Inside My Brain

Thoughts about startups, tech, marketing, and life

CATEGORY: Technology

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.

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.

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.

Uber vs. Lyft – My Experience with Both Ride-Hailing Platforms

Until a few weeks ago, I was always an Uber rider and never tried Lyft. But in light of all the bad crap that has happened at Uber over the past few months, I decided to give Lyft a try. Here are some thoughts about my experience with both platforms.

Mobile app user interface

Both apps offer similar-looking screens, but the experience certainly differs. Here are the initial screens for both apps, captured on a Monday morning:

Uber_Lyft_Comp

My first impression is that while the Lyft app tells me that there’s a driver only one minute away, I don’t see any cars on the map. On the other hand, there are plenty of Uber drivers close by. This may be because Lyft’s map is zoomed in a bit more. Regardless, this visual is an important aspect of the interface that gives me a feeling of comfort that Uber has more cars on the road. Seeing fewer cars on the Lyft app is a pretty common occurrence, from my experience.

The next thing that I notice is that Lyft makes it easier to request a driver. The primary call-to-action is “Request Lyft,” and all you have to do is tap that button and a driver will be summoned.

Uber, on the other hand, has a few more options on the screen, and its primary call-to-action is “set pickup location.” It takes an extra step to hail a ride but gives you some options before you raise your hand. After setting your pickup location, you are sent to the confirmation screen:

Uber Confirmation Screen

Here you’re able to get a fare estimate, which you can’t do with Lyft. This is a nice feature that helps you make a decision on whether you ride an Uber or spend a little less money by taking Metro. You can also enter a promo code before booking a ride.

After the ride is over, both apps have similar screens where you can rate your driver. Lyft allows you to tip your driver, while Uber doesn’t.

In-ride observations and informal driver surveys

I learned a good deal during my Lyft rides by observing the driving environment and chatting with the drivers. I’ve only taken seven Lyft rides in the last few weeks, so the sample size is small. This certainly wasn’t a statistically significant experiment, but it gave me good insight into both of the ride-hailing companies.

During my rides, I noticed that all but one Lyft driver was also an Uber driver, and the one who wasn’t said he applied to Uber but didn’t get accepted. Interesting.

I asked all of the Lyft drivers who also drove for Uber what they thought about driving for both companies and which they preferred. Again, this isn’t a big sample size at all, but here are my survey results:

  1. All of the drivers said that Uber gives them more business. They mentioned that the number of rides that Lyft provides is growing, but Uber is still ahead by a big margin.
  2. All of the drivers also said that Lyft treats them better with respect to driver support and culture.

I believe that the overall rider experience is a bit more seamless with Uber, but the difference isn’t enough to foster any kind of loyalty. Because of Uber’s recent bad behavior, I’ll likely check Lyft first the next time I need a ride.

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: T-Mobile lets you stash your data, Blackberry launches Classic, and more

legere-tmobile-data-stash

Check out my latest guest post on ThornTech.com titled “The Week in Tech: T-Mobile lets you stash your data, Blackberry launches Classic, and more.

Today we highlight T-Mobile’s Data Stash program, Blackberry’s Classic, and the repercussions of the Sony hacking. Enjoy!

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

Image courtesy of tomsguide.com