Sorry, But Science Says Another Wave of Flu Is Coming

Just like winter seems unwilling to give up its grip in huge swaths of the country, I’m unhappy to report that this year’s flu season seems set to be just an tenacious. While the terrible, horrible, really bad bug that’s been making people sick for months is finally on the wain, scientists are warning that another wave of flu is on it’s way.

The experts aren’t shocked by this — particularly bad outbreaks of flu are often trailed by another strain of the illness known as “influenza B” — but it’s a bummer for the rest of us who were hoping we were finally out of the woods when it came to flu misery.

This in-depth post from The Cut offers everything you need to know about the coming mini-wave of flu, but here are the basics.

How bad is it?

Depends on who you are and what you’re worried about. You’re less likely to catch a “B” strand of influenza as they are generally less contagious, research shows, but they can be more deadly for vulnerable populations like babies and young children.

“Parents should be on high alert for flu symptoms, at least through the end of April,” cautions The Cut. “Children who develop a sudden fever of 101 degrees or higher, or who have body aches, chills, shakes, a dry cough, are acting lethargic and refusing to drink should see a doctor right away.”

What should I do to avoid catching it?

The same things  you generally do to avoid catching any flu — wash your hands and steer clear of the guy hacking and sniffing on the subway or airplane (and hey, if you’re want to try stocking up on Vitamin C, you’d be in good company, even if science suggests you’re probably not accomplishing much).

Should I finally get that flu shot?

Why didn’t you get it months ago, you crazy person??? But if you’re one of the holdouts, the unfortunate truth is getting one now might not help you avoid this second wave of flu. “Because it takes 10 to 14 days for immunity to actually build up following a vaccination, even if you run out and get the shot today, you could get the flu in the next two weeks,” notes The Cut. But this is still definitely a case of better late than never.

“You shouldn’t still get the shot, though. It bears repeating: If you haven’t already, you absolutely should,” the post unambiguously concludes. And next year, don’t drag your feet!

Want to Be Truly Productive? Answering These 3 Questions Dramatically Raises Your Odds

I recently read a well-intentioned article focused on leadership. It concluded that the most important question a leader can ask employees is, “What results did you achieve today?” At its core, “What results did you achieve today?” is a maintenance and monitoring question. There is no doubt these things play a crucial role in any venture. And in the right circumstances and used sparingly, such a question could be powerful. But if your goals include long-term productivity, low turnover, and a truly adaptable, innovative organization, this could be the very question and thinking that ends up leading you away from what you seek. Try these three questions instead.

1. Why are you here?

Without a doubt, every company and every employee wants results. They are the most obvious and tangible indication that what we are busy doing is actually doing something. But productivity disconnected from meaning quickly loses value. The science of productivity is clear: people don’t simply want to produce, they want to know that their efforts matter, make a difference, and have impact. In total, they want to know that their presence adds value to the larger whole. The question “Why are you here?” is one of the most powerful ways to reveal if the effort and the results matter in the ways we want and need it to matter.

I used to ask this question of college students in an entrepreneurship course I taught for many years. I would purposefully ask it about a third of the way through the course–long enough for most students to have locked in, even if subconsciously, to a reason for why they were in the course, but not so far in that they (or I) couldn’t course correct. I’d give them 60 seconds to privately write down their answers. Then I’d ask them by a show of hands how many of them answered the question from the perspective of “this room, in this course, the one they just happen to have scheduled right now.” This was the most obvious answer and thought, one based on duty and a desire or an obligation to produce, and typically the majority of hands went up. But then I’d then ask about a cascade of other possible scenarios–did you answer “why are you here” geographically, as in why are you on this campus, in this city? Or perhaps did you think of it on a larger scale–as in, why are you here in this time in history, or on this part of this planet?

Every time I conducted this exercise hands went up in every single category. Each classroom of students was a mosaic of motivations. Even that simple knowledge changed perspectives, bound people together in a new way, and often altered our direction as a class. It works in organizations too and with surprising efficiency, because it speaks of “purpose” and puts purpose squarely on the table as a priority, as an ongoing discussion, and as a driver of priorities and actual work, rather than relegating purpose to a long lost goal hidden away in some dusty strategic plan somewhere.

