February 2014 Posts

2014 Business Conferences You Should Attend

Business conferences are a way that like minded individuals in the business community get together to share thoughts, products, and the latest innovations in the industry with each other. These conferences are the best way for people in business to get information on all the latest product developments, gather details on new products being released this year, and understanding the needs of potential business clients or customers.

Just about anyone will be in attendance at these business conferences because the information is beneficial to everyone in all aspects of business. There are so many different types of business conferences being held this year, and the agenda at each conference varies greatly from the next That is why it is so important to try and be in attendance of as many of them as possible.

A typical business conference agenda will usually open with an overview of sales and marketing in that particular industry. The next segment of the conference would then focus on competition in that industry and how to stay an industry leader by being informed of all the aspects within that industry. Employee motivation is a common topic of many business conferences, and finally no conference would be complete without designing a strategy for positioning your self as a leader in that industry.

This year there are a few business conferences that should be on the must see list of anyone looking to keep a finger on the pulse of the business world. The Velocity Web Performance and Operations business conference always has some of the most intelligent operations employees in the industry. Your staff can learn quite a lot from these speakers that will help to increase performance in your company.

The Lean Startup Conference should be one conference you attend if growing your business is a priority this year. Learning the key components of starting a business is the best investment that you could possibly make. Building a strong foundation to grow your business will ensure that years from now your company will still be benefiting from the advice of the key speakers at this conference.

The FailCon business conference is the one you must attend if you can only go to one this year. Entrepreneurs can see a side of the industry that they are not used to seeing at many conferences. While the majority of business seminars focus on success and growth, the FailCon seminar is a one day event that focuses on the failures within a company. You will see first hand how certain failures have caused companies to change tactics and grow and improve, rather than sink and close their doors. As an attendee, you can learn valuable information that will help you to better prepare for success by studying what practices fail within a company.

Upcoming Technology Conferences

On any given day of the year, technology conferences are taking place around the globe. While a few cover very focused areas, others are broad and include a selection of diverse teams and presentations that are favored by people from an extensive array of backgrounds. One singular purpose that comes from attending technology-based conferences is being able to allocate the general idea of offering participants a face-to-face familiarity with the information. This may mean either the most up to date video games, or a training program on the outlook of cloud computing. Either way it provides the participants with an opportunity that a group skype or magazine experience does not offer. It also allows the conference participant to be able to network with the top individuals in the industry, as well as likeminded businesses, so as to launch more extensive professional contacts and develop brand identification with prospective clients.

2014 Technology Conferences
This year offers the opportunity to attend some interesting technology conferences. While one will not be able to attend all of them, give the high costs of tickets and travel, here are a few to consider attending. These are Velocity Web Performance and Operations, Lean Startup Conference, Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored, Techweek and InfusionCon.

Benefits of Participating in Technology Conferences
There are several significant benefits that come from participating in technology conferences. The first is the ability to conduct professional networking with the big wigs in the industry. This face-to-face opportunity allows one to interact with those that may be needed for future partnerships and business ventures. It also helps for one in search of employment. The conversations that take place at such conferences provide one with an edge in a fast changing industry.
A second reason is that of seeing the latest technology developments. Attending technology conferences allows one to get hands-on display of the prospective outlook for the consumer markets. By attending these conferences, one is able to learn about the next big startup or gadget, and anticipate the competition, or try to develop a way to work with them.
A third reason is that of business Perspective. Many speakers at these conferences are usually the leaders of the industry. The information they provide are normally astute and reliable. As a participant one may be able to capitalize on this information, and find it useful. This may prove more effective than having to pay a consultant to provide less effective knowledge. Lastly, many discounts and promo codes are usually offered at these conferences. This offers the attendees the opportunity to save money that is not available even on the company’s website.

2014 Tech Conferences

Anyone who is interested in keeping current in the technology industry should make technology conferences a regular event in her yearly business plans. In its simplest form, a technology conference consists of professionals, vendors, and luminaries within the industry who convene at a set location for anywhere from a single day up to several days, depending on the particular conference. After some form of opening ceremony is given, possibly with the conference’s guest of honor addressing the attendees, the convention properly opens up with a variety of scheduled keynote speeches, seminars, demonstrations, and discussions.

In addition to all the scheduled events, attendees are given plenty of opportunity to meet and discuss with one another. This can lead to mutually improving company networks, a deeper understanding of some aspect of the industry, negation of the potential for an echo chamber of ideas within your own company, or even the potential for offers of employment.

