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Category: Internet

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The Internet of Things Has Arrived — Here’s How Your Company Can Succeed

 For success in a market that’s changing our everyday lives, you have to know how both sides of the Internet of Things must work together for users.

At its annual 2011 developer conference, Google announced it had developed Android@Home. The technology was designed to connect household appliances, making nearly everything in your home controllable by your smartphone. It made news — not because it was a new idea, but because it supported an old one: The Internet of Things was one step closer to becoming reality.

It turned out that Google’s initiative wasn’t quite ready for prime time, but it reinforced a desire people have had since the mid-20th century: smart devices that communicate with one another makes life easier.

This is the essence of the Internet of Things, and it’s quickly becoming reality. Just look at the success of Nest Labs and Amazon’s new shopping gadget, Dash. Some even say the future of machine-to-machine communication (M2M) is past due.

How to Succeed in the Internet of Things

The question then becomes how to ensure your company succeeds in this field. What does it take to become an integral part of a market that has the potential to change the way we live our day-to-day lives?

To even have a chance at success on the bleeding edge of connectivity, you need to know how M2M works and which components make up a successful consumer-facing product. There are essentially two sides to what we know as the Internet of Things: M2M and consumer.

M2M usually refers to the industrial side of machine communication, but it’s still essentially the term for machines — cars, washing machines, and refrigerators — that communicate with one another, usually on a network. The consumer side of the Internet of Things is what the everyday user will see and interact with.

For your product to be successful, these sides need to work together seamlessly to create a frictionless experience that users can adopt in their daily routines. Take Audi, for example. Rather than reinventing the wheel with its infotainment system, the car company chose to enhance the way people already live with technology, making it smarter, faster, and easier to use. As a result, Audi has won numerous awards and eased people into a new way of doing things.

The 5 Components of a Frictionless Connected Experience

To master this seamless experience, focus on these five components of a successful consumer-facing “smart” product.

1. The Hardware: The hardware you create must improve what’s already out there and make people’s lives easier. Before development, consider what type of data you’ll need to collect, how to communicate that data, and how to process it into usable information after it’s received. Whether your device will rely on Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or a cellular network, make sure the hardware will fulfill the requirements.

2. The Software: Once you have a good piece of hardware, the next step is making sure the consumer can use it. It doesn’t matter how great a device is; if it’s hard to use, it’s sure to fail. Consider how your software will integrate with remote devices and how users will interact with the front-end interface.

3. Connectivity: Good connectivity is essential for connecting to the Internet of Things. In the U.S., competing networks and standards can make it more difficult for a product to achieve success if it only supports one network. Creating a single portal with multiple options for connectivity can help ensure a painless and seamless user experience.

For consumer-facing devices, the faster, the better. LTE is winning out in America, but HSPA+ and even WiMAX have support in certain parts of the world. Depending on your needs, different network evolutions like LTE and technologies such as GSM and CDMA can be beneficial, but they aren’t necessarily required. The more you can do to support these various network possibilities, the more effective and accessible your solution can be.

4. Certification: This isn’t the sexiest part of product development, but whether it’s wireless certification from the PTCRB or a security certification, these procedures are essential when it comes to lending credibility to your product and ensuring that it’s standards-friendly.

5. The Business Model: This should be obvious, but developing the right business model is a critical step startups often neglect. Your product may be amazing, but if you can’t reach the price point you need or can’t figure out how to turn a profit, everything else becomes moot.

With each passing year, the Internet of Things inches closer to becoming reality. If you’re looking to break into this field or are struggling to find a profitable foothold, focusing on these key components can help you achieve success and contribute to a movement that could change the world.



The Importance of Maintaining Web Security in a World of Hackers

The vast majority of Internet users have shared personal information such as credit card numbers and routing numbers at some point in their online lives. These sales account for a large portion of profits in nearly every industry imaginable, with eMarketer estimating total online sales of $259 billion in 2013. Despite the prominence of e-commerce in today’s society, online shoppers continue to worry about security breaches. This worry is understandable. After all, identity theft is a real problem that can have a devastating impact on consumers’ finances. Thanks to prominent breaches through such corporate leaders as Target, shoppers are beginning to think twice before sharing personal information. As a business maintaining an online presence, it’s in your best interest to ensure that all customer information is kept secure at all times.


