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How to Use Valentine's Day For Your Business


Key Lesson: Every holiday presents an opportunity to grow your business.

Key Action Point: Take a minute to think about 2 holidays you like and plan ahead to make it fun for you, your team, and your customers.


Heart day is fast approaching and while some brands are already experts at using this day to increase their sales, you might think your brand or services cannot afford jumping onto that bandwagon. I am here to say you are wrong and that it is the little things, like Valentine’s day, that can help you inspire loyalty from your customers (and your employees).

Small and quick marketing campaigns work great for Valentine’s Day, mostly because they allow you to connect over something everyone knows and craves: love.

Go Old School. Send your customers Valentine cards. Most brands are going to be using their digital platforms to send their message across, which is why sending out something physical will make you stand out from everyone else. While most people will be getting emails they are not even going to open, getting a card will definitely come as a welcomed surprise.

Give back. Valentine’s day is about love and that doesn’t necessarily need to mean romantic love. A fantastic way to gain credit with your local community and also, pun intended, spread the love is by choosing a way that allows you and your customers to do some good. Either by donating a small percentage of each bill to a local charity or asking them to contribute in some way that works for you and your business.

It’s all about partnering up. You can find ways to partner up with another business to offer exclusive deals and both of you can benefit by getting new clients form a business that is not in direct competition. This can work with physical businesses as well as online ones.

Notifications. If you already have an app, please make sure you incorporate it into your marketing efforts by creating a small push notification that either reminds your customers about the deals you have for the day, or just to wish them a happy day with those they love. Do not overdo it as it can get annoying for customers.

Last call. While some people may be planning what they are going to do on Valentine’s Day weeks in advance, some people will forget about it entirely. So, find a way to make your business the savior of the day.

Self Love. Not everyone has a partner to cuddle up with this day, so make sure you don’t alienate your single customers. Instead, offer them a chance to also treat themselves to make them not hate this day so much.

Be extra thoughtful of your existing customers. While getting new customers is always a must, make sure you give special treatment to your existing and loyal customers by offering something exclusive to them. Be more thoughtful about what you might offer them. Instead of a simple coupon meant to lure new customers in, offer them a bundle of products or services that makes them feel extra special by being loyal to you.

Remember, holidays can be an amazing way for you to connect with your customers and to humanize your brand, so be sure to use them in a creative way. They are already here and happening, so why not make the best of it?

Further Reading:



If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help



What is 5g?: A Business Person's Guide


Key Lesson: 5G is a new revolution in the speed of mobile business and leisure

Key Action Point: consider how you might change your activities once you have mobile internet like your high speed home network connection


The Cellular Evolution

Cell phone networks work by using distributed cellular radio towers to act as “nodes” so that your phone can communicate over long distance, much like the millions of internet nodes act as intermediaries for messages streaming through the cables that connect us all together. Originally, cell phone signals used analog radio, more or less like radio waves that we used to listen to on our AM or FM transistor radios as gen-X kids. But analog signals are easily distorted and have no means to confirm their accuracy through error-checking, whereas digital signals fix these problems. Digital cellular signal types included CDMA and GSM, many of us early cell phone adopters recall these standards, and that phones on these networks did not always work when we travelled into areas not covered by the protocol we had. With digital modes came the ability to send digital information, and to use cell phones as wireless modems. Speeds were still very slow, so sending more than an email was tedious, and large files not even worth it. Of course, phones were still not yet “smart” and no one was zipping photos or dank memes through the ether, much less live video calls.

Next came 3G, which got us to 200 kilobytes per second, still not quite up to live video speeds, and then 4G brought us a near-revolution because suddenly we could send large files, stream low def video, and essentially do much of our work from our now laptop-quality phones (and phablets, countermanding the previously expected trend of ever-smaller phones). Coverage areas for 4G systems like LTE now include most cities worldwide, and it’s increasingly hard to find 3G phones that work most places. 2G coverage is disappearing and eventually, to stay in touch, everyone will need to consider getting at least a 4G phone.

Revolutionary speeds!

5G technologies are not just faster, but more flexible for carriers. They will bring home-speed internet quality to mobile networks and no doubt continue to allow us to evolve the ways we work. 5G actually comes in three versions for now, providing the flexibility for carriers to use bands that are available and uncluttered, but also involving some uncertainty about its speeds depending upon those choices. When you send densely-packet digital signals full of information over more than 1 kilometer, you start to need to compromise speed. Cell networks using the fastest of the three 5G bands need to pack their cell towers densely in order to maintain the very fast speeds that make 5G so revolutionary. This means that for suburban and rural customers, experiencing the blazing speeds of 5G will be a longtime coming yet. There are now upwards of 50 US cities that have some 5G coverage, but most of the country remains uncovered and will for a while.

Is it here yet?

