• Squarespace

    Anthony Casalena was a student at the University of Maryland when he started Squarespace, a service that helps people build a website. TIME.com named it one of the 50 best websites. He shares his number one piece of advice for entrepreneurs with Rebecca Jarvis of the Start Up.

    "I think it's important that people who start companies feel compelled to do it because they think the world should be a certain way, and they feel strongly about changing it. Your company should have a philosophy and a reason for being. Many people confuse ideas with companies, but a company should be more than just solving the mechanics of a problem. It should be built with a group of people that rallies around an idea and works towards a common goal."

    What are your career goals? Where do you want to work? What is the company's purpose? Do your career goals match the company's goals?

  • Cyber Monday Reaches Spending High

    Yesterday, IBM released data from its Digital Analytics Benchmark showing that Cyber Monday sales reached record levels. IBM explains it this way, "Benchmark enables online retailers to measure their online marketing results--including e-commerce data--against that of their peers. Benchmark is the only peer-level benchmarking solution that delivers aggregated and anonymous competitive data for industry-specific key performance indicators (KPIs), showing how a site performs competitively and historically compared to its respective industry overall, as well as to peers and direct competitors."

    • Online sales on Cyber Monday rose more than 30% from the same day a year ago
    • More mobile devices were used in online commerce, as more than 18% of consumers used a smartphone or tablet to do that shopping
    • Mobile-based sales accounted for 13% of all online deals on Monday
    • The Apple iPad dominated mobile-devices used in online shopping on Monday, accounting for 7% of all online sales on mobile devices and more than 90% of the purchases made on tablets

    What consumer trends can managers see via digital analytics?


  • Giving Tuesday

    Management decision making is influenced by the political environment, but managers also influence political decisions. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday on the last Thursday in November 1863, but in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November. Business leaders had asked President Roosevelt to move the date to allow an extra week in the holiday shopping season (between Thanksgiving and Christmas). 

    Managers saw a shopping opportunity after Thanksgiving and decided to open early and offer specials. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the day many retailers are profitable. In accounting, black ink denotes positive income, as opposed to red ink which denotes negative values. Thus "in the black" means making money.    Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday when most people go back to work after the four-day Thanksgiving holiday, and shop online.   

    Giving Tuesday, is the day after Cyber Monday, for people to participate in holiday charitable giving. It is a new opportunity, maybe the start of a holiday tradition.     Will you give today? How? What do you think about "Giving Tuesday"? How are managers incorporating "Giving Tuesday" into their business?

  • Cyber Monday Evolves

    Photo from  Valley News Live "Big Online Shopping Day: Cyber Monday" at http://www.valleynewslive.com/story/20181042/cyber-monday

    ComScore forecast today's Cyber Monday sales to be around $1.5 billion. But it isn't just today that consumers are shopping online. Cyber shopping has reached a tipping point with approximately 52 percent of shoppers saying they plan to make holiday purchases online, according to comScore.

    Holiday sales have been boosted by changing consumer behavior.  More shoppers are using their tablets and smartphones to shop. As a result, sales over the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend are up almost 13 percent from last year, even though the in-store sales were down.

    Managers decided to open doors Thanksgiving evening, in addition to opening early on Black Friday. Retailers have integrated in-store and online shopping. It seems the boundaries of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expanding to include Thanksgiving to Christmas.

    Did you shop over the Thanksgiving four-day weekend? If so, when and where did you shop? Did you go out late instead of early? Did you shop online today, Cyber Monday? Where did you get your sales information -- circulars in newspapers, retailers' emails, television ads, websites, Facebook, talking with friends?


  • Black Friday is Changing

    Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. It has been the traditional start of the Christmas holiday shopping season, as well as the biggest shopping day of the year in terms of dollars spent. This year, some retail managers decided to move their Black Friday specials to Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.

    For example, Wal-Mart stores are open on Thanksgiving, but started their specials at 8 PM and another special at 10 PM. Wal-Mart guaranteed the deals by promising that everyone waiting in line for a 32-inch LCD TV, an Apple iPad2, and a Blu-ray player would get them by Christmas. If the store ran out, shoppers could pay for the item and get it delivered.

    I was in line at Wal-Mart for the Apple iPad2. Everyone in line between 10 and 11 PM were promised the opportunity to buy an iPad2 for $399 and receive a $75 Wal-Mart gift card. At 11 PM, 2 cashiers started taking payment. People had a lot more in their shopping baskets than iPads, so checkout took a long time. I didn't stay in line, because I figured it would be around 1 AM Friday morning before I would reach the cashier.

    This was one of six long lines at Wal-Mart with shoppers waiting to buy Apple iPad2.

    Fortunately, on Black Friday, I received an email from Apple offering the iPad2 for $337 with free shipping. This was $13 more than Wal-Mart's offer. All I had to do was sit at my computer and click! Online was a much better shopping experience for me.

