Blockchain Technology – The Future of Business. What Should Your Lawyer Know?

According to Joshi,[1] “Blockchain is a technology that focuses on increasing transparency and introducing decentralization that will allow the technology to enable everyone on the network to view information stored on ledgers.”

Blockchain’s cryptography feature is often misunderstood. This means that storing information on a Blockchain network is secure and not anonymous. The Ledger is un-editable and therefore the records stored in a Blockchain unalterable. From a legal perspective to various business functions, this is both vital and positive.

According to Joshi[2] and McKenna[3], Blockchain can address common business issues more efficiently in the following ways:

  1. By eliminating failure to comply with contractual obligations. As Entrepreneurs we have often faced the eventuality where parties default in terms of payment or some other obligation, this happens even when we have the best Agreement in place. Besides creating a crucial and unalterable record, the technology records activity in real time and thereby enables the other party to make sound commercial decisions quicker than we were able to do prior.
  2. By tracking stock. It is crucial in manufacturing that products reach the Distributors and End Retailers on time. However, stock is often lost or misplaced for extended periods of time, which results in losses for Manufacturers. Here, again the application of Blockchain technology could address the issue of tracking he production of stock as well as its dispatch, the logistics and end destination.
  3. By increasing transparency-in web- based businesses the application of Blockchain technology increases transparency, keeps track of the incoming and outgoing products and makes management thereof more efficient.

Moreover according to McKenna,[4] some Industries have already seen the impact of Blockchain, such as:

“Entertainment — Founded by a singer-songwriter, Ujo Music tracks musician royalties as well as allowing them to create evidence of ownership of their work.

Insurance — AIG is piloting a smart contract system to oversee the creation of complex policies requiring international cooperation.

Recruitment — Blockchain-based CVs have now been developed which will streamline the selection process by verifying candidates’ qualifications and relevant experience.”

For the Legal Profession this is an interesting time where Practitioners will have to understand the technology to the required degree in order to advise Clients on the content and processes they intend to run on a Blockchain Network. Many aspects that have traditionally been time-consuming to investigate and accurately identify in order to remedy, will be addressed by the technology.

It is therefore vital that the manner in which this is implemented is done in compliance with the relevant regulations and latest best practices.

Nicolene Schoeman-Louw, SchoemanLaw Inc, Cape Town, South Africa

Email : enquiries@schoemanlaw.co.za

Website: http://www.schoemanlaw.co.za 

Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/SchoemanLawInc/ 

Twitter: @NicoleneSL_Att and SchoemanLaw_Att

 

[1]    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-business-problems-blockchain-can-easily-solve-naveen-joshi/ : accessed 30 April 2018

[2] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-business-problems-blockchain-can-easily-solve-naveen-joshi/ : accessed 30 April 2018

[3] http://www.legalexecutiveinstitute.com/blockchain-impact-your-clients/ : accessed 30 April 2018

[4]    http://www.legalexecutiveinstitute.com/blockchain-impact-your-clients/ : accessed 30 April 2018

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CWDI Report Shows Women Hold 21.4% of Board Positions on 200 Largest Companies Globally

For the first time since Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI), the research arm of the Global Summit of Women, began examining the composition of the Boards of Directors of companies in the Fortune Global 200 listing in 2004, the percentage of women directors crossed the 20% line in new research presented at the 2018 Summit in Sydney.  The current percentage of 21.4% doubles the percentage of women directors of these global powerhouses which stood at 10.4% in 2004.

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The increase has largely been driven by European companies in the listing whose percentage of women on boards has increased from 9.1% in 2004 to 32.1% at the start of 2018.  The surge of women directors in Europe has been due to national initiatives to accelerate women’s access to board positions, primarily through quotas.  Leading the way in Europe and globally are France and Italy, both of whom have legislative quotas which moved rapidly the numbers of women appointed to board seats.  From 2004 to the present, women on boards of French companies in the Fortune Global 200 have increased from 7.2% to 43.4%, while women holding board seats of Italian companies have increased from 1.8% to 34.8%.

