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  • feedwordpress 17:43:38 on 2015/12/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , eddie lou, employees, employers, employment, employment website, , freelancers, hourly workers, , job postings, jobs, labor, minimum wage, networking, oca ventures, private equity, shiftgig, startup, Startup Innovation, , , VC, venture capital   

    Innovation Expert Series: Shiftgig 


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    Innovation Expert Series: Shiftgig

    In this week’s Innovation Expert Series interview, we’re speaking with the CEO of ShiftGig, a professional networking and employment website platform that makes it easy for restaurants, hotels and retailers to post short-term hourly gigs and equally as easy for qualified and skilled workers to claim them. Shiftgig is changing the way people work.

    Every other week, RE:INVENTION’s Innovation Expert Series features interviews with key executives at small to middle market companies that are transforming and innovating their respective industries or markets.

    Shiftgig Company LogoLet’s set the stage for our interview with disruptive Chicago startup Shiftgig. The U.S. economy has dramatically changed. The majority of workers in the U.S. are hourly workers rather than full-time employees or independent freelancers. Shiftgig is leading this trend, connecting employers with locally available and previously vetted hourly workers.

    In November, Chicago-based startup Shiftgig successfully raised $22 million in venture capital bringing the company’s total capital raised to date to $35 million. Shiftgig venture and private equity investors include: Chicago Ventures, DRW Venture Capital, GGV Capital, Garland Capital Group, KGC Capital, Pritzker Group, Wicklow Capital, Renren Inc. and numerous individual investors. Shiftgig CEO, Eddie Lou, is a former OCA Ventures venture capitalist who advised numerous technology startups prior to co-founding industry disruptor Shiftgig.

    ************************************************************************

    RE: For those folks who aren’t yet aware of your startup company, can you give us a brief background about yourself and Shiftgig?

    Lou: My name is Eddie Lou. I am a co-founder and the CEO of Shiftgig. At Shiftgig, we connect people to business shifts on their mobile devices, and provide them with the flexibility to work where, when and for which businesses they like. For businesses, our platform solves the challenges of filling and managing short term job assignments, which traditionally has been expensive and difficult to manage.

    RE: Where did you get the original inspiration for your idea? Do you recall the initial idea spark™?

    Lou: In Q3 2013, we decided to begin monetizing our business. Prior to that, our business was completely free. We talked to about 20 business customers about what they would spend money on. Many of them asked for two things: 1) qualified, vetted workers and 2) workers for short term gigs ranging from a day to 90 days. At the same time, we email surveyed our members, who were applying for full-time and part-time jobs on our site. Many of them expressed interest in making money via additional gigs. We decided to take this feedback and allow the connection on a mobile device.

    RE: It’s tough to get from initial idea spark to implementable idea™. Did you utilize any specific “lean startup” techniques to develop/test/launch Wrapify? If yes, how? If not, why not?

    Lou: Yes, MVP and continuous deployment; both allow us to test and iterate quickly
    We felt our best strategy was to test our idea in one market. We opened in Chicago in early 2014 and within a few months we knew we were on to something. By December of that year, we opened our second location in New York City. In 2015, we really got on a roll. We launched in Dallas in March, Atlanta in July, Houston in September, Memphis in October, and Miami in November.

    RE: Did you utilize any “design thinking” techniques? If yes, how? If not, why not?

    Lou: While our founders believe in design thinking, web/mobile design and usability, we are not experts in design thinking. We think it is important and hired our Creative Director, who heads up UX, beginning of Q2 2015.

    Shiftgig's Team in Action

    Shiftgig’s Team in Action

    RE: Describe your company’s biggest challenge to date. How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?

    Lou: Our biggest challenge to date has been learning how to scale quickly. We have been very successful, but it took a few bumps and bruises on the way to get there. It is very important for entrepreneurs to know when to get out of their own way. We did this by making several critical hires of experienced managers who had successfully scaled other startups in the past and knew what they were doing. We’ve got a great team right now, and we’re still growing.

    RE: How does your team promote internal and external innovation?

