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

1. HTC announces One Max with 5.9-inch display and fingerprint scanner


On Monday, HTC revealed its HTC One Max, the giant phone-tablet hybrid we’ve seen extensively over the past couple of months. The handset is a larger version of the HTC One smartphone, which BGR recently dubbed as the best Android smartphone in the world. The One Max featured a 5.9 inch full HD display, 16/32 GB of internal storage, 2 GB f RAM, and more. It is also includes an integrated fingerprint scanner, which is positioned next to the camera lens on the back of the phone. HTC says that the One Max will begin rolling out later this month.


2. Foursquare opens up its self-serve ad platform


If you look at your Foursquare very carefully, you may notice more local mom-and-pop shops and restaurants on the side where Denny’s ads used to be. Foursquare started testing a new software this summer where anyone can buy an ad on a cost-per-action basis. The only minimum is that the restaurant must spend at least $50 a month. In further Foursquare news, CEO Dennis Crowley is very excited about the new features that lets users leave Foursquare tips without opening the app up.


3. Advertisers could track your smartphone through its accelerometer, researchers find


According to SFGate security researcher Hristo Bojinov, there is a way to distinguish individual devices simply by looking at the data that their accelerometers provide to webpages. Through this, it is theoretically possible to track a device around the web. A website would only need to implement a small piece of code. Bojinov said he was uncertain on whether or not people had already implemented this code; however, he’d be surprised if there wasn’t an advertiser already explaining this opportunity. This is far from the only tool advertisers have. They can already distinguish between people by looking at the information their browsers always hands over.


4. Festival of open houses taps San Francisco’s tech startup allure


New York based-entrepreneur Caleb Gandara came to San Francisco, and spent the day roaming the offices of startups such as Dropbox, chatting up executives. Gandara was one of the 3,700 people who signed up for “OpenCo,” a festival of open houses at San Francisco startups, non-profits, and corporations. This included companies like Google, startups like Cloudera, and chocolatiers like TCHO. OpenCo is billed as a novel twist on business conferences. Companies that open their doors get a chance to meet potential talent and make new connections. “You don’t have to be anybody special and in that spirit, OpenCo is just letting a community of people who are interested explore what is normally preserved for employees, professionals and business deals,” Gandara said.


5. Twitter reportedly planning targeted ad network for apps and websites


Now that Twitter is about to become a publicly traded company, it is hard pressed to find meaningful and stable sources of revenue. The options include advertising outside of users’ social streams, says a new report from the Financial Times. This report claims that Twitter is developing an ad networking for apps and websites that would then target visitors based on who they follow and what they tweet. It wouldn’t resemble Facebook’s login advertising, as most Twitter data is public. This is expected to launch after Twitter completes its recent acquisition of MoPub, a mobile ad exchange.


6. Facebook acquires data-saving service Onavo to speed up its mobile apps


Onavo, which has been around for more than three years now, has made its name helping users reduce their internet costs through data-shrinking. Facebook knows that data-shrinking is the key to their new plan to bring Internet to the world, which is why they have purchased the Israeli startup. Under Facebook’s guidance, Onavo will work with the coalition to increase the efficiency and lower the cost of web access. The company will continue to operate under its own brand while doing this.


7. 5 Things to Know Before Investing in Business Startups


  1. Beware of the opportunity. Think about why the opportunity is even being offered to you.
  2. Understand the structure of the business.
  3. Realize that you may not see return for years.
  4. Have an exit strategy planned.
  5. Do all your homework – business plan, SWOT analysis, etc.

Facebook’s vs Twitter’s Approach to Real-Time Analytics

Last year, Twitter and Facebook have released new versions of their real-time analytics systems.


In both cases, the motivation was relatively similar — they wanted to provide their customers with better insights on the performance and effectiveness of their marketing activities. Facebook’s measurement includes “likes” and “comments” to monitor interactions. For Twitter, the measurement is based on the effectiveness of a given tweet – typically called “Reach” – basically a measure of the number of followers that were exposed to the tweet. Beyond the initial exposure, you often want to measure the number of clicks on that tweet, which indicate the number of users who saw the tweet and also looked into its content.


