Can You Really Build A Site Without Any Code

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Across the web, there are loads of different services which promise to give you the power to build your own website without any code. The allure of this sort of promise is very strong, as a lot of small businesses simply don’t have the resources to go any other way. Of course, though, building a website is a complicated job, and the idea of doing it without code can seem too good to be true. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring this area to give you an idea of the ease you’ll find in doing it for yourself.

What Do You Need?

To begin this journey, you first have to consider exactly what your website is going to need. Building an ecommerce site which can sell products, for example, is a lot harder than putting together a simple blog, and will be more likely to require coding skills. As someone new to the game, it could be hard to know what might be possible or not. So, you might have to do some research at this stage, especially if you want to achieve some good results.

Understanding exactly what you’re going to need might take a little bit of time. To start, it can help to write a list of the features you’d like your site to have, being as specific and detailed as possible. From here, you can figure out exactly what will need to be used to make each feature work, along with the skills you’ll need to do it. After a short while, you will find yourself getting to grips with exactly what you’ll need.

Choosing A Platform

With a good idea of what you’re going to have to build, you’ll be ready to choose the best platform for the job. There are three different levels to this sort of tool, and you can find some examples of them below. In some cases, the best platform will simply be the one you feel most comfortable with.

  • Wix/Other Builders: The most commonly chosen tool for this sort of job is a handy DIY tool, like Wix. While limiting your scope, this sort of tool makes it very easy to put together something beautiful, without having to know anything about web design. Of course, though, they will make it hard to achieve large jobs like ecommerce sites.
  • WordPress/Bootstrap: Next, options like Bootstrap and WordPress are often the very best for this work. Enabling you to build a site with all of the normal features you’d have access to, while also making it nice and simple, this sort of tool is perfect for beginners. With over 75% of the world’s websites using platforms like this, you can always find support and documentation to help you.
  • Starting Fresh: In the past, all websites were built from the same basic pieces; HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Of course, though, this sort of method is often very hard, and a lot of people will struggle a lot more than they have to if they choose to go with it. In most cases, professional companies won’t go down this route, so it makes sense for you to try and avoid it.

Finding Alternatives To Code

The only option out of the ones above which will completely limit the need for code is a service like Wix. Unfortunately, though, this sort of site is rarely enough, and most businesses will need something more to power their work. To help you with this, you can find some alternatives to programming which can be used with platforms like WordPress and Bootstrap.

 

  • Plugins: With platforms which are so widely used, you can almost always find a plugin for the job you have to do. Finding options like this is a simple matter of doing some searching. Once you find some options which work for you, though, it will be a lot easier to use them than trying to start fresh.

 

  • APIs/Shortcode: In some cases, you may not be able to find a plugin or add-on to do your job for you, but this doesn’t mean you’re completely lost. Instead, you just need to find a company like Plivo to provide you with easy to use APIs which can do loads of different jobs. There are loads of guides and other resources around the web which are dedicated to helping new users with these sorts of tools.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your website building dreams. For a lot of people, being able to put together a website without any code seems very far-fetched. In reality, though, this will be nice and easy, as long as you put the time into your research at the beginning.

Why Your Start-Up Can’t Survive a Loss of Net Neutrality

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Net neutrality has been all over the headlines recently. Blog are abuzz and newspaper column inches are piling up about what could be the biggest revolutionary web development for years. But just how exactly does the FCC Verizon ruling affect start-up businesses? We look at the impact and it’s possible consequences for your small business:

Visionaries May Be Shut Out

By removing the concept of net neutrality, the online world could effectively be turned into a two-tier system. This could mean small businesses and visionary innovators finding their operations impossible. With the net becoming ‘pay to play’, blue-chip companies could pay heavy fees to Internet Service Providers to make sure that their sites run faster and better than the rest of the web, giving them a huge advantage.

‘Sponsored’ Apps Make Competition Impossible

With big corporations already operating on the edges of this, carrier AT&T announced back in January their plans to offer ‘Sponsored Data’. This would allow those companies with the budget to do so the chance to give their customers free data time when using their apps and services. Things like this could be the downfall of small businesses, who simply won’t have the budget to compete.

