Plural Magazine Mapetla House Office 2

It is a creative space where young people hope to emerge doing things that inspire change.The space where dynamic people become dynamites in business.

Telling Stories in Free State, Eastern Cape, Kwa Zulu Natal. Tell stories of Lesotho and how intricately we are met with history and how amazing these people are in all these regions. It many voices we capture and the essence of what might be forgotten.

[10/13/14]   We are going to be discussing the issue of crowd funding to help raise capital for small businesses. This as a donation and identify businesses worthy of investment in Southern Africa.

[10/07/14]   Rumour has it that Optimization is done and we are ready for final testing. Southern Africa will never be the same again!

[10/01/14]   We are coming full swing People with thought provoking reads!!

[05/21/14]   Plural revamped coming soon!!

[05/14/14]   Plural thought:::
An early lesson I learned when I reached the CXO level at an organization was how important it was for executives to show their human side to employees. For instance, we donned aprons and served up barbecued chicken to employees at the company picnic, and acted in a musical that we staged for employees at a winter meeting.

Executive humanization isn't taught in MBA courses, but you recognize how important it is when it comes to opening up communications in the company and creating an environment of interpersonal trust. The point was brought home in a Weber Shandwick study (PDF).

The 2012 study was specifically directed toward executives choosing to use social media. Some of the findings include:
•CEOs who shared elements of their personal lives on social media, like snapshots from ski trips, were 10% more likely to be seen as open, honest, and respectful, and 25% more likely to be seen as friendly and people-oriented.
•CEOs who didn't share personal tidbits on social media were perceived as 10% more impersonal, condescending, and misleading, 15% more scripted, and 25% more distant.

Executives often walk a fine line when being "humanly open" and equally cognizant of their corporate responsibilities. On the one hand, you want to be open and approachable; on the other hand, you are privy to confidential information that can't be disclosed. The organization also expects you to maintain a certain amount of distance from subordinates.

Nevertheless, a growing number of CXOs are humanizing their interactions with staff -- not just to know people better and on a more personalized basis, but also to advance important corporate cultural goals that most enterprises consider important. One of these goals is the unobstructed flow of communications in a democratic manner that crosses borders of rank as well as department.

"We foster an open culture where anyone who needs to communicate with anyone else on any issue has an open door to that person, beginning with the CEO," said Richard White, CEO of WiseTech Global, an Australian supply chain software company. The goal, according to White, is to promote open communications and innovation without fear and apprehension -- and it works.

An open and innovative culture that is receptive to new ideas is equally important to companies, especially as they compete for top performers. Promoting this type of culture begins with top-level executives, who must demonstrate consistent openness and responsiveness.

Finally, employees want to feel valued, and they want to feel that they are working in an environment of trust.

In his doctoral study of three European companies that introduced lean manufacturing (and an enormous amount of cultural and operational change), Richard Berglund, a social scientist at the Department of Sociology and Work Science at the University of Gothenburg, isolated the importance of mutual trust between managers and their subordinates in affecting these transitions. Trust generates credibility, a necessary ingredient for preventing employee turnover.

Although the Weber Shandwick study touted the importance of communicating a personal side through social media, the importance of getting to know employees personally, and not just over an iPhone, hasn't gone out of style. Great executives understand this approach, and they practice it.

[05/11/14]   However, he also notes that White South Africans occupy an extremely privileged position in this country and argues that if the dire situation of the bottom 50% of South Africa’s population is going to change, then Whites will have to make a sacrifice. “There is no other way,” he contends. - Professor Sampie Terreblanchie

Plural Magazine Mapetla House Office 2

Here is another Plural Thought

Start Up Jargon: Avoid Using it!!

Industry lingo is a strange thing. Many verticals are defined by the language they use, despite the fact that many of the words are nonsense or have long lost their meaning. Start ups are especially prone to playing word games and overusing clichés when it comes to defining their work.

In fairness, many times that's because there is no existing phrase that accurately explains what they do. Still, some start ups exhaust the same phrases like they're going out of style.

Let's take a look at 10 terms that could safely be removed from the start up lexicon.

1. Disruption
"Why does everything have to be disrupted in tech?," said Sunil Rajaraman, CEO and co-founder of Scripted.com.

The term disruption and the adjective disruption come from the concept of disruptive innovation, and are used to describe technology that uproots, and eventually replaces, an existing technology (e.g. CDs eventually replacing cassette tapes). The problem with this description is that it is often used out of context and has lost it's power. Often when a start up refers to its disruptive technology, it is tech that adds to or simplifies the existing technology, not something that displaces it.

"You're not that disruptive. Stop lying to yourself," said Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled.

