Guaranteeing Customers’ Security When They Shop Online With You

Two of the key focuses of my blog are Business and Entrepreneurship and Technology. With so much business being conducted online these days, it’s important to understand how to best to protect your customers during online transactions. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Guaranteeing Customers’ Security When They Shop Online With You.

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Online security used to only really apply to big-time businesses, as small businesses tended to operate through brick and mortar stores. They could simply accept cash payments and not worry about the technological world. But nowadays, increasing numbers of small business owners are taking to the web and operating online. No matter how small your business may be, if you are operating online, you really need to take customer safety seriously when it comes to taking payments. There are all sorts of individuals out there with bad intentions who would happily take a customer’s payment details and use them to purchase goods for themselves, or sell them on to others. However, if this is unfamiliar territory for you, you may feel a little bit lost when it comes to guaranteeing customer safety when processing sales and transactions online. But not to worry. Here are the basics that you need to know when it comes to protecting the individuals who choose to shop with you!

Using a Reliable Payment Gateway

One of the areas where customer information is most commonly leaked, or most commonly hacked into, is through a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a service that authorises credit and debit card payments, deducting funds from a customers’ account and depositing them into your account. In order to authorise this transaction, customers have to input their personal details (including name and address) and banking details (such as a card number, an expiry date, and a security number) into the payment gateway. By using a secure gateway, you can ensure that this information is safely collected without interference. Consider using a reliable service like BlueSnap. BlueSnap can work through both online and mobile devices, guaranteeing a positive experience for all of your customers. BlueSnap also keeps customers within your webpage when taking payments. This removes the need to redirect customers from your page to a separate payment page, reducing the risk of interference from cyber criminals along the way.

Accept Credit Card Payments

Many small businesses are reluctant to accept credit card payments, as you are likely to be charged more in order to process this transaction. This, of course, dips into your overall profits. However, many customers feel a lot more secure paying via credit card, as many credit companies offer to reverse charges for fraudulent transactions without a quibble. If you value making your customers feel safe and secure, it’s worth fronting the extra costs that come hand in hand with accepting credit card payments. Alternatively, you could pass the charge on to the customer (adding a set fee to credit card transactions). This means that you don’t make any loss, but the customer still has the choice to use this kind of payment method.

These are just a couple of different ways to guarantee your customers’ safety when they choose to shop online with you. Keep them at the forefront of your mind at all times and consider implementing them into your business plan in the near future!

Ecommerce Mistakes That Most People Make In Their First Year

Two of the key focuses of my blog are Business and Entrepreneurship and Technology. With so much business being conducted online these days, its important to understand how to best to do business in our new digital world in terms of ecommerce. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Ecommerce Mistakes That Most People Make In Their First Year.

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If you are launching your own ecommerce store then you will know how exciting this can be. At times you may feel as though the world is your oyster and you may even feel as though there is just so much for you to try and do in the day as well. If you want your ecommerce store to succeed however then you have to make sure that you are putting the work in to understand your industry and you also have to make sure that you are trying not to make any mistakes along the way as well. If you want to find out more then you can take a look below.

Not Doing Any Market Research

When you first launch your store, you will probably have a few products that you plan on selling. You will probably be very optimistic about this and you may even have so much fun creating them as well. The main mistake that people make is that they get so excited about creating their product that they fail to do any reliable market research. This can make it very hard for you to generate a profit and it can also make it hard for you to know who you are trying to market to as well. If you want to get around this, you need to spend a few weeks trying to research your competition, what you plan on selling and even how you plan on importing or shipping them.

Trying to Handle Absolutely Everything Yourself

The last thing that you want to do is try and handle everything yourself. You may save money by doing this but it is not good for business at all. When you start your own online store, you need to try and do everything you can to find experts who can help you along the way and you also need to get their help when reaching your goals. If you don’t then you will never end up achieving as much as you’d like.

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Not Focusing on your Business Development

The best part of running a business is being able to turn any ideas that you have into a service or product. If you enjoy what you do then you may end up focusing on a single aspect of your business, such as getting new products in or even choosing colour variations. This is all very well, but if you are not careful then you may find that you spend so much time trying to market your products and your business without really taking the time to know if you are in a position to fulfil the orders when you receive them. You need to focus on developing your business as much as you do developing your products, and this is a very important factor for you to take into
consideration.

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So there are many ways that you can avoid making these top eCommerce mistakes, and when
you do, you will experience way more success than ever before.

Keywords: 3 Essentials For Online Entrepreneurs

Two of the key focuses of my blog are Business and Entrepreneurship and Technology. With so much business being conducted online these days, an important consideration is how potential customers will you find your business and your products. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Keywords: 3 Essentials For Online Entrepreneurs.