2. What are you mastering?

Purpose has a partner: mastery. We humans don’t just show up at our jobs to produce for the mother ship. We want to be productive in our own right. In a word, we want to master something–always, and ongoing. It’s in our nature. So within the context of the larger purpose, the question of “What are you mastering?” reminds leaders and those they lead that need to tend to our own personal betterment too. When we can do that for ourselves individually and move the organization forward, the return to both individual and organization not only increases, the odds of a valuable and lasting impact rise as well.

The individual employee who asks the question “What am I mastering?” begins to consciously see themselves in their work and inevitably sees and seeks purpose. But the leader who asks this question of employees sees something even greater: the patterns of strengths, the early warning signs of deficiencies, and the opportunities and possibilities yet to be seized across the organization. It’s a reality check laying bare true possibility while laying aside the mythologies of command and control too many organizations and leaders tell themselves.

3. What you see?

When you know why you are where you are and what you seek, you cannot help but see in a new way–a skill that has become a necessity in an environment that demands we adapt continuously and innovate perpetually. Such demands cannot be met alone. It takes many to see. The wisest, most innovative, and most successful leaders are the ones who ask, “What do you see?” of every member of their team, and listen for the patterns and possibilities in their answers. Funny thing–when they do, they find that individual purposes fuse and become shared purpose, and that what the organization is able to master together expands. Productivity, the kind we really want, naturally follows. It follows, but rarely leads.

​The Answer to This Simple Question Uncovers an Individual’s Emotional Stability (Ask It to Anyone And You’ll Instantly Gain Access to Their Psyche)

Wouldn’t it be great to gain instant insight into how people feel about themselves? Knowing whether someone is an optimist, has healthy esteem, or possesses certain characteristics could be useful on both a personal and professional level.

Gaining this information on a first date could help you decide whether someone has long-term potential. After all, who wants to spend their life with someone who is likely to need constant reassurance that they’re doing a good job?

If you’re a hiring manager, knowing how positive or negative someone is should be a key factor in your decision-making process. Studies show negative people can cost a company $14,000 a year.

The good news is, there’s one question that can help you uncover how someone feels about themselves and how positive or negative that individual is.

The Way Individuals Describe Others Reveals Their True Selves

A 2010 study led by a psychology professor at Wake Forest University concluded that your perceptions about others actually reveal a lot about your personality and how you feel about yourself.

In a series of experiments, college students were asked to rate the positive and negative characteristics of three people–such as an acquaintance on campus. Based on the answer to that question, researchers were able to accurately predict the rater’s well-being, mental health, and social attitudes.

Just as the researchers predicted, individuals who described others in positive terms were positive people. In particular, people who described others as enthusiastic, happy, kind-hearted, courteous, emotionally stable, and capable were most likely to possess those characteristics themselves.

In contrast, negative perceptions of others were linked to higher levels of antisocial behavior and narcissism. A tendency to see people in a negative light also revealed potential mental health issues, such as depression or personality disorders.

The authors concluded that how positively you see others reveals how satisfied you are with your life and how much others are likely to like you.

How Hiring Managers Can Use This Information

Asking people about their greatest strengths or their greatest weaknesses isn’t likely to give you useful information about who someone actually is. People are more likely to share what they wish were true about themselves rather than how they actually are.

Instead, ask them to describe three of their current co-workers or couple of former supervisors. You could also take out a couple of stock photos of people and ask, “What sort of personality or characteristics do you think this person has?”

Listen carefully and you’ll discover a lot about that person’s self-esteem, characteristics, and psychological well-being as they actually describe themselves.

It could be the simplest yet most effective way to determine if you’re hiring someone who is going to be a good fit with your company.

What Golden Tate Is Working on off the Football Field

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate was recently referred to as one of the best bargains in the NFL and his new coach Matt Patricia called him one of the best. “Once the ball is in his hands, forget about it,” said Patricia. “It”s a big problem.”

