Determining the ‘right’ candidate for your startup

Determining the 'right' candidate for your small business

It is needless to say that hiring employees for your business is a boring and time-consuming process. However, when you need an extra assistance to meet your target effectively, you have got to get some good employees. Do not get carried away by the first impression! Here are some suggestions so that you can choose the best candidate for small business or your upcoming project.

Test their skills do not trust the word of mouth

Test their skills do not trust the word of mouthAfter the first round of selection, you should ask the chosen candidates to perform a trial task. The objective behind trial task is not getting a task done free of cost, but it is an initial test of their task, how they would perform if hired. What would be their actual score, when they have a target to achieve? You can also determine who can take instant decisions on board by the aid of this trial task. For example, if you are to hire a manager of partnerships, you might ask them to: choose three new organizations that would be beneficial for your business or to demonstrate how they would approach these organizations initially. It is more effective if they can demonstrate you rather than just telling.

It is advisable to select the task carefully, something that requires at least two/three hours and accustomed with proper tools, networks and knowledge about the field. It is also vital to test their resources closely. The candidates are free to ask questions on the trial projects, and this way you can analyze and evaluate the trial task and candidate’s potential in minutes. Additionally, you can determine the performance capability of each candidate neatly and find the determined, self-motivated ones who can achieve their goals and generate revenue for your business.

Get the details of their previous work experience

Get the details of their previous work experienceSituational questions are pretty common amongst the employers. These tend to offer you an insight into the thoughts of the candidate, and his reactions about adverse situations. What most of them forget are the simple background details of the candidate that actually convey their abilities. Asking the following questions about their previous jobs might help you to figure out the actual reality of your shortlisted candidates:

1. What was their role in the previous organization?
2. The resources they had while working on the project.
3. What were the adversities they had to overcome in order to achieve target?
4. What were their achievements?
5. Why did they leave the job?

Even though this might appear to be boring, and time consuming, it will actually reward you in future. Instead of imagining about their past job experience, get the detailed information.

Be steady in the selection process

Be steady in the selection processThe interview process must be steady and balanced for all the candidates. The questions to be asked on board must be chosen carefully, and after consulting with others in case you are confused. After deciding the questionnaire, there must be qualitative specifications so that it becomes easier for the interviewer to mark each candidate consistently.

Once you have chosen the finalists, it is best recommended to have your entire team or at least majority of your team members on interview board. Provide specifications to your team members, exclusive questionnaires so that the candidates do not have to answer repetitive questions on and on. This is the best time to determine the potential of the candidate.

Avoid being too much enthusiastic

Avoid being too much enthusiasticThe most common mistake among the HR managers is being too much enthusiastic once they find a relatively better candidate. Thus, they often forget to cross check whether this person really has the potentials and the background required for this job. Thus, they often ask futile and meaningless questions when they are eager to hire. Asking tough questions and daunting tricks doesn’t help much either.

[alert style=”green”] All you need is to be steady, cool and balanced. Keep your head calm, analyze and evaluate each candidate thoroughly by taking ample time, only then you can determine the best candidate for your business![/alert]

Flipboard accuses Treemo’s new app Flowboard of infringing its trademark

Flipboard accuses Treemo's new app Flowboard of infringing its trademark

On April 23, 2013 Treemo had applied to trademark the term “Flowboard” and the logo for its newest and most engaging app without any opposition whatsoever from anyone. However, Flipboard has filed a lawsuit against them lately pressing Treemo with the charges of imitating the former’s name as well as the remarkable logo of the company.

Flowboard is the recent application developed by Treemo. It is an interactive “storytelling” app that has been newly launched in the market. Whereas, Flipboard is an online news collector that gives a chance to its users to create their own interesting magazines using very simple basic steps. Flipboard has complained that Flowboard is using a similar name to confuse and violate its trademark. This can puzzle their users and directly hamper their trade. According to Flipboard they are aware of how grievous the infringement can be and they are extremely dedicated in protecting their own trademark rights. In spite of talking to Treemo amicably, it produced no solution. Instead, Treemo went and filed a complaint against Flipboard.

Flipboard

Treemo founder and CEO Brent Brookler explained how they wanted to discuss the matter in a peaceful way with the Flipboard team but as an alternative they were threatened by the news aggregator company that legal action would be taken against Flowboard. Therefore, the founder said that they had no other choice but to defend themselves. They filed a complaint asking for “a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of trademark rights”. Treemo justifies that the F logo is nothing but a proper representation of their new app and uses the first letter of the term “Flowboard”. It has not been copied and most certainly not influenced by Flipboard. Treemo also argues that the two companies are distinct in appearance, matter as well as the type of the products they have to offer to people and using the suffix “board” means nothing but following the ongoing trend.

Where Flipboard is relying on the jury to deliver justice to their intellectual property, on the other hand Treemo awaits Flowboard to be cleared of all the trademark infringement charges. The court’s decision remains pending.

Establishing connection with the media is essential

Establishing connection with the media is essential

Contacting journalists and maintaining cordial relations with the media is a real tough job for the newcomers in the business world. When you are a fresher you are not well acquainted with the recent on-goings and how exactly to communicate in an official manner. Give yourself a little bit of time to gather experience and follow a few simple tips that will help you get through the first few months smoothly.

