Infographic Template Editor Site Review: Venngage

Introduction

If you’re searching for a fast and easy way to step up your presentation infographic game, give Venngage a shot. Venngage is a one-stop platform for all things infographics. With their extensive library of infographic templates and editing tools, you are bound to find a template that suits your needs.

Let’s face it, numbers, timelines and processes can be as difficult to present as they are to explain to an audience, so make it easier for them- use infographics. They help your audience break down lengthy and complicated topics you are presenting.

As we at HighSpark, regularly work with clients to develop and improve their presentations, we understand the importance of concise yet impactful visuals. Hence, we rely on infographics to break down large chunks of information into bite-sized, audience-friendly pieces. They also save space and time during a presentation.

 

Overall Thoughts On Venngage

Customised to meet your needs

To start you off on the right track, Venngage first asks you a few questions to streamline their search results to best fit what you might be looking for. They ask for some basic information: your field/industry, department and let you choose a minimum of 3 sample templates from a selection. After which, you can browse through their wide collection of sample templates and pick one you would like to work on.

Pressed for time and need something specific? Their templates are also sorted into categories by tabs located on the left of your window. This filters your search results- a time-saving tip! For example, if I wanted to quickly search for specifically business-related templates, all I would have to do is:

  1. Locate the search bar at the centre of the webpage
  2. Type in the keyword associated with the template style I’m looking for
  3. Press Return/Enter key or the magnifying glass icon to start search result generation

 

User-friendly interface

Once you’ve chosen a template to work on, Venngage guides you on a step-by-step explanation on how to use their editing suite. This takes no longer than 3 minutes and would be a huge help for beginners. They’ll show you:

  • Where your basic tools are & how to use them
  • How you can arrange, align & scale sections on your infographic
  • What options you can use once you’ve completed designing (export, download, share, etc.)

However, if all else fails and you find yourself stuck, they also have an onboarding guide which includes a series of video tutorials instructing you on how best to use the functions/tools available you could watch.

 

Business-minded platform

If you’re a business-person, I highly recommend you upgrade to their Business Plan. You’ll have access to a wider selection of templates and layouts targeted towards business-related topics. I also discovered a unique feature Venngage has, interactive options. With this feature, your infographic can do more than the basics(inform, entertain, educate or persuade). You can add YouTube videos, survey polls and forms, which doubles up your infographic as a data collecting source. I could see this being useful for audience analysis or email marketing. 

However, I highly suggest exercising some caution when it comes to data collection through a third party as I can’t say for certain how confidential all data collected is kept with Venngage.

 

Functions

Easy to find and use, Venngage’s tools in editing mode are organized into different categories. On page left, the available tools help you to insert and edit the content on your chosen template. Virtually everything on your template can be edited to how you like it- colour scheme, icons, fonts, etc. If you would like to be precise, Venngage has a function on its editing suite, that allows you to enable a smart guide, apply grids and margins for you to work with ease. 

Want to insert photos? Click on the “Image Uploads” tab on your tools column, where you can drag and drop the image you would like to insert. The image should then appear on your template where you are free to scale it to size. If you’re worried about copyright, Venngage also has a library of stock photos you can use in your templates.

 A neat feature they included allows you to replace an image you inserted but wish to change by double-clicking it. You can then decide whether you would like to change it to an icon, stock photo or one from the library of photos you’ve previously uploaded.

To insert graphics- icons, charts and maps or interactive elements, simply scroll through the column of categories on the left of your webpage. Once you select a category, a dropdown menu would appear, showing you various options you get to choose from. Based on my recent experience, Venngage’s wide array of icons is what sets them apart from others. They offered nearly every type of icon you could think of, in multiple colours, that were of good quality too. To add on, Venngage has helped us all by including a mini search bar in the icons category which helps us to quickly find the icons we might urgently need!

 

Using Venngage For Work

Easy to navigate and use, Venngage’s tools help to create detailed, put together infographics efficiently. Another tip I can share is that if you are looking for a way to speed up your editing process for branding purposes, you can explore the option “My Brand Guide”. It allows you to pre-set your brand logo and colour scheme which you can apply to any template you choose to work on within Venngage. 

 

Pros vs Cons

PROS:

  • Wide variety of infographic templates so you will never have to create from scratch
  • Straightforward editing tools
  • Can be customised to your specific liking
  • Extensive Help Guides available, easy-to-learn

CONS:

  • Difficult to edit on split-screen mode (Mac users)
  • “Invite Team” option is great for group projects, but is limited by your account type: basic, free option allows others who join to view and comment only (subsequent team members added to the group need to upgrade their accounts to the same plan as the owner to edit designs created by other members and create designs to share with your team.)

 

CONCLUSION

Venngage has multiple membership plans: free, premium and business. Premium plans are charged by a quote and Business plans are SGD$49/month. Both premium and business plans have the option for monthly, quarterly or yearly payment (cost varies).  For its price, their Business plan is great for those who are looking to invest in a one-stop platform for their infographic design as the editing tools and export options available are plenty sufficient for them to churn out brand-centered infographics regularly.

For those who are looking for a quick resource to spruce up one or two infographics, the free plan is your best bet- it’s basic gets the job done and allows you to share your work publicly. Given these points, I would use Venngage in the future for its ease-of-use and variety of templates. However, I feel that out of the 3 offered subscription plans, premium and business were the most worth it for their price.

If you’re deciding between the two, I would also strongly suggest you try out the premium subscription plan before upgrading to the business plan as their features are quite similar, except for the “branding” tool and “My Brand Guide”. Another plus point Venngage has is that it is conducive for group work, simply invite team members to the current template your working on. This facilitates real-time simultaneous edits while saving you and your team time compared to other sites that allow only a single editor at a time.