Facebook’s vs Twitter’s Approach to real-time Analytics


Facebook Real-Time Analytics Architecture – Logging-Centric Approach:



  • Relies on Apache Hadoop framework for real-time and batch (map/reduce) processing. Using the same underlying system simplifies the maintenance of that system.


  • Limited real-time processing — the logging-centric approach basically delegates most of the heavy lifting to the backend system. Performing even a fairly simple correlation beyond simple counting isn’t a trivial task.


  • real-time is often measured in tens of seconds. In many analytics system, this order of magnitude is often more than enough to express a real-time view of what is going on in your system.


  • It is suitable for simple processing. Because of the logging nature of the Facebook architecture, most of the heavy lifting of processing cannot be done in real-time and is often pushed into the backend system.


  • Low parallelization — Hadoop systems do not give you ways to ensure ordering and consistency based on the data. Because of that, Facebook came up with their Puma service that collects and inputs data into a centralized service, thus making it easier to processes events in order.


  • Facebook collects user click streams from your Facebook wall through an Ajax listener which, then, sends those events back into the Facebook data centers. The info is stored on Hadoop File System via Scribe and collected by PTail.


  • Puma aggregates logs in-memory, batching them in windows of 1.5 seconds and stores the information in Hbase.


  • The Facebook approach puts a huge limit as to the volume of events that the system can handle and have significant implications over the utilization of the overall system.


Twitter Real-Time Analytics Architecture – Event-Driven Approach:



  • Unlike Facebook, Twitter uses Hadoop for batch processing and Storm for real-time processing. Storm was designed to perform fairly complex aggregation of the data that comes through the stream as it flows into the system, before it is sent back to the batch system for further analysis.


  • Real-time can be measured in milliseconds. While having second or millisecond latency is not crucial to the end user — it does have a significant effect on the overall processing time and the level of analysis that we can produce and push through the system. As many of those analyses involve thousands of operations to get to the actual result.


  • It is suitable for complex processing. With Storm, it is possible to perform a large range of complex aggregation while the data flows through the system. This has a significant impact on the complexity of the processing. A good example is calculating trending words. With the event-driven approach, we can assume that we have the current state and just make the change to that state to update the list of trending words. In contrast, a batch system will have to read the entire set of words, re-calculate, and re-order the words for every update. This is why those operations are often done in long batches.


  • Extremely parallel - Asynchronous events are, by definition, easier to parallelize. Storm was designed for extreme parallelization. Ultimately, it determines the speed level of utilization that we can get per machine in our system. Looking at the bigger picture, this quite substantially adds to the cost of our system and to our ability to perform complex analyses.

Final Words


Quite often, we get caught in the technical details of these discussions and lose sight of what this all really means.


If all you are looking for is to collect data streams and simply update counters, then both approaches would work. The main difference between the two is felt in the level and complexity of processing that you would like to process in real-time. If you want to continuously update a different form of sorted lists or indexes, you’ll find that doing so in an event-driven approach, as is the case of Twitter, can be exponentially faster and more efficient than the logging-centric approach. To put some numbers behind that, Twitter reported that calculating the reach without Storm took 2 hours whereas Storm could do the same in less than a second.


Such a difference in speed and utilization have a direct correlation with the business bottom line, as it determines the level and depth of intelligence that it can run against its data. It also determines the cost of running the analytics systems and, in some cases, the availability of those systems. When the processing is slower there would be larger number of scenarios that could saturate the system.




Using Social Media in the Business to Business World

 As a B2B company looking to grow and increase your overall profit, the number one goal has got to be to communicate your product or service in a way that demonstrates its value effectively to the target market.

Other companies have to know that your product exists, and see how your product can further enhance the profits of their product. This is how your company lands sales. The math is simple: the wider you can cast your advertisement net, the more costumers you will catch.


According to Hutt and Spen (2004 Business Marketing Management: A Strategic View of Industrial and Organizational Markets, 8th Edition, Thomson/South-Western), most B2B marketers commit only a small part of their promotional budgets to advertising, and that is usually through direct mail or trade journals. What if there was a way for you to increase your marketing without taking another penny from the budget? Two words:  Social. Media.


There are 6 branches of social media that are used successfully in B2B Marketing.
(And the good news is, they’re all free!)