While Tate seems to be a big problem for the opposition, he’s setting himself up so that he never becomes a problem for himself. With so many athletes going broke soon after retirement, Tate is preparing for life after football, investing in brands that he believes in and putting enough cash aside to last him a long time.

I recently spoke with Tate about his strategy for off-field investments and players saving money as he prepares to return for another season in the NFL.

What is your current portfolio of companies you’re invested in and what is your role beyond investment?

Tate: One of them is called NoSweat and it’s a hat liner that prevents you from sweating all over your face. I’m a part owner, but also an ambassador. My job is to just really enjoy the brand.

The main thing for me is that a product has to be something I actually like to use and something I don’t have to sell myself on. I use NoSweat at the golf course and the football field, and it works.

Another one I’m invested in is called Gamebreaker, and it’s a soft shell helmet mainly used in 7-on-7 tournaments. Now, we’re getting involved in soccer and women’s lacrosse where they currently don’t even wear helmets. The biggest thing with Gamebreaker is that it helps protect the helmet wearer and even a non-helmet wearer who makes contact. We figure if we can help stop some of the head trauma, that some protection is better than none.

What motivated you to get involved with investing in opportunities while in the NFL?

Tate: First of all, I find it important to diversify my portfolio and never have all money in one place. As I got my first 3-to-4 years in the NFL and signed a second contract, I felt I had some wiggle room to take minor chances and I found some companies I really liked and respected, and loved where they were heading, so I started learning as much as I could on them and when the time was right I was very fortunate to invest in those companies.

Why do you think it is that so many athletes go broke so quick after playing in the league and what can be done to curb the depressing statistics?

Tate: When I was coming out I heard 75% of guys were broke 3-5 years after being out of the league. I will say the NFL is trying to help us out as best as they can with symposiums and advisors.

I think guys go broke because they don’t understand completely how much money they have. They see the bottom line on ESPN and they think a guy has $20 million right now when he signs a contract. First off, a lot of times you don’t even see all that money unless you play out the full contract. Second, taxes take dang near half of it. They don’t understand that.

Being an athlete you’re always on TV, people are always using these analogies with you and comparing you to other people. We are very prideful at times and feel like we need the nice jewelry or clothes and we feel like we need to compete.

There’s nothing wrong with it, but you just have to understand how much money you have. Once your money is put on display, you also have family and friends always looking for something. I hear so many times where guys’ parents feel like they are owed a house or car or whatever it may be, and that’s simply not the case.

If you really think about it, the average career is 3.75 years. As a 21 year old, that means you’re done with your career that brings in most of your money by the age of 25. That’s a lot of life you have to live afterwards on that 3 years of football.

Any thoughts on the recent cryptocurrency boom and are you tempted at all to get in on it at all?

Tate: I’ve been hearing about it for about a year now, and I just never got into it. I was too scared and always figured by the time I heard about it I would be late of the party.

Finally, 4 or 5 months ago I put a small amount of money into it and I made a little bit of money. But I’ve heard of guys turning $100,000 into millions and I wish I would’ve taken the chance, but right now I don’t need to be aggressive with my spending.

Sheryl Sandberg Just Made a Very Ridiculous Comment About Facebook. It’s 100 Percent True

Is anything in life totally free?

When you think about it, you might suspect that social networks like  Facebook or LinkedIn provide a discernible value and you shouldn’t have to pay a dime for them.

You can connect with loved ones.

You can browse baby pictures.

You can share links to articles like this one.

Yet, before you wander too far away from reality, remember that we are all using these services under our own free will, and we know Facebook makes money by serving us ads. We all know these ads are highly customized to our own tastes and preferences. This is not an excuse for bad behavior. It doesn’t mean Facebook isn’t to blame for recent data leaks. And, in fact, the company has proven again and again that they have been reckless with our personal data. The question is: How much do you care?

