As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

Note-Writing Robots Pen Letters In Your Handwriting

A New York City-based startup has created robots that can learn your handwriting — and turn digital notes you write into letters penned on crisp stationery that look like you hand-wrote them yourself.

Going Against the Flow: Bing Chen, Cofounder of Victorious

Bing Chen is Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Victorious, a new media platform that powers and unites the world’s most creative communities.

Previously, Bing was the YouTube Global Head of Creator Development & Management at Google, where he was responsible for generating and aligning the global creator acquisition and development program strategy with 50+ cross-functional leads. In addition, he oversaw several company projects that engaged more than 250 million content creators worldwide–from musicians to filmmakers, chefs to beauty gurus. He began his YouTube tenure as the company’s first Creator Marketing Manager and remains a trusted confidant to hundreds of creative artists.

Bing graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English, Psychology and Marketing, and he was recognized as one of Forbes’ Top 30 Under 30 rising leaders in 2014.

Bing Chen

Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and what underlying characteristics do you see in successful entrepreneurs?

Bing: I think invariably, we’re all entrepreneurs at heart. If you contribute a net positive to the universe, then you are, by definition, an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs, to that end, look, sound and behave differently, though the underlying consistency seems to be relentless drive. That is, those who cast away every voice of doubt and drive, drive, drive forward.

Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career?

Bing: Ask me next year. Then ask me the year after that. That’s my cheeky way of saying I’m never satisfied.

Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.

Bing: There are many, but given that this is college-oriented, I’ll share this (in hindsight, a small one, but when you’re young, you find that the simplest things occupy the greatest worry): I majored in Creative Writing as the son of two successful Fortune 500 financiers at a business/finance-dominated university, graduating in the height of the economic recession. I did it because my heart said it was right, because my brain thought best in the liberal arts, and because my mentors who cared about me more than themselves took me there. It’s worked out. There are many who have to make far more dire decisions, but the consistency is self-evident: go with your gut, and all else follows.

Q: Everyone–from platforms to digital media companies–is investing in original content. Is that the right move?

Bing: We’re approaching an age when investing in content is sufficient for driving engagement, brand advancement, etc. Instead of investing in content, I believe that you invest in worlds. Content has never been one dimensional: you don’t simply watch a TV show in isolation or listen to your favorite album. You watch Friday Night Lights (my favorite) while you hear that bucolic Explosions in the Sky score and are reminded of Mark Twain’s poetry. It’s a cohesive, continuous, 360 media experience. The most successful content properties in history–Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel, etc.–are more than just a movie or book; indeed, they are full worlds that transcend a single format. The challenge, then, is how does one build these worlds?

Q: LinkedIn style – If you were to give advice to your 22 year old self, what would it be?

Bing: Those who leap go the furthest. Your friends are all preoccupied with nailing traditional i-banking or consulting jobs, right out of college. Your first job matters far less than you think; plus, if you think about your career as first, second and third jobs, you will work for the rest of your life. Instead, do the one thing you’ve always wanted to do, and never look back–you’ll never work a day in your life.

Follow Bing Chen at @BingChen, and check out the other interviews in Going Against the Flow series at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charu-sharma/ or thestartupsutra.com.

Going Against the Flow: Danae Ringelmann, Cofounder of Indiegogo

Danae Ringelmann co-founded Indiegogo in 2007 with a mission to democratize fundraising and has since helped to propel the company into the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Today, Danae leads Indiegogo’s industry development efforts, while steering the company’s employee culture and values initiatives.

Danae was listed as one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40, as well as SF Business Times’ 40 under 40 in 2014. ELLE Magazine named Danae to its Woman in Tech Power List in 2014; Fast Company included her in its Top 50 Women Innovators in Technology in 2011.

Prior to Indiegogo, Danae was a Securities Analyst at Cowen & Co. Danae is a CFA charterholder and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Danae graduated with a B.A. in Humanities from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead Scholar and varsity rower.

Danae Ringelmann (Photo credit: Courtesy of Indiegogo)

Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and what makes for a successful entrepreneur?

DR: Entrepreneurship is simply taking an idea and turning it into reality. It requires a clear vision for what’s possible, a strong “why” or “reason for being” to warrant that vision, and a robust resilience to guide you through the many forms of resistance (e.g. rejection, ridicule, self-doubt) until you realize that vision. A great entrepreneur is someone who keeps saying ‘yes’ to what’s possible, when the world is saying ‘no’ to the unknown.

Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career?

DR: I’m most proud of quitting finance to start a company to change finance and the world. That step lead me to my co-founders, where together we launched Indiegogo – a company that in its creation launched the industry of crowdfunding too.

We started Indiegogo to democratize access to capital as we saw brilliant ideas going unborn every day, not for lack of heart, hussle or an audience, but rather for lack of efficient access to capital and its respective allocators. To change this, we created an open platform that empowers all people to raise money and anyone to fund. We all allocate together, instead.

