Facebook unveils $300 Oculus Quest 2, kills Rift

Facebook has unveiled its Oculus Quest 2 standalone wireless virtual reality headset, starting at $300 and with 50% more pixels than the previous version. Meanwhile, Facebook said it won’t make any more PC-based Oculus Rift headsets. It announced all of this at Facebook Connect today.

A 64GB version will cost $300, while a 256GB model will go for $400. The headsets will ship October 13 with two Touch controllers each. The headset is 10% lighter at 1.1 pounds compared to the original Oculus Quest launched in 2018. You don’t need a PC to use the Quest, as the headset has its own processing and built-in sensors for detecting your hands and the environment.

The new headset will be compatible with the Oculus Link, which connects the Quest to a PC to give you more power to run Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift S headsets games. These include the upcoming Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond VR shooter coming from Respawn Entertainment.

But Facebook also announced that it will now end further development on the family of Oculus Rift PC-based headsets, thanks to the Oculus Link. You heard that right. The wireless Quest 2 is the future. There will be no more Rift headsets. The difference is that the Quest is wireless and it has its processing and sensors in the headset. Through a Link cable, it can tap the power of a full PC. The Rift, by contrast, has no processing in the headset and it has to be linked to a PC. The problem is that it isn’t as popular as the wireless Quest.

Full story linked here

Erin Levzow Joins Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. as Vice President Marketing Technology

Erin Lezvow

(RestaurantNews.com) Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. (“Del Taco” or the “Company”), (NASDAQ: TACO), the nation’s second largest Mexican quick service restaurant* (MQSR), today announced that Erin Levzow is appointed to the new position of Vice President Marketing Technology. Levzow brings a wide breadth of experience in marketing, marketing technology, mobile apps and ordering technology, as well as building loyalty and rewards programs, across multiple industries.

“As the technology space becomes more critical for customer engagement every year, we continue to plan and execute against building competitive and innovative systems for our brand,” said Tim Hackbardt, Chief Marketing Officer of Del Taco. “We are pleased to welcome Erin to the Del Taco team to carry forward our marketing technology efforts. I know her experience shaping successful digital, martech and ecommerce strategies will make a tremendous impact on the ways we engage with our guests and differentiate our fresh food, value and convenience offerings.”

In her Vice President role at Del Taco, Levzow will lead the marketing technology team by developing strategic, integrated programs to drive consumer loyalty and increase visit frequency. She is responsible for the Del Taco Mobile App, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) approach, third party delivery partnerships, digital ordering, and will help identify and lead other digital initiatives and emerging technology opportunities.

“Throughout my career, I have enjoyed accelerating a brand’s vision through leveraging marketing technology opportunities,” said Levzow regarding her new role as Del Taco’s Vice President Marketing Technology. “I’m thrilled to join the team and apply my expertise with such an iconic and growing brand like Del Taco.”

Recognized with the prestigious Top 25 Women to Watch in Mobile Marketing Award from Mobile Marketer, Levzow’s more than 15 years of marketing experience crosses casino gaming, hotels, hospitality and restaurants. She has held senior and executive leadership positions leading marketing, digital, social media, loyalty and ecommerce strategies. Her previous roles include working for brands such as MGM Resorts International, Palms Casino Resort, Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Freebirds World Burrito and Wingstop Restaurants.

About Del Taco Restaurants, Inc.

Del Taco (NASDAQ: TACO) offers a unique variety of both Mexican and American favorites such as burritos and fries, prepared fresh in every restaurant’s working kitchen with the value and convenience of a drive-thru. Del Taco’s menu items taste better because they are made with quality ingredients like fresh grilled chicken and carne asada steak, sliced avocado, freshly grated cheddar cheese, slow-cooked beans made from scratch, and creamy Queso Blanco.

The brand’s campaign further communicates Del Taco’s commitment to providing guests with the best quality and value for their money through cooking, chopping, shredding and grilling menu items from scratch. Founded in 1964, today Del Taco serves more than three million guests each week at its approximately 600 restaurants across 15 states. For more information, visit www.deltaco.com.

Leading with Courage

Leading with Courage - Salesforce

By Salesforce

Relationship Design is a creative practice anyone can use to drive business and social value by building strong relationships with customers and community. We believe that there are four mindsets that help us build strong, valued relationships in our work and in our lives: courage, intention, reciprocity, and compassion.

Salesforce’s design teams have done a deep dive into the mindset of courage. Courage pushes us in ways that makes us feel vulnerable but aligns to our values. In practice, this can look like challenging the status quo in service of creating impact, living our values even when it is at odds with desired business outcomes, and being open and vulnerable even when we want to be safe.

