Tuesday, April 16, 2019

chronicle-tribune.com - Chronicle-Tribune

chronicle-tribune.com - Chronicle-Tribune

chronicle-tribune.com - Chronicle-Tribune

Posted: 16 Apr 2019 03:28 PM PDT

Apr 16, 2019

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

The Grant County Economic Growth Council is rebranding Grant for Grads into a new employer-focused program called Grants Got Talent.

The change was announced in the council's meeting Tuesday morning and will affect eligibility requirements and the application process for the program.

Previously, the Grant for Grads program targeted college graduates and other young adults with rental and home buying assistance. Applicants needed to have a bachelor's degree, be moving to the county or have moved in the last three years, and commit to either a one-year lease or a home loan forgiven at a rate of 20 percent each year.

The new program requires employers to fill out the online application first, providing basic information about the company, job opening and prospective employee. Once that information has been submitted, the employee must fill out a separate online application.

Grants Got Talent requires applicants to not currently live in the county, but have plans to move; apply before beginning full-time work; prove the full-time work is in the county; and hold an associate's or bachelor's degree or "other qualifying post-secondary education."

Grant recipients may receive $2,500 or have their funding increased to $5,000 if the employer matches at $2,500. These funds are only for the purchase of a home in the county.

Executive Director Tim Eckerle referred to the change as "basically a new program." Director of Marketing and Communications Mikayla Marazzi explained that the changes are designed to ensure the program is used as an incentive for employers.

The council's next steps are to market the rebranded program to local businesses and make employers aware of the grant incentive.

The organization's 2018 tax audit was also covered in the meeting on Tuesday. Financial statements from 2018 were similar to the organization's 2017 numbers.

More details were also released about the Community Pitch Night event to be held Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. in downtown Marion.

The first place winner will receive a free one-year lease in Ridley Tower from Halstead Architects along with legal, accounting, IT and insurance consulting, marketing assistance, business mentorship and Chamber of Commerce membership.

A second place winner will be awarded a three-month pop-up space in the Boston Hill Center on South Washington Street.

Applications for the first round of judging will be open online until Aug. 15 at noon. Business ideas at any stage are eligible and will be judged based on financial viability, community fit and potential to increase downtown traffic. Two contestants have already applied.

On April 26, the Growth Council will sponsor the Grant County Industry Showcase at the Marion campus of Ivy Tech Community College for high school students.

All five local school corporations will participate in the event. A representative from Project Leadership will prepare students and help them develop resumes. The event will include a tour of campus for juniors and a job fair for seniors.

Eckerle spoke in the meeting about the statewide Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program, which is an Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs effort to bring internet to unserved and underserved rural areas.

Eastern Indiana Wifi and Fiberhawk are developing a project for this competitive statewide grant program. Watch Communication has also expressed interest in applying to this program with the Growth Council.

For grant or event applications and more information on the Growth Council's services, visit www.grantcounty.com.

5 Profitable New Business Ideas You Can Start With Less Money - Explosion

Posted: 12 Apr 2019 11:55 PM PDT

In today's fluctuating job market, many people are looking for ways to bring in reliable income. Sometimes the best way to work with a business is to actually own it. It is now easier than ever to start your own business. It is also cheaper than before to start your own business. Starting your own business is a great way to make money but also have complete control over your career. You can even build your business around one of your passions and be able to have a creative outlet that also makes money. Here are 5 profitable business ideas that are booming and will not cost a fortune:

  1. Stock Photo Selling – Those with a passion for photography should consider making some extra money by selling their photos on stock sites. This does require having a DSLR camera, so that can be a bit costly. However, most photography enthusiast have a camera that should allow to create high quality, sellable photos. There are several different stock sites you can sell your photos on, so you want to make sure you shop around for the site that will pay the most for your images.
  2. Online Dating Consultant – The online dating market has grown massively in the last couple of years. The boom has created a need for writers and consultants who can help daters stand out from the thousands of profiles on apps and sites. As an online dating consultant, you write your clients' profile and choose the best photos for their profile. This is can be an easy side gig for writers or those looking to make some extra money by working from home. All you really need is a computer or smartphone, a good internet connection, and a flair for writing.
  3. Tour Guide – Are you constantly giving tips to friends for places to go, fun things to do, or where to eat? If so, you might find being a tour guide a successful business venture. The travel industry is somewhat going through a revolution. Much of travelers' planning takes place online. However, there is still a need for people who know their city to show tourists around. Although tour guiding is not a new job, the expectations of tour guides is changing. Travelers want a tour guide who emphasizes local favorites. Travelers do not want to be tourists, they want to be locals. Making friends with local businesses can help you offer deals and services to clients that big travel companies would never be able to offer.
  4. Natural Beauty Products – The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that you can easily be a part of. Natural beauty is a growing niche that favors small businesses and shopping local. Creating natural beauty products at home can be easy and simple. Selling the products can be even easier. There are many different outlets you can explore to sell your homemade, natural beauty products. Creating a relationship with your local health food store and asking if you can sell your products there is a great way to sell to locals. You can also sell your products online by creating your own website or through platforms such as Etsy.
  5. Selling Plants Online – You can buy anything and everything online including plants. A growing trend in home decor is to incorporate as many indoor plants as possible into your home. This has created a market for online plant selling. This business idea does require you to spend a little money on building product stock. However, you do not need to spend a lot on plant stock. You can also take out a short-term loan such as a title loan which can get you cash fast and help you pay for any upfront costs at the beginning of your business. Check out your local wholesale plant nurseries where you can find good quality plants at an affordable price. You will also need to consider the costs of shipping containers and shipping as well.