Most phone manufacturers have not release 5G phones in the US market yet either, waiting until market demand due to networks actually being available begins to make the costs of market entry worthwhile. While many apps exist on our phones now that could happily chew through faster speeds, many expect the new technologies to drive the creation of new apps meeting market demands we haven’t even anticipated. Ideas ranging from live telemedicine, streaming games, augmented reality, or even new forms of film-making and journalism all powered by 5G devices are all on the table. Most anticipate that greater, faster connectivity means an even more mobile workforce, perhaps significantly altering the ways we work, sell, trade, and interact with our friends and families.

Autonomous vehicles, like driverless cars, will benefit from 5G, as will the “internet of things” (IoT) in which an increasing number of non-cellphone types of devices will be always connected to the internet. Freed from ethernet cables and wi-fi, IoT devices can interact with networks, provide greater awareness and interactivity, and free us to develop any number of new types of business and personal activities in an increasingly mobile world. Combined with artificial intelligence technologies, IoT networks of autonomous robotic devices will bring the flexibility of the interconnected world of the internet to every streetcorner.

Is it safe?

As with many new technologies, there are concerns about the safety of 5G networks. These concerns are not without grounding. Even radio towers, professional and amateur (like HAM radios) emit radiation that can harm you. When radio waves emanate from or are absorbed by an antenna, they create a charge. Never touch a powerful antenna because you can get burned. Cell towers are no different. Your cell phone’s transmissions aren’t enough to burn you, but the cell towers that receive and then rebroadcast signals can emit high powered radiation. Fortunately, unless you live with one in your bedroom, the dangers from that radiation are extremely minimal. Radiation dissipates according to Isaac Newton’s Inverse Square Law, making the chances of harms almost nil once one is a comfortable distance from a cell tower, like on the ground below the tower, rather than perched on the tower itself.

Making 5G work for your business

For most businesses the best way for you to take advantage of this next-gen tech is to upgrade your marketing and consumer connection. For example, blazing speeds mean more data more quickly, which means we can expect almost ubiquitous use of mobile devices for engagement with your brand and business. Bottom line: you will have an opportunity to position yourself ahead of your competition by ensuring your website, ads, and other customer facing content are built with mobile devices in mind. For other businesses - especially those with a sales force - training your team or customers via video conferencing will actually work and be a reliable method. In fact, there’s a good chance that training and education will occur in VR, fully immersive formats to give learners a more tactile learning experience. Finally, the faster speeds will allow companies to implement more complex cryptographic means of data security, which means more complexity in the backend and less complexity for the end user (think end of passwords, seamless screen passing between devices, etc) - be sure you’re consulting with experts to learn how you can incorporate this advantages into your current projects to avoid high upgrade charges in the future. With speed and data size no longer barriers, what you do to better serve your clients and customers is really only bounded by the limits of your imagination!

While 5G is still on its way, it will be here and rapidly spreading by the second half of 2020, with more availability, more devices, and as-yet untested new possibilities to improve and augment our business, leisure, and lives. It will be interesting to see where it leads!

Further Reading:



How M|M Developers can help:

We focus on partnerships with clients, building strong foundations of understanding along each step of the process of creating an online friendly business.

Let's Connect



Do you Have Your Employees' Loyalty?


Key Lesson: Review if your company is doing all it can to provide an environment with little stress that produces positive emotions and inspires loyalty in your employees.

Key Action Point: Check your employees welfare and ask them how can you be a better boss or a better company.


An employee’s sense of loyalty is not something that the person you hire is bound to have, or is required to have once they start working for you. It is one thing to feel grateful for an opportunity; it is a completely different thing to feel loyalty for a company. That is right, you the employer need to gain, work for, and maintain the loyalty of your employees. It is something that is earned.

We can define employees’ loyalty as a feeling of devotion towards the company. It comes from a belief that their contribution to it matters and that they, as individuals, matter to the company as well. It is all based in emotion. It increases when there are positive emotions around the company and the work that they do, and it decreases when there are negative emotions attached to it.

“But I already have to work for the loyalty of my customers. Now I also have to work to gain the loyalty of the people I pay?! Outrageous,” You say. Well… yeah. Sorry. But it is what it is.
Just as your customers have a ton of other options, your employees kinda do too. People are complex, emotional creatures.

Here we have gathered a short list of the little things that increase positive emotions around a job and a company, as an easy survey to fully understand if you are earning your employees’ loyalty or ...not.

Employees are not machines. See, employees are people, and like everyone else, they have their own thoughts and ideas. Companies that allow employees to be in control of their work hours or how they do that work have a 31% lower turnover rate than those companies that don’t listen and just give out orders to be followed.