The first and foremost thing you need to remember is to stop taking the feedback from the media personally. There are many novices who when turned down with a ‘No’ are scared that they might have something or said something wrong. However, you need to look around. The other experienced colleagues of yours will show you how efficiently they move from one call to another. After all the media has a responsibility too. They are doing what is best for their website and bulletin.

It is very important to socialize and connect with the journalists. Make acquaintances and friends among the media channel. This will help you gain experience in dealing with them. In this way you will be able to judge the situations and call on the correct person accordingly. Being persistent is the key mantra. You might be turned down by many of them but that does not mean you need to lose your heart. J.K.Rowling was denied and sent back by more than ten publishers. Had she given up we would have never tasted the feel of the magical world. Likewise you need to be patient while conversing with the journalists. Try and sell your part but if they don’t buy it move on to the next. In the PR section one needs to develop a thick skin to survive.

Many a times you develop a good bonding with the media and they help you out by further enhancing your contacts or suggesting the best strategy to do so. This is why it is important to follow up. Even if they are not publishing your news this time don’t hesitate to communicate with them. You never know, they might be interested in publishing the next set of articles you have.

Before contacting a particular website learn more about them, what kind of articles they publish, whether your news piece would fit in amongst the others and if people would bother to read your news in that particular website. Check if the website has a certain section where your news would snug in. If it does not have one but the quality of the website is too good to sacrifice then ask them to publish the news in such a way so that it can reach out to the audience efficiently.

A good PR agent knows the necessity of keeping notes and all information organized. There are many ways to organize one’s notes. Use excel spreadsheets or databases to keep a track of all the websites you approached, the kind of news that you wanted to be published and what was their response to that, etc. This will help your co-employees and team members and not create any confusion for them while dealing with the media. Media Relations Management is what Naida Volkova, PR and Communication Professional, prefers to call it. And this sort of management is an essential part that no startup can do without.

Sometimes quitting may be the right step towards a brighter future for your startup

Sometimes quitting may be the right step towards a brighter future for your startup

Your startup is going through a particularly difficult time right now. You are investing more money into it and getting lesser in return. When someone starts discussion about your startup you try to change the topic or hide yourself to avoid talking about it. You have tried everything from changing a few plans to tweaking your business model. You have even leveraged your core competencies yet your world is going topsy-turvy. Stop! Hold back and let go of it. Yes, you need to give up your present venture to start a different and new one that might turn out to be successful.

This is the advice that needs to be given to those who are focusing on a project that is practically of no use. The art of failure tells us that failures are inevitable part of experimental projects. There is no way that one can succeed without tasting failure. However maximum people do not accept that quitting is the right thing to do. That is why most of the entrepreneurs cannot come to the decision of ending their projects. Moreover, friends and family, not familiar with the art of failure or even the startup culture, keep encouraging them to continue.

When you are working on a startup closely then you can easily overlook the defects that seem obvious otherwise. A mother can never find flaws in her child. Therefore, taking outside help is the best way out. A trusted and unbiased advisor will point out the difficulties and tell you honestly if the startup is actually worth continuing.

Different types of problems crop up when one decides to withdraw from their projects. Most of them are psychological, which can further be emotional and social. If you have been working on a venture, you get emotionally attached to your work and it makes all the more difficult to quit. The other worrying factor could be the society. What would people think of me if I give up on the sole thing that I had set my heart to previously? This is an incorrect way of judging one’s capabilities. One must remember that by giving up you are not accepting failure. You are overcoming it and re-inventing to start a new venture and discover new abilities. However, there can be serious troubles faced by someone when they are about to quit. May be one had mortgaged his house to invest into his business. Such real-time financial problems need professional help.

The big fails of a venture is not the crucial hurdle. The one thing that makes entrepreneurs hesitate on giving up is the zombie fails. These are various aspects of the business, which are not helping in prospering the business yet show a bit of potential that they might bring in some profit in the future. These zombies of failures need to be overcome and the right decision needs to be taken.

Remember it’s useless making promises to everyone that your present work is the biggest opportunity and would be a groundbreaking chance. Honestly there is no such thing. It is just a risky venture that you have taken upon yourself and has equal chances of not working out. But that should not set anyone back and stop him or her from reassessing his or her skills. While giving up, your heart would ask you “what if the business has a brighter chance in the future”. But your mind knows that it might also be possible that after a year your business ends up being in a worse situation than the present.

It is necessary to understand that if you are utilizing your time and resources on something that’s not working then you are missing out on some other project that might have worked. It indeed takes a great deal of strength to shut down a company, tell your friends it didn’t work out and pay the bank loan from your pocket. By giving up on a failed startup you are not only saving and regaining your time, resources and potential but also finding a better, experienced and sturdy version of yourself. So don’t hesitate to pull the reins when need comes.

Lingo of the entrepreneurial world – Do not take it over-the-top

Lingo of the entrepreneurial world - Do not take it over-the-top

Years ago, startups were busy leveraging and pulling their strings together to make it through successfully by the close of business. There were new and more meaningful ways being devised to bang for the buck. Due diligence was done before running up the flagpole every time. For all those acluistic ones who are being driven nuts trying to grasp the clear meaning of the above sentences, fear not. You do not need treatment. You just need to be acquainted with the ongoing business jargon or the most used phrases by the budding entrepreneurs, businessmen and corporate sectors all over the world.

