Previous blockchain blogpost:
We are experiencing a significant shift in the real estate industry, as more and more people are engaging in property transactions using Bitcoin. Many industry experts are excited about the potential for digital money and the blockchain technology when it comes to real estate. But although digital currency transaction is the future, industry insiders say that we are not quite there as yet. Digital money analysts are less convinced that the property market would more widely adopt the cryptocurrency.
Creation of value through blockchain technology
The blockchain is the culmination of all the platforms such as Napster, Skype, and BitTorrent that operate on peer-to-peer networks. It is the infrastructure of the digital currency and is described as an open, shared, and distributed ledger. A process known as cryptography creates digital currencies and additional units of them. It also verifies the transfer of assets and secures the cryptocurrency transactions in the blockchain.
Global peer network
The blockchain is a network that verifies every transaction, which then becomes a new block of data. Blocks are nothing but lists of linked records that keep growing continuously. When this data gets added to the blockchain, the recorded value is available to all the users of the network. This revolutionary technology is maintained simultaneously across millions of computers without any central data storage. In short, blockchain is a spreadsheet that can record verifiable transactions efficiently and permanently.
Value exchange network
Fans and advocates of the technology hail it as an efficient global network of value exchange. A very high level of security within the blockchain technology leaves no room for failure. Part of the efficiency is because of its ability to generate value for the community of keepers. In the real estate industry blockchain enables to store authentic online documents, draw digital smart contracts, and keeps the identities of the parties anonymous.
Authentic online documents
While accepting digital payments in real estate transactions is new, this cannot change the status quo. It can only change if the government used blockchain to store all the data of the industry there. If blockchain can facilitate moving land records to an immutable online ledger, no one could go back and manufacture records out of thin air. A huge benefit of such an initiative would be fraud prevention, which amounts to someone producing false paper documents that look authentic.
Digital smart contracts
If verified and quality data about potential buyers and properties were available on the blockchain, it is possible to draw intelligent treaties. These are legal agreements written in computer code with programmed rules to direct the flows of money. No more sit-downs between escrow agents, lawyers, and brokers to review paper documents. The system would have it all and would run smoothly and quickly, provided the data regarding properties and people in the blockchain is accurate.
Parties remain anonymous
Cryptocurrency payments offer anonymity because they are digital that in some cases require just an email address to acquire them. Blockchain could protect the buyer’s anonymity by allowing interested parties to ask questions without revealing who the person behind it was. The fact that the owners can also remain anonymous is a significant appeal to some in the luxury real estate market.
Bottlenecks of implementation
While all sounds great on paper, for everything to work seamlessly, it still needs a lot of things in place. The first challenge comes down to how to authenticate and qualify the data for the real estate sector. Moreover, there are severe logjams in the real estate industry with the manual dissemination and collection of data. Then there are questions about how to regulate or tax those purchases; how to deal with Bitcoin payments that stay in the native cryptocurrency, versus those that people convert to cash; and who has access to query and search data in the blockchain. Although blockchain and cryptocurrencies are here to stay, that will require stakeholders including real estate attorneys, escrow agents, and brokers to get involved.
Digital wealth creators
Nowadays there are smart platforms in the crypto industry that create wealth and value. The platforms allow people to lend Bitcoins and receive daily interest on the investment. But first Bitcoin has to be transferred to an account, and all transactions will have to be with Bitcoin.
Emerging crypto investment
The crypto business and the hype behind blockchain remind us clearly of the tech stock and dotcom manias of the 1990s. It sounds a bit like the early days of the Internet, which blossomed when investors were chasing the most speculative stocks that did not end well. Capital One, a software company, is a case in point that went public at $21/- a share. By the end of the year, the share price surged to $1,000/-, however, five years later it filed for bankruptcy.
Largest Bitcoin exchange
However great the promises, technology always have one mitigating factor, and that is humans. A few years ago, Mt. Gox, the Bitcoin exchange, built on the blockchain, burned and crashed. When it filed for bankruptcy, a large number of Bitcoins went missing from the accounts because of a problem with its code. Mt. Gox was not the only digital enterprise that went down. There were many others too. But that does not by any means mean that Bitcoin is a bubble waiting to be burst.
Concerns by authorities
As traders and investors have bid up Bitcoin’s price higher and higher, the Securities and Exchange Commission have suspended trading of some firms, most notably The Crypto Company. The Security Exchange Commission authorities cite concerns regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about compensation paid and plans for insider sales. Lately, it has also taken steps to crack down on potential scams and frauds surrounding digital currencies, especially with initial coin offerings. The sale of a digital token to investors instead of stock is known as initial coin offerings. Several cryptocurrency officials are worried about the industry getting a bad name too. Hence they are willing to cooperate with Security Exchange Commission and other regulators to weed out bad actors.
