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Monday, 05 November 2012 07:05
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An Instagram user posted from New York City on October 30, 2012: "Calm after the storm #sandy #rainbow." It was one of more than 800,000 photos shared with a #Sandy hashtag last week.

More than 800,000 photos were marked #Sandy on Instagram. Kevin Systrom, the company's co-founder, explains how this fact marks a shifting tide for social media.

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of popular photo-filter app Instagram, had planned to visit the East Coast last week. Only Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the Northeast kept him marooned in the Bay Area.

"I learned not to bet against hurricanes," says Systrom, who spoke Monday at GigaOm's Roadmap conference.

As the hurricane tore north up the East Coast, Systrom began monitoring Instagram's usage. He says the results astounded him.

"Sandy was the largest event to take place and be captured on Instagram," Systrom says. "It was maybe the largest event captured, ever. And that's an interesting thing to think about."

Systrom says that more than 800,000 photos were taken and shared with a "#Sandy" hashtag, and countless more went untagged. In contrast, Systrom says that the 2012 Super Bowl garnered just 85,000 photos with a #Superbowl hashtag.

Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook for roughly $1 billion, in a deal officially closed last month, now has more than 100 million registered users.

"That means people were not only interested in it, but they were documenting it," Systrom says, adding that the hurricane illuminated shifting tides within social media. "It's a participatory activity, not purely consumption."

"That's a really interesting moment in human history. I like to compare instagram to the Library of Congress," which has recorded some 14 million photos. he continues: "In some ways, Instagram does the same thing."

"Sandy was the largest event to take place and be captured on Instagram. It was maybe the largest event captured, ever. And that's an interesting thing to think about."
--Kevin Systrom

Even major media outlets found ways to use Instagram during Sandy. Time magazine, for instance, used the app to connect with its readers.

"We just thought this is going to be the fastest way we can cover this and it's the most direct route," Time's director of photography said. "It's wasn't like, 'Oh, this is a trend, let's assign this on Instagram.' It was about how quickly can we get pictures to our readers."

Systrom spoke just days after the New York Times reported that Twitter is working on its own Instagram-like photo-filter tool. And Twitter itself has released statistics that show people sent more than 20 million Tweets about the storm--tracked based on instances of the terms "sandy" and "hurricane" in individual tweets--between October 27 and November 1.

Beyond simple documentation, though, Systrom says Instagram provided a helpful tool: During the storm, users uploaded geo-tagged photos of gas stations that were still open.

"We're only beginning to understand how to design for these devices," Systrom says.

The sheer volume of photos captured also illustrated Instagram's biggest challenge: data. Just like Napster dealt with slow download, Instagram contends with mobile user's data limits that slow the experience of Instagram.

"The one thing that will keep us back is the ability to get data to the phone quickly and reliably," Systrom says. "That's where we're at with digital media. It needs to be fast and seamless--consume more instantly."



Monday, 05 November 2012 05:56
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Two authors look beyond the stereotypes to examine the research-based evidence about the leadership traits women possess. (Psst: They lead straight to success.)

In the era of post-post-feminism, let's just admit it: Men and women are--or at least can be--different in certain ways. And some of those ways show up at the workplace. Some even show up in the C-suite. So, let's take the time to ponder how that, well, works.

To put it simply: Do women lead differently?

According to Sharon Hadary and Laura Henderson, the answer is an uniquivocal yes. What's more interesting, though, is that they believe that leadership by a woman tends to yield very desirable results--including better odds of business profitability and creation of more businesses that are fundamentally creative and innovative.

For two decades, Hadary, the founding executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research, and Henderson, founder of Prospect Associates, a $20-million health communications and biomedical research firm, have been conducting research on women in leadership roles. What they confirmed is that the women leaders with multi-million-dollar businesses combine their unique feminine leadership with sound business acumen to achieve their highest aspirations.

In their recent book, How Women Lead: The 8 Essential Strategies Successful Women Know, the authors also cite the latest academic research affirming that women's leadership styles are condusive to success. (For instance, MIT found that the most creative and productive groups included women. Also, Pepperdine University reported that businesses with more women in leadership reported higher financial results than those with fewer women leaders.)

