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Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What is Clubhouse?

“What is Clubhouse?”

That’s a really good question and I can almost guarantee that most of those reading this article are wondering what ‘Clubhouse’ has to do with business. In the following article, I will explore this current phenomenon and whether it does, in fact, have anything to do with business.

Clubhouse is an invite-only social media app ,first rolled out in America. It is an audio exclusive app that has been compared to a live podcast. Users join clubs and rooms where the content is digest through spoken word and user bios. It is also currently only available on the iPhone. As a result of Clubhouse’s perceived value, some people are purchasing iPhones to gain access to, and experience the app.

It came to Ireland late last year and there was a competitive fight for invites. Americans were selling Clubhouse invites for upwards of $20, and as someone from the UK or Ireland, you had two options. The first option was to just wait patiently for more people to join the app here, beginning the process of organic invites, and simultaneously miss out on the conversations that were being discussed extensively on Twitter and described as ‘life-changing’. The second option was to purchase an invite and be one of the first Irish people on the app, getting to the knowledge hub as soon as possible. I politely decline to answer what camp I fell into. 

By my estimation, it was early-mid January when Clubhouse gifted several invites to those who were already on the app. Before long, the incentive to purchase invites decreased as more and more Irish people gained access to the app. The dynamic of Clubhouse has also very much shifted from social to business in terms of the conversations being started in Ireland.

Now the next thing to address is what Clubhouse has to do with business. Primarily influenced by the American experience, there are a lot of Clubhouse rooms based on business-centric topics. These range from business tycoons advising on how to build million-dollar businesses to media experts telling you how to harness the power of social media to maximise the profits of small business. Users are allowed to join the “stage” and ask questions to those who started. This has been one of the most attractive features of Clubhouse. Just last week, Elon Musk – the owner of Tesla – engaged in a room in Clubhouse, which as you can imagine gathered quite the audience.

People who have engaged actively with a business or through a career-focused lens have boasted that it has truly changed their overall perspective. Those hosting rooms have since discussed being approached for paid speaking engagements, people have been offered investments in their ideas and much more. The way that people view their business strategy has changed and I have been offered paid freelancing opportunities from the platform.

However, it is important to note that one builds their own Clubhouse experience. It depends on how you choose to use this app, whether it is the aspect of a social club that appeals to you or its potential as platform for personal and professional development. You can cater your experience depending on who you choose to follow ranging from career coaches, business experts, leaders in different industries to influencers, friends etc.

Thank you for reading Demi’s Basic Business Questions. If you have any Basic Business Questions that you’d like me to address – email me at dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

ProMotion – ‘Be Healthy, Be Eco-Friendly’

Speaking to co-founders Bidemi Afolabi and Lauren O’Reilly, Trinity Business Review gained exclusive insight into the up-and-coming ProMotion app. ProMotion is an online platform built to connect brands with cyclists. Simply speaking, ProMotion provides the opportunity for a cyclist to be paid to promote brands on their own private bicycles. ProMotion is a COVID born company which aims to get people moving. Their work focuses on incentivising consumers to ride their own bicycles encouraging a healthier, more eco-friendly form of transport.

The Team

ProMotion’s founders are Trinity students, Bidemi Afolabi and Lauren O’Reilly both of whom are final year Pharmacy students. Due to the youth of the business, Lauren and Bidemi share most of the business roles. However, Bidemi focuses on Business Operations and Marketing while Lauren tackles Research and Development and Business Strategy.

Both Bidemi and Lauren have had an inclination towards entrepreneurship since the beginning of their degrees. Their motivation to set up ProMotion came from their passion to promote healthy living through exercise. As participants and winners of Trinity’s LaunchBox programme, they were given a platform and the support required to pursue their idea.

Where They Are Now

Currently, ProMotion is in the product development phase. Since LaunchBox, ProMotion have focused their attention on improving their prototype, building their user base and gaining important connections in the industry.

Once bicycle owners and brands are linked, a promotional attachment for the back wheel of their bikes is sent to the cyclists. The ProMotion app aims to pinpoint the location of cyclists who are using the app in order to verify that they are cycling around with the paid business’s promotion. ProMotion plans to have the app up and running in the next couple of months.