    Lou: First and foremost, we are a technology company. Many of the businesses we compete with to provide short-term labor are not technology companies. This distinction is why so many businesses give us a try and ultimately stay Shiftgig clients. Everyone from our systems infrastructure developers to our front line sales reps know this and communicate about Shiftgig in this way.

    RE: Have you found yourself having to pivot or reinvent aspects of your business since you started? How have you done so — and managed change?

    Lou: We re-invented the business at the end of 2013. Shiftgig began as a web based social network and job board focused on providing full-time and part-time job opportunities to the hospitality vertical. Today, we are a mobile marketplace that provides short-term gigs in the hospitality, marketing and retail verticals.

    RE: If you were forced to choose, which do you think is MOST important for a company’s long run success in your industry: great product, great people, or great execution?

    Lou: Great people — with great people, the company will launch great products and execute!

    RE: What do you think is most important for your company to do in order to keep up with the rapid changes in technology?

    Lou: Our plan is to stay on the forefront of the gig economy. We are the leaders in our space and have every intention of staying there by listening, adapting, and bringing in the best talent we can to keep our company moving forward.

    RE: So…what’s next for Shiftgig?

    Lou: Millions of shifts for millions of people!

    Shifting forward, that concludes RE:INVENTION’s Innovation Expert Series interview with Shiftgig. Many thanks to Shiftgig CEO Eddie Lou for sharing his insights. Look for our next Expert interview in two weeks time, right here on RE:INVENTION’s Everyday Inventive Blog.

     
  • feedwordpress 00:57:22 on 2013/12/11 Permalink
    Tags: 2013 trends, 2014 forecast, , Albert Cheng, bill clinton, brian burke, , Disney, e-learning, eMarketer, , foursquare, gamification, gartner, gartner's hype cycle, , , , , , IPOs, , macarthur foundation, , , , mozilla, mozilla labs, multi-tasking, NEXT TV Summit, open badges, openbadges.org, recofriendations, Schrage, second screen, the Fed, trend hunter, , VC funds, VCs, venture capital, , washington post, youGov   

    A Look Back: Michael Schrage’s Four 2013 Innovation Predictions 


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    A Look Back: Michael Schrage’s Four 2013 Innovation Predictions

    As the business world looks back on this year’s trends and looks forward to 2014, we’re revisiting what experts predicted for this year last December.

    Last week, we reviewed and evaluated Vivek Wadhwa’s five 2013 innovation predictions. On tap today: a review of MIT Sloan School research fellow Michael Schrage’s four 2013 innovation predictions, as featured in his December 2012 Harvard Business Review Guest Post.

    Let’s get started…

    1. Proliferation of Open Badges Online

    According to Schrage, badges would increasingly be used in the online world to earmark valid and verifiable accreditation from companies, academic institutions, and professional associations.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Open badges have their roots in gamification. Alas, the gamification backlash has begun. Gamification currently is at the very top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations in Gartner’s Hype Cycle, dangerously close to teetering into “the trough of disillusionment.”

    Gamification: Gartner Hype Cycle Position

    The Trough of Disillusionment (A Definition)
    “Technologies and related startups … fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. The press usually abandons the topic.” (SOURCE: BUSINESS INSIDER)

    According to Gartner research VP Brian Burke, companies/developers that get fixated on points and badges fail. “You just can’t put badges on something and expect it to work,” Burke has said.

    In June 2013, Mozilla Labs, the MacArthur Foundation, and former President Bill Clinton launched the Open Badges Project to promote the use of badges to identify online credentials. Q42013 project momentum has been slow. In fact, the project hasn’t had any press coverage since Schrage’s HBR forecast.

    We suspect that open accreditation badges will face a long uphill battle for three reasons: (1) talent capabilities need to be proven, not asserted (2) the judgment of “capabilities” is subjective and (3) the idea of badges conflicts with America’s “prizes for all” culture and is likely to suffer from gamification’s downslope trend. Without secure signing, open badges are subject to a huge host of other issues.

    We’re doubtful that badges (Mozilla or otherwise) will revolutionize e-learning or disrupt higher education in the near future.

