As we enter a new year, it’s important to keep in mind the takeaways from the prior year, and 2017 was chalked full of business lessons and warning signs.
The gender gap is no joke.
The Women’s March kicked things off, reminding the United States and the world, that they equate to roughly half the world’s population and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sexism remains prominent in most industries, but 2017 met the divide head-on with some much-needed publicity. In fact, two female entrepreneurs made headlines when they created a fake male cofounder to get respect and acknowledgment from their peers after “A web developer they brought on to help build the site tried to stealthily delete everything after [cofounder] Gazin declined to go on a date with him,” along with a few other gender-based issues. Their fake male cofounder and the fact that they felt the need to do so, is a symptom of a larger problem. In the coming year, expect employers to raise their level of awareness and action on this issue.
If you don’t try to understand millennials, you don’t understand business.
With roughly 92 million millennials, it is the largest generation in United States history. Putting it bluntly, businesses can’t afford to ignore this age group. Growing up surrounded by technology, it shaped how they shop, which changed how many corporations engage with consumers and share their products. Given this generations’ demand for corporate social responsibility, “The leaders behind any brand now have a choice: adopt corporate philanthropy as an important part of their brand’s philosophy and business strategy, or get blown away by competitors who were quicker to see ‘the shape of things to come.’” Expect more emphasis on how businesses give back no matter the size, millennial targeted marketing tactics, and more technology integration to reach this sizable consumer bracket.
Better safe than sorry.
2017 was the year of hostile software. While malware cyber attacks like ransomware are nothing new, the number of cases have increased astronomically. As of May Newsweek was already reporting a 250 percent rise in attacks in 2017. As a result, cybersecurity became top of mind for big business and government alike. With 72 percent of infected companies losing access to their data for two or more days on average, many companies are making cyber security a top priority.
Not to mention, cloud-based software presented its own host of problems. As Gene Marks says, “More and more of our business applications are hosted in the cloud, so more and more of us are exposed to the loss of data by those giant cloud-based providers we oftentimes trust blindly.” While this new tech offers flexibility, too many businesses forget that it’s still not a fail-safe place for storing files.
Shock value is valued.
In the era of “no new ideas,” creativity is seriously valued in every industry. Augmented and virtual reality are commonplace. A robot gained citizenship. There’s a company entirely devoted to sending dying and rotting flowers to unloved one. In short, if you don’t have a stand out idea and more than a little finesse it’s hard to make your mark.