8 Inefficiencies in the Architecture + Design Industry (and possible solutions)

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MRad

LOS ANGELES, California – (February 7, 2018) – Every industry has their fair share of inefficiencies which can stifle production. But once in a while, a leader comes along who can not only identify the problems, but also offer solutions. These thought leaders have the ability to revolutionize an industry. The world of architecture and design is not immune to inefficiencies, but one industry leader has some ideas on how to fix the broken system.

“You never bathe in the same river twice, because things change, which keeps everything fresh and interesting,” explains Matthew Rosenberg, the founder of M-Rad Architecture + Design, located in Los Angeles. “The same goes for the architecture and design field, where for far too long the river was standing idle, becoming stagnant. Our business model and proposed solutions are helping to get it flowing once again.”

As a forward thinker in the field, Rosenberg has identified 8 major inefficiencies in the architecture and design industry, as well as a solution for each of them. They include:

  1. PROBLEM: Brokers. Paying a middleman to find projects takes away revenue for the architect.
    SOLUTION: Cut out the Broker by forming relationships directly with developers and clients.
  2. PROBLEM:Underpaid, overworked designers and architects. The architecture industry is notorious for low wages, heavy workload, stressful deadlines until you “make it” to the top.
    SOLUTION: Allow the designers and architects to take equity in their projects.
  3. PROBLEM:Designing independently from actual community needs.  When architecture firms design a building for a client without considering the needs and wants of the surrounding area, the project may not benefit the community or the client.
    SOLUTION: Use a positioning tactic to understand what the community is lacking and incorporate these ideas into the project.
  4. PROBLEM:The industry is heavily reliant on unpredictable markets. With the real estate marketing and cost of living in constant flux, it’s difficult to predict the stability of the industry, which is reliant on the financial status of the client.
    SOLUTION: Consistency, strategic business moves, and keeping an eye on markets allows architecture and design firms to be proactive and shift their practice to better suit the economy.
  5. PROBLEM:City planning process and restrictions. Sometimes designing or building structures takes many years, as they are stuck in the city planning process. One minor mistake can set a project back months or sometimes even years.
    SOLUTION: It can be difficult to get around or speed up the city planning process, but being involved in the community, town hall meetings, and voting on city measures can help improve the process.
  6. PROBLEM:Politics within the industry. Politics occur in every industry, but when millions of dollars are exchanged, expectations are high, and egos can get in the way of business.  The political elements in Architecture can get sticky.
    SOLUTION: Stay professional and only partner/work with people who have positive reputations.
  7. PROBLEM:The scope of the architect is becoming smaller. Technology advancements cause more complex buildings, which causes increase in liability and legal aggression which prompts architects to hand off elements of the design process to “experts in their field,” ultimately chipping away the responsibility and profits of the architect.
    SOLUTION: Increase the scope of the architect.
  8. PROBLEM:Stealing intellectual property. It’s hard to determine when a design is stolen or original.
    SOLUTION: No real solution. Can try to prevent your design being stolen by trademarking, keeping records, photographing the design progress, certifying the design, and by being careful of releasing designs to public view.

“At our firm, we have gone to great lengths to determine effective solutions to the inefficiencies within the architecture and design field,” added Rosenberg. “By making these changes, we are benefiting those who work in the field, as well as those we build the projects for. It’s a win-win for everyone to create the most efficient field that we can.”

Rosenberg‘s firm is on a mission to create better communities, neighborhoods, and cities. Their system includes a multi-faceted approach that starts with pre-architecture, maintains during the architecture phase, and continues during post-architecture.

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Canada, Rosenberg spent nine years studying architecture and environmental design. Rosenberg has earned bachelor degrees in fine arts and environmental design in architecture, as well as a master degree in architecture. When he was ready to bring his architectural influence back to the West, he headed to Los Angeles to launch M-Rad and start making a difference.

About M-Rad Architecture

M-Rad Architecture + Design, based in Los Angeles, is revolutionizing the industry by revealing inefficiencies and creating solutions to universal problems. Their multi-faceted business model, allows M-Rad to expand the scope of the architect and build resilient communities through enhanced experiences. The M-Rad team is currently working on projects around the world; from apartment buildings in Los Angeles, to a private members club in Philadelphia, to a boutique hotel in Taipei. They have created mixed-use towers, luxury hotels, sports parks, and more. For additional information on the company and to view their unique business model, visit: https://www.m-rad.com.

