Posts by: Adam Kidan

Your House, Your Vision

- - Business

Science journal Personality and Individual Differences published a study about personality and… Harry Potter? The Atlantic recently profiled the study, which revealed that individuals “houses” reveal a lot about their personalities.

But let’s back up for a second. What’s a “house” and what does it have to do with business?

Houses, like “Mortgage Houses”?

Most of you are likely familiar with “Harry Potter”, the series of fantasy novels about the eponymous boy wizard. If you have any kids, or bookish friends, then you know its cultural influence. But if you’re unfamiliar with the houses, here’s a quick primer:

Imagine the school the magical children go to as a college or boarding school. Like many of their real-world counterparts, the students are sorted into one of four dormitories called “houses”. The houses each have characteristics their students reflect. The houses are as follows:

Gryffindor:

The house of Harry Potter, the protagonist. Gryffindors are characterized as loyal friends and leaders. They are also depicted as brave, and sometimes brash.

Slytherin:

Has a reputation as a cunning and ruthless house. Many of the antagonists from the series are in this house. It is usually associated with evil magic.

Ravenclaw:

Sharp and witty. Not exactly what you would call nerds, but rather the über intelligent type. You’d see these students trading obscure literary reference before taping up their glasses.

Hufflepuff:

They guys that are taping their glasses. I kid, but this house has a reputation for those of the “hard-working” ilk. Also, super nice. For some reason, many fans of the books view it as the “weak” house.

The Study

The study asked super fans who had been sorted into a house on the fan site Pottermore to take a personality test. The results were (somewhat) surprising– the personality results reflected the stereotypical behavior of their houses. It also showed a correlation between each subjects’ desired house and the traits exhibited– regardless of their placement.

So, you would like to be Slytherin? You just may have the personality traits as an efficient bureaucrat. Or at the least, you see yourself that way.

What it Means

For many years, companies have been using the MBTI as a measure of how their employees interact with others. Whether it is an accurate test or not is one question, but this is for certain: it’s interesting. If you choose to have your employees take it, you should take it with a grain of salt. Use it as a guideline when sorting the introverts from the extroverts, or when assigning group projects. Who are your idealists? Who are your more analytical thinkers?

But if there’s one thing you should take away from the study, it’s this: perception is important. In a weird way, it cycles back to the adage “believe in yourself”. He wants to be Hufflepuff? He sees himself as hard working. She thinks herself a Gryffindor? She thinks herself a leader. One sees themselves as who they want to be. It should be your job to give them the resources to get to that point.

How to Solve the Biggest Problems with Productivity

- - Adam Kidan

Let’s be honest. We all get bogged down from the daily grind from meetings, distractions, and fatigue. We want our work to be as good as it can, but we seemingly can’t escape those days where nothing gets done. So, what is a humble worker to do? For starters, they could follow these steps to increasing productivity.

Just Do It.

Sure, it’s a bit cliched at this point (thanks Nike!) but it’s always a true. There isn’t a potion you can drink, a book you can read, a lifestyle that you can adopt that will get your life moving. Procrastination is something you must face head on. Tomorrow is today, so stop contemplating your next move and just start the task you need to do. And once you start, don’t stop until it’s done.

Schedule Your Day

A key to success is a schedule. Everyone’s is different, but they all serve the same purpose. Whether you schedule your to-do’s by the week, the day, or even the hour, having a clear cut list of tasks that must be completed is a sure fire way to keep you on track. You have no idea how much time you waste floundering around trying to figure out what needs to be done. Pro tip: tonight, sit down and create a list of things that, when completed, would count for you as a very productive day. And once a week, schedule out your entire life for the next six days. The Art of Manliness has a great post about the weekly planning session. I encourage you to check it out.

Figure out where you’re killing time…

To increase productivity, find out where you’re wasting time. Facebook? Twitter? Email? The News? To get a good handle on these habits, download and install Time Tracker, a free browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. It will track how long you’ve been on a particular website– and calculate the percentage of your total time, too!

Then Kill It.