2. Pivot
Pivot typically means to turn on a point; but, to startups, it generally means to change the direction with your business. The term was popularized by Eric Ries and the lean startup method of business development. The problem with "pivot" is that most startups are using it to describe a complete change in course rather than a change in focus.

Hired.com CEO Matt Mickiewicz defines pivot as, "A lame way of saying 'our original hypothesis proved incorrect, and we're going to try something else before we run out of money.'"

3. Comparisons to known entities
Startups are typically referred to as companies that are changing the game or blazing a trail, but you wouldn't know it by how they describe their product offering. Start ups used to be proud to carve out a niche in a market and didn't care if they had contemporaries.

Now, it seems that more and more start ups are billing themselves as the "Uber for..." or the "LinkedIn for..." It's understandable to draw a comparison to companies that people may already know, but it's an underwhelming way to describe what you do. If you are excited about what your company does, you need to find a better way of concisely explaining that.

4. Growth hacker
The term growth hacker basically means someone, usually in marketing, who is focused on growing the business -- that's it. The term is widely believed to be the brainchild of Sean Ellis, who penned a blog post in 2010 describing a growth hacker. It is far from the most detrimental term you could use in your startup, but it shifts the focus of growth to one person. In reality, startups have two options -- grow or die -- and that growth is contingent on every member of the startup team, not on one person who eats and breathes SEO, for example.

When Sunil Rajaraman hears the term growth hacker this is what he thinks, "What does that even mean? It sounds like taking a weed wacker and stifling people."

5. Mututal NDA / FriendDA
As I have mentioned before, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is, "An agreement between two parties to protect sensitive or confidential information, such as trade secrets, from being shared with outside parties."

NDAs are common in the startup world, as proprietary info can make or break a startup. Now growing in popularity is the FriendDA, which is a formal agreement you make with a friend after you tell them your next million dollar idea. Here's another option: If you are scared that your friend is going to try to screw you over or steal your idea, don't tell them your idea. Talk to a mentor you've worked with in the past or just start working on your idea without anyone's blessing.

"Yes, I'll keep your stupid secret that's not even worth keeping, and a million people have already thought of that idea," said Ryan Matzner, director of Fueled.

6. Ninja / Rockstar / Wizard
"Engineers are not rockstars, ninjas, etc. They are engineers," Rajaraman said.

I'm not here to downplay the importance of anyone's specific job. It takes talent and hard work to build a startup, but being adamant about referring to employees as rockstars and ninjas devalues titles like developer and software engineer. Employees should be able to proud of what they do without a cliché appellation for their job description. Plus, everyone calling themselves rockstars doesn't do much for humility in the startup scene.

"Just say you want really smart people, who can whiteboard solutions to algorithm problems with their eyes closed," Mickiewicz said.

7. Curation
This is the fancy way of saying, "We don't produce our own content." Unlike museum curators who go through years of specialized education and training to better understand the subtle subject differences between Monet and Manet, content curators scour Buzzfeed lists and Huffington Post headlines to find click bait for their Twitter accounts.

8. Freemium
A freemium product strategy is one where the core product is available free of charge, but users have the option to purchase a premium version of the product or service for price. The benefits are obvious in that it gives people a low-barrier of entry to your product, allowing them to try before they buy. Most of the time, the free apps contain ads that also produce revenue for the creator.

We get it, most people don't want to pay for apps. Let's just go back to saying we have a free version and a paid version.

9. Social media consultant
When it comes to social media professionals, there are folks out there that add great value to startups and bigger companies alike. The issue is that too many people think that a large number of Twitter followers mean they are equipped to advise others on how to "do" social media. A good social media expert should help you set a goal and develop a plan to reach that goal, not dangle the promise of thousands of likes as their value proposition.

"Too many people use this term, but have very few successes to point to," Mickiewicz said.

10. True North
Referring to something as your "True North" is just a contrived way of saying, "I am focused on X." Instead, be transparent with your goals and be upfront with people. No one wants to decode what you're saying. Plus, the fact that you're probably in a major metro doesn't lend much credibility to your skills of using a compass to find your way out of the woods.

[05/05/14]   Start Up Jargon: Avoid Using it!!

Industry lingo is a strange thing. Many verticals are defined by the language they use, despite the fact that many of the words are nonsense or have long lost their meaning. Start ups are especially prone to playing word games and overusing clichés when it comes to defining their work.

In fairness, many times that's because there is no existing phrase that accurately explains what they do. Still, some start ups exhaust the same phrases like they're going out of style.

Let's take a look at 10 terms that could safely be removed from the start up lexicon.

