Daily Archives: December 15, 2013

Start with values, not your idea

“Values are timeless. They are the bedrock of a company and don’t change even when everything else does.”

I wish more startups realised this.

Too many are:

  • hiring the wrong people
  • building the wrong products
  • and looking for customers in the wrong places

“A company needn’t model its behaviour on what other companies do, because it doesn’t have to attract the same customers or value the same things. It isn’t as simple as declaring an enemy and beating them…… We don’t particularly care what others choose to do, because we know the game we are playing — and we quite enjoy it.”

A revolution is happening

Umair Haque, the renowned writer and economist recently stated that “we’re on the cusp of a values-driven revolution.”

He highlighted that consumers now are much more careful about who they buy from and whether they represent the values they hold dear.

Therefore it’s important to pin down your values and what you stand for.

Think of your core values as those that, when the chips are down, you believe in so much, that if you took them away your company would cease to exist.

However, don’t just brainstorm some values only to then forget about them — you need to live and abide by them everyday. You values are how you behave, not how you would like to.

“In the absence of values all decisions go to profits”

How to identify your values

An excerpt from the Moutains & Valleys exercise from CultureSync.

  • Think of some key events in your life or career that were significant or life changing, and the type of thing someone would write in a biography about your life (whether positive or negative).
  • For a positive event, consider what values were present that made it so satisfying for you.
  • For negative events consider what values were absent or threatened that made it so unsatisfying.
  • For each of these milestone events, look at the list of values you have identified and consider if there is anything even deeper than these. What values are essential to your perfect world?

After you go through this initially on your own, talking with someone about each event may help clarify and stimulate other important values overlooked at first.

Looking across all the events, pick your top 5 to 8 values that matter the most to you. Base this on how strongly you feel about them.

These are your core values.

Your compass

At my company Spook Studio (home of The Happy Startup School), we believe that the brightest companies of the future will be values-driven. Your values will be your True North and will be a magnet that will attract the right people to your mission.

If you’re going into business, control the things that you can control. Namely:

  • your purpose
  • your values
  • the people you work with
  • the product or services you build
  • the customers you attract
  • the culture you create.

The rest will take care of itself.

Like this post? Hit recommend and be rewarded with some digital karma. For more information about the Happy Startup School follow @happystartups or download our free e-book.

Source Medium – > https://medium.com/spook-studio/2089880e9db7


Crowdsourcing the Meaning of Life

Social Media May Provide the Answers to Life’s Questions…Sort Of



“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” ~ Leo Tolstoy 

Why are we here? What are we supposed to achieve? What’s the point to all of this?

Image representing Google Search as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

At some point every one of us has asked these questions about our lives and the point of existence. We stand under an umbrella of notions, occasionally looking up at the skies to check the weather and even ponder what lies beyond.

Some people subscribe to religion with the hope of getting answers. Others turn to science-based evidence and the musings of great philosophical thinkers. Some people spend their lives pursuing the answers to their questions, but how many achieve their goal?

Whatever the answers we think we’ve come up with, they are only guesses. What we know today will change tomorrow as religion and science shifts.

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” ~ Joseph Campbell

The Answers Are Out There Somewhere

Photo by Luis Borba http://instagram.com/lborba

Social media is a valuable tool. We use it to curate content. We collect vast amounts of information, run it through a sieve, and try to satisfy ourselves with the fine granules that fall out the bottom. That stuff, is what resonates with us for any number of reasons.

What if we could use social media to crowdsource the answers to life’s questions? We’re knowingly (or not) already contributing our thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams into a great pool of information, thanks to social media, blogs and forums. Our lives, whether we like or or not, are tracked on Facbook, Twitter and through Google search. We’re served re-targeted ads that the publishers hope will appeal to us and, ideally, get us buying their products.

If this ecosystem can learn so much about us and beckon our clicks with semi-tailored ads, why can’t it at least try and take a stab at figuring out the meaning to life.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

It would be great if we could collect, organize and analyze the massive amounts of quotes, philosophical ideas, facts, and published personal experiences and present them in a way that made sense. A list of sorts that could be shared with everyone, as a reminder, a guide, and inspiration for living a fulfilling life.What if there was an intelligent way to sift through everyones ideas and distill them to a few common universal ones. A template, or dare I say, a new bible, created by the information age. Then, could it be possible to sum up the meaning of life?