    Thursday specials are one way brick-and-mortar stores can compete with Websites. I was willing to go out for a couple of hours of shopping on Thanksgiving night. But, I won't go out again next year. It is just too convenient to wait for the deals to come to my computer!

    How is shopping over the holiday season changing? Does Black Friday exist anymore?

  • Small Business Saturday

    Today is Small Business Saturday, which is the day between Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday. It is a special holiday that encourages people to shop at local businesses. Managers typically decide to open stores early on Black Friday, but some opened on Thanksgiving evening. Did you get out and shop small today? If so, what did you buy? Did you shop on Thanksgiving evening or the day after, Black Friday? What was your experience?

  • Trip Advisor's Success

    Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year. Steve Kaufer is the founder the world's largest travel website, Trip Advisor. He started the business 12 years ago, after struggling to plan a vacation himself. People get free travel advice from their friends.

    In this video, Kaufer tells Rebecca Jarvis of the Start Up about the smartest things he did and the biggest mistake he made in starting the company. He says that the smartest thing he did was open the site to let users use the site however they wanted. They write reviews and add photos of what the room really looks like. They ask and answer questions in forums. He says the thing he would have done differently is open the site earlier to global users.

    Write a short review about the last trip you took. Did you use a brochure? Did the actual trip match the brochure? What would you advise?

  • A Peacock in the Land of Penguins

    In this video, a "Peacock in the Land of Penguins" seeks opportunities. Managers must find opportunities in peoples' problems. What does this video teach you about solving problems, finding opportunities, and making decisons?

  • Millennial Workforce

    In this episode of Revolution, Identified Co-CEO Brendan Wallace shares insights into millennial behavior with Brian Solis. His company is a new network that connects younger professionals with the businesses that hope to hire them.

    How can managers nurture millennial employees in a collaborative, rewarding, and connected workforce?

  • PR is . . .

    Public relations specialists were asked to fill in the blank; "PR is ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________. " The infographic below captures the results.

    The textbook definition of PR -- "Public relations builds good relations with the organization's various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good "corporate image," and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories, and events."

    How does the textbook definition differ from those on this infographic? What implication does this have for managers?

  • Sara Blakely on Her Spanx Success

    Sarah Blakely is the founder of Spanx, body-shaping undergarments and clothing. She is the youngest female billionaire in history. The word "failure" was redefined by Blakely. "Instead of failure being the outcome, failure became not trying," she told Anerson Cooper. "It forced me at a young age to want to push myself so much farther out of my comfort zone." Blakely's number one tip for women who are hoping to start their own business is "You've got to trust your gut. I didn't have any background in what I was doing: women have really strong guts." 

    In this video, Blakely shares her inspiration. Who inspires you?


  • Leaders and Extra Marital Affairs

    Leaders have a responsibility to set an example in personal conduct for their followers. So, evidence of a leader's extra marital affair can lead to organizational conflict. Outcomes include complaints of favoritism by workers outside of the relationship, claims of sexual harassment, and decreased productivity of those involved in the office romance.

    Two recent investigations which led to proof of adultery and then loss of jobs headlined the news.  The leader of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Director David Petraeus resigned after an FBI inquiry into the use of one of his personal email accounts found that he was engaging in an extra marital affair. Actually, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was investigating a harassment complaint against Paula Broadwell by another woman. Broadwell is Petraeus' biographer, and the email exchanges revealed that Patraeus and Broadwell were having an affair. General Patraeus resigned and wrote the following to his employees.

    "Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation."

    The other affair was at Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's largest supplier. An internal whistleblower at Lockheed made the allegation. The investigation found that Christopher Kubasik, the President and future CEO had a close personal relationship with a subordinate employee, which is a violation Lockheed's code of ethics and business conduct. The subordinate employee has left the company. Kubasik said in a statement, "I regret that my conduct in this matter did not meet the standards to which I have always held myself."

    Both men knew of their organizations' strict relationship policies. What does it mean to adhere to a code of duty, integrity, and honor? If you were the manager, what would you do if you found out about an office romance?

  • Visionary Edwin Land

    Book trailer for INSTANT: THE STORY OF POLAROID by Christopher Bonanos from Princeton Architectural Press on Vimeo.

    Edward Land was a visionary innovator. He invented the instant camera and founded Polaroid. Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos, includes this 1970 quote from Land. "We are still a long way from the...camera that would be, oh, like the telephone: something that you use all day long...a camera which you would use not on the occasion of parties only, or of trips only, or when your grandchildren came to see you, but a camera that you would use as often as your pencil or your eyeglasses."

    Land's 1970 vision is today's smartphone.

    "Don't do anything anyone else can do." How can this advice from Land help today's innovators?