Employees don’t like jerks. People don’t like people who are jerks, and even less so, a jerk boss. Or someone who enjoys abusing his or her power over other people. The reality is that people don’t quit jobs, they quit abusive bosses, because it is hard to be loyal to a company that tolerates people that make a habit of being jerks.

Employees enjoy showing what they do, when what they do matters. Everyone in the world wants to feel like what they are doing is meaningful. That it matters. That it is creating a difference or some good in the world. Times are changing and more and more people are caring about issues that we didn’t used to think about before. When a company has it in their ability to care about these issues or even give back to their own community; that makes an employee feel better about their own contribution that makes those things possible.

Employees want to feel safe. It’s hard to believe that we have to put this on our list. There are just so many cases of companies that have had their brand damaged because of reports of unfair wages, discrimation, abuse, unsafe facilities and so forth. So, do take into consideration that employees are like any other person you know, and they want to feel safe in the place they spend most of their day.

Employees have expenses. Pay what’s fair. Even if some employees lack the negotiation skills of some of their peers. Or God forbid, you are paying someone less because of their gender, that’s a huge no-no.

In conclusion: Employees are people. And people, in general, like to be treated with respect. Your employees are not a liability or an expense; they are people who are working to make your company a success. Treat them how you want them to treat the company.

Further Reading:



If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help



Will Your Business Survive 2020?


Key Lesson: Understand your most important technology allies for the next decade.

Key Action Point: Review your website as if you're a customer; does it feel modern?


As a business owner, if you have fallen on hard times, sometimes you are just looking to survive. But, what if I told you that you can actually thrive by making small smart changes in certain areas? What if I told you that your business has the potential to provide a better service and product than the big corporations?
Not sold yet? Of the 10 most valuable companies in the world 7 are tech companies, and 100% are data-driven. We have prepared a small list of certain elements you need to consider if you want to make it into the new decade as a thriving small business.

Killer Website. Your business needs a website, maybe you already have one, but is it a killer website? Is it the type of website that will convince your client that you are their best choice by just looking at it? Is it the type of website that inspires trust and communicates professionalism and experience?

Mobile phones are your friend. Okay so maybe you do have a killer website that inspires all kinds of fuzzy feelings in your clients. But, when you open a link on your phone is it still that killer website on desktop, or do things get complicated? Everything your company does needs to be mobile-friendly because people are spending much more time on their phones than on their computers.

Custom Software. A business needs to be efficient. Period. And having endless Excel documents that make everything more complicated isn’t efficient anymore. Nor is having a paper-based system. Custom software can help you do so much more with so much less. It allows you to answer and address your pain points -- anything you feel isn’t working -- and adapt in ways that work for you and the company.

Social Media. We know you hate it, but social media can be a huge asset for your company if you learn how to use it right. It allows you to validate and humanize who you are, and also to address who your customers are when they buy from you.

Apps. Social Media is a great way to connect with your customers, but the only way to be actually on their phones and get their full attention is by sending them notifications directly to their screens through apps. Apps are also a great way to keep connected as a company and build loyalty within your business.

In sum. These 5 technological aspects are the first of a long list we believe essential to making sure your business stays relevant throughout the next decade. We are sure that as the years go by, many more will appear. Some will become irrelevant and others will become more important than others. But our job in Magic Mirror is to give you, the small business owner, every technological advantage the world has at your disposal in order to make your days easier and more profitable. With technology evolving as it is, we spenc every hour of our days to make sure your business thrives.

Further Reading:



If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help



Are Clouds Safe and Do I Need One?


Key Lesson: Cloud services are essential to modern online business

Key Action Point: Evaluate your services for whether clouds can be used, and how to use them securely


Most of us grew up saving our files on floppy disks, then hard disks (some of us remember cassette tape drives!) and found ourselves slowly, over time, depending on “cloud” storage accounts.
First with emails, when the numbers started piling up, choosing to use Gmail or other cloud email services with large capacities, and then eventually taking it for granted. No longer were we fully in control of our data, and increasingly, your work, even when it seems local, has some form of cloud backup. It sounds ethereal, like something you need not worry about. “Don’t worry, it’s in the Cloud.” So, are clouds safe, can I use them for more than my Gmail or other email service? Will I increase my risk of getting hacked?

What is “The Cloud”?:

Clouds are networked storage systems, simply. But they can also serve as virtual computers, servers1 that do more than store, but rather act upon information, compute, and fulfill any of the functions of the desktop or laptop you use every day. When you pay for web hosting services, as most of us do when we create websites (though you could, technically, serve a website from your stand-alone computer), website hosts run these sites via cloud services. Because the computing is done via clouds, replicating the functions of a computer via “virtual” machines, duplicating the data and processes is quick and inexpensive, so that a “computer crash” is unlikely to bring down the site. This is true also for web “services,” which are behind most of the sites you use, running programs that fulfill customer needs, even while all we tend to see is the user interface. Thousands of businesses pay Google, Amazon, and Microsoft to use their cloud computing and hosting platforms, meaning they can save the costs of hardware for running complex computer code, or even simple websites. Because of the decreasing cost of storage and computing in clouds, they can be highly cost-effective for moving business processes online without investing in new machines.