Hopeful but cautious
There is a promising and emerging trend towards digital payments using blockchain
There is a promising and emerging trend towards digital payments using blockchain. But investors need to be cautious and not chase small companies that are trying to ride the wave. Currently, Bitcoin’s adoption rate is about 1%, however with scarcity and demand comes value appreciation. So, as the adoption grows, there is hope that Bitcoin’s value will increase substantially. After all, many of today’s tech companies, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, survived the dotcom tragedy and are now doing better than before.
Coming up next:
The blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. A basic grasp of how it works will prove to be sufficient for now. But in the future, this knowledge would hardly be enough. The question is how to start, and the answer is first to have an understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain. With the growth of the industry, it is possible to reach mass adoption. Even if it fails, Blockchain is here to stay and is a big game changer.
For the next few months, expect a series of 13 blog posts about blockchain technology and its impact in sales and marketing. Below is a synopsis of what to expect in each blog post in the order given.
- Blockchain transforms not only sectors such as security, health, and finance but also many basic tenets of marketing. It digitizes touch points, makes digital payments, creates meaningful value, builds trust, and decentralizes advertising concepts. Marketers who recognize this will have a lucrative opportunity in front of them and an edge over others. Hence for salespeople and marketers, it is worth spending some time to understand the changes happening in this arena. Already companies based on blockchain are growing exponentially.
- One of the challenges every business face is cash flow, and marketing agencies are not immune to it. Bitcoin is the solution. It has some financial benefits and less tangible advantages. The company who accepts the payment can either use a third-party to convert the Bitcoins into cash or withdraw it in the form of Bitcoins. Getting started is super easy. There are plenty of companies help businesses that want to get Bitcoin set up as a payment option.
- Blockchain is the new change on the horizon. Although it is already in the financial world, the uses of blockchain are far more wide reaching. It is shaking up many sectors along with all industries including supply chain, corporate responsibility, fashion designing, and digital advertising. To accept Bitcoins, all the company needs is a Bitcoin button at the checkout and a digital wallet. It works like a cycle whereby the publishers and users receive tokens when they view the ads.
- We are experiencing a significant shift in the real estate industry, as more and more people are engaging in property transactions using Bitcoin. Many industry experts are excited about the potential for digital money and the blockchain technology when it comes to real estate. But although digital currency transaction is the future, industry insiders say that we are not quite there as yet. Digital money analysts are less convinced that the property market would more widely adopt the cryptocurrency.
- In the real estate blockchain enables to store authentic online documents, draw digital smart contracts, and keeps the identities of the parties anonymous. While all sounds great, for everything to work seamlessly, it still needs a lot of things. As traders and investors have bid up Bitcoin’s price higher and higher, the Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended trading of some firms. Investors need to be cautious and not chase small companies that are trying to ride the wave.
- The blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. A basic grasp of how it works will prove to be sufficient for now. But in the future, this knowledge would hardly be enough. The question is how to start, and the answer is first to have an understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain. With the growth of the industry, it is possible to reach mass adoption. Even if it fails, Blockchain is here to stay and is a big game changer.
- Cryptocurrency is a digital payment maintained by a network of computers that uses cryptography to authenticate transactions. Depending on how investors expect to make money and how they are structured, some cryptocurrencies may count as securities. If traders of these currencies prop up the price and go online to spread gossips, that might count as fraud. It can be hard to determine if a bubble exists. The only way to ensure that they avoid a burst is mass adoption.
- A war is over the future of Bitcoin, the first digital currency, and is already showing strain. Two of the biggest among the competitors of Bitcoin is Darkcoin and Ethereum. Many of the currencies younger then Bitcoin can be used for much more versatile purposes. Hence Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors. Digital currencies will drive new company model innovation at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment.
- Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later. This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority. But cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point
- Some businesses and companies prefer to stick to their past, but this is not a good marketing strategy. Instead, it is essential to take a progressive approach and look out for the next big thing. That is what happens when companies begin to accept Bitcoin payment that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new blockchain technology shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve.
- Charlie Shrem was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. He co-founded a startup company in 2011 called BitInstant that was one of the earliest cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. In 2015, Shrem went to prison for two years for aiding an unlicensed money transmitter acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is the first of its kind in the crypto world.
- Charlie Shrem the first Bitcoin felon went to federal prison in 2015 for 2 years. Upon his release he went about strengthening the ecosystem of blockchain. A real breakthrough came when he created a prepaid Dash debit card. He then joined Intellisys Capital and decided to raise funds in the form of initial coin offering but was mired with doubts, as he feared the intense scrutiny from the authorities and eventually backed off.
