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High-performing CEOs approach meetings in a way that maximises time and keeps the conversation focused.

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The corporate world’s heavy meeting culture consumes most executives’ working week. This is problematic as every moment spent inside a meeting creates an opportunity cost not to be able to attend to other important work.

When we consider the volume of time spent locked in rooms discussing business vs the time available to do the business, it makes sense to invest time and energy in ensuring meetings are as effective and efficient as possible.

High-performing CEOs approach meetings in a way that maximises time and keeps the conversation focused on the topics and issues that will have the highest impact with supporting strategic objectives.

Often this is through tight meeting disciplines, processes and expectations that begin before the meeting itself, as well as how the discussion is managed within the meeting.

Here are eight ways CEOs ensure their meetings hit the mark.

1. Accountability

Many CEOs have a no-spectators policy for executive meetings. Everyone in attendance plays a function in the meeting and has a level of accountability for the discussed subject. This forces executives to carefully consider the best use of everyone’s time when selecting meeting participants, freeing broader teams to do the work they need to.

2. Content on the day

Having a ‘no slide read’ policy and using slides as a springboard for discussion only ensures meetings are dynamic and have high engagement. There’s an expectation that pre-read materials have been read, leaving the allotted time free for robust and focused discussion to meet the purpose and objectives of the agenda item rather than covering the background.

3. Discipline

4. Valuing silence

CEOs allow space for silence in meetings, recognising that everyone processes information differently. They can artfully balance the need to keep a meeting moving and time with allowing room for an idea to breathe and settle in the moment. 

5. Culture

They ensure all voices are welcome and don’t tolerate toxic behaviour or cutting others off. They’ll always return to the person who needs to be heard and will call out any conflict. They also know what happens beyond the meeting is important too. In the interest of healthy teams and healthy dynamics, they’ll check in privately if they sense a message or decision hasn’t landed well for someone.

6. Trim the fat

CEOs regularly take a critical view of their meeting commitments in partnership with their assistant. They assess where the business is, whether a cadence should be adjusted, or if a recurring series of meetings no longer makes sense. They’re also highly conservative with the time offered in their schedule and understand that keeping timing tight produces a tight conversation. It forces all meeting participants to arrive with clarity on the purpose of the discussion, the decision-making required and the desired outcome. 

7. Pre-thinking

8. Reflections

Reflecting or debriefing after large meetings can be a helpful mechanism to determine whether the content was an effective use of time and if the culture inside the meeting itself was conducive to open discussion and healthy challenges. They can balance keeping the debrief focused on ensuring it doesn’t become a navel-gazing exercise or a complete rehash of what has already been discussed. They conduct the debrief in a way that is a clinical dissection of time and effort spent versus reward and encourage real-time feedback.

While it takes considerable effort and energy to assess meeting practices and disciplines and embed any changes regularly, it’s an important way to support a healthy organisational culture.  

It’s a practice that can eliminate reactivity and time wasting and help ensure focus is spent on the issues that matter most. 

It also goes a long way to help prevent employee burnout across an organisation by providing room to breathe and focus on high-impact priorities. 

Rachael Bonetti is the founder of Elevating Corporate Support.

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What I Know About Bu Now

What I Know About BU Now A senior’s thoughts on freshman Matriculation

Photo above by Vernon Doucette. Photos below by Kalman Zabarsky

More than 4,200 Boston University freshmen matriculated yesterday morning, and I was one of them — more accurately, I was among them, a senior in a sea of freshmen parading down Commonwealth Avenue and into the official ceremonies. (I don’t think many of them spotted the interloper in their midst.) Having dozed through my own Matriculation three years ago — the chairs seemed much comfier then, and the speeches longer — I was eager to file in with my school and take in the wisdom of the BU bosses: President Robert Brown, Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore, and Provost David Campbell. I suspected I knew exactly what I was going to hear: inspirational calls-to-arms, humorous anecdotes, and odes to the glory of a well-rounded liberal arts education.

