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Aparna Passi appointed director – HR, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar



JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar has appointed Aparna Passi as director – human resources. She will be in charge of HR policies, and will drive employee performance, with an aim to achieving corporate goals and objectives.

Passi, who is a postgraduate in hospitality and administration from The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development, started her career with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, as assistant manager – Ban Thai, in July 2007. By the time she quit the Group in 2010, she was the assistant food & beverage manager at Trident Bandra Kurla, Mumbai.

It was in 2011 that she joined Marriott International as departmental trainer. In a year’s time, she was promoted to the role of catering sales manager.

She returned to the Oberoi Hotels & Resorts in 2012 as training manager. Over a period of five years, she climbed to the position of senior manager – human resources. She was responsible for formulating the manpower budget and optimum strategy. She also developed talent acquisition strategies to select the most suitable talent for the Group.

Her next assignment was as assistant general manager – human resources – senior HRBP, Kalpataru.

Before joining Marriott International, she was director (entrepreneur), Third Arm Consulting.

Passi holds a postgraduate certification in human resources, HRM from XLRI Jamshedpur. A graduate from the Institute of Hotel Management, Gwalior, Passi is known to be a good public speaker, who is efficient at planning and budgeting among other things.

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Google opens Meet calls on Glass for all Workspace users



Did you miss today’s livestream? Watch the AI at the Edge & IoT Summit on demand now.

Google has announced that all Workspace (formerly G Suite) customers can now apply to access Google Meet through its face-mounted Glass device as part of an open beta program.

While many people have likely forgotten about the once consumer-focused Google Glass, the internet giant has continued to offer the augmented reality (AR) contraption to businesses as part of an Enterprise edition. So technical workers needing to carry out a real-world task with their hands, for example, could view written instructions directly in their line of sight.

Back in October, Google announced its Google Meet video-conferencing app was coming to Glass as part of an early-access program. This meant workers on the ground, perhaps in a warehouse or datacenter, could join a Google Meet conference and let others see what they are looking at in the field. This could be particularly useful when trying to solicit feedback on a technical issue from experts based in a different location.

Above: Google Meet for Glass in a data center

Now, the integration is available to all Google Workspace customers using Glass Enterprise Edition 2. Given that Google Meet is integrated directly into Workspace, Glass users can join a scheduled meeting in Google Calendar directly from Glass.

Remote control

This latest expansion serves as part of a broader push toward tools that help workers carry out their jobs remotely. While this type of technology can save time and money, as large groups of people don’t have to congregate at a site to fix a problem, it also enables team collaboration while keeping people socially distanced. And a less technically minded person can look at a piece of equipment and implement a fix by receiving guidance from a technician on the other side of the world.


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Dear Sophie: What’s the process for getting International Entrepreneur Parole?



Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

Extra Crunch members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Dear Sophie,

I co-founded a startup a few years ago and currently have an O-1A visa.

My wife wants to return to work, but as you know, she cannot get work authorization on an O-3. I read that if I switch to International Entrepreneur Parole, she can get work authorization.

What is the process for getting Entrepreneur Parole and for my wife to get a work permit?

— Supportive Spouse in San Jose

Dear Supportive,

I’m so excited by all the opportunities opening up thanks to the revived International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) program. It would be awesome if your wife could resume her career!

Take a listen to my podcast on the parole entry process, what you have to do to get it and what to expect when you do, including when your wife can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in a free educational panel hosted by the National Venture Capital Association with representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that you’re welcome to join as well.

Although this IEP has been around for more than four years, the Department of Homeland Security only recently revived it after the Trump administration tried and failed to get rid of it. Given that the IEP program is so new, I recommend working with an experienced immigration attorney when applying for IEP. An immigration attorney can also discuss other options that would allow your wife to work.

How do I apply for Entrepreneur Parole?

You must fill out the application for Entrepreneur Parole and submit it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with evidence that demonstrates your rapidly growing startup will create jobs and significantly contribute to the U.S. economy. If you want more details on the qualification requirements for IEP, take a look at a previous Dear Sophie column on that topic or listen to my podcast, International Entrepreneur Parole is back! To get parole for your spouse and children (under the age of 21 and unmarried), you can concurrently file their applications for Advance Parole.

If USCIS approves your application for IEP, you will receive a parole document that is valid for 30 months, supports multiple entries and can be extended once for another 30 months if you and your startup continue to meet the extension criteria. However, USCIS approval alone does not grant you or your family parole.

Who grants parole?

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer at an airport or other U.S. port of entry will have the final say on whether you and your family are granted parole — a temporary stay in the U.S. — and for how long. There is no equivalent of a “change of status” here.