The Implications of Security Breaches

A security breach can be devastating for your company, particularly if customers or clients have entrusted you with private information, such as their phone numbers, addresses, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. Not only could you be liable for financial damages resulting from this security breach, you may lose the goodwill and trust you’ve worked so hard to build over the years. The poor reputation resulting from a hacked website may result in the loss of your loyal customer base, plus a greater degree of difficulty in attracting new business.


Data Breaches Hit In Spite of Internet Upgrades

Hackers excel at their craft. In other words, no organization is truly safe from their reign of terror. Even seemingly tech-forward firms can prove susceptible. In early 2014, a prominent French aerospace firm suffered attacks through Internet Explorer 10, according to Reuters. Although Microsoft executives used this incident as a reminder for users to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, this alone may not be enough to keep information safe. Computer World reports that researchers easily hacked Internet Explorer 11 at the 2014 “PwntoOwn” contest, as well as updates for Firefox and Chrome. Thus, while regular upgrades remain advisable, they alone do not prove sufficient for warding off Internet attacks. Rather, multifaceted approaches regarding identity theft protection prove most successful in terms of keeping hackers at bay.


Preventing Website Security Breaches

Unfortunately, for every security provision you put in place, there exists a hacker capable of breaking through; given a sufficient level of time and effort. However, by engaging in a multifaceted approach to website protection, you can minimize the chances of a severe security breach. If you utilize a shared web host, you’ll want to look into the details of its security provisions. Depending on the nature of your website, a transition to a virtual private server (VPS) may be worth your consideration. also recommends using Secure Sockets Layer authentication (SSL) if online checkout is provided through your website. This will encrypt all data shared on your site, not to mention, reassure customers that your online platform is secure.



Cables vs. Wireless: Telecommunication Standoff

Telecommunications is the future; it enables millions of people to connect all over the world within seconds. It also offers development, improvement, and relatively inexpensive availability. People are looking out for what is better, what can offer me them the most, and what can offer them the future. Cables vs. wireless, here are the pros and cons of each:


The pros of cables:

  • A quick and ready connection, as it doesn’t require a phone line or dialing up.
  • Allows you to transfer the likes of photos, videos, and music at a greater speed.
  • Cables and hubs are pretty inexpensive as long as a router is not required.
  • They are fairly reliable, with the most common problem being loose cables.
  • Supports data sucking activities such as online gaming.


The cons of cables:

  • Highly depends on how many people are also connected in the area at the same time; this can significantly lower speed.
  • Quitting cable and watching Internet TV can be tricky.
  • Cable TV can incur in high monthly costs.
  • They can pile up and end up looking rather messy and difficult to keep tidy and neat.


The pros of wireless:

  • Enables communication whilst on the go.
  • No need to be dedicated to a specific computer.
  • Arguably easier and cheaper to install.
  • Constantly developing with offers of new services.


The cons of wireless:

  • Somewhat less reliable than cables, with interference from appliances like microwaves.
  • Performance is limited to distance.
  • Airborne signals can easily be intercepted.
  • Wireless transmission can be slower.


There is no right or wrong answer; it all comes down to preference. If the lack of mobility doesn’t bother you and you are after something more cost effective, then cable would be the way to go. If on the other hand, you like to be at the forefront of developing technology and are constantly on the go, then wireless would be the option to choose.



The Balkanization of the Internet Could Hurt the Online Economy

The fragmentation of the internet may limit cybercrime but it will also harm the business of web hosting companies and other web services providers.


The internet is an inherently borderless system that resists the imposition of artificial limitations on the flow of data. Where data goes is determined by systems that discover the best possible route for a packet to travel between its source and destination, without concern for which nations those packets travel through. That fluidity is one of the drivers of the online economy.


Without artificial barriers it doesn’t matter whether you’re doing business with a person in India or in Indiana. It doesn’t matter whether data is stored in the Philippines or in Philadelphia. And, it doesn’t matter where a web hosting company is based physically, their potential market is global and they can source their bandwidth and locate their servers wherever is economically advantageous.


