Instagram Is Starting to Take Payments—But Not for Products Just Yet

Facebook’s Instagram app has in the last couple years become more than just a photo-sharing platform—it’s increasingly becoming a place for commerce, too.

Instagram already lets brands effectively put storefronts on the platform, where users can click on the items they like—at least, those with “shoppable tags”—and get taken through to the brand’s website to make a purchase. But now, Instagram appears to be working on ways to accept payments through Instagram itself.

As reported by TechCrunch, the Instagram payment system—already visible to some users in the U.S. and U.K.—is starting in the field of booking appointments and making reservations.

There’s a limited set of initial partners, one of which is Resy, a dinner reservation service. Later this year, it will apparently become possible to book movie tickets through Instagram, too.

The obvious future for this functionality is to meld it with Instagram’s shoppable tags. It’s not here yet, but Instagram would be setting the stage for it by getting its users’ payment data. As TechCrunch points out, advertisers may spend more money on Instagram if they know conversions can take place with as little friction as possible.

Other social and messaging platforms are also getting into payments, although mostly on a peer-to-peer basis rather than for commerce: see Facebook Messenger and Snapchat for examples. China is way ahead on this front, with Tencent’s WeChat already serving as an e-commerce platform.

The Change Management Field Needs to Change, Before it's Disrupted

It’s no secret the world is changing – fast. That’s why over 60% of all executives now believe disruption will hit their industries hard in the next year. It doesn’t matter the industry – management consulting, financial services, education. Everyone’s at risk.

This is exactly why I recently outlined why “organizational lag” is every company’s biggest competitive threat.

We hear the mantras: The only constant is change. People don’t resist change, they resist being changed. Change before you have to.  Blah, blah, blah.

The problem is that most big companies – and even smaller ones – can’t keep up. They just can’t move fast enough.

Enter the field of change management.

Change management has been around for decades, with its origins in the 1960’s – when the world moved at a snail’s pace as compared to today. The problem is that most change models are based on old school thinking, tools, and techniques.

No wonder 70% of all change efforts fail. Change needs to happen in days and weeks, not months and years.

Five Fatal Flaws of the Change Management Field
 

Here are five underlying assumptions of the change management field that I believe account for the failure of most change programs:
 

1. Change is a Linear Process

Most change management frameworks assume that the process of change is linear. Models that use “adoption curves” or “7 steps” typically neglect opportunities for revisiting goals and strategies based on the learning that occurs from the process of implementing the change itself. Moving fast requires creating feedback loops so you can adjust as needed based on what you see and experience – not by following a step by step approach with little flexibility. Like Design Thinking process, it may be useful to jump back to a previous step and do it over based on what’s been learned.

2. Change Programs Have Clear End-States

Most traditional change management programs focus on assessing the current state, defining a desired end state, and then bridging the gaps between the two via a gap analysis. Many change models define “from-to” strategies as well – the organization needs to move from the current state to a pre-defined future state. Regardless of what you call it, the ideal future is defined at the start of the change process and everything done from that point on hammers it home. But what if things change in the meantime? The world is changing at a mile a minute due to disruptive technology shifts, changing customer needs, and competitors arising out of nowhere. Change processes that myopically focus on a pre-defined future risk having that future disrupted before it arrives.

3. Change Comes from the Top

There’s a paradox when it comes to change. Leadership is necessary, but it’s not sufficient. It’s not enough for leaders to paint a picture of “burning platforms” or big visions of the future. Employees take cues from peers as much as leaders. Traditional change management strategies focus on finding sponsors at the top and creating cascading communication plans. In today’s world, change comes from the bottom and sides as much as the top.

4. Change is an Initiative

Most corporate change management initiatives are just that: projects that last for a pre-defined period of time. But the fact of change is that change never ends. That’s the reality of life, and business is no exception. When change is approached as a project, program, or initiative, it undermines the notion that the organization must continually adapt and respond to its dynamic external environment. Sure, there might be specific technology projects to implement or training programs to deliver. Organizations that jump from one initiative to the next risk losing the aptitude to create a culture of continuous learning and change.

