CYBER-SECURITY PROJECTIONS

What Will Cybersecurity Look Like 10 Years From Now?

 Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

What will the field of cybersecurity look like in the next 10 years? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Gil Shwed, Founder and CEO of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., on Quora:

The future of cybersecurity is tightly connected to the future of information technology and the advancements of the cyberspace. While I personally have never taken the liberty of predicting the future, it is clear that the role of cyber will become even larger in our personal and business lives.

The complexity and connectivity of these systems directly impacts their level of vulnerability. Some people would argue that in order to protect our systems, we need to understand the hackers’ motive. I don’t think that there’s one motive.

In the coming ten years, nation sponsored organizations will continue to develop cyber-attack technologies for defense and offense; financially driven criminal groups will continue to seek ways to monetize cyber-attacks; hacktivists will continue to use cyber to convey their messages; terrorist groups will also shift to cyber space; and finally – people with no apparent motive, who seek to demonstrate their technical skills, will continue “contributing” to the attacker ecosystem.

Another challenge we will encounter in cyber defense is that, unlike the physical world where we kind of know who our potential adversaries are and what “weapons” they use, in cyber space anyone could be our enemy. We are accessible from every point of the globe, and it was already demonstrated that any attacker can have access to “strategic weapons” that don’t require the infrastructure or the cost of conventional weapons. Last but not least, many cyber-attacks are run automatically by “bots” that scan the entire network and find the weakest spot, so we won’t need to look like an “attractive target”. We simply need to have a vulnerable point. Yes, we are all targets.

Cyber security defense systems will need to become more sophisticated in order to cope with huge amounts of data. First, we will need to interconnect our defense systems to be able to act in real time. For example, our network gateway will need to share information with our personal devices. Second, the human analyst will not be able to cope with all this information and we will rely on more artificial intelligence to help us in making decisions. We will also need to cultivate the next generation of cyber experts who know how to develop and drive those systems. New professions and domain expertise will be formed. Last but not least, we will need to shield all our systems. Countries and states will have a bigger role in protecting large scale environments like their own infrastructure (power grids, water supply, traffic control and frankly – everything around us), and maybe even to provide some of their intelligence to the public. Large corporations will need to guard their data on their own servers, on their cloud servers, on our personal computers, and even on our mobile devices. We can have the most secure data center, but if our data leaks through a cloud provider or a mobile device, we are just as vulnerable.

So overall, we will see systems that are smarter, sophisticated, able to handle large populations and large amounts of data, systems that can update themselves rapidly, that can take decisions in real time and that connect to shared-intelligence centers that will keep us guarded.

Finally, as far as the general public is concerned, I believe that keeping ourselves cyber secure will become as commonplace as maintaining our physical safety. If today we all know to lock our doors at night, put on our seatbelts when driving, and use a helmet when hopping on our motorbikes, in ten years from now the same level of awareness will be given to ensure we are also digitally secure.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. More questions:

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PRIVATE LUNAR LANDING – INVENTION AND INVESTMENT

Moon Express Approved for Private Lunar Landing in 2017, a Space First

By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | August 3, 2016 09:25am ET
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For the first time ever, a private company has permission to land on the moon.

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The U.S. government has officially approved the planned 2017 robotic lunar landing of Florida-based Moon Express, which aims to fly commercial missions to Earth’s nearest neighbor and help exploit its resources, company representatives announced today (Aug. 3).

“This is not only a milestone, but really a threshold for the entire commercial space industry,” Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards told Space.com. [Images: Moon Express’ Private Lunar Lander]

Previously, companies had been able to operate only on or around Earth. The new approval, while exclusive to Moon Express, could therefore serve as an important regulatory guide for deep-space commercial activity in general, Richards said.

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“Nobody’s had a deep-sea voyage yet. We’re still charting those waters,” he said. “Somebody had to be first.”

Moon Express submitted an application to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on April 8. The document then made its way through the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Federal Communications Commission, Richards said.

The interagency approval process “took some time, not because anybody was against or averse to this,” he said. “It’s just that we asked questions that had never been asked before, and that had to be addressed and worked out.”

Moon Express can now focus exclusively on the financial and technical challenges of the 2017 moon mission, which will begin with the launch of the company’s MX-1 lander atop a Rocket Lab Electron booster. (Moon Express signed a multilaunch deal with Rocket Lab last year.)
The main goal of the maiden launch is to test out the MX-1’s performance and capability on the lunar surface. Moon Express representatives also hope to win the Google Lunar X-Prize, a $30 million competition to land a privately funded robotic vehicle on the moon by the end of 2017.

The first team to pull off this landing — and get the vehicle to move at least 1,640 feet (500 meters) on the lunar surface, and beam high-definition video and photos back to Earth — will win the $20 million grand prize. (The second team to achieve all of this gets $5 million, and another $5 million is available for meeting other milestones. At the moment, 16 teams remain in the running.)

“We’re still shooting for the end of 2017,” Richards said of the maiden MX-1 moon mission. “A lot has to go right, but at least we have a shot at our moon shot, given this regulatory approval.”

If all goes according to plan, future Moon Express missions will help assess, extract and exploit lunar resources such as water ice, helping to launch a new era in space exploration, company representatives have said.

“Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children,” Moon Express co-founder and Chairman Naveen Jain said in a statement today. “In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals and moon rocks back to Earth. In 15 years, the moon will be an important part of Earth’s economy, and potentially our second home.”

WATCHING TIME

THE STORIES BEHIND FIVE OF THE MOST ICONIC WATCHES OF ALL TIME 

What makes a Rolex GMT-Master special? The moon, for starters.

BY ED ESTLOW

07 JUNE 2016

70 REACTIONS

Apple wrist products, smartphones and Fitbits notwithstanding, actual watches are cool again.

And the backstories are often even cooler.

We’ve teamed up with vintage and pre-owned watch dealer Crown & Caliber to bring you the origin tales on five of the most iconic timepieces. These are stories that involve war, polo and a surprising amount of space travel.

Read on. You’ve got time.

