JUNCTION CEO PARTICIPATES ON ATLANTA BUSINESS RADIO X’S INAUGURAL “TUESDAYS WITH COREY” RADIO SHOW

Julie Cropp Gareleck, CEO and Managing Partner, Junction Creative, participated in Atlanta Business X’s Radio Show “Tuesdays with Corey.” Gareleck shared insights from her days as a waitress in Gettysburg, PA to her current position as the CEO of her Atlanta based firm.  Corey Rieck, President and Founder of The Long Term Care Planning Group, sponsors the show each month, highlighting women entrepreneurs, CEOs, and executives.

When asked about her experience growing up in a family business, Gareleck shared that her goal was to become a reporter like Barbara Walters.  Unbeknownst to her, the passion she held for people and helping people drove her to launch Junction Creative, a hybrid between a traditional consulting firm and an advertising agency, melding intellectual insights with creative execution.  To listen to her journey, forward to 30 minutes into the full interview.

“I greatly appreciate being included as a member of this panel alongside Barb Giamanco, Barbara LoRusso, Corey Rieck, and the team at Atlanta Business Radio X,” comments Gareleck.  “The collective knowledge sitting around the table made for a great conversation about some of the critical elements for success in business.”

Click here to listen to the entire show!

More information on each panelist is below:

Corey Rieck is the President and Founder of The Long Term Care Planning Group, a firm that specializes in delivering Long Term Care education and coverage to companies, high net worth individuals and large organizations. Since 2001, Corey has devoted his career to Long Term Care as a result of multiple personal experiences.  A neutral provider of Long Term Care Solutions since 2001, Corey brings a unique and comprehensive consultative perspective to this issue.  Since 2003, part of his commitment to the Long Term Care Industry includes his having trained over 3,500 advisors from San Francisco to Wall Street on how to properly position Long Term Care to clients through the CLTC organization.

Corey hosts a weekly show call “Tuesdays with Corey” on Atlanta Business Radio.

Barb Giamanco heads up Social Centered Selling. She’s the co-author of The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media and authored the Harvard Business Review article Tweet Me, Friend Me, Make Me Buy.

With a successful C-level background in Sales, Technology and Leadership Development, Barb capped her corporate career at Microsoft, where she led sales teams and coached executives. Through the years she has sold $1B in sales.

Barb is consistently recognized as a Top Sales and Business Blogger, a Top 25 Influential Leader in Sales, a Top 25 Sales Influencer on Twitter and one of Top Sales World’s Top 50 Sales and Marketing Influencers for the 3rd year in a row. And recently, Barb was named one of the Top 65 Business Influencers among other leaders such as Ariana Huffington, Melinda Gates and Sheryl Sandberg.

Connect with Barb on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Barbara LoRusso is the Director of Client Development for LoRusso Law Firm, an Atlanta-based civil litigation firm opened by her husband, Lance LoRusso, almost 10 years ago. Prior to this, Barbara was doing consulting and research work for a non-profit trade association here in Atlanta for almost 20 years. She has a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from University of Georgia and went to Emory as an undergraduate.

Barbara has been an active volunteer with charitable organizations and currently serves on the board of SafePath Children’s Advocacy Center in Marietta.

Connect with Barbara on LinkedIn.

Julie Cropp Gareleck

Born into an entrepreneurial family, Julie Gareleck was convinced that business was not her passion and that becoming a reporter was more intriguing. At the age of 21, Julie punched her international card, in Paris, working for Angela de Bona, the top PR Agent, representing the top fashion photographers in the world. A venture to Philadelphia after Paris directed Julie to work for a leading entrepreneurship institute.

In a few short years, she was recruited to join a venture capital organization, focused on early stage companies in Technology, Biotechnology, among other industries, as its Executive Director. Julie earned her place in the Board Room at the age of 25.

A transition to Atlanta over 12 years ago enabled Julie to take her strategy experience and work as a senior strategist for interactive advertising agencies. It was here that Julie realized there was a gap between business-based strategy and what was defined as strategy at agencies. Junction Creative Solutions was born out of the need for strategies that intersect key business segments and the need for a firm that can manage the implementation. For over 8 years, Junction has worked with nearly 225 companies, helping do just that.

