Use Wufoo integrations and get your data to your favorite apps.

Category: Education

There are 14 posts published under Education.

Why You Should Work at a Startup

Startup communities are cropping up all over the world. Global News called 2014 ‘The Year of Startup Communities’. Almost every day, a new accelerator program is announced. We prefer the announcements and results coming out of existing accelerators than to hear another one has been born, but still - the spirit of the entrepreneur is spreading. Since anyone with a computer and an internet connection can start a company, and learning to code is becoming cooler than ever; the growth and unwavering hype around everything startups does not look like it’s going to slow anytime soon.


If you’re reading this you might already have an interest in startups. You might not have a ‘big idea’ right now, and might not be an innovation leader yet - but have you ever considered working for a startup? Your interest doesn’t need to be as a co-founder, and you don’t need to aspire to be the next Zuck - startups need good people and people need to do work they’re passionate about. You don’t even need to necessarily have experience - fresh grads and startups are a great match.


Here’s why we think YOU should consider working for a startup:


  1. Startups need good talent arguably more than large companies do. Lets face it, large companies have enough man power to get things done while they are busy looking for more staff. They’re going to get by. But for a startup, every day missing a key skill or knowledge can be crippling.
  2. Second-to-none experience to be gained. In large companies there are teams of people working on key tasks or objectives. You won’t always get a chance to try something new. Startups need confident and ready risk-takers. The best lessons and experiences come from diving in and having a go because there’s simply no time to waste! With your contract you’re handed a lot more responsibility at startups than you might find at established companies, which leads us to number 3…
  3. Maximum impact. Being with a company from its humble beginnings means you get to see your passion and hard work make real impact over time, influencing the outcome of the team’s work. Been chipping away at your established workplace for years, but not feeling fulfilled or like you’ve made an impact? Startups are everywhere and they’re ready for your influence. Alex Lynn of Real Ventures told MTL NewTech last month that people working for startups benefit from seeing the future before it happens - meaning these people are also shaping the future.
  4. Savvy graduates need not be just a number. Large companies are full of faces. Numbers, even. Fresh grads are often lured by well-known brand names and companies with impressive history. But will you be just another number? Choose a startup and you might just skip years of waiting for promotions, waiting to be noticed and waiting to make an impact - for your moment to shine. You can step into high-level positions right away, or maybe even just something closer to the job you really want; you don’t always have to spend years working towards that if you find the right fit at a startup.
  5. Increased flexibility. Although a lot of companies are switching it up to let you work remotely, (P&G major announcement last year, Work From Home Program) many startups don’t have offices yet and working from home or the nearest cafe with WIFI can often be the norm. Plus, if your startup hooks up with a local co-op space, you’ll experience a fresh and new kind of environment. These kinds of shared spaces can spark creativity and innovation just by being surrounded by people equally as passionate from other like-minded companies doing all kinds of different and amazing things.


Busbud CEO and Co-Founder LP Maurice, a leader in the Montreal startup community thinks you should work for a startup too. “I think that startups offer some of the most exciting career opportunities right now, partly because you can learn a lot very rapidly, partly because you can play an active role defining your work environment, but mostly because of the potential to have a big direct impact on society.”.


Even the PPLCONNECT Co-Founders Jenviev Azzolin and Denzil D’Sa left a large, Fortune 500 company to begin PPLCONNECT. Jenviev shares her view on the appeal of startups;


Startups offer very meaningful experience, especially for young graduates eager to learn quickly and accelerate their career. Typically, startups have very little to no hierarchy, which means you can gain a wide-breadth of experience and exposure to complex corporate challenges, which would otherwise be reserved for more senior employees. At the end of the day, you can have a major direct impact on your team, end-users and tackle a worldwide problem.


The trending keyword here seems to be ‘impact’. Having an impact in your daily work ultimately leads to fulfilling work. And the best part? The growth of startups means that supply of ready and willing startup employees is always low. If you find a startup you’re passionate about and you’re an intelligent person smart enough to know when to take risks, then the chance to shape the future is yours for the taking.



Stories Behind the Apps - TRIOMPHE

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 4.04.24 PM

Please tell us about your app! TRIOMPHE is created by a native speaking French teacher to support students preparing for French exams at GCSE, ALevel, IB and DELF.

I created this App because with 30 students per classroom, I realised very quickly it was just impossible to correct the pronunciation of everyone. We built this app to satisfy the demands of the talented students who really desire to understand the French language.

Through continual communication and feedback with and from my students and customers,  I have spent a lot of time understanding their needs and what will help them to take their spoken French to a higher level. With this in mind, I began to develop a substantial curriculum which is aligned to exam boards criteria.

Shoot 1

We wanted to ensure students and users can practise their listening and pronunciation skills with a native French teacher. TRIOMPHE is a complete tutor in that, it explains the written rules in both English and French.