Then also the issue of who publishes it. Who takes ownership to do the research, collect it, publish it, and maintain it for posterity. How would we make sure that bias and religious pretexts would not creep into it? Maybe Medium is the place for this.

Or, maybe something like that already exists out there somewhere. Perhaps the answer lies in big data? We have some ways to go, but who knows, maybe the answers are right around the corner. Who’s willing to peek?

Source Medium – > https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/72b8d2189cc3




The Shifting Ways In Which We’ll Interact With Mobile Apps

Posted 1 hour ago by (@semil)

Editor’s Note: Semil Shah works on product for Swell, is a TechCrunch columnist, and an investor. He blogs at Haywire, and you can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

‘Tis the season to reorganize the apps on my iPhone. With iOS 7 and the shift from spotlight search to swipe-down-to-search for apps, I’ve noticed my app behavior has changed a bit, as it’s become easier to search for apps with the new UI and therefore less important where the app is located on my phone. For instance, the Amazon app is buried in my Shopping folder (on my second page of apps), but if I need the app, I just swipe down to search.

This shift got me thinking about other ways I’d like to search for, launch, and interact with mobile apps, so I came up with this list — let me know what you think and if I’m missing any:

Launch apps with Siri. I didn’t realize this until yesterday. I’ve kind of given up on Siri, but maybe I missed the memo here, so I’ll give it another whirl.

Keep Reading – > http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/15/the-shifting-ways-in-which-well-interact-with-mobile-apps/


7 Must-Have Tools to Keep Your Twitter Followers Happy (And Your Business Growing)

7 Must-Have Tools to Keep Your Twitter Followers Happy (And Your Business Growing)


Every person who follows you on Twitter is a potential customer of your business, visitor of your website, or reader of your blog. But don’t get too satisfied with big numbers. Remember that 200 engaged followers is always better than 20,000 people who have forgotten they follow you a long time ago.

There are plenty of tools out there that aim to help you attract new audience. You’ve probably mastered some of them already.

Now, make sure your followers are listening to what you have to say.

Get to know them. Give them what they are looking for. Treat them like if you were good friends and they will soon start returning the love.

These simple tools will help you in doing so. Most of them for free.

1. Who are they?

FOLLOWERWONK by Moz will analyze your account and segment your followers by gender, location, social authority, and Twitter activity. You will get lots of data and many charts but the flow of information and layout is easy to understand. Use them to optimize the content you are going to share.

Moz will show you the same details about people you follow, so if you monitor activity of your competitors on Twitter, this is a handy tool for a bit of spying. Free subscription has limited features, though. For example, if you are not using the whole SEO package of Moz Analytics (99$/month with 30-day free trial), you won’t be able to analyze Tim Cook’s followers (if you aim really high) due to their large amount.

2. When are they listening?

Followerwonk also displays most active hours of your followers, and it offers integration with Buffer (below) to suggest best time for scheduling your tweets. However, I couldn’t try out this feature as it kept telling me I didn’t have a Buffer account (I do).

TWERIOD, on the other hand, serves only one purpose. It shows you hourly graphs for all weekdays combined (free subscription — limited to 1000 followers), or individually (premium account — the more followers you have, the more you pay), and suggests intervals for best exposure.

Here the Buffer integration worked like charm and with one click the schedule was adjusted accordingly.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

3. Learn their language

Using hashtags will help your audience to identify subjects of their interest. When you think of a hashtag (for your topic, event, or brand), make some simple research on Twitter itself, or look into HASGHTAGS.ORG to see if it has been in use already.

Make wise use of the popular ones, or share fantastic content to create hype around your own. Keep it short, easy to understand, and possibly somehow catchy. Your followers will instantly know what to expect, and you will look like you know what you are talking about.

4. Deliver your message on time

Save yourself some time and once you know what content your audience is looking for and when they are online, feed your tweets and other social media posts to BUFFER. This great tool will let you schedule your posting times and do big chunk of the work while you are busy with other stuff.

If you upgrade to premium, you can set different times for every weekday, and connect more social accounts.

5. Have a real conversation

Many companies and users successfully organize chats and actively communicate with their followers within Twitter itself. NURPH makes things much easier by giving you more space and relieving you of the 140-character limit.