Rolex GMT-Master
Everybody knows the story of how Pan American World Airways, the pioneers behind the intercontinental flight of the same name, got together with Rolex to design the GMT-Master. They tackled the project so their pilots could maintain a regular sleep schedule and not fall asleep at the wheel. But that’s old news.

The real dirty little secret of the GMT-Master is that at least couple of them made it to the Moon. Jack Swigert wore one on the Apollo 13 mission (you know, the one during which the command module almost blew out from under Swigert, James Lovell, and Fred Haise; pretty sure they made a movie about it). Some claim it was the GMT and not the NASA-authorized Omega Speedmaster that Swigert used to time critical rocket burns as a crippled Apollo 13 limped home. That one hangs on a plaque at Rolex HQ.

And several missions later, Apollo 17 Commander Ronald Evans wore his GMT-Master clear down to the lunar surface, albeit under his space suit. There it stayed for a little over three days. When he got home, he took his buzz-pencil and hand engraved the case back with “FLOWN ON APOLLO XVII 6-19 DEC 72 ON MOON 11-17 DEC RON EVANS.” The watch sold at auction in 2009 for $131,450. Not bad for an illicit piece of history, eh?

Patek Philippe Nautilus
Patek Philippe commissioned famed watch designer Gerald Genta to design this one in 1974. Even though he’d done thousands of watch designs in his career, at this point he was fresh off designing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. One imagines he must have been a little tapped out in the inspiration department.

He was eating lunch during a break in the 1974 Basel Watch Fair when inspiration finally struck. He borrowed a paper and pencil from the waiter and did the first sketches of what would become the Nautilus in about five minutes.

Breitling Cosmonaute
You can guess by the name of this watch that it’s got a spacefaring background. When Korean air combat veteran Scott Carpenter was selected for the Mercury space program, he realized he’d be orbiting — and going through day/night rotations — so fast that he could lose track of whether it was day or night back at Mission Control in Houston.

So he went to his buddies at Breitling and discussed the problem. The solution was a watch with a 24-hour dial: the Cosmonaute, based on Breitling’s famous Navitimer platform. Carpenter’s was delivered to him a mere three weeks before his mission. Although his Mercury Aurora Seven mission only lasted five hours, the watch functioned well in space.

Unfortunately, upon splashdown and recovery, Carpenter dipped his watch hand in the sea and the non-water-resistant watch was toast (the Navitimer was notorious for its lack of water resistance). Here’s where the story gets interesting. NASA apparently sent it back to Breitling for repair, but it was never returned.

No one has seen that particular watch in 54 years. But the Cosmonaute is still being produced today.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
A sport watch refers to a diver or other ticker made for exploration. And the Jaeger LeCoultre is probably the original sport watch. In 1930, an executive of the forerunner to JLC was in India on business. He was approached by an army officer who played polo in his spare time. It seemed the officer kept breaking the crystals on his watches and needed a solution.

The watch executive considered the problem and discussed it with his associates back in Switzerland. The Reverso, a watch with the case that can flip over to protect the dial side and crystal, is what they came up with. It has seen size changes and dozens of versions in the 85 years since it debuted, but the base model is remarkably like the one that first saw the light of day in 1931.

Omega Speedmaster
Ah yes, the Moon watch. Originally conceived in the late 1950s as a racer’s watch (and said tales about the Rolex GMT-Master notwithstanding), the Omega Speedmaster is the official Moon watch — as designated by NASA. One still goes into space on nearly every U.S. astronaut’s wrist.

The fable goes that NASA engineers went undercover to several jewelers in Houston to buy off-the-shelf timepieces to test for use in space. This story is great, like an actress being discovered in a drugstore at Hollywood & Vine, but it’s generally acknowledged to be untrue.

No matter.

What is true is that the Speedmaster proved to be so tough in tests that, to this day, it’s still the only timepiece approved for spacewalks. And Swigert’s GMT-Master be damned, the Speedy is credited with timing the rocket burns that got Apollo 13 home and saved the crew’s necks.4

Watch nerds everywhere count at least one Speedy in their collection. Watch blogFratelloWatches pioneered the concept of “Speedy Tuesday” on social media, one day each week where aficionados post photographs of their beloved watches in various poses: the nerdier, the better.

GOOGLE’S BIG QUBIT – BUSINESS OF BUSINESS

GOOGLE’S QUANTUM COMPUTER JUST GOT A BIG UPGRADE

Google's 1000+ Qubit chip.

QUIRKED

The Rise and Fall of Quirky — the Start-Up That Bet Big on the Genius of Regular Folks

By

Photo: Courtesy of Quirky

One of the start-up world’s favorite words, in addition to disruptpivot, and on-demand, is community. Kickstarter identifies as “a community of people committed to bringing new things to life.” “The heart and soul of Etsy,” begins the About Etsy page, “is our global community.” Airbnb calls itself “the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company.” You’re not, in other words, just joining a platform where you can fund your screenplay, or hawk your hand-knit iPhone koozies, or rent your apartment — no, you’re belonging to something bigger than yourself.

But back in 2009, perhaps before the word had lost all meaning, a small-time-invention start-up called Quirky built a community that really acted like one. It told the first-world-problem solver in all of us — the one who thought up single-serve French-fry-makers and foldable coffee mugs and musical footballs while out walking the dog — that she no longer had to innovate in a vacuum. Anybody could join. On Quirky’s website, users would assess and workshop each other’s inventions. The most successful ideas, as determined by a vote, would be designed and built by the company. In some cases, the inventors made a lot of money. And it is for that tiny dreamer that the company’s recent death spiral feels like a true loss.