In the past, business owners had to raise money or look for investors to help them fund their business ideas. However, thanks to the internet there are many businesses that have become cheaper to start. In fact, there is business potential for industries that did not even exist before. For many of these jobs you need nothing more than a computer and an internet connection.

Microsoft Just Revealed a Big Email Hack. It's a Great Reminder to Shore Up Your Own Internet Security - Inc.

Posted: 16 Apr 2019 06:09 AM PDT

Over the weekend, a saga unfolded that should serve as a reminder to clean up your inbox and shore up your passwords regularly.

On Friday night, an unknown number of users were notified by Microsoft that its webmail client, Outlook.com, was hacked in what the company dubbed a months-long security breach, which was confirmed by TechCrunch on Saturday. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant sent emails detailing the scope: Hackers could access subject lines, folder names, and contact lists but not email content or user passwords.

On Sunday, Microsoft admitted to Motherboard that roughly 6 percent of affected accounts did suffer hacks allowing access to email content. Motherboard also reported that the nature of the breach meant enterprise or business accounts were unaffected--only normal consumer accounts were hacked. Microsoft hasn't yet responded to a request for comment from Inc. regarding the extent of the attack.

Still, the episode is a valuable reminder for entrepreneurs to shore up their email security, as 70 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. A recent Lifewire ranking listed Switzerland-based ProtonMail, a free encrypted email provider with an $8 per month business plan, as one of the world's most secure email services. For comparison, Google's cheapest G Suite plan is $6 per month.

Of course, the standard advice always applies: If you think your account has been breached, change your password. And if your account still gets hacked after that, ditch the account and start a new one.

You can't be too careful. Your livelihood could depend on it.

Published on: Apr 16, 2019

Opinions Shoestring Business Ideas - MinuteHack

Posted: 10 Apr 2019 08:05 AM PDT

You can start a business these days for a lot less money than years ago, especially if it is an online venture. There are some ideas that will still take a lot of money to get off the ground, but there are some that will need very little investment at all.

House Cleaning

There are so many people leading busy lives that they do not have time to clean their homes themselves. There is a high demand for house cleaners and all you need is a few basic skills and the ability to do a good job consistently. The materials and cleaning products are usually supplied by the person whose home you are cleaning and perhaps all you need to purchases is some overalls to protect your clothes.

Mobile Hairdressing

If you are a hairdresser, consider setting up a mobile business. There are lots of reasons why people cannot get to a hairdressing shop, such as ill health or children to care for. Some just prefer to have their hair done in the comfort of their own home. Apart from the few tools you need and transport to get you about, there is very little cost in setting up as a mobile hairdresser.


Most people like to enjoy their gardens in the spring and summer months but not everyone wants to do the work needed, or they just do not have the time.  You can generally use their own equipment, and all you need to supply is your labour. If you are green fingered in the slightest, gardening could be a good way to earn your living.

Online Tutor

If you are very knowledgeable about a particular subject you could offer your services as an online tutor. You will find pupils of all ages from youngsters who are struggling with the subject at school to older people who are trying to earn new qualifications.

You need a computer, a reliable Internet connection and, as with all businesses, you should have a website. Don't let the cost stop you from moving forward with your idea, as there are pay monthly websites, which will help you to get started. This stops the large outlay at the beginning of your idea and means you can start earning some money before the next payment is due.

Dog Walker

If you love dogs and walking, this could be the ideal business for you to start. People love their pets but sometimes leaving them at home all day on their own is unavoidable. This is where dog walkers come in. You pick up the dog and take them for a walk; it is as simple as that. Sometimes dog walking can be needed because someone is ill and not up to the task, or they just do not have time but do not want their dog to suffer.

Whatever the reason, often people build relationships with the animals they walk and very soon it does not feel like a job at all.

If you have a skill or talent that someone else lacks, they will gladly pay for your services, you just have to let people know you are in business.

Ashton Kutcher's nonprofit wants to abolish child sex abuse on the internet with backing from a $280 million TED-sponsored fund - mySanAntonio.com

Posted: 16 Apr 2019 05:00 PM PDT

ashton kutcherFrazer Harrison/Getty Images

  • Ashton Kutcher's nonprofit company, Thorn, is one of eight organizations to receive money from the Audacious Project, a TED-backed fund giving away $280 million this year.
  • Thorn's technology helps companies and law enforcement agents defend children from online sexual abuse.
  • The company plans to use the Audacious funding to build out its software, which is already being beta tested by Imgur and Flickr.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

In 2018, the United States saw millions of reported instances of child sexual exploitation on the internet. Many of these harrowing stories have escaped public notice, said Julie Cordua, the CEO of Thorn, a nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse.

Cordua works with the company's co-founder, Ashton Kutcher, to encourage companies to weed out abuse on their online platforms.

Read more: These two tech startups are changing the world — and they're backed by Hollywood stars

On Tuesday, Thorn became one of eight groups to receive funding from the Audacious Project, a TED-sponsored fund giving away $280 million to organizations with bold ideas for solving the world's most pressing issues.

Thorn was awarded the money to help in its quest of eliminating child sexual abuse material from the internet.

In 2017, Kutcher testified about the issue before Congress, recalling a phone call his team received from the Department of Homeland Security, which was searching for a seven-year-old victim of sexual abuse.

Cordua said the child had been featured in hundreds of sexually abusive images, but the authorities were unable to locate her perpetrator.

"We started brainstorming all the different ways that we could help, what technologies could help," Cordua told Business Insider. "We realized that there was nothing designed to help with these kinds of cases."

