Land O’Lakes, Inc. Names Beth Ford President and CEO  

Ford brings decades of experience across six different industries as the company seeks to build on its track record of sustainable growth

Beth Ford

Beth Ford

The Land O’Lakes, Inc. Board of Directors announced today its selection of Beth Ford as President and CEO of one of the nation’s largest food and agricultural cooperatives and #216 on the Fortune 500. Ford assumes leadership of the company following the retirement of Chris Policinski. Ford will assume the role of President and CEO effective Aug. 1.

Ford comes to the CEO role after a series of successful executive postings within the company. In December 2017, Ford was named Chief Operating Officer of Land O’Lakes Businesses, in which role she oversaw Land O’Lakes’ WinField United, Purina Animal Nutrition and Dairy Foods business units. Prior to that, Ford was head of Land O’Lakes’ Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses, where she led record performance and growth, leveraging innovation through R&D to strengthen both brands. She also was instrumental in the acquisition of Vermont Creamery in early 2017.

Prior to joining Land O’Lakes in 2011, Ford had excelled in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. Ford has more than 20 years’ experience specifically in the areas of technology and R&D, as well, across these four companies.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Beth earned an MBA at Columbia University Business School and a BBA at Iowa State University. She remains involved in both universities, sitting on the Deming Center Board of Advisors for Columbia Business School and the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the College of Business at Iowa State.

Ford also sits on the Board of Directors for the National Milk Producers Federation and non-profit boards, including Greater Twin Cities United Way in Minneapolis. She sits on the Boards of Directors of two publicly traded companies, including PACCAR, Inc.

Announcing her appointment, Board Chairman Pete Kappelman said, “At a time of unprecedented change in the agriculture and food industries, no person is better suited to lead us into the future than Beth Ford. Since joining our company in 2011, Beth has proven she’s not afraid of hard work, and she sees every challenge as an opportunity to deliver more value for our cooperative. She’s built a track record of success in a wide array of leadership roles across a decades-long career, and in her seven years at Land O’Lakes, she has earned the trust and respect of our members, employees and customers. We are thrilled to have someone of such strong qualifications and character to build on the legacy of growth that Land O’Lakes has established.”

Commenting on her appointment, Ford said, “I’m humbled and honored to have the chance to serve this great organization. I am grateful to the Board of Directors for their trust in me and for the management team that built the strong foundation we currently enjoy. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated leadership team, as well as our outstanding employees to deliver for our member-owners, customers and communities. There has never been a more exciting time to be in the agriculture and food industry. Together, our team will work to continue our growth trajectory, as we lead the way forward into the company’s next 100 years.”

Ford becomes the ninth CEO of Land O’Lakes, one of the nation’s largest agricultural cooperatives, which was founded in 1921. Ford and her spouse, Jill Schurtz, have three teenage children and live in Minneapolis.

About Land O’Lakes, Inc.  

Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2017 annual sales of $14 billion, Land O’Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, ranking 216 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 97 years of operation, Land O’Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Land O’Lakes SUSTAINTM. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O’Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.

How Two Rice Bowls and Four Chopsticks Turned Into a Billion-Dollar Business  

When the United States left Vietnam in 1975, it left behind a nation wracked with inflation, corruption and an identity crisis.  The country staggered through the 1980s as a socialist-capitalist country – it tried socialism first, then modified it with capitalism.

For the families that lived through the early post-American years in Vietnam, it was one crisis after another.  Yet one family not only survived and thrived, it built one of the largest businesses in Southeast Asia from scratch.

Phuong Tran

Phuong Tran

“My father started out with nothing more than two rice bowls and four chopsticks,” says Phuong Uyen Tran in her new book Competing with Giants, published by Forbes.

The company grew so large that Coca Cola wanted to buy it for more than $2 billion.

“He persevered because he had tenacity and placed his trust in his core values and people – his business associates, employees and customers.”

Her father, Tran Qui Thanh, is chairman and CEO of the beverage company Tan Hiep Phat (THP).  He turned down the offer from Coca Cola.  Thanh’s company now supplies beverages, including herbal and green teas, sports and energy drinks, soya milk and purified water across Vietnam plus 16 other countries, including China and Australia.  It is Vietnam’s largest family-owned manufacturer in the “Fast Moving Consumer Goods” category, employing more than 5,000 staff members nationwide.

