2016 was a big year for the tech, startup and business worlds and thankfully, it was also a big year for SnapMunk too. While everyone obviously loved every minute of everything we did all year (we have been called “The Safest Drug On the Internet” by a number of industry influencers who have requested anonymity / don’t exist), there were a few particular pieces that topped the popularity charts. So here they are, all packaged up for you in one neat little post, because goddammit you’re lazy, and we love you for it.
“I too think Maslow’s Hierarchy is imperfect but not in its structure, its philosophy or its utility. I think it is now missing generational perspective. I believe a critical revision to make is one that helps us better understand and more accurately reflect the most common needs, priorities, perceptions and behaviors of a generation that now makes up the majority of North America’s workforce, and a generation whose embedded context of connectivity changes almost everything…
“…exoskeletons can also go a long way in helping the everyday person with paraplegia, muscular disorders and motor disabilities regain mobility, and SuitX hopes to make the technology available to them at much lower costs.”
Have you ever toured in a famous Italian pop band, hosted a television show, taken two companies public, and then run a crowdsourced company trying to change the world through groundbreaking innovation in transportation? Of course you haven’t. You’re not Bibop Gresta. If you aren’t already excited about the Hyperloop and what it will do for the world, you will be after watching this interview. Bibop Gresta is the COO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and in this two-part series he shares his incredible past and answers all the hows, whats and whys of the next big thing in transportation.
“few non-fixed lighting options provide a creative and broad set of moods, even fewer actually transform the environments in which they’re placed, and then you’re almost entirely out of luck if you’re also looking for a widely-integrated, technically compelling solution. That’s why it’s not hard to be pretty impressed with what Elgato has done with their Avea Flare wireless LED lamps.”
“What is hugely important is that we start to shift our focus a little bit away from the founder story – I do believe the founder story is important – but what I think is probably the most important is the story around their leadership in building diverse, vibrant companies with employees that, frankly, look like America.”
The question she wants everyone to ask – or keep asking, despite a surge of inspiring fanfare – is once you dive below the Executive levels, how diverse is our workforce really? How well-represented are women, African-Americans, Hispanics and every other demographic that isn’t “white men”?
…She wants to “elevate, lift up and promote quality entertainment that is being produced by more diverse cast and crew”, and by doing that, bring more attention to the areas in which we’re thriving and in which where we’re still dragging our heels, so to speak. She wants to do that with numbers. Meaningful numbers.
“As an entrepreneur, your focus and attention get pulled many different directions throughout the day, so it’s absolutely crucial to find ways to maintain a balance. I’ve found that the best way to achieve this balance is to make sure I’m mindful of the three key areas of my life: my work silo, my family silo, and my personal silo.”
“Honestly, you just have to do it. People want to plan, plan, plan, then they want to think, and then they want to worry, and then they want to analyze. You just have to do it. The second I saw that opportunity for Adventure Hunt—the second it dawned on me that it was an opportunity in and of itself, I didn’t hesitate, I just acted. Immediately. We built the website, I bought the domain—I actually bought the domain name that day that I had the phone call with my brother.
Maybe it’s lame to steal Nike’s motto, but just do it. Just start acting. You’re never going to know everything…”
“It was hell, man. Complete hell. I actually haven’t taken a dollar now for three years outside of personal money. There are good and bad things that come with taking money from investors. I’m lucky; at the end of the day, I have a great group of investors who are so supportive of me. When I first started, I had no revenue. I just had a vision and an idea. My vision has always stayed intact but I think I’ve pivoted about two thousand times, but I’ve fought hard to not take money and grind this out. You want to put your efforts towards generating money rather than taking money. That’s when your business becomes really valuable.”
“For whatever reason, the device’s Indiegogo campaign fell drastically short of its goal, raising only $4,765 of a requested $35,000. My guess is that part of the disappointment was due to some ineffective and/or mistimed marketing. As well, my guess is that part of the shortfall was due to a widespread instinct to buffer ourselves from our own unbecoming behavior, rather than intelligently manage it. Like when people don’t want to know how many calories were in that slice of cheesecake (it was probably about 350), or when we condition all our colleagues to start every professional criticism with, “You’re doing a great job—I really like where you’re going with this, but…” (you probably fucked up). We often act like we want to know, but when it comes time to swap pleasantries for precision, we don’t really want to know.