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Pixabay / CC0 Licence

It is impossible to say that there is a magic formula when it comes to business. Some businesses appear, on the surface, to break all the established rules of what constitutes a “good” business – but they seem to succeed anyway. Other companies seemingly do everything right and make all the smart decisions, but for some reason, the business never quite thrives.

However, there are some aspects of business that greatly lend themselves towards success, and enjoy a far higher level of importance than other areas. While these elements alone cannot guarantee success, it could certainly be said that the absence of these elements can make success incredibly difficult to achieve.

Keywords are a business element that fit this description to a T; while your business could succeed without understanding and utilizing keywords effectively, it’s going to be a very tough road without their assistance. In an effort to enhance your understanding of this element – and particularly how their usage has changed over recent years – we’ve put together three simple facts that all business owners should know about keywords.

#1 – Keyword stuffing is obsolete (and potentially harmful)

SEO is a young industry, but even in its short time as a factor for businesses, it has changed hugely. Perhaps the biggest change has happened to a technique known as “keyword stuffing”. Where keyword stuffing was once the way to get your business noticed online, it’s now more likely to earn a violation from Google – from an essential tactic to a substantial detriment, keyword stuffing is a technique that burned bright and fell fast.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs don’t quite seem to have gotten the memo, and keyword stuffing is still found across a variety of business websites. If you’re still using this technique, it’s time for a change.

#2 – Keywords are changing due to voice search

Long tail keywords are nothing new, but they are becoming far more important due to the advent of voice search. When people use voice search on mobile devices or smart speakers, they tend to phrase their search as a question, for example: “what are the best restaurants in New York?”. This is very different to how people search when typing – which would usually be more along the lines of “best restaurants New York” – and has opened up a new form of keyword usage that focuses more on natural speech patterns rather than the more abbreviated short tail keywords that have reigned supreme for the last 10 years.

#3 – The power of keywords extends far beyond SEO

Thus far, as is common, we’ve talked about keywords in relation to SEO, but keywords have an importance far beyond appearing in search terms. From using tools such as WordTree to ensure your products appear high in results on Amazon, to keyword research helping to shape social media posts, a modern business owner has to appreciate the importance of keywords across almost every area of their business’ online presence.

In conclusion

Keywords may have changed somewhat over the 20+ years the internet has been a force for businesses, but their importance cannot be overlooked. By using keywords correctly, and avoiding outdated techniques, you can be sure to benefit from their incredible power, and your business should hugely benefit as a result.

This Is How To Choose Business Software

Two key focuses of my blog are Business and Entrepreneurship, and Technology. A critical aspect to successfully running a business today is choosing the right software for your purposes. The following contributed post is thus entitled; This Is How To Choose Business Software.

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Getting the right software for your business can change your operations completely. You could be more productive and efficient when you have the best tools for your business. Unfortunately, finding the apps that work for you isn’t as easy as you might like it to be. There are lots of things to consider, from the features that the software offers to how much you’ll be paying. You need to think about what you need new software for, and how it’s going to benefit your business. It can be a long process, but it’s best not to rush it if you want to make the best decision.

Identify Your Needs

Before you can find the right apps for your business, you need to identify your requirements. What do you want the software to help you with? You might have a specific need, like a tool to help with accounting. However, you could have a more open goal, such as improving productivity for your company. It’s best if you can be as specific as possible by identifying the problems that you want to solve. This will help you to search for the best software to meet your needs. You can compare software types and features against your requirements.

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Research Solutions

Once you know what your needs are, you can start researching a few different solutions. You won’t necessarily be looking at specific tools just yet. You just need to see what sort of apps are available to meet your needs. For example, if you need something to make invoices more manageable, you might be looking at accounting tools, document management software or perhaps productivity tools. You can find a few different options that could potentially help you with your issue. Start looking at prices too so that you can get an idea of how much you might need to spend.

Create a Software Budget

Once you’ve started looking at possible options and prices, you should create a budget for how much you want to spend. Many apps are now subscription-based, which can help you to save money compared to more traditional software options. You can find you’ll pay a monthly amount based on features and the number of users who will using the app. While you can find cheaper options, make sure you’re not trying too hard to save money. It’s worth investing a bit more in the apps you choose to make sure you get the features that you need.

