know the saying ‘sales are vanity, profit is sanity’? This little sentence should end with ‘but cash is absolutely essential’.
Businesses do not fail because they don't make profits (at least, not immediately), they fail because they run out of cash. Once it’s gone it’s gone!
If your cash wells have all but dried up, keeping what you have, and squeezing the last drops out of your assets, is more than desirable, it’s essential to survival.
So, first things first, are you fully exploiting your key assets of stock and debtors? In other words do you have optimum stock levels and are you collecting as promptly as possible?
Try this simple formula to work out what each day tied up in stock and debtors is worth to you. You may also like to check if you may just be paying too quickly. I call it the RIP ratio, so try ripping into your assets.
Last weekend, more than 1000 thought leaders came together to discuss the Economy and Society from a female perspective. Unlike the Davos Global Forum, in Deauville powerful women are in the majority at the fifth international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Its motto is:
"Think again, think ahead! It is time for action, change and hope".
There were many international speakers unveiling their ideas on politics, entrepreneurship, economics; a lot of the time about the effects of the financial crisis, but also on the chances and opportunities that it brings. Among the speakers - 17 Rising Talents of 2009 - was Founder of Smarta, Shaa Wasmund.
Some conclusions from the forum were:
Women are Hit Hard by the Financial Crisis
It may be that women-led hedge funds have performed better in the financial crisis than hedge funds run by men - as was one of the conclusions of a Report launched at the Women's Forum - and yet women and girls in poor countries have been hit the hardest by the implosion of banks thousands of miles away.
The developed world has received far more funding to combat the crisis, in comparison to that received by the worlds poorest countries. As a result, women now need similarly large-scale solutions, including access to capital and to larger markets, to combat the crisis.
"The ground has shifted beneath the feet of our business models and social and economic policies”, explains Founder and CEO Aude Zieseniss de Thuin. "The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society views moments of rupture like this as an opportunity to advance new ideas, technologies and even paradigms for society and the economy. With their male counterparts, women have a key role to play in the process of creating a more resilient future," the Founder of the Women’s Forum said.
Empowering Women makes Financial Sense
Discussed at great length, was the idea that empowering women economically is not just a matter of fairness, but of financial sense.
Leah Goold-Haws explains how she came to create a boardgame which teaches entrepreneurialism and has been featured in Forbes Online Magazine.
Though I come from a family where my father was a multiple small venture entrepreneur, after my divorce, I struggled to determine what type of job would be best for me.
I knew, despite my fears, that I wanted employment that would give me the flexibility I would need as a single parent. I also feared that a traditional 9-5 would leave me at the mercy of an employer and being over 40, I didn’t think I would have as many potential economic opportunities as self-employment could offer.
So I dove in – starting a marketing firm – LGH Marketing/Strategy, as it was a background I’ve always worked in. I had one client and a lot of motivation. The client itself was a collaborative I brought together, stemming from a conversation about the need for increasing higher educational aspirations in our rural community.
When our blogger Mary Juetten attended the fabulous Simmons Leadership Conference last month, she met with keynote speaker Josie Natori, a native of the Philippines who was the first woman vice president in investment banking at Merrill Lynch and went on to found lifestyle brand Natori.
Fashion was never in her plans
I had the pleasure of interviewing Josie Natori prior to listening to Mrs. Natori address a packed room at the Simmons Women’s Leadership Conference in Boston on April 2, 2013. In its 34th year, the conference attracted over 3,000 attendees and with a Women of Influence theme, Ms. Natori was a headline speaker.
Just about everyone reading this will be familiar with WordPress: it’s the behemoth on the content management scene, employed by millions of blogs and web publications large and small alike. The Next Web runs on WordPress, as do most of our competitors, and these days you have to look a little harder to find sites that run on the giants of the past such as Joomla! (formerly Mambo) and the perpetual underdog, Drupal.
The NextWomen Tech Theme.
Amy Sheng is Co-Founder of CellScope, a venture-backed mobile health startup creating a suite of optical attachments for smartphones to enable remote diagnoses.
Its first product is the CellScope Oto, a smartphone otoscope for capturing diagnostic quality ear images and videos to diagnose ear infections.
CellScope spun out of a bioengineering lab at UC Berkeley creating mobile microscopes for disease diagnosis in the developing world.
Amy previously led a team to develop an automated hematology analyzer with automated classification of white blood cells that was cleared by the FDA. She has an MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas. She can be followed on Twitter @amysheng.
Amy was named in Inc Magazine's 10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013.
How often have you heard a manager say something like this: “Jane doesn’t seem as enthusiastic as she used to be. I don’t know what’s wrong with her. But it’s ok because I’m doing her performance appraisal next month so I can deal with it then”?
It’s easy to see the performance appraisal as a once-a-year opportunity to fix all the motivation issues at one go. In a half-hour conversation, you can build your employee’s self-esteem, show your gratitude for what they’ve achieved, and promise great things for the future. And everyone will live happily ever after, until next year’s appraisal.
It’s not as simple as that. A motivational conversation once a year just won’t do the job. Motivation is like a delicate orchid – it needs attention on a regular basis, and keeping a gentle eye on it all the time in between.