‘Welcome and important’: academics on decolonising education

Cyclists and pedestrians move along Trinity Street past St Johns College, part of the University of Cambridge

The debate sparked by a group of undergraduates at the University of Cambridge, on how and whether to “decolonise” British tertiary education by incorporating more black and minority ethnic voices, is spreading rapidly across universities and academic disciplines.

Paul Gilroy, professor of American and English literature at King’s College London, tweeted an image of Batman proclaiming “Decolonising the humanities isn’t just about Oxbridge”, and commented: “The caped crusader speaks for many of us.”

Malachi McIntosh, a Cambridge research fellow and expert on 20th and 21st century Caribbean literature, sees traditional curricula as damaging – and not just to literary understanding.

“Arguably, the narrowness of our curricula – at all levels of education – has fuelled the current political status quo, where a crude understanding of ‘us’ and ‘them’, built on a sepia-tinged nostalgia for a past that never was, is inspiring grand acts of national self-harm,” he says.

“In my eyes, the question is simple. Do we want to educate young people so that they understand the full range of experiences and perspectives that have contributed to world history? If our answer to that is yes, then we, at least in principle, support repeatedly reassessing who is read and studied and questioning what experiences and perspectives are left out. If our answer is no, then, in principle, we support limiting the exposure of the next and subsequent generations to the realities of the world they occupy.”

Emma Smith, professor of Shakespeare studies at the University of Oxford, is shocked at the venom of some of the media coverage of the debate, and links it to other recent attacks on academic freedom. “We are all in defensive mode, I think, as if whatever we say will be wrong, what with ‘Brexit lecturers’ and ‘leftie heads of colleges’ and ‘social apartheid’,” she says.

Smith, who three years ago led an initiative at her college, Hertford, to replace the portraits of long-dead men with newly commissioned photographs of female alumni, welcomes the debate on broadening the syllabus, including in her own discipline – Shakespeare studies is one area that the Cambridge students singled out as meriting a postcolonial approach.

“I think this is exciting and prioritises new ways of seeing the canon, as well as bringing in new writers,” she says. “Decolonising to me is about developing and employing the critical, historical and conceptual tools to see how ‘English’ literature – like other ‘English’ things like tea and St George – is deeply, richly, problematically interconnected with ongoing histories of travel, colonisation, empire and migration.”

Gurminder K Bhambra, professor of postcolonial and decolonial studies at the University of Sussex, is amused – almost – that it took a row at Cambridge to get the issue widely reported in the media. She has created a website, Global Social Theory – now being contributed to by academics, students and people interested in the subject from all over the world – precisely to provide a wider view.

“Some of us have been working in this area for many, many years,” Bhambra says. “However, the debate the students have started is welcome and important, if it helps more people to understand that this is not about narrowing, it is about broadening.”


Why great creative is more important than ever

Every year we all have the opportunity to dive into the creative pool of Cannes Lions, the international festival celebrating creativity in communications, entertainment, design and tech. Like me, most people do it via the festival’s excellent website.

No matter; it’s still an exhilarating splash, and this year’s annual plunge has me convinced that, in the “Engagement Economy,” great creative is more important than ever. Let me explain.

I believe that Apple invented high-tech marketing back in the ’80s. And with Steve Jobs at the helm, it was all about creativity — in messages, design and production. In the early ’90s, I cut my marketing teeth working with Jobs at Next, and then rejoined Apple, where I was manager of consumer advertising.

Over the ensuing years, my faith in great creative to produce something valuable and inspiring has never flagged.

But the marketing game has changed considerably since then, specifically with the advent of online channels and the almost unlimited data that we marketers can now leverage.

In some quarters, this has led to creativity being sidelined, or at least being knocked askew on its pedestal, as the scientific side of marketing has grown in importance.

Bad mistake, because while you need both art and science in marketing, creativity is the killer ingredient that drives marketing effectiveness.

‘Thumb-stopping creativity’

In today’s world of all things digital, the demands on people’s time are more intense than ever. As marketers, we can shout, loudly and often, and hope someone hears us over all the background noise.

Or we can capture people’s attention through truly creative work, and start engaging with them in a meaningful fashion by appealing to their hearts.

It’s a matter of value versus volume. Easy choice, don’t you think?

Cheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, who spoke at Cannes Lions this year, would seem to think so. Here she is, quoted on the festival’s website:

For Sandberg, “Organizations often don’t move quickly enough.” People are spending most of their time on digital — but for creative teams, “usually it’s outdoor, then print, and mobile is often just added in the last 10 minutes.” This is particularly misguided, she explained, since “a natively mobile ad grabs your attention in a couple of seconds. We call it ‘thumb-stopping creativity.’ It communicates the brand very quickly and you measure results, not seconds. Taking advantage of that power is so important.”