Just in the last two years, Indiegogo has grown by over 1,000%, and we’re currently distributing millions of dollars every week to artists, non-profits and entrepreneurs across the world. While we’ve disrupted finance in changing the mechanics of funding, we’ve also strengthened the industry of finance by improving the jobs of traditional capital allocators (e.g. investors and financiers). One example of this is Venture investors increasingly looking to Indiegogo as an incubation platform – a way to discover and test investment opportunities, reduce their risk, and focus on what they do best: helping build and grow great companies.

Further, Indiegogo’s social impact is woven into our business model. The more successful we are as a business, the more ideas and opportunities we help bring to life. No trade-off.

When our campaigns themselves are changing the world for the better, we become a catalyst for good of catalysts for good. Two of my favorite examples are the Kite Patch and Miss Possible. The former is a mosquito fighting technology designed to block mosquitoes’ ability to spread disease that raised over raised over $500,000 on Indiegogo and is currently utilized to help regions suffering from malaria. Miss Possible is a new venture started by two young female entrepreneurs who are passionate about getting young girls excited about STEM by making dolls modeled after famous women scientists, mathematicians and engineers. They used Indiegogo to raise over $60,000 to launch their first doll modeled after Marie Curie, and gather feedback from their funders on future dolls. Will it be Ada Lovelace? Bessie Coleman? We’ll see!

Q: If you could do something over in your life, what would it be?

DR: Every failed, successful, hard, easy, meaningful and meaningless moment in my life has lead to where I am today. I wouldn’t do anything over, as the non-linear yet incredibly full path I’ve ventured down so far has lead me to a place where I’m helping drive a movement that will result in everyone in the world having an equal opportunity in bringing their dreams to life. I would never want to jeopardize that future with a do-over:)

Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.

DR: After we launched Indiegogo in January of 2008 we were rejected by 92 Venture investors before we raised our first round of traditional investment capital in March 2011. However, with each rejection brought more motivation to make Indiegogo work, as the whole purpose of Indiegogo was to remove gatekeepers from the financing equation and distribute the decision-making power of what ideas should thrive and which shouldn’t to the people. I like to say if Indiegogo had been around when Indiegogo needed to raise money to launch, we might’ve gotten a bit of a faster start ☺

We eventually connected with a few investors who shared our vision and believed in the change that needed to happen. The rest is history.

Q: If you were to give advice to your 22 old self, what would it be?

DR: Focus the early years of your career on discovering what you’re good at and what you love. Look at every early job as an experiment, or one big A/B test on yourself and your life. Assess a role based on how it amplifies your strengths and your loves. If it doesn’t, try something new and re-assess again. Quitting a role that doesn’t resonate is not a failure; it’s a success in learning what you shouldn’t be doing with your life. Keep trying new opportunities paying attention to what parts of the work align with your strengths and loves, and which parts don’t. Over time you’ll iterate your way to a career where you come alive every day. It won’t feel like work.

Follow Danae Ringelmann at @gogoDanae, and check out the other interviews in Going Against the Flow series at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charu-sharma/ or thestartupsutra.com.

Going Against the Flow: Gil Elbaz, Founder & CEO of Factual

Gil Elbaz is an American entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist best known for co-founding Applied Semantics (ASI), which was acquired by Google in 2003. He is the founder and CEO of Factual, an information-sharing startup.

He is a Caltech graduate, and the founder and Chairman of the Board of the Common Crawl Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to democratizing access to Internet information.

Gil Elbaz, Founder & CEO of Factual

Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you and what underlying characteristics do you see in successful entrepreneurs?

Gil: In terms of the successful traits of entrepreneurs, the most important would be determination. In my experience, many times entrepreneurs have the right kind of intuition about how to solve a problem (whether that be a new one or an old one) and develop solutions that add value, but it can also take time to mature those solutions into a workable business. All too often people give up just because it is emotionally draining to keep trying, so determination and persistence become key traits that separate the best from the rest.

I learned a lot from being a long-distance runner in college. I was not a very good one, but I learned from my coach about pacing yourself and not looking too far ahead but, instead, feeding off of your passion for what you are doing. It’s important to not be distracted by the 10-year journey ahead of you. One has to be emotionally tough and continue to take it step-by step, even when you are getting negative feedback and things are not gliding along nicely, keeping in mind that the sure way to fail is to just stop moving forward.

The best entrepreneurs are the ones that have a deep need to solve a problem that it is more than just a business opportunity. It is something that they feel like they were born to solve because it affects them personally or because they cannot imagine a world without this innovation. When you have that type of passion, you can’t help but be determined to see it through.

Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career?

