The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Featured event: counting down to YOW! 2014 Conference in Australia — November 17, 2014

Featured event: counting down to YOW! 2014 Conference in Australia

This is a promoted post from our friends and Kickstarter backers at YOW! Conference.

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Melbourne 4-5 December | Brisbane 8-9 December | Sydney 11-12 December

Over 2,000 tech professionals will learn from the best and are expected to attend YOW! 2014 Conference which operates across three cities, with 42+ Speakers39 Talks and 24 Workshops.

There are over 42+ national and international software authors, thought leaders and world experts presenting this year about the latest practices, technologies and methods in software development and delivery. Many speakers have not presented in Australia before so this is a great opportunity to learn from them while they are in town! You can download the list of speakers here.

Topics covered in 2014 include the latest in Agile & Lean, Microservices, Architecture & Design, Functional Programming, Big Data & Analytics, Web & UX, DevOps, Performance & Security, Mobile, and Languages.

Check out the 10 Reasons why you should attend YOW! 2014 Conference.

So your mind is made up. You’ve seen the line-up and the location. You will be attending YOW! 2014 Confence in December. Now a common challenge… how to convince your boss to let you go? You’ll find some information that will help you and your boss make an informed decision here

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To make the most of the opportunity, YOW! also offers smaller workshops with some of the visiting experts:

These workshops are a great way to learn specific skills, network and brainstorm with international field experts, local thought leaders and other talented developers about the latest practices, technologies and methods. Don’t miss out as places are limited.

Learn more about the workshops in Melbourne on 2-3 December or  Sydney on 9-10 December.

Our top 10 Startups from TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 — September 15, 2013

Our top 10 Startups from TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013

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Last week entrepreneurs from around the world descended on San Francisco for one of the most anticipated technology conferences of the year: TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013.

The event spanned five days including a 24-hour Hackathon, nearly 200 startups vying for attention in Startup Alley, and a select few competing in a Shark Tank-esque Startup Battlefield for a $50k grand prize.

Amidst the chaos of quadcopter drones, drained smartphones, and conflicting investor interests, we found 10 startups that were hustling to disrupt their respective fields. In no particular order:

1. Feed.fm – CEO Jeff Yuda presented Feed.fm as a Battlefield competitor. Feed.fm provides a turnkey legal streaming solution for websites, games, and app developers to (legally) enhance their products with popular music. Yuda dropped a powerful statistic: in their early testing, every website integrating Feed.fm saw “average time spent on site” increase by at least 20%. Without exception.

2. TidePool – In a time when people are becoming increasingly interested in quantifying the intangible, Tidepool helps users understand how their personality, thinking and mood influence their daily performance. Using state-of-the-art scientific techniques and patented technology, the app provides insight into each user’s unique personality. TidePool is co-Founded by Galen Buckwalter (the scientific founder of eHarmony) and Vamsee Nalamothu (formerly of Zynga, eBay, and PayPal).

3. Soil IQ – Soil IQ is bringing the “Internet of things” trend to urban and rural farming. They have built a soil probe that streams soil fertility and weather data back to a paired app. Founder Jason Aramburu is a Princeton grad and soil scientist who has worked with hundreds of Kenyan farmers to increase crop yields. The probes can operate on 3G or wifi and can even “mesh” together to cover large segments of farmland. Soil IQ was an obvious crowd favorite and Battlefield finalist.

4. eGood – eGood harnesses everyday purchasing power for social change. At the heart of eGood is a social good movement, powered by real-time connections via a mobile app, online community, and an in-store iPad system. Consumers check-in at eGood businesses and companies donate a percentage of sales to the charity of their choice. If it works, eGood is essentially allowing companies to divert marketing dollars directly to impactful causes without reducing their social presence.

5. Kronicle – Kronicle helps people learn seemingly complex skills and tasks by redesigning and visually breaking down information in ways never before possible. Through the combination of video, audio, images, text and, most importantly, time, the team at Kronicle has built a beautiful (and probably addictive) new learning platform.

6. Regalii – Regalii is a mobile payments system targeted towards Latin America which allows users to send money back home via SMS for the purposes of paying bills or buying groceries. Both Founders have finance backgrounds and have already received notable traction. From an investment standpoint, Regalii is poised to generate real value almost immediately.