What is great creative?

Great creative always starts with strategy. Here’s an area where all that scientific data comes into play as it’s mined for insights into what the customer wants, and what you can provide. Essentially, you need to be relevant to be engaging.

A great example of this is the recent joint campaign of Airbnb and the Art Institute of Chicago, constructed around a meticulous recreation of Van Gogh’s bedroom as portrayed in one of his most famous paintings.

Many Airbnb prospects, myself included, are looking for more than just convenient, cost-effective digs. We also want a unique and immersive experience of place. In a splendid display of relevance, the ad speaks beautifully to this desire, while also building interest in the Art Institute’s special Van Gogh exhibit.

In addition to being relevant, a campaign or ad must be bold and take risks to engage most fully. People like the jolt that comes from boldness, bravery and risk. It’s not a data thing; it’s a chemical thing.

You don’t have to look farther than the “Fearless Girl” campaign, produced by State Street Global Advisors to honor International Women’s Day, that captivated so many people earlier this year (and bugged a few, too) with its boldness.

Appearing one night in the middle of Wall Street, the sculpture of a courageous young girl, arms akimbo, staring down the famous Charging Bull statue, became an instant media and internet sensation.

The ad and story around the statue not only went viral faster than a bull market, but the campaign also has some serious legs as the statue continues to be a much-photographed tourist attraction.

And how well did the combo of relevance and boldness work for State Street Global Advisors? The firm’s SHE Fund, which invests in companies with women executives, experienced a 384 percent increase in average daily trading volume in the first three days following the campaign’s launch. Let’s hear it for Girl Power.

Celebrate great work and its impact

You can find many, if not all, 2017 Cannes Lions award winners on YouTube. Viewing these ads is instructive, inspiring and often just plain fun. But don’t let your commitment to creativity stop here. Act on it, consistently.

In the age of martech, do not abandon creativity. It means more than ever


10 Most Important Things to Know About Using Apple Pay

In 2014, Apple Inc. announced its new mobile payment and digital wallet service, Apple Pay. It allows users to make payments through mobile devices at contactless points of sale and in iOS apps.

Through a near field communication (NFC) antenna, a chip storing encrypted payment information, and Apple’s Touch ID and Wallet, Apple devices are able to communicate wirelessly with point of sale systems, and payments are made.

This highly secure payment service is spreading fast. You may be considering using it, or wondering how it really works. Below are the most important things you need to know about using Apple Pay.

Things to Know About Using Apple Pay

1. Apple Pay is Currently Only Available in Select Countries

Apple Pay is currently only available in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom in some retail stores and in apps. Also, for Canada and Australia, the service is only available for American Express users. This means it is available only in stores that accept American Express and have NFC-enabled point of sale terminals.

2. Apple Pay Only Works on Certain Apple Devices

Apple Pay does not work on all devices. There are certain devices that are compatible with the Apple Pay service, as well as iOS versions. For you to use the payment service, you must be aware of these technical limitations.

Firstly, it works only on devices with iOS version 8.1 and later. Apple Pay requires a near field communication radio antennae, which only iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus come equipped with. So they are the only phones that can be used for in-store purchases, except through another device. On the other hand, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4, iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus can all be used for in-app purchases. Apple Watch can be used for both in-store and in-app purchases, and only through Apple Watch can iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S be used for in-store purchases.

3. You May Use Apple Pay with your Apple Watch

Apple Pay works on Apple Watch. But before you can use it, you will have to set it up. You need an Apple Watch paired with an iPhone (iPhone 5 or later). Afterwards, you need to add your cards to your Apple Watch through the Watch app on your iPhone.

Follow these steps to complete the process:

  • Open the Watch app
  • Tap the My Watch tab
  • Scroll down and tap Wallet & Apple Pay
  • Tap Add next to the card you wish to add
  • Enter the card security code when asked
  • Tap Next

Remember that your bank will have to support Apple Pay. If they do, your information will be verified, and you will receive a notification when this is done to let you know your Apple Watch is ready to start using Apple Pay.

Through Apple Watch, iPhones that are not compatible with Apple Pay because of the absence of near field communication feature, like iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S can use Apple Pay.

4. You May Use Apple Pay for In-store and In-app Purchases

As explained above, Apple Pay works in iOS apps and also in-store. For it to work in an app, Apple Pay must have been enabled for that app. To use Apple Pay in an iOS app on your Apple device, you have to choose to pay with Apple Pay on checkout. When you do this, your payment details are filled in automatically and payment is authorized by using your Touch ID.

