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Blockchain Technology: Overhyped or Underused?

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With the recent collapse of FTX, investors now worry about the future of cryptocurrency. While some blame the technology, we should remember that people are corruptible, not blockchain. The ledger-based technology making cryptocurrency possible is as much a breakthrough today as it was yesterday. Unfortunately, crashes like FTX play into fears that blockchain is more hype than breakthrough. Will blockchain once and for all prove not very useful in the enterprise?

When blockchain technology spawned a new way of thinking about money and creating wealth, many in the enterprise IT space began thinking about using blockchain technology to streamline business processes. For example, the global supply chain is still not working as well as it could. More than a decade later, enterprise adoption of blockchain technology is crawling at best and stalled across the board in many of the world’s largest companies.

Blockchain is an emerging technology, meaning its full potential and practical uses are still evolving. This creates hype as visionaries dream about using the technology to its full potential, usually long before everyone else sees its usefulness. This is the downside of emergent technology, as hype often masks reality.

Related: The Blockchain Is Everywhere: Here’s How to Understand It

Remember the cloud?

When cloud computing first came out, it was an emerging technology. Software developers scrambled to develop SaaS applications where people bought a software service instead of installing the software on each workstation. Two decades later, the endpoint for the evolution of cloud computing revealed itself to no fanfare. Cloud computing is behind the scenes and responsible for billions of data exchanges daily.

Everyone takes the cloud for granted today. But go back 20 years, and the same hype drove similar conversations about cloud computing. Indeed, go back half a century, and you will find hype about using computers in the enterprise. There was even excitement about driving cars instead of horses. The point is that the hype is part of the adoption process that all emergent technology must go through to become behind-the-scenes technology.

Facts behind the hype

Blockchain technology and the movement of digital information across disparate locations are not exaggerated. Human civilization needs blockchain because it protects the process of moving digital data from one place to another in a physical realm people cannot see. Once a Bitcoin gets transferred, the record of that transfer does not change.

What can change is the cybersecurity surrounding the transfer. Because software is a product of human creation, bugs will pop up from using the technology. Our society deals with this regularly. Consequently, there will be bugs; that is a fact.

Another crucial point is that blockchain technology must use other technology with no attached hype — for example, securing cloud computing SaaS applications using Wi-Fi. If every other part of the information exchange is secure, working out the bugs is a process of elimination.

Related: How Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Can Revolutionize Businesses

Trailblazer vs. trail follower

Although some technologists perceive blockchain as overhyped, what does that mean, and what should the enterprise do about it? Hype in the tech sphere is a cultural phenomenon driven by followers waiting for someone else to lead. Everyone knows blockchain is the future, but only some want to be trailblazers. Unfortunately, it does not help when a trailblazer fails. Enterprise leaders get worried and pull back.

Provocatively, it collapses like FTX, which works to legitimize hype for emergent technology. Spectacular collapses tend to spur serious progress into making the technology live up to its hype. For the enterprise, the hype centers on supply chains as the world seeks a better way to manage global shipping.

Making blockchain work for the enterprise

Walmart and other large retail businesses need blockchain technology or something like it, which is driving much of the hype. The global supply chain is not functioning as it could, so the enterprise needs blockchain much like the healthcare industry needs caregivers because of a worker shortage. In this light, overhype is a motivator for taking action or getting in line and waiting for the trailblazer.

The enterprise’s decision-makers need motivational buy-in from software engineers with a trailblazer mindset. Moreover, the software applications must be heavily backed by robust security specifically designed to manage the movement of digital information from one point to another.

Related: How Blockchain Can Make A Positive Impact On Global Issues

Incremental change

Enterprise adoption of blockchain is slow but not unexpected. Our modern society wants everything right now. If the digital revolution taught us anything, change is incremental. The best way to get comfortable using blockchain comes from using it in small test programs. Once these smaller programs work as a system, scale the operations together, then work the bugs out from there.

Patience and hype need to get along better. However, trailblazers in the tech sphere must be patient or risk being victims of hype. Focus on small steps representing steps forward — for example, using an extensive global supply chain with only a tiny part controlled by blockchain. Once the blockchain-supported supply chain section runs without bugs, please step back and understand how it fits into the bigger supply chain. The process and setup systems needed for incremental change do not pay attention to hype.

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Entrepreneurship

10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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