Ashton KutcherYouTube/ABC News

Funding from Audacious will help Thorn build out its technology, which helps law enforcement agencies identify trafficked children and gives companies the tools to stop the spread of abusive content. In her address at TED, Cordua said Thorn's technology has now reduced the time it takes to find child victims by more than 65%.

"Child sexual abuse obviously is a human crime, but the Internet is introducing this entirely new dynamic," Cordua told Business Insider. "Now you can find entire chat rooms and places where there are people who will convince you that this type of behavior is okay."  

Thorn's software is being beta tested by companies like Imgur and Flickr, but Cordua said it can be used by "any platform that allows you to upload an image, upload a video, share a chat, [or] connect with people around the world."

One challenge to rolling out the software, she said, is that many companies are fearful of discovering abusive content on their platform. But Cordua envisions a future where companies will be rewarded for shutting down traffickers. 

"Most entrepreneurs only think amazing things about their technology, which is why they're great innovators," said Cordua. "[But] at some critical tipping point, if certain people or organizations haven't taken action, then that's questionable."

Funding from the Audacious Project could bring Thorn closer to achieving that tipping point, Cordua said.

The project, now in its second year, has already helped scale the efforts of organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund, which used the prize to further its goal of launching a methane-tracking satellite, and the Bail Project, which has posted bail for more than 4,000 people.

In addition to Thorn, this year's recipients include three scientific organizations (the Institute for Protein Design, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the END Fund), one environmental group (The Nature Conservancy), two educational organizations (Educate Girls and Waterford UPSTART), and the Center for Policing Equity, a criminal justice group.

Read more:

MIT researchers discovered a way to move objects as heavy as a great white shark with your bare hands. Take a look.

Jack Dorsey says Twitter makes it 'super easy' to harass and abuse others, and addressing the problem is his biggest worry

The woman who blew open the Cambridge Analytica scandal says Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are 'handmaidens to authoritarianism'

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SEE ALSO: Other companies should look at themselves before judging Uber, says early investor Ashton Kutcher

Would You Live in a Smart City Where Government Controls Privacy? - HBR.org Daily

Posted: 16 Apr 2019 07:20 AM PDT

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Toronto is experimenting with smart city concepts envisioned by Google spin-off Sidewalk Labs. Harvard Business School professors Leslie John and Mitch Weiss discuss the tradeoffs of using technology to improve modern city life at potential costs to digital privacy from their case, "Sidewalk Labs: Privacy in a City Built from the Internet Up." Is it worth it?

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HBR Presents is a network of podcasts curated by HBR editors, bringing you the best business ideas from the leading minds in management. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Harvard Business Review or its affiliates.


BRIAN KENNY: "I have recently seen the silliest film. I do not believe it would be possible to make one sillier," so sayeth HG Wells in his New York Times review of the 1927 film, Metropolis, and he wasn't alone. At just over two and a half hours, this German behemoth set in a dystopian future was widely panned by critics for its length and cliché take on social justice. But setting the plot aside, many people were impressed by director of Fritz Lang's vision of the city of the future and the groundbreaking visual effects he used to bring it to life. Metropolis is a place with towering skyscrapers where robots and slave workers at the direction of wealthy industrialists, who of course live in the towering skyscrapers. The film set the standard for a genre that has been riffed on by directors ever since. When it comes to cities of the future, Hollywood has taken a decidedly cynical view. In the real world, the future looks a lot brighter. Smart technologies, robotics and artificial intelligence have the potential to vastly improve the quality of life for city dwellers, but like everything worthwhile, the future will come at a cost.

Today we'll hear from professors Leslie John and Mitch Weiss about their case entitled, "Sidewalk Labs, Privacy in a City Built from the Internet Up." I'm your host Brian Kenny and you're listening to Cold Call, part of the HBR Presents network.

Professor Leslie John's research centers on how consumer's behavior in lives are influenced by their interaction with firms and with public policy. Professor Mitch Weiss's research interests include digital transformation, pure production, and innovation ecosystems. He was formerly chief of staff to Boston Mayor Tom Menino where he helped shaped Boston's innovation strategy. So that's really relevant today. Thank you both for joining me.

LESLIE JOHN: Thanks for having us.

MITCH WEISS: Thank you.

BRIAN KENNY: This was a really interesting case and I think people will be both intrigued and maybe a little unsettled by it as we get into the conversation because the tradeoffs are real and I'd love to hear more from you guys from your perspective about just what the tradeoffs look like. So maybe we can start there like we usually do. Leslie, can you tell us who's the protagonist in this case and what's on their mind?

LESLIE JOHN: The protagonist is Dan Doctoroff and he's the CEO of Sidewalk Labs. Sidewalk Labs is an urban innovation company and it happens to be a subsidiary of Google. His firm recently won the request for proposals to develop an area of Toronto that's called Keyside and the idea is to develop this area into a smart city. The specific challenge at hand that Dan Doctoroff faces is, how to address the myriad issues of privacy that have come up? At the moment of the case, he has sat himself down in front of his computer and he's about to host an "ask me anything" session on Reddit. So anyone including the citizens of Toronto can chime in and ask him what is on their mind. And he's got to say something in the moment. And sure enough, one of the first questions is about privacy. A user asks, what do you envision being the largest privacy issues regarding this project? And how does Sidewalk Labs plan to balance privacy with the effective implementation of all the ideas and goals of this project? So, the first question to students is, what do you do with this question?

BRIAN KENNY: That's really at the core of the tradeoff thing that I was alluding to before. We were lucky to have both authors of this case here. We don't always get the benefit of that. So I'm glad to have both of your perspectives because you both come at it from a slightly different background and different approach. What led you to write the case?

