Sharks Talk Tech, Trends & Tenacity

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Shark Tank

By Brady Rhoades

On a recent episode of the Emmy-award winning Shark Tank, a 17-year-old entrepreneur—a born salesman—pitched a product that would help prevent Plantar Fasciitis, a debilitating foot condition.

This prompted toothy smiles all around from the sharks, until the teenager stated that he planned on skipping college and pursuing his business full-time.

Those smiles turned to winces.

“I’ll be devastated if you skip college,” said shark Mark Cuban, a billionaire who owns the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban gently lectured the youth on the importance of learning science, technology, engineering, finance, statistics, and marketing.

“Knowledge gives you the greatest competitive advantage,” he said, adding that he ran businesses out of dorm rooms while in college.

Everyone knows that Shark Tank is about entrepreneurship. And everyone knows there are lucrative opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math (STEAM). The economy is leaning—and none too lightly—in that direction.

Just take a gander at a few of the tech-startups that have made it big by partnering with sharks:

  • Groovebook: People love snapping pictures on their phones, but until Groovebook, there really wasn’t an easy way to get them printed and placed into an album. With Groovebook, users can select photos right from their camera roll, and upload them to the app. The selected photos will be printed and delivered right to your door in the photo album of your choice. Founders Julie and Brian Whiteman got the idea when Julie lost all her family photos on her smartphone. After its deal with Shark Tank, Groovebook sold to Shutterfly for $14.5 million;
  • PhoneSoap: Thanks to PhoneSoap, your phone can be properly cleaned. Makers Dan Barnes and Wes LaPorte landed the deal on Shark Tank. That move earned PhoneSoap a spot on QVC, where it made the bulk of its initial earnings. By the beginning of 2016, Phonesoap had sold more than 100,000 units after landing a retail deal with Bed, Bath, & Beyond;
  • Breathometer: Charles Yim’s Breathometer brought six sharks together. It was a feeding frenzy. The Breathometer was a mobile device app and attachment initially developed to analyze blood-alcohol-content level. The idea was that the Breathometer could help party-goers make better judgments and avoid drinking and driving. The cast of the show agreed to go in on a deal with Yim. Since then, Yim has raised $1 million and has a new product called Mint that monitors oral health.

Shark Tank, which has become a cultural touchstone in America and around the world, premiered in August 2009 and aired 14 episodes through January 2010. In August of that same year, it was renewed for a second season. Season 2 secured a Friday night time slot.

By 2013, CNBC licensed exclusive off-network cable rights for the series from ABC.

Shark Tank is now in its ninth season, and stronger than ever. Sharks have invested more than $100 million in contestants’ businesses, turning dozens of entrepreneurs into millionaires.

The show has won four Emmys, in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

The show’s success comes, in part, from its premise. Entrepreneurs present their products to the sharks, who are tough, sophisticated investors. Also accounting for the success is the educational value the show provides: viewers learn about profit margins, scale-ability, branding and more.

But make no mistake: the sharks are the stars; they draw eyeballs to the screen.

Viewers have gotten a glimpse into the minds of Richard Branson, Troy Carter, Ashton Kutcher, Chris Sacca, Phil Crowley, and Kevin Harrington.

The mainstays have been the straight-shooting Cuban, take-no-prisoners investor Kevin O’Leary (“Mr. Wonderful”), QVC phenom Lori Greiner, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, global tech-innovator Robert Herjavec and fashion visionary Daymond John.

Cast

This season, baseball great and business superstar Alex Rodriguez and Skinnygirl Cocktails founder Bethenny Frankel (who you might also recognize from The Real Housewives of New York) have joined the show.

The diversity of the sharks is a big part of Shark Tank’s appeal.

There have been women, African-Americans, immigrants and, now, a Hispanic (Rodriguez).

That means viewers get all manner of perspectives.

In turn, the show attracts a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Any businessman or woman worth his or her salt will tell you that a key to success is drawing from the biggest talent pool available. Contestants’ ideas matter; their knowledge matters; their work ethic matters. Their gender, race, religion, age … not so much.

A Shark Tank panel recently discussed secrets to the show’s success, and keys to success in business, touching on tech-startups and the importance of inclusion when it comes to talent. Here are some nuggets from the sharks:

  • Frankel, on how she branded Skinnygirl: “I used that platform BETHENNY FRANKEL(TV) to communicate with women about business, be relatable, to tell people about my life. Through stories on the show I created my brand in real time, from the logo, to the concept, and so I think the audience enjoyed watching it happen. A lot of the time with Shark Tank people were successful already, they were making money, I was completely broke when I was on housewives and so people watch it unfold… For me, with the creation of the skinny girl margarita, to me it was a simple, basic idea. It was the first ready-to-drink low calorie cocktail. I didn’t know anything, and it was a male run business. I pitched it to everyone and no one wanted to do it. People didn’t even come to the meetings. And I didn’t know what licensing meant, I didn’t know what equity meant, I just had this idea. You just are hustling. It’s about the execution, it’s the hustle.”
  • Rodriguez, on his transformation from athlete to investor: “I was always thinking about life after baseball, I was looking at athletes, average career is five and a half years… At 18-19, I started thinking that I didn’t want to be one of those guys who ran into financial trouble so I started ARod Corp out of fear… and now I manage over 15,000 apartment units in 15 states and we have over 500 people working for us. I’ve been doing this for a while and it is a great thrill and privilege to be allowed on the Shark Tank platform and do what I’ve been doing. Help young entrepreneurs, collaborating, and helping them meet their dreams and mentor them. And of course being the first Hispanic shark is something to be really proud of.”