5. Change is an Internal Push versus an External Pull

Most change management professionals say that “change starts at the top.” That’s the problem. Change should start with the customer. Many change programs lack a direct line of sight to customer problems, needs, pain points, and challenges. Without an anchoring in the ultimate value of the change for those being served (and paying the bills), change programs risk becoming change for change’s sake. When people have a clear sense of why the change is happening – from the customer’s perspective – resistance decreases and motivation to accelerate the change increases.

Just about every industry today faces a level of unpredictability unseen in the past. Here are four rules for change revolutionaries in the today’s disruptive environment:

Don’t Manage Change. Lead Innovation –

Apply the principles of innovation to the change process.  Gain insight into internal or external “customer” needs and problems. Test ideas. Iterate.

Don’t Proliferate Change Initiatives. Go After Strategic Goals –

Rally people around meaningful business goals that make a strategic difference. Frame projects and initiatives as supporting business strategy, not change itself.

Don’t Just Start at the Top. Engage the Bottom and Sides –

Involve people in determining what needs to change and why in the first place. Promote grassroots innovation. Enlist a cross-section of the organization in championing meaningful change from the beginning.

Don’t Just Change. Create an Agile Organization –

Reinforce the importance of continuous learning and adaptation through communication and storytelling. Make changes in the organization, but build people’s skills for change itself as part of the process through empowering them to uncover customer problems to solve (internal or external customers), run pilots, experiment, and innovate.

The concept of “managing change” is fast becoming an oxymoron. Innovating the future of change management means embracing innovation as a natural part of the change process.

90 Percent of Interviewers Would Disqualify a Job Candidate for This 1 Reason

With so many job interview how-to guides out there, you’d think we’d all be nailing them by now. A new survey from recruiting solutions company JazzHR, however, shows that candidates still are making employers all over the country do face palms with a few key interview mistakes.

The 7 biggest deal breakers hiring managers can’t stand to see

Among the you-should-know-better-by-now blunders, JazzHR’s survey of more than 500 hiring professionals across the country found that

86 percent of interviewers won’t consider candidates not authorized to work in the country. These employers know unauthorized workers can have great skills they need. But the legal ramifications–for example, fines, the loss of a business license or even jail–usually aren’t worth the risk for most companies.

81 percent of respondents agree that badmouthing a previous employer or employers is bad news. Mature candidates don’t badmouth old bosses or companies because take responsibility for their own part in events. Even if the employer truly was at fault, hiring managers still want you to “be the better (wo)man” and show that you’ve grown and learned from what happened. They know that if you talk badly about an old employer, you probably wouldn’t hesitate to do it to them, too, and they’ll draw the line at risking their hard-earned reputation.

8 out of 10 people would not hire a candidate with visibly bad hygiene. This is a turnoff for hiring managers for the same reason you wouldn’t want a dirty Tinder date. The underlying message is that you don’t care about yourself, others or your work enough. Even if you could prove this isn’t the case, employers aren’t going to want others to get that initial impression from you.

76 percent of respondents would show a candidate the door if they appeared arrogant. Bosses need to know you’re able to respect their authority and the contributions from others on the team, not your own ego. They also need to know you’re humble enough to be willing to learn and take responsibility for mistakes.

71 percent of hirers wouldn’t hire a person who missed the dress code memo. Yes, hoodie-loving Mark Zuckerberg and others like him are making leaders cut employees some slack when it comes to attire. Even so, appearances still count in first impressions, and employers want to see someone polished. Your best bet when in doubt? Look at what others in the company wear ahead of time and match it.

Now, consider these last two points carefully:

90 percent of respondents wouldn’t hire someone who lied on their resume. We get it. The market’s tough, so you feel like you’ve got to play hardball. But lies don’t build the trust employers need to give you great projects, job security and the perks you’re after. 