LESLIE JOHN: For me, one of my motivations was this pattern that I have been observing whereby managers say, and I believe them, they care about privacy and about consumers' privacy. But when it comes to actually doing something about it, changing policies and so on, they often stop short of that. And just from anecdotal conversations, one of the reasons they say is that they just don't know what to do. It's such an incredibly thorny and complex issue. And also really getting into the details of addressing these issues requires deep technological skills, which lots of managers don't have because they're at a higher strategic level. What I think this case offers is kind of a microcosm for issues of privacy. So the debate around Sidewalk Labs use of citizens' data kind of mirrors that, that we're having in the marketplace between firms and consumers. And so what our case, what the goal of it in my mind is broadly speaking, to help empower managers to actually make some decisions and provide some guidance to their organizations on how to manage these issues.

BRIAN KENNY: Mitch, what was the motivation for you?

MITCH WEISS: I focus on public entrepreneurship, this idea of extreme inventors inside government trying to solve new problems and also extreme inventors in the outside of government and private companies, often technology companies, often startup companies wanting to solve public problems for government either by selling things to them or doing things around them. This has become incredibly popular these days. There are so many companies trying to solve mobility, housing security problems, things we typically thought of as being purely public problems. People who think that technology is the way through here.

MITCH WEISS: Sidewalk Labs is absolutely one of the most high-profile examples of this at the time. Google, now Alphabet, decides to spit out this company to solve urban problems. And so the question of can a tech company essentially solve city problems is absolutely in the air. And with Sidewalk it's one of the most high profile cases.

The other thing that I think is interesting here is that Sidewalk in some ways envisions themselves as being a platform for innovation for cities to lie on top of it, as in Toronto, as I'm sure we'll discuss. And one of the questions is well who do you want to own that platform at the end of the day? Do you want those platforms to be mainly government owned? And some people say yes and some people say no because look at what government is doing now. It's not working so well.

And some people say, so who do you want to apply for it? Do you want government to do it or do you want these technology companies to do it? And if they do, can they bring all the opportunity and all their innovation to it? But also we're seeing, as Leslie mentioned, we're seeing in the marketplace people worried about what will these platforms, these giant platforms, Facebook and otherwise, what happens when they break?

And so, all that sort of enticed me to try to work with Leslie and produce a case both about privacy, privacy in cities, privacy in cities where one of these technology companies is trying to help. And the question is, can they?

BRIAN KENNY: Lots of layers here. This wasn't Sidewalk Labs first foray into this area. They've had some projects in other places. How have those been received?

MITCH WEISS: In some ways I think they foreshadowed some of the complications of doing what they're trying to do in Toronto. One of the very first projects was announced almost simultaneously with the creation of Sidewalk Labs in 2015 was a company called Intersection that they had built up two companies and a project called Link NYC to put these, anyone who's been in New York City now will see these Link NYC devices on the streets. They're these sort of slim towers and they have advertising on them, but they also provide high speed internet charging and some access to city information and help. And so on the one hand, here's the way that people who don't have Internet access can get Internet access in a city. This is a huge concern. You'll bridge the digital divide, right? Reduce inequities, give people a chance to get connected. On the other hand, people are wondering when they wander by these things, are they pinging my phone? If I access the internet via one of these things does it know where I've been? And so in New York there were people…

BRIAN KENNY: Healthy paranoia I think people have.

MITCH WEISS: It's only paranoia if it's not true. There's a quote in the New York Times article that sort of announced the launch of this that I think is interesting. A gentleman in New York, Mr. Padilla who was asked what he thinks about this and he says, well, I guess I'm worried about what they are doing with my data and I don't even know who they is. And so that I think that does capture people's, I wouldn't call it paranoia, I would call it a bona fide concern about who's collecting data, what are you doing with, with it. On the one hand is a chance that homeless people can access the Internet, which is great. On the other hand is there a company that's harvesting this for some other purpose? And all the ambiguity, uncertainty around that foreshadowed some of what they've experienced in Toronto.

BRIAN KENNY: So, what was Toronto trying to accomplish by, they did an RFP. Sidewalk Labs was one of a few organizations that responded to it but what were they trying to achieve there?

MITCH WEISS: Toronto had this underutilized piece of their waterfront, Keyside, as Leslie said. They wanted to absolutely develop that as a wonderful piece of their city, a place that hadn't been used. More broadly they want to develop their city as a home for innovation. Not just the civic tech innovation, but innovation more broadly. And so bringing something like Sidewalk Labs with bringing Google to Keyside in Toronto and also all the other companies that maybe would plug into something like this. So certainly one thing Toronto wanted to get done was economic development for Toronto in this tech innovation space. And by the way, before Amazon HQ2 two, this was actually quite a high profile get for a city to sort of have landed "Sidewalk Labs" to want to come there. The second objective I think that Toronto had was they want to solve city problems. It's the same core objective that Sidewalk Labs has. People in Toronto want to solve issues of climate resilience, of affordability, of mobility. And I think that at least at the beginning, there was a genuine belief that by bringing something like this to Toronto, they could actually solve problems in their city for them, for other Canadian cities, and for cities around the world.

BRIAN KENNY: Leslie, what was in there for Sidewalk Labs in this instance?

