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Simbi – Something Old, Something New

Simbi, a new web service, is bent on turning the ubiquitization of smart phones into the new network for a very old practice. The barter system. Using an online currency built into the app users can negotiate rates for the exchange of services. Say Jim wishes to get his computer fixed and finds that down the road Tyrone is a second year computer science major. By negotiating rates, used as Simibi on the app, Jim can offer Tyrone two haircuts in his barber shop for exchange in his skilled labor at the keyboard. Such an old system can be taken to new heights by two macro-environmental force being present: 1) Increased population, it is well known that as a nation’s population increases cities become more and the standard. 2) Smart phone ubiquity, with a smart phone in the hands of every man, woman, and child the interface to find exactly the person you need couldn’t be more convenient.

To date there are over 65,000 service types offered on this platform. You could negotiate with old man Joe to take chess lessons in the park in exchange for tutoring his granddaughter through 7th grade Spanish. Need someone to mow your lawn? You have an abundance of time and skills in auto-mechanics? The possibilities are really out there. This only makes the app better for city dwellers with a liberal breathe of skills and needs. Try it out you city slickers!

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Ed Sheeran – A Creative Non-Profit Maverick

When most people hear the name Ed Sheeran they usually think of a pop star with a song that is predictable at any wedding. What they probably don’t realize is his ties to Martin & Co. and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. In 2011 Ed premiered into the market with his album “+”. Along with this entry work we also created a custom guitar with Martin & Co. All proceeds and royalties from the sale of this guitar goes to supporting the local charity of his beloved hometown. Sure it is tradition for stadium packing artists like U2’s Bono to donate like this, but a new struggling artist? Unheard of!

True to his patented advice when someone asked him how to be successful, “Just be nice to people, that is the only way to be successful these day. Before you could be a successful artist and be mean, because it would just be a rumor. Now it is one video and goes straight up to YouTube. So, yeah, just be nice to people.” Then he broke the music industry’s charts in an unprecedented way with his album “x” he did the same thing that he did the first time. He made another custom guitar and donated all of the profits to the same charity. This time, however, he was a household name. The word that he was doing this kind deed and made the album cover on the corner of the guitar body turned a quality, tiny guitar into a status symbol. The customers were then perceived as those who care for charity and were socially conscious when they used their purchasing power.

So next he took a year hiatus from the music industry without any sort of recording tours. He dropped off the face of the map. No cell phone, one tweet per week, the real deal. Then he came back. In his hiatus he composed an album of polarity. Titled “÷“, it composed everything from pop, to Spanish, to Irish. Pre-release it released two singles. Both went double platinum, an act unheard of due to popularity cannibalism. After the full release it became a household phenomenon. In fashion he made a third guitar, which by now I hope the story is self-evident.

So he made a hyper charitable guitar with each album which in turn put a unique product on the market and supported a good social cause. By hobby he did as many do with a whole career for the good of society. A lesson to be sure for those of use torn between social good and profit I’m sure.

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The Art of Manliness

“Every generation revolts against its fathers and makes friends with its grandfathers.” ~ Lewis Mumford

Nearly a decade ago Brett McKay and his wife Kate started the Art of Manliness. They noticed that many blogs and magazines surrounding manliness were mostly focused on how to get a six-pack, make more money, and have more sex. Not that they thought these things were in it of themselves bad, but they didn’t think this was what manliness was. They started exploring.

Over the next few years they delved back into history countless times to investigate. What they keep coming back to us with are the old ways men have lived. They have written articles on clothing, exercise, cold-showers, different shaving techniques, hobbies, and self-defense; in doing so they successfully rallied men to the practices of their grandparents. They didn’t stop there.

Next they began to brand themselves within this old school niche, on things like straight razors and pocket journals. For example see the Benjamin Franklinesque Journal for Moral Perfection, based off of an experiment by the country’s own founding grandfather.  There too they also have started to sell t-shirts with much of the material they have in their articles. In action they have drafted an e-commerce store into their blog. Even with a modest inventory their large reader base floods the store with purchases and well provides for the operation.

Still to understand them we must understand their purpose. They are here to teach men, teaching involves action otherwise it would just be called listening. By this store they are offering a quick avenue to acquire that which you may need to put to practice what you have learned.

In the end I recommend all young men who are looking for inspiration on bettering themselves to this blog. The podcasts and articles will be more than a sufficient resource to improving one’s life. Check it out:

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Tasting Room – How to Know Your wine

So what happens when mass customization and subscription services mix? In the case of wine something along the lines of the Tasting Room comes into existence. So the founders got together and realized something, most people can name like five types of wine. This is was far too few.

So they made a way to transfer wine, bottle to bottle, without any exposure to the outside air. By doing this they were able to change the delivery size without jeopardizing the vintage. Next they figured out that people need to build a flavor profile, a pallet so to speak. Que their website.

The first step to signing up with Tasting Room is not to fill out what types of wines you like, but rather other portions of your tastes buds. Chocolate, coffee, and fruit are the big three that correspond to the type of wine that you’ll actually like. So they get your opinions on how sweet you like your chocolate, if you take cream and sugar with your coffee, and if your an apple guy or a berries kind’a guy.

After this they send you a sampler. You specify the number of mini bottles. You specify how many reds or whites. You specify when and how often the samplers show up. Then when your done you give your opinion of each on the taste pallet they have on the website. This will then hone in on your exact taste vintage for later using an algorithm.

So if you aren’t sure if wine is your thing but you’d like to explore, if you are of age, if you wish to drink responsibly, Tasting room is for you. Hit them up and they’ll leave a sampler at your door just like the old-time milk did for you grandparents:

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It is 2008 and there is a problem in the world, you need to know English to participate in the world market. In order to do so there are really three options: 1) You can get a tutor. 2) You can buy a book and study. 3) You can buy a program like Rosetta Stone. So what’s the problem? All of these solutions are expensive. What’s more, the people that need most to learn English do not have money (which is why they need to learn, you know to participate in the world market). So it is a very self-feeding, destructive cycle.

Now, it’s 2009 and the year is wrapping up. A Carnegie Melon computer science professor by the name of Luis von Ahn and his student Severin Hacker have come together realizing a problem and an opportunity. Understand Professor Ahn is from a village in Guatemala where few speak English and many need to speak it in order to work near the capital. This was the problem.

The opportunity was that smart phones were becoming ubiquitous. So they created a “twofer”. A term that they use to describe when there is a double value proposition to and idea or service. The first benefit was that people could learn for free. The second benefit was that they were able to work on the science of crowd sourcing, which was a relatively new field at the time.

Today Duolingo is one of the most popular learning apps in the world and is changing the way that people learn foreign languages. It has more than 80 programs in over twenty languages with another twenty programs in development. Truly Professor Ahn has succeeded in democratizing foreign language learning. But hey, why take my word? Go check it out for yourself, it is free:

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