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5 Futuristic Applications of Fitness Wearables

 

What’s the future version of today’s humble step tracker or health app? Our resident tinkerers at Vantiv labs took on an API challenge to enable commerce with fitness wearable technology for usage in a sharing economy business model (like a gym membership where you only pay for the equipment you use). Click here to check out how they combined Fitbit’s API with Vantiv’s API. Read on to discover five more futuristic applications for fitness wearables.

 

Smart Patches

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart patches

 

Forget about your Fitbit. Patches that stick directly to the skin are the new future for wearable tech. Smart patches have the advantage of being worn all the time – unlike wrist wear which needs to be removed to be charged and can’t get wet. Some pro sports teams are already testing smart patches that analyze health by monitoring sweat on their athletes.  Plus patches worn under clothes offer a discrete option for health monitoring for folks who prefer a bit more privacy.

 

Smart Clothing

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart clothing

 

Smart fabrics with sensors hidden in your t-shirt or waistband might be able to track your heart rate, fat ratio, calorie burn, and provide you with updates on your shrinking waist size. For professional athletes or patients in rehabilitation, biosensors in clothing might be programmed to detect unusual muscle contractions for doctors to track. Supa is already using AI and heart rate sensors in their line of women’s sportswear that even tracks UV absorption.

 

Drones

 

future of fitness wearables: drone running buddies

 

Imagine heading out for a run with your own personal drone that will fly ahead of you and set the pace to improve your mile time or meet your distance goals. In a 2015 study of joggers using running drones, the joggers reported enjoying the “companionship” and “personality” of their drone jogging buddies. The best thing about a jogging drone? It’s way less flaky than a human partner. (Ahem, looking at you, Becky.)

 

Smartglasses with Augmented Reality

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: augmented reality and smartglasses

 

While Google Glasses were roundly mocked when they launched, the promise and potential of wearable tech glasses is still a tech ideation darling. Augmented reality paired with a slender, lightweight glasses frame instead of a bulky headset could seriously enhance a workout. For instance, a runner training for a race could pop on some smartglasses, download an app similar to Zombies, Run!, and enter an immersive augmented reality – where their evening run is spiced up with zombies, obstacles, and video game-style missions.

 

Tattoos

 

future of fitness wearables: tattoos

 

Harvard and MIT researchers have combined biosensitive tattoo inks with traditional tattoo artistry to create tattoos that double as biomedical mood rings. The inks change color depending on body chemistry. For an example, an athlete could monitor the status of their recovery, or a diabetic could tell their blood sugar level by the changing color of their tattoo. The applications could go beyond chronic conditions as well: temporary tattoos for short duration monitoring (like for hospital stays or surgical recovery), or for situations where continuous health monitoring is needed for a specific duration (for athletes in physical therapy or for experimental patient trials).

How a city app changed the way I pay for parking (and why I don't even mind spending more money)

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about payments, I’m well aware of the impact of frictionless (or invisible) payments. Recently I witnessed a change in my spending habits due to payments innovation.

 

A decade ago Amazon revolutionized the ecommerce world with its one click checkout and countless merchants followed this trend -- or at least tried. Technology behemoths and Silicon Valley startups lead the way with innovative payment methods that make our shopping experience seamless.

 

While the retail and ecommerce world continue to race ahead, government and utilities are only now catching up. I’ve never been a fan of cash and much less nickels and dimes, so the fact that we have to pay parking meters with quarters always put me in a tough spot. Where are the darn quarters! Making a trip to the bank or supermarket to load up on quarters is always a hassle (no ATM gives bills less than $20). As a result, often within the city I end up taking the cab to avoid parking meters.

 

How can I get this important service – parking my car -- without the hassle and unnecessary friction of using cash? Enter the new mobile app - BostonPark which lets me store my vehicle details and card payment info. Whenever I’m near a parking spot it tells me how much parking time is left as well as the street cleaning schedule -- so I can avoid parking fines!. Since Boston has different times for resident parking and metered parking, it allows me to pay remotely if I’m running late. If I decide to stay longer and want to extend the parking time, I no longer have to rush. No more worrying about the dreadful orange violation ticket on my car window shield. The best part – no more scavenging for quarters!

 

This app has significantly changed my parking spending habit. As government agencies introduce more digital services and make payments easier, consumers like me will likely use the government service rather than alternatives (for example, driving and parking instead of taking an Uber). I look forward more frictionless experiences in public services!

As developers, we often let work dictate when, or even if, we take a vacation. Goodbye sandy beach--hello Sprint session! While it may seem admirable that you put in extra hours, you may be doing yourself a disservice and miss out on inspiration.

 

European Union (EU) workers automatically get a minimum of 20 paid days off. And data show they are on to something--as that time off does not mean lower productivity. In fact, nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) in 2015, measured by GDP per hour worked, were in Europe. The United States ranked sixth.

 

Data show more time off doesn't have to translate into lower productivity. Nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the OECD in 2015, measured by GDP per hour worked, were in Europe. The United States ranked sixth.

 

According to an article in the Huffington Post, there are some staggering figures to validate the benefits of taking your PTO. Unfortunately, many do not fully unplug. (it helps to read these in the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi for full effect)

  • 41 percent of people tend to check in with work during a vacation.
  • 84 percent of US executives have cancelled vacations because of a work emergency.

 

Wendy Schofield CEO - Mobile Pay, Inc.

“Clear the path for innovation and new successes by allowing yourself downtime to clear your mind of the noise & clutter.” - Wendy Schofield

 

We spoke recently with Vantiv partner, Wendy Schofield, CEO of Mobile Pay, Inc and she recounted how taking time off ultimately lead her company into a new business model. After a short vacation, where she was able to completely get away from work, inspiration struck and upon her return, she immediately called her developer to lay out the plans for making secure mobile payments. That was back in 2006!

 

Fast forward to the present, Wendy credits allowing herself free time away from work to recharge and open up new creative thought processes. She suggests going through a quick checklist for warning signs that it might be time for a vacation.

  1. Step back and recognize when you are too spread out.
  2. Realize that it is more productive to do one thing well, rather than too many tasks at one time.
  3. Give yourself that well-needed time off to clear the day-to-day clutter.