Choose Software for Your Industry

It’s a good idea to see if there are any software options that are tailored to your industry. If there are, they’re likely to have plenty of features specific to your needs. Some industries in particular can benefit from this, like the hospitality industry. Using custom hotel software will allow you to manage bookings, maintenance and many other things involved in running a hotel. Ecommerce software can help you to manage your sales and orders, as well as your warehouse or inventory. These apps can help you meet a huge number of needs that your business might have, all in one package.

Find Apps You Can Customize

Even though you can find lots of tools that meet your needs, you can make them even better if you’re able to customize them. Plenty of software solutions can be customized, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive. You can work with someone who will help to develop an app just for you so that it meets all of your needs. It also helps you make sure that you’re not wasting money on features that you don’t need and won’t use.

Look for Apps You Can Integrate

If you already have some useful tools that you don’t want to stop using or you’re looking for some a selection of different tools, make sure you can integrate the new apps that you choose. Integration will allow you to connect all of your favorite apps so they can work together. For example, you might have an inventory management tool that works together with your accounting software. Many software providers have an API that make it easy to connect different tools so you can continue to use existing ones that work for you.

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Speak to Your Team

When you introduce new tools to your business, you need to make sure that the people who will be using them are happy with your choice. You should talk to your employees to get their opinion and find out what their needs are. What are the problems that they most want to be solved? What frustrations do they come up against when using software? You should think about what training might be available too. Are there existing training programs or perhaps even trainers provided by the software service?

Start with a Shortlist

Now that you’re a bit more familiar with your options and what you need, you can start making a shortlist of potential tools to use. Make a note of some of the possibilities that you’re considering and how they could help you, as well as how much they cost. You should have a good idea of what sort of tools you’re looking for, and what problems they’ll be solving. Try to keep your shortlist to a maximum of five options so you don’t have to compare too many.

Evaluate Available Features

With your shortlist at hand, you can start comparing the available features to see which tools are going to meet your needs. In addition to looking at which functions you have, you might want to look at things such as customer service and support, as well as the price. If you choose a SaaS (software as a service) solution, you can get everything that you need in one package, including the help and support you require. Don’t forget to check testimonials and reviews too, so you can see what other people have thought of the tools and service.

There’s lots to consider to get the right software for your business. Choose carefully if you want to use your time and money wisely.

Exploring The Key Issues With “The Cloud”

Two key focuses of my blog is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Business and Entrepreneurship. Many businesses and organizations are moving towards cloud-based storage systems for increased efficiency of operations, but what are the issues with this new technology? The following contributed post is thus entitled; Exploring The Key Issues With “The Cloud”.

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Over the last few years, a lot of companies have been touting their cloud data services. Offering the chance to have all of your work, emails, and other important information stored on servers across the world, these businesses promise to be able to make it much easier to access and use these important parts of your work. Of course, though, like any new technology, the cloud isn’t all fun and games, and there are some serious issues with some of the services which can be found out there. To help you to see these problems, this post will be exploring some of the most prominent.

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Getting There: Data migrations are a notoriously challenging part of enterprise computing. Moving all of your on-premises information to servers isn’t an easy process, and most people will need the help of a cloud migration solutions company to help them. While this makes it much easier to get information where it needs to go, it will also cost some money, and this is rarely factored into the quotes which will be given out when you are approached by a cloud service.

Downtime: While a lot of work has been done to make sure that the servers hosting your data are able to run all the time, with plenty of redundant power and storage space, along with multiple networks in case one fails, a cloud company can’t control your internet connection. If you find yourself without this for a day or two, you could be left completely unable to do your work. These issues often come by surprise, making it impossible to save the data you’ll need as a precaution.

Security: Along with keeping servers running all the time, most cloud companies invest a small fortune into their cyber security. You will probably be accessing your data wirelessly at some stage, though, and this puts everything at risk. Of course, data breaches have become commonplace in the modern world, too. If this were your business’s information, you could be left to deal with some very unhappy clients or customers as a result.

Training: Finally, as the last area to consider, not a lot of people feel confident to use systems like this. When you have everything online, the process of accessing data can be a lot more complicated than what users are experienced with. This means having to train any employees you have to make sure that they can use the cloud securely and without wasting any time. There are loads of companies out there which can provide this to you, but it is something a lot of businesses would rather not have to pay for.

With all of this in mind, you should have the chance to think a little more deeply about the choice you have to make when it comes from moving from your own servers to the cloud. Of course, it isn’t all bad, the benefits it can provide can be huge, but it might not quite be the right time to make the switch if you’re worried about it.

Invest In Crypto The Right Way

Two of the key areas of my blog are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Financial Literacy and Money. Cryptocurrencies are a new technology that are impacting global markets in terms of conducting business transactions and serving as investments themselves. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Invest In Crypto The Right Way.

