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Thursday, June 14, 2012
The End of Facebook: What Will It Take to Kill the King of Social?
Announcing a Live Chat With Startup Weekend Founder Marc Nager
Behind the Launch: Bringing Fresh Eyes to the Design

What to Do When Your SEO Tactic Doesn't Work
4:19:37 AMClickZ

Before the likes of Twitter and Facebook stepped to the front of the stage, blogging was all the rage. Successful bloggers garnered audiences that were often greater than what the typical commercial site could attract. In turn, companies created blogs of their own, packed full of search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. The promise being that if you build a blog the traffic will follow.

What most people ignored was that a blog should add value to a site and be used to engage potential and existing customers. In practice, what ended up happening was that the blog became a dumping ground for a mishmash of content that was uninteresting, usually too short and infrequently delivered. But even after their blogs failed to attract traffic or produce results in any measurable way, site owners are still loathe to get rid of them. The most common reason given? Because having a blog allows them to check off another SEO tactic on their list.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for trying something different. In fact, part of what makes SEO so interesting for me is the testing of new ideas. But I also learned from my project manager days that sometimes when a project isn't completed on time and the window of opportunity the project was meant to capitalize on has closed, the best course of action is to terminate the project. Or if you're the investment type, you don't throw good money after bad. Clichés aside, terminating an SEO tactic that isn't working is a smart move, but can be hard to do.

Confirm Your Assumptions

Don't start with an assumption that you haven't verified. In the blog example above, it would be easy to declare that what seems like low-traffic levels as a failure of the blog effort, but what if the blog was created as a testing ground for landing page copy that is far easier to deploy using blog software like WordPress? Once you confirm what the goal was you can then proceed to confirm that it wasn't met.

Understand the History

Second, find out the history of the tactic. You'll have a much easier time shutting something down if the person that came up with it is no longer an employee or, better yet, if it was something a previous SEO agency came up with. While the difficulty will vary depending on who came up with the idea, your best approach is one that acknowledges that everyone is just trying to succeed in the competitive organic search engine space. So your justification to end an effort should be one that is based on data, actual experience, or if secondary research is all that is available, then try to make it as bulletproof as possible.

Prepare an Alternative

Lastly, before you go in with a recommendation to end something, be sure to have a replacement idea to present. After all, if you're about to free up resources, you might as well come up with something new to apply those resources too. Not only will this help move the SEO campaign forward, but it will also provide a good conversation point for anyone that has to explain why a tactic is being terminated, i.e., it is being replaced by a new and improved tactic that holds more promise.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, pressureUA

Businesses: Find, Reward Your Influencers With Yamana
12:36:04 AMKate Freeman

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Yamana

Quick Pitch: Companies: Target your most influential fans on Twitter.

Genius Idea: Yamana is the latest product from Twtrland that helps companies pinpoint which Twitterers would be the best fit to promote their products.

Is a viral tweet the modern day smoke signal? Startup Twtrland thinks so. The company just launched a new product called Yamana to work in conjunction with their original service. The product is named after the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego and the islands of Cape Horn.

"The Yámanas used smoke signals to spread messages. Today, messages spread via the social web. We see you as one of those people, standing on a hill," the website says.

Guy Avigdor and his two brothers created Twtrland and are now launching Yamana. Twtrland is a tools that helps you analyze people based on their tweets. Just enter your Twitter handle into the site and see a breakdown of your followers and which Tweets were the most popular.

Yamana aims to help marketers reach the "needle in the haystack" of Twitterers, so to speak, who will spread their message to their target audience on the social site.

Here's how Yamana works: A tweet will go out to an influential person on Twitter and provide them links to their personalized landing page. That page will require that they verify their identity and then -- the best part -- that influencer will receive a perk from the company that deemed them to be influential. It's similar to Klout perks in a way, except Yamana aims to be more accurate.

They hope this influential person will tweet about this gift, thereby organically promoting the company. Word of mouth marketing is what the guys behind Yamana aim to provide.

These influencers will not be Ashton Kutcher or Alyssa Milano, but people with 5,000 or so followers who happen to be very influential and engaging in a particular category.

