Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 1st, 2013

In Unlikely Places Around the Globe: 25 Startups?

The world’s cities are all trying to emulate Silicon Valley’s example and become the next global hub. Leading cities such as London, New York, Tel Aviv, Beijing and Berlin are all creating friendly conditions for startups to thrive, but other incipient companies in more unlikely places are also prospering.

Below, we’ve rounded up 25 startups Russia to New Zealand, Lagos to the Himalayas and Krakow to Uruguay to show that innovation is not about being in the right place — it’s about doing the right thing.

Monty Munford posted in Mashable this May 15, 2013

1. VisibleNation — Moscow, Russia

VisibleNation is an Anglo-Russian startup that offers a social data comparison service so users can share accurate information and data. Its free service allows people to access categories such as travel, career, education, finance, health and family to make lifestyle decisions.

2. Iroko Partners — Lagos, Nigeria

Image courtesy of Iroko Partners

Iroko is the world’s largest distributor of African entertainment, including Nigeria’s huge Nollywood film industry.

Launched at the end of 2010, the company has a global audience of more than 6 million users from 178 countries, and it’s regularly referred to as ‘Africa’s Netflix.’

3. Ushahidi — Nairobi, Kenya

Ushahidi, which means ‘testimony’ in Swahili, was initially a website that was developed to map reports of violence around the 2008 Kenyan election.

The company has since evolved to become a non-profit tech company that specializes in developing free open-source software for data collection, visualization and interactive mapping.

4. Druva Software — Pune, India

Druva is an award-winning platform for file sharing, data loss prevention and real-time analytics.

It operates as a company rooted in India, but with a Silicon Valley culture. It is based in Pune, an emerging tech hub that has excellent transportation links with Mumbai.

5. Happy Ending — Hoi Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Happy Ending is a cheeky Vietnamese online flower shop that uses sex in a hilarious way to sell flowers.

If offers sections such as Cheap Bastard, Sugar Daddy or Playboy to tempt people, usually men, to buy flowers for those they love.

6. UpTo — Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Image courtesy of UpTo

The downfall of Detroit is well-known, but that hasn’t stopped U.S. startup UpTo from committing itself to the city.

UpTo wants to eliminate the ‘future void’ in mobile calendars by making them shareable, and it’s expanding after a successful run with an events stream feature in partnership with Westfield Shopping Center during last year’s London Olympics.

7. Spinlet — Lagos, Nigeria

Spinlet is a mobile music download platform that offers media distribution to emerging markets in Africa.

It encourages the social aspect of music by making it easy to create and share playlists to friends within the application, and it also enables both the purchase and discovery of new music.

8. Pawngo — Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.

Pawngo is the first U.S. full-service, online pawn shop and provides a short-term answer to immediate financial needs with loans up to $1 million.

Its discreet online process means customers — such as families and small business owners — can obtain cash quickly without risking their credit rating.

9. Agent Anything — Adelaide, Australia

Agent Anything is a platform on which people and companies can post small jobs, tasks and errands and have them fulfilled by college students.

Users put in their credit card, set a mission and a price, then vet responses from ‘agents’ who offer to accept these missions. When the task is complete, the agent is then paid.

10. Metrix — Perth, Australia

The company uses data visualization, market modelling, data efficiency and market context to design strategy for businesses.

The company was recently cited by ANZ Innovyz START program director Jana Matthews as having the potential to be a $100 million company in five years.

11. Ironhide Game Studio — Montevideo, Uruguay

Formed in 2010, Ironhide develops games and is the owner of Kingdom Rush, a hugely successful game for the iPhone.

The team cites the availability of developers and the open immigration of the country as the reason they chose Uruguay as their base.

12. Xeneta — Oslo, Norway

Xeneta tracks shipping prices on a database with more than 1,000 international shipping and helps businesses optimize their shipping rates.

Members can share their data 100% anonymously and compare their rates to the overall market, creating a growing community that increases the quality and range of the sea rate index.

13. IndieReign — Hamilton, New Zealand

Formed at the end of 2011, IndieReign allows independent filmmakers to market their films themselves, rather than rely on a film distributor.

It lists independent films for online streaming rental or download purchase and lets filmmakers set their own pricing.

14. Spraffl — Edinburgh, Scotland

Spraffl is an anonymous social network that allows users to post location-based messages to everybody in that area.

Founded at the end of 2012, it has already had its first positive marriage proposal and is helping Mexicans speak out about crime and corruption.

15. CloudFactory — Kathmandu, Nepal

Based in the Himalayas, CloudFactory has an experienced executive team that has worked for companies such as Adobe, Sun Microsystems, Disney, Google, eBay and Motorola.

It aims to connect a billion people in the developing world to learn basic computer work and teach them how to be leaders in their communities in an effort to address poverty in those regions.