It all came to a head on what seemed like a typical Thursday evening this July, during the weekly Quirky ritual known as Eval. A studio audience of about 100 people gathered in the company’s former-rail-car-terminal headquarters in Chelsea. Lit by webcams from above and a bank of futuristic equipment behind, Quirky’s 28-year-old founder, Ben Kaufman, stood at a lectern in his usual black V-neck tee and announced a panel of product-evaluation experts by nickname: Anna “Make a Buck” Buchbauer, Justin “J-Bomb” Seidenfeld, Aaron Dignan, a.k.a. El Presidente. Ideas submitted and voted on by the Quirky community — watching the livestream from their living rooms — were presented via pitch videos and commentary from Kaufman: a voice-activated lightbulb, a paper-thin Bluetooth speaker that fits in your back pocket, an on-the-go beverage carbonator. The masterminds who won majority approval would hear the rallying mantra “Congratulations, you’re a Quirky inventor!” and have the chance to be like fellow Eval winner Garthen Leslie, a 63-year-old IT consultant from Columbia, Maryland. Leslie came up with the idea of a smart air conditioner during his morning commute, uploaded a rough diagram of the idea to the Quirky platform, and found the community waiting to help him refine it, suggesting additional features and weighing in on the sizing, specs, and the name, which would be Aros. And keeping with Quirky’s leave-the-rest-to-us business model, the company then patented, manufactured, marketed, and sold the unit into Walmart and Amazon, returning 10 percent of the profits to the inventor and those that played Watson to his Graham Bell (in this exceptional case, that’s amounted to more than $400,000 for Leslie and more than $200,000 for the community).

Quirky founder Ben Kaufman, center.

But this Thursday, July 16, it would turn out, was not an ordinary Eval. In fact, it would be the next to last one Kaufman ever did. Following the broadcast, he tacked on what he called an “after-party” — a.k.a. a crisis-management session aimed at addressing recent bad press that the company had gotten. In June, in a sweaty interview onstage at the Fortune Brainstorm conference, Kaufman admitted the company was all but “out of money,” which had once amounted to $185 million in funding from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and GE. In July came the news that nearly the entire New York City staff would be laid off. By August 1, Kaufman would officially step down from the company he started at age 22. It so happened that for every Aros-type success, the community had waved in many more duds like the Beat Booster, a wireless speaker with a built-in charging station that by one account cost the company $388,000 to develop but only sold about 30 units.

It’s not surprising that Kaufman used the word transparency no fewer than three times in the first five minutes of that after-party, the bottom line of which was that he frankly didn’t know if the company would survive — Quirky’s fate was in the investors’ hands. Because, for all the aspirational, rarefied Bushwick-bar vibes telegraphed by the Evals, Quirky was, of course, all about being real. Its cluster of a million members included folks like — to cite some of the most recent inventors featured on the website — Tony Lytle, a welder and proud grandfather from Larwill, Indiana, who’d dreamed up the Pawcett, a step-on drinking fountain for dogs; and Hadar Ferris, a licensed cosmetologist in Oceanside, California, responsible for decorative muffin-top molds called Bake Shapes; and Pennsylvania-based Navy veteran Jason Hunter, who gave birth to the Porkfolio app-enabled piggy bank. (In the age of artisanal everything, just as we want to know where our pickles were brined and our former-church-pew coffee tables were carved, here, too, was the meaningful personal backstory behind your magnetic bottle opener.)

Aros was a rare commercial success for Quirky.

A few weeks after he was ousted, Kaufman emailed with me from his first-ever personal email account: “It’s weird waking up one day and not even having an email address,” he later said on the phone. “This had been my whole life.” He was a small-time inventor himself at first, for a range of iPod accessories he started in high school that went on to become the company Mophie. At the 2007 Macworld Expo, he handed out pens and sketchpads and asked people to help design Mophie’s 2007 product line (sound familiar?) and then held a vote for the top three ideas. That same year, he sold Mophie, reappropriated the Macworld crowdsourcing schtick, and tried to launch a similar concept to Quirky. What helped Quirky finally get off the ground in 2009 was the recession-driven push for alternative incomes (no coincidence that Kickstarter as well as the entrepreneur-competition show Shark Tank, another bastion of scrappy innovation, also launched in 2009). Plus, there was more of a universal comfort with the practice of online sharing: We were now very used to telling our Facebook friends what we ate for breakfast, and by extension, we might as well tell the Quirky forum about our concept for a better egg-yolk extractor. Our notion of community, then, was evolving, and Kaufman — Mark Zuckerberg wrapped in a teddy-bear build, with the mischievous smile of your son or younger brother (depending on where you fell in Quirky’s wide-ranging age demographics) — was a relatable leader.

On the consumer end, seeing these ordinary tinkerers immortalized on the shelves of the Container Store (a big Quirky perk was that inventors’ names and faces appeared on their products’ packaging) was like watching the Spanx lady on QVC for the first time in the early aughts — a humble fax-machine salesperson from Clearwater, Florida, who just wanted to wear control-top pantyhose without the hose. Inventors were just like us! And now everybody could be the Spanx lady (albeit for only a tiny fraction of the profits), because unlike her, we didn’t have to side-hustle all alone. Next it could be my cousin in Westchester, who had four kids but no one to help her prototype her idea for a mother-baby bath towel. Next it could be my semi-retired father, who was in a private war with his never-shuts-properly pantry door and needed a constructive, supportive outlet for his aggression. Next it could be my friend Sarah, who was full of lightbulb moments — an Oreo-dunking robot claw, a universal key for all your locks — but was too stoned to sort through the mechanics by herself.

Quirky was catnip for the press: The Sundance Channel produced a short-lived reality show on the company in 2011. Kaufman appeared on Leno. This magazine featured it as a Boom Brand of 2013, noting, “It’s a pretty rare company that’s so hippieish — Let’s have everyone get a say! — yet so purely free-market.” The Times devoted several thousand words to a piece called “The Invention Mob, Brought to You by Quirky” just last February (by then its financially unsustainable business model had given way to a pivot — a smart-home subsidiary called Wink — that was too little too late).\

Another Times piece, from this past April, cited Quirky as a springboard for the realest of all Real People: older people. “There’s a boom in inventing by people over 50,” John Calvert, the executive director of the United Inventors Association, told the paper. And indeed, Quirky had plenty of them in its hive — like 59-year-old Lorin Ryle, a full-time caretaker for her dementia-stricken mother. When her clip-on baby monitor for the elderly won at Eval, she says she cried, watching from her Hutto, Texas, home. It never actually made it to development (in fact, only about half of the Eval winners ever do), but for Ryle that didn’t take away from the experience of “working with people to make something work,” she says. “I’ve made lifelong friends on there.” (Another Quirky boomer, Marc Rumaner, who came up with a nifty little wine-bottle anchor called Vine Stop, has even gone so far as to host barbecues for fellow community members in his Chicago area.)