 

Partner Spotlight - Mobile Pay, Inc 

  • Collectively, Mobile Pay, Inc. and Wholesale Payments Group create a catalog of solutions for the public and private sectors for accepting payments and offsetting costs of payment processing.
  • Create full scale relationships with service providers, MSPs, ATM Operators, and processors to enable them to service merchants and institutions with a local presence to support those entities.
  • Services include credit/bank card, and check payment processing, ATM placement and sales/service, free payroll solutions, cash advances, equipment leasing, petroleum and more.
  • Niche markets include government and education, petroleum, utilities, rental payments, POS specific processing, credit/bank card terminal placements and service, eCommerce, and retail.

 

So remember to take time off and tell your boss or client to do so as well. They may come back to you inspired with a new challenge!

Reaching peak performance (or DevFlow) as a developer is not about working yourself or your team raw, it’s about having an awareness in your work.  Flow is great when you have it, but oftentimes hard to replicate.  So here's a hit list of six surprising and easy hacks that should be in every developers toolkit for hitting maximum DevFlow. 

 

1)  Do not commit to impossible tasks.

 

 

This can lead to mental clutter and disables focus.  Multi-tasking is a lie. While computers can switch context with ease, human brains just aren’t wired like that.  According to a Forbes article on multitasking, the term first appeared in an IBM paper in 1965, referring to a computer's ability to process multiple tasks simultaneously.  Focusing on more than one thing decreases productivity by 40% and lowers IQ by 10 points.  Duh.

 

2)  Try white noise headphones to lessen distractions

Ditching extraneous noise can speed the ramp up into flow.  White noise draws and focuses your attention without disturbing your emotional quotient and improves concentration by preventing outside disturbances.

 

3)  Put the phone away!

 

Turn off the ringer and put that "time suck" device out of view.  The average smartphone user checks her device 221 times a day. Some people are so attached to notifications that they experience phantom cellphone vibration syndrome

(yup, it’s totally a thing.) Charge your phone in a drawer so you can’t see those candy-colored notifications pop up to distract you from the task at hand.

 

4)  Collect your data before digging into the code

Searching for data during a coding session can kill the flow, so get your research together before the deep dive. This is just an organisational tip where having your data close at hand can lessen the need to search for the info while you are in the coding moment.  It's about staying in a coding flow to write code, not searching for it.

 

5)  Understand that flow is not always relaxing

 

stand up desks increased efficiency by 53%

 

For a change of pace, increase focus by trying to code at a stand up desk.  According to a Washington Post article, stand up desks were attributed to a 53% increase in work outcome and productivity over the course of six months.  Employees who worked at stand-capable desk sat down on average 1.6 hours less than those at a sitting desk.

 

6)  Allow your brain some buffer time

It often takes 10-15 minutes to get into the Flow, so starting and stopping coding sessions for meetings crushes any semblance of flow.  So when you’re blocking out your productive flow time, make sure to add buffer cushions around meetings to give you time to download your notes and follow up on deliverables before moving on. The next time you get a meeting invite, schedule 15 minute blocks of buffering time around it, in order to prepare, switch tasks, and get in gear again for the next coding push.

 

If you can recognize productivity killers and can be open to some quick hacks--You have a greater chance to reach and stay in a state of DevFlow.

 

So hack-away with these new tools and get in the flow!

Do people say your head is in the clouds? If they do, you’re likely on to something. At least if your head is in charge of your healthcare practice’s technology. Because you’ll be on the cutting edge of adopting this new technology. Check out 3 ways cloud technology is a gamechanger for health services providers.

 

 

1) Administrative costs.

 

20 percent of consumers have unpaid medical bills due to confusing billing processes.

 

No surprise here: inefficient billing practices are revenue drainers. Nearly 20 percent of consumers have unpaid health care bills due to confusing payment processes. And, up to 80 percent of medical bills contain mistakes, which results in a loss of approximately $125 billion annually.

 

up to 80% of medical bills contain errors.

 

Meanwhile, healthcare providers operating in the cloud are enjoying $8 billion in annual savings. Check out how digital payments reduced one provider’s administrative costs by 25 percent, and reduced time spent on submitting claims and processing patient payments by 88 percent.

 

2) Patient service.

Patients expect 24/7 availability from health service providers. Can your patient portal keep up?

Patients are accustomed to 24/7 availability and service from their banks, their retailers, their dog groomers –you get the picture. They’d like the same level of access and service from their healthcare providers.

 

In this new digital landscape, healthcare providers need to deliver Internet-based services that connect healthcare professionals with patients, to talk about upcoming procedures, aftercare, and medication management. Providers are increasingly turning to cloud solutions to modernize their legacy apps and IT infrastructure to make this happen.

 

3) Scalability and efficiency.

Getting up and running is half the battle and again, cloud technology claims the edge here. Cloud deployments typically take only 3-6 months, compared to the 12-month timeframe to implement an on-premise solution.

 health care cloud spending is expected to reach $9 billion

Healthcare cloud spending is skyrocketing, expected to increase from $3.73 billion in 2015, to $9.48 billion in 2020. And companies that offer the solutions health services providers are seeking will undoubtedly reap the financial benefits. Will yours be one of them?

When it comes to eCommerce, consumer behaviors are changing fast. Gone are the days when customers had the patience to key in details like payment cards, billing, and shipping addresses. Increasingly, consumers demand easy-to-use payment solutions that allow them to check out in seconds. This is especially true on mobile devices, where tapping details on a small screen is tedious and error-prone.

 

For merchants, responding to this shift is critical. According to comScore, $22.7B in online purchases were made from mobile devices in Q4 of 2016, up 45% from the same period the prior year confirming continued strong growth in mobile payments, and greater than 50% of these payment transactions involve the use of stored credentials. The increased use of stored credentials suggests that consumers are seeking easier, more streamlined online payment methods, even on the first customer interaction.

 

Introducing Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout is a simple service that makes it easier to pay online.  Once users set up an account, they can quickly make payments from any device including a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Visa Checkout works with major credit, prepaid or debit cards across all devices. 