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If you are keen to make whatever money you can in whatever way you can, you’re probably thinking about cryptocurrency at least some of the time. This relatively new kind of currency is all the rage at the moment, and as such it has been developing something of a spike in many of its markets as well. The truth is that if you want to get in crypto trading, now is a good time to start – or at least a better time than next week or next year. But you need to know what you are doing first to make sure that you are actually going to get it right, and that is what we are going to look at today. Here are some of the things you should consider if you are to invest in cryptos in the right way.

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Choose Your Wallet

First of all, you will want to think about getting hold of a wallet which you can store your crypto coin in. a lot of newcomers find this part of the process particularly bewildering, but the truth is that it is not that hard to wrap your head around once you get going with it. There are a few different kinds of wallets, but the most secure ones are those which allow you to use two-factor authentication to gain access to them. By utilising and making the most of this kind of security, you can be sure that your wallet is going to be perfectly safe, which will help if you have any anxiety about getting started with the crypto world. Then it’s just a matter of choosing a wallet that seems good for you personally. It’s a good idea to go for one that gains you interest for BTC, so that you can make even more of your coin.

Buy Your Coin

Then you will need to go out and buy the coin that you want to buy. There are now several ways to do this. The best and safest is to go and find a crypto ATM, which are now cropping up in many major cities around the globe. With these machines, you merely purchase crypto with cash or card as you would anything else, and have the coin deposited into your wallet straight away – owing to the usual checks. Or you can consider using an online exchange which set you up with someone who you buy from via bank transfer. In either case, you can be sure that these are two of the safest ways to get hold of your crypto coin.

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Get Trading

In order to really make the most of your crypto, you need to make sure that you are trading it in the right way. The easiest way to do this is to use an approved app which does the actual trading for you, as this way you can be sure that you are going to be able to get it right. Or you can do the research, and make those decisions yourself – which can be less safe, but is much more satisfying when you get it right.

A discussion on the dangers of cell phones, social media, and technology with Dr. Ralph G. Perrino

Two of the focuses of my blog are Science and Technology. Up to this point I’ve discussed technology from the aspects of careers and investing. In this post I’m taking a different approach and will discuss its potential dangers in our world which is becoming steadily more digital and technology dependent – a topic I’ve heard periodically discussed in numerous circles over the years.

Joining me in this discussion is mentor, veteran educator and fellow writer, Dr. Ralph G. Perrino. Dr. Perrino has his own blog, “Dr. Perrino’s Blog”. He has authored numerous articles, essays and books and both founded and directed the Northern Virginia Tutoring Service, which is how we first met. He was further responsible for my becoming a member of the board of directors for the Friends of the David M. Brown Arlington Planetarium.

Here on my blog I crafted a post titled Are we losing our Soft Skills due to Technology? On his blog, Dr. Perrino recently crafted two posts titled, I thought I had seen it all…until today, and Are we creating a digital dust bowl?, among other blog posts. The following is our recent discussion regarding the dangers facing our steadily increasing technology-dependent society and world.

Anwar Dunbar: Hello, Ralph. You’re one of my mentors and I of course know a lot about you, but can you give the readers a few facts about yourself for context? For example, what is your background? Also, how did you become involved with education?

Ralph Perrino: Sure, Anwar. I studied Sociology at Catawba College in North Carolina. I then did extensive graduate study in Sociology at the University of North Carolina, where my areas of concentration were in collective behavior and social movements, and social change. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Doctorate in Education from George Mason University. I have taught full-time and part-time at Northern Virginia Community College as an associate professor of sociology and political science since 1984. I also founded and served as director/owner of Northern Virginia Tutoring Service, LLC, from 1994 until 2018. The reason I became involved in education is that I have always had a passion for teaching. I find that I often teach the content area while at the same time, I offer life lessons to students who are seeking direction in their lives.

AD: One of the focuses of my blog is Technology from the perspective of encouraging awareness of STEM – for careers and for investment purposes. While we celebrate our emerging technologies, there is a downside to them as well, which we’ve both written about from different angles. What initially raised your eyebrow regarding our society-wide ‘addiction’ to our new digital toys and devices and the plethora of applications that we use on them?

RP: While I do absolutely agree that there is a use and a place for technology in today’s world – education and research, investment and banking, professional connectedness and networking are just a few examples – I also believe that society has rushed to embrace the next bright, shiny object with little thought or concern about issues such as: personal privacy, family stability, interpersonal communication, civility in public, and empathy, compassion and concern for others. That said, I do see the potential benefits associated with the use of social media in the areas of collective behavior, social movements, and social change. However, sole reliance on digital means of communication to achieve social change is ill-advised, in my view.

