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DIY becomes Do It For You: Tiger Pistol finds businesses need more help in social marketing

8:03PM | Monday, 11 August

Melbourne-based social marketing startup Tiger Pistol, which existed primarily as a DIY platform for small businesses, has launched a Do It For You package, making it the first platform in the world to help small businesses with a full social marketing suite that includes organic, advertising and reputation management.   Tiger Pistol, which is global preferred marketing developer for Facebook, will use its recommendation platform to power the service, identifying not just what to post and when to post it, but how to build campaigns that deliver results.   The service is still marketed at small businesses, with Do It For You packages starting from $249 a month.   The change came about after it became evident a much larger number of its customers wanted more help than a DIY option.   Through the Do It For You packages, a Tiger Pistol social expert will manage a customer’s reputation across Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Trip Advisor, LinkedIn, Urbanspoon, Pinterest, Foursquare and Yellow Pages. The new service is an extension of the Tiger Pistol Do It Yourself packages that launched late last year.   Cofounder and CEO Steve Hibberd says that Tiger Pistol is still technology-driven.   “We provide this level of service at such low pricing due to the efficiency we get from our technology, especially our patent pending recommendation engine that drives what we do for customers across content and advertising,” Hibberd says.   “Our social experts don't have to spend hours on strategy or reinventing the wheel, the activity is guided by a deep understanding of our customers coupled with real time data.”   Hibberd says that “this semi-automation is the key to success in the small business space” by using both a super simple software and an efficient service layer.   “We can still have infinite opportunity to scale while our customers receive great results.”   Hibberd says no other product on the market gave small businesses the power to conduct sophisticated advertising campaigns.   “Others focus on content posts whose organic reach is rapidly declining or, at best, promote posts using real cash to generate a few more likes and comments which are generally wireless,” he says.   “Social ad platforms are great for experienced marketers but very few small businesses have the time or experience to do that, so they need help.   “Reputation management is the other key pain for small business...90% aren't aware of the online reviews around their business, yet 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.   “People are talking about their buying experiences across a variety of social channels every day, small business operators simply don't have enough time to be across this, so Tiger Pistol wraps this up in a single, simple package.”   Tiger Pistol, announced in October last year that it had closed a $1 million round of funding from the $6m local venture fund Rampersand.

Free to a good home: The startup turning trash into treasure

8:00PM | Sunday, 10 August

There has long been a breed of urban scavenger that has taken great delight in searching through the collection of old furniture, broken appliances and other odds and ends that gather by the kerbside on indestructible rubbish day.   It seems there is no shortage of people trying to find a treasure amidst someone else’s trash by giving preloved goods a second lease on life.   Now a startup called Ziilch is updating the concept by taking the old goods ‘on the nature strip’ online.   Ziilch founder and managing director Michelle Power told StartupSmart describes Ziilch as being an online marketplace, like eBay, except with one key difference – everything’s available for free.   “It’s been operating for three years now. I originally had the idea in 2008 or 2009, when renovating my home,” Power says.   “I had a lot of items being thrown out because they weren’t suitable for donation.”   While Ziilch is a national website, Power says its user base at this stage is the strongest in its home city of Melbourne.   “We have a very active community across Melbourne of just under 50,000 members, who have posted just under 17,000 items in total,” she says.   Aside from both being free to browse and offering free goods, it is also free to place classifieds on the site. The only catch is that users need to organise their own collection.   Power’s fellow director, Don Milne, explains the business generates revenue through other forms of advertising.   “Our revenue stream at the moment mirrors Gumtree. We use traditional Google ads, as well as some charges for premium listings,” Milne says.   With growing concerns about the amount of waste generated by consumer culture, Milne predicts the demand for the service is set to grow.   “We see Ziilch as becoming a household name over the coming years,” he says.    Image credit: Flickr/nahemoth

Upcoming event encourages the next generation of female tech leaders

8:00PM | Sunday, 10 August

Go Girl Go for IT, a free upcoming event for high school girls from years 8 to 11 organised by the Victorian ICT for Women Network, aims to encourage girls to consider a career in the tech industry.   This year’s event, to be held at Deakin University’s Burwood campus, is set to attract 1500 girls from 54 schools across the state, including some from as far away as the regional city of Wodonga.   Go Girl Go for IT communications team lead Sara Ogston told StartupSmart the 2014 theme is about changing perceptions about a career in IT.   “The big theme for the event is ‘IT is it’, it’s about talking through the opportunities in the sector,” Ogston says.   “It’s about getting away from the stigma around IT and making sure girls understand IT is no longer just about sitting at a computer all day or plugging in cables in a server room – it can be a really creative career.   “IT and ICT can be intimidating. The big thing is we want to open up these girls’ eyes to how there’s also a lot of opportunities in it.”   Go Girl Go for IT co-director and the head of cloud practice service optimisation at Telstra, Irene Evgeniadis, told StartupSmart the event is about showcasing the variety and diverse opportunities available to women who want to study or work in IT.   “We do this by having industry speakers and sponsors (corporate, educational and government) who give the girls with a glimpse into the excitement, opportunities and career satisfaction that IT can provide,” Evgeniadis says.   “Our past surveys have clearly shown us a rise in the number of girls wanting to consider a career in IT, after attending our Go Girl, Go for IT event.”   The event begins at 9.30am with a keynote speech by 2014 patron and Twitter Australia managing director Karen Stocks.   The students will then break up into five streams, where they will hear from a range of leading women from the tech industry. Speakers include NAB senior digital strategist Tammy Barlow, York Butter Factory’s Richenda Vermeulen, Telstra’s Anne Libel, ANZ’s Krish Beresford, and Krishna Nair from Deloitte, among many others.   Following the group sessions, a trade fair will allow the students to ask questions. Meanwhile, a Facebook page has also been created allowing the conversations to continue online.   Gender inequality has long been an issue for the tech sector, with the number of young women choosing to study tech-related subjects at a tertiary level declining over recent years.   It is an issue that has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months, with a string of tech giants including Google and LinkedIn admitting they have serious problems in terms of gender equality. In the case of Google, just 30% of its workforce are women. 

Google+ now allows fake names – is that a good thing?

