Extending internet to the refugees: Facebook charity or marketing campaign?

In an announcement made over the weekend, Facebook claims to want to extend internet services to reach the hundreds of struggling refugees abroad. While some might be applauding the efforts made by the multi-billion dollar corporation for putting the smallest morsel of their time, energy, not to mention insurmountably large vat of expendable resources, into a charitable cause, the initiative seems to have an ulterior motive. Given the amount of money and people power it takes for broadband and technological resources to reach those within impoverished conditions – in this case the refugees – it would actually seem more reasonable, as well as considerate, to deal with the most fundamental, basic human needs first – such as food, water, shelter, ETC – over a superfluous resource such as internet connectivity. Granted, it is recognizable that in providing internet access to the refugees (the launch date for this service has still yet to be announced), it is intended be a tool for migrants to find ways to provide for themselves and locate resources on their own, better preparing them for living on the edges on western capitalism. However, there are a slew of euro-centric assumptions that are being made with the implementation of this initiative; not everyone across the globe can hop on the internet and understand how to take advantage of it, especially in a country that is not their own.

What might be more of service, Mark Zuckerberg, is to actually use your vat of financial resources to help foot the bill for more shelters to open, which could then become educational hubs for in-person workshops and lessons to provide refugees with information about survival within a different country. This would be preliminary. After food, shelter and a basic in-house survival training for the migrants is taken care of, only then would a resource, such as the internet, be of use; by this stage many of the refugees could understand more about their role in a new country, how they can contribute, what type of discrimination they will likely receive, as well as what organizations would provide aid and help for them, in addition to other information regarding next stages of the assimilation process. It would be at this point that the internet would become advantageous. Before this comprehensive understanding and basic needs are met, internet resources might actually cause a surge of chaos, at least initially, exacerbating a feeling of inadequacy, yielding more anarchy.

However, Mark Zuckerberg will not be providing survival tip workshops and lessons for refugees, let alone will he himself ever have an in-person encounter with these folks. In fact, Facebook might actually have little interest in helping with the refugee crisis at all. The globally reported migrant issue seems to be more of an opportunistic moment for Facebook to merge their Internet.org campaign with the highly politicized story, in effort to piggy-back off of the boarder-to-boarder media coverage. Simply put, the company seems to be exploiting a traumatic situation and co-opting it for their own financial gain.

Mark Zuckerberg is blatantly taking advantage of the refugee scene to advertise Internet.org, one of his newest projects released in 2013. Internet.org is a project that hopes to bring internet to some of the four billion people world-wide that do not have a voice online. While this might seem like a admirable initiative, it is rampant with cultural insensitivity, ethnocentrism, and concerns related to cultural relativism. However, I will refrain from divulging in a long-winded harangue about that here and instead, end this with a letter to Mark Zuckerberg:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg, or Mark if I may,

While I acknowledge your enthusiasm in providing internet to the refugees is coming from a place of wanting to leverage some of your privilege for those without any resources, perhaps I can offer you some advice regarding your charity efforts. For one, it is important to be sensitive of the demographic you are attempting to help. Acknowledging that sitting down in a big plush chair with a $5 wet latte to dive into eight hours of internet research is not on the top of every citizens’ list. It is important to be considerate that time to utilize the internet as a resource is a privilege in itself. Two, if you really wanted to help out I would suggest you fly yourself over there (of course on your company’s tab) and actually become involved with the culture of individuals you are are seeking to extend your services to; this way you would be able to better tailor the technology for the specific demographic for which it is being offered. Lastly, be honest, are you using the refugee’s disadvantages to leverage your newest project – Internet.org? Yes, perhaps this is one way to reach the 4 billion people who currently don’t have an online voice (and have you ever thought to yourself that there are in fact communities out there that are vehemently opposed to adopting western technology), but don’t you think there are other demographics you could launch it to first? Maybe societies where people actually have a stationary place of residence? Just some thoughts. I respect that you want to give back to your global community, but may I suggest using a bit more discernment.