Haytham Sawalhy: Leading by Example, Team-building and Collaboration in Business

The saying goes: As a team, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. A good leader should both protect their team members when tackling challenges and push them to strive for better. Read on as Haytham shares his views on leadership and storytelling.


The love Haytham’s team members have for him as a leader is evident. Our team had the honour to conduct a half-day workshop for his team at Bintan last year. And we’re blown away by his admirable leadership style. Privately, when we asked the participants to name an inspiring leader who tells good stories, Haytham’s name appeared. It is telling that his team members have a very sincere and special bond with him. ‘Family’ would be the right description for this bond. 
If you interact with Haytham in person or learn about his journey, you will know why he is such a great leader. He cares about making a difference, enjoys interacting with customers and is passionate about problem-solving. Perhaps these are the qualities that contributed to his promotion from a software engineer to a project manager, and eventually a business unit leader.

Key actionable take-aways:

In this interview, Haytham illustrates how a great leader:

  1. is at the service of her/his team and presents herself/himself at the frontline
  2. uses stories to inspire action 
  3. demonstrates strong resilience so that the team can believe her/his direction 
  4. invests in herself/himself and seeks professional support to achieve his goals
  5. uses collaboration to stay competitive

In your opinion, what makes a great leader?

A great leader is at the service of her/his team. The presence at the frontline is a strong sign of commitment to the team and the customers. Leadership cannot be executed from the boardroom or in courtesy meetings/events only.

..presence at the frontline is a strong sign of his commitment to his team and the customers

A great leader should create an environment of safety. Simon Sinek talks about the circle of safety as opposed to the circle of trust which is selfishly limited to a few of people in a structure “the gang”, the colleagues at the outside of this circle perceive themselves as been “replaceable” or “consumable”.

In his book called “Leaders Eat Last”, Simon Sinek says that “Leaders would sooner sacrifice what is theirs to save what is ours. And they would never sacrifice what is ours to save what is theirs.”

What would you say was your greatest difficulty/sacrifice faced as a leader so far? How did you overcome it?

My greatest difficulty and sacrifice as a leader were related to the ability to fairly balance between personal and professional life. As a leader you continue to live the role beyond the office arena and work environment, your mind is also switched on.

I believe that the balance cannot be 50/50, the ratio will fluctuate depending on age, career seniority and household circumstances. There will be times when it will be 80% for work and 20% for family and friends, but there will also be times when it will be vice versa.

The most important, you need to be lucky enough to be blessed with a loving family and good loyal friends who are supportive and admire your passion.

How important are storytelling skills to you as a leader? How have you applied it in your work?

I would like to refer to a Ted Talk in June 2015 delivered by Yuval Harari, the author of “Homo Sapiens”, where he gives an overview of his book.

”…Supposed that I managed to convince you that yes Humans control the world because they can cooperate flexibly in large numbers. The next question that arises in an inquisitive listener is how exactly do we do it? What enables us alone of all the animals to cooperate in such a way? The answer is “our imagination”. We can cooperate flexibly with a countless number of strangers because Humans alone of all animals can create and believe in stories. As long as everybody believes in the same fiction, everybody obeys and follows the same rules, the same norms and the same values. All other animals use their communication system only to describe reality.”

As such, based on Harari’s theory, leaders need to rely on storytelling as a tool to get a group of people to cooperate flexibly and in large numbers. I applied storytelling on occasions of change, uncertainties, and challenges. These are critical events where you need the team to be 100% behind you as a leader. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent global crisis, constant turbulence seems to be the new normal, and effective leadership is crucial in containing it.

Constant turbulence seems to be the new normal,
and effective leadership is crucial in containing it.

The Shackleton expedition, from 1914 to 1916, is a compelling story of leadership when disaster strikes again and again. Ernest Shackleton is a polar explorer who faced harsh conditions in a way that speaks more directly to our time.


PHOTO CREDITS: The Story of Shackelton’s Last Expedition, 1914-1917, Wikipedia

One can be struck by Shackleton’s ability to respond to constantly changing circumstances. When his expedition encountered serious trouble, he had to reinvent the team’s goals. He had begun the voyage with a mission of exploration, but it quickly became a mission of survival. Shackleton’s team knew that whatever came before them on the ice, their leader would give his all to bring them home alive. This knowledge was crucial to achieving the mission, and this commitment is key today when so much is changing so fast.

The story portrays an incredible tale of endurance and survival in one of the bleakest places on earth: the Antarctic.  It is also a remarkable story about the triumph of the human spirit in adversity. The team maintained its cohesion in the face of disaster and felt reassured by the guidance of the one they called ‘the boss’.

What would you say has been the greatest lesson so far as a leader in your work?

Do not hire stars but focus on building a diverse star team, your A-Team. Teamwork and collaboration are key to effectively and swiftly tackling challenges.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

A good friend once told me “Haytham, you should only worry about things that are within your control.”

It reminds me of the movie called “bridge of spies”, there is this scene where Tom Hanks (role of the lawyer) meets up with the Russian spy imprisoned in the USA, Hanks announces the gravity of the situation to the Russian prisoner. Despite the gravity of the situation, the prisoner looked neutral with no emotions. Hanks was very puzzled and asked the prisoner “Aren’t you worried?” to which the prisoner replied, “does it help?”

If you had to offer a piece of advice to someone just starting out or who aspires to lead a team/organisation. What advice would you give?

You need to manage your own emotional intelligence to keep your own courage and confidence high.