That’s where Self Control comes in. A cleverly named app for those of us who may be lacking it, Self Control allows you to set a timer (say, eight hours) during which you can blacklist entire domains. Gmail is too much of a time sucker? Cut it off entirely, with only 30 minutes to check mid-day. Find yourself on Facebook? Blacklist it so you can’t check it until you get home. No matter how hard you try, you can’t undo the timer, either. And yes, that means a simple restart won’t stop it. The only way you can bypass it is by running some complicated scripts, but that would be defeating the purpose, wouldn’t it?

Marketing Tips For Your Business

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Marketing is an important aspect of every business, especially for the ones just starting up. Without strategic marketing, a company won’t have the publicity it needs to function and grow. According to an article published on Entrepreneur.com, “Marketing is the lifeblood of any startup – without it, the company will be sure to sink,” (Templeman, 10 Marketing Tips From The Pros). The article went on to give a comprised list of the best marketing tips from experts in the field. Here’s a recap on what they said:

The first piece of advice the marketing experts gave was for companies to be active on social media. Giving social media content a boost is a simple (and fun) way for companies to get their message heard across a variety of platforms. According to Rob Wellman, CEO of Social5, “‘If you have more than 100 likes on your Facebook page, a ‘boost’ button will appear at the bottom of each post. Use it,’” (Templeman, 10 Marketing Tips From The Pros). There are also steps you can take to increase the amount of followers you have and to expand your presence on different social media profiles like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

adam kidan socialicons

Next, make sure you engage with other companies and customers. On Twitter in particular, retweeting and responding to tweets is a great way to show people that you care and are mindful of their thoughts. Co-founder of Friendemic, Jason Barber, notes, “‘Don’t just tweet out stuff about your company. Engage with other companies, your customers and thought leader in your market. Retweet their tweets and add your thoughts,’” (Templeman, 10 Marketing Tips From The Pros). Remember, using social media isn’t about just being active online, it’s about contributing to your company by actively engaging with others.

Another great tip Entrepreneur.com’s magazine had concerning the importance of marketing in the business work was the one sentence rule. Harrison Weber, Journalist and News Editor for VentureBeat, explains, “‘Here’s a pro tip that’s extremely obvious, but often completely ignored by entrepreneurs everywhere: You should be able to explain your startup in one sentence. That’s it. No exceptions,’” (Templeman, 10 Marketing Tips From The Pros).

adam kidan wireless_icon-301x300

Lastly, give real value through marketing public relations. Inform your readers, educate them on what your company is about and why it’s important. There is a reason your company is still alive, so be confident in explaining what exactly it is you do. Cheryl Snapp Conner from Snapp Conner PR says, “‘The greatest secret in media and public relations right now is that the press (and your potential customers) are most interested in the value added information that will help them succeed in a given area – not in hearing promotional information from you,’” (Templeman, 10 Marketing Tips From The Pros).

These are just a few ways you can improve your marketing techniques so that your company is capitalizing on all opportunities to get themselves out in the public eye. To read more of Entrepreneur.com’s article, check out their website here.

Memorial Day Weekend in NYC

- - Adam Kidan

Though it’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City for weekend getaways, staying in the city during long weekends has its benefits. Memorial Day weekend is notorious for eating great food and spending time with friends and family. Luckily, if you’re in NYC, there are plenty of places that are offering discounts on meals. Here are a few suggestions derived from Gothamist.com:

Many people like to share family picnics on Memorial Day weekend, and you can too in the big apple. Miss Lily’s 7A in the East Village is offering a Takeaway picnic box. According to Gothemist.com, the picnic box is, “full of flavorful finger foods like jerk wings and crispy goat for wrapping in rot with all the toppings included for $112 bucks for 3-4 people,” (Memorial Day Weekend Food Roundup). Just make sure you order at least half an hour before you want to pick up the food.

adam kidan memorial day

Another restaurant who is offering takeout packages this weekend is The Camlin, a French-inspired spot in Williamsburg. Ploughman’s Lunch is their takeout box that includes cheese, charcuterie, deviled eggs, house-made pickles, and Amy’s bread for just $13. Even better? Make the trip to Williamsburg and you can enjoy your Ploughman’s Lunch right by the peaceful Williamsburg waterfront.