The current ongoing craze of using these jargons for communicating among peers has taken over the entire industry in the global market. So much so that now the words are being used over-dramatically and given a funny angle. The lingo of entrepreneurs after going through a great deal of highs and lows has transformed from an ubercool way of office communication to the topic of jokes in the news feed. Doesn’t make us, the entrepreneurs, happy, does it? No one likes to be treated buzzworthy in a negative sense. Thus seeing the way the language of the corporate globe is being misused does make us want to retort.

People are coming up with more and more articles to explain the true significance of the well-articulated phrases, to help make the message sink-in. So when one asks you “what about writing for the editorial section” do not say “of course, it connects with my authentic self”. That is downright ridiculous and highly theatrical. The authentic meaning of “authentic self” is being true to your self in the work or actions that you perform. Saying that you are being true to your inner personality by writing for the editorial section is a strange way of replying when the question demanded may be just a plain “yeah sure”. Now this is called being over-the-top.

There are many such examples. An alpha geek means one who is the head of the IT department. But nowadays any project leader is being termed as the alpha geek by their peers. Many a times people are unaware about the clear and defined meaning of such jargon. “Pivoting one’s business” is one of the most abused phrases of all. The expression pivot has quite a few meanings. One of it being to shift or change your business model to make the startup better and successful but it clearly does not mean to quit the present idea completely. However mostly everyone uses this term to denote their desire to radically change their business that has been resulted due to a previous business failure.

It’s high time that the lingo of startups and businesses needs to be confined to their ideal and judicial use. Over-exploitation of this language will not only make it lose its entire purpose of creation but also ruin it completely.

Adjacent possible space, innovative ideas and all that define the concept of startups

Adjacent possible space, innovative ideas and all that define the concept of startups

When it comes to startups there are two parallel hypotheses that are making a mark in the world right now. These parallel concepts have come to redefine startups in their own respective ways. Each one has brought their own perception when it comes to the question, how a startup is initiated and how it scales its way to success. The young entrepreneurs will find it interesting to connect that many a times we are actually groping for ideas. Innovative ideas are not formed out of thin air neither do startups become successful over night. Paul Graham, in his essay stated that startups are equivalent to growth. Whereas David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals states quite the opposite.

Let us see if startups are always equivalent to growth. They are but only for a few specific chances that are comparatively in fresh dwelling “shadow feature” commonly called adjacent possible. Graham gives the examples of Google and Apple that snug comfortably into the statement “Startup is equal to growth”. The hypothesis suggests that the space of ideas is the realm from where people generally pick up ideas. This space has been over-exploited and now to begin a startup one has to start with an idea that has been completely overlooked by everyone else.

General opinion is that one has to work hard to find ideas that no one else has come across but this is not entirely correct. Most founders have a unique mind-set and these ideas that no one can see seem pretty usual to them. Later they notice that these are actually world-changing ideas. Most of the time the innovation is unconsciously done. Just like Henri Becquerel had unknowingly discovered radioactivity.

However the other concept disagrees with the fact that innovations are done when one simply comes across an idea by accident. They stumble upon it after working diligently on the cutting edge that makes them see the adjacent possible. Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity not while counting the stars but when he was experimenting on X-rays. Greatest inventions have not occurred simply due to careless observation or mindless thinking.

Steven Johnson says that new ideas are not really new. They have been scraped together from the old spare ones. This explains why a number of people get the same idea in a short span of time. There are few unavoidable world-changing ideas available in the adjacent possible. Once having struck this adjacent possible space, the startup needs to be established and brought into everyone’s attention as fast as possible. This is where Paul Graham quips in; rapid growth is the path to entrenchment. However this is not the only way of flourishing. Differentiation and uniqueness in spite of being in the existing space of ideas has led many startups to the step of success like 37signals and Mailchimp. Graham is narrowing down the definition of startups to that of the ventures seeking to dominate an adjacent possible space.

Invention, discoveries and innovations are not science. They belong to the art of creativity. But then again science is an art of mind. Thus the debate between the co-linked parallel concepts will continue.

Entrepreneurs, here are some basic guidelines to start your online business

Entrepreneurs, here are some basic guidelines to start your online business

Online businesses are very convenient to earn full time or part time from any place across the world. With the emerging technologies and new tools for constructing web pages and mobile apps, you can now manage your entire web based business which includes all the transactions, customer services and everything.

Here are the few basic steps to kick start your online business:

[alert style=”green”]Use lean canvas, instead of investing hours on your business plans [/alert]

Gone are the days, when you would sit for hours and write lengthy business plans. Lean Canvas is simple, fast and convenient mode of documenting your business hypotheses by the aid of one page model in about less than 20 minutes.

[alert style=”green”]Selecting proper domain name for your online business[/alert]

Domain name of your website is very vital. It is best recommended that it should have dot-com. The perfect guide to figure out the best domain name for your website is probably Lean Domain Search, a unique tool that can assist you to select a domain name by combining your search with numerous keywords that are available as domain names.

[alert style=”green”]Selecting a right web or app developer[/alert]

Though there are dozens of web developers available, majority of them tend to offer lucrative services, but they lack the concept, about developing a web page that actually holds the business together. Thus, whenever you are searching for someone to assist you in developing your website, you need to have a clear perception about the functionality of your website, and then appointing a developer, who can assist you in building your website in the exact manner as you want. Even though outsourcing is a good idea, in case you are building an e-commerce website it is best recommended to opt for a professional in-house web developer, who is trustworthy and reliable. In case you are still confused, you can opt for Matchist, exclusively designed to accumulate the entrepreneurs and the top-notch freelance developers from U.S.