7. Cota by Ossia – Wireless power has been a dream since Nikola Tesla’s first attempts in the late 19th century. Hatem Zeine, physicist and Founder of Cota, presented the first public demonstration of his wireless electricity prototype. He wirelessly powered a tiny light bulb and charged an iPhone 5 before a cheering crowd. He claimed that Cota is not only safe, but that it is “impossible to be dangerous.” He hopes to eliminate the concept of “charging” altogether.

8. Dryft – Dryft is a virtual keyboard for tablets named because it will drift around the screen as your fingers become slightly misplaced. It’s patented “touch tap” technology can detect whether a tablet user is resting or typing when touching the keys. The real magic of Dryft is how it minimizes errors before they even occur. By adapting to your typing style, Dryft lowers your dependence on auto-correct. Its Founders are hopeful that soon users will be able to type faster on a tablet with Dryft than they can on a physical keyboard.

9. Shine – Shine is antivirus software designed to meet and keep up with today’s threats and devices. Instead of blocking files or virus signatures like traditional antivirus software, Shine performs real-time behavioral analysis on the device itself using machine learning algorithms. New threats are identified moments after they occur. Shine then “self-heals” by walking the device backward until it’s as if the malicious attack never occurred.

10. Glow – Glow is an ambitious enterprise where for the first time ever, the emerging ability to crunch and analyze vast quantities of data will be specifically used to help women get pregnant. Bundled into this app is a premium service called Glow First, which Founder Max Levchin describes as an “opt-in mutual health financial product,” essentially a private user-funded insurance program. Currently, only the app is fully functional, but according to Levchin the ultimate vision is much grander: “let’s go fix health insurance!”

About our Ambassador // When not reporting for The Fetch, Collin Ferry is carving a path for Ergo Depot, San Francisco’s first and only ergonomic furniture studio. He recently co-piloted a national tour for IdeaMensch and has otherwise traveled all over the planet. Follow him on Twitter at @collinferry.

Image credit: Jeff Bottari/TechCrunch

Event preview: Wisdom 2.0 Live Stream — February 23, 2013

Event preview: Wisdom 2.0 Live Stream

Wisdom_2.0Wisdom 2.0 Conference in 2012

My fascination with human beings led me to pursue a career in psychiatry. At medical school I remember holding the brain of a cadaver in my hands and wondering how the multitude of human emotion and thought could be contained within a kilogram of white and grey matter. Recently, I was reminded of this while watching a short film Brain Power by Tiffany Shlain, who states that there are more synaptic connections in a babies brain than connections throughout the entire internet.

Connecting with ourselves, each other and the world, in a meaningful, compassionate way is key to our thriving. So when I discovered the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, a tech-meets mindfulness conference that explores conscious connecting, I knew I had to be there.

At a time where invisible umbilical cords attach us to our smartphones, the question of where the boundaries of self-identity are in a super-connected world becomes fascinating. At a recent Creative Innovation Conference in Melbourne, Ray Kurzweil, controversial American futurist and inventor stated, “The biological you is no more you, than the technological you.” This idea was voiced decades ago in a more Buddhist light by philosopher Alan Watts who suggested “The ‘you’ who you think you are, does not exist”. It’s a paradigm shift, but as technology progresses and becomes embedded in our clothes, our retinas, our blood cells, and our brains, we will inevitably need to make sense of what it means to be human in a world where technology is part of us.

We are still locked into thinking that we are separate from our technology.

My partner tells me I never put my phone down.

In the not too distant future, that might become as ludicrous as telling me off for “always carrying those dam hands around with me”. Has the mobile phone become an appendage that is so inextricably linked to us, it actually is us? Ray Kurzweil recounted a conversation with a Parkinson’s patient who had a computer chip implanted in his brain to help alleviate his movement difficulties. He asked the man whether he considered the chip to be a part of himself. The man was stumped.

Technology and information are developing exponentially, and we need to shift our thinking from linear to exponential to imagine our future possibilities.

With an infinite amount of information at the click of a button, our capacity to focus, discern and pay attention is becoming a survival necessity. As Ray Kurzweil describes we’re living in a time where “a child in Africa with a smartphone, has more access to information than the president of the United States did fifteen years ago”.

