Technology

Welcoming new member Alp Refik

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Alp Refik. Alp is a seasoned consultant and sales and marketing leader with extensive project implementation and digital transformation experience. Broad industry exposure, from technology to banking to FMCG. Strong commercial and project management skills. Alp has spend last 5 years developing digital marketing solutions for fortune 500 under Google large customers organisation and managed agency networks as well as direct client relationships.

Alp is based in Amsterdam and fluent in English and Turkish.

The Importance of AI in Selective Perception

January 12, 2021

 

Tobias Baer draws attention to the danger of selective perception becoming the norm as the use of AI in online information and marketing limits the amount of information delivered. 

There is a famous psychological experiment where participants intently watch a basketball game – but when asked afterwards about the gorilla that had danced around amidst the players, nobody has seen it. It’s the literal textbook example of selective perception – in this experiment, participants were tasked with counting the number of passes between the players and as they focused all their attention on the ball, their minds completely disregarded everything else going on on the court.

If you think of selective perception as a curtain that is partially drawn on our minds, thus narrowing our window into the world, AI is pulling more curtains from every side, leaving only a dwindling beam of light. If we don’t actively manage this and make sure we get enough exposure to mental sunlight, we risk making increasingly poor decisions and falling prey to manipulation by marketers. In the following, I will quickly describe how selective perception affects our beliefs and actions before reviewing some of the recent innovations in how AI is used that worry me for what they could do to our perception.

Our own selective perception is technically necessary but also a key way how our personality manifests itself. You all will have met anxious people who seem to always only see the risks of a proposal, or helpless optimists who seem to be blissfully blind to any risks or downsides.

 

Key points include:

  • Facebook’s acquisition of Kustomer
  • GPT-3, a language prediction model
  • Side-tracked cognitive processes

 

Read the full article, How AI closes the curtain on human perception, on LinkedIn. 

 

How to Connect Technology to Strategy

 

Daune Capuano shares a whitepaper on how to turn your technology and strategic goals into action. 

Does your association struggle with data trapped in an outdated association management platform that does not interact with your current systems and restricts your organization’s ability to implement new software for  new products and services ?

Are you concerned that your current Learning Management System (LMS) has become antiquated and cannot add new features such as webinars and classes using stream video technology ? Are you considering making some or all of the sessions from your conferences available online?

Sound familiar? It’s no secret that to stay relevant and grow revenue levels, associations must utilize new technologies that engage their key audiences and deliver information and services in new ways. Yet many associations suffer from an internal struggle to find the intersection between strategy and technology.

 

Points covered in this article include: 

  • Conduct vendor research
  • Executing a request for proposal process
  • Negotiating contracts

 

Download the full whitepaper, 8 Steps for Navigating Successful Technology Projects, from the Success Roads Consulting website.

 

Welcoming new member Neil Bansal

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Neil Bansal with Coppertree Partners.  Neil  is a 20+ year New York based executive and former McKinsey consultant who is passionate about building, scaling and leading businesses across consumer/retail, financial and technology sectors.

He most recently served as Managing Director and Head of Transformation at BNP Paribas in the Americas where he focused on strategy, innovation and digital transformation. Neil recently launched Coppertree Partners as a platform for independent consulting work and thought leadership.

Welcoming new member Jose Fornell

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Jose Fornell with Impact Point Co.  Jose has over 13 years of experience with BCG and Alvarez and Marsal advising under-performing and distressed companies. He has advised companies in the SaaS, consumer, automotive, logistics, technology, manufacturing, and telecom industries. His core areas of expertise include transformation management, turnaround/restructuring, and the Office of the CFO.

While at BCG, Jose led numerous transformation management offices responsible for developing and executing holistic programs at multi-billion dollar clients, including a $250M transformation effort in the business technology industry and a $2B transformation effort in the automotive industry.

Prior to BCG, Jose led numerous turnarounds and restructurings (in and out of Chapter 11) with Alvarez and Marsal, which included managing liquidity crises, chapter 11 administration, and various interim treasury and FP&A roles.

Jose lives in Miami and is an avid boater along with his 3 daughters and wife.  He is happy to collaborate on change management, turnaround/restructuring, liquidity management, FP&A, and rapid cost-take out projects anywhere in the US.

A Social Media App Designed to Reform Social Media

August 22, 2020

 

Amy Giddon shares insight gained on social media through an App developed by her company that was designed to improve the social media experience by cultivating a better connection. 