A cloud, like the internet itself, uses the distribution of resources to avoid downtime and help to secure data and processes, but like the internet it presents us with some new vulnerabilities. Thieves who would have had to break into your house to take your floppy disks to see what was on them now need not leave their homes to access insecure data via the internet. The same is true for data and programs running in the cloud.

1 What is a Server? (1 minute video) Quick Answer: a computer that is linked to other similar "computers" with the ability to do stuff on those other "computers." To highlight a difference: if you want a file from your friend's computer you have to wait for your friend to give you the file (email, airdrop, Google Docs, etc.). However, if a server wanted a file from another server it can access it 'directly'. This is a rough, but effective analogy.

Out of Your Hands:

The benefits of clouds, including their robustness against failures, come with some risks. Connection to the internet means that, theoretically, anyone can find a way to try to access your data, software, accounts, etc. There have been some alarming publicly-disclosed cases of breaches for major cloud-based tools, notably the Yahoo email breach, reported in 2016 but committed in 2014. Yahoo eventually admitted that all of its nearly 3 billion accounts had been affected, and the cause was failing to update security protocols that would have made it harder to crack encrypted passwords. The Yahoo lesson hit home, mostly, and most cloud providers are quite secure, only breached generally through failure to properly protect login info, and not generally through high-powered, hardcore hacking (see how to avoid phishing attacks in the "further reading" section below). Your information is only as safe as those you entrust it to keep it. No provider is totally safe (here is a list of breaches over time), and there are things you can do to protect your data and services in the cloud, including always using two-factor (2FA) identification and notifications so you can help prevent and catch breaches before they harm you.

Cloudy, With a Chance of Disruption:

Clouds are basically unavoidable if you are going to do business in the 21st Century, and at some point you will need to embrace them. Because of their distribution, relative security, and overall integrity, they can help you spin up new businesses online with a minimum amount of costs, and in relative safety.

Further Reading:



How M|M Developers can help:

We focus on partnerships with clients, building strong foundations of understanding along each step of the process of creating an online friendly business.

Let's Connect



Should I Put My Business Online?


Key Lesson: Strategic use of the online world pays dividends

Key Action Point: Look for inefficiencies in your business and decide if they can be solved with improved communication or interconnectivity…


We are 25 years into the internet revolution and many businesses are still not taking advantage of the efficiencies and opportunities that the internet gives us. Most of us are familiar with the need to have a web site, and many realize that the website can incorporate some features of every-day commerce, but to what extent is it possible to move most if not all of one’s business activities online and more-or-less do away with the need for physical office space and infrastructure, or at least cut my costs significantly?
While it largely depends on the type of business you run, there are many options for streamlining any operation by taking advantage of the internet. Let’s look at options for workforce, sales & marketing, and settlements that exist and are easy to adopt, and that may help any business realize increased efficiency and thus profits.

Workforce:

We all know the term “gig economy” and associate it with Uber and other ride services primarily. But all sorts of jobs have been able to be farmed out to gig workers, freeing them to work anywhere they happen to live, and for business to contract for their services as needed and without much of the overhead involved with hiring a staff member. Sites like FlexJobs.com, Freelancer.com and others offer a marketplace for gigs for both employers who need labor, and those looking to supplement their incomes. Many such sites are free to join, and by browsing them you can get a sense of what sorts of tasks you, as an entrepreneur, can reasonably outsource to skills creators. Offloading piecework to specialists is an age-old method of running a business and frees you, as a business-owner, of tasks that are not necessarily optimal for you to perform. Meanwhile, you can concentrate more on creativity and decision-making at a higher level.

Sales & Marketing:

As business owners, we know that we are constantly selling; besides fundraising (which is best accomplished in the long term by selling), making people aware of your products or services is our primary job. Luckily, when you sell online, there are numerous tools that help you keep your brand in front of people who would likely be interested in it. Besides marketing on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, each of which are better for certain audiences than others, Google Ads can help you easily create banner ads that are served for users matching most closely your business’s customer profile, for mere pennies per impression. Unlike ads in traditional media, Google’s algorithms help you make sure your ads reach only those people who would most likely follow through and click into your site, and because they can click through, they can take action and more likely become your customers. A single person can often run a simple online marketing and sales strategy from a cell phone, leaving more time for in-person contacts and creative adaptation to changing business needs.

