29 September, 2014

Amazing India energizes me: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

If there's anything that energizes Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, it's his trademark loud laugh. Used variously to galvanize employees or send them a tough message, the laugh defines the confidence Bezos brings to his e-commerce business.

But something galvanizes him even more. "My first visit to India five years ago, which included Varanasi, left me energetic and energized," says Bezos. "Amazon is little over a year old in India. But the local team here has blown past the initial set of goals." To make his business intentions in India clear, Bezos put up a maverick show in Bangalore on Sunday: he was on top of a truck flashing a big $2-billion cheque and an even bigger smile. "Amazon has unveiled a $2-billion investment in the country, we'll work to better what Indians love most in shopping — vast selection, competitive pricing and fast delivery."

Despite the truck theatrics, Bezos does not hide his intent. His conversations were loaded with "customercentric", a term he mentioned at least 30 times in our interview. Bezos's sole principle: "We stay focused on the customer, not the competition. It's the customer who pays us, not our rivals."

If he's unfazed by competition, he's unfazed by policy too — at least for now. "Every country has its unique set of rules, and it's our job to adapt to them," Bezos said, responding to India's rules on FDI in e-commerce.

"So, we are currently focused on bringing an incredibly large number of (local) small and medium enterprises online. That's a big shift."

After many laughs, it's time for Bezos wit. Asked about his visit to India, particularly New Delhi, at a time when the Prime Minister is in the US, Bezos quipped: "We are doing a balancing act. The world is in balance now."

Think you can crack this code? Woto may have a job for you

A new content sharing website has found an innovative way of finding an intern who is up to the task - by writing the job advert completely in code.

Woto, which allows people to create their own pages with anything from galleries and sound clips to online shops, has around 10,000 users so far.

The site, based in Soho, London, is looking for a digital intern with the unusual advert.

Unscrambled, it reads: "Woto's creators are after a savvy tech/digital intern, to help them make Woto whirl over the next few months. The role would be a varied one and enable you to hone your skills in a number of areas, from copywriting to coding."

Ian Collins, the co-founder and chief of Woto, told the International Business Times the company believes coding will be "mainstream" within five to 10 years.

"A standard job advertisement would just not have been effective for this role," he added.

Ekin Caglar, Woto's chief technology officer and co-founder, told the International Business Times the company was "embracing the future".

"We want to employ young people who can 'talk our talk' but also learn and develop at the same rate as the technology around us," he said.

"The fact that coding has just been introduced in schools shows the important role technology is playing in our future."

Five-year-olds are being taught coding and other computer skills under curriculum reforms introduced this month as the Government attempts to position the UK as a global hub for technological innovation.

The job advert will be open to applicants until 2 October.

Look who started it first and did we see this in Media !

From yesterday many media houses are playing a small, incomplete clip and claiming that Modi

Now watch this following  video to know what really happened! It was our renowned Journalist who actually first abused, and attacked an NRI at Madison Square Garden, NYC.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Totdio05s&feature=youtu.be


The world's first underwater phone unboxing


Post-it Notes Get Digitized In A Clever New App From 3M

Post-it Notes may be a product of the analog era, but they continue to stick around – literally, that is – covering walls, windows, monitor screens and more, remaining an office worker’s go-to-tool for small scribbles, quick thoughts, and ideas. Now the company behind Post-it, 3M, is hoping to port Post-it notes to the small screen, with a new mobile app that lets you capture, organize and share your notes from your iPhone or iPad.

The new app will be especially helpful for documenting collaboration sessions at work – the kind that leave the walls covered in colorful little stickies.

3M should be applauded for doing more than throwing out some lame alternative to using your phone’s camera to snap photos of Post-it’s, slapping the brand name on it and calling it a day. Instead, the Post-it Plus app, as it’s called, is surprisingly clever.

You can use the app to capture a photo of up to 50 square Post-it Notes at one time. These are then identified with little checkmarks on top of each note. Before creating your digital board, you can uncheck the notes you don’t want to save.

After the image is captured, you have a viral Post-it board where you can arrange, refine and re-organize the notes just by tapping and dragging them around with your finger.

The app lets you tap on the board for more options, like renaming the group of notes or choosing different arrangements for your notes, including a couple of grid-like patterns that stretch either horizontally or vertically. Or, if you want to return to the way the notes were positioned when you first snapped the photo, that’s also an option.

Meanwhile, individual notes can be rotated, brightened up, favorited and deleted after tapping on them to see them larger. But you can’t re-write the notes themselves.

Multiple boards can also be combined, allowing teams to work together on ideas. When you’re finished with an arrangement, you tap to either share the board via text, email, social media or other apps you use like Dropbox or Evernote, or you can export the board to PDF, PowerPoint, Excel, .zip or the Post-it Plus app’s own file type.

The free app is currently featured as one of the Best New Apps on the iTunes App Store today, and it doesn’t include any in-app purchases. (Hooray!) For those whose workflows still live and die by these little notes, Post-it Plus is worth the download.

Vine now lets you use your Android phone's existing video clips

Not too long ago Vine blessed iOS users with the ability to import pre-existing videos into the app, and now Google fans can get in on the action. Any clips in your Android camera roll are viable
subjects to be trimmed down to six seconds or shorter now, and you can activate your device's flashlight to work as a flash in low-light situations. There are a few other features too, and you can check those out on the app's Google Play page. Now all that's separating your from internet stardom is, well... you.

The Shellshock command security flaw isn't really fixed yet

Don't get too comfy just because companies are rolling out patches for the Shellshock security bug -- as it turns out, even updated websites and devices remain at risk. Developers are reporting that they can still run any code they like (and thus hijack systems) through the bash command shell simply by using instructions that aren't covered by existing safeguards. You can use a common variable like "cat" (concatenate) to bypass the defenses, for instance. The only surefire fix may be a fundamental change to how the shell handles variables, which could break legions of apps and services. You still don't have much reason to worry about your home Mac or Linux PC, but it's now considerably less likely that the sites and connected gadgets you use will will be truly immune to Shellshock-based attacks.