Since small businesses don't typically have the capacity to hire someone to tweet about them, they're not able to utilize this powerful platform. With Yamana, small business owners have an opportunity to grow a Twitter following.

Yamana's website notes that its algorithms "sift through the social mess to reach the influencers and customers you would have otherwise either spent years trying to reach or would have never reached at all."

How does it do this? Yamana says its algorithm gets smarter overtime and learns to analyze social commentary.

The site is running pilots in industries such as music and fashion. With half a million monthly visitors to the site, clearly users are interested in testing it out.

There are two price models -- per campaign and subscription model. There's no one price fits all; it depends on the campaign.

What do you think about Yamana? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Tsuji

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

Facebook to Let Advertisers Bid on Ads Using Your Browser Data
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:18 PMAJP

For a company less than ten years old, Facebook has developed some surprisingly sophisticated ways to sell your information to advertisers.

Each time you Like a band, book, restaurant or service, Facebook uses that information to tailor ads that would appeal to you. Now the company is tuning into your external Internet behavior as well.

According to a Bloomberg report Wednesday, a new service called Facebook Exchange will allow advertisers to target users based on their browsing history.

Your computer already remembers your history via cookies. The Facebook Exchange program will place cookies on third-party sites, usually when a user has shown an intent to buy.

After that, the Facebook ads you see may be based on that cookie. So if you're in the market for a car and peruse car reviews online, your computer will remember and tell Facebook. This will increase the likelihood that you'll see ads for cars.

Up to this point, Facebook ads - while targeted based on your interests - have not been linked to your history outside the site.

The Exchange program will give advertisers a better idea of whether you intend to buy something or not -- and will let them bid to place an ad on your profile. The ads you see will depend on who won that bid.

According to Bloomberg, technology firms enabling the trial version of Exchange include TellApart, AppNexus and Adroll.com.

Do you think this is a good idea for advertisers -- or an invasion of privacy? Would you opt out of the Exchange program? Let us know in the comments.

New App Bridges Communication Gap Between Devs and Small Biz
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:26 PMChristine Erickson

Small businesses today have many useful sites and products to help them get started with mobile app development, but this information might still feel useless if you don't understand JavaScript or HTML5.

Tiggzi is a new app that hopes to level the playing field between highly experienced developers and tech-savvy business owners -- and save companies tons of money in the process.

Exadel, the creative force behind Tiggzi, is a mobile software application development company that counts Fortune 500 companies among its list of clients. What started as a resource for major corporate companies has provided Exadel with the knowledge to create software for like-minded developers and small business owners.

Tiggzi is an app-builder that has the sophistication to meet developers' needs while maintaining enough simplicity to increase efficiency for small business owners. The company asserts that visual editing is the most resourceful and rapid method of app development.

"Developers are always looking for the most efficient environment for the work they want to do," says David Schoenbach, VP of product management at Exadel. "This has broad usage and this is the sort of thing that can enhance the base of people who can develop a product."

Tiggzi sees small business as a key piece of the growing eco-system for apps. The company hopes to contribute to that growth by providing a better way for developers to communicate with their clients.

"Developers are the way small businesses will solve their app dilemmas," says Schoenbach. "So we've designed a tool that strongly meets the needs of professional developers who will come in and work much more rapidly than they could with other tools."

For developers, choosing the right operating system to host an app has been a common issue for app-building, but Tiggzi lets you create apps for iOS, Android -- and in the very near future, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

You can export an APK file for Android, a binary file for iOS and various other source codes, as well as grab raw HTML to upload it as a web app.

Tiggzi is cloud-based, so there's nothing to download -- you can access a project from whatever machine you're on. The platform is part of a collaboration server that allows multiple developers to work on the same project simultaneously. This is useful for small businesses because it simplifies the editing process.

One of the most important parts of mobile development, whether you're building the app or the client, is prototyping. You can test your app in real time along the way with Tiggzi, but it's a complete app-builder, not just a prototyping tool. You can create the whole thing from beginning to end rather than just a mock-up that would need to be implemented by a developer.