  1. Social Networks - Services that allow you to connect with other people of similar interests and background. Facebook and LinkedIn fall into this category.
  2. Bookmarking Sites - Services that allow you to save, organize and manage links to various websites and resources around the internet. Delicious  and Stumbleupon  fall into this category.
  3. Social News - Services that allow people to post various news items or links to outside articles and then allows its users to “vote” on the items. Digg and Reddit fall into this category.
  4. Media Sharing - Services that allow you to upload and share various media such as pictures and video. Youtube and Flickr fall into this category. Another great option is Slideshare, which could be used to share sales presentations, etc. Instagram and Behance also allow images to be shared.
  5. Microblogging - Services that focus on short updates that are pushed out to anyone subscribed to receive the updates. Think Twitter. 
  6. Blog Comments and Forums - Online forums allow members to hold conversations by posting messages. There are lots of these to explore.


Spend a little time perusing these various sites and see which ones fit your company. It’s all about reaching companies through various avenues, so don’t be afraid to branch out beyond Facebook and Twitter. Your online social media presence should mirror your company. In the same way that you strive to diversify your business, diversify your online presence.


At the same time, remember not to stretch yourself too thin. It’s usually best to choose 2 or 3 social media vehicles and throw all your effort at them. Other businesses will learn where to find you and you’ll more easily be able to tell who’s seeking you out for valuable industry information.


As a B2B brand you’ll have to spend time cultivating your social media “voice.” A few good rules to live by include never bombarding followers with sales and promotions and always having a target market in mind before you post/Tweet, etc. As a business marketer you need to speak directly to other businesses in a language they can understand…providing valuable business insights is the greatest commodity you can offer online.


So, what’s your B2B social strategy? Every company’s is different but communication with the client base should always be the foundation.


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

1. Samsung Claims 100 Million People Use Its ChatOn Messaging Service


Though ChatOn is rarely heard of, Samsung says that its messaging service is relevant and has caught the fancy of some. In fact, Samsung claims that the “global subscriber base” of 100 million people who employ ChatOn readily enjoy it. Samsung is able to enjoy such a large number because ChatOn is available across a wide array of platforms, from iOS, Android, Bada, to the Web and the Windows Phone. When advertising for ChatOn, Samsung singled out China and India as key markets and touted features like drag-and-drop media sharing and the ability to hand-write messages. Though 100 million may sound like a large number, it is unclear whether that is the number of people who have the app registered on their phone, or the number of people who actually and actively use the chat service.


2. Strap On Your Computer, Wearable Tech Taking Off


The digital and technological world is slowly seeping out of our laptops and into us, as we continue to create items such as vacuum shoes that clean the floor while you walk and fitness bracelets to track your heartbreak and calorie burning. Wearable technology used to be a side-item to the more mainstream laptops and smartphones, but items such as Google Glass and Apple’s rumored iWatch are taking off. Analysts forecast strict growth in the “wearable technology” trend. Last year, this market totaled almost $9 billion – analyst Shane Walker of HIS Global Insights says that this number should climb to $30 billion by 2018.


3. Intel in Deal to Acquire Sensory Networks For Around $20 Million


Intel is acquiring Sensory Networks Inc., which is a Mountain View, California-based startup which provides pattern matching and acceleration software technology. Intel will pay around $20 million for Sensory Networks, said hose familiar with the matter. An Intel spokesman said that revenue contributions from the acquisition weren’t expected to be material and declined to comment on the terms of the deal. Sensory Networks already had partnerships with Intel as well as other semiconductor product makers; the latter are expected to be unwound as part of the deal. The company’s software is used in products such as firewalls or email content filtering, which scan for large amounts of data.


4. AOL Founder Looks To Invest Outside Silicon Valley


AOL co-founder Steve Case is looking to finance entrepreneurs who are trying to build technological companies outside of the Silicon Valley. He is looking to fund startups that will be bankrolled by a $200 million fund that Case’s Revolution Ventures recently announced. Revolution Venture plans to make investments of up to $10 million each in startups during the next three or four years. Case’s fund will receive stacks in the startups in exchange for the money investment.  Although ides from Silicon Valley will not be excluded or disallowed, Case expects that 90% of the money invested will be to those living outside of the Bay Area. The national focus is similar to a $450 million fund that Revolution LLC launched a couple of years ago.