[alert style=”green”]Setting up a landing page immediately[/alert]

When your website is still under process, you should start developing buzz and gathering valuable data by setting up a landing page. With LaunchRock it becomes all the more simple and user-friendly. One can gradually gather email-addresses of visitors landing on your website, so that you can start marketing as soon as your website is launched.

[alert style=”green”]Learn more and more by testing[/alert]

Lean Startup Methodology, pioneered by Eric Ries is an unparallel option to grab up to date information on setting up a business including building as well as testing hypotheses to find out the pairing of products that can make your business successful. Blogs such as KISSMetrics, Practice Trumps Theory or Startup Lessons Learned can also help you to boost up your knowledge about the success stories of other businesses.

Numerous people have already begun their successful businesses by following these basic steps. Some of them have embraced great fortunes from their small online businesses. So, why waste your time dreaming of starting an online business? Give a headshot by implementing these basic guidelines and kickstart your small business online.

iAccelerator Program – Accelerates your chances of building an incredible startup

iAccelerator Program - Accelerates your chances of building an incredible startup

Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) set up at IIM- Ahmedabad has brought forward an initiative that serves the purpose of assisting and nurturing new startups that are technically able and come under the Internet and Mobile related startup domain in India. iAccelerator, the program started by CIIE has been playing its role of a mentor efficiently since the year 2009 and has mentored 34 startups till now that have found their way successfully in not only India but also the global market. It does a significant task of setting up well developed, technically efficient and financially flourishing businesses in the country.

iAccelerator Program – Accelerates your chances of building an incredible startup

It is a 3-month based residential curriculum that using its expertise and extensive network grooms the startups in such a manner so that they can satisfy the customer requirements and evolve to be a profitable organization. iAccelerator will commence from 2nd September 2013 to 30th November 2013. The chosen startups are required to shift their base to CIIE at IIM-A for those three months and undergo meticulous training with regards to infrastructure, business model as well as investment. After these three months on the last day, which is called the demo day investors, young entrepreneurs, mentors and media, are present. Thus CIIE provides a great launching platform for the startups where the entire business plan needs to be presented in front of everyone.

CIIE assists the entrepreneurs financially by providing 5-6 lakh rupees for investment. Office space and infrastructure are allotted during bootcamp. From designing user interface to obtaining the confidence of customers to creating prodigal business models CIIE trains them in all aspects. Individual mentoring and tutoring is done in terms of sales, marketing, technical areas, innovation, legal liabilities, etc. This initiative helps in producing remarkable products. In case the products have already been developed this program teaches the entrepreneurs to perfect them and build a thriving customer base.

The last month mainly revolves around the lessons on venture capital investment, grooming for the presentation for the demo day and meetings that take place with prospective investors, etc. The final demo day brings with it enormous opportunities of securing a lump sum amount of funding from investors.

iAccelerator Program – Accelerates your chances of building an incredible startup

iAccelerator is a potential chance for all technological startups related to Internet and Mobile domains to uplift their possibility of flourishing in the market. All that is required is an innovative design, a dream in your eyes and a desire to succeed. The rest of the aspects of a startup will be taken care of by CIIE. The last date of applying is 15th July. Come forward and apply for the iAccelerator program and accelerate your chances of building an incredible startup.

Few good reasons why you should bootstrap your business

Few good reasons why you should bootstrap your business

Have you got a brilliant idea? Are you ready to roll out your startup? Do you have all the necessary knowledge and technical expertise? Are you still unsure whether your startup can be conveniently funded or not? If the answers to these questions are yes then you need to be familiarized with the advantages of bootstrapping. Many a times young entrepreneurs, instead of relying on investors to provide the capital for their startups, fund their own businesses. They begin their ventures using minimum capital and proceed independently towards their ultimate goal.

The only reason behind bootstrapping is not just the unavailability of proper funding. Working autonomously might be a primal motive too. When one has the pressure of pleasing their investors the creative and technical aspect of their products might be sacrificed for the financial profits. Thus delivering an average quality product. However when you are the boss you solve problems, handle everything your own way. Being the sole investor/developer/founder your responsibilities towards your project multiplies and everyone knows that a responsible and dedicated person is bound to succeed.

When there are many investors to back you up, you might not be as cautious or enthusiastic since you know there will be incoming money at all times. But with one’s own capital at stake there will be an urge to do things on time as every second is worth a penny. Investing smaller capital means lesser chance of faltering in financial terms and more consideration on improving the quality of products. You tend to give more attention to your final product and offer better service to your customers.

There are many advantages of bootstrapping. When a budding entrepreneur bootstraps he/she learns important lessons such as how to perform every task cost-effectively and also learns to value money. Utilizing the right resources and maximizing them becomes one of his objectives. When you hold the strings of the purse and have a constrained budget there is an increasing stress to deliver the output quickly. This is very crucial otherwise once you start procrastinating there is a very slight chance that your startup is going to prosper.

This concept of bootstrapping clears you of all sorts of obligations. You do not have to answer to your investors for any changes you make and in case the startup suffers an amount of loss the investors need not determine your next step. With your own funded small-scale startup you take steps calculatedly and the chances of suffering a huge loss is minimized. The best thing to do is bootstrap your venture in the initial period, work towards delivering best products, achieve your desired business model and then either continue flying solo or look for investors.

