Authorities in China have locked down areas surrounding Beijing’s largest wholesale food market after more than 50 people tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report from AFP. China’s capital had gone 50 days without reporting a new local case.
Affected areas include major seafood and produce market and several residential complexes. A total of 53 people out of 517 tested at the Xinfadi market tested positive for Covid-19, a district official said. None were displaying symptoms.
Lockdowns have been imposed in 11 nearby neighborhoods, while 10,000 market staff will be tested. The authorities also want to test everyone who has had recent contact with the market as well as those living in the district surrounding it. These are the first new confirmed cases in Beijing for more than 50 days.
“In accordance with the principle of putting the safety of the masses and health first, we have adopted lockdown measures for the Xinfadi market and surrounding neighbourhoods,” Chu Junwei, a district official, told a briefing.
Update: According to South China Morning Post, Beijing’s Fengtai district has launched “wartime-like control measures” following a spike in novel coronavirus cases centred around a major wholesale market called Xinfadi. All six confirmed Covid-19 cases reported on June 12, 2020, were in relation to the Xinfadi market. Throat swabs from 45 people, out of 517 tested at the market, had also tested positive for the virus without showing any symptoms.
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Website Packages – Good or Evil?
If you are an entrepreneur looking to take your business online, website packages many agencies offer might seem like a great deal. You get just what you need for a reasonable price – no tedious discussions and multiple iterations required. But is it really as good as it sounds? Let’s have a closer look at the pros and cons of website development packages and see if it’s a good idea to choose this approach instead of custom development.
Website package: How does it work?
When shopping around for a website, it is as to come across the so-called “packages” – predefined service offerings provided by web agencies. Typically providing a fixed list of features or level of complexity, they are often positioned as all-inclusive service packages. Moreover, they can even let you pick the features you need or choose specific requirements, building up your package just like a constructor.
Such offerings might range from simple corporate website packages for small businesses to complex eCommerce website packages or enterprise solutions. They can specify the number of pages, a number of possible design revisions, or website capabilities in general, for example, blog, contact/subscription form, social media integration, shopping cart, payments.
In addition to letting you choose the features you need, such packages can have some specifications about design (for example, WordPress website packages based on a template or custom design) or additional services, such as hosting, SEO, marketing, support, integrations. Based on the scope of work and the number of services the package offers, the price can range accordingly.
The described approach works well in a number of business domains, including travel packages and SaaS pricing plans. However, other business domains prove to be less suitable for bundled service offerings.
In terms of web development, this type of offering might seem attractive and convenient, especially for a business owner with no tech background. However, this might also turn out to be a crafty way to hook the customers with a cheap offer and upsell all the important features that were not included in the initial offering. So, what are the benefits and drawbacks of the website packages?
The Pros and Cons of Website Development Packages
⦁ Fixed cost – As simple as that, most of us feel more comfortable engaging in cooperation with a definite budget and deadline. This is what makes website packages so attractive in our eyes.
⦁ Relatively low pricing – Website packages pricing is typically lower than any estimate a web development company can offer. However, this might be due to the fact that many features are not included in the package and will be upsold later.
⦁ Better transparency – With a specified list of features and services within a website package, you know what you will get upfront. In some cases, you can even tailor the packages to fit your needs (and budget!).
⦁ Faster time to market – Website packages typically don’t include long planning and business analysis, which might speed up the development process.
Yet, despite the listed benefits, there are many downsides to choosing “bundled” website development services.
⦁ Limited growth opportunities – Being tied to the initial specifications, such websites are typically difficult to scale or customize in the long run. For example, WordPress website packages cannot be further expanded to include eCommerce features.
⦁ Poor customization – If you go for a package offering, all that you will get in the end is another off-the-shelf, generic website. Thus, you won’t be able to stand out among thousands of other small business websites and will lose your brand identity. Plus, you won’t be able to add custom integrations or features due to the initial package limitations.
⦁ Prove to be costly in long-term – Website packages for small business are typically suited for a fast launch, yet they don’t take into account the further development and maintenance. If the agency doesn’t provide any support, the website might turn into a throwaway project, as no other agency will want (or be able to) deal with legacy code.
⦁ You can’t be too picky – With a website package, you won’t be involved in the development process, so you won’t be able to influence anything. Once you choose a package, all you can do is sit and wait for the results. So if the reality doesn’t meet your expectations, there is not much you can do post factum.
⦁ No business outlook – While the absence of analysis and consulting might speed up the project duration, the business outcomes of such a project might turn out to be very poor. Due to the generic character and limited functionality of your website, you will lose a number of competitive benefits.
Making a Decision: Do You Need to Buy a Website Package?
While the website package price is considered to be the main advantage of the described approach, the listed drawbacks clearly outweigh this benefit. A custom approach to web development proves to be more beneficial in terms of business outlook and efficiency. After all, eBay and Amazon didn’t start as generic eCommerce website packages.
Simply put, website packages cannot be tailored to your specific business needs and scale accordingly as your business evolves. We at Eastern Peak always recommend a custom website development approach. By conducting a thorough business analysis and consulting, we get to know your specific requirements. Thus, we can tailor our offering to meet your needs and build a great website for your business.