90 percent of people would disqualify a candidate if they simply touched their phones. Attention on the interviewer, people. That’s all there is to this one. Turn your device off and put it away.

Did you catch it? 

Tech–or rather the distractions it causes–is now just as reviled during the interview process as fibbing. I’ll give you a moment to let that one sink in. 

What’s not going to cost you

83 percent of respondents say that ‘thank you’ notes are obsolete and would not disqualify a candidate that didn’t send one post-interview. This might be because the daily business pace is so frantic, making it hard to look at “extra” correspondence. But tech probably has changed things, too, giving candidates other ways to show appreciation on a larger scale.

82 percent of prospective hirers see visible tattoos as totally acceptable. This might be one area where companies have become more open-minded about diversity, particularly considering how so many businesses now are stressing expression, authenticity and creativity. Distracted, disrespectful candidates aren’t tolerated, but those who show individuality are.

56 percent would still give someone a job if they didn’t ask any questions of their own. This might be because interviewers know questions might be slim if you’ve done an incredible job getting details ahead of the interview and seamlessly weave them into the conversation. Interviewers also might be considering that your primary objective has to be making the case for your skills and experience in a limited amount of time. 

53 percent of respondents said they’d still hire a candidate who was late or who had to reschedule. This isn’t to say hiring managers love to be inconvenienced–the fact that 47 percent of interviewers would give you the boot is worth pause. You should give your all to schedule the interview for a time when you think the odds of potential problems are slim to none. It’s merely to say that most interviewers understand that life–you know, getting sick or having car trouble, for instance–happens. 

Why are we still making the goofs?

Allie Kelly, JazzHR’s VP of Marketing, says that some of the difficulty comes from generational conflicts. Today’s candidates simply have different priorities about what they need and want for work-life balance, which is creating some clashes and shifting what leaders value in their company culture. But she acknowledges personal responsibility, too.

“It all comes down to preparation and discipline. The candidates who are genuinely interested and want to prove their value are the ones who will take the time to research and show how they can fit into the bigger picture. [The candidates] going into the interview with the right amount of confidence, humility and knowledge are the ones who typically get it right.”

Understanding that it’s ultimately up to you to ace your interview, Kelly says there are only three things to do for success:

1. Do your research. Yes, you should have basic information about the company and their values in your head. But you should also know who you’ll be interviewing with. Make it personal and truly seek to connect. “Look up their LinkedIn profiles. Know what roles they’ve held and start to brainstorm how you could potentially work together.. If you aren’t provided with an [interviewer name] list, ask for one. Come prepared with thoughtful, relevant questions that will give you a better idea of what the role will entail.”

2. Practice! Practicing using the research you’ve done, Kelly says, develops the confidence you need to set aside interview jitters. Do some mock interviews with your friends or family members to get your talking points in line, and dress the part regardless of the role you’re trying to nab.

3. Know who you are. “It’s important to take a candid look at your strengths and weaknesses prior to any interview. You should know your story–what major contributions you’ve made in past roles, challenges you’ve had to overcome, and most importantly, your results. Being able to articulate these key attributes and align them to your potential employer’s organization will give you a big leg up amongst the competition.”

Buying a Tesla? Don't Count on That $7,500 Tax Credit

This afternoon, Elon Musk will get on the phone with Tesla’s investors. He will field their questions about Model 3 production numbers, cash flow, the possibility of profitability, maybe even where he sleeps. And perhaps someone will ask him the question he has never answered: How many cars, exactly, has Tesla sold in the United States?

With all the problems Tesla is wrangling—chief among them a long struggle through “production hell”—a regional breakdown of sales figures (something Tesla has never provided) may seem irrelevant. But it might also prove vital to this young company’s future. Whenever Tesla sells its 200,000th vehicle on American shores, it loses a valuable tool: the $7,500 tax credit the federal government gives to anyone who buys an electric car.

