Oct 10

LISTA Supports the Federal Communications Commission and Designated Entity (DE) program.

fcc-logo-100066756-largeLatinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) share our public support of the Federal Communications Commission as they release the Notice for Proposed Rulemaking focused on the Designated Entity (DE) program. Latinos continue to increase in their use of mobile devices and wireless services.  We see today’s release of the NPRM as the next step in ensuring that Latino consumers not only use these services, but also contribute to the production and ownership of wireless assets.  As the Commission proceeds with this NPRM, we hope that enough time is allocated to gather comments for the record that demonstrate the need to incentivize small businesses, especially those owned by Latinos, to participate in the agency’s upcoming spectrum auctions. LISTA looks forward to participating in the public conversation about the possible overhaul of the congressionally mandated DE program and applauds the Commission for their ongoing attention to this very important challenge of increasing minority spectrum ownership.

Oct 07

President Obama Can Lead the Diversity Effort Among his Allies in Silicon Valley By Jose Marquez

jam new 1The White House recently reached into the ranks of Google to fill the post of technology czar. It was just the latest example of a Google executive joining the administration, leaving little doubt about the special relationship the company has with President Obama.

As it turns out, word of the high-profile appointment of Megan Smith largely overshadowed some troubling news that has been coming out of Google lately: disclosures of the company’s dreadful record of hiring Hispanics, as well as African Americans and women.

Google, like most other Silicon Valley tech companies, is a largely white and male bastion. Its labor statistics paint an unflattering picture, with Google’s workforce only three percent Hispanic, two percent African American and 30 percent female. The picture is even more dismal when counting only employees in high-tech and leadership roles in the company.

It makes sense, of course, for the White House to hire former Google executives, given the company’s well-deserved reputation for innovative thinking and product development in the highly competitive high-tech industry. For an Administration that has made modernizing government one of its top priorities, Google can provide key tools to help fulfill this objective.

Google should commit to addressing its poor record on the crucial issue of diversity, especially if called upon to do so by the President on behalf of the nation.  - Jose Marquez. 

Yet President Obama has a unique opportunity to work with Google to improve its disturbing hiring practices at a time when the unemployment rate among Hispanics (7.5 percent) and African Americans remains higher than that of whites (5.3 percent).

It is worth noting that Mr. Obama has already used his singular platform as the nation’s first African-American president to push for diversity on a number of fronts. Mr. Obama, for example, has sought to name more women and minorities to the bench, most notably Sonia Sotomayor, who became the first Hispanic to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

For years now, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association has warned of the hiring practices involving Latinos in Silicon Valley and the lack of interest of building a strong Latino workforce pipeline. We believe an inclusive culture promotes creativity, innovation and drives collaboration. We know no global company today can stay competitive without persistently recruiting, retaining and developing a diverse work force. Diversity is critical to achieving growth objectives and serving customers globally, and although everyone says how important STEM is in our community of color and how important diversity is in Silicon Valley, Latinos are still less than 6% in Silicon Valley.

With jobs in the high-tech industry poised to become among the biggest drivers of growth in the coming decades, it is only natural that the Administration should work with Google and other tech companies to foster diversity in their workforces.

Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are growing at nearly double the pace of their non-STEM counterparts. But as things stand now, Hispanics and other minorities are at risk of being left behind as these jobs become the linchpin of the 21st century economy.

Clearly, Mr. Obama has earned the respect and admiration of Google executives and employees, who have been among his biggest supporters politically. As a result, President Obama has the credibility to persuade Google and other Silicon Valley companies to take steps to quickly integrate greater numbers of Hispanics, African Americans and women into their workforces.

Time is of the essence. Mr. Obama is settling into the final years of his last term in office. As the president and his advisors ponder the legacy he will leave behind, the troubling hiring practices in Silicon Valley cry out for Mr. Obama’s attention and passion.

Without question, Google has benefited as a company from its close partnership with the White House. In return, Google should commit to addressing its poor record on the crucial issue of diversity, especially if called upon to do so by the President on behalf of the nation.

                                                                   ###

Jose Marquez is National President, CEO and founder of the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) based in New York, Washington DC, Atlanta and Sacramento with over 5000 latino technology professionals and 100,000 professional subscribers from across the US and abroad, LISTA is uniquely positioned to give a voice to the Latino Tech Professional.