Visa Checkout can help drive higher conversion by potentially eliminating the login friction for online shoppers. Registered users can speed through checkout with biometric authentication in participating merchants’ mobile apps and, if the user has linked his/her Google Pay or Samsung Pay to his/her Visa Checkout account, use biometric authentication in mobile web. Returning users can also choose to stay signed in on trusted devices. All of these capabilities help provide a convenient, password-less shopping experience.

 

From a merchant perspective, adding support for Visa Checkout is easy. In partnership with Visa, Vantiv is expanding our portfolio of supported Digital payment solutions to include Visa Checkout for merchant websites and Android and iOS apps to provide customers with more convenient ways to pay online. 

For merchants there are several potential benefits:

  • Improve customer convenience and loyalty
  • Reduce abandoned shopping carts and increase conversions
  • Convert more first-time shoppers by avoiding the requirement that they set up profiles on your website or mobile app in advance of a purchase
  • Avoid potential errors and administrative costs owing to incorrectly keyed shipping or billing details

 

Worldpay Integration for Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout integration on Worldpay will initially be for online purchases on our high-volume core processing platforms. Worldpay's Visa Checkout integration leverages eProtect, a solution that provides added security for merchants, a streamlined integration experience, and an opportunity to reduce PCI scope by avoiding the need for merchants to handle sensitive card data in their applications. 

“Worldpay's commitment to provide businesses of all sizes a solution to enable seamless digital commerce complements Visa’s vision to make payments accessible to everyone, everywhere,” said Vish Shastry, Vice President, Digital Products, Visa Inc. “Visa is excited to deepen our partnership with Worldpay through Visa Checkout and make payments simple for both merchants and consumers.”

 

By leveraging eProtect, impact on existing merchant back-end systems is minimized allowing merchants to get to market faster with minimal disruption to existing operations.  From a back-end payment processing perspective, merchants can handle Visa Checkout transactions just as they would transactions involving a traditional payment card as shown below.

Figure 1: Worldpay simplifies payment integrations and reduces PCI scope by avoiding the need for merchants to store card data in their systems

“We are delighted to be partnering with Visa on this important initiative,” says Scott DeAngelo, Worldpay’s Head of Product. “With Visa Checkout, customers can quickly make payments from any device. Merchants processing with Worldpay can take advantage of a straightforward integration that can help improve conversions, sales, and the bottom line.”

To help merchants quickly get up and running, Worldpay has a dedicated developer community for Visa Checkout on its Vantiv O.N.E. developer portal.  Once logged into this free resource, developers can learn about the technology, explore code examples, and discuss implementation details with Worldpay and other third-party developers and industry experts.

To learn more about how Visa Checkout and Worldpay can help improve your online sales, Contact Worldpay or visit our Vantiv O.N.E. developer community at https://developer.vantiv.com/community/mobile.

Tom Bronson, the President and CEO of software developer Granbury Solutions, strongly recommended The Oz Principle to me, and I’m thrilled he did. The book presents important and easy-to-recall principles about accountability that can be applied at your organization faster than you can say “yellow brick road.”

 

Coincidentally, the week I finished typing my notes on the book, a Vantiv reseller partner asked me to create an Accountability Workshop for his team. The Oz Principle will serve as a great foundation for that. Here are 28 of my favorite quotes and concepts from the book:

 

[Editor's note: I am not associated with Partners in Leadership, the organization behind The Oz Principle. The quotes below are sourced directly from the book which you can purchase here.]

 

  1. While greater accountability may not cure all of the world’s ills, it does provide a sturdy foundation on which you can build long-lasting solutions.
  2. The Wizard Of Oz’s main characters gradually learn that they possess the power within themselves to get the results they want.
  3. Cultures of failed accountability have weakened business character, stressed ease over difficulty, feeling good over being good, appearance over substance, saving face over solving problems, and illusion over reality.
  4. The latest, most up-to-date management concepts and techniques won’t help if you’ve neglected the basic principles that empower people and organizations to turn in exceptional performances.
  5. How many industries will fall victim to their own denial by continuing to pretend not to know what will one day appear obvious?
  6. Shift from “tell me what to do” to “here is what I’m going to do, what do you think?” — a truly profound and empowering approach to getting results.
  7. Most people view accountability as something that happens to them when performance wanes, problems develop, or results fail to materialize.
  8. New definition of accountability: A personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results. This definition includes a mindset or attitude of continually asking, “What else can I do to rise above my circumstances and achieve the results I desire?”
  9. In addition to representing his or her function, each team member accepts responsibility for overall team results. “We got focused, rather than frustrated, and we made it happen, despite the odds stacked against us.”
  10. If you find yourself continually surprised by your performance appraisals, we suggest you seek more feedback about your performance, not just from your superiors, but from others who you respect and trust.
  11. All too often people view unhappy circumstances as accidents of chance; yet when they find themselves in more pleasant circumstances, they automatically take credit for a job well done.
  12. Truly owning the circumstances that you face requires you to make a link between what has happened and all the factors contributing to the problem, however much that linkage may implicate you.
  13. The benefits of owning your circumstances more than compensate for the heart-wrenching effort involved.
  14. Focus your efforts on removing the obstacles standing between you and the outcomes you desire. Unhappy consequences await those who fail to do so.
  15. Ezra 10:4 – “Arise, for this matter belongeth unto thee … be of good courage, and do it!”
  16. “Under the bludgeoning of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” – W.E. Henley
  17. Identify the uncontrollable issues you face, separating them from the controllable ones. This way, you can avoid complaining or worrying about what you cannot affect.
  18. As the world endlessly changes, so must we.
  19. Accounting for progress: an after-the-fact discussion to measure progress towards results.
  20. Below The Line people: Report only when asked to do so; justify or explain their activities; run and hide when it’s time to report; blame others for lack of results; react defensively to suggestions for improvement
  21. Above The Line people: Report regularly and thoroughly; analyze their activities in an effort to determine what more they can do to get results; stand and deliver when it’s time to report on their circumstances; welcome feedback
  22. Regardless of your current position in your organization, you can encourage people to climb out of the victim cycle and ascend the steps to accountability.
  23. Train everyone from the boardroom to the mail room to understand the crucial relationship between accountability and results.
  24. By taking accountability for our own success, success will follow. “Only if we can look at ourselves first will we have any chance of turning around these poor sales numbers.”
  25. It’s surprising how much talk and how little action surrounds a communication problem.
  26. Joint accountability for people development should exist between employees and their organizations. Individuals at all levels of an organization should take charge of their own development.
  27. By failing to confront poor performance, organizations unwittingly foster feelings among people who do perform poorly, but don’t know it and thus can’t affect improvements, as well as among people who must pick up the slack because of the poor performance of others.
  28. Make confronting performance a daily habit.