China blocks Instagram in the wake of Hong Kong democracy protests

China has a history of tightening its censorship of internet services during times of political upheaval,
and that's unfortunately happening again with massive pro-democracy protests underway in Hong Kong. Both monitoring sites and on-the-ground observers report that the country has blocked access to Instagram, most likely to prevent images of the demonstrations from reaching the mainland. It's potentially a big blow to free speech, as the photo sharing service was one of the few foreign social networks that operated unfettered in the area. We've reached out to Instagram for more details, but it's safe to presume that China won't lift its restrictions so long as the protests continue -- and it won't be surprising if this ultimately proves to be a permanent ban.

7 Mobile Marketing Stats That Will Blow Your Mind

Mobile marketing is the future. Any marketer, or marketing firm worth their weight in invoices knows that the key to future success is adapting to and optimizing for the mobile market. When you’re in a public place, you don’t have to look far to find someone pre-occupied with a smartphone. This very same occurrence that you see on a day-to-day basis also happens at home, with tablets. Tablets and mobile devices are taking over the market and that makes for an exciting piece of Internet history that many are recognizing, but few are really cashing in on.

The following 7 statistics will give you an idea of just how big this is, and how much bigger it’ll be over the next few years. Pay close attention.

75% of Americans admit to bringing their phone to the bathroom.
More than ever, Americans are attached to their devices . So much so, that they take the device with them wherever they go, even the bathroom. While the majority of time spent on mobile devices is checking email, browsing social media sites or playing games – this leaves a crap load (see what I did there?) of time to reach your potential customers.

40% of shoppers consult 3 or more channels (often while shopping) before making a purchase.
This same stat was less than 10% in 2002. That’s mind-boggling growth in just over 10 years.  Even more astonishing is the fact that 52% of Americans user their devices while browsing in-store in order to research the product online. This type of behavior will ultimately lead to an increase in the importance of online reputation management, fair pricing and transparency from retail outlets.

4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop.
This should surprise no one. Mobile users are shoppers, and we’ve got data to prove it . Smart retailers (like Target) are recognizing this trend and incentivizing the use of mobile phones within the store with discounts and coupons targeted at mobile users. Many restaurants are doing the same thing by offering a free drink, appetizer or a coupon code to those that check in using Foursquare, Yelp or Facebook.

By 2014 mobile is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage.
This is largely based on the developing world having access to cheap smartphones and data plans  as opposed to having to buy a laptop or desktop device to access the Internet. The rise in 3g and 4g data in countries like India and China proved to be a massive shift in the dynamic of mobile web usage due to the poor infrastructure in most major metro areas (and especially outside them). This poor infrastructure leads to slower and more expensive at-home connections thus providing a real opportunity for smart phones in these markets.

As of 2012, 116 million Americans owned smartphones.
This figure is up from 93.1 million just a year earlier.  2013 will prove to be the tipping point as smartphone usage is expected to reach nearly 60%. This figure alone should justify the expense of a mobile strategy by most businesses.

70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.
Mobile users that find your business online have a conversion percentage nearly three times higher than the same search done on a desktop or laptop . Why? Mobile users are on the go. When you’re browsing, you grab the laptop and start researching or just satisfying curiosity for products or services. When you grab your smartphone to search, you have a specific intent in mind, whether it be food, clothing or an oil change for your car. Mobile searchers are buyers, assuming you can meet their needs.

78% of retailers plan to invest in mobile this year.
The figure is expected to top 220 million within the retail market alone . In marketing, retailers drive trends, and if they’re spending that kind of money in mobile, maybe it’s time to evaluate your strategy.

If these stats aren’t mind boggling enough for you, try this one on for size. If you take a look at the world’s 7 billion plus people, more of these people own smartphones than toothbrushes. How’s that for mind boggling?

6 Skills You Need To Be A Social Media Professional

Listening
This one is still very much true, and perhaps even more so. The best social media pros listen the most actively and most aggressively.

Pattern Recognition
This is getting more and more critical as the data and complexity of social continues to ratchet up. Are these posts on our Facebook page a crisis in the making, or just noise? Where are the real-time marketing opportunities? Instantly identifying patterns and being able to capitalize upon them are some of the skills that separate good social practitioners from great ones.

Visual Thinking
This is perhaps the biggest change in the past year or two. Being a great writer was formerly a key characteristic of many social pros, as being able to coherently write in 140 characters isn’t as easy as it appears. Today, with every social network embracing visuals and multi-media, being able to represent the brand visually is absolutely critical. This is a real challenge for many community managers who come from the PR/communications side of things, and all of a sudden need to be quasi graphic designers.

Statistical Analysis
Understanding what works, what might work, why it might work, and under what circumstances is a major differentiator within the social media professionals ranks. Those that are constantly thinking about data and metrics, tying social outcomes to company outcomes are those that will ultimately succeed as social becomes integrated into larger business functions. If you’re not comfortable with math, data and Excel, you need to get good at that side of the business RIGHT NOW.

Improvisation
Understanding how to handle a wide variety of situations with aplomb, humor and empathy is a huge part of the business now, especially for front line community managers. My friend Jeff Rohrs  – co-host of our popular weekly podcast, Social Pros  – is a big proponent of social professionals taking improv comedy classes to burnish their in-the-moment chops. I concur.

Public Speaking
You may be thinking, “wait, I got into social media so I wouldn’t have to do stuff like public speaking, and could confine my awesomeness to a keyboard.” Well, here’s the deal. If you really want to make a run in this business, you are going to have to merchandise your success internally and externally. You have to make the execs in your organization understand why and how social works to either make the company money, save it money, or both. And if you can’t walk into that conference room and knock their socks off with a focused 10-minute presentation, you are realistically impeding your own success path.

Where do you disagree? I’m sure this list will change again by next year.