Eloquence Will Belong to the Victors

With other channels being slowed and smaller voices effectively being silenced, the echo chamber effect we’re already seeing being played out with fake news and interest driven display algorithms will get smaller and smaller. The unique beauty of the net – as a collaborative resource where we all have a voice, and where a smartphone video shot in your kitchen has just as much chance of going viral as anything a glossy corporate can airbrush into existence- will be lost. The different perspectives that make the web the incredible resource it is will disappear, with only corporate voices left.

It Could Eradicate Digital Nomads

Much is said in celebration of the digital nomad, that elite group of remote workers in the world who can turn in project work while sat on a bench in Bali. But although your small business may not be so exotic, you are likely to rely on remote working. High speed home broadband and secure VPN networks are the tools that keep this working. But if we wave goodbye to net neutrality, working from any location could get a lot harder. If ISPs are allowed to constrain traffic how they please without consequence, this could mean having to pay for business class access at each separate location or pay every ISP involved in order to secure priority access. If not, it could be so slow as to be effectively unworkable, ending the possibility of working remotely.

So whether the recent case washed over you or not, in order to build a successful small business you need net neutrality in place. The eyes of the world are on the best decision. Will there a place for disruptive innovators and free-thinking but cash flow poor entrepreneurs in this new model? Or will originality and creativity be crushed under the might of huge companies and their deeper pockets?

Offline Is Off-Trend: Why It’s All About Online

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Okay, so technically the idea of everything online being the way forward isn’t anything new. But in saying that, so many of us think that we’re operating entirely online, when in reality we’re not. You may have an online business, selling services or with your own online store, but could your business be classed as entirely online? Probably not! Because we still tend to conduct a lot of our everyday process offline, out of habit above all else. From writing notes to store information and even dealing with clients, so much of it is done in real life. But here are five reasons why you should consider moving the bulk of your operations entirely online.

It’s Quicker

Point one is often enough to convince most people. Because anything that takes too much time is always one, frustrating, and two, unprofitable. So when you say that doing something is going to be so much quicker when it’s carried out online, could be enough to convert you. Take your documents, for example. So you might like having them stored in physical files, but how much time does it take you to go through them? With everything stored online, it’s available in an instant. And that, couldn’t be any more satisfying.

It’s Cheaper

If that hasn’t sold you, then this one sure will. Online operations, more often than not, can be cheaper. So you want to deal with your supplier offline, just because it’s what you’ve always done. But why do that when you’re paying over the odds. Relationships are great, but they don’t always make profit. Just take this point: Shopping Online = Cheaper. And when you’re making great savings, earning more, and generally bossing it online, offline shouldn’t even be a contender.

It’s Accessible

So maybe you’re not even in this for yourself – you’re all about the customer. And when that’s the case, you want to make sure that they’re getting the better end of the deal. But they always are when you operate online. Take the approaches Online Flipbook: 12 Benefits Over Printed Content outline. Because accessibility speaks for itself. With online documents like this, more people can receive it. And when you’re looking for reach, online blows that pretty little printed number right out of the water.

It’s Interactive

And then there’s the quite significant point of online efforts always being interactive, whereas offline can’t always keep up. Engaging with your customers online is easier, as these creative ways clearly show us. But you can’t always access your customers offline; there reach isn’t there. So when you want to wow your customers and get to know them better, it’s online all the way.

It’s Live

But the best thing about operating online? It’s in real time. And this can undoubtedly be more efficient for not only your business, but your customers too. When your online operations are live, you’ve got no waiting around, no delays, and definitely no time wasting. And when you’re trying to run a business and make money, that’s always going to be your top priority.

Gadgets & Gizmos Modern Businesses Can’t Function Without

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In today’s modern world, it’s hard to imagine how anyone, let alone businesses, functioned before the rise of new technology. Technology has altered the world in many ways, changing the way that we lead our lives, and also, how society functions. It’s incredible that in such a short period of time, so much can change and evolve, especially in industries such as the business sector.

Today, there are many gadgets and gizmos that modern businesses just couldn’t function without. In the 90’s it was photocopiers and basic computers, today there’s a lot more than that making running a business easier and less stressful. The question is, what are the pieces of technology that modern businesses just couldn’t function without? Let’s find out.