How is the app different from similar apps? TRIOMPHE explains the pronunciation and written rules of the French language along with practical exercises to fully enable learning. You will learn the French way and understand the language at a much deeper level than existing apps. We believe this app is an innovative step forward in French learning.

TRIOMPHE is mainly focused on pronunciation, written rules, gender classification for nouns and matching adjectives correctly. A unique aspect of this is that the user can easily track progress and also revise and rectify mistakes.

Small Icon in App

Tell us about the app icon and design. We created our Icon from our collection of photos and images. Our objective was to ensure the icon design was clean and colourful. We also wanted to highlight the name of the app and it’s clear message of linguistic success: “TRIOMPHE over your French Exam!” “Triumph” and `Triomphe’ mean the same thing in both English and French: to succeed!

All the design work was done using PowerPoint, Paint and Photoshop. We spent over a month debating how we wanted it to look and get to a point we were happy with.

What resources or communities assisted you in building the app? The sound and the quality of the pronunciation was really important for us, so we worked very hard at getting it right. Technically, again we worked incredibly hard to making sure the app was easy to navigate. Friends and Family really helped with continual testing before the initial release.

Shoot 3

What did you learn building the app? I learned that you need to be very patient and determined!

I am so completely passionate about helping people to learn French. It is become more like a hobby to me than a job, I learn something new everyday and I want to share with others the best way to learn. If people learn as much about the French language as I have learned in the development of this app, I will be incredibly happy and proud.

Who is on the team and what are your roles? We are a very small team of 2 ! We are :  Anders Christensen -product developer and myself ( Co-Founders ). So you can appreciate that the development of the app was a massive challenge.

Agnès Gaillard, creator of TRIOMPHE

Agnes Gaillard, creator of TRIOMPHE

What were you doing prior to building the app? I was and I continue to be a french teacher here in the UK. I teach my children, students and customers the French Way with the same methodology I have developed on my app! Most importantly I can say from my own experience: “ it WORKS!” My children did their own french GCSE in Year 8 and Year 5 with both of them gaining an A* each.

Head over to the iTunes App Store to download TRIOMPHEHey you app devs!  Wanna be featured like TRIOMPHEBe sure to check out


Under the Radar: 5 Tech Careers You Haven't Heard About

Just about every job in the modern world involves new technology in some way, but if you can’t get enough of gadgets, code, and tech news, you’ll want to get your hands dirty in the deep end of the technology career pool. There’s a lot more out there than just the typical gigs. You can go beyond being a systems administrator, a Web designer, or even a robotics engineer. Here are a few exciting, unusual careers emerging in the field of technology that are set to become more prevalent in the next few years.

Computational Linguist

One of the most impressive parts of the most powerful computer in the world (the human brain) is its ability to process, parse, and even invent language. Teaching man-made computers to do the same thing is a real challenge, given how complex and subjective human language can be.

Computational linguists are the programmers, engineers, and language experts who work to solve this problem, creating real-world solutions spanning from dictation software to robust translation programs. In the near future, computational linguists will be essential in teaching operating systems and even robots how to talk and listen to the people who use them.

Marketing Futurist

The image we have of the field of marketing usually involves copywriters and artists coming up with the next brilliant idea, but modern marketing is a lot more data-driven than that. While the creative teams stick to language and art, their work is often based on market data and projections created by researchers and analysts. Marketing futurists work to synthesize long-term trends in consumer behavior to predict tomorrow’s trends, mixing data with psychology in truly revolutionary ways.

This position goes beyond simple analysis to include the potential in technologies not yet developed or released to the public. Just imagine being the marketing expert who saw the business potential in viral videos before that term even existed. That’s what a futurist is supposed to do.

Sustainability Officer

This is about more than just teaching companies to “go green.” Sustainability officers use complex research and analytics to monitor how a company uses its resources, from water and electricity to fleet fuel and business card paper. In the end, the officer’s job is to help the company save time and money by being more internally efficient, as well as developing a certifiable reputation for environmentally friendly and responsible behaviors.

A lot of consumers look for green certifications on their products and increasingly in the places where they live and work. A sustainability officer helps an organization build that reputation through diligent observation and reporting.

Health Care Informatics Specialist

Informatics is an emerging field concerned with how we organize, store, transmit, and share data of all kinds. This is of special interest to hospitals, clinics, and other organizations in the health care field. A career in health care informatics involves updating how medical facilities track and organize patient data. More than just digitizing charts, this ever-evolving field is quickly becoming the crux of how many health care organizations plan to approach a very fast-moving medical landscape in the near future.

Hacking Specialist

In a world where the credit card information of millions of people can be stolen by hackers without anyone noticing for months, digital security has to get creative. That’s why many companies have turned to genuine hacking experts to help them find their weak spots so they can bolster their data security.

In short, an ethical hacking specialist does what he or she does best: break into secured data stores. Instead of stealing information, planting malware, or sending sneaky messages, these hackers inform their clients of where others may exploit the weaknesses and how to patch them. For those who love getting under the hood of complex digital systems, this is a dream job with all of the fun and none of the potential jail time.