Of course, the inmates didn’t always like running the asylum. There was much talk in the forums that the Eval system seemed too democratic. “I failed to see how any of us could know what a product scout from a company like GE or Mattel could know,” says one community member. And indeed, when you look at misfires like the Drift, a $200 wooden balance board that simulates snowboarding and surfing, or the $80 Egg Minder, an app-enabled egg tray that signals to your smartphone when you’re running low on eggs, it would appear that the company’s raison d’être was also the reason for its downfall, a colony of amateurs green-lighting unscalable solutions to nonexistent issues. Quirky brought more than 400 products to market in just six years.

Inside Quirky’s workshop.

Yet Kaufman points out that the community had much less say than all the high-pressure voting would suggest; the real decisions were made when the cameras stopped rolling and he and the actual experts did the math on a product’s marketability. (So, maybe not so much power to the people, after all.) But, he adds of Eval, “There had to be a thing to look forward to on a regular basis — otherwise how are you going to keep the community engaged?” Quirky steered the ship, you might say, but the community was still the North Star.

Steering the ship — handling all of the engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and retailing, even when you’re taking 90 percent of the subsequent profits — was ultimately too expensive of a proposition, especially in comparison to other, less-handholding-oriented start-ups. “The reason why Kickstarter makes a ton of money is they don’t have to do anything besides put up a website,” Kaufman notes. After that, the failure (and let’s face it, many Kickstarter-funded products go on to fail) is all on the individual. Which is not meant to be a dig, Kaufman clarifies. He won’t confirm his next venture but says, “I love Kickstarter.” And: “I will likely use it.”

NEW BUSINESS PROPOSAL – BRAINSTORM

Much of my morning will be spent writing up my proposal for a new business project and the functional and operational structure of the business itself. Or, to be more accurate, transcribing my formulation notes into a proper form for developing the body of the actual proposal.

Later today, in the afternoon, I’ll be devising much of the pitch, assessing the projected financials (it should be able to generate more than one income/revenue stream, and should be able to be funded in more than one way), and so forth.

By the end of the week I plan to present the idea to some potential partners and maybe even an investor or two.

I’m looking forward to this as it is an excellent idea and in a field/industry that interests me a great deal.

PRINTED CAR – BRAINSTORM

The Printed Car – Business Insider

Is this the future of manufacturing? To some degree I believe it is, although eventually I see many such items being grown rather than printed.

THE FALCON IS FLYING

I got up at 5:00 this morning to watch the SpaceX launch. Regardless of how this mission ultimately goes in a few minutes the future of Space Exploration, of course, lies in the private sector.

THE MARRIAGE OF OUR BETTER INTERESTS

Why Choosing A VC Is Like Choosing A Spouse

What to consider before you put a ring on it

Committing to a relationship with a VC is committing to the long-term. In romantic terms, it’s a marriage, not a casual drink or weekend getaway. In fact, venture capital/startup relationships last just as long as most marriages — around 7 or 8 years — and can be just as emotionally taxing.

Entrepreneurs often struggle to feel confident when they are presenting to VCs. Pitching your startup can be as nerve-wracking as waiting at the bar for a blind date, and what VCs want can seem as mysterious as members of the opposite sex. Entrepreneurs are reluctant to ask important questions because they are afraid of scaring the potential partner away, but the answers to those questions could seriously impact the happiness and fruitfulness of your “life” together. Startup life means there are a lot of ups and downs, but the downs don’t mean you should settle for a ‘safe’ VC choice. Everybody deserves somebody. As with significant others, you want someone who sees the unique positives in you, not the generic negatives.

What VCs care most about is how much their investment will be worth, or equity value. This leads to the question facing all entrepreneurs — how do you build equity value? Revenue is a metric (and an important one), but not the metric. Other factors include market leadership, unique IP/capabilities, disruption in a big market, and an A+ technology team. The right “fit” isn’t the same for everyone. What works for one person or startup may not work for another. Here are 5 things to consider before entering the bonds of venture capital funding.

1. Know your value as a partner

As the philosopher Beyonce says, “If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it.” A great start to a marriage or partnership of any kind is when both sides feel they lucked out and are excited about the commitment. Find someone who appreciates the potential of your business and what you have to offer. As a founder, you are giving away your most prized asset — your equity. The VCs are buying a piece of a company that they believe has value. It is important to remember your self-worth and your company’s value before you embark upon a relationship . This is a much more compelling approach than “I hope someone gives me money,” because desperation doesn’t look good on anybody.

It is also important not to have baggage walking into the partnership. Plenty of entrepreneurs play hard to get in the beginning, but as soon as you commit, the games should be over. You don’t want to spend years explaining or justifying yourself. A strong relationship means being honest and appreciative of each other. This also means it is important to be on the same page about terms, so everyone feels they got a fair deal. For example, Carbonite really loved working with us at Menlo Ventures because the investment was fair on both sides and we said ‘I do’ with a clean slate. In a strong VC-startup relationship, both parties want the other to succeed. Mutual respect and excitement should come before a ring.

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GOING VIRAL

10 Brilliant Strategies For Writing Viral Content

This is part of a series. Check out the companion piece: BuzzFeed’s Guide To Viral Content (Cats Optional, But Encouraged)

There are certain websites, writers, marketers and content creators who seem to rule the internet. Everything they put out there seems contagious, capturing an audience of millions and sparking conversations on social media.

