Reverse Engineering a Startup

Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff

The following story of “Ruby” reverse engineering a startup based on market conditions, industry trends, and nascent investor fads is taken from Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff.
One of the smartest technologists I know, a young woman from the West Coast I’ll call Ruby, decided to launch a company on a whim. Ruby did exhaustive research on emerging interests and keywords in the technology and business press, as well as conference topics and TED subjects. What were venture capitalists getting interested in? Moreover, what sorts of technical skills would be valuable to those industries? For instance, if she concluded that big data was in ascendance, then she would not only launch a startup related to big data but also make sure she created competencies that big data firms required, such as data visualization or factor analysis. This way, even if her company’s primary offering failed, it would still be valuable as an acquisition—for either its skills or its talent, which would be in high demand if her bet on the growing sector proved correct.
She ultimately chose geolocation services as the growing field. She assembled teams to build a few apps that depended on geolocation—less because the apps themselves were terrific (though she wouldn’t complain if one became a hit) than because of the capabilities those apps could offer to potential acquirers. Working on them also forced her team to develop marketable competencies as well as a handful of patentable solutions in a growing field with many problems to solve. The company was purchased, for a whole lot, by a much larger technology player looking to incorporate geolocation into its software and platforms. The employees, founder, and inventors who believed in her are now all wealthy people.
E-commerce using Elasticsearch
And Machine Learing
Last night, I attended an Elastic meetup hosted by HBC Digital. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. This meetup provided one of those “aha” moments. It is possible to build a local search engine using elasticsearch. This search engine would incorporate e-commerce and machine learning.

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Interview with Educator Dr. Steve Perry (Part I)

Dr. Steve is founder of Capital Preparatory Schools which included Capital Prep Harlem and Capital Prep Harbor in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He also founded the Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut.
Dr. Perry has been featured on MSNBC, Fox, CNN, Al Jazeera, TV One, BET and NBC as well as on the Oprah Winfrey network in multiple shows.

Terrance Jackson: What would you like people to know about Capital Prep Harlem?
Dr. Steve Perry: I would like them to know that it is a year-round college preparatory grade 6-12 school with a theme of social justice and the expectation that every single child that graduates will go on to a 4 year college.

TJ: What was it like working with Sean “P Diddy” Combs?
SP: We still work together, so it’s good. It gave me the opportunity to have somebody that I deeply respect from another industry. Learn from some of the things that he’s done to build out his organization and to provide for the community. And to be able to share what it is that I learned as it specifically relates to children and how we have grown our model to support the community.

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William “Billy” Thomas: Denzel Washington Mentor and Mount Vernon Legend

Billy Thomas Way

William “Billy” Thomas began working at the Mount Vernon Boys’ Club (MVBC) in 1955. Over the next 22 years he rose from athletic to program to camp and finally to Executive Director. In 1968, he was drafted into the United States Army and serve in Vietnam. Mr. Thomas also worked for over 20 years in the New Rochelle School District as a special education teacher.
ACBAW

From left, Saleem Sullivan, president of the board, curator Billy Thomas and treasurer Ennis Bennett at the center in Mount Vernon Jan. 3, 2017. (Photo: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)

Mr. Thomas is currently the curator of an exhibit at The  (AC-BAW) that marks the organization’s 40th year. The exhibit features gallery-sized commemorative U.S. Postal Service stamps that heralds the achievements of 173 African Americans.

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Northeast STEM Starter Academy

The mission of Northeast STEM Starter Academy (NSSA) is to introduce the marvels of technology and science (STEM) to underserved children through a cutting-edge informal educational center.

Based on recent events, NSSA considers themselves one step closer to realizing a building that will allow them to host a science and technology center enabling the engagement of all 9000 students in the Mount Vernon Public School System twice each school year. The three-hour educational tour for every student in every school of the planned facility will provide access and exposure to state-of-the-art interactive displays and exhibits, science and technology labs, tech-theater, classrooms and many other exciting elements that can change the lives of youngsters eager to learn and pursue careers within the STEM field. While the initial tour of the facility will get their attention, a collection of after-school, weekend and summer learning programs will be available to empower them to see and realize their future as doctors, scientist, engineers, technologists and astronauts.
NSSA has received support from the local school district. Dr. Kenneth Hamilton took over the Mount Vernon city school district as superintendent in August 2014, and some of the first conversations he had with colleagues were about expanding students’ access to STEM.

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Sadat X and Will Tell are Serious about Wine

Sadat X and Will Tell

Sadat X and Will Tell at Apricots & Honey Wine and Spirits in Mount Vernon, NY

I caught a Facebook post about Hip Hop God Sadat X and legendary Hip Hop producer Will Tell being at Apricots & Honey Wine and Spirits for a wine tasting. I thought it might be interesting since I never seen a wine label quite like this before. Both their red and white wines turned out to be very good, but the story behind the wine turned out to be far more fascinating.

True Wine Connoisseurs

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Closing The Achievement Gap

The Forgotten Female Programmers Who Created Modern Tech

Hidden Figures

Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson grew up in Hampton, Virginia. After graduating with highest honors from high school, she then continued her education at Hampton Institute, earning her Bachelor of Science Degrees in Mathematics and Physical Science. Following graduation, Mary taught in Maryland prior to joining NASA. Mary retired from the NASA Langley Research Center in 1985 as an Aeronautical Engineer after 34 years.
Credits: NASA

Decades ago, women pioneered computer programming — but too often, that’s a part of history that even the smartest people don’t know. There is more about the pioneering women of computer programming below.
The Achievement Gap
For decades, educators have struggled to close the “achievement gap,” the persistent differences in test scores, grades and graduation rates among students of different races, ethnicities and, in some subjects, genders.
When it comes to technology skills, the U.S. comes in last place — right below Poland. In addition, there was a significant racial difference with non-whites scoring below whites.

The Genius Farm

We taught a class in Larchmont on Unity programming.
Psychologists are finding evidence that short, simple interventions can make a surprisingly large difference. Terrance Jackson, the publisher of Pistis, adopted some of these simple interventions in a class called “Creating Computer Games with Terrance Jackson” that was offered to local 5th-8th graders at Larchmont Library. The game that they created using the Unity game engine is below. Pokémon Go uses Unity. We are looking to expand this program.
Roll-a-Ball

Roll-a-Ball

Click here to play.

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Mount Vernon Magazine: Digital Ads Suck & Google is an Old Business

The new model of advertising and branding demands that companies improve public life and satisfy the needs of our higher sacred selves.

Mount Vernon Magazine

Click the image above for a rough draft of Mount Vernon Magazine.

ChartOfTheDay_709_Google_s_ad_revenue_since_2004_n
Ad Spending

Google has more revenue than all U.S. print newspapers and magazines combined.
Yet direct mail is still the biggest single direct marketing channel, worth around $45 billion a year in the US alone. But it’s increasingly clear that printed marketing communications work best when used in conjunction with digital channels such as email, personalized web pages (PURLs), database marketing, and mobile elements.

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