8:22AM | Thursday, 7 August

When Google+ launched in 2011, it enacted the ‘real name’ policy in order to prevent spam, trolling and to try to give users more confidence to connect with new or other people. So what went wrong with this policy?   Google loosened restrictions on real name requirements   Last year there was outrage by YouTube users when Google implemented the policy which forced YouTube users to sign up for a Google+ account in order to post comments. It was done to try to crack down on spam comments, trolling and low quality posts. This change upset so many users that they filed a petition on Change.org to try to force Google+ to reconsider its decision.   In an effort to try to appease, Google+ has been loosening its restrictions on the Google+ real names policy over the past few years by allowing maiden names and nicknames to be included but still displaying the ‘real’ names next to it.   But it was still not enough   In the last few weeks, Google+ has now caved in to all the complaints and requests to allow multiple or fake names. They are apologizing, stating that the original policy was confusing and it excluded some people who wanted to use Google+ without including their real names.   There was a lot of controversy when this was required as it meant that people could not post comments and use the internet anonymously. There was support for this. And there were complaints. A lot of complaints.   The only restriction Google has put on this ability to change your name on Google+ is that once you make a change to your profile name it is locked for three months, so you cannot change it multiple times during the period.   Google+ also made it clear that if you impersonate someone else, they will suspend your profile.   What does it all mean now?   Users can change their name by clicking their existing username while they are in their Google+ profile. You just select Profile from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner, click on your name and enter your ‘preferred’ name. It’s that easy.   When you change your username on Google+, it also changes your ID on the other Google products such as Gmail and YouTube.   What this means now is that people are now permitted to use fake names, nicknames, pseudonyms, etc on Google+ and YouTube users can now again comment anonymously.   And now the trolls can come out to play…

Five app store optimisation techniques we used to generate 400,000 downloads

8:44PM | Wednesday, 6 August

App store optimisation (ASO) is a practice to improve your app store ranking. It’s SEO for mobile apps.   Here are our top five ASO techniques we used to generate over 400,000 downloads on iOS and Google Play for our startup Native Tongue.   1. Make incremental changes to your app description   For our app description, we aim to make one change at a time or a limited set of changes that support one hypothesis, which we can track. This can involve adding or editing one line, several lines or a paragraph in the app description. We also keep previous drafts of the app store copy so it can be compared.   After changing the app store description, the next step is to track the ranking on the app store for keywords and downloads. We will manually track the rank in the app store position on a daily basis for specific keywords in a spreadsheet. Now there are tools which do this, such as App Annie’s ASO keyword feature.   By making incremental changes we can understand the impact. If the change caused the app to fall in its rank, the changes can be rolled back. If the change caused the app to rise, then we can understand what worked and continue with more changes. We use the lean startup methodology of hypothesize-implement-measure cycle for not just the app description but also our app marketing, app development, and design.   2. Choose relevant keywords   Customers will search on the app store using search terms, so it is important that we choose relevant keywords for our app. We consider the relevancy, search volume, and the difficulty for ranking for those search terms. You may be able to rank very highly for a niche keyword but there may not be a great volume of searches. Conversely, a search term which has a lot of volume may be hard to rank given the number of competing apps. Tools such as Sensor Tower provide keyword rankings, keyword optimisation and can compare keywords in competitor's apps.   We also find out what keywords our customers are using. One way to do this is by asking customers that make enquiries how they discovered your app and what search terms they used. We discovered through this process that our customers were searching for “Learn Mandarin”, “Chinese vocabulary game”, and “Learn Chinese”. So the app was optimised for these terms by including them in the app description, app name and keywords.   3. Ask engaged users to leave a review When we have more app reviews and ratings, particularly 4 or 5 star ratings, our app would increase in its ranking. To date, our apps have an average rating of 4 or more stars on Android and iOS. We targeted customers that enjoyed using our app. So we asked them to leave a review after they have opened our app 10 times. A customer that has used our app at least 10 times is probably engaged and likes using our app.   Ideally, you should ask a customer that is engaged and happy to leave a review. This could be after progressing several stages, achieving specific milestones or after a certain number of plays. A positive review isn’t solely based on asking engaged users, you also need to have a quality app.   4. Impressive annotated screenshots   A decision to download an app can be made in a few seconds of seeing the app screenshots. Customers can skip the app store description entirely and go straight to the screenshots. So it is important to show the best visuals for your app.   We annotate the screenshots with the features or benefits of using the app. Our screenshots tell a story and excite the customer by annotating each screenshot. The annotated text shown is “Fun Arcade Style Gameplay!”, “3 stages and 41 levels!”, “Unlock bonus levels!”. We also constantly iterate on the screenshots by making changes to the text and the screenshots shown.   5. Launch and make changes on Google Play first   On iOS (Apple), you can be waiting for approval for four days or longer depending if your app gets rejected. On iOS you are also limited in changing your app screenshots, keywords, and app icon with every app update. Google Play (Android) has an advantage as there is no approval process and your app can be available in the app store on the same day of submitting. You can also change the icon, screenshots and marketing assets at any time. By launching our apps on Google Play first, we can understand how customers will use it and improve the app based on feedback. We also make ASO changes on Google Play first. Based on our learnings on Google Play, this is then replicated on the iOS store.   For more ASO tips, see this presentation on “Advanced App Store Optimisation Tips and Tactics”.   Matthew Ho is head of product development at Tapmint, a consultancy that provides mobile app marketing, design and development services.

Google News changes how website details are added and maintained

8:29AM | Tuesday, 5 August

Google announced a major change to how news-related content is added and maintained on its Google News aggregation and search service last night.   The changes are based around the introduction of a new website called the Google News Publisher Center, where the key details of websites can be managed and maintained.   After verifying ownership of a site using Google Webmaster Tools, website owners are now able to submit their website for inclusion in Google News, or remove it from the service, through the website.   In addition, website owners are able to update key details such as the name of the website, labelling the site as “blog”, “satire” or “opinion”, update Google about site structure or give website sections labels.   The feature will initially be rolled out in the US only, however, Google has already announced it plans to both introduce it into other countries and add more features.   In a statement, Google says readers will be “more informed about the articles they’re clicking”, while website owners will “benefit from better discovery and classification” of news content.   This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

