INK Games is Shifting the Gaming Industry

INK Games is shifting the $150B+ gaming industry, forever, by challenging the structure of the current model of the economy. We are rewarding players for their social connections and viral influence by allowing them to participate in the revenues of the game (i.e., in-game upgrades, subscription fees, micro-transactions, battle passes, etc.). Most recently, we have built a functional prototype for a groundbreaking new kind of mobile game. Though still in development, we are exploring exciting new possibilities with a core concept that’s unprecedented in gaming and will be adopted across countless game titles.

Our goal is to permanently shift the $150B+ space by cutting the player in on the revenue. As our team and company grow, we are bringing on industry pros with crucial skills and insights. We are very excited to scale up the size of our project and match the momentum we’ve gained. Our team is uniquely equipped to address the demands of consumers, developers and streamers. Even though we are still in pre-alpha, our players have already been paid out over $300k in total. This is only the first step in our vision, but it is important to us at INK Games to stay true to our core vision early; paying players for their viral presence, and letting them participate in the platform’s revenue.

Our Work Remains Unconditional

The protracted impact of COVID-19 and its accompanying economic and social-emotional stressors has made 2020 a year unlike any other for children and families, particularly those already facing barriers to success and wellbeing. Seneca Family of Agencies continues our work to support families to heal and thrive, no matter how challenging the circumstances.

We are all in this together. No timeline is known for when we may safely return to our traditional face-to-face service delivery, for when children may return to their classrooms for in-person learning, for when we can gather together as a community. In the meantime, Seneca’s mission remains steadfast and more critical than ever: to support children and families through the most difficult times of their lives. We could never have the impact that we do – reaching thousands of families each year with responsive family permanency, mental health, and academic supports – without the collaborative effort of our partners: other service providers, county, corporate, foundation, and donor partners alike.

Seneca’s upcoming Forever Families Gala on November 7th honors one such steadfast partner: Erin Anderson (Lastinger). Erin has emerged as a visionary philanthropist, working tirelessly to advance better outcomes for thousands of children in Orange County. As a prominent leader on Seneca’s Advisory Board for over twenty years, Erin’s values and spirit align deeply with Seneca’s Unconditional Care model. We are thrilled to honor Erin in this way.

The online Gala will also celebrate Seneca’s foster care and adoption permanency work in Southern California, which depends in large part on providing critical mental health supports to families throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The national average of adoptions remaining permanent is roughly 75%, which means that a staggering 25% of children are returned to foster care due to a failed adoption. In Orange County, Seneca’s programs work to build and sustain families for the children who need them, and to prevent disruption at all costs. With Seneca’s commitment to Unconditional Care – doing whatever it takes to support the success of kids and families – 100% of our adoptions in Orange County remain permanent!

The work of building and sustaining families for the children who need them is particularly urgent in this moment. Proceeds from the Gala will directly support Seneca’s programs working to ensure children who have experienced trauma are raised in loving and stable homes.

To learn more about the Forever Families Gala please visit, www.senecafoa.org/gala.

To learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Carly Santos at Carly_Santos@senecacenter.org or 714-308-4578.

DailyPay Celebrates Payroll Heroes During National Payroll Week

Each year, the American Payroll Association (APA) celebrates National Payroll Week (NPW) – a week dedicated to honoring American employees and the everyday Payroll heroes who ensure they are paid every payday. NPW is held annually during the week of Labor Day, so this year, the APA recognized Payroll professionals during the week of September 7-11.

Once again, DailyPay participated as a proud Platinum Sponsor of NPW to recognize, celebrate and congratulate all of the dedicated payroll professionals for all they do, each and every day, to ensure the best payroll experience for their employees.

During NPW last year, DailyPay launched our very first quest to identify true Payroll Trailblazers and to recognize them with our highly coveted Payroll Trailblazer Award. We believe that Payroll professionals never truly get the credit they deserve for the vital role they play in every organization. DailyPay decided to make this an annual event to pay homage to these unsung heroes with the opportunity to be considered for the Payroll Trailblazer Award.

What is a Payroll Trailblazer you ask?

Payroll Trailblazer (n.)
pay·roll trail·blaz·er | definition

An individual in the payroll industry who demonstrates leadership qualities by constantly innovating and implementing new systems, coaching others, recognizing diversity and driving business value from the payroll department.

We accepted nominations for this award through September 18th and the recipients of the Payroll Trailblazer Award will be announced and recognized during the American Payroll Association’s Payroll Benchmarking Trends: An Online Forum on September 30th, a virtual event that is open for all to attend.