The information on the website seems sort of complicated at first, but once you sign up with your Twitter account, the process is pretty straightforward. You will instantly get your own chat room (they call it ‘channel’ here). Suggest an interesting topic, send the link to your followers, and foster engagement by having a real-time conversation.

6. Discover what they say about you

From time to time, it’s nice to pat your ego and look for some positive feedback. TWILERT will send you email alerts (real time or in pre-set intervals) about tweets related to your company or brand (or some other relevant keywords). You have several operators at your disposal to refine your search terms, including location, language, or mood.

7. Bring them to your website

TWEETER SPY will tell you which tweets got most attention and brought most visitors. To copy/paste one line of code to your website is all it takes.

Soon, you should be able to see who were your most active brand ambassadors, and what content generated biggest traffic. To build upon your past success, Tweeter Spy lets you retweet your most clicked tweets, reply to tweets of other users, favorite them, or say thank you to the most active influencers.

If you were doing everything (or at least something) right, you should experience some cheerful moments while reviewing your website analytics now. You have earned trust and boosted your image…and it’s time to start all over again. Happy tweeting.

Written by @kristynazdot, founder and editor of maqtoob.com, and originally published here.

source medium – > https://medium.com/business-marketing/9fa1dec72d05



Launch + Learn, dammit.

for creators everywhere.


Without a single doubt in my mind, my arch nemesis has consistently proven to come in the form of a sucker punch known as analysis paralysis and a perfectionist mentality that doesn’t quit.

…Oh, my book launch blueprint says I was supposed to publish two weeks ago and I’m still waiting for cover designs?

…Oh, I decided to restructure my outline AFTER finishing the book?

…Oh, I’m no longer even sure if I should publish this book, video, or project even though it took me a year to create?

List of United States Numbered Highways

List of United States Numbered Highways (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…Oh, I wasted 3 hours reformatting the fonts on Scrivener even though I KNOW you, the reader don’t give a damn whether I’m using 16pt Georgia or 14pt. Garmound?

…Oh, you were planning on changing the font size on your Kindle regardless? Because you can do that?

Well. Shit. If only I had realized that all of these shenanigans are all fully — and completely — rooted in the deepest bowels of fear.

Take it from me, it’s never worth it to sit on something you put so much hard word into creating. Slap analysis paralysis in the face and tell your alter (more perfect) ego to shut the bleep up. Avoid being your own worst enemy and have the courage to LAUNCH + LEARN! Repeat: LAUNCH + LEARN!

source medium – > https://medium.com/business-marketing/7f6ecf5d3ab1



On Dilettantism and the Virtues of Pursuing Multiple Interests


When I think back to my childhood, I have a lot of fond memories involving family and friends, but the fact is, I hated being a kid. Not for the reasons you’d think: I wasn’t bullied on the playground, I didn’t have a tormented relationship with my parents and while we never had money, I don’t think it made our experiences any less rich for lack of resources.

I mostly hated being a kid because I wanted to be more independent. I loved my family, but I would have probably moved out of the house at 10 if it had been remotely feasible. (In fact, I may have tried to move into the treehouse in the backyard on one or two occasions, but those periodic forays into independent living were usually kiboshed by dinnertime.)

My parents didn’t take it personally; they just allowed me to make independent choices where I could and encouraged me to pursue anything I found interesting, as long as we could afford it. It was a way of letting me be independent by giving me control over how I spent my time and how I chose to express myself. I took piano lessons, preferring “Wind Beneath My Wings” to Symphony No. 2 in D Major (I was 10, in my defense); learned to oil paint in Bob Ross-ian fashion, though my clouds were less “happy” than vaguely morose on a good day; played basketball (point guard, mostly on the bench), and sang (badly) in the church choir. I also wrote terrible poetry on a secondhand wordprocessor that ran on DOS, built dangerous contraptions in the garage with tools from my dad’s workshop, and if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up at the age of nine, I would have told you I either wanted to be a lawyer, an auto mechanic or President of the United States. (It’s much to my dad’s credit that it never occurred to me that those were all male-dominated or exclusively male professions.) My parents never pushed me in a particular direction, and were just happy that I was occupied and engaged in things that were constructive.