At least, that’s how it is now, but it may not stay that way forever. Under pressure from online crime and government spying, many nations are considering implementing internal internets that would prevent information from freely flowing around the globe. The German state-owned telco Deutsche Telekom is pushing for the implementation of a “German internet” to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands. The Brazilian government is in the process of enacting laws that would force companies to store “Brazilian data” within the country.


In an interview with Bloomberg, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of the Russian online security company, Kaspersky Labs, warns that the internet is in danger of fragmentation, which will significantly diminish opportunities for international investment and shrink the global market for internet services.


“I’m afraid that this Snowden case will force governments, nations, to develop their own internet segments for governments and for enterprises,” Kaspersky said. “This is fragmentation of the internet, and I’m afraid that it will damage the global network because the global internet companies will have fewer resources, less investment.”


In the video above, Kaspersky makes the somewhat unlikely claim that paper may make a comeback as companies seek to protect their data from competitors and industrial espionage. While its fanciful to suppose that we’ll be turning back the clocks to the Victorian era, where clerks processed mounds of paper and couriers guarded sealed envelopes as they carried data around the world, it’s an extreme illustration of a problem that may constrict the growth of internet services companies.


The cleaving of the internet will prevent businesses large and small from growing at the same rate; the platforms we’ve come to rely on may wither from globe spanning seas of data to geographically limited fishbowls. The internet that has become the economic powerhouse of the nation and the world may not exist in the same form in the future.


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.”






You Launched Your App… Now What?

How we launched Chrometa, flopped, and then built traction by listening to our customers? How do you launch a new product?  It’s a question we get quite often from friends and acquaintances-Which is kind of ironic, because our initial product launch was pretty lame and lacked any fanfare whatsoever.

So what did we do then?  Here’s the story of our spirited efforts to get people to care about our product, an automatic time tracker app befittingly called Chrometa.


March 4, 2009 – Chrometa 1.1 Launches (But Nobody Cares)

We sent out a press release announcing our “First Automatic Time Capture Tool for Attorneys.”  Fortunately, we didn’t expand our team to handle the anticipated barrage of phone calls and sales inquiries–because there weren’t any!


Did we have a product that people were willing to pay for?  One month after launch, we weren’t exactly sure.  We decided to lower our pricing for the sake of getting some market validation.  We needed to see if people were willing to pay for our product before we did anything else.


June 3, 2009 – TechnoLawyer Covers Chrometa 1.1

TechnoLawyer is an online publication targeted at attorneys who want the latest scoop on legal technology.  We thought it’d be the perfect advertising medium for us.


This initial coverage from TechnoLawyer (an email to their 13,000 subscribers, plus a blog post) was great in helping to get the ball rolling with product awareness in the legal community.  We picked up about 25 customers from it too – and, more importantly, we solicited key product feedback from active users that showed us what we needed to develop and improve upon.


Our 1.1 release was a decent to good product – it wasn’t yet great – and without a great product/market fit, it was going to be very challenging for us to get anywhere.


August 5, 2009 – TechnoLawyer (Again) on Chrometa 2.0

We finished Chrometa 2.0 at around 3 AM Pacific time on August 5th – and just 6 hours later, TechnoLawyer released their coverage to their subscribers.  We got more traction on this release than the one from two months ago, as we counted 64 installations, and even a few sales, within the initial 72 hours!


September through December 2009 – What Now?

By Labor Day of 2009, we’d been successful in rising above the noise and clutter, at least for a couple of shining moments.  We were steadily gaining customers (up to about 50), and traffic and download action on our site was good through August.  The product fit was much better with our new release and we were seeing the rewards of our summer development efforts.


Which was all great, but we soon hit a bit of a lull after the initial buzz wore off.  So we tried to figure out: How can we keep excitement going for a product that’s very well received by customers, but is not inherently viral itself?


As much as we’d have loved to see our sales and adoption hit the “hockey stick” upwards, it was apparent that it wasn’t going to happen on its own accord.  Our market (solo and small firm attorneys) and our product (personal time management software) are not going to appear in an upcoming edition of Viral Loop anytime soon.