Winners will also be featured in an upcoming DailyPay publicity campaign, and they will receive a DailyPay Limited Edition Award and a special badge to include on their LinkedIn profiles. Finalists also will receive special recognition from DailyPay.

As you can see, we spend a lot of time with payroll people and, because we appreciate all their efforts on a daily basis, we listen to their challenges and feedback and try to help to address them. That’s why DailyPay launched a new product, CYCLE, this year as part of our pay experience platform, PayExTM. CYCLE is designed to reduce the amount of time and money that Payroll professionals spend on processing off-cycle payments to employees. It takes the hassle out of making off-cycle payments by allowing Payroll professionals to disburse payments, instantly and digitally when they need to, to any account or pay card, saving them time and the cost of paper checks and shipping fees.

DailyPay is proud to celebrate our unsung Payroll heroes during National Payroll Week each year and to continue to offer products that make their lives easier.

Automobile Club of Southern California Announces new feature, Roadside Assistance ChatBot

AAA So Cal

Imagine your vehicle has a flat tire, dead battery, or needs a tow … and you could order a tow truck in as little as 35 seconds with just your smartphone. The eBusiness Innovation Team at the Automobile Club of Southern California, part of AAA, built a Roadside Assistance ChatBot that does just that, helping AAA members order faster service.

The ChatBot was the brainchild of Erik Robinson, vice president of eBusiness and an avid technophile. “Roadside Assistance seemed like a natural fit for our first chatbot since the number of request types is limited and members were complaining about long phone hold times,” Robinson said.

The Auto Club’s CEO gave direction that requesting Roadside Assistance via ChatBot should be akin to ordering a Lyft or Uber – a few simple steps.

With that in mind, the 4-person Innovation Team set off to build the ChatBot with a diverse skill set in software engineering, product management, quality assurance, and user experience and user interface design. Since the team is small, they leveraged existing artificial intelligence tools from vendors AAA has existing relationships with. They trained the natural-language understanding and machine learning tools to help ChatBot understand the same request asked in multiple ways.

Incorporating the Roadside Assistance map proved to be the biggest challenge, especially when users were on a highway with no specific address. It took many iterations, but the ChatBot now has a popular “Find Me” button, relying on geo-locations.

Since AAA users are a diverse user group, the ChatBot offers a menu of service options that can be tapped (ideal for mobile devices), or users can type in their request (ideal for desktop or laptop users).

The ChatBot launched as a pilot in St. Louis in the summer of 2019. The first assist was a flat tire request on historic Route 66. From there, the team read each transcript line by line to better understand how users engaged added features such as an additional way to authenticate AAA membership, an improved map, and lockout services. “It was a true iterative process,” said Laurie Sadow, head of User Experience for eBusiness.

Earlier this summer, the ChatBot expanded from AAA’s website to its mobile app and was recently added to the Roadside Assistance interactive voice response system, helping grow volumes dramatically.

The ChatBot, which offers tow, battery, flat tire, lockout, and fuel service, helped its 100,000th member order service this past week!

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with members expressing delight and surprise at how fast and easy it is to order service; some have ordered service in as little as 35 seconds. On average, it takes less than 4 minutes. A few members even said it was the best chatbot experience they’ve ever had.

Up next, in addition to reading feedback and analyzing transcripts to improve existing user experiences, the team is working on accepting payments, which will take ChatBot from simply a cost savings tool to a money maker. “Then we can really showcase the ChatBot’s value and it will be easier to expand to additional parts of the business,” Robinson said.

COVID 19 Exposes US Microelectronics Vulnerability

microchip

By John Costello, Microsemi

With the COVID -19 Pandemic wreaking havoc on the US, a major issues to emerge outside the actual pandemic is dependence on foreign sources in US supply chain, not only for pharmaceutical raw materials, but also critical microelectronics for DOD and DHS infrastructure applications. Bureaucrats were asleep, virtually every trade study and industrial based report conducted over the last decade concluded we were too dependent on Asia.

Microchip/Microsemi is the largest US supplier of mil & space qualified components in existence with roughly a 30% market share of DOD applications, we understand this issue more than anyone, including the pentagon. Over the last five years I have briefed congressman, senators, senior members of House & Senate Armed Services and senior pentagon officials about these vulnerabilities. What I have observed is elected lawmakers have a reasonable understanding of the issue, bureaucrats at DOD do not. They have yet to implement an executable plan after being consistently prompted by congress for years.