Meet the Aussie startup hoping to Prezentt the future of slideshows

8:40AM | Tuesday, 5 August

Perth-based startup Prezentt has launched its cloud-based slideshow service which it hopes will complement, rather than compete with, existing presentation apps such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides or Apple Keynote.   Co-founder Jeff Robson told StartupSmart the new service is designed to work in a web browser.   “Before a presentation, [the presenter] uploads a PDF of their slideshow,” Robson says.   “Then, during the event, while the presenter shows off their PowerPoint presentation, the attendees can view the slides on their own smartphone or tablet, take notes on their mobile device, or request a contact. In the future, you will also be able to share your presentation on social media.”   Because it works in a web browser, Robson also says that aside from Apple or Android smartphones and tablets, Prezentt will also work on a range of other platforms, including BlackBerry and Windows Phone.   According to Robson, a number of high-profile customers having already signed up to use the product, including News Corp, RSM Bird Cameron, SaaSu, Access Analytic and Pitcher Partners.   “We have about 200 people signed up from a range of different industries – big businesses, small businesses, consultants who present, and even charities. There’s directors who use it for meetings and presentations,” Robson says.   “At our launch event, we had a number of people from local universities, so tertiary education is an obvious market. But there’s no reason it couldn’t be used in high schools or even schools at more junior level.”     In terms of monetisation, the cloud-based service uses a subscription-based model rather than advertising.   Robson justifies the strategy, saying if it manages to land a presenter one extra sale per year, the subscription price pays for itself.   “There’s nothing worse than having your slides with your competitors’ ads on your slides,” he says.   “So it’s subscription-based, where it’s free for the attendees, presenters get their first four presentations free per year… But if you want to do more than that, the subscription is $20 per month if you pay annually.”   The service has already won critical acclaim, taking out the development domain prize at Western Australia’s premier Information Technology awards event, the WAiTTA Awards. Prezentt will now represent WA at the National ICT iAwards in Melbourne later this month.   Looking ahead, Robson says slideshows are a market ripe for disruption over the coming years.   “We see this as the future of presentation – a little like mobile banking. Seven years ago, no-one did mobile banking. Now, if you went into a bank branch and told you they don’t have an iPhone or Android app, you’d think they were a little backward, he says.   “We think it will be the same thing with presentations.”

EU push for worldwide ‘right to be forgotten’ laws tests internet freedom

7:30PM | Thursday, 31 July

I wrote an article in May which commented that the rest of the world was not sure how the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling would be managed outside of the European Union.   Now, thanks to privacy and data protection groups, EU regulators are pushing for the EU court ruling on the ‘right to be forgotten’ to be extended worldwide.   Brief background After the EU Court of Justice ruling requiring search engines to comply with ‘take down’ requests from individuals, Google has been trying to comply with the more than 90,000 requests it has received. It has removed approximately half of these so far from its European searches. It’s been a struggle since the ruling: how to decide who and what should have a right to be taken down, how to identify the person requesting the take down, the sheer numbers of requests, etc.   And companies, newspapers, journalists and other media outlets have been openly against this ‘take down’ move as their articles are no longer appearing in search engine searches.   ‘Right to be removed’ causes flood of requests First, after going through the massive task of removal requests that Google managed, there was widespread criticism about the links Google removed. So they reinstated some of the links.   The search engines have continued to struggle to balance the need for transparency with the need to protect people’s identities. They are dealing with a difficult process thanks to the vague EU Court of Justice ruling.   But still the EU regulators are not happy.   EU regulators unhappy with Google   Google had included a notice on search results pages where links were removed alerting people when stories or information was removed.   Regulators and data protection groups were not happy with this so, instead, Google’s European search results now show a message on nearly every search on a ‘name’ that results ‘might’ have been removed.   Google also did the right thing and alerted websites and businesses that the links were being removed. This, in some instances, ironically resulted in more publications writing about it and brought it back into the public eye. So, job well done, EU courts.   The EU wants to set regulation worldwide   The EU summonsed representatives from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to argue that the removals should be global and not just in Europe. And that the search engines should stop notifying websites if their stories were removed.   This push is primarily coming from privacy groups complaining that the removal of content on EU search engines only is ineffectual and that it must be across international search engines to be effective.   Can the EU set worldwide regulation of the internet?   The thought that EU courts can dictate content and how search engines work around the world seems ludicrous. A court that seems to think it can dictate how websites work in other countries will end up in a jurisdictional chaotic mess.   If they also block sites from being informed, this would seem to go against basic transparency principles and websites will be left wondering what happened to their articles that are now no longer available in Google searches around the world.   The issue and problem is still with the original EU ruling: that people should have the right to require removal of embarrassing, criminal, political or otherwise historical information they are not proud of on the internet.   The result of the privacy groups, data protection groups and regulators in the EU pushing may well result in Google ending up in European courts faced with legal action by member EU countries for many years to come. We can only hope it stays there.

Start Up Australia launches, not to be confused with StartupAus

7:52PM | Wednesday, 30 July

A new not-for-profit body launched Wednesday, which promises to support startups – by which it means companies that have just started up.   Start Up Australia, will offer a number of free resources to entrepreneurs to help get their businesses and business ideas off the ground.   The organisation is part of a global Start Up network, with similarly named organisations in 44 countries, which is why the group couldn’t avoid confusion with another startup body, StartupAus (which focuses specifically on tech startups).   Start Up Australia’s Miriam Feiler says the best way for entrepreneurs to learn is through the advice of people who’ve done it before.   “We want to create a greater number of business start-ups here by providing the skills, encouragement, mentoring and training of people with big ideas, others who may have been retrenched, new mums working from home, retirees wanting to become self-employed. In fact, any Aussie who has ever dreamed of running their own business and wanted to have a go,” she says.   “Business is the engine room of the economy and our goal is for Australia to become the most entrepreneurial nation by 2020.”   The services it offers to entrepreneurs who sign up include a five day online conference featuring the stories of “50 of Australia’s business leaders” from a wide variety of industries, and a free 12 week online Small Business MBA sponsored by the Fortune Institute and hosted by entrepreneur Siimon Reynolds.   @rosepowell @BobbyWalter @gbissett @bigyahu Maybe someone in the media should call this for what it looks like. Lead gen for paid content? — Scott Handsaker (@shandsaker) July 30, 2014   Feiler rejected the notion that the organisation was a lead generator for paid content.   “Everything we’re doing is offered for free, through the support of corporate Australia,” she says.   She pointed to the Start Up Australia’s privacy policy when pressed further.   That privacy policy says Start Up Australia collects personal information on its users through visitor registration, webinar registration, newsletter sign up forms and event registrations securely so it can “provide and promote Start Up Australia’s  program to is users”, and inform them of “updates, promotions, and competitions pertaining to the Start Up Australia movement”.   It also says personal information, like users names, company and business contact details, may be shared with Start Up Australia’s sponsors/partners. Users can opt out by contacting Start Up Australia.   Start Up Australia’s founding sponsors include American Express, MYOB, ACCI and The Fortune Institute.   The organisation receives no government funding and is negotiating with a number of corporate partners for extra support.   The entrepreneurs behind the project include Reynolds, Brian Sher and John McGrath, with the support of Naomi Simson, Paul Greenberg, Creel Price, Larissa Robertson and James Stevens.   Like StartupAus, Feiler says Start Up Australia will work to produce data on startup companies which will be used to help guide government policy.   StartupAus board member Steve Baxter says StartupAus welcomes the efforts of all organisations working to support startups (though he appeared to be using the term differently relating it only to ‘tech’ startups).   “There are many different organisations and groups passionate about the tech startup ecosystem and its growth in Australia,” he says.   “StartupAus already works closely with Startup QLD, Startup Victoria, Startup Adelaide, Startup Tasmania, co-working spaces, AVCAL, the AIIA and many more.   “We look forward to seeing the tech startup community become a driving force in the Australian economy because of these efforts and more importantly the passionate tech entrepreneurs who are leading the charge.”   Confusion around how the public uses the term “startup” was highlighted by Google Engineering director and StartupAus board member Alan Noble recently, who said that the way Australians understand the term “startup” is too broad.   Speaking at the Vivid Sydney Smart Money forum, Noble noted that it was important policymakers understood the difference between small lifestyle businesses and the kind of startups that could make a real difference to the Australian economy.