 

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Rahmaan Mwongozi teaches how to apply systems analysis to problems that arise in life as well as in business

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Rahmaan Mwongozi "Roc"

Rahmaan Mwongozi “Roc” is a motivational speaker and podcast host, as well as the author of Inner Demons. He guides individuals not only on how to ask smart questions and follow the trail to solutions, but also on how to embody a “no excuses” attitude that manifests in excellence.

His innovative approach to problem-solving, however, began as a young boy in East Oakland, where he was surrounded by poverty, gangs, violence, and drugs. Determined not to fall into the trappings of his environment, Roc followed the trail of possibility and opportunity, playing the long game and working hard. Now living the dream, Roc openly shares his story, as well as his thinking and strategy, with those who want something more from life.

Today an independent business analyst on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Roc cut his teeth on Fortune 500 corporations including Pfizer, Enron, and AT&T – where as an entry level employee in his early 20s, he solved systemic problems that had eluded management for years.

At 40, he took pause and reflected on his life to date. A systems analyst by trade, as well as by nature, Roc was eager not only to analyze his life internally but also to offer his journey as a case study in the human experience –leading him to write his debut book, Inner Demons, with a raw and gritty transparency. While the particulars of our lives may vary according to circumstance, Roc knew, we all face universal challenges, as part of the human quest to cultivate a successful, meaningful, and authentic life.

Through Inner Demons, Roc shares his transformational journey, Inner Demonsinspiring readers to rethink life in terms of possibility, creativity, and strategy, instead of obstacles, compliance, and defeat. Not just a good read but also a work of art, the book is illustrated by tattoo artist Eva of Bang Bang NYC, whose A-list clients include Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Bieber.

At the heart of systems analysis is the awareness of relationship, where one recognizes not only all the moving parts and the big picture, but also their position in relation to each other and to oneself. So it’s no surprise that Roc’s book reads like a love story and is, at the core, about relationship – to and between self, family, friends, lovers, work, community, and society. Offering Roc’s own relationship web, and thread of choices within that web, as a model of how to honestly face a problem, ask smart questions about it, and follow the trail of answers to the optimal solution,

Inner Demons storytelling weaves together a blueprint for self-analysis and problem solving, applicable to diverse situations in life and business. In his own case, Roc’s problem-solving and “no excuses” mindset enabled him to avoid the trappings of his East Oakland neighborhood, where poverty, gangs, violence, and drugs took many down the rabbit hole of despair. Keeping his distance and planning his escape, Roc paid attention to where the power and resources lay, then went after them with gusto –leading him to an MBA degree, work with Fortune 500 corporations, and ultimately, the good life in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Roc now leverages his power, influence, and platform to foster a community of cutting-edge artists and thinkers, who are not afraid to grab life by the lapel and “go there.”

Find out more about Roc and Inner Demons at RocsWorld.com.

MARY JANES: THE WOMEN OF WEED”, the award-winning documentary about women leading the cannabis industry, debuts in San Jose

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Grammy® Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge and other female “ganjaprenuers” show how legal cannabis is not only an industry, but also a movement of dedicated, pioneering “Puffragettes™”.

The Cannabis Business and Technology Symposium starts at 1:00pm, culminating with the screening of Mary Janes: The Women of Weed at the Summit on June 10th at 7:30 pm and a Q/A with the Executive Producer/Director Windy Borman. The film features a powerful interview from Grammy® Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge and Californian women Jane West, Lindsay Robinson, Julianna Carella, Mara Gordon, Lindsay Robinson, and Amanda Reiman.

Film Director/Producer Windy Borman explores how marijuana is the first new industry to emerge in the 21st century led by women. By looking at the intersection of gender parity, social justice, and environmental sustainability, Borman explores how cannabis is not only an industry, but also a movement of dedicated and pioneering women she calls “Puffragettes™” (as in Pot + Suffragette).

“This is a ground floor opportunity to make connections and collaborate / create technology applications for a new and fast growing industry,” said WITI’s Chairwoman and Founder Carolyn Leighton. “This Cannabis Business and Technology Symposium vividly demonstrates the leadership roles that women are playing in this burgeoning industry and how they are shaping the technologies that support its growth. We expect this event to drive networking opportunities for business, education, and research, and we’re excited to offer it to our Women in Technology Summit attendees.

Tickets can be purchased at: http://www.witi.com/maryjanes

“From farms to labs to dispensaries and beyond, the film sheds light on the female researchers and entrepreneurs blazing a trail in today’s legal cannabis industry. Through interviews with scientists, doctors, lawyers, activists, growers and bakers, I learned cannabis is not only an industry, but also a movement of dedicated, pioneering women,” says director Windy Borman.