The platform also makes it very simple to access REST APIs, a plug-in architecture which enables re-use of data-driven components, as well as combinations of REST APIs coupled with pre-mapped UI components. For example, The Twitter REST API methods allow developers to access core Twitter data, including update timelines, status data and user information. The company will soon begin rolling out a services catalog of pre-packaged API plug-ins.

"A company might have images, media resources, video, text data resources or databases that it wants out to the public," says Schoenbach. "If they do it through the website, they'll get some traction, but if they do it through an API, they'll be crowd-sourcing all of the developers who then want to build apps with their data."

What do you think about companies providing better forms of communication between developers and small business owners? Do you hope to see more cloud-based app builders? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, TommL

Announcing a Live Chat With Startup Weekend Founder Marc Nager
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:57 PMScott Gerber

Streaming live exclusively on Mashable at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. PT) tomorrow, June 14, Startup Weekend founder Marc Nager will take questions from readers. As part of the Young Entrepreneur Council's program, YEC StartupLab, Nager will be addressing you live via video chat broadcast exclusively on this site.

Marc Nager (pronounced "Naw-ger") is the CEO of Startup Weekend. With a degree in international business from Chapman University in Southern California, Marc left his MBA program after the first semester to pursue new direction. Itching to learn how to launch a startup, Marc found the opportunity to acquire Startup Weekend, LLC and to transform it into a non-profit with the help of co-directors Clint Nelsen and Franck Nouyrigat.

Passionate and curious about the world of startups, Marc has found a way to help others pursue their ideas and dreams. Startup Weekend has landed him in over 50 cities around the world, where he's listened, observed and helped hundreds in their earliest-stage startups. His pursuits have garnered exposure in national media outlets, such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch and more.

Marc is an incredible advocate for the power of entrepreneurship. His efforts focus on making the path to becoming an entrepreneur a real option for anyone. Entrepreneurship is something that can be both taught and learned, and Marc's on a mission to ensure the world takes advantage.

YEC StartupLab is an international mentorship program of the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only non-profit comprised of promising young entrepreneurs. Its goal is to promote and support young entrepreneurs around the world, as well as foster the thriving global entrepreneurial ecosystem by sending delegations to various countries around the world to lead in-person, peer-to-peer mentorship programs, creative sessions, panel discussions and business competitions. The program also offers one-to-two week internships at YEC-member owned companies.

Check Mashable tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. PT). Nager will be answering questions from the audience live via video chat.

You can also sign up for an email reminder of the chat by visiting this registration page.

Reddit Bans 'The Atlantic,' 'Businessweek,' Others in Anti-Spam Move
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:45 PMThe Daily Dot

As of today, more than a half-dozen prominent websites have been banned from Reddit, the massively popular link-sharing site. Among those ousted include digital publishing heavyweights The Atlantic and PhysOrg.

Redditors are collecting the blacklisted sites at a freshly minted subreddit, r/BannedDomains. The list so far includes at least five: BusinessWeek.com, Phys.org, ScienceDaily.com, TheAtlantic.com, and GlobalPost.

This mean that Redditors are prevented from submitting links to any of the above sites. Instead, they're greeted with the following message: "This domain has been banned for spamming and/or cheating."

The move comes exactly one week after Reddit announced a new site-wide ban feature intended to cut back on spam. However, the official announcement noted that only URL shorteners, commonly used by spammers to mask destination links, would suffer initially.

"Some domains are not allowed on any part of Reddit because they are spammy, malicious or involved in cheating shenanigans. Attempting to submit a link to one of these domains will now fail with an informative error message."

In April, the Daily Dot exposed The Atlantic's massive Reddit spamming operation. Jared Keller, the site's social media editor, was kicked off Reddit for his role in the affiar, though stories from The Atlantichave remained hugely popular on the social news site.

Facebook Quietly Tests Shareable Ad Units
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:24 PMChristina Warren

Facebook is testing a new feature with a select group of marketers that will allow users to share offsite ads on Facebook, Mashable has learned.

Traditionally, marketers and advertisers have had to purchase ad units or Sponsored Stories within the Facebook ad platform. The new unit, however, allows marketers to make advertisements that aren't on Facebook shareable through Facebook's Open Graph.