Now in its fifteenth year, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (www.techlatino.org) (#LISTA1) is the largest latino tech organization in the US with quarterly events for Latino Tech professionals and STEM Professionals  Start-ups and newsmakers in tech entrepreneurship. Our events gather more than 500 of the nation’s most influential Latino tech professionals from IT, IS and Tech Companies and business over 3 days in four regions of the United States. 

The LISTA events are a launch pad for creative tech pros, new technologies, social media marketing and much, much, more targeting Latinos in the U.S. .

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Oct 06

Silicon Valley’s Diversity Problem

New-York-Times-logoAfter years of playing down the problem, technology companies like Google,Facebook and Apple now say they’re serious about improving the gender and ethnic diversity of their work forces and corporate boards. Recent data from those companies and others like them confirm what everyone has long known: Most of their employees are white and Asian men. Among technical employees, few are women, and even fewer are Latino or African-American.

Tech companies should care about these numbers. Many studies show that companies with gender and ethnic diversity tend to be more creative andmore profitable, because varied perspectives help them design products and services that appeal to a diverse, worldwide audience.

The companies say they’re starting to address the problem by acknowledging it. Google, for instance, is training managers to be more aware of hidden biases, so they don’t, for instance, give undeservedly lower performance evaluations to women. Facebook is working with professional associations and other nonprofit groups to get more girls and minority children interested in science and technology. A big issue facing the industry is the percentage of female computer science students at universities. That number has fallen in the last 20 years, even as the percentage of women in fields like biology and chemistry has risen.

Still, there are approaches that could help:

• Not all tech industry employees are engineers and programmers. The companies employ large numbers of people who manage projects, market services and design products. Many of these jobs do not require a computer science or an engineering degree. But the proportion of women and minorities in these types of jobs is not much better than the proportion in technical positions. Companies should make efforts to hire a more diverse group of workers — including more liberal arts graduates — for nontechnical jobs, according to Vivek Wadhwa, who has written a book about women in the technology industry.

•• Top technology companies hire a lot of graduates from elite universities like Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley. Their recruitment efforts should include a broader array of colleges, especially those that enroll a lot of women in technical fields.

Freeman Hrabowski, the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, for example, says his institution produces many women and minority graduates in science and engineering disciplines. Many find jobs with federal government agencies and East Coast technology companies, because the university has strong relationships with those employers. But it has far fewer contacts with companies in Silicon Valley.

•• Companies should open up the initial interviewing process. Heidi Roizen, a venture capitalist, says she asks executives at companies she invests in whether they have interviewed any women for openings. Many said they had not even thought about doing so until she prompted them, primarily because they tend to hire friends and acquaintances.

Other kinds of businesses have used a similar approach. The National Football League, for example, has the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for every head coach or general manager opening.

•• Creating a welcoming culture, which is often easier said than done, would help these companies retain employees who get in the door. A 2011 report by the Census Bureau found that women science and engineering graduates were much less likely to be employed in those fields then men with the same degrees. A 2008 report published by the Harvard Business Review found that women quit high tech jobs at twice the rate of men. Among the most frequently cited reasons women gave for leaving, it said, were extreme pressure and a hostile culture.

There is a lot that the education system and the government need to do to get more women and minorities interested in science and technology. But the technology industry can start tackling its diversity problem right now.

Sep 29

Nielsen: Hispanic Market Diversity Impacts Consumer Behaviour

Latinas Tech Leaders Power Luncheon – 2013

While marketers tend to see Hispanic TV viewers as a block, brands would be better served by going back to the basics and learning about the distinctions and nuances between each sub-segment of the Latin consumer market.

