Good Morning: Ann Young and the spice girls travel to Greece

I just returned from a 10-day trip to Greece with friends. We went as friends and returned as the updated Spice Girls. How did that happen? We started …
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #travel #tours

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Building a great startup requires more than genius and a great invention

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Many entrepreneurs assume that an invention carries intrinsic value, but that assumption is a fallacy.

Here, the examples of the 19th and 20th century inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla are instructive. Even as aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors lionize Edison for his myriad inventions and business acumen, they conveniently fail to recognize Tesla, despite having far greater contributions to how we generate, move and harness power. Edison is the exception, with the legendary penniless Tesla as the norm.

Universities are the epicenter of pure innovation research. But the reality is that academic research is supported by tax dollars. The zero-sum game of attracting government funding is mastered by selling two concepts: Technical merit, and broader impact toward benefiting society as a whole. These concepts are usually at odds with building a company, which succeeds only by generating and maintaining competitive advantage through barriers to entry.

In rare cases, the transition [...]  read more

Basking in the Tuscan Sun

At first, I wasn't sure what part of Italy I would travel. The last time I was there was in 1998. But when my sister and brother-in-law invited me for a …
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #travel #tours

Google’s latest Gboard stickers celebrate American Sign Language

Unlike other Gboard stickers that are mostly decorative, the ASL ones convey a message. Each sticker comprises an anthropomorphic phrase, complete with a face and two hands that signs the phrase it embodies. So with the “Thank You” sticker, for example, the face is in the “O,” with two blue arms on either side. To symbolize “thank you,” it touches its chin with the fingers on the right hand, and then exposes the palm forward. This way, Flores said, both the hearing and the hard-of-hearing can understand the message.

“When I first started the project, I thought the sticker was going to be a character like an elephant,” she said to Engadget. “But if we did that, somebody who wasn’t in the deaf community would look at the sticker and be like, ‘What is the elephant doing? It’s just moving its hands.'” By having the sticker be the phrase itself, that has the added benefit of teaching ASL to those who don’t [...]  read more

Google-backed startup’s chat bots turn ads into conversations

The result is an chatbox experience, whether on a website or in an app, that allows a potential shopper to ask a bot about a product. A handy virtual salesperson answers questions in real time, meaning that a prospective buyer doesn’t have to search far for answers.

According to AdLingo, the idea for adding chatbot technology to marketing seemed like a logical next step in an increasingly AI-aided world. AdLingo co-founder and general manager Vic Fatnani told TechCrunch, “Everything is becoming more conversational, whether it’s through devices such as your phone, your speaker and eventually your car…We asked ourselves, ‘Hey if this shift is happening, why can’t marketing be more conversational?'”

The platform’s earliest clients include Allstar Kia and live-auction site Tophatter, and feedback so far on the retailer side seems positive. According [...]  read more