These days, unpacking the secrets to viral success has been the mission of researchers, media organizations and businesses alike. After all, infectious content leads to major rewards in the form of readers, subscribers, advertisers, raising awareness for an important issue, brand recognition and financial success.
If you’re looking for ways get people talking, check out these 10 strategies from the experts themselves.
“Grumpy Guide To Life: Observations From Grumpy Cat” Book Event At Indigo

Grumpy cat. (George Pimentel/WireImage)

1. Write good content

Bottom line: Tell a good story and tell it well. Readers quickly abandon stories with weak content and bad writing.

Begin by making sure your story clearly communicates the five W’s: Who? What? Where? When? Why? This grounds your reader in the story’s basic premise and why it matters.

Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick, co-authors of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, explain in a recent Harvard Business Review article that stories should accomplish one of a number of tasks: explain what happened, explain what something means, explain how to do something or surprise the reader.

2. Elicit strong emotions – positive is better than negative

Stories that evoke intense emotions tend to drive popularity, according to a 2011 study by University of Pennsylvania professors.

Content that triggers “high-arousal” emotions performs better online, whether those emotions are positive (like awe) or negative (like anger or anxiety). Whereas content that sparks “low-arousal” emotions (like sadness) is less viral, write Professors Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman, who studied the viral nature of New York Times articles over a three-month period. And though there’s much complexity at play, in general, “positive content is more viral than negative content.”

When Jack Shepherd, editorial director at BuzzFeed, wrote 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity, it generated millions of hits. The list evoked the emotion felt when “you’re in the presence of the triumph of the human spirit,” says Shepherd. Today it has 15.4 million views. (Full disclosure: Shepherd has been a friend for years.)

“When people share something like that, they’re not just sharing the story, they’re sharing the strong, positive emotional experience they had. You can’t really fake that,” says Shepherd. For more tips from Shepherd, check out the companion piece, BuzzFeed’s Guide To Viral Content (Cats Optional, But Encouraged).

3. Be brief

Get to the point quickly and keep the reader interested.

“Our experience is that the sweet spot for posts of curated content is two or three sentences on Google GOOGL +0.89%+ and Facebook and 100 characters on Twitter TWTR +1.62%,” say Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick.

“The sweet spot for created content is 500 to 1,000 words.”

4. Write irresistible headlines

Headlines are the gateway to a story – your one chance to pique your reader’s curiosity and convince them to stay with you. Headlines can make a story a smashing success or a total flop, even if the content is fantastic.

Capture your reader’s attention with headlines that

– Clearly and concisely state the article’s purpose

– Use intriguing adjectives

– Communicate the value and ease of the story

In other words, tell your readers upfront that they’ll be getting a lot out of your story with little effort on their part. (For example, my headline This One Smart Habit Can Slash Your Airfare told readers that they could save a lot of money by learning one habit. Tons of value and so simple.)

Twelveskip.com offers this list of eye-catching title templates that will help you develop great headlines.

5. Be visual

Visual content increases engagement. So pair that compelling headline with a striking visual. Always. This is key to capturing reader interest.

Buzzsumo, a content analytics company, found that having at least one image in a Facebook or Twitter post leads to an average of twice as many shares compared to a post without images. A study by content marketer Skyword found a similar correlation between images and engagement, write Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick. “Total views of its clients’ content increased by 94% if a published article contained a relevant photograph or infographic, when compared to articles without an image in the same category,” the co-authors write.

6. Play the numbers game

The more you post, the greater your chances at going viral. Neetzan Zimmerman, who the Wall Street Journal called possibly “the most popular blogger working on the Web today” blogged for Gawker until 2014 and routinely drew the most unique visitors to the popular site. In an interview with HubSpot.com, Zimmerman shared that he posts 10 to 15 times per day. Not every post went viral, but the larger the volume of stories, the greater the chances of one taking off.

And don’t stop once your work is out there. Promote it actively on social media and do so repeatedly on different days at different times so you can capture different audiences. Tailor your posts for the social media platform.

Sure, you may lose some followers who don’t like repeat shares. But Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick found that this practice pays off. “When we decided to test the effect of repetition by sharing four identical posts with four different links to track clicks, we got about 1,300 clicks on the first, roughly the same on the second, 2,300 on the third and 2,700 on the fourth, for a total of 7,600 clicks. Would you be willing to risk complaints about repeated tweets to achieve 5.8 times more clicks?”

7. Play nice with others

Give credit where it’s due by linking to sources you site in your articles. “Links send traffic to the source as an act of gratitude; enable readers to learn more from the source; and increase your visibility and popularity with bloggers and websites,” write Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick.

And keep the gratitude flowing after your work is out there. Thank and retweet those who tweet your content. Follow them back. Retweet and favorite their stories. Offer thoughtful comments. Be engaged.

8. Study your stats

Check out how your stories compare against each other. What works? Why?

Pay attention to the stories that flopped and think about tweaks that could have made them better.

9. Time the release of your stories

Zimmerman recommends posting at 9 a.m. and noon EST. At 9 a.m. you’ll capture workers reluctant to dive into work at the start of the day.

At noon, you’ll capture West Coast workers arriving to the office and East Coast workers on their lunch break.

10. Give the reader a practical takeaway

You’ve written a compelling story with an irresistible headline. Now read over it and make sure it includes practical, actionable takeaways.

A key component of contagious content is getting readers to share content with their friends and followers. And since everyone from journalists and marketers to high school students to your aunt on Facebook is crafting their online brand, readers are more likely to share material that they find useful and makes them look good.

Demonstrate the value of your content, and watch your numbers soar.

Deborah Jian Lee is a journalist, radio producer and author of a forthcoming book about progressive evangelicals (Beacon Press). Follow her @deborahjianlee. Visit her website http://www.deborahjianlee.com.

GOING ALL THE WAY

Reasons to Land on a Comet: What the Rosetta Mission Can Learn

November 12, 2014

The Agilkia landing site is seen on this image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken with Rosetta’s navigation camera, just days before its lander, Philae, makes its historic descent to the surface

Courtesy European Space Agency

The Agilkia landing site is seen on this image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken with Rosetta’s navigation camera, just days before its lander, Philae, makes its historic descent to the surface

After a journey that took more than a decade, the world is scheduled to witness a first when the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission attempts to land a small spacecraft on the surface of a comet. The attempt will take place on Wednesday, at speeds of about 34,000 miles per hour.