We created Daily Haloha to be a positive collective experience of reflection and connection. At a time when connections are frayed and our spirits dampened, we were struck by how participatory art and story sharing projects could uplift and unite us in a moment of shared humanity. We were inspired by how the ability to express oneself authentically and in the absence of judgment, validation, or debate was liberating, even empowering — whether it was through writing on a chalkboard, putting up a sticky note, or sharing a secret on a postcard. No social network or followers needed. Everything contributed in a public space, anonymously. Everyone’s voice is recognized equally.

The idea behind our app was to make it as simple as possible for more and more people to participate in these magic moments. Daily Haloha invites self-reflection and collective discovery by inviting the world to answer one single thought-provoking question each day. In our simple 3-step experience, participants:

  • Reflect and respond to the daily question
  • Connect to another by swapping responses in a chain reaction of anonymous sharing
  • Feel uplifted by perusing reflections from all over the world on the Haloha Wall

 

Areas discussed include:

 

  • Drawing hard lines
  • Creating something different
  • Testing product and principles

 

Read the full article, We Broke Down Social Media to Try and Build Up Humanity, on LinkedIn.

 

Welcoming new member Thomas Steiner

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Thomas Steiner with Steiner Advisory.  Tom Steiner combines eight years as a leader in industry with four years of consulting experience, at McKinsey and as an independent. He has served in roles including Sr. Director, Corporate Strategy; Head of Supply Chain; and in various hands-on operational positions where he has led up to 400 people. Tom is particularly passionate about leading transformational change programs for clients.  He has functional expertise in supply chain, operations, strategy, and M&A integration; and is focused on clients in industries including energy, industrials, technology, manufacturing, and private equity.

Tom lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and three daughters

Here’s How Companies Will Thrive in 2025

 

Paul Millerd takes a look at business growth data from the 1970’s onward to build a vision of future organizations and explain how the changing business landscape will impact the work environment. 

I have studied organizations, people and motivation and am fascinated by the changes that have unfolded in my relatively short career. I’ll defer to Neils Bohr to qualify this entire piece:

‘Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future’ — Neils Bohr

Since I can’t predict the future, I promise this will contain ideas that are not fully baked. I hope you can help me improve them.

Accelerated Transformation

Most people agree that that change is happening and that the pace of change is accelerating. However, if you look around, our modern organizations are not much different than they were 20 years ago. When I talk to people and HR leaders about their organizations they share with me the feeling that something is not right and that organizations need to evolve.

I’ll get to my vision of that future, but first wanted to call out three trends that I believe are driving this uncertainty.

 

Points discussed in this article include:

  • Process excellence
  • Purpose-driven cultures
  • Adaptive technology
  • Agile teams

 

Read the full article, The Future of Work: What Winning Organizations Will Look Like in 2025, on the Boundless website.

 

A Check into the Future of the Online Economy

 

Ryan Lechner shares an article on the current status of Blockchain, a look into Web3.0, and the future of a user-centric online society.

For the last year and a half, I’ve done my part to convert Web 3.0 from promise to reality. I’ve looked at hundreds of blockchain projects, spent countless hours evaluating the space, and helped ConsenSys build out various aspects of its business.

These past 18 months have been the greatest intellectual journey of my career. Every day was a Talmudic investigation into the foundations of the internet and the faulty structures underpinning our online lives. ConsenSys was a training ground, my Dojo, for building a new and fairer internet.

Despite the awesomeness of this adventure, I’ve decided to duck out for a little while. For anyone who follows the space, the reasons should be obvious and are likely not worth long form explanation: dApps lack adoption, blockchains are still janky, few use cases beyond ‘store of value’ are proven out, etc.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • Online networks
  • Design markets
  • Internet economies

 

Read the full article, I’m leaving Blockchain (for now.) Here’s what I’ve learned, on Medium.

 

Welcoming new member Mike Mortensen

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Mike Mortensen with Tandem Analytics. Mike has advised business leaders at the intersection of strategy and technology for more than a decade. His experience in business transformation comes from three perspectives: business strategy at McKinsey & Company, machine learning implementation at IBM, and as a business executive responsible for growth at a global conglomerate.

Prior to Tandem Analytics, Mike led teams of business consultants and data scientists to support IBM clients in developing analytics and AI transformation programs. He partnered with clients from concept to realization, including algorithm development, pilot program design, technical integration support, and overall program management. Mike has advised business leaders on AI and analytics strategy across industries, including telecommunications, finance, industrials, retail, and health care.