C'mon girls, let’s program a better tech industry

7:56AM | Tuesday, 29 July

Twitter is the latest tech company to reveal figures showing women are still underrepresented in the information and communication technology (ICT) workforce.   Men make up 70% of the overall staff and women just 30%, according to a blog post by Janet Van Huysse, the company’s vice president for diversity and inclusion.   But within technical jobs at the social media giant only one in ten of employees are women, she also revealed.   Lately everyone seems to be talking about attracting women to ICT. Last year, Stanford University released the She++ documentary about recruiting women to study computing that was screened in 11 countries.   Google made a big splash last month with its new venture, Made with Code, aimed at inspiring girls to try coding.   {qtube vid:=Bo11JJgj1cU}   Other ventures include TechGirls, Digital Divas and RoboGals.   Why the focus on girls and women?   Twitter isn’t the only ICT company in which women are vastly underrepresented.   Pinterest has also revealed that only 40% of its overall staff are women and that figure drops to just 21% of the technical workforce.   Google said in May that 30% of its overall workforce is female, although only 17% of its technical workforce. LinkedIn and Facebook have similar numbers.   Australia’s gender numbers look much the same. A 2013 survey by the Australian Computer Society found that women made up 28% of all ICT workers across a range of industries, and about 18% of the technical and professional workforce within the ICT industry itself.   Why does this matter?   The ICT sector is doing well, regardless of this gender imbalance. Technology is one of the primary drivers of the modern economy and a sector where productivity is rapidly increasing.   Salaries are good and rising. Job growth has remained consistent, despite the current economic crisis. But Europe projects a deficit of at least 700,000 skilled ICT workers by 2015, and the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency projects shortfalls in most ICT occupations by 2025.   An ICT workforce without women is bad for women. Women will be left behind economically. Women will be shut out of some of the most influential positions in industry and government due to lack of relevant skills and experience. Women’s interests will not be adequately represented in the products and services produced by the ICT industry.   An ICT workforce without women is bad for the ICT industry and more broadly for the economy. If women do not enter the industry, it will be difficult to meet projected demand for ICT skills.   Perhaps more importantly, diversity is good for business. According to the US National Center for Women in Technology:   Groups with greater diversity solve complex problems better and faster than do homogenous groups, and the presence of women in a group is more likely to increase the collective intelligence of the group.   Why is this happening?   University enrolments in ICT tell a clear story: women are not choosing to study courses that lead (directly) to ICT careers. Completions of ICT degrees are down across the board, approximately 30% since 2003.   The relative proportion of women has decreased as well. Only 19% of ICT enrolments in Australia in 2013 were of women, down from 25% in 2001.   This then begs the question of why women aren’t studying ICT. The Victorian ICT Development Plan cites research that confirmed negative and stereotypical attitudes to ICT careers among high school students.   A Victorian study suggests that lack of early exposure to software tools impacts female students' interest in ICT.   Is there a solution?   There are general programs aimed at stimulating interest in ICT among young people, such as the Digital Careers program and the National Computer Science School.   But such programs typically attract students who are already interested in technology, rather than providing a venue to discover a new interest. As a case in point, when I offered a term-long Computer Science Unplugged enrichment class at my daughter’s primary school, the students who signed up were all boys who were avid gamers (plus my daughter).   Career expos can go some way to highlighting career paths and identifying the tremendous opportunities available in technology, possibly also correcting misconceptions about the impact of off-shoring on ICT jobs.   Capturing girls' interest   So, if we can agree that we want more women in tech, how do we draw them in? Here are my suggestions, based on my personal experience as a woman and a computer scientist.   DO start early   We must engage girls in ICT long before tertiary education, preferably starting in primary school. While our young students gain basic computer literacy, the focus is too much on using computers, and not enough on innovating through them.   DO provide opportunities for girls to experience the creative side of ICT   With visual programming tools such as MIT’s Scratch and Carnegie Mellon’s Alice (used in New Zealand’s Programming Challenge 4 girls), it’s easier than ever to jump right in to building things with code. Similarly fun, hands-on projects are available for other areas of ICT.   DO highlight role models and diverse career paths   It’s not easy to aspire to be part of an industry where you can’t see yourself in the people already there. One of the more inspiring experiences of my career was attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, simply because it was a convention centre full of females excited about technology. Who knew there were so many of us? We’ll be trying to do that here in Victoria next month, with the Go Girl, Go for IT event aimed at female high school students.   DON’T overly stereotype girls   In an attempt to target ICT activities specifically at girls, it is important not to go overboard in making those activities too “girly”. US high school student Abby Wheat wrote eloquently:   Do people really think that the only way you will ever get a girl to write coding for innovative software is to stick a butterfly somewhere in there?   Google’s Made with Code has been criticised for starting with a project that creates jewellery with code.   Jewelry, pink and sparkles don’t appeal to all girls. More importantly, it reinforces the message that girls in ICT are outsiders and need their own special (separate) space to do ICT. Women should be drawn into the common space, not a pink-walled zone.   Now, about those stereotypes …   When young people think of ICT, they apparently imagine a nerdy hacker working in solitude in a dark room (or so my teenager tells me). This simply does not reflect the reality of the many collaborative and creative ICT workplaces.   Misconception #1: ICT requires mathematical skills   There are many aspects of ICT that don’t use mathematics at all. Web programming and software engineering are much more about algorithms – a sequence of instructions that a computer must follow to solve a problem or to respond appropriately to a request.   Misconception #2: Programming is logical and sterile   Programming does require translating an idea into a logical breakdown of that idea that a computer can understand. In my experience the process of working out that logic often requires tremendous creativity. Solutions to problems are not always obvious, and there may be many different ways to solve the same problem.   Misconception #3: People who work in ICT aren’t social   As technology becomes more complex, diverse project teams must work together to design and build solutions. Teams might involve a user experience expert, a graphic designer, a database expert, a domain expert and programmers with various areas of focus.   Many of these suggestions apply equally to boys and girls. But girls do seem to be disproportionately disinterested in ICT.   Targeted action is needed to help girls find rewarding career paths in ICT, and to support them to stay on those paths. The effort will pay off in innovation benefiting us all.   C'mon girls, ICT is fun!   Karin Verspoor is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computing and Information Systems at University of Melbourne.   This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.   Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The Australian-designed mobile phone that’s targeting the elderly