Unfortunately, bureaucrats are unable to understand the difference between state- of- the -art microelectronics (SOTA) and state of the practice/legacy microelectronics and why these two can never align. Product lifecycles and economic realities of commercially driven markets clash with the tedious and cumbersome aerospace & defense process.

The vast majority of devices on mil/space programs use Mission Critical Devices (mostly state of the practice, proven, reliable and vigorously tested) not SOTA. In the commercial world, hand- held electronic devices are upgraded in a 12-18- month period to accommodate new product releases. In the mil/space world, By the time a part is designed on a board, qualified on a subsystem, makes its way into a system, a prototype is built, congressional funding is achieved for a first article, proceeded by low volume production, whatever SOTA parts designed -in on the system are a minimum of two generations behind and many already obsolete.

Back in the 1980’s, when electronic gadgets did not exist, the DOD drove demand for microelectronic content, so semiconductor manufacturers catered to defense contractors. These applications were, and continue to be, low volume propositions compared to the tens of millions on the commercial side. Semiconductor manufactures by the dozens abandoned the low volume mil/space market to pursue high volume commercially driven consumer applications. Result, it was more cost effective to sub- contract the manufacturing overseas, mainly in Taiwan and China. In light of the trade war with China, along with Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and Hong Kong, critical microelectronics utilized in weapons and space programs are now seen as vulnerable due to the actions and statements made by the Chinese Communist Party in the early stages of the pandemic.

This is a major reason why US policy must create an environment incentivizing private investment for manufacturing of SOTA, as well as state of the practice semiconductors onshore. The 2021 Defense Bill included the bipartisan American Foundries Act which is the first step in this effort.

Tompkins International Releases Free Digital Resources to Help Companies Combat COVID-19

covid 19 resources

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact companies and consumers alike. Not only are companies struggling to fulfill higher order volumes, they are also scrambling to accommodate customers in new ways such as additional delivery and pickup options, all while protecting the health and safety of their employees and customers.

To help companies overcome operational challenges and meet customer needs during the pandemic, Tompkins International has launched a digital hub of COVID-19 Resources featuring educational and thought leadership content from its executives. The content focuses on the impacts of COVID-19, successful supply chain reinvention strategies and other related topics to help companies flourish in an increasingly digital world. Users can access the online hub via the company’s website.

In addition to the digital resources, Tompkins International is also helping companies optimize operations while protecting their people with its new virtual warehouse assessments. When on-site visits are not an option, Tompkins International’s consultants can utilize video cameras, software and other tools and tactics to remotely collect the data needed to help companies increase capacity and efficiency without sacrificing safety.

Founded in 1975, Tompkins International is a global supply chain consulting and solutions firm dedicated to helping clients achieve supply chain excellence and profitable growth. By combining its decades of experience with best-in-breed services and technologies, Tompkins International delivers a true end-to-end supply chain solution, enabling clients to improve the customer experience and ensure long-term success. To learn more about Tompkins International, please visit www.tompkinsinc.com.

TikTok Arrives Stateside in a Gensler-Designed Los Angeles Headquarters

Tik Tok

By Edie Cohen

It started out as a Chinese video dance app. Then kids picked it up for their 15-second bursts. Adults, of course, followed suit, and now the global phenomenon TikTok is in negotiations for a sale to Microsoft. While it may be surrounded by controversy, it is currently the most downloaded app worldwide, according to Forbes. What is not controversial, however, is Gensler’s vibrant design of the company’s first American headquarters housed in a Gensler-designed building in the Culver City sector of Los Angeles. TikTok comes stateside on three floors that incorporate two additional mezzanines to total 120,000 square feet. Naturally, a sense of movement, intrinsic to TikTok’s culture, pervades. When the 1,000-person staff and visitors can once again move through those doors, here’s what they will discover.

At first glance the lobby, except for a lone reception desk, may seem like a void. Wait a mere nanosecond and see that the space becomes wildly kinetic, thanks to its 100-foot-long LED wall with constantly changing images and messages. It is, of course, the picture-perfect selfie backdrop. Through a second set of doors comes the real showstopper—and people-mover, if you will. A hot pink stairway of steel and perforated metal spans the upward expanse, with lookout platforms along the way. Why the color choice? “It’s their logo color,” says design director Chris Mitchell, who took charge of the project with Bahar Afshar, design manager. “It’s all about them.”

Along with that singular expression comes Gensler’s celebration of its building. Ceilings and infrastructure are exposed, and those big, glorious windows ringing the perimeter are constantly in full view with vistas out to LAX and the Pacific Ocean. In fact, notes Mitchell, “that’s why TikTok took the space.”