That’s the word from Nielsen, which noted that while Hispanics en masse have a current spending power of about $1.4 trillion, the population comprises several sub-groups, and the various characteristics of these sub-groups are affecting consumer behaviour and engagement opportunities. For instance, US-born Hispanics represent 64% of total Hispanics. In addition to this group’s size, its members are rapidly accelerating into adulthood. Annually, about 800,000 US-born Hispanics turn 18 years old. The characteristics of this group (age, household size and income) differ significantly from foreign-born Hispanics — a finding that should seem obvious but is all too often overlooked by advertisers, Nielsen noted in the report. US-born Hispanics are younger overall. Their median age is 18, while the median age of foreign-born Hispanics is closer to that of non-Hispanics: 40 and 42, respectively. When considering household size, larger households are more often led by foreign-born Hispanics, while smaller households are often led by a US-born Hispanics.
Households led by US-born Hispanics also tend to earn more. Across households, 52% of US-born homes earn at least $50,000 each year, compared with 33% of homes led by foreign-born Hispanics. “The differences in demographics are reflected across purchasing behaviour,” Nielsen said in its report. “Overall, Hispanic consumers spend more on total basket than non-Hispanics, reaffirming the growth opportunity this group represents for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers.
US-born Hispanic homes lead this spending, as they shop more frequently than their foreign-born and non-Hispanic counterparts.” This greater shopping frequency is probably because US-born homes have higher incomes than the Hispanic-born homes. And, interestingly, though foreign-born households are spending less annually and making fewer trips to brick-and-mortar outlets, they’re spending more per trip than their US-born counterparts – highlighting their remarkable value. While this insight highlights that larger families will therefore purchase larger baskets, marketers will also need to better understand these families because retailers are seeing them less often.

Sep 26

Battle over Internet Regulations is the Civil Rights Struggle of the 21st Century.

_MG_1049The battle over the nation’s high-speed Internet policy is a complicated one and, if carried out inadequately, could spur a series of unintentional outcomes. That conflict is being fought out at the Federal Communications Commission as it considers the Open Internet issue, sometimes referred to as Net Neutrality. Take it from an engineer with 20 plus years of experience in communications technology: the Open Internet per se is a non-issue.

“If successful, Title II would reverse America’s hugely successful policy of minimal regulation of the Internet and replace it with pervasive regulation designed for monopoly telephone companies back in 1934.” - Jose Marquez

An Open Internet simply means an Internet where all providers of legal content have non-discriminatory access to the privately owned high-speed networks that make up the Internet in America. We have had an Open Internet policy in place at the FCC since the Clinton administration and it’s still working fine. But in 2010, the FCC attempted to codify a series of rules, which a Court earlier this year ruled were based on an incorrect legal foundation. Since then, the FCC proposed very similar rules, but under the Court-approved authority. So, what is the issue?

If the Internet we all know and use works just fine and consumers can access the websites and content they want, why the concern? The danger is that proponents of utility-style regulations would use the non-issue of the Open Internet to rationalize a reclassification of Internet services under Title II of the Communications Act, and treat broadband as a utility — with all of the cumbersome rules, oversight and bureaucracy that would stifle innovation and harm our economy.

If successful, Title II would reverse America’s hugely successful policy of minimal regulation of the Internet and replace it with pervasive regulation designed for monopoly telephone companies back in 1934.

Digital Life A Closer_Garc

Throttling the progress of Internet technology with that kind of regulation would be an unconscionable disservice to all Americans. It would be a particularly mean blow to Latinos and other minorities who are still playing catch-up when it comes to utilizing the full benefits of high-speed Internet technology.

Recently, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council filed a petition with the FCC stating its belief in the importance of free and unfettered Internet access by minority communities. Signing on to the MMTC filing were 41 other civil rights and labor organizations including groups such as SER –  Jobs for Progress, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and the group I head, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA).

We pointed out that restrictive utility-type regulation could easily suffocate the very innovation that has made high-speed Internet vital to minority communities. The FCC should have loftier goals than micromanaging an already successful industry. Their real targets should include assuring more and better connections for minorities, seniors, and low-income families still without high-speed Internet access. The commission’s final decision could well determine whether U.S. minority groups will be able to compete on a level playing field throughout the 21st century.

That’s why the battle over high-speed Internet regulations has been justifiably called the emerging civil rights struggle of the 21st century.

Thanks to lightning-fast connections, America’s minority groups are better able to get access to good education, find more rewarding jobs, and enjoy greater involvement in their communities. Maintaining and expanding these sorts of advances is a continuous slog, but a necessary one. Because hard as it might be to imagine, our media obsessed society is only scratching the surface of what high-speed Internet services can deliver in the future.