 

If you’d like to talk more about how to improve accountability at your ISV organization, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

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We want Vantiv O.N.E. to be the best community it can be, and we'd love your input. How have we been doing?

 

Let us know how we can make Vantiv O.N.E. better - whether that's the user experience, our documentation, or resources you wish we offered.

 

Everyone who submits an idea will get a $10 Starbucks card to help them power through the rest of the year. All entries will be entered into a contest for a $100 Amazon card. (Check out our terms and conditions here.) 

 

Contest ended Jan 2017

The year is drawing to a close, so be on the lookout for a deluge of articles, videos, and opinion pieces recapping 2017. As a software developer executive, it’s fine to look back but it’s more important for you to look ahead this time of year. With that in mind, let’s learn together from the book Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by the legendary Jim Collins and Jerry Porris. The book provides guidance on how to build and innovate your business to adapt for the future.

 

Here are 37 of my favorite quotes and concepts from Built To Last:

 

  1. Visionary companies display a remarkable resiliency, an ability to bounce back from adversity.
  2. Visionary companies do not ask, “What should we value?” They ask, “What do we actually value deep down to our toes?”
  3. Visionary companies make some of their best moves by experimentation, trial and error, opportunism, and — quite literally — accident. “Let's just try a lot of stuff and keep what works.”
  4. Creating a visionary statement can be a helpful step in building a visionary company, but it is only one of thousands of steps in a never-ending process of expressing the fundamental characteristics we identified across the visionary companies.
  5. Concentrate primarily on building an organization rather than on hitting a market just right with a visionary product idea and riding the growth curve.
  6. Be prepared to kill, revise, or evolve of an idea, but never give up on the company.
  7. All products, services, and great ideas, no matter how visionary, eventually become obsolete. But a visionary company does not necessarily become obsolete, not if it has the organizational ability to continually change and evolve beyond existing product lifecycles.
  8. The “Genius of the AND”: The ability to embrace both extremes of a number of dimensions at the same time. Instead of choosing between “A” OR “B,” they figure out a way to have both “A” AND “B.”
  9. A visionary company doesn’t simply balance between persevering a tightly held ideology and stimulating vigorous change and movement; it does both to an extreme.
  10. We found evidence of a core ideology that existed not merely as words but as a vital shaping force.
  11. Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.
  12. Visionary companies don’t merely declare an ideology; they also take steps to make the ideology pervasive throughout the organization and transcend any individual leader.
  13. Beliefs must always come before policies, practices, and goals. The latter must always be altered if they are seen to violate fundamental beliefs.
  14. A visionary company continually pursues but never fully achieves or completes its purpose.
  15. A visionary company can, and usually does, evolve into exciting new business areas yet remain guided by its core purpose.
  16. An effective way to get at purpose is to pose the question, “Why not just shut this organization down, cash out, and sell off the assets?”
  17. Preserve the core and stimulate progress: that's the essence of a visionary company.
  18. In a visionary company, the drive to go further, to do better, to create new possibilities needs no external justification.
  19. Through the drive for progress, a highly visionary company displays a powerful mix of self-confidence combined with self-criticism.
  20. Organizations often have great intentions and inspiring vision for themselves, but they don't take the crucial step of translating their intentions into concrete items.
  21. You don’t need to create a “soft” or “comfortable” environment to build a visionary company. The visionary companies tend to be more demanding of their people than other companies, both in terms of performance and congruence with the ideology.
  22. Because visionary companies have such clarity about who they are, what they’re all about, and what they’re trying to achieve, they tend to not have much room for people unwilling or unsuited to their demanding standards.
  23. Evolutionary progress is unplanned progress.
  24. Detailed plans usually fail because circumstances inevitably change.
  25. If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.
  26. The best and hardest work is done in the spirit of adventure and challenge.
  27. If you're involved with an organization that feels it must go outside for a top manager, then look for candidates who are highly compatible with the core ideology. They can be different in managerial style, but they should share the core values level.
  28. Critical question: “How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?” Institutionalize this question as a way of life — a habit of mind and action.
  29. Visionary companies attain their extraordinary position because they are so terribly demanding of themselves.
  30. If you want to innovate, you must bootstrap. It is one of the most powerful, least understood influences that pervades the company.
  31. Visionary companies habitually invest, build, and manage for the long term to a greater degree than the comparison companies in our study. Yet, at the same time, they do not let themselves off the hook in the short term.
  32. A visionary company creates a total environment that envelops employees, bombarding them with a set of signals so consistent and mutually reinforcing that it’s virtually impossible to misunderstand the company’s ideology and ambitions.
  33. Visionary companies don’t put in place any random set of mechanisms or processes. They put in place pieces that reinforce each other, clustered together to deliver a powerful combined punch.
  34. You should be working to implement as many methods as you can think of to preserve a cherished core ideology that guides and inspires people at all levels. And you should be working to invent mechanisms that create dissatisfaction with the status quo and stimulate change, improvement, innovation, and renewal – mechanisms that infect people with the spirit of progress.
  35. The builders of visionary companies tend to be simple – some might even say simplistic – in their approaches to business.
  36. No matter who you are, you can be a major contributor in building visionary companies.
  37. Don’t buy into the belief that building a visionary company is something mysterious that only other people do.