Next is a Hell’s Kitchen mexican favorite, El Original. This weekend El Original will be serving an extremely detailed brunch menu. You can choose from nine different Breakfast Tacos, Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, and Avocado Tostadas. Another mexican restaurant serving a hearty brunch to try this weekend is Mexicue’s over on 5th Ave. Mexicue’s brunch menu will include Cornbread French Toast, Grits, Pulled Pork, an enticing Mexican Scramble, and of course, Breakfast Tacos.

If you’re looking for a bottomless brunch spot, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar in Downtown Brooklyn is the place to go. You can get unlimited drinks for around $12 if you order an entree. Rocco’s also offers one of their most well-known dishes, Benedict Azteca, which includes a delicious chipotle crema.

adam kidan mexican brunch

If you’re looking for a large, filling, spectacular meal to enjoy this weekend with your friends or family, head out to Birds & Bubbles, a Lower East Side favorite – they are throwing a Low Country Boil on Monday, and they’re going all out. There will be seafood, sausage, slaw, and everything southern-bayou inspired. For $95, you can enjoy an entire table filled with this food, plus three glasses of champagne.

For more information on which restaurants to check out this Memorial Day weekend, check out Gothamist’s article here.

Facts You May Not Know About Washington, DC

- - Adam Kidan

Washington DC is the capital of the United States, making it one of the most visited cities in the world.  Rich with American history depicted through various museums, monuments, gardens, and architecture, people from all over the world flock to DC to learn all about the U.S.  But, there are many things tourists and locals alike do not know about DC, here are some of the city’s hidden truths:

adam kidan washington monumentFirst, many people do not know that the Washington Monument’s original design structure was far more lavish than what exists today.  The original design included a series of columns and statues of George Washington along with many other Revolutionary War heroes.  But, do to budget reasons, the tower is all that exists today.

Another fun fact about the Washington Monument is that it was closed to the public between the years 2011 and 2014 because it suffered a heap of damages from the Virginia earthquake that took place in 2011.

The White House, home to the President of the United States, is one of the most talked about attractions in DC, but most people would never be able to tell you how many bathrooms exist within the house. The answer? 35. And, according to an article written by Scott Shetler, “As of 2013, the White House also features 6 levels, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators,” (20 Things You Didn’t Know About DC).

Another fun fact about the White House that most people don’t know about is what Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden is made up of.  According to Shetler, “Michelle Obama’s White House vegetable garden includes cauliflower, pac choi, artichoke, buttercrunch lettuce, mustard, broccoli, peppers and more,” (20 Things You Didn’t Know About DC).

Adam Kidan back of white house

Next, many people do not know that the original statue of Thomas Jefferson in the Jefferson Memorial was made of plaster because metal was rationed during World War II. The statue now stands high at 19 feet and is made of bronze.

If you’ve ever been to the Korean War Veterans Memorial, you probably noticed 19 stainless steel statues of soldiers at war standing in a field of bushes.  The unique thing about these statues is that they actually represent members of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Airforce and are sporting the correct gear for each branch. The bushes were planted to imitate Korean terrain.

Lastly, hundreds of people gather at the Lincoln Memorial daily to admire it’s massive structure and to learn about the US government. But, what most people don’t realize is that the Lincoln Memorial is where Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in the 60s.

There you have it, some interesting facts about Washington DC that you may not have heard of.  So, next time you travel to DC keep these in mind and educate those around you about some of these unknown truths about DC.