AD: From our mentoring talks I know that you think cell phones particularly are a problem. I’m guilty of some of the things you discussed in your essay about the ‘Digital Dustbowl’, and I do enjoy quick access to information, and quickly connecting with other people which can cause unintended consequences. Can you talk a little bit about what you see happening around you every day?

RP: I have become increasingly alarmed by excessive dependence (some would say addiction) to technology in general, but cell phones in particular. Teens have been known to refer to their iPhone as, “My Tiny God.” There is something wrong with a society that values a material, digital possession to that extent. I tell my students at the college that if their biggest concern when they wake up in the morning is whether their cell phone is charged, they have a serious problem. I ask them, have we reached the point where owning a smartphone is a requirement for acceptance into the public (and private) discourse?

I also tell them that they should not leave college without some level of commitment to help others. Much, if not all, of that caring and compassion for others is not going to take place through social media. I remind them that nearly a billion people on earth each day do not have access to clean drinking water and that nearly 30% of the American population does not have regular access to the Internet. Virtually none of my students understand the “Digital Divide” between rich and poor in America. They take this privilege for granted. I point out to them that they are living in a bubble here in the Washington, D.C. area, and that their awareness of issues and challenges others face has been minimized as a result of their addiction to social media and their smartphone.

AD: Have you found any data looking at our dependence on digital devices like our cell phones?

RP: A recent Bank of America study, “Trends in Consumer Mobility”, reported that 71% of all Americans (adults and teens) say they sleep with or next to their mobile phone; 3% of those people said they sleep with their device in their hand; 13% said they keep it on the bed, and 55% leave it on the nightstand. Incredibly, the survey revealed that Americans consider their smartphone more important than sex, and 20% of those 18-34 years of age admit to checking their phones DURING sex. The list goes on.

Suffice it to say that we have a problem with over-use and abuse of smart phones. We see it every day in restaurants, supermarkets, shopping malls, sporting events, and a myriad of other places. On the one hand, smart phones and, to some extent, social media, have connected us digitally, yet they have separated us emotionally. They have: strained our relationships with others, significantly reduced levels of empathy towards others, caused us to avoid face-to-face interpersonal contact, and damaged the ability of children and others to read facial gestures, body language, and subtle signs of human emotion. They further have the potential to alienate children from society, placing them in an unrealistic virtual world where problem solving can be accomplished with the press of a button.

Some questions I find myself pondering are:

• Is there a correlation between cell phone usage and the rise in rates of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?
• Is there a correlation between cell phone usage and the dramatic rise in school violence, digital alienation, mental health issues, teen suicide rates, and other social maladies?
• Is it affecting the stability of families?
• Is it resulting in miscommunication in the workplace?
• Is it affecting other institutions critical to societal stability?

Again, has it connected us digitally, but separated us emotionally? Much has been said here and elsewhere regarding the problem. The question in my mind is, what are the solutions? We might start with stronger parenting, and adults who model appropriate human interaction as their children are maturing and watching how their parents conduct their own lives. Children learn by modeling adult behavior. Their behavior is a reflection of our behavior.

AD: As an educator yourself, have you had to establish rules for your students in class?

RP: It has reached the point in my classes at the college where I teach that I have to ask my students to place their cell phones on a table at the front of the room at the beginning of the class. If I don’t do this, students simply cannot and will not stop using their phones. Their attention is distracted, and it is nearly impossible to generate a meaningful class discussion. I have had students as recently as last semester note in their course evaluations that, ‘Professor Perrino should continue to require no cell phone use during his class. It helped me to engage in class discussions more effectively.’

AD: Okay Ralph, you’ve given us quite a bit to think about and consider. Do you have any final comments, thoughts or stories on this topic?

RP: Each semester, I have guest speakers come to my class to speak to my students. These speakers include staff from a local homeless and substance abuse shelter; a speaker who works in the area of student nutrition in low-income, urban school districts, and other speakers who focus on sociological issues outside the parameters of a textbook.

The one speaker who rivets my students to their chairs is a 77 year-old woman who was a Freedom Rider in 1961 at the age of nineteen. Her story is compelling. She tells of being jailed in a Mississippi prison for three months with other Freedom Riders, as well as other injustices perpetrated on her and others during that time. When she completes her presentation, I always ask the questions: “Would you be brave enough at nineteen years of age to do what this person did? What story will you have to tell when you are 77 years of age?” The responses I get tell me much about how unengaged my students are from reality, even though they believe they are all connected and engaged through social media outlets.