There was no magic formula for us over the ensuing months to keep the ball moving forward.  We just hustled as best as we could by doing the following:

  • We called each customer after they bought the product.  We wanted to thank them and make sure they were happy with us and our software.  We also wanted to learn what they liked, and what had motivated them to buy.  And we wanted to pick their brains a bit about how we should go about finding other customers like them.
  • We reached out to other publications in the legal industry – bloggers, and anyone else that covered technology – to see if they’d be interested in taking Chrometa for a test spin.  We never explicitly asked for a review, but these efforts did result in a number of product reviews.  This also kept the ball rolling, and kept us in front of people who maybe didn’t try or buy the first time they heard about us.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we rolled out fixes and enhancements to the 2.0 release as fast as we could.  Both to address bugs, and also key wish list items that we either didn’t have time to include in the initial release, or simply never thought of (there’s nothing like live customer feedback to guide your product development).  Continued product improvement was THE most important thing we did over this time period.


January 2010 – Present (Branching Out)

Once we were reasonably satisfied with our visibility in our initial target market (solo and small firm attorneys), we began to reach out to bloggers who had demonstrated an interest in writing about time tracking tools previously.


Mainstream tech coverage (such as these pieces from Web Worker Daily and Freelance Folder) has been great for raising our visibility and driving traffic and downloads of our free trial.


Our Lessons Learned

  1. Focus on one, and only one, initial market.  Otherwise it’s very easy and tempting to spread yourself too thin.  If you’re trying to tackle a few initial markets in parallel, you’ll become frustrated if you don’t move the needle in any of them.  It’s hard enough to move the needle in one market with a new product.
  2. It’s easy to get discouraged if things don’t ramp as fast as you had hoped. Grit and persistence do pay off.  Especially if you are bootstrapping your efforts (as we did).  Of course you want to ramp up adoption and sales in the classic hockey stick fashion–but it rarely happens this way in practice.  As long as your customers are paying for your product–and they are happy with it after their purchase–you are doing fine.  That means the fundamentals of your situation are good.  And you just need to go find more customers–and that is very doable (easier said than done, but doable!)
  3. Buzz and coverage won’t necessarily make your business (but bad press could very well break it).  We’ve been covered by major mainstream and industry sources  and you’d be surprised with what actually has and has not moved the needle for us.  One example I always use is our very first piece of media coverage, by none other than Inc Magazine.  How cool, right?  While it was very cool for us personally, our product wasn’t yet ready for prime time AND, the coverage wasn’t exactly geared towards a Chrometa prospect (since it was about raising angel funding), so the overall effect of this particular piece was somewhat smaller than you might expect.  Whereas coverage in industry specific publications (such as TechnoLawyer) has really worked great for us.  It’s tough to anticipate the effect a piece of coverage will have on your business – but I’d say the tendency for us optimistic entrepreneurs is to overestimate that effect.


Bottom Line: It’s very tough to get traction when you’re starting off. You want nothing more than for people to care about your company or product. You expected instant hockey curve growth, but you’re still struggle to get a few users.  That’s OK – that usually won’t happen until you reach a tipping point anyway. Look at Twitter; they’ve been around for 3 years before I’d heard of it. Before every overnight success are hundreds of not-so-successful days.


Be patient, measure your progress, and focus on the purest fundamentals – namely improving your product, and keeping your customers thrilled.  If you can get these two things right, the rest should eventually fall into place.  Keep at it – you’ll get there!


Taking Control Of Online Identity, One Picture At A Time

What personal information is the government getting from web companies? Which friend may be filming what’s going on right now through cameras integrated into glasses?

Is a potential future employer going to use web search to find an embarrassing photo from an indiscreet party moment?


We are more concerned than ever about online privacy these days. And for good reason. Now is a great time to consider the respect we all expect, and deserve. We can re-establish what are the right online behavioral norms.


At some point or another during the last five years, many people have heard from a desperate friend, or relative, or significant other, or spouse, or colleague. It’s that urgent plea to take down a recently posted photo for any one of many reasons ranging from not looking good in the particular image, to concern about having been at an inappropriate location. And sometimes that’s addressed too late, and the damage has been done.


We all have different opinions about what’s sensitive and what’s not sensitive for online viewing. Ultimately, shouldn’t we all be able to decide for ourselves how and where and in what we appear?


This seems a basic online right. A person should have control over access to his or her own image, without having to resort to hiding behind a mask or running about under cover of darkness (the effect of which is wiped out anyhow by flash photography).