Recently, Sheryl Sandberg spoke about how an ad-free version of Facebook is not practical, and that if the company removed all advertising, they would have to start charging us. Now, you may miss the irony there. I’m not sure the services they provide are actually worth a monthly fee, and even if we are hopelessly hooked on any given social network, we might quickly unhook if we have to pay to use the platform. I’d disengage in a heartbeat.

Yet, she is 100% accurate about how this all works. And, it should not surprise us. Speaking to Today, she noted: “We don’t have an opt-out at the highest level. That would be a paid product.” (In case you are wondering, that’s been true since day one.)

Ad-supported services make no lofty or moralistic claims; they don’t hide their true intentions. Ads are all over Facebook, on the side of you feed, in your feed, sometimes all around your feed. It’s a strange notion to think that Facebook has created this vast social experiment for the betterment of mankind and not to sell ads to the highest bidder.

I happen to think Facebook’s total domination is a good thing. The service works, it provides amazing features. The best social network wins. Case closed.

I also happen to think exploiting our data is totally different from using it to serve us ads. My problem with those who are foaming at the mouth about selling ads is that the we’d have to start suspecting the entire advertising model on most popular sites and services. Yet, exploiting the data–compromising personal information, using it for political gain, and releasing it into the wild–are all serious problems. Advertising is an accepted practice; data leaks reveal a serious recklessness.

What Sandberg is hinting at is the stark contrast between companies like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, almost every app, free-to-play games like Fortnite, and actual paid services. We’ve accepted the digital economy of free services in exchange for ads. Did we really think an entirely free service is available because someone just likes us?

Apple and Microsoft, on the other hand, charge you to breathe their air. An adapter to connect your $2,000 laptop to an external display costs $69. Are you kidding me? That’s worse than charging $4 for a stale and crusty apple fritter at Starbucks. Microsoft does offer a few free apps, but if you want any assurance about stability or security, start handing over your cash for expensive, well-monitored services like Exchange. These companies are not serving you ads (in most cases) in order to use their products.

To be clear, this is not in any way intended to defend Facebook. Misusing your data is always wrong, and they should be held accountable. It’s just that Sandberg is perfectly accurate in how she describes the trade-off between user data and ads.

Which, in the end, brings us to Google.

Guess what? No company on the planet is serving you more ads in more corners of the Web than the search giant. I use Gmail, Google Cal, Google Docs, and about six other Google apps on a daily basis. I know they show me an endless barrage of ads. The term “search engine optimization” basically means “getting on Google” and staying there. It’s amazing to me that there’s such an outcry about ad-supported services and the inherent risks of letting a social network store and profit from our user data.

Exploit the data? No way.

Supported by ads? We’ve been walking down that road for decades.

While we might not be willing to pay for the most popular service ever, we’re already accepted how Facebook operates. Now it’s time to decide how much we care.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes First-Time Entrepreneurs Make (and How to Avoid Them)

What are the most common mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Todd Belveal, Founder and CEO at Washlava, on Quora:

You always have to think ahead when running a startup.

I know it’s fueled by ideas and passion and all that. But ultimately, your job is to structure the company, deliver a product, and attract capital. That requires quite a bit of foresight.

Especially when it comes to attracting capital, which is what you’re going to be doing most of the time. Most successful founders spend at least half their time securing funding. Once they finish one round, they’re already looking ahead to the next one.

And any failures or weaknesses in your last deal will affect your future rounds. I see some of the same mistakes being made by founders who are eager to get their startups off the ground.

Let’s address a few of them:

1. Taking On Too Many Investors

The fewer investors, the better. A lot of entrepreneurs know this principle, but some have trouble following it. They find a number of investors who pay more than they should for a small stake in the business, and they jump to bring on those investors.

But they’re not thinking ahead. Remember, the SEC limits an LLC to 99 investors. And even if you stay under 100, that doesn’t mean your structure is appealing to the investors you’ll need later on.

I know a startup in Tampa that’s highly regarded right now–but the guy is stuck. He’s completely stuck because he’s raised about $3 million, and he has 75 investors. No VC will touch him. No private equity will touch him. He’d have to recapitalize the whole thing and basically buy out a bunch of the smaller investors at this point.