Julie has created an environment that empowers her team and her clients to be the very best they can be, and success follows naturally. She has earned the respect of her peers not just for her shining personality, but for her authenticity, integrity, and drive as a business leader. Her portfolio includes measurable integrated strategies for prominent brands across various industries, including Yahoo!, Mailboxes Etc., National City Corporation (PNC Bank), GE Energy, Mohawk Industries, Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. (SWM), and Alcatel-Lucent. Early stage companies in the portfolio include AcuteCare Telemedicine, 85 Broads, Intelaplay, Competitive Sports Analysis, XIOSS, Infinite Resource Solutions, Guardian Watch, Pro Diligence, Cost Management Group, the National Tennis Foundation, Saffire Vapor, among others.

Julie established the JXN Executive Roundtable in 2012 as a resource for entrepreneurs, senior executives, and marketing leaders to share industry experiences and insights. She remains actively involved in industry organizations often participating as an expert panelist or guest speaker.

Follow Junction Creative on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

What Does It Take to Build a Successful SaaS Business?

According to Gartner, Inc. the worldwide cloud services market will total more than $246.8 billion by the end of 2017, an impressive 18 percent growth over the previous year. Software as a service (SaaS) is defined as a subscription software licensing delivery model which is centrally hosted and accessed in the virtual cloud by subscribers over a web browser.  SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business operations applications that were once purchased and maintained by an organizations internal IT department. Today, SaaS has been incorporated into the strategy of nearly all leading enterprise software companies and has a significant profit potential for cloud providers. For software consumers, SaaS may offer a high value alternative to infrastructure systems. The growth in the SaaS business model has new providers eager to enter the marketplace.

Before entering the market eager entrants need to be aware of some of the challenges to successfully launching a SaaS portfolio including sales techniques, financial issues, technical considerations, cyber security and customer expectations. And while SaaS can benefit enterprise users by freeing up resources currently dedicated to in house IT systems, the transition to the cloud may cause serious integration issues. Just like all new ventures success often depends more on the preparation phase rather than the launch. Formulating the right idea to fill a real need is critical. Whether starting anew, forming a “White Label Partnership”, joining in an existing franchise or investing in an up and coming SaaS organization attracting the right technical talent and qualified management partners is critical.

For even the best prepared and most talented managers, starting a new SaaS business is no easy endeavor. As with any new business, personal intuition and great plans may look good on paper but more often than not can be out of sync with what the customer has in mind. Keeping the initial offerings targeted to providing simple solutions and unencumbered with unnecessary bells and whistles will enable new clients to understand the benefits of the service and implement the transition successfully. Focusing on serving initial customers with exceptional service will build a foundation for future success and growth.

“We are working with many SaaS businesses that are not just launching software but developing a sustainable business model,” comments Julie Gareleck, Managing Partner, Junction Creative Solutions (Junction).  “Our main focus with these companies is to clearly define how the software can be monetized by focusing a one-to-many approach.  For many in the industry, building the platform is top priority and making money is a secondary focus.  Our approach with clients has proven to be successful and it’s exciting to watch these companies gain market share in competitive industries.”

For more information on what it takes to build a successful SaaS business model, click.

Advice to Entrepreneurs: Spend Every Penny Like It’s Your Last

All new businesses share one common element regardless of the type or size of the endeavor; funding. Acquiring the necessary capital to get the shelves stocked, the doors open, and enough sales to get the cash flowing, remains the most difficult aspect of start-ups and the number one reason small businesses and startups fail. Most new business ventures take 12 to 18 months to generate enough cash flow to become financially self-reliant. While most new businesses rely on the entrepreneurs’ ability to pony up personal cash and assets, outside sources for capital are usually required. Traditional lender, investor and credit outlets are a staple of enterprise funding, but technology has made it much easier and cheaper to start a new business.