Fortunately, today’s technology can give us back control over where we appear, just like today’s technology gives us capabilities to spread ourselves seemingly everywhere, if that’s what we choose. We are starting a new company to address this need by leveraging these capabilities, and below is how we do it.


Facial recognition software is getting really good. You may notice that when a photo gets uploaded, certain online services immediately, automatically and pretty accurately tag the people in it. And when something’s wrong, or missing, finding that and filling it in manually is easy.


Combining these facial recognition techniques with today’s frictionless communication can drive a simple system of requesting and getting permission for the people in the photos. All faces can be blurred except for people granting permission for the particular photo. Once someone approves of being shown, the face becomes unblurred.


The person posting the photo should be able to first put it in a sort of holding area while requesting permission, to wait and see how approvals come in, before sharing the picture.


Also, there could be rules to make the whole system run more smoothly. For example, some people may decide to always allow photos of themselves to be posted. Some might decide to allow only for certain people to do the posting of them without requiring approval, or maybe everybody except certain people.


Another powerful element of this system is capability to change one’s mind. Maybe that keg stand picture was great while in college, but it’s not consistent with the sort of image being projected during a job search. This service would be a central repository where someone could go through all permissions granted, and elect to retract certain ones (or, just as easily, grant new permissions). If the system acts as a central platform for permissions, interacting with major online services, then it can be one place to drive how a person appears via Facebook, Twitter, Picassa, Instagram and everything else.

Ultimately this system is about respect. Its principle is that people should have more control over how they themselves are presented online. By practicing this, the person posting extends this courtesy to every impacted individual, and is freed from having to go through the mental gymnastics of anticipating which picture might aggravate which person who’s in it. That’s the movement we’re starting.


Your Online Personal Brand Between Jobs

Most businesses have a “brand” to protect, but did you know that people have brands, too? Your personal brand is the way other people identify you, quantify you, and see you and it’s your responsibility to keep it in tact.


But in an age where email and social media dominate the mediums of communication, what can you really do about your brand when you’re looking for a new job?


Actually, a lot! Your personal brand is the best tool you have in your arsenal when it comes to finding a new job and attracting attention from the right kinds of people. Here are a few lessons for maintaining your online brand between jobs so you can find the position you were meant for.



Start by Taking Inventory

Around 57% of Americans admit to “Googling” themselves. The most startling thing about this statistic is that 43% of Americans aren’t looking themselves up! In order to hone your online brand, you have to have a baseline which means knowing exactly what’s connected to your name. Whether it’s a research article you wrote in grad school or a mug shot from Vegas, you can’t change what you don’t know.


Edit What You Can

Once you know where to start, clean up everything you have access to that an HR manager might be able to see. This includes the obvious: removing unprofessional Facebook photos and updating your LinkedIn resume as well as the not-so-obvious such as deleting offensive Tweets and removing blog comments that may not seem appropriate.  Unfortunately, one negative online “find” by a hiring manager can do more damage than 100 positive finds can do good. And you better believe if you can access the information, a highly trained HR professional can too.


Cultivate the Brand You Want

Once you’ve cleaned up your profiles, it’s time to fine tune them. Let’s say you’re after a position in the journalism field…doesn’t it make sense that your online brand would reflect that interest? Avoid being bland by Tweeting or sharing Facebook links to articles you find interesting, and make an effort to connect with industry pros using every social media outlet available. In the same way Apple’s brand conveys a cool, modern vibe, you want your own brand to convey something about who you are, too whether it’s assertive, informed, or outgoing.


Fill in Any Gaps

What’s not part of your online personal brand can say as much about you as what is. For example, if your goal is to find a job in marketing and you don’t have any social media profiles aside from Facebook a hiring manager may think twice about whether you’re qualified. After you’ve adjusted your privacy settings and corrected any red flags, be sure there’s enough information about you out there that your personal brand feels intentional. You have more control over what appears online than you think, and if you don’t take advantage you may come across as un-savvy or worse, lazy.


Managing your personal brand doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take consistency. What appears online can change in a matter of minutes and it’s your job as a prospective job seeker to actively stay on top of your online reputation. Think of it as a sort of digital resume and treat your online brand with due respect.