1. Disruption
"Why does everything have to be disrupted in tech?," said Sunil Rajaraman, CEO and co-founder of Scripted.com.

The term disruption and the adjective disruption come from the concept of disruptive innovation, and are used to describe technology that uproots, and eventually replaces, an existing technology (e.g. CDs eventually replacing cassette tapes). The problem with this description is that it is often used out of context and has lost it's power. Often when a start up refers to its disruptive technology, it is tech that adds to or simplifies the existing technology, not something that displaces it.

"You're not that disruptive. Stop lying to yourself," said Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled.

2. Pivot
Pivot typically means to turn on a point; but, to startups, it generally means to change the direction with your business. The term was popularized by Eric Ries and the lean startup method of business development. The problem with "pivot" is that most startups are using it to describe a complete change in course rather than a change in focus.

Hired.com CEO Matt Mickiewicz defines pivot as, "A lame way of saying 'our original hypothesis proved incorrect, and we're going to try something else before we run out of money.'"

3. Comparisons to known entities
Startups are typically referred to as companies that are changing the game or blazing a trail, but you wouldn't know it by how they describe their product offering. Start ups used to be proud to carve out a niche in a market and didn't care if they had contemporaries.

Now, it seems that more and more start ups are billing themselves as the "Uber for..." or the "LinkedIn for..." It's understandable to draw a comparison to companies that people may already know, but it's an underwhelming way to describe what you do. If you are excited about what your company does, you need to find a better way of concisely explaining that.

4. Growth hacker
The term growth hacker basically means someone, usually in marketing, who is focused on growing the business -- that's it. The term is widely believed to be the brainchild of Sean Ellis, who penned a blog post in 2010 describing a growth hacker. It is far from the most detrimental term you could use in your startup, but it shifts the focus of growth to one person. In reality, startups have two options -- grow or die -- and that growth is contingent on every member of the startup team, not on one person who eats and breathes SEO, for example.

When Sunil Rajaraman hears the term growth hacker this is what he thinks, "What does that even mean? It sounds like taking a weed wacker and stifling people."

5. Mututal NDA / FriendDA
As I have mentioned before, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is, "An agreement between two parties to protect sensitive or confidential information, such as trade secrets, from being shared with outside parties."

NDAs are common in the startup world, as proprietary info can make or break a startup. Now growing in popularity is the FriendDA, which is a formal agreement you make with a friend after you tell them your next million dollar idea. Here's another option: If you are scared that your friend is going to try to screw you over or steal your idea, don't tell them your idea. Talk to a mentor you've worked with in the past or just start working on your idea without anyone's blessing.

"Yes, I'll keep your stupid secret that's not even worth keeping, and a million people have already thought of that idea," said Ryan Matzner, director of Fueled.

6. Ninja / Rockstar / Wizard
"Engineers are not rockstars, ninjas, etc. They are engineers," Rajaraman said.

I'm not here to downplay the importance of anyone's specific job. It takes talent and hard work to build a startup, but being adamant about referring to employees as rockstars and ninjas devalues titles like developer and software engineer. Employees should be able to proud of what they do without a cliché appellation for their job description. Plus, everyone calling themselves rockstars doesn't do much for humility in the startup scene.

"Just say you want really smart people, who can whiteboard solutions to algorithm problems with their eyes closed," Mickiewicz said.

7. Curation
This is the fancy way of saying, "We don't produce our own content." Unlike museum curators who go through years of specialized education and training to better understand the subtle subject differences between Monet and Manet, content curators scour Buzzfeed lists and Huffington Post headlines to find click bait for their Twitter accounts.

8. Freemium
A freemium product strategy is one where the core product is available free of charge, but users have the option to purchase a premium version of the product or service for price. The benefits are obvious in that it gives people a low-barrier of entry to your product, allowing them to try before they buy. Most of the time, the free apps contain ads that also produce revenue for the creator.

We get it, most people don't want to pay for apps. Let's just go back to saying we have a free version and a paid version.

9. Social media consultant
When it comes to social media professionals, there are folks out there that add great value to startups and bigger companies alike. The issue is that too many people think that a large number of Twitter followers mean they are equipped to advise others on how to "do" social media. A good social media expert should help you set a goal and develop a plan to reach that goal, not dangle the promise of thousands of likes as their value proposition.

"Too many people use this term, but have very few successes to point to," Mickiewicz said.

10. True North
Referring to something as your "True North" is just a contrived way of saying, "I am focused on X." Instead, be transparent with your goals and be upfront with people. No one wants to decode what you're saying. Plus, the fact that you're probably in a major metro doesn't lend much credibility to your skills of using a compass to find your way out of the woods.

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