portland

Looking for innovators? Look to Millennials.

I recently attended a “Generational Leadership” seminar to learn how the interaction of different generations of workers affects organizations’ ability to innovate and respond to a rapidly-changing business environment.

The organizations showing up to this conversation have caught on by now: the world is changing… fast. Every day you wake up in a slightly different place. While you were sleeping last night, more information was created in the world than you can process in a lifetime, and somewhere within all that data is a new business model waiting to be discovered. Are the people in your organization prepared to innovate at a rapid pace in order to keep up?

Anti-trust settlement could pave the way for more accurate, yet more confusing credit card fees.

Back in 2008 the Justice department began to probe both Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc over policies intended to prevent "steering", the act of influencing customers to use cards that have low interchange fees so as to reduce the cost of taking those cards to the business. This could be in the form of incentives or discounts which the Justice Dept argues "impose a competitive straitjacket on merchants, restricting decisions by them to offer discounts, benefits and choices to customers that many merchants would otherwise be free to offer," Currently, this is illegal. In fact, I had a friend send me this picture just the other day.

How one business deals with credit cards.

As you can see, some businesses are pretty aggressive in steering their clients, sometimes to the point of completely disincentiving the use of cards. Most businesses don't realize this, but Visa and Mastercard have put a lot of money into making sure that this is illegal, until the settlement just days ago, which has yet to be approved by a court before going into effect.

Before this settlement, cards were a form of legal tender in the USA. That means you can't reject them for any reason in your business. If someone wants to pay with a card, it's as good as cash. What's the downside? As a consumer, you were well within your legal right to say, "I refuse to pay your fee or meet your minimum credit card limit just to use my card."

With the settlement of this lawsuit, now businesses can disincentivize you from using a credit card. "The settlement this past week means that about 4 million merchants nationwide that accept only Visa and MasterCard are now free to steer customers to different credit cards or forms of payment by offering discounts, rebates or other special treatment, the Justice Department said." That means now it's legal to charge you .25 to use your card, or have a minimum charge before they accept cards. Good or bad? You can weigh in by commenting below.

This lawsuit is just the beginning of a long conversation into how non-cash payments will function in relation to businesses. Many businesses feel oppressed by credit card fees. My heart sinks everytime I hear a business owner say, "I might as well give this pack of gum (or other small ticket item) away if someone wants to buy it with a card, it's cheaper!" If that's the case, they're actually not setup correctly.

Visa and Mastercard have programs specifically for businesses with average tickets of less than $15 just for this reason. If your business is not making money due to accepting credit cards, it's time to find a new merchant processor. Would you stay with your insurance agent if they had the wrong limits on your home or auto? The sad part is, many people don't realize where they stand in relation to these issues. Stay educated, or find someone you trust who can manage it for you. It will improve your bottomline!

Other links for news on this topic:

http://usat.ly/cBmQk9   http://bit.ly/bTtxpX   http://bit.ly/9XvgmY   http://bit.ly/cQDzBG  

http://bit.ly/bgzLtv   http://reut.rs/c7ORYg

 

Matt Koren is the President of Priority Payments Northwest, a Merchant Services Provider located in Portland, OR. He runs his company in addition to his management consulting practice as an Associate with Causeit, Inc. You can contact him by filling out the Contact Us page, or by calling 503-493-7332.

job openings: fliptography

A Causeit, Inc. project company, Fliptography, LLC, is hiring flipbook-makers and shift leads. Fliptography's mission is to create joy and create jobs—which they do by making awesome instant flipbooks live at events. Like a photo booth (but with video), the Fliptography crew records a short seven-second clip of guests at an event, and then quickly constructs a paper flipbook as a great memento and party favor. Fliptography staff work in Portland, Central Oregon, Seattle and the Bay Area. Our team is full of interesting folk, such as students, part-time small business owners and/or non-profit staff committed to having fun with a great time.

Pay ranges from $12 to $15 per hour, and work is generally part-time. Applicants' exact availability can vary from week to week, as long as evenings and weekends are generally available. A brief cover letter and resume can be sent to jobs2010 [at] fliptography [dot] net. Customer service experience is a plus. No specific photography experience is required. Diverse applicants of all backgrounds and groups are strongly encouraged to apply, including women, people of LGBTQ communities, people of color, and more. 

Made of awesome? Know .net well? Need work/a job?

One of our clients is looking for someone with 3-5 years of Microsoft .NET development experience (VB and/or C#).  Experience with any or all of: WPF, LINQ, relational database programming, CSLA Business Objects, Web-Services and XML/XSLs is highly desired.

You need to be made of awesomeness, as our project manager puts it, and be both extremely reliable and easy to work with. Don't bother if you know you're kinda flaky—it won't be fun for anyone, and you will be let go. If you are reliable and easy to work with, great! Extra-special brownie points go to Seattle folk, as the client is based there.

E-mail your resume and cover letter to dotnetjob2010@causeit.org. Please do not call—we are not screening developers for this client, just forwarding on your information.