Lagging behind Europe are the U.S. and other countries in the Americas. Since 2004, the percentage of women board directors on the American continent has increased only 0.5% per year, from 17% in 2004 to 24.5% in 2018.  Further behind Europe, but having shown some significant increases in certain countries, is the Asia-Pacific region. While the current percentage in the region is only 7.6%, this represents a major jump from its percentage in 2004 when it was a paltry 0.9%.

The report makes the case for quotas and other national initiatives to move the needle.  “The ‘supply’ of board-ready women has been there for some time, but what quotas do is force the demand from companies within a specified timeline,” said CWDI Chair Irene Natividad.  “That’s why they are effective.”

For more key findings from the CWDI report, click here.                                               
For a Wall Street Journal news article on the CWDI Report, click here.

The Encore – Chubb: Social Engineering Fraud

As an employer, you seek smart, helpful, and trusting people with which to grow your business.

Unfortunately, this means you or one of your employees may be more susceptible to being targeted and tricked into releasing confidential information that could be used to hack into the company’s network by someone who has manipulated them into helping them commit fraud–otherwise known as social engineering fraud.

Think this couldn’t happen at your company?  Think again. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complain Center (IC3)*, exposed losses for U.S. companies totaled more than $960.7 million, and more than $3 billion worldwide between October 2013 and May 2016, through a social-engineering fraud called the business e-mail compromise. Victims ranged from small businesses to large corporations.

Chubb shares that by becoming more aware of the different types of encounters that could be socially engineered, as well as practical tips and preventative measures, you can make sure employees within your company are never unwittingly helping the wrong person.

*Source: FBI Public Service Announcement, June 14, 2016

Huffpost: Women Entrepreneurs Shape A Social Media Path

By: Jeremy Harris Lipschultz

The social media space is perfect for female entrepreneurs to use innovation in marketplace change. Amra and Elma Beganovich and their a & e digital marketing agency in New York, for example, have leveraged millions of followers in the beauty and travel social media area.

Founder Elma Beganovich and her sister mastered Google, Instagram and YouTube by identifying targeted Millennial audiences and offering quality content.

Beganovich was on a securities and financial regulation career path at Georgetown Law when taking photos of herself and posting them changed everything. As an early adopter in 2012 of Instagram and then Facebook pages, she and Amra (trained as an economist), began with low-cost do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty recipes and tips. The idea was to disrupt traditional lifestyle publications, such as Vogue magazine. “Most consumers don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in skin care, or millions of dollars in plastic surgery,” Beganovich says. The sisters also took time to learn computer coding, as they built a website. Bloggers helped attract more than 100,000 unique visitors in the first three months. Topics, such as ‘travel to Croatia on a budget,’ helped build a following and celebrity status by using video and remarkable photography. “Even those ‘vanity metrics’… you can essentially monetize,” Beganovich says. Brands also evaluate an influencer’s “healthy engagement” through comments and likes. Lifestyle influencers may target clothing as one way to attract brand interest. A “really clever” influencer develops an “online persona” to attract a target demographic, Beganovich says. The combination of mobile technologies and social media data has freed women entrepreneurs from the traditional boardroom and office, Beganovich says. The sisters completed a 2014 programming course, and they developed proprietary agency software.

“The software allows you to do a very quick search based on filters in Instagram and YouTube – so, for example, location, following number, and keywords (our main filters) – and so brands are able to quickly find the influencers they want to see.”

Beganovich says the launch this month of an influencer analytics platform is their next step. One strategy for clients is to match influencers with upcoming brand events. “They can quickly… get to those influencers, find them (rather than doing it manually), and then… “click on the influencers’ profile, and you’re able to see the engagement rate.”

A Millennial is likely to begin shopping on Instagram rather than at an upscale store. “We make them ‘explode digitally’…your digital footprint has become everything,” Beganovich says. “Basically, Instagram has become your store.”

“So, yeah, we are sort of matchmakers” between brands and social media influencers, Beganovich agrees.

Data Science

In Miami, Formulated.by Founder Anna Anisin’s boutique marketing firm incorporates data science in her entrepreneurship focused on digital and face-to-face experiences. “We specialize on servicing B2B enterprise clients,” Anisin says.

There remain a host of data problems, “so there’s a lot of opportunity still to be had in this market,” Anisin says. “The biggest thing right now is marketing and social media texts and segments… basically, taking all of your data… scraping data.” At the Data Science Salon in Los Angeles last month, media companies examined current issues.