Voice recorders

Business meetings seem to go by in a blink of an eye with so much being said that it can be difficult at times to take everything in. To ensure that nothing gets missed, many business owners choose to use voice recorders to keep track of what’s being said in meetings. Obviously, if a voice recorder is being used, it’s important to make everyone in the meeting aware of it. If you don’t already have a voice recorder and think it would be useful for using in meetings, they are available at Spy Centre, as well as on sites like Amazon and eBay.

Cloud storage

Okay, so not technically a gadget or gizmo, but cloud storage is, without a doubt, one of the pieces of tech that modern businesses could not function without. Not only does cloud storage provide secure online storage for documents and data, but it also makes sharing information with employees quicker and easier. One cloud account could give your entire company access to a range of files, reducing the amount of time spent sharing documents and data via email, and also reducing the cost of printing information out, making your company greener.

Tablets and smartphones

It’s no secret that tablets and smartphones have become a vital part of daily life for the majority of people, but what about businesses? The truth is that many businesses could not function without the use of smartphones and tablets, especially since they can now do pretty much everything that a computer or laptop can. From writing emails to managing your business accounts, smartphones and tablets have made running a business, especially when on the go, much easier, and so, today many business owners couldn’t live without these crucial gadgets.

Portable phone chargers

Although a phone charger could just be taken out and about with you, it’s not always practical to plug it in and start charging a smartphone up. Hence why portable phone chargers (there are also portable laptop and tablet ones too) are so useful. Whether you’re commuting and your phone is about to die, or you’re in a meeting, and your laptop has little battery, a portable charger could be a lifesaver.

The importance of gadgets and gizmos for businesses is undeniable – many businesses could no longer function without many of the vital pieces of tech mentioned above.

What Does Synchronization in Bitcoin Mean and Why Does it Take So Long?

Bitcoin

To ensure that this currency is secure and safe, wallet synchronization is the best thing to do in the world of bitcoin. All bitcoin software in the world synchronizes their wallets to ensure that the bitcoins are aligned with the general blockchain ledger. The synchronization process can take up many hours since the operation of using bitcoins involves various calculations using the root algorithm. This is the reason why most bitcoin users invest in powerful machines for computational purposes. System freezes can occur if you attempt to use less-powerful machines to synchronize bitcoins. You should invest in high-end computers with more-than-normal speed for reliable performance.

Bitcoin wallet synchronization is a routine process for many bitcoin users. Numerous relevant forums on the internet give free advice to new bitcoin users. They can give you solicited tips on synchronization. There are many tricks and tips to make the process run faster shared by Bitcoin experts.

The method of synchronizing a wallet is very long because the blockchain is growing longer than ever. The block is added to the blockchain every time a transaction is verified. These are permanent additions to the public ledger. The blockchain will grow tremendously as many people keep transacting in bitcoins.

Traditional currencies are growing to be a thing of the past. This is because they are controlled by the central banks and governments that lie about their interest to the general community. However, the truth is that they work to protect the interest of the upper class of the social community. This trend is well-documented even in the foreign states. You need to know that these figures are there to boost the elite’s status quo. Powerful, wealthy figures support the old system because they support them. Bitcoin can decentralize currency policy and change status quo.

Many people will start operating with digital currencies in many years ahead. Computer experts were the first people to adopt bitcoins. Other people have been inspired by media to start using this currency. The future is certainly foreseen. More ATMs will come that allow bitcoin withdrawals.

How to Stay Ahead of Startup Trends

technologyIf you feel like you’re always behind the times in startup trends, you’re not alone. Journalists build their entire careers on being analysts of the industry, trying to become the one who predicted the next Apple or Google. Following those journalists will connect you with greater trends and analysis. Many of them build and maintain lists of prominent industry figures you should follow.

If you’re still feeling stuck, it may be time for a more aggressive strategy on keeping up with the news.

Study the Investors

On the blog of Toby Ruckert, you’re likely to find articles about things like how to secure government funding for your startup. This might sound like an obvious tip at first glance. Who doesn’t want government money if it will help launch and won’t come at a high interest rate? But Toby takes the tip further by discussing how you can shift the work of having to apply for government funding to investors.

Reading investor blogs get you inside the head of people that have been in the game for years. They know what it takes for companies to grow and become successful brands in a crowded market. You might not be able to meet with them personally, but their blogs are full of free knowledge. Seek out lists of investors where you can.

