Pebble vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch
Both are pretty similar, but which is better? Both the Samsung Gear and Pebble are stainless steel and have swappable bands. However, the pebble can be paired with the iPhone or Android, while the samsung can only sync with (you guessed it) Samsung phones. Though, the Samsung Gear has a higher resolution display with multi-touch capabilities. It also has a heart rate sensor unlike the Pebble. What is the deciding factor between the two? The Gear can take phone calls and has a camera, and the Pebble does neither. Samsung Gear wins hands down.
Fitbit vs. Jawbone
Starting with the basics, the Fitbit can be used in the shower (but not swimming) and has a 5 day life. The Jawbone is completely water resistant and lasts 7 days. Price wise, the Fitbit is cheaper at $149.95 as the Jawbone is $179.99. Although neither has GPS tracking (too bad for runners), they both monitor the heart, track distance and calories burned, and monitor sleep. The Jawbone tracks sleep with more accuracy and works alongside a UP3 app that has a smart coach. With either device, you will be getting a top-of-the-line activity tracker, but in this battle, the Jawbone takes the cake.
Google Glass vs. HoloLens
Google Glass can take photos, videos, show messages and maps, find information, translates...however, do people see it as a flop? Oculus Rift has surpassed Google's $1500 gadget. Meanwhile, the HoloLens by Microsoft is a new holographic generator that allows you to virtually communicate, skype, message, play videos and engage in video games. A release date has yet to be announced, but for now, check out Microsoft's video for the HoloLens.
NFC Ring vs. ?
Simply, this metal ring is embedded with a radio chip that opens doors, makes payments, links people and unlocks your phone. It never needs charging and is water resistant. Funded by Kickstarter, the NFC ring is out on the market. The only competition right now would be Apple Pay, though that isn't even a direct competitor.
📝 Erica Amatori Twitter & Insta: @ericaamatori
What were the best IPOs of 2014?
Immune design (IMDZ), a bio technology company that develops immune-based therapies to fight cancer, released its IPO in July. Starting out at $12.00, it has now risen to a healthy $35.22. Keep watching this stock.
Lets talk about GoPro (GPRO), which was released in June and has a current price of $79.15 when it started at $24.00. In the very first day, the camera company increased 30% and raised another 27% after the weekend. Investors are definitely anticipating high growth for this company.
ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) shares sore after they downsized to a $36 million IPO. This was the first IPO for local robotics in 2014 and has paid off. They company has produces to products: the ReWalk Personal which is designed for home/work, and the ReWalk Rehabilitation for clinical rehab centers. Opening at $12.00, it is now at $27.90.
Hungry for more? Zoe's Kitchen (ZOES) IPOed in April entering in at $15.00 and now serves up $33.19 per share. Fast, but casual restaurants seem to be a growing trend, such as Panera. Zoe's menu offers fresh mediterranean food delivered with southern charm. Many say this stock is performing so well ever since the chase for the next Chipotle stock has been alive.
Last but not least, one can not forget the most anticipated IPO of the year: Alibaba (BABA). Known as the Amazon of China, the IPO started at $92.70. Early stock holders gained an immediate return of 36.3% on the offer price ($68). Hitting the market at 11:58 am, the stock hit a high of $99.25 almost immediately. Currently, Alibaba is priced at $115.10 and is growing at a fast pace.
Some IPOs to look out for the end of 2014?
People are a company's greatest asset and have to be analyzed in order to run a company with high satisfaction rate, low turnover and high job performance. Many companies believe that the key to making their employees happier and more efficient is an increased salary. However, it has been proved that social recognition equally makes staff more enthusiastic and passionate about work.
Passion in what a person does brings a whole knew level of efficiency to an organization. Companies have to be careful who they let go, as they are also throwing away the training they have put into that employee, the culture they have created around him or her, and the need to allocate their job to someone else.
The real question is, what is it that the company's look for in an employee? The top 5 qualities are:
3) being interpersonal
5) strong work ethic
In order to differentiate yourself and stay on top when a promotion is a possibility, make sure to:
1) refresh your skills
2) master at least one of them
3) be technology savvy
4) embrace ambiguity, you never know what opportunities will open up
5) network with anyone and everyone
Many companies, such as Whole Foods, Cisco, Intel, ask if employees are okay with taking a slightly lower salary instead of layoffs or if they would prefer to shut down the company a couple days and not get paid. However, not laying off people and cutting corners can mess with ethics. Maybe a corporation decides to cut wages when outsourcing products or switch their packaging to a cheaper, less environmentally safe material. Ethics goes a long way when creating a company culture as well. Employees that understand how to make a moral decision can save a company from losing a lot of money, or worse, bankruptcy.