LESLIE JOHN: That's a good question. In fact, it's a little bit murky. What their interests are. Sidewalk Labs hasn't come out and said, this is our revenue model. There are a variety of different ways that Sidewalk Labs could earn revenue from this Keyside project. The interest would include selling data, selling access to data. Now interestingly, there was an interesting op-ed by Michael Kaczynski in the Times about how we've been thinking of selling data and selling access is conceptually different things. But he actually makes this really interesting case for how selling access is really like selling consumers' data because the person, the entity that buys the access, they can make inferences about the consumers that subsequently contact them. So at any rate that, that's an interesting, we typically think of those as distinct things, but reading that makes you wonder the extent to which they're distinct. Okay. So those are two areas. Another reason why Sidewalk Labs may be interested is as a showroom. So Sidewalk Labs has a vision to have more smart cities around the world. And Keyside could really be kind of their test lab for it. And then finally they could, and these aren't all mutually exclusive of course, they could also be interested in kind of, access as a service model whereby they sell citizens access to autonomous vehicle usage or something like this. But it's not entirely clear what their plans are. And that's actually really part of the crux of the challenge of addressing privacy issues because in thinking about privacy, we want to think about kind of who, what each party's interests are and where their interests may be aligned or misaligned. And you can see that with these different ways that Sidewalk Labs could generate revenue, I think they have different implications for the consumer- Sidewalk Labs interactions with perspective data and whether these interests are aligned or misaligned.

BRIAN KENNY: So, you mentioned at the beginning setting up the case for us that Dan was getting ready to do this Reddit session where he was going to take questions. How did they go about engaging the people of Toronto whose support they clearly need to make this happen?

LESLIE JOHN: They had many questions. They had serious concerns about their privacy. They also, it wasn't all negative. I mean, some of them were just really curious about the opportunities that it could provide. And I think that's something that's really important to acknowledge with issues of privacy is that there are tremendous concerns and issues to be resolved. But we also want to really realize the benefits of the new availability of personal data. So the answer isn't like just we should never share data because we'd be missing out. It's a matter of kind of getting the value stream right.

BRIAN KENNY: Which goes back to the tradeoff the question of tradeoffs and how much are you willing to give in order to get some of the benefits that this technology can bring to us. Mitch, and your experience working in the city of Boston, I'm sure you know that every one of these situations requires lots of negotiation and in this case Sidewalk Labs had to offer something up. What was Sidewalk Labs' vision for what they were going to bring to Toronto? How did they sort of put that out there in a compelling way?

MITCH WEISS: The high-level thing that Dan had said up front, Dan Doctoroff, was we want to bend the quality of life curve for people living in cities. And what are they facing today? Well, they're facing affordability crises, crises in climate change and a congestion and inability to get where they want to get affordably with respect to mobility. And in their RFP response, they had sort of laid out visions and all these fronts. So we'll have a city where buildings can be much more climate resilient. We'll actually have a city where buildings and infrastructure could be more flexible to the changing needs of people who lived there. This physical layer would be married with a new data layer. And so one of the examples they put forth, Dan's talked about for example, is think about zoning. Right now what cities do is they put forth zoning for an area. Here you can have a bakery, here you cannot. And what they envisioned in Sidewalk Labs is sort of a concrete example is well, if we knew more about people's wants and needs, we can actually know whether, via their data, via the data layer, we would actually know ahead of time what they want with this physical layer. And so there's this interaction between a data layer and physical layer we can actually flexibly zone a place for baking because it looks like people on their traffic patterns and their usage patterns would make sense for a bakery there. So in terms of the physical infrastructure, in terms of your mobility, they envision essentially a fully autonomous area where people using autonomous buses and cars to get around, anticipates traffic patterns and the like. They actually talked about improving the weather as such because we'll know what days are sunny, where the shade is and how we put the buildings and the shades.

BRIAN KENNY: That's out there, control the weather.

MITCH WEISS: It's out there. In Boston we could appreciate that right? I'm sure in Toronto they're hoping for right now. So they laid out a lot of these visions but Dan Doctoroff and team were careful to say these are just ideas yet, that we want to develop these further with you, the people of Toronto. And then they engaged in a dialogue with the people of Toronto via town hall meetings, the individual small work group sessions via the internet over Reddit and otherwise to try to flesh some of this out.

BRIAN KENNY: In order to deliver on this vision, they would really need to collect a lot of information about people. Leslie, you've looked at this topic quite a bit in your research. I was amused, I guess by, or maybe a little alarmed by one of the stats in the case where it said that 97.5 percent of people would give away their friends' emails for free pizza. I love pizza, but I don't know if I give away my friends' emails for it.

LESLIE JOHN: You say you wouldn't.

BRIAN KENNY: People do say that they are concerned about the protection of their information and I believe that they probably mean that. At the same time we're giving away a little bit of it every day here and there in different ways. What are people really willing to trade off in this kind of a situation?

LESLIE JOHN: That's a core question. On one hand, there's the argument that, well, because people's behavior often doesn't reflect any kind of concern for their privacy it must mean that they don't truly care about their privacy. My research and research by others suggests that that's not the case. People really do care about their privacy for the most part. But this concern doesn't always translate into our behavior. Why? Because there are a variety of decision making biases, errors that get in the way. And it's not that people are stupid, it's just that our brains are kind of hardwired to think in certain ways and not in other ways. And when it comes to privacy, we have some consistent biases that emerged. For example, a big one with privacy is present bias, right? So we checked the box. We don't read what the fine print says, where we're basically giving away all kinds of access to firms for them to use and sell and do whatever they want with our data. We don't read that. We kind of maybe know in the back of our mind that that we may be consenting to that, but we just checked the box. Why? Because we get an immediate benefit. And the possible negative consequences of sharing our information, those are delayed. They're also very difficult to tie to any given act of disclosure. So it's not a situation that's really set up for us to connect the dots. And so as a result, we see people in the moment giving away a lot of information for very small, but immediate rewards.

