[ lifehack.org ] Being a Leader Is Overrated: Find Your Unique Superpower

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Being a Leader Is Overrated: Find Your Unique Superpower

Having interviewed hundreds of candidates, I heard similar patterns when it came to career goals. Many people talked about wanting to be leaders or managers when talking about future aspirations, yet when asked why, the answers were pretty disappointing.

Most people responded with a general view that they’d just like to be some kind of leader or even that they should become a leader because that is seen as the epitome of success in some way.

Leadership roles are mistakenly seen as superior to others

Leadership doesn’t automatically mean you’re successful. Leadership roles are mistakenly seen as superior to others, yet a leader is primarily someone who coordinates, directs projects and allocates resources. Yes, this is an important role but just being in this role doesn’t equate success, rather it’s what you achieve in this role.

Becoming a leader doesn’t necessarily make you successful

Think of Adolf Hitler. You may consider him a skilled politician who psychologically succeeded at spurring and manipulating the emotions of an entire country, but he wasn’t a great leader as he essentially led people to make the world a worse place.

Being a leader isn’t always the easiest path to success as we believe it is

With leadership comes pressure and sometimes unrealistic expectations from others. Therefore it isn’t always the easiest path to success as we believe it is. When we recall past and current world leaders, most are considered bad, incompetent or manipulative.

Think of highly successful people like the author JK Rowling or basketball player Stephen Curry. Both are highly skilled in their profession (in fact, both have become the top 1% in their field) but they don’t necessarily know anything about leadership showing that leadership shouldn’t be automatically considered ‘success’.

Without followers, this world would essentially be doomed

In society, leaders are important. They are needed to create efficiency and organisation within a structure. But still, even without leaders, as humans, we are able to still survive without them albeit less efficiently.

But without followers, this world would essentially be doomed. The success and sustentation of our world come from the hard work of experts who do the real work. These are the ones creating, expanding and improving our society. If everyone was a leader, we’d end up creating nothing.

Using our strengths to create success: the 16 Personalities model

We all have our own unique talents and it’s using these to our advantage that will truly make us successful.

Looking at the 16 personalities model [1], we can see that each personality type is represented by a certain role and set of strengths that can be applied in the right way to create success. In other words, anyone can flourish and be successful if they apply their traits well and, more often than not, this doesn’t include any type of leadership.

Take the personality type INFP or ‘mediator’ – these people tend to be creative, compassionate and charitable. While these attributes don’t immediately spring to mind as obvious skills for success, both Shakespeare and J.R.R Tolkien fall into this personality type and we all know how successful they ultimately became.

Take the 16 Personalities Test to identify your own strengths

For some of us, our strengths or weaknesses aren’t always obvious and when it comes to our careers, knowing what these are can help figure out what path would suit us best. Taking the 16 Personalities Test can help you do this by answering a set of questions that best sums up the type of person you are and where your strengths lie.

The SWOT Analysis Technique

Another technique you can use to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are, and use them to your advantage in your career, is the SWOT analysis.

SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

A crossover strategy is used to analyze where your strengths and weaknesses can help maximize or minimize opportunities and threats. In other words, how your strengths can maximize opportunities and minimize threats, while finding out how your weaknesses can be minimized using opportunities and how you can minimize your weaknesses to avoid threats.

This process helps you identify opportunities and threats early so you can thrive in your career.

Analyzing yourself is the key to becoming successful. The general consensus tends to point towards leadership as the ultimate way of succeeding in any given career but this isn’t the case. Everyone has different personality traits that don’t necessarily make good leaders, yet utilizing your strengths correctly can bring you the success you deserve.


[1] 16 personalities: Personality Types

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[ gsmarena.com ] Mi 6 Mercury Silver Edition to be launched soon

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Mi 6 Mercury Silver Edition to be launched soon

The Mercury Silver edition of the Mi 6 that was last seen when the phone was announced will soon be on sale. Unfortunately, the phone will only be sold in China. Even worse, only 100 units will be made available, which will likely disappear in seconds.

The Mercury Silver edition is just the regular Mi 6 but in a super flashy chrome finished back that is almost entirely colorless and reflects like a true mirror. This extends to the back and all the sides but the front will still be black.

Xiaomi did not reveal the exact launch date yet but did reveal the price, which will be RMB…


[ singularityhub.com ] Organizations | Future of Everything With Jason Silva (Part 2)

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Organizations | Future of Everything With Jason Silva (Part 2)

In the latest installment of Singularity University’s new web series, the Future of Everything With Jason Silva, Silva discusses the relationship between organizations and disruptive technology.