Rodriguez also talked about the importance of failing. That’s right. Failing.

“I always tell young entrepreneurs to not to be afraid to try, failure is part of it. When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a Ph.D in failing. But I also have a masters in getting back up and that’s what America is all about, getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes, and pushing forward.”

  • Daymond John, AKA “The Brandfather,” on the beauty of owning your own business: “I find it gratifying when we found out that it was one of the top shows in Kids and Family. There is nothing wrong with kids wanting to be a rapper or player, but when they realize and understand what their parents go through, they want to start their own businesses, they are creating their own business, and we are creating entrepreneurs. ”
  • The ever-optimistic Herjavec, on the importance of diversity: “Look at the diversity on this stage, that’s what I love. There is no color, race, or sex for success … We are all different, look at all the different answers. We all respect each other. You see people come out in the pressure, and I can’t help but empathize with these people.”
  • The shrewd, motherly Corcoran, on her love of the show: “What’s satisfying for me and for us sharks is when we look back at own careers and we were enormously at risk, we didn’t know when we were going to get paid, we didn’t even have a payroll. And so what we get to do as sharks is that we live through that experience again and again.”
  • Greiner, known as the “warm-blooded shark,” on the value of digital media: “You can also do things digitally, that’s huge. Today, you can do digital tests. You can do a Facebook ad, or an Instagram story. You can find a world of information, and if that works out, then you can do an infomercial.”

Griener knows what she’s talking about. She’s negotiated deals for Simply Fitboard, Scrub Daddy and Sleep Stylers, netting hundreds of millions in sales

  • O’Leary, whose sale of The Learning Company to Mattel in the 1990s made him a multi-millionaire, on honesty: “Shark Tank is a place where not everyone can win; you need to tell them the truth.”
  • Cuban, nothing if not astute, recognized the coming tech-boom as early as 1982. Perhaps that’s why his eyes sparkle when an exciting tech innovation is introduced on the show.

After graduating from the Kelley School of Business in Indiana, he started his own company, MicroSolutions, a system integrator and software reseller. The company was an early proponent of technologies such as Carbon Copy, Lotus Notes, and CompuServe. In 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe—then a subsidiary of H&R Block—for $6 million.

About a decade later, Cuban become a billionaire during the dot-com explosion, selling Broadcast.com, a pioneer in webcasting, for more than $5 billion.

What’s going to be the NBT (Next Big Thing) to hit Shark Tank? Given that a generation of students are getting schooled in STEAM, the possibilities are limitless.

Isn’t that a big reason why we tune in?

“Technological change always accelerates,” Cuban said. “It never stagnates over time.”

From Farmer to Fortune, How One Medical Device Revolutionized An Industry

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iwalk-free

Each year, many entrepreneurs bring their products to market. Yet, research shows that the majority of them will not make it. Among those new products each year, there will be rare items that not only make it, but that completely revolutionize an industry. That’s exactly what happened with the iWALK2.0, a medical device that is essentially giving crutches and scooters a run for their money and longevity. In fact, the company has seen such success from the sales of the device that they expect to hit their 100,000th unit sold this year.

“Crutches have been around for 5,000 years, but the iWALK2.0 has already earned its place in the industry as the device of choice for those who have a lower leg injury,” explains Brad Hunter, the innovator of iWALK2.0 and the chief executive officer of the company, iWALKFree, Inc. “Not only have we won multiple awards for the device, but the feedback we’ve gotten and the sales statistics we’re experiencing all point to a robust future for the iWALK2.0.”

The story of the iWALK2.0 begins with a farmer who created the original version to give himself an easier way to be more mobile while recovering from a lower leg injury. Little did he know he was sitting on a billion dollar idea. It was when Hunter came along and saw the potential in the product that the idea was brought to fruition for the mass market. Hunter purchased half of the company, took the device concept to a whole new level, and introduced it to the world.

During Hunter’s first year, the company had a million dollars in sales, confirming what Hunter had suspected, which was that this was going to be a successful product launch. A serial entrepreneur, he was no stranger to the hard work and dedication that it took to help products find their place in the market. While the device continued to do well, it really saw a huge increase in interest and popularity when Harrison Ford was seen using it. Ford then used it again, for a different injury, which further boosted awareness. Since that time, additional celebrities and athletes have used it, including surfer Kelly Slater and hockey player Nick Bonino, among others.