Crowd funding, the online availability of capital for emerging businesses, has become the go to location for those looking to fast-track the launch of the business. Trends in the startup and early-stage investor ecosystem continue to grow and are on track to become a major source of new business funding. The source and availability of new capital is not the only important aspect of financial challenges facing a new venture. Managing expenditures and unnecessary spending often is the major reason behind early stage failures.  Careful spending is important in any business. Music entrepreneur and guitar legend Zakk Wyldein says, “You have to pay attention, like with tours and expenses; you have to factor that all in. You want to play music for the rest of your life, you have to pay attention to all the things.”

Dedicating the bulk of spending for things that focus on attracting customers is the best capital spend to generate value and the next generation of funding; revenue. “I challenge you to achieve what you are doing with less capital,” says Mike Schroll, founder of Startup.SC.  Often a successful launch results in a euphoric mentality for those inexperienced and unaware that the most challenging time comes after the excitement of the start wears off.

Like a horse race, every entrant enters the gates with enthusiasm and confidence of a winning run, only to be tempered by the competition and the potential, ever present stumbles encountered along the way. It’s a long race, spending the winnings before you cross the finish line will result in your horse falling back in the pack and ultimately being left out of the race.

A large percentage of companies are squandering the easy cash, utilizing it in bad faith and spending it like it’s their own. Easy money comes with increased responsibility and a need for additional layers of accountability to ensure that investor capital is not squandered.

“I’ve been in or around the emerging business market for nearly 20 years and I have witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly as it relates to funding,” comments Julie Gareleck, CEO, Junction Creative Solutions (Junction).  “I often see smart entrepreneurs with a solid business or technology waste money on salaries and expensive business trips.  In the companies that we have consulted with, we have realized more success with those entrepreneurs who have boot-strapped the business and put their own money on the line.  There is something to be said about using your own money. It’s more difficult but there is typically less wasteful spending. My advice to those start-ups who have been successfully raising money is to treat every penny as though it was your last.  Spend the investment on monetizing the business first.”

The dark side of attracting investment is the reality that missed expectations can lead to unrest with investors. In some cases, investors can exercise their right to take ownership of your business or technology.  “If you’ve committed to investors, you have to deliver. No excuses,” comments Gareleck.  “Mistakes and missteps are a given in business.  Be responsible and take accountability for every dollar. After all, it’s their money.”

While not every entrepreneur can boot-strap the business, entrepreneurs must educate themselves on how to properly manage the investment dollars in the beginning.  It will serve as the benchmark for the future and viability of the business long-term.

Share your investment story with our network!

Going with the Flow Won’t Always Lead to Success

In an attempt to grow her network and surround herself with successful women Justyna Kedra wasn’t interested in doing things the traditional way. Justyna says, “The goal was to connect female entrepreneurs that have successful businesses globally, but are not on the “Top 100 Influential People on Planet Earth” list… yet!” So she founded We Rule, a digital platform dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs, business opportunities and accredited investors from all around the world. Today, more than 350 members and contributors collaborate to tell the entrepreneur story through the eyes of women entrepreneurs who are on the journey to achieving success.

An interview with Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) is featured on the site.  Julie provided her perspective on entrepreneurship, the meaning of success, and empowering women to build scalable businesses.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.  You have to be willing to take big risks without the expectation of rewards and work harder than is often humanly possible,” says Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO Junction Creative Solutions (Junction).  “It takes blood, sweat, and tears. I was raised by entrepreneurs. I grew up watching my parents work insanely long hours to build a business. While my friends were on Spring Break, I was scrubbing tile floors with a toothbrush in their restaurant. It wasn’t glamorous but it ignited a passion for building something greater than what we started with. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to do the things that no one else is willing to do.”

Junction is a hybrid firm, with the intellectual capital of a management consulting firm and the creative execution of an advertising agency. More than eight years ago, Julie set out with the intention to create impact for her clients and has since facilitated more than 225 brands, 100 of which are companies in the Fortune 1000, do just that. Success follows the execution of a clear and meaningful strategy, a plan with clear goals and objectives that allows for flexibility in order to respond to inevitable shifts in the marketplace and course corrections for changing assumptions. “You have to be able to react and adapt to those changes. In 20 years of working with entrepreneurs, I have yet to see one client who was successful “going with the flow”, notes Gareleck. As the marketing landscape changes and consumer expectations evolve, it’s critical to remain ahead of trends.

