Here are some advice for a school or student-group crowdfunding for the first time:
- Get comfortable and passionate about asking for help.
- Leverage your network.
- Use social media strategically.
- Create a mini-contest with prizes for top participants.
- Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect to raise thousands without careful planning and effort. Make a plan, get the proper approvals, and learn from mistakes.
SOURCE LINK:https://www.edsurge.com/n/2013-05-22-crowdfunding-tips-for-students-and-schoolsRead More →
It’s almost impossible for the average computer to mine Bitcoins in any efficient way, hence the rise of Bitcoin mining machines so tuned to their specific purpose that they barely resemble PCs. To wit: the Cryonic Bitcoin FrostBit machine is a PC in name only and contains a liquid nitrogen generator, special ASIC chips, and a price tag that would make the Winklevii twins think twice.
“It’s the first time a ‘PC’ has been built for consumers with built-in liquid nitrogen generators. We use helium compression technology to super-cool condensers that in turn condense nitrogen air into its liquid form. There’s nothing even remotely similar available to the consumers,” said CEO of Cryoniks, Inc. Fahad Koumaiha. “By sustaining cryonic temperatures we were able to achieve superconductivity with our custom designed ASIC processors. Not only do we get a huge boost in speed, but we cut down power consumption to around 2800W per unit; significantly less than anything on the market today.”
The PC hits a peak of 2800W – the average PC hits 200W on a bad day – but the device can perform 1000 Gigahashes a second. To put that in perspective a strong PC with good graphics card can hit about 100 GH/S and in my experience I haven’t been able to get any my machines to hit higher than 50 GH/S.
What are you going to pay for this ridiculous machine? Try a cool $15,000, which, sadly, you can’t pay for in BTC.
Can this thing really pay for itself? Probably, but not immediately. There are some BTC fans who believe a $10,000 BTC isn’t too far off and if that happens the potential benefits of this machine far outweighs the cost. They are planning on shipping this monster in July so if you’re seriously into mining, it may be worth a look. Everyone else? Be satisfied with your low GH/S. It’s a cryonic, nitrogen-cooled world out there and we’re just visiting.Read More →
Score one for technology: Doctors 3D-printed an emergency airway tube that saved a 20-month old baby boy’s life. After imaging the boy’s faulty windpipe, doctors at the C.S. Mot Children’s Hospital printed 100 tiny tubes and laser-stitched them together over the trachea (video below).
“Quite a few of the doctors said that he had a good chance of not leaving the hospital alive,” said the mother of the baby boy, who suffered from a severe version of tracheobronchomalacia, causing his bronchus to collapse.
Desperate for a solution, the doctors obtained emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to surgically sew the 3D-printed splint on the child’s airway. “It was amazing. As soon as the splint was put in, the lungs started going up and down for the first time and we knew he was going to be OK,” said Michigan University Professor Dr. Glenn Green, who came up with save-saving solution, with his partner Dr. Scott Hollister.
“The material we used is a nice choice for this. It takes about two to three years for the trachea to remodel and grow into a healthy state, and that’s about how long this material will take to dissolve into the body,” added Hollister.
Considering that most of the news around 3D printers has been about lethal, undetectable firearms, it’s nice to know that people are also using humanity’s newly found technological powers for good.Read More →
A few weeks ago, Chris Dixon tweeted something thought-provoking:
What were the last Hollywood movies you saw about technology & the future that were optimistic? They seem to be systematically dystopian.
I happened to be sitting in a movie theater waiting for Iron Man 3 to start, so I tried to come up with a good counter-example. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. Then the pre-movie trailers starting playing. The new Will Smith (and son) flick, After Earth: dystopia. The new Guillermo del Toro flick, Pacific Rim: dystopia. Even the new Superman flick, Man of Steel, could be classified as a technological dystopia (more below).
Sure, there are some films — mainly smaller indies — that in some ways are starting to buck the trend. But overall, Dixon (and Peter Thiel, who Dixon says he got the idea from) are right: Hollywood seems to hate technology. Why?
My initial thought is simply that dystopia sells. It’s the same reason why the mainstream media covering technology tends to harp on the downsides of new tech, sometimes to the point of fear mongering. They are tracking you! They want to know your location! They want to record you going to the bathroom!
Most people are predisposed to fear what they do not understand. Hollywood’s futuristic films are simply playing to this fear in the same way that horror films are packed with moments meant to startle you.