Top 15 Countries For Billionaires

- - Adam Kidan

The “billionaire” is a relatively new concept; the first documented billionaire was John D. Rockefeller in 1916, not even 100 years ago.  Yet even then, billionaires were rare.  It hasn’t been until recent memory that the number of billionaires has really started to take off.  As of 2015, there are over 1,800 known billionaires, with a combined wealth of $7.05 trillion.  Yet which countries host the most billions?  I recently came across an article that shows the top countries for billionaires, based on data from 2013.  The countries are listed here:

Adam Kidan America

1. The US (515 billionaires, $2,064 billion total net worth)

According to data from Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census in 2013, nearly a quarter of the world’s wealthiest people are based in the land of the free.  And if you look a little lower on the grand scheme of the wealth ladder, at people worth $30 million or more, Americans make up 32% of the world’s super-rich.  American women have a lot of that wealth, with $1.2 trillion worth of assets, more than ultra-wealthy women anywhere else in the world.  California, the jewel of the American tech and entertainment industry, accounts for 20% of the country’s super-rich, while New York and Texas rank high as well.

Adam Kidan China

2. China (157 billionaires, $384 billion total net worth)

While China’s growth has recently slowed, it remains a major hotspot for billionaires, adding 10 new billionaires over the last year alone.  That number might even be higher, but some wealthy residents have chosen to take their money beyond the mainland to other Asian cities, such as Hong Kong due to the country’s continuing credit crunch and recent anti-corruption campaign against luxury spending.

Adam Kidan Germany

3. Germany (148 billionaires, $432 billion total net worth)

Thanks to its robust economy, Germany was able to drag the rest of Europe out of the 2008 financial crisis, a strength that also helped it keep producing ultra-rich Germans.  Despite its much smaller population, Germany has nearly as many billionaires as China.  Wealth creation has been even stronger for those whose assets are valued between $30 million and $199 million.

Adam Kidan Big Ben

4. United Kingdom (135 billionaires, $420 billion total net worth)

Considering that London is one of the top financial capitals of the world, it’s hardly surprising that it boasts an ever-growing number of ultra-wealthy.  There’s been a 5.7% increase in ultra-wealthy Londoners from 2012 to 2013, although the ranks of billionaires in the UK overall dropped slightly.

Adam Kidan Russia

5. Russia (108 billionaires, $342 billion total net worth)

During the power vacuum following the collapse of the Soviet Union, numerous Russians emerged from the chaos extremely wealthy, many of them through less-than-scrupulous methods.  Even as the Russian economy has been hurting in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, there remain plenty of ultra-rich Russians.  However, how much the political unrest and US and EU-imposed sanctions will affect the country’s overall wealth remains to be seen.

Adam Kidan India

6. India (103 billionaires, $180 billion total net worth)

Overall, 2013 wasn’t a great year for the ultra wealthy in India, thanks to such issues as a weak rupee, slowing growth and high public debt.  However, thanks to a sweeping victory for the country’s pro-business party and the inauguration of a new prime minister, investors have high hopes for a turnaround.  The new prime minister is focused on growth, and is seeking to attract foreign investment through minimizing bureaucratic challenges that businesses face in India.

Adam Kidan Hong Kong

7. Hong Kong (75 billionaires, $224 billion total net worth)

As mainland Chinese investors seek to diversify their assets, many of them are attracted to Hong Kong, a place known for low taxes and light regulation.  The combined worth of the super-rich in Hong Kong is a staggering $530 billion, with their wealth growing rapidly.

Adam Kidan Saudi Arabia

8. Saudi Arabia (64 billionaires, $204 billion total net worth)

Thanks to the wealth to be had in oil, the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, has long been a mecca for billionaires.  It also hosts a growing population of ultra-wealthy people, gaining 200 of them just last year.  However, in a country where women aren’t even allowed to drive, it’s hardly surprising that women continue to struggle to gain a foothold among the elite of Saudi Arabia, accounting for just 5% of the country’s super-rich.

Adam Kidan Eiffel

9. France (64 billionaires, $202 billion total net worth)

France’s “millionaire tax”, that heavily taxes companies that pay high annual salaries with a tax rate as high as 75%, has concerned many people who feel that the tax would push some wealthy residents to leave the country.  Nonetheless, that impact has yet to be seen.

Adam Kidan Switzerland

10. Switzerland (61 billionaires, $128 billion total net worth)

As Europe recovers from the debt crisis, its high earners have seen some huge gains, particularly Switzerland, where the super rich added nearly $100 billion to their coffers last year.  And even as the government cracks down on tax evasion and banking secrecy laws, they still earned four new billionaires last year.