MARY JANES: THE WOMEN OF WEED explores the movement to end marijuana prohibition and Borman’s own assumptions about the plant. Through a series of empowering and educational interviews with the industry’s “Women of Weed”, Windy’s own assumptions are transformed as she discovers cannabis liberation intersects with the most urgent social justice issues of our time. She learns how this green revolution has big effects on environmental sustainability, ending the War on Drugs and the Prison-Industrial Complex, and the destructive domination of Big Pharma.

Women are changing the face of today’s fastest growing industry – cannabis. Join the Cannabis Business and Technology Symposium, hosted by Women in Technology Summit as we discover how they’re also changing the world.

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Press Links: “Mary Jane: The Women of Weed”

Website:  http://MaryJanesFilm.com

Facebook:  http://Facebook.com/MaryJanesFilm

Twitter and Instagram:  @MaryJanesFilm

Official Trailer: YouTube

Press Links: Women in Technology Summit

Website: http://www.witi.com/summit

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WITISummit

Twitter and Instagram: @WITISummit

About MARY JANES: THE WOMEN OF WEED:

Women are changing the face of today’s fastest growing industry – cannabis. Join filmmaker Windy Borman as she explores the movement to end marijuana prohibition, her own relationship to the plant, and the stereotypes surrounding it. Through a series of empowering and educational interviews with a broad diversity of women leading the industry today, Windy’s own assumptions are transformed as she discovers cannabis liberation intersects with the most urgent social justice issues of our time. She learns how this green revolution has big effects on environmental sustainability, ending the War on Drugs and the Prison-Industrial Complex, and the destructive domination of Big Pharma.

About Producer / Writer / Director Windy Borman

Windy Borman, MST, is a multi-award-winning film Director and Producer, as well as the founder of DVA Productions. Her recent projects include directing and producing the 10-time award-winning film, “The Eyes of Thailand” (narrated by Ashley Judd), and producing “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia”, which premiered at Sundance and on HBO. Other credits include producing performances for Dr. Maya Angelou and Margaret Cho, directing “The Vagina Monologues”, and writing for Kindland, Takepart.com and Indiewire: Women and Hollywood.

About WITI:

Founded in 1989 by Carolyn Leighton, WITI (Women in Technology International) is a leading worldwide authority on women in business and technology. For nearly 30 years, WITI has consistently been a clear voice advocating women’s contributions to the tech industry, inspiring them to pursue STEM careers and actively working with corporate partners to create a culture of equality. To learn more, please visit http://www.witi.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook


Join the conversation at WITI 2018!

Visionaries Designing Tomorrow’s Tech Markets and Cultures Today

Join us at the 24th Annual Women in Technology Summit, where women from around the world join forces for three special days to connect, collaborate, and commit to helping each other succeed in the technology industry. Held in the heart of Silicon Valley, the WITI Summit draws over 1,100+ tech-savvy women and key male allies, along with high-profile industry partners.

Special Offer For Your Company
Use Promo Code comsum18 and Save $200 Off Full Conference Registration.

Register Today!

Schedule Highlights Include

  • FOUNDER’S RECEPTION
  • TASTE OF TECHNOLOGY MIXER
  • SPEED NETWORKING
  • COACHING CIRCLES
  • STARTUP VILLAGE
  • ARTISTECH CAFE
  • BUSINESS & TECH EXPO
  • CAREER PAVILION
  • 2018 WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY HALL OF FAME AWARDS BANQUET
  • CANNABIS BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY SYMPOSIUM

To register for WITI please visit: witi.com/conferences/2018/summit 

The Secrets to Success: Incredible career insights from some of the world’s leading creatives

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Boniface-Mwangi

Learning from experienced artists, designers and photographers to understand how they achieve their goals should be part of every creative’s journey. We have to seek inspiration and ideas from those we admire if we’re ever going to get ahead.

These are the people who have already enjoyed lots of success and continue to be creative today – some who started their first business at aged eight years old while others are well past the typical retirement age. I guess when you choose creativity as a life-long passion, you never really stop working. Why would you, if you’re doing something you love?

So how have these established creatives managed to “make it”? What have been the secrets to their success? And what can we learn from them? We’ve rounded up some of the most inspiring and motivational talks and interviews to share incredible insights from some of the industry’s best.

1. Success, failure and the drive to keep creating – Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

Author Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress”, devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of her best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love, she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple, though hard, way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

2. How to build your creative confidence – David Kelley

David Kelley

Creativity is not a domain of only a chosen few, according to David Kelley – founder of IDEO. And it shouldn’t be something that’s divided between “creatives” versus “practical” people. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build confidence to create.

