Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Aug 30, 2013

Correction of Inaccurate Media Reports Regarding Visa Organizational Changes

Today, a mobile trade publication erroneously reported innovation team changes at Visa.  Notably, the publication claimed that Bill Gajda has left Visa.  This is not true.

Bill Gajda has a broader role as Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and is managing Visa’s relationships with Mobile Network Operators, Device Manufacturers, and Platform Providers. As you know, under Bill’s leadership Visa has made significant strides advancing our mobile strategy globally and building strong alliances with leaders in the mobile industry including Samsung, Orange, MTN, and Vodafone.  Bill is reporting to Jim McCarthy who has recently been named Global Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships.   

Another inaccuracy in today’s reporting is the claim that Sam Shrauger is directly reporting to Visa President, Ryan McInerney. Instead, he is reporting to Elizabeth Buse, who has recently been named Global Executive, Solutions, a new global group  that was created to bring together product and client functions from across the company. In her expanded role Elizabeth is managing a global team with responsibility for implementing, managing and growing Visa’s wide range of solutions, including those for digital channels, processing services, information products and merchant sales and solutions, including CyberSource.

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Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 30, 2013 at 10:59 am

Category: About Visa

Aug 28, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success Series: Insider’s Perspective with Jennifer Kushell (Video)

For the last two months, Donna Fenn has shared with us insights from successful small business owners. At the end of each month, Donna sits down with one business owner to do a deeper dive. Last month, Donna met with Shama Kabani, CEO of The Marketing Zen Group, to talk about customer service. This month, she explores company culture and working with millennials with Jennifer Kushell, founder of Young & Successful Media.

~Enjoy!

Janet (@Jzablock)

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Talk to any CEO for more than a few minutes about his or her toughest management challenge and, inevitably, the topic of managing younger workers surfaces. Are they lazy and entitled, or ambitious and creative people who just need to be managed a bit, well, differently? Jennifer Kushell has been helping the world understand Millennial workers for over 20 years.

Here’s what she has to say on the topic:

 

 

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal, financial, tax or other advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on August 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

Aug 27, 2013

Small Business Secret of Success: Nurturing Your Culture as Your Company Grows

In this week’s Secret to Small Business Success series, Donna Fenn shares insights on how to take care of your culture why your company grows. Next week, we’ll kick off a new month of blog posts centered on the theme of embracing your entrepreneurial spirit.

~Enjoy

@Jzablock

Nurturing Your Culture as Your Company Grows

When your company is young, the heady startup vibe defines your culture. But what happens when your company becomes bigger and more mature? You’ll lose part of that vibe, of course, but you don’t have to lose your culture. You will, however, need to put some effort into systemizing and articulating everything you simply took for granted when you first launched your company.

Alexa von Tobel, the founder and CEO of LearnVest, an online financial planning platform with $24 million in venture capital funding, has taken her company from a startup to 80 employees in just three and half years. In that rapid-growth environment, she has had to work hard to maintain and evolve the LearnVest culture. Here’s how she did it:

Remain true to your values. “Our culture as a startup was to move quickly and to be comfortable making an 85% informed decision,” says von Tobel. “Decisions are progress, so if you have a great idea, you need to start implementing it.” While it’s tempting to be more conservative as your company grows, it’s also risky to avoid risk-taking. LearnVest’s employees know that “it’s okay to fail,” says von Tobel.

Hire smart. Do you hire for skills and talent or cultural fit? Both, says von Tobel. “You have to choose the people who are 100% a cultural fit and 100% a talent fit,” she says. Every prospective employee’s last interview is with her so that she can spend time getting to know each new potential team member. There’s also a generous referral program that rewards employees for recommending new hires – a great way to ensure a staff of like-minded, compatible people.

Keep everyone on the same page.  Each quarter, von Tobel calls an all-hands meeting where she delivers a “state of the union” message that lays out the company’s successes, its shortcomings, and what everyone needs to learn. And twice a year, she and her staff leave the office for a full day retreat that includes a good bit of fun (i.e. whisky tasting at a Manhattan restaurant, or a jaunt to an investor’s beach house), team building exercises, and company updates.

Emulate the experts. At LearnVest, everyone reads Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness, which lays out the Zappos’ customer service philosophy – a model for LearnVest. From Google’s playbook, von Tobel got the idea to allow her tech team to take a day off every few weeks “to build stuff that they’re excited about, whether or not it has something to do with work.” And like Jet Blue, LearnVest has a work at home policy for its financial planners. “They’re the heartbeat of our brand and we want them to be happy every day,” says von Tobel.