A continued Open Internet is essential to that future. Congress was looking to the future when it passed The Communications Act of 1996 that specified an Open Internet policy.

Now, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler should swing the attention of his fellow commissioners back to where it belongs: on ensuring widespread high-speed Internet access to low- and middle-income people, especially those in minority communities.

LISTA applauds the chairman’s efforts and we pledge him our support for the Court-mandated authority. Nobody wins if high-speed Internet services are weighted down with unnecessary regulation.

 Jose Marquez is National President, CEO and founder of the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association .

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Sep 15

NCTA Submits Open Internet Rules Reply Comments

conv13-nctaToday, NCTA submitted its reply comments to the FCC regarding the proposed new Open Internet Rules. As we’ve said before, cable broadband providers are unequivocally committed to building and maintaining an open Internet experience. That means we support the original principles of Net Neutrality – that all legitimate Internet traffic should be treated equally when traveling over local networks, that ISPs should not pick favorites, and that consumers should have unfettered access to legal content of their choosing. That’s why we support the FCC’s efforts to ensure consumers have basic protections. But we strongly feel that the best path towards enforceable rules that don’t risk future innovation and growth is to dismiss Title II reclassification and instead focus on Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act. Section 706 empowers the Internet industry to continue to innovate without putting handcuffs on its most pioneering companies. And it offers strong consumer protections that guarantee enforceable open Internet rules and promotes competitive marketplaces.

You can see our full comments here

Sep 04

National Puerto Rican Chamber Launches First Ever Training Program for Hispanic Veteran Entrepreneurs.

nprchamberThe National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce (NPRChamber) today launched the nation’s first and only training program specifically for Hispanic Veteran Entrepreneurs.  A moving video tribute expressing the need for such services can be found at www.NPRChamber.org/Troops.

In conjunction with the International Council on Small Business (ICSB) and The George Washington University (GWU), the NPRChamber will host approximately 30 Hispanic veterans who have entrepreneurial aspirations, or are in the beginning stages of running a small business, to participate in a three day training program surrounding Veteran’s Day.  The program will provide an introduction to the entrepreneurial process, as well as opportunities to meet with successful national entrepreneurs, legislators, investors, and federal agencies that assist in starting new ventures.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand how these veterans sacrifice their lives, as well as employment opportunities or the chance to start a new business, to serve our country.  They deserve an opportunity to learn the skills they need to put their expertise to good use,” said Justin Vélez-Hagan, executive director of NPRChamber and combat veteran of Afghanistan.  “The results will be a benefit to our economy and our overall society.”

Veterans from recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have higher unemployment rates than the general population, while Hispanic veterans, especially those from Puerto Rico, have the highest unemployment rates among all veterans, reaching as high as 30 percent.

Oftentimes, veterans have managed to save enough money to start their own business, but lack the real-world knowledge to do so.  With skills, training, and discipline not always found among other aspiring entrepreneurs, these ambitions can easily be converted and refined into independent and successful businesses, which in turn will contribute to others within their communities.

Applications for veterans interested in the program will be accepted until the end of October.  Those interested in helping to support our program can make a donation via Fundly here.

About The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce

The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce (NPRChamber) is a non-profit organization created to promote entrepreneurship and economic development amongst Hispanics and Puerto Ricans throughout the U.S.  Feel free to contact the NPRChamber at 866-572-5222, ext. 4 or via email:  PublicRelations@NPRChamber.org.

About the International Council for Small Business

Founded in 1955, the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) was the first international membership organization to promote the growth and development of small businesses worldwide. The organization brings together educators, researchers, policy makers and practitioners from around the world to share knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.  ICSB’s international headquarters are located within the business school at The George Washington University and can be reached at 202-994-0704.

Aug 29

Google VP Lisa Gevelber Agrees…Your Next Big Opportunity: The US Hispanic Market

LisaGevelber3U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption. But despite the facts, these consumers are vastly underserved, and the opportunities to reach them through digital remain largely untapped. But what, exactly, should marketers be doing? To see what’s working (and what’s not), our Vice President of Americas Marketing, Lisa Gevelber, looked at the strategies of leading brands and forward-thinking marketers. Here are the top lessons she learned.