You might have to cut down on the expenses, work from home, gain a part-time job, borrow loan from the bank or run small errands for friends or neighbors but all these are going to ultimately benefit you and save your time and energy which would have been spent hunting out for investment from others. If Microsoft, Apple or Amazon could make it big by bootstrapping then so can you.

Gibbon – A smart segment in social learning platform

Gibbon - A smart segment in social learning platform

Remember the evenings and nights before the exams how you would revise your lessons as well as spend hours explaining topics to your friends or when you don’t understand something in the class lecture you would immediately ask your friend to teach you the portions your brain missed out. Well learning and teaching has been a mutual process for centuries. Gibbon has effectively brought this concept to the cyber world. Teaching a topic as well as learning something of interest was never this easy before.

Suppose you need to gather information and gain knowledge about a certain topic say “Web Technology”. Simply browsing about this topic over the Internet might throw to you multiple posts on that specific topic but how will you know which ones to read and which ones will be most useful to you. Now if someone who is an expert on the subject Web Technology already has a section compiled for you that has all those necessary posts you might require to study, isn’t your life made much easier?
Gibbon - A smart segment in social learning platform This is exactly what Gibbon does. It is an interactive platform that gives its users a chance to learn topics easily and also to propagate their knowledge by teaching others in turn. The sign up process is easy. Sign up with your Email id or Twitter account and start creating learning flow. Once you’ve decided what topic you wish to teach you can go ahead and collect learn drops, which are nothing but articles, books or videos that are a great help in learning the specific topic. Add matter and bookmarks to the topic and the only thing left is to invite people to read your notes. Finally you are an accomplished teacher.

If you start learning on a specific topic you become a student of the person who composed that entire learning flow. Here Gibbon also adds a fun element to this teaching-learning experience by introducing the age-old feature of competing. You will be judged as per the amount of posts you have completed reading and then awarded a rank accordingly. This would make you want to finish reading as fast as you can and complete more numbers of learning flows. Additionally, if you find the posts useful then you can let the author know that the knowledge-base was useful.

For all those who love to learn new things Gibbon is the right place to head to. And for all the budding teachers and experts start sharing your knowledge after all “In vain have you acquired knowledge if you have not imparted it to the others”.

Pakistani Prepaid Cards Hacker Sentenced in Brooklyn

Pakistani Prepaid Cards Hacker Sentenced in Brooklyn

On last Friday, a Pakistani man who was involved in hacking two multi-million dollar ATMS, by attacking debit card processors was finally convicted to eighteen months of prison in the federal court of Brooklyn.

Imran Elahi was affirmed to be guilty mainly for his involvement in a hacking of about $14 million against the Fidelity Information Services recently in 2011, and another heist in 2008 of $9 million involving RBS WorldPay.

Surprisingly, these crimes resemble closely to the heist that occurred last month involving $45 million of global ATM unveiled by Brooklyn federal prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch thereby accused about eight defendants who were using stolen debit cards at thousands of automatic teller machines all across the world for a certain period of hours arranging the unified global attacks. The exploitation programs, enabled them to withdraw a wholesome amount of cash in almost no time using several cards  from MasterCard Inc (MA.N), Bank Muscat of Oman, National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah PSC issued prepaid debit cards, as well as the United Arab Emirates RAKBANK. In just about 10 hours, they could draw about $ 40 million cash as declared in reports.

As per the reports, Elahi was largely involved in scattering the debit card numbers, to the payees in Mexico and other locations. In the short span of 7-8 years, Elahi has targeted around 360 financial institutes and gained not less than $$250,000 to $300,000.

During his conviction on Friday, Elahi was deeply remorseful and co-operative with the government. With passage of time, if he is repentant and polite, he might be released unhesitatingly without a delay so that he can reunite with his family in Pakistan.

It is not clearly revealed by Lynch’s office if there is any correspondence of Elahi’s assistance and hit in May. The ringleaders of the cybercrime as well as the country they are located at, still remain untangled and publicly unidentified. However, Elahi accepted all the charges of connecting with the heists, accessing the technical systems of the payment processors that operated the prepaid debit cards for the financial organizations and banks and governing the expansion of balance available as well as withdrawal limits on specific cards.

LurnQ – One smart learning platform you should definitely check out

LurnQ - One smart learning platform you should definitely check out

Since the past decade, the very concept of learning has transformed rapidly with the advent of digital learning. Nowadays, there are several reputed institutes all across the globe, that offer distance learning programs through which one can achieve specialization and skills without being physically present for the classroom lecture. Thus, it is less time consuming as well as economical!

With several e-learning platforms, you can now polish your skills and knowledge. By installing the free e-learning apps on your mobile or tablets or by playing various educational games too, you can engage yourself in active learning process even while you are on the move. However, the learning process becomes all the more enhanced and exciting when experts are actively involved in the process making it more social. Looking at this segment, I stumbled upon LurnQ, a social learning online platform.

LurnQ - Learn things you are interested in

With numerous intelligent minds collaborating and exchanging their knowledge through blogs and forums, LurnQ is designed to make your learning experience more pleasurable and joyous. This educational app collects all the valuable contents from web, and filters them on the basis of reader’s preferences and develops a simple news feed of the relevant data and this way it offers the perfect reading solution for curious folks.

After looking at the previous online learning apps like Open Learning, Function Space, and few others; LurnQ is an open learning platform for people interested in expanding their knowledge about any topics. Learning is always fun in an interactive manner. With LurnQ, you can interact with different minds having common interest. Apart from getting the feeds from dozens of subjects available, one can also create lessons and explore them.  All you need to do is simply register yourself, and then you can start following the news topics that arrest your attention!