9 Reasons Why The Apple Watch Is Going To Make Billions Of Dollars For Apple.

After more than two years of rumours, Apple has finally launched the iWatch Apple Watch and to say it is an incredible product is an understatement. The build up to the iWatch was not as significant as the build up was to the iPhone and iPad… but hey, it’s a watch we are talking about here! Who would want to get excited about a watch, right? Right? Wrong. As it turns out, Apple has proved yet again why the company is one of the most valuable companies in the world. Apple has proved yet again why the words genius, innovation, extraordinary can so easily be attributed to the company.

The Apple Watch, Apple says, is the most personal device Apple has ever created, and that is what it looks like. There have been smartwatches in the market, but like Apple has had a knack of making their products stand out, the Apple Watch truly stands out from its competition.

Will Apple Watch carve out a market and go on to become a cash cow for Apple? You bet, it will. Here are a few reasons why.

#1. The Digital Crown

So while everyone thought Apple would be putting buttons and what not in the watch, like everyone has been doing it with smartwatches, Apple took the traditional route. They let the crown of the watch stay where it is, and put it on steroids. The Digital Crown, thus, acts as a home button, and a user input device for scrolling up and down, and for zooming in and out. Why? Because pinch-to-zoom would be against all the user experience rules on a screen that small. So will be scrolling.

#2. Intelligence

The Apple Watch comes loaded with sensors, including an Accelerometer and a Heart Rate Sensor. These sensors help Apple Watch track your health & fitness – an area on which this device banks a lot – and your activity. Every time you lift your hand, the Apple Watch would automatically activate; every time you rest your hand, the watch would move on standby. The Watch can use your iPhone’s GPS to track how much you’re walking, and running, and standing, and give you feedback about your usual activities and your extensive workouts. It can also calculate the calories you burn during a workout.

#3. Level of personalisation

The Apple Watch will come in three different variants – the standard Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. Each of these offer different type of Watches, built with different materials – ranging from Stainless Steel to 18 Carat Gold (yes!) and innumerable strap options. The Apple Watch also makes it convenient for users to easily change their straps, without worrying about the device’s durability.

Besides the hardware customisations, the Apple Watch provides tons of options to customise the Watch face, and the amount of details you want to see. You can simply opt to see a timepiece, but you can also see stocks, and pictures, and emojis, and the actual position of the solar system, and moon phases, and what not!

#4. Taptic feedback

The Apple Watch is built with a taptic engine that will provide taptic feedback to the user everytime a notification pops up. This will be in form of a subtle tap that the user will feel – not a vibration, but a taptic tap. No doubt, everyone in the smartwatch industry will want to incorporate this feature given its utility.

#5. Wireless charging

Apple Watch will charge wirelessly. The charger uses Apple’s MagSafe technology and magnets. The charger’s block would snap right to the back of the watch when brought in vicinity allowing for direct, wireless charging.

#6. Seamlessness with the iPhone

The Apple Watch will not work unless you have an iPhone. Which is kind of sad and weird, but then, if you do have an iPhone – the Apple Watch will come in quite handy for everything that you do. The Watch seamlessly connects to the phone and allows for lightweight interaction including making and receiving calls, sending and receiving messages, receiving notifications, etc. It can also be used as a remote shutter and viewfinder for your iPhone camera!

#7. Feature tchotchkes

Apple has put together some really interesting features that may or may not be useful, but they sure as hell will attract the consumers to buy the product. Things like sharing your actual heartbeat with another Apple Watch user, and sending drawings & sketches with taptic feedback. Apple has also packed in an intelligent engine that checks your messages and suggests possible replies; and interactive emojis that you can customise the way you want to — so while the Apple Watch has no keyboard, these features can come in handy to perform lightweight interactions. There is also a built-in Walkie Talkie feature allowing you to converse on the go with other Apple Watch users.

#8. Health & fitness features

With Apple positioning the Apple Watch as a great Health & Fitness product, they have got almost everything spot on in this area. While the Watch is an incredibly useful tool for everyday people like you & I to track our activity and workouts, it is also a great tool for athletes and fitness freaks. The magic is within Apple’s sensors, and the extremely candy user interface Apple has put together for the Watch. Add to that the Health App in the iPhone, and you have a perfect setup that will make you want to do some exercise everyday.

#9. Ability to extend

The Apple Watch is an incredible platform for developers to develop new apps & features. Imagine the kind of things we can do with an all-new platform, an all-new user interface. No wonder hundreds of thousands of developers are waiting to be able to build something great for this little device.

The Apple Watch will be available sometime in early 2015, with a starting price of $349. We still don’t know what kind of configurations and options Apple will be offering, and what the exact pricing will be for every model.

Surprisingly, Apple did not talk about the Watch’s battery life, but at some point during the keynote, Tim Cook said it would last an entire day.

Making the Apple Watch restricted to iPhone users can be questionable, but then again there are 20 crore iPhone 5 and above users (not counting the iPhone 6 users that shall be added soon) who can use the Apple Watch today, so.. well played, Apple.

What do you think, are any other pointers which you would like to share apart from these?

7 Common Mistakes when implementing Sales+Marketing Collaboration

Introduction 

Sales and Marketing are two of the most customer-facing functions in any sales organization. As the key revenue-generators they are what a customer gauges the business on and they are the organization’s present and future growth engines. So you would think that there can be no higher priority to the senior management team than to ensure these two vital teams work together as effectively as possible in order to present the best possible image to the market and to entice customers to buy from us, rather than from our competitors.

So, what stands in the way of getting Sales and Marketing teams to support each other more effectively ?
Here are seven of the most common mistakes:

1. Ignoring the Problem, Doing Nothing

The worst mistake one can make is to turn a blind eye to problems. Yet, denying that there is a problem, that there is room for improvement, and merely accepting the status quo can magnify issues that would be otherwise manageable. For too many companies, sales and marketing departments are working in their respective silos, blissfully unaware of the need to adapt to the changing world that surrounds them. Too many organizations have taken this path and have suffered for it. How did Kodak miss the digital-camera revolution? How did Canon not see the threat from smartphones with in-built cameras?
Show initiative and address the problem.