 

If you’d like to talk more about Built To Last and how to adapt your ISV organization for the future, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

 

I just finished one of the best leadership and management books I’ve ever read – Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. I heard about the book while listening to the Read To Lead podcast, and I’m thrilled I purchased a copy. Author Liz Wiseman articulates one of the core reasons Vantiv launched PaymentsEdge Advisory Services last summer: The biggest leadership challenge of our times isn’t insufficient resources per se, but rather our inability to access the most valuable resources at our disposal. People are often ‘overworked and underutilized.’ This book is about leaders who access and revitalize the intelligence in the people around them.

 

When I look inside POS reseller and ISV organizations, they each have people, plans, problems, and paperwork. But what distinguishes the winners from the also-rans are those companies who take intentional steps to maximize the abilities of their employees. Multipliers provides specific guidance on how you as a business leader can get the most out of your staff and create a thriving organization – and how to avoid diminishing your team’s capabilities.

 

I’ll share some of my favorite quotes and concepts from Multipliers below, but I strongly encourage you to buy the book and use it as a guide to create a winning culture.

 

  1. This book began with a simple observation: There is more intelligence inside our organizations than we are using. It led to the idea that there was a type of leader — Multipliers — who saw, used, and grew the intelligence of others, while other leaders — Diminishers — shut down the smarts of those around them.
  2. Multipliers get more from their people because they are leaders who look beyond their own genius and focus their energy on extracting and extending the genius of others.
  3. When people work with Multipliers, they hold nothing back. They offer the very best of their thinking, creativity, and ideas.
  4. Multipliers not only access people’s current capability, they stretch it. They get more from people than they knew they had to give.
  5. Here is the logic behind multiplication: Most people in organizations are underutilized. All capability can be leveraged with the right kind of leadership. Therefore, intelligence and capability can be multiplied without requiring a bigger investment.
  6. Resource leverage is a far richer concept then merely “accomplishing more with less.” Multipliers don't get more with less; they get more by using more. More of people's intelligence and capability, enthusiasm and trust. “80 people can either operate with the productivity or 50 or they can operate as though they were 500.”
  7. Diminishers and Multipliers hold radically different assumptions about the intelligence of the people they work with. Diminishers’ two-step logic appears to be that people who don't “get it” now never will; therefore, I'll need to keep doing the thinking for everyone. Multipliers look at the complex opportunities and challenges swirling around them and think, “There are smart people everywhere who will figure this out and get even smarter in the process.” They see that their job is to bring the right people together in an environment that liberates everyone's best thinking.
  8. Multipliers have a hard edge: They expect great things from their people and drive them to achieve extraordinary results.
  9. Multipliers don't play small: It's not that these Multipliers shrink so that others can be big. It's that they play in a way that invites others to play big, too.
  10. Multipliers have a great sense of humor: Multipliers can laugh at themselves and see comedy in error and in life’s foibles, and their sense of humor has a liberating effect on others.
  11. This book is not a prescription for a nice-guy, feel-good model of leadership. Rather, this book discusses a hard-edge approach to management that allows people to contribute more of their abilities.
  12. The Ameba Model: Don't box people into jobs and limit their contribution. Let people work where they have ideas and energy and where they can best contribute.
  13. Are there people on your team who could lead a revolution if they were unleashed on the right opportunity?
  14. Leaders most often know who the blockers are. The most common mistake they make is waiting too long to remove them. If you want to unleash the talent that is latent in your organization, find the weeds and pull them out. Don't to do it quietly.
  15. When you become the leader, the center of gravity is no longer yourself.
  16. Be direct without being destructive.
  17. Liberators hold two ostensibly opposing positions with equal fervor: “I give you space; you give me back your best work. I give you permission to make mistakes; you have an obligation to learn from the mistakes and not repeat them.”
  18. Tyrants and Liberators both expect mistakes. Tyrants stand ready to pounce on the people who make them. Liberators stand ready to learn as much from the mistake as possible.
  19. Liberators get the best thinking from people by creating a rapid cycle between thinking, learning, and making and recovering from mistakes in order to generate the best ideas and create an agile organization.
  20. Tyrants impose an “anxiety tax” wherever they go, because a percentage of people's mental energy is consumed trying to avoid upsetting the Tyrant.
  21. A manager may be able to insist on certain levels of productivity and output, but someone's full effort must be given voluntarily.
  22. If a leader holds the assumption that it is their role to provide the answers, subordinates wait for the directives they've come to expect. The subordinates act on the leader’s answers; then the leader concludes “they would never have figured this out without me.”
  23. Once a leader accepts that he or she doesn't have all the answers, he or she is free to ask much bigger, more provocative, and, frankly, more interesting questions.
  24. Diminishers ask questions that make a point rather than to access greater insight or to generate collective learning. 
  25. Helicopter Down: It is irresponsible to ask your team to do something if the CEO exposure is only at the 30,000 foot level. You have to take it down and show that it can be done.
  26. The collective intent built within the organization enables the whole group to break through challenges no single leader, however intelligent, could have done alone.
  27. Multipliers aren’t overly swayed by opinion and emotional arguments; they continue to ask for evidence, including evidence that might suggest new or alternative points of view.
  28. Multipliers invest by infusing others with the resources and ownership they need to produce results independent of the leader. They invest, and they expect results.
  29. When we let nature take its course and allow people to experience the natural consequences of their actions, they learn most rapidly and profoundly. When we protect people from experiencing the natural ramifications of their actions, we stunt their learning. Real intelligence gets developed through experimentation and by trial and error.
  30. Letting nature teach is hard. Find the “smaller waves” that will provide natural teaching moments without catastrophic outcomes.
  31. When Diminishers delegate, they dole out piecemeal tasks but not real responsibility.
  32. Micromanagers hand over work to others, but they take it back the moment problems arise.
  33. Leaders do not need to be good at everything. They need to have mastery of a small number of skills and be free of show-stopping weaknesses.
  34. It wasn’t a blind faith that I trust you to get it right; it was a more deeply held confidence that I trust you to learn how to get it right.
  35. When new ideas become new norms, you have cultivated a sustainable culture.