Hunter knows that there is more that goes into a successful company than just having a great product. His secrets to entrepreneurial success include:

  • Have a clear vision before you start anything, and stick with it – no matter what.
  • Do your homework and lay a strong foundation before you make your first commitment.
  • If others say you can’t do it, prove them wrong.
  • Don’t give it 100%. Give it 150%… or more.
  • Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
  • Mediocrity is the enemy of excellence.
  • Build a strong team.
  • Watch your finances – daily.  Always know exactly where you are.
  • Be proficient at changing hats minute by minute.  Advanced multi-tasking capabilities are essential.
  • Know when to quit. Here’s a hint – never.

“Creating a truly great product is really hard. Building a truly great company is even harder,” adds Hunter. “But if you are dedicated to your vision, work hard, and believe in what you are doing you will increase your chances of success. Believing in yourself is a large part of the equation. I’m thrilled with where the iWALK2.0 is and in its future.”

Sales have soared, the company has won awards for the design and concept of the device, and it is literally revolutionizing the industry. Increasingly, people are opting for the iWALK2.0, which resembles a high-tech pirate’s peg leg, and makes it easier for them to be mobile while they are recovering from a lower leg injury. The iWALK2.0 attaches just below the knee, attaching to and recruits the user’s leg, giving people the ability to stand and walk as they normally do, thus replacing the need for crutches or a scooter. With this route, they are hands-free, which allows them to do things they are used to doing, such as walking their dog, drinking their coffee, using their cellphone, or carrying groceries. In 2017, sales were up 50% over the prior year, and on Amazon the sales were up 154% over the prior year.

The iWALK2.0 is hands-free, easy to learn to use, it’s intuitive, and safe. From the knee up, the leg is doing the same walking motion that comes naturally to it. The device is essentially a temporary lower leg, which gives people their independence and mobility back as they recover from an injury. The device is pain-free, and makes it possible for people to engage in many of their normal routine activities, such as walking the dog, grocery shopping, and walking up or down stairs.

Clinical research, the results of which are on the company website, shows that patients using the iWALK2.0 heal faster, and have a higher sense of satisfaction and a higher rate of compliance. The iWALK2.0 sells for $149 and is available online and through select retailers. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of the device. The device can be used with a cast or boot, and comes with a limited warranty. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at iwalk-free.com. To see a video of the iWALK2.0 in action, visit iWALK2.0 video on You Tube.

About iWALKFree

The iWALK2.0 is a hands-free knee crutch, made by iWALKFree, Inc.  It’s a mobility device used instead of traditional crutches and knee scooters. It offers more comfort and independence, with the hands and arms remaining free. The device offers people a functional and independent lifestyle as they are recovering from many common lower leg injuries. For more information on the iWALK2.0, visit the site at iwalk-free.com

# # #

A Leading Voice in Diversity and Inclusion in Tech

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Wayne Sutton

Wayne Sutton is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Change Catalyst and its Tech Inclusion programs. Change Catalyst is dedicated to exploring innovative solutions to diversity and inclusion in tech through the Tech Inclusion Conference, training, workshops and the Change Catalyst Startup Fellows Program.

Sutton’s experience includes years of establishing partnerships with large brands to early stage startups. As a leading voice in diversity and inclusion in tech, Sutton shares his thoughts on solutions and culture in various media outlets, where he has been featured in TechCrunch, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition to mentoring and advising early stage startups, Sutton’s life goal is to educate entrepreneurs who are passionate about using technology to change the world.

Wayne has over 14 years’ experience in technology, design, and business development. Wayne has been recognized as one of the Silicon Valley 100 coolest people in tech, one of the 52 hottest new stars in Silicon Valley, one of the 46 Most Important African-Americans In Technology by Business Insider and one of the Top 100 most influential black people on social media in 2014.

In 2014 Wayne co-founded BUILDUP, a non-profit designed to support an inclusive ecosystem of entrepreneurs through educational workshops and fellows program for underrepresented tech founders. In 2011, Wayne co-founded the NewMe Accelerator, the first minority led startup accelerator/incubator in Silicon Valley which was featured in CNN Black in America 4. Prior to NewMe he worked in media in Raleigh, NC for NBC17 and the News and Observer. In 2009, Wayne was the co-founder of TriOut, a mobile location-based startup in Raleigh, NC which exited. Wayne has worked with large brands, Inc 500 companies and advises several technology startups. With a passion for community Wayne has organized Social Media Conferences, tech meetups, and hackathons such as the world’s first Food Hackathon, which assembled leading food innovators, chefs, developers, designers and entrepreneurs to collaborate on solutions in the food ecosystem.

