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How Micro-Interns Can Help Your Business

July 18, 2019


If the overflow of office selfies on Instagram doesn’t convince you, just look at the last-minute job postings for summer interns on Indeed. This year, companies are looking at fresh ways to leverage young talent during the summer and beyond while students are looking outside traditional channels to get experience. Enter: micro-internships. 

What Are Micro-Internships?  

Micro-internships are highly specific, often virtual, project-based contracts that consists of anywhere from five to 40 hours of paid work over a few days or weeks. Unlike its traditional counterpart, a micro-internship is a task with a deadline – not a full-time job. Assignments can range from market research to data entry and web testing.  

A product of the gig economy 

The gig economy is here to stay whether we like it or not. So it is no surprise that internships have joined the mix of freelance work available.  

Like many freelance or contract positions, micro-internships are usually remote. This means that students can take on virtual internships while still completing their coursework. For companies, this means having access to ambitious, young talent year-round.  

With more full-time employees having the option to work remotely, a growing number of companies now have the infrastructure and know-how to manage remote projects and workers. A virtual internship program, therefore, shouldn’t be too out of place. 

In addition, many companies are already using freelancers. Instead of simply ignoring or tolerating the trend, why not harness it? Through the increasing acceptance of the gig economy, managers at companies from startups to giants like Microsoft have found micro-internships a useful tool to build their talent pipeline.  

A diverse talent pipeline 

With financial risk minimized, companies can more confidently take a chance on someone that may be from a different major or background than their usual candidate profile. For example, a seasoned …

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How much HR does a scale-up need?

How much HR does a scale-up need?

July 17, 2019

There is a special chaos that happens when a startup reaches 30 employees. People have a harder time tracking what’s going on, and it’s easy for some to feel left out or ignored.

Right when you want employees focusing on taking the company to the next level, they’re suddenly focused on their own futures. Insecurities and politics can abound, and the work can suffer.

How to stop the madness? In my experience, it all comes down to structure. It might seem early, or scary to a company used to succeeding on grit, but 30 is a key time to begin putting processes into place.

You’re no longer 10 people sitting around a table together, and communication can start to break down. Looking to large companies is no help either. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of frameworks, and you don’t want to overwhelm your team.

What steps can you take to keep things on track and scale effectively? How much is too much?

My company, Bright + Early, works with companies at exactly this stage, helping them grow up without losing the culture that makes them special. For a company just on the verge of scaling, here’s what I recommend.

Values

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Verified Expert Growth Marketing Agency: TrueUp

Verified Expert Growth Marketing Agency: TrueUp

July 16, 2019

It was the perfect storm when CEO and Founder Liam Reynolds finally decided to start TrueUp, a data-driven growth marketing agency/consultancy based in London. After decades of working for large creative advertising agencies, Liam quit his job right around the beginning of Silicon Valley’s growth hacking trend and plunged headfirst into running growth for early-stage startups.

TrueUp has since evolved from a one-man shop into an award-winning agency with a team of dedicated data, paid marketing and conversion specialists. Learn more about how they collaborate with clients and help them develop short- and long-term growth frameworks.

TrueUp’s approach to growth marketing:

“Rather than just saying ‘Look at these amazing results we’ve achieved,’ we would say, ‘Look, these are your growth opportunities, this is the process you need and here’s the framework unlock your true potential,’ We would build business models around this to show the opportunity in numbers, revenue and ROI.

Our approach to growth is anchored in delivering the right message to the right target audience in the right channel at the right time. It sounds simple but we’re amazed at how wrong people get this.

So we’ve created our own bespoke methodologies and frameworks to really explore and identify these hidden killer messages that drive action. We’ve built our own tools that allow us to do a lot of high-tempo, high-intensity testing.

It’s quite common that we have 500 to 600 tests running concurrently on Facebook for any given client. We’re continuously testing, learning, iterating, improving. As a result we’ve achieved some amazing results for our clients.”

Advice to founders:

“We approached True Up to help us establish and scale a UK paid marketing function. The team was highly professional from their initial pitch through the end of the project.” Maninder Saini, SF, International Operations Manager, Quizlet,

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‘The Operators’: Understanding your user – The art and science of UI/UX behind Facebook, Google, Mint, and Edmodo

‘The Operators’: Understanding your user – The art and science of UI/UX behind Facebook, Google, Mint, and Edmodo

July 15, 2019

Welcome to this transcribed edition of The Operators. TechCrunch is beginning to publish podcasts from industry experts, with transcriptions available for Extra Crunch members so you can read the conversation wherever you are.