The mission is a potential breakthrough in the study of comets. These chunks of ice and dust are leftovers from the formation of planets, often considered space “icebergs” given their age and distance from the sun. The water that resides in comets is likely the key to sustaining future deep-space missions—a celestial gasoline station, in a sense. Beyond water, comets such as the now-famous 67P are thought to harbor complex organic molecules, some of the ingredients needed for the formation of intelligent life.

“I think that humans have to go into space more and take ownership of the solar system,” says Denton Ebel, chairman of the division of physical sciences at the American Museum of Natural History, calling efforts such as Rosetta “the logical next step” of human space exploration.

There is yet another reason underlying the space agency’s financial and engineering feat: to prove it’s possible. Before attempting to land on the comet, the spacecraft will have whipped around the earth three times, followed by Mars, to obtain the necessary gravitational acceleration to rendezvous with a comet. The Rosetta craft will discharge a 220-pound landing probe, called Philae, to settle in a relatively clear spot only about 1/3-mile square.

“It’s technically one of the most difficult missions ever,” Ebel says. “This mission is amazingly ambitious.”

Other reasons to visit a comet include getting a better understanding of how massive space rocks are constructed, which could prove crucial if future earthlings ever need to intercept and prevent a doomsday scenario. There is also the issue of manned deep-space exploration and using the abundant resources found in comets and asteroids, mainly water and noxious gases but also precious metals. “How is the water locked up in a comet? We don’t really understand that at all,” Ebel says.

Future space explorers will almost certainly need to stop for water en route. Bring water from earth into space costs about $23,000 per pound, according to Planetary Resources, which plans to mine asteroids. The hydrogen and oxygen in water is also the basis for rocket fuel that will be produced in space.

The Rosetta mission was launched in March 2004 and reached Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Aug. 6, where it has been orbiting about 14 miles from the surface. The comet is about 2.5 miles across at its widest point.

Confirmation of the Philae lander’s fate is expected to arrive at about 10:36 a.m. EST at the mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, following a seven-hour descent to the comet. The agency has deployed a full array of social media to chronicle the landing, including collaborating with a futuristic film dramatization starring Game of Thrones actor Aidan Gillan and a soundtrack of the sub-audible magnetic emissions from the comet, sped up so they can be heard. Come Wednesday, there will be tweets.

THE NEW START UP CLUB

  The $5 Billion Startup Club: The 9 Highest Valued Startups That You Should Definitely Keep An Eye On

dollar billsMark Wilson/Getty ImagesBillions of dollars are flowing into these startups.

There used to be a time when a $1 billion valuation was considered a massive success for tech startups.

But in recent years, there’s been so many of them that billion-dollar valuations are almost starting to feel routine in tech.

So we’ve raised the bar and narrowed down WSJ’s “The Billion-Dollar Startup Club” list to companies that are valued at more than $5 billion.

These startups are transforming our lives and they’re definitely worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

COSMIC RADIO

Hearing the silence… I have often wondered if humans, and other creatures, might not just be sensitive to these sounds (though not as sounds, but as electromagnetic vibrations, similar to being sensitive to a powerful magnetic field) through their brain and body, and if it would not be worthwhile to invent a miniaturized for-home-use radio telescope that could detect, discriminate, and convert these sounds for human listening and recording.

This device would have to be programmable, it would have to be sensitive enough to detect and track specific “sound sources and frequencies,” within the given and desired detection ranges, and it might even later lead to a in-home Cosmic TV (which could convert such sounds and vibrations into visual images similar to the way TV converts radio waves into visual images) for viewing such signals.

 

NASA releases actual recordings from space — and they’re absolutely breathtaking

on October 20, 2014, 10:45am
Earlier this year, Lefse Records released The Space Project, in which acts like Beach House, Spiritualized, The Antlers, and more used actual recordings from the Voyager space probe to create songs and soundscapes. Though a neat gimmick, with some intriguing submissions, the resulting album didn’t necessarily reflect the true sonic aesthetic of our solar system. For that, we turn to NASA, who has shared actual electromagnetic recordings taken from throughout our very own solar system.No one may be able to hear you scream in space, but that whole great, black abyss miles above our heads is just teeming with noises. From the brooding, slightly ambient rumblings of Saturn and its rings to the more romantic Neptune, which sounds like sitting on a back porch in Tennesse in mid-July, our solar system’s soundtrack is as emotionally-nuanced as it is almost cinematic. Just wait till you hear what Uranus sounds like, though.Listen in below. Or, enjoy live, 24-hour sounds via Radio Astronomy.

VISUALIZING WHAT YOU WANT

The One App You Need To Mention On Your Resume If You Want A Job At Google

Jonathan RosenbergGetty/Rob KimJonathan Rosenberg.

Google has more than 50,000 employees right now, and they earn great salaries. Average pay at Google is $141,000. It’s relatively easy to get a job at Google, too. The company is so large and has such a massive need for talent that hiring for Google is something of a headache, so if you have the right skills, Google is really enthusiastic to hear from you.Especially if you know how to use MatLab, a code and data analysis and management tool.

On Thursday night, Google’s former svp/product management Jonathan Rosenberg was in London with chairman Eric Schmidt to promote their new book “How Google Works.” During a Q&A at the University of London, Rosenberg said he once had to give a speech in front of a room full of Rhodes scholars (about 70 people receive the scholarship each year). He offered them all jobs at Google right there on the spot — and even comped their airfare to San Francisco. A few of them actually took up the offer.

The fact that Google is willing to hire an entire room of bright people, sight unseen, tells you how desperately the company needs smart workers.

If, on the off chance, you’re not a Rhodes scholar, Schmidt had some more down-to-earth advice. Google really needs data analytics people and folks who have studied statistics in college, he said.

Big data — how to create it, manipulate it, and put it to good use — is one of those areas in which Google is really enthusiastic about.