Plans For The Future

ProMotion’s immediate goals are to get as many brands involved as possible, as ultimately the brands will provide their main source of revenue. Both Bidemi and Lauren have a positive outlook on this goal as they have encountered encouraging experiences with brands so far. ProMotion drives a positive message out to the population – “Be Healthy, Be Eco-Friendly”. ProMotion plans to utilise the Trinity network as best as possible, aiming to incorporate Campus Ambassadors and continuing their market research.

In the longer term, ProMotion plans to use Dublin as their testbed, and then expand to other cities in Ireland. Following this, ProMotion’s aim is to enter the UK market as it has a similar structure to Ireland. ProMotion have the advantage of being infrastructure light, which facilitates rapid and inexpensive future growth opportunities.

Get In Touch

Keep up to date with ProMotion’s social media;

https://twitter.com/ProMotionCycle

https://www.instagram.com/accounts/login/?next=/promotioncycle

https://www.linkedin.com/company/promotioncycle

‘Your Network is Your Net Worth’: Trinity Business Alumni

What is the Trinity Business Alumni?

The Trinity Business Alumni (TBA) is an association of Trinity College graduates who are engaged in the business world. The aim of the TBA is to create a forum for Trinity alumni to connect, network, learn and contribute to the development of College, business and our wider society. Since it was founded in 1592, Trinity has educated a community of alumni that spans the globe, and currently has over 140,000 alumni in over 148 countries worldwide. In recent years, the membership base of the TBA has grown to over 6,000 members. The TBA recognises the diversity of thought required to drive successful organisations and for that reason it welcomes members of all academic disciplines, industry sector or career level. The TBA believes that a Trinity education continues beyond the front gates and throughout our graduates’ lives, which is reflected in what they do as an organisation.

The TBA has a number of core values that shape the culture and define the character of the organisation. These core values ultimately guide how the TBA behaves and makes decisions. They are outlined below:

Club For Life
Aiding and enabling members to maintain a connection and sense of identity and pride as a Trinity College Alumnus.

Excellence and Relevance

Providing high calibre events for our members which are pertinent to their interests and business needs.

Inclusive and Accessible
Welcoming all graduates of Trinity, regardless of academic discipline, industry sector or career level.

Strong TCD Heritage

Fostering a continued sense of our collective history in College while contributing to its development as a leading global university.

Mutual Value Creation
Developing a community of professionals who connect for mutual gain through personal development, business opportunities and shared interest.

What are the Benefits of Being a Member of the TBA?

Being a member of the TBA has a number of benefits including:

  • Invitations to exclusive TBA Dinner in Camera events, which have boasted fantastic speakers in the past, such as former professional rugby player Gordon D’Arcy and Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe
  • Invitations to joint TBA and MBA Masterclasses and breakfast briefings with top-class speakers. Events recently have included topics such as “Networking & Career Transition in a Post-Covid World” and “The Future of Start-Ups: the innovation landscape after Covid-19”
  • Opportunities to develop your professional network through events and online platforms
  • Mentoring current Trinity students online and at in person events

The TBA also possesses close ties with the Trinity Business School and supports innovative events such as the Trinity Global Business Forum, not to mention sponsoring the Trinity Business Student of the Year Award. As well as this, the TBA is affiliated with a number of corporate partners that help to bring much needed resources, skills and capabilities to the association.

As aforementioned, the Trinity community of Alumni spans 148 countries across the globe. The TBA is no different, with active member groups in a vast number of international cities, including places such as New York, London and Brussels. Having access to such a diverse range of members and locations is most certainly another benefit of being a member of such a broad and experienced association.

Plans for the Future

The ambition of the TBA is to grow the Trinity Business Alumni in support of the evolution of Trinity College, and to become an ever more relevant network to the wide range of Trinity graduates in business today, as stated by President of the TBA and Managing Director of Investec Corporate Finance Ireland – Liam Booth. Although the ongoing pandemic has put a halt to the in person events of the TBA, the current series of webinars hosted by the TBA have proven popular.

However, the TBA is looking forward to a time in the near future where the option of hosting in person events is once again available. Recently, there has been a focus on increasing the membership of younger Trinity graduates. In today’s world there is no limit to the amount of connections that a person can have, so why not start to expand your network now.