“This is isn’t any negative on Silicon Valley. We think Silicon Valley is awesome,” said Case. “But there are also a lot of great entrepreneurs in other parts of the country and there is not as much capital focused on them.”


5. Tackk Raises $1.2M For Its Content Creation Tools


Startup Tackk, which came out of its beta today, announced today that it raised $1.2 million in its second round of seed funding. Tackk offers tools for creating content that combines text, images, audio, and video. CEO Christopher Celeste says that his goal is to build a “universal content creation tool.”


There are two big advances for Tackk that Celeste touted, the first being the simplicity. The Tackk template doesn’t take much work or expertise. Secondly, Tackk doesn’t force users to create an account or share their media on certain networks. Since its launch a year ago, Tackk has received 700,000 unique visitors, despite minimal marketing, and its users have used Tackk to create photo journals, recipes, real estate listings, and more. Although Tackk was originally built solely as a content creation platform, it has added social features since, such as the ability to follow the profile of other users.


6. Facebook Makes Posts Searchable


On Monday, Facebook announced that it was rolling out an expansion of its search tool to make status updates and posts also searchable. With this change, members will be able to use Facebook’s search tool to sift through posts such as photo captions, comments, and check-ins, granted that they have access to these posts. Facebook says it will first roll out the feature to a small group of users. This feature, which has been on Facebook’s to-do list since the company launched their search tool, Graph Search, earlier this year, is part of Facebook’s aggressive campaign to become more prominent in the real-time conversation of the Web. This is a market that Twitter has already claimed, and Facebook wants in on it.

7. Apple Passes Coca-Cola as Most Valuable Brand


According to Interbrand’s annual report, Apple is now the most valuable brand in the word, pushing the previous no. 1, Coca-Cola, to no.3 This is the first time that the soft drink giant has not been no.1. Apple’s arrival in the top spot was deemed a “matter of time” from Jez Frampton, global chief executive at Interbrand said. Apple was No.2 last year.  “What is it they say, ‘Long live the king’?” Frampton said. “This year, the king is Apple.”


The report estimates that the Apple brand is valued at $98.3 billion, which 28% up from the 2012 report. The value of the Coca-Cola brand also rose, but only by 2% to $79.2 billion. “Coca-Cola is an efficient, outstanding brand marketer, no doubt about it,” said Frampton, technological companies like Apple are “very much the poster child of the marketing community.”




Does Social Media Fail Businesses?

Social media is a catalyzing innovation almost as kinetic and broad as the internet itself. It has the power to morph and consolidate collective sentiments on a scale unfathomable only a few years back.

Here’s an example: I was on an airplane during the now-notorious (at least from a Democrat’s perspective), first Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It was a short flight, so I didn’t feel the need to overpay for internet access. This was a welcome development; other than old pictures of my kids, there was nothing on my phone to divert attention from the debate screened a few inches from my nose.


When the duel was over, I thought to myself, “Okay that was a fair fight, pretty even, no big deal.” Yet, when I landed, I opened Twitter and saw, over and over and over again, that Romney had apparently kicked Obama’s rhetorical ass. And that for those of the liberal persuasion this was the worst thing to happen since Clarence Thomas was born.


And you know what? The Twittersphere did manage to rewrite my history of something I watched with my own eyes. I don’t have the chutzpah to debate it; arguing that the first debate wasn’t horrible for the President is like saying Dippin’ Dots really will become the ice cream of the future — in other words, just plain wrong (and distasteful).


Just like it’s impossible to argue that social media can’t change the perception of certain events, it’s also clear that certain people have used the mediums to re-appropriate their images. Even though Mike Tyson bit off another man’s ear in real life 20 years ago, I like him now, because he’s hilarious and humble on Twitter. George Takei will likely end up best remembered for his fleeting Facebook posts instead of his dutiful work as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in Captain Kirk’s posse on Star Trek for several decades.


