Inside My Brain

Thoughts about startups, tech, marketing, and life

Guest Post for Thorn Tech – The Week in Tech: Windows 10 debuts, Google to become a wireless carrier, and more

MS Windows 10

Check out my latest guest post on ThornTech.com titled “The Week in Tech: Windows 10 debuts, Google to become a wireless carrier, and more.

This week we highlight the debut of Windows 10, Google becoming a wireless carrier, Box’s IPO, and Amazon’s desire to be a movie studio.

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

 

Guest Post for Thorn Tech – The Week in Tech: Samsung rumored to buy Blackberry, Facebook at Work pilot, and more

samsung-blackberry-hero

Check out my latest guest post on ThornTech.com titled “The Week in Tech: Samsung rumored to buy Blackberry, Facebook at Work pilot, and more.

This week we cover the rumors that Samsung offered to buy Blackberry, the pilot of Facebook At Work, Obama’s tech moves, and Amazon and Netflix scoring Golden Globe awards.

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Image courtesy of Crackberry.

Guest blog post for CEA: Should Non-Technical Startup Founders Learn to Code?

Check out my latest guest post for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) titled, “Should Non-Technical Startup Founders Learn to Code?

If you’re a non-technical founder looking to start a startup, you’re at the mercy of software developers whom you need to build your product. To avoid this problem, should you learn to code?

Learning software development is a huge time and mental commitment and your decision basically comes down to one question – is this the best use of your time? Read more.

Enjoy!

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

What motivates you?

motivate

What motivates you? What lights a fire under your ass to get things done? Here are some of the things that get me going:

  1. Progress and momentum – just a little bit of progress each day, in any form, goes a long way.
  2. Creating change - being able to witness my impact on a project, event, or person inspires me to create more change.
  3. Collaborating with smart people – they open my eyes to new insights, approaches and techniques and help me improve.
  4. Getting stuff done with hard-working people –  people who just put their head down and crank out work are inspiring.
  5. Great ideas – many claim that ideas are worthless. While I agree that ideas without execution are worthless, great ideas are the beginning of unforgettable journeys that change the world.
  6. A cause – believing in a cause and a singular mission gives me direction in every decision I make and every thing I do.
  7. Seeing others succeed – when I see others succeed, I want to join them in their success.
  8. Taking risks – if I’m not taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone everyday, I’m not making the most of my time. I like taking risks and love seeing others do the same.
  9. Goals - setting and documenting clear, quantifiable goals (like my 2015 New Years resolutions) forces me to stay motivated to achieve them.

What motivates you to get things done?

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

The 3 Most Impressive Products I Interacted with at CES 2015

The International Consumer Electronics show is a massive, overwhelming experience. With over 3,600 exhibitors spread out across 2.2 million square feet of convention space, it’s impossible to see all the products the show has to offer.

There were a few big themes – connected cars, smart homevirtual reality – and most of the show floor was dominated by huge corporations like Mercedes-Benz, Intel, and Oculus. But being a startup guy, I focused on some of the smaller brands and products that many may not necessarily know. Here is a short list of the cool products with which I interacted.

Emotiv Insight

Emotiv is a company that builds neuroheadsets, which allow you to control things in the real world just by thinking about them. Yeah, pretty crazy. I tried on the the Insight headseat; check out this super nerdy image of me wearing it:

Mike wearing Emotiv headset

Using the headset, I was able to maneuver a car across a short racetrack just by imagining the car moving in my brain. What what whaaaaat?!?! The process worked as such. First, after putting the headset on, the Emotiv employee captured my brain activity at baseline – when I was thinking about nothing. Then he captured my brain activity when thinking about the car moving along the track.

After the setup, I was ready to roll. When the Emotiv employee said “Go!”, I concentrated on the image of the car moving, and then it moved. Mind…blown.

Headsets like these are primarily used for research purposes at the moment, but I believe there’s potential for partnerships with companies like Lumosity to better track and improve brain fitness.

HZO

HZO is a company that manufactures waterproofing solutions for consumer electronics. They’ve worked with Nike Fuelband and many other consumer electronics and wearables manufacturers to fully protect their gadgets from exposure to liquid.

HZO isn’t making waterproof cell phone cases or anything like that. They’re a nanotechnology company that is waterproofing electrical components from the inside so that gadgets can be fully immersed in liquid for an extended amount of time and still work. Check out their display on the show floor below, where a TV is completely buried in water and still works perfectly because the internal components are protected by the HZO waterproof coating:

HZO tv at CES2015- front

HZO at CES - back

The HZO technology isn’t an exciting, hands-on gadget, but it may be the most impressive thing I saw on the show floor this week.