We discovered this new unit after seeing "Featured Partner" post on BuzzFeed.com for Hidden Valley Ranch. Unlike BuzzFeed's other featured partner posts, this one had a Facebook Share button.

Clicking that button brings up a new dialog box that sports a "via Hidden Valley Ranch on BuzzFeed" label in the origin spot. This is different from BuzzFeed's other featured content, which shares directly from BuzzFeed's standard Open Graph share implementation.

When we reached out to BuzzFeed for some clarification on the matter, they pointed us at Facebook, who confirmed that the company is testing a feature that allows offsite ads to be shared on Facebook. It isn't clear how big this test is or how many partners are involved.

Historically, sharing ad units directly to Facebook using the Open Graph has been against Facebook's Terms of Service, which makes this new unit test all the more interesting. It's possible that Facebook is looking for ways to work with advertisers to bring offsite content back to Facebook, without it existing in the traditional ad unit.

To us, it makes total sense that Facebook would choose BuzzFeed as one of the partners to test this new type of ad unit. At Internet Week New York, BuzzFeed told us that about half of their mobile traffic comes directly from Facebook.

One of BuzzFeed's main revenue drivers is creating shareable content for brands. BuzzFeed's team will work with a brand -- such as Hidden Valley Ranch -- in order to create content that can go viral and appeal to the BuzzFeeddemographic. BuzzFeed's big sales pitch to these brands is that its users avidly share content and are seen as tastemakers. This new type of sharing unit -- which is accessible directly from the homepage and doesn't require users to click on another link -- should help make sharing that much easier for users.

The shared unit looks like any other shared piece of Facebook content, but because it comes from an app -- in this case, an app BuzzFeed created for Hidden Valley Ranch -- it lacks the "reshare" button on Facebook itself. Other users can like or comment on the content, but if they want to share it, they must go to the main site and hit share. Again, this helps draw Facebook traffic back to the original advertising source.

This isn't a new concept -- social platforms have been trying their hand at offering more social ad units for quite some time. Google started putting +1 buttons on select display ads back in October, in a bid to help change the way users view advertising. Digg tried its hand at "Diggable" banner ads back in 2010.

The difference in this instance is that the inventory isn't coming from Facebook, it's coming from the marketing partners. We're interested to see where Facebook goes with these types of units because the implications for marketers -- especially in the branded content space -- are vast.

Let us know what you think of these new types of share units in the comments.

MGM Films Coming to Amazon's Streaming Video Service
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 5:18 PMLauren Indvik

Amazon's catalog of online streaming videos keeps growing. On Wednesday, the company announced a licensing agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios.

Subscribers to Amazon's $79-per-year Prime service will now have access to "hundreds" of classic movies and TV shows from the studio, the company said in a statement. Amazon didn't disclose the full list of titles, only noting that The Silence of the Lambs, Dances with Wolves, Rain Man, The Terminator and Stargate were included in the deal.

Amazon's last streaming deal was signed with Discovery Communications in March. The company also has licensing deals with Fox, CBS, NBC, Sony Viacom and Warner Bros., among others.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Instant Video Comes to Xbox 360

Together, the agreements bring the total number of titles in Amazon's Instant Video library to more than 18,000. Still, it has some way to go to compete toe-to-toe with longer-running streaming subscription services in the U.S. such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. And if earlier reports are true, Google and Verizon could be entering the arena later this year as well.

The deal suggests that MGM is becoming increasingly interested in distributing its content through online streaming video. In April, the studio began offering 600 movie rentals through YouTube.

The Value of a Happiness Economy
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 4:23 PMJohn Havens

John C. Havens is EVP, Strategy and Engagement at Yoxi.tv, a media strategy organization that discovers and elevates social entrepreneurs by leveraging their expertise to build shared value partnerships. He can be reached at john@yoxi.tv.

What if generosity were a currency? This was a question posed by the Danish chocolate company Anthon Berg for its recent Generous Store campaign. The company opened a pop-up store for one day in Copenhagen last winter, and distributed chocolate as payment to individuals who promised to perform a generous deed for a loved one.

Chocolate lovers posted to the company's Facebook page, sharing promises like "serving breakfast in bed." Then they picked up their chocolate payment at the store and essentially broadcast to their social graph to "pay it forward."