- Today, many of the blockchain assets are tokens that are distributed as initial coin offerings. It constitutes the Internet’s second business model. Associated jobs have soared as its value has risen. Candidates who understand initial coin offerings, know how to write smart contracts, and have a good understanding of Ethereum would have an extra competitive edge. Interested applicants should read up the online literature on how blockchain works and be aware of the basics before applying in the field.
Bitcoin is the earliest cryptocurrency
The topics of the series are broadly categorized as follows:
- Blockchain is defined as a distributed peer-to-peer database that is based on an open and public ledger coded by cryptography. It is intermediated, decentralized and unalterable. Blockchain is a technology to be reckoned with as it can be applied in various industries. It will disrupt many businesses including the advertising world.
- Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies or, in technological parlance, alternative coins, also known as altcoins. Although Bitcoin is the most commonly used cryptocurrency, there are many limitations to it. Its flaws and weakness have given rise to many other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, and Dash.
- The marketing industry will see phenomenal changes in the way products and services are advertised. In future, customers in the target market will have to be paid a fraction of a cent for their attention. Such micropayments is only possible with blockchain that is one of its greatest advantages. The blockchain technology called Brave will enable this.
- Big-ticket items such as mansions and real estate properties are purchased using Bitcoin. There are cases whereby houses with a Bitcoin price tag received overwhelming response and media publicity. However, the technology faces some obstacles in the real estate sector that prevents mass adoption.
- Lastly, using a real life case study we will warn you on how not to conduct business using this emerging trend. It is a case study based on the first felony committed in the crypto industry. It is also the story of a powerful transformation in the life of the felon who has now dedicated his life to help evolve the blockchain ecosystem.
After the case study, we will provide some information for those who would like to pursue a career in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. We will then wrap it up with the publication of the white paper written by an anonymous hacker who goes by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.
Stay tuned on www.blog.smei.org
Salesforce.com employed guerrilla marketing tactics early on. Budding entrepreneurs all over the world have elegant and innovative ideas. However, they struggle with the obstacles they face in their journey to turn their business into a commercial success. Worse still, each one thinks that they are alone in their fights. However, every entrepreneur goes through the same pain points. The story of Salesforce.com provides some valuable lessons that start-ups can learn. Although they are practical, it requires a mindset that embraces a radical approach to doing business. It that departs sharply from the more traditional one. Study them carefully and customize it for your businesses.
Stand out with a purpose
In 2000, at the salesforce.com launch party in San Francisco at the Regency Theatre, what stood out was the theme about waging war against the traditional way of delivering software services. They turned the lowest level of the theater into an inferno with actors locked up inside cages playing captured and frustrated enterprise salespeople. They were screaming, “Help, get me out,” “Sign this million-dollar license agreement. I need to make my quota!” etc. After the more than fifteen hundred attendees had worked their way through this hell, they went to the top floor. The place represented heaven where there was music, light and finally salesforce.com. There they obtain Nirvana.
The End of Software Campaign was the name of the party. On the morning of that day at the Siebel User Group Conference at the Moscone Center Salesforce.com sent hired actors. Their job was to pretend to be TV crew from a local station. They also sent protestors to picket the conference. Every person who went into the meeting were given an invitation to the salesforce.com launch party that night. Although the police arrived immediately, their presence only fanned the flames as the protestors were there legally.
PR Week recognized this End of Software Campaign as the “Hi-Tech Campaign of the Year”. Within two weeks around one thousand organizations signed up for the service. By daring to be different than the conventional way salesforce.com was able to get the much-needed press coverage at nil cost and reach out to the target market which was the end-users rather than the business enterprises and large corporations.
Aim for potential end users
Salesforce’s City Tour Program built Street Teams that got customers selling for the company on a local level. Each City Tour stop had a keynote address. Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce.com, spoke at each event followed by a live demo. There was also some time dedicated for questions.
In every City, the customers were eager to share their stories about their experiences using the software. This City Tour frenzy morphed into a movement. Salesforce.com contacted end-users in advance of the events, and most were eager to participate. Salesforce.com started to post blown up pictures of their customers at events and other marketing materials. Their companies acknowledged these employees’ success since it contributed immensely to the bottom line and they climbed the corporate ladder faster than otherwise would have been possible. Ads started appearing on job sites and soon “implementing salesforce.com” became a differentiating skill that set the candidates apart. It became a skill that employers sought out highly in sales professionals.