Settlements:

Business doesn’t ultimately amount to much until someone pays you, and paying for things over the internet continues to become easier for everyone, and makes settling your accounts increasingly easy. Checks bounce, credits cards get declined, cash is pretty much useless for most internet transactions, but many trustworthy options are available. PayPal has certainly become a well-established brand and tool for payments online, but numerous competitors exist, including Stripe, Arygle, Braintree, as well as Google and Amazon solutions. Each of these simplify and automate much of the work of getting paid for delivery of products and services, and require little more than using a simple portal online to track payment histories and download CSV files for your accounting. Finally, as the cryptocurrency laws and rules become more standardized, expect solutions like Coinbase and Gemini to become useful for accepting and sending payments using bitcoin and other cryptos. We will delve into the advantages of these in upcoming posts.

See what parts of your business could be streamlined by moving them online, get ideas from the three categories discussed above, and check out the solutions mentioned. If you know of others, send us an email or Tweet @_techtranslator!

Further Reading:



How M|M Developers can help:

We focus on partnerships with clients, building strong foundations of understanding along each step of the process of creating an online friendly business.

Let's Connect



Resolutions: How to Be Resolute


Key Lesson: You DO have control and you CAN achieve your resolutions

Key Action Point: Take the first 2 steps: (1) Think about why you want your goal and (2) think about how to get it


The start of the New Year always comes with a lot of ideas for us to better ourselves and our lives. It doesn’t matter if we are focusing on our personal life, our career, or our community. There is a lot of enthusiasm for making things better than the year before. And this is all very nice and all. But what actually happens to most of us as the holiday cheer begins to dry out and we return to our daily routine is that we lose that excitement. Consequently, our resolutions tend to fail before we even get to March.
But fear not, dear reader! For here we have gathered 3 key points of knowledge from really positive and intense people to keep your excitement from running out and help ensure you make those resolutions a year-long reality. 

Get to the core WHY. Most New Year’s resolutions are very vague mainstream ideas of what we believe is going to make our lives, or the lives of the people we care about, better. The reality of it all, is that you need to go further down that rabbit hole and see what you really want to gain from whatever idea pops into your head. For example, “I want to get more followers.” Nice. But why? “Because I want to grow my personal brand.” Cool. But why? “Because I want to get paid for product placement ad’s.” You see where I am going with this. Go deep into the why until you reach a reason that is fundamental, and therefore actionable. Once you have it, you’ll be able to plan it through, which is how you’ll achieve long-term traction with your idea.

Plan it through. Okay, so I know that we can plan all we want and chance can find a way to ruin it, and the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability. I get that. But when I say plan it though I don’t mean a 3 year plan from which you cannot deviate. I mean make SMART goals.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time based. Easy to follow through, simple enough to understand, and flexible to change if need be. If you’d like to know our thoughts on how to go about this send us an email or tweet @_techtranslator

Find like minded people. Humans are social creatures with a tendency to believe otherwise. The fact is that no matter how much the ending of GoT sucked, Sansa did speak the truest words known to man,

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
So think of life as the snow and white windy winter. The lone wolf that dies is your dreams when you try to tackle your resolutions on your own. And the pack thriving and surviving are the dreams of people that were smart enough to find other people to help them see their resolutions through. Find your pack. Your people. Your tribe. It’s a thing.
Go find yours before winter comes.

Further Reading:



If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve your business goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help



10 Ways To Give Back


2019 is on the verge of ending. It’s only a few more days and we’ll be on our way to start a new year. There is excitement, there is an extraordinary amount of cheer in the air, people everywhere are making an effort to see, talk, and hang out with those closest to their heart.
And for most people, this is a time to give back to those they love in the forms of gifts either given by them or by their chosen magical entity.  And while some of us may have a Christmas bonus as extra padding in our pockets, sometimes, trying to give to everyone in our lives can be painful for our wallets. 
Which is why we gathered a list of a few things you can do to give back, touch hearts, and save money. All before 2019 is done. 

1. Make a playlist. Music is a universal language that speaks the words we normally can’t say. And with all the automated music apps in our phones, sometimes it’s easy to lose touch with the music that speaks to you and that special someone. Back in the day, people took time out of their lives to make mix tapes, so take a moment out of all that Christmas shopping and well wishing and create a personal playlist with the music that highlighted your year and that of someone special.

2. Wash the dishes. Christmas dinners are a beautiful tradition until you see the host’s kitchen. Be an overwhelmingly amazing guest and sneak into the kitchen to do a little bit of cleaning before you head off. If you get caught, people will tell you not to do it and will urge you to get away from the kitchen. But, the little that you do to clean or the single fact that you tried, will touch their hearts far more than that pair of socks you got them.

3. Pay for the drink of the person behind you. During these days everyone is hustling like crazy, and one thing that keeps people going is coffee. So, if you’re in line at the mall and you are looking forward to going home, chances are the person behind you feels the same way. So, be a dear and pay for one of those coffees. Spread the cheer! Practice what the season preaches!