You’ve likely heard the numbers: a 163% increase in population between 2010 and 2050, making up 30% of the population by July 1, 2050. One trillion dollars inbuying power in 2010, rising to $1.5 trillion next year (an increase of 50% in just five years). I’m talking about U.S. Hispanics, of course—a consumer segment that’s on the radar of every Fortune 500 CMO.

At Google, we’ve taken notice of this audience too, but for a different reason: technology. U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption. “Many marketers may think they trail the so-called general market in adoption of new tech, when in fact they are far ahead and should be among the first prospects for marketers seeking to grow their consumer base,” says Marla Skiko, senior vice president and director of digital innovation at SMG Multicultural. Despite the facts, U.S. Hispanics are a vastly underserved market, and the opportunities to reach them through digital remain largely untapped.

Recently, we surveyed a select panel of senior-level marketers to see if the U.S. Hispanic audience was on their roadmaps. They clearly recognized the opportunity: Most saw 11–25% of their company’s growth coming from this demographic in the next three to five years. Still, most brands didn’t have a marketing strategy for this audience, and most agencies were advising clients to invest in reaching them either “somewhat” or “not at all.”

It’s clear that brands need to go from taking notice to taking action and that digital is a huge opportunity. But what, exactly, should we be doing? To see what’s working (and what’s not), we looked at the strategies of leading brands and forward-thinking marketers. Here are the top lessons we learned.

“U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption.”

1. Be where they are—video and mobile

“The digital space is one of my favorite areas to market to this audience,” says Fabian Castro, senior vice president, multicultural marketing for Universal Pictures, which promotes close to 80% of its releases annually to the U.S. Hispanic audience. Online video is a big bet for Universal, and it’s clear why: The average Hispanic spends more than eight hours watching online video each month—over 90 minutes longer than the U.S. average, according to a Nielsen report. Universal has a dedicated Latino channel on YouTube where it distributes custom spots, featurettes, clips and content. The channel has been home to videos such as the “Spanglish” trailer for Fast Five, which has nearly 6 million views.

Our data shows that across YouTube views of top U.S. Hispanic channels are up 1.25x year over year. Just look at the bilingual multi-channel network MiTú. In the two years since its launch, the network has grown a loyal audience of more than 36 million subscribers. That’s already one-third the number of subscribers to HBO, a network that’s been around for over 40 years. Brands are tapping into this growth through endorsements and sponsorships. Seventeen-year-oldBecky G, a Mexican-American singer/dancer, has a huge following on YouTube among U.S. Hispanics. CoverGirl took notice and signed her to an endorsement deal. During the World Cup, Dish Networks tapped into this audience by promoting its Juego Bonito campaign heavily on YouTube. The video spot, created for Hispanic markets, was the first-ever Spanish-language ad to show on YouTube’s masthead in the U.S. In just two days, the ad garnered 100 million impressions.

A lot of that video watching happens on mobile, as smartphones are becoming the “first screen.” A Nielsen report states that 10 million Hispanics watch mobile video for an average of more than six hours per month. Among smartphone owners, Hispanics are 17% more likely than non-Hispanics to access the web more through their phone than through a computer. They’re also more likely toupgrade or replace their mobile headsets and buy tablets. “Having the best in technology first is important social currency for this audience,” says Skiko.

With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that they’re heavy consumers of mobile apps too. According to a Google Consumer Survey conducted in July, Hispanics are 1.5x more likely to buy mobile apps and digital media than non-Hispanics. This means that everything you’ve been hearing about mobile applies even more to this audience—figure out your mobile-centric use cases, create mobile-first destinations, drive ROI and branding in mobile-specific ways, and integrate it prominently into multi-screen campaigns.

2. Give them choices—más opciones

Too often, marketers think they’re reaching U.S. Hispanics by simply translating ads and websites into Spanish. The truth is, this audience is diverse and often bilingual, an eye-opening insight for Jared Fix, U.S. vice president and general manager for Mixables at Beam Suntory. “I had always assumed that ‘Hispanic marketing’ meant Spanish, but a vast majority of our Hispanic target is what we call ‘acculturated’—they speak English, perhaps Spanish at home, and they consume media in both,” he says.