ImmersiON VRelia

Virtual reality was a huge deal at CES and many industry analysts believe it will be the next life-altering technology. By the looks of the ridiculously long line at the Oculus booth, many attendees seem to agree.

ImmersiON VRelia at CESInstead of waiting on line to try Oculus, I visited the booth of a company called ImmersiON VRelia. While Oculus builds high-end, expensive headsets for intensive applications like gaming, ImmersiON VRelia is making VR more accessible by creating an $89 headset and mobile app ecosystem that turns a large smartphone, like the Samsung Galaxy Note or iPhone 6, into a VR experience.

Using the ImmersiON VRelia headset and app, I was able to walk through a virtual home and explore the living room, backyard, kitchen and bedrooms. The company is primarily working on educational applications but I believe that real estate and mapping are natural extensions of the technology.

Honorable mentions

Here are other products that I played with that were pretty interesting:

  1. Blast Motion – a sports video analytics platform for golf, baseball and exercise
  2. Meccanoid – build your own robot friend
  3. Wowwee – artificially intelligent robots

Conclusion

I wasn’t able to demo the majority of gadgets at CES but did get my hands on a bunch of cool products. Emotiv, HZO, and ImmersiON VRelia were the most interesting and I think these companies are on to something big and hope to hear more about them in the future.

CES is the equivalent of an amusement park for nerds just like me. I had a great time checking out the products of our future and hope to do so again next year.

What do you think of these products I mentioned? If you attended CES, what products did you think were interesting? I’d love to here from you in the comments.

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Guest Post for Thorn Tech – The Week in Tech: Recap of CES, Verizon-AOL rumors, and more

Check out my latest guest post on ThornTech.com titled “The Week in Tech: Recap of CES, Verizon-AOL rumors, and more

This week we recap the International Consumer Electronics Show, a potential deal between Verizon and AOL, and Intel’s diversity fund.

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

A rookie’s first day at the International Consumer Electronics Show

CES sign

Holy shit.

More than 3,600 exhibitors. Over 38 football fields worth of exhibit space. 150,000+ attendees. The Consumer Electronics Show is massive, and all this happens right in the middle of the typical Vegas craziness.  I’m here to check out some cool products and do some networking. Here’s a recap of my first day on the scene.

The preview

The madness actually started a few months ago. Because I guest-blog for the CEA, I was able to acquire a Press pass to the show, and since September, I’ve been getting bombarded with 50-100 emails per day with requests from companies asking me to visit their booths and press releases about new product launches. It’s nice to feel wanted, especially when you’re a bush-league blogger like me, but it’s been a little insane. It was just a foreshadowing of what would happen here.

Furthermore, as soon as I touched down in Vegas, it was lines, lines, and more lines. I flew in on Monday night around midnight and the taxi line was 200 people deep. Even the check-in line at the Luxor had about 50 people on it at 1AM. Nuts.

The first day

The first session I attended was the conference’s opening keynote, where Ford presented the cool stuff that it’s doing to increase mobility around the world.  The Ford Innovate Mobility Series is a group of contests that reward innovative ideas that help solve transportation problems. Solutions like car sharing in India, parking apps in LA, and other creative answers to transportation and congestion were spawned from the program. But they couldn’t solve the traffic jam that happened right after their presentation:

CES crowd after keynote

After the keynote, I walked through the exhibitor booths at the Sands Expo and saw a few cool products. Here are some highlights:

  1. IMG_20150106_102848I checked out company called Future Robot that, well, builds robots. For what use I’m not completely sure, but this one on the right was “dancing” to Gangnam Style. Weird.
  2. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is a connected product. I saw a booth for a connected heated shoe insole, a connected tennis counter smart watch, and connected toothbrushes. This stuff is cool but who needs it all?
  3. I heard the words “we’re running a Kickstarter campaign” 100 times in just 10 minutes of walking around.

I continued to peruse the show floor and stumbled upon Fifty Cent promoting his SMS Audio products with Engadget:

Fifty Cent

I attended another session put on by CNET called “The Next Big Thing – New Realities,” which focused on how virtual reality and augmented reality are going to impact our lives soon. Right now, gaming is the most prevalent use of both VR and AR, but there are many use cases on the horizon that should catapult these technologies into the mainstream. I’ll definitely keep my eye on these technologies, as they can have a huge influence on our lives.

Showstoppers

In the evening, I attended the Showstoppers event, which is kind of a mini-show within the overall CES conference. This event only had about 100 companies exhibiting and a large amount of media attendees, so it gave the companies a way to cut through the clutter and noise.