Gil: I am proud of the fact that so many of the people that I have worked with at Factual, and at my previous company, Applied Semantics, will say that they have had a positive experience working at the companies. I have not always done a perfect job, but I have certainly applied a lot of effort to try to understand each individual and what they are looking to get out of their career. This gets harder and harder as the company grows, but I have a firm belief that the best companies are the ones where people feel supported and ideas are coming from the fringes. Rather than top down, ideas are coming from all of the people that are interacting with customers, coding, working with data, etc. We’ve been able to create an atmosphere of respect where people feel empowered to come up with new ideas or make suggestions and believe that they can have a hand in influencing the company’s strategy moving forward.

Q: If you could do something over in your professional life, what would it be?

Gil: I feel very fortunate that a lot of things in my career have gone right, but it took me a little while to get there, to find my way. I wish I would have gotten myself on the right path earlier and dug into things a little bit more. Right out of college, I made the mistake of choosing a career opportunity based on title and salary and it was only after the next two years I had realized that was a mistake. My number one objective should have been to figure out what kind of people I was going to work with, what I was going to learn, and if I would be empowered to push myself.

Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.

Gil: When Factual was founded in 2008, it was clear that investors were looking closely in two main categories – consumer apps and enterprise solutions. The idea of building a data company that is not going after consumer eyeballs or the enterprise and not even trying to directly solve problems (as funny as it sounds), but rather, serve as an enabler for others to be the problem solvers–was definitely going against the flow. Factual, is enabling everyone else around us to make consumers happy and businesses efficient. It’s a new kind of platform within a company that works to be the hub of accurate, high quality data and to be a resource for all of the technology companies around us. It was sort of a contrarian model back then but today, it turns out that people can’t shut up about big data and we’re smack dab in the center of it all.

Q: Why did you choose to have Factual focus on location data?

Gil: Factual built a lot of data capabilities but we’ve chosen to really focus our effort on building the single best global location database on the planet. The reason we decided on this is that while everyone talks about how important online is, most human activity and most commerce still happens offline. People are still walking down the streets and living their lives in the physical world. There is a unique opportunity through mobile devices to bridge the offline and online, to compile and understand unique data about people, their contacts, their impact in real-time as they’re passing a store, or walking by a park, or walking with a friend, etc

I started with this really utopian notion that we should programmatically root out errors from our daily existence and that we should build technology to automatically sift out accurate data from the biased, erroneous, or purposely false information. The world is just rife with this of kind data and it completely shapes the types of decisions that are made. This includes simple decisions like where I should buy gas or what I should have for lunch today, but also, very, very important decisions like what doctor I should go to or where I should live?

Q: If you were to give advice to your 22-year-old self Gil, what would it be?

Gil: Here is what’s interesting: There is a lot I would actually like to learn from my 22-year-old self right now. As one goes through life, it’s easy to develop certain habits and a certain way of thinking about things. It’s really important to try to break free of those as often as you can and to re-think about problems with a completely open mind. Part of the reason we at Applied Semantics succeeded with AdSense is because we weren’t bogged down with deep domain experience about how advertising “has always worked” and we came up with this idea for contextual advertising that we were told made no sense. Luckily we ignored the naysayers and followed through on what turned into a breakthrough.

Sometimes I wonder what baggage I am carrying today or, what assumptions I am making about what’s possible or impossible. So my advice is, keep thinking outside of the box and, from time to time, step away and clear your mind of everything that is “industry-standard” in an attempt to think more like your former 22-year-old self.

Follow Gill Elbaz at @gilelbaz, and check out the other interviews in Going Against the Flow series at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charu-sharma/ or thestartupsutra.com.

Going Against the Flow: Matt Crampton, Cofounder and CTO of Gigwalk

Matt Crampton is the Cofounder and CTO of Gigwalk. He originally founded Gigwalk to create a marketplace to help businesses mobilize people to get work done. Since launching in May 2011, Gigwalk has grown into a local visibility software platform that facilitates brand and retailer collaboration with the world’s largest on-demand mobile workforce, also known as Gigwalkers. Prior to Gigwalk, Matt lead software development teams at Yahoo! Buzz, and HotJobs (starting in 2005), and lead front end development for AOL Shopping and Alerts (starting in 2000).

Matt Crampton, Cofounder and CTO of Gigwalk

Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and what underlying characteristics do you see in successful entrepreneurs?

MC: To me, entrepreneurship means creating something that has a life of its own; building value for everyone involved — customers, employees and shareholders.

Successful entrepreneurs inspire people and persevere, even when others think they are wrong. They have an ability to stay focused on the problem their business is solving — even when that business is being pulled in many directions at once.

Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career? If you could do something over in your life, what would it be?

MC: I think I’m most proud that we were able to create a company that’s had such a positive effect on people’s lives. We get stories every week about people making ends meet from money they’ve earned on Gigwalk. And, that’s what really makes this an exciting business for us.

I think if there were one thing I would have done differently it would have been to start working on my own side projects earlier in my career. 10 years is a long time to work in corporate life and large companies tend to insulate you from the rest of your industry unless you make it a point to get out and interact with other people.

Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.

MC: Before Gigwalk, I was at Yahoo! for 5 years and AOL for 5 years before that. Frankly, it’s hard to leave the security that comes with a large, corporate environment, especially the steady paycheck and health insurance.

Leaving that life and bootstrapping a company with 2 other guys for 6 months before taking any venture capital money was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. Four and a half years later, I can’t imagine having done anything else.

Q: Mobile devices have made a huge impact on how many traditional businesses operate, how is it impacting consumer brands and retailers?

MC: Consumer brands spend billions of dollars on in-store trade marketing every year and simple issues, like out-of-stocks, have a huge impact on revenue. Up until now, there was no way to understand where gaps in retail execution existed until it was too late. Now, with mobile devices and an on-demand workforce, consumer brands and retailers can gain real-time intelligence about what is happening on-the-ground and fix it, speeding time to issue resolution and revenue. More and more, companies are becoming reliant on mobile solutions to get work done from anywhere, anytime.

Q: LinkedIn style – If you were to give advice to your 22 year old self, what would it be?

MC: Keep in Touch, Really.

So many of life’s opportunities come out of the relationships you have with others. One of the most important things you can do is stay in touch with people you’ve gone to school with and worked with. You never know who might be a great mentor in the future or who might create other connections for you. It’s our relationships all added together that are the foundation of all the things we can build in the future.

Follow Matt Crampton at @MattCCrampton, and check out the other interviews in Going Against the Flow series at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charu-sharma/ or thestartupsutra.com.

Going Against the Flow: René Lacerte, CEO and Founder of Bill.com

René Lacerte is CEO and co-founder of Bill.com, the nation’s largest business payment network with over 500,000 members and more than $12 billion in annual payments. In 2014, his company was named one of the best places to work by the San Francisco Business Times.

He is a frequent public speaker and winner of several executive awards including the 2013 Emergence Award. Rene is also an avid runner, father of two great kids, and a fourth generation entrepreneur in financial products. After selling his previous payroll software company to Intuit for $170M, he started Bill.com to save time, eliminate paper and end the hassles associated with business payments.

René Lacerte, CEO and Founder of Bill.com

Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and what makes for a successful entrepreneur?

RL: Entrepreneurship – at its core – is creating something out of nothing. The really hard work begins after planting the seed and then working hard (sometimes for decades) to reach your vision. It requires commitment to a vision as well as commitment to the personal growth to lead the company towards its potential.

Successful entrepreneurs have a strong vision and tremendous work ethic. They understand that they are only as good as the people they surround themselves with, they work to build a culture that attracts the best people as well as makes them better. They respect the risks involved in starting a company – but are not afraid of them. They connect dots about technology, trends, and people before others do and call it intuition, but usually have data to support their position if you ask. Finally, successful entrepreneurs are competitive and like to win.

Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career? If you could do something over in your life, what would it be?

RL: I am most proud of how customers and employees talk about the companies I have started, PayCycle and Bill.com. Customers consistently rank our product and service as world class and tell us that we “changed” the game for them. Employees have voted both companies as “best places to work in the bay area” and all of my investors from the first company have “doubled down” with me in the second.

If I could do something over in my life, I would have somehow learned all of the above before starting my first company, PayCycle. First time entrepreneurs make a lot of mistakes that sometimes keep them from reaching their original vision.

The core of what I wish I had learned early on is to think with my shareholder hat more than my manager hat. At PayCycle, I hired the team and was close to them and in turn, was reluctant to push as much as was needed. Once I learned how to think with my shareholder hat, I learned how to separate my emotional ties from the product, people, and the original vision.

Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.

RL: In the fall of 2008, the financial crisis was starting to unfold. Bill.com had $8M in the bank and the plan was to raise capital in March of 2009. I received a copy of the “Sequoia” deck that suggested, if companies didn’t act fast, they would soon be in the graveyard. I didn’t agree with everything in the presentation, but enough of it made sense. Within 2 weeks, I came up with a plan that reduced staff by 40% and had acted on it. While the board approved that this decision was the right thing to do, I was the one leading the decision. It was emotionally, very hard for everyone and I felt like I was going against the flow as no other companies that I knew were reacting that quickly.

When I told the employees, we called everyone together, and I shared the global economic indicators that made me pause, and then I personally met with each employee whose position was being eliminated. This was definitely not an easy decision to make but we then had the capital to last until Sept of 2009. We then raised money in August of 2009.

Q: How do you see the digitization of payments changing small business in the next 5-10 years?

RL: Businesses still pay 70 percent or more of their bills via paper checks. The primary reason is that businesses collaborate around transactions using paper/manual processes as a control mechanism. With technology making more and more of our life collaborative with customizable shared databases and shared user experiences, businesses will find that they can receive more control and more insight around their transactions all while saving a great deal of time. Over the next 10 years, the digitization of business payments will simplify how business is done, enabling even more greatness from our entrepreneurs.