A few tech conferences to keep an eye on in this year of 2014 include:

  • Interlop Las Vegas This IT conference is for those interested in further business within the IT field, new applications, enhancing infrastructure, cloud computing and other forms of virtualization, SDN, Risk Management, and Mobility.
    Occurs: March 31st-April 4th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
  • TechEd North America This is Microsoft’s finest conference for both IT professionals and developers. It promises several hands-on learning experiences as well as panels hosted by leading Microsoft experts.
    Occurs: May 12-15th at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.
  • HDI A UBM conference for VPs, directors, team leads and supervisors, analysts, technicians, CIOs and CTOs, and customer service and call center professionals. HDI has been held since 1990. Notable events include Peter Sheahan’s Talent Revolution keynote speech, and an array of pre-conference workshops such as “Trimming Six Sigma for the Business World.”
    Occurs: April 1st-4th at the Gaylord Palms Orlando in Florida.
  • ISTE The International Society for Technology in Education is a leading organization for educators interested in using technology in their PK-12 classes. Previous ISTE keynote speakers have included Steve Jobs and Sir Ken Robinson.
    Occurs: June 28th-July 1st at the Georgia World Convention Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Business Communications: The Hiring Process

In the human resources department, one of the most interesting as well as potentially exciting parts of the job is bringing in a new employee to fill an open position. The goal is to find the exact right person to not only do the job, but fit into the existing company environment. Depending on the size of the company, the new hire is not only an employee, but a potential new company family member and the right choice is vital.

When HR gets a request for a new hire, the first part of the process is the job description. If this is to fill a job already in existence, HR might pull out the current job description but a quick read through is in order to make sure the job has not changed over time. If this is a new job, or a position that is being created to fill a need, then a job description will need to be created with help from the department head of that new position.

Once the job description is ready as well as salary and other perks such as insurance, education reimbursement and the like, then the new position must be posted to attract applicants. In the past, this meant an ad in the local newspaper but in today’s internet driven marketplace, this means one or many of the many internet job sites such as Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com. The correct site or sites depends on the position and what has shown in the past to be effect attracting the applicants the company is seeking.

When the flood of resumes begin pouring in, then the HR departments job truly begins. The applicants must be winnowed down first for qualifications, then by the department head for which applicants will be call in for an initial interview.

The interviewing process might be a many step process depending on the position and company policy. Most companies use a two step process, which involves an initial interview to get a feel for the applicant and the veracity of their resume and experience. This is usually followed up by a second interview of the applicants called back after the first interview.

From this pool of applicants the final choice will be made and the position will be filled, giving the department the help it needs and the HR department a feeling of accomplishment for a job well done.

Why HR Hiring Communications Can Be Complicated in Practice

An amazing amount of communication is involved a typical mid-size company hiring process or for a larger organization. This is because the messaging needs to serve multiple purposes. Clearly, the obvious goal is to recruit and hire the best possible talent available for vacant positions. However, companies also have to make sure they meet specific legal criteria for recruitment to be compliant with state and federal laws. As a result, most hiring messaging needs to meet different criteria at the same time.

Effective Marketing

Companies don’t bring in the best talent just because they say, “Hey, we have a job available!” Sure, that will attract some candidates, but not the best ones. To do this, HR communications need to use marketing that is attractive, appeals to the needs and wants of candidates, and is widespread to capture the best potential number of applications. That means the communication has to be targeted. Simply throwing a job ad out on the newspaper rarely works well. Instead, many companies now target online work groups that are favored by key candidates as well as schools with a reputation for producing good talent.

Meeting Regulations

The above said, the HR communication still needs to be able to show that the company offered equal employment opportunities and did not discriminate in hiring, blocking out potential candidates based on protected attributes. This can include gender, religion, race and similar. So the wording and areas advertised need to be clearly fair unbiased. This is proven by showing the communication reached every potential group of candidates in an objective manner, and no protected group can say it was ignored or blocked from applying.


Communication continues long after the first job notices go out. Multiple interactions happen from initial contact with a candidate all the way through to the final interview and decision notice of hiring or rejection. These communications are often performed in a variety of ways but the critical decision points are always performed in writing. This helps the business tell the candidate his status, it provides a file for the record on how the application was handled, and it allows for easy progress reporting at each stage of hiring per individual.

In Summary

HR communications involve a myriad of functions and purposes, often happening simultaneously. So it’s important for an organization’s HR office to plan carefully how such messages are prepared and sent. The process can be easily designed, but most mistakes occur during routine message preparation when communication rules are not followed properly by staff. As a result, an HR office often has to spend a lot of time monitoring and covering its tracks to avoid such errors. Not doing so can quickly trigger employment lawsuits and regulatory violations.

Smartphone Displays May Bend and not Break

Right now Apple uses Gorilla glass to provide a scratch resistant surface for their smartphone displays. But as tough as that glass is, it will still shatter on impact. Recent rumors report that Apple is considering replacing their current Gorilla glass with sapphire-coated glass in their next generation of the popular iPhone. But there may be an alternative to simply “toughening up” the smartphone displays every generation. Instead new technology could allow smartphone displays to bend instead of breaking.

