Day: September 11, 2018

Twilio’s contact center products just got more analytical with Ytica acquisition

Twilio, a company best known for supplying a communications APIs for developers has a product called Twilio Flex for building sophisticated customer service applications on top of Twilio’s APIs. Today, it announced it was acquiring Ytica (pronounced Why-tica) to provide an operational and analytical layer on top of the customer service solution.

The companies would not discuss the purchase price, but Twilio indicated it does not expect the acquisition to have a material impact on its “results, operations or financial condition.” In other words, it probably didn’t cost much.

Ytica, which is based in Prague, has actually been a partner with Twilio for some time, so coming together in this fashion really made a lot of sense, especially as Twilio has been developing Flex.

Twilio Flex is an app platform for contact centers, which offers a full stack of applications and allows users to deliver customer support over multiple channels, Al Cook, general manager of Twilio Flex explained. “Flex deploys like SaaS, but because it’s built on top of APIs, you can reach in and change how Flex works,” he said. That is very appealing, especially for larger operations looking for a flexible, cloud-based solution without the baggage of on-prem legacy products.

What the product was lacking, however, was a native way to manage customer service representatives from within the application, and understand through analytics and dashboards, how well or poorly the team was doing. Having that ability to measure the effectiveness of the team becomes even more critical the larger the group becomes, and Cook indicated some Flex users are managing enormous groups with 10,000-20,000 employees.

Ytica provides a way to measure the performance of customer service staff, allowing management to monitor and intervene and coach when necessary. “It made so much sense to join together as one team. They have huge experience in the contact center, and a similar philosophy to build something customizable and programmable in the cloud,” Cook said.

While Ytica works with other vendors beyond Twilio, CEO Simon Vostrý says that they will continue to support those customers, even as they join the Twilio family. “We can run Flex and can continue to run this separately. We have customers running on other SaaS platforms, and we will continue to support them,” he said.

The company will remain in Prague and become a Twilio satellite office. All 14 employees are expected to join the Twilio team and Cook says plans are already in the works to expand the Prague team.

Live from Apple’s 2018 iPhone event

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It’s time for some new iPhones.

Apple is set to reveal its iPhone lineup for 2018 at an event at its Cupertino, California, headquarters on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The event begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, and Apple will be live-streaming the keynote on its website and, for the first time, on Twitter. Mashable Tech Editor Pete Pachal and Senior Tech Correspondent Raymond Wong will be at the event, and you can follow their live updates right here.

While the devices Apple reveals on Wednesday will be new, they’ll be familiar — all rumors point to three new iPhones, all based on the iPhone X design, complete with edge-to-edge design, Face ID unlocking, and the so-called “notch.” Also expected: a new Apple Watch design with a slightly bigger screen, an upgraded version of AirPods, and possibly even refreshed iPads and a new entry-level laptop to replace the aging MacBook Air. Read more…

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Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves

Ice freezing offices. Social media. YouTube. Fantasy football leagues. There is one thing all of them have in common – they are all primary suspects for causing your productivity at work to plummet. Even the top-level CEOs fall under temptation to watch the latest cat video uploaded on YouTube. The difference is, they found a way to overcome these bad habits with some simple hacks and tricks.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” –Paul J. Meyer.

Your environment cannot always be controlled, but you can control what you get accomplished. In addition to that, you can always learn from others, mimic their behavior, and discover how they get things done more efficiently. Certainly, there are some easy ways to accomplish more, like turning off your smartphone or blocking access to YouTube.

However, these are all small things that wouldn’t get you far enough. There are far better ways to become the best version of yourself at work. And the best thing is that you can learn these productivity skills by following the good examples of some of the world’s most successful people.

Below are some productivity secrets top-level CEOs swear on.

Develop the growth mindset

You should never be satisfied with where you and your company are right now. You should know that there is always room for improvement in every area. There is always a better and faster way of doing something.

Elon Musk once said: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

And that is growth mindset at its finest.

This skill separates successful people from everyone else.

When your mind is trained in such a way, you know that anything is achievable as long as you put enough effort into it. And if by any means you fail, don’t take it too personally. Instead, approach the problem from a different angle until you get it right.

Use technology for productivity, not for the distraction

use technology

We bet that now you are saying: “What are they talking about? In the beginning, they said that technology is credited the most for all the distractions at work.”

Well, yes and no.

Technology can be of great help and top-level CEOs know that. There are plenty of mobile apps that can make their lives a lot easier and stress-free, especially for the ones who travel a lot. Business apps allow them to stay productive and work from wherever they are. They can basically bring their whole offices with them through a device that fits perfectly into their pockets.