New algorithms and models help social marketers dive “into those conversations and… patterns (what people are saying about your products)” because negative sentiment may adversely impact sales for large and small brands alike, Anisin says. At the same time, Anisin warns against falling for marketing buzzwords. In the end, the key techniques remain text mining and sentiment analysis, and human coders continue to have an edge over artificial intelligence (AI). “Contextual marketing,” Anisin says determines, “the right time to give you that ad, so it’s relevant.” Brand relationships imply the need for a steady stream of great content, as defined by social media communities. Media, such as Netflix, are at the cutting edge of developing predictive analytics through granular data. It’s no easy task.

“I don’t think everybody is meant to be an entrepreneur,” Anisin says. “You have to figure out if that’s really you… first, before you go out there and try to start a business.”

Despite the risks in new business development, many traditional companies also will fail in the ongoing digital shift. They could, however, learn to be agile by listening to a new generation of women entrepreneurs.

Forbes: 15 Ways To Start A Conversation At A Conference (Without Feeling Weird)

By: Darrah Brustein

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To your left, there’s a group of people talking in a tightly closed circle. Directly ahead of you, you see a smattering of people glued to their phones. To your right, there’s a line waiting to talk to the previous speaker. And there’s you: standing alone at a conference, feeling anxious because this event has an expiration date, knowing you “need to network”, but understandably feeling uncomfortable.

We’ve all been there. In a room full of people, but feeling really alone. It’s as if everyone else has no qualms talking to new people, but that’s rarely the case. While for some this might be their natural habitat, for most it’s not. They’ve simply learned strategies to overcome this challenge. And now, so can you.

Here are 15 of the best ways to start a conversation at a conference (without feeling weird or awkward):

1. Relax, everyone is there to connect

Easier said than done, right? It can really be that straightforward. Before you walk into the event, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that everyone is there to connect with new people, and that you’re doing them a favor by initiating a conversation.If it takes your saying something positive to yourself to pump yourself up, do it.

2. Talk to the person seated beside you

Fight the urge to get on your mobile device when you arrive at a session and take a seat. Instead, sit next to or near enough to someone who is alone and turn to talk to them. Ask them topical questions like, “Are you familiar with this speaker?”, or “I’m looking forward to _____ about this upcoming session. What compelled you to choose it?” Or, when the speaker has wrapped, say something like, “I really enjoyed that! What did you take away?”. Always keep it positive.

When it comes time to eat, do the same and broaden your questions to ask something like, “What’s been one of your favorite talks of the event so far?”. It will allow for your conversation partner to share, and give you a window into what matters to them, and from there, go deeper into the conversation.

3. Approach someone who asked a great question

Most of the crowd will do one of two things once a session ends: 1. exit or 2. form a line trying to talk to the speaker. Take this opportunity to connect with someone who asked a great question, or to approach the moderator if he or she said something that sparked your interest. In both cases, you’ll have a starting point for the conversation, which can even be as simple as, “I really loved that question you asked.”

4.  Ask a question yourself

Flip the script and know that if you ask a thoughtful question during a Q&A, others will likely resonate with and/or appreciate it. One or two may approach you throughout the conference and connect because of it. Making yourself more visible within a large crowd can be a useful strategy.

5. Pay attention to your body language

It’s understandable that when we’re uncomfortable, we tend to close off a bit, and our body language shows it. We cross our arms, fold into ourselves, and look away from people’ gazes. Be careful to showcase body language that is inviting rather than off-putting.

6. Hang out near the food or drink areas

Most people will take a moment to grab a refreshment. And often, you can say hello and connect with them when they’re grabbing a fruit plate or a drink.

7. Bathroom conversations don’t have to be off-limits

I’ve heard compelling stories from friends who have made some of their best new contacts simply by starting a light conversation while washing their hands or in line for the bathroom. Take advantage of these moments, too.

8. Sit in the lobby

If you have a conference badge or name tag on, hang out in the lobby of the hotel or convention center if you’re not interested in going to another session. Many folks will go there to work, take a call, or a breather. Finding a lower-key environment can allow for a less distracted conversation.