You need to demonstrate strong resilience so that the team can believe in your direction and be proud to be your followers.

What have you started trying this year that has been working well for you as a leader?

My new year resolution 2020 was focused on investing in myself with main activities related to upskilling and fitness, nourish, and strengthen the mind and the body. The foundations on top of which we assemble the bricks of our personal and professional lives.

I subscribed to the fitness gym near the office in early January 2020, I was determined and also purchased a package for personal trainer support to help me achieve my goals. In the first 3 months, I started to see some results which helped increase my motivation. It did also positively impact my lifestyle, for example, I go to bed earlier than before.

I planned my learning journey and selected the certificates that would be of interest to my career acceleration. I registered for a few programmes with INSEAD which I found very stimulating and inspiring.

Share with us something you learned recently that changed how you intend to run your team/business.

In April 2020, I successfully completed an INSEAD online programme called “Building Digital Partnerships and Ecosystems”. It was a very insightful programme which introduced concepts of network advantage, strategic alliances and ecosystems. These concepts help in creating new digital business models and enhancing the competitive advantage of businesses.

Indeed, collaboration is powerful for the survival and the success of businesses in times of uncertainties and disruption.

As we live the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed the importance of collaborations among countries,  industries and communities in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19 despite its high contagious character. Without collaboration, the world would have suffered a catastrophe similar to the Spanish flu.

What is one book you would recommend that every new leader or storyteller be reading?

I would highly recommend the book “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek.

What are 3-4 tools (digital or offline) that you feel everyone should know about?

Grammarly: grammar correction tool, highly recommended.

LinkedIn: a great professional networking tool.

Networking: be out there (offline or digital) and meeting people from various industries and various roles.

Now, Haytham’s Backstory:

What’s your story?

I was born in Jaffa, a district of Tel Aviv city (Israel). The city was famous for its Oranges exported all over the world thanks to Jaffa’s famous port. The port of Jaffa was connected to Jerusalem city via a railway line to transport goods shipped from overseas. The line is considered the first Middle Eastern railway.

I was born to a Muslim family and educated in a private French Christian school “College des Freres Jaffa”* (La Sallian school). The school offers education to all levels from pre-school until secondary. So, I spent my childhood and teenage times in this school. I can say that I have a strong emotional connection with my school.

In 1995, I was privileged to obtain 2 years of scholarship to do my higher education in France. I chose to pursue engineering studies in Lyon where I lived 5 years until I graduated in July 2000 with a Master’s in computer science. In September 2000, I moved to Paris to pursue my first career job in a large and well reputable IT and consulting services company.

In 2003, I was lucky to meet my wife in Paris during her trip with her sister, at that time she had just started her post-doc at Imperial College in London. I was commuting between Paris and London for a period of 2 years until she completed her post-doc and moved to Paris where we got married and had our 2 beautiful kids Adam and Line.

In 2009, my company offered me the opportunity to relocate to Singapore with my family. It was a new creation of a role to build a new business in an area of growth in the Asia Pacific region. It was a big challenge full of uncertainties, after consulting my wife, we decided to onboard into this journey. It has been an amazing 10 years for my family and myself.

We feel blessed to have had the privilege to live in Singapore, a very cosmopolite city-state, an inspiring history from independence to the execution of the great vision, great environment for the family, great location for regional business, and great opportunities for the future. We decided to apply for the Permanent Residence status, which we obtained in June 2012. Our kids enrolled in public school, which is globally recognised for its high academic level, and we had the opportunity to experience the PSLE adventure!

*College des Freres Jaffa: http://www.collegedesfreresjaffa.org/

How did you get into your current line of work/ why did you decide to do it?

Initially, I wanted to pursue civil engineering studies, but after many recommendations from my parents and friends, I ended up enrolling in computer science. I realised that I made an excellent choice because I consider that computer science is not a profession by itself like a dentist, carpenter, but it equips the graduates with a set of technology tools and concepts which take their full sense only when they are applied to solve a problem related to consumer or corporate or any other world’s problem. A good friend of mine was a fan of cars, so he joined a company in the automotive industry, thereby combining his hobby with a job, this is the best outcome.

I decided to join an IT and consulting services company because I enjoy the rich engagement with the customers in various industries, and I am passionate about solving their problems and challenges. Very quickly, I was Identified by my management as having the potential for a leadership role in the organisation. From software engineer, I was promoted to the role of project manager and a few years later I was appointed as a business unit leader with responsibility on people and P&L.

How can people connect with you?

[email protected]

https://www.linkedin.com/in/haytham-s-97869110/

 

Benjamin Ang: Forbes 30U30 Startup Founder talks Transparency in Leadership

A firm believer that maintaining transparency between all employees benefits communication, Benjamin shares how this has helped him grow Genesis Motion Design to what it is today.


In Benjamin’s words, “Genesis was formed to bridge the gap by infusing a positive blend of both cultures; the Asian hustle and the open playfulness of the other. Repeatedly told impossible due to the local societal norms of overworking, over-competitiveness and hierarchies, which till this day, is my motivation to prove others wrong and that a balance is still possible if entrepreneurs embrace the persistence to try.”

TL: DR, Key actionable take-aways:

In this interview, Benjamin shares how he shapes the culture of his team and the industry by:

  1. Merging the Asian hustle with western open playfulness
  2. Maintaining transparency in all communication b/w the team 
  3. Having a flat hierarchy and listening to employees’ feedback with humility
  4. Expanding at the right pace and hire the right fit
  5. Balancing his own physical and mental well-being 

Introduction

Benjamin Ang is a 29-year old Singaporean who founded Genesis Motion Design in 2015. He graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in Motion Graphics and Broadcast Design in 2011 where he was inspired to grow his interest in video editing and visual effects. More importantly, he saw how versatile his skill could be, as it could be incorporated into different forms of media and hasn’t looked back since. Over the past five years, Genesis has established itself as an international business, working with blue-chip clients from all over the world.