Adam Kidan Brazil

11. Brazil (50 billionaires, $259 billion total net worth)

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Sports, Brazil is expected to get a $70 billion boost from the influx of spectators during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  This could be just what the Brazilian economy needs after its recent slow growth.

Adam Kidan Hagia Sophia

12. Turkey (38 billionaires, $56 billion total net worth)

Since the global financial crisis, the Turkish economy has actually been getting stronger, with 4% growth from last year.  Even as the International Monetary Fund downgraded Turkey’s growth for this year, its economy is still predicted to expand by 2.3%.  The country added 70 people to the ranks of its super-rich last year.

Adam Kidan mounties

13. Canada (37 billionaires, $94 billion total net worth)

America’s neighbor to the north is spread over six time zones, and is home to a wealth of natural resources.  Interestingly, Canada’s wealthy tend to skew older and male when compared to other countries in the top 15.

Adam Kidan UAE

14. United Arab Emirates (37 billionaires, $45 billion total net worth)

For a long time, Dubai has been known as a playground for the wealthy, and businesses don’t have to pay any federal income tax.  59% of the UAE’s super-rich are self-made, and with growth in the double digits, it’s expected to rank even higher on the billionaire list in the years to come.

Adam Kidan Japan

15. Japan (33 billionaires, $77 billion total net worth)

Although the Japanese economy has been struggling since the 1990s, thanks to policies such as a stimulus program and higher national sales tax, Japan saw its population of super rich grow by double digits last year.

Why D.C. is a Great City to Live in

- - Adam Kidan

Washington D.C. has been highly regarded as one of the best places to live – and there are many reasons why. According to an article that was published recently on The Huffington Post, “D.C’s economy booms, its unemployment rate shrinks and its population becomes more educated… we think D.C. is a great place to live, work and have fun,” (Ruberry, 10 Reasons Washing D.C. is America’s New Second City). Here’s a more in depth look on what the article said about D.C. being one of America’s greatest cities to live in:

Adam Kidan

First, the job market is great. Unlike most of the rest of the country, Washington, D.C., is the second best city in the U.S. for people looking for employment. According to the Huffington Post, “With a higher-than-average median income and plenty of government jobs, the D.C. area’s 5.2 percent unemployment rate represents a beacon of opportunity in a down economy,” (Ruberry, 10 Reasons Washing D.C. is America’s New Second City). While thousands are struggling to pay rent and maintain a decent job in places like New York City and Los Angeles, those living in D.C. are doing just fine.

Second, people who live in Washington D.C. are very healthy. Surrounded by cherry blossoms in the spring and hiking trails near the Great Falls, there is plenty to do in terms of staying fit. Combine that with the great, moderate weather that D.C. experiences and you see more people staying active than in most cities in the U.S. Plus, there’s proof: “In the 2012 American Fitness Index, Washington was named America’s second fittest city,” (Ruberry, 10 Reasons Washing D.C. is America’s New Second City).

Washington D.C. also offers it’s residents a plethora of festivals and activities to participate in (and many of them are free). From the National Book Festival in the fall to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in the summer, there’s so much more to D.C. than just politics and campaigning. The Huffington Post article also noted that “Washington has ‘more festivals and events than any other city in the United States,’” (Ruberry, 10 Reasons Washing D.C. is America’s New Second City). Even if you live just outside of the city, make sure you keep up with all the wonder events that take place year-round.

Adam Kidan KramerbooksLastly, D.C. is literate and educated (more so than any other city on our nation). Residents are not only most always caught up in current events, but there are multiple independent bookstores that locals cherish and visit regularly. Some of these bookstores include: Kramerbooks, Politics & Prose, and Second Story Books. In addition, “The D.C. area also has more residents with college degrees than any other major city, according to a Brookings study,” (Ruberry, 10 Reasons Washing D.C. is America’s New Second City).