2. Relying on Quick Fixes

The world is increasingly impatient and our attention spans are becoming shorter. Combine that with the short term results outlook in many sales organizations and it is no wonder that when problems arise we look for quick fixes. However, shortcuts rarely work when it comes to sales and marketing collaboration. When sales reps do not make their targets, many organizations try to fix the problem with short-term solutions.
Let’s look at some of these quick fixes:
Provide more sales training
This is a popular panacea but according to thenineteenth-century German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, 87% of new knowledge is forgotten within 30 days. What do you think happens 30 days after sales training?
Hire more sales reps
The rationale for this popular choice is as follows: if X number of reps bring in Y amount of revenue, more reps will bring in more. However, bringing more reps into a flawed sales and marketing environment will not yield the desired results .
Generate more sales leads
Surely, this is the way to boosting sales results ? Well, it would be if all your sales lead creation and management processes were perfect, if sales and marketing were working harmoniously together to generate, nurture, hand over, close and report on leads perfectly. If that is not the case, why would you want to spend good money creating more leads only to see them dry up and lead nowhere thanks to a flawed process? Stuffing more leads into a flawed sales process will not resolve a sales effectiveness problem.
Fix the cause, not the symptom.

3. Having no one responsible for improving Sales+Marketing Collaboration.

Sales and marketing obviously need to work together. For such cooperation to be possible, cross-functional processes need to be in place to make sure that both sides are in alignment. Not having a intermediary in place to intermediate between Sales and Marketing is a gross oversight.
Get a referee.

4. Neglecting the Human Element

Collaboration is a deeply inter-personal matter, it relies on people doing the right thing. When attempting to foster a cooperative relationship between Sales and Marketing it is important to address the human dimension as a priority. Only then will it be appropriate to move on to HOW each department can support the other, what tools should support them or what joint processes and metrics we should use.
People come first.

5. Believing that Technology will deliver a Miracle

I have nothing against technology, as long as it is deployed properly. It seems though that there are vendors out there that offer their latest whizz-bang technology by promising the world. It is pretty obvious that even the most sophisticated technology will remain ineffective if you don’t have your people and your business processes aligned first.
Technology is good, use it wisely.

6. Trying to implement Change without Executive Support

When change touches on aspects of corporate culture, implementing reforms can be an uphill battle. As laudable as it might be for middle managers or junior staff to attempt to make cultural changes, such optimistic projects are often doomed to failure unless they have executive buy-in.
Get the boss involved.

7. Expecting immediate results

Too often, we expect overnight results, and sometimes even that’s not fast enough. The fact is, any change must be given time to work its way through the system if it is to have any chance at producing the hoped-for results.
Hasten slowly.

Conclusion

There is a method that addresses the 7 mistakes above, one that encompasses the human, processes and technology collaboration elements between Sales and Marketing, one that respects and attends to the respective competencies and objectives of both the Sales and the Marketing functions.
It is called The OneTEAM Method.

27 September, 2014

Telecom firms relying on social media to hire talent

Prakash Mehra, a 39-year-old telecom professional, was looking for a change and sent his resume to several companies. He got a call one morning from a human resources (HR) executive at a potential employer, who said his LinkedIn profile did not match his CV and that he needed to update it. Mehra eventually got the job.

HR executives at telecom companies are increasingly using social media sites Facebook and Twitter, apart from professional networks such as LinkedIn, as reference points in the recruitment process. According to analysts, hiring through social media is expected to grow by more than 50% this year from 2013.

A critical factor behind this trend is generation-next's comfort and adaptability with social media, says Ashok Ramchandran, Vodafone India's HR director.

MTS India, the Indian unit of Russia's Sistema JSFC, recruited 40% of its employees through the social media this year, up from 22% in 2013, according to Tarun Katyal, the company's chief HR officer. Other hiring channels used by MTS include 29% through referrals, 24% through direct recruitments and 7% through external consultants. The company has over 2,000 employees.

The availability of profiles of people on websites allows employers to get to know a lot about candidates before an interaction, according to Amit Das, HR head at Reliance Communications, the fourth-largest telecom operator in the country, which has about 9,000 employees.

Experts say that this gives employers a fair chance to review how well a candidate will fit into the organisational culture, which is a critical factor in talent retention. Updated statuses and work profiles on network sites provide recruiters information that helps them to reach out to the right people for a specific job, they add.

"Benefits with using social media are the availability of a large pool of professionals, easy references and acknowledgements, cost savings and ability to do analysis and an ability to find trends in hiring," says Anne Birgitte Kverum, Uninor's HR head.

Other advantages include identifying candidates for succession planning, building employee engagement, due diligence on prospective recruits and also finding ways of building job roles and responsibilities in keeping with trends and industry alignments, she added.

There is also a branding element involved in social media hiring.

"When companies hire through social media, it allows them to promote their employer's brand through this tool," says Shiv Agrawal, founder of HeadHonchos.com. Sandeep Gandhi, Aircel's chief HR officer, agrees.

Telecom sector's hiring increased 36% in August from a year earlier, according to the Naukri Job Speak Index.

25 September, 2014

New App Wants to Make Trading Stocks as Easy as Posting Selfies

Standing in line for coffee may seem like an awkward time to trade stocks. But for the makers of the new app Robinhood, those casual moments are exactly when they want to reach a new generation of potential investors who might otherwise feel the markets are closed to them.

Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, as many startup founders do, met at Stanford, and both spent time in the financial services industry before joining up to figure out what a stock brokerage built exclusively for mobile devices would look like. The issue, they say, isn’t just convenience: it’s access. “The fact that a lot of people, especially younger folks, are not investing in the stock market is something we really think needs addressing,” Bhatt says.

The pair pitch Robinhood as a 21st-century alternative to traditional, stuffy brokerage firms that still rely on (gasp!) websites for their version of electronic trading. Trading stocks, Tenev says, should be as easy as summoning a ride on Uber or posting a picture to Instagram. Along with going mobile-first, the main way Tenev and Bhatt hope to set themselves apart is by not charging fees for trades.