  • The Laws of Subtraction

    Matthew E. May is the author of The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything. In the book, he applies Occam's razor to innovation; the simplest answer is often the best. He encourages, "wage war on more."

    Based upon his study of businesses, May offers 6 simple rules:

    1. What isn't there can often trump what is.
    2. The simplest rules create the most effective experience.
    3. Limiting information engages the imagination.
    4. Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints.
    5. Break is the most important part of breakthrough.
    6. Doing something isn't always better than doing nothing.

    "Subtraction is defined simply as the art of removing anything excessive, confusing, wasteful, unnatural, hazardous, hard to use, or ugly . . . or the discipline to refrain from adding it in the first place." What do you need to subtract?

  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

    Massive open online courses (MOOCs) allow anyone to take a class for free. Coursera provides a technical platform to 33 educational institutions and offers some 200 online courses to 1.5 million students. In this TED video, Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera, talks about what we are learning from online education. 

    Have you ever taken a free college class on the Internet? Are MOOCs the future of education? What are the possibilities of training employees using MOOCs?

  • Learn to be a Charismatic Leader

    Most managers want to be charismatic leaders. In her book, The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane states, "If you're a leader, or aspire to be one, charisma matters. It gives you a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the very best talent. It makes people want to work with you, your team, and your company. Research shows that those following charismatic leaders perform better, experience their work as more meaningful, and have more trust in their leaders than those following effective but noncharismatic leaders.

    Four types of communicative influence are profiled in her book, The Charisma Myth.

    • Authoritative Charisma intimidates or impresses listeners by projecting high status and confidence.
    • Visionary Charisma inspires the audience by projecting absolute conviction in a cause.  Examples are Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Focus Charisma conveys attention and presence in the moment so listeners feel understood.  It's perfect for consultants, attorneys, and financial advisors.
    • Kindness Charisma projects warmth, so others feel accepted and cherished. Examples are the Dalai Lama and Princess Diana.

    Cabane says, "Charisma is a skill that you can learn and practice." Her research found that charisma is the result of specific nonverbal behaviors, and its presence depends on whether or not someone is exhibiting these behaviors. Although charisma comes across through demeanor, gestures, voice, and other signals, it actually stems from what someone thinks, feels, and believes.  "Get the internal state right, and the right charismatic behaviors and body language pour forth automatically," she says.

    Her charisma exercises are attached. They are quick summaries which bring together key exercises detailed throughout the book.

    You have been charismatic if you've ever had "the experience of feeling totally confident, master of a situation. A moment when people seemed impressed by you- even just one moment of the people around you going, Wow!" Share that situation with us.


  • The Most Valuable People

    Most of us associate MVP with sports; the most valuable player (MVP) does the most for the team. In their book, ADMIRED 21 Ways to Double Your Value, Mark C. Thompson and Bonita S. Thompson apply MVP to business and say, "The Most Valuable People create other MVPs by helping others reach their goals and realize their potential." This is especially important for managers. Your manager should make sure that you have all the resources you need to do your job.

    The Thompsons studied people who enjoyed their work and found it meaningful. Valued traits included supportive/helpful, straight-forward/clear, hardworking/ambitious, cooperative, honest, loyal, fun loving/friendly, and family focused. For example, a salesperson sells solutions and value, not products.

    Suggestion No. 5 in the book says, "Start where you are." Before others can have confidence in you, you have to be really good at what you do. Others must believe that you can help them. How can you contribute to the success of others in ways that they will notice?

  • Stand Out on the Social Web

    This infographic from SocialNomics explores six keys to standing out on the social web. It is based on the book, Stand Out Social Marketing: How to Rise Above the Noise, Differentiate Your Brand, and Build an Outstanding Online Presence by Mike Lewis. The book is new and offers online strategies and tactics. Managers can use this information to implement a number of tactics to differentiate their company from the competition. For example, "pay attention" means to listen to social conversations to learn about your customers. Also, managers and employees should interact by consistently providing useful, interesting content to their social connections. In other words, managers and employees are the voice of the company.

    What are the other four keys to standing out on the social web? What tactics do you think help businesses to stand out on the social web? When you become a manager, how will you use the social Web to represent your company?

  • Fun at Work

    Southwest chairman and CEO Gary Kelly (Mad Hatter) and executive office dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland for their annual Halloween celebration and talent show at the company's headquarters in Dallas, Texas. (Picture from http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2012/10/gary-kelly-and-southwest-airlines-dress-up-for-halloween.html/).

    Departments compete in the talent show to see who has the most Halloween spirit.

     Last year, as seen in the video below, CEO Kelly was Frankenstein for Halloween.

    "Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet." (See Southwest Airlines Investor Relations.) They want their employees to have fun at work.

    What did you do on your last job to have fun?