No VC is going to do that many individual closings. It’s just not going to happen. They don’t see any value in negotiating a complicated transaction with that many counterparties. You can’t get out of this situation easily. It’s very rare to find an investor who will buy everyone out.

2. Having Unattractive Investors

It’s not just the quantity of investors you have to keep an eye on, it’s also the quality. Think carefully about the investors you take on, and choose resumes that add to the quality of your venture.

Whatever you do, don’t take dumb money.

That money doesn’t do anything for you later. It’s strictly capital. Not to be disrespectful, but an investment from your aunt doesn’t set the right tone.

At Washlava, I have three large investors who’ve invested $3.2 million of the $4 million we’ve gotten so far–and I brag about them in every pitch.

These are my people. This is who’s backing us. These people don’t make stupid investments. They don’t screw around, and neither do we.

It’s incredibly reinforcing for you as an entrepreneur, and it’s also very attractive to later investors. When you start to negotiate with a VC, you have people on your side who are capable of participating in that negotiation. They have real weight with investment bankers and peers in the investment community.

I love my aunt to death, but they’re not going to take her seriously in that setting. It’s all about attractiveness–the attractiveness of your capital structure and your investors. A lot of startups just don’t think ahead. They take on investors who aren’t attractive to the more important sources of capital they’ll need later on.

3. Not Paying Yourself

When I started my first startup, I figured I wouldn’t pay myself. I thought, “If anyone ever has to forego income, it’s going to be me.”

But my partner at Silvercar, Bill, taught me a lesson that more startup founders should hear.

He pointed out the investors have to pay for the results, and the investment they make in people is their most important investment in the early days. Smart investors will tell you–pay yourself. Not anything exorbitant but enough to make a living and actually focus on what you’re doing.

Not paying yourself is a mistake you can’t unwind from. Because once you start doing that, investors expect to not pay you. When I see an early startup with low compensation, I wonder if they’re hiding something–or if they’re multitasking on something else. And that comes back around to being attractive to investors. It speaks to your structure and your organization when you aren’t paying yourself.

It all boils down to organizational structure and capitalization. If you lay a good foundation and anticipate what’s going to happen as you move forward, you have a shot at success. If you don’t, you’re going down the road that many failed startups have walked before you.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

Mark Zuckerberg Says He Made a ‘Huge Mistake’ and That Fixing Facebook Will Take Years

Facebook revealed Wednesday that tens of millions more people might have been exposed in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal than previously thought and said it will restrict the user data that outsiders can access.

Those developments came as congressional officials said CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify next week, while Facebook unveiled a new privacy policy that aims to explain the data it gathers on users more clearly — but doesn’t actually change what it collects and shares.

In a call with reporters Wednesday, Zuckerberg admitted he made a “huge mistake” in failing to take a broad enough view of what Facebook’s responsibility is in the world. He said it isn’t enough for Facebook to believe app developers when they say they follow the rules. He says Facebook has to ensure they do.

Facebook is facing its worst privacy scandal in years following allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated data mining firm, used ill-gotten data from millions of users through an app to try to influence elections.

Facebook said Wednesday that as many as 87 million people might have had their data accessed — an increase from the 50 million disclosed in published reports. Facebook is basing the estimate in part on the number of friends each user might have had. Cambridge Analytica said in a statement that it had data for only 30 million people.

This Monday, all Facebook users will receive a notice on their Facebook feeds with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. They’ll have a chance to delete apps they no longer want. Users who might have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica will be told of that. Facebook says most of the affected users are in the U.S.

Zuckerberg said fixing the company’s problems will take years.

Besides the privacy scandal, Facebook also has been dealing with fake news, the use of Facebook to spread hate and discord and concerns about social media’s effect on people’s mental well-being.

These are “big issues” and a big shift for Facebook as it broadens its responsibility, Zuckerberg said. He added that he does think that by the end of this year the company will have “turned a corner” on a lot of the issues. Zuckerberg has made fixing the company his personal challenge for 2018.

