Preparing Our Kids for the Job Market of Today and Tomorrow

As an entrepreneur, a citizen and a parent, I am concerned about our education system. I question how we educate kids, and more importantly, how we can give kids the best chances to succeed in life and at work. I am not alone with that concern. Homeschooling and the emergence of digital schools are an indication that some parents and students aren’t happy with the current school system.

Many thinkers, like Sir Ken Robinson, are looking at ways to change education from the ground up. Yes, the conversation goes further than whether kids should use a tablet in the classroom. It is the entire system that must be adapted to a new reality. Changing a few pieces at a time won’t work because there will be missing pieces. For example, you need to have applications and train teachers about the possibilities of the iPad. Turning the old books into a digital format won’t cut it. Teachers will need to reinvent how they teach their courses.

What we need to do is rethink the curriculum, the teaching methods, the tools that teachers and students will use, the workshops, and how this impacts the design of the classrooms and the school. We should also rethink the school calendar and the activities. More importantly, we must rethink the purpose of education in 2013 and beyond.

Why Kids Need Day Care on Top of a Family Life

Deciding whether or not to send your baby to day care is not an easy question for parents. When faced with the costs of high quality day care, many parents argue that the take home pay of the second income, usually the mom, is enough to justify the expenses. In my view, they failed to include the benefits for the kids of attending day care in their equation. Here is my thinking.

My role as a parent is to prepare my children to become happy, independent, caring, open-minded and productive members of the society. I believe that being in day care better prepares my son for the real world.

e-Commerce 101: Simple Tips to Convert Shoppers into Buyers

ecommerce basic rules

It is no secret that conversion rate is a main concern for any retailers. Still, I found that many online sites fail at being pro-active when it comes to answering the most frequent questions of buyers. To illustrate what I mean, let me share the online purchase that I made this morning.

I can’t use my KitchenAid food processor anymore because the security element that is inside the main bowl handle is broken. This prevents the motor from starting. Since we couldn’t fix it, I decided a buy a new bowl. I prefer to order it online instead of driving through traffic to get it.

My Job Title Quest

looking for a job title

Like everybody else, I sometimes get stuck on a problem. It is nothing huge but this particular problem bothers me. I updated my job title on LinkedIn several times over the last few months. It is not that I can’t focus. I can. And it has nothing to do with the fact that, as many owners of a new business, I wear many hats.

My problem is that what I do is unique. No matter how many times I looked for inspiration at job descriptions in job search sites, how many times I talked to people about what I do, how many times I sat down to write it down, I can’t find the right job title to describe what I do.

Twitter Cards Fill a Gap in Social Sharing Tools

sharing tools missing source

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to Pulse, Feedly, Share This and similar tools is that these aggregators, readers and sharing tools don’t automatically include the Twitter handle of the author or publisher of the content that you wish to tweet. This self-promotion technique has to stop.

Some will argue that adding the right Twitter handle only takes a few seconds. It is true if you sit by your computer. To them, I will reply that it is another story if are on your iPad or iPhone and you don’t recall the Twitter handle of the author or the publication. Since 30% of Web traffic comes from tablets and smart phones these days, this is not a problem that we cannot ignore anymore.

Why I Would Always Take Great Doers Over Thinkers

reduce waste with smaller team

I started my tech career in a team that averaged 30 to 40 persons. When I became partner of my first software consulting firm, I sought a way to build better quality products in a shorter period of time.

This meant reducing waste. Our methodology relied on establishing strong development standards, rapid prototyping, usability testing, and discussing real-case scenarios with the developers before they started coding. Each project was handled by a small development team. We created a work environment where any team member could easily ask help from the other team members when they needed it. We also established development standards. This was before people heard of agile development and way before the lean startup movement.

Tips for Designing More Meaningful Customer Satisfaction Surveys

aim for actionable results

Last week, as I grabbed my latte at a new Starbucks that opened in my neighbourhood, the cashier and the barista pointed out to me the customer satisfaction survey about the new store. They told me that it should take 5 minutes and that my reward would be a code for a free drink. It sounds fair.

It wasn’t my first time at that particular store. I basically have nothing to say against my experience there. In fact, I enjoyed the place. But they lost me when they insisted that I gave them a 5 because everything lower than a 5  was worthless because it is considered as zero by Starbucks’ headquarters. Sorry guys, but I don’t fill customer surveys that only aim to be a pat on the back.

Five Rules for Improving the Customer Experience in Web sites

ux design :: user experience

I started working in the software development industry 24 years ago. It didn’t take me long to realize why many tech projects fail. We made progress since then. But the sad thing is, that 24 years later, I see too many digital projects that are not as successful as they should be.

Web development is more complex than ever. Current technology seems to make coding easier but the real challenges in Web development come from what you do with the technology. Your Web site must provide value to capture people’s attention.

Building a Web site involves more than proper HTML/CSS coding and creating a good-looking design. Nowadays, a Web site is part of an ecosystem fuelled by social media. It is part of an even growing digital marketing universe. Visitors use different devices to access it. People have higher expectations of what your site should do, less patience and more choices to choose from. The list can go on. With so many possibilities and interconnections, it is easy to lose focus and to forget the things that would bring success to your digital business.