Category Archives: What is

ReadyTalk Pi Day 2017

ReadyTalk has been hosting an annual hackathon to celebrate Pi day, 3.14, for the last four years now. Long enough to go through a handful of revisions of the Raspberry Pi, and for me to go from participant, to winner, and now to organizer.

Why March 14?

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Pi is the mathematical constant 3.14, commonly used in calculations for circles. You might remember the formula for the area of a circle πr2 from a geometry class once upon a time. Since Pi is such an important constant in many areas of math and science, nerds around the world (using an American calendar) celebrate March 14, as Pi day. ReadyTalk celebrates in our own special way with a hackathon involving the aptly named Raspberry Pi computer.

Whats a Raspberry Pi?

Since it’s Pi day we thought it only fitting to use one of the best low-cost development boards out there: the Raspberry Pi. While originally designed to help teach computer skills in schools and developing countries, the Raspberry Pi found another following with hobbyists and professionals alike. Since it’s humble beginnings, the $35 computer has been quickly adopted due to its flexibility.

The Raspberry Pi made headlines in February of 2012 when it was first released, which caused the initial spark of a hackathon idea.

The Hackathon

The prompt

The way Pi day works at ReadyTalk is pretty straightforward: any engineer who wants to take part in the hackathon gets a Raspberry Pi with the stipulation that you must demo a project involving the Pi. Other than that, there are no limitations. Everyone is highly encouraged to go wild, and projects certainly don’t need to be work related.

Compared to other ReadyTalk hackathons, the freedom of Pi Day allows engineers to flex their creativity. It is typical to use this as an opportunity to learn more about interfacing with the physical world, moving things, driving displays and taking measurements of the physical world.

This year we had 36 different people sign up: the best turn out in ReadyTalk history! Ideas ranged from weather stations, robots with Watson powered AI to a reincarnation of the mechanical turk.

The schedule

Historically we have given out the Raspberry Pis as late as March, but this year we decided to start a bit earlier. The Raspberry Pis were handed out the first week of February to allow teams a lot of time to work on their projects. Two workshops were held in February covering how to interface with various pieces of hardware and how to solder. Up next is the work day of the hackathon. This Friday, March 10, we will have a full work day dedicated to Pi projects, along with food and drinks. To finishing things up on March 14, half the day is dedicated to finishing projects followed by demos and awards in the afternoon.

The impact

Pi day has become an integral part of ReadyTalk’s culture. ReadyTalkers look forward to it months in advance, planning and brainstorming projects. Successful projects are celebrated and improved years after their creation.  Pi day at ReadyTalk is how we start every year off on the right foot, with innovation and creativity. Follow us on twitter with the hashtag #RTPiDay for updates.

 

What Is Little Data and Why Is This a Thing?

The tech industry is obsessed with creating, using and understanding the next big, complex and exciting devices and solutions. Whether they are focused on the internet of things (IoT), advanced machine learning or big data, it is easy to assume that bigger is certainly better. Despite the obvious benefits of big data, Forbes explains that big data on its own is essentially useless without little data.

What’s little data?

little data is a thingBy most definitions, little data are the small pieces of information, such as traditional performance metrics, that illuminate a broader topic. Essentially, little data makes big data more digestible and accessible. For example, an organization may wish to create advertising and marketing strategies based on customer data. However, without having access to the small pieces, such as customer satisfaction, profit margins, social media engagement and more, the company will never be able to truly know if its efforts are paying off.

It’s always been a thing

Your company is collecting little data now. In fact, most companies have been collecting little data for a wile and doing it well. Your web traffic, sales information, number of leads — this is all little data. It’s just that little data is a new buzzword describing it.

Big data depends on little data and vice versa – you simply cannot have one without the other. While big data will paint a broad picture about a specific situation or business pattern, the little data will fill in the gaps and blanks in the form of key performance indicators. These key performance indicators (KPIs) can make gathering data more personal, moving beyond the big picture and targeting specific individuals or groups.

The crucial element of being successful when analyzing your little data is ensuring that you establish the best KPIs for your business. After all, if you are focused on gathering and examining the wrong sets of data – big or small – it is not likely you will achieve the results you want. And seeing things from the micro and macro level are both helpful. If your revenue is down, but leads are up then you know something’s wrong with your leads or the sales process. If customer satisfaction scores are up, but customer retention is down, it may mean you want to take a closer look at the numbers. Or it could be pricing.

When little and big data are in concert, you can find out a lot about your business.

Your CSR Should Match Your Brand

Your corporate social responsibility (CSR) is more than a piece of paper or an annual holiday drive – it’s an extension of your brand. These efforts can range from giving small donations to a charity to implementing environmentally friendly practices organization-wide.

Therefore, what cause you choose to support or work toward will have a direct effect on your brand presence and respectability.

Why is CSR so important?

A solid CSR strategy allows companies to improve their public image, increase their media coverage, boost employee engagement levels and retain and attract key investors. It also enables businesses to attract and retain employees. After all, Millennials are known to care about community involvement efforts and Gen X are the most likely to become involved.

The community benefits, too. Nonprofits can receive increased funding, in-kind donations (equipment, swag, etc.), more volunteers, a strong corporate partnership and varied sources of revenue.