If we cultivate wisdom in the area of technology, there’ll be better odds that future technology will be infused with wisdom and support our thriving on the planet. As Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired Magazine states “Humans are the reproductive organs of technology”. Therefore, the wiser the human, the wiser the technology. We may be creating technology, but according to Ray Kurzweil, there will be a point in time when technology becomes smarter than its creator – he calls it the singularity. He predicts we will arrive at a point where technology becomes so sophisticated, it enables the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence.

I hope to expand my thinking this week at wisdom 2.0 and hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers about how as a species, we can ensure that we flourish rather than fade away in this age of technology.

Wisdom 2.0 conference will be livestreaming between Feb 21-24 at http://wisdom2summit.com/Live-Stream

About our ambassador // Dr Elise Bialylew is the founder of Mindful in May, a one month mindfulness meditation challenge to support people to learn about the benefits of mindfulness and help raise money to bring clean water to the developing world. Follow @mindfulinmay. Clear mind for you, clean water for others.

Event Review: Women 2.0’s PITCH NYC 2012 — December 5, 2012

Event Review: Women 2.0’s PITCH NYC 2012

What better way to welcome me to a post-#sandy NYC than heading straight to Women 2.0’s PITCH Conference. Having attended the event in the Bay Area earlier this year in February, I was excited for what the East Coast edition had in store. And wow, it certainly delivered, two and a bit weeks later and I’m still catching up from all the goodness.

The tone was set early on with the trusted and true Girl Effect video. Over 350 women (and men) sat in awe of a handful of amazing keynotes, some of which, I’ll list the highlights below.

nyc-pitch

Photo courtesy of Women 2.0’s stream

The cofounder of Cisco, Sandy Lerner, gave a heartfelt account from her early days of working in tech. She spoke about being fired from her company by the same guy who fired Steve Jobs. She mentioned it was a huge mistake that she didn’t spend time networking, building relationships and consensus. She encouraged women to believe in themselves more and build confidence when seeking investment, something she wished they did more of when starting out. They “got taken to the cleaners” when raising their initial round, giving away a third of Cisco for just $2.6M, even when the company was doing over a million in revenue a year.

“Women tend to play fair but it’s not fair game. In that same game, the men will always support each other,” Sandy quipped.

She also had an interesting perspective on the state of tech as we know it today, remarking that “Facebook is a wonderful tool, but it’s not a technology,” and has little IP associated it with.

amanda-sNext up was someone who I personally was looking forward to hearing from: Amanda Steinberg from the DailyWorth. With 400,000 subscribers now under her wing, Amanda started the company using just $25,000 in the first nine months. “As CEOs and founders, we make things way too complicated” … “With email newsletters, you can build $10, $20 or $30 worth of revenue on an email alone. It’s a simple model.”

But she also warned to play in a market that’s big enough and be disciplined with your UI design – make it as simple as possible for users to sign up.

When it came to customer acquisition, Amanda flat out said “People are lying out there in the startup and social media world”.

She recommends looking for tricks from people who have never raised money as it’ll highlight how to grow your company smartly with limited resources.

Her experiences found the following:

  • PR is only good for credibility. It’s not going to drive the traffic that will build your audience
  • Social media is not even within the 5% of where audience growth comes from at the DailyWorth
  • Don’t build ‘tell a friend’ mechanisms. It might work as part of a contest though but needs to be incentivised
  • Google and AdWords don’t really convert well

And the winners:

  • Other email channels are what work best for them
  • User growth through properties with similar audiences – “You can only barter with people who are in your club though”
  • 30-40% people are direct referrals through buzz/WOM
  • Paid advertising (through channels like Help A Reporter Out) is recommended – and you can control it
  • Growth Hacking

Finally, Sandy Jen, the cofounder and CTO at Google-acquired Meebo had some great thoughts on managing your emotional health. When you’re a leader within your company, people look to you as the anchor. They seek stability even though behind the scenes things may be rocky, and you have days when you wonder what you’re doing. Your team will take the emotions you exude to them very seriously so it’s important to keep up your smile – there’s a responsibility to uphold the spirit.