The future of tech careers is always at the bleeding edge of technology itself. If you’re interested in not just where tech is today, but where it will be in years to come, keep your eyes on the possibilities tomorrow’s tech will open.


On Designing Mobile Education Apps

The art of design has a long tradition. History is filled with wonderful examples. But we are in a new age, where design, and especially educational design, is not only about space and graphics and looks. It is about the learning experience. It is this aspect of design for mobile education apps that is most crucial – not only the “look,” but also the “feel.”


Not Just Another Pretty Face


There are a lot of beautifully designed apps out there. They fit into the mobile nicely. They are aesthetic. They have points of interest along with an overall clean and neat look. The colors are well chosen, the graphics are nice to look at and draw the attention of the user. In short, there are a lot of pretty faces out there.


But education is a serious business. It is about really getting ahead. A user that chooses to get your educational app has a real motive – to be better, to improve, to learn, to get ahead in life. It is not only what is on the outside but what is on the inside of the app that matters. Just like in any real relationship, the app needs to supply more than just an initial attraction. It needs to foster effective learning and deliver real improvement and progress. It needs to build trust so that the user is willing to be led through the learning process.


Let’s Play


Games are fun, but learning is for a reason other than just to have a good time. A learner really wants to get something in addition to pure entertainment. On the other hand, boring old-style teaching just won’t make the mark any more.  Now that we have been exposed to great user experience we will not settle for anything else, and learning is no exception.


What does this mean for mobile education apps? It means that you can incorporate gaming into the design, but not make it the only focal point. You don’t engage in learning in order to play (and win) a game, you play a fun game (and win) in order to learn (winning in real life).


People will Use Your App If…


While the initial attraction to your app can rely on superficial aspects, the stickiness to use it for daily learning is much more about UX and design. How easy is it to use? How easy is it to understand? How engaging is the experience? What is the quality of the learning content? And how is this quality noticed?


And where does technology fit in all of this? When a solution incorporates state of the art technologies you must insist on reliability, stability, and consistency of user experience, even in variable network conditions. This is the staple of good UX. But remember, technology should be a tool, not the end-game.


So, why will people use your app? A good test would be to ask yourself honestly: Would I be my first customer? Try to spice your great technology and superb learning content with true passion for building the best teaching machine, and your answer will be – yes!


Design Do’s and Design Don’ts


There is never a cookbook or recipe for good design. After all, great design is considered ‘art’ for good reason. It is innovative. It is creative. It is functional. It serves a purpose and does it well. And, like in art, there is never really one way of doing something. But, here are a few mobile education app design do’s and don’ts.



  • Focus on the purpose first
  • Plan a learning process
  • Invest time and effort in designing the best learning experience
  • Use great technology, but keep it  in the background
  • Try to keep it all simple
  • Remember that in education – content is king
  • For all of the tips above, remember that your user is mobile, so practice your app in various contexts and environments with a variety of your supported devices.



  • Don’t use technology because you can
  • Don’t just focus on the look
  • Don’t import old-school education from other platforms to mobile
  • Don’t ignore users’ feedback
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and change the design and flow
  • Don’t try to make a perfect version from the beginning – it’s a process

What it Means to be an EdTech Startup

 EdTech – Educational Technology – combines two very different worlds.


As a startup, it is important to realize the intrinsic differences that are brought together in this new and exciting field. On the one hand, “education” is synonymous with institutions and conservatism, while “technology” is driven by innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.  An EdTech startup needs to bridge the gap between the institutional world and the world of innovation.


The Institution-Innovation Paradox


What is the institutional world? On the one hand, institutions are broadly based, providing a needed service that is well established, and part of the mainstream. The best educational systems in the world have shown a long history of incredible scholastic achievement, leading to great technological advances. On the other hand, institutions may be heavy, showing difficulty to adapt or change quickly. In the educational space, new ideas and methods are often slow to penetrate universities and schools the world over. Moreover, the learning methods are often those same methods that have been around for centuries. Paradoxically, institutions are the cradle for great innovation, and yet are the last to adopt innovative teaching approaches.


End-user Learning


In the past, learners needed to go to school or university to learn. But now, a world of self-help tools has sprung up with the advent of online and mobile learning.  This consumer market is characterized by focusing on the consumer: What does the consumer want, like, capable of doing? What will make his/her life easier? In the educational world, learners are quickly moving to mobile. A good mobile learning product has a consumer DNA that delivers a good learning user experience that is fun, social, and easy to use.