Q: LinkedIn style – If you were to give advice to your 22 old self, what would it be?

RL: Learn to get comfortable with your gut and to then lead with it. Whether it is hiring, strategy, marketing, product or partnerships, everyone is looking for leaders to lead them. So lead.

Follow René Lacerte at @rlacerte, and check out the other interviews in Going Against the Flow series at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charu-sharma/ or thestartupsutra.com.

Going Against the Flow: Ellen Rubin, CEO & Cofounder of ClearSky Data

Ellen Rubin is CEO & Cofounder of ClearSky Data, which is in stealth mode, and is funded by General Catalyst and Highland Capital Partners. Her experience has been focused on enterprise infrastructure, with expertise in the cloud computing, business intelligence, data warehousing, and data center markets.She has built companies from concept stage through multiple rounds of funding and growth, with successful outcomes through IPO (Netezza) and acquisition (CloudSwitch, acquired by Verizon).

Ellen began her career as a marketing strategy consultant at Booz, Allen & Hamilton, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Harvard College. She speaks regularly at industry events and has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Women in the Cloud by CloudNOW, as a Woman to Watch by Mass High Tech and Rising Star Entrepreneur by the New England Venture Capital Association.

Ellen Rubin, CEO & Cofounder of ClearSky Data (Courtesy of self)

Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and what makes for a successful entrepreneur?

ER: Entrepreneurship is about creating something that gets customers so excited that they just want to tell everyone they know about it. If you can get that right as an entrepreneur, everything else follows. But beyond generating that initial enthusiasm, entrepreneurs need to be ready to wage a long, intensive battle to turn ideas into reality, so that even the most cynical or skeptical people believe in the vision. Enterprise IT guys, for example, have heard every claim out there. When you can get those kinds of customers energized about what you’re building, that’s a good indicator of future success.

Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career? What are you most proud of in your current role as CEO at ClearSky Data?

ER: I’ve been at the forefront of two major market disruptions, where I’ve been part of pioneering teams that led the transformation. The first was at Netezza (2007 IPO, later acquired by IBM), where we created a new category, data warehouse appliances, that dramatically changed the big data landscape. We saw there was an opportunity to deliver huge performance improvements in data analysis in a simple, elegant appliance form factor at a fraction of the cost of the incumbents. The second was at CloudSwitch (acquired by Verizon), where my co-founder and I foresaw the rise of hybrid cloud computing back in 2008 and built an offering to address the extremely complex networking, security and portability challenges with an easy-button approach. Now at ClearSky, we are at the forefront of a new market disruption in enterprise infrastructure, and I’m excited to lead a great team in this new venture.

Q: If you could do something over in your life, what would it be?

ER: I started out as a liberal arts major with an MBA, who ended up in the extremely technical startup world because I just really enjoyed the people and challenges. It took me several years of hanging out with technical co-founders and engineers to get comfortable with the deep technology and product development know-how required to be in the enterprise infrastructure market. If I could start over, I would spend more time earlier in my career diving into engineering and programming classes, rather than learning on the job later.

Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.

ER: Going against the flow has been a constant state of being throughout my career. For example, when I went to business school, 99 percent of my graduating class was heading into consulting or finance. Everyone wanted to work for McKinsey or Goldman Sachs back then, but it didn’t interest me. I wanted to be part of a small company, where I could build something meaningful and work closely with a great team and customers. That’s what I love doing.

Q: If you were to give advice to your 22-year-old self, what would it be?

ER: When I was 22, I had a great job as a management consultant at Booz Allen, but I knew pretty early on that it was the wrong place for me. I would go into these companies, work with fantastic, smart people and get really excited about what they were doing. But the most successful outcome of that work for me was delivering a PowerPoint presentation to management. It wasn’t satisfying to me, and I ended up being more enthusiastic about the people in the company who were the decision makers rather than what I was doing. This led me to go to business school, and from there I quickly found myself in the startup world. Now looking back, I would tell my younger self to trust my instincts more, to know that building something from scratch and taking huge risks early on would be the best thing I could do.

Q: What’s one of your core company values that everyone takes to heart?

ER: Nobody is an expert in everything, so we’re consistently focused on learning as much as we can, from others within the team, as well as outside the company. There is an incredible pool of talent and experience in the Boston area. To tap into that, I encourage my team to take field trips to other local companies and events, and I invite great people in my network to come into our office and share their ideas and feedback. We’ve had sessions on core technology, operations, security, and emerging technologies. I want to create an environment where it’s cool to ask questions and explore new areas.

Q: Do you have any unique management strategies from your past that you are bringing to the ClearSky Data culture?