And then Rosenberg said something really interesting. If you want to work at Google, make sure you can use MatLab, he said.

A THING UNQUESTIONED from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

A thing unquestioned and untested is unproven and unimprovable.

S’PLANATION

The Tech That Drives The New Tesla Model S, Explained

47,768

The Tech That Drives The New Tesla Model S, ExplainedExpand

Last night, Elon Musk took the wraps off the new Tesla Model S. Dual motors and all-wheel drive don’t just make it faster, a new sensor array will make it safer too. Let’s break out each innovation, figure out what it is and how it works.

THE FUTURE

Indeed.

This May Well Be The Coolest Feature On The New Tesla

Elon Musk is touting one incredibly futuristic option on the new Tesla.

Produced by Matt Johnston and Alex Kuzoian.

IT’S THE D, BRO

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 1

Need a few more breadcrumbs to follow until Elon Musk “unveils the D” (and something else) tomorrow? During an interview tonight at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, Tesla’s CEO told Walter Isaacson a few juicy tidbits about his news, without really revealing anything — other than what we’ve already seen. According to Musk “One of the things is already there, and people just don’t realize it.” Also, some of the internet’s guesses (dual engine? autonomous driving? AWD?) are apparently on track, as he said people are “directionally correct,” but that they don’t “appreciate the magnitude.” You can watch a clip of of the interview embedded after the break and leave your own theories in the comments, we’ll be reporting live from the unveiling in LA tomorrow night to find out the truth.

THE SLIP SUIT

This morning while walking in the woods with Sam I was watching a leaf fall, saw it hit a spider’s web (a big one) then turn in a certain way, slip the web, and continue on to the ground.

Suddenly I was hit by a superb idea for a new type of ballistic armor I’m going to call the Slip-Suit. The basic idea will not be to absorb impact from projectiles, but to “slip impact.”

The way I have the Slip-Suit envisioned it should easily be able to be created using current technologies and current materials, though some materials may have to be reconstructed or realigned din design of the suit to function properly.

Also the idea is so close in basic concept to some of the functions of my Aisthpleis Suit that I am seriously considering seeing if they can be integrated in some way. But both suits are so radical in function that their separate technologies may not be integrate-able. It may be possible to put a Slip-Suit beneath the Aisthpleis, but because the Aisthpleis relies so heavily on direct contact with the human body that may not be possible. It may be possible to coat certain areas of the outer surface of the Aisthpleis with parts of the Slip-Suit material (The Slippage) but I’ll just have to see.

This will be a fairly high-tech development so I’ll need the Museus to eventually help me build and capitalize it.

I have classified it – (HT) 1f,g,h:4c:5:7:8

 

The whole incident also gave me an idea for a much more advanced type of personal suit I’ll call the Explacesure Suit. But this idea is really along the liens more of a science fiction development, than a Real World Invention. The technologies involved and the energy consumption rates that would be required would be enormous and well beyond current technological limits.

As a matter of fact Explacesure is really base upon a defensive combat system I designed for human spacecraft back when I was a kid.

So Explacement will probably have to remain more just a speculative concept and an idea I use in my fiction writings, rather than a viable product invention.

THE REINVENTION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

An excellent business lecture on Entrepreneurship, Start-Ups, Financing, Marketing, and general principles of Innovation.

I recommend it.

 

OPEN IN YOUR HAND

The trouble with technology is not just what it does
But what it doesn’t for us all when we forget what was
When it makes us more of us it does its function well
When it lessens (lessons) what we are it is a kind of hell

The greatness of the things we do when robots do them not
Is greater than all other things machines cannot allot
However if our sole (soul) device does make ourselves much more
What’s the harm in all of that, that’s nothing to abhor

Plant your skills and grow them tall so that they flourish high
If by doing it yourself then raise them to the sky
If by invention, will, or craft you use an artefact
Then employ it to improve yourself, not in the cold abstract

The trouble with technology is not the way it is
But in the things we make of it when little we intend
A tool’s a tool, a thing a thing, it never is the man
How we use it, or we don’t, lies open in your hand…

INDIA AND THE UNITED STATES: SPACE EXPLORATION PARTNERS

Excellent, and I think India would make a superb partner for us to team with in the field of Space Exploration. Their business and corporate environment could use some work (I once tried to unsuccessfully arrange an international licensing agreement there and it failed due to multi-layered corruption and over-regulation), and we should ourselves gravitate more and more towards Private Space Exploration efforts (such as SpaceX), but when it comes to technological innovation and invention India would make the US a very well qualified and excellent partner.

So I look forward to our teaming together, especially in working towards Mars.

To tell you the truth once China finally revolts and becomes a Real and Free Republic I’d like to see them join us and India in joint space-exploration enterprises as well.

India, U.S. Agree to Joint Exploration of Mars

NASA’s Maven beat ISRO’s Mangalyaan to Mars.

Reuters

India’s satellite Mangalyaan has only been orbiting Mars for a week, but already space scientists back on Earth are planning their next mission: this time in tandem with the U.S.

 

On Tuesday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration signed an agreement to work with the Indian Space Research Organisation during future explorations of Mars. They also agreed to join forces in observations and scientific analysis from their respective satellites currently orbiting the red planet.

 

Last week, NASA’s Maven satellite entered Mars orbit two days before India’s Mangalyaan. Maven is the first spacecraft to explore the upper atmosphere of Mars, Mangalyaan is studying the surface of the planet to look for evidence of methane among other tasks.

 

India became the first Asian nation to reach Mars and the only country in the world to have done so on its first try.

 

The $74 million venture was far cheaper than comparable voyages and just over a tenth of the cost of NASA’s latest mission to Mars. The success, analysts said, puts India in the big league and promotes it above China and Japan in space exploration. Chinese and Japanese missions to orbit  Mars have so far failed.

 

In 2020, the two space agencies plan to launch the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar,  or NISAR, mission to observe the Earth and measure changes in its land surface.  “Nisar will improve our understanding of key impacts of climate change and advance our knowledge of natural hazards,” NASA said in a statement.