So what are you waiting for? Give it a try and start exploring new dimensions of open learning.

Snoox – Helps you see recommendations by your friends

Snoox - Helps you see recommendations by your friends

Tired of surfing the web for reviews every time you plan to buy a new book or try out a brand new restaurant? Exhausted of going through the papers every morning to decide whether you should go for the recent batman movie or the fun-filled romantic comedy? Confused by the vast range of fashionable attires and accessories available in the stores? Fear not, you can always ask your friends. After all a friend in need is a friend indeed. And this is where Snoox comes in. Imagine a place where all your friends post their recent and favorite books, movies, restaurants or products recommendations and all you have to do are just go through them and directly buy them or book seats. A wonderful idea indeed!

Snoox is an interactive platform where you recommend and your friends refer to that. A very simple yet engaging and helpful thought. Snoox lets you connect with your friends on social networking sites or simply via email and as soon as you join it you can post your own reviews. Remember that refreshing book you read in the summer, may be you could put that up in your “Collection”. Just write the reason why you find it awesome, upload a picture that would be suitable for its cover and entitle the category it falls under. Voila! You have a new addition to your collection. Now your friends can see it and benefit from the information.

Snoox - Helps you see recommendations by your friends

In this way you can add the last restaurant you visited with its necessary details, the new scarf you bought from an online shopping portal, a new baby lotion that is used by your niece, latest technological gadgets, games or amazing places to visit. You can beautify your collection by personalizing the background. Your friends are all experts in their own respective fields so why not add them as the specialists for future reference. Doing this you can check their recommendations directly and more swiftly.

The home feed lists the recommendations made by your friends, your friends’ friends, your friends’ friends’ friends’ et cetera. If you like a particular book or movie why not buy them at that very instant. Snoox collaborates with shopping portals such as Amazon, iTunes, Asos and more. It gives you the opportunity to buy, reserve seats, book tickets at one go. Isn’t this an enticing way to experience new things? So sign up with Snoox using your email id or simply via logging in Facebook and start recommending. Oh and don’t forget to recommend Snoox to your friends.

Square Inc. hires Gokul Rajaram, the ‘Godfather’ of AdSense

Square Inc. hires Gokul Rajaram, the 'Godfather' of AdSense

On June 27, 2013 the young online-payments company Square announced a new hire Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s former director of Ad products, as it’s product engineering lead. Gokul Rajaram will start working at the San Francisco based company next week after working with Facebook for 3 pivotal years.

Square, with hundreds of millions in funding and a $3.25-billion valuation has recently released a couple of high-profile products including a new online marketplace for merchants and Square Register, which allows brick-and-mortar retailers to use an Apple iPad as a cash register. Mr.Rajaram will be overseeing Square Register, the firm’s point-of-sale product for retailers, Square announced on thursday.

Rajaram led the team that created all the advertising products on Facebook since September 2010, playing a crucial role in supervising the development of new Ad products and was instrumental in Facebook’s acquisition of Microsoft’s ad server “Atlas”. Rajaram founded Chai Labs which was bought by Facebook in August of 2010. Before that, he was Product Management Director for Google AdSense where he was dubbed the “Godfather” of Adsense playing a role in the acquisition of DoubleClick.

“Gokul has played a valuable part in building our advertising business. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors,” Facebook said in a statement.

Facebook has been under pressure to prove the effectiveness of advertising to boost its stock price which remains far below the $38-a-share price of its May 2012 initial public offering. Advertising accounts for about 85% of Facebook’s revenue. The absence of Mr.Rajaram will be keenly felt with the number of facebook users increasing on smartphones. Facebook revealed that Mike Hudack, who worked on Rajaram’s team will step into his role as head of product management. Brian Wieser, a significant

Research group analyst advised the Facebook investors to be calm. Mike Hudack was the co-founder and chief executive of Blip.tv before joining Facebook and has experience working with major brands in New York.

Mr.Rajaram said in an email statement, “I’ve been fortunate to work for two mission-driven, world-changing companies, and Square’s vision and passion for helping businesses grow is inspiring. I’m thrilled to join the team and help build amazing products that drive economic growth and empower local businesses around the world.”

Gokul Rajaram’s arrival in the company is not the only notable hire as the company has announced a series of pivotal hires in the past including hiring former PayPal exec Alex Petrov as its President of Partnerships, ex-Googler Francoise Brougher to help it with biz dev stuff and former Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis to handle international government, regulatory and policy work.

Adobe acquires Paris based Neolane for $600 million in cash

Adobe acquires Paris based cross-channel campaign management technology Neolane for $600 million

The latest buzz humming the digital media market, is the announcement made on Thursday by Adobe Systems incorporated (ADBE.O) to acquire ‘CRM Watchlist 2013’ winner, Neolane (privately held digital marketing service provider) by for $600 million.

Neolane, a French company whose clients include Barnes & Noble and Bridgestone, specializes in providing a platform that helps marketers manage their marketing across various channels such as Web, social networks, mobile and point of sale. Adobe plans to fold it into its marketing cloud division, which already offers services like analysis, social advertising, targeting, and web experience management solutions.

