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Translating startup-speak for the corporate buyer

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Startups salivate at the prospect of entering the enterprise – and for good reason. The enterprise is rife with legacy systems and circuitous processes that frustrate employees and hinder results — and the startup has just the perfect product to fix the problem.

Too often though, the pitch to the enterprise falls flat or a promising pilot gets sidelined. Sometimes there’s a clear obstacle, like a mismatch between product and problem to be solved, an inability to scale, or the loss of an internal sponsor. But more often than one would expect, the startup’s value is simply getting lost in translation.

Even the most forward-looking enterprise leaders are operating in an environment what I like to call “GAAP-based digital strategy.” The budgeting process supports only certain kinds of purchases, like renewable software licensing fees and support contracts with fixed costs. New models, like variable costs for open source development, require workarounds and explanation in the budget process and cause even the most eager internal champion to lose time and energy.

So what’s a startup to do? The more you can help your internal sponsor translate the cost model to adhere to the established norm, the more traction they are likely to get from the hydra of procurement and finance. Once the project has momentum, your champion can work to change the budgeting process – but that’s a tall order before your pilot is launched and showing results.

The concept of GAAP-based digital strategy extends well beyond accounting practices. Consider internal reporting: large organizations spend an inordinate amount of time reporting up, across, and down in an effort to improve transparency and inspire shared ownership of outcomes. What are the KPIs for the department you are serving? How easily will your results translate into their storytelling? Spend some time up front with your client to ensure your results align with (and show up in!) the existing framework for reporting.

Corporations are aware of how hard it is to navigate these control systems, and so they are increasingly creating “innovation departments” with dedicated funding for one-off experiments using new technology. This is often the start of the relationship between a startup and a new client.

For startups, this can be a beneficial approach, since it offers the opportunity to deliver value before wrangling with cumbersome procurement or IT requirements. But too often these divisions lurch from pilot to pilot, and struggle to find line-of-business champions willing to absorb startup technology into their operations. The biggest challenge here is that there’s often no enterprise template for the handoff from the innovation setting – where experiments can operate in a “clean room” apart from procedures and regulations – to ongoing operations.

Here’s how one startup providing augmented reality headsets and software to a complex pharma manufacturing environment crossed over. Their pilot showed clear results: testing with four-five headsets, their AR software measurably helped workers on the floor by augmenting the workflow with voice recording and hands-free capabilities.

The startup team then came on-site, and they partnered with the workers testing the solution to document the improvements and discuss how to ensure the process complied with regulations. This direct interaction fed into their results reporting to make the case for the 30-40 headsets needed on the shop floor. Rather than wait for middle management, the startup developed a grassroots-fortified case for moving into operations.

Similarly, a startup piloting an analytics product in a CPG enterprise was immediately pigeonholed into the IT department’s analytics budget. Surrounded by a range of solutions from business intelligence dashboards to marketing technology tools, their pilot was getting lost.

By closely analyzing results, the startup saw promising early findings in the trade promotions area. They worked through their contacts to reach the executive in charge of trade promotions who took the pilot under her wing – and into her budget. They avoided being locked into a GAAP-based bucket (analytics), and were connected with an executive to unlock a whole different conversation.

In addition to finding your internal champion and changing the GAAP conversation, spend time understanding the larger enterprise backdrop: the initiatives and themes that are driving this quarter’s shareholder value. Help your client position the solution not only in the context of the specific problem to solve, but the overall enterprise goals.

The annual report is your friend here. The focus may be digital transformation or global collaboration or risk management, and aligning to this priority may enable your client to get buy-in internally. Make sure you are fluent in the visible, budgeted, CEO-led, cross departmental initiatives — and how your solution plays a role here.

Take heart: this translation won’t always be a one-way street. The deeper your engagement, the more your enterprise clients will benefit from your startup’s perspective, and change technology, process, and language to reflect that understanding. Ideally, GAAP-based digital strategy recedes as long-established protocols reduce structural lag with how business is conducted today. In the meantime, consider the art of translation as important as pitching the outcome.

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Amazon Gives Discounted Xbox Series S A $40 Credit For Cyber Monday

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The Xbox Series S is an ideal backup console for a second room in your home (perhaps used with your monitor to complement your gaming PC), or for your young ones who don’t get caught up in pixel peeping and only care about playing the latest games. Even if you have a 4K TV and you intend to use this as your primary console, games can look pretty great with the advanced resolution upscaling available in most of today’s sets, and you still get that smooth 120Hz performance in games that support it.

Sadly, affordable storage space remains a problem for all current-gen consoles. While Microsoft advertises 512GB, you might get less than 400GB after the system OS eats its share. With some games demanding as much as 100-150GB, you can quickly run out of headroom. You might survive with an affordable external hard drive to store games on while you’re not playing them, as moving games from one hard drive to another is much quicker than redownloading them.

It’s also worth noting that older, non-optimized games can be played directly from an external hard drive. If you anticipate needing more storage for current games, your best bet might be to step up to the 1TB Xbox Series X, which costs $260 more than this deal (and is typically harder to find), or add an optional storage expansion card, which is similarly costly, starting at $220 for 1TB.

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ARK: Ultimate Survivor Edition Review For Nintendo Switch: Fight For Your Fun

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Whether you’re playing the standard version of “ARK” or this new all-in-one Switch port, the fundamental game is the same: Your character wakes up in a semi-random spot on your chosen map, then you get to work crafting survival implements and putting together a shelter. Eventually you branch out into bigger and better stuff, and even start to tame dinosaurs to act as mounts, protectors, or specialized material gatherers.

Gather materials and supplies, craft tools and gear, level-up to learn more crafting recipes, gather more materials, craft better stuff, and so on. All while balancing your character’s need for food and water, navigating extreme temperatures, and trying not to get eaten by prehistoric animals. Comparing it to “Minecraft” might seem disingenuous, but the game runs on similar principles.

Some things are a bit more complicated in “ARK,” however, even without the need for terrain manipulation found in “Minecraft.” There are a lot of status effects to consider (get too warm, too cold, poisoned, knocked out, broken bones), and you have to craft everything — including the parts needed to build yourself a home. It’s a satisfying enough feedback loop of steady progression, but it also feels a bit hamstrung by its history.

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The Apple Watch Ultra’s Oceanic+ App Just Landed

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Apple broke the good news in a blog post, talking about the new Oceanic+ app as well as its creation process. Made through a collaboration with Huish Outdoors, the app is meant to turn the Apple Watch Ultra into a proper diving computer fit to serve even serious divers. Prior to the launch of Oceanic+, the watch came equipped with basic software called “Depth.” This allowed divers to check current depth, the temperature of the water, maximum depth reached, and how long they’ve been underwater. The new release expands those options considerably.

Apart from the above, Oceanic+ unlocks a lot of useful trackers. You’ll be able to track no-decompression time, how long it will take you to reach the surface, the gas mix currently in use for scuba divers, haptic feedback, a dive planner, and how fast you’re ascending when it’s time to swim back up to the surface. More importantly, the app comes with color-coded warnings. Moreover, if you use Oceanic+ on the iPhone, it will also provide some extra information about your dive.

The app is available for the Apple Watch Ultra as long as you’re running watchOS 9.1 or later. It also needs to be paired with at least an iPhone 8 (or later) running iOS 16.1 and above. You can access a lot of its features for free, but if you want the premium version, it will cost you $9.99 a month, or $79.99 a year.

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