Hear our speakers tell their stories about when they had to speak up and live their values at work, even at risk of the potential consequences. Their short vignettes walk us through their situation, their decision, and the outcomes that followed.

Watch the vignettes here.

Follow us on Twitter @SalesforceUX

Join in on the conversation on our Community page.

Congratulations To 2020 Citizen Of The Year, Joe Stapleton

Joe Stapleton

Congratulations to Joe Stapleton for being named the 2020 Citizen of the Year by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Joe received the news in a surprise announcement while he was attending a Chamber Board Zoom meeting, ostensibly to give an update on his work with the Newport Beach Foundation. After concluding his presentation, Chamber President and CEO, Steven Rosansky, informed Joe that he was this year’s recipient of the prestigious honor. The meeting was also attended by a number of past Citizen of the Year recipients and the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors who were there to celebrate him winning this great award.

“It is rare that I am without words, but this means the world to me,” commented Stapleton on the award. “None of us do the work we do because of recognition, we do it because of our love for Newport Beach. I understand the commitment and responsibility that come with this honor, there are so many others who are well deserving of this recognition. The list of those before us, represents individuals who have dedicated their lives to our great City. It will continue to be my goal to inspire the next generation of community leaders. I am truly blessed to call Newport Beach my home.”

In making the presentation, Rosansky noted “Joe is very deserving of this honor. He is a tireless volunteer and has definitely made a difference in the 10 plus years he has been part of the Newport Beach community. Whatever he starts, he finishes and he is always all in!”

Stapleton will be honored formally at the Newport Chamber Honors event to be hosted at a

future date. This event will also recognize the Newport Beach Business Person of the Year.

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce is a business organization of almost 700 members. The Chamber, with its councils, committees, staff and valuable members, works with city officials, local businesses and the community at large to promote the local economy.

About the Award

The Newport Beach Citizen of the Year award is presented to an individual in the community who is respected and admired among friends, neighbors and colleagues for his or her work and dedication in bettering the community.

• The Newport Beach Citizen of the Year Award is presented to that individual who best represents the qualities each of us admire and respect among our friends, neighbors and associates. It’s not given so much for achievement, as it is for helping others achieve.

• It is not given for outstanding single effort, as much as for long term, continuing commitment to the community. It’s not given for position, public or private, as it is for “being there” when there is a service called for.

• It’s for the one who says, “Sure-I’ll help-what do we need to do?” And then follows through-one who says, “Newport Beach is my home, and its future and mine are the same. I will do whatever I can do to make it better.

About Joe Stapleton

Joe’s current and past involvement in the community of Newport Beach is quite extensive. Currently, he serves as a member of the Finance Committee for the City of Newport Beach and is Chairman of the Board of the Newport Beach Foundation. He also serves on more than a dozen boards of directors for community and civic organizations including The Pacific Club, New Majority Orange County, Newport Beach & Company, Literacy Project, Speak Up Newport, OC Cats (University of Arizona Alumni Association), The Pacific Arts Foundation, Corona del Mar Residence Association, Lott Trophy and International Executive Council. He is also on the Executive Board of the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Surprising Benefits of Virtual Team Building

B-State

By Mark Samuel

In the last three decades of facilitating high performance teams, I had never done a virtual training, and if you had asked me if it was possible to build a team with people located remotely in different parts of the city, country, or even world, I would have expressed my doubts.

But external business drivers like the coronavirus pandemic force us to make the impossible possible, and like so many other organizations, B STATE pivoted and made a game-changing paradigm shift, coming out the other side better than before. Not only was virtual team building just as effective as in-person, we actually discovered four surprising benefits to virtually building high performance teams.

1. Intimacy was gained, not lost, by going virtual
One difference of using a virtual format is that when people are sharing, it is all up close. I don’t need to strain to see someone on the other side of the room or worse, looking at the back of their heads sitting around a table in front of each other. In a virtual video environment, you can see facial expressions, engagement, and reactions up close and personal. Participants shared at the end of the program that they felt as close to others as they would in any in-person session.

2. Virtual Team Building is More Efficient and Saves Time
In addition to saving money and time not having to travel, the actual session itself was completed in less time than doing the session in person where I’d have to run from small group to small group to see what they were accomplishing on their flip charts. In a virtual team building session, we used Google Docs and Forms so that we could observe different groups’ progress at the same time and could easily intervene if they were off-track in any way. In addition, people came more prepared, more focused, and more willing to contribute.