Through digital, marketers don’t need to take a one-language-fits-all approach—and they shouldn’t, because there is a big opportunity to reach these consumers in both languages. For example, a recent Google Consumer Survey showed that the majority of U.S. Hispanic mobile users typically search in English or a mix of English and Spanish. At the same time, we’ve seen the number of Google searches that include common Spanish-language question words nearly double over the past three years (see below).

Searches for Common Spanish-Language Question Words  
Source: Google Data, 2011–2014, Indexed Search Query Data, United States

Skiko suggests letting users pick which language they prefer. “It’s about ‘and’ not ‘or,’” she says. “Through digital, you can give people a choice, and that doesn’t happen enough.” Mattel is adopting this approach, creating bilingual versions of its campaigns. Last year, it launched a cross-brand Hispanic-targeted holiday campaign, ‘Toy Feliz, which included a bilingual website. Its Fisher-Price brand has a Spanish-language version of its Thought of That campaign called Pensamos en Todo. And this month, it kicked off a First Birthday program with an overlay for the Hispanic market called Mis Primeras Mañanitas, says Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, vice president of strategic marketing and communications at Mattel.

The targeting capabilities of digital can also help marketers reach the right audience with the right messaging. “Behavioral targeting, language targeting, geo targeting and so on are incredible,” says Castro. “The digital space gives us an opportunity to reach even hard-to-get Latinos across all levels of acculturation.”

3. Speak their culture

Language isn’t enough, though. To really speak to this audience—to anyaudience—you need to be culturally relevant. As Castro puts it, “Culture is the new language.” Whether promoting in Spanish or English, Universal goes beyond translation to find cultural nuances. “Our product is in English, so the crux of our creative is in English,” he explains, “but when promoting on Spanish media, we find ways to extract storylines, show relevant talent, use music and use Spanish when appropriate—all ways to help make the film attractive and culturally relevant to this audience.”

Universal successfully combined cultural relevance with language preferences, targeting and online video in its campaign for Despicable Me 2. The marketing team developed brand-new ads specifically for the Hispanic audience—parts were in Spanish, but the movie dialogue stayed in English. The videos, which were posted to YouTube, delved deeper into the film’s Mexican villain, El Macho. It gave Universal the opportunity to create the family-friendly messaging “Superdad vs. Supervillain”—a theme that played nicely into family-centric Hispanic sensibilities. Knowing that music is a passion point for this audience, the team also licensed and integrated Pitbull’s bilingual hit song “Don’t Stop the Party” (featured in the film) into spots. Select videos were promoted with TrueView, which allowed the team to “efficiently target Hispanic audience members in the place where they are already consuming a great number of culturally relevant videos,” says Castro. This resulted in “an increase in important video views for our content”—nearly 3 million views and counting.

A constantly connected community

The U.S. Hispanic audience will only gain cultural and economic prominence in the coming years. This isn’t just sheer numbers; it’s technology. Constantly connected consumers are influential ones—spreading ideas, culture and content—and this audience is very connected. This works both ways, of course. Brands can make great use of digital to connect with this audience. The key is to go where these consumers are, offering unique, choice-based and culturally relevant ways to engage.

  • Lisa GevelberLisa Gevelber

    Vice President of Americas Marketing, Google

Aug 29

Sprint’s New Latino CEO Revamps Company With Eye On Hispanics

MarceloClaureBoliviano+de+éxitoIn just the first couple of weeks of being Sprint CEO, 43-year-old Marcelo Claure has cut prices, unveiled new data plans — and he is doing so with a keen eye on Latino mobile users.

Claure, the son of a Bolivian diplomat who moved to the U.S. in the 1990s, is now boldly attempting to steer the third largest U.S. wireless company, behind Verizon and AT&T, out of troubled waters.

He says he is honored to be one of the few Latino CEO’s of a major public company in the U.S.

“It is definitely an honor. Now, being a Hispanic CEO I think it should be appealing to the millions of Hispanics attending college and have high aspirations into continuing to grow the Latino presence in the Fortune 500 environment,” he said in an interview with Fox News Latino.

Claure got into the cellphone business selling phones in the back of his car and opening up his first mobile shop in Boston in 1995. He eventually founded Brightstar, a major global distributor for cellphones, particularly in Latin America, and led the company over two decades.