How Project Management Came To Be

Project Managers and Project Management tools have both evolved, adapted, and changed over the course of the past handful of decades out of necessity, given the rate of technological advancements met with cultural expectations. However, Project Management in itself has been around since the early 1900s as projects evolved that needed a specialized skill set to meet the demands and requirements for the nuanced organizational structure a project was developed under. The skill set generally expected of such a role involves the ability to self-govern, organize, stay driven, as well as self-motivate in order to stay on top of a multiplicity of projects that require for him/ her to control the budget, human capital, communications between teams/client, and manage both resources and relationships appropriately. This position, being immersed in the thick of the internal company culture all while being in direct communication with clients, provides a unique angle to propose innovative opportunities. However, this was not always the case as the role and business model has changed tremendously from what it use to be.

Before going any further, it is important to speak to the distinct form of Project Management that is being discussed. While Project Management in itself – the role of managing “projects” – has been around for many centuries, Systematic Project Management techniques that led to the development of the project management role, often discussed today, has been developing, more or less, over the past 60 years. The development of such techniques has paralleled the development of business/organizational structures. As businesses moved out of the traditional leadership directive model of having all in-house employees following a strict line of command, into a more recursive lateral or matrix structure of shared and/or multiple points of contact for directorship, Project Management has become more autonomous in nature, and self-directive; requiring a sense of intrapeneurship. However, once again let me take one step back to discuss a little more about how it managed to get from point A to B.

While there is a lot of speculation of when the modern Project Management era began, there is general consensus that it arose sometime after WWII between 1940s – 1958. It was in 1958 that CPM/PERT was first developed. Project Management in this era established out of an increase of efficiency. As speed of communication and transportation increased, more work was getting done at a faster pace. Therefore, there was a need for more practical organization in regards to what was getting done and how, along with what resources were utilized to accomplish it. During WWII Project Management came into play in regards to the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb. It was at this point a role needed to be created to coordinate government-sponsored projects, along with tracking the resources and development of the project.

Between the years of 1958-1979 there were very computer-specific technological advancements that emerged. It was during this era, as mentioned above, that CPM/PERT Project Management tool was founded, and well as MRP (Material Requirement Planning). Organizations that used these systems hired people, who were to eventually evolve into the title of project managers, as specialists to operate such tools as “brokers of information”. In 1958, when NASA was created, and missions were led to explore space, a program office role was created that delineated what a project manager-type position entailed, which included maintenance, scheduling, contracting, developing protocols for performance, and focus. This followed the founding of some of the first Project Management software companies in the 70’s – Oracle, Artemis, Scitor Corp.

The IT sector revolution took off in the 80’s, eventually demanding people to multitask on personal computers. The development of the personal computer, away from the mainframe computer system, made Project Management techniques more accessible, allowing the role to be considered by individuals who were not only computer engineers. As company culture and organization dynamics began to play even more important role in team cohesion and project oversight, Project Management became essential for solidifying goals, costs, schedules, metrics and communication.

The efficiency of the internet enhanced the need for not only Project Management skills but flexibility in those skills, in effort to be adaptable to the increased diversity that was experienced with the advent of the internet. With the adoption of internet technology for Project Management tools, creating virtual and web-based project offices, managing and controlling teams as well as projects became that more productive. Today Project Management continues to be ever more demanding requiring versatility and the ability to manage multiple moving parts at once, with success. Fortunately, with the plethora of PM tools available these days, no one has to do it on there own.

The Ashley Madison scandal, a violation and a reminder about security

Password cracking has become somewhat of a modern day past time, given the advancements that have been made in technology. Specifically, in the past five years there have been more privacy and password breaches than in the previous handful of decades combined. That is an exponential increase that makes us all exponentially at risk. Something that has paralleled this increase has been password reuse, which unfortunately correlates with network vulnerability.

