In the guest chair: 

Gary Humphrey, Jen White & Dana Barrett

Gary Humphrey, Jen White & Dana Barrett

This morning, the studio was filled with laughter as Dana hosted three very successful and hilarious guests. Gary Humphrey, President of ATP and Jen White, Director of Partnerships for ATP stopped by to give an update on the company, what upcoming events they will be hosting and to talk about connectivity in the workplace. ATP is where IT professionals come together to connect and learn. The non-profit organization, now in its 15th year, hosts monthly events that dive deep into industry trends and business drivers that are changing the world of connectedness. Its annual awards gala, CIO roundtable, and golf tournament are recognized as premier industry events in Atlanta.

Cinday Laubenstein & Dana Barrett

Cindy Laubenstein & Dana Barrett

Cindy Laubenstein, Owner and Founder of Aspire College & Career Consulting stopped by to discuss how you can prepare your child for college. Aspire College & Career Consulting works with high school students and their families to develop a plan that will position students for success in the college admissions process. Services include high school course selection, standardized testing strategy, college search and selection, essay guidance, as well as application strategy and timeline to meet critical application deadlines.

In the national headlines:

  • It’s all about the smart home… or is it?  We spent a lot of time last year talking about IoT and smart home innovation… and this year’s CES is overflowing with connectable home gadgets.   The bad news is that consumers aren’t ready to buy.  A survey of 28,000 consumers in 28 countries  released Tuesday by Accenture found that 47% of respondents pointed to security and privacy as potential obstacles to adopting such technology.  Among people planning to buy smart-home gadgets in the next 12 months, a significant number chose to be cautious about using them or postponed purchases, while 18% had quit using them or terminated services for lack of security guarantees, the consulting firm said. The survey found that only about 9% of respondents—about the same as a 2014 survey—planned to purchase connected devices this year.
  • But here’s what we are buying… cars.  U.S. car sales hit an annual record in 2015, breaking the record from 2000.   Auto makers sold 17.5 million light-duty cars and trucks in the U.S. in 2015, a 6% increase from a year earlier and topping the 17.4 million sold in 2000. Nearly every car company posted strong December results, taking advantage of two additional selling days and warm weather to cap off the year.
  • Twitter may be rethinking its 140 character limit.  There was talk last year and then yesterday lots of speculation on Twitter of course.  According to Re/Code, the company may be looking to lift the character limit to 10,000 by the end of this quarter,   Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon to neither confirm nor deny the report.

In the Women on Wednesday headlines:

  • Mary Barra is making history again.  She has been elected chairman of General Motors Co., making her the first woman selected for the role in company history.  The new title show that the board’s is happy with her leadership decisions during her past two years as CEO. She took over GM in 2014 as the first woman in the position.
  • USA Today reports that Janet Van Huysse was Twitter’s vice president of diversity and inclusion — until last week, when the company announced it had hired a former Apple executive, Jeffrey Siminoff, to replace her.  The move has sparked controversy since Siminoff is white and male and because Apple isn’t exactly known for its stellar diversity stats.
  • Oprah Winfrey‘s new TV ad for Weight Watchers has sent the stock soaring.  Dana respects the heck out of Oprah, but she’s not sure she think it was the best business move for Weight Watchers. Having Oprah as an investor and business partner – yes, but spokesperson – not sure.

In the local headlines:

  • The Technology Association of Georgia  is hosting its second largest annual event next Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at the Cobb Galleria Centre  from 6:00- 9:00 PM EST. The Society Showcase is a trade show of all 34 societies that make up TAG. The event is expected to draw a crowd of over 1,000 people across all sectors of the technology industry in Georgia and in a new twist this year they’re doing a Star Wars theme… so yes,  dress up in your best Star Wars costume.
  • Sharecare, the digital health and wellness engagement platform founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and WebMD’s Jeff Arnold, announced yesterday at CES®  that its award-winning app, AskMD, will be pre-loaded on the new ZTE Grand X 3 smartphone previewed at CES and soon available with Cricket Wireless.  AskMD helps you find out what’s possibly causing your health symptoms; enables you to have better doctor’s visits; and gets you organized and, ultimately, healthier.
  • Speaking of getting healthy Austin based FitRankings, which uses data from popular fitness apps like Map My Fitness and Runkeeper, is launching in Atlanta, its seventh market.   The platform works by linking with these apps, along with wearable devices like FitBit and Jawbone, to track employee workouts in real time. Its clients use it to promote wellness in their workplaces.  The first company they partnered with here in town is Kabbage.
  • It’s in the very early stages, but developers are proposing a mixed-use project that could include up to five office and residential towers around the Sandy Springs MARTA station. This, after the Sandy Spring mayor and City Council passed new guidelines that require projects within one-fourth mile of MARTA stations to be between eight and 40 stories and have 75 or more units per acre.
  • In another announcement from CES, The Atlanta Braves have said they will partner with Panasonic on SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta.  The partnership will include providing state-of-the-art technology in three areas: LED solutions, security and sustainability.

Other stuff:

Join us Monday, January 11th for the next meeting of The Dana Barrett Show Business Book Club! This month’s selection is THE ROAD TO CHARACTER by David Brooks. We’ll talk leadership and the line between the “Big Me” and our own inner, personal values. We will meet at American Food and Beverage in Buckhead. Get all the details and sign up to attend here:

For other events and appearances, check out Dana’s event calendar:

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