Study Which Startups Succeed

The kind of startups that succeed tell you a lot about the climate that you are competing against. Take Honey as an example. The idea of finding deals for users might sound like a turn off for online retailers, but as the numbers increase the hype behind the small startup is growing too. Co-founder Ryan Hudson says that the company is succeeding based on word of mouth marketing. He claims the majority of traffic is from users typing the URL of Honey directly into their browsers.

Honey might be spreading so virally because of its leak on Reddit, but it could be related to the quality of service that users want. The startup adds value to users, so people are willing to pass it on to friends and family. Not every startup will catch like Honey, but you can take time to evaluate your business model and find its sticky value.

Even simpler than that, read the blogs of successful startups. They will often discuss their process, brag about accomplishments and talk about new partnerships they have acquired.

Study the Tools Startups Use

If you didn’t know, some of the most successful startups around are currently built on Python. Quora, Instagram and Pinterest all use the programming language to render their pages in-browser. Python is one of many popular frameworks currently favored by Web developers worldwide. Ruby on Rails is another simplistic programming language, both are free to learn from manuals on the Web or from Code University.

Knowing which languages are popular helps you hire developers to build the vision you want.

Visit Universities

Robert Scoble claims that he saw a self-driving car debut at Stanford University in 2007. Today, there are several tech companies and car companies seeking to build one and get it on the market. Universities like Stanford and MIT are the best and brightest that American schools have to offer. If you want to know what the next generation will be using, take a peek in on some of the technology these students are playing with.

You can also head over to Boston, where robotics is fairly huge and where some of the brightest minds in the fields are building amazing machines that can carry heavy loads and navigate complicated terrain on their own.

Network Face to Face

Getting out and meeting people is a great method of figuring out what companies might be into. Not every business executive has time to meet with you, but hanging out at local networking events and talking with experts in the field to write a blog post are both great ways to gain knowledge from experienced people.

Follow Trends Online

Google Trends and Twitter are two good places to start if you want to see what’s brewing in the tech scene, but you can find interesting trends all over the Web if you know where to search. Sites like Reddit divide their groups up by interest, making it easy to find a niche and search for the trends that niche thrives on. News sites like NPR and CNN have technology sections that feature stories about new ideas being toyed with, and new procedures that have become standard. NPR has done extensive reporting on the viability of fracking in the wake of a natural gas boom in the United States. Knowing these types of trends, and some of the debates behind them, influences where investor money goes.

Travel

If possible, travel to other countries and discover their startup scenes for more inspiration. You’ll learn things like Africa’s shift toward a society less reliant on physical currency, or how Brazil and South America are experiencing a small tech boom. Take a cue from Hollywood, an industry that routinely borrows from all over the world, there is always profit to be had from good ideas.

Kevin is an account director at Online Rep Management and has been working within internet marketing and public relations for over 8 years. Kevin got his start working online in SEO, link building, and some affiliate marketing. Kevin is most passionate about helping good brands become online entities. Check out ORM or follow Kevin on twitter!

DC Startup Keeps Kids Safe Online

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In 2009 brothers Steve and Tim Woda lived the nightmare. Tim’s son was targeted by an online predator, leaving the family feeling vulnerable and fearful. Before the incident, they knew that cyberbullying, sexting, and online predators were a problem, but when it happened in their own family, the dangers of the digital world became very real.

Thankfully the child was unhurt, but the incident caused the two entrepreneurs to step back and think about the problem. We can’t keep our kids from the Internet, so how do we protect them while they grow and mature?

The result of this deep reflection was uKnow. The company creates tools that connect and protect families. Currently, their main product is uKnowKids, a parental dashboard that monitors kids’ various social media feeds.

The tools from the uKnow team utilize social, mobile, and location monitoring to help parents keep track of their kids through a single dashboard. They also offer a notification system to alert the parents if kids engage in illegal or dangerous online behavior. An added layer of analytics keeps parents updated on how their kids use social media and the web.

So, what’s the big deal? There are plenty of parental monitoring devices out there, and it’s easy enough to follow your kids on social media.

The team at uKnow thinks they’re doing it differently. “uKnowKids enables parents to ‘have their child’s back’ without constantly looking over his or her shoulder,” the website says. It’s watching out for them without being intrusive. uKnowKids was also the first monitoring program to offer several features including text slang translation, image monitoring of Facebook and Myspace, and activity and trend analysis.