LearnVest has evolved beyond the scrappy startup stage, but von Tobel thinks that the company’s culture has remained intact. “Your culture needs to be authentic to the company,” she says. “As you grow, you don’t change the culture, you let it evolve.”

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on August 27, 2013 at 7:02 am

Aug 21, 2013

Visa Continues to Support Aspiring Cyber Pros

In an effort to help inspire and train future cybersecurity professionals, for the second straight year Visa partnered with San Jose State University and the Bay Area Council to host the 2013 U.S. Cyber Challenge Northern California Cybersecurity Summer Boot Camp.  Held August 4-9 at San Jose State University, the camp’s mission is to give aspiring cyber security professionals hands-on training with workshops and presentations focusing on intrusion, detection, penetration and forensics. Students also had the opportunity to attend a job fair as well as talk with representatives from major San Francisco Bay Area technology companies and the federal government about how to prepare for a career in the cyber field.

I was thrilled to be invited to share my experiences in the field, hear directly from students at the executive roundtable discussion, and also watch them put their skills in action during the camp’s capture-the-flag competition.

When it comes to protecting the payments system from cyber threats and attacks, it starts with hiring and training the most talented cyber security professionals. That’s why we need to ensure we have the brightest minds and most effective tools available to meet the nation’s growing needs in the ongoing battle against cybercrime.  As The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency warned in its spring 2013 Semiannual Risk Perspective report, “cyber-threats continue to increase in sophistication and require heightened awareness and appropriate resources to identify and mitigate the associated risks.”

Demonstrating our continued leadership and commitment to this issue, on October 2, 2013 in Washington, DC, Visa will be convening executives from business, government, academia and law enforcement at the Visa Global Security Summit.  This year’s theme will be “Responsible Innovation: Building Trust in a Connected World” and will feature keynotes by RSA Executive Chairman Arthur Coviello, who also joined on site at the San Jose State cyber camp, as well as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Space is limited so for more information and to register, visit:  http://www.visasecuritysummit.com/.  Visa will also be sharing more details on its website as they become available as well as through @VisaSecurity, hashtag #PaymentSecurity and on LinkedIn.

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Posted by: Gary Warzala, Head of Global Information Security on August 21, 2013 at 9:00 am

Aug 19, 2013

Managing Millennials

In this weeks’ Secrets of Small Business Success series, Donna Fenn shares insights on a how to work with Millennials – that age groups often described as those born between 1977 and 1992, although the boundaries of this generation vary from one source to another. Donna takes a deeper dive into this group through a conversation with industry expert, Jennifer Kushell, president of Young & Successful Media.

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

Managing Millennials

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

Twenty-somethings, also known as GenY or Millennials, can be tough to manage in the workplace. And don’t think that complaint comes solely from older CEOs, because I’ve also heard plenty of young entrepreneurs gripe about their “entitled” peers. Jennifer Kushell, president of Young & Successful Media, has spent twenty years researching and working with young professionals so we asked her for some advice on managing this very large – 80 million! – and quirky generation. Here’s what she said:

  1. Communicate your expectations. Impatient Millennials want to know what it takes to get promoted, what perks they can expect, and if it’s okay to text you on a Saturday night with their latest idea. You may even need to tell them how to dress. “When it’s not absolutely necessary for them to dress up, don’t force them to,” suggests Kushell. Set guidelines regarding all of your expectations early on and remember, she says, that “people with nose rings and tattoos are just as intelligent.”
  2. Give regular feedback. “Recognize their success and be attentive to what’s working and what is not,” says Kushell. “When they accomplish something, they want to know that you see it.” That may mean checking in with them on a daily or weekly basis to encourage good habits and nip bad ones in the bud. Kushell also notes that this generation is more likely to vent on Facebook or Twitter than to confront a boss directly with their complaints. So you may have to expend extra effort to keep the lines of communication open.
  3. Capitalize on their skills and enthusiasm. “They’re a built-in IT team, especially for small businesses,” says Kushell. “If you’re building online apps, or making a new investment in technology, put your younger people on those projects.  Tech is their native language and they absorb options in the tech space more quickly.” She also suggests that you set young employees loose on some of your company’s biggest challenges. Millennials tend to work extremely well in teams and may put their heads together to come up with strategies that older workers may overlook.
  4.  Train them in small doses. Forget long training programs; young people get bored with them and would much rather get straight to work. However, training and mentoring are among the most valuable perks you can offer them. Kushell suggests that you train them at intervals, giving them benchmarks and incentives to receive different levels of training. That may include offsite training, or an industry conference.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that employees ages 20 to 34 remain in jobs just 2.3 years. That’s half the average tenure for all workers.  But don’t despair, says Kushell. Millennials can be just as steady as older workers if they feel their contributions are valued. “Show them the love and help them get to next level and they’ll be infinitely more loyal,” she says.