 Education goes Consumer


Today, the education sector is going through a disruption. Consumerism is creeping into the educational institutional world with BYOD and BYO tools. Nowadays, teachers or trainers are coping with consumer products that are brought into their classroom or that they bring in for teaching, and are scrambling to use them to good effect. Education innovation is not waiting for school boards, parent teacher’s meetings, government decrees, training program directives, or board decisions. The classroom is no longer traditional. It is already being infiltrated with consumer mobile products that are used by students in institutions whether the institution likes it or not. So, with the new fact of life that students the world over are using their mobiles to learn, it is now the turn of EdTech to marry the two worlds of Ed and Tech.


Moving from Old-Style to New-Age Teaching


With the adoption of new mobile teaching tools (BYOD or school provided devices), a new type of blended learning emerges that incorporates mobile tools, endless information sources, community based solutions, games, etc.  At first glance, this looks chaotic. But let’s take a closer look.


In the past, a teacher was the sole source of information and would be the only means of delivering learning content to all. This meant that there was one single teaching method (provided by the teacher) and learning content strictly defined by the institute (curriculum). But we are all different, and learners have their own individual strengths and weaknesses.


Today, every student has access to full libraries in his/her pocket, more than any teacher could ever know. Each student is equipped with a strong mobile computer that is connected to the entire human repository of knowledge.


Soon, a teacher can be a mentor and not simply a dry content delivery tool. The New-Age teacher will be able to coach students for maximal learning benefit, guiding each student to take advantages of individual differences, and suggesting customized learning. The mobile computer will handle the repetitive and dry tasks of delivering the content, while the teacher will identify the human characteristics of each student and direct and advise on the best tools and approaches. Humans will do what humans are best at – feeling, perceiving  and identifying the human qualities in a learner. Mobile computers will do what they do best – finding, retrieving, and providing information.


EdTech will Change the World


What does this mean for education? It means that students, teachers, institutional administrators, corporate, and governments will be coaxed by EdTech products to become more individual-oriented in their approach to teaching. It means that EdTech will foster a new, innovative type of blended learning that encourages individualization, good user experience, and learning satisfaction, by providing flexible and results-oriented solutions. If in the past, institutions were used to getting one method to try to fit all, EdTech products will provide a variety of solutions that indeed fit all.


So, what does it mean to be an EdTech startup today? It means to be the bridge between old and new. It means to be at the turning point of human educational evolution and be able to change the way people learn for centuries to come. After all, how many times in life do we have a chance to really influence the world? We are at the beginning of an educational revolution. If you choose to join, you can leave a mark for future generations. Isn’t that inspiring? It is for me.


Online But Not Connected: The Challenge MOOCs Face in the Promise of Internet Education

Online learning courses have notoriously low completion rates. An informal study by Ph.D. candidate Katy Jordan found that average completion for massive open online courses, commonly known as MOOCs, is about 7%. While MOOCs have been touted as a catalyst for change in higher education in particular, the coming revolution may have been overstated with completion rates this low.


Equality of access is at the heart of much of the hubbub surrounding MOOCs. They provide free or low-cost access to the world’s top lecturers and instructors. Therefore, they ostensibly provide world-class, college-level instruction at a steep discount. MOOC services like the courses Coursera and Udemy offer insure this by providing video lectures, texts, assignments, and projects. At the end, they offer a certification confirming completion of the course.


But MOOCs may be trying to mimic college courses too closely. A quick browse of the courses starting soon on Coursera show that courses tend to be between 6 to 12 weeks long and require an average of anywhere between 4 and 16 hours of work per week. In other words, while MOOCs may be vastly cheaper than the traditional college course, they still require heavy time commitments. These courses may just be too long or too intensive for people who want to learn a new topic as a side project or hobby. Very few courses offer the option of being broken up in smaller increments and none of the courses give credit for partially completed courses.


As they currently stand, MOOCs are not taking advantage of all that the internet has to offer. They are still being taught by the book in the age of the internet. In stark contrast with the networked nature of the internet, they only provide linear instruction, there is an all-or-nothing logic to course completion, and they deliver courses in a rigid and vertical timetable. Coursera and Udemy fail to even offer similar suggested courses, much less suggestions for continued learning if a student did complete a course — or were looking for a more advanced course on the same topic. So, yes, MOOCs are, as the name suggests, on the internet, but they fail to be of the internet.


Placing courses onto the internet potentially gives us the ability to break down their components into smaller discrete chunks and gives students the option of where to go after completing a lesson. For instance, an introductory calculus lesson can be a short lesson on how to take a simple derivative. From there, the course can give students the option to learn to take more complex derivatives, to learn how to integrate, or to learn how derivatives may be applied in other topics such as physics or economics.


Online learning gives us the opportunity to rethink how people tailor their own educations based on their needs and desires. MOOCs may still revolutionize — and democratize — education, though not necessarily in the ways people originally expected; If we would only learn from, instead of fighting, the logic of the internet.


5 Things You'll Learn From Starting A Business In College That You Won't Learn In Class

Thankfully, I was able to start my first business as a senior in high school. The opportunity to start my business so early on in life was a blessing, because I got first-hand perspective on a lot of things.