Nevertheless, “social media,” in its current form, is clearly suboptimal for businesses looking to promote their products. When I think about businesses with great social media presence, a usual suspect like JetBlue comes to mind. Yet, that notion doesn’t make me want to fly JetBlue any more than I already do. It doesn’t really tell me much about the company’s flying experience. All it says to me is that JetBlue has done a good job hiring young people who understand Twitter. Basically, unless you write something incredibly asinine or get attacked by the Church of Scientology, your social media presence is only going to graze the bottom line of your business.


This is because there seems to be a hole in the landscape (mixed metaphor) when it comes to businesses capturing moments and sharing them with their communities. Companies use social media to listen, and they use it very effectively. There are all sorts of great management tools that help business respond and react to what people are saying.


People can take advantage of social media to quickly share moments and get immediate responses, but business don’t have the same luxury because the mediums are all so fragmented and specialized. What small businesses really need is a hybrid of all these platforms so they can create and share small bytes of news that still manage to give a 360-degree view of the business.


For example, you own a popular bakery on Main Street and, for years, your customers have been asking for red velvet cupcakes. And, for years, you’ve told them the same thing: When I find a food dye that I am convinced is safe, we’ll have our cupcakes and eat them too. Suddenly that day comes, thanks to a great tip from a friend who doubles as an importer-exporter from a planet without cancer.


So what’s the best way to blast out this sweet news online? Twitter? Good luck. People who follow businesses tend to follow a lot of others folks, too —so there’s a great chance of your small message getting buried under a steady stream of crap. Update your website? That takes too long and costs too much. Good luck getting a new design or a worthy page on your site for less than $1000 in opportunity costs. Instagram is great, but it’s somewhat niche, and a photo can’t really tell the entire story of a new business event. Additionally, None of these tools provides proper tracking of who, exactly, is interacting with the brand and how.


This is where Crushpath comes in. Businesses want to connect with their customers on the move, sending out announcements, alerts and discounts to segmented audiences all day long, all from their mobile devices. How do businesses do that now? They don’t.


In this sense, social media has failed small businesses — the channels are too fragmented. Pictures go on Instagram. Links get laid down on Twitter. Items to discuss get posted on Facebook. High-level news gets published on LinkedIn. Only email happens on email.


Crushpath believes deeply in the idea of helping the community market on the move in an integrated way. That can be accomplished by letting businesses create extremely fast pitches — small one-page items capturing the moment with a high level of aesthetic presentation that lets small businesses talk directly to their customers and own social channels like never before. Imagine a platform that allows the baker to announce the red velvet cupcakes from her phone, and blast out the news via the content type of her choice on SMS, email and Facebook – all with the click of a single button. There is finally a shape online that is built, from the ground up, to deliver small business messages directly to customers.


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

1. IBM Commits an Additional $1 Billion to Linux Innovation


IBM announced at LinuxCon that it would invest $1 billion in Linux and other open source technologies. The hope is that this investment will let clients utilize big data and cloud computing. This is IBM’s second commitment of $1 billion to Linux development. With this announcement came the unveiling of the Power Systems Linux Center initiative in France and the Linux on Power development cloud initiative. Both are intended to expand IBM’s support of Linux open source vendors and applications.


The Linux on Power development cloud initiative is done in hopes of expanding IBM’s Power System Cloud. Users will be allowed to access a no-charge cloud service that will give developments, partners, and clients the ability to “prototype, build, port, and test” their Linux applications. IBM VP of Power Development, Brad McCredie, says that “the era of big data calls for a new approach to IT systems; one that is open, customizable, and designed from the ground up to handle big data and cloud workloads.”


2. How Facebook Stands to Gain by Sharing Its Trade Secrets


Companies used to live by the idea of secrecy, and guard their operations in order to ensure that competitors never gained an advantage. This used to be the method that most corporations employed; however, Facebook changed this game by disclosing a very detailed report on how they ran their data centers, powered their website, and developer their mobile apps.


This 71-page report also details the company’s approach. This includes everything from removing the plastic bezels from their servers to reject app modifications that increase power consumption. This report was published as part of the multi-company effort called to bring the Internet to the next 5 billion. This effort has generally been called a philanthropic effort, and an effort of economic empowerment and human rights, but there is, naturally, plenty to gain from Facebook in terms of opening up huge new markets.