Privacy and security on the internet have been two of the main themes passed around in discourse regarding the internet and personal identity for sometime now. This discussion has had a resurgence recently due to the Ashley Madison password crack, where a sophisticated group of hackers known as the Impact Team broke into the website that connects married individuals with others seeking extramarital sexual engagement and exposed all the user’s private information to the world. Now, this scenario obviously is a breeding ground for public shamming, as well as philosophical disputes regarding the principles of cause and effect. However, the focus of this article will not be on moral code, given the internet already consists of copious articles that ridicules and denigrates many of these innocent people who simply were engaging in their birth right – Freedom of Choice. Sure, if I wanted to I could bring out an alternative lens that would discuss a belief that takes into consideration an invisible specter world at work with the Ashly Madison scandal, a world riddled with unknowns and mystical oversight that provides an unspoken esoteric “checks and balance system”. However, these angles would position me on a pretty rocky soap box that I don’t feel at all privy to. Because at the end of the day, the truth of the matter is, when speaking in terms of legality and not subjective ethical positioning, all 37 million of these users who were exposed were indeed violated. Hands down. The bigger matter at hands here, which in fact more of the conversations on the internet should be tilted toward, is privacy and how to further protect our online identity.

The most important piece of information that has come out of this virtual scandal, which seems can’t be reiterated enough, is a problem that has already been discussed ad nauseam – password reuse. Really, perhaps we should all think about our passwords as condemns – use them once, never share with others, and when you do throw them out make sure they aren’t visible to the naked eye – bury or destroy them. Time and time again, albeit the millions of people being concerned about identity fraud, internet users still seem to be in constant denial that their accounts could be at risk. Using the same password over and over again for each and every online account is simply asking to be violated. Whether it be an Ashley Madison, Bank of America, or Facebook site, most people tend to believe themselves to be excluded from the rational of password variation, believing that, for some reason, they are immune to being hacked. The fact of the matter is, it’s simply not the case. Hackers do not discriminate, because if they can do it, they will. Point. Blank. So until everyone has thumb-print-protected passwords on their MAC and PC laptops, it would be a good idea to never use the same password for another site, in addition to constantly updating passwords on all accounts every 30 days.

Here are some tips for creating hard-to-crack passwords:

1) Never use your name or the word “password”. Basically, don’t be a nincompoop.

2) In fact, don’t use words at all. Words are universally ubiquitous, be more cryptic.

3) Always use at least eight characters or more. The longer, the more variations that need to be tried, meaning the more difficult to decode.

4) Contain characters that include numbers, capital letters, and multiple symbols from the top portion of the key board.

5) Completely go wild on your keyboard to come up with something entirely new and obscure. The only trick is, retaining it.

And remember, you don’t have to abide by the way of the technocrat. There is always the way of the luddite.

Where are the mobile app experts?

Building a mobile app can be a difficult pursuit for rookies. There are many online mobile app resources to teach and help construct the infrastructure for one’s first mobile application. However, although individuals newer to the mobile app business might need tools such as online app builders to get started, it would be surprising to discover that technology companies who claim to specialize in app building services, have never built a fully functional app of their own. Yet this does seem to be the case. A recent study carried out by Telerik State of Mobile Development conducted a survey on 3,000 IT professionals, discovering 57% of developers had never truly gotten their hands dirty to build an actual app. Albeit considered “professionals”, the issues of constantly changing technology have prevented many from mastering the trade.

Although this could be a product of the fast-paced evolution of technology, other constraints may also play a role. Many of the newer start-ups are run by young professionals in their early 20s. Given the infancy stages of these developers’ careers, many have not been in the field long enough to build up the dexterity to aptly acclimate to new technology.

While the discovery of this deficiency in mobile app specialization might highlight a lucrative market that has yet to be fully exploited (i.e. app building tools for professionals), there is some caution in expanding this business. The more online mobile app builders, the more likely we will see less original, more ubiquitous user designs. Albeit efficiency, the artistry of the development and originality that gives each application it’s unique, slick look and user-tailored interface could potentially become extinct. Similar to what has been seen to the art of website design as Weebly, WordPress, and Wix’s build-it-yourself website model has infiltrated the World Wide Web in the most recent years.