Success is a journey, not a destination. The pathway is constantly evolving with new and sometimes unforeseen twist and turns; challenging the entrepreneur to alter their route in order to respond to the dynamic environment, using one accomplishment to set the stage for meeting the next objective. “Some would call it perseverance or being tenacious, I would say that I just don’t know how to give up.”

In 2015, Forbes reported that while 30% of small businesses are women-owned, only 2% of women-owned businesses break the $1 Million mark. When asked by We Rule Interviewer, Christina Blackburn: “Why do you think that female owned businesses are a VERY small percentage (that has not been growing) of businesses that get funded by venture capital? What can we do to change that?” Julie responded, “I don’t think it’s a question of how do you increase the percentage of businesses backed by venture capital but how do we empower women entrepreneurs to build a business that is truly scalable. A business has to be investable before we can increase those percentages.”

To read the entire interview: http://we-rule.com/services#/julie-junction-creative-solutions/

How Messages Can Mold Your Credibility and Integrity

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Tom Brokaw, an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, recently celebrated the fifty year anniversary of his journalistic career, joining the ranks of former great communicators like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Morrow.  He is the only person to host all three major NBC News programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press and is the author of the bestselling book, “The Greatest Generation” (1998). He is to be applauded for being engaged in reporting the news, not just the story, for half a century.

In a recent broadcast celebration of his career “The First Fifty Years”, the veteran anchor revealed his thoughts about the fundamental principles of journalism, the era of old school messaging meets the new media and the importance of accuracy of messaging within a context. Today, everyone including the media is seemingly in attack mode in era of confrontation, seeking to tap into a prevalent state of fear, uncertainty and anger. With so many emerging non-traditional sources of information, communicators must be careful not to underestimate the impact of messages that draw on these emotions. Brokaw’s advice to listeners when receiving their news, “make the same intellectual effort as you do when buying a car as you do when listening to the news – do your due diligence.”

So what parallels and lessons can journalists, marketing professionals, and even social media users draw from Brokaw’s experience?

“We need to be responsible as purveyors of content,” offers Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions (Junction). “We need to get back to research, learning from experience, understanding those who came before us, and making decisions based off of facts – not rhetoric.” As business strategists we can learn from Kellogg and Harvard Review some of the most brilliant ways to approach business strategy from a time not known for technology revolutions or this time of the internet of things (IoT). It is important to learn and adapt our thinking and our practices to meet the new reality that we face. “We must challenge the integrity of the messages by asking:  what are they selling; what is the motivation, and what is it that they are looking for from me?” says Gareleck. “Realize that there is always more to a bi-line.”

After a half century as America’s consummate communicator, Tom Brokaw has “confidence in the resilience of our country” but admits that he believes “we are lacking the tribe that is America.” Despite all the emotional slinging of suspicious rhetoric, the truth is our society has survived much more tumultuous periods of revolt and revolution. Whether our business is politics or business, we as communicators in this digital media revolution, must rededicate our efforts to base our message content on facts and less on hyperbole if we are to sustain our credibility.

“I remember Brokaw as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult.  As journalism majors, we were taught to report a story based on facts. We didn’t have Google, Wikipedia, or social media.  We had books, articles, newspapers, a microfilm to sift through to understand what it would take to be an influencer.  And now, technology is at our finger tips, constantly.  It’s noisy. It’s volatile at times. We must remember that we influence always.  It could be 40 characters or it could be a 500 word prose.  Let’s use our words wisely, “ comments Gareleck.

Are You Preparing a Business Strategy to Weather Any Storm in 2017?

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As we approach the year-end, tradition demands that business leaders begin to focus on the trends in the economy and set-forth economic predictions for the coming year and propose strategies to enable businesses to respond effectively to those proposed challenges. While many of the “the sky is falling” predictions may be overstated, the accepted consensus of thought among leading economists is gravitating toward a likely recession sometime in 2017.

Some more extreme predictions promote an impending economic downturn greater than that experienced in 2008. “I think the end of 2017 or the start of 2018 is quite possible for a recession,” says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial. “All the indicators seem to be lining up for that time frame.” Hopes that a change in presidential leadership will defer such a down turn hold little promise. “Our expectation is the economy will be relatively weak. The next president is going to need a plan right out of the gate,” says John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, the group that has spoken with both Clinton’s and Trump’s campaigns about ideas to spur growth. Coming out of the “Great Recession” of 2008 many business leaders expected a recovery typical of past economic declines but was surprised to experience a persistent, lagging time span and the overall weakness of the recovery. “We’re kind of stuck in a funk,” says economist David Beckworth of Western Kentucky University. “This is the new normal.” Whether we are to believe these pessimistic forecasts or not, now is the time for organizational leaders to formulate a business strategy for survival and growth in 2017.

The process of formulating an effective strategy begins with evaluating the current state of your business, syncing with who your best customers are and what solutions are most vital to them.  Remember, a plan is the road map to a future reality. A projected journey to protect a position and hold the line against the competition is not a plan for sustainability or growth in the marketplace.

No matter the pedigree or the validity of an economic forecast, a legitimate strategic plan requires the ability to monitor measure and respond to changes in original assumptions. An ongoing focus on the metrics of the plans progress will permit you to evolve your tactics to address a dynamic environment that may threaten a plans original projected outcome.

A responsible allocation of resources to any endeavor is critical to the success of any outcome. The results of any process can be linked back to the amount of resources directed at the effort. “Pie-in-the-Sky” goals and objectives in any economy is a certain detriment to a successful outcome. Reasonable, realistic and responsible projections set the foundation for a sound strategy.

Not all organizations are structured to develop, execute and manage a comprehensive strategic process. Forming a partnership with an experienced and skilled provider who is in the position to focus the necessary skills on the process can be essential to success.

Founder and CEO of Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) says, “We have already started the strategic planning process with many of our clients before the end of the year. We are assisting our clients with developing strategies such that we can respond in real-time to this volatile political environment and rapidly changing marketplace. Our team is constantly monitoring market trends to better inform our clients of how it might impact a specific market segment or target consumer. ”

Now is the time to prioritize, identified and develop a phased strategically smart approach to weathering the coming economic storm whatever its intensity.

The Pathway to Achieving Success

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“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”

So said Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, but a few simple disciplines, practiced or not, overstates simplicity and grossly understates the complex nature of human behavior. It is as if successful people achieve simply by performing a list of personality traits or checking-off enumerated action items on a daily list of “to do’s”. If we could just extrapolate those recurring behaviors that are fundamental to all successful people into an algorithm or formula, than we would have created the ultimate, failure killing, silver bullet. Obviously Jim Rohn, from his earliest days of a Sears Roebuck Clerk, knew it was not that simple. As an accomplished business leader and successful motivational speaker he came to understand that his success and the likelihood of others succeeding was significantly impacted by the continuous practice of a relative few personal behaviors and personality traits. But “silver bullets” are a myth and, much like “luck”, a figment of the imaginations of those who have yet to achieve their personal success. Some simple research will uncover anywhere from six to thirty personal characteristics or personality traits that, if practiced, will lead to success. So why are so many, so fortunate to have achieved success? What personal attributes have resulted in their being so accomplished?

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

First and foremost, the road to success whether in service to others, personal relationships or financial achievement, begins as a personal choice. The one fundamental reason why so many from the ranks of the disadvantaged and underprivileged have achieved success is rooted in a moment when they made a personal choice to create a different reality for their future. All things good and evil begin with the taking of personal responsibility. Out of the gate successful people realize that they alone are ultimately responsible for their accomplishments – or failures.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

Successful people don’t wait for life to happen to them. They set forth a plan of measurable goals and objectives and set into place actions that gravitate towards accomplishing those goals. Successful people understand that nothing happens by accident. That achievement is an environment chocked full of actions and reactions and those who fail to succeed at anything, do so by getting stuck in the conversation. Success begins and ends with calculating risk, making decisive decisions, moving forward by learning from mistakes and vowing to never waste time and effort in looking back in regret.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Successful people are inquisitive, for them learning never stops. Most understand they don’t possess all the secrets to achievement. For them learning is perpetual and lifelong in duration. Always self-aware and in-tune with their abilities and limitations, they seek out those who compliment their vulnerabilities and talents. They know that often the most profound source of achievement is founded in others experience, borrowed, enhanced and presented with renewed effort. Successful people are practiced communicators dedicated first to listening and then to learning from others who have gone before them.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

A recent study found that 77 percent of successful people reported growing up in middle-class families or poverty. Most didn’t inherit their money it came as the result of hard work, long hours, personal sacrifice, and significant effort. Complementing this, successful people bring an elevated sense of enthusiasm and passion to their job. They love what they are doing and it presents an aura of excitement and self-confidence to those around them.

“Never, never, never give up.” -Winston Churchill

Perhaps the single most common and prevailing trait of successful people is perseverance. Often synonymous with doggedness, steadfastness, persistence and tenacity, it implies resolute and unyielding commitment to a course of action. In the face of numerous challenges and doubters, the most successful people chose a course of action that often requires questioning of original assumptions, applying the art of knowing when to take two steps back to achieve one advantageous step forward, and that the realization of accomplishment sometimes results in the journey to be roundabout and not linear. For the achiever, no hurdle is too high to jump and no road block is too broad to circumvent around in the quest for success.

Defined in different forms and by different people success can manifest as personal fulfillment, relationships, financial attainment or social achievement. There is no “magic bullet” to achieving success in an endeavor, but there is path, a journey taken by others and laid out before all of the willing to follow.

A Customer Obsessed Culture is at the Center of Successful Marketing Strategy in 2016

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As businesses embark on another year of battling on the fields and in the trenches of competition, the plethora of new and nearly new methods of connecting with customers and the marketing tools used in competing in this technological era is not only altering the tactical plan but also the overall campaign strategy. Traditionally a typical strategy would call upon the organization’s sales team to be dispatched to a specific market segment where a firm’s sales force utilizes techniques like personal cold calls, knuckles to the door or old fashioned telephone surfing of prospective customers.

The challenge for traditional marketing approaches in 2016 is to adapt to the “age of the consumer”. In an era where the customer chooses how they will engage with marketing messages, a traditional market approach must give way to a customer approach where the marketing process is driven to serve the customer, guide them to a purchasing decision, educate them or demonstrate your brand’s value. A successful “customer obsessed” strategy utilizes multiple channels, relies on quality of content over quantity and a focus on a process that values the needs of the consumer and promotes a seamless relationship between marketing and sales.

Strategy core components include; a firm’s brand reputation; a value added, authoritative voice; a clearly defined audience and seamless execution, regardless of channel, device, or method of delivery. Consistency and constancy of process rules!

For marketers who long for a breather from the intensity of a hyper competitive environment, or a “magic bullet” solution, 2016 will fail to deliver the bullet or offer little respite from the intensity of the battle. As Fred Brooks said, “There is no single development, in either technology or management technique, which by itself promises even one order of magnitude [tenfold] improvement within a decade in productivity, in reliability, in simplicity.” For company’s who dedicate their every effort to establishing a consistent and controlled “customer obsessed” culture, the future holds much promise.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Platform for Good and Evil

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Prior to the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the sharing of a message to the masses was almost exclusively reserved for those few who possessed the skills and education to put pen to paper or those who mastered the art of great oration. The advent of the printing press soon saw the power to move an audience to action gravitate to the media barons of print than onto the videographers of the 20th century. The arrival of the information age and digital communication technology ushered in a new era where news not only traveled at lights speed, but was carried virtually unfiltered to the masses through untraditional media outlets called the internet and a plethora of social media venues.

The power of social media has rapidly increased our access to breaking news and current events, and has created an efficient channel for marketers and consumers alike to promote and communicate their messages to specific audiences. More and more people now use social media as their core source for information. The social community is faster than traditional news outlets and allows the recipient the ability to respond personally to world events in real time.  Social media and the internet is a powerful and viral media vehicle that is the major source for news, an effective way for marketers to engage consumers and everyday users to populate their message to the world.

But along with the many good attributes of the internet, and its technological companion social media, comes the bad and the ugly. The far and free reach of the internet is giving radical extremists the ability to connect to millions of disaffected and delusional with their message of hatred and destruction. With the assistance of skilled marketing techniques, new age Jihadists are recruiting an army of zealots to kill the innocent and create havoc and calamity on the worlds established societies.  The recruiters of evil are able to connect with hard-core believers and sociopaths in their own living rooms utilizing graphic and violent, murderous videos. Ed Bridgeman, a criminal justice professor at the University of Cincinnati says of the recruiting efforts, “Among the differences today are the tools of the recruiter’s trade. The Internet is full of opportunities to share and package propaganda in ways never before possible.

”The recent acts of violence in Paris France was reported quickly through digital media;  each ugly act of violence playing out in real time across the screens of laptops, iPads and smart phones all across the world. But while the atrocities of evil ruled in the immediate, a response to the tragedies prevailed through an outpouring of support for the victims and condemnation of the extremist. Soon the bad and ugly were countered by the mobilization of all those who are good among the technology and who tweeted, messaged and texted in solidarity against the atrocities of evil.

Technology Trends for 2016, Will it all be Too Much, Too Soon?

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As another year begins to wind-down, tis the season to reflect on the past and predict the future for nearly all things, widely interesting or not. Prognosticating the trends of the coming year is becoming trendy itself, particularly when it comes to technology and all things gee-whiz. Last year Gartner’s, the established guru of technology trend predicting, forecasted that technology trends in 2015 would follow three themes; the merging of the real and virtual worlds, the advent of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift. So how is are we performing against the trend predictions?

As expected, mobile devices and their use in diverse and expanding contexts appears to proliferate. The chatter is becoming more about what the devices can do for the user and less about all the bells and whistles of the hardware. A new and expanded menu of applications for all our smart toys and tools is leading users to select new and creative uses from a larger array of internet of things. Autonomous vehicles, advanced robotics and virtual personal assistants and smart advisors are well on their way to becoming common place and are threatening to result in most disruptive era in history. Fitness wearables are flourishing in the marketplace and alongside a vast array of interconnected life-style appliances that monitor, record and analyze user’s activities, and deliver even those things we didn’t previously know we wanted to know or do. Advances in 3-D printing, ubiquitous embedded intelligence, cloud computing and risk-based security and self-protection are out of the box and progressing. As David W. Garner vice president and Gartner Fellow, said of the predictions for 2015, “This does not necessarily mean adoption and investment in all of the trends at the same rate. But companies should look to make deliberate decisions about them during the next two years.”

So where are we going from here? What are the predicted top 10 strategic trends in technology for 2016 according to Gartner and reported in Forbes?

– Device Mesh – Personal devices become smarter and collect more data about our activities and interest and begin to work more in concert with each other.

– Ambient User Experience – “Devices and sensors will become so smart that they will be able to organize our lives without our even noticing that they are doing so.”

– Information of Everything – Making sense and managing all that data will be challenging.

– Advanced Machine Learning – Analyzing and making initial decisions about the data will be performed by machines. Will humans successfully evolve to the higher level of technology engagement?

– Autonomous Agents and Things – Robots will continue to master and surpass humans in their ability to undertake human tasks like such as autonomous driving car. 2016 will see such vehicles “break-out” of their controlled, prototype environments.

– Adaptive Security Architecture – Gartner predicts that more tools will be available to go on the offensive against prolific and damaging security threats to our data systems.

– Advanced Customer Architecture – Developers will push the boundaries and design technology that better mimics the human brain.

– Mesh App and Service Architecture – More apps will be engineered to work together with other apps, creating added value.

– Internet of Things Architecture and Platforms – Progress towards integrating a growing collection of the “internet of things” will be made.

While the predictions can be fun to make, their advance to reality and common utilization may be tempered by our resistance to releasing control of those areas of our lives that were once promised to be beyond the ability of mere machines. While we often welcome the benefits of all the wonders of  technology in our everyday lives, at what point in the process will even the most ardent of technology consumers push-back and determine that too much is a little too much, too soon?