9. Don’t scan everyone’s badges

It can be creepy to be the person who doesn’t make eye contact, but instead, scans everyone badges looking for your target. If you want to do your research, look for a listing of attendees and do so before the event. If you happen upon said person, you can demonstrate that you know a bit about them and/or their company so long as you can play it cool and they feel comfortable, not targeted.

10. Get introduced

If there’s someone specific whom you’d like to meet, and for whatever reason, you feel uncomfortable approaching him or her, find a wingperson. Ideally, this is someone who knows that person, or has interacted with him or her. This person is in a position to be able to say, “Have you met my friend?” and create an opening for you.

11. Set up appointments

In the case of some conferences, you’ll get a list of attendees beforehand, or access to an app to which attendees subscribe. If there are people with whom you’d like to connect to collaborate (never to sell them something), reach out beforehand and ask if they’d like to connect one-on-one.

12. Utilize pre-planned networking time

Most conferences will organize happy hours or other designated time for ‘networking’. Everyone will be there to mix and mingle, so take advantage.

13. Post up

This one may be vulnerable, but I suggest finding a place where you can stand, perhaps with a coffee at a highboy table, and just be there (with no one else and nothing distracting you). When someone comes within eyesight, nod, smile, and make eye contact. Or better yet, say hello. Put yourself in a physical position to wrangle in new conversations.

14. Be open to everyone

Be friendly and open to everyone you encounter, whether it’s the person manning the bar, moving the chairs, or otherwise. Not only is it good practice, but you never know who might see you, what you might glean from that interaction, to whom they’re connected, or simply how much that might make their day.

15. Be yourself

There’s no way I can encourage you to start conversations with strangers without reminding you of the importance of being yourself. It may be tempting to try to be who you think someone else is looking to meet, but that won’t last. Even if it means you don’t truly connect with everyone, that’s okay. Ask questions and respond in ways that are authentic to who you are. Follow up and stay in touch with those with whom you connected, as yourself.

The whole point of these initial conversations in a manufactured conference environment is to grow them after the event ends. Doing that inauthentically from the start will do you, and them, no favors.

The Encore – AVIS: Commit to Being Prepared – Driver and Vehicle

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Have you ever reached for the gear shift on the steering column when in actuality it was on the center console? When you rent a vehicle in the course of doing business, it requires focus, attention and preparation every time.

 

Driver:

  • Be mentally ready to drive.
  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Look around before putting the vehicle in gear. Know what’s in front, beside and behind you.
  • Pedestrians come first – Yield!
  • Upon arrival, put the vehicles in park. Turn vehicle off and don’t forget the keys.
  • Be physically ready to drive.
  • Taking allergy, cold or other meds? Know how they can affect driving so you can plan ahead.
  • 90% of a driver’s reaction time depends on vision. When did you last have yours checked?
  • Passengers are ready and wearing a seatbelt.

Vehicle:

  • Doors closed.
  • Trunk and hood closed.
  • Put on your seatbelt. Any seat – every time.
  • Adjust seat.
  • Locate wipers, turn signals, all gauges, window controls and temperature control.
  • Adjust mirrors.

TIME: 10 Powerful Women on How #MeToo Has Changed the Fight for Equal Pay

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By JENNIFER CALFAS

The last year has proven to be a transformational one for women in the workplace.

Starting last October, women (and men) in industries around the country began coming forward with stories of sexual harassment and and assault in the workplace following a slew of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein — driving greater awareness to the #MeToo movement and creating initiatives like Time’s Up. Now, companies are scrambling to clear house of employees who have used their power to sexually harass or assault their colleagues — and, in some cases, have replaced the ousted men with women.

But dismissing bad eggs doesn’t fix the culture that enabled them. On Equal Pay Day 2018, which falls on April 10, women still earned $0.80 on the dollar compared to their male counterparts — and that pay gap is more pronounced for women of color. Executives and workplace leaders cite power as the key dynamic that can lead to the sexual harassment and targeting of employees — and money, as some say, is power.