Research suggests that paying it forward is something the average person enjoys. Søren Christensen, a partner in Anthon Berg's ad agency, says his company's findings showed that seven out of 10 people were happy when they did something good for other people. But only one out of 10 people ever experienced generosity on a daily basis.

Why the disparity, and why does it matter?

Two reasons. First, there's a growing movement to standardize the metrics around well-being that can lead to happiness. Second, the combination of big data, your social graph, and artificial intelligence means everyone will soon be able to measure individual progress toward well-being, set against the backdrop of all humanity's pursuit to do the same. In the near future, our virtual identity will be easily visible by emerging technology like Google's Project Glass and our actions will be just as trackable as our influence. We have two choices in this virtual arena: Work to increase the well-being of others and the world, or create a hierarchy of influence based largely on popularity.

Metrics Not Mood

If you're thinking the study of happiness and well-being seems flaky, you're missing a major trend that's beginning to influence a number of global economies.

At the recent United Nations Summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that, "Gross National Product (GDP) fails to take into account the social and environmental costs of so-called progress." In other words, measuring well-being is not the pursuit of identifying the ephemeral emotion of happiness. It's about looking at a deeper level of "economic, social and environmental objectives that are most effectively pursued in a holistic manner."

And economics alone are not the primary driver of well-being. Statistics show, for instance, that after a person or family receives a salary of $75,000 per year, increasing the amount of money brought home doesn't increase a feeling of well-being.

Jeffery Sachs, the renowned economist from Columbia University who edited the first World Happiness Report for the UN, certainly comes to the same conclusion. He said, "The U.S. has had a three-time increase of GNP per capita since 1960, but the happiness needle hasn't budged." The report, which provides scientific evidence that happiness can be reliably measured and is meaningful, notes that the U.S. has not as happy as other countries because of a too-prominent focus on boosting the economy -- while largely ignoring long-term effects on environment or holistic education. (The Danes, however, were listed as the happiest people on the planet by Sachs's report -- apparently Anthon Berg is onto something with their Wonka-onian economics.)


The study of happiness is a burgeoning field of study around the world, with scientists and other experts providing hard data as to the benefits of a balanced approach to well-being versus too singular a focus on money or self.

"Our goal is to get people thinking more deeply about what happiness is and what is the connection between themselves and their community and world," says Laura Musikanski, the executive director and co-founder of The Happiness Initiative, an organization inspired by Bhutan's ideas on Gross National Happiness, also known as GNH. They even created a survey geared to measure 10 metrics of well-being, which include material well being, physical health and time balance.

Her site also contains an excellent history of Happiness Research that provides important data-related insight. For example, although ephemeral happiness may come about due to a combination of luck, timing or fate, the emerging science of happiness proposes that "our actions determine 40% of happiness, and that well-being can be both synthetically created and habitually formed."

This may be the biggest reason for our desire to measure this space, and several takes on measuring it have popped up. The Quantified Self movement has exploded and Nicholas Fenton's practice of chronicling information for his annual life's report has inspired others to follow his lead via Daytum and other self-monitoring services. Ariana Huffington also recently announced her GPS for the Soul, an app that launches this June that provides a "course-correcting mechanism for your mind, body and spirit."

The natural next step in this process, then, is to marry the collective metrics of individuals to form a collective virtual picture of a community or country. Mirroring the goals of GPS for the Soul, it would be simple to map GNH/well-being metrics to existing technology like Mint.com that provides updates on how to maintain material well-being or Project Noah that encourages more access to nature. Via this methodology, our lives could become a virtual H(app)athon, with technology doling out advice on how to flourish, while proactively helping others.

The Efficacy of Fun

But as with any behavior or state of mind, it will take a village. "A really important part of changing behavior is social reinforcement," says C. Lincoln (Link) Hoewing, Assistant Vice President for Internet and Technology Issues for Verizon and frequent contributor to Verizon's Policy Blog. "You start seeing and comparing yourself to others more when you know that other people can find out what you're doing." This form of Accountability Based Influence (ABI) is most effective when eliciting a positive response. As an example, Hoewing noted Volkswagen's Fun Theory campaign, whose Piano Stairs YouTube Video has received almost 18 million views to date. For the campaign, a set of stairs in a Stockholm subway were outfitted with full size piano keys that played notes as people walked on them, resulting in 66% more people than normal choosing the stairs over the nearby escalator. It's a simple leap to picture this event being geared toward a community metric of well-being, where the GNH for Stockholm would have risen the day of the campaign.