16. Whill — Tokyo, Japan

Image courtesy of Whill

Whill is an add-on to a wheelchair that turns the wheelchair into an electric vehicle capable of traveling longer distances at speeds around 12mph.

It is the next generation of personal mobility and makes transport easier for anybody who has difficulty walking, including the elderly and disabled.

17. Pagpop — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

PagPop is an e-payment platform that allows self-employed and freelancers to accept credit and cards for their fees and sales. It can be accessed through any cellphone, landline and the web.

18. Cumplo — Santiago, Chile

Cumplo is a peer-to-peer lending model that was supported by the StartUp Chile program.

It hopes to benefit from the potential of financial provision in Latin America, a territory where borrowing is prohibitively expensive for those who have to borrow from a retailer rather than a bank.

19. Rubberit — Mexico City, Mexico

Founded in 2012, Rubberit is a discreet condom subscription and delivery service that matches every purchase with a donation to rural communities.

The company was set up after founder May Alba’s close friend, who was HIV-positive, died.

20. Credictive — Krakow, Poland

Still in beta, Credictive is a LinkedIn for creatives and allows them to connect via their work, be it video, music or any other multimedia content.

The site aims to create a community that regulates itself and will flag and block users who try to usurp the system.

21. Prezi — Budapest, Hungary

Prezi is a presentation tool that helps people organize and share their ideas. The cloud-based SaaS software creates a new world between whiteboards and slides.

It uses a freemium model, and all customers who utilize the product’s public license are obliged to publish their work on the publicly available website.

22. Souktel — Ramallah, Palestine

Souktel is a ‘LinkedIn over SMS’ that links people with jobs and also connects aid agencies with communities who need help.

Based on the West Bank, its JobMatch and AidLink technologies are revitalizing prospects for people in this troubled region and across the developing world.

23. Transterra Media — Beirut, Lebanon

Transterra is an online marketplace that brings news, documentary and multimedia from the world’s frontlines to global buyers.

Its contributors range from experienced correspondents, local TV networks and documentary filmmakers to artists, citizen journalists, activists and NGOs.

24. Saya Mobile — Accra, Ghana

Chat messaging clients are hugely popular across Africa and Saya Mobile is a mobile chat app that builds on the success of such services.

It works across the iOS, Android, Blackberry and Java platforms, and is a product of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) based in Ghana.

25. TechSharks — Kabul, Afghanistan

Founded in 2010, TechSharks is a web solution company that is headed by noted Afghan entrepreneur Ahmed Reza Zahedi who graduated from Teheran University in Iran.

“Google is my God, and code is my poetry. Web services, social networks, ecommerce — this is my dream for Afghanistan. Maybe one day we can do it in practice,” he says.

Image courtesy of Judy **

The Kind of Anarchism I Believe in, and What’s Wrong with Libertarians

Chomsky said in May 28, 2013: “Anarchism assumes that the burden of proof for anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them”.
Michael S. Wilson conducted an interview with Chomskyt hat first appeared in Modern Success magazine.
As an out-spoken, actual, live-and-breathing anarchist, Wilson wanted to know how Chomsky could align himself with such a controversial and marginal position.

Michael S. Wilson: You are, among many other things, a self-described anarchist — an anarcho-syndicalist.  Most people think of anarchists as disenfranchised punks throwing rocks at store windows, or masked men tossing ball-shaped bombs at fat industrialists.  Is this an accurate view?  What is anarchy to you?

Noam Chomsky: Anarchism is basically a kind of tendency in human thought which shows up in different forms in different circumstances, and has some leading characteristics.

Primarily it is a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of domination, authority, and hierarchy.  It seeks structures of hierarchy and domination in human life over the whole range, extending from patriarchal families to imperial systems. And it asks whether those systems are justified.

Second, It assumes that the burden of proof for anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them.  Their authority is not self-justifying.  They have to give a reason for it, a justification.  And if they can’t justify that authority and power and control, which is the usual case, then the authority ought to be dismantled and replaced by something more free and just.  And, as I understand it, anarchy is just that tendency.  It takes different forms at different times.

Third. Anarcho-syndicalism is a particular variety of anarchism which was concerned primarily primarily with control over work, over the work place, over production.  It took for granted that working people ought to control their own work, its conditions… That working people ought to control the enterprises in which they work, along with communities, so they should be associated with one another in free associations…

Democracy of that kind should be the foundational elements of a more general free society.  And Ideas are worked out about how exactly that should manifest itself. And I think that is the core of anarcho-syndicalist thinking.

I mean it’s not at all the general image that you described — people running around the streets, you know, breaking store windows — but [anarcho-syndicalism] is a conception of a very organized society, organized from below, by direct participation at every level, with as little control and domination as is feasible, maybe none.