AD: Okay, thank you, Ralph, for collaborating on this important discussion and sharing your thoughts. So many of us are walking around unaware of the larger implications of these technologies as our societal norms evolve with them. At the very least, hopefully we’ve gotten some of the readers to think and start discussions of their own, and you and I have to have similar discussions in the future.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this interview. Once again, please visit Dr. Perrino’s Blog for other insightful discussions like this. If you enjoyed this interview, you might also enjoy:

A look at STEM: Blockchain Technology, a new way of conducting business and record keeping
Who will have the skills to benefit from Apple’s $350 billion investment?
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing and technology story
A Cryptocurrency App Case Study
Why SEO really is the key to successful online business SEO
The best Apps for Crypto Investment
Tableau discusses educating in a data driven world revisited

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and/or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right-hand column in this post and throughout the site. Please visit my YouTube channel entitled, Big Discussions76. You can follow me on the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page, and Twitter at @BWArePowerful. Lastly, you can follow me on Instagram at @anwaryusef76. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

A look at STEM: What is Regulatory Science?

The first principle of my blog is “Creating Ecosystems of Success”, and one of the main focuses of my blog is awareness of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers and fields. Up to this point I’ve written several posts discussing the ‘Biomedical Sciences’ which I’ve been trained in: Pharmacology, Toxicology, ADME/Drug Metabolism, and Inhalation Toxicology. In this post I want to discuss what “Regulatory Science” and “Regulatory Affairs” are – the scientific interface between the ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ sectors where the safety of commercial products sold to the general public are determined – a science not well understood by the general public despite its importance to our everyday lives – myself included initially.

“You can always go into ‘Regulatory’,” a classmate who I’ll refer to as Greg said, during graduate school at the University of Michigan. I was feeling the stress of working on my thesis project which consisted entirely of ‘Bench’ or ‘Basic’ scientific research, and lamenting that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay in academia once I finished my dissertation. Greg had worked in one of the bigger Pharmaceutical companies, and understood everything that comprised them. At the time I wanted a career with a ‘regular’ schedule which is something I’ll describe more in depth in my next blog post which will discuss the ‘Basic Sciences’. I, coincidentally, did start a career as a Regulatory Scientist by accident, depending on your belief system.

When giving my annual Toxicology lecture at SUNY Albany, I always tell the class that Regulatory Scientists are ‘Watch Dogs’ or ‘Gate Keepers’ who evaluate new products generated by the ‘Private Sector’ to make sure they are safe for the public. What types of products am I talking about? You can start with anything in and around your home, whether it be food products, pharmaceuticals, or industrial chemicals, air fresheners, household cleaners, paints, or cosmetics. These are just the chemicals which we consume, or are exposed to on a personal level. Another context is the environment. For every product generated, questions must be asked about what that product will do to wildlife, their unique ecosystems, lakes, oceans, the air, etc. Here think about coal and petroleum products as good examples.

The term ‘Regulatory’ is rooted in the ‘Regulations’ put in place by Federal and State governments – laws and statutes which dictate how and when the government should act in the general public’s best interests to ensure that the products they are being sold are safe. Going back to the previous paragraph, there are regulations for example for registering the following: crops and commodities, livestock and poultry, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, industrial chemicals, industrial materials and textiles, and energy products such as petroleum and coal. We’re very close to the use of ‘Nanomaterials’, so products that contain them are of particular interest now.

Here is a good place to think back to the 2016 Presidential election where the then candidate, Donald J. Trump, discussed the need to rollback excessive, costly and burdensome regulations put in place by the Obama administration to allow private businesses to grow and thrive. Having an understanding of Regulatory Science and Regulatory Affairs is the essence of that discussion because it takes resources to demonstrate the safety of products; otherwise it can cut into profits if their uses are restricted. Important questions to thus consider are: 1) is there such a thing as over-regulation; and 2) is there a happy balance between business and keeping the public and environment safe? Some food for thought.

Regulatory Scientists work in both Public and Private sectors. On both sides each must understand the Federal and State government laws and regulations. Scientists in the Private sector must understand the regulations and provide the government with the data it needs so that their companies can efficiently register their products. Scientists in the Public sector must understand the regulations to ensure that the companies trying to register their products are in compliance, so as to not cause injury to individuals in the general public and create subsequent litigation. While this post is about Regulatory Science, it’s also worth noting here that most of the private companies also have scientists working in the ‘Applied Sciences’ and ‘Research and Development’, which is where their new products come from – examples are the Food, Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and Crop-Science companies.