The 4-year-old company recently completed a $2.2 million funding round and expect to announce a full series A in the coming months. uKnowKids is just the first program in their plans. Soon they hope to release uKnowFamily, which will keep every family member connected. They are also experimenting with a location app that will stand separately from the other two.

The Woda brothers aren’t new to startups or online safety. Prior to uKnow, they were both on the founding team of BuySafe, a software that allows e-tailers to provide a secure shopping environment. They’ve brought that experience over to uKnow and are now working hard to protect kids and families in the digital space.

As a parent myself, I admit I dread the day my kids are let loose on the Internet. It’s a scary world out there, and I’ll definitely check out tools like uKnowKids to protect them.

 

Circle Helps Families Redefine Internet Use

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Recently, I downloaded the Kindle FreeTime app for my Kindle Fire. It allows my boys to essentially have their own Kindles within my Kindle, complete with parent controls and set time limits on games, books, and apps.

It’s worked beautifully. The boys are slowly getting acquainted with technology, but I don’t have to worry about them racking up Angry Birds charges by accidentally clicking through to the Internet. And the time limits I’ve already programmed in keep us from fighting over when Kindle time is done.

This is great for my kids now, but how am I going to help them manage that time as they get older? And, frankly, my husband and I need a little control over our devices, too. With our jobs, it’s really easy to get sucked into social media, emails, and texts, even during our limited family time.

It’s one of those problems I have, but I didn’t really realize I had it until I got an email explaining Circle. All at one time, I was made aware of the problem AND the solution. I love that.

Circle works as a kind of middleman between the home router and the different devices used by family members. Through an iOS app, the administrator can manage everything from how long someone can use social media to which category of websites kids are allowed to access. There is also a “pause” mode, ensuring a device-free dinner or family time.

I know what you’re thinking. “My kids can figure out how disable that in 2 seconds flat.”

The team at Circle has thought of that. The device has no off button, so it can’t be turned off. If it is unplugged from the wall, it continues to run on the internal battery. When that battery starts to die, the administrator receives a notification on his or her cell phone. For now, that’s as failsafe as it gets.

Using Circle in the home can ensure that everyone is learning to manage their online time responsibly, adults as well as children.

“As a parent, we have an obligation to learn how to live with technology and help our children explore the internet in a balanced, safe and smart way,” said Circle founder and CMO, Crystal Wiley in a statement. “Circle empowers me to stay on top of and effectively examine my household’s internet habits, and provides tools to improve our family’s online experience.”

Taking a page from Apple’s playbook, the team at Circle has made the device simple and beautiful. The tiny box will fit into the décor of any home, without all the wires and black boxes we typically associate with technology.

Circle recently announced a new Kickstarter campaign, aimed at raising the money they need to bring the product fully to market in 2014. As of publication, they were at X of their $250,000. If you’re like me and thinking, “Hey, I didn’t realize I need that, but I do!” head over and pledge a few dollars.

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Voices Heard Media Helps Brands (Including Startups) Engage Their Customers

 

Voices Heard Media, Knoxville startup, Tennessee Startup, Startups

These days, customers expect more from brands. Gone are the days when we make a purchase and walk away. Now, we often spend time and effort researching major purchases, and we care about the companies where we choose to spend our money. With the advent of social media, we have come to expect a high level of engagement with the companies we love.

Tony Runyan puts it this way: Two-way communication is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity.

But, that engagement can be expensive and difficult for companies to maintain on their own, which is where Voices Heard Media comes in.

Voices Heard Media provides a suite of plugins that increase customer engagement. Their products include apps that handle contests/sweepstakes, trivia/quizzes, social media streams, live Q&A sessions, video polls, and conversation around a brand. They work with big names like Disney, Food Network, and Fox Sports.

Will Overstreet founded Voices Heard Media in 2007. In his former gig as an Atlanta Falcon and sports broadcaster, Overstreet noticed that a simple conversation with a fan increased the likelihood that the fan would buy a jersey, listen to a show, or tell friends and family about Overstreet’s brand. He realized that there had to be a scalable way to take that kind of interaction into the digital world.