“It is never easy to compete with giants,” says Phuong, “let alone face them down.” But her family legacy is a story that proves David can indeed compete with (and even outperform) Goliath. Watching her father turn down a sum of money most could never dream to see was an event that shaped Tran’s entire philosophy from that day forward.

What has Phuong learned from the family values her father always applies in business?

5 Family Values to Business Success:

  • Create an authentic local product.  Authentic local products are hard to beat.  That is because locals can beat the big guys in four critical areas – product, price, promotion and place.
  • Govern growth. Many companies on an upward trajectory just assume that their success will always continue.  The best companies prepare for the inevitable ups and downs of business by growing slowly and methodically.
  • Motivate employees and foster community spirit. As companies get bigger, they must focus on how their employees work with each other, as well as senior management and customers.
  • Adhere to standards. The best companies embrace standards rather than try to find ways to cut corners.  Her company adopted international standards for her products even though they were not forced to do so.
  • Take responsibility. The ultimate responsibility lies with each person at the business, regardless of if it is the owner, manager or employee.

Whether you start with rice bowls or owning the entire rice factory, scaling a business requires strategy, discipline and good old fashion family values.

About Phuong Uyen Tran

Phuong Uyen Tran, author of Competing with Giants (https://www.thp.com.vn/en/), is deputy CEO of the THP Beverage Group, a leading beverage company in Vietnam that was founded by her father. She is responsible for the company’s marketing, public relations, and CSR programs nationally and across Vietnam’s 63 provinces. She also leads THP’s international marketing programs across 16 countries where THP’s products are distributed including Canada and China.

How a Former Stuntman Became the Force Behind a Hit TV Show Building Unique Toys

Celebrity David Ankin shares how ingenuity can help fuel your business

People often find themselves in jobs where they know they don’t want to be for years to come. Yet many of those people are unsure what to do about it in order to move forward in the direction of a career of their dreams. For one former stuntman, he didn’t sit idly by and wish for a position he would be passionate about. Combining his passion for car shows that stemmed from his childhood with his ingenuity, he was able to take steps to create a career path that led to him having a hit television show building unique one-of-a-kind custom hot rods and cars for adults.

David Ankin

David Ankin

“I had to realize that being a stuntman wasn’t a long-term career. It was too hard on my body,” says David Ankin, inventor and star of the hit show ToyMakerz. “I decided to turn my passion into a career that I could grow in and others could also enjoy. Creativity is something that helped me get started in this field and remains a constant. Now the challenge is constantly coming up with something new and unique.”

Ingenuity, which is having the ability to be clever, original, or inventive, is what has propelled Ankin to the top of his field. But it’s not something that came to him overnight. In fact, he has been on the path since he was a child. Growing up without a lot of money, he wasn’t able to go out and buy the latest toy or car. But he also didn’t want his vehicles to look just like everyone else’s. That motivated him to learn to build his own. With his father as his inspiration, he hung out at his shop and watched in awe at the things that his dad could do.

As a child, Ankin also spent a lot of time being dedicated to bike and car shows. In fact, his idea of a vacation was working late into the night for six weeks to get ready for a bike or car show, then traveling halfway across the country and meeting up with other fabricators. When he wasn’t doing that, he was struggling to get his car or bike ready to win a race. At the end of the day, the factors that really influenced him on his journey are the industry itself and all the people and fabricators who no one will ever meet.

Today, his ingenuity has led to his company, ToyMakerz, where the toys are made, and has also been turned into a hit television show, where people can tune in and see him work his magic. Here are 5 ways that ingenuity can help fuel your business:

  1. Gets you noticed. With your business being set apart by being original, it will help get you noticed. People have become immune to everything being the same and they crave things that are different or stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s a restaurant, clothing line, or something else, being different will open the doors to a whole new audience.
  2. Helps with longevity. Those business leaders who are unique will be in a better position to roll with the punches. They don’t mind adapting and changing as the market demands. Rather than close up, they will be able to keep re-inventing themselves in order to keep thriving.
  3. Fuels decision making. Being able to come up with creative solutions to problems will help take a business to the next level. Those with ingenuity are not afraid to put their ideas out there, no matter how out of the box they may seem. Ultimately, that’s exactly what is needed to help grow their business.
  4. Offers drive. Business leaders with initiative have drive and determination. They are not afraid to take risks and they don’t wait around for someone else to make something happen. They come up with their own unique plans and put them in action to keep moving forward.
  5. Helps carve out opportunity. Whether fueled by your childhood passions or noticing what is missing in your city and wanting to make improvements, those with new ideas will create their own opportunity. They find a way to make things happen in the business world.