He has also been featured on various prestigious organisations such as Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur and also media company, Vulcan Post.

In your opinion, what makes a great leader?

There is no simple answer to this question as there are several styles of leadership, which has pros and cons for each method. My style of leadership would lean towards ‘the servant leader’.

This leadership style came about naturally as I progressed from starting the company alone to the 10 man team now because I constantly try to put myself in the shoes of my employees.

I do believe that having the ability to put one’s ego aside is something that helped me along the way. With this, I am able to ask my colleagues for their suggestions and how to improve the business or workflow. 

I have heard horror stories growing up with the people around me, talking about the horrible work culture that required people to overtime without compensation, being called back to the office while the staff was in the middle of a live-concert they paid tickets for, basically just burning them out before releasing them back into the job market. Working in the industry myself, I understood the work hours required and why people get burnt out easily. 

Having worked both in Singapore and Los Angeles, California, when I noticed a disparity of approaching work and the importance of culture, between the two motion design industries. Genesis was formed to bridge the gap by infusing a positive blend of both cultures; the Asian hustle and the open playfulness of the other. Repeatedly told impossible due to the local societal norms of overworking, over-competitiveness and hierarchies, which till this day, is my motivation to prove others wrong and that a balance is still possible if entrepreneurs embrace the persistence to try.

There are still some stories where people left my company because they were burned out, and I can’t blame them. I can’t change the demands of the creative industry we are in, but I can make an effort to try and keep my team involved in the decisions that we make together. I think that idea of working together as a unit and being a servant leader builds a culture of going against the grind and supporting one another in this constant battle.

I am also a firm believer in transparency and explaining to the team why a certain decision is made if it seems off-track to what we are doing. Transparency creates trust and reason why the team has to push harder during certain periods. The clarity in communication also plays a huge factor in making a great leader. A clear, precise and well-strategised flow of information would also be ideal.

Finally, a firm decision-maker that is aligned with the company’s vision and mission while still keeping an eye on the financial status is equally important.

What would you say was your greatest difficulty/sacrifice faced as a leader so far? How did you overcome it?

As we have a very unique open and hustle culture in the office, we develop a no-barrier bond between the staff and employer. The company culture is built on this line, ‘Make It Better’. With this, comes a few traits that encompass this, like the need to put your ego down, to be open-minded, to push work to the next level and to understand that work never gets to perfect the first time around. We encourage this by building a culture based on supporting each other, teaching one another, being accountable for our work and putting the effort to improve one’s self.

It is unique in a way because we’ve been told that coming into work feels like you are back in school. Which, I kind of understand, as I did not have real working experience personally; which may have created a culture of freedom, hard work, learning and play at the same time. The greatest difficulty is standing firm when the time arises and the lines are blurred on a usual day basis.

How important are storytelling skills to you as a leader? How have you applied it in your work?

As our work deals with being able to tell great stories through motion graphics and animation, I understand the power of storytelling. I utilise storytelling when I give back to the design community when I get invited for talks during conferences or design festivals.

Sharing the story when I started the company at 24 and looked young and inexperienced.

How are you approaching marketing your business/getting clients?

We use different marketing strategies to build our brand image and connect with our followers.

Our website serves as the main tool to display our work, credibility and showcase our team and office. Social media channels like Instagram and Facebook also helps us to push content out to remind audiences about our existence and what we are up to. We’re currently working on pushing out our corporate email newsletters as well to clients and partners.

The strongest marketing tool is the word of mouth, which creates warm leads which understand the value we provide.

What would you say has been the greatest lesson so far as a leader in your work?

As I started Genesis alone, I was used to doing things by myself and getting things done at a pace I was comfortable with. Of course, this led to me sacrificing time from my loved ones and friends, which was my biggest regret. I felt alone at times and with no one else that could relate to the daily issues and stress I was having, it multiplied the weight of the issue.

If I could give my past self a tip, I would have encouraged myself to constantly communicate, or find a group of entrepreneurs that can relate with the struggles and hardships.

Five years in, I’m running a team with people handling different aspects of the company, so it enables me to make time now for the people I love.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

The best piece of advice I’ve learnt was from an online video, which mentioned to study and follow the footsteps of a company or an individual. As I didn’t have a partner or a mentor to lean on when I started the business, I could only observe and study why companies made certain decisions and sacrifices, and what was the value of that exchange. I also had to weigh in the vision and mission I had for Genesis and to see if it would make sense if I followed in their footsteps.

If you had to offer a piece of advice to someone just starting out or who aspires to lead a team/organisation. What advice would you give?

To watch your pace, take a breather and to learn how to take care of your own physical and mental health. Leading a team will be tough on all fronts, and accepting that it would only be human to feel extremely stressed out in situations. Taking a deep breath is a simple but powerful thing you can possibly do.

What have you started trying this year that has been working well for you as a leader?

This year, Genesis as a company has evolved into being transparent as a company. My decision to share with our team the overheads and profit and loss margins was to further create a culture of accountability and transparency. When someone brings a strong and different opinion about a decision, the most important thing to do as a leader is to listen. Everyone in the company experiences a different side, have different values and strengths and might be something I didn’t analyse and think about. Bring it up personally first, if it’s a valid opinion, bring it up to the team and hear different opinions about the situation and make a sound decision after with an explanation. If it doesn’t go their way, they will know that you’ve heard them; and that is what counts to be a leader rather than a boss. There will always be points in the business journey when the decisions made are questionable and not aligned with the vision and mission, hence, this helps everyone in the business understand why and creates solidarity to push through together.