But, alas, there is hope as there are still highly skilled mobile app developers who do in fact know a thing or two about a thing or two (or three, or four). To stand out from the masses and maintain your app’s competitive edge among the sea of apps that consumers are inundated with on the daily, look for a mobile app professional with a hearty portfolio, years of experience and wisdom in the field. This will generally verify they have not only perfected their craft, but most likely have been able to constantly stay one step ahead of these every changing, ever ephemeral development tools.

Don’t just look for a professional, find yourself a veteran in the field. Check out all that Rückbau has to offer in mobile and web development.

More and More coding careers, less of…..everything else

As students graduate from college with heavy-weighted degrees in the “Liberal Arts”, what they are finding is that in order to make a six figure income, what is becoming increasingly essential, outside of degrees and life experience, is the ability to code. The discouraging factor is that to acquire enough knowledge and experience in coding to land a well paying job, the time commitment and cost are both far less than a four-year degree. Within three months, and $10,000 later, a $100,000 salary can be as close as a stones throw away.

So I pose both an ethical, philosophical, and what seems to be almost a rhetorical question of whether or not it is even considered valuable to go to school for a 4-year degree anymore? To be an academic or scholar, then perhaps yes. However, in that case, you are most likely not in any rush to land a well paying career anytime soon. On the other hand, if college is simply a means to an end to land a decent paying job, perhaps it is time to reconsider.

Don’t get me wrong, not everyone can walk into a coding bootcamp course and come out as a genius engineer. The main trait one has to have before getting into any of this is intelligence. One needs to have a sharp, critical thinking, analytical mind, which college generally provides resources that can help fine-tune this much needed asset. Additionally, apart from simply accomplishing a coding course and receiving a certificate, one also needs to chart a significant amount of hours in front of a computer, geeking out over the artistry and poetic nature of code, if you will.

However, it is undeniable that the tech industry is booming, and their seems to be no end in sight at the moment. It is for this reason that graduates, among others from entirely different fields, are leaving everything they once knew in exchange for the plethora of high salaried paying positions with companies desperate for employees. Although these companies have little quality control, many are not concerned, especially newer start-ups who are backed by wealthy funders encouraging them to hire fast and fire fast if need be. Given the long line of people willing and ready to take the next available position, there is no shortage of competitive candidates. Whether or not this business model is sustainable in the long run, time will only tell.

Nonetheless, with all speculation aside, the tech industry is hands down a lucrative business for many people, all the people, willing and able minded and ready to compute.

Google Joins The Circus

Some say that the bay area culture is going to “hell in a handbag” as the city becomes more and more inundated with technocrats and plutocrats. Others, like a bay area local who I recently had the pleasure to engage in a lengthy conversation with outside one of the only affordable consignment shops left in San Francisco, said the culture in this area had packed up and left long over a decade ago. He later smirked and said I’d be fooling myself to think the city still retained any thread of it’s original character. Although this might sound pessimistic on paper, he said this with a cheek-to-cheek grin and little-to-no weight in his upper brow. It was as though he was only stating the facts, plain and simple.

Everyone has there opinions, and as broad-stroke and blanket-statement sounding that the above comment might appear, there are common themes found in most of the discussions that dominate conversation here in the Bay Area – high rent prices, homelessness, and the demise of culture. The word culture is arbitrary when used in conjunction to value. Culture is ever changing and for this reason, in my own opinion, I believe there is ignorance when using conclusive statements regarding culture’s directionality. Rather than value judgements, we can only truly say that a culture is “changing”, and even that comes from the subjectivity based on the relationship one has, or doesn’t have, with the city. All-in-all, however, it is true – The Grateful Dead and and Jefferson Airplane types are long gone, either by mass exodus, adopting more conventional lifestyles, or are now buried 10 feet under. The only remnants of that era that still remain can be found in the Haight-Ashbury district, which has since been over commodified and commercialized to cater to tourists. Even though on the surface this small microcosm of the city may appear to have stayed the same, culture does not exist in trinkets and Mala Beads alone, but rather, is woven into the vocalization of love, freedom, and sovereignty that use to be proclaimed in the street, which, I am disheartened to say, would be difficult to find as conspicuously nowadays.