3. Participation from all team members was more balanced
Many groups have a mix of participant personalities. In a virtual environment, there was less posturing, greater participation from everyone in attendance, and reluctance from any one member to dominate discussions. There was more of an equal sharing of ideas, inputs, and even challenges to the status quo offered by all participants in attendance.

4. The Team Session has demonstrated Sustainable Success
Even though there was no stated agenda for this team to stay together after the team session, all team members have continued to meet for the last four months to support and connect with one another. Even as everyone’s schedules have gotten busier, the team remains strong and connected.

We have since developed a second team, and the impact was very similar to the first virtual program we did. While people still like the idea of meeting in person, the effectiveness and efficacy of the virtual approach to building a high performing team in which execution improves and business outcomes are achieved in full alignment was accomplished.

In B STATE, we are always shedding our old, outdated mindsets, and the past few months were an opportunity to do just that as we adopted a new approach that is not only more cost effective, time efficient, and healthier for all participating team members, it’s also more effective as a team building approach.

The Emerging Landscape of Virtual Engagement

Virtual Meeting

By Jeff Volpe

In this new-found world of social distancing, organizations are faced with accelerating their planning and investment efforts. Long-term digital transformation and agile workforce roadmaps that were originally
targeted over a five to 10-year window, have now been shrunk to a matter of months.

There are companies that are well prepared to make the leap, having already invested extensively in advanced collaboration tools and cloud-based services. Others are only beginning to recognize the importance of these technology foundations in addressing the needs of an increasingly fluid, remote workforce.

A number of global enterprises have already announced their plans to carry on with a remote or hybrid workforce model for many months – and in some cases years – to come. Google for example has openly stated it will keep workers at home until July 2021, while Facebook plans to shift to a hybrid remote and in-office workforce strategy within the next five to 10 years.

We can expect many more decisions along these lines to come. According to a July 2020 Gartner study, 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely some of the time, while 47% said they intend to allow employees to work remotely full time going forward.

This is a shift that has dramatically affected corporate strategies moving forward. When the pandemic began, there was a mad scramble to deploy and support remote workforce models, with the expectation that things would (hopefully) return to normal within a matter of months – or at least the foreseeable future. Many companies implemented these models on an ad hoc basis at best, with employees working from home using a laptop or tablet for videoconferencing and other loosely integrated collaboration tools.

With the realization that hybrid work strategies represent a longer-term commitment, the focus now is
on empowering worker collaboration and elevating content to a more engaging, interactive and immersive level. This will require a full arsenal of collaboration tools to enable virtual video-based communications, interactivity, and real-time content and delivery.

Replicating the interactive office environment in virtual and remote work settings will be critical for businesses to both optimize productivity and deploy seamless operations, whether dealing with employees, customers or partners. An encouraging note is that many of the foundational elements are already in place in the way of existing IT infrastructures, cloud-based services, and collaboration tools.

The right hardware is also fundamental in supporting team building and driving engagement on a day-to-day basis, from videoconference-based tools for virtual meetings with colleagues, virtual town hall sessions, training or presentations to potential customers or investors.

Achieving a more immersive visual experience will require some strategic hardware investments, such as display technologies that can transform interactions through integrated features such as touch, gesturing and voice activation. Crystal clear resolution, high quality sound and color, and built-in casting are also essential elements in creating a highly professional and engaging experience for participants. For higher stakes sessions, whiteboarding software can elevate real-time collaboration to an even greater level.

With the distributed workforce environment evolving and growing at an unprecedented rate, success will hinge on an organization’s ability to adapt their systems and processes to deliver a seamless, interactive and engaging online experience. Those that have the presence of mind to make the investment now, will be the ones who succeed in navigating the shifting landscape of virtual engagement.

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Jeff Volpe is President, Americas for ViewSonic, a leading global provider of interactive and collaborative display solutions for enterprise, education, and commercial markets. To find out more about ViewSonic, please visit www.viewsonic.com.

How to Give Back from Your Closet During Quarantine

Bree Jacoby

By Bree Jacoby

Maybe you’ve been wondering what you can do while in quarantine to help others. Maybe you’ve been really considering (better put, procrastinating) reorganizing your closet for a couple of years.

And the truth is if you don’t do it now while home 24/7, you’ll probably NEVER, EVER GET TO IT.

I sometimes need moral support as I start to dive into a task I’ve been putting off, so I’m starting with a closet edit. Here’s what’ll happen in the edit:

BREE JACOBY is going to tell me what to get rid of and what to keep.