That means if you and your family are in the U.S., you must first leave the U.S. and then show your parole documents to the CBP officer upon reentering the U.S. The CBP officer has the discretion to approve or deny your entry, so your immigration attorney should prepare you by letting you know the type of questions you may be asked and how to succinctly and honestly answer them.

If you and your wife are returning to the U.S. via airplane or boat, you will need to go to a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain a boarding foil. That foil — also known as a travel foil — will enable you to board an airplane or boat since you won’t have a visa stamp in your passport under IEP.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Canadian nationals traveling from Canada to a U.S. port of entry can present an approved parole document without obtaining travel documentation. I believe individuals are allowed to enter the land border from Mexico, which some of our clients will be testing. (More updates to come!)

Although IEP allows for an initial stay in the U.S. of up to 30 months, CBP officers could approve your parole into the U.S. for only one year, requiring you to exit and reenter the U.S. again in 12 months. The CBP officer will stamp your passport with your parole expiration date.

To renew parole beyond the initial 30 months for another 30 months, you will have to meet the IEP extension requirements and file a new Entrepreneur Parole application.

How does my spouse get an EAD?

Once you and your wife are paroled into the U.S., she can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), otherwise known as a work permit. Your wife cannot begin working until she receives the EAD, and it will only be valid for the length of the parole stay. Given the current USCIS processing delays, the EAD may only be valid for a few months before your wife has to apply for a new EAD.

Depending on your wife’s field of expertise, it may make more sense for her to find a job with an employer willing to sponsor her for a visa or green card. Given the tight labor market in some industry sectors in the U.S., many employers are increasingly willing to invest in international talent.

Or, if you both want to remain in the U.S. permanently, you can also consider self-petitioning for an EB-1A green card for individuals with extraordinary ability or an EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) green card for individuals with exceptional ability. Your immigration attorney should be able to help you determine which immigration option is right for you and your wife.

Best wishes to you and your wife as you navigate this process to live your dreams!


Have a question for Sophie? Ask it here. We reserve the right to edit your submission for clarity and/or space.

The information provided in “Dear Sophie” is general information and not legal advice. For more information on the limitations of “Dear Sophie,” please view our full disclaimer. You can contact Sophie directly at Alcorn Immigration Law.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Law for Tech Startups, is available on all major platforms. If you’d like to be a guest, she’s accepting applications!

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Big Data

How To Transition From Data Freelancer to Data Entrepreneur (Almost Overnight)



How To Transition From Data Freelancer to Data Entrepreneur (Almost Overnight)

Data freelancers trade hours for dollars while data entrepreneurs have found a way to make money while they sleep. Ready to make the transition? Keep reading to learn how to do it as SEAMLESSLY and PROFITABLY as possible.

By Lillian Pierson, P.E., Mentor to World-Class Data Leaders and Entrepreneurs, CEO of Data-Mania

When many of us start freelancing, we couldn’t feel more excited. It feels amazing to work from anywhere, choose your clients and only take on projects you love.

But after a while, you may start to feel burnt out. As a data freelancer, there are only so many clients you can serve and projects you can take on. Your income is heavily dependent on how many hours you put in.

This article is a guide for all data freelancers to blow the cap off their income and build a data business that is truly scalable. Even if you’re an experienced data freelancer, these tips will help you pinpoint some of the missing pieces that are holding you back from being as profitable as you could be.

And if you’re wondering, who am I to tell you anything about data freelancing, anyway? Well, I’m Lillian Pierson, and I started out as a data science freelancer way back in 2012, right after they coined the term ‘data scientist’. From there, I started my business Data-Mania, and since then, we’ve supported over 10% of Fortune 100 companies with strategic data plans. 

Not just that, but back in 2018, I started coaching other data professionals to start their six-figure data businesses and to date, over 10% of my mentorship clients have landed six-figure contracts within the first seven months of signing up with me. 


So if you’ve got data skills you’ve been offering on a freelance or contract basis, and are ready to truly leverage your skills into an uber-profitable data business, let’s get into the exact steps you need to take. 

First things first: what’s the difference between a data freelancer and a data entrepreneur?

Let’s start off by defining data freelancers and data entrepreneurs. 

When I say data freelancers, I’m referring to data professionals who offer data services in a freelance capacity. They sell their data skills on the open market – whether those are skills in data science, data analytics, data visualization, or any other data specialty. 

In some cases, data freelancers may be operating with a team, whether that means they have admin and business support or fellow data professionals helping them to carry out the data services they provide. The work they carry out is always service-based work. 

In contrast, as a data entrepreneur, you’re showing up as the CEO and visionary behind your business. When it comes to the delivery of the work, particularly with services, you are most commonly delegating all, if not at least significant portions of that to your team. 

How to scale your business as a data freelancer

Before transitioning from a data freelancer to a data entrepreneur you’ll need to examine your options to scale.

If you’re a data service provider, there are a few ways you can scale your business model. 