 

For that mission, NASA will provide the L-band synthetic aperture radar, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid state recorder, and a payload data subsystem, the statement said. ISRO will provide the spacecraft bus, an S-band synthetic aperture radar and the launch vehicle, it added.

 

The tie-up between the space agencies “reflects the strong commitment NASA and ISRO have to advancing science and improving life on Earth,” Charles Bolden, NASA administrator said in a statement after he signed the agreement.

THE GOOD MACHINE AND THE BAD MACHINE from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

There is the good machine and the bad machine. The good machine emulates the way God works, the bad machine emulates the way hell works.

THE WHEEL OF MANY FORTUNES

You know, in an inventive and innovative sense this has far more applications than just more movement and exercise (though I am definitely for both of those).

You could convert this wheel into an energy generator, a music generator, even an art or image generator. Other devices could be successfully attached to it which might further increase productivity, as I discussed in my earlier article today. It might even be back channeled and redirected in reverse into your computer system as supplemental memory or processing power.

There are many potentially beneficial and useful applications for this.

Got a dead-end job? You can run in actual circles with this hamster wheel desk

By David Nield — September 21, 2014

Standing desks might be in vogue at the moment, but a new art project takes the concept one step further by putting you inside a hamster wheel while you’re at your workstation. An ingenious way of exercising mind and body at the same time? Or a symbol of the neverending treadmill of work that dominates modern life? You decide.

The wheel was constructed in just 24 hours by Robb Godshaw, currently artist-in-residence at Autodesk’s Pier 9 facility in San Francisco, and software engineer Will Doenlen. The duo have put together a YouTube video showing their creation in action, though the fact that it’s labelled with the “Comedy” tag shows they’re perhaps not serious about bringing this to market…

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/hamster-wheel-desk-lets-exercise-office/#ixzz3E4M3cmKT
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook

ESSENTIAL BRANSON

Indeed.

Branson recounts excellent advice and experience on adventure, leadership, risk, and entrepreneurship…

 

Richard Branson’s Tech Essentials

The founder of the Virgin Group and author of the new book “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership,” on his training regimen for space travel and the enduring appeal of the BlackBerry Curve

Sept. 19, 2014 3:52 p.m. ET

SKY HIGH | Richard Branson on the 103rd floor of the Empire State Building Juliana Sohn for The Wall Street Journal

I’m still clinging to my trusty BlackBerry Curve, because of the keyboard. There aren’t many of us left. I use it for sending emails but also have an iPhone for posting Instagram pictures and browsing Twitter. The freedom that these machines give you is fantastic. I love going to Africa and watching game, but I can still be in touch…

NOW YOU’RE GETTING IT…

Shared from my Personal Blog, the Missal.

The future of Space Exploration does not lie with the government, but with entrepreneurship and private corporations like SpaceX.

NASA FINALLY CATCHES UP TO THE 21ST CENTURY

IS OUR SHEER VOLUME OF SUCCESS MAKING SUCCESS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT?

Fascinating, and watch the videos for these links.

Part of me thinks this is absolutely superb and it has all kinds of beneficial real world applications. As well as all kinds of varied inventive and fictional implications.

Another part of me says, “Remember, your government loves you…”

The last thing these stories and videos made me think of is this: I have often wondered if the Industrial revolution did not occur in the ancient world, as in the modern, because technology was basically carefully controlled and the mechanisms for spreading and disseminating it were not readily available.

For instance in ancient Greece and Rome and in Byzantium (as well as elsewhere) you had some fairly moderate degree of useful technology rather widely disseminated, but only rather small and isolated pockets of much higher technology (such as Greek Fire) and information (great libraries and invention facilities – museums), like at Alexandria (for instance).

But our world may be turning out to be the opposite in function but with the same general end-effect. You have so many pockets of really high, and often advanced proprietary technology, and such a crowded marketplace for disseminating this information and these artifacts (the internet for instance) that it may be becoming nearly impossible for even the most advanced technologies to gain a proper dissemination and general marketing foothold.

That is the sheer number of extremely crowded clusters of high tech projects and the fact that so many highly valuable scientific and technological and business projects are competing at the same time along a very crowded information highway may actually either be reducing the spread of beneficial new technologies, or regulating and reducing that spread to very small and tightly controlled niches and geographies.

In other words we are the working opposite of our ancestors, they had a relatively small number of high tech advances they were creating as the result of a relatively small number of individual geniuses but the ability to share information and the desire to keep such advances secret probably greatly limited the spread of their beneficial advances and technologies.

On the other hand we have a huge number of very important projects underway simultaneously, at countless facilities and under the auspices of hundreds of thousands of brilliant people, all competing for attention at the same time, and the overall net effect is that once again we are subtly suppressing the spread of our own advances and technologies.

Our sheer volume of success is making it almost impossible for everything that should flourish to actually flourish.

As to the last story I am sure we are at a much more advanced stage of development by now.

Fast-Running Robot Cheetah Let Off Its Leash

Army Tests Flying Robo-Sniper

THE OTHER ROADS TO SUCCESS

I happen to completely agree with him. I am in no way against education and learning, and as a matter of fact I think education and learning should continue until one hits the grave. However far too much of modern “higher education” is restrictive and self-limiting indoctrination, not innovative discovery and brilliant invention, so I entirely understand his point(s).

 

However I am also of the opinion that efforts such as this should hardly be limited to those under 20 years old. After all who has their very best ideas in life when under 20, or even in their 20s? Not many people.

 

Young people may be filled with passion (and have some ability to focus without the distraction of family and other obligations) but they are also usually naive and inexperienced about/with how the world actually operates, and they lack the motivations of family and children as an impetus to achievement,  and those are big disadvantages in regards to real drives and motives for long term business and creative success.

 

IN NO WAY from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

I am in no way at war with modern technology. I like modern technology and I am very grateful for all of the good that modern technology does.

 

All I ask is that technology does well by the world in which it operates. This should be true in technological design, and in technological function.

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