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Silicon Valley’s Liquid Amorality – Water Will Find Its Way

November 27, 2014 by  

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OneHackerWay620-2.jpg The Facebook campus sits next to colorful algae on salt flats along San Francisco Bay. Ten years ago in mid 2004 I left the Financial Times and started publishing Silicon Valley Watcher. Silicon Valley was starting to wake from a long downturn from the dotcom deflation and Google’s August IPO was a good sign after several years of bad news. The culture of Silicon Valley was different then. The software engineering community was more radical than today, and far more socially conscious. The open source software movement was very strong among engineers and there was overall an anti-commercial attitude and a respect for protecting an open commons. It shared much in spirit with the radical English groups from the mid-seventeeth century such as The Diggers, and also with the The Diggers of the 1960s in San Francisco, who ran free stores and served free food from their kitchens. The business bible of 2004 was The Cluetrain Manifesto and it came directly from that culture. Here’s an excerpt:
…People of Earth The sky is open to the stars. Clouds roll over us night and day. Oceans rise and fall. Whatever you may have heard, this is our


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Surf Summit, Where Technology, Entrepreneurism & Surfing Meet

November 19, 2014 by  

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Imagine a conference that combines surfing, technology and entrepreneurship on Ireland‘s magical wild coast. A subset if you will of Dublin’s Web Summit, the first ever held Surf Summit brought 200 attendees to the west coast of Ireland to join in discussions, surfing and other adventurous and cultural activities. When I told people I was going to an event where they planned to surf in Ireland’s coastal waters in the middle of November, they looked at me as if I was a bit mad, unless of course they happened to be Canadian or from a Nordic or Celtic country. You see, the Scots, the Welsh, the English, the Scandinavians and the Canadians thought this sounded perfectly normal, for when you come from a country where it is cold and rainy, you need to have a “can-do” attitude regardless of the climate or you simply won’t experience anything at all. I learned this from living in England many moons ago and it has made me a lot more resilient because of it. Iceland is another great example of where their personal and cultural life infiltrates…

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Looking at St. Louis’ Tech Culture As The City Celebrates 250 Years

November 14, 2014 by  

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St Louis 00133 2 With it’s famous arch in the background, St. Louis celebrates 250 years in 2014. I recently returned from 4 days in St. Louis, meeting the local startup community and contributing to a new conference, Startup Voodoo organized by local tech news site Techli and Elasticity, an innovative digital marketing agency. I was more than impressed with the strong sense of social responsibility everyone seemed to have from young business students, entrepreneurs, to philanthropists. Even newly transplanted residents with just a few months residency talked about S. Louis as “we” and exhibited a strong loyalty to their new community. It is worth remembering that Silicon Valley used to have a strong sense of social responsibility, too. It once was very important in recruiting software engineers, they cared about it more than free lunches and free haircuts. When Google registered for its IPO in 2004 the first pages of its SEC filing was a letter from the founders, in which they spelled out their goal of building an enterprise for greater good:
Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served-as shareholders and in all other ways-by


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Web Summit Meets Food Summit With 20,000 Attendees at Royal Dublin Society

November 4, 2014 by  

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Last year I missed Web Summit, what has become Europe’s number one technology event, amusingly labeled as the Davos For Geeks. I went the first two years and this year’s event is a far cry from my year one experience when they only had 500 attendees. Now in its fourth year, 20,000 people flew into Dublin early this week for the premier 3 day event. Founder, Paddy Cosgrave opened the Summit in the morning, emphasizing the importance of the social element to the Summit where deals can – and have been – done. That said, there was still a lot of activity around the main stage, where they had a host of high level discussions and speakers on the hour all day. The center stage had Brendan Iribe, the founder of Oculus Rift who spoke about the rise of virtual reality and its applications in everyday life. Skip Rizzo the Director for Medical Virtual Reality and early stage developer of Oculus Rift gave a demonstration of the technology’s uses for post-traumatic stress disorder for returning veterans. From being shot at to street explosions, the virtual reality exposure therapy has assisted veterans in…