  1. You could turn it into an agency
  2. You could turn it into a software as a service (SAAS) company
  3. Lastly, you could transition your business model into coaching and advising. 

For the sake of this article, let’s assume that you’re a data service provider and you want to transform that model into either an agency or software as a service.

Step 1: Document Your Processes 

The very first step once you’ve decided to go from solo data freelancer to powerhouse data team is to document your processes.

Document EVERYTHING you do in your business, such as:

  • Sales
  • Client Interactions
  • Client Intake
  • Service Delivery
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Customer Retention

Create clear SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and guidelines for every aspect of your business so you can move on to step two. 

Step 2: Begin to Automate and Delegate 

Once you’ve clearly documented your processes, you can begin to optimize those processes through automation and delegation. 

Here are just some examples of how you can save time and BOOST profitability through automation.

  • Booking Client Sales Calls
    You DEFINITELY don’t need to be spending your precious time getting prospects booked onto your calendar. You also don’t need to be spending time vetting them, going back and forth to see if they might be a good fit.
    You can handle all of this through your prospective client call processes. 
  • Customer Service and Client Interactions
    For most customer support and client interactions, you can delegate this work to an administrative assistant. There is no need for you to answer every single email that comes into your inbox!
    In order to make this happen, however, you DO need to have clear policies and procedures laid out for your assistant to follow. 
  • Client Intake
    You can automate your client intake process in a snap using a variety of tech tools. At Data-Mania, we use Zapier, Google Forms & ConvertKit to onboard new clients.
  • Service Delivery
    Yes, really! You can even delegate the delivery of your service, too. Once you’ve built processes around the service you provide and you’ve documented every step that needs to be taken, you can actually find virtual assistants or fellow data experts to come in and follow the instructions and do the work on your behalf!
    This would place you in the QA (Quality Assurance) role. Ultimately, you are responsible for the work your business produces. Even if you’re not DOING the work yourself, you have the liability for it – so make sure that it meets your standards. 
  • Customer Retention and Satisfaction
    Create an automated process to follow up with your customers as they’re receiving your service. For example, you could check in with them at the 30% mark, 60% mark, and then check in with them, say 15 days after your product has been or your service has been delivered. 
    The email process during delivery should essentially check in to make sure that their expectations are not only met but exceeded! Figure out ways to make their client experience as yummy as possible.
  • Testimonials
    Create a streamlined, automated process for collecting feedback from current or even past clients. At Data-Mania, we use Google Forms because it’s free and easy!

Once you’ve done all of this, congratulations! It’s time to move on to step number three.

Step 3: Update Your Messaging

Now that you’ve successfully graduated from data freelancer to data entrepreneur, it’s time to upgrade your messaging. 

Make sure your marketing and business documents clearly reflect your new business structure. You want prospective clients to know that you have a team, that you’re a real business and that you are committed to getting results for your customers. 

You’ll want to go ahead and update your messaging in places like: 

  • Website/sales pages
  • Social channels
  • Contracts and agreements
  • Any brand or marketing collateral

While all of this may sound like a LOT of work, by taking the time to document and optimize your processes, you’ll be able to create a business that’s bigger than just YOU. You’ll be able to offer data solutions of a much, much larger scale – because you’re no longer stuck in the weeds of implementation in your business. The more you can automate and delegate, the more you’ll have time to focus on becoming the best data CEO you can be. 

Want more support with automations and workflows in your business? Download the Free Data Entrepreneur’s Toolkit – it contains 32 free and low-cost tools to grow your data business. These are the tools I use on a daily basis at Data-Mania that have helped us scale to the multi 6-figure mark.

Download it Here.

Bio: Lillian Pierson, P.E. helps data professionals transform into world-class data leaders and entrepreneurs. To date she’s educated over 1 Million data professionals on AI. She’s also been delivering strategic plans since 2008, for organizations as large as the US Navy, National Geographic, and Saudi Aramco.


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The Journey From A Failed Video Game To $26 Billion Dollars: The Slack Story




Scott D. Clary Hacker Noon profile picture

@scott-d.-claryScott D. Clary

Host of The Success Story Podcast | Founder/CEO @ROIOverload | Forbes, Hackernoon, Startup

“We have an excellent chance of being successful because we failed before, and the odds of failing twice on the same thing are… astronomical,” said Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield in 2010. 

And yet… they still did.

If you work at a tech firm or a modern company, chances are you use Slack. 

So obviously something worked since the first few repeat failures in 2010.


Today, it operates as a cloud-based instant messaging system that offers companies a private communication network. The network allows people to virtually share content, files, links, or even make fun of their coworkers. Compared to company emails, Slack is much faster, more efficient, and more organized.