3. Stop searching for your passion – Terri Trespicio

Branding strategist Terri Trespicio says there’s a lot of weight behind the age-old question, what are you passionate about? We’re constantly told these five words hold the key to a successful career and life purpose. Terri ponders, what if it’s the wrong question altogether? This inspiring talk turns the ubiquitous “find your passion” message on its ear.

4. Discoveries in Colour: The art of Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez is a world-renowned artist and one of the greatest living figures in kinetic and op art. He creates interactive, immersive works that invite viewers to reconsider how they perceive the world – and at 94 years old, he continues to evolve as an artist, employing the newest digital technology in his Paris atelier, where he works with his children, his grandchildren, and a team of craftspeople who help bring his ideas to life. Watch the film below to understand how he has become one of the most influential modern thinkers in the realm of colour.

5. Maya Penn: Meet a young entrepreneur, cartoonist and activist

Maya Penn

Maya Penn started her first company when she was just eight years old, and thinks deeply about how to be responsible both to her customers and to the planet. She shares her story, and some animations, and some designs, and some infectious energy, in this charming talk. Hopefully, it will inspire you to launch your own business, find a different career path or start a fun side project.

6. A journey through the mind of an artist – Dustin Yellin

Dustin Yellin

Dustin Yellin makes mesmerising artwork that tells complex, myth-inspired stories. How did he develop his style? In this disarming talk, he shares the journey of an artist, starting from age eight, and his idiosyncratic way of thinking and seeing. Follow the path that leads him up to his latest major work, and be inspired by his journey so far.

7. The day I stood up alone – Boniface Mwangi

Boniface Mwangi

Photographer Boniface Mwangi wanted to protest against corruption in his home country of Kenya. So he made a plan: he and some friends would stand up and heckle during a public mass meeting. But when the moment came… he stood alone. What happened next, he says, showed him who he truly was. As he says, “There are two most powerful days in your life. The day you are born, and the day you discover why.” Be warned, there are graphic images in the following talk.

8. The art of creativity – Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi is a visual artist, actor, writer and film director hailing from New Zealand. His short film Two Cars, One Night was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. Taika’s second feature, Boy, appeared at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals in 2010 and, more recently, his Hunt for the Wilderpeople enjoyed huge global success. In this classic TED Talk, he discusses how creativity has helped him to express his ideas and led him to where he is today.

“From the art & design magazine, Creative Boom.”

Could Weed Legalization Encourage More Women To Go Into STEM Fields?

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african american woman working in lab

Women are embracing the business and scientific side of weed. Could legalizing cannabis be the way to encourage more women to go into STEM fields?

For decades, researchers have charted the dismal percentage of women who go into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Generally, careers in these fields require a college degree and correlate to a higher income. According to the Department of Education, STEM majors earn $65,000 annually on average, which is $15,500 more than non-STEM degree holders. They also have higher employment rates.

Though the majority of people who graduate from university are women, only 30 percent of STEM degree holders are female per the Department of Commerce. This trend continues after college. Women held 40 percent of all U.S. jobs but only 24 percent of STEM jobs in 2017.

This translates to a lower income and lower rate of employment for women. Surprisingly, this inequality hasn’t really improved since the 1970s.

Today, we have the opportunity to change the tide with a new industry: cannabis. Women are increasingly involved in the scientific and business sides of weed, but will this transfer over to other industries? Could cannabis legalization be the way to encourage more women to go into STEM fields? Here’s what we know about women and STEM careers, and how the cannabis industry could make a difference.

Women Are Less Likely To Work In STEM Fields

A lot of ink has been spilled on the continued absence of women in science, tech, engineering, and math careers. This has a lot to do with societal perceptions of these career fields.

In ‘Choice of Majors: Are Women Really Different from Men?’, Georgetown University researchers found that women were more likely to be responsive to bad grades in STEM courses than men or women in other fields. From childhood, women are conditioned, both consciously and unconsciously, to think they will be bad at math and science, so they’re hard on themselves when they perceive the stereotype to be true.

STEM fields’ male dominance is a vicious cycle: we perceive these careers as masculine because we keep describing them as such. Professor Adriana D. Kugler, from Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy explains to Inside Higher Ed, “Society keeps telling us that STEM fields are masculine fields, that we need to increase the participation of women in STEM fields, but that kind of sends a signal that it’s not a field for women, and it kind of works against keeping women in these fields.”

In this way, education initiatives designed to promote female involvement in STEM fields could have the opposite effect. By telling women they need help pursuing these subjects, society suggests that women are worse at them than men.

Is The Marijuana Industry Any Different?