To read more about why Washington D.C. is one of the best places to live in the U.S., read The Huffington Post’s article here.

Five Offerings from Google to Improve your Brand

- - Adam Kidan

Are you a small business owner looking to take your online brand to the next level, and increase your company’s online visibility? According to Sarah Landrum at Entrepeneur.com, look no further the tech behemoth, Google. Google offers a diverse set of tools that any small business owner can easily employ in their efforts to raise brand awareness.

Google Adwords:

Becoming a true expert in Google Adwords is not particularly easy. In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to teaching men and women how to effectively use this service. That said, it is not terribly difficult to use and master its less complicated features. Simply set up a google adwords account, and start playing around. Be audacious and learn how Adwords can be utilized for your brand. The service allows you to set a budget for advertising you business, as well as target certain demographics and locations.

Google Trends:

Google Trends is a simple tool that allows you to see the search trends of a keyword related to your business. Business is often cyclical, and this tool will allow you to track the troughs and peaks on a macro-level.

Google Analytics: 

Google Analytics is an absolute must-have for small business owners. It is free of charge, relatively intuitive, and one can learn how to utilize its basic features with just a few hours of experimentation. The service gives its user an in-depth picture into the metrics of visitors to your sites. Google Analytics provides data on which pages, are getting the most traffic, how they are getting to these pages, and how long the average visitor is spending on each page. As a small business owner, you should take this data, analyze it, and then tweak your website in order to drive more conversions. There is an option for a premium version, but it costs around $150,000 and is not necessary for most small businesses.

Google Maps

Google-Maps, Adam KidanEveryone probably is familiar with Google Maps in some capacity. It’s the most downloaded map service, and helps business with potential consumers. You can connect your company to Google Maps, so it displays your locations, hours, and general information with customers. Furthermore, you can actually embed a map of your location on your own website, which serves as an interactive tool for a site visitor.

Google My Business

If you have a physical location for your business, it is absolutely imperative that set up a page on Google Places. It is incredibly easy and takes just a few minutes. But the dividends from this can be huge. After setting it up, your business will be prominently displayed on Google Maps and searches for a relevant keyword. This will increase your brand visibility, and help bring customers who did not even know about your business.

The tech giant controls nearly two-thirds of the world’s search traffic so it is important that you optimize your brand for Google. Not to mention it is a free service, so there is no excuse not to incorporate this service into your online branding efforts.

Business Lessons from Silicon Valley

- - Adam Kidan

For decades now, the Silicon Valley area has served as the cradle of innovation for the development of new technologies and business for the United States of America, if not the entire world. Companies such as Google, Airbnb, eBay, Yahoo, and Facebook are some of the most renowned “Silicon Valley” successes. However hundreds, perhaps thousands, of companies that have achieved significant success in their own right, even if they are far less known than some their counterparts. What makes this community incredible, and the reason companies pay top dollar to work in this area is the benefits of idea sharing and of learning from one another, whether in technological advances or business strategy. In a recent article from Rhonda Abrams of the USA Today, the journalist, a long-time Silicon Valley resident, shared some practices that these companies employ. Let’s take a look her observations, and see what small business can learn from these tech startups.

  • The Importance of Innovation 
    • The term innovation may be a bit hackneyed, but the meaning behind it is as important as ever. That’s not to say your business has to be on the cutting edge of technology to succeed, but, instead, be open to new technological offerings that could help take your business to the next level.
  • Failure isn’t the end
    • People in Silicon Valley often embrace failure. It truly provides invaluable experience that give you insight into how to run a successful business.
  • Network and adhere to the Golden Rule
    • The importance of networking is important across industries, especially in regards to small business. The more people you know, the more people you can reach out to if you are in need of finding a great new employee, or even securing a deal. Additionally, treat everyone you meet with the utmost respect. Although they may be lower than you on the totem pole at the time, that person could very well be your boss, competitor, or potential partner in the future.
  • Make Employees Happy
    • One practice Silicon Valley tech companies are famous for is treating their employees spectacularly. No one is saying you have to provide free food and transportation or plentiful stock options to every single employee. However, you should embrace this ideal. Namely, that the success of your organization depends on the performance of your employees, and you should try to keep them happy as best as you reasonably can.
  • Sharing with Neighbors
    • silicon-valley-sign-lgThere is a reason why tech startups flock to the Northern California area, and it’s not because of the proximity to San Francisco’s delicious food. The attitude of sharing ideas is relatively novel to those outside the tech industry. But sharing some, obviously not all, of your advances can help you in the long run. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and PayPal, actually went as far to releasing the intellectual property he used to develop his electric automobiles. The more information and connections you share with each other, the fast you will be able to make advances as a whole.
  • Work hard, but have fun:
    • This goes hand-in-hand with treating your employees well. But, make sure that you are enjoying the ride into establishing a successful business. The offices of tech startups are chock full of ping pong tables, massage tables, and things to make the working environment more friendly. Do whatever works for you own organization to embody this ideal.