Tony Runyan joined the company in 2008 and made the initial big sales they needed. Now the VP of Product, Runyan develops new products, among other things.

So, what can the Voices Heard Media products do?

When I ran into them at the Southland Summit last month, I recognized the Food Network site on their display computer. The company wanted to increase engagement on their site, so they had Voices Heard Media create a Q&A session with the most recent The Next Food Network Star winner. The idea was simple enough: visitors sent in questions over one week, then Aarti Sequeria answered them. But the magic happened when, after the event closed, it still continued to drive traffic and interactions on the site.

All products from Voices Heard Media work on a company’s website, mobile site, and Facebook tab. The company sees this flexibility as absolutely necessary in today’s digital world.

They may work with some of the biggest names in the country, but they also handle smaller, local-focused companies like news outlets, political campaigns, and creative agencies.

Their prices are pretty startup-friendly, too, starting at only $50 for a basic package. And they can bring the same expertise they’ve built with big brands to your new company.

Check out Voices Heard Media and see how they can help your startup engage your audience.

 

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Why Is The Big Apple Becoming the Big Tech Apple?

New York startup, New York Angels, Pervasive Group, Guest Post, Big Tech AppleThe rise of the New York tech scene is the most significant development in the American startup world since the tech bubble burst in 2001.

Ten years ago Silicon Valley was America’s only real startup technology hub, with minor outposts in Boston, Seattle, Houston, and New York. Now the American startup scene has a large, vibrant home on the East Coast.

New York is now leading the way in early-stage growth and fast becoming the home base for consumer-facing technology startups from across the globe.

Sure, the Big Apple still pales in size to Silicon Valley. But the gap is rapidly closing. New York was once only the fourth largest US market for startups. Now it is second and home to over 3,000 startups, as billboards across the city proudly proclaim.

What is causing this rapid growth and is it sustainable?

The cause of New York’s startup growth is the confluence of interested money, effective politics, and symbiotic blending of common interests. The Big Apple finally managed to harness the vast assets and capital available because of its status as the world’s financial capital and put that to good use creating companies. By most metrics, there is no wealthier area in the world than the greater tri-state of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Now companies are finally able to harness all that capital – both from institutional funds and angel investors – to thrive and create a sustainable startup market.

The city was also able, through effective politics driven by a tech-friendly City Hall run by visionary billionaire Michael Bloomberg, to steer politics towards effective startup creation. Many of the city’s most effective startup-engines, including incubators like NYC Alley, are products of both private endeavor and public policy. Several of the most ambitious public-private partnerships of the last decade, including the new Cornell-Technion Entrepreneurial University partnership, will spur startup growth in the city for decades.

At the root of the tri-state’s startup growth is its focus on smaller, expansion-oriented, consumer-facing companies that can leverage the tri-state’s vast population of individual private investors and take advantage of its strong mix of media and advertising. My own company, Pervasive Group Inc., leveraged relationships with the New York Angels, the Tech Launch accelerator, and investors across the tri-state to raise its angel round and fund the MMGuardian™ Parental Control solution for Android smartphones.

MMGuardian is a parental control application designed to give parents a comprehensive solution to smartphone dangers facing kids, particularly cyber-bullying, texting while driving, and harassment via calls, texts, and apps. We were aptly suited to take advantage of the Big Apple’s exciting media environment and large networks of concerned, active investors looking to support companies they believe in.

Best of all, New York’s startup growth is very sustainable because the networks created, policies put in place, and relationships built over the last decade will not go away. Specifically, the tri-state’s strongest angel groups–including New York Angels, Jumpstart, and Delaware Crossing–will continue to expand and to build relationships with companies worldwide, including transplants from regions as diverse as Silicon Valley and Israel. And the Big Apple’s venture scene, which remains small but is growing rapidly, will continue to expand and supplement its influential angel networks.

New York was once known as the financial capital of the world, the place where money moved. It still is, but now the Big Apple can add something more – as a city that does not just move money and companies but one that creates them.

Paul Grossinger is a New York City entrepreneur and angel investor.  He is the Co-founder of Pervasive Group Inc. and invests with the New York Angels.

This New York startup wants to DoItInPerson

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SocialRadar is 8 Weeks Old, Raises $12.75 Million

Social Radar, DC Startup, Funding, Startups

The 10-person team over at SocialRadar is asking, “What Series A crunch?”