As I balanced school and business simultaneously during my college years, I quickly learned something extremely valuable. There were a lot of real-life lessons I was learning from running my business that I didn’t learn in the classroom.


In this article, I’m going to share why you should start a business in college and the 5 things you’ll learn from starting a business in college that you won’t learn in class:


1. There Is No Formula


School is all about listening to lectures and reading through textbooks to pass tests on the material. No matter how much material you read, you will never really have a precise formula on how to be successful as an entrepreneur.


The reason for that is because there is no process or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur. It takes grit, grinding and a lot of patience. You have to learn on-the-go and, most importantly, make discoveries as you apply yourself.


No matter what class you take in college, you will never know what it takes to be successful as an entrepreneur until you actually go out there and try it for yourself.


2. How To Sell


No matter what it is that you choose to do after college, you have to have the ability to sell. If you start a business, you have to sell yourself to get new customers, new employees or even new partners.


If you choose to get a job, you’re still going to have to sell. Instead of selling something, you’re going to have to sell yourself during the interviews to land a job.


Selling is probably the most crucial skill of all, but, unfortunately, college isn’t the place to learn how to do it.


3. Education Is Continuous


College does a great job of making you feel like you never have to learn another thing after getting your degree, but your education is just beginning. If you truly want to be successful, you have to forget about the hundreds of thousands of dollars you spent on your college tuition and continue learning on your own.


College will never tell you to continue pursuing an education after graduating or how to learn upon graduation. Any business owner, however, can tell you how vital learning on-the-go is to be successful as an entrepreneur.


4. No Doesn’t Always Mean No


College doesn’t tell you much on how to deal with rejection. For some reason, college is taught in such a way that they almost make you feel invincible. As long as you get your good grades, nothing can stop you and everything will go your way.


Ask a college graduate about that and they will tell you their horrific stories. Not only are you going to face rejection from the world, things also aren’t always so pretty on the other side.


However, as a business owner, you must have a lot of persistence and willingness to accept rejection. If you hear the word “NO,” that doesn’t mean you should stop. That just means you should try again in another way.


5. You Have To Do It All


College doesn’t necessarily prepare you very well to be an entrepreneur, because it doesn’t help you diversify your skills. When I started my first business, I was literally the sales guy, project manager, customer support guy, marketing guy, and the accounting guy.


I had five roles that I had to balance simultaneously. Had I gone to college, I would have only sharpened up either my marketing skills or my accounting skills while leaving me high and dry for everything else.


If you wish to be a successful entrepreneur, you must realize that you may end up having to do it all when you start your first business. College won’t prepare you for that, but you should be aware of the possibilities.


Top Startup and Tech News Today-7 Things You Missed Today

1. Apple No Longer Innovates, Says the Man Who Helped Steve Jobs Design the Mac

Hartmut Esslinger has quite the resume when it comes to industrial design; after all, he worked with Steve Jobs to establish the “design language” that was used on the Mac line of computers for over a decide. Esslinger’s iconolocastic firm had designed over 100 products for Sony before he signed an exclusive, $1 million deal with Apple. But the Apple that he worked with is gone, says Esselinger. The visionary founders have been replaced by leaders who can’t think beyond increasing profit.

Steve Jobs “stubbornly insisted on trying new things,” says Esslinger. Jobs knew that design could define Apple’s brand more so than any marketing campaign could. So, Esselinger’s “Snow White” design language, which integrated the Mac’s outer plastic shell with the software it contained, took off and made Macs a household item.

The re-thinking of the integration of hardware and software is one of the most important things in the near future, says Esslinger. “Flat screens have reached a level of saturation,” he says. “The cheapest way is not always the best way… There is much more freedom [in design] than we think we have.”

2. The 6 most important things Mark Zuckerberg revealed yesterday

  1. Facebook is currently at a crossroads. Hopefully, at the end of their journey, Facebook will be thriving in a world where everyone is on it.
  2. Facebook wants to become a “data map” within the next five or ten years.
  3. It’s important to stay focused on doing what you believe as right; sometimes, you’re ahead of the market and they’ll catch up. A good example would be Facebook’s mobile app; when first introduced, everyone thought it was preposterous. It turned out to be very successful.
  4. It’s tough to determine when something isn’t going to work, as opposed to it hasn’t worked yet. But this is important.
  5. Zuckerberg thinks the “government blew it” in its role to protect American citizens in terms of privacy.
  6. Zuckerberg has started teaching a middle-school class in order to gain perspective on education issues.

3. Twitter Files for IPO

Twitter, and all its 200 million users, has filed for its first public offering. This announcement came out threw a single tweet. “We’ve confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO,” said Twitter on Thursday.

Twitter’s disclosure of its filing is a variation on the new “secret” IPO process, which comes from the recent JOBS act. This gives companies the power to file with the SEC without public scrutiny. If Twitter truly does go public and sell its shares, it will have to do disclose financial documents. Although, we already know one hint of its financial realms – to even take advantage of JOBS, the company’s annual revenue must be less than $1 billion. Thus, we know the maximum amount of money that Twitter makes.