Before joining IBM, Mike was a Director of Strategy & Innovation at Wolters Kluwer, where he led digital transformation for a B2B portfolio company. To improve customer centricity, he launched a portfolio of initiatives, including machine learning for segmentation and customer behavior insights. Early successes with pricing strategy and customer segmentation fueled transformation efforts across digital marketing, as well as increased personalization of sales and service.

Welcoming new member Astrid Marechal

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Astrid Marechal with Paraty 22 SA. Astrid Marechal began her career as a Tire Designer at Goodyear Technical Center in Luxembourg.  Later, she  was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company where she worked for ten years in North America, Brazil, Russia and Western Europe. Astrid has extensive expertise in strategy development, transformation and go-to-market solutions across multiple B2B industries, including industrial, technology and materials sectors. She has held several interim management positions as P&L owner of BUs. Her clients refer to her as a very sharp and driven person, who is great at getting to the bottom of things and coming up with solutions.  She is also recognized to connecting well with the organization at all levels.

When time allows, Astrid enjoys spending time with friends and family and going on motorcycle trips. Astrid speaks fluent French, English and Portuguese and has a good knowledge of German. Astrid lives in Luxembourg, and is fully mobile geographically.

Welcoming new member Elias Boustani

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Elias Boustani. Elias is a Strategy Consultant with 13 years of experience. He has led the design and implementation of Tech entrepreneurship programs for the World Bank, General Electric, the American University of Beirut (AUB), Expo 2020 Dubai, MCIT KSA, and Beirut Digital District among others.

Prior to that, Elias was a Senior Associate for Strategy& (previously booz&co) working in the Telecom practice on Corporate strategy, Marketing strategy, Demand analytics, Business Planning, Human Capital and SME strategies across clients in K.S.A., Indonesia and India.

Prior to Strategy&, Elias was a Consultant for Accenture France, where he worked as a system integration consultant for major French companies in different industries: Louis Vuitton Malletier and Shiseido in the luxury industry, Faurecia in the automotive industry and Paris City Hall in the public sector.

Elias is a mentor of startups and a university lecturer at AUB and ESA Business Schools.

He is happy to collaborate on projects involving Strategy, Tech, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in France or the Middle East

Getting to Grips with Gateway Services

 

Hugo Bernier shares his expertise in technology to explain how gateway services work and how to install one. 

When using cloud-based services like Office 365 and the Power Platform, it can be challenging to integrate with your on-premises resources. All of a sudden, your on-premises databases, APIs, file shares, and even your existing on-premises SharePoint infrastructure become impossible to reach. At least, not without making some giant holes in your firewall.

At our recent Toronto Citizen Developer User Group meeting, my good friend Luis Duran demonstrated how to use the on-premises data gateway to access a custom web API running on his workstation from Power Automate.

He had rehearsed the demo earlier that day from our offices. Still, he had changed many environmental variables by moving his demo to our meetup venue. Luis ran a web API from his workstation, over a different network (the guest wifi at the Microsoft office), using a new IP address.

Let’s say that if his demo didn’t work, no one would have blamed him. Heck, I tried to run a web API project using a static IP address on my workstation earlier in the day, and I had issues getting it to work.

But the demo worked!

 

Areas covered in this article include:

  • What is the on-premises data gateway
  • How the data gateway works
  • What the requirements are
  • How to install a gateway
  • How to use a gateway connection

 

Read the full article, Accessing Your On-Premises Data Using the On-Premises Data Gateway, on the Tahoe Ninja’s website. 

 

Welcoming new member Liz Kenny

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Liz Kenny.  Liz Kenny is a former McKinsey consultant with eight years of independent consulting and freelance experience. She partners with clients to drive sales growth as either a consultant, or a short-term embedded team member. Liz has a strong blend of both consulting and operating experience, and has supported strategic initiatives across a wide range of industries including retail, technology, media and entertainment, and financial services.

Liz balances her time between strategic and creative projects. When she is not working with a client, she is writing screenplays and other content (TV pilots, short films, etc.) Liz is based in Los Angeles with her new puppy, Fozzie Bear. Liz is happy to collaborate on projects in the Western U.S.

The Yin and Yang of Technology 

 

With so much press about how our technological habits create disconnection, Hugo Bernier explains how technology also gives people the tools and access to build connections.

I work crazy hours. To top it off, I commute a total of 3 hours every day. When I get home from work, I’m usually exhausted. 