Instead, I got a reality check, and so did the incoming class. The morning’s speeches were notable for their honesty about what BU is really like: a serious school, without a lot of room for excessive navel-gazing or major-changing. Some students arrive as confident navigators of BU’s urban environment; those who don’t must learn quickly. Many students thrive at career-focused internships and through inner-city volunteer work, rather than dwell in the stacks of Mugar Library. Classes are actually hard — a fact that may be difficult to swallow for the 457 high school valedictorians in the Class of 2012.

“Difficult demands will be made of you,” Campbell told them. “We are confident that you will not only meet those demands, but excel.”

Both Brown and Anita Patterson, a College of Arts and Sciences associate professor of English, spoke about the faculty: what they do, what they can do for students, and most important, how to approach them. I remember watching the imposing procession of professors in full regalia at my own Matriculation and finding it a fairly unsettling introduction to the people who were going to be grading my finals in four months. But Brown’s address wasn’t coddling: “The faculty,” he told the class, “aren’t sitting in their offices waiting for you to knock.”

Watching this year’s Matriculation reminded me that I attend a university where both students and faculty take their academics, their professional ambitions, and their commitment to the broader community seriously. It showed me, once again, the responsibilities and opportunities that exist at a large, urban school like BU — ones that don’t always exist behind ivied gates. Student Union President Matt Seidel (CAS’10) gave yesterday’s undergraduate allocution, saying that “BU is a place that rewards those who look past their inhibitions and take a chance.”

He’s right. The BU community has helped me when I’ve asked for it, but my successes, as well as my failures, have been my own. It’s a gratifying feeling, one that makes me feel a little bit better about entering the real world next year, and that gives me hope for the unsuspecting freshmen who surrounded me.

Katie Koch can be reached at [email protected].

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What You Need To Know About Future Web Standards

While it started as an experiment forty years ago, the Internet has become a very important part of our lives. Think about it, think about how much influence it has on areas like education, business, commerce, science and technology. To cope with the traffic demand and other aspects like speed and security, many new Web standards and protocols have been added and upgraded over time. In fact, many of such protocols and technologies are being framed and deployed as we speak. Last week, the inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, spoke about the changes the Web has seen in recent times. Let’s take a look at what new things we are seeing on the Internet right now and the new web standards we’ll be presented with in the near future.

HTTP2 and SPDY

While the majority of the browsers have provided support for SPDY in their latest versions, sadly that is not enough for enabling this feature to work. To load a web-page faster, the website needs to resonate the same tech. Popular sites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have already enabled this capability, but a vast majority of the sites have yet to make the switch. Later this year we’ll see the implementation and deployment of HTTP2.

WebRTC

The web browser is getting smarter every day. Not only is it becoming more secure and stable but behind the curtains it is quietly implementing some homegrown tools to replace proprietary tools that are install separately and are required. One such homegrown feature is Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). This allows users to make video conversations without having to use a VoIP service such as Skype. Everything required is built in to the browser. Chrome and Firefox already support WebRTC. You can head over to the WebRTC Demo page to try out this feature.

SRCSET

People use thousands of devices to access the Web. One person could use the iPad Mini, while the other may fancy Nokia Asha to get to the labyrinth of the Interweb. Some of these devices sport high resolution screens, whereas many of them don’t. The challenge here is to provide the appropriate image resolution to users. So how do we do that?

The answer is Source Set (SRCSET). It is an extension of the HTML5 standard, which allows Web designers to set up various versions of the same image file. So in accordance with the kind of device you are using, the website will find the right image resolution for you. Although it is yet to go mainstream, as of now, this is the one of the prominent ways to overcome this issue.