The stereotypical stoner is usually male. But does the perception of weed culture dissuade women working in the cannabis industry?

It would seem that it does not. 36 percent of marijuana industry executives are female, and it’s only going up. The national average for female executives across all industries is 22 percent. Though 36 is far from half, there’s still time for this new industry to become a leader in gender equality.

Women are also heavily involved in cannabis science. A survey of 632 cannabis professionals found that women account for 63 percent of leadership positions in cannabis potency and safety testing labs. Furthermore, this survey discovered that almost half of leaders in edibles were women.

Compared to the 24 percent of women who hold STEM field jobs nationally, marijuana testing is breaking the mold when it comes to women in science.

Why More Women Are Working In Cannabis

Women are turning to cannabis because it’s a new industry, and one of the fastest growing in the nation. Becca Foster, who works for marijuana product retailer Healthy Headie, told High Times, “It’s a new chance for many women who have been in the corporate world who couldn’t get to the next level.”

Other women in the cannabis industry echoed Ms. Foster’s comments. In an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association Taylor West explained this phenomenon. “In long-established industries,” she said, “you have generations of business that has been dominated by men, and that creates structures of advancement that are dominated by men.”

The Marijuana Industry Could Be the Catalyst for More Gender Equality

Programs aimed to promote women in STEM fields fuel the perception that women need help succeeding in science and math. In turn, exposure to female leaders in cannabis could encourage more women to study science more generally.

And why wouldn’t women break into STEM careers through cannabis? More women are smoking weed than ever. In some states, women even talk about weed more than men. Plus, weed has specific benefits for women including its use for menopause, endometriosis, and PMS.

Support for medical marijuana for children is also growing. In turn, mothers working towards are marijuana policy reform. For example, the Louisiana Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism rallied at their state capital for more medical marijuana access.

Continue onto High Times to read the complete article.

The iGen iEverything Train is Coming, but Are You Ready?

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iGen

Technology is being consumed at an ever increasing rate causing executives, managers, and process improvement experts on the factory floor to re-define the methods of training and dissemination that have become obsolete.

Critical skills and tribal knowledge are being lost as boomers retire and training plans for new employees fall short of preparing workers for the sophistication of the new manufacturing environment.

Move over millennials, here comes the IGen! Born between 1995 and 2005 this group of tech savvy natives is the next cohort and are just now entering the workforce. IGen, or Gen Z as they are often referred, have grown up in a world of social media where Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter reign supreme. These kids are a force to be reckoned with and require access to information in ways that are familiar, immediate, and actionable. Our success depends on them because as the IGen goes, so goes the manufacturing industry, the nation, and the world.

Alliance Resource Group, in partnership with Sify Technologies has pulled together experts from manufacturing, academia and automated methodologies to develop a solution that addresses the manufacturing challenge of this next generation and identifies the key components of a successful framework including content management, dissemination methodology, scalability, and integration with current learning management systems. These components constitute a micro-learning strategy that facilitates current and future state requirements.

Alliance Resource Group (ARG), is a service disabled veteran owned business located in Newport Beach California. With a foundation in resource management, recruiting, and consulting, ARG provides services to small and medium size companies throughout the United States.

View the ARG White Paper here! Better be prepared for total process transformation if you want to remain competitive.

Female CEO Takes on Tech Industry with Edge Music Network

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Elizabeth Vargas

Diversity in STEAM Magazine (DISM) recently had the pleasure to speak with Elizabeth Vargas, founder and CEO of Edge Music Network.

DISM: Let’s start with the obvious question first: What’s your take on the lack of female leaders in the tech space?

EV: I could give a dozen reasons and even more excuses for our gender’s absence in the C-suite—not only in tech but in nearly every industry—but I won’t. The truth is that no one cares about why you haven’t succeeded; they’re only interested in how you’ve succeeded. That’s where I want to go. I want to focus on the future, and prove that with vision, hustle and commitment that you can break through and achieve your dreams. That’s how I think I can help young and mature female entrepreneurs achieve their goals and dreams.

DISM: Okay. Let’s go there… tell us your story.

EV: As a child, I always loved music and theory but wasn’t allowed to watch TV until I was 13. My dad was a preacher and I think he thought that delaying my exposure would protect me from the outside world. So, it’s kind of funny that, of all programs, I got hooked on MTV. I remember thinking I would own it one day! That was my big dream– which eventually evolved into what is now Edge Music Network.

DISM: A lot must have happened between “one day” and now…

EV: In between, I gravitated to all things music, first studying jazz vocals at the Cornish College of the Arts and then creating the Vargas Girls Jazz Cabaret in Seattle–where we played in nightclubs. My experience in the music industry paved the way for Edge Music Network to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world.