Share with us something you learned recently that changed how you intend to run your team/business.

As a business owner, I have always heard of this phrase to not expand business too quickly as different people bring in different mindsets which will affect the culture of the company.

I expanded a little too quickly recently and was reminded about this, not just about how it would affect the culture, but also, financial commitments, communication and expectation management were also affected. It also reassured my initial thoughts to keep the team lean and flexible.

As we brought in people, they came in with different backgrounds and work cultures. Some for better, some not so great. It affected how we work, our communication within the office, etc. I realised it will take effort and time to fully immerse them with our way of doing things. We needed time to understand them as individuals with different weaknesses and strengths. I found a quicker way to do this, introduced by a friend of mine, to use Clifton Strengthsfinder (non-sponsored, haha). But it pretty much shows the individual strengths of a person through a simple half-an-hour test. Integrating this has been worth it so far!

Our financials took a hit as well when we didn’t account for the amount of revenue that should be coming in consistently before we’re able to commit to a hire, it took a painful hit to our financial progress after looking through our financial report at the end of the year for tax submission. I learnt the hard way that we needed to do accounting updates quarterly to see our financial state and find out what was causing unnecessary financial losses.

As a leader, you’ll regularly face situations where you need to get buy-in against the odds. How would you overcome a hurdle like this?

There would always be situations where you can sense that you are on the losing end of the deal or pitch. There is no guarantee but I power through them with hard work, sincerity and empathy. Essentially, doing my best with the circumstances given to me to demonstrate resilience and persistence.

What is one book you would recommend that every new leader or storyteller be reading?

“The Win Without Pitching Manifesto” by Blair Enns. This book is a must-have for every creative professional that teaches you how to take control of the pitch process and run a sustainable creative business.

What are 3-4 tools (digital or offline) that you feel everyone should know about?

Notion, a fully customisable internal Wikipedia system that we use on a daily basis to write notes on, create a digital version of our company’s handbook, brand guidelines and even, CRM.

Float, a simple and straightforward project management system without all the extra features and just gets the information out to our staff clearly.

YesWare, a Google Chrome and Gmail extension, that allows me to keep in touch with my clients by doing personable email with follow-ups. It also has a report function which allows me to analyse my campaigns and see what works and what does not.

How can people connect with you?

You can find our company’s portfolio of works here:
www.wearegenesis.tv
www.instagram.com/wearegenesis.tv
www.facebook.com/wearegenesis.tv

Or reach me directly at,
Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.benjaminang.tv/
Instagram: @benjaminang.tv
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angbenjamin/

 

Stock Photo Site Review: Jumpstory

INTRODUCTION

Jumpstory is a site providing a source of inspiration and help when you need it to better the outlook of your piece. Not only do they produce outstanding visuals, but the collection they have is also vast. They tell a story of their own and inspire others.  

These days it is difficult to find good visuals without flouting any rules. Or dealing with copyright issues. With Jumpstory, finding the best visuals are easy. With the click of a button, you can get access to an extensive library collection. With a Jumpstory membership, you gain access to millions of eye-catching visuals.  

At Highspark, presentations are our forte. One thing for sure: an outstanding presentation is nothing without great visuals. Hence, we gave Jumpstory a try. It simplifies the entire process for you. Somehow, the right images appear for you when you need it. Moreover, the visuals eliminate low quality and poor standard work, when you use their many high-quality visuals. 

With Jumpstory, you can work through any situation. Be it for recreation, or work, tailored for your needs. You are not alone.

Here’s how we did it.

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON JUMPSTORY

HUGE VARIETY OF HIGH-QUALITY VISUALS

Jumpstory generates more than 20,000 fresh images and content for its members daily. It has hundreds of different collections which allow you to choose the best photo. The one you were looking for. The Jumpstory library consists of over 30 million visuals. It is extensive, relatable, and does not compromise quality. They offer not only studio-approved images but also natural-looking, authentic ones. With this software, it saves you the need of finding a photographer. 

 

ORGANISED, EASY TO USE

Jumpstory’s website layout is neat and organised. Their unique and useful tools are all tucked into easily accessible pockets. The best part: There is no learning curve needed. 

Navigation is highly intuitive and it takes you three minutes to get used to the interface. Being a tech dummy myself, I found the site pretty clear and easy-to-use. I ended up appreciating this website because it is easy, fun, and dishes out great results.

 

FUNCTIONS

Once you sign up as a member, that’s where the fun begins. You no longer need to strive to find the perfect image, instead, find the best photo with ease. With no more copyrighting woes, the limits and boundaries disappear as well. Jumpstory promises to give the best results to its users, with its many functions. Along with it come many tools and features for its users, which I would share with you now. There are many ways to get your visuals fast, and here are some helpful ways to make your journey smoother.

 

Normal Search 

Like any old search engine, Jumpstory provides a primary search function. Type in keywords of what you wish to find, and get access to over 30 million visuals. Search ‘Street Fashion’, and all results related to street fashion would appear. 

Using Jumpstory’s filter function, you can narrow your search to make your search simple. Filter results based on image colour, image orientation, to even location. Get what you want with just a click. Exactly what you need. Within seconds.

 

Photo Editor

Begin making magic recreating it using Jumpstory’s special editing features. How often do you get a photo editor in an image library? You can create memes, crop and filter your photo, blend it, remove the background. All these functions are achievable on the spot with ease. With JumpStory, you don’t need Photoshop anymore. 