When making an in-store payment, Apple Pay works in a similar way with contactless cards. First of all, the store must have contactless payment enables point of sale terminals. With your near field communication enabled iPhone, all you need to do is authenticate it using the Touch ID security feature, and hold out the phone to the point of sale system. To pay with Apple Watch, you double click a side button on the device.

The near field communication technology allows you to hold out your device to the terminal within a range of 4cm (2 in) or less to allow them to communicate with each other.

5. Apple Pay Requires Near-field Communication (NFC)/Contactless-enabled Payment Terminals

For in-store purchases, Apple Pay requires a contactless/near field communication enabled point of sale terminal. Only stores with point of sale NFC terminals are capable of accepting Apple Pay. Before leaving your credit card at home when going shopping, you should find out if the terminal at the store works with contactless payments. The retailer should place a contactless payment symbol and/or the Apple Pay mark at the terminal to show that customers who wish to use the service can do so. If there is no symbol to indicate, ask the retailer.

6. Touch ID is Required to be Able to Use Apple Pay

Touch ID is a biometric fingerprint security feature introduced by Apple for its devices. It allows users to lock their iPhones or authorize purchases using their fingerprints. With the Home button, a picture of the fingerprint can be taken for setting up Touch ID, and also for authentication each time, either to unlock the phone or authorize payment.

To activate Touch ID, you need to have a passcode for your device. Afterwards, follow these steps:

  • Tap ‘Settings’ from the Home screen
  • Tap ‘Touch ID & Passcode’
  • Enter your passcode.
  • Tap ‘Add a Fingerprint’
  • Keep your finger on the Home button, but without pressing it; and leave it until you feel a vibration or you’re asked to lift it.

Now, after setting up Touch ID, you are ready to use it to authorize payments via Apple Pay. You can do this in a store using your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus or later. And within apps you can use the phones or an iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 or later.

7. You May Link Your iTunes Payment with Apple Pay

Apple allows you to set up Apple Pay easily by linking it to your existing iTunes credit or debit card. However, before you can do this, your bank must still support Apple Pay.

This is how you can link Apple Pay with your iTunes credit or debit card:

  • Firstly, your device has to be compatible with Apple Pay
  • Launch the Passbook app
  • From the top of the screen drag down
  • Tap on the plus sign that shows
  • Tap on ‘Set Up Apple Pay’
  • You’ll be prompted to log in to your iCloud account
  • Tap on ‘Use Card on File with iTunes’
  • Verify the 3-digit security code on the back of your credit card
  • Accept the terms and conditions

A notification will let you know when your card is ready to use.

8. Your Credit Card Numbers are Not Shared with Merchants When You Use Apple Pay

One of the biggest and perhaps most common problems Apple Pay solves is in securing your card from certain card frauds since it doubles the security for your credit card information. When you swipe your card or enter the card details in a site/app, it is possible for the card numbers to be stolen. This risk is eliminated when using Apple Pay.

Apple Pay works as an identity verification system. It allows you to authorize payments without revealing either your name or card numbers. When using Apple Pay, Apple does not store your actual credit or debit card numbers. Rather, it stores a unique Device Account Number on a secure chip on the device. The details of your card are concealed from retailers and even Apple itself. Also, for each transaction a user performs, the device generates a new ‘dynamic security code’.

9. You Can Wipe Your Card Remotely from a Stolen Phone

If you lose your phone or it is stolen, Apple allows you to remotely remove your cards or erase the phone from Apple’s website, iCloud.com. To do this, sign in, click Settings, choose your device, and remove your cards in the Apple Pay section. Another way is to call your bank to suspend or remove your cards from Apple Pay.

10. Purchase Returns Are Simply Processed with Apple Pay

Processing returns with Apple Pay works just like with traditional credit or debit cards. To do this, the Device Account Number would be used to find the purchase and the return can be processed. You can also hold your device near the reader, select the card you used for the original payment, and authorize the return with your Touch ID or passcode on an iPhone, or by double-clicking the side button on an Apple Watch.

Image: Small Business Trends via Apple


Surviving Entrepreneurship With 8 Important Tech Skills

computer works

There’s no denying, entrepreneurs — or those aspiring to be — must retain as much knowledge as they possibly can and they must also continue to grow it. That’s because, in order to be successful in any market, you’ll need to hone your skills, knowledge and be vigilant in your work.

That’s why, in addition to knowing your business, employees and various strategies for success, you must also know how to use all the tools at your disposal. These days, those tools are mostly composed of modern tech and software.

You don’t have to be a techie at heart to be a successful entrepreneur, but there are several forms of technology that you will need to understand — and know how to use appropriately — to stay afloat. This rule can also apply to many job-seekers and business professionals looking to enter a high-profile market. At the very least, adding these particular skills to your resume will improve your personal branding, making it more likely you’ll land a position.