3D printers are supposedly shaping the future, but how? Yes, those random figurines people are printing for fun are neat...but how can this machine be used for innovation? Many startups have been taking advantage of this new technology and have been finding that it is cheaper, greener and more customizable. Here are some startups that are revolutionizing particular fields by using 3D printing:
These are the first 3D printed wireless earbuds to be designed. OwnPhones print custom earbuds that fit your ears perfectly. Not only that, but they also come in an array of sweet designs to match your personality! How do they shape it to your ear? Download their app and take a short video scan of your ear, OwnPhones can then convert the video data and print custom earbuds. They fit so well that any outside noise is blocked! Have the freedom to do anything with these truly wireless headphones. Check them out on kickstarter, they have greatly surpassed their fundraising goal!
Another custom solution, but this time for eyewear. Similar to OwnPhones, you take a picture of yourself from the side and front, fill out a survey, receive style recommendations and pick from 24 different frames. They work with insurance and ensure fast & free returns. Protos brings customizable, strong and lightweight glasses to the market that are even waste-free. Support their funding goal now!
3D printing can also be a life saver. Organavo creates synthetic tissue that replicates real human tissue. This biotech startup also helps researchers study diseases by allowing them to test drugs on 3D printed tissue. No humans are at risk now! What's next for this startup in San Diego? Printing real organs, such as the liver, that can be used for implants.
Get ready for maybe the most freaky startup yet. Thinker Thing allows you to print what your mind thinks. By connecting neuro technological equipment with 3D printing technology, the software can tell the 3D printer to print the object thought by the person wearing an EEG headset. They also allow you to custom manufacture products from a mobile phone, pick a material (plastic, full color, rubber, brass, ceramic, silver & gold) and print. It can be as little as $6!
Technologia Humana 3D
I guess those ultrasound baby pictures are pretty amazing, you can put it in a frame and have your friends "aww" over an expected baby boy or girl. Though what if you could print a 3D ultrasound of your fetus? I introduce Technologia Humana 3D: a Brazilian company that lets parents now display their future child not in a frame, but in a more three dimensional look. In Tokyo, a similar startup does the same thing, a key-chain sized fetus is about $1000, tempting right?
Designers can now print their designs in 3D. 3DLT officially launched in April after being in stealth mode for a while. With a partner network of more than 500 3D printers worldwide, they have built jewelry, eyeglasses, toys, tools, shoes and more. CEO John Hauer believes 3D printing will bring cheaper, greener and better products than mass production does.
Wait what...Hershey's?? Yes folks this is real, Hershey's has partnered with a 3D printing company to produce a specialized 3D printer for producing chocolate! Lets take a step back, how do you feel about 3D printed food? Sugar Labs has already done this with icing and sugar. It is not confirmed when this machine will be made, but when it does I will be first in line.
Throw away your kids' barbie, enter the Makie doll. MakieLabs prints 3D 10 inch, flexible fashion dolls that are completely customizable. Choose their face, eyes, jaw, smile, hair....anything. This company is environmentally friendly as well; the packaging is made from recyclable material, and the printing of the dolls produce less waste. IMVU meets reality. Kids can also play with them online through computer games.
I like to think that startups are similar to movies in theaters nowadays: they are either completely unique or try to remake something that has already been done. It's challenging to think of a new concept that hasn't been touched on. Here are three new startups that I think have tapped into a market that has not been fully taken advantage of. Ideas that are bound to make a splash.
Ever wish you could live the fancy life for a day? What lady hasn't wanted a man that would do anything for her? ManServants, started in San Francisco by Dalal Khajah and Josephine Wai Lin, allows women to order a tailored gentlemen to be a bodyguard, butler or cabana boy. The funny part is how the idea came to be: a friend who wanted to skip the stripper gig at her bachelorette party. Manservants is totally PG and is based on the concept that men are polished and orderly. These men have to go through rigorous training and have a strict code to follow as well. Check out their website and hilarious video! They launch this fall.
How is a smoothie company starting out in San Franscisco possibly scalable? It's simple, Elise Polezel and Matthew Udomphol have made the
Keurig for smoothies. The smoothie machine looks like the robot Eva out of Walle, with its white, modern and rounded shape, LivBlends brings smoothie making into the 21st century. The revolutionary aspect to this machine is that there is no messy clean up compared to other smoothie or juice makers. Their drinks also have 14 grams of sugar compared to the 56 grams you consume in a Naked Juice!