4. Why is Samsung throwing money at startups?

“The market has shifted from one where you make phones to one where you control or piggyback off an ecosystem. Samsung controls the supply chain to a greater degree than anyone else, but it has realized that it lags the leaders in software, integration, and services… Its thought process is simple: go where the innovation is happening, Silicon Valley and New York, and cozy up to these folks to get a better look at what it takes to build beautifully integrated apps.” says research director at Current Analysis Avi Greengart.

Samsung has recently announced a new venture fund made up of $1 billion. They will use this to back early-stage startups and buy talent. They’re looking to meet the hottest companies, inquire, and acquire; a different model from their VC arm. Thus, that that hang at the accelerator may become Samsung apps in a limited amount of time. This accelerator space in New York features offices and conference rooms where a young startup can grow. “I could definitely get used to working here, said Nate Gosseln, a senior manager at the startup ShareThrough. “As we look to the future, our biggest opportunities to innovate are outside of hardware,” said BK Yoon, CEO of Samsung.

5. Vodafone Hacker Accesses 2 Million Customers’ Banking Data

A hacker got into Vodafone’s server in Germany and gained access to 2 million customer’s personal details as well as banking information. Data such as names, addresses, birth dates, and bank account information were all stolen from the world’s second-biggest mobile-phone carrier. The hacker however has no access to credit card information, said Vodafone.

The attack was detected in early September, stopped, and reported to the police. Clients who are worried can check on Vodafone’s German website to see whether or not they are affected. While the data stolen is not enough for criminals to access bank accounts, Vodafone warns clients of phishing attacks. After this incident was announced, Vodafone shares fell .8% in the market.

6. J .P. Morgan’s plan to help startups stay private longer

“Come to Silicon Valley” was the message that Noah Wintroub, head of Internet and digital media banking for JP Morgan, kept telling James Lee, the bank’s vice chairman. Wintroub wanted Lee to come see that Facebook was just the tip of the iceberg; there were dozens of other maturing tech startups that could benefit from being with the bank. So, Lee came over. “Historically these companies finance themselves via venture capital and maybe a little bit of bank debt…But at some stage they don’t want more bank debt and they don’t want additional dilution. So their only real option was to go public, which they may not yet feel ready to do.” Said Lee, about growing startups.

So, Lee decided to develop and create a new system, where startups could avoid to do either. His creation, a trademarked debt product called SPL (Stay Private Longer) is a customized combination of a cash-pay coupon and a payment-in-kind note. The first company to use SPL was SurveyMonkey, the second being consumer electronics startup JawBone. “J.P. Morgan created a unique instrument designed to fill a near-term capital hole that we had,” says Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman.”J.P. Morgan has a big war chest to put into companies, so today it is tens of millions and someday it may scale up to billions.”

7. Five Things Startups Shouldn’t Digitize

  1. Belly to Belly Contact. When you have to connect with clients or pitch an idea, do it in person. Trust is an element that is best dealt with in person.
  2. Create extraordinary brand journeys. When clients visit your showroom or product displays, make sure that each touch point is designed and cared for, and that everything elicits a positive response.
  3. Post Purchase Support. If something goes wrong, fix the problem in person. Sometimes client relationships can be further deepened when you fix a flaw.
  4. Some marketing touch points.
  5. Education.



Top Startup and Tech News Today-7 Things You Missed Today

1. How eBay Could Rescue Bitcoin From the Feds


Bitcoin exchanges have run into a hurdle in the form of the U.S. banks. There are questions about whether or not they “meet federal and state money transmission business regulations.” While this is quite a setback, another company is in prime position to take advantage of the situation: eBay. It had a “virtual currencies” section, allowing people to sell and purchase Bitcoins—it’s a forum for Bitcoin exchange, bypassing the federal and state regulations via PayPal.


The only thing preventing eBay from taking advantage of this opportunity, should they choose to do so, is the fact that Paypal allows chargebacks. Someone could purchase Bitcoins on eBay and simply state that the Bitcoins weren’t delivered, defrauding the seller. If eBay manages to solve this problem, PayPal could be in even bigger competition with Bitcoin. “They could very well find their business model outdated,” states financial regulations lawyer, Van Cleef.


2. Google is joining the Open edX platform


Google released Course Builder, an experimental platform, last year to test the waters in online education. It was well received with a multitude of different online courses available with various institutions experimenting with MOOCs (massive open online course). To continue with the online education front, Google has decided to join Open edX, a non-profit aiming to provide interactive online courses, as a contributor.


The effects of the combined efforts of both companies will provide much for the developers and consumers. Director of Research, Dan Clancy says, “We hope that our continued contributions to open source education projects will enable anyone who builds online education products to benefit from our technology, services and scale. For learners, we believe that a more open online education ecosystem will make it easier for anyone to pick up new skills and concepts at anytime, anywhere.”


