Jessica Zhao is an Enterprise Account Manager at General Assembly charged with coordinating between the client and GA team to create a custom lesson for every program. Read more to discover what her job entails, and how these masterful programs come together.
A company enters a market, releases a new product and makes tens of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, a stand-up comedian walks on stage, opens her mouth and brings an audience to tears. So, who has the harder job, the stand-up comedian or the company CEO? Who has more to lose? Is it scarier being in front of 500 people and dying on stage, or releasing a product that dies in the market?
Companies are sort of like sharks. Just as sharks must keep moving to avoid death, companies must keep growing. But large, well-established corporations often find it difficult to grow organically under an existing business model. Corporations are less nimble than startups, and more averse to risk. Because of reputation and shareholder expectation, they lack the ability to “pivot” the business when a product or idea is not working out as planned.
How can large corporations focus on product innovation in the same way that startups do? Through corporate entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship.
If I think about the most amazing experiences in my life, becoming a mom is definitely one of them. I’ve had a complete shift in perspective going from being the child of a parent to the parent of a child. Becoming a parent changes your life in so many profound and fundamental ways: your ability to love, your capacity to give unconditionally, your belief in the wonders of life, your willingness to function on almost no sleep.
As a new mom every moment is precious. I have millions of brand new problems that I need solutions for, so if you can give me solutions that will save me time and energy, I want to know you and hold on tight.
Emily Witko is the Online Engagement Manager for General Assembly Enterprise. She executes engagement strategies for GA’s enterprise level training platform, “The Essentials of Digital Marketing.”
When it comes to online learning, one of the toughest challenges is ensuring that your employee base remains active and engaged in completing online lessons over extended periods of time. Engagement is one of the top metrics for illustrating the success of an online training program for obvious reasons — launching an online training solution that doesn’t get used by your employees is a significant waste of budget and may increase skepticism towards the effectiveness of future training solutions. So how can organizations provide online training that is both informative and engaging over time?
Gary Schuman is a consulting psychologist and President of CDL Consulting, Inc. He has worked with a variety of influential organizations & CEOs including Apple, Fidelity Investments, JP Morgan/Chase, MBS Equity Partners, Viacom, NYSE, and more. At General Assembly, Gary teaches and facilitates Digital Immersion Training Programs for executive leadership teams. Gary recently sat with us to tell us more about his passion for leadership training and what he does at General Assembly.
Today’s digital world moves at a million miles an hour. As a result, teams that are slow to respond to incoming information due to organizational constraints stand to miss out on large opportunities for engaging their customer base. On the other hand, for corporate teams that are quick and agile, this spells opportunity. Smaller, agile teams are often at an advantage when it comes to responding to the needs, interests, and concerns of their customers.
Matt LeMay is a Senior Product Manager at Songza and former Head of Consumer Product at Bitly. He teaches regularly at General Assembly on topics related to product management, big data, and APIs. In this post, Matt describes how you can better understand the digital world, even if you don’t consider yourself technically savvy.
As a product manager, I spend a lot of time trying to understand what people want. The technical folks I work with are never shy to give me their opinions about what we should build, how we should build it, and why. But the feedback that truly makes or breaks a product often comes direct from its users; from the people who are invested not in how a product is made but rather in what it is (and if) it works.
General Assembly recently hosted a conversation with Scott Kirsner, columnist for The Boston Globe, and Faisal Masud, EVP of eCommerce for Staples, to discuss the evolution of the retail industry through today’s digital age.
The discussion provided exciting insight into the future of Staples, in addition to the retail industry as a whole, as they reinvent their business to adapt to the digital age.
While the conversation yielded several thought provoking insights, a few distinct highlights stood out as particularly significant for large retail business operating in the digital age. Here are a few highlights, distilled by Anand Chopra-McGowan, our Head of Enterprise New Markets.
1. On ‘Customer Centricity’: While the “omnichannel” buzzword is now omnipresent in retail, Staples is working to move away from the “channel” as the organizing principle, and think only about what the customer needs and wants. This may seem simply semantic, but represents a significant change for Staples.
2. On Physical Stores vs. Online: Retail store locations expanded too quickly in years past – adding stores that simply couldn’t see enough volume to be profitable. While many Staples stores do very well, there are a number of regions where it makes more sense to drive customers to for Staples.com instead
3. On Recruiting Engineers: Digital talent acquisition is extremely significant and it is exceedingly difficult to get talented developers and technologists out to Staples headquarters in Framingham MA. Through acquisitions and its own “labs” groups, Staples now offers career opportunities in Seattle, San Mateo, and Cambridge.
4. On Advertising & Branding: Faisal’s mindset is no different from his former leader at Amazon Jeff Bezos – if the customer experience is stellar, you won’t have to spend money on advertising. According to Faisal, marketing spending at Amazon early on was diverted to providing lower cost or free shipping, with the expectation that having such a positive experience will build loyalty and word-of-mouth growth. That said, Faisal admitted that Staples needs to do a better job of promoting some of its lesser known services, like same-day delivery and price-matching.
Faisal’s remarks highlight an important theme we focus on in many of our educational programs at General Assembly – the concept of customer centricity. In an ever-changing business environment one of the few constants for large companies is the customer experience. Understanding how customers want to use your product or service is one of the strongest and simplest ways to design business strategy, regardless of the medium or channel that may be popular at the time.