Salesforce.com evolves through a process called “intelligent reaction” – a process that involves making minor upgrades every week and constant releases incorporating real-time feedback from the end-users. The phenomenon, as they put it, means going where the business takes them rather than predicting the future trends without any inputs from the customers. It is, in essence, engaging the end-user as an active participant in the evolution of the company. In their early growth, salesforce.com built an online community through forums, blogs and chat sessions that have been emulated by many other companies since then.
Vulture and not venture capital
Raising money at the initial stage of the business evolution was no easy task for salesforce.com. It was an uphill battle. During the frothy dot-com era, Salesforce turned to the venture capitalists (VC) with their cold pitch for investment. When VC after VC turned them down, they turned to the age-old adage of 3F – friends, family, and fools – in other words, vulture-capitalists to raise capital for their start-up. This alternative financing model turned out to be a winning funding strategy that brought the investors exceptional returns in a short time. Subsequently, it attracted a steady stream of potential investors within a very short period. And the VCs regretted their decision not to believe in the company.
The journey of Salesforce thus began with a purpose to do enterprise software differently. By taking advantage of the enormous opportunities of the Internet in an industry known as Cloud Computing that was growing leaps and bounds at that time, Salesforce.com was able to deliver enterprise applications cheaply through a website. It started off in 1999 in a small rented apartment with three developers and a few computers. Ten years later the company morphed into a $1 billion company with a few thousand employees. Salesforce not only managed to survive the dot-com crash of 2001 but also grew to become the world’s largest growing software company in less than a decade.
Lessons for startups
The End of Software type of launch party may not be a possible thing for every start-up company due to many restrictions. Friends and family may not believe in and invest in a concept that resides just in the head of an aspiring business person. But the implication is that by leveraging a guerilla tactic and bringing on board well-wishers an entrepreneur with a can-do-attitude can take the company to soaring heights. The idea is not to copy and paste the ideas illustrated here but to borrow ideas and adapt them with some modifications depending on the nature of the business, the local culture and the needs of the end-users. Uniqueness within the norm is of the essence here.
Photo Credit: Daria Nepriakhina
Live video streaming is critical to brand growth in 2016 and it has really taken off this year in part due to the launch of Facebook Live. Live videos are real time video posts on Facebook and they can be a great way to promote and boost your brand. You can use them to communicate brand stories, to enhance relationships and to share your knowledge and expertise.
People love watching video and Facebook Live lets you connect directly with your friends and followers and to get more interactive with a younger demographic.
Right now the easiest way to broadcast on Facebook Live is using your iOS or Android device from your Facebook page, profile, or group you manage. You can also use your desktop but that’s a little more complex.
How To Use Facebook Live Video
To go Live simply login to Facebook, go to your page and click the publish icon as if you were going to publish a post. From there you click on the red video icon. As you complete this process a couple of pop ups will show up asking you to authorize the app to use the camera and microphone on your device. When you are ready to go live then click on the blue go live button!
Getting Ready to Share Your First Facebook Live Stream
There are a few key things to think about first though:
- Promoting your Live event – tell people in advance that you will be going live. You can use your timelines, other social feeds and Facebook events to do this. Give them plenty of time to put it in their schedule.
- Get ready – prepare your outline and presentation in advance so you know what you will be talking about. Facebook live should seem spontaneous and natural, but that doesn’t mean it should be completely unscripted. Set up your location too. Choose a quiet spot with little background traffic.
- Make sure you have a good connection – video takes up a lot of bandwidth.
When to go Live on Facebook
What time you go Live will depend on your audience. Noon till 3pm is the best time to catch people at work and 6-9pm is optimum otherwise. It’s a great idea to coordinate with a popular event (industry conference) and tap into their event too (as long as you have a good connection there!).
After you are finished, your video is published as a post on your timeline so it is available for those who missed it to watch it later. Your video should be at least 10 minutes long. Broadcasts can last up to 90 minutes.
Below there’s a link to our first SMEI Facebook live event by Gregg Frederick, CSE, principal of G3 Development Group. Gregg used Facebook Live to explain how to use this powerful new social media tool to create engagement around both your personal and business brand.
What’s next with live video, YouTube live is now emerging too so make sure that’s part of your brand strategy for 2017.
Watch our first SMEI Facebook Live video on our Facebook feed.
The Art of Leadership for Women rolled into Vancouver last week featuring 5 speakers with very different styles and messaging with a common thread : the theme of leadership. Here are the highlights.
Dr. Seonaid Charlesworth – Vice President, Executive Assessment & Succession at Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge
“Intuitive thinking is good but not good enough. You can improve the accuracy of decisions you make by asking 3 simple questions”.