Wayne has been featured on CNN, BBC, USA Today, TechCrunch, Mashable, Black Enterprise, and various online media outlets. Being an early adopter, Wayne was one of the first 1000 users on Twitter, which has led to a loyal following not only on Twitter, but also Facebook and Google+. His blog SocialWayne.com has been ranked one of the 50 best technology and social media blogs in the world over the years.

Wayne is a past TED attendee in 2012. With a passion for education and storytelling, Wayne has spoken at several universities and major internet and technology focused conferences, such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, Duke, UNC, NC State, TEDx, World Wide Web(WWW) Conference, O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo, South By South West (SXSW), DockerCon 2015 and for the U.S. Embassy Jamaica during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015.

Source: socialwayne.com

This New Prosthetic Limb Transmits Sensations Directly To The Nervous System

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Even with the most advanced prosthetics, amputees cannot feel the ground when they walk on a synthetic leg, or know if someone is touching a mechanical arm. This new MIT tech hopes to change that.

In 1992, Hugh Herr, now head of the Biomechatronics Group at MIT Media Lab, had both of his legs amputated below the knees after sustaining frostbite during a mountain climbing accident. “I”m basically a bunch of nuts and bolts from the knees down,” Herr says, demonstrating his prosthetic legs on the stage at TED 2018 in Vancouver, “but I can skip, dance, and run.”

Herr’s team at MIT focuses on building prosthetic limbs that respond to neural commands with the flexibility and speed of regular limbs. Around 24 sensors and six microprocessors pick up neural signals from Herr’s central nervous system when he thinks about moving his legs. They transmit those signals to the prosthetics, which move accordingly. But despite this remarkable connectivity between man and machine, it’s not a complete fusion. “When I touch my synthetic limbs, I don’t experience normal touch and movement sensations,” Herr says. In order to know his neural commands worked, he has to look and actually see his foot hit the ground–he can’t feel it.

Reproducing the sensations of having a real limb in prosthetics is, Herr believes, the last remaining hurdle to creating truly effective synthetic limbs. “If I were a cyborg and could feel my legs, they’d become a part of myself,” Herr says. But for now, they still feel separate.

His team, however, is working on a new type of limb that would receive not only commands, but sensations, from the central nervous system. This principle, which Herr calls neuro-embodied design, involves extending the human nervous system into synthetic body parts.

Since the Civil War, when limbs are amputated, doctors have generally truncated the tendons and nerve endings, which minimizes sensation and often leads to the “phantom limb” feeling experienced by many amputees. But in a new process Herr’s team pioneered at MIT, doctors leave the tendons and nerve endings intact so they can continue to feed sensations down past where the human leg ends and the prosthetic begins.

Last year, a fellow mountain climber and old friend of Herr’s, Jim Ewing, became the first patient to undergo the new amputation process and get fitted with a cyborg-like synthetic limb.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Sell Yourself and Your Brand

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Creating a personal brand helps employers see your uniqueness

Why take the time to develop a personal brand? See how you can stand out to employers.

  • In a tough job market, you need to stand out. Besides helping you identify your personal strengths, having a brand can pull your resume to the top of the pile, make you shine in interviews, and leave your LinkedIn readers positively wowed.
  • Corporations take great care to develop a brand that defines their product. Brands help inspire trust and commitment in consumers; if you apply similar thinking to your personal brand, you can distinguish your value in a way that inspires an employer’s interest in you.
  • With so many marketing options, you need to be consistent. Use your brand in all your job search communications, including your cover letter, in interviews, and in thank-you notes. Your LinkedIn and other social media should clearly reflect you and your professional brand.
  • Most work is project based. Your brand is a shorthand description of what you bring to a team or to the table for projects.

So, are you ready to start thinking—or rethinking—your personal branding strategy?

Consider several of your best work experiences and how you contributed to them. What skill or characteristic is reflected in your best work stories? How did you use it? With what result? Ask yourself: “Why do people like to work with me or employ me?” What earns you compliments or accolades? What do people depend on you for?

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Are you friendly and always the one to organize social events at work? Your brand could include “an inveterate team builder and initiator.”
  • Do you take unusual care to ensure details are thoroughly thought through and accurate? Your brand could be “willing to take on the precision that scares others away.”
  • You might be an outstanding supervisor who makes operations flow and brand yourself “a problem-solver who excels at developing talent.”

You can identify your signature characteristics yourself or work with a career coach or counselor to help you identify them. It’s a good idea to ask for some feedback on your ideas from a few trusted friends or colleagues before you go public with your brand to avoid a mismatch of how you see yourself and how you may come across to others.

Source: careeronestop.org

Karlie Kloss and Teach for America team up to help 1,000 girls learn to code

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Karlie Kloss’ passion for coding hasn’t faded. And to prove it, the 25-year-old model and entrepreneur is taking her nonprofit coding program to the next level.

After taking a coding class herself, Kloss launched Kode With Klossy in 2015 in the hopes of making coding lessons more accessible to young girls and inspiring them to pursue careers in the tech industry. Now, the program is expanding its reach by launching 50 coding summer camps in 25 cities across America.

