Posts Tagged "Technology"

Tech stocks are up big today, and it’s not hard to see why.


3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Cyber Monday put a jolt in the stock market today.

Data from Adobe Analytics suggest that America may have had its biggest online shopping day in history, as consumers flocked to take advantage of online deals today.

The equity markets liked the action. With Amazon and technology stocks leading the way, the Entrepreneur Index™ was up 2.25 percent for the day, with 56 of 60 stocks on the index posting gains. The Nasdaq composite index was up 2.06 percent, while the Dow and S&P 500 indexes were up 1.46 percent and 1.55 percent respectively.

Technology stocks, the hardest hit segment of the market in the last two volatile months, posted some of the largest gains on the day. Amazon.com, the biggest online retailer in the world, was up 5.28 percent. Twitter was also up 5.43 percent. None of the 13 tech stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ were down today.

The biggest gain in the sector was posted by chipmaker NVIDIA Inc., possibly the most volatile stock in the market this year. It was up 5.52 percent after a Credit Suisse analyst initiated coverage with an outperform rating, suggesting that the nearly 50 percent drop in the stock price

over the last two months has created a great buying opportunity for investors.

Related: Tech Stocks Continue to Tumble, With Precious Few Exceptions

Wynn Resorts, another extremely volatile stock this year, was up 6.89 percent today — the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™. The gambling environment in Macau, where Wynn operates three casinos, was once again the reason for the move in the stock price. Brokerage firm Sanford Bernstein increased its forecast for November gambling revenue in Macau to seven percent to eight percent from an earlier estimate of two percent to four percent. Wynn’s shares are still down 34 percent for the year.

Tesla shares were up 6.19 percent today after another unusual interview with CEO Elon Musk aired on HBO yesterday. Musk said that earlier this year Tesla was only weeks away from death due to the rocky production ramp-up of the company’s Model three sedan. He also said he plans to take a trip to Mars when the opportunity presents in the future.

L Brands, makers of Victoria’s Secret lingerie, appeared to be a big winner in the early holiday shopping season. The stock was up 6.74 percent today, though it is still down 47 percent so far this year.

Other major gains on the Entrepreneur Index™ were posted by TripAdvisor Inc. (4.36 percent), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (3.61 percent), Jefferies Financial Group (3.61 percent) and Under Armour Inc. (3.35 percent).

Only six stocks on the index had declines today. The largest was registered by food-maker J.M Smucker Company, which was down 1.54 percent. Chipotle Mexican Grill was down 1.15 percent, and oil and gas producer Hess Corp. was down 1.03 percent, despite a more than two percent rally in the price of oil today.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.


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Without a roadmap, your chances of failure increase.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs who want to build a tech startup make is that they don’t create a roadmap or prototype. Without a prototype, you can end up going down an unclear and expensive path when you’re developing your mobile app or product. That’s why prototyping is a crucial part of creating an app.

Related: Are You Making These Common Mistakes in Your Start-up?

Here’s how it can benefit you and how to get it done:

1. Gain clarity.

Without a defined concept, you can easily set your app up for failure, and it’s hard to define your concept sans a roadmap and a visual aid, such as a prototype. Your roadmap helps you to define and sharpen the idea of your concept by mapping out the customer’s journey.

Base this information on market research by analyzing your competition and determining what features attract your target audience to your competitor’s apps. Your app should address your users’ needs and provide more value than what your competition offers so that you have a unique value proposition.

With this information, you can produce a high-fidelity prototype of your mobile app that is interactive so that stakeholders can have a clear vision of what the interfaces, interactions and other elements of your app would be like once the final app is made.

2. Quickly validate your idea in the market.

If you want to entice stakeholders to invest in your app, you need to validate your concept in the market. A prototype helps you achieve this goal since it can help you test market demand. You can opt to create a prototype using a prototyping tool or have an outsourced team build one for you to your specifications.

Choose app metrics, such as app usage and engagement, to determine market demand so you can save time and money from further developing an app that may not work.

3. Save on cost.

App development isn’t cheap. It could be $5,000 to $50,000 or run into the hundreds of thousands, even millions, depending on the customization and maintenance required. Building an app without developing a prototype first drives up your costs over time. Maintenance costs can take up 15-20 percent of the cost of app development.

Related: 8 Huge Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Realize They’re Making

A prototype helps you reduce the expenses of app maintenance due to inefficiencies since you’ll be able to identify bugs and vulnerabilities before the final development of the app. You’ll also save on rebuilding costs if your developers later find that the app is not meeting compliance requirements.

4. Develop consistent UX.

If you want to get users hooked on your app, you have to provide an experience that helps facilitate what your app is offering your users. Mobile marketing analytics research company Localytics noted in a study that only 21 percent of people who download apps only use the app once. So, it’s important to focus on taking steps to retain users and understand their behaviors.

