Author: kentang123

Is Starting a Business Right for You?

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So you think you want to start a business. Sounds simple doesn’t it? As you know many people have started and are in business, but many businesses survive and many fail. However, if you really believe that being a business owner is part of your destiny, then take the time to consider a few things to make sure owning a business is right for you. Just because it is right for your father, brother, cousin, or next door neighbor doesn’t mean it is right for you.

Love what you’re doing: If you do not like your job, it makes it hard to want to go to work. It is the same concept in business. Why would you be excited to do business if you do not like what you are doing? Make sure you choose a business that you enjoy, like, and even have a passion for.

Money can’t be your main objective: Know what your motives are for starting a business. Is making money your number one objective for being in business? If so, you may or may not want to start a business. Here are some facts, more than 50% of businesses fail within the first five years, and the average business owner is barely able to break-even within the first few years. Lots of money may or may not come in. Will you be able to live with that?

You cannot love security: If you like financial security and stability, being a business owner may not be for you. The reality is, business can be up and down and all around, literally. Some days you may generate a whole lot of money and some days zero. It may be hard to budget your money, because you do not know how much will come in each week or month. The secret: during good times store money away to sustain you during lean times.

Qualities needed for the small business owner:
1. Must be a risk taker.
2. Must be self-motivated, an optimist, and believer in yourself
3. Must know or learn how to network
4. Must be creative and competitive
5. Have the ability and tolerance to endure hard times

Can you answer “Yes” to these questions?
1. Do you have a unique idea or a spin on an existing idea?
2. Do you enjoy working alone?
3. Do you have the ability to plan the details for each step for your business to happen?
4. Do you like breaking rules and taking chances?
5. Do you have lots of ideas?
6. Is your idea burning in your heart, mind, and spirit?

So after reading the above information are you still convinced, excited, and motivated to move
forward as a business owner? Then do it! Knowing what to expect is half the battle and
preparation is the other half, so make it happen.

5 Smart Reasons for Purchasing Pet Supplies From an Online Store

15 words we may or may not thank marketers for

Part of the job as a Creative Marketer is to make a brand stand out. Sometimes this involves an interesting play on words or even the creation of words, sometimes combining them (a “portmanteau”), in order to explain a brand new concept.

Not sure what a portmanteau is? Quire has you covered! –

Here are some to jog your memory:

Breakfast + Lunch = Brunch

Jeans + Leggings = Jeggings

Lion + Tiger = Liger

So, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s delve into the world of advertising portmanteaus that sometimes create confusion, lols, approval and even in some cases, disgust.

However, it should go without saying, but we’re still going to have to say it – as ridiculous as some of these sound, they’ve sometimes been the make or break factor to put brands back on top.

1. Marketing + Architecture = Marketecture or Marchitecture

The term is applied to any form of electronic architecture perceived to have been produced purely for marketing reasons. It may be used by a vendor to place itself in such a way as to promote all their strongest abilities whilst simultaneously masking their weaknesses.

2. Education + Entertainment = Edutainment

Used as a noun, this was first created for marketing purposes in the 1980s to describe and change the cultural mindset of the negativities toward video game usage, television programmes, or other material, intended to be both educational and enjoyable.

3. (Originally) Book + Article, (adapted for modern day) Blog + Article = Barticle

Its original creation referred to an article that became a book, but should just have stayed an article.

Its modern, adapted reference is to a blog post that reads as an article for all intents and purposes.

4. Stay + Vacation = Staycation

With reference to a period in which an individual or family stays at home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance of their home. Some staycationers also like to follow a set of rules, such as setting a start and end date, planning ahead, and avoiding routine, with the goal of creating the feel of a traditional vacation.

5. Consulting + Agency = Cagency

A very recently coined term (2018) that addresses the changing nature and need of industry both with agencies as well as customers seeking marketing assistance.

6. Web + Log = Blog

Did you know that? We needn’t say more about this.

7. Video + Blog = Vlog

A blog that’s all about video! Cue the rise of Youtube!

8. Blog/ Vlog + Sphere = Blogosphere

Originally used in 1999 as a joke, it was officially introduced into the English Language in 2002. The term implies that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social networking service in which everyday authors can publish their opinions. Since the term has been coined, it has been referenced in a number of media and is also used to refer to the Internet.