“The journey hasn’t been short or easy,” added Ankin. “It started as a childhood dream and has evolved over time. I happened to come across the right location to set up shop in Reidsville, NC, where the town and the people have been so supportive. Then, using ingenuity, I started assembling my team to help me grow my vision of ToyMakerz, and it’s still evolving today.”

ToyMakerz partnered with Source Digital to develop an app, which is helping fans connect with the show. Enhancing the viewer experience with new digital brand integrations, the ToyMakerz app lets fans connect with the cast, score exclusive deals on anything they see on the screen while they are watching the show live, and sharepictures of their own rides!

The ToyMakerz TV show, which is just weeks away from a major announcement, is currently re-airing episodes from season 2 On Demand on Velocity. ToyMakerz season one is also available on iTunes and Amazon. ToyMakerz is produced by Los Angeles based production company, Lucky13Cinematic. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: www.toymakerz.com.

About ToyMakerz

ToyMakerz is a company that makes toys for adults built for fun and speed. Some of their creations can be seen on the ToyMakerz hit television show focusing on the life and creations of Dave Ankin, a former stuntman who now makes toys for big boys. The company is co-owned by David Ankin and his business partner, David Young, and they create one-of-a-kind racing creations that Ankin visualizes and builds. ToyMakerz is currently being re-aired weekly on Velocity. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: www.toymakerz.com.

Hyundai Motor Company Partners with Autotalks to Develop Connectivity Technology for Increased Road Safety

  • Hyundai Motor invests in Autotalks to accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation V2X chipset for connected cars
  • V2X technology improves vehicle and road safety, mobility and is vital for autonomous driving

Hyundai Motor announced today its strategic partnership with Autotalks, a leading technology company specialized in the manufacturing of Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communication chipsets.  Hyundai Motor forms a strategic partnership with Autotalks through a direct investment to accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation chipset for connected cars. Hyundai is expanding partnerships in the connectivity field to further strengthen connectivity technology vital to autonomous driving and explore new business opportunities within smart city infrastructure.

V2X technology allows vehicles to communicate with one another, with other road users and road infrastructure, enhancing road safety and mobility. The main focus of any V2X solution is safety. As a reliable non-line-of-sight sensor working in all environments and weather conditions, it helps prevent road collisions and avoid dangerous situations. In manned vehicles, V2X systems convey important information to the driver in the form of alerts and notifications and can also actuate the vehicle in dangerous situations. In autonomous vehicles, V2X complements existing sensors, allowing them to make more informed decisions as well as easing their interaction with other road users.

“Connectivity is one of the core technologies that can be applied to smart city business models, as well as autonomous driving and infotainment,” said Yunseong Hwang, director of open innovation business group at Hyundai Motor Company. He added “Hyundai will continue to invest in disruptive technologies that are in line with Hyundai’s current and future strategic pillars.”

Hagai Zyss, Autotalks CEO. (Photography courtesy of Yariv Dagan)

Hagai Zyss, Autotalks CEO. (Photography courtesy of Yariv Dagan)

Hagai Zyss, CEO of Autotalks, commented, “Having a top global car manufacturer such as Hyundai invest directly in Autotalks is not only a vote of confidence in the company, but a testament to the growing V2X market. Hyundai’s pursuit of cutting-edge communication and safety technologies is a perfect match with Autotalks’ leading V2X capabilities. The funding from Hyundai will fuel Autotalks’ technology roadmap as well as support our customers and partners all over the globe.”

Prior to the current investment by Hyundai, Autotalks completed four funding rounds with a total of more than $80 million in investments.