However, there is culture. The culture is, dare I say, Google, Twitter, Apple, Facebook – to name just a few that have built and inhabited the proliferating infrastructure of the high rise. And yes, perhaps this newer cultural sect domesticating the city is more homogenous in their personal preferences and clothing attire than the city has ever seen before, nonetheless, culture in itself, undeniable prevailes.

So how does this newer, ever growing, ever expanding culture retain the weird and all it’s vibrancy that most likely drew this type of crowd in the first place? Why, by hiring the circus to entertain them at their extravagant events, of course.

Every large and medium sized tech business in the Bay Area with a hefty budget throws opulent, decadent parties. In fact, I have come to think that it might be written somewhere in the contract that each party has to be more impressive than the “boy’s next door”. It has become an extension of fraternity dynamics. And what is any party without some circus freaks showing desk-loitering-corporate-employees how to have a good time and utilize their bodies again, after too many hours a day neglecting nothing but their brain and wrists. Therefore, with their grotesquely dense budget being used for entertainment, you can’t say these companies don’t put it to a good cause. In all honesty, if it weren’t for these obsessively extravagant corporate events that hire working local artists contracted from all over the city, most of the circus would have been long gone by now. But they remain because at least, as they are becoming more and more marginalized, they can simultaneously financially benefit from the corporate tech apocalypse.

So keep employing the circus Google, it is the least you can do after you and your compatriots have taken over nearly every square inch of the city. Thank you for throwing some of your pocket change to those that are able to right some wrongs and reinvest your small penance into events that spread social justice awareness and radical change. Good job Google, good job.

Be disciplined

Success and discipline often seem to go hand-in-hand. The general rule of thumb is that through discipline, the road to success will be smoother and more gratifying. Practice and do-diligence are the main ingredients for expertise and an awarding talent; talent generally believed to be a gateway to open up doors to opportunities for a successful, robust career.

Discipline is easy when we are younger, not because we are more capable of moderating ourself, because heaven known that was most likely not the case, but rather because we had someone – be it a parent or a guardian – laying down the law, instilling rules of expectations and providing examples of what it looks like to be dedicated. This teaching was likely provided at a time in our lives when we were predisposed to our parent’s lifestyle choices and dynamics, not given full responsibility, nor consideration, to develop our own schedule or timetable. Not being obligated to enforce discipline on ourselves, we may have been unable to fully grasp how difficult this personality trait can be to cultivate, especially as an adult. As we get older and move into more demanding lifestyles and professions, we loose the luxury of parental stability and structure. Nowadays, you are likely the one enforcing all the discipline, not only on yourself but perhaps too, on an army of other coworkers. Given that professional environments often demand discipline, there is a tendency to objectify the rules of discipline to a point where the very notion of discipline itself no longer retains meaning, damaging willpower and motivation. Although abandoning a discipline practice can be practical for a short period of time in order to return to it with a fresh pair on eyes in the future, loosing it forever can be detrimental.

Maintaining a healthy dose of discipline is the key to a nourishing amount of productivity. Staying interested, engaged, and exploring methods to help become your own personal moderator can prevent stagnancy and inertia in your own self-growth.

Here are 5 useful tips in staying disciplined

  1. Set goals and timelines. Know what the advantage of each of these goals is, and why they need to be completed in a certain timeframe. Understand your own restrictions. Make sure they are useful.
  2. Use both physical and mental effort, one is useless without the other.”Practice what you preach and preach what you practice.”
  3. Eliminate the multitasking and invest in one project/focus at a time. This allows all the necessary details to sink in. Getting curious and interested in just about anything will greatly enhance discipline, yielding more productivity.
  4. Monitor behavior – identify an area you would like to improve in your life, business, or self and then dissect what this means to you. Do a brainstorming session of why it needs work and what “excelling” would actually look like in your book.
  5. Have a positive attitude to failure. Don’t let inevitable misgiving and unavoidable hiccups in the “trial and error” phase erode your personal investment to yourself. Rather than just excepting the old adage “we can learn from our mistakes” truly take this into consideration. See what didn’t work and how you can use those errors as teachers for self-improvement tactics in the future. Discipline is inextricably linked with personal growth.