9. Blog + Celebrity = Blogebrity

A type of online celebrity made famous through their blogging activities.

Blogebrities can be ranked based on popularity and influence and, like actual celebrities, can even be categorized as A-List down to D-List based on these metrics.

10. Mass + Prestige = Masstige

Masstige refers to prestigious products designed to be sold to the masses. This concept has, as of recent been taken on by several luxury car brands, fashion brands and even hotel brands. The allure of Masstige products is that unlike luxury goods that thrive on rarity and exclusivity, fairly luxurious products are now available to the masses at a somewhat affordable rate.

11. List + Article = Listicle

A listicle is used as either a list disguised as an article or an article disguised as a list. This new form of information dissemination, was created to combat short attention spans and has become a common feature in online magazines and blogs.

12. Advertisement + Editorial = Advertorial

There’s just too much information! Most Colombo based companies are infamous for placing advertorials, i.e a newspaper or magazine advertisement that provides information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article.

13. Fiction + Commercial = Fictomercial

Like advertorials, a fictomercial features a somewhat perfect balance of product placement and entertainment with a (say it all in one breathe!) great-big-fantastic-backing-story! However, fictomercial rules are usually set by the commissioning company, generally requesting a minimum number of times a product name must be mentioned, as well as strict guidelines for the context in which it can be discussed. Here’s Quire’s latest favourite fictomercial featuring Martin Freeman for Vodafone UK.

14. Subversive + Advertising = Subvertising

Subvertising refers to political statements masked as ads that are often satirical in nature and usually require a second look to understand the full extent of this subvertising goal.

15. Catvertising = Cats + Advertising

Of course, if you want to get the internet’s attention, you’ve got to have a cat. We’re not surprised this exists, but we are surprised by the number of times a cat video has gone on to “break the internet” as they say. Catvertising, originally started in the form of memes and parody advertising, but has now gone on to become an effective form of influencer marketing and product placement. Whether it’s Snoopy the Cat, Maru, Lil Bub, Colonel Meow or even Grumpy The Cat, the world of advertising has begun to change, one whisker at a time!

Most Popular Misbeliefs of a Beginning Entrepreneur

We all make mistakes. These are valuable life lessons that are supposed to make us wiser, tougher, and more professional. Nevertheless, is there a sense in making them when you can prevent them? The ability to learn on other people’s mistakes is a powerful skill and even a kind of wisdom.

When you start your own business, it is the beginning of a big journey with a totally unpredictable outcome. It brings great risks, great excitement, new horizons, responsibilities, joy, and sometimes nervous breakdowns. Let’s observe the mistakes beginners often make on this uneasy path.

1. Believing that you can predict everything

There are plenty of ready business schemes and motivating examples on the Internet. These things are useful to read and imply, but two people can do the same thing and it can turn out completely different. Good examples and useful tips are good to follow but remember there are many factors why they might not work in your case. We’re not trying to demotivate you but encourage you to be flexible and move forward.

Advise: If you want to maintain your business on the example of other, try to find as much information about this scenario, not only about the success but about the fails as well. Think of what you would do if you’d face similar problems.

2. Believing that you can sell a business idea

This doesn’t work anymore. The internet is full of wonderful ideas and even ready business plans for free. In addition, investors prefer to invest their money into something that already has results of success. Regardless of how wonderful your idea may sound, no one wants unnecessary risks for their investments.

Advise: Start working on your idea yourself. If it works, you will become a much more attractive for investments. Sure you will have to risk your own money, but this is the only way it can work, and not in regard to investments.

3. Believing that your business must be a perfect

Perfectionism can be a good motivation to move ahead and improve your business but it can also ruin it. There’s nothing perfect in this world. Being too picky and waiting for a perfect place, perfect moment, and the perfect office can make you just sit there and not make any progress. The same goes for problems – they are inevitable, and you should think how to fix them, instead of getting demotivated.

Advise: Perfectionism is your enemy when you first stop. As you develop and prosper, you can refine things and make them better. But in the beginning, there will be many imperfections, and that is normal. Build a business that will be profitable, not perfect.