7:23AM | Monday, 28 July

Google designed a car without a steering wheel, and now Australian startup KISA has released a phone without a screen or keypad.   As smartphones become more and more advanced, they become increasingly inaccessible to the elderly and those with disabilities, KISA phone co-founder Dmitry Levin says.   Levin and his fellow co-founders Dennis Volodomanov and Leon Kosher founded KISA in the middle of last year, after watching family members struggle to use smartphones.   The KISA phone, which launched last Friday, looks like a bulky, less sleek iPhone and features only the most absolutely necessary buttons, contact buttons, on/off, volume, and a SOS button for emergency calls.   Users choose up to 10 dedicated contact buttons which are pre-programmed when they purchase the phone. If one needs to be changed, then this can be done remotely by the KISA phone support team.   The phone is designed to be as light as possible to ensure it’s not cumbersome to use and not dangerous when dropped.   “This is a purpose designed and built device, it’s not for everyone, but it’s designed specifically for the needs of certain people,” he says.   “Even the simplest mobile phones on the market assume something about the user; they assume that they already know how to or are capable of using digital menus, touch screen interfaces, audio commands, or even at the most basic level, they assume the user can read.   “We set out to make a mobile phone that assumes close to nothing.”   While work is being done to make smartphones and communication gadgets as accessible as possible, Levin says there will always be a market for a phone like KISA.   “As humans our ability to deal with new technology diminishes over time,” he says.   “Technology moves on and it makes it easier, but it doesn’t take the fear of technology. For people that are afraid of tech, no matter what you do, if it looks complex it won’t work.”   The phone has been heavily tested, and designed with extensive consultation with Vision Australia and Guide Dogs Victoria.     Levin recalls the experience of one tester which he believes illustrates the value of the KISA phone.   “One of our first testers, she did not know anything about the device, it was given to her, we weren’t present there, but we were told when she was presented with the box, she was disappointed, she thought it was another smartphone,” he says.   “When she opened it her face lit up, and she said I know what this is and I know to how to use it.”   Testers of the phone had difficulty using a regular cable charger, and as a consequence the KISA team developed a cradle charger to make powering-up as easy as possible.   KISA will also be offering what co-founder it says are the simplest mobile phone plans available in Australia, with no lock in contracts, and easy to understand terms.   Levin says KISA has been approached by investors, but plan to continue without investment for as long as possible.   “We believe in it enough to fund it ourselves,” he says.

Tracking your digital fingerprint online raises privacy issues

7:28AM | Monday, 28 July

Just how much information we give away about ourselves as we browse the web has been raised again by a tracking device used in thousands of websites.   Researchers at Belgium’s University of Leuven have revealed the widespread use of a technique called “canvas fingerprinting” that tracks the activities of people on a website without their knowledge.   More than 5,600 websites were identified using the fingerprinting technique including Australian websites such as Australia Post, the Fairwork Ombudsman and the Sea Shepherd conservation group.   While this technique is relatively new, it represents another front in a very long battle to find out what users do online, and raises concerns about our ability to control our online privacy.   Here, have a cookie   Technical mechanisms for uniquely identifying web users date back to the introduction of the cookie in the Netscape browser in 1994.   When the user loads a webpage they get all the information necessary to display the page, such as the text, layout and images. But they also a small amount of “cookie” data sent along too, which is stored by the browser on the user’s computer.   When the user requests another page from the same website, the browser appends the cookie to the request to the server. In this way, the server hosting the website knows that the request came from the same computer.   Cookies are extremely useful and without them there would be no support for website logins.   But they can also be used to provide a complete record of a user’s use of a website. The use of “tracking cookies” allows this recording to extend across many, many websites, providing a comprehensive picture of a user’s browsing history to whoever controls the tracking cookie.   This becomes particularly intrusive if this browsing history can then be tied to any identifying data.   Privacy management   Understandably, many internet users aren’t terribly enthusiastic about their browsing history being so readily available to third parties. Tools to manage cookies have been incorporated into internet browsers and third-party privacy tools.   Deleting cookies, or controlling whether particular cookies are sent back to particular websites, gives the user more control over the extent of monitoring.   The technical response of browser developers has been combined with legal measures, such as the European Union’s privacy directive.   Under these rules, cookies used in a potentially privacy-invading manner must be disclosed to website visitors and explicit consent obtained.   Browser fingerprinting   Some internet companies have now turned to another ingenious technique for uniquely identifying and tracking users.   Rather than relying on browsers to send back a previously sent cookie, they collect enough information about the user’s browser environment to uniquely identify the user.   Modern computers have specialised hardware that greatly speeds up the computations needed to draw pictures on the screen. These graphics chips, made by companies such as NVidia, have made possible the amazing graphics of modern games, and speeded up your browsing and spreadsheets on today’s high-resolution monitors.   But the wide variety of such hardware, and the software used as “drivers” to control them, means that different computers will render such pictures in subtly different ways.   Images rendered by the graphics hardware (and thus subtly different on different computers) can be created from within a browser, analysed and sent back to a web server.   On its own, this is not enough to uniquely identify a user. But when combined with information such as the browser name and version number, and the list of fonts available on the system, it can provide a unique “fingerprint” of a user’s computer.   This provides a tracking mechanism that can be operated across many websites; a “super-cookie” that can’t be deleted as it is inherent to the computer it’s running on.   Again, this is most intrusive if it can be combined with personally identifying information. But even without this, it is very much against the spirit of the cultural norm (and the EU law) that requires internet sites to explicitly gain the consent of their users to enable tracking.   The University of Leuven research indicates that around 5% of the world’s top 1,000 websites make some use of this fingerprinting method, which was originally identified by University of California researchers in 2012.   Interestingly, however, the vast majority of websites using browser fingerprinting had done so by incorporating a third-party element into their website.   Free tools come with a hidden price   The primary product of AddThis is sharing tools – an easy-to-add component that website developers can incorporate on their sites that allow visitors to easily share the page they are viewing on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.   While AddThis charges for some use of some these components, others are available for free. Free and good-looking website components are to website developers what honeypots are to bears, so it’s not surprising that they have been widely adopted.   But AddThis extracts an additional quid pro quo – collecting browser data about those who visit sites usings their tools, much more than either the visitors, or the website owners, would have realised.   AddThis’s Rich LaBarca said it carried out a six month test using the fingerprinting and that any data collected was used for “internal research”. The code has since been disabled.   But the White House blog on the website of the US President didn’t realise that incorporating AddThis tools to its website violated its own privacy policy.   Taking what most of us give away anyway   As a computer geek from way back, I can’t help but grudgingly respect the ingenuity of those who perfect these privacy-invading tools, even as I deplore their ethics.   But my outrage is also tempered by the knowledge that these companies are taking by stealth what most of us choose to give away freely to other companies.   As media theorist Douglas Rushkoff observed, we – or, more precisely, our personal information – are “products” to many online companies such as Facebook, Google and AddThis.   The greatest fortunes of the 21st century have been founded on collecting and exploiting the personal information of billions of people, with a level of detail that companies such as AddThis can only dream of accessing.   And they’ve found that providing an easy way for us to share webpages of amazing cat videos and pictures is compelling enough that most of us will freely give them that information.   So what of ethics?   Do those who actually build these technologies – the programmers, analysts, testers and other IT professionals – have any obligation to consider the ethics of the tools they build? In theory, they do.   The two largest global professional bodies of the IT profession – the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society (IEEE-CS) – have jointly developed a Software Engineering Code of Ethics. The Australian Computer Society also has its own code of ethics.   Unfortunately – and unlike law, medicine or other fields of engineering – professional societies and their codes of ethics have virtually no influence within the information technology community.   Despite occasional efforts to set themselves up as gatekeepers through licensing, they have had little success. As such, however virtuous these codes of ethics may appear, they have no teeth.   Much as I would personally like it to be otherwise, it’s unlikely that attempts to violate the privacy of individuals will reduce through the self-regulation of IT professionals.   The financial incentives for companies to do so are likely to continue. Privacy protection will have to come through some combination of public pressure, legal means, and individual adoption of technical and behavioural countermeasures.   Robert Merkel receives has previously received Australian Research Council grants to investigate aspects of software testing and reliability.   This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