Source: Alexy Chalimov. Alexey is also a founder and technology evangelist at several technology companies. Previously, as a CEO of the Gett (GetTaxi) technology company, Alexey was in charge of developing the revolutionary Gett service from the ground up and deploying the operation across the globe from London to Moscow and Tel Aviv. Currently, Alexy is the CEO of EasternPeak.
Boston startups expand region’s venture capital footprint
This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth mode, and investors back into the check-writing arena.
Boston has been an exemplar of the trend, with early pandemic caution dissolving into rapid-fire dealmaking as summer rolled into fall.
We collated new data that underscores the trend, showing that Boston’s third quarter looks very solid compared to its peer groups, and leads greater New England’s share of American venture capital higher during the three-month period.
For our October look at Boston and its startup scene, let’s get into the data and then understand how a new cohort of founders is cropping up among the city’s educational network.
A strong Q3, a strong 2020
Boston’s third quarter was strong, effectively matching the capital raised in New York City during the three-month period. As we head into the fourth quarter, it appears that the silver medal in American startup ecosystems is up for grabs based on what happens in Q4.
Boston could start 2021 as the number-two place to raise venture capital in the country. Or New York City could pip it at the finish line. Let’s check the numbers.
According to PitchBook data shared with TechCrunch, the metro Boston area raised $4.34 billion in venture capital during the third quarter. New York City and its metro area managed $4.45 billion during the same time period, an effective tie. Los Angeles and its own metro area managed just $3.90 billion.
In 2020 the numbers tilt in Boston’s favor, with the city and surrounding area collecting $12.83 billion in venture capital. New York City came in second through Q3, with $12.30 billion in venture capital. Los Angeles was a distant third at $8.66 billion for the year through Q3.
Financial institutions can support COVID-19 crowdfunding campaigns
The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the financial outlook for millions of people, and continues to cause significant fiscal distress to millions more, but such challenging times have also wrought a more resilient and resourceful financial system.
With the ingenuity of crowdfunding, considered to be one of the last decade’s greatest “success stories,” and such desperate times calling for bold new ways to finance a wide variety of COVID-19 relief efforts, we are now seeing an excellent opportunity for banks and other financial institutions to partner with crowdfunding platforms and campaigns, bolstering their efforts and impact.
COVID-19 crowdfunding: A world of possibilities to help others
Before considering how financial institutions can assist with crowdfunding campaigns, we must first look at the diverse array of impressive results from this financing option during the pandemic. As people choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, and countless other despairing circumstances, we must look to some of the more inventive ways businesses, entrepreneurs and people in general are using crowdfunding to provide the COVID-19 relief that cash-strapped consumers with maxed-out or poor credit do not have access to or the government has not provided.
Some great examples of COVID-19 crowdfunding at its best include the following:
The possibilities presented by crowdfunding in this age of the coronavirus are endless, and financial institutions can certainly lend their assistance. Here is how.
1. Acknowledge that crowdfunding is not a trend
Crowdfunding is a substantial and ever-so relevant means of financing all sorts of businesses, people and products. Denying its substantive contribution to the economy, especially in digital finance during this pandemic, is akin to wearing a monocle when you actually need glasses for both of your eyes. Do not be shortsighted on this. Crowdfunding is here to stay. In fact, countless crowdfunding businesses and platforms continue to make major moves within the markets globally. For example, Parpera from Australia, in coordination with the equity-crowdfunding platforms, hopes to rival the likes of GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
2. Be willing to invest in crowdfunded campaigns
This might seem contrary to the original purpose of these campaigns, but the right amount of seed-cash infusions to campaigns that are aligned with your goals as a company is a win-win for both you and the entrepreneurs or causes, especially now in such desperate times of need.
3. Get involved in the community and its crowdfunding efforts
This means that small businesses and medium-sized businesses within your institution’s community could use your help. Consider investing in crowdfunding campaigns similar to the ones mentioned earlier. Better yet, bridge the gaps between financial institutions and crowdfunding platforms and campaigns so that smaller businesses get the opportunities they need to survive through these difficult times.
4. Enable sustainable development goals (SDG)
Last month, the United Nations Development Program released a report proclaiming that digital finance is now allowing people from all over the world to customize and personalize their money-management experiences such that their financial needs have the potential to be more readily and sufficiently met. Financial institutions willing to work as a partner with crowdfunding platforms and campaigns will further these goals and set society up for a more robust rebound from any possible detrimental effects of the COVID-19 recession.
5. Lend your regulatory expertise to this relatively new industry
Other countries are already beginning to figure out better ways to regulate the crowdfunding financing industry, such as the recent updates to the European Union’s handling of crowdfunding regulations, set to take effect this fall. Well-established financial institutions can lend their support in defining the policies and standard operating procedures for crowdfunding even during such a chaotic time as the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so will ensure fair and equitable financing for all, at least, in theory.
While originally born out of either philanthropy or early-adopting innovation, depending on the situation, person or product, crowdfunding has become an increasingly reliable means of providing COVID-19 economic relief when other organizations, including the government and some banks, cannot provide sufficient assistance. Financial institutions must lend their vast expertise, knowledge and resources to these worthy causes; after all, we are all in this together.
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