Eight weeks after formally founding the Washington D.C.-based company, they are now announcing a $12.75 million round, led by New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, and SWaN & Legend Ventures. Notable angel investors such as Dave Morin, Steve Case, Kevin Colleran, Ted Leonsis, and others are also joining in.

So, what is SocialRadar? The company’s website describes it like this:

Today over 1.1 billion people have smartphone devices that can broadcast their locations. Over 2.8 billion people have social profiles online. In the future, the power of your smartphone’s location will inevitably be combined with your social network – allowing you to walk into a room and already be aware of the people around you and how you are connected to them.

SocialRadar believes they are building this technology now.

At the 2013 CTIA expo, CEO Michael Chasen explained that they first developed technology that monitored all the top social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. Then, when a SocialRadar user walks into a room, the GPS on their smartphone will locate all the people they might know and explain how they know them. No more standing around awkwardly in a bar, only to realize your best friend from college is sitting just a few seats over. When  you enter the bar, your phone will let you know who’s there.

What differentiates them from other “people finder” apps is privacy. With SocialRadar users control who–if anyone–can locate them.

The company is preparing for their beta launch, coming soon to iPhone and Android. They’re also building a version for Google Glass, which seems to be a perfect fit.

Chasen was formerly a co-founder and CEO of Blackboard, the online learning platform that sold in 2011 for $1.7 billion.

You can sign up for the public beta on SocialRadar’s website.

Email Is Ripe For A Disruption Is It Coming From HotMail & Microsoft?

Hotmail,Gmail,Microsoft,email disruption,Mailbox app,TaskBoxBack in the mid 90’s you were too cool for school if you were using a free web based email service. Hotmail  had surged to the top of the email providers that were called “web based” then, now of course it’s cloud based.  Back in 1997 Microsoft acquired Hotmail for $400 million (that’s about a billion in 2013 dollars).

Around the same time there were other providers out there like Yahoo, Rocketmail and a host of quick up and comers but none had the market dominance of Hotmail.

In 2004 the tables were turned when Google introduced their GMail platform. The attraction was it’s clean look and virtually unlimited space. We’re all too familiar with the ticker that shows just how much data those Google servers are handling.

Now as everyone turns to mobile, it’s been a pretty safe assumption that the next email disruptor would be of the mobile variety. Mailbox app came out with a lot of thunder, despite the fact that I hated it. I like an app called TaskBox but it hasn’t had the big red carpet marketing push that Mailbox had. It was actually their great marketing stunt, making people wait in line, that attracted a ton of attention, a ton of early users and then a purchase by the folks at DropBox.

There have been a few other subtle email disruptions that have come up in the past few years like Sparrow but nothing has disrupted email the way that GMail did nearly a decade ago.

Until now?

This is how Hotmail looked in the 90's (image: Business Insider)

This is how Hotmail looked in the 90’s (image: Business Insider)

Microsoft has just redone their cloud based email platforms. They’ve given a new look to all the various email brands available in the Microsoft cloud. Today, by going over to hotmail.com you can sign up for a brand new Hotmail email adress, a Microsoft live account or Microsoft’s new outlook.com service which was the big thing Microsoft was pushing at SXSW this year.

Gone is the clunky style 1990’s interface that plagued Hotmail and made them look decades behind when it came to competing with GMail. At first glance most users to the new Hotmail may get confused and think they are looking at GMail.

The new interface is extremely clean and the ads have been moved to non-obtrusive boxes on the right side of the page.  Microsoft has also incorporated contacts, calendar and their cloud based Sky Drive as part of the new outlook.com/Hotmail experience.

It would take a lot for me to move off the totally integrated Google cloud that I’ve been chained too for the last few years. My contacts, calendar and mail have been managed by Google for at least the last 4 years. I’ve also been using Google Docs and now Google Drive since they were first introduced. It had actually been a solid 4 years that I hadn’t’ had a Microsoft product on any of my Mac computers (I recently purchased the latest version of Office for Mac).

One thing that could be a game changer for me is how long I can tolerate the newest “compose” screen for GMail. While you can still “temporarily” go back to the original compose style, the new style is extremely hard to manage when you’re trying to get through your GMail as fast as possible.