Super-promotion: 3 Tips and 3 Services for Stepping up Your Event Promotion

There is no doubt about it; event planners must use social media and tools to get the word out about their events. If this is news to you and/or you need to brush up on social promotion basics, read this article by Hubspot’s Rachel Sprung.

If you are ready to boost your promotion efforts, these tips and services will get you going creatively.

Tips and Tricks:

1. Create shareable, dynamic video.

If you are relying on text, you’re behind the times, to get people’s attention online you have to use images and video. If well executed, video is the best way to catch your potential attendees’ attention. Your promo video should emphasize the benefits of the event to the potential attendees, they want to know how your event is going to change their lives/careers/businesses.  Flashing pictures of your speakers and the venue alone won’t cut it.  Testimonials from last year’s attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, or anyone involved in your event are a good starting point.

2. Bank on your speakers for great social content before and during the conference.

What better way to build up buzz for your event than to give “free samples.” Invite your event’s speakers for interviews, guest posts, and/or tweet-ups prior to your event.  Not only will you draw attention to the value of your event and drum up interest for specific sessions, but you’ll also help prepare attendees for discussions during the event and provide them with fuel to spark networking opportunities.  During your event, you can foster engagement by asking your speakers to chime in on Twitter threads or offer alternative perspectives in the event newsfeed, adding immediate value to sessions.

3. Use Twitter, but be creative.

Promoting your event on Twitter is nothing new, but your prospective attendees will appreciate (and respond to) a creative twist. Why not build a Tweet contest around your event? For rewards you can give away free VIP access, free accommodation, lunch with the keynote speaker, or just a few tickets. Giveaways will get people excited about your event and help build some buzz in the critical few days before your event. Alternatively, you could arrange pre-event tweet-ups to ignite discussion on a key topic that will be covered at the event.  In either case Twitter is a versatile platform and your tweets should reflect that.

Cool Tools and Services:


This is the social network for event attendees. Social activity is built around various events, which planners can add to the database of upcoming events. Within the community members can discuss and share before, during, and after the event. This platform also enables people who cannot attend a particular event to follow it and interact with relevant discussions and links. This is a great way to build a following from year-to-year.


Like, Conferize allows people to explore events and track them. The spin here is that Conferize emphasizes speakers as well so that prospective attendees can track the activity (past and present) of speakers they are interested in. This tool may be a great resource for building buzz if you are featuring your speakers during pre-event promotion. On this note, encourage your speakers to update their profiles here and begin engaging for the event.


While not strictly a promotional platform, Picatic is a cool way to crowdfund your event. The freshness of the method can be a great selling point for all or part of your event. Additionally, supporters of crowdfunded events tend to be evangelists for your event and will help promote the cause to their social networks. You may not fund the entire event this way, but special activities or speakers come to fruition with minimal risk using this platform.

What tools and/or creative techniques have you used to promote an event successfully?

Next week:

In the last two posts, we’ve mentioned engagement a bit. But, the frequency and quality of participation of attendees at your event is the barometer of event success, and the subject deserves more attention. Next week, we’ll be featuring services and tips for making the engagement levels at your next event go through the roof.


Top Tech and Startup News: LinkedIN University, - citizentekk

1.  “LinkedIn Growing Up: Opens Up To High School Students Over 13, Launches Dedicated Pages For Universities Worldwide”


LinkedIn has launched “University Pages,” which are dedicated pages for universities that people can add to their profiles. LinkedIn hopes that this will expand how people use its site and expand it past a resume-style job-seeking site and to tap into a younger user base. Coinciding, younger users will start to be accepted on September 12.


LinkedIn describes the new initiative as “the first step[s] towards a longer vision to help students, parents, and university faculty get a head start on career mapping.” University pages will allow universities to reach out to prospective students, current students, and to alumni. This larger network can also help users find jobs and mentors. Students can use this to help plan their future, including figuring out what careers they want to pursue and which universities will benefit them the most.


2.  “Researcher: Facebook Ignored the Bug I Found Until I Used It to Hack Zuckerberg”

Security researcher Khalil Shreateh from Palestine found a bug that let him post onto other people’s walls; naturally, upon his discovery, he reported the find to Facebook’s security team. They ignored him. Shreteah tried to inform them a second time of the problem, and was ignored again. So, in order to make the bug known, he exploited it and posted a message onto Mark Zuckerberg’s wall.