Languages that Business Leaders of the Future Need to Learn

- - Adam Kidan

The fact that world is becoming increasingly global, and interconnected is an indisputable fact. Just fifty years ago, a CEO or business leader simply did have enough reason to focus on learning another language. English was the world’s predominant language, at least economically. However, since then, due to the advent of the internet, economies and societies from across the world have become much less dependent, and isolated. It’s much more likely that you are going to come across people, whether face to face or on the internet who perhaps do not speak English. Communication is vital for good business. So understanding the needs of your business partners, or potential customers is absolutely imperative for success. Furthermore, just as Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated last year when he surprised an audience in China with Mandarin skills, learning another’s native tongue shows that you care about the culture and society of their nation. And forging this kind of relationship can go a long way in business. Here are a few of the world’s most common languages, as well as some that are prevalent in the most economically important areas of the planet.

German

Many Americans are surprised to hear that the economy of the European Union is almost as large as that of the United States. Germany, located in the heart of Europe, is the engine of the European economy. Since the great recession began a few years ago, it has almost single-handedly kept the economies several member-nations afloat. The future also looks bright for Germany as well. Recent reports have indicated that the economy is a strong as ever, and is forecasted to experience robust growth over the coming years. This is why it is German is a very handy language to pick up despite the fact that only two percent of the world is fluent in German. Additionally, English is a Germanic language, and many english-speakers find that German is easy pick up compared to that of Chinese or Arabic.

Chinese (Mandarin)

Mandarin the most common language in China and in the world, with more than 1 billion native speakers. The massive population of China was one of the nation’s biggest advantages over its economic transformation from a 3rd world country to a world powerhouse over the last few decades. Now that China has established itself as a major player in the world economy, it’s time for businessmen around the planet to learn the state’s most common tongue. Language also provides great insight into another culture. As the Chinese culture is vastly different than that of Western nations, it’s important that one learns the language and customs a country such as China in order to effectively build business relationships.

Spanish

Spanish is one of the world’s most common language, and is spoken widely around the world. Hundreds of millions of people across the emerging economies Central and South America speak spanish, as well as millions in the United States due to the rising hispanic population. Spanish Speaking Americans already boast more than one trillion dollars worth of purchasing power. And this number will surely rise in the foreseeable future. It’s already offered as a language option at nearly all academic institutions within the US. It’s an absolute essential for business leaders looking to forge bonds abroad, as well as within the nations borders.

Portuguese

business-in-brazilLearning the Portuguese language is important for essentially one reason, the growth prospects of Brazil. South America’s largest nation – on the economic, geographic, and demographic levels – is forecasted to grow quickly over the next fifty or so years. While it’s still relatively poor, foreign investment is pouring into the nation. Additionally, Portuguese, especially the Brazilian variety is very similar to that of Spanish. If you learn one it’s quite easy to pick up on the other.

Russia

Russia boasts more than 150 million people, and, given its vast size, an abundant supply of natural resources. With the population, infrastructure, and natural resources the nation already has in place, it will always be economically relevant. Many people in the former soviet nations such as Ukraine also speak Russian, bringing its total count of world-wide speakers to more than 300 million.