Hadary and Henderson offer these success strategies for leaders who wish to maximize their strengths with solid business acumen to become a high-potential leader.

1. Own Your Destiny--and Judge Yourself Only by Your Own Metrics

One fascinating fact illuminated by this recent research is that women who achieve most are also women who define success in their own terms and integrate achieving high financial goals with creating a business that reflects their passions. Their businesses provide socially responsible products and services, offer opportunities for employees to thrive, make a positive difference in the community, and simultaneously create personal wealth for the owner.

Successful entrepreneurs establish high goals and when they achieve their goals, they move the bar even higher.

"Women should think of their businesses as a $1 million business from Day One," says Henderson. "This drives how they structure the business, the decisions they make, and the way they present themselves and the business."

2. Lead Like a Woman

Highly successful women are likely to build on their leadership strengths of collaboration, inclusion, and consultation. The result within a company is a culture where everyone's ideas and insights are heard and considered in making decisions and where people feel valued and, therefore, are committed to achieving organizational goals.

There's something else that seems to be specific to women's leadership styles: Women think more holistically. That means, when women view a situation, they have a tendency go beyond the specific facts and the numbers to take into account personnel and organization considerations. As a result, they identify opportunities, risks, and gaps that others often miss, strengthening their competitive edge.

3. Numbers Tell Stories. Become a Translator of These

Never undermine your credibility as a businesswoman by opening a discussion with a statement about your lack of business acumen. Learn about finance and speak about it in its own language. The women business owners and leaders with the largest, fastest-growing organizations produce more financial reports more frequently than those with slower growing businesses. They identify the key metrics that give them the insights they need and embrace financial knowledge as a major part of their strategic decision-making.

4. Build Exceptional Teams

Hire the best from the very beginning and avoid the common mistake of hiring executives from a large company. You need leaders who can work effectively in a fast-moving, entrepreneurial organization. These are people who have the ability to commit to a bigger cause and possess values congruent with yours, curiosity and critical thinking skills, common sense, people and relationship skills, risk taking skills, and respect, admiration, and tolerance for the entrepreneur. Hiring to these characteristics will result in a team that can identify and implement solutions to the evolving challenges of the entrepreneurial business.

5. Nurture Your Greatest Asset: You

Avoid becoming so caught up in your work you cannot see the world around you. Focus on integrating all aspects of your life and treat your time and energy as scarce resources--as scarce and valuable as any item in your budget. Establish priorities based on your values and goals and use them to make decisions about accepting requests for your time.

The most successful leaders are life-long learners. Set aside time to attend conferences and seminars, read, participate in networks that provide industry knowledge, and meet with experts. Don't forget to complement your professional networks with personal networks of friends, like-minded women, and colleagues who will share experiences and knowledge, support you in the tough times, and celebrate with you over successes.

6. Celebrate the Journey

Recognize that success is not a one-time shot. It is about composing a life over time. Take the time to enjoy the journey and celebrate the successes along the way.

Stay open to serendipity--the joys and opportunities that appear unexpectedly in life--whether at work or in your personal life. Beware of missing or dismissing these opportunities because you are so focused on your day-to-day plan. Be open to saying: "Yes, let's try it and see where it leads."



Monday, 05 November 2012 05:56
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail
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Two authors look beyond the stereotypes to examine the research-based evidence about the leadership traits women possess. (Psst: They lead straight to success.)

In the era of post-post-feminism, let's just admit it: Men and women are--or at least can be--different in certain ways. And some of those ways show up at the workplace. Some even show up in the C-suite. So, let's take the time to ponder how that, well, works.

To put it simply: Do women lead differently?

According to Sharon Hadary and Laura Henderson, the answer is an uniquivocal yes. What's more interesting, though, is that they believe that leadership by a woman tends to yield very desirable results--including better odds of business profitability and creation of more businesses that are fundamentally creative and innovative.

