All posts by Daniel Pratt

Office Hours: Meet Your Professor, Peter Baskerville

Accounting and Finance GuruSmarterer Professors are test Masters that trade-in their rank to help enrich the quality of tests by reviewing questions and responding to flags and issues. They are awarded a shiny new badge and a special spot on the Leaderboard for all their hard work, but we feel they should get a little more recognition. Office Hours will be a recurring segment in which we highlight some of the biggest influencers in the Professor Program. Who’s ready for some extra credit?

Peter Baskerville was one of the first Smarterer users to join the Professor program, clearing test flags and taking names for the Management Accounting and Bookkeeping tests. He realized his dream of opening his own business over 25 years ago, and has since grown his portfolio to over 30 retail outlets, cafes, restaurants and hotels, before taking on a teaching role at the Southbank Institute of Technology in Queensland, Australia.

Peter’s excited to contribute to Smarterer as a Professor because, in his words, Smarterer is facilitating a paradigm shift in education that will provide ‘just-in-time’ learning.

How do you stay up to date with changes in Management Accounting and Bookkeeping practices?
I maintain my currency by writing content and teaching these subjects, and also enjoy researching and  answering questions on Quora. I’ve supplied 60 answers there over the past few years.

Do you have any advice for those looking to gain a stronger knowledge of Management Accounting and Bookkeeping (feel free to plug your some of the  products you have been working on)?
I have spent the last few years curating many of the internet’s best resources for learning accountancy and bookkeeping and have developed my own list of Q&A relating to bookkeeping, accounting and management accounting.

What do you find most useful about Smarterer?
I was immediately impressed with Smarterer’s bold, attractive and intuitive design, and immediately saw its potential to be an assessment component in the new educational paradigm that must also include innovative components covering content and mastery.

Smarterer fits with my view that future employment opportunities will favor people who can demonstrate current competency rather than just produce ‘bits of paper’ achieved in an industrial age past but which is no longer representative of the current skills needed in the global information age.

What do you like most about being a Professor?
I have often lamented about the natural tendency of all open internet platforms to the eventual spiral down to the lowest common denominator – spam, trolls and flamers. I enjoy being a moderator on sites that I believe in like Smarterer and Quora and to help maintain the quality of cloud sourced content and to arrest the natural slide to the lowest common denominator.

Being a Smarterer Professor is effortless, and it’s nice to know that you are doing something to maintain the quality and value of something that may eventually help people get jobs due to their ability to demonstrate current competency. It goes without saying that being a professor on Smarterer also builds my online reputation and trust which may lead people wanting to improve their current competency to my low cost online courses.

Do you think you have what it takes to achieve Professor status? Show what you know!


5 Jobs That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

A lot has happened since 2002 – the iPhone was just a glimmer in Steve Job’s eye, the Red Sox were still under the curse of the Bambino, and Mark Zuckerberg had just graduated from high school.  If you’re currently looking for a job you may want to seek out the opportunities that didn’t exist before the rise of social media (sorry bookbinders). Take a look at the 5 jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
Social Media and the Job Search
Social Media Manager – Despite their short time in the spotlight, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn have become invaluable tools for small and large companies alike. With hundreds of millions of users expressing their thoughts each day, companies have found value in hiring social media savvy individuals to help build a strong presence online.

Educational Consultant – Math tutors are so 2002. According to Kiplinger contributing columnist Liz Ryan, educational consultants are the new iteration of tutors and can help determine the educational learning environment best suited for a child’s learning needs. She notes, “Educational consultants can work on their own, for larger firms or for educational institutions themselves, testing students and interviewing them and their families to help kids get the support they need.” With a salary ranging from $53,000 to $98,000 a year, this can be a tempting alternative to a formalized education setting.

User Experience (UX) Design – Forbes writer Meghan Casserly provides a fantastic example of what a UX designer does. She writes, “The experience of waking up to an alarm clock is very different from the experience created by the rising sun and chirping birds. A user experience designer’s concern is how to mimic the birds-sun experience through technology (see the variety of alarm clocks on the market that grow louder and brighter to wake you gently).” Those interested in pursuing a career in UX design should be highly skilled in Photoshop, CSS, and HTML.