Inspired by nature, Professor Francois Barthelat and his team at McGill’s Department of Mechanical Engineering used the mechanics found in structures like seashells to increase the resilience of glass slides by over two-hundred times, as compared to regular glass slides. This feat was achieved by engraving micro-crack networks on the surface of borosilicate glass. Engraving configurations of lines, similar in shape to the edge pieces found in a jigsaw puzzle, stops cracks from spreading and becoming bigger.

These networks of micro-cracks were then filled with polyurethane. According to Professor Barthelat, this secondary process is not essential, since the patters engraved on the glass are sufficient by themselves to stop glass from shattering.

The inspiration, mollusk shells, is made of about 95% chalk, which is quite brittle. But the nacre, or mother-of-pearl, which coats the inner lining of the shells, is made up of microscopic tablets. These tablets are exceedingly strong and resilient, which is the reason why scientists have been studying their structure for more than twenty years.
According to Professor Barthelat, previous attempts to recreate the mollusk structures have proved to be difficult.

“Imagine trying to build a Lego wall with microscopic building blocks,” Barthelat said.

Instead, his team used lasers to engrave the micrco-crack networks into the glass slides to create similar structures found in the nacre of mollusk shells. Professor Barthelat believes that it shouldn’t be difficult to scale the process up to any size glass sheet, including cell phone displays. The process may also be extendable to polymers and ceramics as well.

New Tech: Stereolithography Revolutionizes 3D Printing

Technological innovations are grist for the mill of progress; the challenge is to develop a new device and update technological practices. One recent innovation is three-dimensional printing. While 3D printing has been available for some time in industrial and scientific quarters, the dual technologies of stereolithography and digital light processing are revolutionizing the world of 3D printing, bringing this state-of-the-art technology into the home.

Why 3D Stereolithography?

There are several unique advantages to 3D printing. For scientific applications, the ability to recreate a 3D object allows the tactile exploration of fragile things such as archaeological finds. Similarly, a 3D reproduction of internal organs allows doctors and researchers to solve complex medical problems. For instance, in 2011 doctors in London planned the surgery that separated conjoined craniopagus twins based on a 3D model created from MRI images.

Inexpensive Parts Rapidly Reproduced

One of the advantages of SLA printing capability is the rapid reproduction of critical machine parts. Stereolithography printers can fuse resin into a fully functioning replacement part in as little as a single day. As these devices become less expensive and more capable, the potentials for home use also increase: imagine a time when a technician, using a customer’s printer, can replicate a part and repair a malfunctioning appliance in hours rather than the days it would take to order such a part.

It’s Also For Fun

Bringing 3D printing into the home opens up a new world of education and entertainment. Rather than a dry two-dimensional poster board presentation, a student can create a 3-dimensional model that graphically illustrates their topic. Alternatively, a 5 year old interested in reconstructing the Parthenon in Lego can reproduce blocks custom designed to construct a realistic or imaginative replica.

While 3D printers have been available for industrial and scientific applications for a dozen years or so, home-use 3D printers are a new phenomenon that has the potential to revolutionize the world of home computing. The industry stands now on the cusp of a revolution in both quality and speed because of the dual innovations of stereolithography and digital light processing.

Tips for Attending Your First Professional Conference

It is that time again, time for the annual business conference. Yet, if this is your first time attending one, it can be a little confusing. How do you navigate this aspect of your business career? Very simply, make sure you take note of everything around you as well as the details of the business conference.

Most businesses hold their conferences away from the offices. This means that the conference could be held anywhere, from a hotel to even a different state or country. To find out where the conference will be held, check the memo that you received concerning the conference for the location. Sometimes, the conference can be just down the hall.

If the conference is in another location, check and see if there will be any traveling expenses you are responsible for. For locations outside of the immediate area, most of the time the business will provide transportation. However, there will be sometimes that you are required to provide your own transportation and then receive a bonus on your pay check for attending the conference. This second concern can be addressed by either checking the memo you received, or messaging the sender to find out if the memo does not have the information readily available.

After gaining all this information, you are now ready to prepare for the conference. Conferences are normally meetings involving several people of a company. These individuals meet for a variety of different reasons. People from Finance may meet once a month, or even quarterly, to discuss spending within the company and how to reduce the costs that are being accrued. Or the CEO may want to meet once a year with the entire company for a report on how things are going in each department. Often times a conference will take place when the business is planning on expanding. There are several reasons for a business conference, and they will be stated in the memo you receive about the conference so that you can be prepared for the discussions about to take place.

Some business conferences taking place this year concern various things such as a Growth Conference held by the UPS for matters concerning the expansion of the company. The NSCA is having a conference about Business and Leadership. These types of conferences are important because they help the company know where they are, and where they need to be, in order to remain successful year after year.