ER: There are a couple of things I really care about as a manager. First, I’ve learned from experience how hard it is to maintain good information flow in fast-growing companies. Things can get complicated surprisingly quickly, with limited sharing across teams or functional areas. It’s important to lay a strong foundation early in as many ways as possible. For example, all-company meetings right from the beginning need to be open-forums, where any question asked is OK, and people need to update each other about what’s going on. I also like to mix people from different functional areas in the office seating so they get to hear what others are working on and can easily participate in ad-hoc problem solving. The second thing I care about strongly is making decisions based on hard data. Conversations need to revolve around metrics such as, “What does it mean to do X, and what are the implications?” This keeps everyone focused on the real decisions and can help drive consensus when you’re making the tough tradeoffs.

Q: What can you tell me about ClearSky Data since the company is in stealth mode?

ER: Well, not much yet but stay tuned this year! Until then, what we can share is that we’ve raised $12M in funding from great VCs – General Catalyst and Highland Capital, and that our board also includes industry leaders (and personal mentors) Jit Saxena and Paula Long. In this new venture, my co-founder, Laz Vekiarides, and I have combined our backgrounds in enterprise infrastructure in a really cool and exciting way. ClearSky draws on everything Laz and I have learned from our past experiences, and we are taking on some huge technology challenges to solve long-standing problems for enterprises that need to manage vast amounts of data. I’m excited to be working on breakthrough technology with early-adopter customers once again.

Follow Ellen Rubin at @ellen_rubin, and check out the other interviews in Going Against the Flow series at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charu-sharma/.

Facebook revamps removal rules

Facebook provides the public with more detail about what kinds of nudity, bullying and terrorist-related activity is banned on its site.

Why The World Should Know The Names of These 5 Women In STEM

In 2011, women made up only one quarter of the American workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and their presence in computer occupations has dropped in the past 20 years. The few trailblazing women who are in STEM today are finding ways to not only advance technology but change the world in the process. These women have embraced being outnumbered as a way to make their projects stand out among those of their male colleagues.

Women in STEM industries earn 33 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts, and the gender wage gap in STEM jobs is narrower than in non-STEM jobs. With growing impetus (and funding) to teach and learn STEM, there has never been a better time for women to break into the field.

We’ve partnered with Cisco to introduce you to five impressive women in STEM who are inspiring us all and making their mark by cleaning up the environment and making technology accessible.

Lesley Marincola, Founder and CEO, Angaza Design

Degrees and STEM field of expertise: Bachelor of Science in Product Design and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

Impact project: Solar-powered products are being developed at an exponential rate for communities “off the grid.” Unfortunately, people living in these areas are often priced out of the market for solar products due to the high upfront costs. Lesley Marincola was introduced to this quandary while working on a project for her Extreme Affordability course at Stanford, which paired student groups with corporate partners. Marincola’s team partnered with an off-grid solar company. The experience and her background in product design left her thinking about energy access and the affordability of solar power products to “off-grid” consumers. From this, Angaza Design was created and Marincola took on a new role as entrepreneur. “In my engineering classes, maybe 80 percent [of my classmates] were male, but going into a fundraising pitch, I can almost count on not seeing a single female investor in the room,” Marincola observes. A for-profit social venture, Angaza is dedicated to putting solar energy within reach of those living in rural villages. The company created pay-as-you-go software that is embedded into solar energy products and allows users to pay for the use of these products incrementally. When a payment is not made, the light or cell phone charger is shut down. This software also measures energy output and collects diagnostic data from the products to report to distributors.

Goals for the future: Currently, Angaza-embedded products are mostly distributed to and sold in East African countries, but Marincola hopes solar-powered products spread to other areas thanks to Angaza’s PAYG technology.

Danielle Fong, Co-founder, Chief Science Officer and Chief Strategist, LightSail Energy

Degrees and STEM field of expertise: Bachelor of Science in Physics and Computer Science (completed at age 17) from Dalhousie University, former doctoral candidate in Plasma Physics at Princeton University.

Impact project: Danielle Fong went into graduate school to study nuclear fusion with the hope of finding a solution to one of the greater problems facing her generation: the energy crisis. She quickly discovered that a solution powered by fusion energy was too far in the future — commercialization of fusion power likely won’t be seen until 2050 — and extremely expensive to fund. So Fong pivoted her thinking. She left her doctoral program and went on to create an innovative way to store energy through a highly effective air compression and expansion system that is twice as efficient as the average air compression process due to the introduction of a water during Fong’s compression process that cools the air for storage. As Fong describes in her TED Talk, “Air is limitless” and air compressors and tanks have a longer lifespan than batteries. LightSail Energy, the energy storage system Fong conceived, currently holds more than 50 patents for its unique air compressor and expander, process and tanks. “She isn’t constrained by conventional approaches,” LightSail Co-Founder Stephen Crane says of Fong. After meeting her, Crane decided to abandon his own projects to work with Fong, recognizing the greater potential in LightSail. Fong’s work will allow the excess energy produced at the peak of solar and wind input to be used later, during times of lower energy input.

