The Tech Blog Writer Podcast - Inspired Startup Stories & Interviews With Tech Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Innovators & Disruptors

Tech Columnist Neil C. Hughes Interviews Innovative Startups, Tech Leaders, CEO's, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs. Guests share their stories, experiences and invaluable advice about the latest tech trends affecting multiple industries. As a tech blog writer, I created this podcast to add real human voices to my written articles and bring them to life. My aim was to create a top podcast that unites the global community and connect every tech fan and entrepreneur in the world. A wealth of guests that cover every aspect of the startup scene discussing Venture Capital, Technology Startups, Advice and Strategy, Angel Investors, Bootstrapping, Business Ideas, Co-Founders, and Crowdfunding. We also look at how the digital transformation and technologies such as machine learning, AI, AR, VR, FinTech, Edtech are impacting businesses. Steve Jobs once said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." This show aims to empower those followers to learn from those on a similar journey so they too can create their own path by educating and mentoring.
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Now displaying: April, 2017

 The Tech Blog Writer Podcast


Tech columnist Neil Hughes is the host of the Tech Blog Writer Podcast that is also available on iTunesStitcher, PlayerFM and TuneIn Radio.

I launched this podcast to add real human voices to my written articles and bring them to life. My aim was to create a top podcast that unites the global community and connect every tech fan and entrepreneur in the world.

Steve Jobs once said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." This show aims to empower those followers to learn from those on a similar journey so they too can create their own path by educating and mentoring.

You can also reach me on Twitter at @NeilCHughes or at





Apr 30, 2017

Hurdl is bridging the gap between artist and audience using wearable technology and a healthy amount of innovation. Ultimately they are upgrading experiences in the multi-billion dollar live event space which hasn’t seen a change in more than 30 years.

In November Hurdl introduced wearable tech to the live music scene and even became the star of the show at the Country Music Association Awards. Could technology now engage large audiences to create new relationships and personalized euphoric experiences?

The PIXL LED wearable turns fans into interactive event experiences while its patented software provides clients and brand partners a new 1:1 communication network with all attendees for direct, real-time engagement to increase pre-, during and post-event revenue.

Hurdl was one of 11 startups chosen from more than 30,000 applicants worldwide to work in close collaboration with TechStars Music which many of you might remember from episode 204.

"We’re proudly pioneering a new, direct channel for our clients to include and engage their entire audience in a way that I was never able as an artist manager for 12 years,” said Betsy McHugh, Hurdl founder

Betsy has lived and breathed the live music scene having worked with John Mayer and Bon Jovi, as well as in management roles for artists including Keith Urban and Hunter Hayes.

I'm quite excited about how Hurdl is bridging the gap between artist and audience while being both accessible and affordable.

Apr 27, 2017

I recently learned how MyRadar has notched up 25 million downloads to become the world's most popular weather radar app. We are living in a world of app fatigue where we don't want any more apps in our lives and we all have a weather app on our phones already which makes 25 million downloads from an overcrowded app store all the more special.

MyRadar is a fast, easy-to-use, no-frills application that displays animated weather radar around your current location, allowing you to quickly see what weather is coming your way. Just start the app, and your location pops up with animated weather!

The app shows animated weather, so you can tell if rain is headed toward or away from you, and how fast and also offers push notifications. But I wanted to learn more about why this app has captured the public's imagination and the secret to securing a global hit so I invited Brad Anderson onto the show to find out more.

Brad is attempting to use mobile technology to change the world and this is just one of many reasons why he is the perfect guest for the Tech Blog Writer Podcast.

Apr 26, 2017

It seems we are witnessing headline security breaches on an almost daily basis at the moment. But the finger of blame and accountability could soon be pointing in the direction of the boardroom which should be enough for CEOs to take cyber security seriously.

With Yahoo now holding senior executives accountable for the mishandling of two security breaches, I wanted to investigate if boardrooms still struggle to see the ROI of cyber security.

Step forward Diligent. The company is the leading provider of secure corporate governance and collaboration solutions for boards and senior executives.

Over 4,700 clients and 140,000 users in more than 70 countries on all seven continents rely on Diligent to provide secure, intuitive access to their most time-sensitive and confidential information.