3. Consumer: Stay Smart to Avoid WiFi Hackers


Becoming a super connected metropolis with free WiFi everywhere sounds great, but it also has its cons. One glaring problem is the presence of WiFi Hackers. Leeds is one such city that hopes to realize this vision.  A survey done on Britons was done to examine their WiFi use and determine how safe people really are.


Half of the surveyed do not know if the WiFi hotspot they use is secure, opening them up to identity fraud. Two thirds use the hotspots to check their email, a smorgasbord of personal information. Even more surprising, ten percent of people access their bank accounts with the public WiFi.


A brief list from these findings states that: important online tasks should stay at home, remove automatic connections on your mobile device, and don’t use apps whose encryption method is unknown.


4. Microsoft Seeks Cloud, Mobile, and Gaming Startups in London’s Tech City


Microsoft launched a 12 week accelerator program for UK cloud, mobile, and gaming startups in East London Tech City. 20 startups will have the opportunity to gain mentorship from executives from Microsoft, Train2Game, Lift London, and more.  This program is the latest of 10 around the world by Microsoft. The success rate of companies, from a total of 119, getting funding (within 6 months of the program’s end) is 85 percent! The kicker, though, is that Microsoft does not plan on taking equities from the startups. Rather, they will hope that the accelerator program will help to create future successful partnerships and additions to the Microsoft family.


5. Facebook Rolls Out “Professional Skills” Section on User Profiles


Facebook tries its hand at doing what LinkedIn has been already been doing, acting as a professional outlet for users. It recently included a new feature that allows users to add professional skills to their profile. Facebook takes this one step further than LinkedIn in that they connect skills to relevant interest groups, giving potential hires even more exposure. For those who worry about privacy, there is an option to adjust the privacy settings on the resume.


“If Facebook’s Professional Skills feature takes off, you’ll be able to browse through friends’ vacation picks and potential hires, all at the same time.”


6. What Startups Need to Know about Obamacare


With Obamacare coming out soon, startups have more health insurance options available to employees. Plans will come in 4 flavors—the typical Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum setup, each with increasing cost and coverage.


Exchanges will start on October 1st, 2013—small businesses can take advantage of this time and look at the exchanges and plans. Since insurance companies will not be able to deny anyone, the rates for insurance will increase, especially for those below the age of 30. However, most of the regulations placed onto small businesses are delayed until 2015 instead of 2014.


7. Fun: First Actual Computer Bug Was Found Today, 66 Years Ago


It’s time to celebrate the 66th birthday of the first discovered computer bug! In 1947, the Mark II Aiken Relay Computer in Harvard had a peculiarity in its system—a bug. For all the technophiles out there, it, unfortunately isn’t the metaphorical bug we all know of; it was literally a bug; a moth. The person who helped to publicize this and coin the term “bugging” and “debugging” is Grace Hopper. The moth itself exists in a logbook in the Nation Museum of American History, but, unfortunately, is not on display.


Top Startup and Tech News Today-7 Things You Missed Today

1. US and UK spy agencies defeat privacy and security on the internet


US and UK intelligence agencies have successfully cracked most of the online encryption people used to protect the privacy of their personal data according to a top-secret document revealed by Edward Snowden. The files show that the NSA and the GCHQ (the UK counterpart to the NSA) have broadly compromised and stretched the guarantees that internet companies tell their customers. Communication, online banking, and medical records are not as indecipherable to governments as consumers are being told.


The agencies, the document says, have launched an ongoing and systematic assault on what is viewed as one of their biggest threats to their ability to access huge amounts of internet traffic – “the use of ubiquitous encryption across the internet.” One method used by these agencies include using supercomputers to break through encryption with what is called “brute force” and collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers. Through these partnerships, agencies have managed to insert “backdoors” into commercial encryption software.


The agencies insist that this is all necessary to their mission of fighting terrorism and foreign intelligence gathering. But security experts accuse them of simply attacking the internet and endangering the privacy of all internet users. “By deliberately undermining online security in a short-sighted effort to eavesdrop,” Bruce Schneier, an encryption specialist says, “the NSA is undermining the very fabric of the internet.”


2. The Lessons Every Entrepreneur Must Learn: The Wisdom Of Tony Hsieh, Blake Mycoskie And Many Others


1. Experience wins out over graduate school.

2. Keep a strong network.

3. Think “outside the box” – this will always win out.

4. Keep your venture philanthropic – do good, feel good, and you’ll see good results.

5. Use more than one discipline when approaching a new market.

6. Time, knowledge, and effort are just as important measured of currency as money.

7. Use capitalism as a force for good by incorporating the act of giving into your everyday life.

8. Low-risk, high-reward opportunities are aplenty. Today a company can be started for a minimal price and education can be gained through your fingertips. Exploit this.