The Currency of Community

Brands are certainly learning to leverage well-being in the form of corporate social responsibility known as shared value. While bringing happiness to consumers via a product or service is not unique, bringing happiness to a community is just coming intro widespread acceptance. "We want to set in motion an upward spiral of confidence," stated Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in his Letter to America last August. This included the company's Create Jobs for USA program that has seeded $5 million to provide capital grants for under served community businesses. "The idea of the initiative is to create happiness coming from economic well being," states Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer for Starbucks. The company also recently announced its Store Partnership Model where pilot community organizations in New York City's Harlem neighborhood and Los Angeles' Crenshaw neighborhood will share in the profits of a Starbucks store. A minimum of $100,000 for each organization will seed programs geared toward job and life skill development, positive learning environments and overall health and wellness in the community. "We're in the happiness and people business," says Brotman, referring to the shared value mentality that a social business can be generous and profitable at the same time. "A thriving or happy community is something that's good for everybody."

When Actions Create Identity

In about three to five years it won't matter if you'd rather not project your actions to the world -- your virtual footprint will simply be too hard to conceal. Your preferences combined with the data generated by external forces will in essence make everything, including objects, inherently interactive.

"What's a social network for data?" asks Jim Karkanias, an executive at Microsoft who runs the company's Health Solutions Group, and has been working on a range of projects that broach the physical and computing worlds. "We're imagining biology versus silicon as the next platform in which we write software." Karkanias uses a form of prototyping for his work based on Project Hieroglyph, a movement that encourages science fiction writers to infuse their work with optimism that can inspire a new generation to 'get big stuff done.' "Science fiction sets the stage for people to imagine things bigger than reality," says Karkanias, noting that adhering to practicality in ideation tends to create a narrow experience that limits imagination and hinders happiness.

Data already has its own social networks: RFID tags, M2M (machine to machine) sensors in cars and the Internet of Things let machines trade information without the need for human intervention. The self-tracking craze with humans combined with this ubiquitous data means highly personalized and proactive information can be aggregated to inform our actions on a minute scale. The advent of things like Google Goggles means we'll be able to virtually see other people's data as well as eventually record our entire existence. Our lives will be tagged and ranked as semantic information fed into a massive global algorithm that could be geared toward inspiring positive behavior. Karkanias agrees: "Artificial Intelligence in the form of a perpetual life coach will live at the information level providing guidance on every aspect of your day."

Technology of this kind will likely manifest itself in a reverse Siri interface, with a GPS-like voice guiding you on issues both personal and macro. The societal impact could shift negative personal patterns as well as a community or country's Gross National Happiness. Karkanias provides an example of this model where you're in your car and take a route that passes a McDonald's. As your coach knows your health issues regarding cholesterol, it adjusts the route of your self-driving car to the nearest Whole Foods to map to your GNH/well-being metric regarding health. Likewise, cameras in a subway car utilizing facial recognition technology might scan the face of a woman who is four months pregnant and send you a text to give her your seat to map to her GNH/well-being metric of psychological well being. Emerging services like Sickweather will provide health-related predictive data that will affect whole communities regarding metrics of time, balance and well-being.

Inspiration Versus Ignorance

Some pundits say that privacy is disappearing, but that doesn't mean we should let our identity be dictated by outside forces. Unfortunately, people are largely unaware of the repercussions of giving away personal information as we enter a virtual era where information can be accessed by so many parties so easily. "People are not fully aware of the data they generate and how that's coupled with Artificial Intelligence learning algorithms. It's creating a different social and economic order and we're in the midst of that happening now," states John Clippinger, Founder and Executive Director of idcubed.org and a Scientist at the MIT Media Lab Human Dynamics Group where he is conducting research on trust frameworks for protecting and sharing personal information. He feels the inevitable onset of ubiquitous data meshing with synthetic biology and people's social graphs can be a positive evolution if the whole process takes place in the open.

