Microsoft Can Now Talk Better Than Humans And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

by Gene Marks

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Microsoft says its speech recognition is now as good as humans.

Based on a study it did, the software giant put its speech recognition technology up against professional transcriptionists. The result? Humans made more mistakes than the software. (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

According to the VentureBeat article, Microsoft has called this a milestone in human parity and believes that it will have “broad implications for consumer and business products that can be significantly augmented by speech recognition.” I don’t doubt that.

2 – Facebook announces new features to help small businesses sell more products and services.

The social media leader has released updates so that restaurants can receive orders and service providers can accept appointments directly on their Facebook pages and have them land on Microsoft’s new Bookings app that will soon be included with Office 365. It’s also enhanced its ability to make buying recommendations when users ask a question. (Source: Recode and Microsoft Office Blogs).
Why this is important for your business:

All these enhancements are free and are designed to not only make it easier for your Facebook customers to do business with you, but to receive new business through recommendations, too.

3 – You will soon be able to receive customer texts directly from a Google ad.

Google says that advertisers will soon be able to allow recipients of their ads to send texts with questions directly to the advertiser. (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

When customers see your ad now and they have a question, they have to go searching for ways to contact you – with many losing interest in the process. Allowing them to quickly text their questions right from the ad will solve that problem and hopefully keep customers buying. Continue reading

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Choosing the Right People for your Team

By Coach Jim Johnson

Are you picking the right people for your team?

When deciding on team members, how do you decide who is the best fit?  Is it the best overall talent or are you looking for specific characteristics that will fit best into your current collection of individuals?  Over the years, I have compiled some helpful tips on how to choose your team.  Below are some of my favorite things to focus on when putting together your team of all-stars.  Make sure you comment below on what I missed or tips you use.  Enjoy.

  • Great work ethic. Someone who has the drive to be the best is someone I want on my squad. This person will be able to develop into many different things with your guidance.  Do they have what it takes?  Do they have the intangibles?
  • Being coachable means having the ability to adapt to what is being asked of you.  This shows they are putting the team first and are willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the group.  Coach-ability is also one of the key factors of a growth mindset.
  • Find people that care. This seems simple, but it is crucial that you are able to find people that will have the same core values as the group.  Do they care about their own success or the success of the team?  They also must have a tremendous amount of care for the other team members.  Are you someone who cares about the group?

Life Tip# 85:  Instead of competing with people, look to complete people

Moving Mountains

by Joe Calloway

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs

I love the words that Steve Jobs chose: “get your thinking clean to make it simple.” That’s no easy task. It’s much easier to have our thinking cluttered by a thousand questions and complications. It’s hard work to get focused and to simplify things. But, as Jobs said, it’s worth it, because when you make things simple, “you can move mountains.”

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Steve Jobs is a good role model for the power of simplicity and focus.

In a business that most would say is, by its very nature, incredibly complicated, Steve Jobs was able to make Apple a dominant force in the marketplace. Bill Gates once said that Jobs’s ability to “focus on a few things that count” was amazing. Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple, has said that Jobs could “cut out the noise” like no one he had ever seen. Jobs had the essential leadership skill of keeping everyone focused on what was most important.”

“Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”
– Pete Seeger