One of my guilty pleasures is to play a video game with my kids. When they were younger, we’d play one of the many Lego games on Xbox. Now, we tend to play Halo or Call of Duty. 

Regardless of the age difference between my kids and me, the little buggers are worthy adversaries. They might even be better than me– but don’t tell them I said that.

I love that in the video game world, we’re able to play as equals. We’re sometimes teammates, partners, and sometimes enemies. We celebrate each other’s victories and tease each other’s failures.

In a household with three people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, breaking barriers of communication and making emotional connections can sometimes be hard. Video games are one of the ways that we can connect.

 

The technology discussed in this article:

  • The Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC)
  • The Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit

 

Read the full article, Leveling the Playing Field with Accessibility, on the Tahoe Ninjas website.

 

Switching off the Coronavirus

February 19, 2020

 

Miklos Tomka illuminates the importance of doing what you can to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus is spreading fast and has spread inside of hospitals in China, exposing hospital staff. Various places are a source for spreading infections, light switches that everyone touches, is clearly one of these.

Ubiquilux has developed a product to reduce the risk of infections spreading in hospitals: a gesture controlled light switch. A light switch which does not react to random motions like motion sensing switches do (it reacts only to specific on/off/dim gestures) – the first true replacement of any switch. No one has to touch the light switch anymore

An independent, expert lead clinical study confirms that the new (patented) gesture-controlled technology from Ubiquilux is reducing bacterial load on the surface of a light switch (the light switch is a widely documented contributor of infection transmission).

 

Read the full article, Are you doing everything to protect yourself, your colleagues and your patients from the Coronavirus?, on LinkedIn.

 

How Algorithms Can Steer You in the Wrong Direction

January 27, 2020

 

Tobias Baer provides clear and concise examples of how Google uses the acquisition of select data to create bias, which leads to the dissemination of inaccurate information.  

 

I’m an avid user of the navigation function of Google Maps. Every time I reach my destination, Google asks me for feedback on the navigation instructions. What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, I bet that the data and any analytics derived from that feedback often – and, vastly! – overestimates users’ satisfaction. Why is that?

The app is a perfect illustration of availability bias. I only am given this opportunity to provide feedback when I reach my destination. Which means that if I reach a river only to find that the ferry supposed to take me and my car to the other riverside has stopped operations an hour ago, or if after a few hours of cycling I find that the path indicated by the app leads straight into a gigantic military infrastructure that is fenced by barbed wires with large red signs threatening any trespasser to be shot (both has actually happened to me), and hence my only option is to abolish my route, exit the navigation, and go back to where I come from, no feedback is collected.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • The problem with creating algorithms quickly
  • The lack of sufficient communication
  • The challenge of creating objective, systematic assessment procedures

 

Read the full article, A Little Example How Google Creates Biases, on LinkedIn.

Welcoming new member Michael Casaburi

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Michael Casaburi with Revulus Growth Partners to our community. Michael Casaburi spent 13 years at Bain and has been running a boutique consulting firm focused on market due diligence for investors and growth strategy for companies since 2013.

Michael brings top tier consulting approaches to investors (e.g., PE firms), the middle market, and BUs of large companies. He’s worked with some of the largest investors/companies globally as well as smaller firms/companies.

Michael lives in a Chicago, Illinois suburb (Naperville) with his wife and children. Michael is happy to collaborate on projects involving market due diligence, growth strategy, and strategic planning.

Technology is Changing How We Learn — and Think

December 18, 2019

Jason George takes a look at the mind maps of the London Cabbie to illustrate the difference between storing knowledge in the brain and accessing knowledge stored elsewhere.

Having been built up over hundreds of years into its current dense and meandering tangle, London’s road network shows few signs of the regularity that characterizes its counterparts in younger countries. Prior to the advent of cheap map technology, anyone wanting to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods would need a detailed atlas to find addresses or landmarks. Finding the desired spot was akin to playing Where’s Waldo, given the thicket of alleys and courts and lanes laid out with no obvious organizing principle.

One group was notably unfazed by this challenge. London’s black cab drivers developed a well-deserved reputation for their ability to navigate to any points in the metro area with ease, with no reference to guide them. This was not accidental, as to earn their license each had to pass a legendarily grueling test that came to be known simply as the “Knowledge,” a requirement first instituted in the era of horse-drawn carriages.

 

Topics covered include:

-Mental maps

-Panopticon

-The knowledge economy

 

Read the full article, How learning changes your thinking — Mind what you knowon Jason’s website.