 

 

If you’d like to talk more about Multipliers and how to improve your ISV business, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Customers expect their payment data to be protected when used online. As they make a conscious decision when their cardholder data into a website, if the checkout page doesn’t resonate with a sense of trust, they will abandon their cart. 

 

Cart abandonment can be anywhere from 55% and 75% and of those consumers who dropped out of a purchase, 17% mentioned “concerns about payment security” as a reason as they didn’t enter their credit card information into a site[1].” 

For face to face transactions, the indication of the chip embedded in their credit card is obvious. While chip cards were designed specifically to reduce fraud at the POS, customers recognize the difference from dipping their card into a POS device versus swiping, which was an experience change the US market had to overcome.  The challenge with eCommerce in the chip card era is that there has not been a customer experience change, so cardholders are unable tell the difference from a secure or non-secure experience. This means that customers have to rely on their personal intuition, rather than facts, in order to proceed or drop out.

 

 

The Perception of Trust

 

If cardholders are only relying on perception, then how do they know when ecommerce retailers have invested significant resources and money in adequately protecting their sites? In some surveys, as many as 61% of participants said they had decided not to purchase a product because it was missing a security badge.

 

A trust badge, or trust seal, is a symbol placed on websites that ensure the customer that site is legitimate
and that all their personal data is collected securely through trusted third-party service providers.  Such examples are visual padlocks and or shield marker strategically placed by the payment forms to encapsulate the payment fields from the rest of the page.

 

The most common badges used are SSL (secure socket layer) seals, symbolizing a secure connection for credit card data to be transmitted for processing. While these badges establish customer data protection through use of cryptography, SSL doesn’t actually prevent attackers from stealing payment  data to be used for fraudulent transactions, which is ultimately what customers care about most.

 

Customer Perception is Vital

 

Cardholder perception is more important than actual implemented security, and the absence of visual cues of confidence like a trust badge can lead to customer skepticism, and may be willing to switch to a different site where they feel more secure.  

 

What’s even more interesting is that some findings state that placing any type trust badge on a site helps establish credibility with consumers – even if the customer doesn’t really understand what the badge embodies, or who the third-party service provider is.

 

More concerning is that retailers can purchase trust badges at online marketplaces, creating a false sense of security without implementing actual security to stay abreast with the ‘me too’ philosophy. In the fast-paced paced eCommerce
environment, do customer’s dedicate the attention and time or possess the technical experience to differentiate from the two badges below?

 

If customers don’t have the technical expertise to identify legitimate sites from imposters, what are their requirements beyond personal feelings, and who is enforcing misuse of their confidence?

 

A Shift Beyond Perceived Security

 

Turkish ecommerce is already moving in this direction through the Communique on Trust Seal in Electronic Commerce, established this year to foster more trustworthy environments by regulating security standards for obtaining a trust seal for eCommerce websites. The Communique aims for better adoption of legitimate trust seals by ensuring that providers
meet certain security standards, best practices, and punishing those that abuse.
[2]

 

While the deployment of legitimate trust badges like McAfee and VeriSign have been deployed in US  ecommerce environments, the breadth of third-party badges has created dilution, resulting in customers having to interpret who these organizations are and if they can even be trusted.  Though the saturation of badges has resulted in fragmentation, this has proven to be an effective means to establish trust, but given the anticipated growth of US ecommerce over the next several years, this model won’t scale.

 

Universality is Needed

 

In order to scale beyond perception, the payments industry needs an interoperable CNP icon that represents these characteristics much like the chip card has embodied security for card present transactions. While there are global security standards for the web like W3C and OWASP, cardholders wouldn’t recognize these bands as they are
aimed at protecting for data for financial institutions with protecting data, rather than end customers.

 

Given this consumer obstacle, while it makes sense the payment networks like Visa and MasterCard develop a graphical element that possesses credibility, it would also be more beneficial for the payments industry to build awareness through a totally new archetypal icon that embodies technical security and trust the market has yet to see.

 

 


[1] https://monetizepros.com/ecommerce/5-trust-badges-that-can-increase-your-conversion-rate/

[2] http://www.mondaq.com/turkey/x/634844/Consumer+Law/Trust+Seal+In+ECommerce

Kevin Eksterowicz is a Talent Acquisition Leader at Vantiv. I asked him about the new hiring approach that Vantiv rolled out this year (and that my team has used to great success). Here's what he had to say:

 

One of the most impactful exercises a company executes is its selection of new employees.  And when you’re growing as rapidly as Vantiv, the stakes are especially high.  In 2016 alone, we filled almost 1,400 jobs! 

 

However, when we scanned the organization late last year, a few things stuck out like a sore thumb:

  • Our interview and selection process lacked consistency and structure.
  • Interview training and tools were not on any of our curriculum.
  • Feedback on candidate experience was often lackluster at best.
  • Turnover within the first 12 months of hire was 23%, 75% of which took place within the first six months. 

 

We stopped in our tracks and realized that we had a huge opportunity in front of us to deliver value and impact to this growing organization.

 

After months of planning, developing and piloting, we launched Vantiv’s SELECT! program on July 31st. SELECT! is an approach to interviewing and selection that embraces a set structure and strategy for all roles in the organization, ideally with just one on-site visit limited to four interview sessions.  These sessions are tied directly to Vantiv’s leadership model and evaluate a candidate not just on experience and job titles, but through deep focus on the competencies required for success. 

 

We call these sessions our interview focus areas: 

 

  • Role Fit
  • Business Impact
  • Leadership/Self-Leadership
  • Culture & Values. 

 

Focus areas remain consistent across all levels of the organization, yet the competencies and suggested interview questions vary by level.  The outcome is a well-rounded candidate evaluation and a candidate experience that feels robust, streamlined and smooth. 