This is nothing new. In 1927, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis — the very first feature-length science fiction film — told of a 2026 where the lower class workers power the technology for the upper class. In 1951, The Day the Earth Stood Still saw aliens bring a giant robot to Earth that would destroy the planet if humans couldn’t get their act together. The 1960 version of The Time Machine (based on the H.G. Wells book) had technology (nuclear weapons) destroying civilization. 2001. A Clockwork Orange. Soylent Green. Alien. Blade Runner. The list goes on.
The difference is that we now live in a society where advanced technology permeates all of our lives. Nearly everyone now walks around with computers in their pockets that are far more powerful than the computers that filled up rooms just a few decades ago. Nearly the entirety of human knowledge is now just a few clicks or swipes away at any given moment. The vast majority of our recent technological breakthroughs, I think everyone would agree, have been overwhelmingly good for society.
And yet, Hollywood still seems sure that this is going to change. That at some point, our meddling with technology will create HAL 9000 or Skynet, and technology will turn on us.
Gene Roddenberry’s guiding vision of the Star Trek franchise was, famously, that it would offer an optimistic vision of humanity’s future.
And that largely held true through The Next Generation television series:
The Soviet Union collapsed a couple of years into the filming of The Next Generation, and the show’s optimistic future became startlingly coterminous with the optimistic present of the George H.W. Bush administration. Where else but space could you find a thousand points of light? The grand adventure of the NCC-1701-D was no longer to spread civilization, or even defend it; it was just to keep the machinery oiled. Remember 1991, America?
But the recent Star Trek films are a bit different. While I always liked how plot of Star Trek First Contact revolved around making sure a man takes the first flight at warp speed in space to usher in an era of peace on Earth, the actions are kicked into motion by the threat of the Borg — perhaps the ultimate in dystopian technology — taking over the Earth.
The latest Star Trek franchise seems to take a mainly glitz and glam approach to technology — bright white decks on giant starships accentuated with lens flares galore! But there also exists plenty of tech that is also horribly destructive. “Red Matter”, for example.
I saw the latest film, Star Trek Into Darkness, last week. While I enjoyed it, many Trekkie diehards did not. Certainly there are plenty of elements that are more Top Gun than the idea of using technology for exploration. I mean — minor spoiler alert — we have some sort of ultra weapons developed in secret and powered by some vague futuristic technology. And the man with the most technological know-how gets booted off the ship at one point for not wanting to mess around with these things.
Iron Man is another interesting example. It’s seems to be about technology used for good — but only to combat technology used for evil. So it’s basically neutral.
Then there’s the forthcoming Man of Steel. You might think this has little to do with technology (or at least what we commonly think of as technology), but as The New York Times reveals in a profile of the film’s director:
The film also emphasizes the world of Krypton before its annihilation — a bleak, utilitarian planet with sophisticated if downright creepy technology — and the treachery of the Kryptonian villain Zod (Michael Shannon), who finds Kal-El on earth. The result is an unapologetic science-fiction spin on Superman, and while that may shatter audiences’ expectations for pure, unalloyed realism in “Man of Steel,” Mr. Snyder said this approach was built into the DNA of the character.
Why is Superman on Earth? Because technology has led to the destruction of his home planet. I can’t wait to see what the author views as “downright creepy”.
Minority Report is one of my favorite recent sci-fi films. While the future envisioned there doesn’t seem so bad (and the filmmakers went out of their way to make the futuristic world as feasible and realistic as possible), the underlying premise is still pretty dystopian. Also: eye-scanning tech to show you ads. Spider-like robots that scan everything. This sure sounds like The New York Times’ idea of hell.
Another Spielberg film, A.I., paints a peaceful, yet melancholy future where technology tries to but can’t quite replace elements of humanity. It’s far from Utopia. Especially when you consider that ultimately — again, spoiler alert — all our technology can’t save the human race from extinction at the hands of another ice age. Even though our technology, the robots, live on!
Speaking of robots, one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen recently is Robot & Frank. It’s a decidedly smaller type of science fiction that focuses on an elderly man’s relationship with his caregiving robot. The film is actually quite sweet, but again, hardly a full-on endorsement of technology.
In Gattaca, we again find a fairly peaceful and advanced futuristic society. But the core technology of the film, DNA sequencing — something rapidly becoming a reality in our actual world — has led to a world with a whole new level of prejudices.
The Matrix, Avatar, Prometheus, now I’m just looking over films I own that fit the mold. All are either dystopian or a net-negative for technology. The most positive one I can find is Contact, which still has plenty of negative technological elements (and this is a film based on a book written by perhaps the quintessential science/technology optimist, Carl Sagan).