4. Do not get trashed at your office’s Christmas party. Just don’t.

5. Bake cookies. There is something very special about giving someone you care about a batch of homemade cookies. It’s not only a yummy gift, but it is one of those gifts that need time and care, precision, self control (because you didn’t eat the cookie dough), and a lot of cleaning after. So, it’s just really thoughtful. Because you could have gone to the mall or to a bakery and buy them something, but instead you decided to rage havoc on your kitchen to make some people happy. And if that’s not the spirit of Christmas I don’t know what is!

6. Watch that Christmas special with the family. Yes, they are corny. Yes, it is the same story told all over again. And yes, Netflix’s The Witcher is probably a way better show, they are calling it the new GOT. But! But, it’s Christmas. It’s not about the corny show of the story you already know. It’s about spending time with your loved ones. Suck it up.

7. Let someone go ahead of you in line. We are all in a hurry. But, hey! This is the season to be jolly. So, give up a spot and watch that person give you a surprised smile. Because, let’s face it, hardly anyone does that anymore.

8. Donate! So, there are a lot of people who aren’t privileged enough to spend the holidays like you normally do. And what a better way to get that holiday cheer going than by donating money, toys, your time, to people who need it the most. I have a friend who spends every Christmas Eve going through hospitals waiting rooms giving sandwiches with juice to the people there. She says the look in their eyes is way better than any gift she could ever get from anyone. So, maybe give it a go and surprise yourself.

9. Say “Happy Holidays” to everyone you see. When we are in a rush it is sometimes easy to forget the reason behind the rush. In this case, everyone is everywhere and in a hurry because it’s the Holiday season. Everyone needs to get things done, everyone needs to get somewhere, everyone is in a hurry. So, be that special someone who kindly reminds other people the reason why they have been struggling through an overly crowded Target by letting out a “Happy Holidays” when you pass by them.

10. Choose kindness. When you are in a position to choose, always, always, choose the kinder way. The world has far more Scrooge’s than we need and not enough ghosts to scare them into kindness on Christmas Eve. So, make the choice, everyday. Sometimes that means letting someone go ahead of you in line, sometimes that means making hot cocoa for the police guard in your street, sometimes it means smiling a little more to strangers, sometimes it means choosing what is right instead of what is easy. So, make sure to do it.


Happy Holiday Season, dear reader! 



If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve these goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help



6 Ways to Grow Your Business in 2020


A new year is making its way to us fast! Filled with new opportunities for you and your business to thrive and step into the new decade with your best foot forward. But how, you ask? With technology moving as it is, it can feel like your business may be falling behind and only big corporations have the money, time and resources to keep up with everything and use it in their favor... But guess what? That ends now!
Here in Magic Mirror we believe that small businesses are America’s best treasure, and we want to help you, your business and your employees, not just to survive, but to compete with the big guys. Here we have gathered a small list of things you need to be thinking about in order to make sure your business grows in 2020.

1. Make sure your website works efficiently.

When was the last time you actually checked out your website from your customer’s perspective ? Is it mobile friendly? Can you find what you are looking for fast? Is everything explained in the best way possible? In the digital era, your website builds up your credibility as a small business, it helps you appear on local searches, and it can help you gather client information for your marketing efforts.
"When viewing a website, it takes users less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression, according to recent eye-tracking research conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology. But it takes a little longer – about 2.6 seconds – for a user’s eyes to land on that area of a website that most influences their first impression."
[source: LITE.https://news.mst.edu/2012/02/eye-tracking_studies_show_firs/]

2. There’s an app for that!

You know people spend most of their time on their phones now. You can build an app for your internal team to boost sales and avoid monthly fees, or for your customers as a part of your marketing strategy. Having an app can help you connect directly with your customers. You wouldn’t have to wait for them to get on social media channels or even open their email to see the latest discount or product you have to offer. You can just remind them directly on their phone. You get to build your brand, provide value, and get loyalty by engaging more with your clients.

3. Customer experience.

We cannot highlight how important your customer experience is nowadays.. Your brand, your product, your business is what people say it is. Period. In short, rating are everything. And the easiest way to ensure your business doesn’t suffer from a bad yelp review, is by making sure every experience your customers have with you is amazing. Treat them as you would treat yourself. Or better yet, your dog. Don’t believe us? Take it directly from the researchers at Northwestern starting on page 6. Spoiler alert! #4 is really interesting: “5 stars is too good to be true.” Turns out, you’re best off with a lot of reviews between 4.2-4.7 stars (but really anything above 4.0 & below 4.8 is a winner).