“Organizations tend to be innovative at the beginning,” he says. The problem is that the exponential progress of technology requires that they disrupt themselves, lest they be disrupted. But the future is bright, because there are untold ways in which organizations can be more interesting, innovative, and creative.


[ futurism.com ] Obscured by Hype, ICOs Mark A Fundamental Shift in How Businesses Are Built

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Obscured by Hype, ICOs Mark A Fundamental Shift in How Businesses Are Built

A Crypto Bubble?

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of volatility in the world of crypto, and that certainly seems to have people on edge. Thankfully, it seems that the potential chaos around August 1 has been figured out thanks to consensus around Segwit.

However, ever since the run up in the crypto markets earlier this year, I have been talking about a correction, and I believe we could see one in the next six months. Speculation has driven the rally, and at some point, it will be time to pay the piper.

That said, corrections are not all bad. Often the strongest companies emerge out of difficult times, as only the strongest trees remain in a forest after a fire. In this post, I want to expand on what we talked about previously and, hopefully, give you some tools to understand what is going on here and why I do not think these market fluctuations matter in the long term.

Over the past couple of years, it is safe to say that blockchain has gone mainstream as far as being a technology that people are talking about. While blockchain is certainly being discussed all over the place, however, the technology behind blockchain is still a long way away from being fully adopted.

So what about this correction? The common term being thrown around right now is that there is a bubble in the crypto markets fueled by speculation. The financial definition of a bubble is “an economic cycle characterized by rapid escalation of asset prices followed by a contraction.” Certainly, the first part of this is true, and while there has been some pullback in the past couple weeks, these markets are still significantly above where they were at the beginning of the year — if you’ve been even tangentially watching this market, you’ve made money.

I do not like the term “bubble” because it gives the impression of something filled with nothing but air, and comparing the technology behind blockchain to air is insulting. So, even if there is some inflationary movement due to speculation, if you believe that the core technology is fundamental, than these short-term movements should not cause you too much concern.

The Value In Tokens

Understanding how there can be real value supported by these tokens and how that value translates into value for the underlying currency is important, so let’s look at an example.

Gnosis is a prediction network that allows people to make predictions on outcomes and be rewarded for accurate predictions. If you believe that those ideas have value and that value is contained within GNO, then those tokens absolutely are supported by something that contains real value. Taking it a step further, since Gnosis is built on top of Ethereum, ETH itself should have its value supported by the value contained in GNO.

The thinking around this is still being developed, but I do think that if the value being represented is real, then that value will also be reflected onto the underlying protocol. However, while these protocols may be creating real value, the market itself is still relatively small and much of the growth has been fueled by speculation.

Ethereum and Bitcoin, arguably the two most central protocols right now, have a combined market cap of less than $70 billion. Here is a quick list of things more valuable than that:

Maybe Softbank should just buy up all the ETH and BTC. Masayoshi Son, if you do this, I am claiming credit.

Jokes aside, my point is that the market is still small, and markets that are small and built on top of massive speculation are very unstable. See the GDAX flash crash.

A Coming Correction

I think a few components will contribute to a pending correction in the crypto markets.

First, I doubt the stability of many of the ICO projects that have been funded to date as well as the diligence process most of them are going through.

I spend a lot of time reading white papers of companies launching tokens and building new protocols. For each one, I try to understand what they are building and how it will create long-term value. The problem is that, for many of these projects, I either do not see where the value will be created or proof that the team behind the project will actually be able to deliver.

Many groups have raised money via ICOs before they have done anything beyond getting a white paper together. In my opinion, it is important for founders to be optimistic about what they are working on, but they should also be honest about where they are in their progress and how much work it will take to move forward.

Just putting a white paper together and raising a ton of money to work on a project that has no clear roadmap feels irresponsible. It is reminiscent of the headiest days of the dot-com bubble, when just about anyone could launch a successful IPO for a company with either “.com” at the end of the name or the letter “e” at the beginning.

These naïve bad actors may end up misleading people into thinking a product is bigger or more revolutionary than it might actually be, and when they fall apart, many people will likely get burned. (It took the S&P 500 information technology index 17 years, as of this week, to recover its lost ground from the dot-com crash.)

Given that the blockchain space is unregulated, unlike public stock offerings, there really aren’t any rules surrounding what a company can or can’t say about their project. This makes it hard to know just what you are buying into, which elevates the risk of scammers and phonies entering this market to make a quick buck.

