Tag Archives: research

A New Year—And More Progress – Introducing Tanzeel urRehman

In 2013 we realized that in order to scale, we’d need to continue increasing the caliber of talent on our team. As a firm, we have the challenge of juggling multiple projects, sprints, scopes, code reviews, code documentations, research projects, contract negotiations, trainings, scrum meetings etc. at once. We are very obviously an operations-heavy firm. It therefore became apparent that we needed to bring someone on to our team responsible for ensuring all of the moving parts were continuing to function in an orchestrated manner.

With that in mind, I am excited to announce that Tanzeel urRehman has joined us and is heading our operations. Tanzeel received his undergraduate degree in computer engineering from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and went on to receive his MBA at Babson College, a top-notch entrepreneurial school based out of Massachusetts.

Tanzeel has spent time as a software engineer at Palmchip, and at Sensys (where he also served as a regional director of sales). Beyond that, Tanzeel has also served as an account manager at InfoTech, and as a co-founder of Xyltus, a firm focused on digital marketing and application development.

His experience both from a technical and managerial perspective make him a perfect fit for his role with our team. I’ve already learned from his calm demeanor while solving complex problems—and his ability to keep an organized eye over the entire firm.

I expect to keep learning from him, and expect great things in general.

He is also a paragliding pilot, he has flown in the highest mountain range of the world and has co-founded a paragliding club in Pakistan. Beat that.

Written by

A Student-Entrepreneur


People Sext When They Don’t Really Want To, Study Finds

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 12/30/2013 2:47 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/30/2013 4:21 pm EST

sexting study
Get Technology Newsletters:

“Not tonight, honey, I have a headache” can spare lovers from sex. But it won’t save them from sexts.

While headlines proclaim young adults are hooked on the joys of sexting, a forthcoming study examining the practice has found college-age sexters in committed relationships frequently engage in unwanted sexting, and will exchange explicit message or photos for reasons that have little to do with attraction or arousal.

Call it the “requisext”: an X-rated missive sent out of a sense of necessity or obligation, but not purely for pleasure. They’re more common than many might realize, and are sent nearly as frequently by men and women.

The research, which will be published in February in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, reveals similarities between sexual behavior online and off. Previous research on couples’ sex lives has demonstrated that partners will willingly go along with sex, even when they’re not keen on it, for reasons that range from pleasing their partner to avoiding an argument. On smartphones and over email, e-sex happens for many of the same reasons.

Working to understand the frequency of “consensual but unwanted sexting” — scientist-speak for “sexting when you’re not in the mood” — psychologists at Indiana University-Purdue University For Wayne polled 155 undergraduates who were or had been in committed relationships on their sexting habits.

Fifty-five percent of the female respondents said they had previously engaged in unwanted sexting, while 48 percent of men had done the same. Those numbers are surprisingly similar to previous findings on so-called “compliant sexual activity”: A 1994 report determined that 55 percent of American women and 35 percent of American men had ever engaged in consensual but unwanted sex.

But while women have typically far outnumbered men in having unwanted sexual activity the old-fashioned way, the rates of requisexting were not drastically higher among women, the study found. In this case, equality for the sexes means near-equality in unwanted sexting.

The authors of the article argued “gender-role expectations” could be to blame. Men might be more likely to agree to undesired sexting because doing so is “relatively easy and does not require them to invest more into the relationship.” Women in turn might be discouraged from virtual sex because it fails to help them attain their relationship “goals,” the authors hypothesized.

So what makes people feel the need to requisext — especially when the evidence can so easily come back to haunt them?

The survey’s respondents were asked to rate ten possible motivations for their begrudging sexts, ranging from “I was bored” to “I was taking drugs.”

People most frequently consented to unwanted sexting because they sought to flirt, engage in foreplay, satisfy a partner’s need or foster intimacy in their relationship. The researchers also found that people who were anxious about their relationships — specifically, who feared abandonment by or alienation from their lovers — were more likely to be requisexters. Digital communication could be “especially challenging” for these anxious lovers, who might increase their sexting in an attempt to make distant lovers seem closer, the study’s authors speculated.

On the other hand, those sick of requisexting might soon be coming up with some clever “outs.” Next time, just claim you have a thumbache.



Take a Break – Lift’s Habit of the Day



Sometimes we get so excited about reaching our goals that we forget to take breaks. We work past midnight. We skip meals so that we can get in one more round of practice. We “forget” to take our vacation days.

Breaks just seem so unproductive. But can they help us achieve our goals?