(Score, I can’t make those sorts of decisions right now).

BREE JACOBY is going to give me tips on how to wear what I already have.

(Yes, I will be shopping inside my own closet exclusively for a bit here).

BREE JACOBY is also going to come up with a style vision for me.

(Wow, me?!?)

What I’m most excited about though is that I’ll end the call with a few bags of clothes to donate. Above finishing something I’ve been meaning to do FOREVER, this is one way that I can give back with what I have right now. It’s one thing that I can do while I’m doing nothing.

Plus, clean closet, clean mind, right?!

Get a complimentary consultation

BREE JACOBY: Styling the Founder of DryBar, Alli Webb

Q&A With Alli

Q: How did your personal style change once you started working with BREE JACOBY?

A: “I’ve always loved fashion and expressing myself through my clothing, but Bree has really helped me hone in on my personal style. Plus, she’s a great sounding board and helps protect me from any potential fashion faux pas!”

Q: How would you describe your personal style?

A: “Edgy, casual, chic… while I do love soft tones and feminine patterns/fabrics, I always find myself going back to the basics: jeans, a tee, and a fun jacket.”

Q: What is the most versatile item in your closet?

A: “My rainbow Mother jeans.”

Q: What is the boldest item in your closet?

A: “My printed Gucci bomber jacket.”

Graduate School and the New World of Virtual Learning: Guidance for Prospective Students

Arman Davtyan is the Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

COVID-19 has upended the world of work, as businesses laid off employees and froze hiring. For many, this period of uncertainty is an impetus for seeking a new direction and acquiring new skills to navigate a drastically different landscape. To that end, the pursuit of graduate or professional education may be a logical option.

While the thought of entering a graduate program may initially seem daunting, prospective students can actually benefit from the new opportunities and pathways that are emerging. Like most industries, higher education is not insulated from the effects of the pandemic, and institutions are recognizing the need to make education more flexible and accessible than ever before. Although certain experiences may have previously been reserved for in-person engagement, COVID-19 has compelled graduate schools to reimagine new possibilities, whether they involve course delivery, team-based projects, global engagement, or professional networking.

For individuals interested in making a professional pivot and are seeking opportunities to expand their skill-set through graduate education, here are some key considerations:

Graduate education is more accessible than ever. Greater accessibility is in large part due to many academic institutions taking a more accommodating stance with current and future students. This may be in the form of granting deadline extensions, waiving certain application requirements, or adapting their program delivery options to the new realities of COVID-19.

Do the homework. Graduate programs can vastly differ in their quality, philosophy, pedagogical orientation, and experience in delivering a virtual educational experience to students. Prospective students should take the time to carefully research the schools they’re considering and familiarize themselves with the “product” that schools are offering. Even in COVID-19 “lockdown” mode, students can take advantage of the burgeoning virtual engagement opportunities to connect with schools and interact with admission representatives, current students, and faculty. The more direct contact with a school, the better informed students will be in determining its fit with their interests.

Understand motivation. While an undergraduate degree is typically seen as a natural progression along one’s educational journey and preparation for the future, the decision to pursue graduate education requires more intentional reasoning and self-examination. Before making the significant investment of time, energy, and resources toward an advanced degree, prospective students should contemplate their objectives and understand their motivations. Admission committees can readily distinguish between candidates who have taken the time to gain clarity and purpose in their pursuit of a graduate program, and those who are casually submitting an application without much forethought or intention.

Convey a personal story. Beyond the standard academic qualifications, graduate programs look for other indicators of a candidate’s potential to succeed. Attributes like leadership, personal drive, problem-solving, and resilience can carry significant weight in the admission process, and prospective students have likely been exhibiting them in spades during these extraordinary times. Consider the application, especially components like the essay and interview, as a strategic vehicle for telling a unique story and highlighting the qualities that will translate to success in graduate school.

Using Leadership Development to Activate Growth with Lawrence Armstrong at Ware Malcomb

September 24, 2020 in Growth Think Tank, Leadership by Gene Hammett

There are many levers to pull to create growth in your company. One essential strategy is using leadership development programs. When you develop influential leaders, you have more connections and drive within the culture. Using leadership development is one of the most profound ways to ensure growth.

Today’s guest is Lawrence Armstrong, Chairman of the Board at Ware Malcomb. This company was ranked #4442 on the 2019 Inc 5000 list. Ware Malcomb is a residential and commercial design company. Lawrence shares how using leadership development has activated growth in their company. Discover the mistakes they made in their journey of using leadership development.

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