Therefore, we decided to share with you one very interesting interactive infographic created by the people from Cometdocs. It will show you what mobile apps can completely and effortlessly replace traditional office equipment. Just click on the blue dots in order to find out what mobile app replaces the selected office element.

See Also: 5 Top Technology Trends That Will Shape 2018

Schedule your day around when your brain is at its finest

What we mean by this is you should schedule your day around when your brain is at the peak of its power. Postpone all brainless and unimportant activities until it is fatigued.

First of all, there is one question you have to give a precise answer to: “When is my brain at its peak power?”

Let’s say it is from 7 to 11 a.m.

During that period, you should only focus on your most challenging tasks. Your schedule should be blocked off so you could have as little distractions as possible.

What about after 11 a.m.?

Well, continue with your everyday work, respond to emails, do those charts or call people back.

Basically, your mornings or whenever your concentration is at its best should be kept for important stuff and that time should be non-negotiable. Only afterward should you start dealing with your everyday work.

By following this little hack, you will achieve in 6 months what other people wouldn’t achieve in 2 years!

Set limits for everything, meetings, emails, tasks, you name it

set limits

There is no time for wasting time – see what we did there?

Previously, we talked about how you should plan your day around according to your level of concentration. And now, we will let you know how you should manage your everyday work aside from those prime time hours.

Top level CEOs know how to make the most out of every minute and that is easily achievable by limiting your everyday tasks.

For example, you could limit your meetings to 1 hour, 20 minutes for presentation and 40 minutes for the discussion. Nothing less and nothing more.

Or you could set the limit for the length of the emails you send. That way, you could respond to every work-related email you get and save time because you are keeping the responses short. Basically, every task can be limited in some way and you should definitely take advantage of it.

Replace “but” with “and”

Whenever you say “but” in a conversation, you are indicating that everything that you said before the “but” is not relevant. People are subconsciously trained to immediately forget everything you said before the “but”.

For example, someone may say: “I completely agree with everything you said and did, BUT here is what I think.” Have you felt it? Like your brain is preparing to fight.

Replacing “but” with “and” completely changes the tonality and dynamic of communication and this really works. People feel more appreciated and are likely to be open-minded to new ideas and suggestions when you approach them this way. Try it the next time you want to suggest something, you won’t regret it.

Final thoughts

You may try all of these productivity secrets at once or one tip at the time. The case is, all of the top level CEOs focus on doing several things really well each day rather than doing a hundred things poorly.

We truly hope you enjoyed reading this article and we would love to hear about the hacks you use to stay productive in the comments below.

The post Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Chipmaker Renesas goes deeper into autonomous vehicles with $6.7B acquisition

Japan-based semiconductor firm Renesas — one of the world’s largest supplier of chips for the automotive industry — is scooping up U.S. chip company IDT in a $6.7 billion deal that increases its focus on self-driving technology.

Renesas produces microprocessor and circuits that power devices, and automotive is its core focus. It is second only to NXP on supply, and more than half of its revenue comes from automotive. IDT, meanwhile, includes power management and memory among its products, which focus on wireless networks and the converting and storing of data. Those are two areas that are increasingly important with the growth of connected devices and particularly vehicles which demand high levels of data streaming and interaction.

The acquisition of IDT — which is being made a 29.5 percent on its share price — is set to expand Renesas’ expertise on autonomous vehicles. The firm said it would also broaden its business into the “data economy” space, such as robotics, data centers and other types of connected devices.

Renesas has already demoed self-driving car tech, which puts it into direct competition with the likes of Intel . Last year, the firm paid $3.2 billion to buy up Intersil, which develops technology for controlling battery voltage in hybrid and electric vehicles, and IDT deal pushes it further in that direction.

“There’s little overlap between their product portfolios, so it’s a strategically sound move for Renesas. But it does seem like the price is a little high,” said Bloomberg analyst Masahiro Wakasugi.

The IDT deal has been on the table for a couple of weeks after Renesas first revealed its interest in an acquisition last month. It is expected to close in the first half of 2019 following relevant approvals.

Nicki Minaj’s ‘Barbie Dreams’ video features a hefty amount of… puppets?

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Nicki Minaj’s latest video is the last place we thought we’d find a whole bunch of puppets, but here we are.

The rapper’s new Hype Williams-directed video clip for “Barbie Dreams” from her recently released album, Queen, features an exorbitant amount of costume changes and enough puppet characters to rival The Happytime Murders.

As if Minaj’s tongue-in-cheek naming and shaming famous male artists like Drake and 50 Cent wasn’t enough in the lyrics, you might recognise a few of Minaj’s puppet pals, with versions of Lil Wayne and DJ Khalid popping up in the clip.

It’s not really the first time puppets have appeared in a Minaj video, with her video for “Barbie Tingz” released in May seeing the rapper suspended as a marionette. Read more…

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