THE NEWS WRAP: Internal documents reveal Amazon plans for credit card reader

7:24PM | Sunday, 27 July

Amazon is reportedly set to launch its own mobile credit card reading technology, according to internal documents from the office supply store Staples, obtained by 9to5mac.   The documents say Staples stores are preparing to stock a new product called the “Amazon Card Reader” alongside existing card readers from Square, PayPal, and Staples’ in-house brand.   Amazon recently launched a new wallet app for smartphones and 9to5mac speculates that Amazon’s card reader will likely connect to that.   Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi raises $40 million   Easy Taxi, a taxi calling app from Rocket Internet, has raised $40 million in a Series D funding round.   The company launched in 2011 and has roughly 185,000 drivers, with 150,000 of those added over the past year. It’s available in 160 cities across 30 countries predominantly in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.   Easy Taxi co-CEO Dennis Wang says the funding will allow the startup to continue its growth in existing markets, while also scaling its operations and improving its service so as to appeal to “more audiences and geographies”.   US cable companies say Google and Netflix biggest threat to net neutrality   In a filing to the US Federal Communications Commission, Time Warner Cable claimed that the controversy over internet providers potentially charging websites for access to “fast lanes” on the internet is a “red herring”.   It says the real danger is that Google or Netflix could start demanding payments from internet providers, as customers expect access to the most popular websites, an internet provider would have no choice but to pay.   The National Cable and Telecommunications Association says a relatively connected group of large internet companies such as Google, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Facebook have enormous and growing power over people’s ability to access what they want on the net.

Will this app be the next social media giant?

7:40AM | Thursday, 24 July

Move over selfies, duckfaces and sepia-toned photographs – GIFs are about to crank it up a notch.   Phhhoto, a new camera app, allows users to record GIFs and upload them to a feed much like Instagram. From there, you can “heart” and comment on other people’s GIFs, post them on Facebook or even message them to friends.     The idea is to revamp the traditional selfie, and it is reported Phhhoto is already being used by celebrities such as Katy Perry.   The app works by taking a series of successive photographs and looping them together to create an animated frame. And unlike Instagram, Phhhoto only has two filters – a normal view and a black-and-white option.   The app is free from the iTunes store and Google Play. While Phhhoto has launched worldwide, a spokesperson told StartupSmart the app had to be taken down from the Australian iTunes store for “technical reasons”.   “It will be back up in a few days,” the spokesperson says.     It goes without saying, but photo sharing apps are wildly popular around the world. Last year Snapchat was reportedly offered a $US3 billion takeover deal by Facebook which it rejected. Meanwhile, Instagram has more than 200 million active monthly users.

How the internet was a big reset button for business

7:59AM | Thursday, 24 July

"Every large company is just another color of a spore in a petri dish."   In the latest ‘Decoding the New Economy’ video, internet pioneer Doc Searls discusses The Respect Network, online privacy and the future of business on the web.   Doc Searls is one of the internet's pioneers who helped write The Cluetrain Manifesto, which laid out many of the ideas that underpinned the philosophies driving the early days of the internet.   Searls' visit to Sydney was part of the rolling worldwide launch of the Respect Network, a system designed to improve internet users' privacy through 'personal clouds' of information where people can choose to share data with companies and others.   A big reset button for business   In many ways The Respect Network shows how the internet has evolved since the days of the Cluetrain Manifesto, something that Searls puts in context.   "We wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto in 1995," says Searls. "At that time Microsoft ruled the world, Apple was considered a failure – Steve Jobs had come along and they had the iMac but it was all yet to be proven – Google barely existed and Facebook didn't exist at all."   "On the one hand we saw the internet, we being the four authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto, and this whole new thing in the world that basically hit a big reset button on 'business as usual'."   "It did that. I think we're vindicated on that."   New giants, new data   "What we have now are new industrial giants; Apple became an industrial giant, Microsoft are fading away, Nokia was the number one smartphone company and they're all but gone."   One of the key things with today's markets in Searls' view is the amount of information that businesses can collect on their customers; something that ties into the original Cluetrain idea of all markets being conversations.   With the evolution of Big Data and the internet of things, Searls sees challenges for companies using old marketing methods which rely upon online tracking. Something that's a challenge for social media services and many of the existing internet giants.   "The interesting thing is there's a lot more intelligence that a company can get directly from their customers from things they already own than following us around on the internet."   Breaking the silos   Searls also sees the current trend towards the internet being divided into little empires as a passing phase, "every company wants a unique offering but we need standards."   For Searls, the key thing about the current era of the internet is we're only at the beginning of a time that empowers the individual, "the older I get, the earlier it seems."   "Anyone of us can do anything," Searls says. "That's the power – I'm optimistic about everything."   This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

Any name will do from now on says Google – why the change?