Asides from opening new markets, Facebook has a lot to gain in terms of sharing such information: it makes their own life far easier. If Facebook can get companies thinking how they think, they’ll buy similar materials that Facebook runs on. The less “exotic” and special something is, the cheaper its cost will be. Facebook has a large enough presence that it can easily steer product decisions.


Facebook is not the only company to share their secrets and embrace open-source software; there are many other companies that do the same. But, they are one of the larger companies to do so, and though they stress the charitable nature of their action, there is a clear economic advancement that can be gained from doing so.


3. Iran restores blocks on Facebook, Twitter


Iran’s block on Facebook and Twitter was lifted for several hours. The brief access was a “technical glitch” that was quickly fixed. Those who managed to gain access only gained it for a brief period of time. This points to increasing struggles between groups seeking to have Facebook and other social networking sites unblocked by those working in the Iranian government, who have firm control over Internet access.


Many Facebook and Twitter users in the capital, Tehran, assumed that the brief Internet freedom was the result of a new policy from President Hasan Rouhani. Many people wrote on their social media accounts, praising him for the new openness in Iran. This praise was quickly subdued when the social media sites became no longer available on Tuesday morning.


4. What will iOS7 do for your iDevice?


iOS7, the first operating system designed by Jony Ive, the man behind the physical look and feel of all Apple devices, will be ready for download on Wednesday. But, even if your device is compatible, not all promised 200 new features of iOS7 will be available.


The latest OS brings a serious overhaul of Siri to make her performance more in line with what Android offers via Google Now. Siri can now directly plug into Wikipedia, Twitter, Bing, transit routes, traffic updates, and even the user’s own photo album. But, not all headlines features will function on every Apple device; ultimately, it depends on each device’s processor, RAM, and screen resolution requirements.


Here’s a list of what iOS7 will do for you:

-       Airdrop, a protocol for sharing files over wifi, even when there is no signal, will be coming to the iPhone 5, Touch (5th generation), iPad 4 and iPad Mini.

-       Siri will be updated with a new graphical interface and the ability to tap into Wikipedia and Bing for web searches.

-       iOS7 will include lens filters which will only be available on the iPhone 5 and the iPod touch (fifth generation.) You can now apply effects before you take the photo.

-       iTunes Radio will work across iPhones 4, 4s, and 5, and the iPad 2, 3, 4, and mini.


5. Google buys Bump app for sharing smartphone files


Google has bought  out Bump, the smartphone app that lets you share contacts, pictures, and other data by bumping” smartphones together. Google has bought out the Bump team but is leaving popular Bump application available to users. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to join Google,” Bump co-founder and chief, Lieb, said “Bump and Flock will continue to work as they always have for now; stay tuned for future updates.”


The deal has been reported to have been worth $30-$60 million.


6. AT&T Promises (Again) Not To Disconnect Your Account If It Suspects You Of Illegally Downloading


Even though its copyright warning letter says AT&T will cut users suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted material off from Internet, AT&T says that it will not. The letter warned that illegally downloading was a violation of AT&T Term’s and could result in “a limitation of Internet access or even suspension or termination” of the account.


The letter is a part of the “six strikes plan,” where nation’s ISPs send warnings to those they think are breaking copyright law. This is supposed to be about education and repeat violators are not supposed to be cut off from the Internet; instead they are supposed to be temporarily redirected to another page where they will be required to view educational materials on copyright. AT&T says that the letter in which they warn off cutting people off from internet is simply telling people what could happen should the person be guilty of illegally downloading under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But the six strike warnings are merely allegations, AT&T promises it won’t be closing down anyone’s internet.


7. Google’s AdID to take a bite out of third-party cookies


Google is fed up with the third-party cookies. So, they have a plan called AdID to get rid of them from your online advertising. This plan could upend the $120 billion online advertising business while giving more control over which ads are shown to customers and to Google. An anonymous source at Google says that AdID could give Google a big bump in the company’s online ad business (Google currently controls 1/3 of all online advertising revenue.) “The AdID would be transmitted to advertisers and ad networks that have agreed to basic guidelines, giving consumers more privacy and control over how they browse the Web,” said the anonymous source.