With a prototype, you have the power to observe user interaction with your app. You can study user behaviors early on in the development process and make adjustments to your app to improve their experiences. For example, you can change the font of a button’s text if you notice that users click the button more often. This helps to improve their experience and encourage engagement with your app.

5. Drive stakeholder acceptance with a proven concept.

When you’re trying to convince important stakeholders, such as venture capitalists, angel investors or even crowdfunding audiences, to invest in your mobile app, it’s challenging to get them to buy-in to your concept without a visual, working prototype.

But with an app prototype, these crucial stakeholders get a clickable, interactive app they can use and test. It helps to justify funding since it reduces the risk of uncertainty and helps your audience visualize the potential profit your app can bring.

Related: What Should Entrepreneurs Pitch, Products or Ideas?

6. Fine-tune your prototype to improve your concept.

A prototype also gives you the opportunity to explore new ideas and further improve on your concept because it allows you to see problems with the app early in the development process. Creating a prototype gives you the chance to improve on your concept so that your development team can find potential weak spots and errors.

According to a study by MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute, 13 percent of users delete mobile apps due to bugs. It’s important to test your app with your target audience to identify errors before you finalize the product. During this stage, it’s important to document user interactions, errors incurred and each instance and version that you updated. This helps you to create a valuable and addictive app for your target audience. For example, you can create and reference a backlog of the different versions of your app and compare the different errors your users experienced as they navigated through the system.

You can also implement features that provide feedback from your audience on the app, such as a survey or poll. Use the direct feedback to further develop the app based on their needs. You can use this information to create a more enhanced experience for your users and improve your chances of having a more successful app at the launch of the final product.


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Online platforms for freelance worker provide an unparalleled opportunity to work with millions of people who aren’t necessarily like you.


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


It’s easy to be swept up in the negative rhetoric around the gig economy. Too often “on demand” workers are framed by the media purely as a cost-cutting tactic for businesses. Somehow the professional experience and expertise of the humans behind the screen get left out of the conversation.

Related: How to Fight the Gender Pay Gap as a Self-Employed Woman — and Maximize Your Income

Think of it this way: Online platforms are a unique space where the world’s best talent can connect both with each other to exchange ideas and share feedback, and with people and organizations actively seeking their specific skills. They create a truly level playing field irrespective of location, gender, age or background.

When you remove the barriers of geography and social background — which is what Silicon Valley’s call for “democratization” ultimately is — the creative possibilities are endless.

Our industry talks tirelessly about improving diversity. We need to celebrate the evolution of platform work as a step in a fairer direction, and see it for what it is: an unparalleled opportunity to work with millions of people who aren’t necessarily like you.

Diversity in ideas adds value.

Not looking more deeply into the benefits of our emerging global workforce does a disservice to the people around the world using online platforms to build their careers. Truly flexible work has never been this accessible, and is a valuable pipeline for people like stay-at-home parents, retirees or creatives who find they do their best work on the road. Valuing flexibility over more traditional benefits shouldn’t be dismissed as a somehow less valid choice; as a society we should encourage people to work in a way that works for them.

Related: 7 Reasons Why the Gig Economy is a Net Positive

In addition, there’s plenty of evidence that a globally distributed talent network can radically improve a company’s output and available skill set. Research from McKinsey shows that ethnically diverse businesses are 35 percent more productive and 9 percent more profitable. However, as any business owner knows, achieving diversity isn’t always as easy as we’d like. The platform economy offers a solution in a ready-made global network of skills and international perspectives.

Access the best people and projects.

Freelancers have been the lifeblood of the creative industries almost since their inception, so the concept of tapping into on-demand talent is nothing new in fields like design, music, film or writing. What online platforms have succeeded in doing is opening up this model to the rest of the world, making it easier for freelancers to find interesting work, and making talented creatives more accessible to clients.

While the platform economy has created a new global wave of creative diversity, there’s still some way to go in getting more people comfortable with the idea that the best person for the job isn’t necessarily in the same time zone or country as them.

The key point that’s missing from so much of the narrative around the gig economy is that companies put significant effort into attracting, nurturing and retaining skilled people. After all, the best talent will always have options — and working within the platform economy is just one of them.

Related: How ‘Unconventional’ Workers Can Be the Answer to Your Company Culture Woes

Ignore international talent at your own risk.

Creative talent is a commodity in demand, and that talent truly is everywhere. No skilled worker should be disadvantaged because of where they were born or where they live. Platforms have broken down borders in the creative industries, and ultimately made them a much fairer place to work.

As a global society, we should celebrate this: Businesses have never had access to such depth and reach of creative talent before. To miss out on the benefits of this diversity simply because we are stuck in well-worn narratives and assumptions is such a waste of potential for a society in desperate need of creative diversification.


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