Ask Yourself These 4 Questions Before Quitting Your Day Job

According to CB Insights, which conducted a post-mortem study of 287 failed companies, 70 percent of tech startups fail. Of the businesses studied, 42 percent named a lack of product-market fit as the reason for their failure.

Too many founders and would-be founders believe their big idea will change the world. What they fail to realize is that a great idea rarely makes a company successful. Practical factors such as measured audience interest, dependable cash flow, and a talented team are far more important than big dreams.

Before you quit your day job, ask yourself these questions to decide whether you’re ready to turn your big idea into a sustainable business.

1. “Am I ready to take responsibility for everything?”

When you start a company, you don’t become the king of the world. You become the chief strategist, product designer, salesperson, marketer, and custodian. Even if you start out with a team of others, you are responsible for far more as a founder than you would ever be as an employee.

Eric Rozenberg, an expert entrepreneur and founder of Event Business Formula, a coaching and consulting firm for companies in the event business, has seen many new founders struggle to adapt to their expanded roles.

“They get so fired up about certain parts of the business, they forget about how much time the less exciting parts demand,” he says. “Even if you aren’t a bookkeeper by nature when you become an entrepreneur, you either need to learn enough to get by or work with someone who knows what you don’t.”

2. “Who is my audience?”

Before you declare that your business will target Millennials, consider that there are more than 70 million Millennials in the U.S. alone. For your new company to succeed, you need to know exactly who will buy your product or services.

Get as specific as possible about your target niche, then start some conversations. Go to places online where your prospects hang out. If you want to sell woodworking tools, for instance, check out woodworking website forums and social media pages dedicated to woodworking enthusiasts. Talk to people about what you want to offer and gauge their reactions.

If your target audience pushes back hard, don’t be stubborn. Listen to the feedback and think about whether you can use that information to improve your offering.

3. “How will I respond to adversity?”

No entrepreneur has ever started a successful company without overcoming a few major obstacles. Whether your cash flow dries up, your partner quits, or part of your product does not work like it should, something will go wrong. When that happens, be ready to meet the challenge.

Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist Media Group, says founders should move quickly to stop small problems from growing larger. “My approach is always to admit as early as possible that the approach is failing and work to resolve the situation without letting it drag on,” he says. “I think the best companies are those that can recognize when something isn’t going right and fix it instead of just turning a blind eye because it’s easier.”

4. “Why do I want to be an entrepreneur?”

Some people start companies because they can’t imagine working for anyone else. Others set out on their own because they are committed to a specific vision. Whatever your reason, be sure that you are fully committed — you’ll need conviction to keep your company on track.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on,” said Steve Jobs. “But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.”

Your company will not succeed if you cannot commit to the pursuit of your goal. Before you quit your job and declare your startup open for business, take some time to make sure that you know what you want to do. You can pivot your company if it makes sense in the future, but it’s easier to get it right the first time.

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Nintendo Switch is Now America’s Fastest-Selling Gaming Console

Nintendo has sold 8.7 million Switch consoles since its launch 21 months ago, making it the fastest-selling video game systems in the U.S. during that time, according to data from the NPD Group.

While there are more Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox consoles currently on the market, the Switch has outpaced “all other current-generation systems” since its debut in March 2017, NPD reported.

The enthusiasm for the Switch is much different than what Nintendo experienced with the Wii U, which ultimately didn’t sell as well as expected. In fact, Nintendo says that sales are so different, 2018 has been its best year since 2011.

For Nintendo, the Switch’s success has also extended to its games as well. The company said it sold 3 million copies of Super Smash Bros Ultimate during its first 11 days on the market, making it currently the fastest-selling Switch game.

Evergreen Nintendo Switch titles have also seen good sales: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe selling over 4 million and 5 million units, respectively. And, Super Mario Odyssey has sold over 4.7 million units.

Nintendo’s eShop sales have also seen a huge bump this year. They’ve grown 105% over 2017.

Naturally, Nintendo plans to jump on the momentum and is expected to launch an updated version of the Switch next year.