9. When are young, you start at zero. So you can’t fail. Don’t take the safe choice.

10. Embrace the idea that you may have more than one career and they may not be in the same fields.

11. Risk assessment and risk management are important to have throughout your life.

12. Follow your passion – you’ll never find a successful person who isn’t passionate about what they do.

13. Don’t be afraid to disrupt. This is where innovation comes from.


3. Hackers for Hire, Just in It for the Cash


From Anonymous to the Syrian Electronic Army, it seems as through high-profile hackers and their adventures and exploits of the internet are constantly making the news. Some are driven by political ideals and revenge; some are driven by nothing more than boredom. But we see these two ends of the spectrum so often and so frequently that we forget about the most powerful motivator of all: money.


Last week, 24-year old Andrew James Miller pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and two counts of computer intrusion. From the years of 2008 to 2011, Miller allegedly hacker into “various commercial, education, and government computer networks” in order to steal information and install “backdoors” that would allow him to sell access to these networks later. He was caught for trying to sell secret access to two US government supercomputers for $50,000 to an undercover FBI agent. Miller also sold the FBI access to the Domino’s Pizza Chain domain for a price of $1,000.


Miller is a prime example of the other type of computer hacker – not the one who has a political goal or is simply looking for something to do, but one that hacks for hire. Not everyone wants to bring down a government; most clients simply want access to someone’s Facebook or email account.


Go ahead and Google “hacker for hire” and see a wide array of price quotes and services. Hackers for hire is a new trend, a new occupation, and one that looks like it is going to last.


4. Hackers find weaknesses in car computer systems


There are now cars that can park and drive by themselves. As cars become more automated and more advanced, they become more and more like PCs on wheels – so, if a hacker can take over a PC easily, who’s to say he can’t take over a car?


Recent demonstrations have shown that hackers can slam a car’s brakes at freeway speeds, jerk the steering wheel, and shut down the engine all from their laptop computer. All cars and trucks are roughly 20-70% computer. This computer runs through an internal network that controls everything from the brakes to the acceleration to the windows; this network is one that many hackers have gained access to. To be fair, these “hackers” were computer security experts, and it took them months to hack into the acr. But, experts say that high-tech hijackings get easier as automakers add more computer-controlled devices. “The more technology they add to the vehicle, the more opportunities there are for that to be abused for nefarious purposes,” says rich Mogull, CEO of Securosis, a security research firm.


Chris Valasek, a hacker and director of intelligence and a computer security consulting firm, says that he could control “steering, braking, acceleration to a certain extent, seat belts, lights, horn, speedometer, gas gauge.” The information that he and his partner Miller found when hacking into the car was released publicly at a hacker convention. They choose to do this in hopes of drawing attention to the problem; however, they say that the automakers haven’t added security to the ports or addressed any of the issues they found.


Whether or not “car hackers” is a legitimate security threat is a question that is subjective and open to interpretation. What is not, however, is the fact that people can gain access to your cars through the technology installed within it – the threat is real, and it is more than likely simply going to increase as time passes.


5. The four stages of life every successful startup must go through


Stage One: Winning your first ten customers. So how do you go about getting them? Som companies like Dropbox use virality. But most achieve product/market fit and generate word of mouth referrals by creating lasting customer experiences. It’s important for early-stage startups to stay close to their customers and beta-testers.

Stage Two: Overcoming the Gap. There are often discrepancies between what early adopters expert from a product and what the market needs; this is the biggest reason behind startup “infanticide.” Many startups forget to create ways for users to provide feedback into their products. Make sure you have this, and make sure you listen.

Step Three: Listening and Responding. Passionate users will direct customers to an online community where the organization actually talks and engages with them. Create discussions and inspire early users.

Step Four: Build Trust. Your users need to trust you. Be responsive with them, elicit their feedback, and communicate with your earliest and most enthusiastic users. Constantly wow customers through their experience with you.


6. Life’s a pitch: The other reasons startups do competitions


Competitions and pitches are tiring. So why do startups choose to do them? The only pitch that should matter is the one before an investor or a customer, right?




Pitching at competitions is a great test for ideas, says Mark Briggs, creator of Fork, a mobile app that lets people take and share photos of their home-made food. It makes sure that the pitcher has a clear and concise vision and concept that they’re able to explain and share with others. It’s not so much about the competition itself as it is the process getting there, he continues. “ Also, you usually get great feedback from smart people on your idea. Or, at least, your ability to pitch that idea. That can be super helpful, too.”


7. Stanford Investing in Student Startups


Stanford is jumping headfirst into the venture capital world by investing in student and alumni tech startups. It’s starting an uncapped investment fund and giving a $3.6 million grant to StartX, a non-profit startup accelerator for companies with a Stanford affiliation. The university’s business affairs department will oversee the investments.

StartX only invest in companies that have raised half a million in funding and a percentage of that must come from VCs or professional investors.