On iOS it seems that Microsoft accounts integrate just as easily as GMail accounts, however I haven’t used a native Microsoft mail app, nor have I even looked to see if one exists.

For now I’ve got the Hotmail account set up and we will see how it goes. All of my primary mail accounts are still GMail though.

What about you? Add your comment below.

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So Am I The Only One On Earth Who Thinks Mailbox Sucks?

 

Jeff Bezos Just Crapped On Netflix, Roku,and Boxee: Developers, Startups Get Ready

Amazon,Roku,Boxee,Apple Tv,Jeff Bezos,DevelopersBloomberg has reported that Amazon’s stock price has gone up and then slightly flattened this afternoon and Netflix has definitely felt stemming from an announcement Amazon made today.

Amazon, the company that essentially created the e-commerce category, or at least heavily refined it, announced today that they are going to start offering their own set top box. In the same way that Google and other tablet manufacturers grew quickly concerned about the ramifications stemming from the Kindle Fire tablets, the set top box manufacturers now have something to worry about.

The Seattle based company will now offer a box that competes with the likes of Apple TV, Roku, Boxee, NetGear and even some options offered by console gaming system. Currently, several of these competitive boxes offer Amazon’s video subscription service that comes free for Amazon Prime members.

Just as Google has added a wide range of other services beyond it’s huge search platform, Amazon has continued to grow into a complete e-commerce ecosystem. Of course they want customers to continue to engage with their bread and butter, e-commerce business, but now they are able to engage customers in more intimate ways.

sneakeruptAmazon built their Kindle Fire tablet line based on the Android operating system and then created their own completely walled garden ecosystem that offers their tablet users access to apps,games, e-books, movies and music all through the Amazon e-commerce platform. Many analysts say this was a great move on their part.

This move also opens up a whole new platform for developers to get behind and support. Apple TV is an extremely hard platform for developers to get into and many feel that Android, and it’s hundreds of available devices and fragmented OS is tough to penetrate market share.

Developers and perhaps startups will now be able to work on the Amazon set top box ecosystem to offer apps, games and other downloadables to compliment the content platform that will be in place at launch.

Amazon has built up a tremendously loyal following over the last two decades. They have also been instrumental in moving some customers from books, to e-readers and now to tablets. With this huge set of customers, an Amazon set top box will be a much more comfortable platform, rather than going with the boxes that are currently on the market.

NetFlix, a huge content delivery company, will now have to compete with Amazon because it’s not likely the Amazon box will carry the NetFlix app. Also, first run movies and TV seasons tend to take longer to get into the NetFlix system than say Amazon’s video delivery service or even iTunes.  This will give Amazon a huge competitive advantage.

Amazon also plans to create their own content, a model that’s proven very successful for NetFlix with their in house produced series like House of Cards and Hemlock Grove.

Have you seen our startup coverage from “everywhere else”

Nevada Startup SocialMatic Bringing Instagram To Life With Polaroid

Socialmatic,Instagram,Polaroid,Instagram camera,Nevada startup,las vegas startupI guess someone forgot to tell the founders of Las Vegas startup SocialMatic that bringing Instagram to life was done over 50 years ago with the first Polaroid. Of course the technology needs an update and a digital camera with an Instagram style face, some filters and Polaroid prints may just do the trick.

For now the company has entered into a binding agreement with C&A licensing an authorized Polaroid licensee and the same one that licenses the Polaroid One Step SX-70 image and likeness to Instagram.

Currently SocialMatic only has some really good mockups but they reportedly plan on bringing a product to market by 2014.

(photo: socialmatic)

“We are so proud to work together with C & A and Polaroid, giants of digital photography.” – said Mr. Antonio De Rosa, CEO of Socialmatic. “It ‘s been a long and difficult negotiation but we were strongly motivated to reach an agreement to create a small revolution in digital photography. This mix of Hardware and Software, together with our brand new photo social network will fill the gap between virtuality and reality.”

While the licensing deal has been struck with Polaroid it’s unclear whether they will need to do any licensing with Facebook, the owners of Instagram. The mockups look like one gigantic Instagram without the word Instagram on it.

One place where it may get a little hairy is the fact that Socialmatic plans to use the hardware to share pictures on their own photo based social network.

Would you buy an actual “Instagram Camera” tell us in comments below.