To View the Interview and More Details…. Click Here

“I took a lot of pride when I made Brightstar the largest Hispanic-owned business in the United States, that was a very important moment in my career,” said Claure.

Sprint has been losing customers every quarter for more than two years — 245,000 subscribers left in the first quarter of 2014, mainly due to disrupted cellphone service as the company continues to build its new LTE network, according to analysts.

Sprint shares are down 50 percent so far this year, highlighted by a failed merger with T-Mobile Inc., the fourth largest wireless company.

Enter Claure. Last week, Sprint announced a new family plan which includes up to 10 lines, 20 GB of shared data, unlimited talk and text for $100 a month. That’s about double the data the other competitors offer and about $60 less per month, according to Sprint’s promotional material. And last week the company unveiled a $60 unlimited talk, text and data plan for individual subscribers — $20 less than T-Mobile, while Verizon and AT&T don’t offer unlimited plans.

Claure told FNL the last few days have been “hectic” as the company tries to “get back to the basics.”

“In the short term, we have to make sure we are bringing value back to the American consumer,” Claure said. “Our long-term place, while other carriers are basically limiting the amount of data you have and are cutting or eliminating unlimited plans, we want customers to come because we have a product which is unlimited and we were able to offer it and provide good service,” Claure explained while emphasizing the company’s new 4GLTE network is almost finished.

The young and charismatic CEO says the company’s new pricing plans are particularly aimed at reaching Latinos, who according to research are significantly more likely to own a mobile phone and are significantly more likely to use mobile devices for text messaging, social networking and the Internet.

“Therefore,” Claure said, “if you can offer an unlimited offering it’s definitely appealing to the Latino community.”

He went on to explain, “Our plans, they are right at the Latino community. We believe that we know the Hispanic community and we are going to market to them the way that we do with a differentiated offering.”

As to whether he is going to help propel Latinos up the corporate ladder, Claure said while he’s not going to choose one person over the other simply for being Latino, he believes the Latino community is offering more and more college educated talent every day.

“All you can see is in the numbers, they are by far the highest population entering the workplace and I look forward to helping build that.”

 Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas

Aug 26

Ten Steps to Using Twitter in the College Classroom by Jason Llorenz

Jason_LlorenzLike all college and university faculty, August means finalizing fall syllabi and lesson plans, and pre-reading articles for fall courses. For many professors, this process includes thinking (or rethinking) on how to leverage social media to engage students in the semester’s learning.

At Rutgers, my fall Understanding and Designing Social Media Course is designed as a hybrid — the best of a well-structured, MOOC-style online learning environment with a robust schedule and structured activaties from Tuesday-Thursday of each week, and a weekly, in-person meeting on Wednesdays.

Having experimented with social media for learning — especially Twitter — across my courses, I am convinced that social media offers powerful opportunities to connect with students, by providing new ways for them to own the learning. But doing it well takes a good deal of planning and structure, especially if social will be part of your graded class activities.

Below are 10 strategies and tactics for integrating Twitter into your college course.

1) Assign a course #hashtag. The hashtag is the most basic of Twitter formalities. Assign your course hashtag early, include it on all of your materials, and reference your hashtag consistently to drive the culture of Twitter across your course learning. The tag should be short, catchy and relatable (bad example: #introcommunication101CFU). My fall course at Rutgers will tweet under #rusocial14.

2) Provide Twitter training(s). One misnomer of the millennial generation is that they come to higher education with high-level social media skills. By and large, they don’t. The digital natives, the Instagram generation, the selfie generation — whatever label we assign — is born texting, tweeting and socializing on digital. But, like all communication skills, strategic use of social media is a learned skill. IF you expect students to live-tweet Ted Talks, learn to follow and engage with issues via Twitter, or even create critical mass around course discussions, trainings must be offered as part of your course. Mid-career students returning to learning, or continuing their education also, are unlikely to have used social media — especially Twitter — in a strategic context. These are important skills to learn in the context of a modern higher education.