Where do Regulatory Scientists receive their training and what types of skills do they need? Most Regulatory Scientists receive their training in the ‘Basic Sciences’ at major research universities, such as the University of Michigan, where I received my training. This means that they first become trained in specific scientific areas of expertise – Pharmacology and Inhalation Toxicology in my case – and they then use those knowledge sets in the Regulatory world to make safety decisions. The same is true for the Applied Sciences where that expertise is used to create new products. As you can see these worlds are closely interrelated.

The four Biomedical Sciences I’ve discussed in detail – Pharmacology, Toxicology, ADME/Drug Metabolism and Inhalation Toxicology – are all basic sciences which translate to the Applied Science and Regulatory sciences. Scientists trained in these fields and others can either remain in academia, or take their skill sets into the Public or Private sectors. See my post entitled, “The transferrable skills from a doctoral degree in the basic sciences” to get a feel for what skills are necessary to work in the Regulatory Sector or Regulatory Affairs. Just briefly, a couple are of the skills are the ability to: 1) work on teams; 2) write; 3) plan; and 4) speak orally, as there are lots and lots of meetings.

There are typically two contexts for Regulatory Science – one which takes place in a classic laboratory setting, and the other which takes place in an office setting. In the lab setting, experiments are carried out to test products safety. In the government office setting, scientists interpret the results generated on specific products using the above-mentioned regulations and policies which each scientist has to learn when starting in the field. It’s worth noting here that science is constantly changing and evolving, and thus a challenge to working in the Regulatory sector in government settings is staying current on new and relevant scientific breakthroughs and methods. This can be done in any number of ways including attending national meetings, and participating in special ‘work groups’, for example.

A third context for Regulatory Science is consulting. Many scientists, after working in the Public or Private sectors, eventually opt to the start their own consulting companies. These consulting groups typically work with Private sector companies to get their products registered swiftly and efficiently, with the goal of keeping their costs as low as possible.

What do Regulatory Scientists make in terms of salary? That is in part dictated by one’s degree level, and whether the scientist works in the Public or Private sectors. Scientists in both sectors can start out making $70,000. Federal and State Regulatory Scientists are typically paid according to the ‘General Schedule’. While Regulatory Scientists in Private Industry are paid according to what that company determines the individual is worth, and the mutually agreed upon salary.

In closing, when you think about Regulatory Science, think globally. While the United States Government has numerous agencies to protect the general public – the EPA, FDA, USDA and the NRC to name a few – other countries around the world have them as well. And there are actually global partnerships and cooperatives amongst nations which are important when it comes to international trade and commerce, in addition to environmental protection. A career in Regulatory Science thus has the potential to touch not only the lives of those in your immediate circle, but also those in faraway places.

The next posts in this series will talk about what Basic Research and Science are, and then my personal journey towards becoming a Scientist. If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy:

The transferrable skills from a doctoral degree in the basic sciences
A look at STEM: What is Inhalation Toxicology?
A look at STEM: What is Pharmacology?
A look at STEM: What is Toxicology?
A look at STEM: What is ADME/Drug Metabolism?
A look at STEM: Blockchain technology, a new way of conducting business and record keeping

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and/or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right hand column in this post and throughout the site. Please visit my YouTube channel entitled, Big Discussions76. You can follow me on the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page, and Twitter at @BWArePowerful. Lastly, you can follow me on Instagram at @anwaryusef76. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

Tableau hosts discussion on educating in a data driven world revisited

Shortly before the Examiner closed its operations in 2016, I was invited to write a story on a symposium hosted by the company Tableau regarding the increasing role of data and analytics in education. During my doctoral and postdoctoral research in Pharmacology and Toxicology, I experienced firsthand the importance generating quality data and statistical analyses, though I didn’t realize that data and analytics was literally its own field. It turned out that there was a whole data and analytics community/world, with companies like Tableau creating software for quality data analyses and interpretation. Likewise there are whole careers in data and analytics, and these professionals are critical components of Academia, and the Public and Private Sectors.

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On June 9, 2016 Tableau hosted a symposium in Washington DC titled; “Educating in a Data Driven World”. The symposium took place at Washington DC’s St. Regis Hotel and featured a panel of experts from the United States’ leading institutions of higher education. Among them were:

• Mike Galbreth, Associate Professor of Management Science, University of South Carolina
• Danial Lopresti, Professor and Chair of Departmen3t of Computer Science and Engineering, Director of Data X Initiative, Lehigh University
• Cheryl Phillips, Hearst Professional in Residence, Stanford University
• Vijay Khatri, Associate Professor of Information systems, Arthur M. Weimer Faculty Fellow, Co-Director, Kelley Institute for Business Analytics, Indiana University
• Jana Schaich Borg, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University
• Jon Schwabish, Adjunct Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, Lecturer at the Maryland Institute of College of Art

The Moderator of the panel discussion was Ben Jones, Director of Tableau Public. The panel discussion revolved around the state of analytics education and how higher education is responding to the increased demand for analytics skills in the workplace; a topic all in itself which impacts pretty much every sector and discipline; Politics, Humanities, Business and lastly Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Specific topics discussed were: Issues pertaining to data literacy, how students can be better educated to increase their data literacy, the importance of communication and soft skills for data professionals, and the common traits of individuals interested in analytics.