Discipline is about personal investment and self-worth. The value we often allocate to ourselves can say a lot about our discipline practice. This is not a linear, fixed equation, given that A+B doesn’t only = C (in that, value + discipline doesn’t just equal productivity). Instead A+B=C but C affects A, which also affects B. Therefore, it is protean, ever changing, since the value we give ourselves is forever changing. Keeping this in the back of our minds when working on discipline practices might just help relieve some self-induced pressure when there is a lull in our day.

How to Increase your Business’s Online Presence

You can choose one of two things; either maximize your profit through engaging in online marketing opportunities, or lose out on a more lucrative future by not participating in boosting your online presence. It is a reality, whether you want to comply or not, that resourcing and utilizing the virtual environment for business marketing has everything to gain. Not only can you enhance your online presence with media and other marketing tools, the internet also plays a vital role in the health of your current, and potential, customer relationships. Here at Rückbau  we acknowledge the importance of a business’s online health. Therefore, we have created a list of top 5 techniques to boost any business’s online presence.

It is all about SEO

All healthy, thriving businesses need an understanding of how to successfully achieve higher rankings through different search engines (i.e. Google, Yahoo). If your website does not show up on the first page of a search when a customer is surfing the web for services that your business excels in, it doesn’t matter how superior your skills are, your services are less likely to be considered, or even found for that matter. Therefore, understanding SEO techniques to contribute to your “search-ability” can play a significant role in bringing traffic to your site.

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Paying for advertisement gives a business more control over who they would like to market their services to, as well as when and where the advertisements are seen. Unlike free online ad options, PPC places a business’s ad in a higher position in sections that are sponsored within a consumer’s search. Pay-per-click is generally more of a temporary solution for marketing to initially increase the SEO value. Having a quality, rockstar landing page, more often then not, will give potential customers more incentive to engage with the business’s website.

Blog and article marketing

By writing articles or blogs that are pertinent to potential customer’s needs, you are able to inform the online community what you do and how your business executes. These articles help to demonstrate the company’s internal voice and how the business operates in their specific area of expertise. To increase this form of media communication with potential audiences, it is best for writers to understand and know the key words that a potential client might use within a search engine when googling services your business offers.

Social Media

Although we all know about social media, not everyone, and every business, are actually taking advantage of them. They are affordable, popular, and can generate a message fast, to an extremely broad audience. More specifically, social media outlets – such as Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon – all have huge networks of different target audiences that are excellent for business-to-customer relations. These sites can help a business network more personably, as well as offer a chance to circulate any articles that have been written to be shared with a larger pool of users. Ideally, these articles and other items that are shared, will funnel people back to your website, boosting traffic and helping with the SEO.

More Pages

To increase traffic to your website, it helps to have multiple popular pages that are indexed by Google and additional search engines. Multiple landing pages pertaining to different services a business offers can be helpful, as well as more convenient, for customers who are only seeking a specific service a company offers, rather than needing to scan through the entire site.

Need help with your SEO? Not sure where to start? Contact us at Rückbau for a free one-hour consultation to discuss where you are currently at, and where you would like to see your business go in the future.

The Resourcefulness of Big Data

Just because someone might be an engineer for Google, or a UX Designer for Apple, doesn’t mean their interests and hobbies end there, although while working 80 hours per week for said company may make exploring other activities and passions difficult. So what happens when engineers leave large companies, such as Apple, to spearhead their own initiative, utilizing all they had learned from the multinational technology company? It seems that many apply their years of acquired knowledge to endeavors they had taken a hiatus from upon working for larger companies.