As part of the steps it’s taking to address scrutiny about outsiders’ access to user data, Facebook outlined several changes to further tighten its policies. For one, it is restricting access that apps can get about users’ events, as well as information about groups such as member lists and content.

In addition, the company is also removing the option to search for users by entering a phone number or an email address. While this helped individuals find friends, Facebook says businesses that had phone or email information on customers were able to collect profile information this way. Facebook says it believes most of its 2.2 billion users had their public profile information scraped by businesses or various malicious actors through this technique at some point. Posts and other content set to be visible only to friends weren’t collected.

This comes on top of changes announced a few weeks ago. For example, Facebook has said it will remove developers’ access to people’s data if the person has not used the app in three months.

Earlier Wednesday, Facebook unveiled a new privacy policy that seeks to clarify its data collection and use.

Although Facebook says the policy changes aren’t prompted by recent events or tighter privacy rules coming from the EU, it’s an opportune time. It comes as Zuckerberg is set to appear April 11 before a House committee — his first testimony before Congress. Separately, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and various authorities in Europe are investigating.

As Facebook evolved from a closed, Harvard-only network with no ads to a giant corporation with $40 billion in advertising revenue and huge subsidiaries like Instagram and WhatsApp, its privacy policy has also shifted — over and over.

Almost always, critics say, the changes meant a move away from protecting user privacy toward pushing openness and more sharing. On the other hand, regulatory and user pressure has sometimes led Facebook to pull back on its data collection and use and to explain things in plainer language — in contrast to dense legalese from many other internet companies.

The policy changes come a week after Facebook gave its privacy settings a makeover. The company tried to make it easier to navigate its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings, though the makeover didn’t change what Facebook collects and shares either.

Facebook’s new privacy policy has a new section explaining that it collects people’s contact information if they choose to “upload, sync or import” this to the service. This may include users’ address books on their phones, as well as their call logs and text histories. The new policy says Facebook may use this data to help “you and others find people you may know.”

The previous policy did not mention call logs or text histories. Several users were surprised to learn recently that Facebook had been collecting information about whom they texted or called and for how long, though not the actual contents of text messages. It seemed to have been done without explicit consent, though Facebook says it collected such data only from Android users who specifically allowed it to do so — for instance, by agreeing to permissions when installing Facebook.

The new policy also makes it clear that WhatsApp and Instagram are part of Facebook and that the companies share information about users. WhatsApp will still have a separate policy as well, while Facebook and Instagram share one.

–The Associated Press

Content Remains the Most Important Aspect of Virtual Reality to Solve

Many people predicted that 2017 would be the year that virtual reality “became a thing,” but while new hardware continued to be announced there appeared to be a real dearth in the software to support the new technology. There is still a real shortage of available content, and the learning curve for VR software remains steep.

With an interest in learning more about the VR space and what is being done to correct challenges in the marketplace, I spoke to ImmVRse CEO Farabi Shayor who is working tirelessly to disrupt the VR industry.

Why do you believe that the virtual reality industry, still very much in its infancy, is a good fit for the also developing blockchain tech?

Shayor: Virtual Reality has reinvented itself to become one of the most anticipated disruptive technologies in the modern era. According to a recent study, the journey to reach plateau will take approximately 2-to-5 years. The momentum from several giants in the technology sector such as Google and Facebook, is progressing the forecast in line with expectation. Likewise, blockchain has emerged as a revolutionary technology poised to challenge how business transaction is conveyed on the Internet.

By using blockchain and VR convergence, ImmVRse not only lowers the uncertainty for exchanging value, but also provides a platform comprising of a technology that imitates ‘a rocket on the verge of ignition’ – an application that will function autonomously and effortlessly within a system where commercialization of content will be facilitated by users on their own terms.

The decentralized ETH blockchain will mean zero downtime for the global platform.  Imagine a decentralized iTunes for VR content that anyone can tap into worldwide with no barriers to entry.

What exactly is your plan to create thousands of jobs for a new generation of content creators?