The rest of the day followed with some more solid keynotes, case studies, panel discussions and stand-out pitches. The energy was fantastic and I’d strongly recommend any female founder (as well as diversity-championing teams) to head along to future PITCH events.

About our Curator // Kate Kendall is the founder and CEO of The Fetch, a community where professionals can discover and share what’s happening in their city. Before this, Kate led product, content and digital at magazine companies, handled outreach for new startups and organised too many communities and events to mention. Follow her on Twitter at @katekendall.

Event Review: Keeping the United Nations relevant in a changing world — November 10, 2012

Event Review: Keeping the United Nations relevant in a changing world

United Nations Association of Australia Young Professionals Network Conference (October 26/27)

Close to 150 young Australians descended on Sydney to address issues of human rights, humanitarian relief and international peace at the inaugural United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) Young Professionals Network National Conference.

The UNAA Young Professionals Network is a newly founded and expanding chapter of the UNAA that aims to help every young Australian understand the positive role the UN and UNAA play in our worldwide community. The National Conference sought to recruit and inspire these delegates to lead, promote and foster the UNAA Young Professional network in every Australian state and territory.

Keeping relevant

The UNAA Young Professionals Network was initiated in 2011. The Hon. Robert Hill welcomed the creation of the UNAA Young Professionals Network, saying that if the UN wants to remain relevant, it must adapt to change. The UNAA is doing exactly that, with both the introduction of the Young Professionals Network, and most recently the conference.

The progressive mindset of the executive team is impressive. Elisabeth Shaw, the Executive Director of UNAA, encouraged the delegates to seek out opportunities to act on the challenges and ideas addressed at the conference. Rather than a call to action which championed just the United Nations, she encouraged participants to seek out opportunities with whichever organisation was appropriate. We are moving into an era of increased collaboration – by both individuals and organisations – as we realise that by working together we have the opportunity to harness each of our respective strengths.

From the ground force to the executive suites

Over the course of the two day event over 20 sessions were held. A number of very high-profile guest speakers attended and presented, including Sam McLean, the National Director at GetUp! and the Honourable Michael Kirby. Some of the particularly popular sessions were: Seeking Refuge, Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development, and Corporate Social Responsibility.

1) Seeking refugee

The ABC’s Debbie Whitmont facilitated a session with both individuals that have been refugees themselves and others that have extensive experience supporting refugees. They discussed the precursory circumstances that create refugees and the impacts of this on both individuals and broader society.

  • David Nyuol Vincent
  • Professor Stuart Rees AM, Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation
  • Ben Farrell, External Relations, UNHCR
  • John Dor Akech Achiek

2) Youth Ambassadors for Development

Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development shared their experience of living and working overseas in developing countries.

  • Kristy Fleming, Information Analyst, UN Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in Cambodia (AYAD 2004)
  • Prash Murthy, Enterprise Development Officer, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Institute, Philippines (AYAD 2008)
  • Frederic Jeanjean, UN Office of the Resident Coordinator, Laos (AYAD 2009)
  • Ming Yu, Capacity Building Trainer & Advisor, UNDP Mine Action Project, Sri Lanka (AYAD 2005)

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3) Corporate Social Responsibility

Julie McKay, Executive Director at UN Women, led a session on Corporate Social Responsibility and encouraged people to share their own experiences and opportunities. Break out groups identified best practices and effective tools for increasing the awareness of and participation in Corporate Social Responsibility activities.

Be courageous, keep it in perspective and be ready for hard work

Elisabeth Shaw summarised the event and left the audience with several themes to consider.

Courage: From individuals that have been refugees to everyday Australians – there’s opportunity for each of us to demonstrate courage by challenging issues in own life.

Perspective: It’s important to put things into perspective. There’s over 40 million refugees around the world and 80% of them are supported by developing countries. It makes the perceived challenges Australia has in terms of refugees seem relatively insignificant.

Hard work: From the youngest presenters to the ‘more fossilised’ (as Kirby described himself), all of the speakers had demonstrated discipline and hard work to make the changes in society which they were seeking.

To connect with the UNAA Young Professionals Network, you can join their Facebook Page and subscribe to The Fetch for future event updates.

About our Ambassador // Caroline McLaren is the Activator at Hub Sydney, which will be Sydney’s largest coworking space when it opens in April 2013.

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