Jumpstory’s editing tool has a gentle learning curve. All functions are straightforward and labelled. Looking for consistency in your content, perfection in your images? Jumpstory has your back.  Jumpstory’s image editor is best for bloggers, marketers or small business owners. And of course, those who crave consistency and a good old aesthetic picture.

 

Search Help 

The thing about Jumpstory’s search help function is that things get done for you. The hassle of searching for visuals can be lifted by the Jumpstory help team. Very often we get preoccupied with our daily tasks and get lazy to perform the menial, tedious, mundane tasks. Jumpstory’s free, photo guarantee Search Help function saves the day. Sit back, relax, and have the work done for you. All within 24 hours.

Type in what you want in the white box given. Then send it to the Jumpstory team. A good list of potential images would be waiting in your inbox within 24 hours.  I used this function a few times and have never been disappointed. Once I needed to look for photographs of presenters confidently presenting to a classroom,

 

Image Categories

The vast variety of image categories offered in Jumpstory makes things much easier. Click the right category, and your search will be narrowed. 

Speed during work is important, and using this saves tons of time. Software or web developers, graphic artists, designers. Listen up. Anyone looking for a variety of photographs from similar categories for their work will find this a lifesaver.

For my scope of work, I scale through professional images that can fit into my clients’ slide decks. Often, I turn to the easy tool of ‘Categories’ on Jumpstory, to look for photos under the broad categories. I find myself often turning to the ‘Work’ and ‘Industry’, as well as ‘Media’ categories for photos that fit into the character and style of my clients’ slide decks.  Sometimes I click into the occasional ‘Animal’ category or even ‘Crafts’ category. Different clients have different styles, hence the large variety helps. I just select the category that suits my needs, filter through using the Filter tool, and choose my image from there. The selection Jumpstory comes up with no lack in variety, and extra points for the natural-looking photographs offered. 

 

Text Match

This is yet another interesting function unique to Jumpstory that drew my attention. Textmatch is an advanced AI software that can convert text into images. You can enter a text or a paragraph of words which you have prewritten, and Jumpstory will find the images for you pretty quickly. 

It doesn’t get simpler than that. Looking for pictures of happy babies eating on high chairs for your baby care writeup, or struggling to find a perfect fit for your website or blog gets simple. Insert the text which you have generated, and the right images would appear through your search.

 

High Jumper

After using Text Match, Jumpstory swoops in again. Say hello to High Jumper, a little orange icon that could save you hours of your time. You get to save time searching with this new platform.

This icon only shows up on images Jumpstory’s AI recommends for you related to your search. High Jumper fulfils Jumpstory’s promise of delivering with impact. And of course, solves the problem of people not knowing which image to choose. The technology will pick up at the best visuals which it thinks would garner most online traction based on your text.

Of course, it is important what you type in Text Match is enticing. The images would be more applicable and helpful. With High Jumper, you can better pick images which give you more traffic to your site. 

 

USING JUMPSTORY FOR WORK

Using Jumpstory has been a very smooth ride, It always is 100% hassle-free afterwards. Its stock image library consists of photos I could never find on the net. I tried subscriptions with Pexels, Unsplash and other image libraries. But Jumpstory’s versatility and additional functions truly jumped out to me. There are tons of new tools, with a choice of more natural-looking pictures that can reach out to the masses to a whole new level. Jumpstory offers more than other image libraries. Their background removal services,  A picture is worth a thousand words, you cannot afford to pick the wrong one. With Jumpstory, after one sign up, the pictures find you, rather than you find them, it seems. Its smart software does wonders to your search.

I would recommend Jumpstory to content generators. Marketers, bloggers, and small business owners. Individuals who need outstanding visuals – fast. Their features are especially applicable to bloggers from small corporate organisations. Their many business-related visuals also fit well for entrepreneurs of small start-up firms. That said, it would be useful for many other uses due to its A to Z extensive collection.

That said, paying $25 USD a month, despite having a free one-month trial may not be within the budget for some. If you rarely engage in content generation, think twice before subscribing to it. Otherwise, it is safe to say that Jumpstory would be a great investment, and would make the 25 bucks worth it. Guarantee.

Their developing AI could be a cause for concern as well. Though developed, it is still learning every day and has yet to reach its peak. Their gallery would better cater to broader, more common subjects. Hence, business owners of very specialised fields may need to reconsider using Jumpstory. Otherwise, Jumpstory’s functionality and great content make it a great investment for businesses.

Here are some pros and cons when considering whether to get Jumpstory:

 

PROS:
  • No learning curve needed; easy to use
  • Natural-looking, and professional images
  • Free image consultancy service
  • Able to edit your photos on the spot
  • Delivers with impact using unique High Jumper tool
  • Hundreds of categories and variety
  • Professional AI setup for easy searches 
  • Unlimited downloads 
CONS:
  • It’s a little pricey
  • AI not extremely developed for complex topics
  • Icons, vectors, video collections not extensive enough
  • Sometimes buggy and loads slowly
  • Results not 100% accurate sometimes
  • It’s not a fully finished product
  • Unable to edit images without adding to the archive

 

Adrian Sng: First SARS, now Co-Vid 19- Leadership and Tips on Overcoming Adversities

As we yearn for this pandemic to be over, it’s more important now than ever, to trust the process. Hear from Adrian on his tips to tide your company through times of crises.


 

What’s your story?