Once an engineer for Apple, Alex Fishman, now uses his Big Data skills for his wine app – Delectable – founded and developed in 2012. Big Data can aid in organizing, filtering, and concluding all the confusing identification process and information that is commonly associated with wine. The app not only is able to sort through data regarding preference and specific lexicon used by connoisseurs and novices, but it can also show patterns and changes among wine drinkers within different quarters throughout the years. Computation systems and services such as Big Data, Machine Learning and Cloud strategies have a broad range of utility in other fields apart from strictly technology focused. Applying such services to social, cultural, and human research has been advantageous for sorting out large amounts of data.

For those that aren’t data scientists recently leaving a cushy job at Apple, yet still have a creative idea to contribute to the app world, are now in luck with the recent demand and development of alternative options for non-data scientists.  Big Data applications have started to enter the market as of recent to provide the resources necessary for less technically savvy entrepreneurs to obtain quality and relevant information for precise data gathering. These apps allow novices to make their data-driven decisions on their own, without a data expert, reducing time, money, and specialization.

Both big data applications, as well as specialists, can significantly help with bringing precision to decision making and trend tracking. Machine learning in particular can also yield sound, conclusive recommendations. Different from more antiquated research techniques where information was collected, graphed, and then analyzed by humans to find patterns to make suggestions, Big Data and Machine Learning have the ability to draw from a more expansive pool of information in a shorter period of time, for more accurate, nuanced proposals.

Don’t worry, Big Data and Machine Learning are not replacing humans, just yet, since machines need humans to take action on the information founded. Only humans at the moment have the power to circulate the recommendations suggested through Big Data collections.

Reducing human error, while maintaining the human voice and final interpretation, is what Big Data can, and does, accomplish. Accuracy is imperative when more and more new found entrepreneurs with innovative ideas want to launch utility apps. Utility is only resourceful with the right information and knowledge. Humans have always been limited in the realm of precision. Therefore, whether you are a technocrat – like Delectable’s Alex Fishman – or a novice in data collection, Big Data and Machine Learning is becoming a necessary service to create a quality, reliable, and culturally relevant app.


The phenomenon of the selfie (and then came the selfie-stick)

The “Selfie” – the cultural activity, icon, and dare I say relic or sorts, that has been auspiciously practiced throughout many people’s daily lives – has established a robust selfie-zealot practice globally. It has been venerated on Facebook and esteemed on twitter. The popularity of such a dutiful practice baffles me, particularly because it seems little attention has been given to it’s origin, like so many practices of this type. The selfie-disciples are blindly carrying out a practice that have little functional basis. While the purpose of a selfie spawned from a time of inconvenience and perhaps isolation, now it is being used to maintain the individuation of a solitary experience, intentionally preventing others from participating in an event – maintaining within the safe confines of the comfort zone of “me, myself, & I”.

I can only help to think that the first selfie was a product of not finding a person to take a picture to help capture the moment, and therefore one, reluctantly, had to do so him/herself. However, the impetus for the original selfie has been lost as “selfie-sticks” have now become marketable. Not only are people taking pictures of themselves, by themselves, but they have also decided that given those times when they don’t want to have such an up-close picture, they would rather opt for the “selfie stick” than open up an opportunity for human connection by asking someone to take a picture. The “Selfie-Stick” has provided the convenience of isolation craved so often by our culture.

Yet, with enhanced convenience comes difficulties, ironically. On Tuesday, Disney will be banning the Selfie Stick from all of their theme parks as it has demonstrated safety concerns. Concerns have arose out of fear of people getting hit on the head accidentally by the stick. Not only are people refusing to ask others to take a picture for themselves while on a leisurely vacation, but they are also neglecting to acknowledge that other people might exist within close proximity to their stick. There are some other serious side effects to self-stick usage as well. People are showing signs of increased lose of common sense as they are using the sticks on theme park rides near the operating systems, causing the stick to get stuck and putting everyone in danger.

Although I’m not a doctor, I believe kindly reaching out to another human being and asking for help to snap a quick picture could prevent head injuries, social isolation, major malfunction of park rides, and put everyone out of harms way. However, again, I’m no professional.