At a time when executing a stock trade has become a purely automated process, Tenev says, charging a typical $7 to $10 commission makes as much sense as charging to send an email. “The days when humans passed around tickets on a trading floor are long gone,” he says.

Tenev claims that traditional brokerages depend on that extra revenue to prop up legacy infrastructure and the trappings of old Wall Street—fancy offices and logos engraved in marble. However much that old Wall Street branding still persists, he believes that its lasting impact is that it makes young people feel like the stock market is a resource that’s only available to people with a lot of money.

He and Bhatt like to describe the stock market as a “tool,” and that even someone who just wants to trade with a few hundred dollars should be able to jump in to get a feel for the market and how it works. They’re not likely to take that leap, Bhatt says, if they’re charged $10 per trade, which winds up becoming a significant percentage. “We see it as something you don’t need even thousands of dollars for,” he says.

A Calming Effect
The message seems to be reaching the intended audience. Tenev says that of 500,000 people who have signed up for the Robinhood waitlist, 80 percent are between the ages of 18 and 29. (Tenev and Bhatt hope to release Robinhood widely by early next year.)

And another kind of investor really likes those numbers. On Tuesday, Robinhood announced $13 million in Series A funding led by financial services aficionado Jan Hammer of Index Ventures. Box CEO Aaron Levie is another among a varied group of investors in the round, which also includes Snoop Dogg and Oscar-winner Jared Leto.

As to the name of the company, Tenev and Bhatt say they’re taking a system seen as closed off and only for the rich and making it available to everyone else. At their most idealistic, they even believe that at scale, a critical mass of small-time individual investors can wrestle the market back from institutional titans.

Big-time traders can afford to massively leverage themselves in pursuit of short-term gains, Bhatt says, which makes markets volatile. Value-minded individual investors can work as a resistant force to those spikes and troughs, he says, especially if it becomes easier for them to get into the market in the first place: “You may see that one of the things that emerges is that markets have less volatility because a greater number of individuals start to participate.”

Samsung Launched Its New Gigantic Smartphone - The Galaxy Note 4 - Ahead Of Schedule

South Korea's Samsung launched the latest version of its oversized Galaxy Note smartphone earlier than expected after US rival Apple reported record sales of its latest iPhone 6.

Samsung said the Galaxy Note 4 -- initially scheduled for launch in October -- would hit stores in South Korea and China this week before being sold in 140 nations by the end of next month.

It would be the first time a flagship Samsung product has gone on sale in China ahead of other markets, reflecting the firm's desire to battle growing competition from cheaper Chinese-made rivals.

The decision to bring forward the launch date also came after rival Apple reported a record opening weekend for its latest range of iPhones, including the iPhone 6 Plus -- the US firm's first foray into the big-screen market.

Sales topped 10 million in just three days following Friday's launch in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico and Singapore.The new iPhone is not yet available in China.

Samsung initially pioneered the market for the "phablet" devices -- sized between a smartphone and a tablet computer -- when it introduced its Galaxy Note series in 2011. Along with the Galaxy S smartphones, they helped the South Korean electronics giant dethrone Apple as the world's top maker of smartphones.

But Samsung has faced a growing challenge in an increasingly saturated market, where competition from cheaper Chinese handset makers has intensified in recent years.The company in July reported a 20-percent drop in its net profit for the second quarter, and its shares are currently trading at a two-year low.

"We are temporarily going through a difficult business situation," Lee Don-Joo, head of sales and marketing for Samsung's mobile unit, told reporters at Wednesday's launch in Seoul"But...we hope that we would be able to recover soon based on our fundamental capability for technical innovation," Lee said.

Sales of Galaxy Note 3 topped 10 million in two months after its launch in 2013, and Lee predicted the Note 4 would outperform that.The 5.7-inch Note 4 comes with S-pen stylus allowing users to draw and write on the screen and perform various tasks simultaneously.

The presence of a stylus pen -- not offered by iPhone 6 -- offers a "unique input methodology," said Lee Young-Hee, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile unit."No other phablets offered by rival companies offer such an intuitive experience," Lee said.

BlackBerry Thinks This Weirdly-Shaped Phone Is Going To Save The Company

Beleaguered phone maker BlackBerry is looking to make a comeback with the launch of a new smartphone called Passport. The screen is square instead of the normal rectangular shape.

Standing Ovation to ISRO at IISc


24 September, 2014

iOS 8 Adoption Off To A Slower Start Than iOS 7, Say Multiple Usage Trackers

The iOS 8 installation spike is high, but lower than it was for iOS 7 last year, according to numbers from a variety of mobile OS usage monitoring platforms. Chitika, Tapjoy, Mixpanel and Appsee all show adoption numbers that, while high, fall short of the rocketing pick-up rate we saw when Apple launched its major visual overhaul of iOS just ahead of the iPhone 5s launch in 2013.

Mixpanel and Appsee’s live iOS 8 update tracker both show an adoption rate of between 16 and 17 percent, which represents the total percentage of users on iOS 8 that are running the apps which use their mobile analytics products. That’s about half the rate of adoption we saw after the first day last year, according to Mixpanel CEO Suhail Doshi, who said it was at around 38 percent after the first 24 hours for iOS 7.

Doshi suggests a couple of reasons for iOS 8 falling off pace compared to iOS 7, telling me that first, iOS 8 is “too big to [download] over the air — people have too many pictures,” and that second, “lots of companies are telling their employees not to update for a couple of days because of security holes found in previous years.” Many users took to Twitter to voice their disappointment that iOS 8 required so much space free on their devices prior to an update, and while a tethered update via the computer and iTunes eliminates this problem, it’s still an additional step that makes things more difficult than they were last year.

Still, Doshi points out that Android KitKat took nine months to attain 40 percent market share, so Apple’s rate of adoption is still incredibly fast by comparison. It’s likely the adoption will also grow as more people upgrade to iPhone 6 hardware, and we could be looking at a larger upgrade pool than usual this year, which means a lot of users potentially not bothering to update their older iPhone hardware before their new ones arrive.