BRIAN KENNY: Like a free pizza.

LESLIE JOHN: Exactly. Another one that can really lead to incoherent decisions with respect to privacy — it's a classic behavioral economics effect–an endowment effect, which I'll explain in a moment. But what we have found is that with privacy, which is something that is inherently ethereal, it's not like buying and selling a mug, buying and selling our information is something that's very abstract. That's where biases are more likely to emerge when we're uncertain of the value of the thing. So what an endowment effect is, is basically in privacy. What we found is that the value that people ascribe to their information depends on whether they're standing to gain privacy or whether they're standing to give it up. So we did this study where we essentially asked people whether they would be willing to sell their privacy for two dollars. That was the meta question, but we didn't ask them in that way. We asked different people in different ways. And it turns out that the way we ask them had a profound effect on the implied value they were placing on their privacy. For some people we said here's a $10 gift card and this $10 gift card has privacy in the sense that your purchases will not be tracked. So we gave it to the person and then we said, but you can easily switch to a $12 card. Now this $12 card, it's $2 more, but the rub is that your purchases will be tracked. So these people are in the situation of selling their privacy for $2. The other people were in the opposite position. So we gave them, we endowed them with the $12 card that doesn't have privacy and we essentially asked them do you want to buy privacy by switching to the $10 card? So this is a trivial distinction in the sense of whether you're asked to buy or sell in this case shouldn't affect the value you place on your data, but in fact we found that it really had a profound effect on the valuation that people ascribe to their information. So in the first frame, when you stand to the, we have the $10 card and you stand to sell it, 48% of these people switched cards. But in the opposite frame, only 10% of the people switch cards. So we value our privacy much less when it's something that we stand to have to pay for.

BRIAN KENNY: This is obviously an issue that they're going to have, that Sidewalk Labs is going to have to address.

LESLIE JOHN: Right, so then how does this link to these questions? The link is that these are just a couple of examples of the ways that our privacy decision making is inconsistent and not necessarily reflective of our preferences. Now this is a problem in the marketplace because if you think of consumer firm interactions, firms are not rewarded for respecting people's privacy because our preferences aren't reflected in our behaviors like of what we're going to buy from a firm. And so because firms aren't rewarded, why would they want to respect our privacy if we don't reflect our preferences in our behavior? So firms are just reacting to the incentives, and this is a classic situation of a market failure, where the consumers aren't making good decisions even with proper information.

BRIAN KENNY: And firms will pay attention when their brand suffers. We've seen that happen a lot in recent years with data breaches. But yeah, that seems to be the one compelling thing.

MITCH WEISS: I think the other thing here, Brian, is that, that the kinds of things that Leslie and her colleagues' study are consumer decisions which often times are happening in the background and no one's talking about them until there's some giant breach or some giant violation. And I think one of the things that Sidewalk and they've taken plenty of heat and so one of the things I want to give them credit for is Dan was very explicit that if we do this thing, if we try to integrate these physical and data layers in the city, we are going to start a debate about privacy and physical space. And he acknowledged we're going to have to have that debate in public. I think as citizens it's important that we begin to have this conversation with our companies and Sidewalk Labs is put that out, I mean, , quite explicitly and they've taken some heat for it, but put that out for all of us to debate.

BRIAN KENNY: The real question is, why should people trust their motives? I'm not singling out Sidewalk Labs per say. But when a lot of firms haven't demonstrated that they really have a sincere concern about how they manage the private information of people.

LESLIE JOHN: And again, how can they when they're tremendously incented to get as much data as they can with as few restrictions placed on it? Like that's their entire business model. So, of course. And so that's why to me like there's this fundamental disconnect kind of in incentives in a way where unless firms are truly incented to care about people's privacy, then it's really hard to see change. In the case we talk about ways that that may, if you believe that ways that have potentially resolving this problem. Where in the case, the role of the government, the role of the city of Toronto, the Canadian government could potentially play a role as a trustworthy country where people trust their government and democracy are working. So you could think of who might be potentially a good entity to kind of enforce rules and what those rules and regulations might be. Those are all questions that we drive towards by the end of the case. Yeah.

BRIAN KENNY: The answers are not apparent obviously. So you've discussed this case in class?

MITCH WEISS: Yes, we've had a chance to do it. It's been riveting in class. I mean, as Leslie said, the case starts out with question on Reddit for Dan, which is what are the biggest privacy issues and how you're going to balance them against what you're trying to get done, fixing cities? And what are the biggest privacy issues? The students are off and running. I mean, the list is long. Data collection, data usage, data ownership, data sharing and those are just the headlines, right? So I think our challenge has been how do you not spend the whole class on just what are the issues and trying to get to sort of how do we resolve this. The other thing is that we sort of asked this question, which is would you want to live in the city and the range, Brian is incredible. There's some people like you who say, absolutely, I want to live there. Like give me the city where the car shows up at my house, where it's more affordable because I don't have to own it, where I can get to my job, where I can be healthier, where the air can be clearer. Absolutely safer. I will take that city. There are others who say absolutely not. I don't want to live in a place like this, this is creepy. And then Brian, there's a third bucket of people who say, we already do. We already do live in these places. There are cameras everywhere. They're censored up everywhere. There's data collection everywhere. There was just that long article in New York Times the other day about your app knows where you are at night. And so again, I think that one of the things that comes out of writing this case for me and comes out of watching Sidewalk Labs a little bit from afar is in some ways I think that, and Dan said this in his own words. He's trying to bring some element of process to what's been chaos. And they've taken something that's I think been swept under the rug and mostly been in the dark and try to bring some of that into the light. And so they're sort of at the front end of this and they're sort of getting the back and forth and this and the students are in class are more than happy to engage in the positives and the less than positives on this. But I think it's been a great class discussion because honestly it's bringing it out into the open things had been into the dark and things we need to wrestle with as citizens, as customers and as companies in the days ahead.