According to Forbes, 90 percent of all startups fail, and this is almost certainly going to be true for companies that get started via ICO. The failure rate may actually be higher than 90 percent.

There needs to be more accountability on the company side as well as more care taken on the side of the people investing in these tokens. The question of “Can this team execute?” is an important one. Traditional investors test for this heavily during the diligence process, and people buying tokens should do the same.

I believe that we may see many cases of over promise / under deliver here, which will be bad for everyone. Issues around the security and scalability of these projects could also lead to loss of investor confidence.

In addition to these more naïve bad actors, there are also legitimately bad actors. I would not be terribly surprised if we see massive scam project that shakes up the crypto space in the future (see: Bernie Madoff). My point here is to do your diligence.

Massive Growth, Massive Potential

The first half of 2017 was a rocket ship, especially for Ethereum and the ERC20 ICO market, as well as for new protocols such as Tezos and EOS. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised in these token launches, and a wide range of projects have been kicked off.

This is great. Some of these projects have incredible teams and are working on important problems that will make the world a better place and help to move the new world of blockchain forward. In the same breath, many of these will fail; it is just the law of the startup jungle. The real problem is the combination of speculation-driven returns with the inevitable failure of massive projects and a sprinkling of a few bad actors.

As massive amounts of value have flowed into these markets, individuals have seen incredible returns, which drive more people to invest in the space. However, if a loss of confidence in the market happens and prices start to go down, people might start pulling their money out in order to conserve value, which will in turn affect the value of the companies who have raised via ICO. These companies could start selling as a way to preserve their own value, which would then lead to increased panic on both the investor front as well as within the individual companies.

Not too dissimilar from the way a run on a bank can spiral in on itself, turning a bad situation into a worse one, this market seems to be inflated on itself and thus ripe for a correction. I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see ETH go to $55.

While this is certainly reason to proceed with caution, I am by no means trying to keep people from getting into blockchain companies or investing in these projects. If you believe as I do that blockchain is the most important technological advancement in our recent history, these temporary market fluctuations shouldn’t bother you at all.

The value is not in the speculation that is going on currently, but in the transformational companies that are being built here. As tokens are used to build businesses that could not even have existed before, that value will persist in the protocol, and over time, we will come to recognize blockchain technology as a component of our everyday lives.

The future is bright.

A Sturdier Foundation

Taking all of this into account, there still needs to be a lot of infrastructure built out, and in time, more and more institutions and governments will come on board. Right now, a lot of experimenting is going on with these larger institutions around private blockchains, and the work being done by the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and IBM with Hyperledger is certainly helping groups become more comfortable with blockchain. If you are working at a major enterprise and want to get involved, those are two great places to go. I’m biased toward the EEA.

In thinking of the future and what needs to happen for the market to reach maturity, one problem I have seen in particular is in the difficulty of trading tokens. Right now, if you buy into a token launch and it goes well, it is incredibly hard to use those tokens directly to buy other tokens.

Swap is one company I know is working on solving that problem using a peer-to-peer solution. What this ultimately means is that there will be a more efficient market between tokens, and with a more efficient market, there should be fewer dramatic market movements. It may also make transacting across platforms easier because there might not be the need to ever move back into fiat to do business. Obviously, I think what they are working on is really cool, but I would love to hear what others think, so please feel free to hit me on Twitter (@LaPecc).

Additionally, groups like ConsenSys are working hard to put in place standards for token structures, diligence, and a wide range of other frameworks to build confidence in the space.

Often, people attempt to put things in terms of a hype cycle, but I think these sorts of structures end up giving people false confidence. Instead, I choose to focus on finding and investing in long-term value, and I see plenty of that in the world of blockchains.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

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[ gsmarena.com ] Huawei first in smartphone shipments in China for Q2 2017

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Huawei first in smartphone shipments in China for Q2 2017

China is still the world’s largest smartphone, but its growth streak finally ended in Q2 2017. After six consecutive weeks of increasing shipments the past three months marked a 3% decline, according to analyst company Canalys.

For second quarter in a row leading company is Huawei with 23 million units. Oppo came a very close second with 21 million units, which is up 37% year on year. In third followed vivo with 16 million shipments between April and June.