7:02AM | Wednesday, 23 July

Google has announced a surprising end to its controversial “Real Name” policy with a contrite post on Google+, telling users that there are “no more restrictions” on the names people can use.   This is a dramatic change in policy for the company which suspended users en masse in 2011 for using pseudonyms – an event that users have since described as The Nymwars.   The policy had been criticised since for being capriciously enforced, allowing celebrities such as American musician Soulja Boy (real name DeAndre Cortez Way) to use a pseudonym on the network, but ignoring users who wanted to do the same.   Some users who used their real name on the social network even ran afoul of Google because their names did not fit the assumptions that Google employees made about about what counts as a real name.   Technology writer Stilgherrian and reporter Violet Blue have both documented their problems with Google’s name policing wrongly affecting them, even though they used their real names.   The policy became even more vexed in recent months, as Google integrated Google+ with Android, Gmail and YouTube, where users expected support for pseudonyms.   Although some users hoped that Google+’s real names would fix YouTube’s nasty comment ecosystem, it became a controversial change for many YouTube users.   Why does this change matter?   The change to Google’s policy is important because it shows a change in attitude towards rights of users online.     Vint Cerf, a senior executive at Google, had argued that “anonymity and pseudonymity are perfectly reasonable under some situations", especially where using a real name could endanger a user.   The new policy should bring Google into line with the Australian Privacy Principles for Anonymity and Pseudonymity announced by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) this year.   While we might normally consider names and pseudonyms purely as markers of our identity, the OAIC argues that anonymity and pseudonymity are important privacy concepts that allow people to have greater control over their personal information.   Why are pseudonyms so contentious?   Letting people adopt a pseudonym or participate anonymously gives users a freedom to participate without fear of retribution. Academics call this disinhibition.   The freedom from restraint that anonymity brings isn’t a particularly new concern. In the 1970s Johnny Carson told The New Yorker that he couldn’t bear citizen’s band (CB) radio:   [..] all those sick anonymous maniacs shooting off their mouths.   Similarly, writers have told stories of morality and anonymity since Plato’s Republic and the Ring of Gyges which grants its wearer the power to become invisible, similar to the ring in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.   This freedom can be valuable for people at risk of harm, as it can allow them to seek support or to participate in online communities without fear of being stalked or persecuted.   Similarly, lesbian, gay and transgender users at risk of discrimination can participate online without being publicly outed. It can also allow people the freedom to express themselves without endangering their relationships with friends and colleagues.   Employees even risk retribution when their employers perceive that their online behaviour reflects on their workplace. US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens argued that anonymity is protected as part of their right to free speech as it can “protect unpopular individuals from retaliation — and their ideas from suppression”.   The problem with anonymity   The catch is that this freedom also empowers people who wish to hurt and harass others. “Trolls” can operate anonymously because it can free them from responsibility for their actions.     This becomes particularly problematic when anonymous or pseudonymous users threaten people with harm. A number of women have written about the bullying and violent threats they regularly experience at the hands of anonymous trolls.   In some moderated online environments, users are protected from these kinds of speech by the thankless work of comment moderators who help to manage online communities.   Ultimately, Google+’s new policy will empower people by letting them participate on the network with greater control over the identity they use. This will help trolls and new participants alike. It falls to Google and its team of moderators to make sure that the network remains a safe place for users.   Google’s policy change shows that the company has become responsive to user concerns. We should consider that for many websites, creating an environment where users are free to participate, and free from harm is a difficult affair.   As for The Conversation, it still favours people registering with their real name as part of its aim for transparency in any debate.   This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

Enterprise app market booms, while 69% of all smartphone developers earn less than $US1000 per month

7:02AM | Tuesday, 22 July

Nearly 70% of all app developers worldwide are earning less than $US1000 ($A1066) per month, according to a global survey of 10,000 app developers compiled by analytics firm Vision Mobile.   The alarming figures show 47% of all app developers who are interested in earning revenue take home less than $100 per month, including 35% of Apple iPhone (iOS) developers and 49% of developers for Google Android.   At the other end of the spectrum, the 1.6% of developers earning more than $US500,000 per month make more than the other 98.4% of app developers combined.   The figures show Android controls 79% of the smartphone market globally, ahead of Apple iOS (16%) and Windows Phone (3%), with BlackBerry (1%) trailing.   “On a global level, the platform wars are ending with iOS claiming the majority of the high-end device market and Android winning almost everywhere else,” the report states.   Despite this, but perhaps because of the poor earnings generated by the platform, Android is a priority for just 42% of developers, followed by iOS (32%), Windows Phone (10%) and BlackBerry (3%).   However, the preferred platform of choice for developers varies markedly from continent to continent. For example, in North America, iOS narrowly edges out Android development, 36% to 35%. In contrast, Android is dominant in South Asia (55% to 19%), the Middle East (62% to 22%) and Latin America (49% to 34%), while iOS dominates Oceania (43% to 20%).   “Android is pulling significantly ahead of iOS as a primary platform globally,” the report states.   “This is despite the fact that Android-first development is not very common amongst the high-profile startups that attract all of the media attention in the West.”   The figures also show 67% of app developers primarily target consumers, compared to 16% targeting enterprises and 11% targeting professionals.   However, enterprise-targeted apps are far more lucrative for developers, with 57% of enterprise app developers earning at least $500 per month, compared to just 26% for consumer apps.   “Today, app stores are so completely jam packed with consumer apps that an overwhelming majority of them struggle to get noticed or make any significant revenue,” the report states.   “Now a growing number of enterprises are adopting mobile technology; this is all businesses, governmental and non-profit organisations, not just large corporations with IT departments.”   The survey also examined the programming languages developers used. It showed 26% of mobile app developers primarily use Java, followed by Objective-C (17%), HTML/CSS/JavaScript (17%), C# (14%), C/C++ (10%), JavaScript (3%), PHP (1%) and Ruby (0.5%).