DISM: Has there been anyone who has helped you along the way to achieve your big dream?

EV: I get asked that question often. People assume since I’m a successful female CEO and entrepreneur, I have a powerful man or group backing me. It was the exact opposite. I had everyone around me including those closest to me telling me to quit while I was ahead and it couldn’t be done and to give up on a regular basis. But I can tell you, everything I’ve achieved has been of my own sheer will, passion and desire to work hard– beginning with the Vargas Girls. I had a day job testing software, which came naturally to me. Being tech-savvy helped me launch our first website and later, my own digital channels like YouTube live video, where I live-streamed and interviewed bands and rock legends—all while keeping focus on becoming the next MTV. The only thing that changed for me was the platform. Television wasn’t the only game in town.

DISM: Speaking of the only game in town, explain Edge Music Network and how it diverges from other music video platforms like Spotify and Vevo.

EV: Edge Music Network (EMN) globally streams premium music video content from top-tier distribution partners and independent artists. But it’s more than a free platform for fans to watch their favorite music videos and entertainment programming. EMN offers fans access—from phones, tablets, computers and TVs—to the music and artists they love while providing artists and record labels with the royalties they deserve. We’ve completely flipped the compensation structure of platforms like Spotify and Vevo that give artists 10 percent or less of the profit share. We ensure a 90/10 split in the artists’ favor. On top of that, because EMN believes in the transformative power of music, we dedicate 10 percent of ad revenue to charitable causes such as those that feed the hungry, house the homeless and help victims of natural disasters.

DISM: Sounds like you found a straight path to your dream. Was it really so simple?

EV: It has been anything but simple. I spent years learning how to navigate application development, digital rights agreements, content licensing and distribution and how to acquire the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring EMN to life. But it’s the decades of relationship-building with my partners, advisors, record labels and artists that serve as the foundation of EMN.

DISM: What’s your advice for women today who want to pursue a career or start-up in tech?

EV: Today, every business is tied to technology, whether you work behind a desk, with your hands, your voice or your heart. So, to say there are few women in tech will eventually become a thing of the past. What may remain unchanged is the lack of female LEADERS in tech and that’s a personal choice. It’s up to each one of us to find our passion, find a mentor, find a way to achieve our goals, whatever the odds or the required education. Learn it. Do it. Fail. Get back up and do it again. And again. And that’s never easy. But it’s certainly fulfilling.

About Elizabeth Vargas:
Elizabeth Vargas is the founder and CEO of Edge Music Network, a music video streaming service providing live and on-demand content through a video syndication platform. After studying jazz vocal and music theory at Cornish College of the Arts and attending Bellevue University to study international business and media technology, Vargas combined her passions and pursued a career in the music industry. Over several years, Vargas was able to learn the ins and outs of application development, which allowed her to effectively lead the development and engineering of EMN’s platform. She has decades of experience architecting and brokering digital rights agreements between content creators and publishers to ensure equitable revenue share and royalty distribution and has worked with industry leaders to fight for fair compensation structures to keep the music alive—all of which paved the way for Edge Music Network. With deep working knowledge in content licensing and distribution, application development, as well as strong industry partnerships, Vargas acquired the content libraries of some of the largest music publishers in the world to bring to life the Edge Music Network app that gives artists the royalties and respect they deserve while giving fans access to the music they love—anytime, anywhere, from any device.

With philanthropy at the core of Edge Music Network, Vargas has built one of the most technologically advanced platforms to bring people together with the power of music while providing support to charitable organizations that feed the hungry, aid victims of natural disasters and support homeless veterans. For more information, visit edgemusic.com. Download the app at Apple ITunes Store and Google Play.

Richer Than Oprah: How The Nation’s Wealthiest African-American Conquered Tech And Wall Street

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robert f smith

It’s a Saturday afternoon, at the height of vacation season, in one of South Beach’s hottest hotels, and Robert Smith, the founder of Vista Equity Partners, is dressed like exactly no one within a 100-mile radius of Miami: in a three-piece suit.His signature outfit–today, it’s gray plaid, accented by an indigo tie and a pink paisley pocket square–apparently doesn’t take a day off, and Smith isn’t taking one now either. He’s gathered dozens of CEOs from his portfolio companies, software firms all, for a semiannual weekend off-site to drill them in the ways he expects his companies to operate.