About Hyundai Motor Company

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond with its range of world-class vehicles and mobility services offered available in more than 200 countries. Employing more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai sold more than 4.5 million vehicles globally. Hyundai Motor Company continues to enhance its product line-up with vehicles that are helping to build solutions for a more sustainable future, such as NEXO – the world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV. In 2018 the company revealed its new design philosophy ‘Sensuous Sportiness’, which will be embodied by all upcoming Hyundai vehicles.

More information about Hyundai Motor Company and its products can be found at:

http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com.

About Autotalks

Autotalks, which was founded in 2008, is a V2X chipset market pioneer and leader, providing customers with state-of-the-art V2X solutions. Autotalks helps reduce collisions on roadways and improve mobility with its automotive qualified chipsets. The chipsets offer the most advanced, truly secure and highest performing V2X communication solution designed for autonomous vehicles. Autotalks’ advanced technology, to be mass deployed in the coming years, complements the information coming from other sensors, specifically in non-line-of-sight scenarios, rough weather or poor lighting conditions. It significantly improves overall road safety, effectively coordinating vehicles, self-driving cars, motorcyclists and pedestrians. For more information on Autotalks, please visit www.auto-talks.com.

Eight Common “Flow Breakers” Leaders Face—and How to Defuse Them 

Constant disruptions at work prevent managers from achieving flow, the state of concentration that allows them to do their best work. The authors of Mind Tools for Managers highlight the most common flow breakers at work and offer tips for eliminating them.

Sometimes it seems like the workplace is designed to keep you doing anything besides, well…working. If you’re a manager, this is a serious problem because everything at work hinges on your ability to effectively lead your team. Still, distractions abound in most offices, from buzzing phones to watercooler chit-chat to the endless lure of surfing the web. With all this chaos, it’s difficult to achieve the intense state of concentration known as flow, where employees of all levels do their best work.

“Flow is a state of mind that occurs when all your conscious thought is focused on what you are doing,” says Julian Birkinshaw, coauthor along with James Manktelow of Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00). “Unfortunately, in the modern workplace, flow can be difficult to achieve and maintain. As a result, you are a less productive manager and stay stressed out at work. But by weeding out typical office distractions and interruptions, you can improve your focus, get more done, and become a more effective manager.”

Mind Tools for Managers identifies the 100 skills that a manager can master to become a better leader. They were identified in a survey of 15,242 managers and professionals worldwide. This research was conducted by James Manktelow, founder and CEO of MindTools.com, and Professor Julian Birkinshaw, deputy dean for programs at London Business School. The authors provide practical advice for each of these skills—one of which is the ability to stay focused—and direct the reader to the MindTools website for a deeper dive into specific skill-building articles, worksheets, videos, and more.

Even if you’re one of the many managers struggling to maintain focus at work, you can achieve a state of flow—which was first described in detail by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi—by managing or eliminating the distractions that pull you out of concentration. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common distractions managers and employees typically face at work (and how to deal with them), excerpted from the article “Minimizing Distractions: 10 Ways to Take Control of Your Day.” For more information, please refer to Mind Tool 12-1: http://mnd.tools/12-1.

FLOW BREAKER 1: The relentless presence of personal technology. Smartphones and now smartwatches have blurred the line between personal and professional communication. Now you can receive work emails and calls on the same device as private Facebook comments, Instagram photos, and an array of other personal information. The good news is, this is a challenge that you and your colleagues can effectively manage yourselves. When focusing on a particular piece of work, choose to put away your phones for a certain amount of time. That way you can devote your attention entirely to the project at hand.

FLOW BREAKER 2: Email, email, and more email. Many emails in your inbox are probably not particularly important, and yet you may feel you must look at them when they arrive. Instead, try these tactics:

  • Schedule checking time. Turn off the alert that appears on your computer screen when you receive an email, and check and respond to messages at set times instead. This helps you manage your coworkers’, managers’, and customers’ expectations about how and when you will reply to them.
  • Choose “low-productivity” times. There are likely certain times of the day when you do your best work, like first thing in the morning or maybe late at night. Schedule email check-ins for your less-productive times and save your peak hours for high-value work.
  • Turn emails into actions. If you need more than a few minutes to read an email, add it to your to-do list.

