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LinkedIn Is Building A Gig Marketplace, And Other Small Business Tech News

By February 28, 2021March 1st, 2021No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 —LinkedIn is building a gig marketplace.

Professional networking site, LinkedIn has announced plans to launch their own gig marketplace called Marketplace. Similar to Upwork and Fiverr, Marketplace will post freelance projects and work from home jobs while taking 13%-27%. The new platform will primarily focus on jobs such as writing, marketing, and consulting. Microsoft— the parent company of LinkedIn— is also focusing their efforts on creating a digital wallet that will be compatible throughout several of its platforms, including Marketplace. (Source: The Hustle)

Why this is important for your business:

Despite pressures by Washington to force employers to re-classify more independent workers as employees, the “gig” economy continues to expand. That’s why LinkedIn is jumping in. What I like about this is that when clients ask me for consultants or independent workers for projects I generally tell them to search on LinkedIn. Now the platform is making it easier to find these people…and pay them too.

2 — A Dallas fintech startup is taking the awkwardness out of lending to friends and family.

New fintech platform Zirtue hopes to make it less awkward for friends and family to lend and borrow money through utilizing a digital paper trail to help track what is owed. Zirtue’s app—which launched in both iOS and Android in 2020— is the first of its kind that helps simplify family and friend loans through monthly, automatic payments. Through a partnership with MasterCard, the Dallas-based startup also launched a debit card to help those who may not have consistent access to banking. (Source: Dallas Innovates)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a good and useful platform. But I’m still not sure it’ll make Thanksgiving any less awkward.

3 —Google’s new updated tool will help you build a knockout website.

Google just released an updated plugin for their design language, known as Material Design. The new add-on for WordPress will provide users with the opportunity to mirror what users experience in a first-party site while negating the need to worry about coding. The plugin—while currently only accessible to business-level users on WordPress, —will let users customize icons and colors on their site in order to correlate with Google’s Material Design theme, which is well known for its use of shadows, lighting, and layers to add depth. (Source: Creative Bloq)

Why this is important for your business:

“Until now, the Material Design theme was only available for use on Android apps,” writes Georgia Coggan. “But as of right now, those creating webpages will be able to use Google Fonts to add attention-grabbing typography, brighten things up with the perfect color theme, create custom shapes and pick from a range of icon styles, too. There is a choice of three preset themes (which can be tweaked to customize), or users can create custom themes.”

4 — Microsoft will be increasing integration between Teams, Outlook, and Dynamics 365.

Microsoft announced this past week that it plans to ramp up the way Dynamics 365, Outlook, and Teams integrate. According to the company, users can expect improved integrations between Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams such as streamlining how information is exchanged and improving various business processes. Similarly, a collaboration between Dynamics 365 and Teams will allow Dynamics users to utilize calling, meetings, chat and records directly within 365 apps such as Customer Service and Sales. Microsoft also plans to make improvements between Dynamics 365 Marketing and Teams integrations. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

This makes me happy because my company sells and implements these products (full disclosure). Microsoft knows it needs to do more to bring their Office and operational applications together under one interface and to provide more integration of data. But it won’t solve all the problems. A big question I get from my clients is what application to use for what purpose and how to avoid overlap and duplication of effort. Integration is great. But Microsoft will need to do more to reduce complexity.

5—89% of IT pros feel ‘immense pressure’ at work.

A recent survey provided by AppDynamics indicated that IT professionals are dealing with more stress and complex issues on the job than they did prior to the pandemic. The data released showed that 75% of technology professionals shared that IT as a whole has never been as complex as it is now, and 83% said that their own jobs have become more demanding and complicated during that time as well. Participants in the program ranged from financial services, IT, public sector, retail, media, automotive, and manufacturing. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Permit me to generalize, but information technology people tend to be a little more introverted and less communicative then, say, sales or customer service employees. But as a business owner, you can’t ignore their issues. These people are under a lot of pressure, more pressure than you’re probably aware. So what can be done to help them achieve a better work/life balance? The answer – whatever you decide – will benefit them. And your business.

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