Alex Pineda

Creative Director

The Inflection Point

As I write this, I’m currently watching the live event of Apple’s latest iPhone 8 event. They just announced an update to the Apple TV set top box, with support for 4K, because, according to Tim Cook, “TV is at an “inflection point” with the mainstream adoption of 4K.”

This made me ponder the implication of this term “inflection point”. By definition, in math terms, it’s “a point of a curve at which a change in the direction of curvature occurs.”  In Tim Cook’s reference, it’s when a technology reaches a certain critical mass in terms of how many people use it, hence Apple’s new product.

In larger, cultural terms, an inflection point represents a fundamental change in how people live, do business, communicate.  On the NY Times website, there is a video of all the things the iPhone “destroyed”, in terms of how it disrupted whole industries, and changed how we interact with each other:

The list of disruptions engendered by the rise of mobile technology is enormous, including the taxi industry, alarm clocks, cameras, etc. Every organization is faced with the potential of disruption, with the inflection point. The key is to anticipate this disruption, and embrace it, to evolve, rather than die. History is littered with industries and companies that could not embrace change and fell by the wayside.

Since I’ve been with Matrix Group (1999), there have been a huge number of inflection points, both culturally and technologically. Every time there is a major fundamental change, we’ve had to adapt our design process, business practices, and offerings to clients. From desktop to mobile, cloud computing, content management systems, these new technologies have all had huge impacts on our business, and how we help our clients.

Some of the new potential inflection points include the internet of things, virtual reality, screen less experiences etc.  As a company that designs interactive experiences for our clients, it’s imperative that we stay on top of these changes, embrace these changes, and think about how we can apply these inflection points to help our clients evolve and thrive, and not die.

Janna Marks

Web Producer

9 Tips for Holding a Successful Training Session

Holding a training session can be tough. You have to give your audience all of the information they need in a limited time frame, without overwhelming them or, let’s be honest, putting them to sleep. It can be quite the task and balancing act.

At Matrix Group, we conduct a lot of training. Over the years I’ve held hundreds of trainings and MatrixMaxx product demos. While my sessions aren’t always 100% flawless, I like to think that I’ve gotten pretty good at holding a successful training session.

Recently, I gave some of our staff a training session on giving training sessions. Here are the 9 top tips that I shared with the Matrix Group staff on how to make your training sessions successful:

  1. Know your material – This one may seem obvious, but be well prepared and don’t try to wing it. Make a quick bulleted list for yourself of the key points that you want to cover, and, if you do the same training regularly, it might be worth your time to create a standard presentation template that gets customized for each individual training.
  2. Know the audience’s goals – Ask yourself: What are they trying to get out of this training or demo? What information is the most important and useful to them? Do they want an overview, or a deep dive into one or two areas?
  3. Learn about the organization(s) you are talking to – Ask them questions about how they currently do certain things ahead of time, so you can better prepare. Also, be sure to know about any unique customizations the client(s) may have in place when holding a software training.
  4. Prepare sample data – It often goes a long way for the client to see data like their own. Note a couple of examples that illustrate your points, and populate some sample data where necessary.
  5. Slow down – Don’t be afraid of a little silence and don’t rush through the material. You may know the information like the back of your hand, but your audience doesn’t, so make sure you are giving them enough time to let things sink in.
  6. Practice – A little practice makes a big impact, especially if you are conducting a training on or using new material. Formulate a plan for what information you are going to cover, go over your examples and illustrations and think about what you are going to say for each one, then practice, practice, practice.
  7. Speak clearly – Try to avoid “ums” and “ahs”. The previous two tips will also help you to do this. Also, if you are giving a training remotely, keep in mind that conference phone lines tend to muddle things, so take extra care to enunciate.
  8. Periodically prompt for questions – Before changing topics, ask if there are any questions. This gives the more shy audience members an opportunity to ask questions.
  9. Be clear on who will be taking notes – It can be hard to take notes while also conducting a training, without breaking the flow of your presentation. If you have someone else from your organization helping out with the training, be clear about who will be responsible for note taking ahead of time.

As with anything, practice really does make perfect. But hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to knock any training session out of the park, whether it’s your first or your 50th.

Have any other tips for how to ensure that your training sessions are successful? I’m all ears!

Nick Exposito

Marketing & New Business Coordinator

Getting Things Done: How To Decide What To Do, When

When it comes to getting things done at work, how do you go about it? Do you write down a list, type it in a document, use sticky notes? What do you do to make sure you are getting things done throughout your workday?

Recently, CEO Joanna Pineda and CTO Maki Kato held a Friday Forum, which is a learning session held during lunch by one of the Matrix Group staff members, about what they’ve learned from reading the book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” by David Allen. They did a great job of summarizing the information from the book, and many of their suggested approaches for how to get tasks done more quickly, efficiently, and effectively in the workplace were eye-opening to me.

My #1 takeaway: How to decide what to do, and when.

In the book, David Allen suggests asking the following questions to help you determine which tasks you should tackle at any given time:

  • How much time do you have? 2 hours? 30 minutes between meetings? All afternoon?
  • What is your context? Where are you? The office, house, car, gym, etc. and what tools do you have to use to accomplish this task?
  • What is your energy level? Maybe there’s a task that should only take you 30 minutes, but it requires a lot of mental energy, and it’s 4:30pm on a Friday. But, you have two other tasks that should only take 15 minutes each, and are easy breezy. Focus on those tasks.
  • What is the priority list? When are my deadlines? What do I need to get done this morning, today, by the end of the week, or the end of the month?

So now, at the beginning of the day, I take a look at my list and my calendar, and then ask myself these questions so I can formulate a plan of how, and when, I will knock out all of the tasks on my plate. It’s been a game-changer for my productivity.

Keep in mind that energy level is key, though! Sometimes I may have a task on my plate that will only take 30 minutes, and it’s planned into my day between my afternoon meetings, but it’s a task that takes a lot of concentration. The 2:30 slump arrives and in that state of mind the 30 minute task may take me more like 45 minutes to an hour to complete. In that case, it may be better for me to focus on one of my other 30 minute tasks that requires less mental energy.

One more quick tip I learned – review your email once an hour, not every 5 minutes, to avoid distraction.

Have you read Getting Things Done? What is one of your top productivity hacks?

Sherrie Bakshi

Director of Marketing and Social Media

Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Rolls Out Today

Google rolled out its NEW mobile-friendly algorithm today.

Why is Google doing this? The world is mobile. With an estimated 63% of American adults using their phones to go online (Pew Research Center), Google, the world’s largest search engine, wants companies to get serious about their mobile strategies. Internet search concept

What does this mean? When searching on your devices, Google will highlight mobile-friendly in the search engines. More importantly, mobile-friendly websites will rank higher in mobile searches.

How does this impact your organization’s web strategy? For one thing, if you don’t have a mobile strategy, it’s time to get serious about one. It’s also a good time for those with mobile strategies to assess them.

Here’s how:

  • Start with your own analytics. When reviewing your analytics, go to Audiences>Mobile>Overview. You can see from what type of device visitors are accessing your website. To gather a sense of whether or not traffic has climbed among mobile devices over a specific period, simply select the “compare to” in the calendar box (top right hand corner) and adjust dates. You can customize the dates based on specific periods.
  • Use the mobile-friendly test tool. This tool crawls individual pages on your website and lets you know if a page is not mobile-friendly and why.
  • Make your current website responsive. These days many content management systems, including Sitefinity and WordPress, offer responsive templates to help web developers convert desktop sites to responsive.

Finally, if you haven’t redesigned your website in a few years, make sure that you budget for a responsive website.