BRIAN KENNY: Leslie, I'm going to give you the last word because in class here we have, I think these are digital natives. I'm not sure exactly how old they are, but they've basically grown up with technology and they so maybe are the first generation that has been seeing all of their information to a firms and brands as they've grown up. What do you think the future holds for firms who don't start to really pay attention to this? What advice I guess I'm asking would you give to somebody, a manager today as they're thinking about this kind of issue going forward?

LESLIE JOHN: I hate these questions where I'm supposed to project the future because I can't. If there's anything I've learned about human behavior, it's that it's quite unpredictable. I think that the privacy is kind of an age old issue. It's fundamental to human development. I don't see concerns with privacy going away, even among digital natives.

BRIAN KENNY: Maybe there'll be a B case when we come back.

LESLIE JOHN: Yes, exactly.

BRIAN KENNY: Thank you both for joining me today. Really interesting stuff.

LESLIE JOHN: Thank you.

MITCH WEISS: Thanks Brian.

BRIAN KENNY: If you enjoy Cold Call, you might like After Hours, a podcast featuring Harvard Business School faculty dishing on the latest happenings at the crossroads of business and culture. It's what professors from the world's leading business school talk about when school is out. Thanks again for listening. I'm your host Brian Kenny, and you've been listening to Cold Call, an official podcast of Harvard Business School.

'Shark Tank' billionaire Mark Cuban: 'If I were going to start a business today,' here's what it would be - CNBC

Posted: 18 Mar 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Tech titan Mark Cuban listens to entrepreneurs' countless business ideas thanks to his starring role as a judge on ABC's "Shark Tank."

But Cuban recently revealed what areas of technology he'd focus on if he were to launch a business today. "If I were going to start a business today, I'd build it around Alexa and Google Home," he told Recode's Peter Kafka at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

Alexa is the virtual assistant developed by Amazon. Google Home is the speaker system through which customers can use the voice-activated virtual assistant, accordingly named Google Assistant.

"Alexa skills and scripting Alexa skills is really, really easy. But everybody thinks it's really, really hard. And so that disconnect is a great opportunity. And so I told my kids [and] other kids, learn how to script, and just go get your neighbors and set up all of these Alexa tools and you'll make $25, $30, $40 an hour," Cuban said.

"Scripting Alexa skills" means coding voice commands to enable the robot to complete the intended task.

Cuban also sees artificial intelligence as having a big future. He says the impact of AI will be more profound than most people realize.

"As big as PCs were an impact, as big as the internet was, AI is just going to dwarf it. And if you don't understand it, you're going to fall behind. Particularly if you run a business," he said.

"I mean, I get it on Amazon and Microsoft and Google, and I run their tutorials. If you go in my bathroom, there's a book, 'Machine Learning for Idiots.' Whenever I get a break, I'm reading it," Cuban told Kafka.

Where the internet was once a futuristic idea, it's now a mainstay of everyday life. So, too, will AI, according to Cuban.

He warns people to not take AI and its impact for granted. "If you don't know how to use it and you don't understand it and you can't at least at have a basic understanding of the different approaches and how the algorithms work," he said, "you can be blindsided in ways you couldn't even possibly imagine."

Even with strong interests in AI and virtual intelligence, the 60-year-old Cuban, who is worth $4.1 billion, said he's no longer motivated to start a business, at least not in the way he was when he was younger.

"The good news of having had the level of success I have is obvious, but the bad side is I kinda lost that piss and vinegar because I can think of 50 businesses I could start right now, ... but I don't want to give up time at home and all that," Cuban said in 2017 a conversation with Arianna Huffington. "So that's kind of the trade-off."

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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Mark Cuban's Latest Business Idea He'd Start Today - ETF Trends

Posted: 19 Mar 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Technology maven and "Shark Tank" personality Mark Cuban is brimming with business ideas, but if there's one that he would start today, it would revolve around the latest smart home technology and artificial intelligence.

In particular, Cuban fancies Alexa–Amazon's virtual assistant capable of performing functions via voice activation. However, it's the scripting skills necessary for Alexa that spurs Cuban's business idea.

"Alexa skills and scripting Alexa skills is really, really easy. But everybody thinks it's really, really hard. And so that disconnect is a great opportunity. And so I told my kids (and) other kids, learn how to script, and just go get your neighbors and set up all of these Alexa tools and you'll make $25, $30, $40 an hour," told Recode's Peter Kafka at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

The smart home concept is definitely on the move with Amazon's latest acquisition of Eero marking a continued move towards an expansion of the concept after purchasing video doorbell maker Ring last year for $1 billion.

Eero is a developer of wireless routers than can seamlessly integrate with a home through mesh networking. The goal of mesh networking is to allow for faster internet speeds–a technology that was once available to only office environments.

For Cuban, an early purveyor of internet technology and startups centered around such, today's tech is entering a new real dominated by disruption, such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

"As big as PCs were an impact, as big as the internet was, AI is just going to dwarf it. And if you don't understand it, you're going to fall behind. Particularly if you run a business," he said.

"I mean, I get it on Amazon and Microsoft and Google, and I run their tutorials. If you go in my bathroom, there's a book, 'Machine Learning for Idiots.' Whenever I get a break, I'm reading it," said Cuban.