The timing—Tesla has already confirmed it will hit the 200,000 mark sometime in 2018—is unfortunate. After years of selling luxury cars, Tesla has shifted its focus to the Model 3, a $35,000 sedan aimed at buyers for whom an extra $7,500 might make a major difference. And now, buyers interested in swapping gasoline for electricity have more choices than ever, thanks to an influx of EVs from Jaguar, Volkswagen, Porsche, Ford, Volvo’s Polestar, and others, all of which will still qualify for the federal free money.

General Motors, too, is approaching the 200,000 threshold, after a few years of selling cars like the Chevy Bolt EV and plug-in hybrid Volt. The Detroit giant hasn’t said when it will top out, but it’s going to happen sooner or later. History says this could be a problem. When Georgia abruptly axed a $5,000 tax credit for electric car buyers (to go with the federal money), in July 2015, sales fell 90 percent.

The tax credit came to life in 2008, as part of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act, a tool to close the price gap between EVs and cheaper gasoline cars. Come April 15, anyone who bought a new electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle that year, with a battery of a certain size, gets to take $7,500 off the amount they owe the federal government.

When the sales clock hits 200,000, the tax credit doesn’t make like Cinderella’s chariot. Every car Tesla sells for the rest of that quarter, and the following quarter, qualifies its buyer for the full $7,500. For the following six months, the rebate drops by half, to $3,750. For the six months after that, it halves again, to $1,875. Then it goes away altogether. So depending on how many Model 3s Tesla can crank out in the next year, it can ensure at least some of its customers enjoy a bit of federal largesse.

If they’re being clever, the automakers will make sure they sell that inauspicious car at just the right time. If Tesla hits the number of June 30, at the end of the second quarter, then buyers of its cars only have until the end of September to secure the full credit. If it makes the sale on July 1, buyers enjoy the $7,500 until the end of the year. No surprise, then, that Tesla forums are full of speculation that Musk is delaying some US sales by inviting Model 3 reservation holders in Canada to go ahead and make their purchase official.

Electric vehicle advocates and manufacturers, meanwhile, would like the feds to ease up on the 200,000 limit. “We feel tax credits should be expanded so our customers continue to receive the benefit going forward,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a speech in March. Some have proposed including a cap on income, or on the price of a vehicle, so that all the money doesn’t end up back in the pockets of the wealthiest car buyers. But given that President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is working to slash fuel efficiency standards, more money for green cars seems unlikely.

In retrospect, the program may have given away too much, too soon. “The incentives which are most successful early on are those that offer time, convenience, access, and privilege,” says longtime electric vehicle advocate Chelsea Sexton. Things like carpool lane access, reserved parking, and the ego of going eco are more likely to sway the wealthy car buyers going for a Tesla Model S, or Cadillac ELR. The credit should have been saved for the price-sensitive mass market buyers.

Even early buyers of cheaper cars like the Nissan Leaf were probably buying because to soothe their environmental consciences, not to count pennies or cut gas bills. That’s not to say all these buyers didn’t gratefully take the credit, of course. And the money helped out people leasing cars like the VW e-Golf and Fiat 500e— where the credit would be factored in, and used to offer super low monthly rates.

Even without the credit, though, Tesla shouldn’t have a problem drumming up sales. It never has. Going forward, buyers looking for batteries may well be happy to pay a premium to get a Model 3 instead of a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt. “That’s not unlike what people have done for Apple for years,” says Sexton. Tesla has also used its head start in this market to build an international network of roadside charging stations, something other manufacturers are still working out partnerships to provide.

As EV sales steadily rise, one automaker after another will have to learn to sell its vehicles without emphasizing the federal give-back. “It’s important for them to start building in different values to their marketing now,” says Sexton. Electric cars are clean, fast, and fun. They don’t need to be sold as the cheap alternative. Musk, after all, has long said his goal is to build not the best electric car in the world, but the best car, full stop. As long as he can keep the things coming off the assembly line, what’s one more hurdle to clear?