Snapchat, the app known for "now you see it, now you don't" photos, is now not the only place where your photos can be fleeting. Imagine if that was brought to Facebook, Twitter, blogs. Enter Phantom, the app that allows you to snap a photo, edit it with tools and control how many viewers it can have, and for how long you can view it. Phantom is a Tokyo startup that was just released a few months ago. Install it in the app store now!
Bored at your job, looking to innovate in something you're passionate about or know there is a need for? Doing the same thing everyday can be monotonous, and in a big corporation, most likely you will not have a voice as an employee. Sometimes it can be depressing to work hours on end and never see your impact. With a startup, be prepared to see your impact in every little aspect, ultimately anything you do can make or break the companies future. So how do you start a startup, what are the first steps to becoming involved?
Network like mad
Investors, PR, people related to the industry, partners....anyone can be a useful contact for your future. Go to networking startup events and sell yourself, but be social and conversational as well. Make sure to follow up with the person via email or linkedin. Creating a network of successful, knowledgable professionals is key to starting a business. Without people to spread the word, challenge your idea, connect you to industry insiders, your business will not be able to grow as fast or be on the radar.
Think of multiple ideas
Many entrepreneurs don't just come up with that first initial golden idea and run with it. Many have failed with other ideas before and learned the hard way. If you have a co-founder, organize that you both come up with a handful of ideas and come back to each other with 1) the pain point in the industry that needs to be innovated and 2) the solution. Pick the best two out of your pool and research in depth. Thinking of multiple ideas will also get your brain turning on what is really needed and what is not.
Recruit a trustworthy team
A one man show will most likely not be enough to get you where you want to be. There is developing, finance, and marketing to take care of, having a team where everyone has their own job will increase company efficiency. When hiring or creating a team, make sure the founders or employees are just as dedicated as anyone else on the team. Most startups offer equity to the initial founding team for coming on early and building the first stage of the company.
Have a passion
When choosing an idea, know the industry you are going into. Many CEO's pick an industry where they are an outsider,not realizing the real problems their clients are facing. Have a passion in what you're doing, as that will propel your business forward, create a better company culture and display loyalty. No professional likes to see someone who is not truly 100% into their idea or company.
Do your research
Do NOT go in blind. Know your competitors by heart and how you are different. Why should an investor invest in your idea if it already exists? What if your target market is not who you think it is? Is the pain point of your product or service addressing the real problem? Research online and off, hit the pavement and survey the industry or consumers being catered to. It might bring up some features or ideas that can make a product better and more attractive.
Staring at your phone endlessly waiting for the seamless delivery worker to call.
Why are people so attached to their social media profiles? Researchers claim that millennials are the loneliest generation, we can have 1000 friends on Facebook, but not personally interact with any. Why can't people brand themselves as a cool, witty individual face-to-face? Well, the answer lies in research done by Jonah Berger, the Associate Professor of Marketing at Wharton. Contagious, a book he published in 2013, explains why certain products receive word of mouth, and how social influence shapes what we buy. Products that receive world of mouth are ones we enjoy and ones we share to build OUR identity. Millennials grow their "self-brand" online rather than in person and this is why:
Asynchronous Communication Mediums
To be completely honest, when I text, email or write to a person, I sound more intelligent because I can think about my words before publicizing them. Before publishing my top 5 free apps to have in NYC blog, I had time to choose the most interesting topics that I thought were worth sharing. It's the same with social media. When publishing about ourselves or a liked product, we can word a post in a more audience capturing way or enhance the material sent. If I recommend a brand, that brand will reflect my identity...who I am, what I like, where I go.
Facebook, twitter, text messaging, email, all of these are asynchronous, meaning information is interchanged intermediately. This gives the sender time to think about what they want to send, how they want to appear to the receiver. How many times have people found an interesting person through tinder chat just to find out they can't hold a decent conversation in real life? Many. Even on Youtube, a person can edit a video until they perfect what they want their brand or identity to be. Your brand may be excellent on tablet, on monitor, on paper, but maybe that's not the case in person. What we like can easily be expressed through writing and posts, but who we are is only expressed through synchronous communication.
Want to feel bad about your life? Go on Facebook and look at all the amazing accomplishments your friends are achieving. Little do you know that they only share information that makes them look good to broad audiences. If you are close to a friend, I bet you know that everything isn't flowers and rainbows in their life.