SELECT with text.png

 

Our Talent Management and Talent Acquisition teams worked hand-in-hand to develop this program complete with:

  • Interactive, online, level-based interview guides with recommended behavior-based interview questions
  • An interactive feedback mechanism to capture candidate-specific scores and notes for each focus area
  • Mandatory comprehensive eLearning courses:  one for people leaders, one for individual contributor interview panelists
  • Half-day classroom training
  • People Leader and Interviewer job aids
  • An Interview Checklist
  • Custom approaches for nuanced groups:  sales (remote), executive, front-line operations

 

Just three months in, almost every people leader (740+) and over 300 interviewers have completed the eLearning. New hire Michael Rose was one of the first candidates to go through the new hiring process. He said, "As I interviewed with potential new employers, Vantiv’s interview process stood out above the pack. Vantiv sent a clear message to me during the interview process… a well-organized and focused approach to finding the best candidate while providing an excellent candidate experience for me. The detailed/thoughtful interview process was a large factor for me choosing Vantiv!  Even the follow-up call from my new Leader after I had accepted the offer reassured me I had definitely made the right choice.”

 

Early feedback on the SELECT! process is very positive and by this time next year, we target marked improvement in early attrition, candidate experience feedback, time to fill metrics and hiring manager satisfaction feedback. Hiring Manager Shannon Reichart said of SELECT!, “this team approach has not only helped me as a hiring manager to make an informed decision regarding new hires, but I believe that it is creating a positive experience for our candidates, providing them with greater insights into Vantiv from other perspectives. Select will give us the foundation that we need as a leadership team to recruit, develop, and retain great people here at Vantiv!”

Apple will launch Face ID with their Apple X (pronounced Ten) to be released in November. Along with its many new features, it will introduce a new biometric-based technology for customers to authenticate themselves when using Apple Pay, the mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets users make payments using an eligible Apple device. With the introduction of Face ID comes the removal the home button that’s been traditionally used for Apple’s
Touch ID, the forensic fingerprinting technology to unlock the phone and process Apple Pay transactions. Apple reports the new Face ID technology creates more unpredictability than the legacy Touch ID technology, utilizing
millions of data points to recognize facial expressions and changes to hair color, grow facial hear, glasses, and outerwear using machine learning. Prior studies reported the chance a random person could use a fingerprint to unlock an iPhone is about 1 in 50, 000 whereas studies have shown the probability to unlock Face ID is closer one and a million.

 

Is Smart Tech Good Enough?

Additional compensating controls have been implemented to detect spoofing and misuse, using an alert detection to ensure the owner’s eyes are open.  To counter, equally elegant spoofing technologies will be developed and implemented, especially with the social media and facial images over the open internet could present an obstacle to prevent against attacks, such as an attacker who can use the same machine learning recognition can identify photos of your face, family or friends who have posted pictures on Facebook or Twitter.  As with any new technology
introduced into the market, its largest obstacle to success is to achieve consumer credibility. Juniper Research has released the results of a new survey that finds that over 40 percent of iOS users in the U.S. are unlikely to use Face ID as payment security technology, and would rather use voice recognition or fingerprint scanning for mobile payments authentication measures. Given Face ID’s unproven credibility in the market, its adopters will tread cautiously as stolen stored credentials, whether they are stored on the device or hosted in the cloud, has a tendency for customers to be skeptical with its use. While Apple systems have never been breached, Apple customers can be at risk of having their devices attacked if they use the same passwords across multiple sites including their iCloud password.

 

The Market Will Tell

Apple has an enormous obstacle to tackle – increasing the security of payments without scaring away customers through the unnerving process of pointing a device at their face, which could prove to be awkward in public places. Through all its initial reservations, if Face ID is proven to reduce the payment processing friction without introducing other impacts, and lives up to its value proposition to its customers that its faster and simpler, it will gain adoption in the market over prior consumer authentication measures.

 

Would you use Face ID for payments?

Would you be willing to use the new facial recognition technology for payment acceptance or would you be resistance to new and unproven technologies? Would you have privacy concerns with facial recognition due to a lack of trust with solution providers? Do you think it may take too long to authenticate a transaction or would the experience be awkward?

 

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

I don’t like to start arguments, but I'll go toe-to-toe when I feel it's necessary. I did that recently during a discussion about resellers and software developers in the POS channel. “They have to change,” my colleague said, to which I quickly responded, “No, they don't. You're allowed to become irrelevant. You're allowed to lose money and close your doors. They don’t have to do anything.”

 

Obviously, I want all Vantiv’s partners in the point of sale channel to adapt and thrive. For them I strongly recommend Dual Transformation, one of the most powerful business strategy books I’ve ever read. I heard about the book while listening to a Harvard Business Review podcast recently and bought it immediately because it addresses what I think is the biggest challenge facing our channel and our individual businesses.

 

Dual Transformation talks about disruption and how to reposition your company for the future. Being part of the IT and publishing industries since 1993, I’ve seen my share of transformations, and the authors are spot-on about how to identify disruption and how to lead the transformation of your business. When you read “The 7 Warning Signs of Industry Disruption” with the POS channel in mind, you’ll be nodding your head in agreement – guaranteed.

 

I’ll share some of my favorite quotes and concepts below, but I strongly encourage you to buy the book and use it as a guide to transform your ISV business.

 