4. Believing you can have a prosperous time forever

Even if everything goes well and you prosper, remember that if you stop, your prosperity will likely follow. Instead of wasting money because now you have the opportunity to afford it, don’t stop investing in your business to make your prosperity continue. If you want it to continue forever and multiply, never stop investing.

Instagram Story For Your Business

“Nothing is more simple than greatness”, said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Yes, being simple is always attractive and pulls attention. With just 2 months old, Instagram stories are running with whooping 100 million active users posting something or the other every day. And digital marketers see a new hope and a new scape for growth through Instagram stories. But the sad truth is, none really care when it comes to ad stories, they are either skipped or swiped to the next. So what’s going wrong with your stories or how can you make most of this simple tool that can reach millions of your targeted audience.

Understand the Instagram story and its potential as social media marketing strategy can help you build your business.

Stories allow the uses to upload pictures and video footages into slides on which text or emojis can be added. They mostly convey live updates or texts or anything that is visually calling. These are 24 hours bound, which makes this feature more interesting. After 24 hours, they are taken out of your story feed which makes the story more playful, effective and content marketing done in a very informal way.

Digital marketing companies are trying to analyse and help various business organizations to grow with the help of Instagram stories. We enlist some quick bites on social media marketing strategy through Instagram stories.

Creative process
Let the audience know your creative process, maybe from a simple sketch or chiselling the wood or making a craft piece post it as your Instagram story. Let your audience or potential customers get a chance to see how the whole process of their favourite product or a service is made.

This brings in more loyalty to the brand. If a new product is going to be launched, stories can be used to catch the curiosity of the audience. You can always go live and interact with possible customers.

Live mode ON.
Engage your audience more with live updates. Its shows audience how real you are and your efforts to each them. The feature is more advantageous than the normal story posts that you do since its felt more authentic. The ability of the audience to comment in real time and which is replied in real time always works in this way of business. You can also make the audience curious and excited by posting a story about the upcoming live video. A creative post to build excitement and with a content that’s mysterious always brings more audience during the live session.

Social media marketing companies knows how good sponsored ad works. With Instagram, let’s say it working pretty well and you won’t be disappointed with the result. These story ads when placed appropriately understanding the time and need of the audience can churn your business some gain. With images, GIFs or videos can be posted in story ads with an extension to take the audience to web pages with detailed descriptions. The latest update of Instagram allows multiple media usage in story ads which enhances the depth of storytelling. The story Ad works so well because in less than 10 seconds before the audience to swipe next the story should have been hooked them so badly. The content needs to be short, precise and meeting the purpose of your business. In a recent study by a leading digital marketing company found that the conversation rate for a paid story Ad is much more than a normal posting.


Instagram is the most happening place in the whole social media spectrum. With around 500 million active daily users, there can’t be any better platform to showcase your brand online. Counts say that 68% of users engage with brands regularly.

Whether you are trying to establish your brand, build loyalty or awareness about your brand, Instagram stories is one of the best social media tools. With regular updates and adding better features, Instagram seems to have no intention of stopping it to be more awesome for individuals or business alike.

If in case, if you don’t have any content to give the audience then you can definitely ask your audience what they want to see as your brand stories. You can work on it and is a sure bet of winning more gain to your brand.

3 Beginner Steps to Building Your Business on Instagram Using Sponsored Posts

Why Instagram Sponsored Posts Are the Best Method for Reaching New Users Looking for Businesses Like Yours!

Instagram lead generation is not simple and requires planning, strategy, creativity, and repetition.

While traditional methods to build your business on Instagram work magic, they don’t tend to reach nearly as many users as a solid sponsored post.

When Facebook started, organic reach was simple. With low competition and emerging technologies looking for more and more users, it was actually quite easy to post something to Facebook. If configured properly you’d reach new users not familiar with your business.

Then once it had a large enough user base the organic reach was throttled and eventually it became almost mandatory to pay to boost a post in order to reach new users.

Instagram hasn’t quite gone into a pay-to-play model yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some serious value in paying to push a post to new users (called “Promoting” on Instagram).

Which is right for your business: Pinterest or Instagram? Find out here: Pinterest or Instagram. Which one is best for building your business online?