From 2014 -2018, I led the Events Business of SingEx Exhibitions, the events arm of SingEx Holdings. SingEx Exhibitions owns, develops and manages a portfolio of events through collaborations with local and international partners. As its General Manager, my portfolio included growing the Events Business globally through organic development, strategic partnerships and acquisitions as well as establishing in-country show teams. In the last four years, I have set up as well as grown events and subsidiaries in India, Indonesia and also partook in acquisitions of a UK based company and a China-based company to expand SingEx’s geographical reach and portfolio of events. Some of the award-winning events that I have had a strong hand in growing include Singapore FinTech Festival and IoT Asia.

Till end March 2020, I led the Community Business of SingEx Holdings as Chief Community Architect to develop innovative solutions using technology to drive engagements and business value within and across the industry communities SingEx serves with their proprietary events such as Singapore FinTech Festival. SingEx Holdings is wholly-owned by Temasek Holdings, a Singapore-based investment company.

Since April 2020, I’ve been busy starting up an advisory company (MICEvolve) helping Trade event organisers grow, scale and evolve their event portfolios and companies in Asia.

As a believer in continuous learning for my staff, I lead by example; having graduated with an Executive MBA from NUS.

How did you get into your current line of work/ why did you decide to do it?

I was already interested in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE in short) industry when I was at NTU doing my Bachelors in Business with a focus on Hospitality and Tourism Management. My interest stemmed from my University activities and my role as the Recruitment Fair Chairperson. The Recruitment Fair is the first exhibition that I have ever organised. It is an exhibition in the University that my committee put together for all the Clubs, Societies, Sports Groups to exhibit their activities and recruit new members from Year One undergraduates in University. For the new undergraduates, it was a one-stop location to meet and speak with all the representatives of the various clubs and to know what’s available to them and the criteria to join each club. While still in University, I did my 8-month internship at a Professional Conference Organiser for my final year and joined a German Trade Fair company for my first job upon graduation.

After my internship stint and first job, it made me realise how much I enjoyed and learned from the work I do within the MICE sector. Developing, growing and scaling a trade exhibition or conference teaches me great skills of being an entrepreneur as you dive into many facets of business such as:

  • Brand Building
  • Product Development and Pricing
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Operations
  • Partnerships
  • Financial budgeting and Cashflow
  • Market entry strategies etc

Being in the exhibitions sector also allowed me to know various companies and the products that they are launching into Asia or Global markets and it helped me in my personal investment strategies too.

In your opinion, what makes a great leader?

A great leader to me is one who uplifts his or her people and motivates each and everyone they lead to be performing at the best they can be towards the common goal. A great leader mentors, inspires and leads by example with good moral values.

What would you say was your greatest difficulty/sacrifice faced as a leader so far? How did you overcome it?

I have been a founder of a company and also a leader within a larger corporation and the greatest difficulty I had faced were very different in both scenarios.

When I was an entrepreneur, my greatest difficulty was in managing cash flows during periods of crisis, like the SARS period in 2003. That period mirrors what we are facing with Covid-19, though it pales in geographic and economic impact with what we are going through currently. During SARS, where business and revenues were affected, costs were rising due to the implementation of increased sanitisation measures for our staff members and the headcount costs we had to maintain, it was tough to carry on the business. I managed to overcome it due to 2 main factors:

Trust: Carrying out your work as an authentic business leader, manager and person with the utmost integrity and dedication towards your staff and clients all the time is extremely important. It reaps positive returns in unthinkable ways, especially during times of crisis or your darkest moments as an entrepreneur. Staff members would rally around you and volunteer to take pay cuts or to receive their pay with a delayed time frame for those who had savings to tide them through. Even bankers can be negotiated with to work out a payment plan for outstanding loan amounts when you show sincerity, gumption and a wish to pay them. Some clients would engage more services with you or ensure their payments are not delayed to help you through those periods.

A positive mindset and pivoting to new opportunities: In any economic, financial or pandemic crisis, new opportunities and scenarios arise which can pivot your business towards where your organisation and staff have related competencies. During the SARS period, I operated a home cleaning business and pivoted our business to take on sanitisation activities for childcare centres and playschools- both to serve the community’s need at that time and obtain some revenues to keep our cash flow going when the home cleaning activities dropped. Even in this current Covid-19 situation, in my current industry (Events) many companies are in the same boat with zero revenue for many months. Maintain positivity and seek a way out with peers and staff who share that same “can do” spirit. There are new streams of income to develop and new ways of conducting our business.

It will be important not to lapse into a negative spiral psychologically as you will, in turn, attract negativity and it would limit your ability to pivot or take certain steps to “evolve” the business.

When working in a corporation, my greatest difficulty is in rolling out new innovative ideas and change management. Many times, internal stakeholders (Senior Management, Board, Staff) may be the ones in a state of great inertia and prove to be the greatest resistance to new ways of operating and new products. They have been conditioned for many years in the existing models and are uncomfortable or simply do not have the understanding about the new models, new technology and are fearful for their own jobs or are risk-averse to these investments in new models as it may fail.

If you are a leader, you need to: Create an environment- give strong management support and direction toward the whole organisation to future proof the business. Help the team working on these new innovations to build quick tests, wins and share the mini successes with the Board and staff. Encourage innovation from throughout the organisation. Ring fence your innovation units and provide them with a Sandbox to create and try different solutions. The Sandbox environment created can encompass various areas in procurement methodology, vendors, financial frameworks, success metrics etc.

If you are a staff member or a lead within that innovation unit, it is important to focus on the outcomes you are driving towards and be simple in your presentation to ensure your target audience understands what the new innovation is supposed to do or help with their business. Don’t lift your own ego by throwing in technology jargons. This will make their resistance levels go higher as they will reject the new innovation for fear that it will make them look stupid for not understanding it. Storytell in a coherent and simple manner to get the audience engaged and understand the points you are trying to convey.