Responsive Web Design

Much like SRCSET, Responsive Web Design is something that many Web designers have started deploying on their websites. There could be any number of devices consumers may use for accessing the website. Hence making the web-pages pan out well regardless of the screen size it is being viewed on is important. Ethan Marcotte had described it quite succinctly. Today, many websites, including Make Tech Easier, have deployed techniques like fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries to make the website adjust on any size of screen.

HTML5 and CSS3

HTML5 already has a fair amount of traction. The web-programming language is responsible for the creation and appearance of a web page. The new version allows publishers to embed video and audio content on a web page without requiring any third-party tools like Silverlight and Flash. In addition, it can hold the location-based information too. It also provides support to offline access of web apps. This feature has already gotten the approval but is awaiting W3C’s recommendation.

After over a decade, the third version of CSS finally rolled out. The biggest difference between CSS3 and its previous versions is the separation of modules. In the previous versions, everything was to be written in the same document, whereas CSS3 introduced separate modules, with each having specific capability.

IPv6

When the Internet was being framed, creators assigned it with 4.3 billion addresses – basically that many termination points through which devices were to connect onto the Web. But soon, as more mobile devices and computers started popping up, the 4.3 billion addresses that seemed like they will never be fully utilized were found insufficient to meet the current needs. The new version IPv6, which has already been adopted by several popular websites such as Google and Facebook, offers 340 “trillion trillion trillion” addresses. It’s safe to assume that even if all the planets of our solar system hopped on Internet connection from Earth, we will still have enough of it left.

Native Clients

As all our computational needs are moving towards the cloud, our web browsers are being laced with more power. Thanks to Google and Microsoft, we have several native and portable web apps that can be run on the browser itself. Google Drive and Office Online are two great examples. Until a few months ago, these native apps couldn’t have been made to run on Android and other mobile devices, but recent amendments from Google show support for non-Intel processor devices.

Where are we headed?

Many of the aforementioned web-standards haven’t gone mainstream yet. It is a continuous process, and the adoption takes a fair amount of time. Every day new things are being added to it, and the older not-so-optimized codes are weeded out.  Many research organizations are working on building new protocols and enhancing the existing ones. The Web as we know it is changing. To keep up with it, our web browsers are picking up new technologies as well. One very assuring thing to come out of this is the Internet is getting better.

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What Traders Need To Know About The Evolving Ethereum

Ethereum’s price action over the last 72 hours or so has been very topsy-turvy. While the aforementioned period saw ETH recover all its losses on the charts and climb to a new ATH of $2,644, at press time, the altcoin was struggling to register an uptrend after BTC corrected below $50,000.

How did Ethereum initially recover its losses in the first place, however? How come ETH hiked to a new ATH, especially when the rest of the market, including Bitcoin, wasn’t exactly bullish? Well, the answer may lie in Ethereum’s growing emergence as an independent crypto-asset. And in doing so, ETH might be the one to reignite the altcoin season once again.

Price down, fundamentals too?

According to Santiment, ETH supply of exchanges recently fell to a 1-year low. What this means is that the altcoin is being moved away from exchanges, and is instead being HODLed and accumulated. This finding supports the alt’s price prospects and its long-term credentials.

Similarly, Ethereum’s daily active deposits have continued to fall since the latter half of 2023, with the same underlining how more and more people are now holding on to their ETH rather than pushing them on to exchanges to sell and dump. Here, it’s worth noting that the latest corrections have contributed to the health of the altcoin since a sustained appreciation might actually run the risk of a DAD spike.

Finally, before Bitcoin’s fall below $50,000 and by extension, Ethereum’s fall to $2,150, Ethereum’s 30-day MVRV was holding firm right under the overvalued zone. What this meant was that ETH, despite trading at levels around $2,500, had the potential to see more upside on the price charts before local corrections set in.

With Bitcoin and Biden-fueled depreciation making its way before the latter could set in, the MVRV can be expected to have dipped lower. Ergo, ETH, at press time, will have a little more upside and room to climb once the market steadies itself.