Taking breaks increases your health & productivity

Multiple studies reveal the benefits of making sure that your mind and body are rested. Dr. Brooks B. Gump and Dr. Karen B. Matthews have tied vacations with lower mortality rates. Dr. Cheri D. Mah saw basketball players inch closer to peak performance by getting more sleep. Earlier this year we saw meditation increase people’s productivity at work.

Meditation boosts focus at work

Deliberate practice and productivity systems like Pomodoro advocate intense work intervals punctuated by short breaks. Scientific studies show that breaks help you stay productive and focused as you work. Entrepreneur Erin McKean actually takes breaks in order to increase her creativity:

“Working on something else is a great way to clear your mind of the ‘primary problems.’ There’s only so far you can run and only so many showers you can take to try to trigger that creative distance. Sometimes stepping away from the problem is the best way to solve it.”

So while consistency is key for behavior change, don’t forget to take a break!

How to start the habit:

Right now: Get out of your chair and take a quick 2 minute walk or pop your headphones in and listen to one song. It’s that easy to take a break!

Then: Start a habit of taking a break. Some commons ways people do this on Lift are: Meditate, Stop and Enjoy Life, Read, and Spend Time Outside.

Written by

Running community and investigating habits at @liftapp. Chillin’ in SF… literally, it’s freezing here.


Verbal— Voice Internet


Internet! (Photo credit: LarsZi)

A few thoughts on how to improve its Kickstarter pitch


Flock, a Mexico City-based agency in which some good friends work at, recently launched their first Kickstarter project, “Verbal— Voice Internet”, and I mentioned in a tweet that I liked the intent behind the project, but not so much the way the idea was fleshed out.


Since I’m reacting exclusively to the information that is posted, and the answer to a question I posed (“Will you charge for the service? If so, how much?”), I think that it’s better to say that my feedback is to their Kickstarter pitch, and not necessarily to the project itself,because the Flock team surely knows things about it that I don’t.


I would like to suggest the team to consider the following:


  1. Change the project tagline from “Voice Internet” to “Voice Information Service”, or something along those lines. Saying that the project will bring the internet to the masses is a big overpromise and it hurts the project credibility.
  2. Explain what is it that they’ll be applying the funding to. $94,000 is a very small sum to solve one of computing’s biggest challenges (natural language processing, speech recognition in different languages and accents that vary wildly). I think it would add credibility to the project to say that, for example, they’re working with existing code libraries and thus just focusing on a specific part of the computing issue,with this funding. Or that they or some other partner have invested already a lot more and this funding is only for X.


read more -> https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/d75ec00f5a66




A Seemingly Meaningful Collection of Thoughts

I want to bathe in music, filling up a room so loudly there can be nothing else. With eyes closed, thinking only of interweaving melodies, trusting harmonies to string my thoughts together, making sense of the clustered, nonsensical noise inside my head.

I want to sit and cry, held by someone, anyone, because dear god how do some people survive years of being lonely when I can hardly handle two weeks.

I want to sleep in your bed, breathe in your scent, and wonder if I’m leaving my own, so you’ll think about me after I’m gone.

I just want you to be thinking of me after I’ve gone.

What is more profound than being in a crowd of my friends and scream-dancing our anthems? Turn around bright eyes, you’re gonna hear me roar. What’s my age again?

Nothing is more profound, because that’s where I am found. In a crowd of familiar faces in an unfamiliar city, the same song year after year — it is impossible to be lost, except within the meaning of why we are there.


read more ->>> https://medium.com/this-matters-to-me/1c07d03b23d0

Research Shows Cocaine And Heroin Are Less Addictive Than Oreos

Research Shows Cocaine And Heroin Are Less Addictive Than Oreos

Research Shows Oreos Are Just As Addictive As Drugs,” says the headline above a recentConnecticut College press release. “…in Lab Rats,” it adds, and I’ll get to that part later. But first note that the study’s findings could just as truthfully be summarized this way: “Drugs Are No More Addictive Than Oreos.” The specific drugs included in the study were cocaine and morphine, which is what heroin becomes immediately after injection. So the headline also could have been: “Research Shows That Heroin and Cocaine Are No More Addictive Than Oreos.” Putting it that way would have raised some interesting questions about the purportedly irresistible power of these drugs, which supposedly justifies using force to stop people from consuming them. But the researchers are not interested in casting doubt on the empirical basis for the War on Drugs; instead they are trying to build an empirical basis for the War on Fat:

“Our research supports the theory that high-fat/high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” [neuroscientist Joseph] Schroeder said. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”

“My research interests stemmed from a curiosity for studying human behavior and our motivations when it comes to food,” said [neuroscience major] Jamie Honohan. “We chose Oreos not only because they are America’s favorite cookie, and highly palatable to rats, but also because products containing high amounts of fat and sugar are heavily marketed in communities with lower socioeconomic statuses.”…

Even though we associate significant health hazards in taking drugs like cocaine and morphine, high-fat/ high-sugar foods may present even more of a danger because of their accessibility and affordability,” she said.