Considering that half of the companies on the Fortune 1000 along with 70% FTSE 100 list are clients, it's clear that Diligent has the ear of the most influential boardrooms in the world.

Brian Stafford, CEO of Diligent Corporation, is highly attuned to what it means to be an effective board member in today’s complex business landscape, so I invited him onto the show to learn more about how boardrooms are tackling the thorny issue of security.

Apr 26, 2017

It seems at the moment that Industries worldwide are finding that the digital transformation is ushering them towards commercial and industrial IoT.

Expected to reach $236.5 billion by 2022, the embedded computing market’s projected growth can be attributed to increasing digitization, machine automation and the rise of artificial intelligence.

Advantech is a world-leader in providing trusted, innovative embedded and automation products and solutions. With a portfolio of over 1,000 products and a network of more than 8,000 talented people working in 92 major cities worldwide, the Industry 4.0 accelerator offers a comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio, customer-centric design services, and global logistics support.

The billion-dollar company collaborates closely with select partners across a diverse range of market sectors to provide edge-to-cloud solutions for a wide array of applications—driving smart cities, smart factories and the advancement of industrial and commercial IoT—while achieving the collective corporate vision of enabling an intelligent planet.

Advantech has also been named a Microsoft Global IoT Valued Partner and was and is also an Authorized Embedded Distributor in The Americas.

I invited Shawn Jack, Director of Sales & Embedded Ecosystems at Advantech onto the show so he can share his thoughts, expertise, and insights on how faster deployment and scaling of IoT solutions is critical to business all over the world.

Apr 25, 2017

Michael Scharf left his comfortable, investment banking career to co-found MyClean. Bootstrapping a $20K website investment into a $9M company is an amazing achievement on its own.

MyClean has over 200 cleaners and 20 office staff employees, has completed more than 375,000 home and office cleans since launching and averages over 2,000 cleans a week between NYC and Chicago.

Michael also runs his company with a lot of non-traditional practices such as:

  • Never accepting VC money
  • Exclusively hiring W-2, full-time with benefits employees (the industry norm is 1099 contract workers because 1099 labor is significantly more cost-effective)
  • Putting people before technology



Apr 24, 2017

VideoBlocks Powers through on Path of Industry Disruption. As the first subscription-based provider of royalty-free stock media, today announced the launch of its artist-friendly stock Photo Marketplace that will reward photo contributors with 100 percent commission from their sales.

TJ Leonard, CEO of VideoBlocks advised that feedback from the Videostock community confirmed that people want a simple, affordable, on-demand photo solution.

“The success of our Video Marketplace, helping artists earn more through our unrivaled 100% commissions, as well as the incredible choice and savings we have passed on to our members, gave us the confidence that we could build a truly different kind of Photo Marketplace.”




Apr 21, 2017

Companies want continual feedback from customers, but there hasn’t been an easy and automated way to actually get it. Delighted is built around the simple truth that great products come from companies who deeply understand their customers.

Delighted is the fastest and easiest way to gather customer feedback and put it into the hands of those who can act on it. Using the Net Promoter System – a single question and an open-ended comment box – Delighted helps companies align customers’ needs with business growth, measure the customer voice over time and keep customers coming back.

Bose, Target, Uber and other beloved brands of all sizes trust Delighted to collect, distribute and analyze feedback to create more delightful customer experiences.

Caleb Elston is co-founder of Delighted and Worked on Mosaic. Co-founder of Yobongo. VP Products Advisor to Simpler.

I invited Caleb onto the show to find out more about how Delighted is helping businesses continuously improve the customer experience.

Apr 19, 2017

Punch Alert is the first mobile app to help users crowdsource safety for a wide scope of situations. 

The first safety app to focus on the responder’s needs, Punch Alert turns any iOS or Android device into a mobile emergency solution. Users report emergencies or suspicious situations to preselected responders with text notes, images, video or audio recordings. Responders can

Responders can crowdsource this information, and redistribute warnings and announcements to the entire community as one mass notification. Instantly after an emergency is reported, responders receive an email, text message and automated phone call with the name and location of the person reporting the emergency.

Responders can screen emergencies as they come in, release them to specific users, distribute emergency plans, communicate with other responders, share content and updates with anyone necessary and completely resolve the emergency – all from a mobile device.