The Operators highlights the experts building the products and companies that drive the tech industry. Speaking from experience at companies like Airbnb, Brex, Docsend, Edmodo, Facebook, Google, Lyft, Mint, Slack, Uber, WeWork, etc., these experts share insider tips on how to break into fields like design and enterprise sales. They also share best practices for entrepreneurs to hire and manage experts in fields outside their own.

This week’s edition features Gülay Birand, UX Lead and Product Design Manager at Facebook, and Tim Rechin, Head of Design at Edmodo, the leading education technology company. Gülay and Tim share their experiences and explain design, UI/UX, how to build a career in these fields, and how entrepreneurs should think about them.

Gülay and Tim bring experience from other great companies including Google, Amazon, Mint, and SAP. Having seen and grown in their disciplines from a variety of companies and customer types, they share deep insight from across tech.

Neil Devani and Tim Hsia created The Operators after seeing and hearing too many heady, philosophical podcasts about the future of the world and the tech industry, and not …

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Is blitzscaling killing early employee equity opportunities?

Is blitzscaling killing early employee equity opportunities?

July 13, 2019

Silicon Valley has many dreams. One dream — the Hollywood version anyway — is for a down-and-out founder to begin tinkering and coding in their proverbial garage, eventually building a product that is loved by humans the world over and becoming a startup billionaire in the process.

The more prosaic and common version of that Valley dream though is to join an early-stage company right before its growth kicks into high gear. Sure, those early employees might only have a smidgen of equity, but that equity could be worth a whole heck of a lot if they join the right startup.

Every startup has a window of opportunity, a timeframe in which early employees can join while the stock option strike prices are low and the equity grants are high. Join before the big uptick in valuation, and suddenly what might have been an otherwise nice couple of hundred K dollars in the coming years becomes actually, well, in the Bay Area, a reasonably-sized domicile.

Yet, that opportune window seems to be shrinking in size, making it harder for potential startup employees to nail the timing necessary to garner their own best financial return.

For every Roblox, which as we profiled in-depth this week, took almost two decades to reach its current apotheosis, there is a Brex, which seems to reach unicorn status in no time at all. And such stories — while certainly anecdotal — seem to be more commonplace than ever.

Part of the reason for that fast early valuation growth is that Silicon Valley has simply learned how to grow even faster, even earlier. As venture capitalist Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh discuss in their book Blitzscaling, there are now frameworks and …

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Minimum investment for EB-5 investor green card expected to more than double

Minimum investment for EB-5 investor green card expected to more than double

July 12, 2019

While not a startup visa, the EB-5 investor green card offers many entrepreneurs a path to a green card by investing money and creating jobs in the U.S. Under the EB-5 program, an entrepreneur’s family is also eligible for green cards.

Imminent regulatory changes to the EB-5 program are expected to make obtaining an EB-5 green card a whole lot more expensive. The minimum investment is anticipated to more than double to $1.35 million from the current $500,000. And with individuals from India expected to face a backlog for EB-5 green cards shortly, the opportunity to obtain an EB-5 green card at a relatively low cost and in a timely manner is closing.

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Verified Expert Brand Designer: Studio Rodrigo

Verified Expert Brand Designer: Studio Rodrigo

July 12, 2019

Ritik Dholakia worked as a startup product manager before he co-founded Studio Rodrigo, a branding and product design agency based in NYC. Unlike traditional branding firms, Studio Rodrigo is proud of its product design chops, especially when it comes to helping early-stage startups build version one of their product. It’s not an easy balancing act since most companies eventually want to bring their product design talent in-house, but it turns out, Studio Rodrigo can help with that too. Learn more about the studio in our Q&A with founder Ritik Dholakia.

Studio Rodrigo’s unique approach:

“Studio Rodrigo listened to all of our goals and dreams, concerns and uncertainties, and created a brand identity, website, and marketing materials that were true to our vision but better than anything we could have imagined.” Tze Chun, NYC, Founder, Uprise Art

“Basically, we’re a full-stack product design team. We have people who can do brand identity from a pure graphic design and visual communications standpoint, and who can also connect the dots between design and technology, business, and customer needs. We don’t have a traditional agency model with a project and account management overhead. You work directly with our designers.”