Where is the It’s a Wonderful Life set in 2150? Are a few scenes from Back to the Future Part II really the best we got?
Again, I think the answer is that we already live in a technological utopia of sorts. No, the world isn’t perfect, but the recent advances in technology have given us so much. And people go to the movies to escape reality. It’s just too bad that science fiction films have essentially become horror movies.Read More →
How To Market A Film using Crowdfunding was the topic of discussion in today’s Film Finance Channel interview with the amazing Matthew Donaldson. Matthew has…Read More →
Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement Goes Into Action For ‘Pull To Refresh,’ Jelly And Lift Will Adopt The Framework
Last year, Twitter announced something it called the Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA), which would keep patents in the hands of the designers and engineers that came up with the technology behind them. What this agreement serves as is a promise to only act on a patent for “defensive purposes.” Anything outside of that scope would need to be signed off on the creator of the patent itself.
Here’s how Twitter defines “defensive purposes”: “Defensive purposes means that you can defend yourself should another party try to initiate patent litigation against you or your customers or users. Under the IPA, it also means that you can use these patents against anyone who has sued others offensively in the past (up to ten years).”
The first patent to get the IPA treatment is Loren Brichter’s pull to refresh user interface interaction, which was built into Tweetie, the Twitter app that was acquired by the company and adopted as the official client.
Basically, Twitter is saying it’s not going to go after companies that are using pull to refresh, or other parts of Brichter’s patent, within their app. If someone were to claim to have created the functionality first, only then would Twitter defend itself.
Twitter has also announced that two other companies, Biz Stone’s Jelly and the Lift task tracking app, will also be adopting the Innovator’s Patent Agreement. With so many ideas running around, there should be no reason why the first person to successfully file a patent should hold the power to make everyone’s lives miserable. At the end of the day, all companies benefitted from Brichter’s work, and it’s been nice to see Twitter not going after anyone else for replicating parts of it.
When the IPA was announced last year, Twitter VP of Engineering Adam Messinger had this to say:
This is a significant departure from the current state of affairs in the industry. Typically, engineers and designers sign an agreement with their company that irrevocably gives that company any patents filed related to the employee’s work. The company then has control over the patents and can use them however they want, which may include selling them to others who can also use them however they want. With the IPA, employees can be assured that their patents will be used only as a shield rather than as a weapon.
Using patents as a shield will hopefully slow down the rampant patent trolling that has plagued the technology space for the past ten years. Twitter, Jelly and Lift promise not to be trolls, and that’s a good thing.
You can read the full IPA draft here to see if it’s something your company would want to adopt.
[Photo credit: Flickr]Read More →
Because of Google I/O, this was a momentous week for those of us who are watching the rapid transition that is taking place from desktop computing to mobile, and particularly for those focused on mobile-social as I am because of my job at just.me. Here is my take on what we just witnessed.
Standalone Hangouts. Google announced at its I/O event that Hangouts was to be launched as a separate app from Google Plus, taking personal conversations out from the G+ app and putting them into their own space.
Facebook Home problems. AT&T was reported to have decided to discontinue distribution of the HTC First – the Facebook Home Android phone – due to lack of sales. This comes on the back of publicity pointing to a large number of one-star reviews for the software on the Google Play store.
What is at stake?
There are many common themes and questions that underpin the launch and evolution of Hangouts as a separate app and previously led to the decision to launch the Facebook Home product. These products represent two very similar answers to a common question. The primary question is who will users look to to enable their social communications needs on mobile devices?
To set the context for an analysis let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room that is partially driving these decisions.
Mobile Messaging is rapidly becoming the primary way users engage socially on mobile. Figures released this week imply more than 41 billion messages a day are now being delivered via various “Over the Top” (OTT) messaging apps.
Phones were created as social tools. Smartphones are especially good at being social, integrating text, voice, video and images in an endless number of apps that can serve a user’s needs, and all without the need for a web-based social network.
Users are able to communicate with anybody in their address book anywhere in the world with almost any content mix at any time. This has been compelling to users and has driven the growth of apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat, KakaoTalk and some other smaller competitors. Almost 750 million users out of a smartphone population of 1.2 billion are already using these apps.
If you are Google, Facebook or almost any other major provider of social communications platforms originally developed for the web, this move to mobile messaging represents a considerable challenge.
Similar challenges exist from media-sharing apps. As users flock to Vine, Snapchat and, previously, Instagram, the social platforms are challenged to continue to be the primary provider of these services to the growing army of smartphone users.