As a result, Kode With Klossy will be able to serve 1,000 girls this year between the ages of 13 and 18. The nonprofit is also partnering with Teach For America in a new initiative to train educators, so they can bring coding curricula back to their own communities.

“I initially took a coding class because I wanted to understand what this language I kept hearing about was,” Kloss said, explaining that she didn’t originally set out to start a nonprofit.

But after realizing what a powerful role coding plays in creating technologies that can transform society, she knew it was something she wanted to expose others to.

“I realized coding is amazing and thought, ‘How did I not have access to these skills sooner?'” she said.

“I wanted to offer that experience and that kind of learning to other girls who also might not have access to it,” she added, “because it’s going to continue to be relevant in the world that we live in.”

A day in the life of a Koder

The 1,000 girls that will get the opportunity to attend Karlie’s coding camps this summer will ultimately learn how to build a mobile app or website by the end of the two-week program.

Kode With Klossy currently teaches different “tracks,” including back-end and front-end development, allowing kids to learn the fundamentals of programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Ruby, and Javascript.

“This year we’ve also got a really exciting new track on Swift, so the girls at our camps not only learn the ABCs of code, but real-world examples of tech that touches our lives today,” Kloss said. “They’re learning what a loop is or how to interpolate using concepts or ideas that touch their lives, like Instagram, Twitter, or Postmates.”

Continue onto Mashable to read the complete article.

Apple Now Runs On 100% Green Energy, And Here’s How It Got There

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The most important thing about the company’s big renewable push might be that it’s bringing everyone–from suppliers to local utilities–along for the ride.

You have to see Apple’s Reno, Nevada, data center from the inside to truly understand how huge it is. It’s made up of five long white buildings sitting side by side on a dry scrubby landscape just off I-80, and the corridor that connects them through the middle is a quarter-mile long. On either side are big, dark rooms–more than 50 of them–filled with more than 200,000 identical servers, tiny lights winking in the dark from their front panels. This is where Siri lives. And iCloud. And Apple Music. And Apple Pay.

Powering all these machines, and keeping them cool, takes a lot of power–constant, uninterrupted, redundant power. At the Reno data center, that means 100% green power from three different Apple solar farms.

The nearest one, and the first one built, is the Fort Churchill solar farm an hour southeast in desolate country near the town of Yerington, Nevada, where there’s nothing but flat, dry land bordered by low, jagged hills and blue desert sky. From the main road you can walk up to the fence and look down the seemingly endless lines of solar modules on the other side, with long concave mirrors catching and focusing the sun’s energy into the line of small black photo cells sitting just behind them.

Churchill is representative of the growing number of renewable energy sources that have popped up around Apple’s data centers in recent years. Since these massive computing machines use more power than any other kind of Apple facility, the company worked hard to get them powered by 100% renewable energy, reaching that goal in 2014.

Now Apple says it’s finished getting the rest of its facilities running on 100% green power–from its new Apple Park headquarters, which has one of the largest solar roofs on the planet, to its distribution centers and retail stores around the world. Though the 100% figure covers only Apple’s own operations–not those of of the suppliers and contract manufacturers which do much of the work of bringing its ideas to life–it’s also convinced 23 companies in its supply chain to sign a pledge to get to 100% renewable energy for the portion of their business relating to Apple products.

The achievement is the culmination of a furious effort over the past six years that involved financing, building, or locating new renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind farms, near the company’s facilities. Apple says it now has 25 operational renewable energy projects–with 15 more now in construction–in 11 countries. Just eight years ago, only 16% of its facilities were powered by renewable energy. By 2015 that number had increased to 93%, then to 96% in 2016.

Along the way, in 2013, Apple signaled its seriousness about green initiatives by hiring former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson as VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives. CEO Tim Cook wanted Jackson to focus Apple’s environmental initiatives, and perhaps act as a respected emissary to Washington, D.C. She’s done both.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

MIT’s new headset reads the ‘words in your head’

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There’s always been a glaring issue with voice computing: Talking to a voice assistant with other people around makes you feel like a bit of a weirdo. It’s a big part of the reason we’ve been seeing the technology start to take off in the home, where people feel a little less self-conscious talking to their machines.

The advent of some sort of nonverbal device that gets the job done in a similar way, but without the talking, is a kind of inevitability. A team at MIT has been working on just such a device, though the hardware design, admittedly, doesn’t go too far toward removing that whole self-consciousness bit from the equation.

AlterEgo is a headmounted — or, more properly, jaw-mounted — device that’s capable of reading neuromuscular signals through built-in electrodes. The hardware, as MIT puts it, is capable of reading “words in your head.”

“The motivation for this was to build an IA device — an intelligence-augmentation device,” grad student Arnav Kapur said in a release tied to the news. “Our idea was: Could we have a computing platform that’s more internal, that melds human and machine in some ways and that feels like an internal extension of our own cognition?”