Tapjoy’s numbers show iOS 8 being adopted at a slower pace than both iOS 7 and iOS 6, based on its initial numbers, and Chitika has the percent of iOS-powered mobile devices on the new system at 7.3 precent, which is also under both previous generation devices. Another reason for the slower uptake that they suggest in their blog post is the fact that iOS 7 was a major visual overhaul with lots of new things for the end user, which probably drove a lot more early-adopter interest.

23 September, 2014

Adobe Acquires Aviary to Fast-Track Creative Cloud App Development

Adobe announced that it has acquired privately held Aviary, a developer of
mobile SDKs (Software Development Kits) for the delivery of creative apps. With millions of people already using Aviary-powered photo-editing apps and thousands of developers using Aviary’s SDKs, across mobile platforms, the acquisition accelerates Adobe’s strategy to make Creative Cloud a vibrant platform for third-party apps, through a new Creative SDK. Currently under development, Adobe Creative SDK is a software library that enables developers to tap into Adobe’s creative technologies to build mobile apps and drive new connections between mobile devices and Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications and services.

“Aviary has an exceptional team and technology platform, as well as expertise serving a robust developer ecosystem. We're thrilled to leverage Aviary's technology to make our Creative SDK even more powerful for app developers,” said Scott Belsky, vice president of Creative Cloud Ecosystem & Behance at Adobe. “This is great news for developers because thousands of mobile apps will have the opportunity to become compatible with industry-defining desktop tools like Photoshop CC, as well as new Creative Cloud services."

Adobe Creative SDK gives third-party developers access to Adobe APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), previously only available to Adobe’s internal engineering teams. Examples include: browsing files stored in Creative Cloud; extracting elements from PSD files; Adobe’s “Touch Slide” software for straight-line drawing; and cloud image-editing services like Content-Aware Fill and Upright. Adobe Photoshop Mix, a recently launched mobile app for iOS, utilizes these new APIs and offers some of Adobe’s best imaging technology for applying Photoshop looks and compositing images. Adobe Creative SDK is currently being tested by developers and a beta launch is expected in the coming months.

"Aviary was founded to bring creative freedom to the world,” said Avi Muchnick, Aviary’s co-founder. “We're excited to join Adobe and tap into their incredible wealth of creative technology and supercharge our collective SDK offering. Together, we will help nurture the next generation of third party creative apps.”

22 September, 2014

FreeCharge acquires offline app store Preburn

Online recharge and couponing site Freecharge.in acquired startup Preburn for an undisclosed amount to expand its customer reach. Preburn, which is in stealth mode, is an offline app store which offers utility apps through mobile retail stores.

However, after the acquisition Preburn will focus on building its online technology platform. "We are now keeping our offline module on hold and launch our online platform in a couple of months," said Mohit Mittal, CEO of Preburn, who founded the company earlier this year along with Manikanta Nikhil and Vijaysimha Reddy.

"As more and more users buy online on Flipkart and Amazon, focusing on that makes more sense for us." The five member team at Preburn will be working as a separate business unit and report directly to FreeCharge CEO Alok Goel.

"A majority of new internet users experience power of internet through mobile phones," said Alok Goel, CEO at FreeCharge, who earlier worked with RedBus as chief operating officer. "As a result, there is huge opportunity to efficiently onboard these new users to the world of mobile internet."

Mumbai-based FreeCharge, which is backed by Sequoia Capital, last month acquired social wishlist site Wishberg, wherein the startup shutdown and its founders joined FreeCharge.

Google search now shows you facts mined from data tables

Google today revealed a new search feature called Structured Snippets that displays information pulled from data tables on webpages.

The search engine has been progressively adding new information through its Knowledge Graph database. This latest feature adds more data below the snippets of text in a search query. For instance, searching for a Nikon camera model shows tech specs like sensor resolution and weight:

Google is using machine learning to separate tables with useful information from those used for formatting. The system then ranks facts based on relevance and quality to decide which ones to display.



25+ apps to make your everyday life easier

For random life stuff…

Dark Sky
A weather app with startling accuracy, its interface tells you things like: “Light rain starting in 22 minutes.” It also shows you beautiful weather maps that let you play local-news weather expert. “It’s like a wizard,” says our CTO, Gavin Hall. “If this app were available in the 1600s, it would have been burned at the stake for witchcraft.”

*Sunrise
Like your Google Calendar with key improvements, several staffers swear by this app. It offers shortcuts for adding events, and also bakes things like weather reports and Facebook birthday reminders into the mix of your daily calendar.  “It’s awesome,” says IT Manager Francil Richards.

*KeyMe
Communications manager Samantha Kelly was excited to download this app, as she recently got locked out of her apartment. She says, “You scan your keys by taking a photo of them and then you have ‘digital copies.’” With the copy, you can get a key made for you at a KeyMe kiosk (they currently have five in New York) or through the mail. Fingerprint scan is required.

*Think Dirty
This app tells you exactly what’s in the personal care product you’re about to buy. You scan the barcode, and it shares information about potentially harmful ingredients (and gives alternatives, if you want them). It’s useful for fact-checking label claims like “all-natural” and “organic.” Kyle Shearer of our Events Workgroup says, “It helps me make informed choices on products that I am bringing home.”

Yoga Studio
Yoga Studio reminds us of the “Surprise Me” feature on the TED app. You pick the kind of yoga class you want (strength, flexibility, relaxation), your level (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and the amount of time you have (20 minutes, 40 minutes or longer) and it creates a class for you. “Whenever I am traveling or too busy to exercise, I sneak in a lesson,” says Product Development Manager Jai Punjabi.

*Pocket
One of those apps on this list that you may already know about, it lets you save blog posts and articles to read when you’re offline. TEDx Digital Strategist Alex Rudloff says, “I’m able to keep track of all the articles that get sent my way. In this post-Google Reader world, it’s my primary way of keeping up on things.” Community Support Manager Mireille Pilloud adds, “They send out a weekly email I like that shows the most-Pocketed articles and suggests articles for me based on what I generally read.” Another feature that gets big ups from our staff—the fact that you can set the font size because it strips out the content’s original formatting.

