Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

Unlocking the Power of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Sep28

Unlocking the Power of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is on top of every organisation – social or entrepreneurial and every leader worth their salt is thinking about how to make their culture more inclusive and equitable for all members of the tribe. In this blog I want to warn leaders about the risk of ignoring one or more of the trinity of values (Diversity, Inclusion & Equity) in favor of the others. I was talking to one of my friends yesterday. He leads a large team and said that he was hiring and wanted to check with me if I knew someone for the job. I recommended a couple of names and he said that he needs to hire a woman and an early talent at that. When I asked if it was relevant for the job and if it is advertised as such, he just said that he has a target of having a certain percentage of his team to be early talent, a percentage of gender diversity, which is not the case as of now. So, he needs to hire a woman, who is an early talent as well. This approach to increasing diversity, which is great to improve gender balance within the organisation, but is only a partial and a short-term solution. This leads to an imbalance on the “Inclusion” and “Equity” front. If we really want to access the true power of DE&I, it is critical that we maintain the balance. Does this mean that leaders should not prioritize hiring […]

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Everything You Need to Know About Payroll Reporting
Sep28

Everything You Need to Know About Payroll Reporting

First comes hiring. Then comes onboarding. Then comes … happily ever after? Not quite. If you have employees, you need to stay on top of all things payroll. And one of your big payroll responsibilities as an employer is withholding taxes and reporting said taxes to the proper government agencies. What you need to know about payroll reporting Payroll reporting can make your head spin. If it doesn’t, you’ve either been doing it a while, you have a knack for payroll, you’re doing it wrong, or you’re lying to yourself. But hey, no judgment here. For those of you whose heads are spinning from all the requirements, read on. 1. Payroll reports are pretty darn important Employers use payroll reporting to, well, report on employee wages and employment tax liabilities. And when it comes to taxes, you know how important it is for the government to get their cut. In fact, even filing a payroll report late is grounds for getting slapped with a failure-to-file penalty. So, file various payroll reports (which I’ll get to next) on time to summarize the following types of employment taxes: Federal income tax Social Security tax Medicare tax Federal unemployment tax State income tax State unemployment tax Local income tax As you can see, these reports summarize a lot of payroll data. You’ll need to report both the taxes you contribute as the employer as well as the taxes you withhold from your employees’ wages. Use the government form that reports each type of […]

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With Chinese ban final on crypto, firms scramble to sever ties
Sep27

With Chinese ban final on crypto, firms scramble to sever ties

Cryptocurrency exchanges and providers of crypto services are scrambling to sever business ties with mainland Chinese clients, after Beijing issued last week a blanket ban on all crypto trading and mining. In a culmination of years of efforts to rein in the sector, 10 powerful Chinese government bodies including the central bank said overseas exchanges were barred from providing services to mainland investors via the internet – a previously grey area – and promised to jointly root out “illegal” cryptocurrency activities. “While this is not a surprise as China has ‘banned’ crypto many times in the past, this time there is no ambiguity,” said Henri Arslanian, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) crypto leader and partner, on Twitter. “Crypto transactions and crypto services of all kind are banned in China. No room for discussion. No gray area.” Huobi Global and Binance, two of the world’s largest exchanges and popular with Chinese users, have stopped new registrations of accounts by mainland customers. Huobi also said it would clean up existing ones by the end of the year. “On the very day we saw the notice, we started to take corrective measures,” Du Jun, Huobi Group co-founder, said in a statement to Reuters news agency. Du did not give an estimate how many of its users would be affected, saying only that Huobi, once the world’s biggest crypto exchange, had embarked on a global expansion strategy many years ago and seen steady growth in Southeast Asia and Europe. Bitcoin fell by as much as 8.9 percent […]

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Optimizing the In-Store Experience for a Post-Covid Environment
Sep27

Optimizing the In-Store Experience for a Post-Covid Environment

As we continue on the road back to normalcy, there’s an obvious truth we have to acknowledge: Covid-19 has had a profound, permanent impact on brick-and-mortar retail. Dozens of iconic retail brands are facing bankruptcy. Several of these companies have already been forced to shutter for good since the beginning of the pandemic. More will probably join them soon. It’s hard enough to provide a physical space in which customers can shop for products under these conditions. Now, though, retailers need to be able to provide a unique experience if they expect buyers to leave the comfort—and safety—of their living rooms. It’s no surprise that, even as the pandemic starts to come under control in several countries, merchants still rate Covid-19 response as their top focus for 2021. The majority of sellers say they had a pessimistic outlook for the rest of 2021, as compared to 2020. We can’t blame this all on the pandemic, though. This trend in customer expectation has been underway for years. Covid-19 merely provided the systemic shock that accelerated the pace and made it impossible to resist any longer. The factor that determines each retailer’s ability to thrive in a post-Covid physical retail environment is their adaptability. Specifically, whether they can learn to provide the kind of unique experience that would be worth the trip for buyers. In-Store Shopping as an Experience Attracting buyers depends on a merchant’s ability to enrich the customer experience. Again, this is not new; retailers have been feeling pressure to […]

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Ready to Take the Leap of Business Ownership? Hard Trends Set the Foundation
Sep26

Ready to Take the Leap of Business Ownership? Hard Trends Set the Foundation

During the course of one’s professional career, the thought crosses their mind that, “I wish I could just work for myself,” or they take a look at a product, service, or process and state, “there has got to be a better way. Nearly every day, an individual with that inkling takes the leap into entrepreneurship, hoping to positively disrupt an industry, make a difference in the world, or become the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, to be remembered for something they created that did not exist before them. Entrepreneurship Can Be Low-Risk Starting a business or inventing something disruptive can be a risky endeavor; however, as I teach frequently in my Anticipatory Leader System, innovation based on certainty is low-risk, whereas innovation based on uncertainty is high-risk. But how does a new entrepreneur differentiate between low- and high-risk endeavors? They’re actually differentiating between Hard Trends and Soft Trends, where Hard Trends are future certainties that will happen and Soft Trends are future possibilities that are open to influence. With these, an Anticipatory Leader paints a picture for themselves of what will happen in this world, how those certainties will disrupt industries, and what they can do to leverage those disruptions to their advantage. This methodology makes innovation and entrepreneurship in general a far more low-risk endeavor. Start With Cycles Using my Hard Trend Methodology to establish a low-risk environment for innovation takes practice, and one of the better ways to practice this is by mastering the concept of cycles. […]

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