Read more : http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2013/10/16/research-shows-cocaine-and-heroin-are-less-addictive-than-oreos/


Startups Should Foster The Best Possible Work Environments


As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve started a number of successful companies and each had a unique feel (even though many were in the same industry). The specific work environment of each was different too. Creating the best possible workplace for each company was an important priority to me.

It’s easy to overlook the work environment when starting a company, but I’ve found it to be a key factor in a business’ success.

When thinking about the type of environment I wanted for my employees, I tried to consider what I would like in a workplace. In terms of physical spaces, our offices were bright and we had areas for collaboration. I believe it’s important to let people interact and socialize at work.

I’ve been amazed at some of the great ideas and conversations that have happened in break rooms or hallways when people were passing one another.

The atmosphere in the office is important too and certainly contributes to the overall work environment.

I try to create welcoming and happy places for employees; to encourage people to want to come to work.

In my experience, it takes a lot of effort and consistency, but the rewards are well worth it. As a manger and owner, my attitude and behavior set the mood for the entire company. Others followed me as an example, which meant I had to set the right tone.

Here are some tips I learned throughout the years on fostering a positive work environment:

Have clear expectations of employees and tell them what those expectations are.
Provide training and support for employees so they can learn from mistakes and be confident that they can improve.
Show genuine interest in your employees and team members.
Be encouraging and open. Employees should be able to come speak with you directly.
Reward good performances and offer positive reinforcement.
There’s a blog post from the Harvard Business Review a few years ago that listed 12 attributes

of a truly great workplace. I’ve been able to incorporate many of them into various work environments during my career, and I think they offer a good guide and set of goals.

Of course, what works for one business won’t be applicable to everyone. In my experience, though, it’s been important to create and foster great work environments because the workplace can help keep employees productive and happy.

What tips do you have for great workplaces? Are there some great work environments you want to emulate?

(VIA. Forbes)

Top Mobile Issues Right Now – An Overview

People everywhere are increasing the time they are spending on their mobile devices, according to Visually, Inc. We are using our phones to browse the Internet, stay on top of emails, check in on social networks, play games, read news, listen to music and much more. In fact, we are adopting new uses for our mobile devices daily. Research firm Gartner estimates that in 2013, we will use our mobile phones more than our PCs to access the Web.

In the article, “Mobile growth is about to be staggering,” Forbes notes we are consuming wireless data at spectacular rates. In 2012, smartphones made up 16 percent of wirelessly-connected devices, using 44 percent of total traffic. By 2017, Forbes estimates, smartphones will make up 27 percent of connected devices, eating up nearly 70 percent of data.

Mobile Trends

Because of this increase, businesses are striving to make their products and services more mobile-friendly. Some of the trends already being spotted include:

  • Businesses are finding news way to utilize mobility, opting for specialized apps to create more efficiencies in running the business.  
  • Hot mobile areas that are socially stylish and interactive are helping to drive up the desire for new mobile cooperation
  • More business are using mobile accessibility for payments for products like Mother’s Day flowers and services like marketing consulting.

Mobile for Email

Survey after survey has confirmed that checking e-mail has become the most common mobile activity. Experian Marketing Services notes that 23 percent of mobile users spend time checking e-mail via their phone rather than through a desktop or laptop computer. Marketers are seeing a renewed emphasis on using email to reach their target audience.

Mobile for Social

The number of apps designed for both mobile and desktop use is growing. LinkedIn’s new app helps users stay in touch with important contacts, bringing together contact information spread across a range of devices. Facebook has created a new look for mobile users, making it easier to utilize options like messaging.

The rise of content marketing is also driving more mobile adoption. Approximately 91 percent of business to business (B2B) marketers use content marketing, and 87 percent use social media to share it, notes ÜberFlip.

Mobile for Budgets

One of the great uses for smartphone apps is the ability to manage your business (or personal) finances from your hands. Budget and banking app allow you to check your debt, spending and savings. Here are a few:

Mint – Smartphone users like Mint because it connects your banking and credit card accounts, while checking real-time spending patterns. You can set up categories for different business expenses (like entertainment, auto, food, etc) and you Mint account will synch this data across all platforms. This app is a a free download in both the Apple Store and Google Play. 