The other core feature of Facebook and Google+, publishing to an audience for all or many to see, are increasingly becoming activities only a few engage in on mobile — and certainly less often than was the case on the web.
What Is A Platform Provider To Do?
If we look out a few years there is really only one product approach available.
That is to build single apps that embrace and extend the current features of the messaging market leaders — hoping to win users over from WhatsApp, LINE, KakaoTalk and WeChat — while also integrating the features of media sharing, private memory collection and publishing into single unified experiences.
Google and Facebook both seem to be pursuing this approach.
Breaking out Hangouts and going after the messaging audience with enhanced features makes sense. But Google also showed Google Now and Voice Search as possible points of integration for all of its mobile-social features. It’s early days here, but Android clearly wants to find a point of integration for all the users’ needs.
Facebook, with Home, revealed its integrated approach, while under the hood it has Messenger, Camera, Pages and the full Facebook app. Poor as Home’s reception has been, Facebook will certainly continue to deepen and refine its integration efforts and its attempt to be the primary UI a user needs on a smartphone.
Vulnerabilities And Strengths Of Mobile-First Companies
WhatsApp and its clones can be thought of as mobile-first companies. Their apps sit on top of the smartphone, particularly the mobile address book, and just help a user chat to their friends, family or colleagues. Their success is their simplicity and the singular purpose they have addressed.
Insofar as they are vulnerable, it is due to being very narrowly focused on brief “in the moment” conversations in the form of a chat or instant messaging UI. They have added the ability to include media in those conversations, and some voice-calling abilities. But their goal is really momentary interactions with individuals or groups. Their requirement to have both sides of the conversation install the app is another liability.
Human beings have broader needs that are currently served by other single-use apps. Evernote for private memories, email for longer more enduring interactions, social networks like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter for public statements of all kinds and Path or Instagram for photo sharing. This is a little like the era of Windows before Outlook when apps tended to do only one thing and users used many apps.
Can Web Companies Beat Mobile-First Companies?
These recent moves by Facebook and Google represent early moves by the web-era companies to react to the successes of the mobile-first messengers. They certainly do not represent end points in any way, impressive as they are. And there is plenty of time for the mobile messaging apps to respond by offering a broader range of social features.
There are already clues to the future – provided by users. The continuing use of email on mobile (trillions of messages in 2013) indicates that users are not entirely catered for by the chat-centric conversational UI. The growth of Vine and Snapchat (single-feature based as they are) indicate not all media-sharing needs are catered for by these apps. There is a lot still to play for.
If we look five years out, it is likely that the iOS and Android core will support a far more integrated set of messaging tools that cater for many of the needs we use single-use apps for today.
Message saving for private use, shared messaging to individuals or groups, media sharing, video and voice messaging (both synchronous and asynchronous), Timelines to look back and recall what we did in the past. These will all be features of the operating system.
As mobile moves from its Windows 3.1 — single-use apps — era to its more integrated future, apps that used to stand alone will have their features sucked into the operating system. Google and Apple have an advantage here of course as they own the operating system.
The Future Is Being Fought Over Now
In that sense the current product focus – decisions about what features to separate into single apps, and how to integrate those into a unified UI all represent the first moves in defining who wins.
Facebook has Messenger, Camera, Pages and its primary app with Home as an integration point.
Google has Talk, Contacts, Mail, Plus, Hangouts perhaps with Now as a point of integration.
Apple is a little behind but has iMessage, FaceTime, Photostream, Mail and Contacts. iOS itself may be the point of integration.
WhatsApp, LINE, KakaoTalk, WeChat and the others will need to move beyond the chat-centric user interface into a broader set of asynchronous messaging features, and a new set of social features, probably with Timeline support, in order to stay ahead of the curve.
The End Of Social Networks And The Start Of A New Era?
The ground has been set for a fascinating next few years as the web-based social platforms seek to own mobile-social messaging and the mobile messaging apps seek to extend into more fully integrated social features.
As of this moment the mobile-first apps have the lead measured by number of users and levels of engagement. To keep it they will need to continue to innovate.
The human race is already social, and the smartphone has everything needed to enable them to act on their social needs. As the growth of OTT messaging and media sharing shows, a user’s social needs are being met with no need for a social network.
In this mobile-social world the only question is, whose software will we all use to enable human social activities? That is what this week was all about.Read More →
Ready for a sky full of robo-planes?