Goals for the future: In the next two to five years, LightSail will be powering entire cities. In 2017, the company will also begin deployment for the commercial sale of its patented air storage tanks, as well. Fong wants to show the world the different technologies that allow people to reduce their electric bills and move away from fossil fuels. She ultimately wants to see whole electrical grids taken off of fossil fuels. “If there’s anyone today who could be the next Edison, it’s her,” Crane says.

Tara Chklovski, Founder and CEO, Iridescent

Degrees and STEM field of expertise: Bachelor of Science in Physics from St. Stephen’s College, Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Boston University.

Impact project: Upon emigrating from her home in India, Tara Chklovski was shocked by the gender bias in STEM in the United States and the lack of valuable STEM education programs in underserved communities. Chklovski left her doctoral program in Aerospace Engineering to start Iridescent, a STEM education program aimed at fostering a lifelong love for learning in children of “underrepresented” communities. Iridescent consists of two main programs, one of which is Technovation, a three-month online curriculum that selects girls from over 50 countries and teaches them visual blog-based programming language. Technovation encourages participants to develop apps that create a solution to a problem in communities around the world. Women mentors with STEM expertise provide guidance to the girls as projects progress. One team of participants developed a personal safety app for women living in India, and another team in Mumbai created an app that that was designed to help people in the slums of India find clean drinking water. This year the program attracted over 6,000 applications.

Goals for the future: “[She] didn’t need a lot of words for her to convince me that she was out there to make a dent in changing this world,” says Ulrich Alda, a mentor of Chklovski’s and an Iridescent board member, . Chklovski plans to launch a parent training curriculum that emphasizes the best ways to encourage growth within children and recognizing gender bias and how to address it. “She will continue to convince others that she needs their help to accomplish Iridescent’s goal,” Aldag predicts, “That process has already started on a global level: Iridescent is not only a nursery, it is also a seed company.” Chklovski hopes Iridescent becomes the go-to place for STEM education. The current projections are to have 21,000 educators, 15 engineers and 1.2 million students participating in Iridescent programs in the next 15 years.

Thuy Dao, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, Fargreen

Degrees and STEM field of expertise: Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, Master of Science in Biological Engineering from Autonomous University.

Impact project: Thuy Dao showed an aptitude for science at a young age. When Dao was in high school, her father took her to a nearby rice field that had been attacked by disease. As they looked across the dying rice field together, her father looked to her and shared his wish that she would one day solve the agricultural issues plaguing their community. Dao and her business partner, Trang Tran, grew up in rural Vietnam and witnessed firsthand the ill effects of open straw rice burning. A common practice in countries in Southeast Asia, this method of clearing out the remaining straw in rice fields through controlled fires adversely affects the air quality and health of local farmers and their families. After teaming up with her friend and former classmate, Dao leveraged her background in bioengineering to devise a sustainable solution to open rice straw burning. The two of them founded Fargreen as a result. The company “creates a closed cycle” in the agriculture in Vietnam that will improve the long-term air quality as well as the quality of life in rural villages. Fargreen works with farmers to harvest their rice straw and use it as a platform to grow mushrooms, which are sold as a high-quality product. Once the mushrooms have been harvested, the straw is then returned as biofertilizer to grow rice.

Goals for the future: While teaching the farmers has posed its own challenges, Dao hopes to extend the reach of Fargreen to all rural areas in Vietnam and to see the company turn a profit off of Fargreen’s premium mushroom products.

Eden Full, Founder and CEO, SunSaluter

Degree and STEM field of expertise: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University.

Impact project: While still a student at Princeton, Eden Full developed the technology that became the basis for SunSaluter, a water weight system that positions solar panels to follow the path of the sun throughout the day. She wanted to create something that was simple to replicate and maintain by those who used it. By maintaining direct sun exposure, the panels’ energy input increases by 30 to 40 percent, and the system doesn’t require any energy. It works like a see-saw, with a counterweight balanced against water that is slowly released at a rate matching the movement of sun. According to Full’s mentor, Danielle Strachman, Full doubted the simplicity of her design initially. “It wasn’t the high-tech solution she thought it would be,” Strachman remembers. Full realized her straightforward system would encourage successful application among those who didn’t have Full’s engineering background.

Goals for the future: “I think we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” Strachman says of the SunSaluter’s future. Currently, SunSaluter has a team and operations based in India, and projects in Malawi are in development. As for Full, who graduated in December 2014, she plans on using the SunSaluter as a stepping stone to create new technologies that will make the greatest impact in the world. Inspired by her role as a member of the Rowing Canada Aviron Development Team for pre-Olympic athletes, Full is also working on a design for a wearable sensor for rowers. As Strachman says, “Eden is a total force to be reckoned with.”