Shayor: The advancement of hardware capabilities as well as the continuous fall in headset pricing has left the most important aspect of VR still to solve: content. The strategy for ImmVRse includes nurturing the growth of the whole industry by incentivizing content creators to produce quality, relevant and immersive videos on the platform. This surge of content will initiate the job marketplace by attaining the focus of corporate institutions to hire content creators. As of 2017, 75% of the Forbes most valuable brands have already begun incorporating VR within their marketing strategies.

This will lead to creating more VR experiences, billions of hours of VR media consumption, as well as applications that will give birth to a “VR binge-watching” generation.

With the growth of user consumption, comes the need for creating advertisements and content for marketing in VR. This will result in companies shifting towards the institutionalization of VR content platforms. The change will be similar to the evolution of digital content platforms, which resulted in ad makers and companies shifting their marketing budget, from traditional (TV) to social media. This is exactly where ImmVRse will play its part; by providing a platform for commercialization of VR content that will help millions of content creators earn their living using this technology.

What are you working on with students at Imperial College London and why do you believe it has the power to seriously impact your industry?

Shayor: RD will play a vital part in the early stages of the VR lifecycle and is the reason why ImmVRse has partnered with Imperial College London to conduct a research study. Focusing on the relation between VR and neuroscience, the aim of the research is to prove that immersive experiences have a considerable impact on the human brain and are fundamentally disparate from consuming media on a 2D environment. Furthermore, the target is to demonstrate that VR has an incredibly high retention rate

The research will form the groundwork for the ImmVRse platform, as the results will not only provide a potentially disruptive solution for the medical industry, but also a robust reason for companies to legitimately shift their advertising ground towards virtual reality. 

How long do you think it will take to develop fully functional, reliable tiers of VR content creators on your system so that viewers, brands and advertisers will be able to take positioning seriously?

Shayor: ImmVRse proposes to develop a functioning platform by the end of 2018, and deliver a finished product by Q2 2019.

Initially, the team will be developing an Android application that will work both as a VR content platform, where users can consume 360-degree videos, and a content creator’s marketplace. As the technology evolves and improved standalone headsets are released in the market by 2019, the target is to build immersive spatial application that will be supported in high-end devices such as Vive Pro or Rift.

By 2022, ImmVRse aims to develop a rapidly-expanding platform that will provide a reliable solution for commercial VR content development. ImmVRse also expects to integrate technologies such as mixed reality, augmented reality as well as virtual goods within its long term scalability strategies.

Millennials Officially Do Business Travel Differently Than Other Generations, and It Might Change Your Company for the Better

Have you ever participated in multi-generational travels? If so, you probably encountered a few differences in travel habits. While I hope there weren’t too many challenges that came with this diversity, I can’t help but wonder about the knowledge that comes with traveling with people of different ages.

Aside from having to make a few compromises, this knowledge can make a difference in how you network and attract consumers, clients, and potential employees to your business and workplace. If you can understand how people manage leisurely activities such as travel, you may open a new channel of communication and perception. We’ve broken down the generations to help better understand the wants and needs of each.

Differences in How Each Generation Travels

Generally speaking, it’s no surprise that each generation has different travel behaviors. Based on an extensive survey of 1001 American travelers done by Expedia Group, I’ve broken down their habits and motivations.

  • Generation Z (born late ’90’s): Gen Z are most likely to plan their travels based on something they’ve found on social media, especially Snapchat. They are driven mainly by experiences but also want to be the first to document something new. This group is most likely to travel abroad and therefore, most likely to fly. 

  • Millennials (born 1981-mid to late ’90’s): Sometimes referred to as Generation Y, this demographic travels the most but takes the shortest trips. Millennials look for customized and unique experiences often found on Facebook. If it’s off the beaten track, they’ll do it. They also utilize technology before and during travel. They will find the opportunity to mix business with pleasure and find opportunities to work remotely.  

  • Generation X (born 1965-1980): Gen X are more likely to travel closer to home and stay in a hotel. The more realistic of all groups, they prefer a relaxing travel opportunity so they can rejuvenate. They book their travel through online travel agencies and are likely to look for all-inclusive deals. This group can be found sightseeing domestically with nearly 90 percent preferring to stay in the USA.  