    2. A Big Boom in Second Screen Multi-Tasking

    Multidevice engagement and multi-tasking would be increasingly omnipresent in 2013, predicted Schrage. Content creators worldwide would readjust their business models accordingly.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Networks, advertisers, and social-media services trying to capitalize on the “second screen phenomenon” have encountered challenges. Twitter is still the only social television app with any critical mass.

    Many noted experts are beginning to declare that you can’t make money with second screen. That second screen equates to “no-income advertising.” The more we drive consumers to the second screen, the harder it becomes to monetize their time and attention.

    According to a new report by eMarketer, roughly half of all Americans look at their social networks while watching TV but only one in six post something about what they’re watching.

    Disney’s Digital EVP, Albert Cheng, especially dislikes second screen. “Second screen apps are not a game that we want to be in,” said Cheng at the Next TV Summit in San Francisco during September. “Second screen is a distraction.”

    If brand and network hesitancy and absence of ROI are not enough to thwart second screen, most viewers DVR shows and watch them later (save for rare “extreme fan” exceptions like the Super Bowl and Breaking Bad’s finale).

    We simply don’t see second screen stealing ad share away from television.

    3. Recofriendations

    According to Schrage, social media recommendations from friends would be taken more seriously in 2013, offering sophisticated reasons and rationales for recommendations. Schrage predicted we’d see feedback loop links between Quora and Outlook/Gmail/Linkedin/Facebook. Links between Expedia/Outlook/and social networks. Links between Powerpoint/Slideshare/and social networks.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Are we guided by what the Jones’ are doing? In the real world, yes. Via social networks? Surprisingly no. The value of social recommendations is on a steep declining slope. While research has shown that 70 percent of consumers trust social media recommendations from friends more than traditional advertising, people don’t buy what their friends RECOMMEND on social media platforms.

    Is Facebook’s search technology failing marketers? A growing number of companies believe that Facebook ads don’t work. New research from YouGov reveals that 83% of shoppers will ignore friends’ social media recommendations this holiday season. Social recommendations increase discovery and trust, but not sales (particularly among males). Keller-Fay, the word of mouth specialist, reports that 90% of brand conversations still take place offline.

    As for the extensive recofriendation feedback loop links across all social networks? Didn’t really happen.

    4. Easy Capital

    Schrage believed the Fed’s policies would make it easier for innovative entrepreneurs to raise capital in 2013. He expected entrepreneurship to be perceived as an “alternative investment” with huge appeal to institutional investors seeking diversification options. “There may never be a better time to be a charismatic entrepreneur with a scalable prototype,” Schrage wrote.

    Scorecard: Miss.

    Though the final tally is not yet in, year-end 2013 venture capital investments are expected to be lower than 2012.  VCs are taking smaller stakes and structuring fewer deals with liquidation preferences. Most VC funds are small. IPOS are still unlikely to be a rich exit (even Twitter stock is proving volatile). And the series A crunch continues. Overall seed stage investment in startups has decreased from a year ago.

    Medical devices startups, in particular, continue to face a VC funding freeze. Medtech investments are at their lowest point in 9 years. The 2.3 percent medical device tax is contributing to the gloomy fundraising outlook.

    The cold hard facts: ninety percent of all businesses in the US have 0-5 employees. They are small and most will stay small.

    MY OVERALL EVALUATION OF MICHAEL SCHRAGE’S 2013 INNOVATION PREDICTIONS
    Optimistic. The Year That COULD Have Been. Predictions are just educated guesses. Optimism can be a good thing but it can impair your forward-thinking vision. Without realism, unbridled optimism can lead to real-world disaster.

    So, how would you score Michael Schrage’s 2013 predictions? Which trend surprised you most this year? What was YOUR favorite 2013 innovation or technology prediction? Did it come to fruition?

    Up next week: Trend Hunter Jeremy Gutsche”s 20 predictions for 2013 predictions, revealed IN THIS VIDEO. Due to space, we’ll recap five of our favorites and assess whether his predictions came true.

     
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