  1. The series Game of Thrones has a saying: winter is coming. It isn't winter that's coming to your boardroom. It is disruption. Disruption is coming. And it is coming at an unprecedented pace and scale.
  2. Creating a new business from scratch is hard, but executives of incumbents have the dual challenge of creating new businesses while simultaneously staving off never-ending attacks on existing operations.
  3. The time when leaders need to be most prepared for a change is right at the moment when they feel they're at the very top of their game.
  4. We call the process a dual transformation because it requires two transformations and not one. In response to a disruptive shock, executives must simultaneously reposition their traditional core organization while leading a separate and focused team on a separate and distinct march up a new hill. It's the greatest opportunity a leadership team will ever face.
  5. Four key leadership mindsets you need to succeed:
    1. The courage to choose before your platform burns.
    2. The clarity to focus on a select few moonshots.
    3. The curiosity to explore even if the probable outcome is failure.
    4. The conviction to persevere in the face of predictable crises.
  6. Companies that successfully execute dual transformation can own the future instead of being disrupted by it.
  7. Answer these five questions:
    1. Why have people historically bought from us?
    2. What do we provide that they really care about?
    3. What is the disruptive shift in our market?
    4. What used to matter to them but doesn't really anymore?
    5. What do they wish we could do that we don’t?
  8. As the world changes, what is critical to the customer also changes.
  9. In a quickly changing world, playing an old game better is insufficient.
  10. The simplest way to understand whether you're truly transforming your core business is to ask, “How have our metrics changed?”
  11. History teaches us, again and again, that disruption is the greatest growth opportunity a company will ever see.
  12. It is critical to discover this path by action and not by analysis. Every idea to create new growth is partially right and partially wrong. The problem is that you don't know which part is which.
  13. No business plan survives first contact with the marketplace.
  14. Successful innovators smartly manage risk through disciplined experimentation. Before the Wright Brothers built a plane, they flew a kite.
  15. DEFT: Document, Evaluate, Focus, and Test.
  16. Seek a stepping-stone strategy: look for a starting point where you can keep a foot in today's world as you venture into a new space.
  17. “Running a start-up is like being punched in the face repeatedly, but working for a large company is like being waterboarded.”
  18. It's never been easier to start a business, but that means it also has never been easier to replicate one.
  19. The more significant the new project and the shift is, the more the CEO should be driving it.
  20. The fundamental challenge for leaders is that the data showing disruption underway is always opaque. By the time it is crystal clear, it is too late to do anything about the disruption.
  21. Decisions can't be guided purely by historical data, because if data drives you, you can only go backwards.
  22. The 7 Warning Signs of Industry Disruption
    1. Decreases in customer loyalty, driven by overshooting. Overshooting: Providing a given market tier performance it can't use. An entrant can gain traction with a simpler, cheaper solution.
    2. Significant and lasting investments by venture capitalists.
    3. Policy changes open the door to new entrants. When governments change the rules, it can accelerate the pace of industry change.
    4. Entrants emerge at the low end or market fringes with inferior-seeming solutions. The innovator uses this foothold to improve the product and service so that it meets the needs of broader customer groups. When upstarts following this game-changing strategy begin to emerge, it's time to stand up and take notice.
    5. Customer habits and preferences show signs of shifting.
    6. A viable competitor fine-tunes a disruptive business model.
    7. Slowing revenue growth is coupled with increased profit margins as leaders exit volume tiers and cut costs. When incumbents begin to feel the pain from disruption, it doesn't always feel very painful. The slowing growth feels like the natural result of an industry maturing. Emerging disruptors grow in a seemingly disconnected market, and, if they pick off customers, often they are ones the incumbent doesn't care much about anyway.
  23. Anything that is growing rapidly bears attention.
  24. Involve outsiders. It can be hard to identify your own problems.
  25. Most companies do a fairly good job of monitoring their direct competitors, but they underinvest in monitoring and interpreting telltale signs of future threats from substitutes and existing or yet-to-be-born disruptors.
  26. You are under no legal requirement to hold to your initial goals and boundaries. As the world changes and you see what works and what doesn't work, you can and should go back and revise the rules of the game.
  27. Adopt a “future-back” mindset. Companies tend to follow “present-forward” approaches to strategy. They start by detailing today's business, then project what next year will look like, then look at the year after that, and so on.
  28. Be willing to wave goodbye to the past.
  29. Your strategy isn't what you say you do; it is what you actually do.
  30. “What is possible?” can't be answered purely by gathering data and building intricate spreadsheets. Instead, it requires intuition and judgment.
  31. If you demand that every idea succeed, you will be consigned to work on incremental improvements within the confines of your current business.
  32. Exposing half-baked ideas early generates useful, usable feedback. It also has positive spillover effects as people in other corners of the organization can take fragments of an idea in new directions.
  33. Whenever you innovate, two good things can happen. Of course, you can create value. But you also can learn something that opens future avenues to create value.
  34. “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John le Carre
  35. The great sucking sounds of yesterday can subtly but importantly pull an organization back to what it was trying to get away from.
  36. Failing to build systems around the new organization creates dependency on a small number of individuals, which doesn't scale and creates conditions for failure.
  37. Defining and reinforcing a shared sense of mission become central functions for senior leaders driving a dual transformation.
  38. Transforming a company is indeed a journey, one that is both unpredictable and perpetual.
  39. Leaders who catch the disruptive changes early and respond appropriately will have the ability to thrive in the years to come. Those who don't, well, Darwin has a way of taking care of them.

 

If you’d like to talk more about Dual Transformation and how to improve your ISV business, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv partners to help them with hiring right, developing staff professional development programs, improving customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

 

daniperea

3 Blogs Coders Love

Posted by daniperea Oct 5, 2017

If you're looking to level up in your developer knowledge or to commiserate with other coders, we recommend giving one of these blogs a read. Do you have a favorite coder blog? Let us know in the comments!

 

1) CSS-Tricks

CSS-Tricks is a blog on all things web design and development, and true to their roots, it also provides many helpful tips and tricks on Cascading Style Sheets. It's run and written by Chris Coyier and a merry team of CSS enthusiasts.  I love it because of its readability, the sense of play in every post and because of the copious walkthroughs with code examples.  Plus it's so frequently updated, there's often new content a few times a day.

Favorite Post: Turning Text into a Tweetstorm

 

2) Women Who Code

Women who Code is a nonprofit with over 100,000 members who are tech professionals. You don't have to be a member to access their awesome blog, which is full of profiles of women developers and organizations advancing opportunities for women in tech; hackathon invites and meet-ups; career tips from advocating for your rights at work to becoming a better public speaker; conference recaps; and of course, coding advice. Their team of writers is fantastic and this might be one of the few places on the internet where reading the comments is a worthwhile endeavor. Come for the content, stay for the community.

Favorite Post: Protecting Your Rights at Work (this is actually a series: here's part 1 and part 3.)

 

3) Coding Horror

Coding Horror is both extremely hilarious and highly informative look at both code and coders.  The half-personal/half tech blog is written by Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood. With 13 years of posts accumulated on the blog, you'll find everything from well-researched and pithy posts on programming, to tips for both newbies and experts, to personal musings. One downside: Jeff is so busy, that months can go by without an update.

Favorite Post:  Password Rules are [Horse Puckey]