How can your CSR match your brand?

Choosing the right CSR program is crucial for its success. Instead of randomly picking an organization or cause, or many organizations and causes, pick the ones that clearly align with your organization’s goals, vision and future.

CSROne way to ensure that the CSR matches your brand is making sure it has a logical tie to your business operations. For example, a software company may choose to support education, including girls in STEM programs. A legal firm could align with free or low-cost law services provided by nonprofits.

Another way to match your CSR with your brand is to get your employees involved. Hold Q&As and issue company-wide surveys to discover what charities and causes your employees believe are important. This way, you’ll be matching your CSR not only with your brand, but the employees your brand represents.

Matching brands improves giving

With one-off donations and drives, there’s less of a relationship between company and nonprofit. To the nonprofit, employees there are worried about whether its a one-time gift or recurring one. Because they may not be prepared for the gift again the next year, it’s less successful.

Partnerships where brands match (nonprofit and business) mean there’s already more common ground and a higher likelihood that giving will repeat. That repeat donation (time and/or money) creates a bigger impact because the nonprofit is more apt to serve more people with their mission.

Improve your social responsibility

Time magazine called companies that ignore their social responsibility “suicidal.”

You could argue community involvement makes a company more successful through all of the items above — recruiting, retention, PR and visibility, tax deductions, etc. It could lead to even more business; people want to purchase from companies who believe what they believe. This includes the company’s CSR.

And at its core, businesses should give back because it’s the right thing to do.

The Digital Buyer’s Journey

digital buyer's journeyYou want to take your consumers on a journey if you want to create a customer base, even a loyal one. Most experts define the buyer’s journey as a three-step funnel. According to Hubspot, these are the three areas of a buyer’s journey that conform to awareness, consideration and buying (and retention, once they’re a customer with the potential to upsell or cross-sell).

Three areas of the buyer’s journey

  • Top of funnel or awareness: The very top of the funnel is the awareness stage where consumers simply want to become educated about a company’s product or service by seeking answers, research, opinions, data and insight.
  • Middle of funnel or research / consideration: This is the evaluation stage where consumers are really researching and weighing the pros and cons about whether or not your goods or services will be right for them.
  • Bottom of funnel or buying: This is the purchase stage where consumers are completing the funnel process and making an order.

Digital marketing

So how does this relate to digital marketing? Well digital marketing is the overarching term to describe the marketing of products or services online or over another digital medium. For example, websites, blogs, landing pages, webinars, social media, PPC (pay per click) — these are all considered digital marketing. Typically how they’re divided up among team members depends on the organization.

Essentially, anything from an online advertisement to a thought-leadership blog article qualify as digital marketing. To create a digital marketing journey for your company, you must condense this process down into three key terms: attracting, retargeting and converting.

Attracting: To attract potential customers in today’s market, one effective and low-cost way is over social media channels. Use your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms to draw in interested consumers.

Retargeting: Now that you have potential customers interested, you will want to keep them on your site. Use Google Analytics and other metrics to determine what your average visitor looks like online and use surveys to determine what are the demographics and preferences of your ideal consumer.

Converting: Just having numerous visitors to your website isn’t enough. You want to convert these casual visitors into hard sales. Make it easy and accessible for them to buy your products and services and even offer promotional deals to get consumers hooked on your offerings.

Hosting informative webinars is another way to inform interested consumers about your company’s mission and offers. They can be used from everything from awareness to buying and even retention.

Learn More About Webinars

What Is Value-Based Pricing?

Maybe you’ve heard the term value-based pricing before, but don’t know how it applies to your business or why it may matter to your customers. It may seem cliche’, but this pricing model is as much a philosophy as a way to determine how much to charge for your services.

What is value-based pricing?

value-based pricingThe Harvard Business Review defines it as “the method of setting a price by which a company calculates and tries to earn the differentiated worth of its product for a particular customer segment when compared to its competitor.”

How this works is that you sit down with your prospective clients and discuss an agreed-upon fee based on your level of experience, knowledge about the subject and more. Essentially, you are removing the stigma of industry-set prices, and determining the price of your services based on the value you will provide your client.

Why value-based pricing may help your organization

As a busy consultant, lawyer or other professional service provider, you likely charge the traditional “hourly rate” for your clients. While familiar for them and easy to measure against your competitors, you may find you’re not raking in as much profit as you used to be. Also, although customers will appreciate your time based on the hourly rate, they may not appreciate your expertise.

To increase your profit margins, you may be contemplating sleeping less or working long hours on the weekends just to make ends meet. Though there’s nothing wrong with hard work, maybe it’s time to consider switching to a value-based pricing model instead.

Value first, not service

With traditional hourly rates, your price focuses on the service first, not quality of your work. If you create a model for this method in terms of descending importance, it would show service first, then cost for that service, followed by the price needed to make a profit, then the value perceived for this service and finally, attention to the clients’ needs, according to BiggerProfits.

On the other hand, value-based pricing relies on you and the clients coming together to determine the precise value they will receive from your service, and then agreeing on a price. This method will not only bring clients’ voices back into the equation, but also allow you to be compensated based on your quality of services, not just on an industry-recommended hourly rate.