Adobe, better known for its photo editing software such as Photoshop, has struck a number of deals for marketing-related companies, including Omniture in 2009, Day software in 2010, Demdex and Auditude in 2011 and Efficient Frontier in 2012. Neolane will be its sixth established marketing service provider. Adobe is gradually making its move in digital media market and trying to capture a substantial percentage of the market share.

Seeing Adobe’s aggressive acquisitions over the past years, other companies are also making a big move to associate with the fast-growing areas of online marketing. It has been established that earlier this month, Salesforce.com agreed to buy ExactTarget for $2.5 billion, paying 53 % premium for the digital marketing firm.

John Mellor, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for Adobe’s digital marketing business said in an interview, “I don’t want to walk into a CMO’s office and just talk about digital marketing. They don’t think of it that way. People want to coordinate all this stuff together.”

Brad Rencher, Adobe’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Marketing further explained in a blog post about the acquisition: “This is a critical addition to our complete set of analytics, targeting, social, content management and media optimization solutions. Neolane will integrate with our solutions to empower cross-channel and highly personalized campaign management across the web, email, social, mobile, point of sale, direct mail, call center and other emerging channels. The combination of Adobe and Neolane will give customers richer customer profiles, greater activation of social and mobile data, better definition of highly valuable customer segments, and more sophisticated automation and execution platforms. Many customers already rely on both, Adobe and Neolane, and will benefit from further integration between the Adobe Marketing Cloud and Neolane’s cross-channel capabilities.”

The deal is expected to close in July. Adobe’s shares rose by a fraction before the deal was announced, to $45.93, down a bit from a recent high of $47.01 reached in May. Furthermore, Adobe said it doesn’t expect the addition to materially affect its revenue forecast this year. Neolane’s CEO, Stephane Dehoche, will continue to lead the former Neolane team as a part of Adobe’s digital marketing business.

Flat.to – Helps students to find accommodation nearby their colleges

Flat.to - Helps students to find accomodation nearby their colleges

Searching for the right place, a home away from home, for a student in a new city is the most daunting and haunting task. With the disorganized and unstructured market of agents and brokers of the real estate sector in Mumbai, it becomes very difficult and expensive for the students to find the right broker and safe place to live. This task has also been simplified with the advent of technology. Now, you can find an apartment near your vicinity of college via Flat.to

Flat.to will search the flats best suited to you and find you a home. It makes the rental process easier for the students who are looking for flats for rent for the first time with no references in the city. The online platform provides you with its trusted brokers who help you find the right place nearby your university or college.

Flat.to - Helps students to find accommodation nearby their colleges

With the rising prices in Mumbai, one is juiced out in searching the perfect flat for oneself. Finding a place to live in Mumbai can be a displeasing experience. One might have to face many painful experiences and then end up in disappointment. Flat.to makes the search simple and gives you fruitful results. It not only finds you affordable flats in the area nearby your college, but ensures the quality of the flats. This online web app deals exclusively with the students but they entertain families too.

The house-hunting process begins with a broker showing you some flats, and then you can select the flat you like. With the finalization of the flat, the terms and conditions are discussed and agreed upon. The students would have to pay a deposit which maybe upto 1-2 lakh and a one month rent-equivalent as brokerage charge for a year’s stay besides the rent.

Flat.to - Helps students to find accommodation nearby their colleges

So, what are you waiting for? This online app not only gives you your perfect home but also eliminates the infamous painful house-hunting. Give an end to the stressful house-hunting process and try this smart solution!

Textcook – Amazingly simple tool to find recipes with the ingredients you already have

Textcook - Amazingly simple tool to find recipes with the ingredients you already have

Have limited grocery in your kitchen? Lazy to go to the market and too hungry for such a task with a craving for home-cooked food? Can’t think of a recipe that you can cook with what is available in the kitchen? Don’t worry, here is a respite to your problem – Textcook; a simple and serene web portal that enables you to enter the ingredients and as an output provide you with yummy dishes that one can gorge on!

Textcook solves the problem of figuring out what to cook with the groceries in your kitchen. It extraordinarily creates mouth-watering meal menus instantly, giving you an unforgettable experience.

Textcook - Amazingly simple tool to find recipes with the ingredients you already have

Needless to say, Textcook can be easily accessed by any visitor. There is no requirement of any kind of sign up’s from any visitor. The user can just visit the site and start the process. The ingredients, with which you can readily cook, can be typed line-by-line in the search box of the homepage resulting in a number of recipes that can be made using those ingredients.

Moreover, if a recipe must contain an ingredient compulsorily, then that ingredient should be followed by a ‘+’ sign (spaces not included). Whereas, if a recipe should strictly not contain any ingredient than it must be followed by a ‘-‘sign or simply a ‘no’. Textcook allows any type of measurement and abbreviations, giving recipes having ingredients of that amount or less.

This online platform is undoubtedly amazing, it saves you time and it has a clean, simple, and attractive interface. No need of the hassles of going to different recipe sites. This is a one place solution to savour your taste buds with your favourite ingredients and seasonings. So, if you are not sure what to do with the ingredients in your kitchen; Try Textcook, you’ll be thoroughly amazed!

Kloudless – Not another cloud storage service

Kloudless - Not another cloud storage service

Its been through the early internet times till today that most of us have been facing the problem of storing and sharing files online. Majority of the email accounts have limited file size, which turn out to be pain in the ___ while sharing multimedia files, which are usually of huge sizes. The online storage services then came as a  blessing for people. Once you save your data backup over the internet, there is no more pain in the ___ during hard disk crashes, and sharing files of large sizes with your peers.