For two decades, Hadary, the founding executive director of the Center for Women's Business Research, and Henderson, founder of Prospect Associates, a $20-million health communications and biomedical research firm, have been conducting research on women in leadership roles. What they confirmed is that the women leaders with multi-million-dollar businesses combine their unique feminine leadership with sound business acumen to achieve their highest aspirations.

In their recent book, How Women Lead: The 8 Essential Strategies Successful Women Know, the authors also cite the latest academic research affirming that women's leadership styles are condusive to success. (For instance, MIT found that the most creative and productive groups included women. Also, Pepperdine University reported that businesses with more women in leadership reported higher financial results than those with fewer women leaders.)

Hadary and Henderson offer these success strategies for leaders who wish to maximize their strengths with solid business acumen to become a high-potential leader.

1. Own Your Destiny--and Judge Yourself Only by Your Own Metrics

One fascinating fact illuminated by this recent research is that women who achieve most are also women who define success in their own terms and integrate achieving high financial goals with creating a business that reflects their passions. Their businesses provide socially responsible products and services, offer opportunities for employees to thrive, make a positive difference in the community, and simultaneously create personal wealth for the owner.

Successful entrepreneurs establish high goals and when they achieve their goals, they move the bar even higher.

"Women should think of their businesses as a $1 million business from Day One," says Henderson. "This drives how they structure the business, the decisions they make, and the way they present themselves and the business."

2. Lead Like a Woman

Highly successful women are likely to build on their leadership strengths of collaboration, inclusion, and consultation. The result within a company is a culture where everyone's ideas and insights are heard and considered in making decisions and where people feel valued and, therefore, are committed to achieving organizational goals.

There's something else that seems to be specific to women's leadership styles: Women think more holistically. That means, when women view a situation, they have a tendency go beyond the specific facts and the numbers to take into account personnel and organization considerations. As a result, they identify opportunities, risks, and gaps that others often miss, strengthening their competitive edge.

3. Numbers Tell Stories. Become a Translator of These

Never undermine your credibility as a businesswoman by opening a discussion with a statement about your lack of business acumen. Learn about finance and speak about it in its own language. The women business owners and leaders with the largest, fastest-growing organizations produce more financial reports more frequently than those with slower growing businesses. They identify the key metrics that give them the insights they need and embrace financial knowledge as a major part of their strategic decision-making.

4. Build Exceptional Teams

Hire the best from the very beginning and avoid the common mistake of hiring executives from a large company. You need leaders who can work effectively in a fast-moving, entrepreneurial organization. These are people who have the ability to commit to a bigger cause and possess values congruent with yours, curiosity and critical thinking skills, common sense, people and relationship skills, risk taking skills, and respect, admiration, and tolerance for the entrepreneur. Hiring to these characteristics will result in a team that can identify and implement solutions to the evolving challenges of the entrepreneurial business.

5. Nurture Your Greatest Asset: You

Avoid becoming so caught up in your work you cannot see the world around you. Focus on integrating all aspects of your life and treat your time and energy as scarce resources--as scarce and valuable as any item in your budget. Establish priorities based on your values and goals and use them to make decisions about accepting requests for your time.

The most successful leaders are life-long learners. Set aside time to attend conferences and seminars, read, participate in networks that provide industry knowledge, and meet with experts. Don't forget to complement your professional networks with personal networks of friends, like-minded women, and colleagues who will share experiences and knowledge, support you in the tough times, and celebrate with you over successes.

6. Celebrate the Journey

Recognize that success is not a one-time shot. It is about composing a life over time. Take the time to enjoy the journey and celebrate the successes along the way.

Stay open to serendipity--the joys and opportunities that appear unexpectedly in life--whether at work or in your personal life. Beware of missing or dismissing these opportunities because you are so focused on your day-to-day plan. Be open to saying: "Yes, let's try it and see where it leads."



Monday, 05 November 2012 05:00
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Keep track of your products from the palm of your hand.


Monday, 05 November 2012 02:12
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David Tisch, NY Tech Stars

NYC TechStars managing director David Tisch on the eternal question: Silicon Valley vs. New York, Boston, Boulder or...?



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