Pageonce – Another popular, free mobile app is Pageonce. It can pay bills, organize your spending and track your cash. The app also services users with notifications and email reminders to avoid missing any monthly payments. Pageonce charges users to pay bills with a credit or debit card, but there is no fee for paying bills via your bank account. 

Quicken – This free app needs to be set up once you have Quicken on your corresponding desktop/laptop. When you synch the two together, you’ll have your finances at your fingertips anytime, anywhere. Quicken speeds up your online budgeting easily and dependably. 

In the end, your business will have to weigh the benefits and the disadvantages of mobilizing all aspects of your operation. But mobile development for businesses is here to stay and it may be better for your company to move sooner rather than later. Find your company’s sweet mobile spot and start your ascent. 

How to Brand a %22Useless%22 Degree

How to Brand a “Useless” Degree

How to Brand a %22Useless%22 Degree

Graduation season is upon us — and that means approximately 700,000 U.S. students will be receiving master’s degrees and another 150,000 or so will be getting their doctorates. For some, the path forward is clear: the math experts will be snapped up by hedge funds, the software engineers will have their pick of start-ups, and elite investment banks and consultancies will duke it out for the top MBAs. But a significant number of those students will fling off their mortarboards only to find themselves bereft of job prospects.

Fourteen years ago, that was me. I was graduating with a master’s degree in theological studies; aiming for a career in academia, I had been utterly unconcerned about the practical applicability of my degree. But when I was turned down by every doctoral program I applied to, I suddenly needed a plan to earn a living. That led to a variety of professional adventures, ranging from journalism to documentary film-making to nonprofit management to serving as a presidential campaign spokesperson.

But one of the hardest parts of the journey was the initial step — entering the workforce after two years of rigorous graduate studies and explaining my degree (no, I wasn’t training to become a minister) and, even more critically, its value in the marketplace. If you’ve earned a graduate degree that puts you on a less-than-certain professional trajectory — one that naysayers may even declare “useless” — here are a few strategies that have worked for me.

The truth is, your subject matter knowledge may be irrelevant to anything going on in the business world today. Expert in ancient Roman politics? Biblical exegesis? South American literature? Anyone will want you at their dinner party — but maybe not working at their company. That’s why you need to emphasize your skills, not your content expertise. In college (studying philosophy) and in divinity school, I learned to read abstruse texts with careful comprehension, and fashion tight, logical arguments. That’s an applicable business skill, even if witty badinage about the writings of Thomas Aquinas is not.

Next, you’ll want to position yourself as a potential fount of innovation. How so? Check out the writings of thinkers like Frans Johansson, who argues in The Medici Effect that the best ideas arise from interdisciplinary intersections. You’re never going to win the argument that you’re better qualified than someone who has studied a relevant business discipline — or who has worked in the field for years. So don’t even try. You’re differently qualified, and your unique perspective may be just what the company needs to move to the next level.

You’ll also want to cite your work experience. Many graduate students serve as research assistants, teaching fellows, or writing-center tutors — and you may even have had internships in your field. Those provide valuable “real-world” credentials that will likely be more impressive to potential employers than your degree itself. Can you lead and inspire those in your charge (i.e., a classroom full of twenty skeptical undergrads)? Bridge cultural divides by enabling non-native English speakers to better express themselves? Solve difficult research challenges and unearth crucial facts? Those are abilities that any workplace would covet.

Finally, I’ve found that my theology degree serves another, unexpected purpose: it allows me to make meaningful connections with the people around me. Some could care less, of course. But others have a personal interest in religion or theology; when they find out about my studies, they’re eager to talk and share their own stories. I’ve seen personal sides of colleagues that never would have come out otherwise — their longing to find a calling, or their own faith journey. In a world where business is driven by personal connections, it’s been a powerful vehicle to engage deeply with others. Many people have strong feelings about, or interest in, religion. But even if it’s a shared interest in geography, or urban planning, or British literature, it can be a powerful way to cement a relationship.

In practical terms, my theology degree wasn’t relevant to my subsequent professional life (though I did finally make it into academia, teaching at business schools in addition to my work as a strategy consultant). But it was very relevant to my development as a human being. Grad school may or may not be worth it, depending on your individual goals and circumstances. But if you’ve taken the plunge and are now entering the work world, you owe it to yourself to make the best case possible in explaining its value to others.

(VIA. Harvard Business Review)