The great smartphone internet shift

7:07AM | Thursday, 17 July

During the ‘90s and most of the 2000s, there was little doubt about which device was primarily used to access the internet: the PC.   Sure, there were other devices you could use to access the internet. The web has been accessible in some form on mobile phones since the early 2000s. There were also early tablets, some PDAs and web TV devices with internet capabilities.   But the office desktop, laptop or home computer was the primary device – and often the only device – most people used to surf the web.   During the recent Google I/O developer conference, the tech giant revealed that it now views smartphones, rather than PCs, as the primary device people use for accessing the internet.   Of course, mobile-first doesn’t mean that people aren’t choosing to use other devices when they have the choice – quite the opposite. It is certainly far more comfortable editing an Office 365 document on a PC or laptop than on a mobile. Likewise, reading an e-book is far more enjoyable on a tablet than on a smartphone.   But people aren’t likely to be carrying these devices with them at all times. For most people, assuming nothing better is available, the first device they’ll grab to check for new emails, quickly look up a fact in Wikipedia, take a photo of their restaurant meal or send a tweet will be their smartphones. In other words, their mobile is their first “go-to” device for accessing the internet.   Just to be clear, by “the internet”, I’m not just talking about the web. I also mean email, cloud-based services, apps, streaming video, and everything else on the internet.   This shift has taken a number of years – it’s certainly not a new trend – and has a number of profound implications for how people use the internet. In turn, these implications have massive implications for many businesses.   Here are five of the fundamental and profound differences between the old PC-first internet and the new mobile-first internet:   1. It’s always on and always connected   The first is that the internet – including apps, the web, emails, cloud services – is now always instantly accessible. The smartphone – and through it, the internet – is permanently connected, always on and always carried.   In the past, even if people carried their laptop around with them in a bag, few would bother to pull out a laptop and boot it up to quickly look something up in the middle of a dinner party. But with a smartphone, whipping it out and quickly checking Google to settle an argument is an everyday occurrence.   So long as your customer is awake, you can now assume they have almost immediate internet access.   2. Built-in billing   Aside from always being available, by its very nature, there’s also a number of billing systems built-in to smartphones.   At the most basic, there’s the carrier bill or the prepaid credit. On top of this, there are the various app stores, as well as services such as PayPal. Unlike on the PC, a purchase is always potentially just a tap away.   3. Tap for customer service   Likewise, tapping on a phone number in many mobile browsers will result in a phone call being made. This means making a call is potentially part of the built-in experience of every mobile app or website, unlike when PCs dominated the internet.   So placing an order or a customer service phone call from a website is now just a tap away.   4. A location-aware personal media form   Unlike on a PC, where people often shared a device or even an account, the smartphone is a strictly personal media form.   Smartphones, by their very nature, are also location aware. Even the most basic of ‘90s 2G feature phones had to know which cell tower it was connected to at any given moment. This ability to target consumers by location at all times just wasn’t there in the days when most people relied on a desktop PC. It is now.   5. Incredibly accurate audience information   The combination of the mobile as a strictly personal media form and information about the location and context of media that is being consumed means smartphones can produce the most accurate audience information of any media form in history.   TV ratings or newspaper readership (the number of people to read a paper, rather than the number of copies circulated) was always a best guess effort. Smartphone analytics tell you the precise number, location, device type and time your customers view your content. And all in real time.   Massive opportunities   As a result of the ubiquity of the smartphone – and recent ACMA figures show 12.07 million Australians now own a smartphone – it can now almost be assumed that anyone accessing the internet also has access to all the functionality of the internet on a mobile device.   So here’s a question: Is your web presence built for the old PC-first internet in mind? Or do you have mobile (or responsive) websites and apps that take advantage of the mobile-first internet?   If you don’t have a mobile- first strategy, there are a range of opportunities your business is missing out on.   This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

Meet the Melbourne ‘foundr’ giving Bloomberg a run for its money

7:07AM | Thursday, 17 July

Nathan Chan has learnt what it takes to run a profitable magazine from the comfort of his own home at a time when it is widely recognised the publishing industry is struggling.   Chan launched Foundr magazine early last year, and told StartupSmart he just wanted to create a magazine he would want to read.   “It’s purely focused on young entrepreneurs and early stage business owners,” he says. “This is my first serious business. I felt there wasn’t really a publication that targets and speaks to Gen Y – certainly from starting a business and from an entrepreneur standpoint.”   The magazine – which publishes in a digital-only format – has almost reached 80,000 downloads and is in the top 10 “Business & Investing” magazines on iTunes.   “We only launched on the iPad and in the past 15-16 months we moved to iPhone, the Google play store and got momentum as a serious publication,” he says. “We sit next to Entrepreneur, FORTUNE, Bloomberg and all the big publications.”   Chan is based in Melbourne and manages a team of around ten writers based in Australia, New Zealand, the US and UK.   “The internet has changed the game,” he says. “If I wanted to start a magazine 20 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do it on digital, I would have had to do it in print.”   The cheaper costs associated with an online publication meant within three to four months Chan was covering his operating costs. Now, he turns a profit.   “I think I didn’t dream big enough when I first started,” he says. “I just thought of it as a bit of a lifestyle business but now I can see myself building a big publishing business.”   Chan says he would encourage entrepreneurs looking to break into the publishing business to understand it’s not just about the magazine – these days consumers are after a strong social presence and additional content such as a podcast.   “People are interested in media brands,” he says. “It’s not just about having a magazine, it’s having multiple channels so you can reach your audience or target audience.”

THE NEWS WRAP: Microsoft to axe jobs

7:38PM | Tuesday, 15 July

Microsoft is planning its biggest round of job cuts in five years, as the company looks to slim down and integrate Nokia Oyj’s handset unit, sources have told Bloomberg.   One of the sources speculates the reductions will be in engineering, marketing, and areas that overlap with Nokia.   The restructuring could be unveiled as soon as this week.   Apple and IBM partner to “transform enterprise mobility” Apple and IBM have announced an exclusive partnership on a new range of business apps that will bring IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad.   A statement from Apple announcing the move says the partnership aims to “redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change”.   This will be done by a host of native apps for iPhone and iPad, unique IBM cloud services optimised for iOS, AppleCare support tailored for enterprise, and new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.   Alan Mulally appointed to Google’s board of directors Google has announced former Ford CEO Alan Mulally will be joining its board of directors and will serve on Google’s Audit Committee.   Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 5.26 to 17,060.68. The Australian dollar is currently trading at US94 cents.

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