FLOW BREAKER 3: Social media and web browsing. Both are major productivity killers. Trouble is, organizations can no longer block people’s access to websites that aren’t work-related—smartphones can easily get around this. So it’s up to you to use social media and the rest of the web responsibly. If it is acceptable within your organization, use a brief personal browsing session as a reward for an hour or two of high-quality, focused work.

FLOW BREAKER 4: Nerve-jangling phone calls. The ring of a phone often prompts an intense need to answer, even when you’re in deep concentration. To minimize this source of distraction for you and your team, consider arranging a rotation so that team members can take calls for one another. Also be sure to let friends and family know that you will be available for calls only at lunchtime or in the evening.

FLOW BREAKER 5: Distractions in your work environment. Rather than trying to ignore such distractions as strong cooking smells or loud colleagues, get away from the problem. Set yourself up in an empty meeting room to regain your focus. Or wear noise-canceling headphones or play “white noise” to blank out anything that would otherwise grab your attention.

FLOW BREAKER 6: Confusion due to overwhelming workload. Always try to have a manageable to-do list, because having one that’s too long can lead to procrastination, as you wonder which task to tackle next. Each day, commit to accomplishing the two most important tasks on your list, and put the rest on hold until tomorrow.

“In our study we found that 79.5 percent of managers view prioritizing tasks effectively as one of the most important planning and time management skills,” says Manktelow. “It is so important!”

FLOW BREAKER 7: Other people. Colleagues visiting your desk can be a big source of distraction, but you’re also a manager who wants to be available for your team members. So, if you don’t want to be disturbed at times when you need to focus on a task, consider either working at home or in a conference room. If you have your own office, close the door and tell your team that you need to be left alone to concentrate for a while.

FLOW BREAKER 8: Shortfalls in your own well-being. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to juggle your priorities, manage visitors, and have the discipline to control your use of technology. So, it’s vital that you take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep and make sure you drink enough water, as dehydration can make you feel tired and impact your thinking. It’s also important to get some fresh air and take a brisk walk during the day—this will energize you. And try to avoid heavy lunches and sugar-laden snacks, as they can lead to a slump in concentration later in the day.

“It’s easier than ever to lose track of what you should be doing at work, but you can still take steps to avoid distractions and improve flow,” concludes Birkinshaw. “Learning to better manage these ‘flow breakers’ is a valuable skill that can be practiced and sharpened over time. And when you can achieve flow more easily, you will not only become a better manager, but you’ll set a great example for your team as well.”

About the Authors:

James Manktelow

James Manktelow

James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw are coauthors of Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00).

James Manktelow is founder and CEO of MindTools.com. He has written, edited, and contributed to more than 1,000 articles, more than sixty workbooks, and seven books and e-books on management and leadership, including Manage Your Time and Manage Stress.

Julian Birkinshaw

Julian Birkinshaw

Julian Birkinshaw is professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, deputy dean for programs, and academic director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He is the author of fourteen books, including Fast/ForwardBecoming a Better Boss, and Reinventing Management.

About the Book:

Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on www.wiley.com.

Facebook Will Allow Users to Opt Out of Collecting Browsing History

Facebook announced earlier this week that users will soon be able to opt out of one of Facebook’s key data gathering practices: the collection and use of people’s web browsing history, which the company uses to sell targeted ads.

Dan Goldstein

Dan Goldstein

Dan Goldstein is the president and owner of Page 1 Solutions, a full-service digital marketing agency. He is the also the author of “Win with Multi-Channel Digital Marketing”.

Of the announcement today he says, “Facebook is getting the message that privacy and transparency are important to Facebook users and Internet users in general. Giving users the ability to identify and manage which sites are tracking information about them shows that Facebook is actively taking positive steps to protect user privacy. Time will tell, but this may help Facebook overcome the shadow of the Cambridge Analytica scandal”.

5 Psychological Hacks To Boost App Downloads

Written and Contributed By Codal

Remember Google Wave?

It’s okay if you don’t—in fact, we’re pretty sure Google would like to forget as well. Google Wave was a mobile app designed to make the often-complex communication process between group contacts as easy as pie. At least, that’s what it was supposed to do.

Instead, the UX design agency that crafted the Wave’s interface seemed to make sure nothing was easy about this overhyped mobile app. Why did it fail, even after having Google’s name attached to it?

Because it had Google’s name attached to it.

The mobile app was marketed on such a grand scale that everyone’s expectations were astronomically high. Besides having a poor UX, Google failed at managing expectations. Users were so unforgiving with the app’s shortcomings that it led to a shutdown of the platform.

Had Google been able to live up to even bare expectations, it could have returned to the drawing board and rework the UX. But Google failed to account for the psychological influences of their users, namely their perception of the Google brand.

Designing for small, often subtle psychological phenomena may seem pointless, but with more than 4 million apps available on both the App Store and Google Play, you have to take into consideration the psychology of it while designing the platform.

To make sure your mobile app cuts through the clutter, here are five psychological hacks to get people to download your app.

1) Tell Them What They Want To Hear

If you want people to download your mobile app, you have to indulge their biases. The psychology of selective perception states people consciously or subconsciously engage with messages that align with their beliefs.

If you want your mobile app to receive the downloads it deserves, listen to what users want from you. A staggering 14% of users will not use a mobile app that is difficult to use, hence they are biased towards comfortable navigation.

To align yourself with this belief, provide an intuitive navigation, designed in such a way that traffic flows from one page to another. If people see your app as easy to use, they will be more inclined to download your app.

Instagram, the popular social media platform, hit it off with users by coming up with an intuitive navigation. Throughout browsing, the navigation options remain in the same place. The buttons are positioned in such way that they can be used with just one hand.

Users always know how to proceed when they want to access a particular screen. This is one of the reasons why Instagram has roughly 700 million active users worldwide.

2) Embracing The Counterintuitive

Reverse psychology is a great hack for generating a specific reaction by calling for something contradictory. In simpler terms, you do the opposite of what users might expect from you. The unpredictability of it is what captures the attention.

It’s a great ‘pull’ tactic that curbs content flooding. When you stop screaming at users, you are allowing them to relax and put a lot more thought into your mobile app.

Take a cue from Little Caesars, the popular pizza chain, that used reverse psychology to build up its email list. It might not be for a mobile app, but it is an effective tactic nonetheless. This campaign worked because it was witty and made people curious.

3) Align With The Customer’s Self-Concept

What are the chances that you will earn a download if people say ‘this mobile app isn’t for me’?

You need to make consumers feel worthy of your app before downloading—they need to see themselves using your mobile app. That requires generating with content that is aligned with a customer’s self-perceived value or self-concept.

Before asking consumers to download your app, try to understand what their self-concept is. Then, find a way to fit your mobile app within their self-perceived value. This will help in shaping UX experience for your potential customers.

Next time, when your UX design agency is brainstorming concepts for your mobile app’s UI, consider taking these three aspects into account:

Self-image – How users see themselves in society.

Ideal self – The type of user one wants to be.

Self-esteem – How much users love themselves.

This allows your mobile app’s design to align with a customer’s self-perceived value. Thereby, enabling a positive user experience, and potentially reducing customer churn rates.

The Persuasive Power Of Color

The color is the second most important aspect of getting people to download your mobile app, after functionality. When 90% of subscription and purchase decisions are based on color alone, your mobile app cannot afford to go wrong with its color scheme.

Color doesn’t just help boost your download count, it also promotes interactions and helps recall value. Here are a few color schemes that might work for your mobile app:

Monochromatic - he simplest color scheme, a monochromatic palette involves taking each color from the same base . This color scheme is very easy on the eyes, and can produce a soothing effect. Blue and green are the more popular hues used for this scheme.

Complementary - This scheme uses colors which are opposite to each other. Due to their high contrast, they easily grab attention.

Less Is More

A successful acquisition strategy is one which takes less time to get more customers. Many UX designers tend to fall prey to the idea of providing too many choices to customers. This eventually leads to choice paralysis.

Analogous - This scheme is made from related colors that don’t stand out from each other. One of the colors is the dominant one while the others are used to enrich the scheme. The only hiccup in this scheme is deciding which vibrancy of color to use.

Calm, a meditation app, uses an analogue color scheme, with blue as the dominant color and green to enrich it. This color scheme helps making users feel relaxed and peaceful.

When provided with too many alternatives to get to the same destination (downloading your app), you end up confusing the customers.

These confusions make customers unhappy and exhausted, leading to abandonment. To avoid this mishap, limit yourself from providing too many choices. Design your app with limited alternatives so your users can arrive at clear decisions.

Human is an all-day activity tracker app. It has a clutter free interface with minimum menu options. With less number of choices to make, users find the UI extremely easy.

Wrapping Up

It’s not just the data that’s going to get you downloads—it’s about humanizing your mobile app. These psychological hacks give life to your application, resulting in a platform that’s inherently more likable and human-centric. Influencing user psyche can help you develop strong personal relationships with your users and encourage constant engagement, lasting long after the download.

 

Codal is a UX design and development agency with a focus on blending an agile process with the latest technologies. Based in the heart of Chicago, Codal has a knack for bringing out the best in every organization that they work with. With vast industry expertise, Codal has a strong team of skilled and experienced business and technical experts. Learn more at https://www.codal.com.

Protect Yourself From Scams This Tax Season

Fake Tax Preparers Are On The Hunt For Your Private Information

Written By Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified

Once again, the tax season is upon us. Many taxpayers are scrambling to get the correct paperwork together, figure out which boxes to check off on various forms, and wait with anticipation for the letter stating that their tax returns have been approved or declined. Tax preparers offer services to relieve some of the stress by calculating, filling out, and signing tax incomes on the behalf of taxpayers. Most are helpful and well-worth the investment, but some are on the hunt for uninformed taxpayers who are quick to trust. Not only are “Ghost” or fake tax preparers out for your private information, but they also wish to make as much money off of your tax returns with little care about submitting false information, leaving you to deal with the IRS and a world of headaches.

There are a number of red flags to look out for when hunting for a tax preparer. 

Red Flag 1: Avoids showing you credentials

Many phony tax preparers will have little to no professional credentials. Some will even go out of their way to create fake documents from just as fake institutes to persuade tax consumers into believing their credibility. Do not fall into this trap, and do a bit of researching before giving a stranger your private information. 

Red Flag 2: Does not have a PTIN.

A preparer without a Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN, is not legally allowed to do your taxes. If you come across a tax preparer who refuses to give you his or her PTIN or claims that he or she does not need one, chances are the person is a fake.

Red Flag 3: Fee is based on a percentage of your return. 

Another warning sign is a tax preparer’s fees fluctuating based on the size of your return. This gives phony tax preparers the incentive to mark down false information, thus wrongly increasing your return for a larger paycheck. Always ask a tax preparer’s about payment options before you agree to let him or her do your taxes.

Red Flag 4: Boasts a larger size refund

If your tax preparer tells you that they can get you a much larger refund that anyone else, this can be a red flag that your tax preparer is not on the up and up.  Typically, every preparer is dealing with the same information in terms of income and expenses and there should not be much fluctuation with regard to the size of your potential refund.

One of the best ways to prevent becoming a victim to this type of scam is by searching the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications on irs.gov. If a tax preparer’s name appears, they are legitimate. However, if his or her name is not listed, it may be safer to find someone else. Furthermore, never sign a blank return and double check that your preparer has signed all necessary documents as you are ultimately held accountable.

Justin Lavelle is the Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified, a leading source of online background checks and contact information. It allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses, property records, and criminal records in a way that’s fast, easy, and affordable. The company helps people discover, understand, and use public data in their everyday lives. https://www.beenverified.com.

Insights Network Launches Blockchain-Based Secure Data Exchange Mobile App

New INSTAR Wallet Allows Users to Securely Control and Receive Compensation For Their Personal Data and Insights

Insights Network, an EOS blockchain-based data exchange, recently launched its INSTAR Wallet mobile application. Insights Network is creating an infrastructure enabling individuals to securely own, manage and monetize their data through a unique combination of blockchain technology, smart contracts and secure multiparty computation. The launch of the INSTAR Wallet will allow users to subscribe to Insights’ partners’ bl ockchain projects and be rewarded with INSTAR tokens for their data. Over 100,000 potential users have signed up to use the app and 40,000 users have already passed their Know Your Customer (KYC) check, which means they’ll be ready to use the app as soon as it’s available.

Over the past several years, there have been a variety of notable data breaches, compromising the personal information of millions of individuals. Recently, Cambridge Analytica, a London-based data analytics firm, came under fire after allegedly exploiting the personal information of over 50 million Facebook users.

“The Cambridge Analytica scandal is a perfect demonstration of the ability of powerful entities, such as Facebook, to pawn off their users’ data at their own discretion without consent on a case by case basis,” said Brian Gallagher, CEO of Insights Network. “Under current practices, our data is being collected behind our backs for nefarious purposes and we need to move to conventions for data use that are based on transparency and consent. This is why we’re building Insights Network and offering a solution that provides users with secure storage and ownership of their personal data through a blockchain-based model for data exchange.”

On May 25, 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect across the European Union, requiring companies to comply with consumer data protection rules or risk strict penalties. The GDPR aims primarily to give consumers control over their personal data by requiring corporations to be able to provide proof of consent from each individual whose data they process. Under the GDPR, companies can face a fine of up to 10 million Euros on their first violation, and 20 million Euros on their second violation if they cannot prove consumer consent of how they are processing their data. Companies can ensure they abide by new regulations by connecting directly with consumers using the Insights Network solution.

The Insights Network solution uses secure multiparty computation to facilitate the exchange of data with Blockchain smart contracts. These contracts ensure the transfer of funds and record a proof of consent on the blockchain ledger. Insights Network user data is stored locally on the user’s device or in a distributed web format which is the new gold standard for consumer data storage and could prevent future data theft incidents.

Insights serves two types of users: those who request data, called requesters, and those who provide it, called providers. Requesters are typically organizations, but anyone can buy INSTAR tokens and use them to submit a request for data to the Insights Network. Providers are users who comply with a data request by providing data; the ones who fit a data requesters’ target demographic are compensated for their data in INSTAR tokens. This system allows for consensual data sharing and rewards those who share it.

About Insights Network

Insights Network’s EOS blockchain-based data exchange is reinventing how brands interact with consumers. Individuals will now have control over their personal information and can choose to interact with brands securely, while being financially compensated. Founded in 2017, Insights Network is automating the data brokerage industry using blockchain technology, secure multiparty computation and smart contracts. For more information, please visit www.insights.network and follow Insights on Twitter, Telegram and Medium.

First Public Demo of Etherparty’s Token and Crowdsale Contract Creator Slated For Unveiling at Token Fest 2018

Patrick Guay

Patrick Guay

Blockchain platform Etherparty will be conducting the first public demonstration of its token sale and crowdfund creation software product at this year’s Token Fest event in San Francisco, which runs March 15-16.

“Etherparty has undergone a significant re-design to make it a secure and accessible product that only requires minimal blockchain knowledge to use it,” said Etherparty Lead Developer Patrick Guay. “Our mission is to enable a connected and inclusive world through blockchain’s disruptive potential, and we’re confident our products will contribute to that goal.”

Guay will be presenting the token and crowdfund creator on the first day of the conference, on March 15, at the technology stage at 9:35 a.m. (PDT).

Token Fest is a two-day networking event focused on the business and technology of tokenization. Attendees will be exposed to a wealth of insights and information about the state of the token-based economy.

“Beyond cryptocurrency, the key to mass adoption of blockchain, and to unlocking its potential for disruptive innovation, lies in the integration of smart contracts into existing data infrastructures,” said Etherparty Vice President of Product Development Erynn Tomlinson.

“At Etherparty we are building intuitive smart contracts to bring the world onto the blockchain, catalyzing ideas that will reshape how we transact, interact, and connect for years to come.”

The full release of the token and crowdfund creation platform is slated for spring 2018. Visit etherparty.com for more information and sign-up for the Etherparty newsletter to remain up to date with news and information from the team.

About Etherparty
Etherparty is a blockchain platform working to enable a connected and inclusive world by building easy-to-use, versatile, and intuitive smart contract solutions. The first Etherparty product is a digital token and cryptocurrency crowdfund creation tool launching in spring 2018.