Continue onto TechCrunch to read the complete article.

The Future is STEM—5 Top STEM Jobs

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Hispanic Man College

As more and more jobs come under threat from automation, many Americans, particularly college freshmen, would be wise to enter a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field, according to one workplace authority.

“Technology is advancing at a record-setting pace, and the workforce needs to reflect this trend. The jobs of the future, no matter the industry or level, are no doubt going to involve at least a rudimentary knowledge of technology. Those who enter a STEM profession will have a leg-up in the new economy,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

According to the Department of Education (DOE), studying science or math in college leads to a higher employment rate and salary than other majors after graduation. Indeed, the STEM fields have shown an increase in total postings over the past several years. In fact, in May 2015 there were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs or 6.2 percent of US employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment in STEM occupations grew by 10.5 percent, or 817,260 jobs, between May 2009 and May 2015, compared with 5.2 percent net growth in non-STEM occupations, according to the BLS. Computer occupations and engineers were among the categories of STEM with the highest job gains, too.

The STEM group that has the highest projected growth is the mathematical science occupations group, at 28.2 percent growth, compared to the 6.5 percent average projected growth for all occupations. This group includes occupations such as statistician, mathematicians, actuaries, etc.

Computer occupations make up the highest representation of STEM jobs. In May 2015, they made up nearly 45 percent of STEM employment, with engineers following in second making up 19 percent. Computer occupations also show the highest projected job openings according to the BLS. “The computer occupational group is projected to yield over 1 million job openings from 2014 to 2024, with the smallest number of projected job openings in the architect, surveyors, and cartographers group, at only 52,500 projected openings.”

While women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law, and business, they are underrepresented in STEM fields.

“Women are an important aspect of any workplace, as is all diversity hiring. According to McKinsey, companies with a racially and ethnically diverse workforce outperform industry standards by 35 percent, and those with high gender diversity outperform by 15 percent.

“Companies, especially those who primarily recruit from one of the STEM fields, would be wise to invest in implementing diverse hiring practices, as well as programs that encourage women and minorities to enter STEM fields,” Challenger said.

The wages for STEM occupations vary vastly, but the national average wage for all STEM occupations was $87,570, according to the BLS. This is nearly double the average wage for non-STEM occupations ($45,700). Additionally, 93 percent of STEM occupations had wages higher than the national average mean wage. The highest paying STEM occupation is petroleum engineers with an annual mean wage of $149,590—more than $100,000 higher than the national average across all occupations.

Challenger offered a list of the top five STEM jobs.

  1. Computer Systems Analysts – Implement and design computer systems for an organization.• 118,600 Projected Jobs
    • $85,800 Median Salary
    • 2.4% Unemployment Rate
  2. Statisticians – Collect and analyze data to solve problems or create efficiency within an organization.
  • 10,100 Projected Jobs
    • $80,110 Median Salary
    • 0.8% Unemployment Rate
  1. Software Developers – Create programs that allow people to work more efficiently or perform new tasks.
  • 135,300 Projected Jobs
    • $98,260 Median Salary
    • 2.0% Unemployment Rate
  1. Mathematicians – Apply mathematical techniques to analyze data. These workers typically work for the federal government and public and private engineering and science research.
  • 700 Projected Jobs
    • $111,110 Median Salary
    • 0.8% Unemployment Rate
  1. Financial Advisors – Advise consumers and businesses on best ways to manage assets.
  • 73,900 Projected Jobs
    • $89,160 Median Salary
    • 2.0% Unemployment Rate

Source: challengergray.com

12 Surprising Interview Tips

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Interview Tips

You’re almost there. Your resume landed you an interview and now it’s time to seal the deal. So what’s the best way to prepare?

To find the answer, I looked back on my interviews, sifted through research, and most importantly, asked employees from today’s most coveted companies. I tried to find deep insights beyond the typical “sit up straight!” and “dress to impress!” tips we hear too much.

Below you’ll find the 12 best tips to help before, during and after your interview.

BEFORE

 1.    Research Earnings Calls, Quarterly Reports & Blog Posts

In today’s world, content is king. Goldman Sachs publishes quarterly reports, Microsoft records its earning calls, and every startup has a blog.

With so much out there, I’m baffled that few of us look past the company’s homepage. It’s like we’re writing an essay on The Odyssey without quoting a single passage from the book.

Example: If you’re interviewing with Google, here’s two ways to answer: “What’s Google’s biggest opportunity in the next 5 years?”

  • Weak: “I think wearable technology will be big because Google Glass and Apple Watch represent a new trend that shows…”
  • Strong: “Call me geeky, but I was listening to Google’s quarterly earnings call and was blown away by the fact that display advertising hit over $5 billion in the past few years. Therefore, I think that…”

Neither answer is wrong, but the latter says much more. It shows you’ve done your homework and give answers rooted in data.