And allowing me to do all of those things had some practical value when I applied to college, which was definitely not something that they anticipated. (No one in my family was a college grad and it wasn’t a given that my brothers and I were going to go, though we all did.) But as a function of all the dabbling in things and racing from lessons to practice and so on, I was “well-rounded.” I knew a bit about a lot of things and excelled at one or two. At the time, at least, this was incredibly advantageous. I only applied to one school, but it valued specialists and generalists fairly equally, and I got in. But despite stellar grades and test scores, I’m not sure I’d get in now, because I think we live in a culture that heavily favors specialization.

English: Alan Lightman, an American physicist,...

English: Alan Lightman, an American physicist, novelist and essayist, proffessor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which is a shame, because learning to pick up new skills in a variety of different areas and being encouraged to dig into things I’m curious about is a key part of what has helped me in my career, both as a writer/editor, and as an entrepreneur. It made it easier to transition into different job roles, to figure out the intricacies of new industries and modes of work, and taught me be to be unafraid of trying something for fear of not being good at it. (And I’ve been very bad at a lot of things I’ve tried.) This is not to say there’s no value in specialization, of course, but I think there aren’t a lot of models for working and living in a way that encourages pursuit of multiple disparate interests and disciplines.

The Renaissance Man is rare, and where he exists, he’s often derided as a dilettante—a soft pejorative that connotes a lack of seriousness but originally meant a person who practices a discipline as a non-professional. Or an amateur, which can be an innocuous word in some senses but also has the same negative connotation. And I tend to project that onto non-professionals myself, even though I’m aware of the bias. I only feel comfortable self-identifying as a writer and an entrepreneur because I’ve been professionally compensated to do both. Which is silly and speaks to my own insecurities, but nonetheless…

In Jack Hitt’s book, Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character, he argues that amateur-ism is an essential part of the American experience and that we can point to plenty of innovations in the arts and sciences that were the products of tinkering by non-professionals who were simply passionate about their subjects. But most of us don’t take the physicist-moonlighting-as-a-novelist seriously until the book sells and it’s on the Times Best Seller List, pace Alan Lightman.

And why is that? I don’t think there’s one answer, but here are my theories:

Our educational systems are fundamentally engineered toward specialization, especially at research universities, no matter how many departmental programs describe their curriculum as “multi-disciplinary”.

We are type A individuals who don’t see the point in spending time and effort on something at which we may not excel.

United States

United States (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

We think narrowly about skill acquisition as something that is valuable only in a direct professional context, despite the fact that continued learning has a variety of benefits (potentially increasing neuroplasticity, feeding creativity through cross-pollination, etc.) that are additive indirectly, both professionally and personally.

It’s very difficult to structure a commercial institution—especially a large one—in such a way that pre-defined roles are flexible enough to accomodate and exploit (in the best sense) different skill sets and encourages employees to develop disparate skill sets.

I don’t have any brilliant solutions about how to change that, but it’s something I think about as a manager and sometime mentor to other people. (If you have brilliant solutions, please send them to me!)

When J-school kids ask me for advice, I always tell them to pick up a skill that has nothing to do with journalism. Learn to code. Learn Mandarin. Learn to poach halibut in olive oil. Learn something else! I tell them it’s a practical thing to do. If this journalism doesn’t work out for you, I say, it won’t be the only thing you’re capable of doing. And if you’re the rare bird who can code, write a great feature story and then translate it into Mandarin, there are going to be a lot of opportunities for you.

But the truth is, I just think it’ll make them better journalists. Learning to code will make them think about logic and argumentation in a different way. Learning Mandarin will force them to more closely examine the structure of language. (Granted, learning to poach halibut in olive oil may not make you a better journalist, but I can tell you from experience that it’s a good way to wind down after a rough close.)

And if they pursue those things with passion and really enjoy them, I just think it will give them more personal satisfaction and a greater understanding of the world around them. And no one needs a professional rationale for that.

Source Medium – > https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/5b0423f5956c





Face It: Everybody Spies

Why is there outcry only over American spying?

Over the weekend Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald leaked more top secret National Security Agency documents to “Fantastico,” a TV newsprogram that airs in Brazil. The documents, which detail successful espionage against the presidents of Brazil and Mexico, is causing an uproar in Brazil — and now Brazilian Pres. Dilma Rousseff is publicly considering whether to cancel her planned trip the U.S. next month. The White House had planned to honor Rousseff with a full state dinner — the only head of state to get one this year.

Rousseff claims the U.S. spying operation is so severe, it constitutes a violation of Brazil’s sovereignty. But really, why the uproar? At a certain level, the revelations are like realizing there is gambling at Rick’s — if it weren’t, one would really wonder why the U.S. intelligence community wasn’t actively spying on other governments, especially those with enormous organized crime and drug issues that happen to sit along primary transatlantic fiber optic cables.

Map of major transatlantic fiber optic cables. SubSea World News

Moreover, as Moscow Times opinion editor Michael Bohm recently wrote, spying is a sovereign right. Calling the outcry in Russia a “clear double standard” because of Russia’s own massive spying operations, he writes:

Spying on each other is so systemized and ­accepted as a “sovereign right” that the U.S. formally presents the head of its CIA station chief when he takes up his position at the U.S. ­embassy in Moscow to Russian officials. It is clear that the CIA chief has a full staff of officers in the U.S. ­embassy and consulates whose objectives are obvious. The same goes for Russia’s foreign-intelligence operations in Washington and other U.S. cities.

Indeed, the same is true of most embassies from most countries. Not declaring one’s senior intelligence officers is actually considered a serious breach of protocol — because spying is so fundamental to international relations and everybody knows it.

“What struck me about these documents was how personal they were. They had pictures of them,” Greenwald told MercoPress in a phone interview, referring to Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. “I’d think there has to be some sense of violation and invasion that will produce some outrage.”

He certainly got his wish. But the Brazilian outrage, much like the Russian outrage, is clearly two-faced.

Brazil, for example, operates its own massive domestic spying operation — a detail Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, leaves out of all of his outraged writing about the NSA. In 2008, ABIN, Brazil’s intelligence agency, secretly recorded a conversation between Supreme Court president Gilmar Mendes and Sen. Demóstenes Torres. The president at the time, Lula da Silva, suspended the agency’s chief spy, but no one knows how long or how often senior officials were wiretapped.

In contrast to Brazil, the NSA has not committed any abuse on par with spying on the U.S. Supreme Court. But while Greenwald is furious at the NSA’s email-snooping programs, he does not condemn Brazil’s own PRISM-like system to steal email data for government analysis.

Things in Brazil haven’t improved since da Silva fired his top spy. Earlier this year, ABIN was accused of spying on a movement to oppose the construction of the Belo Monto Dam in Northern Brazil. That wasn’t a unique incident, either: in June Brazil’s intel service launched a massive effort to surveil and eavesdrop on social media — a reaction to this year’s mass protests that Brazilian police violently beat down.

Pres. Rousseff did not like being surprised by social unrest, so she ordered the monitoring — yet she seems offended the U.S. would monitor her to avoid surprises.

This is to say nothing of Brazil’s troubling history of violence against journalists who report on government corruption and abuses — including by police officers. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, six reporters have been murdered for their work in the last year alone.

It’s hard to take Brazil’s protests seriously when its conduct toward its own citizens is not only similar, but actually far more violent — especially if you’re unfortunate enough to live in Rio’s dilapidated favelas.

As for Mexico, it’s similarly bizarre that anyone would protest an American attempt to try to get an inside track on how the new president would behave. The U.S. and Mexican governments jointly operate a gigantic spying complex in Mexico City that tracks down drug cartel figures and organized criminal groups. But after last December’s election of Nieto, many in the U.S. worried that this center would be shut down over disagreements about how best to counter cartels, even while Nieto created a newly-centralized intelligence service under American consultation.

“Intelligence cooperation between the two countries is extensive,” Benoît Gomis, a specialist in organized crime and counternarcotics at Chatham House, told me. But the two countries are at a turning point. “There have been more than 70,000 drug-related killings in Mexico since 2007, so there is clear willingness from the Mexican government to do things differently.”

It remains unclear what that will look like. Drug-related violence under Nieto has remained as obscenely high as it was under Calderon — approximately 52 killings per day. And the U.S. wants to deepen its collaboration with Mexican intelligence despite more restrictions on how U.S. agencies can operate there.

Nevertheless, American espionage in Latin America is still, for some reason, deeply scandalous. To be sure, no one likes realizing they’ve been spied on. But underneath all of the outrage, it is always worth asking: is this really something scandalous? In the case of Mexico and Brazil, it almost certainly is not.

Subscribe to War is Boring: medium.com/feed/war-is-boring.

source medium -> https://medium.com/war-is-boring/29c226968c2chttps://medium.com/war-is-boring/29c226968c2c


Why numbers are the future of creativity

And why analytics hold the key


I hate math.

I barely passed calculus class, and only squeaked by thanks to marathon viewing sessions of Khan Academy videos.The sight of a spreadsheet is enough to get me to break out in a cold sweat. I’ve never balanced my checkbook.

But I think numbers are the future, and I welcome our new big data overlords.

Let me explain how we’ve gotten to this point in history.

In the past, there were two distinct types of people. You were either a creative person or a numbers person. There were a few more shades of grey, but I’m grossly oversimplifying for the sake of analogy. Remember, I hate math and two is a relatively easy number to work with.

Think of the creatives and numbers people as two sides of an agency.

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The creatives produced the content and the campaigns. They were the right brain artistic types whose work arose from some sort of mysterious inspiration. They couldn’t be bothered with numbers because they’re artists. Their job was to use intuition and their own innate abilities to come up with the messaging, photography, videos, and other work that they believed would resonate with their audience. A Dilbert cartoon called this process “liquor and guessing.”

The numbers people then calculated the quantitative impact of this work. It could be how many people drove past that billboard advertisement the creatives designed. It could be how many subscribed to the magazine that contained an article with a placement of the client you pitched. Or it might be how much sales increased or decreased after a marketing campaign. The numbers people were the left brain people’s attempt to assign a numerical or financial value — even if it was a stretch — to qualitative work that started off as aesthetic concepts. In this way, the work’s value could be communicated to clients and executives.

With me so far? Hang around while I continue to generalize and oversimplify.

These two camps distrusted each other. The numbers people thought creatives didn’t respect the bottom line that supports their work. The creatives thought the numbers people didn’t trust the creative process that gives their work value.

So they avoided each other as much as possible. They had that luxury because their work was separated by long cycles. The creative process might take weeks, months or even years. The collection of results and quantifiable data — in the form of focus groups, surveys or impression reports — might take just as long. During each cycle, each camp more or less left the other camp alone to do their thing.

Now that’s changing.

As I not-so-subtly pointed out at the beginning, I’m not in the numbers camp. I’m an ENFP. My personality score for intuition is nearly off the charts. I get gut feelings that something will work or not. I believe that too much thinking will wreck the most brilliant concept. Analysis paralysis is not a condition I suffer.

But a funny thing happened as I was rushing off to my next creation. I got feedback. A lot of it.

When I post something in social media, within seconds I can tell if it’s going to be successful or not. I’ll see it start to collect likes, comments, retweets, favorite or shares. I get alerts from bit.ly if a link passes a certain click threshold. And conversely, the absence of those actions speaks even louder.

Within minutes, hours or days, I can begin to look at the result of my creations through a wider lens. I can compare total number of retweets to a similar tweet the day before. I can calculate the difference in click throughs between a link versus a photo with a link in the caption on Facebook. I can see micro trends unfold on a macro scale in real time. I have a treasure trove of data at my fingertips — often in the same place I made my creations.

Turns out, it’s a lot less intimidating when it’s not in a spreadsheet.

Best of all, I can start to create little experiments and immediately see what works and what doesn’t. I can try certain variables (time of day, day of week, photo vs. video) and test, test, test. Before you know it, you can cite exactly which Instagram filter facilitates the most likes.

Social media makes this unlikely marriage of creativity and numbers possible. If I’m creating a billboard, the stakes are high and the process is long. But if I’m composing a tweet, I have a lot more creative freedom and I can try again and again.

My gut still plays a bit part in this process. I start with concepts I believe will work. But now I know quickly if my gut was right or wrong. Trust, but verify, as the saying goes. And before you know it, you’re a creative person that quotes Ronald Reagan.

There’s some fear among some that big data will usher in a new era of creative mediocrity. If we can quantify everything, the thinking goes, we will start producing only content that appeals to the biggest audience. In other words, we will dumb things down to appeal to the giant middle.

But it doesn’t have to be the only way we use data.

In this new world of social media, innovation becomes less risky. Creative types can try something new again and again, then tweak, pivot or change entirely based on feedback from their audience. They can also immediately demonstrate if a concept they believe in will work. You can’t do that as easily if you’re creating a billboard, to keep going back to the classic example.

Today, creative people have become the numbers people in order to both produce and justify their own work. Numbers have set us free.

At least that’s what my gut tells me.

source medium -> https://medium.com/on-the-social-media/5ae9601ffb1b




CrunchBase Reveals: The Average Successful Startup Raises $41M, Exits at $242.9M

Posted 1 hour ago by (@markdlennon)


The CrunchBase dataset has now captured more venture exits than ever, so we decided to take a closer look at what successful startups can tell us about venture investing and the startup landscape.



CrunchBase? (Photo credit: davemc500hats)


We found that the average successful US startup has raised $41 million and exited at $242.9 million. We also found that there is a strong correlation between larger exits and companies that raised more money, but no such relationship between the amount of time between founding a company and being acquired or taken public.


source tech crunch keep reading -> http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/14/crunchbase-reveals-the-average-successful-startup-raises-41m-exits-at-242-9m/



Connected, but alone?

Physically together, but mentally elsewhere

We live in the age of distraction with our multiple technological devices which in a way “give” us the sense that we are connected to the world, to our friends, to our loved ones and to to the people that we share our lives with.

For a few months now, I have been noticing this behavior almost everywhere I go. Groups of friends and families gather to be together for multiple reasons. Yet their minds are elsewhere as most of the people have a device with which they can feel “connected” with other people that are not with them in the present moment.

Technology has always inspired me as to what advancements we can achieve and how technology can make our lives easier. It is almost unstoppable the consumerism that has been built around getting the newest thing that there is.

I am not sure how much we, as intelligent human beings, stop and reflect on what is the impact in our psychology and our consciousness by the technological inventions we ourselves create. Sometimes the only way to make people reflect on something is when things start to go really bad.

The inspiration to write about this has been in my mind for a long time now. Yet, a few things have happened since yesterday that have encouraged me to finally express it in this manner:

Two more guests at a lunch table

Two people seat (not in front of each other but) in front of a laptop to have lunch

Yesterday I stopped by a restaurant to have lunch. When I was going to pay I noticed a table where there was a couple preparing to have lunch and they had already set their laptops on the table. Every time I see this happening I think of the conversation and dialogue that people don’t have because there are more guests in the room, in this case: two laptops that would absorb the attention of both people. And so they are there, but not there!

Why I’m Glad The iPhone Didn’t Exist In The 90s

This is the title of a post I found today by Bernadette Jiwa that completely connected me to this topic as I read:

We sat opposite a young family eating breakfast at a local cafe this morning. Dad ordered, while Mum settled the kids at the table next to us. The two year old boy whined a bit until his Dad came back with the paper. His little sister who was about nine months, chewed on some finger food and repeatedly dropped her sippy cup from the high chair, just for fun.

While they waited for their food Dad read the paper. Mum pulled out her iPhone and began checking. The little guy played on a hand held game. His sister stared around as she babbled and tried to make eye contact. There was none to be had.

The tweet that inspire me to write this

This led me to interact a little bit with her as I showed her the picture I took yesterday that I posted on my Pinterest collection called Together, but alone?

In fact all this post also made me watch again the TED talk video by the same title that I will describe next in this post.

The TED Talk by Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

A while ago I found this TED talk that made me ponder more about these dynamics with us and our technological devices. Every time I watch this video, it makes me wonder about where we are going and how is technology affecting us in ways that we are not being aware of.

Texting while in board meetings

Here are some of of the parts that liked, I am putting in the beginning the minute and second where she says this:

[2:10] I’m still excited by technology, but I believe (and I’m here to make the case) that we are letting it take to places that we don’t want to go

[2:34] … those little devices in our pockets. Are so psychologically powerful that they not only change what we do. They change who we are.

[3:04] People text or do emails during corporate meetings … people talk to me about the important new skill of making eye contact while you are texting.

“Being together while not being together”

[3:34] Parents, text and do emails at breakfast and at dinner while their children complain about not having their parents’ full attention. But then the same children deny each other their full attention.

[4:08] Why does this matter? It matters to me because I think were setting ourselves up for trouble. Trouble certainly and how we relate to each other, but also trouble and how we relate to ourselves and our capacity for self reflection. We are getting used to new way of being alone together. People want to be with each other but also elsewhere connected to all the different places they want to be.

[6:10] An 18-year-old boy who uses texting for almost everything says to me wistfully: “someday someday but certainly not now I like to learn how to have a conversation”

[7:09] Human relationships are rich and they’re messy and their demanding. And we clean them up with technology, and when we do, one of the things that can happen is that we sacrifice conversation for mere connection. We short change ourselves, and over time we seem to forget this.

I remember my excitement about having the ability to ask anything to a virtual assistant like Siri. The part of technology that amazes me when I think of how much power we posses in our hands these days and how much information we can easily get to our advantage.

Then I remember when I started asking silly questions and some others not that silly but trying to push it to the limit of Siri’s ability to answer questions like “how do you feel today?” or “what should I wear?”.

One of questions that gets my interest is: “Who is God?” which normally has different (kinda funny) responses like:

  • My policy is the separation of spirit and silicon
  • I’m really not equipped to answer such questions, Armando
  • That’s a topic for another day, and another assistant
  • It’s all a mystery to me
  • I eschew theological disquisition
  • Humans have religion. I just have silicon

The I started thinking about the psychological implications that this may represent in our society and how technology changes us in so many ways that we don’t even look back how we were back in the days when there wasn’t any computers or mobile devices all around us.

Going back to Sherry’s talk, this is something that impresses me the most about technological advancements and how we relate to them, but most importantly how we relate to each other and how we may be gradually separating ourselves from finding the meaning of life, the inner walk with ourselves, with God, with creating true and genuine interaction with others that bring real meaning into our lives:

[9:18] For example many people share with me this wish, that someday a more advanced version of Siri, the digital assistant on Apple’s iPhone, will be more like a best friend. Someone who will listen when others won’t. I believe this wish reflects a painful truth that I’ve learned in the past 15 years. That feeling, that no one is listening to me, is very important in our relationships with technology. That’s why it’s so appealing to have a Facebook page or twitter feed, so many automatic listeners. And the feeling that “no one is listening to me”, makes us want to spend time with machines that seem to care about us.

[12:00] We expect more from technology and less from each other

[12:45] These days, those phones in our pockets are changing our minds and hearts because they offer us three gratifying fantasies:

  1. That we can put our attention whatever we wanted to be
  2. That we will always be heard
  3. That we will never have to be alone

And that third idea that we will never have to be alone, is central to change in our psyches, because the moment that people are alone, even for a few seconds, they become anxious, they panic, they fidget, they reach for a device. Just think of people at a checkout line or at a red light.

In closing and as an invitation to ponder about all this and to make a good reflection about how we can use (or continue to use) technology for the good:

[19:04] Now, we all need need to focus on the many many ways technology can lead us back, to our real lives, our own bodies, our own communities, our own politics, our own planet,they need us.

Let’s talk about how we can use digital technology, the technology of our dreams to make this life the life we can love.

All this certainly gives us a lot of food for thought and hopefully also for action. I could have just included the link to the video from the beginning of this post,but I wanted to mention some important lines (although I think every sentence is important) in hope that the ones who do take the time to read this, may be inclined to comment about it and reflect on where we are going with technology and the human relationship that there is to it and to others.

Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone? http://youtu.be/t7Xr3AsBEK4

And finally, I want to thank the ones who inspired me to write this:

@STurkle, @bernadettejiwa, @stef, @mrlockyer as this post becomes my first #sundaypost

Further Reading

Will The Internet Be Like TV?

 — As I get more surprised every day by the new ways ads interrupt me while I browse the internet, I think more about the fate that, a…

Technology Shabbat

 — As much as I love technology, I have come to the realization that we need a break from it. Doing so should allow us to reconnect with man…

Technology wants you as its slave: How much power do you have over your tech obsession?

 — Toby Daniels is the founder and Executive Director of Social Media Week and CEO of New York-based Crowdcentric. This post is part of The …

Turn Off Your Phone, Ignore That Email, and Enjoy the Moment.

 — Want to improve your work/life balance? Turn your damn phone off.

Written by

Making signal out of (the internet) noise @armandoduran

Published June 16, 2013

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