Here's What We've Been Reading

Tech

“This 20-Year-Old Inventor Said He Could Clean Up The Ocean—Now He's Really Doing It” by Ben Schiller - FastCompany

Why we read it: Cleaning up our oceans is a global problem that people love to complain about, yet these same people never seem to propose any tangible solutions. Boyan Slat, a 20-year old from Holland, has envisioned an enormous floating “boom” that may have the ability to collect trash via ocean currents. Audacious and intriguing, I must say.

“A Practical Vision For The Hyperloop Experience” by Mark Wilson - FastCompany

 

Why we read it: A few years back Elon Musk proposed what seemed like a wonderfully outlandish design for futuristic transportation called the Hyperloop which could theoretically launch passengers in an aerodynamic metal tube around the country at 760 MPH. Radical, to say the least. However, Musk kept the Hyperloop as an open-source white paper and now the Austin-based consultancy firm Argodesign has taken a stab at potential designs--take a look for yourself.

 

“New Bionic Lens Could Give You Perfect Vision For The Rest Of Your Life” by Lori Zimmer - Inhabitat

 

Why we read it: Ever dreamed of having superhuman vision? Well, you may be in luck thanks to a bionic lens created by Ocumetics Technology Corp that supposedly can provide the visually-impaired with some serious seeing-power.

 

“For a month, I got everything on demand – including angst about jobs” by Scott Kirsner - BetaBoston

Why we read it: What we know for sure; the apps which comprise the prolific on-demand economy have made it incredibly easy to accomplish daily tasks with one press of a button. This is an exciting reality for consumers who now have more time to focus on more pressing matters, but is it an economically viable model for the millions of people who have decided to serve as the freelancers who power this burgeoning industry?

 

Health

 

“Desk Workers Need To Stand Four Hours Per Day” - Reuters

Why we read it: Finally, a legitimate study explaining the ill effects of the sedentary office life. Most of us lament the depressing reality of our daily office existence, i.e. sitting like zombies for 8+ hours a day, yet now researchers have illuminated the long-term, detrimental health effects of “prolonged sitting.” In colloquial terms, we should all be engaging in purposeful exercise for 2-4 hours a day--is that even possible?

 

“How To Spend The First 10 Minutes Of Your Day” by Ron Friedman - Harvard Business Review

 

Why we read it: In case you didn’t fully absorb the dire circumstances of the stagnant cubicle life, here’s a piece on how to transform your soporific early-morning tendencies into the precise efficiency of a well-oiled machine; in summary, expose your inner-Type A self.

 

Finance

 

“Is Crowdfunding Leveling The Playing Field For Female Entrepreneurs?” by Lydia Dishman - FastCompany

Why we read it: It is an unfortunate truth that female entrepreneurs--despite owning 9.1 million businesses in the US--do not receive equal treatment when it comes to fundraising. This glaring gender gap within fundraising demonstrates the many biases, both conscious and subconscious, which permeate the traditional financing process of going to banks for loans or pitching to VCs. Luckily, there is an emerging channel of fundraising which seems to be slowly bridging the gap, and that is crowdfunding.

“Seed Is the New Series A” – Making Sense of the Confusion” by Rob Go - NextView Ventures

Why we read it: NextView’s Rob Go provides an excellent analysis on the largely malleable parameters behind seed and Series A rounds. In the end, Go argues that company milestones are infinitely more important to VCs than fundraising nomenclature.

Your favorite A.I.

This iLab App Can Peg Your Personality–And Help You Communicate Better With Co-Workers” by Rebecca Strong - BostInno

Why we read it: Ever wish you could communicate more effectively with others over email? Meet Crystal; she can help you craft your emails in a more informed manner by aggregating all public data available on the recipient of your message, evaluating the data, and matching it to one of 64 personality types. The future is now.

 

“Can’t hire an assistant to do your scheduling? Perhaps you need a robot” by Janelle Nanos - BetaBoston

Why we read it: If you thought Crystal’s personality detection capability was a bit unnerving, than you’ll truly be perturbed by Amy, the personal assistant bot. Leaving personal feelings behind, Amy has the potential to be a game changer when it comes to taking the lead on onerous email communications, and in particular, scheduling meetings. All the digital assistant needs is a few input preferences from the user--and poof--she’s off to the races, selflessly shouldering your scheduling burdens.

Advice

“The Press Release Is Dead — Use This Instead” by Mike Butcher - TechCrunch

Why we read it: This is a biting, yet predominantly useful template on many approaches to pitch your startup to journalists now that the traditional press release “is dead.” (scroll towards the bottom).