It’s not just the suit that’s unusual. Private equity firms almost never treat their portfolio companies, transactional chits by design, like an organic cohort. And until recently, PE, a field built on borrowing against cash-generating assets, wouldn’t touch software firms, which offer little that’s tangible to collateralize. Yet Smith has invested only in software over Vista’s 18-year history, as evidenced by the CEOs, like Andre Durand of the security-software maker Ping Identity and Hardeep Gulati of the education-management software company PowerSchool, who have been summoned to Miami Beach, waiting to swap insights about artificial intelligence and other pressing topics. And Smith deploys more than 100 full-time consultants to improve his companies.

“Nobody ever taught these guys the blocking and tackling of running a software company,” says Smith, an engineer by training, as he takes a lunch break at South Beach’s 1 Hotel to nibble on a plant-based burger. “And we do it better than any other institution on the planet.”

Smith includes the likes of Oracle and Microsoft in that boast, and his numbers back up the braggadocio. Since the Austin-based firm’s inception in 2000, Vista’s private equity funds have returned 22% net of fees annually to limited partners, according to PitchBook data. Smith’s annual realized returns, which reflect exits, stand at a staggering 31% net. His funds have already made distributions of $14 billion, including $4 billion in the last year alone.

Not surprisingly given those numbers, Vista has become America’s fastest-growing private equity firm, managing $31 billion across a range of buyout, credit and hedge funds. Smith is putting all that money to work at a breakneck pace, with 204 software acquisitions since 2010, more than any tech company or financial firm in the world. After finishing an $11 billion fundraising for its latest flagship buyout fund last year, Smith has already deployed more than half of it, focusing as usual on business-to-business software. “They recognize it’s a kind of central nervous system,” says Michael Milken, whose bond-market innovations basically birthed the modern private equity industry and who has been a co-investor in two Vista deals. Taken together, Vista’s portfolio, with 55,000 employees and more than $15 billion in revenue, ranks as the fourth-largest enterprise software company in the world.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

The Three Smartest Ways To Use LinkedIn Early In Your Career

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Why bother using LinkedIn when you don’t have much job experience to put on your profile page? Here’s why–and how to do it.

LinkedIn is a great place to build a network, diversify your knowledge, and find new career opportunities–even when you’re early in your career. Students and recent grads may neglect LinkedIn, thinking it’s premature to start investing time into the platform before actually building up a solid amount of work experience. That’s a mistake.

I’ve found unexpected opportunities lurking within LinkedIn that simply require some ingenuity to take advantage of. Here are a few tips that have worked for me in the past few years I’ve spent in the tech industry after graduating.

1. START NETWORKING CONVERSATIONS YOU CAN TAKE OFFLINE

Yes, LinkedIn is kind of like a database. You load it up with information on your interests, objectives, skills, and accomplishments so the leaders and peers you connect with can tell what you’re all about. Obviously, when someone checks out your profile, you’ll want it to be thorough and compelling.

But all the work you put into your profile is just a springboard for reaching out to other professionals in your industry. Whenever you come across someone you’d like to connect with on LinkedIn, your real objective should be to take the conversation you strike up offline as quickly as possible. Don’t treat LinkedIn the way you might operate on Instagram, racking up contacts you have no intention of interacting with in the real world.

LinkedIn is a means to an end, and that end goal should always be real-time conversations–ideally face to face, or by phone if necessary when you live in different places and don’t plan to visit soon. Using LinkedIn to set up face-to-face meetings with new people is a crucial and underutilized tactic for younger professionals working to build their networks in a meaningful way.

2. TREAT LINKEDIN LIKE A FREE SEMINAR

Learning quickly at a new job is one of the most exciting and daunting tasks entry- and associate-level workers usually face. First you have to learn your role and size up the work culture. Then you’ve got to get a handle on the industry and understand how your company is competing in the market. LinkedIn can actually help you with all of that.

So search for and join groups, follow leaders, comment on conversations, and share interesting stories. You can start by following industry-specific groups, first as an observer, and then as a participant as you get more comfortable. Make sure you also pay attention to what your company and its competitors are posting. Staying engaged–even by checking in on the chatter just once a week or so–can help you stay informed and ahead of the game.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

7 Tips for Succeeding as a Freelance Tech Business Owner

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If you’re passionate about computers, possess a background in information technology, are naturally analytical, good at problem solving, or have a gift for attention to detail, there are a few freelancing paths in the tech arena that may be just right for you. Trained technicians command high dollar figures, and hanging out your shingle as a freelance tech expert can be an attractive option.

It’s important to understand that having a technical skill to market and knowing where to look for your first freelancing jobs are just the start. Employers looking to hire freelancers on job sites generally want skilled workers who are experienced or have a positive feedback rating on the site in question.