Audience size can predict whether you make yourself look good or bad. When a person is publishing content to a narrow audience, they share the bad, the useful, the secrets. It's the same deal if the audience is in the persons' "in-group." Differently put, "narrowcasting shifts focus away from the self and toward others, which simultaneously encourages people to share (1) more useful content and (2) less self-presenting content" (Barasch & Berger, 10). Consumers are attached to their media profiles because they can broadcast their highest life events and brand themselves as the person they've always wished to be. Who likes to make mistakes? Some people don't mind considering you learn from them. However, who wants everyone to know about them? Probably zero.
We pick how much to share given the audience size and characteristics. We pick what to share given the time we have to think about the possibilities. We brand ourselves online in a positive light to gain more followers, more likes, more shares. Welcome to Generation like, lonely, tech & mobile.
Is it Scalable?
Is the company profitable in the long run, or will it die out? If the workload expands and the market demands increase, can the company cater to the advances? Technology is rapidly developing the world by streamlining activities that would normally take us more time and effort to do. Investors are searching for the next B2B or B2C idea that will innovate a laggard industry or simplify an annoying pain point in life. If a software or product is scalable, the company will be able to increase their level of performance down the road. Investors do not want equity in a high demand business that can not adapt to future demands.
What's the Sales Cycle?
How long does it take a customer to close a deal with the company? Basically, how fast will money be made. There are many phases of the sales cycle a customer goes through before buying. One phase that gets missed is tracking customers even after the sales cycle ends. Creating brand loyalty and building a brand community will increase the sales cycle in the long run. The product will become part of their identity, customers will want to share their identity with friends. Different industries have differing sales cycle lengths (as well as how much revenue each sale creates). Before approaching an investor, make sure you know how you will acquire customers, along with how long the average sale takes.
Is there Traction?
If your company is in beta or at an early stage, traction is the one thing that investors can count on. Giving them financial statements and market size estimations will most likely make them yawn...at an early stage, all those numbers can not be proven. It is all BS. What can be proven? Clients, business, committed users. The traction will show how fast your product is catching on, if there is a need for it, and if it will eventually make profit. Most importantly, listen to the customer feedback and improve upon the MVP. Some features that you thought to be useless may be exactly what the user wants.
Sometimes it's nice to sit in bed and go ham on Netflix, but lets not be that person that sits in their 450 square foot apartment on the regular. Fever has been the best boredom solver for me since I've been in New York. The app lists events that relate to your interest: music, art, food, exercise, fashion, party, Brooklyn, culture, etc. Separate the events going on that very day, tomorrow or later in the week. The best part is RSVPing to a party right on the app, sometimes getting free admission! Get some sunlight people.
Yea, you knew this was coming, but it's seriously a life saver. Whether you are lost in the streets of New York, don't want to deal with subways or just want to cry because you were stupid enough to wear heels...Uber is there to pick you up fast. I even used it to move all my stuff from apartment to apartment when I was switching areas. Yes, that Uber driver may have hated me, but it sure did save me money not renting a uhaul. Fun fact: the driver can rate the customer! This way, if other drivers have left bad reviews on you, guess who has to suck up those extra few blocks in heels?
I'm really not up for walking to the grocery store and getting a weight lifting work out from lugging bags back to my apartment. Oh, and then there's that cooking part. Maybe it's 9 pm and I'm still at work, not wanting to leave my desk because all hell will break loose if I do. Seamless cures the hunger or your stomach, laziness of your legs and lack of time to eat. Order anything from your phone or on the site. The satisfaction of food coming to you? Nothing greater.
I don't do confusing. I like intuitive, actually, I enjoy an app a 5 year old could navigate. When it comes to subways, most have missed a stop, got on the wrong one, or even gone to the end of a line (never get really involved in a good book on a subway). KickMap Lite is the subway map that I prefer over Embark, HubStop and Exit Strategy. The maps are easy to follow and won't have you going to Coney Island on a Thursday night.
Unfortunately, Smorgasborg doesn't happen everyday of the week. I would live in that little pack of food vendors if I could. Menu Pages finds restaurants and allows you to browse through their menu before walking in. The most handy is being able to filter results by price, distance, cuisine and popularity. I love finding new places to eat, and the reviews provide me with tips on what to eat or if it's a local place. For some reason, Yelp just isn't doing it for me anymore after Menu Pages came around.