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Oracle sees strong third quarter on cloud strength, share rise

(Reuters) – Oracle Corp on Monday forecast current-quarter profit above estimates after growth in its cloud services and license support unit helped the business software maker surpass Wall Street expectations for the second quarter.

FILE PHOTO: People gather prior to the start of a keynote speech at the All Things Oracle OpenWorld Summit in San Francisco, California September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Jana Asenbrennerova/File Photo

Shares rose 5 percent, with the company saying that excluding fluctuations in exchange rates, it expected third-quarter adjusted profit to be between 86 cents and 88 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting 84 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue at its cloud services and license support unit, its biggest, rose 2.7 percent to $6.64 billion and beat analysts’ estimate, as more companies shifted to cloud computing from the traditional on-premise database model to cut costs.

Oracle’s in June created a new revenue reporting structure that merged its cloud and software license businesses, which analysts have said gives little insight into the standalone performance of its cloud unit.

Oracle is a late entrant to the rapidly growing cloud-based software business, but has aggressively stepped up its efforts to catch up with rivals such as Workday Inc, Microsoft Corp and Salesforce.com Inc.

“Oracle’s growth in cloud services and license support of just 3 percent appears to be contradicting the strength in the overall cloud market,” said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager of Synovus Trust Co, which hold 152,500 shares in the company.

Last month, Workday reported a 35 percent jump in cloud subscription revenue, while Salesforce’s flagship product Sales Cloud grew 11 percent.

“Oracle is still dragging behind other old line enterprise software players like Microsoft in its transition to becoming a top cloud company,” said Morgan, whose firm also hold shares in Salesforce and Microsoft Corp.

The company’s net income rose to $2.33 billion, or 61 cents per share, in the second quarter ended Nov. 30. Excluding items, the company earned 80 cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 78 cents.

Total revenue fell marginally to $9.56 billion, but brushed past analyst expectation of $9.52 billion.

Shares of the company were up at $48 in after-market trading.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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The Future of Drones Might Involve Bees

You’ve probably heard the phrase “save the bees.” Well, the bees may be saving the drones—sort of.

On Tuesday, engineers at University of Washington announced that they have designed wireless platforms to be worn by bees, in an effort to solve the issue of poor battery life on smaller drones.

Although drones have become a symbol of future technology, the limited battery life on small drones has been a constant issue. The bumblebee, nature’s flying pollinator, can stay in the air a lot longer.

The researchers, Vikram Iyer, Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, Anran Wang, Sawyer B. Fuller, and Shyamnath Gollakota call their invention Living IoT—a flying wireless platform with sensors and trackers that rides live insects. Previously, the team had worked on another insect flight platform dubbed the RoboFly.

The sensor package is a small rechargeable battery that lasts up to seven hours of flight and is light on the insect, weighing 102 mg or around the weight of seven grains of uncooked rice.

“We decided to use bumblebees because they’re large enough to carry a tiny battery that can power our system,” said Iyer, a doctoral student in the UW Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in an interview with NBC News.

Gollakota said not only can the bees fly around for hour at a time, they can also sense what’s around them unlike drones.

“With a drone, you’re just flying around randomly,” he said to NBC News, “while a bee is going to be drawn to specific things, like the plants it prefers to pollinate. And on top of learning about the environment, you can also learn a lot about how the bees behave.”

Following multiple trials, the engineers track the bees through antennas and broadcast signals. And it does help that bees are always close to their hive. The bee collects data throughout its daily flight and as it returns to the hive, the battery recharges and researchers are sent the data.

The researchers think their design could also help understand the reason behind the decline in the bee population. The population of bees is rapidly decreasing, which has led to fears that without them, our food industry could be in danger.

“With the sensors, now we can understand bees’ behavior in the wild,” said Gollakota. “We can potentially understand why these bees are going extinct. Now we have a bird’s-eye view of what the bee is feeling or sensing.”

The UW engineers promise the tiny creatures are safe with their new fashionable tech. “The whole process is very simple. All we are doing is just putting on a tiny backpack, and it is very easy for these bees to carry. They go and fly around and are completely fine.”

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