The heart of the space revolves around food. No surprise. Café central comes on the second floor. Pre-pandemic, Wolfgang Puck provided catered lunch and dinner meals at a singular long buffet table backed by a wall of groovy black-and-white ceramic tiles depicting old skateboard decks. The treatment is particularly SoCal. So is Gensler’s ceiling with a tangle of neon alluding to L.A.’s roadways—the city’s infamous 405, 10, and 5 freeways. Says Mitchell: “We gave them a localized presence, while also suggesting all roads lead back to them.” Another coffee and tea lounge sits on the second level mezzanine, and both serveries sport oversized booths. They’re hang-out spots for up to eight and are covered with brilliant bursts of vinyl. The architect calls them his “Hollywood squares.”

Meanwhile, plenty more color pervades the space. Murals by locals currently add hits of ’60s-ish pop-optimism with future plans for other artists to participate post pandemic. Huddle rooms for anywhere from two to 12 people populate all levels and are fronted with dichroic film signaling their presence.

Actual Steelcase workspaces are predictably dense, alleviated by the fact that employees work in different shifts. Sometime in the future, they will have one more option. Gensler is building a world-class recording studio complete with adjunct green rooms and changing quarters on the ground floor opposite the lobby.

Speaking of the future, Gensler is currently designing New York quarters, suitably situated at Times Square. Keep an eye out for the pink stair, roadway may, and mural idea to take form as East Coast transplants, then look next to Seattle and Washington, D.C. come the country’s opening.

It’s Not Too Late to Plan for the Next Crisis

Crisis

An employee is impacted by COVID-19, an executive is embroiled in a controversy that becomes public, or a product is deemed dangerous. While the list of potential crises organizations face is far too long to list, the need for crisis planning can be summed up in one word: urgent. In the current COVID-era when a crisis can literally mean life or death, it is imperative organizations consider the triggering events that may set off a crisis and how to respond. Here are four steps organizations can take in order to weather a crisis and emerge successfully.

Communicate the company’s priorities and philosophy to clients and customers now. Too many organizations are reactive; they only share information about changes they are making when they have to. The fallout from a crisis can be significantly mitigated if a company has a strong track record of proactively communicating about worker protections, giving back to the local community and its commitment to social causes.

Building affinity to an organization before a crisis strikes will help ensure that organizations

have a loyal base of customers, clients and allies that are at the ready to help out when needed.

Craft a multi-tiered crisis communications plan. Decision makers need to develop a crisis communication plan for different levels of calamity that identifies the authorized spokesperson(s) for each level and the corresponding level of communication (from a tweet to a fully deployed crisis response plan) both within and outside the organization. This is an essential component as either under or over responding to a crisis can fuel additional ramifications, such as being perceived as an apathetic organization which doesn’t care about its employees or others at risk. The crisis plan should involve operational response plans, internal and external communication protocols and a list of stakeholders (with updated contact information!).

Ensure there is a deep leadership bench that knows the crisis response plan and their roles. There needs to be a team in place that spans the breadth of the organization – operations, technology, public relations/marketing, human resources, legal and other departments as needed that are part of a crisis management team. It is also important to have an heir apparent that can quickly step in – especially an employee who is cross trained to perform multiple functions. My colleague at the Pepperdine Graziado Business School Dr. Kevin Groves‘ approach to succession planning encompasses not just the CEO, but the entire leadership pipeline. He says the idea is to “maintain stability in key leadership roles and to avoid the massive disruptions associated with unexpected retirements or exits.”

Conduct batting practice including mock media interviews. Don’t assume that having a plan and a designated crisis team is enough. The crisis communications team needs to have drills – actually go through the motions of what would happen during a crisis. The best laid crisis plan is one that is never needed. But as the COVID pandemic has demonstrated, organizations need to be able to pivot and communicate immediately; those that have allies, prepared leaders and an actionable multi-tiered plan will be very glad they put the time and resources into being prepared.

Stephen Rapier, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School specializing in crisis preparedness.

Survey Says: Majority of Americans Motivated to Save Post-COVID

Savings

The COVID-19 pandemic has left people reeling world-wide. Many have lost jobs; others are furloughed indefinitely and still others are working from home while homeschooling children and/or caring for sick relatives.