Now, when that might be? That’s a question with no certain answer. At the time of writing, both BTC and ETH were still bleeding, with the former below $51,000 on the charts. The next few trading sessions, ergo, would be key to what to expect from the altcoin in the near term, especially since a sustained consolidatory phase would be crucial to Ethereum restarting its rally.

If Bitcoin continues its dumping spree, it is likely that ETH’s run will be pushed back once more.

Finally “decoupled?”

Or, will that really be the case? Sure, if the last 72 hours are any evidence, ETH does follow BTC’s lead. But, will this correlation come to an end anytime soon? Well, it may be starting to. According to Santiment, “ETH’s price is finally diverging from its correlation with Bitcoin’s price. “A sign of good strength,” it added.

This “decoupling” between Ethereum and Bitcoin’s prices was touched upon by eToro’s Simon Peters too. The popular analyst told AMBCrypto recently,

“While the two have traded in tandem for much of the last three years, as the crypto-asset market starts to mature, investors will be looking across the broader spectrum of assets and assessing which has the best long-term potential.”

He added,

“Bitcoin has captured the attention of millions of investors, but Ethereum offers an alternative. With Ether’s dollar valuation significantly lower than Bitcoin, it also appeals to investors who want to own whole coins, something which is now far more expensive to achieve with Bitcoin.”

Recent price depreciation notwithstanding, backed by strong fundamentals, ecosystem-centric developments, its falling correlation with Bitcoin, and the king coin’s dropping market dominance, Ethereum might finally go on its own on the price charts once some stability ensues. And in doing so, the altcoin may take the rest of the market along with itself too.

What We Know About The ‘Phoenix Ghost’ Drones Going To Ukraine

Last week, the Department of Defense announced that it was sending “121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems” to Ukraine. This release was part of a broader package of arms and aid for the country that has, since February 24, been fighting against invading Russian forces. It also came as a surprise: the Phoenix Ghost drone appeared to be a brand-new weapon system, one so far never reported or revealed to the public.

As reported by Breaking Defense, the Phoenix Ghost is a drone-missile similar to the Switchblade already fielded by Ukraine. The Pentagon initially claimed the Phoenix Ghost was developed for Ukraine after Russia’s February 24 invasion, but Pentagon Press Secretary Jack Kirby clarified the development timeline, saying instead that the Phoenix Ghost was created before the invasion, and was “developed for a set of requirements that very closely match what the Ukrainians need right now in Donbas,” as Breaking Defense reported.

While February 24 marks the start of the current war in Ukraine, Russia and Russian-backed separatists have occupied parts of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine since 2014, and Ukrainian forces had fought that war for eight years. While it is unlikely that a new drone requested by the Air Force was built specifically for the terrain of the Donbas, it is a conflict that military planners have long pointed to to justify new capabilities and weapons. 

What is known about the Phoenix Ghost is hauntingly limited. The Pentagon described it as a “one-way” drone that will “deliver a punch,” and said it would be similar to operate for anyone who has already trained on a Switchblade or other drone system.

[Related: Everything to know about Switchblades, the attack drones the US is giving Ukraine]

As The War Zone reports, Kirby told the press that Phoenix Ghost differs in scope of capability from the Switchblade, though it’s similar in scope.

“I’m gonna be loath to get into much more detail about the system at this point for classification purposes, but you can safely assume that, in general, it works,” Kirby told reporters. “It provides the same sort of tactical capability that a Switchblade does. Switchblade is a one-way drone if you will, and it clearly is designed to deliver a punch. It’s a tactical UAS, and Phoenix ghost is of that same category.”

If the Phoenix Ghost retains the tube-launched form of a Switchblade, it will likely offer the same kind of flexibility as a weapon that can be mounted on vehicles or carried by soldiers into combat. (Switchblades are fired from tubes and then can be guided or assigned to hit a target from a remote control station, letting the weapon fly and explode like a missile that can make sharp turns.) Areas to improve on Switchblade capabilities would likely be in the form of greater range, explosive payload, or flight time, any of which could enhance the ability of the drone to find and crash into enemy soldiers or vehicles.