Membership with the Trinity Business Alumni network is automatically given to all graduates from the School of Business. However, the TBA network is not just for Business alumni – it is open to all graduates of Trinity College, from every discipline, who work in the business sphere. If you wish to join the TBA, please go to https://tba.ie/become-a-member-of-the-tba/ and fill in the form, it is free to join and I would highly recommend it.

“Your network is your net worth” – Porter Gale

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What Has Been The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Trinity?

We are back to college, after a whirlwind semester of online exams, “No Detriment” campaigns, and a heavy load of correspondence from the Provost, the library, and everyone in between. Students recognize the impact of COVID 19 and how it has affected student learning at Trinity. However, COVID 19 has had an economic impact on Trinity too and it continues to have one.

Firstly, the Book of Kells. Access to the Book of Kells is free for Trinity students, this may lead us to forget the value of it. According to Trinity’s Chief Operating Officer, the Book of Kells makes Trinity on average €12 million per year. This includes the gift shop and ticket admission. Not only this but there are indirect Trinity beneficiaries to this tourism that the Book of Kells attracts. Every Arts student can attest that there is at least a 2:10 tourist to student ratio on the queue to Perch café. The same is for tourists purchasing lunch at the Buttery. Trinity Tours also operates on campus and a large part of the income from these is given to Trinity.

As well as this, the inevitability of the reduction in international students will have a significant economic impact on Trinity. Currently, international students pay fees of almost €19,000 per year. International students may be discouraged from coming abroad due to fears of contracting the virus through their travels or because of a lack of exposure to the college over the course of the last academic year. Even prospective students may have intended to visit Trinity and get a deeper understanding of the culture on campus, but COVID 19 disrupted this. A point was made by the University Times about the competitiveness of Irish universities, including Trinity being impacted by online learning. They reference the fact that the chair of Science Foundation Ireland argues that online learning is not as strong in Ireland as it is elsewhere. With this continued emphasis on online teaching all around the world, if Trinity is not seen as a world leader from that vantage point, Trinity will lose admission from international students who saw themselves at Trinity due to its world-class teaching, as they are no longer world leaders in that area.

Lastly, the effect on accommodation is another economic impact of COVID 19 on Trinity. Students were instructed last semester before the summer break to vacate student accommodation unless they had to stay on due to the risk of homelessness or for critical research. This measure lost Trinity revenue as residents of Trinity Halls and Trinity campus rooms were given a lump sum to compensate for this. Trinity earns revenue through renting out its accommodation to young people visiting Ireland to learn Irish. For example, students of ATC Language school were due to be housed in Trinity Halls for their summer English-learning program, with Trinity earning income from this venture.

To conclude, not only has COVID 19 had an academic impact on Trinity, it has had an economic impact soon. In the coming months, let us hope that the situation improves.

If you have any basic business questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to send me an email: dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

Übung macht den Meister: How Germany Perfected Quality.

Germany is synonymous with product quality. Ranging from its renowned software companies such as SAP to the automobile powerhouses of BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen, it is not difficult to understand how the “made in Germany” label became the most respected in the world. It is not only fascinating how the country’s industries can produce consistently superior products, but also to consider how a country’s culture, education system and approach to industrial relations blend seamlessly to produce an industrial equilibrium. To believe however, that this was always the case would be wrong. German quality was not always respected as it is now, and there a variety of factors which have simultaneously been of detriment to the country, but also have been of benefit to the nation, igniting the flame of innovation and change.

19th Century Germany: The Setting of a Movement in Motion

The advent of the steam engine launched the British and French empires into industrial superiority within Europe. Germany too benefited from the industrial possibilities allowed through rail, but even with its already established educated workforce and strong work-ethic, the country couldn’t keep up with its neighbours. One factor however led to the country’s eventual position as an economic powerhouse by the turn of the 20th century: copyright law.