So what is involved in promoting a post and how can you do it right so it reaches the right people for your business? Here’s 3 strategies to follow:

1. Create a Business Profile

The first step is to convert your profile into a Business Profile.

Simply tap the sun symbol (iOS) or three dots (Android) depending on your device.

Now tap “Switch to Business Profile”. You’ll need to make sure your account is set to Public as well.

Enter the required info and tap “Done”. It’s that easy!

*note* if you haven’t already it’s important to be added as an admin to the associated Facebook page

2. Strategize

Strategy is the key when making the most of promoting posts. It’s worthwhile having the post you’re going to be promoting ready before you start.

The reason is, you can make choices not just on what you post and who you’ll promote it to, but also where they’ll see it.

With Instagram your posts will appear in both the stories and feed sections of a user’s account. If you’d like to choose not to have your post appear in stories, then you’ll need to use Facebook’s ad manager.

Both are viable options, but the manager interface has a lot more options than Instagram natively offers so if you have admin privileges on the associated Facebook account and it’s connected already, then it’s advisable to make use of the more robust system.

If you want any help with this at all please get in touch and one of our social media experts will be happy to help.

Now think of the end user and how they’ll be seeing your post. If you’ve already defined your ideal client, you should be able to see competing brands. Scour the more popular ones and look at what has performed better for them.

This can give you real insight into what will be more effective for your own posts.

Once you’ve settled on your creative and you know who it’s designed for, it’s time to promote it.

3. Post Promotion

Depending on your choice of promoting through Instagram or through Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll have a lot of options here.

First post your creative. By the way, if you haven’t reviewed our guide to building your business on Instagram yet, you should. This will ensure your post is optimized for performance before you even start paying.

Now go back to your post and look at the bottom right and where it says “Promote” you simply tap.

Once you’ve tapped it, you’ll see several options for who you want to reach, how long you’ll be running your promoted post, and how much you are willing to pay to reach them.

The options may be limited for who you can reach so make note of who you’ve tried to reach with the post and next time you can try different parameters to see if they’ll be more effective.

It’s never as straight forward as typing in what you want and tapping Done. Look for associated interests that your ideal client will have or broad categories they fall into.

If you’re promoting through Facebook Ads, you’ll need to go to log into your Facebook profile associated with the business and select “Ads Manager”.

You’ll need to navigate through to the Ad level for this.

The process through Ads Manager is much more complicated but has a lot more options. You’ll select the creative by clicking “Use Existing Post”. You’ll then be able to select the associated Instagram account and choose your post from there.

Your options here for targeting are much better.

This method is an intermediate level exercise so if you’re new to using social media for your business or you’re just not finding the interface intuitive enough, give us a call. This process shouldn’t take a long time so if you’re struggling at all have us do the heavy lifting for you.

If you’ve managed to find your way through the settings and you have it set up right, you’ll just choose budget and duration and you’re all set.

We fully understand the complexities of getting this all done right. Taking a stab at it with a test post and small budget is very advisable if you’re planning on tackling this yourself.

Instagram has over 10 million active monthly users and it’s still growing. The interface can change without warning and it’s always being refined to provide even better reach for promoted posts, so don’t treat this lightly.

Think of it as though you were putting up a traditional ad.

With an ad in a magazine you might get your creative seen by thousands of people and this is the same as with your IG profile. This is the outward representation of your business, so treat this part of it like any aspect of your business: like a professional.

Six Major Factors in the Aviation Industry’s Growth

The aviation sector has emerged as one of the rapidly developing industries in India. It considers as the third largest domestic civil aviation market in the world. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) affirms that the country can surpass The United Kingdom and can reach the second place by 2026. There will be some positive changes in the industry that will cater to various aviation policies, FDI etc. and will offer large intact growth opportunities.

The expansion of the aviation industry in India has witnessed an incredible modification in each Civil and Military aviation within the last 3 years. Also after UDAN Yojana, The Aviation industry in India has performed well & boosted inclusive national economic development, job growth and transport infrastructure development of all regions and states of India. The opportunities in the industry are growing and this is the right time for the candidates in United Nations to plan a progressive career in the aviation industry under UDAN Scheme.

What is UDAN Scheme?

The UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme aims to make regional connectivity easy. Under this scheme, the government aims at making flying affordable by surpassing fares at Rs 2500/- per seat per hour. Released on June 15, 2016, the scheme is a component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP).

Increase in traffic

The newest report on civil aviation predicts associate overall development in air traffic. Cumulatively, the number of passengers and the products along with emails carried by airplanes nowadays has escalated over the past couple of years. This means that the civil aviation will have a bright future.


The aviation sector anticipates witnessing a great flow in FDI, as it will be useful to improve regional connectivity and technology. By 2020, the number of aircraft soaring the sky estimates to be 800. The low penetration magnitude relation provides a giant chance for investment in Indian aviation sector. Also with GST law implementation, certain issues such as maintaining international standards and principles will overcome.


Aviation is not only an important form of the peaceful commuting platform but also, it carries a significant part in the defense organization.


The demand for the aviation industry in recent time predicts the concrete reality for domestic airlines in the longer run. In addition, not only this but to facilitate sustainable growth, Indian aviation industry came to a global agreement to establish (CORSIA), which is Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, in near future.

Reasons for the expansion in the aviation industry is also for catering exceptional travelers each year with an increasing rate of 20% making India the fastest growing market globally. The increasing passenger numbers and policies act as an added factor in the sector, creating more opportunities and FDI.

Favorable Climate

The aviation industry will grow vastly in India, as mostly the climatic conditions are quite appropriate all the time. The Government is effortlessly taking different measures in the expansion of the industry so that India comes up with UDAN Yojana policy for its individuals.

Within the high scope of enlargement, airline industries are currently seeking appropriate individuals matching their job criterion to undertake varied tasks for his or her company. If you are dreaming to develop your career in the aviation industry, following associate aviation course is important.

7 Tips To Choose An Automation Tool For Your Business Growth

Nowadays, businesses need automation tools to save time and money. As a matter of fact, automation tools bring a lot of efficiency and effectiveness. That is the reason, they are all the rage these days. Before you choose an automation tool for your business growth, make sure you consider a couple things. Given below are a few factors to consider when choosing a marketing automation tool. Read on to know more.

1. Ease Of Usage

Ease of usage and flexibility are the two factors that can affect the performance of the tool. Apart from this, since organizational needs continue to change with time, the tools they need should be user friendly and flexible.

2. Portability

The second most important factor that you should consider is portability of the tool. Actually, this is all about how and what you are going to do is the maker of the tool goes out of business. Apart from this, making sure that the tool is portable can make it easier for you to deal with cost reduction requirements, requirement changes and performance issues, just to name a few.

3. Reporting

Good businesses have goals that are measurable no matter what they do. The same applies to marketing whether it is a modern approach or native approach. If you look at the reporting feature of the automation tool, you will save you from a lot of troubles down the road.

4. Interoperability

Make sure the automation platform can be integrated with the other tools used in your organization.

5. Mobility

Nowadays, mobile phones are used for almost everything. When choosing an automation tool, make sure you consider the mobility factor as well. this will help you greatly in the long run.

6. Customization Or Adaptability

Automation tools that are sold online have standard features. And you need to customize these tools so that they can meet the needs of your organization. So, make sure that the provider is open and adaptable. Besides, the tool should be easy to customize. If the tool can’t be customized, you will be unable to use it down the road. So, you may want to ask the provider of the tool if it can be customized.

7. Cost

There is no doubt that the tool should be reasonably priced. Often, people make their selection decision based on the cost or price alone, which is not a good idea. What you need to do is look at the RIO while choosing a tool. If you are looking for a basic tool with basic features, you won’t have to pay a lot of money. But if you need one with a lot of advanced features, be ready to pay a bit more money. We suggest that you look at the needs of your business to choose a tool that can best meet your needs.

So, these are 7 factors that you may want to take into account when looking for a good marketing automation tool for the growth of your business or organization.

Pricing Strategy – What It Is?

Product pricing is a major and vital focus of market research. The idea is not to find what consumers like, but to establish what they are willing to pay for any given product or service. Then researchers use that information to establish a price tag that is ideal for maximizing the profit for that product or service. There are four primary methods researchers use to establish this ideal price tag: Conjoint Analysis, the Brand-Price Trade-Off, the Gabor-Granger technique, and the Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Monitor.

