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Things To Remember Before A Work Trip

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trip work

Planning and packing for vacation bring in lots of excitement. You look forward to your days of fun and leisure. However, getting ready for a work trip can be tedious as you are anxious about the new culture and upcoming challenges. Business trips are hectic and you cannot go back home after a stressful day at work. You are constantly encircled by your colleagues in business hotels. First-time business travelers find it difficult to plan their trip in a proper way. Here are some tips to make your business trips go smoothly.

Dress professionally

Dressing well is the first step to creating a good impression. It showcases your personality, and your boss and colleagues will value your presence. Though most of the workplaces now allow casual attire, it’s nice to pack some business formals as well. They help in presenting yourself professionally. You should be prepared for both day and night events.  So, you should carry a well-fitted suit, a pair of formal trousers with some properly pressed shirts. Carrying an extra pair of footwear can also come handy.

Eat Healthy

As you prepare for a tight work schedule for the next few days in a new place, eating right is the key to remaining fit and active. Salads, juices, fruits, vegetables, and enough water should be included in your diet. Make sure that you do not have junk food or try out local cuisines which may or may not suit your body. Such experiments can be done towards the end of the trip when you have some leisure time.

Travel Light

Invest in a good carry-on luggage with four wheels and a small trolley bag. Pack only things that are essential on your work trip like your laptop, rechargeable power banks, cell phone charger, USB sticks, and important files in advance. You may not need your DSLR camera on your business trip. So, you can easily skip that. Keep your toiletries, medicine, breath mints, and hand sanitizers in separate pouches. Always check the maximum allowed luggage limit with the airlines in advance to avoid last minute surprises.

Plan well

If you have a presentation to make, try to prepare it before you start your trip. Read all the documents thoroughly and make a plan as per the requirements. Keep your business cards ready for networking. Remember, it’s an excellent opportunity to meet other colleagues and build your network.

International Business Trip

It is good to carry enough cash, forex cards and international credit and debit cards when you are on a business trip. Whether you travel international or domestic, it is important to reach the airport on time to avoid unnecessary hassles and tensions. Keep extra copies of your passport, visa, tickets, hotel accommodations, and rental car documents handy in your cabin baggage. It is important to know the currency conversion rates well in advance. Check the weather forecast of your destination regularly and pack your clothing accordingly. Research international call plans if necessary, so that you can call home easily.

Business trips are stressful. It is important to keep some time for yourself and experience the new city as much as you can. Try to avoid business conversations with your colleagues after office hours and get at least one souvenir from the trip to make it special. Prepare well for your trip and make it a success.

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Startup Central

The Youngest Billionaire On The Forbes List Creates Scale AI Platform Used By Big Companies Worldwide

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alexandr wang

A 25-year-old Asian-American MIT dropout gives Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos a run for their money through his Scale AI platform. This platform aims to accelerate the advancement of AI applications and is used by PayPal, Toyota, General Motors, and other big American companies. And his name is Alexandr Wang.

Wang founded the software with fellow tech geek Lucy Guo. He is a 25-year-old self-made billionaire making waves in the tech industry. So what exactly is Scale AI, and how did this young entrepreneur and founder make it to the Forbes list of billionaires? Let’s dig deeper. 

Who is Alexandr Wang?

Alexandr Wang is a college dropout that started tinkering with tech and coding at a young age. The young tech genius claims that he got it from his parents, both physicists by profession. Hailing from New Mexico, his parents worked on American military projects, as per Prestige magazine. 

Having acquired some innate intellect, Wang would join math and coding competitions while still in school. The tech whizz nourished his love for coding by gaining new opportunities in his early years after high school. While most high school students think about which university to go to after graduation and their plans for college, Wang worked for Quora full time by the age of 17.

A summer project that turned Wang’s life around

Alexandr Wang started Scale AI with fellow tech whizz Lucy Guo during the summer. He told his mom that it would only be a summer project. However, Wang never went back to school and ventured on to change the world of AI. 

Wang studied Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science at MIT (Massachusetts Institute for Technology). He dropped out of MIT at the age of 19 and completed his first year at New England University. During that summer, he met up with another tech genius Lucy Guo whom he met while both were working at a category in Quora, the question and answer channel. 

The tandem then invested in the company with the help of Y Combinator, an American startup accelerator. 

Getting funding

In 2021, Wang received millions of funding. Scale AI received the financial backing of around $350 million last year. The platform was already enjoying a revenue of $100 million on top of that funding, which values the company at $7.3 billion. 

Forbes estimates the young entrepreneur’s net worth at $1 billion since the young CEO has a one-percent stake in the company. The esteemed digital magazine also listed Wang as the 2,534th world billionaire on the Forbes list. He also got into Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2018, which exhibits the top up-and-coming entrepreneurs, intellects, and thought leaders in different industries. Wang and Guo bagged the spot in the Enterprise Technology category. 

Trusted by big companies worldwide

Scale AI is a platform that helps in the development of AI applications. With so much data that can be aggregated online, Scale AI leverages this data to make the most out of its AI systems. The platform is even helping analyze satellite images of the impact that Russian forces made on Ukraine. 

Since launching, over 300 companies have seen the potential of the platform. The biggest companies using the platform are Lyft, Toyota, PayPal, General Motors, SAP, and the American Military. 

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How Volar Alta automates inspections and logistic support through drones

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niharika kolte

Startups are darlings when it comes to marrying social impact with technology. And the best part is that young people are leading this amazing movement. The newest startup making waves in the industry is Volar Alta, which provides drone support for companies across various fields. 

In order to save time, energy, and manpower, the company is offering drones as tools to speed up quality checks. They also want to make drone delivery a reality in the future.