[Related: The US is looking for a new anti-air missile]

While AEVEX’s website is silent on the Phoenix Ghost, instead it shows off other services and components for sale like sensors and image processing. This includes tools that use drone cameras to map the surrounding terrain and navigational sensors. It’s the latter that might make an appearance in the Phoenix Ghost, as better navigation could lead to more accurate attacks, especially when the weapon is small enough that exact placement on the top armor of a vehicle matters. That, plus the ability to fly longer than existing Switchblades, could make the Phoenix Ghost useful in the kind of counter-offensive pushes currently undertaken by the Ukrainian military.

While the Phoenix Ghost’s design reportedly predates the start of the invasion, and just happens to have coincidentally matched the conditions of the war, the Pentagon is asking companies that make weapons if they have anything else that might be useful to deliver to the fight. 

What You Need To Know About Augmented Reality, Arcore And Arkit In Mobile

In the summer of 2024 Niantic created a phenomenon by releasing Pokemon GO which brought the concept of augmented reality, or AR, to the forefront of society. The game had people of all ages rushing around with their phones trying to find and collect all of the virtual Pokemon in their hometowns.

What is augmented reality?

Simply stated, augmented reality creates real-world views with elements added that change the way the viewer perceives the space. Today’s AR uses the camera on your smartphone and combines interactive, digital objects with a real-life environment. AR apps allow you to add items like stickers and holograms as well as text and annotations to your surroundings.

These items don’t float above the scene they integrate into it and will stay where you put them. Even if you leave the room and come back, the virtual object will be there because it is anchored to the location of the object in real space instead of a position on your phone’s screen.

Android and Apple recently introduced AR frameworks for their smartphones. ARCore (Android) and ARKit (Apple) integrate with other AR-enabled apps to perform a variety of tasks.

Their augmented reality frameworks use three fundamental technologies that integrate virtual content with the real world using your phone’s camera:

Environmental understanding: Lets the phone recognize the size and location of flat horizontal surfaces.

Motion tracking: Lets the phone interpret its position in the world, including the direction it is facing.

Light estimation: allows the phone to estimate the lighting in its surroundings.

Developers are creating new uses for these apps all the time. The apps enable you to do things like measure objects without a ruler, play games in your real space, and see how something you may want to purchase will actually look in your home. Even eBay has an app to help sellers choose the best sized box for mailing their orders by placing the object inside virtual boxes.

Of course, AR enables us to play a new generation of games by virtually placing the objects in our environments.

Getting AR for your phone

To get ARCore or ARKit on your phone, you first need to make sure your phone is compatible. The ARKit program will work with any of these iPhones running iOS 11.

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

iPhone SE

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

iPhone X

iPad Pro 1st and 2nd Gen (all sizes)

iPad (2024 and 2023)

Android phones that are capable of using ARCore are shown in the chart below:

Check here to see if any new Android devices were added recently.

With an Android device you will need to download the ARCore app from Google Play to use any of the available AR apps.

You may also need to download the AR Stickers app, but if that is necessary, there is a note in the description to inform you of that.

What apps should I try?

Some of the most popular AR apps are available on both platforms. These include Ikea Place and Amazon ARView. These apps allow you to see a product in your real space before you purchase.

Other well-liked apps for Android include AR Stickers, AR Mole (a virtual Whack-a-Mole game) and ViewRanger – Hiking Trails & Bike Rides.

Some of Apple’s popular apps are Fitness AR, EasyMeasure, and ShARk (an app that puts sharks in your environment for you to interact with).

With the arrival of augmented reality for smartphones, the tech companies provide us with a variety of apps that are both practical and fun! There are still bugs in some of the apps, but many of them work great already, and there will be more quality apps to come.

Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she’s excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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