Tesla vs. the World

F8 2018: Facebook Needs to Stop Bad VR Apps Before They Start

Facebook really, really wants you to give VR a go–no pun intended. That’s the message the company communicated yesterday during day one of F8, its annual developers conference in San Jose, California. The F8 keynote was filled with assurances that VR headsets like the new Oculus Go won’t create a barrier between you and the people around you. Instead, the company believes that wearing a face computer will be even more social, because you’ll be playing games, taking meetings, and video chatting with friends and family.

And since the apps that have already been created for Samsung’s Oculus-based Gear headset can be ported over to the Oculus Go headset, there are already more than a thousand apps available for the new $200 Oculus Go. What else do you need at this point in order to embrace VR?

For one, maybe a little reassurance that VR apps–as well as AR apps–are being designed with user privacy and reasonable data-sharing practices in mind. Facebook still needs to prove that it’s thinking about new technologies in a way that ensures they won’t become the next obvious frontier for abuse, misinformation, or even election interference. As the company’s primary platform has swelled to more than two billion users, it’s been riddled with false news, hate speech, and bad apps, due in part to Facebook’s own lack of due diligence during growth phases.

Facebook’s Oculus VR user base is still minuscule by comparison–according to one research firm, 1.8 million Oculus Go devices are expected to sell this year–but if Go becomes the great VR democratizer that Facebook is hoping it will be, then the new headset is introducing a new kind of app and a new kind of app store to a whole new subset of Facebook users.

Facebook’s executives in VR and AR say they have learned some lessons from the early days of Facebook, and that the company is trying to “ensure a very high quality of platform against misinformation or against bad actors,” according to AR/VR executive Andrew Bosworth. But Bosworth, known as “Boz,” also said in an interview with WIRED that he believes Facebook’s AR and VR app platforms are still too nascent to have serious abuse problems.

Facebook-owned Oculus utilizes its own app platform, separate from Facebook, Messenger, or the other apps that Facebook owns. You don’t need a Facebook account to sign up for Oculus, and linking your Oculus account to your Facebook account is optional, as WIRED’s Peter Rubin points out in his review of the headset. Go has its own app store, and many of the mobile VR apps that are front and center right now are highly recognizable brands or titles: Netflix, Hulu, NatGeo, Minecraft, The Last Jedi.

There are also only around a thousand apps right now, which means each app is reviewed manually, according to Bosworth. “It’s a manageable number of applications,” he says, “and you can just look at every one of them and make sure there’s nothing in there that’s untoward.”

Reality Check

In a pre-emptive move, ahead of changes that could be enforced when Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect, Oculus published an update to its privacy policies two weeks ago. The update highlighted the addition of a privacy control center for users and clarified the kinds of information Oculus, and in some cases Facebook, collects about Oculus users. It also divulged the kinds of data that Oculus app makers have access to: the real-time position of your headset and controllers, your Friend List, and the boundaries of the physical space where you’re using Oculus. “We periodically audit our systems to determine if there’s evidence of nefarious activity,” the post reads, “and we take action accordingly.”

In other words: it doesn’t read all that different from Facebook’s privacy policies and settings on its core app or other apps. Especially when you consider the periodic audits; Facebook’s own privacy audit in 2017 didn’t catch the Cambridge Analytica data caper. As VR gets more sophisticated, and as standalone VR headsets get better at profile-building and positional tracking (like the kind promised with Oculus’s “Santa Cruz” headset), it’s enough to make any non-early-adopter wary about the volume and granularity of data that’s being collected.

But Bosworth insists it “couldn’t be a better time, in terms of the public conversation, to build new platforms, because you can benefit from having observed all of the issues that can come as your platform grows and succeeds.” He cites examples of tools in Oculus that “allow people to either express or not express their identity as they see fit,” such as using a realistic avatar when using Facebook Spaces with friends, but exercising the option to be more opaque about who you are if you’re playing games against strangers.

A spokesperson for Oculus also said that the company has been working on an Abuse and Prevention API that’s being tested by a few app developers right now, and that will become more widely available later this year.