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on August 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Aug 13, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: August Part II

Last week, Donna Fenn chatted with Ontraport’s CEO, Landon Ray, and COO, Lena Requist, on how they defined their company culture. This week, she speaks with four entrepreneurs on how they continued to grow their company culture, even when they search for new candidates.

 

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

 

Hiring Employees Who Fit Your Culture

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

 

You’ve worked hard to define and articulate your corporate culture to your employees, all of whom are aligned with your mission and values. Congratulations!  However, as your company grows, every new hire presents a risk. Will you stay true to your culture, or be lured away from it by a candidate with dazzling skills who’s, well, a bit of an odd duck? If you’re smart, you’ll default to letting your culture drive your hiring decisions.  Here’s how four successful companies do exactly that:

 

  1. Test their sincerity. Before bringing job candidates into the office, Lena Requist, the COO of software company Ontraport (see last week’s post), conducts Skype video interviews. “I ask them what caught their eye on our website,” she says.  “If they don’t say something about our values or the video on our website about our culture, it’s immediately clear that they’re not interested in our culture.”  And, hence, she is not terribly interested in them.

 

  1. Ask revealing questions. Nick Friedman, co-founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk, says “if a prospective employee or franchise owner has all of the bells and whistles but isn’t a cultural fit then it will be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.”  All candidates are asked a series of questions to determine cultural fit: “On a scale of one to ten, how lucky are you?”  Friedman says that when people rate themselves as very lucky, they are more likely to “be humble, have gratitude and/or optimism, meaning they don’t take credit for their successes, they are thankful for their stake in life, and they have a positive outlook.” And that’s exactly the kind of person who he wants on his team.
  1. Interact with candidates outside the office.  At FundersClub, an online venture capital platform, employees enjoy weekly after-work activities together, such as hiking, bowling and cooking lessons. Co-founder Alex Mittal says that prospective employees are invited along on these outings because “you’re going to spend more time with the team than with your family.” Observing a candidate at play often reveals qualities that can’t be teased out in a traditional interview setting.

  1. Observe work habits. Daniel Cane, the CEO of Modernizing Medicine, an electronic medical records company, asks job candidates to do projects that reflect the kind of work they’d do at the company. For instance, he says, “We’ve had really smart engineers come and do well on a coding project,” says Cane. “Then, during the code review with their potential peers, they’ll exhibit traits like defensiveness or an exceptionally large ego that would be counter-productive to the team.  So they don’t get an offer.”

 

Of course, your evaluation of cultural fit shouldn’t end when employees are hired. Nick Friedman, for instance, conducts employee reviews by grading the staff according to both performance and culture. Those who get high culture ratings remain at the company. But he’ll happily fire good performers who are poor cultural fits. “We’re better off without them,” he says.

 

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on August 13, 2013 at 10:18 am

Aug 12, 2013

Around the World We Go!

Where will your next travel adventure take you? Do you plan to relax on a beach, immerse yourself in the traditions of a new country, or connect to family roots around the world? According to those surveyed in our Global Travel Intentions Study (GTI), Americans are thirsting for culture, connected online and ready to spend 40 percent more on their next international trip. Global travelers, on the other hand, are more cautious, anticipating a spend increase of less than five percent on their next international trip. 

 

 American love for technology extends to planning international travel. According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of Americans rely on online sources for planning travel compared to only 71 percent of international respondents. When it comes to booking, Americans are even more likely to choose machine over man, utilizing online sources about 20 percent more than their global counterparts. Only the youth have put their trust in social media with nearly one in five first time travelers citing social networking sites as crucial to their planning process.

 

For more information, visit the Visa 2013 Tourism Media Kit.

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Posted by: Nick Talwar, Head of North America Credit Products on August 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Aug 6, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: August Part I

We hope you are enjoying our weekly small business series with Donna Fenn. In August, Donna will explore what it takes to create your company culture and the importance of this often overlooked element to growing your business. Her first article explores how and when to define your company culture. Donna talked with Santa Barbara-based entrepreneur, Landon Ray of Ontraport(http://ontraport.com/), on how he defines his company’s core values.