On Studio Rodrigo’s ideal client:

“We like working with clients that are solving big, meaty, challenging problems. We’ve got a smart team that likes to wrap their heads around the kinds of technologies that are pushing industries forward. For us, that’s currently technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

Below, you’ll find the rest of the founder reviews, the full interview, and more details like pricing and fee structures. This profile is part of our ongoing series covering startup brand designers and agencies with whom founders love to work, based on this survey and our own research. The survey is open indefinitely, so please fill

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Unraveling immigration politics and Silicon Valley ethics with Jaclyn Friedman

Unraveling immigration politics and Silicon Valley ethics with Jaclyn Friedman

July 11, 2019

Immigration may not seem to be a tech issue. But for Americans with some personal or family experience with the idea of separated families and/or concentration camps, it can be hard to see what is currently going on in our names thanks to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (better known as “ICE”) as anything less than the single most urgent moral or ethical issue in this country today.

This begs a disclaimer: I have Eastern European Jewish family roots in what became the Holocaust. I have a Cuban Jewish mother who came to this country by herself as a young girl refugee and was separated from her family for multiple years due to U.S. immigration policy.

I am a father myself. This piece is personal for me, in other words. If you want to know whether I can be objective here, I would have to admit that seeing repeated images of thousands of children, as young as 4 months old, facing inhumane and abusive conditions in my government’s name and supported by my tax dollars, has been quite possibly the most morally disturbing experience of my life.

Still, given that I write specifically about the ethics of technology here at TechCrunch, is this topic “a fit” for this column? Well, “fortunately,” if not for me or any of us personally, then at least regarding my desire to write up ICE for this column: the Silicon Valley tech industry has a long and deep history of entanglement with undocumented immigrants to this country. And in fact, “thanks” to tech companies such as Palantir, Wayfair, and Amazon Web Services and their present-day collaboration with ICE and its concentration camps, tech and immigration ethics is very much a live topic for today.

It’s also a disturbing and depressing topic. Which is …

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Expand Internationally By Leveraging Local PEO Services

July 10, 2019


• A PEO can assist you with payroll, benefits and human resources support for your business
• PEOs take care of your overseas human resource requirements through a co-employment model
• A PEO can take care of the needs of your staff abroad and make sure your business stays compliant.

Through a co-employment model, these organizations offer comprehensive human resource services abroad for business without a physical presence in the country. This is especially helpful for businesses who want to “dip their toe” in a new market but aren’t yet committed to building an office. Having flexible human capability in a new market can be the difference in your success.

Smaller business should look at what a PEO can bring to their work environment. Overseas employees can access benefits offered by (often larger sized) PEOs and have a localized support network. Understand what assistance you can find in a PEO and how they can support your business success.

What’s a Professional Employer Organization?

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) take care of your overseas human resource requirements through a co-employment model. They support smaller businesses seeking to employ people in a country they don’t yet have a physical footprint in. This enables businesses to focus on their core operations and staff at home.

Editor’s note: Interested in a PEO service? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners provide you with information for free.

 

A PEO partner can pay your overseas employees’ wages on your behalf. They can also offer staff benefits offered in larger companies, such as health subsidies and training. Your business can relax about foreign tax and employment regulations; a PEO takes care of this too.

Working alongside a PEO

A PEO can take care of the needs of your staff abroad and make sure your business …

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Tips and Tricks to Hire Smart

July 7, 2019


I’ve waived that flag for most of my life, but this is one area that’s so critical to a business’s success and one that requires such specialized focus, consider outsourcing to an unbiased expert.

Hundreds of studies have been conducted over the years that emphasize the cost of a wrong or bad hire. Few studies consider the opportunity loss and the cost of damaged relationships, both internal as well as external. A bad hire can severely damage your culture or a potential relationship with a future customer.

In today’s search for talent, we can’t afford to make the wrong hire, or simply to hope the hire we make is a good fit.

Jim Collins spoke about the difference between good companies and great companies years ago, and one of the most significant findings that separated these companies was the ability to get the right people in the right seats on their “bus.”

The question that drives most business owners mad is, how do I find the right people? Your HR staff isn’t going to get the job done, nor are your hiring manager or recruiter. You need a specialist who focuses on Talent Optimization.

What is talent optimization, and why does it matter?

Talent Optimization is a multi-part discipline that helps companies align their business strategy with their people strategy. The first aptitude of talent optimization concentrates on diagnosing people problems. This is done by collecting and analyzing people data and reporting on it to help business leaders make objective decisions about their people strategy.

Measure what matters

Most businesses regularly monitor key business results, such as revenue, customer retention rates, or profits and losses.

Why wouldn’t we do the same with key people metrics? By rigorously measuring people data, you can uncover the people problems that are negatively impacting …

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