But in the midst of this global pandemic, a majority of Americans became more motivated to save for their future according to a new survey of hourly workers conducted by DailyPay, Funding our Future and Edelman Financial Engines who collaborated on this survey. In fact, 51% of those polled said they are more likely to save for the future as opposed to 15% who stated they were less likely to save.

The pandemic illustrated how ill-prepared many Americans were in terms of their financial security and their ability to weather the crisis. Not only did the pandemic wreak havoc on people’s physical and mental health, job security and day-to-day living conditions, but it also had a significant impact on their financial health as well. In fact, 40% of respondents said they are worse off since the pandemic shut down most of the American economy in March. In addition, 50% of those polled say they are either “finding it difficult to get by” or are “just getting by.” Another 40% report they are having difficulty paying bills each month.

For those who had some savings, 57% had to dip into those savings to address the economic strains brought on by COVID-19. The commitment to save more, which was reflected in the survey, might help to soften the financial blow when, and if, the next crisis comes our way.

We all know that saving money is hard, especially during a global crisis. But this survey also found that 62% would save if there was an easier way to put money from their paycheck aside.

DailyPay has a SAVE experience that is part of the DailyPay PayEXTM platform that allows employees to do just that. Employees can save for free, in their own interest-bearing accounts, in three different ways, before payday. This makes it easy for them to get on board with saving for all sorts of things, other than the next crisis.

While the pandemic itself has wreaked havoc with so many people’s lives, the silver lining is the fact that it has also made so many people realize that they need to begin a savings program. Having money in savings to lean on when a crisis, or any emergency hits provides employees with a greater degree of financial stability that has previously been lacking. And financial stability and wellness has proven to ease anxiety as we all look forward to a brighter future.

Using the Mindsets of Relationship Design to Show Up and Make a Difference in Times of Crisis

Salesforce

Design offers us tools we can use to prioritize, and strengthen, our relationships. If we look beyond each individual interaction, we can use design to support the connections between people, products, and brands. At Salesforce, we call this Relationship Design, a creative practice anyone can use to drive business and social value by building strong relationships with customers and community. We believe that these four key mindsets can help us build strong, valued relationships in our work and in our lives:

  • Compassion: Lead with personal connection, especially in areas where process could confine us
  • Courage: Push ourselves in ways that align with our values, even if they make us feel vulnerable
  • Intention: Plan with purpose, keeping in mind the ripple effects of our actions
  • Reciprocity: Exchange values in the service of growth and relationship longevity

The Power of Compassion

Compassion starts with an understanding of others and their perspectives. In these times, we’ve had to lean on our colleagues more than ever as we deal with space constraints, personal and family obligations, and shifting work priorities. The ordinary barriers of work culture are breaking down as we work from our homes and see into those of our colleagues. This growing understanding of who people are is leading to stronger and more personal relationships, and that’s not something that will disappear once we return to the office.

Opportunities for Trust

Change is accelerating, and there’s potential for our work to have a much bigger impact. Leaders have to entrust and empower their teams to make quick decisions, creating opportunities for trust. This has led to a flattening of the corporate hierarchy and a much more mobile workforce. It takes courage to make this level of risk-taking work — courage from leaders to entrust their teams with critical business moves, and courage from employees to challenge the status quo in service of greater impact.

Designing for a Better Healthcare System

Healthcare is, by nature, complex. Building a healthcare platform requires purposeful planning and the understanding that actions come with both foreseeable and unforeseeable ripple effects. When designing contact-tracing tools for work.com, Salesforce designers had to create an elastic system that could adapt to the needs of whatever community uses it. Setting out with a clear intention, and thinking through the intentions of your users, can help cut through some of the fog.

Reciprocity in a Connected System

Relationships thrive in an atmosphere of shared learning, mutual accountability, and openness. If there is anything these last months have shown us, it’s how interconnected we all are, and how much we must depend on one another. We wear masks when we leave our houses to protect not only ourselves, but the people around us. We’ve been forced to witness, and work to repair, the fraying social contract between individuals and our communities, employers and employees, governments and citizens — all of them mutually beneficial relationships that play a crucial role in fighting this pandemic.

New Challenges, New Mindsets

The current scenario is challenging us in ways that none of us was prepared for. It is also an opportunity for innovation and growth. To make something good from this tragedy, we need to sense and respond at speed, adapt, dare to take risks — and build it all on a foundation of trust. The new, more empowered, relationships that we develop are strengthened by compassion, courage, intention, and reciprocity. With that foundation, we can develop innovative products, services, and solutions that better understand and serve the users they are meant for.

Watch the full panel session here.

Read the full article here.