Debra Lee

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Network

On how barrier-breaking women can help solve the wage gap: I think younger women are expecting more. I look at my 24-year-old daughter, and she grew up in a different time than I did, so she saw the steps I was able to make and the accomplishments that I was able to do. But she also has her own expectation of what women should be in the workplace. I think each generation is a little bit more demanding in terms of work-life balance or how they were treated in the workplace. I look at my mother’s generation and, well, she had to work. My sister’s generation, they made a decision between work and being a mother. My generation, I think was the first that said, ‘Hey, we can do both. We can be mothers, and be married, and have families and have careers.’ I just can’t imagine what this next generation’s going to do because they’re so much more self-confident. I just have really high hopes for them, that they’re going to really set this world on fire. Because of all of these things they’ve seen happening, they’re just not going to let it happen anymore. When you think of the number of women who have been quiet through #MeToo moments, and now all of sudden people have the courage to speak out? Well, hopefully this will be a signal to all of our daughters that you never have to take anything like this again. I’m optimistic that each generation gets a little bit more equal and we’ve got to keep moving the ball down the court, and hopefully there won’t be any setbacks.

On her work for Time’s Up on creating more diverse board rooms: The board is the starting point for having women especially be seen as an important part of a company. It’s a statement to the shareholders, it’s a statement to employees and executives at the company, that the company is committed to women’s advancement.

On the importance of elevating the voices of women of color: We have to include the voices of women of color. I think with the #MeToo movement, it was important to go back and say, ‘Now wait a moment, this black woman came up this term 10 years ago.’

You don’t want young people feeling like if you look a certain way or if you come from a certain place, your issues are going to be taken more seriously. All of these issues are important, and as you said, with women of color making less than white women, that’s an issue we should talk about . We should have the voices of a diverse group of people. Just like all of the other issues, it’s just really important to make sure we hear from different kinds of people.

Patty McCord

Author and former Netflix chief talent officer

On how female-dominated departments can fix the wage gap: What are the three typically most-female dominated in a company? Sales and marketing, finance and HR. I say: Fix pay? We own it. We’re in charge of our destiny. Find your power, and do something about this. It’s called writing checks. I think pay is so fundamental, and, you know, everything else gets very nuanced.

On how #MeToo and #TimesUp have empowered women to demand equal pay: I tell people, look, I’m about to get all shrill on you. I’m going to be aggressive. I’m going to be assertive. I’m going to be bossy. I’m going to be a nasty woman. I’m going to persist. Because I’ve had it. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to the soft stuff, I don’t. But we gotta fix pay. Right? You’re going to feel a hell of a lot more powerful, and a hell of a lot stronger, and a hell of a lot more able to stand up for yourself when you’re paid fairly. Right? And then the search for equality is about that: equality.

On knowing your worth: Understanding your worth — what your worth — is a really important financial decision that all of us should be thinking about and not just being passively waiting for it. It’s more about getting information and data to help inform you about what you’re worth, because you’re worth what somebody else will pay you to do what it is you know how to do. It’s a market. It really is a market system in most places, but it’s not if you’re inside of a corporation with a fixed compensation scheme that traps you inside of it. For example, if you go out and interview — which is one of the ways I recommend you find out what you’re worth, and a good exercise to do anyway — it keeps you limber. It’s a skill you should keep up.

Claudia Mirza

CEO and co-founder of Akorbi, a global language translation company

On the importance of having diverse boardrooms: You need to be really thoughtful about diversity in the boardroom. Boardrooms do not necessarily have a lot of diversity in them, so I would say in order to promote equal pay and equal opportunity to women at work, it goes more than that. The diversity of the boardroom is extremely critical, but also diversity in the executive level. I remember that I was the only woman at work in the executive team, and really the executive team was not that exciting. We were working and everything, but the moment we added a woman to the room, we realized it really changed.

On how #MeToo and #TimesUp show a company’s strength is in its principles: It goes back to the foundation of a business. Going back to diverse boardrooms, where women are involved and women and male are equally — and also, community, and diversity, people with disabilities — we have the opportunity to hear their equal perspective. But also creating the right avenues for people to report them[...] You have to create different avenues and workflows for people to be able to report irregular activities.

On the power of teaching negotiation strategies early on: Negotiation has a technique, and we cannot be victims of negotiation tactics in order to evaluate the value of ourselves. It is important for us as women to understand how to value ourselves and bring those negotiation tactics, and that’s by building that. We need to teach our girls to be bold, to not to think they are less than a man and empower them from childhood to believe that everything is possible.

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