Xiaomi managed to ship just under 15 million units but was enough to leap over Apple in fourth place. This is a 60% boost…


[ futurism.com ] This Could Be a Game Changer for Standing Work Environments

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

This Could Be a Game Changer for Standing Work Environments

This could be a game changer for standing work environments


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[ futurism.com ] Here’s What You Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence and Universal Basic Income

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Here’s What You Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence and Universal Basic Income

Disclaimer: Futurism only supports products that we trust and use. This post is in partnership with Abundance 360, and Futurism may get a small percentage of sales. Want to take a class with Peter Diamandis? Click here to learn more!

Will Artificial Intelligence destroy humanity?

Probably not. But that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned that A.I. and robotics will massively impact the future of the work force. McKinsey & Co. predicts that 45 percent of jobs today will be automated out of existence in only 20 years — this concept weighs on me. But we’ve seen such change before — America went from a society of farmers (84% in 1810), to only 2% farmers today). So it’s not the the magnitude of the coming change that bothers me, it is the speed of the change that I’m worried about. Which is exactly why I want to focus on a mechanism to buffer the impact of rapid technological unemployment and make a case for Universal Basic Income, or, UBI.

Today there are 700 million people around the world living in extreme poverty (defined by the World Bank as $1.25/day (in 2005 prices)). According the to Brookings Institute, just $80 billion would lift all of them out of extreme poverty. We spend twice this amount in global aid every year. If only we could give the funds directly to the people who need it most. In a recent Abundance 360 webinar, I interviewed Michael Faye, the co-founder of GiveDirectly, who presented some compelling data about the disruption of philanthropy through peer-to-peer aid.

GiveDirectly is the largest UBI experiment to date. Over the next 12 years, GiveDirectly is running a controlled trial across four villages in Kenya, with more than 26,000 participants. In addition to a control group, 40 villages will receive a regular basic income for 12 years, another 80 for two years, and yet another 80 will receive a single lump sum equivalent to two year’s worth of income.

Within each village, everyone — man, woman and child – receives the same equal payment of roughly 75 cents per day, regardless of their current wealth. Incredibly, since launching the experiment in 2012, GiveDirected has distributed more than $100 million in total donations for people in extreme poverty. The data they are accumulating on the efficacy of UBI is incredible.

Universal Basic Income: UBI Pilot Programs Around the World
Click to View Full Infographic

Takeaways from the interview

Philanthropy is ripe for disruption. Most of today’s billion-dollar non-profits and NGO are incredibly inefficient and bureaucratic. Michael estimates only about “15 – 20% of donations” actually get to recipients, adding that in many cases “the current system is so complex that many of the agencies themselves don’t know the actual number.”

Many programs and donations are in-kind items, such as foods, which are often resold at a discount because the recipients simply don’t want them. By giving cash instead of goods, combined with its mobile-enabled technology stack, GiveDirectly flips that ratio. For every dollar, 90 cents ends up in the hand of the recipient.

Also, directly giving cash has counter-intuitive positive byproducts. As a society we underestimate the ability of the poor to make decisions in their best interest. We want to prescribe who gets what, how much, and under what conditions.

For example, Michael asks, “If you ask a child whether they’d prefer to give a poor person a cow, or give them money?” They typically respond that its better to give a cow. It feels better.” We are also hesitant to give cash for fear that it will lead to increased substance abuse, or lead to laziness. However well documented studies consistently show that cash transfers tend to cause a decline in the purchase of alcohol or tobacco; and tend to lead to an increase in the hours worked.

For example, in Sri Lanka, a study of one-time transfers found that men’s annual income had increased by 64-96% of the grant amount after five years. In Uganda, 4 years after a small one-time donation, recipients were earning 41% more than those who had not received the donation.

Cash Transfers Lead to Better Health & Social Outcomes

Looking at over 160 studies across 30 countries and 56 cash transfer programs, the Overseas Development Institute recently performed a meta analysis, finding positive results across areas such as education, health and nutrition, savings and investment, and employment.

Specific to health, studies have found large increases in children’s height and weight in South Africa. Reductions in HIV infections and psychological distress in Malawi. Reductions in low-birth weight in Uruguay, and reductions in child labor as well as increases in childhood schooling. And decreases in domestic violence.

Technological unemployment is coming fast and it has the potential to lead to significant social unrest. We need to be proposing and running experiments to validate solutions that work across geographies, cultures and at scale. UBI is one idea. I salute the passionate entrepreneurs who are launching experiments to uncover their solutions. What will you do to make an impact? We have the raw materials to create a world of abundance. Let’s get to work.

How To Be A Part Of The Solution

A360 Digital: This is the sort of conversation I explore in my digital community called Abundance 360. If you’d like to join, apply here.

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