Sustainability Manager – What once seen as a waste of time is now being looked at in a new light. Larger corporations have seen the value in hiring sustainability managers to accomplish two things: reduce their carbon footprint and save money. Sustainability managers traditionally come from a background in environmental studies, and are often well compensated for their contributions. surveyed corporate sustainability officeres and found that VPs in the sustainabilty movement are making close to $200,000 a year. That gives a whole new meaning to being ‘green’.

Mobile App Developer – More than 1 million apps have been put up for sale on Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play since the smartphone took center stage in 2007. In 2011, mobile apps generated $15 billion in revenue for Apple, so the demand for qualified app developers should come as no surprise. Job search engine Indeed has over 16,000 job listings for mobile app developer, so what are you waiting for?!

Did your job not exist 10 years ago? Share your experiences in the comments!

Internships by the Numbers – Infographic

The beginning of summer means a few things: time to dust off your Weber grill, head to your favorite ballpark, and start finishing up those internship applications. As deadlines approach and procrastination levels reach an all time high, you may be wondering if the effort you’re putting into all those applications is worth it.

The folks over at HowStuffWorks certainly think it is, and it’s hard to blame them! The average starting salary for someone with internship experience is $46,000 a year, an impressive number when compared to $34,600 average starting salary of non-interns.

If you’re interested in the other benefits associated with internship experience, take a look at the infographic below!

Internship Information


What it Takes to Become an Exceptional Community Manager

The Thank You Economy is here to stay as companies begin to see the power of community evangelism and social advocacy in driving business growth and retention. Gary Vaynerchuk literally wrote the book on this subject and feels it’s not going away anytime soon. “Marketing is about to get really hard. It’s about to get really one-on-one, and I think that’s really something people need to understand. It’s no longer super easy to just stack it high and let it fly, you can’t just pound down the message”, he says. Thank you Economy Book by Gary Vaynerchuk

Companies today far are more interested in retaining their current customers than they were 10 years ago, but how does this affect you? The interest in forming one-to-one relationships with customers has led to an explosion of community manager positions being created at companies of every size. If you’re a social media rockstar with a strong personality, you may find a community manager position to be the perfect fit for you. Take a look at what it takes to become an exceptional community manager.

1. Be on call 24/7 (aka don’t sleep) –  ImpulseSave’s Alysa Seeland knows the power of social media outreach. “Being a community manager is a crazy privilege. It’s the best way to understand the business you’re working for because you’re on the frontlines everyday interacting with people using your product”, she says.

Timely responses in the age of social media are key to a community manager’s success. Five minutes can seem like an eternity in Twitter time, so it’s important to address questions and comments soon after you read them. Most community managers are masters of balancing their work and social lives, and responding to a tweet at 2:00am isn’t unheard-of.

2. Listen more than you talk – It is vital for community managers to be good communicators, and to be a good communicator you must learn how to listen. New York Times bestselling author and President of Human Business Works Chris Brogan notes, “Upon hearing and understanding, a community manager should engage with their own authentic voice, not a marketing message”. There is a fine line between being personable and being cheesy, and it’s important not to cross it.

3. Build actionable reports – Creating a strong social presence online and fostering relationships with consumers should be the goal of all community managers, but it’s important to measure its importance correctly. “Metrics and reports appropriate to your organization are necessary to weigh the value of these efforts. Understanding the goal of your organization’s use of social media, especially the relationship marketing expressed within having a community manager position in the first place, are the keys to understanding what to measure”, says Brogan.

Don’t know the difference between Google Analytics and Mixpanel? Learn the basics by teaching yourself!

4. Be scrappy and adaptive – An exceptional community manager knows how to hustle. This often means taking on many different responsibilities, especially if your are working for a smaller company. You want to be the type of person that is okay with blowing up balloons for an event an hour after crunching the data from your latest outreach effort.

So what’s the best way to score a community manager role at your favorite company? Vsnap’s community manager Trish Fontanilla has a few pieces of advice for those interested in taking on this responsibility. “My life mantra, something that I think is really helpful at a startup or in any other industry, is ‘How can I help you?’. While it’s important to attend all the big events, try volunteering your time to work at one. You could also look for an unpaid internship that will help you gain some experience”, she says.

Do you think you have what it takes to crush it as a community manager? Share your thoughts in the comments below!