4. Data-driven decision making.

The biggest most powerful thing you have at your fingertips is the data you are able to collect from your customers. Sure, gut instinct and opinions from meetings matter, but never as much the data your are able to get from your own customers. You want them to keep buying from you? Set up data recording tools, listen, and plan according to what they say. McKinsey has a wonderful publication on this HERE. And a more recent academic article that gives one of the newest models for data usage throughout the company life cycle HERE (it’s behind their paywall though, sorry).

5. Security and privacy.

Data, as we said is really important but just as important, perhaps maybe more, is making sure your customer’s data is safe. Just take a look at what happened to Cambridge Analytica (they closed in 2018 after the Facebook controversy). You don’t want your business making headlines with a data breach scandal. Here’s an oldie but a goodie, outlining the ways data security can be profitable for business with long-term vision.

6. We are on social media too.

Not using social media as a way to promote your business would be like starting a business and not telling anyone about it. We’ve already established that people spend most of their time on their phones, on average we are talking that people give 2 hours and 25 minutes to social media throughout a day. So, it is important that you think about having a good digital marketing strategy that includes communicating and connecting with your customers through social media and sending them over to your website. Which, if your think about it, is how you got here in the first place. ;)



If you have questions

or you want to learn how Magic Mirror Developers or our partners can help you achieve these goals, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're Here To Help



The Empirical Business


Key Message: Using data to inform your decisions makes your failures meaningful and fewer

Action Point: Figure out what is most important to your business and find a way to measure it empirically

Building lasting things takes time, and failures abound. Famously, Thomas Edison tried about a thousand different materials before he found the best one for his light bulb. When a reporter’s question suggested that he had failed 1000 times before succeeding, Edison remarked instead that he hadn’t failed 1000 times, but that the light bulb was an invention involving 1000 steps. This is the empirical method, the basis of modern science and progress. Try, try again until you get it right. And then the thing that works is what you do until it no longer works, then you come up with something new and try that.

    The empirical business succeeds the same way. Let’s face it, markets are often quite mysterious, and innovating is always a big risk that is often met with failure. In the empirical method, each failure is a step and taken this way offers us a chance to move forward even if it feels like we have moved backward or hit a brick wall. Faced with new evidence, like the failure to gain traction in the marketplace, or even outright rejection or poor customer feedback, we have choices that include: giving up and moving on, or pivoting.

    Some of the biggest business successes were about to fail until they pivoted. Others, who failed to change course even as history and evolving markets showed their business models to be in trouble, or even doomed, are now lost in history -- footnotes in the log of startups that came and went. Even large-scale, blue-chip businesses can disappear as the winds shift, and they must be prepared to take in the evidence, evaluate it, and adjust. The empirical business is driven by:

  • Data, as much as passion, with the understanding that data overrides passion
  • Constant review and feedback loops to identify change in the marketplace
  • Adaptability, to use incoming new evidence to adjust or even radically change their approach

    Of course, passion, drive, vision, and ideals should motivate us in everything we do, but no amount of these can overcome evidence and facts. The empirical business keeps an eye on the data, the facts, and the evidence and uses these to constantly steer their operations, and to adjust course as necessary. Twitter only exists today because they saw what iTunes had in store for the podcast market (which it was, at the time, solely focused on) and dumped their entire business plan to become the world’s premier micro-blogging site. Edison’s 1000 steps toward the carbon or tungsten filaments that lit our world for a century are a model of perseverance and attention to evidence, bending preconceptions and ideals to fit the facts rather than vice versa, and success in revolutionary and profitable change. Our lesson, from this evidence, is to try always to do likewise.

If you’d like to see a follow up on this leave a comment below! We can detail how to do this if it would be helpful.

Further Reading:“Lean Analytics” by Croll & Yoskovitz; “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

How M|M Devs Can Help: One of the biggest advantages of us building your website and/or handling your social marketing is that our CEO can provide guidance on critical data to track, then implement custom means of tracking each critical metric to drive substantial and rapid growth.


The Founding of Magic Mirror Developers


Very glad to have you with us on this journey. Welcome.
        I founded Magic Mirror Developers (M|M Devs) because I believe our job and our life should be aligned around whatever driving force provides us with meaning. For me, I find meaning in helping others, in educating, and in a nutshell, in being a part of something bigger than myself.

How is this relevant? Well, when I stepped back I saw 3 major problems, which I believe are worth dedicating my life to address.