- What is it that you want? – you have to be clear on this.
- What is the story you are telling yourself – is it real?
- When will you decide? Set a date – most bad decisions are as a result of putting things off.
Danielle Laporte – Author, Motivational Speaker, Blogger and Entrepreneur
“Leadership is lonely – you have to go against the grain”.
- Know what you are devoted to – it could be something really simple!
- Be true to yourself – be yourself.
- Don’t be embarrassed by your passion.
- Say thank you 108 times a day.
- Be radiant with your power.
- Compassion is a strategy.
Diana Nyad – Record Breaking Endurance Athlete
At age 64 Diane swam from Cuba to Florida (110 miles through jelly fish infested water swimming against currents and winds). It was her 5th attempt and something she had dreamed of doing since she was a kid. Her message: Don’t Quit!
“When you achieve your dreams it’s not about what you get but what you become.”
Geena Davis – Academy Award Winning Actress and Founder of the Geena Davis Institute of Women in Media
Film and TV images shape our cultural norms. Women are perceived as less important and less talented in part because of media images. The world is 51% female and yet in the media there are 3 male characters for every one woman. Women can achieve parity but at this rate it’ll take us another 70 years! Geena is on a crusade to change how Hollywood portrays women in order to speed that up. The number of girls taking up archery shot up after Brave and The Hunger Games. Positive and empowering images of women in the media will influence girls to dream bigger and achieve more.
Amy Cuddy – Game Changer – TED Talker – Social Psychologist
How to manage self doubt and anxiety in stressful situations. It’s not about faking knowledge, you need to be present. We become present by becoming powerful. Power leads to presence. When we feel powerful, we expand. When we feel powerless, we shrink. Raise you daughters to take up space to stand up tall and proud (no slouching!). It’s not what you say it’s how you say it.
This weekend, some of our clocks in the northern hemisphere will fall back one hour. Do you ever have those day dreamy moments when you wish you could really fall back in time to “the way it was?” I was walking through a Starbucks on one of my travel adventures and really noticed the signs above the retail packs of coffee beans. Here are some: Citrus and floral notes; Rich cocoa taste; and Gentle spices. Imagine, this can all happen within a single cup!
As I walked back to my hotel, there was time to ponder this marvel of the modern highfalutin sensory appeal of today’s coffee marketing. Then, like my mind is want to do, it fell back a few years, well quite a few, to the days when I patronized Mom’s kitchen in our Canadian prairie farm house.
Do you remember the glass Pyrex coffee percolator that on occasion sat on the stove top burner? I do, and it brings back vivid memories of the sound of the bubbles first making their way up the inner shaft and watching the first drops of heated water make their way to the ground coffee in the filter basket. It was a marvel to watch, and it took time, lots of it as the water graduated from clear to deepening shades of toffee brown. Mom’s coffee never got darker than a translucent brew.
The process was ceremonial without standing on ceremony. First, the metal can of Nabob ground coffee beans would appear, the lid was pried off with a spoon and the aromatic whiff of trapped coffee escaped. Then the rattling, hissing, bubbling of the percolator, followed by coffee and conversation.
It really was a ceremony. I don’t ever recall having coffee unless we had guests in the house, and never for breakfast. It was usually only delivered after dinner. It never occurred to me that it could be a daily beverage to crave, or one that could deliver a downer headache when the body is deprived.
Never did we stretch our imagination to think of naming our brew after exotic far away places or describing its lingering after taste with fruity monikers. Nor could we have imagined paying more for a cup of joe than what in those days would have been an hour’s wages.
The most exotic thing about the can of coffee was the turban clad Nabob painted on the label. We had never seen a coffee bean, roasted or green and really didn’t know where they came from. It was kind of like a city kid thinking milk comes from a bottle.
Today we have a Swiss Jura machine in our kitchen that retails for more than the value of my first car. (We didn’t buy it, it came as a grand prize for winning an online contest with Canada Post.) At the touch of a button we can have a rich European style coffee, espresso or cafe machiatto. Within less than a minute the beans are ground and the coffee dispensed all based on predefined settings that are customized in the on board computer.
We can dispense our brew into a travel mug as we haste towards the garage door, pop the mug into a cup holder in the console and imbibe while rushing the kids to school or scurrying for the day’s first appointment. No time to think about citrus or floral notes, we’re busy mentally ticking off the overflowing to-do list or mind-drafting responses to a couple hundred emails waiting in the in-box.
So where did my Mother put that old glass pyrex perc? I’d love to bring it back to the stove top and just sit in the kitchen and start a slow down ritual. Maybe if I polish the Jura just right, the Nabob genie will pop out and grant me my wish!