  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964): Baby boomers will travel far but not often and prefer to be in groups of like-minded people. Budget is not as big of an issue. They prefer tours, camping, and driving to get to their destination that usually consists of seeing family and friends. They book directly from hotel and airline websites.

  • According to a survey done by the AARP, baby boomers who experienced some sort of negative event (weather disaster, terrorism, political unrest, etc.), still went through with their travel plans. In fact, they took action to counter the event. For instance, they purchased travel insurance, packed appropriately, or enrolled in region specific cellular plans.

What This All Means for Your Business

Knowing how each generation travels can be a quasi cheat sheet into understanding how to communicate and build respect on a deeper level. Knowing the how’s and why’s can help get your message directly across.

If you’re trying to sell a product to a younger demographic, advertising digitally and offering services in an airport or through duty-free may be a smart approach. Interestingly, almost three in four Gen Z and millennials plan their trips around where they will eat and drink. If you want to make an impact with this bunch, consider advertising or having an event at a unique eatery.  

This information is also useful in understanding management styles and employee roles.

For instance, knowing that baby boomers will stay on course, despite unanticipated events, shows how they will find solutions to weather the storm. Millennials and members of Generation Z are often looking for unique opportunities and purpose in career, just as they are in their travels. The Generation X group are resourceful and driven connectors between the groups who have had to adapt to many technological changes. 

Overall, people want to feel valued and be respected. Connect by showing you’ve taken their interests and practices into consideration. You’ll build rapport, diversify your business, and hopefully inspire innovation, knowledge, and growth.   

This St. Louis Startup Has Raised Big Money (And Got an Investment from Mark Zuckerberg)

A growing number of investors and venture capital firms are recognizing that all the smart people weren’t born in the Bay Area or New York City. One of the cities raising the most money in the Midwest as a result of this realization is St. Louis, where startups raised a combined $634 million in venture capital from 2015-2017.

One of St. Louis’ most successful startups is Varsity Tutors, an online tutoring company that recently raised $50 million in its Series C round. One of the investors in that round was the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the education-focused foundation started by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

(Facebook itself also has a growing presence in St. Louis, having been a stop on Mark Zuckerberg’s recent tour of Middle America. The company also hosted an event in the city called “Community Boost,” which focuses on helping small businesses utilize Facebook, and announced a partnership with Claim Academy, a coding boot camp based in St. Louis.)

While the investment by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a significant achievement, Varsity Tutors was already a success prior to its Series C round. Founder and CEO Chuck Cohn launched the company while still in college, using a $1,000 loan from his parents. That $1,000 has paid off. Today Varsity Tutors has 40,000 tutors teaching more than 1,000 subjects. Participating students have received more than three million hours of tutoring.

The company’s reach has also extended well beyond St. Louis, with offices in Seattle, Phoenix, and Canada. Cohn and his team also recently purchased a British tutoring firm, and plan to aggressively expand into foreign markets, including China.

“The size of the foreign market, especially Asia, dwarfs the domestic market,” said Cohn. “That’s where we see our greatest potential for exponential growth.”

Varsity Tutors would be a successful startup story regardless of where it was located. In a relatively short period of time, it has become one of the dominant companies in a rapidly growing industry. That sort of achievement would be considered a success in St. Louis, in Denver, or in Pittsburgh.

And it would be considered a success in Silicon Valley.

It is, without a doubt, harder to raise money and harder to get noticed in a city like St. Louis.

(Or Denver. Or Pittsburgh. Or just about anywhere else that didn’t inspire an HBO sitcom.)

But it is not impossible.

The success of Varsity Tutors shows that a good idea, a visionary founder, a talented team, and a gap in a market can create opportunity, regardless of geography. And the more than half a billion dollars raised in St. Louis over the past three years shows that investors–including Mark Zuckerberg–are paying attention to Middle America.

In other words, you don’t have to leave your hometown to build a great startup.

You just need a great idea that delivers value to customers, and enough grit to turn your vision into a reality.