2.   Use Google Alerts

Keeping up with company news is hard, especially if you’re interviewing with multiple places at once. That’s why Google Alerts is a savior; it’s a tool that emails you anytime a new story appears for a specific term. That way, you learn about current events without searching for them.

 Example: If you’re applying to Creative Artists Agency, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.google.com/alerts
  2. Type in “Creative Artists Agency”
  3. Put in your email address if you’re not already logged in to Gmail

Soon enough, you’ll get updates on CAA and have more ammo for your interview.

3. Use Social Sweepster To Clean Your Facebook & Twitter

Nowadays, 91% of employers search your social media for any red flags. While most people tell you to watch every single thing you upload, there’s a much easier solution. Use Social Sweepster, an app that detects pictures of red solo cups, beer bottles, and other “suspicious” objects. It even detects profanity from your past posts! Now, that’s f%$king awesome!

“Too many recruiters reject candidate because of something they found on their social platforms” Social Sweepster CEO Tom McGrath says. “We help you create the first impression on your own terms.”

4. Schedule For Tuesday at 10:30 AM

According to Glassdoor, the best time to interview is 10:30 AM on Tuesday. Remember, your interviewer has a world of responsibilities beyond hiring. They’re responding to emails, balancing projects, and meeting tons of other candidates so it’s crucial to consider when they’ll be in the best mental state to meet you.

10:30 AM Tuesday is the sweet spot because you:

  • Avoid the bookends. On Mondays and Fridays, employees gear up for the week or wind down. By the same token, avoid the first or last slots of any workday.
  • Avoid lunchtime. Immediately before noon, your interviewer may be too hungry to concentrate; immediately after, they may be in a food coma.

But there’s a caveat. Research shows it’s best to take the earliest interview slot “in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation because preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.”

Bottom line: if the firm is hiring for a job starting in a few months, try to interview late morning between Tuesday through Thursday. If the firm is hiring immediately, grab the earliest slot.

5. Craft Your “Story Statement”

 Though most interviews start with the same prompt (“tell me about yourself” or “walk me through your resume”), we blow it off with boring answers like:

I studied [major X] because I really care about making a difference in [industry Y] as you can see through my last job at [company Z]…

This answer is like tearing out the first 200 pages of your autobiography. You leave out everything that gives meaning to why you want this job in the first place. What was your moment of epiphany? How did your childhood influence you? Why does this job move you? Most people don’t answer these questions. They start and end with their professional experience, leaving little to inspire the interviewer.

Next time, use what I call a “Story Statement,” which is a Cliff Notes of your autobiography.

Example: Here’s an amazing Story Statement that Teach For America fellow Kareli Lizarraga used for her interviews.

“I grew up in California and Arizona after immigrating to the United States when I was four years old. Since neither of my parents went to college, I relied on my high school teachers to help me apply to top universities. With their support, I was able to attend the University of Pennsylvania. Then I spent a summer at a Washington DC law firm, which represented low-income students and helped me realize that my passion lay within creating educational opportunities for all.

I decided to become a teacher because I see myself so deeply reflected in the stories of so many students in your schools – and that’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity to interview with you today. Like my teachers did for me, I want to impact the next generation of students by supporting them and understanding the experiences they’re facing.”

A Story Statement shows that you’re a person, not just a professional.  It also makes it easy for your interviewer to predict the next chapter of your story. For Kareli, Teach For America is a logical next step. Of course, if she interviewed for Apple, she may change her Story Statement to include an early experience with her first computer and talk about how her passion for tech grew from there. For a Bain interview, she could mention how she started problem solving at a young age and now wants to do it on a big scale.

Chances are, we’ve all had experiences we can connect to where we’re trying to go. It’s just a matter of selecting the right ones to tell our story. That said, if you struggle to craft your Story Statement for a particular interview, you might be applying for the wrong job.

6. Wear a Subtle Fashion Statement

We already know dressing well makes a difference. But what if we took our attention to detail a step further? That’s exactly what Morgan Stanley analyst Julio German Arias Castillo did for his interviews.

“Wear something that represents your culture or background,” he says. “In my case, I always wear a pin of the Panamanian flag on my suit lapel. Most of my interviewers ask about it so it becomes a chance to discuss my upbringing and love of my homeland.”

Julio created a conversation starter with his clothing. Depending on the company, you can be more playful: wear a bracelet from your recent travels to India, a tie with a quirky pattern, or — if you can pull it off — a small mockingjay pin if you’re a Hunger Games fan. As long as it’s subtle and tasteful, your fashion statement can build rapport through fun conversations about your hometown or mutual love for Katniss Everdeen.

Continue on to Forbes.com to read tips 7-12 and more great career/business articles

Why Parents Should Help Kids Focus On Turning Their Dreams Into Reality

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Toymakerz

REIDSVILLE, NC –  Each year there are kids who hang up what they love and walk away. They leave the sports behind, stop playing their favorite games, quit drawing, building, and more. They are led to believe that unless what they are doing is seen as constructive and fits into the boxes that have been set for them that they are simply wasting their time. Many of those kids are walking away from what they are passionate about, rather than being taught to follow their dreams. One celebrity, David Ankin, who followed his passion and dreams has set out on a mission to inspire kids to do the same.