However, Slack was not originally meant to function as an instant messaging platform.  Actually, Slack’s main product was created by accident and was a byproduct of what the company was before – a video game company. 

Let’s look at the history of Slack. 

20 years ago, Stewart Butterfield was working in the tech industry when he made the decision to quit his job and raise $50,000 dollars to launch a company called Grad Finder Com. He ultimately sold the business six months after launching it, taking home anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000 dollars in the process. 

The money was sufficient for Stewart to take some time off and think about his next project, but obviously not enough to live off for a long period of time. Having discussed this with his friends, they decided that they would join forces to create their own video game company.

The developers wanted to create a game that would be different from what was available. They wanted to make a game that people could play online with their friends and cooperate with each other, which was a relatively new concept then. 

The team developed a prototype and had it playtested. There was a small number of die-hard fans who really enjoyed this type of game, even though most people did not find it very attractive.

Because of this positive reception, the team decided to pursue the project full-time.

This is why you use OPM (other people’s money).

In order to make money for this online game, Stewart started raising funds. However, very few venture capital firms were interested in investing in video game tech.

We weren’t in the same boom we are now.

When the team pitched the game to investors and had no success, they decided to fund the game themselves.

Ironically, after about a year, the game they called Game Neverending still wasn’t finished.


Having used most of their money, they needed a new way to boost their finances. The goal was to build a company that could be sold for around a million dollars within two years, then use the acquired funds to help them complete their game. 

Their brainstorming started. 


The idea they came up with was to create a website for a part of their game that was responsible for a lot of social interaction.

In particular, they went with the feature where users could upload photos, create annotations, have chats with players, and more.

Build a community (platform), and they will come.

By 2004 the team had been working on both the photo-sharing idea and the video game simultaneously, but they reached a point where they realized they should pick one of these ideas to focus on.

They decided to pursue the photo sharing project because they believed they could complete that project much more quickly than the video game.

Later that year, they launched Flickr, a photo-sharing service. 

In the following months, Flickr grew rapidly.

They finally got their big break when Yahoo took notice of Flickr in 2005 and offered to buy it for about 20 million dollars, which the team accepted.

(Let’s not forget that Flickr started off as a side hustle).

Three and a half years later, Stewart had accumulated a considerable amount of wealth and was in search of a new endeavor. 

He still won’t give up on the video game idea.

In 2009, Stewart announced his intention to build an MMORPG. The scenario this time would be different, as the computer hardware and software used in online gaming was much cheaper and more powerful in 2009 than it was in 2002.

Due to Stewart’s prior success and the popularity of video gaming, he was able to easily raise $17.5 million dollars this time around. Two years later, their game “Glitch” was released to the public.

Glitch was greeted very similarly to their previous game, Game Neverending. Stewart was once again faced with the dilemma of either continuing to make this game better over time or doing what he had done at his previous company: turn some of the technology used to make this game into a separate business. 

He chose to do the latter. 

Video games are complex projects, with various teams working on very different projects.

Because of this, the Glitch team developed an internal chat system that allowed people to communicate online, adding a level of efficiency that emailing did not. 

Realizing that businesses didn’t have instant communication tools like this, the company eventually swerved its entire focus toward this new venture that they named “Slack”

The Slack team consisted of about eight people and remained like this for a while. In that period, they were able to get four companies to try their technology for free, and every one of those companies has continued to do so. This led Slack to launch the full services on the app store in early 2014. 

Slack made $1 million in its first two weeks, and just six months later, it raised a $120 million round of venture capital, valuing the company at over one billion dollars. 


In June of 2019, Slack became publicly traded on the market, marking a monumental moment for the company. In its initial public offering, the company was valued at $19 billion dollars. 

Imagine: Slack, a multi-billion dollar company used by millions of people all over the world, was made by a video game company that failed twice. 

What lesson should we take from this? 

One, it is common for your first business venture to fail so don’t give up. 

And two, sometimes the best ideas are right under your nose. It’s your job to discover them and put them into action as soon as possible.

Top 10 Lessons From Slack

  1. You will fail a lot…. it’s normal.
  2. It’s apparently quite hard to build a video game company.
  3. Don’t always feel as though you need to stay in your lane.
  4. The version of your product (or yourself) will look drastically different in 10 years from now.
  5. Side hustles can turn into main businesses… quickly.
  6. Never stop trying new things, iterating, testing, & moving forward.
  7. If you’re dedicated to anything for a long period of time, there’s going to be something good that comes of it.
  8. Raising money / selling & marketing something, has less to do (initially) with the tech, and more to do with your network, success, resume and accolades. Learn how to tell your story better (but then back it up with a kick ass product).
  9. Sometimes you need to remove any sort of inhibitions to prove to people that your product is as good as you say it is, but letting them test it/try it for free.
  10. When things start to take off… they really take off. Be ready for the success.


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