Still, Bosworth acknowledges there’s more work to be done in terms of the kind of privacy and safety tools that need to be offered, both to consumers and to developers in VR. Right now, the Oculus platform is still primarily experienced through the apps being built for mobile platforms, along with some PC apps for the Oculus Rift. That’s going to change if standalone VR really does take off. “As we go forward, I think there’s a much richer set of tools that we can provide to app developers,” Bosworth says, “so that within apps, there’s an additional layer of safety and security.”


More on Facebook Privacy

Tomorrow's jobs require impressing a bot with quick thinking

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Andrew Chamberlain started in his job four years ago in the research group at jobs website Glassdoor.com, he worked in a programming language called Stata. Then it was R. Then Python. Then PySpark.

FILE PHOTO: Job seekers line up at TechFair in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Monica Almeida/File Photo

“My dad was a commercial printer and did the same thing for 30 years. I have to continually stay on stuff,” said Chamberlain, who is now the chief economist for the site.

Chamberlain already has one of the jobs of the future – a perpetually changing, shifting universe of work that requires employees to be critical thinkers and fast on their feet. Even those training for a specific field, from plumbing to aerospace engineering, need to be nimble enough to constantly learn new technologies and apply their skills on the fly.

When companies recruit new workers, particularly for entry-level jobs, they are not necessarily looking for knowledge of certain software. They are looking for what most consider soft skills: problem solving, effective communication and leadership. They also want candidates who show a willingness to keep learning new skills.

“The human being’s role in the workplace is less to do repetitive things all the time and more to do the non-repetitive tasks that bring new kinds of value,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce in the United States.

So while specializing in a specialized STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field can seem like an easy path to a lucrative first job, employers are telling colleges: You are producing engineers, but they do not have the skills we need.

It is “algorithmic thinking” rather than the algorithm itself that is relevant, said Carnevale.

FINDING GEMS

Out in the field, Marie Artim is looking for potential. As vice president of talent acquisition for car rental firm Enterprise Holdings Inc, she sets out to hire about 8,500 young people every year for a management training program, an enormous undertaking that has her searching college campuses across the country.

Artim started in the training program herself, 26 years ago, as did the Enterprise chief executive, and that is how she gets the attention of young adults and their parents who scoff at a future of renting cars.

According to Artim, the biggest deficit in the millennial generation is autonomous decision-making. They are used to being structured and “syllabused,” she said.

FILE PHOTO: A poster showing a Mars lander is seen at a job recruiting booth for SpaceX at TechFair in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Monica Almeida/File Photo

To get students ready, some colleges, and even high schools, are working on building critical thinking skills.

For three weeks in January at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, students either get jobs or go on trips, which gives them a better sense of what they might do in the future.

At Texas State University in San Marcos, meanwhile, students can take a marketable-skills master class series.

One key area hones in on case studies that companies are using increasingly to weed out prospects. This means being able to answer hypothetical questions based on a common scenario the employer faces, and showing leadership skills in those scenarios.

The career office at the university also focuses on interview skills. Today, that means teaching kids more than just writing an effective resume and showing up in smart clothes. They have to learn how to perform best on video and phone interviews, and how to navigate gamification and artificial intelligence bots that many companies are now using in the recruiting process.

Norma Guerra Gaier, director of career services at Texas State, said her son just recently got a job and not until the final step did he even have a phone interview.

“He had to solve a couple of problems on a tech system, and was graded on that. He didn’t even interface with a human being,” Guerra Gaier said.

When companies hire at great volume, they try to balance the technology and face-to-face interactions, said Heidi Soltis-Berner, evolving workforce talent leader at financial services firm Deloitte.

Increasingly, Soltis-Berner does not know exactly what those new hires will be doing when they arrive, other that what business division they will be serving.

“We build flexibility into that because we know each year there are new skills,” she said.

Reporting by Beth Pinsker, Editing by Lauren Young and Rosalba O’Brien