Copyright law had been established in Britain since the early 1700’s, whereas the Germans had yet to enact legislation to dissuade potential plagiarizers from taking works to print and distribute in their thousands. This led to a situation where swathes of literature, mainly academic, flooded all corners of Germany, allowing for a population who previously were unable to afford such books to possess small re-printed libraries. The vast amount of readership allowed academics to publish their scientific results to the vast readership, and in doing so disseminate knowledge in an unprecedented way. With on average 14,000 papers being published a year in Germany, a scientific movement was set in motion allowing for the “Gründerzeit” (foundation time). Industrialists such as Alfred Krupp, carrying on the practice of appropriation, conducted espionage on British steel mills before taking his findings back to Germany and establishing his own steel manufacturing plants. This copycat practice coupled with his introduction of sickness insurance and housing for workers in return for their company loyalty propelled Germany into being a true competitor against its international rivals. Even when laws whereby products had to state their origin (e.g. made in label) were introduced in order to highlight the inferior copycat Germany products, the Germans instead focused on utilizing their exceptional production capabilities borne from widespread academic readership and an educated yet cheap labour force to create competitive products at lower prices.

The War Years

By the turn of the century German products of high quality were prevalent across Europe’s economies, until the outbreak of two world wars would once again strip away any German advancements in their industrial reputation. Both conflicts left Germany hurting. By 1945 Germany was a shell of a nation, left scarred by constant bombing and harsh years of war, not to mention that the nation was divided between two opposing forces, making any sense of industrial or economic cohesion impossible. Germany’s reputation was in ruin and this was reflected in its produce, with the brand “made in Germany” becoming associated with that of a loser, yet there remained a phoenix to be born from the ashes of a ruined Germany.

The Miracle on the Rhine

With the war over, a huge number of scientists who previously been working in the war effort were left without an option but to enter their respective fields within the consumer industry. While Germany’s infrastructure was left incapacitated, there remained a hard-educating, workforce eager to pick up the pieces and begin anew.  Sanctions on the Axis forces to engage in military research also allowed for an even greater emphasis to be placed on R & D within civilian economy. Clever economic decision making by then Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his economic minister, Ludwig Erhard utilized this technological expertise and workforce and ignited the flame of the “Wirtschaftswunder” (economic wonder). This homegrown innovation, aided by the Marshall Plan and introduction of a new currency allowed once again for West Germany at least, to flourish. This strength within West Germany’s industrial capabilities helped to raise East Germany’s industrial prowess post re-unification.

Experience in Quality and innovation in Education

While much of Germany’s current economic success can be owed to the decisions made in the wake of WW2, there are also a variety of long-established factors which played a vital role in its success. An emphasis on quality was important in Germany as far back as the 19th century, with the introduction of a “craftsman’s code” by Emperor Wilhelm I. This practice of protecting and supporting craftsmanship is carried on to this day, with heavy regulation imposed on trades within Germany, with a ‘master craftsman’s license’ being mandatory in many fields. The propensity of Germans to meet their own quality criteria is borne from their “dual vocational training system”, whereby young adults can enter a trade-training course that lasts between 2-3 years with a high degree of education within their respective field. Due to the high skill level associated with such training, there is little distinction in the quality between learning a trade and obtaining a degree. This sentiment is echoed in the partition of tertiary education between universities and “Fachhochschüle” (an equivalent of an institute of technology). Understandably more focus is placed on specific fields such as engineering within these Institutes. The lack of educational snobbery allows for equality and a better educated pool entering the workforce.

The Little Guys on the World Stage: Germany’s local heroes

The “Mittelstand” within Germany, referring to the vast amount of small and medium enterprises (SME’s) within Germany also plays a huge role in strengthening company culture and loyalty, allowing for exception quality to be produced by a motivated workforce. 37% of corporate turnover within Germany can be attributed to these SME’s, along with employing over 11 million people. Due to these homely roots and integration with both the local community and economy, the firms of the Mittelstand are naturally more predisposed to care for their workers better than a transnational corporation which lacks a relationship with the areas in which they operate . This results in superior industrial relations and exceptionally good sick and maternity leave allowances (such as receiving 100% of one’s salary for up to 6 weeks while on sick leave).

 This loyalty to their community, coupled with a vast number of firms sharpening their expertise in a specific field leads to a situation where the German economy can provide the world with an array of superior products at better prices than that of the international market.

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