Cisco is committed to inspiring more people to pursue STEM education and careers. Through mentoring, IT training, and support for schools and nonprofits, they are working to increase the pipeline of STEM talent around the world.

Since Apple Couldn't Be Bothered, Here Are Some Free Period And Fertility Tracking Apps

In case you haven’t heard, Apple has a lot going on right now. There’s the Apple Watch, for one, and a lot of new updates and features on top of that. But interestingly enough, the health app didn’t get any lady-related updates, like period and fertility trackers.

Luckily, apps related to periods, fertility, birth control and pregnancy do exist, you just have to download them. And they’re free! Here are some awesome ones:


Clue not only tracks your period and fertility, but examines how your moods change throughout your cycle. Clue bills itself as “confident, scientific — and not pink.” Available for iPhone and Android.

Period Tracker Lite

Period Tracker Lite is a simple, easy-to-use app. It lets you know when your period is due and when you’re ovulating, and has you take care of letting it know which days you were “intimate.” Available for iPhone and Android.


myPill has a fun look, makes sure you never miss a birth control pill and answers birth control-related questions that may come up. Available for iPhone and Android.


Glowing tracks your period, mood, ovulation, medication and PMS. It’s “essentially your best friend through every cycle.” What more can you ask for?! Available for iPhone and Android.

Virtual Nurse

Powered by Harvard Medical School, Virtual Nurse is all about answering your questions. What kind of birth control should you use? Do you need to go to the doctor? Virtual Nurse Alice has the answer. Available for Android.


Kindara calls itself “the world’s most sophisticated and accurate fertility app,” and it does have some complex features beyond just basic fertility tracking — it also includes cycle-related line charts. Available for iPhone and Android.

Baby Bump

Baby on the way? Baby Bump answers your pregnancy-related questions and tracks your moods, appetite, weight and more. Available for iPhone and Android.

H/T Buzzfeed

What You Should Know About Meerkat, The Hot New Video App

Call it Schrödinger’s app: You probably just heard about Meerkat, and people are already saying it’s dead.

Meerkat is a new video app for iOS that allows anyone to launch a live stream using their iPhone or iPad. You could think of it like FaceTime, except you’re broadcasting to anyone in the world rather than just to Aunt Millicent in Denver. Start a video stream from Meerkat and the app will automatically tweet a link to it, allowing anyone to click it and watch from their laptop, phone or tablet.

A quick look at the basic premise of Meerkat.
(Credit: Meerkat)

Its popularity has soared since its late-February launch. On Saturday, it was the 59th most popular social networking app in the App Store, according to App Annie, a feat that coincides with the buzz it’s received at South by Southwest this weekend.

But Twitter may have killed it on Friday.

As Mat Honan reported for Buzzfeed, the social media giant removed Meerkat’s ability to import social connections from its (much larger) platform. This effectively means Meerkat can’t piggyback off the years of social buildup you may already have on Twitter.

“This won’t totally kill Meerkat — people will still be able to use it to announce on Twitter that they are streaming — but it will seriously kneecap it,” Honan wrote.

“It means that new users won’t automatically be notified by the app when friends are broadcasting unless they manually build out their friend networks. This hurts the app’s ability to keep people on Meerkat itself,” he added.

So, Meerkat suddenly has to make it on its own. Critics are skeptical that it can.

Erin Griffith wrote on Fortune.com that the app is merely the latest viral confection at SXSW — it’s the talk of the town now, but what does that mean in a market where apps are downloaded and discarded in seconds, where the big dogs like Snapchat receive $15 billion valuations and the minor blips fade into obscurity forever?

“Today, if an app goes viral, it’s probably doomed,” Griffith wrote. “Remember Yo? Remember Ello? Remember Secret? Remember Frontback? Remember Draw Something? Remember Turntable.fm? Remember Chatroulette?”

Meerkat founder Ben Rubin told The Guardian that “everyone has a story to tell.” As Meerkat is left to sink or swim without the aid of Twitter’s network, he’d better hope people will want to tell those stories on his platform.

Then again, the company behind Meerkat, Life On Air, has already raised $3.6 million in funding largely based on Rubin’s previous app Yevvo. According to the Wall Street Journal, Yevvo “allowed live-video broadcasts by users that were streamed to any other users wishing to tune in.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Teaching Robots To Be Moral

“Chappie,” the highest-grossing movie in America last weekend, is, to put it mildly, not a great film; the critics have given it a twenty-nine on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is nowhere near as original as “District 9,” an earlier effort by the director, Neill Blomkamp. “Chappie” does not have the philosophical depth of “The Matrix” or the remade “Battlestar Galactica” series. Nor does it have the visual panache of “Interstellar” or “2001.” From its opening scene, the film comes across as little more than a warmed-over “RoboCop” remake, relocated to Johannesburg. There’s an evil company man, droids that menace the population, and a whole lot of blood, shooting, and broken glass. About the only

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