Wilson: With the apparent ongoing demise of the capitalist state, many people are looking at other ways to be successful, to run their lives, and I’m wondering what you would say anarchy and syndicalism have to offer, things that others ideas — for example, state-run socialism — have failed to offer?

Why should we choose anarchy, as opposed to libertarianism?

Chomsky: What’s called libertarian in the United States, which is a special U. S. phenomenon, it doesn’t really exist anywhere else — a little bit in England — permits a very high level of authority and domination in the hands of private power:  so private power should be unleashed to do whatever it likes.

The assumption is that by some kind of magic, concentrated private power will lead to a more free and just society.  Actually that has been believed in the past.  Adam Smith for example, one of his main arguments for markets was the claim that under conditions of perfect liberty, markets would lead to perfect equality.  Well, we don’t have to talk about that!

Movin’On Up: Keep, sell, donate, or dumpster… Due to low interest rate?

Are you getting ready to sell your property because fixed interest rate are low (4%)?

Are considering refinancing your home and cash in on the high interest rate you started with?

A Rich, Full Life In Spite of It posted on May 27, 2013 “Movin’On Up

I have been knee-deep in all my things. My house looks like an episode of Hoarders, and I’m wrestling with the four decision piles. Keep, Sell, Donate, or Dumpster (KSDD).

Here are some things I’ve learned so far:

  1. We have entirely too much crap.
  2. It’s easier to part with that crap when faced with the reality of having to pack and move it. Haven’t used it in a year? It’s gone. No function in a new space, gone. Clothes that don’t fit anymore and aren’t part of a nostalgic concert t-shirt collection? Donate. I’ve been trying to do this and get organized for years, but now I’m really doing it.
  3. The appeal of the e-reader is never greater than when you’re packing box after box of books. I can’t bear to part with most of mine, even the shitty ones. 15 boxes and counting. (The appeal of nearby libraries is never greater at these situations…)
  4. The list of things that we need to fix and update in our home is long, expensive, and overwhelming. Power wash everything and shave the dog. Caulk all the cracks! New paint inside and out, new back fence, repair garage door opener that has been broken for three years, new blinds, steam clean the tile and grout, wash the baseboards, actually decorate with something other than children’s toys, new flooring. Everything I’ve ever thought would be nice to do around here will be done in the next few weeks. For someone else to enjoy. An interesting life metaphor if you care to explore it.(Nothing like selling to remind people that moving out is the best occasion to bring compassion toward the buyers)
  5. Storage buildings are expensive.
  6. The DIY and HGTV are on the television more now, that is, when my daughter will allow us to switch over from Toy Story. I feel like all these “Crashers” shows give me unrealistic expectations for my trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s. I fully expect someone to approach me followed by cameras and come landscape my yard for free. I’m disappointed every time it doesn’t happen. I laughed for five full minutes when I heard someone on the DIY network say silicone caulk yesterday because I’m super mature.
  7. The most common question that I get asked now when talking about this, is what school district do we want to be in? Have I researched elementary schools and high schools? On a limited basis, I have, but I still have a part of me that wonders how important the quality of the elementary school really is. I went to grade school in a three room, rural school-house, and was fine. I attended the one high school that was available to us–it was fine. I’m not sure how to adjust to this momster mentality that every school my daughter attends has to be perfect, even the pre-school. We’re still just coloring and learning not to shit in our pants, right? I know, I know, it’s important. I’ll get there.
  8. In searching through homes for sale on the internet, it took me exactly fifteen minutes to turn into one of those people on House Hunters that I hate, complaining about wallpaper, boarders and ruling out a listing based on a kitchen that doesn’t open up to the living space and has the wrong color cabinets. Didn’t think I had that in me either. I was wrong.
  9. I will make shit up to achieve the symmetry of a list of ten.
  10. I can see the garage floor for the first time ever since moving in here.

Tada…ten. That’s actually true, but probably not interesting to anyone but me.

Our friends put their house up for sale Friday night. By Saturday evening, they had three full price offers on it.

The market is smoking hot and probably headed for another crash.

But we’re doing it.

Since I stopped working, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to curb the desire for material things, and it’s interesting how this process has re-awakened that wanting. I want a big spacious floor plan and a beautiful outdoor living space. I want two or three bedrooms and an office. I want a bathtub big enough to swim in and a nice kitchen. I want some new furniture to go with it. I want to not feel so disgusted with myself for wanting these things. I want this post to be funnier and sound less pretentious.

I don’t always get what I want.

It’s a steady stream of need vs. want evaluations lately, but for now at least, I know that I’ll be hissy fit free even if we don’t get any of those things.

But that’s what’s going on here.

My posting will probably be even more sporadic for the next few weeks, but I’ll still be around reading your stuff.

Is anyone else getting ready to move or in the process of refinancing your mortgage?

Good times, right?




June 2013

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