This transparency is the key. Fostering a culture based on GNH and mapped by existing technology provides a positive path toward the future. We should emulate chocolatier Anthon Berg and let generosity be our currency. Our lives will be sweeter for the choice.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, aluxum

Behind the Launch: Bringing Fresh Eyes to the Design
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:53 PMLauren Drell

Discuss the show on Twitter: #BehindTheLaunch

In Mashable's new video series Behind the Launch, we're taking cameras behind the scenes at Vungle, an in-app video advertising startup.

Vungle is quickly approaching launch, and the team gathers to talk marketing, positioning and UI. Two guys from the Google Ventures design team come by Vungle HQ to mock up some new designs and help Zain, Jack and team present their startup to publishers, advertisers and developers alike. A quintessential sketching-on-glass scene ensues, helping the Vungle team visualize their product.

Do you run your product by outsiders to get their perspective? Join the conversation on Twitter, #BehindTheLaunch.

Missed earlier episodes? Watch them here!

Ep. 1: Meet Vungle

Ep. 2: Bringing in a Closer

Ep. 3: How to Court Startup Investors

Ep. 4: A Promising, Yet Controversial Job Candidate

Ep. 5: An Urgent Need to Close Deals

Ep. 6: Teams That Play Together Stay Together

Ep. 7: Clashing With Your Co-Founder

Ep. 8: Our Startup Grows Up

Ep. 9: The Power of Networking

Ep. 10: Putting It All on the Line

Ep. 11: Signing on the Dotted Line

About Vungle

Vungle is a San Francisco-based company that purveys mobile video ads to promote apps. In May, Vungle announced that it had raised $2 million from big Silicon Valley and Alley names: Google Ventures, AOL Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Ron Conway's SV Angel, Dave McClure's 500 Startups, Charles Hudson's SoftTechVC's, Maynard Webb, Scott McNealy and Tim Draper. Vungle also has offices in the UK and Pakistan.

Zain Jaffer, CEO and Co-Founder -- A successful and zany entrepreneur since age 15, Zain launched his first Internet company and built-up an impressive list of clients, including Google, Mozilla Firefox, MTV and Hilary Duff, before his 18th birthday. British.

Jack Smith, Co-Founder -- Self-described lunatic marketer and hacker. Started his career as a freelance web designer at age 13, founded a video startup, MediaRoots, in college. Met Zain at King's College London University in 2009. British.

Bryant Chou, CTO -- Full stack engineer and software architect with more than five years of experience developing mobile apps. He's an enthusiastic traveler who'll share his travel tales with you over a cold beer. American.

Marta Bulaich, Chief Yoga Officer -- Marta's first job was with the masterminds behind the TV infomercial legends Chia Pet and Clapper. After a career of working with various startups and venture capital firm, she came to Vungle to do public relations and center their chi in full lotus. American.

Ben Lindsey, Senior Software Engineer -- A veteran of four Silicon Valley startups with experience in Internet advertising, large scale databases and agile programming. When not slinging code, you cam find him cooking organic food, listening to electronica, backpacking around the world or running marathons.

Colin Behr, Director of Business Development -- Previously founded an Internet company, CyberPlanet Ltd, with Zain in 2004, and then moved to San Francisco to start another venture. Colin eventually went to University but dropped out after speaking with Zain about his new venture, Vungle.

Ray Myers, Software Engineer -- 25-year-old Linux geek who loves robotics and has been programming since he was 7. Ray is a Shotokan karate third-degree Black Belt, but you can usually find him at his computer, trying to make robots bend to his will. American.

David Oh, Director of Business Development -- By the power of the Force, David trained and honed his skills in marketing, game production and business development in the video game industry. He has traveled the galaxy crafting business deals with brands including Ubisoft, Google, HP and Humana. David enjoys mountain biking and hiking, with his sidekick Sarah, Empress of Chihuahuas.

Sarah Vungle, Resident Pooch -- Sarah spends her days guarding the Vungle fortress and keeping peace amongst the engineering and business tribes. She enjoys battling the evil empire and licking the soles of her paws.

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