In the ETF world, disruption is also on the rise, and it's not relegated to certain sectors as it will permeate into all industries in some form or fashion. For example, augmented reality is technology comprised of digital images superimposed over the real world, and its use is primed to drive industry growth–industries like real estate and manufacturing are already putting the technology to use in a variety of ways.

"If you don't know how to use it (AI) and you don't understand it and you can't at least at have a basic understanding of the different approaches and how the algorithms work," Cuban said, "you can be blindsided in ways you couldn't even possibly imagine."

ETFs to consider:

Related: Solar ETF Higher by Nearly 30% Year-to-Date

ETFs to Play

Will a rise in technology fuel cyclical sectors to the point where they surpass defensive sectors?

For investors looking for continued upside in U.S. cyclical sectors over defensive sectors, the Direxion MSCI Cyclicals Over Defensives ETF (NYSEArca: RWCD) offers them the ability to benefit not only from cyclical sectors potentially performing well, but from their outperformance compared to defensive sectors.

Conversely, if investors believe that U.S. defensive sectors will outperform cyclical sectors, the Direxion MSCI Defensives Over Cyclicals ETF (NYSEArca: RWDC) provides a means to not only see defensive sectors perform well, but a way to capitalize on their outperformance compared to cyclical sectors.

For more market trends, visit ETF Trends

US Media Lament Internet Censorship—in China, Not US - FAIR

Posted: 16 Apr 2019 11:03 AM PDT

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A Brief History Of IT Management: How SaaS Has Changed Everything - Forbes

Posted: 16 Apr 2019 06:15 AM PDT

While many of us can't imagine a world without computers at work, some can remember a time when landlines and faxes were the killer productivity apps. Today, it's hard to believe, since thousands of purpose-built software-as-service (SaaS) apps are instantly available for nearly every role in an organization.

With the rise of SaaS and cloud-based infrastructure has come a new set of challenges for IT management. Let's take a look at the history of IT use at work, who's managed IT and how the SaaS explosion has ushered in a new era of collaborative IT management.

Flipping The Switch: A Timeline Of Tech In The Workplace

While the internet was responsible for the proliferation of networked personal computers (PC) and devices in the workplace for all, the early days of PC adoption in the 1980s set the wheels in motion for IT's broader usage across the organization.

Early PC Magic (1980s)

A look at the Computer History Museum's timeline shows that the personal computer was born in the 1980s, with the first branded "PC" from Microsoft in 1981, followed by the Commodore 64 in 1982 and Apple's Lisa and Macintosh in 1983 and 1984. Each year represented more magical leaps in innovation, from graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to the mouse to CD-ROMs and the C++ programming language.

In time, it became clear that computers were here to stay, as their functionality and operating systems got more sophisticated.

Operating Systems And Storage Improves (1989-1990s)

While 1980s PC users may have been considered early adopters, the creation and continuous improvements upon the Microsoft Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems made them more broadly functional for the workplace. Microsoft Office's release in 1989 packaged up Word, Excel and PowerPoint and served as the foundation of today's cloud-based productivity suites.

Meanwhile, new developments in local storage -- from tape libraries to zip drives -- helped people actually keep the data they were generating on their PCs.

Networking The World: The Internet Takes Flight (1996-Present)

While the earliest iterations of the internet were born in the 80s, it wasn't until the mid-to-late 90s that widespread internet adoption hit many businesses (and households). In 1996, internet users reached 36 million. By the end of the decade, that number multiplied tenfold to 360 million, and by 2010, it reached 2 billion, according to the Computer History Museum.

This adoption led to the dot-com bubble, where investments surged in internet-based companies, spiking public company valuations to astronomical levels until the stock market crashed in 2000. Companies either shut down completely or lost the vast majority of their market value (Cisco's stock declined by 86%!) As a side note, many of the early adopter internet company ideas like web-based groceries and e-commerce stores for pets are seeing a major renaissance today.

Despite naysayers' predictions -- like this now-infamous Newsweek article from 1995 on the internet's imminent failure -- the internet rebounded and got even more ubiquitous.

Cloud Mania And BYOD (2000-Present)

Arguably two major shifts -- cloud computing and mobile devices -- led to even more technology availability across all roles in the workplace. In 2000, Salesforce's now famous "No Software" marketing campaign signaled a death-knell for expensive enterprise software licensing models and the rise of SaaS as a business model.

Meanwhile, key events in cloud computing were happening behind the scenes, with the advent of Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine and Windows Azure in the late 2000s. Google Apps for Work (now known as G Suite) launched in 2006, giving businesses a productivity suite with a consumer-friendly edge and easy-to-use cloud storage.

Soon after, the first iPhone would come along in 2007, revolutionizing the idea that work could be done from anywhere. From there, a proliferation of new consumer mobile devices, tablets and lower-cost computers gave rise to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, where IT teams were expected to embrace the latest consumer technology for use in the workplace.

True SaaS Explosion (2008-Present)

While the first SaaS products track back to the Salesforce "No Software" days, the true proliferation and explosion of SaaS products for nearly every line of business tracks back about a decade or so.

Our data, aggregated from hundreds of companies of all sizes, shows that SaaS spending is expected to double by 2020, with the average mid-sized company spending $20,000 per month on SaaS subscriptions. The average company pays 20 times more for SaaS subscriptions today than five years ago and uses 30-plus free SaaS products. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, with app adoption increasing across every department.

Stay tuned for part two of this series, which will delve into how these trends democratized IT management across the entire organization and forced a shift in technology adoption patterns across the workplace.

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