“Just like there are a lot of programs to help young girls get into STEM fields, we think that it’s important that we help educate our students to be successful in an increasingly data driven world. We have academic curricula for teachers to help them get started with Tableau in the classroom. We do whatever we can to help close the skills gap,” said Tableau for Teaching Manager Emma Trifari. Tableau’s motivation for hosting the panel was the understanding that there is a huge skills gap in the data world, and in order to fill that gap, data literacy needs to start from the beginning.

Tableau’s software is used to simplify data analysis. Currently enrolled students around the world are eligible to receive free one-year licenses of Tableau Desktop through Tableau for Students. Instructors and their students are also eligible to receive free licenses of Tableau Desktop through the Tableau for Teaching program.

For more information on Tableau’s Academic programs, go to: tableau.com/academic.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you enjoyed this one, you might also enjoy:

We should’ve bough Facebook and Bitcoin Stock: An investing and technology story
A look at STEM: Blockchain technology, a new way of conducting business and record keeping
A Cryptocurrency App Case Study
Why SEO really is the key to a successful online business
The Best Apps for Crypto Investment
Who will have the skills to benefit from Apple’s $350 billion investment?

If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and/or leave a comment. To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right hand column in this post and throughout the site, or add the link to my RSS feed to your feedreader. You can follow me on the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page, and Twitter at @BWArePowerful. Lastly, you can follow me on Instagram at @anwaryusef76. While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

Why SEO really is the key to a successful online business

Regardless of what your business is, or what your content is as a writer, it’s critical make your presence known and easy to find. The following guest post comes courtesy of Michael Kordvani. It discusses importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the success of online businesses. Michael Kordvani can be contacted at michaelkordvani@gmail.com.

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When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), many are aware it’s something that’s supposed to help their online business but very few make time to learn anything about it or to even try. Many tell you they rely on word of mouth marketing or paid advertising that can take a chunk out of your business budget.

It’s a shame that SEO marketing is misunderstood and underused. SEO is a series of techniques designed to make your website easier for both search engines and your visitors to understand. Since search engines don’t see and understand your web pages the way a human can, SEO helps them ascertain what each page is about and why it’s useful to its users. Then it helps the search engines bring their users to you.

5 Ways SEO Helps Your Online Business Succeed

While there are many ways SEO can benefit your online business, here are five of the top ones.

More Clients: With so many websites available for any given product, service, or niche, getting clients can be a challenge. Using solid SEO techniques will improve your ranking in the search engines and make it easier to find. The easier your site is to find, the more potential customers you will receive. With the increased traffic, you will see more conversions.

Mobile Friendly: According to Hitwise, as much as 58% of all search engine queries are conducted on mobile devices and that number will continue to grow. How does SEO factor into that? An entirely new set of SEO techniques, like local search optimization, have been developed to help businesses get their products and services in front of the mobile audience. Choosing to ignore this particular trend is allowing your business to fall behind and out of the minds of today’s consumers.

Reputation Building: Reaching the first page of a search engine is quite an accomplishment and much more than something to brag about. Greater consumer trust is given to pages that are highly ranked. For many customers, if they can’t find a business on the first page of their Google search results, it’s not good enough. SEO boosts your website’s ranking in the search engines, gradually helping you move towards the top of users’ search results.

Brand Awareness: Another great benefit of SEO is that it lets your site appear on relevant pages of the search engines. As your ranking goes up, your site will appear more often at the top of user searches. That increases awareness among potential customers, more of them being aware of you means a higher conversion rate. Getting your SEO optimized content on social media channels too will also help increase your brand’s awareness and inspire consumer trust and loyalty.

Cost Effective: People are often afraid of investing in SEO because they don’t understand it. In educating yourself about the true power potential of SEO, you’ll see that such investment is much like investing in real estate. If you invest wisely in SEO, you get more from it. The remarkable thing is that a huge investment isn’t necessary and it’s very cost effective when compared to what you’d pay for PPC and social media marketing.