One set of progressive exercise I start my in-person classes off with is the following:

Step 1: Have all students open the Twitter app on their phones or laptops while projecting Twitter in front of the room, monitoring the class hash tag. 
Step 2: Have everyone tweet one thing they would like to learn this semester, and remember to include the class hashtag. This allows everyone to see the hashtag string unfold in front of them. 
Step 3: Now, Pose a question to the class, via Twitter (again, using the hashtag) — like, “what is important about #Twitter?” Remind everyone to respond by including your twitter handle, and the class hashtag. 
Step 4: Have students find a response they like, and retweet it, first by clicking the retweet button, and then by quote tweet, spelling out, for example: RT: @llorenzesq “Twitter connects ideas” #rusocial14

3) Demystify Twitter language. Once your students have done some hands-on experimenting, make sure everyone has the language and insight needed to grow their use of the platform. Taking a snapshot of a tweet, highlight the main components in front of your classroom, highlighting the handle(s), hashtags, links (shortened), and how and why each are used. I call this “the anatomy of a tweet.”

4) Provide a glossary. RT, MT, PT, H/T, and some of the most often-used hash tags, like #ff, #icymi and others, can make a great one-slide glossary of terms to help demystify the platform.

5) Determine Influencers. The key to the Twitterverse is figuring out how to find and pay attention to what’s important, and minimize distraction from the lunches, daily gripes, and assorted fluff that can flood your Twitter feed. Ask your students to do a web search (off of Twitter) for Twitter influencers + (insert subject of interest). Many bloggers have written about this, or preassembled lists of influencers. Students should return to class with a short list of twitter influencers in any field, and articulate why they are influential on, and off Twitter, and why.

6) Integrate Twitter in Grading. In my fall hybrid course, students will earn points for participation in Twitter conversations on each unit of assigned reading. Initial tweets, and two replies are due at set times during the week, and students receive points based on quality of engagement. Remember to offer a rubric for your grades, so that everyone is clear on how excellent Twitter engagement is defined for the purposes of your class. Number of tweets alone is not enough. Rather, the engagement should be measured by several factors: tweeting out to others is the minimum expectation; replying to classmates, engaging with ideas, and connecting external resources is higher level engagement, worthy of full credit. Storifying (viawww.storify.com) students tweets from a unit, and reviewing those together, in class, is a great way of bringing their ideas and communication skills into the classroom.

7) Engage Your Guest Speakers on Twitter. Having a guest speaker via Skype, or in person? Provide his or her Twitter handle to your students a day or two before they address the class, and encourage your class to engage with the speaker before their talk, and to live-tweet during the conversation as well.

8) Live tweet Lectures. I have found even the least talkative students more likely to engage course lectures and ideas on Twitter. Asking students to live-tweet your lectures under the class hashtag — either pulling out important ideas throughout the lecture, or simply tweeting a few of the main ideas after — provides a powerful tool for engagement. You might ask a question during your lecture, or end the lecture by asking students to tweet the one or two of the most important ideas, crowd-sourcing the answer live in front of your audience.

9) Release course materials and resources on Twitter. The Hootsuite tweet-scheduling feature can allow you to schedule tweets at specific times during your class — so that an essay question, or an activity prompt is tweeted during your class.

10) Ask what is trending. Whether running a course on K-12 education, modern history, civic engagement and community change, applied science, engineering or, in my case, social media, there is a conversation evolving on Twitter. Asking your students to begin some classes by answering the question, “what is trending?” gives students an opportunity to answer the question with examples, and an evaluation of why that issue or conversation is moving online.

Higher education teaching must evolve, and we must meet students where they are, and where the future of the economy demands. While the classroom, lecture and podium will have an important role in higher education for the foreseeable future, even the most traditional of courses can benefit from smart integration of Twitter, and other digital tools. Whether integrating one, or all of these ideas, students will benefit from more opportunities to learn, and more opportunities to engage in what is increasingly the medium of choice.

One caveat on all of this: When teaching millennials, a conversation about expectations for Twitter-worthy conversations, versus what should be kept to email is important. Your younger students, who live on this technology, may not hesitate in asking about grades and other issues in Twitter’s public space. This is all part of the learning.

Future posts will explore additional aspects of social media and learning.

Jason Llorenz, JD is a scholar at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, where he teaches courses in technology and social media. His research focuses on universal digital inclusion in the digital economy. 

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