What consumers are willing to pay is not the only consideration in pricing strategy. The market you are in and the cost of production are also important considerations in establishing optimum prices. Some items, like cars and computers, lose value almost the minute they are made. And you do not want to charge $10.00 for something that costs you $25.00 to make and market. Price models and market models are a part of pricing research that are used to estimate prime demand points and the responses of competitors in your market. All these things and more need to be considered when deciding what pricing strategy to use.

The Gabor-Granger technique, also known as immediate pricing, is a survey-based system. Customers are asked if they would purchase a certain product at a specific price. They are asked this question with a variety of different prices. From the results of this survey, the perfect price for each person can be established and then the best average price can be estimated from all the responses. On the plus side, this techniques gives you a quick answer. On the other hand, it may not be especially accurate because people may not give a truthful answer about how much they would be willing to pay for the product. The other drawback is that this approach only asks about a specific isolated product – if consumers are faced with the same, or a similar, product for a lower price, they would likely purchase the less expensive item.

The van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Monitor is also survey-based but, it asks more questions that are more specifically aimed. Rather than one question, as the Gabor-Granger technique, it asks four questions: at what price is it a bargain; at what price is the product becoming too expensive; at what price would you start questioning the quality of the product; and at what price is the product way too expensive to think about buying it.

While it may not seem like a big difference – one question versus four – the four questions of the van Westendorp approach offer more detailed information, making it easier to establish a full range of prices for a specific product. That extra information can then be used to address variation in competitors’ prices as well as variation in individual customer responses.

No matter which specific technique, or combination of them, that you decide to use, there is a quantity of good information you can use to establish the best success for your product or service.

This article is penned by Lora Davis for Conjoint.Online. The company offers a service (, an online tool aimed at product managers wishing to perform choice based conjoint analysis-also known as discrete choice experimentation using conjoint excel.

There Is No Substitute for Experience

So many clients attend trade shows and fairs, exhibitions, expos and other events these days because this is the best way of marketing their company, their products and services.

It is of little use to attend these events if you don’t have a great stand or booth. Therefore booth designs are of great importance to every client who wants to make the best impression. These shows and expos are often the best opportunity for many businesses to benefit from visitors, from talking to prospective customers, to market their ideas and services and to ensure their future clients are left with a lasting, positive impression.

If your booth impresses them, you may already be on the right track towards new business. Of course these booths require a lot of thought and work before they are ready to help you further your business ideals at the show. When you consider companies who are known for the great booth designs they come up with, you will most likely agree that all of them have certain traits in common: they are experienced and often offer many years in their industry, they answer all questions confidently and without delay and they react immediately to enquiries.

These are some of the qualities that may help you to have further talks with the company you want to employ for designing your booth. Of course this is only a starting point. Choosing the designer and builder of your booth requires proper research and homework as you often have only one opportunity to come up with the best firm to design and build the booth you need for the show.

The best booth designs will always attract good attention at fairs and shows; therefore you have to give it proper thought and resist the temptation to employ the first company you talk to – or the one that is cheaper than everybody else. Because these shows offer the best opportunity to marketing your business, you should never be tempted to arrive with a sub-standard booth. Make sure you employ the best company to assist you.

Companies with proven track records are the best ones to talk to. They have experience in designing, building, transporting, erecting and dismantling these booths, which sometimes are very big structures. Do not entrust your project to a company that has little, or limited experience.

Booth designs involve various aspects of design that requires proper knowledge of shows and expos, a client’s business and expectations, the client’s budget and financial position and of course, the structure that needs to be built. A good designer will use past knowledge of the industry he works in, the circumstances of his client and great knowledge of current trends in terms of design practices when he takes on a project. He will make sure the client’s best interests are taken into account in terms of the end product.

He will listen to his client’s needs and wishes and incorporate those in his own booth design. Although good designers have great experience and access to the best methods and design software, they will also listen to the clients who understand their own industry and the needs they have in terms of the booth they require.

The ideal situation is one of a designer and client who collaborate on a project and who communicate all the time and who adjust the design when and if necessary. Every client expects to deal with the kind of firm that employs experienced support staff, well qualified designers and engineers, as well as properly trained technicians and builders.