How did Volar Alta get its start? 

drone

Like many startup founders, Niharika Kolte did not start out dreaming of being an entrepreneur. In fact, she began her career as an analyst working at PWC and KPMG. During her stint, she began to think of more efficient ways to conduct inspections and do technical due diligence. According to Kolte, this is usually the most prolonged phase of a deal for a banker or analyst. 

She believes that this is because of the old-school way of conducting technical inspections. Most companies test their assets using a random sampling test. But this is a time-consuming and not wholly accurate method. That said, Kolte found the need to have a more efficient way – one that offers both time efficiency and accuracy.

This inspired Kolte to provide a drone-based solution for businesses. With Volar Alta, she hopes to create a more cost-effective way to conduct operations. Apart from this, their drones also lessen downtime and boost security. 

More work done for less time 

Drones, she found out, can reduce the time it takes to do asset inspections. Using a drone to make inspections means that it can be used across various industries. This includes agriculture, real estate, entertainment, energy, and more.

Drone-based inspections can also reduce climate impacts. Kolte said that their drones are compact and can conduct inspections on a large scale without many carbon emissions.

She explains that her solution can help some companies conduct internal inspections on their equipment, such as silos and cyclones. In this case, companies usually deploy people to find visual defects. This method means that cement plants have to be shut down and halted production. 

Kolte said that for 64 cyclones, it would take six days to erect scaffolding to reach the top and another 11 days to identify the problem. Other days would also be allotted to fix the defect.

Using drones, however, drastically cuts down the time it takes to get a visual of the cyclones. According to Kolte, Volar Alta finished inspecting 64 cyclones in three days. The company ended up saving eight days of shutdown time.

Apart from that, it can also potentially save lives. Drones can easily detect workers who live in close quarters, and a drone can even serve as first responders in a disaster event.

What’s next for Volar Alta?

Since the pandemic started, Volar Alta has made a massive pivot to security. They began using their product as a surveillance tool for quarantine zones in India. But today, Volar Alta focuses its business on internal asset inspections and drone-based logistics. 

Besides reducing the time for inspections, the startup’s goal is to become an Uber for drones. Volar Alta is looking to have their drones deliver four items while in the air. And while the company also does not make drones in-house yet, they have their tech prepared. They have already created an intelligent custom storage payload to get multiple deliveries done in a single flight. 

Volar Alta’s groundbreaking tech has received three grants from IIM, Nidhi Prayas Scheme, and The UK FCDO. Kolte reports that the company has grown ten times since it started.

In the future, Kolte hopes that drones in business can reach the mainstream.

And for other tech and startup stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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Is Launching a Start-up Worth it? A Tech Expert Weighs In

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tablet black cup and lens on a table

If you’re a young, savvy entrepreneur who may be pondering, “Is launching a start-up worth it?” Then, Ben Lamm, a tech startup expert, has some things to confess. 

Most of us like to dream about the allure of a start-up. The big ideas, creative collaborations, and ending mindset draw many fans into the promise of success. And who can blame us? The most successful companies today were built on the backs of entrepreneurs who dreamed big but started small. Apple, Uber, and Twitter were all start-ups once. And if they can make it, then maybe so can we – right?

But behind the curtains, most of us don’t know how hard it is to start a start-up. For one, there are a lot of hidden pros and cons of working in a start-up. Even Lamm, a start-up unicorn who has made building start-ups his full-time career, says there’s a lot more to the industry than meets the eye. 

Five start-ups and counting 

So, exactly how hard is it to start a startup? 

In an interview with CNBC Make It, Lamm says he thinks he cries more than the average person. Like many others hustling in the  industry, his success relies on his ability to work long hours. It’s a testament to how he has had the time to launch six start-ups over the last few years. 

Over the last twenty years, the 40-year-old Lamm has built and sold several tech startups. His portfolio includes the AI-powered Hypergiant, the e-learning company Simply Interactive, the online gaming company Team Chaos, and a conversational intelligence company named Conversable. He is currently working on Colossal Biosciences, a company aiming to disrupt the biotech scene with its gene-editing techniques. 

But Lamm says that his job is often glorified by the media, which isn’t entirely false. 

On long hours and lack of sleep

For starters, there’s a lot of pressure for start-ups to succeed. Is launching a start-up worth it? Maybe not if you value your sanity. Most start-ups fail, whether from lack of funding or because of reckless business decisions; not everyone succeeds. Because of this, there’s a lot of pressure to grind and grind to get the business going. 

Lamm says that building a start-up often requires entrepreneurs to work and travel over 200 days a year. There are moments of pure exhaustion and endless anxiety. It also involves a lot of personal sacrifices. Unlike a regular 9 to 5, start-up builders don’t have the leisure to spend a lot of time with family. 

It can also be incredibly hard to disconnect work from daily life. In fact, Lamm says to be a successful start-up builder is to be blessed with the “right mix of dysfunctional traits.” It’s also a psychologically exhausting journey. You’ll work extremely hard on an idea and get rejected by investors, partners, and even close people in your life.  

Lamm says the pandemic has forced him to take a step back from his usual routine. Because of his decreased travel schedule, he has forced himself to take more vacations. Apart from this, he has also made serious commitments to disconnect by limiting his time to check on emails and messages.

De-glamorizing start-ups

Lamm has been an outspoken critic of the prevalence of burnout in the start-up industry. Despite his extensive work portfolio, Lamm is not shy to open up about the serious psychological setbacks of having to compete in the rat race. 

Given Lamm’s confessions, the question remains – is launching a start-up worth it? In the end, it’s up to the person in question if they will make it worth it or not. And to hit the sweet spot, it’s all about setting your priorities and knowing from the get-go what your non-negotiables are and what aspects are open for compromise.

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