The other likely issue is that many people probably struggle, honestly or otherwise, to envision a consistent use case (“Hey, I’d never drive drunk, so why would I need one of these things?”). To me, that position is an oversimplification (at worst a defensive, selfish one) of the overall value offered by one of these things. I’m coming at it from a different angle; why wouldn’t I just have one? I only see upside to owning something like this.”
“…everyone is itching to get out and go somewhere. There’s only so many things to do in your own home town, though, so as many of us are well aware, it’s much more fun to do some traveling. You could leave it up to a spontaneous travel website, like Trveler, but for some people, that’s too much uncertainty. One thing is for certain though, and that’s that these startups are doing their best to help you cure your wanderlust and do away with those travel bugs.”
“What gives the CowaRobot R1 its navigational capabilities is what its makers call “CO-EYE.” It’s a fancy term for the patented depth sensor technology built into the suitcase. Also on board are cliff detection sensors—so the suitcase doesn’t fall off stairs or edges—and sonar. These sensors combine to help the smart suitcase “see” the world around it and decide on the best path forward. The clever carry-on will keep apace at a 4.5mph maximum…”
“Launching a social network into an already crowded space is not for the faint of heart, but that is exactly what new entrant FANS has done. Specifically, they’re enabling a new network for the most passionate music fans. It’s a move that has been made before, and one that has resulted in little less than a little extra noise. As soul-soaked as the music space is, nobody seems to have cracked the nut of merging it with the similarly addictive experience of social media. Perhaps what the space needs is a new act?”
“A team from the Future Interfaces Group at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute has come up with an ingenious solution to some of the problems posed by the small size of wearable screens. It’s dubbed SkinTrack, and it makes the entire arm a touchpad that can be used to navigate smartwatches.”
“The modular wheel can be fixed in place of the front wheel in any bike – no tools being required to complete the installation. And it’s a one-size-fits-all solution in the best way possible; the design has been tested on hundreds of of bikes across styles and eras, and found to be perfectly functional in all cases…At the centre of the GeoOrbital Wheel’s design is a 500W brushless DC motor, which draws power from a 36V Panasonic lithium-Ion battery. The battery lasts 12 miles if used exclusively; it can be sustained up to 30 miles if riders supplement the electric power with pedaling.”
“…artificial joints only last for a couple of decades, making the surgery unsuitable for young persons. So we need a more permanent solution. While there may not be solutions available to patients in the U.S. this year, new technology out of Israel does offer some hope in 2017, at least for patients in Europe. Enter CartiHeal Ltd. – named Israel’s Best Incubator Company for 2012 – the developer of a cell-free, off-the-shelf cartilage and bone regeneration device, that announced the culmination of a $15M financing round last month.”
“The Tap Strap is a flexible plastic wearable meant to be worn on the hand just above the knuckles. Tapping your thumb three times on any flat surface turns the device ON. Once activated, it can be used, by tapping literally any surface, to type into any application on any device that has Bluetooth connectivity. There isn’t a holographic virtual keyboard or anything fancy like that. An MCU (microcontroller) in the strap connects to sensors which detect taps made anywhere and converts them into commands or characters for inputs into phones, tablets, and TVs.”
THANKS FOR A GREAT YEAR, SNAPMUNKERS!
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CHEERS TO ANOTHER FANTASTIC YEAR IN 2017.
WE PLAN ON KEEPING THINGS COOL, SO DON’T GO FUCKING UP YOUR END OF THE BARGAIN.
A few other notable mentions from 2016:
Ben is a Toronto-based writer and public speaker with more than a soft spot for 90s hip hop. He has spent over 10 years in business & tech, more than 20 in the arts, and an entire lifetime in a state of perpetual judgment (highly recommended). He is the author of the blogs This Is Your Brain on Dating and Love Gone Cray and can be found pontificating on Thought Catalog, Notable.ca, The Toronto Standard, Offline Magazine, Gasm.org and Huffington Post.
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