Nowadays with the availability of several online file storage services and tools, it can be difficult to evaluate the best option that complies perfectly with your storage needs. Three things are very essential while choosing the proper online storage services: The actual storage needs, the type of files one usually shares, and the security of these confidential data. However, if you are looking for a convenient option to move your valuable data between the email inbox and your online storage services, Kloudless is probably the best option for you.

KloudlessKloudless is a web service, started out in 2011 with the sole aim of developing a secured connection among the numerous online storage service providers, in order to make the cloud storage services even more chop-chop. It works best with Gmail, Outlook, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive i.e. you can automatically transfer your email attachments to any of these cloud storages without any hassles or hazards. Let us explore the some of the great features of Kloudless:

  • Smart indicators that allow you to access your data from your cloud storage services (uploading, downloading and sharing files) even in a more simple and easy way.
  • You can share the data directly from your favorite online storage services by using Kloudless through emails.
  • It’s safe and secured to share your data via Kloudless, as the files can be shared via links with password protection.
  • Want to move your data to another online storage services? Kloudless will make it all the simpler for you.
  • Thus, no matter which cloud storage service are you fond of. Install the free Kloudless Beta for your chrome today, and enjoy sharing or storing your files more smoothly and securely.

So rather than shifting to a new cloud storage, Kloudless gives you a chance to make the best use of your existing service. Give it a spin, and let us know what do you think.

MoozUp Lite- Complete event networking solution on your mobile

Moozup Lite- Complete event networking solution on your mobile

Here is some great news for all the event organizers. Mera Events brings you yet another innovative and mind boggling application that will bring a 360 degree change in the functioning of the entire events industry of India. This is an application backed by Versant Online Solutions.

After the success of Mera Events, the team has come up with an eco-green application called – MoozUp Lite. The mobile app is a lighter version of MoozUp (primary segment).  Aiming towards engaging the scattered market of events in India, the app focuses on providing an all-in-all mobile event guide  for the industry.

Go Green (Moozup Lite)Now why do we call it an eco-green app? Yeah, the same question made us take a glance at deeper levels to find the answer. Firstly, the app eliminates the need of piles of papers required in any kind of event in the form of brochures, pamphlets, or documents. Secondly, the complete event updates are done over the cloud – right from educational workshops to theater classics, the attendees can be informed about the venue and other details from one single source. This certainly reduces the hassle caused due to the last minute decisions.

The app provides a complete interface for delegate’s to access entire event information like the agenda, speakers, sponsors and exhibitor profiles thereby giving an instant ability to engage into conversations. Additionally, organizers have an option of  adding different layouts for their events making it more personalized according to their website interface.

Looking at the ‘money-part’, the service has three pricing plans – Standard, Premium and Enterprise. The Standard plan offers you with 10-100 attendees, branding and logo, and a limit of 200 SMS and 300 Emails in just $49. The Premium plan offers 100-500 Attendees, Branding and logo, Training and support, Website Integration and a limit of 1000 SMS and 2000 Emails in just $99. Whereas, the Enterprise plan gives you 500-2000 attendees, branding and logo , training and support, website integration and a limit of 2000 SMS and 5000 emails in just $199.

MoozUp Lite is definitely the next generation event guide providing a green approach, playing a huge role for the benefit of environment. It provides the event organizers not just tremendous cost savings but also helps them create a sustainable green event. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try and experience a clean approach of organizing your events.

For Android users:

[googleplay url=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.versant.moozup”]

For iOS users:

[app url=”https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/moozup/id545570698″]

Saudi Arabia plans to ban WhatsApp & Skype

Saudi Arabia plans to ban WhatsApp & Skype

In the era of 21st century technology has become an indispensable tool which has brought people together. The world is becoming a smaller place with the use of applications such as WhatsApp and Skype. These are the two core competent applications that enable people to connect with one another worldwide.

With about 10 billion messages being handled by WhatsApp and Skype, having more than 663 million registered user base, the two play important role in connecting businesses and people from different corners of the world. But Saudi Arabia is planning to ban these two applications in their country.

In a few weeks, Saudi Arabia’s global internet censorship body plans to ban and block the two apps if the U.S.-based firm fails to comply with requirements set by the kingdom’s telecom regulator, as reported by the local newspapers this week.

The CITC (Communication and Information Technology Commission), the Saudi Communications authority banned Viber, another app on the same page as of WhatsApp and Skype. According to the CITC statistics, Mobile penetration was 188 % by the end of 2012. Also, Saudi Arabia now has 15.8 million Internet subscribers and the average user watches three times as many online videos per day as counterparts in the United States, according to YouTube.

Abdullah Al-Darrab, Governor of CITC, recently said, “We have been communicating with WhatsApp and other similar communication platforms to get them to cooperate and comply with the Saudi telecom providers, however nothing has come of this communication yet”.

Also, Saudi Arabia’s three main operators namely, Saudi Telecom Co, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi had been asked to inform CITC, whether they are able to monitor or block such Internet-based applications. The telecom operators in Saudi Arabia host around nine million expatriates. The regulator issued a directive in March saying tools such as Viber, WhatsApp and Skype broke local laws, without much specification.

The analysts say that the use of such applications to communicate with relatives residing in other countries is rapidly increasing among the foreign workers. And such tools are necessary for the common people that enable them to keep in touch with their dear ones.