Airware, a company that’s building the brains and guts for commercial unmanned drones, is announcing this morning that they’ve raised a big ol’ $10.7M Series A.
The round is led by Andreessen Horowitz, and backed by Google Ventures (Cue the conspiracy theories about why Google’s venture arm is puttin’ money into drones in 3…2…) As part of the round, Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon will be joining Airware’s board.
To be clear, Airware doesn’t make drones — they make the brains for drones. If you were to order something from Airware, you’d get a logic board (which handles things like auto-pilot, wireless communication, etc.) and all of the actuators and sensors you’d probably want to put in a drone.
The word “drone” can be a bit spooky. The first thing most folks think of when they hear “drone” (or “unmanned aircraft”) is their crazy controversial (and, yes, pretty terrifying) use by the world’s militaries.
That’s a shame, though. Like all technology, drones are not inherently evil — nor are they all killing machines. There are a bunch of completely innocent uses for drones — none of which involve shootin’ you from the sky or getting all Big Brother-y, and all of which are only made feasible by having a robot soaring a few thousand feet above the ground.
Over in Kenya, Airware-powered drones are being built to monitor the dwindling population of Northern White Rhinos to combat poaching. Head for the slopes, and companies are working on building drones to search for lost skiers. Other teams, meanwhile, are working on drones that use high-res infrared cameras to monitor their infrastructure for damaged power or gas lines. Vaccine delivery! Air quality research!
It’s important to make that distinction, as Airware doesn’t seem all that interested in working with the military. While they don’t rule out the possibility moving forward, Airware CEO Jonathan Downey tells me that not a one of their dozens of customers are military-focused.
(Plus, the U.S. military is already spending a few billion a year on their own drone research. They’re probably pretty good to go on their own.)
Instead, Airware wants to fill the gap between the massively-funded military drone work and the nascent DIY drone (or “personal UAV” — yeah, it exists) community.
While Airware came into existence back in 2011, Downey actually found his love for drones while studying at MIT a few years prior. He and a few friends entered a drone-building competition, and were surprised at just how limited and black-boxy all of the available drone tech was. A few years and a stint at Boeing later, Jonathan dove into building drones full time, raising a small seed round to get the ball rolling.
By the end of last year, that money had run dry. Through a twist of fate and a bit of good timing, the company made it into Y Combinator’s Winter 2013 class just as the FAA was opening up U.S. airspace to commercial drones. 4 months and one big YC demo day later, the company’s $10.4M Series A is the biggest post-Demo Day round in YC history.Read More →
China’s SeedAsia Opens For Business, An Online Equity Crowdfunding Platform For Startups Across Asia
SeedAsia, an equity crowd-funding site based in China, has just launched. The company is offering stakes in selected early-stage startups to people.
“It’s kind of a hybrid between Kickstarter and private investment,” said co-founder Tom Russell. The startups to be listed would have ideally gone through some some sort of incubation program and would have shown promise. They can apply offer between $50,000 and $1.5 million in equity through SeedAsia’s platform.
SeedAsia takes a 5 percent “administration fee” from the startup and another 5 percent of the investor’s equity.
Potential investors need to apply and be screened, and SeedAsia has set the minimum investment commitment at $2,000 per member. “It costs about $20,000 to $30,000 at minimum to be an angel investor, so this lowers the entry barrier for people,” he said.
SeedAsia is the first equity crowd-funding site to launch in the region, although the equity funding trend has been taking off in the US, where there are apparently over 200 such sites. One of them, FundersClub, recently cleared US regulators, paving the way for more such sites to flourish.
Hong Kong-headquartered Decision Fuel is the first fund to be listed on SeedAsia. The company offers a mobile platform to deliver short consumer surveys. It had $1.25 million in seed funding in 2011, according to AngelList, and counts clients such as P&G, Nike, Colgate. It has already gathered more than 14 million survey responses for its clients, it said.
Russell said the crowd-funding scene is a lot less developed in Asia than it is in the West. The culture is such that potential investors are still more keen on property than in an online startup, he said. Cultural differences also persist. “The local Chinese developers don’t like being transparent with their ideas and sharing, while Westerners don’t understand why the Chinese aren’t as transparent. The truth is, you have big players like Tencent that can copy you easily, which is why people aren’t as open with sharing here.”
SeedAsia has taken on some advisors to raise investor confidence in its portfolio clients. Inporia and Hive7 founder, Max Skibinsky, is one, and Oscar Ramos has been brought in too. Ramos founded Chinese seed fund, DaD Asia.Read More →