Google, on the other hand, designed that any plans were imminent. “We believe that technological enhancements can improve users’ security while ensuring the Web remains economically viable,” a Google spokesperson told CNET. “We and others have a number of concepts in this area, but they’re all at very early stages.”






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.



Mark Zuckerberg Offers Opinions On Facebook, Companies, And Internet

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, joined Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, on stage for an interview at TechCrunch Disrupt. There, they began  an impassioned discussion about Facebook, companies, and internet

The duo kicked off with how Facebook has been doing for the last year and Zuckerberg’s plans for the next few years. Zuckerberg said that Facebook had hit 1 billion users—that’s an astounding seventh of the world. From here, he plans to focus on retooling the company, especially by focusing on the mobile platform. Perhaps this is so, because of the results he saw from Facebook’s mobile experience—the mobile platform brought in 0% revenue last year, but soared to 40% of Facebook’s revenue this year.


In order to move forward with his plan to build core platforms for others to use, Zuckerberg will use a 3 step plan: build, grow, and monetize. The build aspect refers to how convenient the platform is for developers; they only need to create an app and just require a sign-in without worrying about things like server costs. The second step, growing, is about getting more developers to use the facebook platform. This already is successful on desktops and, looking at the trend, will possibly bring more to Facebook’s platform.


Asking one of his signature questions at the event, Arrington picked at Zuckerberg’s brain for who he thought should be the new CEO of Microsoft. Zuckerberg mentioned that Bill Gates was his childhood hero and that he “is the most mission driven person ever.” He commented that Microsoft “is a company that defines itself by making a concrete change in the world” and that Microsoft has simply just “lost its focus.”


Staying on the matter of “company,” Arrington asked Zuckerberg on his company value, “move fast.” Zuckerberg retorted by saying that “a good value is one that is controversial.” He then elaborated that they want to optimize learning the most, initially, and perfecting the product later on. In this manner, “it allows [them] to build a lot of infrastructure.” Though, it doesn’t mean that this is the only way to do things—Apple is a prime example of a company that does the opposite. The overall goal is “to be 1 or 2 clicks ahead of everyone else.”


The final major topic of the interview delved into the internet and its penetration throughout the world. What brought about this topic was Arrington’s asking Zuckerberg about the people’s “right to privacy versus the government.” Zuckerberg believes that his job and other companies’ jobs are to protect the privacy of their consumers and that the government “blew it” when it came to balancing the protection of people’s freedoms and safety. To close the issue of government requests, Zuckerberg stated that he tries his hardest to increase transparency of the government. “People deserve to know that the government is making 1000—9000 requests in the past year.


Zuckerberg concluded with his excitement of the project. He commented on how startling it is that only one third of the world has internet with a growth of less than 10% a year. The goal of getting internet to the world will help to connect everyone to each other. To do so, the problem that needs to be overcome is the reduction of the amount of data used by phones as well decreasing the cost of data.


Zuckerberg definitely crammed a lot of ideas in the short time he had with Arrington, but will they be realized in the expected 5 to 10 years coming?


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. Microsoft to Buy Nokia Units and Acquire Executive


Microsoft and Nokia have both reached an agreement where Microsoft will acquire the Nokia handset and services business for $7.2 million. What are the ramifications of this deal for both sides?


Nokia used to be a powerhouse in the mobile phone industry, but those days have since passed. In 2010, they held 64% share of China’s cell phone market—that value has dropped down to 1% in the first two quarters of 2013. Microsoft, on the other hand, needs to evolve its business to adapt to the mobile era.


Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner says that “Microsoft cannot walk away from smartphones, and the hope that other vendors will support Windows Phone is fading fast. So buying Nokia comes at the right time,” and also that the deal between the two could help them to “respond more quickly to the dynamism of the mobile market.”


2. How Much It’s Worth to Be #1 on Hacker News For a Day


Arshad Chowdhury runs a blog that averages 500 visitors per month, profiting through affiliate links with amazon (8% commission), sales of an app called “Power 20” ($2.99 ad-free), and sales of a diet and exercise program known as “One Month Madness” ($39.00). Recently, a blog post of his made it to the number 1 spot on Hacker News for 10 hours, resulting in a boom in traffic and revenue.