A good strategy to build a portfolio and client base is to accept jobs paying less than you’re really worth at first in order to get your foot in the door, do good work, and receive positive reviews. Build a reputation this way, then start going after better-paying jobs charging what you’re really worth. Freelance tech people are often scrutinized a little more thoroughly than other types of freelancers. Getting those first few jobs under your belt with positive feedback will make your journey a lot easier.

Another virtual guarantee with tech freelancing is that you’ll likely be interviewed before prospects make the decision to hire you. For that reason, it’s important to develop quality interviewing skills and keep an updated resume. This becomes more true as the type of technology services you’re providing become more advanced. Coding a piece of software for someone is a whole different arena from writing a report for them to give away.

As a freelancer, you’ll be competing with many other people for jobs, so it’s incumbent upon you to not only present yourself well, but also make it clear that it would be a mistake NOT to hire you! Here are several tips to help make that a reality.

1. Assemble a killer personal portfolio.

This one can be a bit tricky at the outset, as you need to make sure you have permission to show work you’ve done previously for an employer as a sample of your work. Going forward, make sure anything you do as a freelancer you have the right to show. Be careful about signing NDAs (nondisclosure agreements), as they can sometimes restrict you from showing your best work. Put your best, most recent work in your portfolio, and make both a print and online version of it for best results.

2. Get glowing recommendations.

Ask clients to give you written or video testimonials, as these can very often make the difference in whether you’re considered for a job. If you’ve done quality work for them, this should be no problem. Moreover, they’ll be likely to use you again and again, as well as refer you to others.

3. Be sure to charge what you’re worth.

Once you have some freelance jobs under your belt, decide on your base rate and stick to it. You understand what the work entails, and your clients don’t. Explain what they’re getting for their money, and demonstrate why you’re worth it. You’ll always get clients who will lowball you, and who will expect you to do a job on the cheap with the promise of more and better-paying work in the future. This almost never works out, so be willing to decline jobs.

4. Diversify your client base.

It’s essential that you diversify your client base as much as you can. It’s great to have clients who have projects so large that they eat up most or all of your time, but there will come a day when either you’re done, or they head in another direction.

What do you do then? If you plan to remain a freelancer long term, make it your business to always have a steady stream of leads coming into your business. If your work is in high demand, you can take only the highest-paying jobs or perhaps hire a subcontractor or two and realize a little passive income. Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have!

Continue onto Entrepreneur to read the complete article.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum Invites Graffiti Artists to Compete

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PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (April 24, 2018) – It’s considered to be a crime and it has been said that graffiti is everyone’s problem. It’s an eyesore that typically brings property values down and costs a lot to clean up.

In fact, it’s estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency that the national cost associated with graffiti across the country is at least $8 billion per year. To combat this costly problem, many cities have introduced organized graffiti art areas and in some instances commission graffiti murals to “problem” vandal areas. In Knoxville, Tenn., there is a graffiti walking tour of murals that give an insight into the cities rich history. Now, in an effort to raise awareness, Alcatraz East Crime Museum will be hosting their 1st Annual Graffiti Art Contest, and they are inviting artists to participate.

“Graffiti is a serious issue that cities around the country deal with on a daily basis,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East. “We want people to understand how costly vandalism is and raise awareness on programs that provide a solution.”

The graffiti contest will be held at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, on Saturday, June 2, 2018. The winning artists will have their work on display in the museum, helping to teach patrons about the topic.

Those artists who would like to participate must submit their samples to pre-qualify for the event date. Winners of the graffiti contest win bragging rights, will have their work displayed in the museum, and will win a cash prize. The prizes are $750 for first place, $350 for second place, and $200 for third place. Artists must be at least 18, the artwork must be a crime-related subject, and it’s only open to individuals, not teams. Artists can pre-qualify online at: alcatrazeast.com/graffiti-contest/.

“We are excited about this event and look forward to showcasing the winning artwork,” added Vaccarello. “Our exhibit will create conversations about graffiti, which is something that is found from coast to coast. If our exhibit influences any young minds which prevents future vandalism- then we have done our job!”

The museum also recently added new exhibits and artifacts, with there being something for everyone. Their new interactive exhibits give people the ability to test their pirate skills at tying knots, gives people the ability to share their own 9/11 experiences, and gives them the chance to offer a thank you message to law enforcement departments around the nation. One of the most popular items on display at the museum is the O.J. Simpson white Bronco from the infamous police chase that unfolded on television before millions of viewers.

The museum continues to add to their collection monthly and has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East
Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: alcatrazeast.com.

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