How important are storytelling skills to you as a leader? How have you applied it in your work?

I was not aware of the need and importance to have storytelling skills as a leader until situations appeared where I had to address a large number of staff members in a presentation on our business directions and other separate investment projects where I needed to get the buy-in from sceptical stakeholders.

I have since worked with professionals on various aspects of storytelling and communicating effectively and succinctly with clear visuals and simple articulation to ensure higher audience receptivity and understanding. It is an art worth mastering that includes pre-empting naysayers and their comments and using images that helps etch the impression that you wish to underscore. I have now applied this to conference presentations I have to give, presentations to potential clients, work teams and to Board members.

How are you marketing your business/getting clients? Is there a unique way you use to differentiate yourself/your firm?

For the advisory business that is just starting, it will be marketed through the following:

  • Networks (Personal networks, Collaboration Partners)
  • Multipliers (External Trade Associations in Asia for trade show organisers, Community Groups)
  • Trade events
  • Focused direct outreach (Linkedin outreach or a direct letter/email or call to the Founder, senior management of a targeted company
  • Online search
  • Content Leadership pieces via my Linkedin

What would you say has been the greatest lesson so far as a leader in your work?

I would say the greatest lesson for me as a leader in my work is to grow the company in a calibrated manner. Sometimes, many projects and new opportunities will come our way and there is a tendency to take on too much growth that the organisation and its talents may be insufficient to take on the load or insufficiently skilled that will lead to a failed outcome.

It will be a constant struggle for leaders to reject business at times but it is necessary for sustainable growth of the company than growing too fast on unstable foundations and inappropriate systems for the larger scale.

Some of the factors that I use to consider include:

  1. Is this new opportunity strategic or core to our business now? Or will it be a distraction?
  2. What are the tradeoffs? Vs Wins? (staff, supplier’s time committed and financial resources vs benefits (cash and in-kind)

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Through the years, I am grateful for the many pieces of advice I have received from mentors, peers and family members in various aspects of my life whether it is for the business and work front or in my personal life.

However, there is one piece of advice that I received from our family doctor once that stuck with me throughout the years that has taught me to remain focused.

“Your life at work or in your business can sometimes be viewed as a driver in a Formula One race. You blink. You die.”

It may sound harsh but it was to train me to be focused on what matters and the direction ahead towards my purpose or mission. Disregard and do not get involved with the noise and distractions. In this day and age, there are countless meetings, messages and notifications that will distract us from our main goal or which will lead us to be inefficient. “Busyness” is not necessarily a good thing. It has to be a constant reminder in our own minds to stay focused.

If you had to offer a piece of advice to someone just starting out or who aspires to lead a team/organisation. What advice would you give?

Lead by example in all facets. Do what you say and say what you do. You will not win the trust of the team or people in the organisation if you do not live by and reflect the values and processes that you are espousing. You will be surprised how the culture of the company will be built just by you leading by example.

If one of your company values is that of pursuing Growth and Learning, then as a Leader, you have to be creating learning and growth opportunities for all your team members whether through informal situations, small projects, formal career progression or courses for all your team members. Do not hold back or be protective over sharing your experience or competencies to guide your next in line. You will be surprised by how much more growth you and your staff will experience. For the company, you are “unlocking” your talents for them to grow and flourish.

What have you started trying this year that has been working well for you as a leader?

I used to be very busy with my whole workday packed with meetings with clients, various team meetings or discussions with the subsidiaries. There wasn’t time set aside to think, strategise, ideate or just learn.

In running a business and growing it, many a times, there are many many issues to resolve and which keeps you up at night. This year, I have made it a point to block a timeslot early morning to have this time set aside for me to think, ideate, strategise or just learn from reading. I have found this beneficial for myself and in the way I lead as I am clear of each day’s purpose, prioritisation of activities and also to learn new ideas and spend time reflecting on its applications on the business.

Share with us something you learned recently that changed how you intend to run your team/business.

I have been reading this book Platform Revolution recently and it has changed my perspective of our trade events industry to now view them as knowledge and network platforms. Platforms now thrive greatly on a different set of business drivers and metrics, business architecture and systems and are asset-light compared to traditional pipeline businesses.

It has changed me this past year on how we should evolve our traditional face-to-face trade exhibitions and conferences to include strong digital platforms to enable sharing, learning and networking amongst the community online and also open up opportunities and monetisation to those who could not come to our events. Use data and appropriate recommendation engines to facilitate interactions for greater business amongst the community. I think it will help many new leaders to understand the concept of platforms and how it will impact or help evolve their business.

What is one book you would recommend that every new leader or storyteller be reading?

I would recommend this book, The Leader, The Teacher & You by Lim Siong Guan and Joanne H. Lim.

This book is the 2014 winner of the Singapore Literature Prize and depicts the everyday applied leadership based on the principles and experiences of Lim Siong Guan, former Head of the Singapore Civil Service and former Group President of GIC Private Limited. I recommend this book for every new and existing leader as it gives a fresh take on the notion of leadership as being other-centred so that we can all be the best that we can be.

What are 3-4 tools (digital or offline) that you feel everyone should know about?

Microsoft Sharepoint and Google Docs that enables everyone to work collaboratively on a single document across teams/offices

Trello – It is a good tool to manage projects across different teams and different workstreams.

How can people connect with you?

They can connect with me on:

my Linkedin. https://www.linkedin.com/in/adrian-sng-a03a0b14/

My email at: [email protected]