This was a really fun event. Not only was there was a nice spread and open bar, but the limited amount of companies and attendees and the intimacy of the venue allowed me to actually have real conversations with others and try a lot of the products on display. I’ll highlight some of the coolest products I interacted with in another post.

Conclusion

Overall, day 1 of CES was pretty crazy and full of crowds, sensory overload and glimpses into the future. I’m already exhausted but it’s been really fun so far. And there’s still two days to go!

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Guest Post for Thorn Technologies – The Week in Tech: Xiaomi raises $1.1 billion, drone package delivery in France, and more

xiaomi

Check out my latest guest post on ThornTech.com titled “The Week in Tech: Xiaomi raises $1.1 billion, drone package delivery in France, and more.

This week we highlight Xiaomi’s big fundraise, drone delivery in France, Microsoft’s new browser, and Tesla’s snake-like car charger.

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Photo courtesy of TechCrunch.

Reflecting on 2014, Resolutions for 2015

NEW-YEARS-RESOLUTIONS

Happy New Year!

Damn, that was quick! Another year comes to an end, so it’s about that time to look back at my 2014 resolutions to see how I did, and create new ones for 2015.

2014 Resolutions – How I Fared

I made four resolutions at the beginning of the year that pertained to work, health and family. Here’s how I did.

1) Seriously get my startup going: It’s going!

We’ve been working hard on ribl over the last couple of months. We alpha-tested the first version of the app and continue to make improvements, and the second version should be ready for testing in two weeks. (If you’d like to sign up for email updates and help us test ribl, please click here and enter your email address. Thanks!) I’ve been prepping our marketing plan and building out our promotional assets. Things are moving.

2) Drop five pounds: Pounds dropped!

I trained pretty hard for the Philly half marathon and Super Spartan in September. Combine that with eating well, I lost about seven pounds and felt great. I’ve gained some of that over the holidays, but that was to be expected.

3) Avoid alcohol for two weeks every quarter: Fail!

Dammit! I completed this for the first three quarters of the year but completely forgot about it for the last three months. I’m really disappointed in myself because these two-week “cleanses” weren’t too tough to accomplish, and they actually felt pretty good. I just totally forgot to follow through. My bad.

4) Start a family: Mission accomplished!

Here’s proof:

Ultrasound 20Oct2014

 Resolutions for 2015

Here are my resolutions for 2015:

1) Publicly launch ribl and gain over 100,000 users

We’ve applied to the SXSW Interactive Accelerator and if we’re accepted, we’ll publicly launch at SXSW in March. If we don’t get accepted, we’ll likely launch around the same time or even earlier. Regardless, we’re extremely excited to get ribl out there.

That 100,000 number is completely arbitrary and probably a stretch, but what the hell – let’s go for it anyway. It’ll provide a goal to work towards and hopefully attain.

But who knows if the concept of ribl will even stay the same throughout the year. We’ll work hard to find product/market fit even if we have to deviate from the original idea. So while we obviously would love to attain this goal, we’re cognizant of the fact that things can change very quickly in the startup world and we’ll adapt to make it work.

2) Measure more

In my past jobs as a corporate consultant and marketer at the Washington Capitals, I spent a ton of time poring through various data to extract insights for my clients and projects. While I still do a bit of data analysis, I don’t spend nearly enough time on it.

So whether I’m assessing performance for my clients’ websites, ribl, or this blog, I’m going to spend more time, likely in the range of 4-8 hours per week, to dig much deeper into the numbers and learn more about what I can do to improve my work.

3) Avoid alcohol for two weeks every quarter

Yeah, this one again. This time I won’t forget.

4) Be a great dad

Last but definitely not least. Vicky and I are expecting our baby girl in mid-May and I am going to be the best dad I can possibly be. It will be difficult to quantitatively measure my performance on this resolution, but Vicky can be the judge of how well I do. :)

What do you resolve to accomplish in 2015? I believe that writing your goals down, especially in a public forum, helps you stay accountable. So I’d love to hear about your New Year’s resolutions in the comments.

Here’s to a great 2015!

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Image courtesy of Huffington Post

Guest Post for Thorn Technologies – The Week in Tech: Starbucks ends Square partnership, update on The Interview madness, and more

starbucks mobile app

Check out my latest guest post on ThornTech.com titled “The Week in Tech: Starbucks ends Square partnership, update on The Interview madness, and more.

This week we cover the end of the Starbucks-Square partnership, an update on The Interview  madness, and testing of the Google driverless car prototype.

I hope you found this interesting! If so, please connect with me on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Starbucks.