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Learning Something New in Kansas City

October 27, 2014 by  

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Frequent travelers know about the major cities in the world and this is where they flock for the most part – Paris, London, Dublin, New York, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Singapore, Sydney, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Berlin…..but what about the lesser known gems that have a whole lotta culture but perhaps not the draw of a non-urban getaway that the allure of Canada or Patagonia’s natural beauty provides? And yet, in the serene wildwest, Kansas City has it’s fair share of natural beauty, from sunsets to architecture as is the case of these two beautiful shots of the Kansas City Mormon Temple. Rolling into Kansas City, you might just notice a quirky blend of a growing urban center with innovation and cultural activities you wouldn’t have expected ten or even five years ago. The city is changing and as it does, it gives a fresh new impression to the phrase America’s Midwest. Some of this is due to the fact that Kansas City has had a history of hosting industries others haven’t – like Minneapolis in that there’s a twin city thang going on between…

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Canva On iPad For Creating Great Designs On The Go

October 21, 2014 by  

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Whether you are a social media professional or just a professional in any career -  graphics is an important part of presentations, events, group, online and meeting communications.  In the past expensive and complicated graphics software was needed to create and “size” graphics. I have been following and learning about social media from Guy Kawaski for years and recently he shared information about Canva as a great website to create graphics. I started using Canva for my social media and professional graphic projects and was thrilled at how easy it was for even people like me (graphically challenged).  I just received a press release that Canva is now available on the iPad, which makes it even easier to create graphics on the go!
“Canva makes it amazingly simple for everyone to create professional quality graphic designs. Its online design platform brings together a simple drag-and-drop design tool and a library of more than one million photographs, graphics and fonts, allowing anyone to take an idea and present it beautifully in print or online. Canva can be used to design almost anything: presentations, posters, blog content, cards, online marketing materials, invitations, flyers and so much more. 
 Key Features: “Design for…

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Trends & Indian Culture in the Work Environment

October 20, 2014 by  

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shutterstock_146703290 Earlier this week, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide announced its plan to move their global headquarters nearly 8,000 miles and ten time zones from Stamford Connecticut to India for the month of March 2015. The Times of India reports that this is the third temporary “leadership move” Starwood has undertaken, which fosters an innovative approach to developing a global business culture and fostering relationships in developing markets. Previously, Starwood Hotels has sent their executives to China in 2011 and Dubai in 2013. Starwood President and CEO, Frits Van Passen had this to say about the one-month move:
This is a particularly exciting time for us relocate to India. Its renewed focus on travel infrastructure is much needed, as travel demand is fueled by economic growth and a population expected to overtake China by 2030. We all know of India as a hotbed of technological innovation and global services. Coupled with the rise in entrepreneurship and investment, millions of people are joining its middle class every year. And, of course, this means millions of new travelers. At the same time, India is both unique and immensely diverse. Our extended time there will allow us to immerse ourselves and


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Underground Cellar Helps Wineries Sell Wine Online

October 6, 2014 by  

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I recently met Jeffrey Shaw, CEO of Underground Cellar, a startup focused on helping wineries sell wine online. He and his team has developed a great technology platform to allow wineries to market themselves and sell their wines but it is also using its own platform to sell wine on behalf of many wineries — using a clever business model. Shaw explained that when wineries want their help to shift certain wines, Underground Cellar will taste the wines first and then agree to sell a set number of cases and take a sales commission. It always asks the winery to give it additional cases of some of its other lines, often high-end expensive vintages, and those are used to reward its customers. When customers order wine, they have a chance to win additional bottles for free, equivalent to what they have ordered, or better. The probability of winning extra bottles is shown each time in real time. [All it needs (below) is some revolving cherries to create a virtual one-armed bandit.] DSC00019 Customers used to have to wait until their order arrived to see if they had won but Shaw says telling…

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