*VSCO Cam
It doesn’t have a name that rolls of the tongue, but this app is great for helping turn ho-hum snapshots into arty photographs. Janet Lee of our Distribution team says, “A year ago, I was scanning my Instagram feed and noticed a lot of ‘moodier’ photos. The beauty of this app is that it doesn’t matter how bad your framing is, you can just wash it out. It’s maximum likes on instagram, with low effort.”

*Camera360
This app has more than 200 photo filters and 10 modes. But the real benefit, says Executive Producer of TED Media June Cohen, is that images are for your eyes only. “I like Camera360 for creating Instagram-like photos I don’t want to share publicly,” she says.

For staying organized…

*Wunderlist
An app that lets you create shareable lists of favorites—be they restaurants, sites in a city, or movies. But it’s better known for its shareable to-do lists. “It organizes my life,” says Anjali Mohan of our Client Services Workgroup. “I use it at work and at home. My husband gets reminders from the app when he needs to clean.” Production Manager Kristel Ottis also swears by this app. “There’s simply no other way I could keep track of all the nitty-gritty details that go into each production,” she says.

MeMail
This app does one thing really well—you can send yourself an email in two taps, for quick reminders or ideas you don’t want to forget. “It’s helped me get rid of all the fiddly bits of paper in my pocket,” says Product Development Associate Bedirhan Cinar.

*Trello
A slightly more visual rendering of your to-dos, this app allows you to create boards for different projects and separate sharable lists within them. Each task goes on a separate card. “I’ve tried tons of task apps, and Trello is by far my favorite,” says Social Media Editor Nadia Goodman. “I love how easy it is to customize, color code, and rearrange things. It’s also really easy to make collaborative boards and store information — like files, notes or images — within a task. My one complaint is that I wish it would ping me when a due date is coming up!”

*nvALT
A spin-off of Notational Velocity, this app is popular with techy types because it includes MultiMarkdown functionality. Front-End Developer Joe Bartlett explains, “I’m naturally scatterbrained and love nvALT for storing and indexing the sorts of details I used to jot down haphazardly and forget: conference notes, obscure math and command line tricks, what cartridge the printer takes,” he says. “It adds extra customization options.”

*Todoist
Like both Wunderlist and Trello, this to-do list helper has both an app and a web client that communicate. “I found this in my never-ending search for the perfect task management app,” says Product Development Associate Will True. “This isn’t necessarily it, but it provides simple task organization—by project, category, priority, due date. It’s not fancy, which is honestly why I like it. It also has great APIs so I can hook other things or build my own little tools on the data it provides.”

*Check
This app keeps track of all your bills and when they are due, and also monitors your bank and credit card accounts. Most importantly, it tells you when there’s a mismatch between the two — i.e. when you’re about to get charged an overdraft fee — so you can fix the problem. “It’s way better than Mint,” says IT Manager Francil Richards. “It means I’m never late on payments.”

*Evernote
Evernote is an organizational tool that you can use as a storing place for short notes, or as a place to collect all your thoughts—links, photos, notes, checklists—for larger projects. “Evernote is awesome because it’s versatile,” says Junior Designer Lilian Chen. “You can use it for storing receipts and outlining travel plans and meeting notes.”

For getting around…

CityMaps2Go Pro
This app downloads offline, zoomable, searchable maps of major cities, so that even if you are roaming around Tokyo and can’t read any of the signs, you can still find your way around. “It’s good for people like me who travel internationally, but don’t like to get data plans,” says Thu-Huong Ha, of our editorial team.

*Word Lens
Another great app for travelers, Word Lens visually translates printed text into your language in real time. When you snap a photo of a sign or document, it shows the image to you in English. “It’s crazy,” says Kyle Shearer of our Events Workgroup. “The translations are not always 100%, but it’s good enough to get by on.” Hello, food menus.

*Moves
Moves tracks every step you take, which sounds creepy, but is actually useful. “It quantifies how many miles you’ve walked, cycled and run,” says Patrick D’Arcy, of the TED Fellows team. “It’s not about the calories burned for me, but the ability visualize where I’ve gone on a map. A friend actually introduced me to the app when he came back from Mexico City and he was able to show me the exact routes he took.”

*Waze
An app to help you get stuck in traffic as infrequently as possible. Drivers share real-time traffic delays—accidents, traffic jams, and the like—so that you can avoid them. The head of our Media Team, June Cohen, once mentioned this app a staff meeting, and lots of us are using it now.

*Roadify
This app gives you real-time data on transit info in 50 cities in the US and Canada. “I know when the next bus or train is coming and, if it’s not there, the reason for the delay,” says Anna Verghese, Deputy Director of the TED Prize. “Psychologically, I like knowing when I reach the subway station that the train is four minutes away, so that I don’t have to hurl myself down the subway stairs.”

Exit Strategy
This app is for New Yorkers only. (Sorry.) It helps you plan your subway route, down to where to stand on the platform, and which exit to use to get to your destination in the quickest amount of time. “It speaks to my need for efficiency,” says producer Roxanne Lash.

Embark
Other staffers also recommend Embark, which is a route-planning app akin to Hop Stop that integrates information about delays. It’s available in 10 cities and has a big bonus: it works underground, without connection.

*Couch to 5k
“This app trains you to run a 5k. It gives you audio alerts when to start running/walking,” says Accountant Erline Maruhom. “The idea is that you should be able to run a 5k in nine weeks. We’ll see … I’m hopeful.”

For computer and email ease…

*Boomerang
This is app for Gmail that is majorly handy. It lets you set a notification to pop up if you haven’t gotten a reply on an email within a specified amount of time. It also lets you boomerang messages back to the top of your inbox, closer to when you actually need to pay attention. But the feature our staff members love: you can schedule emails to send later. “I tend to write emails in bulk at night or on the weekend—but don’t want to bug anyone then,” says writer Kate Torgovnick May. “It’s nice to be able to schedule an email for a more appropriate time and hit send.”