  • Data appropriation
  • Widening Gap in Technology Literacy
  • HyperInflation of Population Densities
       Each problem is a complex topic and has volumes written attempting to elucidate its nuances. But here are my rapid-fire thoughts on each one, and what we at M|M Devs are doing in an attempt to address each issue

Data are today’s most valuable natural resources. They are renewable, expansive, and powerful. Data are also mined by a relatively small group of large companies. The problem is that companies (and governments, by the way) are taking this data without restraint and doing more or less whatever they want with it. Why is that a problem? Because in today’s world data is power, and without a natural meter of that power, like some fee or tax for data collection, there isn’t a check on the amount of power a company can subsume. Theoretically, if one company were to absorb enough data and have enough time to process that data, it could wield more power than the national government in which the company operates (many would say this is already true). Fortunately, there are a number of practical limiters to this power absorption, for the time being at least, which allows us small sigh of relief.
        But how can we address this!? I’m not sure. This will be a substantial challenge facing policy makers over the next 10 years. However, I do see another route to provide help in the meantime. The idea is quite simple: localize data. If we provide a means by which local businesses are the main collectors of data we change the power dynamic. More importantly, we create a value loop that doesn’t currently exist with these Goliath companies. By value loop, I mean that small businesses are beholden to their communities and customers while large companies are not. Therefore, in return for the value of the data customers provide small businesses, customers get products and services most relevant to their community with an improved experience that is tailored to them, enhancing the value of purchasing from that business. And the cycle continues.
       While this is far from a utopian solution, it is achievable in the short term and a solution that can be accomplished without the help of legislative bodies.

In 2016, the Congressional Research Service reported that since 2010 small businesses have contributed ~66.6% of net employment increases across the US, while the largest companies have remained effectively neutral during the same period [FAS.org; page5]. This tells me that we need to empower small business to hold their own against the ever increasing pace of market consolidation. To do this we must strip away the complexity of high-technology, which has actuated the technology gap between big and small business.
        We want you to win. We are here to help you win. I have seen first hand the incredible change that occurs when you empower small businesses with the data they need to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and make informed decisions. This change is visible and emotional. It’s a change from:

“I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I feel as though I’m on a hamster wheel.”
to,
“I can breathe again. That feeling in my chest, that tension, it’s gone. I feel free.”
        Yet, technology undoubtedly has a dark side. It has raised the minimum standard for a competitive business, forcing the infinite cycle of growth in which we find ourselves. Indeed, as technology increases its power to supercharge businesses, the minimum bar is raised ever higher. The kicker is that as technology’s power increases so does its complexity. At this point, the best technology has to offer small business is too complex to be navigated without dedicating significant time and resources to sufficiently absorb the information and implement a solution. This is the gap in technology literacy. Small Businesses just don’t have the time to deal with such wildly new ideas and methodologies. This terrifies me - it should scare you as well. Where will we be as a country without our flourishing small businesses?
        For many small businesses time & extra resources are not easily available, which is why our clients turn to us to illuminate the opaque world that is high-tech business. For those businesses that do want to tackle this challenge, I’ve found a ubiquitous challenge exists in not knowing where to start; this is almost always the biggest problem our clients face in their efforts to incorporate data into their decisions. The other is, “How do I know it will pay off?”. To the former challenge, I always start with the business itself, your business: what are the greatest needs of your business at this moment?; what information will help you make the right decision?; and how might we collect this needed data? This methodical approach works. It works very well. And with it we’re able to identify the 2-3 key metics that will impact long term business success for our clients.
        Reasonably, a substantial number of business owners tell me they’re not sure which are the MOST important questions to answer or aspects of the business to address. In this case I always direct them to our accomplished consulting partner, SRS Interconsulting, who specialize in using econometric analysis and their +30 years of experience to clear the fog inherent in executive decision making.

This third part is not driven by business or money; rather, it is my raison d’être. It is my intention to establish M|M Devs offices in various major cities around the world - cities which I believe are at the greatest risk of hyperinflation of population density - and establish training and coaching of young people, assisting in their endeavor to become programmers, developers, designers, etc.
       Okay, but what is a hyperinflation of population density? This is the phenomenon of explosive population growth in a city as a result of a rapid & seemingly sudden influx of immigration. This type of immigration typically results from refugees fleeing violence, drought, poverty, natural disasters, etc; effectively, anyone fleeing from inhospitable living situations fit this categorization. When this form of immigration occurs its very difficult for cities to adapt quickly & effectively, which results in high unemployment, poverty, and violence. I happen to believe that over the next 5 years we will see a sharp rise in these traumatic events (in fact, this increasing uptick in frequency has been noticeable for over 10 years).
       Thus, it is our goal to contribute to the employment and education of as many young people as possible - through volunteer coaching, real project training, and job placement assistance in international companies - in order to provide an alternative to what I predict to be extremely challenging living conditions for a large number of people in the not-too-distant future.

In sum, we at M|M Devs are not here to make money or to achieve some crazy software success story (we have already refused funding. twice). We’re doing this because we have a purpose, something that drives us forward through the best and worst of times: YOU. As a small business owner we emphatically believe that with the right tools YOU can provide better service and greater customer value than the Amazon’s and Apple’s of the world, stopping their phagocytic encroachment into your livelihood and our privacy.