“There is a reason why we all have things we are passionate about. Those are your calling and you should do anything but turn your back on them,” says David Ankin, inventor and star of the hit show ToyMakerz. “I’ve met with many kids around the nation and I try to inspire them to follow those passions. I want them to turn their dreams into a reality. The rest of the world is waiting for what it is that they have to offer. Only when they embrace it will they be able to bring it to the forefront for everyone else to enjoy.”

Ankin doesn’t just talk the talk. He’s a living example of turning a dream into a reality and the importance of following one’s passion. Having a passion for creating one-of-a-kind custom hot rods and cars, considered to be adult toys that are built for fun or speed, he took his love for these machines and built an empire. That dream turned into a reality when he started a company called ToyMakerz, where the adult toys are made, and has also been turned into a hit television show, where people can tune in and see him work his magic.

Committed to giving back, Ankin routinely gives talks to kids and their parents, with the theme focused on inspiring them to follow their dreams. Whether giving these talks at city events or at schools, his mission remains the same. He wants to let kids and their parents know that it’s OK to have a passion and that they don’t have to give it up simply because they become adults. Rather, they should embrace it and see where it will take them.

Here are 6 reasons why Ankin believes that parents should help kids focus on turning their dreams into reality:

  • Happiness. We are happiest when we are following our passion and doing things that excite us. By getting kids to follow their passion, they will have more joy in their life.
  • Creativity. Those who follow their passion will find their own way in the world. They can’t be told that what they want to do isn’t possible. They will use their creativity to navigate the way, even if it means clearing a new path.
  • Support. The world has a way of trying to hold people back from reaching their dreams. Parents who support their kids in pursuing theirs will help to create confident kids who won’t be held back by limitations.
  • Work ethic. No matter what a child’s passion may be, it will take hard work to turn it into a career. Teaching kids to work hard for what they want is a great way to build a strong work ethic.
  • Adventure. Many adults find themselves at a standstill and wish there was something more. Kids who are taught to follow their dreams will feel as though they have been given a ticket to adventure. They are more likely to grow up to be adults who have passion for what they do.
  • Exploration. By letting kids follow their dreams they will dive into exploring a topic they are interested in. Giving them the ability to learn more about whatever field it is they are interested in can go a long way toward sparking their creativity and expanding their education. Places like WonderWorks (a science focused indoor amusement park) is a great place for exploring STEM education and letting the imagination run wild.

“If I hadn’t followed my passion and turned my dream into a reality, I’d not be where I am today,” added Ankin. “I know the importance of following your dreams and it feels so good to do so. I’m committed to helping parents see the importance of supporting their child’s dreams and encouraging them to dream big. This is what I teach my son and hope that I’m able to inspire others.”

ToyMakerz was founded by David Ankin, who is a former stuntman WonderWorks_ToyMakerzwho used to do stunts with motorcycles, racecars, and also at Universal Studios for their Batman and Water World shows. Watching his father use metal to build things when he was growing up inspired him to go on to do the same. Today, he has earned praise for the eccentric one-of-kind street machines that he’s built. There is nothing idle about his work. Ankin has surrounded himself with a top-notch team, starting with David Young, who is his business partner. Young manages the business side of ToyMakerz and serves as its President and CFO.

ToyMakerz partnered with Source Digital to develop an app, which is helping fans connect with the show. Enhancing the viewer experience with new digital brand integrations, the ToyMakerz app lets fans connect with the cast, score exclusive deals on anything they see on the screen while they are watching the show live, and share pictures of their own rides!

The ToyMakerz TV show is currently re-airing episodes from season 2 On Demand on Velocity. ToyMakerz season one is also available on iTunes and Amazon. ToyMakerz is produced by Los Angeles based production company, Lucky13Cinematic. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: http://toymakerz.com.

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About ToyMakerz

ToyMakerz is a company that makes adult toys built for fun and speed. Some of their creations can be seen on the ToyMakerz hit television show focusing on the life and creations of Dave Ankin, a former stuntman who now makes toys for big boys. The show features the one-of-a-kind street machines that he builds. ToyMakerz is currently being aired weekly on Velocity. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: http://toymakerz.com.

About Source Digital
Source Digital (www.sourcedigital.net) specializes in content monetization strategies letting viewers dive deeper into their favorite programs. Industry-leading experts developed the Source Digital platform, offering a data driven, cloud-based engagement platform connecting a new generation of content viewers. The platform allows content owners to design and fulfill personalization and monetization strategies against their broadcast or streamed programs directly connecting to viewers, allowing them to instantly access and discover related experiences from their favorite device – smart phone, tablet, computer and TV.