Without these skills, you might not fail, but you certainly won’t rise above your peers and that’s important. To make an impact for your business or brand, you’ll need to know a lot more — and have a lot more tools at your disposal — than just the field you’re entering. Simple skills like Web design techniques, working with social media and communication tools, and even marketing will greatly affect your success.

Ultimately, you’ll need to know a lot more than what’s listed here, but these are some of the most important tech skills required if you want to reach the top of your field.

1. Social Media

Social media isn’t just for personal use, it’s a remarkably effective communication and marketing platform for businesses too. If you don’t have a business, it’s also a great place to improve your personal branding. You can always hire a team to handle this process, but successful entrepreneurs always knows how to do the work themselves.

It’s not just about using the big networks like Facebook and Twitter, either. You’ll also need to know how to make a splash on new networks and how to market across all of them — even some smaller ones that might crop up later. Understanding how to communicate with your audience and manage customer support is just as important. The social media space is always evolving and changing and you need to be ready for it.

It’s a bonus if you have experience or know your way around social media tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, too.

This is one of the first skills you should focus on if you don’t already have experience.

2. Know How to Wireframe

Knowing how to wireframe a page is more technical in nature than it is technology-based, but it’s still just as important. Once you know how to complete a wireframe, you’ll have a better understanding for how Web pages, apps, software and various projects are designed. At first, you may wonder why this is important, especially since you’ll likely have a development, tech or product team to handle this.

It’s because, once again, knowing how to do the work yourself means you can communicate more effectively and more openly. In addition, if and when you run into problems, understanding the process will allow you to better visualize a solution.

Since this is a particular skill you’ll want to know before starting up a business, some great resources to look at are Digital Telepathy and Wireframe Showcase.

3. Working with the Cloud

Local storage has taken a backseat lately, and now everything is being stored in the cloud. Cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Salesforce and many others are ideal for sharing large files and hosting community-based file systems. This is especially important if you’re working on an app, piece of software or similar tech-related platform.

A solid understanding of the cloud — including what it is and how to use it — will make you a more efficient collaborator, improving your competitive skill set.

4. Basic HTML and CSS Coding

HTML and CSS are integral to website design and administration. In fact, HTML is one of the most widely used languages in Web development. At the least, you should have a basic understanding of these core technologies so that you can better understand websites and the Internet as a whole.

From the onset, it’s tough to pinpoint times where you would absolutely need this skill; but when you’re in the thick of it, HTML and CSS knowledge will definitely come in handy. Consider the times when you’ll need to generate a Web page for your business, or your professional portfolio, and when you’ll have to customize said portal. You can hire a Web developer to handle the heavy loads, but you’ll still need to understand the basics to shape the website to your liking.

Plus, it will help you better understand and communicate with your team of Web developers when the time comes.

5. SEO Marketing

SEO — or search engine optimization — is not as impactful as it once was. That doesn’t mean it’s any less important in the world of marketing. You simply cannot hope to survive if you don’t understand the basics of SEO, and how to use it to your advantage. It’s still a considerable factor in the visibility of a website, and it’s especially important for small to medium businesses.

A small company like United Yacht Sales — which has done an excellent job with its website SEO — can hope to remain visible in search results much longer. This in turn drives more traffic to its website, bringing in more potential business and ultimately resulting in higher profits. Naturally, you can see why this is an important skill for budding entrepreneurs.

6. Online Accounting and Bookkeeping

In the long term, you may have a team or group who handles the accounting and bookkeeping for your business. In the meantime, it would be beneficial if you understood the process and could complete it yourself. Since managing your books and finances is largely software and online-based these days, that’s where you’d need to focus your attention.

There is a long list of accounting software you can use to aid with this task, but you’ll still need to understand the software package you choose and that includes knowing your way around it.

7. Graphic Design and Image Editing

At some point, you may need to dive in and help design or edit various images on your website. In other cases, you may need to assist in creating solid advertisements, fliers or promotional materials for your brand. Whatever the case may be, understanding the fundamentals of graphic design and knowing how to edit and manipulate images is a crucial skill in today’s market.

Knowing how to use design software like Adobe Photoshop or Canva will greatly increase your skillset and make you a more valuable asset. Expect this to be one of the personal branding skills that modern companies and marketing firms look for.

8. Email Marketing and Communication

As an entrepreneur, you have to be a go-getter. It’s not enough to leave outreach and communication solely up to your customer support and sales teams. In fact, for your business or brand to succeed, you’ll need to invest time marketing and communicating via email too.

There’s more to it than just sending out blanket emails, of course. Understanding when, how and who to email are all parts of the equation. However, once you grasp the core ideas behind email marketing and can confidently reach out to potential clients yourself, you are well on your way to success.

Working at Computer Photo via Shutterstock

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