Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tips to Avoid Post-holiday Burnouts

With holiday season around the corner, we are all looking forward to time off to relax and rejuvenate. However, coming back to the office post break could be a toll for both our physical and mental health. It is not uncommon to feel exhausted and unmotivated after a break from work.  To dissipate these feelings, check out some of these tips below to avoid the post-holiday burnout this season!      

1. Eliminate burdens:
While the holidays are a time to wind down and relax, spare some time to take care of personal business at home. Prior to the start of the holiday, avoid over scheduling upon your return. Do not inflate other’s expectation of what you can deliver. Overestimating your capabilities would only lead to a let-down for all parties involved. 

2. Reset internal clock:
For most, it is incredibly difficult to snap back into work mode immediately. In order to avoid missing your dreaded morning alarm on the first day of work post-holiday, consider going easy on your schedule on the last few days of your holiday break. Adjust your bedtime hours to your usual work week schedule to ease your internal clock for an easier transition; this is especially important if you have traveled abroad during your holiday!

3. Ease back into things:
Upon returning to the office, it is important to prioritize your tasks and schedule accordingly. It is also helpful to take regular breaks throughout the day. Continuous working could in fact result in less productivity as exhaustion can hinder our judgment and perspective.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Japan's Lesson of Responsibility

More than two decades ago, schools in Japan began carrying unicycles under the request of the Ministry. While one might confuse an elementary school playground with an amateur circus, it is in fact the country’s effort in instilling a sense of independence and responsibility in children. 

In an educations system where there are virtually no janitors, students are taught to be self-sufficient from a young age. Similarly with unicycles, students are responsible for tire maintenance and stowing away unicycles after use. Children receive almost no formal instructions and are left to learn on their own. A blend of fun and grit, kids are encouraged to take on challenges despite rocky paths to success.  It is said that the government hopes to replicate realities of modern life through training, promoting confidence and independence in their young citizens.

Consistently ranked as one of the best education system in the world, it seems like this unique method of teaching is sure paying off. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Astounding Growth of Snapchat

When the photo and video messaging app first debuted, it was shrouded in controversy. Three years later, it has created a brand new way of communication and has become one of the most popular social media platforms.

Although the app received a less than enthusiastic response among Spiegel's college peers at Stanford, it began spreading like wildfire when the newcomer successfully targeted three major growth motivators. In the age of hyper connectivity, many new users learned about the app through word of mouth before even downloading the app. Whether they took part in a group selfie or saw friends using the app, many
prospective users have experienced it in some way or another. Another integral part of the company's growth is attributed to our ever decreasing attention span. Knowing that the message will disappear quickly, the app fuels curiosity and demands undivided attention from users. Lastly, the company has successfully targeted the teenage market by creating a sense of privacy through the self-destructing nature of the content. Leaving no evidence for the rest of the world, they can comfortably communicate with peers without the worries of parental control and intervention.

While it is unclear whether Snapchat's growth is sustainable in the long run, there is no doubt that it will retain its huge fan base in the near future. Although security breach is not completely avoidable, the app offers an exclusive experience that none of its social media predecessors can provide.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yet Another Milestone for Google Translate

Notorious for its embarrassingly inaccurate translation, Google Translate has taken a huge leap in its recent upgrade. Utilizing the neural system, the software now translates based on a sentences’ context, as opposed to phrase-based algorithms translations in the past. This technology, which made its debut a few days ago has been made available to languages such as English, Chinese, Spanish, French and German.

Take for example, a German quote from Albert Einstein was previously translated as “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that they have arisen.” With neural machine translation, the improved version becomes “Problems can never be solved with the same way of thinking that caused them.” As seen, it produces a much more fluent result with proper grammar usage.
Since its release, the improvement has received an overwhelmingly positive response from users all over the world. As of now, the translation app only offers eight language pairs. In the future, Google hopes to eventually roll Neural Machine Translation out to all 103 languages. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work

Maintaining and enhancing productivity in the workplace is not an easy task. Check out some of the concepts below to mitigate factors that dampen efficiency.

1. Employee recognition:
  • Employees are more motivated when they feel valued. Lack of appreciation could hinder participation and lead to sub par performance. However, be sure to not give overly vague recognition to prevent from coming across as insincere.

2. Set clear measurable goals:
  • This goes hand in hand with transparency at a workplace. Communicating openly will prevent misunderstandings and promote cohesive team work.

3. Use technology responsibly:
  • Technology no doubt increases productivity in a workplace. However, there is a thin line between increasing efficiency and over consumption. 

4. Provide training/ skills development:
  • Aside from having a great understanding of their own role within the organization, every employee should be familiar with the company culture and expectations. Employees should be encouraged to seek challenge and not stay stagnant in order to keep abreast with the latest trends and innovations.

5. Communicate effectively:
  • Communication is one of the most important aspects of operating a business. Be conscientious about email usage and take advantage of platforms and applications available to enhance internal communication. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Vietnam Facts

1. The country's name was originally spelled as two words, Viet Nam.
2. The star on the flag represent farmers, workers, intellectuals, youth and soldiers and the red background pays tribute to the bloodshed during wars.
3. The famed Bin Chau Hotsprings are hot enough to boil eggs.
4. Vietnam is home to the world's largest cave, Son Doong.
5. Vietnam is also home to the Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. The country is one of the biggest producers of cashew nuts in the world.
7. Vietnam is also the world's second largest coffee-producing nation after Brazil.
8. Motorbikers are the most common form of transportation.
9. Pho is the most popular food in Vietnam after rice.
10. Despite being a developing country, it has a literacy rate of 94%

Monday, November 14, 2016

Doing the Unconventional

At age 11, he taught himself how to code. At age 15, he dropped out of high school with the support of his parents. Now at 30, David Karp is the Founder and CEO of the billion dollar empire, Tumblr.

Launched in February 2007, Tumblr is a short-form blogging platform, somewhere in between Twitter, Facebook and Wordpress. Aimed to create a space to publish content for those who don’t enjoy or have the leisure for conventional forms of blogging, Tumblr allows users to curate pictures, videos and texts in one single place. Offering users endless ways to personalize their online home, it soon attracted a huge fan base of those who wanted to express their creativity. However, Tumblr has not always been smooth sailing. Set on escaping the traditional investor-funded model, the start-up experienced user growth rapidly yet struggled to scale up due to a lack of investors. Immediately after selling 25% of his company during the first round of funding, Karp went from being able to see everyone’s computer screen in its New York office to now having a two floor workspace with over 393 employees.

Despite being one of the most successful technology firms, Karp is relaxed about the company’s growth. Tumblr held off from being acquired by media firms until 2013, when it reached an agreement with Yahoo for $1.1 billion in cash. Determined to not follow the predictable path of a start-up company, , Karp has remained CEO and the company is unlikely to relocate to the West Coast in the interest of retaining their start-up spirit. From a technology firm that lacked a traditional business model to now a network with big name users such as President Obama, Tumblr is truly a story of doing the unconventional.