*Mailbox
This app helps you archive and trash email—or put off emails you don’t have to respond to immediately until a later date—with a left or right swipe. It also shows whole conversations with a cool interface that looks a lot like a chat. “On the train into work, I can quickly sift through all the emails and start my day with a clearer head,” says Post Production Manager Gwen Schroeder.

*Authy
This app disconnects 2-step authentication from text messaging, and does it in a way that’s a little more secure, should your phone fall into the wrong hands. “This is especially handy for when I’m in areas with no reception or am international and don’t have a texting plan,” says Product Development Associate Bedirhan Cinar. “Google offers an identical app, but I like Authy better because you can password protect it so if someone has your phone, they can’t easily access your 2 step codes.”

*Quicksilver
“It lets you search, find and open applications and files on your Mac quickly using shortcut keys,” says TEDx Branding Coordinator Boian Filev. “It has really sped up finding and opening files that might be buried deep in folders.”

*Flux
This app rocks for anyone who has eyes that are sensitive to the bright light of a computer screen. It makes your computer or iOS device display adjust to the time of the day, and get warmer and dimmer at night. “It keeps me from getting a headache in the evening,” says writer Kate Torgovnick May. “I also appreciate it at TED Conferences, when we can sometimes end up being in a dark theater all day. It’s nice to get some demarcation of what time it is outside.”

Yahoo buys Bangalore based tech startup Bookpad for Rs 50 crore

Bangalore-based Bookpad has become the first Indian tech startup to be bought by Yahoo, going from creation to acquisition in just one year. The deal comes some eight months after Facebook snapped up Bangalore's Little Eye Labs.

The US internet giant, which is in line to reap about $9.5 billion (Rs 57,000 crore) from Alibaba's initial public offering, has bought the firm in a deal worth around Rs 50 crore ($ 8.3 million), according two people with direct knowledge of the development. Yahoo has so far bought over 100 companies. "The deal is done. The team will be moving to Silicon Valley soon," said a person directly familiar with the ongoing talks. "Large firms like Autodesk and Dropbox were also eyeing Bookpad."

Founded by IIT-Guwahati alumni Niketh Sabbineni, Aditya Bandi and Ashwik Reddy — friends in their early twenties — Bookpad is competing with large companies like Google and Crocodoc in document viewing.

The talks started in May when Sabbineni met Yahoo officials during the InnoTrek trip, organised by industry body Nasscom, to the Silicon Valley in the United States. "In fact, he (Sabbineni) even did not have a visa and he got it at last moment," said a person who is privy to the talks.

An email query sent to Yahoo remained unanswered while Bookpad founders declined to offer comment about any such deal.

In January, Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs became the first Indian firm to be bought by Facebook. Google India managing director and top angel investor Rajan Anandan referred the acquisition of firms like Bookpad and Little Eye Labs as a warm up exercise towards bigger deals.

"It is day one of the test match. The team has just stepped on the field and is warming up," said Anandan. "The game is about to start and it will be an explosively exciting game." Anandan said there are already billion dollar product companies like Zoho and InMobi. And India will create many more billion dollar product companies and hundreds will be in the $10 million (Rs60 crore) to $100 million (Rs600 crore) valuation range. Like Google Docs, Bookpad enables customers create and format text documents online and also collaborate with other people in real time. But what differentiates the firm from global competitors is that it allows enterprises to modify the product as per their needs and promote their brand. "It (Bookpad) is like a baby born to us. We have been nurturing them. They have technology, talent and traction," said Ravi Gururaj, chairman of the Nasscom Product Council, which mentored and incubated the fledgling venture through its 10,000 Startups initiative and startup warehouse facility.

"This acquisition validates that large companies are willing to do a deal, when the technology is useful for them," said Nasscom senior manager Ashok Madaravally who has closely worked with Bookpad team from beginning. Bookpad, which has a team of eight, earns revenue of around Rs1 crore per annum and is focused on the US market.

"Getting acquired by Yahoo puts Bangalore on the global startup map," said Karnataka state's secretary for information technology and biotechnology, Srivatsa Krishna. "We will do everything it takes to match Silicon Valley and become the world's favourite startup hub." Gururaj of Nasscom said Yahoo has a reputation of a voracious appetite for startups. "And now with Alibaba's cash warchest, we hope there are going to be more deals like Bookpad," said Gururaj.

Unlike a typical startup in India which has to face issues such as mentoring and funding, Bookpad's received nurturing from the beginning.

While working at technology firms Amazon and Symantec, Sabbineni and Bandi would spend five hours every alternate day at Cafe Coffee Day in Hyderabad building the prototype. Last year the founders quit their jobs to launch Bookpad with the money they had saved.

The firm shifted to Bangalore, after it got selected for the Startup Warehouse programme, a co-working space provided by Nasscom and Karnataka government. Bookpad was in the first batch of the startups in the warehouse.

Bookpad pivoted its business model by focusing on enterprises rather than consumers. It bagged customers ranging from e-Learning firms to cloud storage companies. Last October when Bookpad made a pitch at the Nasscom product conclave, the Microsoft Ventures director Ravi Narayan got impressed and selected them for the company's accelerator programme.

19 September, 2014

Tim Cook Ripped Apart Google's Business Model In Two Paragraphs

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote an open letter to customers Wednesday detailing the company's privacy policy.

One portion of the letter sticks out in particular, and it's a clear jab at the way Google does business. Cook writes that many internet services are free, but use your personal data to market products to you.

"You are the product," Cook writes, referring to internet services like that.

That's how Google operates. Its algorithms scan your email, web searches, etc. in order to show you relevant ads. Facebook has a similar model.

Here's the key part of the letter:

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn't come at the expense of your privacy.

Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don't build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don't "monetize" the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don't read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

Apple's stance is to do the opposite and never look at your data.

Still, there are always tradeoffs. Google and Facebook make great products that you get to use for free. You might not pay money to Google and Facebook, but you do give up a little bit of yourself in order to make your digital life easier.