Being on Hacker News opens up big doors as it provides a surge of publicity—their stories are usually picked up by other news outlets. In this case, Chowdhury gained exposure as he was asked to appear on Fox Business, written about in Huffington Post France, and featured on Yahoo’s homepage. From days 1 to 3, his blog received 73,398, 52,169, and 12,910 visitors, respectively. The Power 20 app page had 3,999, 5,334, and 959 visitors.  The One Month Madness app also received 562, 1,295, and 369 visitors for the first three days after making it to Hacker news. This traffic wave boosted his revenue by $3,880.84, increased subscribers, brought in new customers.


“[While] having a popular post on HackerNews leads to a nice, fleeting bump in traffic…it’s not a business strategy and won’t necessarily make one rich,” Chowdhury finishes.


3. Hackathons Harness Data for Sustainability, Fun and Maybe Profit


GreenBiz Group’s “VERGE” conferences attempts to use data and intersect technology and sustainability in the hopes of increasing the efficiency of both society and individuals. They are harvesting and harnessing data to “improve cities’ infrastructures,eliminate landfills, improve street lighting, accelerate energy-efficient buildings, reduce water leaks and boost innovation.”


GreenBiz Group also hosts a set of weekend long hackathon events called Hack City. While there are varying subject matters for hackathons, Hack City focuses on finding a means for cities, businesses, and households to withstand and recover from extreme weather or disasters. In addition to Hack City, Data Jam is an event that consists of executives, entrepreneurs, technologists, investors and policy experts working together to design solutions based on a list of challenges and given data sets with the goal of sustainable retrofits.


Krys Freeman, GreenBiz’s director of technology and head of Hack City, says, “If we use the data, we can do something really compelling that wouldn’t have been able to be done otherwise.”


4. Facebook Awards Hacker for Reporting Photo Security Flaw


The internet is rife with security flaws; recently, Arul Kumar, and Indian engineer, found and reported a hole with Facebook security. Now fixed, the exploit consisted of a two-step process that allowed one to delete the photos of others. By modifying the URL of a photo removal request, it could be directed into the user’s account where the user could then delete it as if it were his own. As per Facebook’s white hat program, Kumar was awarded $12,500 for his findings.


5. Fantasy Football With Startups – Let’s Make it Happen


The time for starting Fantasy Football has just ended, but what if one isn’t interested in such matters and are more inclined towards technology and the likes? Martin Bryant toys with the idea of having a Fantasy Football analogue in the form of tech startup companies. While the rules, or the game really, Bryant makes a few proposals.


First and foremost, pick and name a co-founding team consisting of a CEO, CTO, and CFO. Points will be given or penalized based on performance, e.g. have they been acquired, did an app get launched, did they go out of business?


While these are musings, it’s a viable concept that only needs the answer to one main, important question: “How do we sort out scoring for a game like this?


6. Bitcoin in India: Drivers and Barriers to Adoption


Bitcoin, a digital currency may be poised to help with financial problems in countries with high inflation rates or capital regulation. Essentially, bitcoin allows for individuals anywhere in the world to send money directly to each other without going through banks of government, bypassing regulations between borders.


India is in a prime position to take advantage of bitcoins with the value of their currency has fallen against the dollar and the restrictions placed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on overseas investment. Users of bitcoins can invest overseas without having to go through an intermediary, removing the monetary cap placed by the RBI. To further pave the way for bitcoin, the RBI stated that it “does not immediately intend to regulate bitcoin.”


Other countries like Argentina, China, and Cyprus have successfully taken advantage of bitcoin; will India and other financially situation countries?


7. How Facebook, Twitter and Other Startups Got Big


There’s a saying that goes like this “it takes money to make money,” but how much does it take? startups like Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga were able to achieve an incredible about of users while spending less money on advertising than other companies. “Growth Hacking” is the term used to describe the model resulting in their high-growth trajectories.


startup advisor, Andrew Chen, describes growth hackers as a “hybrid of marketer and coder,  one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph.” Growth hackers basically focus on company growth rather than visibility—instead, companies that take advantage of growth hacking have implemented referral systems, performed publicity stunts, or more to grab users.


Growth hacking is the marketing future, maximizing gains through eschewing wasteful marketing.