“Sorry for breaking your privacy … but a couple of days ago, I found a serious Facebook exploit.” Shreteah posted.


Here’s a photo of the message from Shreateh”


Soon after, a member of Facebook contacted Shreateh. The bug was fixed shortly after. For his posting on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall, Shreateh’s account was temporarily suspended and he was denied any bounty fee payment. By posting to Zuckerberg’s account, Facebook rationalized, Shreateh violated Facebook’s term of service. However, despite this, the Facebook team asked him to continue helping them find bugs.


3.   “Germany recognizes Bitcoin as a “private money,” subject to capital gains tax

The German Finance Ministry has declared that Bitcoins are a form of “private money,” and as such, are a form of currency and should be subject to capital gains tax (a tax that stems from any profits made from Bitcoin transactions.). However, if a German taxpayer holds Bitcoins for over a year, then she or he is exempt from paying the capital gains tax. Taxpayers are expected to declare Bitcoins as part of their assets and income during their annual tax return.


4.   “iPhone 5S will come in gold & likely sport fingerprint sensor”

The iPhone 5S is rumored to come in a “gold” color option, a deviation from the current black and white standards of the iPhone. One possible reason for this change is that gold is a sought-after color option for products that sell in China; coloring the iPhone gold could help Apple reclaim its favorite “hypermarket,” after Chinese markets began to slip away over the past financial quarters.


iPhone’s Home button is also appeared to have changed; multiple hints from sources say that the iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint scanner on the home button. The technologies powering this most likely stem from the Apple-owned company Authentec. A fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S will help maintain security on your iPhone. If users are not fond of this feature, there is an option to disable the fingerprint sensor, found through the “Settings” app.


5.   “Dalton Caldwell: may not have won yet, but we are still fighting the good fight

When Dalton Caldwell first launched, everyone was dubious of whether it could reach success; people saw it as an attempt to build a paid replacement for Twitter, and thought it was doomed. Caldwell, though, believes that has succeeded with the market he wanted to appeal to – he believes that has created the prototype for a viable social-app ecosystem.


When was first launched, Twitter was going under fire for closing its network to third-party developers. Caldwell slammed this notion and instead, imagined a platform whose interests would be aligned with its developers. Developers could pay a monthly fee for access to this platform, so advertising and other forms of distractions wouldn’t be required to keep the platform running. Thus, was born.


Although is small, Caldwell says that he believes it is important and that the need for an open social platform is as large as ever. Facebook ad Twitter are clamping down on developers and increasing their security restrictions, and is doing the exact opposite.


6.   No More Helpless Damsels: One Gamer’s War on Sexism

Remember the “Star Fox” Franchise? Remember love interest Krystal? She was supposed to be the star of her own video game, until Nintendo decided she’s be better of being saved by a male hero. And she’s just one of many female video game characters being shafted for males. This is a reoccurring story and one Anita Sarkessian is exploring in her new web video series. Her show, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games takes a look into gaming and focuses on ten common female roles, from Damsel in Distress to Fighting Fuck Toy. “I would think I found the most degrading depiction of women ever—then a couple of days later I’d find something even worse,” she comments.


7.      How to help your startup turn a profit in 4 simple steps

Step One is to figure out your customer lifetime value. This will help you choose your sales channels. Your customer’s lifetime value will tell you how much you can make from an average customer during his or her purchasing lifetime with you. Once you know this, you can figure out how much you want to spend acquiring a paying customer.


Step Two is to choose the right sales channels. You can figure out whether or not you want to sell through direct sales (which will give you customer feedback right away, but is costly and time-consuming), resellers (which is slow overall), partnerships and marketplaces (where you have to work with people who are probably promoting your competition as well), inbound marketing (which is hard and has a long payback time), ads (and hope they are effective), or attempt to go viral.


Step Three is to test out your channels. Get an adviser and test out the channels you’ve chosen and measure whether or not they are effective and make the necessary adjustments.


Step Four is to focus and grow. It’s important to start with only a few sales channel, test them, and then hire the best sales and marketing people you can find to ramp them up. Worry less about sales and numbers and more about the people you’ve hired.