 

~Enjoy!

Janet – @jzablock

@VisaSmallBiz

 

Your Company’s Growth Depends on a Well-Defined Culture

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

 

 

Company culture is one of those things you should think about after your company is well established and has a critical mass of employees, right? Wrong.  Smart CEOs know that it’s best to define your culture before the first employee even walks through the door, since culture informs everything from whom you hire, to the mundane details of how you spend your day.  Without a clearly defined culture, your company can become a rudderless ship.

 

Landon Ray, the CEO and founder of Santa Barbara-based software company, Ontraport, had just three employees when he first started to think about the importance of culture. In the spring of 2009, just a year after launching its flagship product — contact management software for small companies – Ontraport was growing rapidly and was poised to hire several more employees. So Ray brought on COO Lena Requist to help him clearly define and bring to life a distinctive corporate culture. “We didn’t want our values to be aspirational, in the sense that they would describe some future way we hoped we’d eventually be,” says Ray. “We already had a great thing going on with our culture and we wanted to ensure that we kept what was great as we added a bunch of new people.”  Here’s how Ray and Requist went about defining Ontraport’s culture:

 

Talk it out. “We spent two months every Friday afternoon talking about values for three hours,” recalls Requist. “We argued every little word.”  The result was a list of nine core values, which include commitments to continuous learning, authenticity, innovation, high performance, persistence, and fun, among others. Requist notes that while many of the values came directly from Ray, that “we were also noting what was great about our staff.  Everyone rolls up their sleeves and has a can do attitude.”

 

Communicate your values to employees.  Employees knew what Ray and Requist were up to and were eager to contribute.  Among their chief concerns: not losing the current culture as the company grew. After the list of nine values was created, Ray and Requist met with Ontraport’s staff every Tuesday and spent a month discussing each value and how it related to the company.

 

Celebrate the culture.  Lots of companies tout their values, but how do you make sure that your employees are living those values?  At Ontraport, there’s an annual summer soiree party that culminates in an Oscars-like ceremony where nine employees are singled out for Value Awards – one for each of the company’s value. “People give speeches and spouses are crying,” says Requist.  “They get beautiful engraved crystal awards.” Moreover, each of those winners holds the torch for the value that they embody, and they’re charged with communicating that particular value to new classes of employees.

 

 

Currently, Ontraport has 54 employees and 20 open positions. “One of the things we’ve noticed is that hiring around our values became really critical,” says Requist. For more on that topic, see next week’s post!

 

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

 

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on August 6, 2013 at 11:53 am

Aug 5, 2013

Fandango and Rue La La Help #SaveTheCart

Today’s savvy consumer scouts the web to find beloved brands at affordable prices on sites like Rue La La or to book tickets at a highly-anticipated movie using Fandango. And Visa now adds even more convenience to the checkout process on these sites and several more.

Fandango and Rue La La, as well as VEGAS.com, Crutchfield, Modnique, Sonic Electronix, are the latest to join a growing list of top eCommerce merchants that offer a simpler way to pay with V.me by Visa, Visa’s digital wallet service.

V.me eliminates the need to enter billing, shipping and account information. So, when you’re tucked into bed and realize that deal for a new pair of shoes or tickets for the upcoming Planes movie won’t last until morning, there’s no need to scramble for your wallet. With a V.me account, you can check out with a username and password.

According to comScore, the complexity of checkout contributes to an estimated 67% of online shopping carts that are abandoned before a purchase is completed. Don’t abandon your cart. Visa is encouraging everyone to help #Savethecart this summer. Learn more at www.v.me and happy shopping.

 

Click on the images below to view the #Savethecart Infographics

 

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#Fashion Infographic           . #Movie Infographic

 

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Posted by: Sam Shrauger, Digital for Developed Markets, Visa Inc. on August 5, 2013 at 8:08 am

Aug 2, 2013

Are Travellers Addicted to Gadgets?

What gadgets are a traveller’s best friends and what do they use them for? And which country has the most connected travellers?

BBC Fast Track presenter, Carmen Roberts, speaks to Visa’s Ross Jackson on what Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study revealed around the influence of technology on travel – pre, during and post-trip.

 

To find out more about the Study, download a copy of the report here

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Posted by: Jag Mistry, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on August 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm