Tag Archives: communication

Mobile Talks!

February 18, 2014


Last week Rakuten announced the $900 million acquisition of global communications service Viber. Of course, we think there are tremendous synergies for us, but this deal also represents a seismic shift in how people are engaging with each other, consuming content, and making purchases. What two threads connect them all? Mobile and Communication!

What makes Viber different is that it represents a new generation of services that were built mobile-first. This gives them a DNA-level edge over other services that were founded on desktop technology. Look no further than the term “desktop” to realize that it is something that does not fit seamlessly with modern life. It is something that you need to go to, whereas mobile is, obviously, something that goes with you.

Second, Viber is a service that highlights new and innovative ways that people are communicating. If you told me a few years ago that people would be communicating with digital stickers, I would hardly have believed you. But they are! People are also using these platforms to share and consume digital content, including photos and videos, and to enhance business collaboration. In times of disaster when traditional communication lines fail, mobile-first communications platforms are where people turn to. Viber saw dramatic increases in use after the earthquake in Japan in 2011 and last year in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.

Historically, telecoms companies have defined how people communicate. They offered us 3 options: phone, text, and, don’t forget, the beeper. Not exactly cutting edge. Now, dynamic marketplace-style app ecosystems have birthed new services that represent how people actually want to communicate. Oh, and these services are more fun, more reliable, and cheaper. I know where I will be investing.

Disrupting communication. Disrupting consumption. This is the future. This is why we bought Viber. Mobile Talks!

Posted by:Hiroshi Mikitani

Anonymity From The Front Line

Author’s Note: A recent proliferation in claims of anonymity provided in using various messaging apps raises the need to discuss the gravity of making such claims when human life is potentially at stake.

Anonymity from an ontological perspective, and issues revolving around information ethics, are themes I explore in my work as an artist/ontologist. Indeed, my portraits (kevinabosch.com) of the famous and not so famous are explorations into matters of identity and existence.

It had been percolating to the surface for many years, this concept I had become obsessed with, an elegant and discreet communication platform with so little friction or noise as to seem implausible. In 2007 I started a list of “rules” this platform would have to adhere to, which included:

  • Users would not have to use a login/password to send a message
  • No cookies issued under any circumstances
  • IP addresses would be tossed and therefore not connected to any message sent on the platform
  • Messages on the platform would not be stored indefinitely (mostly because I didn’t want to pay to store them)

The goal of such a platform would be to afford the user the opportunity to communicate discreetly and truly anonymously.

I am not of the school of thought that if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t be concerned with maintaining your anonymity. Rather, I believe anonymity requires protection, and can even become an issue of human rights.

Thousands of people across the globe lose their lives every year simply because the words they speak or the words they write were attributed to them. Many never sought attribution, yet in their attempts to remain anonymous they were nonetheless, frequently through digital clues, discovered. These deaths often come in the form of State-sanctioned murder.

I have been a supporter of Amnesty International (www.amnesty.org) for years and have met many who have lost friends and family at the hands of governments who choose to silence voices opposing their agendas.

In November of 2013, I launched Kwikdesk (www.kwikdesk.com), a communication platform that strictly adheres to a privacy-protecting philosophy and employs technology not just to obfuscate, but to truly anonymize its users’ identities.

In the first week KwikDesk saw users flock to the site, but as we intentionally have no analytics on activity other than the number of unique users and the number of page views, we had no idea what was being communicated.

Soon, we would start to see people posting URL’s for various search strings (i.e. https://www.kwikdesk.com/#confession) on other sites like Twitter and Facebook, so we could see that our barebones platform was being used for freeform, asynchronous, topical discussion. The individual messages which we call Kwiks, are not linked to a URL so they cannot be crawled by bots. In interviews with the press I encouraged people to use KwikDesk in another way: for discreet messaging.

You can only search KwikDesk for #hashtags, so unless you know or stumble upon a #hashtag which has already been submitted to KwikDesk, your search results will be empty. You can only submit text to KwikDesk by including a #hashtag, which means that if you submit a message followed by a complicated #hashtag like “ #4ac14f6b60dd99439b7b061b440eb70f”, you essentially have a private anonymous message which can only be retrieved by searching for the same #hashtag. Two or more people who know the complicated #hashtag have a “secure line” of communication, that is unless someone gives up the #hashtag. In this sense, KwikDesk works as an anonymous “dead drop”, waiting for someone to retrieve the message. When messages are created, they are marked to “self-destruct” in either 24 hours or 10 days at the user’s discretion.

While the barebones platform has gained considerable traction in its short existence, we are now also developing a suite of anonymous social tools powered by the KwikDesk platform, and are partnering with other developers working with our API.

In late November 2013 KwikDesk launched a Chinese version of the site (cn.kwikdesk.com) with Wuerkaixi, student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests in China. Wuer, whom I met through Amnesty International, is a longtime campaigner for human rights and has helped us reach a Chinese population which includes 591 million netizens. (WIRED 11/27/2013)

Anonymity is touted by many, but I’d advise taking a close look at the terms of service of some of these trendy players in the messaging space. How can you guarantee anonymity, and therefore potentially a user’s safety, when you are throwing cookies at them, running geolocation, and even pixel tracking?!

After a decade of allowing our personal data to be exploited in ways we may sometimes appreciate, but more often do not, or would not if we were aware of its extent, isn’t it time to build a comprehensive social-media experience upon true anonymity and with an entirely user-defined level of attribution ?

Feel free to share this ☺

— Kevin Abosch

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Spreading the word about your startup: how best to go about it

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with the founder of a startup who told me that he had decided to hire a PR agency to help raise awareness in the media and among decision makers about the company.

Needless to say, there are good, bad, and acceptable PR agencies. But when I asked him what exactly it was that the company expected the agency to do, the reply was something along the lines of “press releases addressed to the right people”, which left me wondering just what kind of press release I would like to receive. I also remembered an article I read a few days ago in Fast Company entitled “Why top startups are getting radically personal”, which mentioned a few cases of companies whose founders were directly responsible for communication, using their own names, and to what degree this might produce the right results.

This is precisely what I recommend entrepreneurs to do: start by providing the recipient of your announcement with a full outline of what is going on in the company at the moment, and using a highly visible tool such as a corporate blog. To begin with, this will be a tool for you, a kind of “my dear diary” of your project (an aspect that at a later date you will come to prize), but that over time will develop a life of its own, a community that will, to begin with, be relatively small, and that over time will be receptive to your ideas, to their construction and definition.

When you make announcements, do so using this tool, and simply send emails to those you want to read them. If the types of relationship you need to be able to do this are not yet in place, facilitate them. This takes time, but in this way, they will be yours, and not of some third party. How to do this? It’s a simple as following those people you think might be interested in your idea, and when the moment arrives, write them a personal email. I really must emphasize the personal aspect of this: a press release beginning “To whom it may concern” is useless, and typical of last century’s communication strategies. If your PR agency suggests that you start sending out press releases, let them go. It’s not what you’re looking for. You need personal communication, you need to know that the person receiving your messages sees that you have a good reason for them reading them, because you follow them and you know that what you have to tell them is of interest to them.

Sending a mass mail to names and addresses taken from a data base of journalists or influencers is not the way to achieve this.

Startups are increasingly turning to personal communication because personal communication is how we, well, communicate these days. I have seen very few PR agencies that work in this way, by putting entrepreneurs directly in touch with those people that really can help them to spread the news about your project and that should know about it. Sadly, in my experience, the majority still work on the basis of mass mailing via databases.

If you are an entrepreneur and what to get your ideas out there, don’t do this. It will make you look old fashioned and is a waste of time and energy. Contact those journalists and influencers on the basis of what they have written or said, let them know who you are, offer them a place to read about your project, convert it into something that can easily be indexed, and be prepared to answer questions. Convert spreading the word about your company into something personal. It’s a decision that you won’t regret.

(En español, aquí)

Written by

Professor at IE Business School (Madrid, Spain) and blogger at enriquedans.com

Published January 11, 2014

Published in

Go to Enrique Dans

Enrique Dans

Some of the posts I publish in Spanish at enriquedans.com, translated

Less Really Might Be More


Does economic and technical progress bring you contentment?

Pump, pump, pump, hissssssssssss

The warm glow of the small kerosene lamp grew and lit up my family and our hippy hair, as the wind tore at the eves of the home crafted house, and the Shetland rain dripped into various buckets strategically placed to catch what the roof could not…

We had no money, no electricity, no TV, no bathroom. In fact our toilet was outside and had no running water.

And yet…

And yet, I felt so completely loved, respected and protected as a small child.

Now, we drive German cars, and have multiple Apple products, electricity flows all day, all night, and yes the toilet is indoors.

I wonder if we are more content, loved or respected.

Do you feel content?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a capitalist, I run a business and love all these luxuries, but I recognize them as just that: luxuries, not absolute rights.

Written by

Confidence to Present, Pitch, Public Speaking, For: MIT Entrepreneurs + Energy Businesses. Global Travelor. Free Speech Fan. www.thorholt.com


5 Reasons You Should Already Be Keeping a Journal

Starting Today…..

I’m a huge believer in keeping a regular journal. Whether thats for personal thoughts or for merely recording business decisions and plans you’re making for the future. The act of simply capturing your thoughts down on “paper” can have a amazing impact on your life. Still not convinced? Keep on reading…..

  1. Communication  — Regular writing can dramatically improve your communication skills. As much as we may have been sold a future of video conferencing and hoverbikes, the truth is people have stuck doggedly to the written word. Dont believe me? Try, effectively, getting your point across in 140 characters or less without practice.
  2. Perspective  — Keeping a regular record of your thoughts and logic behind decisions is a powerful tool in building your business. We all know that leadership can be a lonely existence, you can take great comfort in reading how you overcame adversity in the past. Sometimes just the realization that you’ve been here before, is all it takes to get you over the finishing line.
  3. Reflection — Writing has the potential to introduce a natural buffer, before taking action. Think of how many times you’ve sent an email in anger only to regret it moments later. Writing to yourself gives you time to reflect and potential prevent taking regretful action. You can always press send in the morning, after a good proof read.
  4. Habit forming  — Writing on daily basis forces you to create a new positive habit. The ability to form new habits and establish new routines is a key ingredient of living a healthier more productive life. People generally fail at eating more healthily or exercising regularly, because they lack the ability to introduce a new habit / routine into their existing lifestyle. Writing by its very nature creates a record of how well your new habit is being established.
  5. Zen….like  — Writing is an amazing way to get to really know yourself. Talking to yourself in the third person can be a great form of self therapy. You quickly begin to recognise patterns in your moods. How you feel during times of the day, and even seasons, when your decision making abilities can be compromised. Understanding the way you think and behave in given situations allows you to manage yourself more effectively.

You’ve got time!

I’ve lost count of how many people tell me they just don’t have time to spend on writing. Its simply not true. Today, with the tools available to us, we have the ability to write whenever the mood takes us. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different apps that can really help get you started. I’m happy to share my experiences and advice, just fire your questions to @jamesketchell

If you found value in this article, it would mean a lot to me if you hit the recommend button!

Further Reading

How To Feel Good Whenever You Wish To

 — Secrets To Turn Yourself Into A Happiness Machine Revealed

Written by

#Entrepreneur #Restless #Technologist #Traveler #Husband #Father of Twins #Racer #Storyteller, #SaaS #Cloud #Founder #CEO @Serchen & @KetchellDigital


Why It Pays to Listen

Listening is the art of waiting for what someone isn’t saying


Stop your yakking. And pay attention.

Something incredible is happening here in the Church of Startups.

These guys aren’t douchebags. They work for Microsoft. They are building a hack .

I was a at Demo Day at Google last night. Twelve teams presented their ideas. Some of them were good. Some that I remember are Notelr, Megaki, Padded.co, and Happenin.

(Happenin was great. It’s an app available in Android that works like a Waze for pedestrians. It was built in Beirut, Lebanon, and it was created because the founder experienced a horrible event — he never said what it was — that made his family’s experience in the city unsafe. He dreamt up a way to get people to self-report crimes, fires, incidents, or bombs (good god)).

But there was a team there that presented their idea. It became clear that they had not figured out how to secure revenue from customers. They also revealed they didn’t know what the basic minimum product for their customers could be. They finished. They sat down

And then for the rest of the demo day, they talked to each other, loudly, about their work, and their product. They were building it as the other products were being pitched.

I’m all for constantly building your product, if you have that momentum and you want to build and secure the future. But demo days should be special. They are kind of like going to church. You don’t sit on your phone or stream NFL games while you are listening to the homily.

Why? Not because the pitching team at the front has some kind of sacred dogma they are spewing at you, but because in everyone’s search for meaning, and their search for product, there are answers to your own problems.

Listening is just poor interpersonal communication skills

When I lived in China, more than a few people recommended I take a lesson from the Chinese. I have no idea if this is even true, but apparently, in business in China you need to listen for what people aren’t saying, so you know how to handle the negotiations.

Not listening is the same as giving your app users an app they can’t understand how to use. Poor communication skills

Maybe. I can’t tell you that I started practicing this and then suddenly became amazing at doing business deals in China. But I did stop talking, and I dd start really listening to what people were saying. And not saying.

I discovered that what was happening when I stopped talking was that a kind of connection was being made between me and the other person. I was beginning to understand in my listening that ideas I had not been thinking about started floating to the surface of my thoughts. Suddenly, things that I could not grasp before became noticeable.

I began to find pathways to solutions.

Business opportunities for a new pattern in a market lie at the edges of seemingly unrelated markets.

They lie at the fragmented edges of half-completed deals, failures to launch, and ideas that are well-intentioned but poorly thought out.

This is what makes demo days such a valuable facet of a community. If you sit down, and stop thinking about yourself, and really start thinking about other people and what they are saying, you end up benefiting twofold.

When you give these teams advice, you help them. A win for the heart.

Image representing Y Combinator as depicted in...
Image via CrunchBase

When you listen without interrupting with your insistent pitter-patter of ego thoughts, you start developing a sense for what is not working for yourself.

I want to argue without any material evidence that entrepreneurship forms an integral cultural need.

It helps us talk to ourselves and work collectively to build systems. Without listening, systems erode.

And you can’t enable anyone’s success without a system. That’s your real business.

SOURCE medium – > https://medium.com/p/6f80f24f2b3a




Graduation 101: Who are We?

My undelivered graduation speech


graduation (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)


This is a snippet of my graduation speech that I failed to deliver during the event because someone with better speech was chosen. But I feel the need to share my thoughts or else I’d be just another whining Jack.


Let’s go.


The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.


This is not the end. This is just the very beginning of our journey. And let me tell you this, as I keep on telling myself every day, we are not that special.


And why are we not that special?


In Malaysia itself, in average we receive 200,000 graduates every year, 60% of them do not get employed 6-months after graduation. Meaning that the competition is tough.


Having a degree doesn’t make us a better person. Having a degree doesn’t give us a free pass to success. To be honest, it only helps us to be socially-accepted and more recognized. It is like if you are in a conversation, having a degree might earn you a Hello, a greeting. What happens next is up to you and your communication skills, the soft skills, which no classroom can actually give you. Remember those soft skill classes that we hate so much? Public Speaking? ENL classes? Those all actually helped us in becoming a better communicator.


I am truthfully thankful to the university because of the opportunities given to me to explore the world more than ever. I was thrilled when I was given the chance to represent the campus to Mexico to attend an event. Having met with tons of talented student leaders from all around the world was such an eye-opening event in my life. Same goes to what INTI has been offering us, diversity. Students from various backgrounds, different personalities and talents. I learned throughout my college times that you will never have enough friends. And spending time to learn others’ culture is the best way to enrich ourselves, and it’s free!


Currently, I’m working in one of the most bad ass Tech-Titans of the world, my boss is literally the world #1 richest person of the year. True enough; I am just a little more prepared for the working world because of what I have done during my college time.


Just a little.


read more -> https://medium.com/what-i-learned-today/76c7939fbc4