Business

GSE: A Program You Need To Know About

As you know, we enjoy sharing tips to keep you safe when working with technology but today we want to share something a little different and very special.

We want to bring your attention to a pioneering program, The West Virginia Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship (GSE for short) which sponsors youth entrepreneurship within the state; a program which until recently, was unknown to us.

It started with a phone call to the Tekswift support line. The caller, a well-spoken, highly respectful young man (and frankly pretty brave given this was a cold call) Billy Tobin, shared that he and his team were searching for a computer monitor to support their business idea. The monitor was to serve as proof-of-concept for an innovative product called Polarized Privacy.

Polarized Privacy Team Photo

The Polarized Privacy Team: Billy Tobin, Sandrik Tabidze, Mouhammad Sissoko

Billy explained their technology would completely obfuscate the display on their products, showing only a blank white screen to onlookers, while users donning a specialty pair of glasses would be able to see the monitor clearly.

We were sold, this sounded too cool to pass up. After providing a monitor to the Polarized Privacy team, Tekswift soon received a demo video showing just how awesome the product is. Check it out.

The Polarized Privacy team and other’s foray into business was made possible by volunteers, guest speakers and not least, administrators of the GSE. But what is the Governor’s School?

As described on the GSE website:

“[GSE] is for high school students currently in ninth through eleventh grades. Young innovators learn how to create a scalable business model based on market feedback – and then have the opportunity to pitch and start the business.”

The School of Entrepreneurship is one of four Governor’s Schools in West Virginia (full list here, bottom of page) run by the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts. This year’s participants were ushered onto the grounds of WVU for a three week long, on-campus stay within the dorms, which is assuredly a very exciting proposition for high school students.

The Dean of the GSE at WVU, and Assistant Director of the Brickstreet Center for Innovation & EntrepreneurshipJulia Bolt was happy to share some of her time to shed more light on how the program came to fruition. Julia holds a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Her background in public relations, communications, and marketing provide the experience and talents that power the vision of this program.

“Small business and entrepreneurship are going to save our state.”
-Julia Bolt

Julia’s efforts to bring the program to WVU began with her role in directing the WV Collegiate Business Plan Competition and the WV High School Business Plan Competition. Both programs are open to students within the state of West Virginia; promoting business in hospitality & tourism, lifestyle & innovation, and STEM.

Upon learning of the GSE’s inaugural establishment at Marshall University, Julia quickly reached out to bring the program to Morgantown.

Ms. Bolt travels the state promoting these programs, which are focused on shaping young entrepreneurs and growing small business for West Virginia. Julia told us that the Polarized Privacy team was awarded the Best Overall Team at this year’s competition.

2017 GSE at WVU Polarized Privacy

Pictured: Billy Tobin (right) of Polarized Privacy

Tekswift extends a special congratulations to Billy and his team.

For more information about the Governor’s School programs, and to find out how you can support entrepreneurship for West Virginia, visit the GSE site by clicking here.

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Professional Tech Search: Demand Excellence

As a professional tech but also a consumer, I rely on the skill and temperament of professionals, particularly those who are responsible for my health and mobility. As such, I know there is much implicit trust involved as we tepidly and with white-knuckles hand over our possessions. Exacerbating this scenario is a lack of time to research your new service provider. Tekswift abides by the tenets below, but ensure whomever you choose does the same.

 

So let’s dive in and explore what separates the Professional from Faux’fessional.

Specialty

The first step to finding someone who provides services effectively and efficiently is by identifying where they excel. Hygienists and dentists work side-by-side, but employing a DMD for routine cleaning is overkill. Conversely hygienists may be a bit less comfortable performing bridge work. Make sure your candidates are suited for the task. A stand-up pro will let you know if their skills are within scope of the problem.

Experience

This facet is indispensable. The confidence to navigate a solution in the roughest waters is a quality of a professional with savvy, patience and creativity. This of course is no slight against those who are taking their first steps in the craft. There are obvious benefits where varying experience is a comfortable variable.

Rates

Following the ‘holy triangle’ rule, as a consumer you have three options: Good, Fast, Cheap… Pick two.

Find Professional IT Support

Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick Two

Budgets are important and equally-so is their footing in reality. We all want champagne service on a beer budget, myself included. It is imperative to know this ideology comes at the cost of time. Don’t have time to spend? -Be prepared to part with quality or cash in exchange for expediency.

So where it applies to your technician, you’ll want to ask: How much? How soon? 

 

References

Did you notice something missing in the last line of questions? It wasn’t accidental. Of course you can ask anyone how good they are at a given task. Sometimes you’ll get an honest answer, but moreover the reply will reflect more perception and less reality. Ask your tech for references. And don’t stop there. If appropriate, contact their references. It pays dividends in time and frustration saved.

Progress Tracking

Ask your tech if they offer a means to track your repair. While a bonafide ticketing system is optimal, a tech who at the least will keep in touch via telephone is a sign of accountability and honesty.

Sensitive Data Handling

Too often this is a consideration that occurs after you’ve handed over your item(s), or not at all. Ask your candidate up-front how they handle your personal data. Bear in-mind that top-tier technicians should handle the preservation and destruction (when requested) of your data in accordance with local and federal law.

Formatting is a Last Resort

Without getting buried in the details, your tech should never offer this option without first making an incisive diagnosis of your troubles. If formatting your machine is suggested, you should demand sound reasoning as to why. If you’re not satisfied with the explanation in lay terms, get a second opinion.

Guarantees

The single most important aspect of your exchange is the backing of your repair. Simply ask if your candidate offers any guarantee. This question will help eliminate a sizable number of repair firms. For the remaining options, carefully weigh the details of their guarantee.

 

For more information or to schedule a consultation, call us at 304-241-1396 or send an email to support.

 

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Closed Doors = Opportunity

You have been told for so long, an open door means opportunity. But once you check the record, it becomes evident that is not always the case. In fact, the value of capitalizing on closed doors can be far more lucrative.

Don’t blame yourself if this sounds confusing. After all, this ideology is the antithetical of what we accept to be true; and that is precisely where from it derives value.

Our subconscious mind associates conditions in our environment with prior experience, to act as a reflex. For example, a dry lake means here’s no water to be had. -No digging, no second-guessing. The entire process happens so quickly that we often believe we made the decision. In reality it is only when we challenge that reflex, that we become consciously cognizant.

Old church door inscribed with "opportunity inside" printed in German.

Old church door inscribed with “opportunity inside” printed in German.

In business, the same holds true. In fact, your idea could become wildly successful, given the more remote, or unlikely the venture will pay off.

Take the idea of ‘greater risk, greater reward’ and apply it to something as unlikely as peddling ice to penguins. Seems pretty useless, doesn’t it? However, if you bet on the likelihood that they’ll buy fish-flavored ice, the “closed door” concept begins to take shape.

Well that is precisely what Apple achieved during the last 15 or so years. This is also known as a “Blue Ocean Strategy“. In that time, the company made products which had a similar function to competitive electronics, but were essentially non-functional when not tied direct to the manufacturer, thus creating their own market entirely; for better or worse.

So no matter the scale of your dream, remember that success is a relative benchmark.

What does matter, is this: Do not let your doubts do the talking. Harness your passion, discover your purpose and use the energy to reach your goal.

 

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