The good designer will ensure that his designs are carried through to the final product and that the booth design he or she is responsible for goes off without glitch.

Artificial Intelligence and Our Humanity

We hear and read about it everywhere these days.

You hear people saying, “The future is now.”

“We have to give way to technology.”

“We’ll be better off and live better lives (maybe not even work) if we let AI do it.”

Yes, technology is here, and we are living at the dawn of the age of AI, and it’s a topic that we’ve seen and heard a lot more about this year.

I wonder what the opportunities will be for the average person. You know, the person who is not the founder of Facebook, Google or Amazon, which have placed such high barriers to entry that it will be rare for companies to break into that stratospheric league.

What’s Going to Happen with Humans?

Do you wonder what’s going to happen to the average person? AI are taking over customer service, writing, design, sales, law, and medicine. As a businessman and social entrepreneur, the reality is that if you’re looking at things in a purely bottom-line manner, using AI could make a whole lot of sense. They never get sick. They work 27/7/365. They never stop and can indeed produce more than any human can–in a lifetime. From a pure dollars and cents perspective, AI can make a lot of sense.

But then you have to wonder about the broader implications of AI, and I sense that society has not even started to get its head around the implications. If you pay even a little attention to the news, then you know that a few months ago Facebook engineers shut down and pulled the plug on AI that decided on its own to go ahead and develop a new language. It was more efficient for them to get the work done, but humans did not understand. It seems that the language was basic, but what happens if the AI had not been shut down? Would they have developed a highly sophisticated way to communicate and operate that completely excised human?

I agree that technology can be beneficial to society. I think most people would agree that we’d prefer to send a bot into a dangerous situation, say war, rather than ask our men and women to put their lives on the line. I think there’s something to be said for the rapidly expanding role of robotics in medicine. For example, the fact that we’ve started to print human organs with 3D is a significant advancement, and we have to hope that many lives will be saved.

The Deeper Issues Related to AI

My concern as I dig deeper into the issue of AI is what the implications are for the human race, and yes, that even includes how we in the philanthropic sector connect with each other and with the world we serve. As I noted in the previous article I wrote, the Partnership on AI, which is a collaborative effort between mega-companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and leading non-profits such as UNICEF and Human Rights are trying to lead the conversation about the implications of AI in all of our lives.

If you tune in even a little bit into the conversation about AI, you know that we have to deal with many issues, including some of the following:

  • Safety: We don’t want to be in a situation where AI is created, and it is not obligated to protect human life.
  • Transparency: We had the recent situation with Facebook where they shut down AI, but who rules (government or business) when someone says “Houston, we have a problem”?
  • Labor and the Economy: Whose responsibility is it to train people as AI develops and what will their work functions be in light of a much more powerful AI partner? Will people even have jobs?
  • Society: For communities around the world, which certainly includes nonprofit and philanthropic work, what will be the impact of AI on philanthropy, education, charitable work, science, private/public partnerships, etc.

The reality seems to be apparently developing that there are few areas–if any–that AI will not touch.

Humanity’s Competitive Advantage

When I read about issues related to AI, I think of one thing–humanity. I believe we all have to get into the conversation now about the implications of AI. I’m someone who likes and values people precisely because we are imperfect. There is a lot of prose and poetry in the human condition. AI cannot love, demonstrate courage, hope, dream, feel fear, etc.

In my mind, those qualities are what makes humans so much better than AI. Our values are our competitive advantage in comparison to AI. There is something intrinsic within people (some call it a soul or spirit, others connect the scientific dots of all the elements that make up our brains, hearts, and bodies) that makes us unique, and yes, even exceptional.

We have a serious conversation that has to take place about AI, but it involves all humans, and we have to pay attention before we have a situation we did not bargain for in the age of technology.

The Path for Humanity as it Greets AI

In many ways, I hope that AI begins to break down the things that divide us and that we discover that as humans, we are all the same. We are. Take away the issues of money, race, religion, gender and everything else; we all bleed red.

We all hurt.

We all hope.

We all dream.

The way I see it, the time is now for humanity. It can be our finest hours at the dawn of a new age–provided we all get out of our own way and engage in a global dialogue about humanity in the age of AI.