Its a fascinating topic so i invited Greg Artzt CEO at Punch Technologies on the show to understand how they are adding peace of mind to the event industry and ensuring safety and security of our schools, universities, healthcare facilities, and other campus locations.


Apr 18, 2017

Storyhunter has more than 20,000 freelance video producers and journalists across 180 countries. With $4.2M in funding the talent marketplace is hitting the headlines for all the right reasons.

Storyhunter proudly counts four of the five largest news organizations and two of the three largest magazine publishers as clients. Other clients include, NBC, CNN International, Time, National Geographic, Discovery Digital, and The Weather Channel, as well as brands including Airbnb, Expedia, Zillow, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Custom Networks: Video producers can organize both new and existing freelancers into their own custom networks e.g. “360 shooters,” “African freelancers,” “Best editors,” and send group messages, or reach out to freelancers individually.

So if CNN needs footage for a breaking news story in your area, they simply dial a creative who is on their books. At least that's my understanding, but to clear this question up and many more questions I invited Jaron Gilinsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Storyhunter onto the show.

Apr 17, 2017

Three-quarters of all mental health conditions emerge by the age of 24, but getting help is expensive and 55% of the nation’s 3,100 counties don’t even have a single practicing psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.

That’s why Aaron Robin (32) has founded the “Uber” of mental therapy offering 24/7 on-demand access to licensed professionals. Called iExhale, it’s recently launched in California (coming nationwide soon)

iExhale is an app that you can download right to your iPhone (Android and desktop in the works) with tons of features for anyone who needs a helping hand, or has a hand to lend:

  • Getting started is easy with Meet a Therapist, a free 48-hour period meant to help users and therapists get to know one another with no commitment.
  • A therapist will then call on a secure line, and it does not require a monthly subscription so one-off sessions ($64.99) can be booked at any time.
  • You can also browse an anonymous social support network that gives you a lot of ways to support others and get supported in a fun and nurturing environment.
  • It lets you share your thoughts and feelings without fear of being teased or bullied thanks to safeguards built into the app.
  • It’s HIPPA- and COPPA-compliant, and every therapist goes through a thorough vetting process to ensure they are qualified and licensed.

In a recent study teens who were counseled over the phone had just as much success as those who met therapists face-to-face, and research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of talk therapy, works just as well on the phone or over Skype as with in-person session.

I invited Aaron Robin, the founder of iExhale onto the show to learn more about how technology and our smartphone is ensuring help is always available when we need the most.


Apr 16, 2017

An echo chamber is an environment where you only hear viewpoints that already agree with your own opinion. You shout into the cave and the echo comes back. You are rarely challenged because everyone else in your community tends to think in a similar way to you. It is a place that lacks thought diversity.

It is also a concept that is not very well understood in the real world. It needs further research. It is unlikely that anyone lives in a ‘pure’ echo chamber. There are even disagreements about whether the internet has amplified or contracted echo chambers.

However, given how many were surprised by the political events of 2016, it seems that echo chambers exist more than they did previously and having severely negative consequences. Many people want to get out of their echo chamber.

Alice Thwaite is using technology to challenge our world view through reporting stories that don’t commonly pop up on their social media feeds, newspapers or goes against the current narrative. Alice created the Echo Chamber Club

Alice created the Echo Chamber Club to bring some much-needed balance and debate into a world where people reside in their own personalised bubble. The simple concept has captured the imagination of the global community who can tune into a new way of thinking through email, WhatsApp and their podcast.

The success of the club despite having no marketing nor ad spend illustrates how there is a real thirst for a solution to the problems created by filter bubbles and echo chambers.

I invited Founder and Editor-in-Chief Alice Thwaite of the Echo Chamber Club onto the show to find out more.

Apr 14, 2017

I was led to believe we were heading for a wireless world but a look behind my TV tells a very different story when I see all those wires everywhere. Not to mention the increasing number of BRIDGES for IoT devices.

We were hoping to talk about the wireless powered home and how GaN (gallium nitride) is making that possible! When it comes to gallium nitride, there is only one man to speak with, and he's truly changing the world at EPC.

He first appeared on EP180 talking about Why Gallium Nitride Is About To Disrupt Silicon then returned on 203 The LIDAR Technology Behind An X-Ray Pill. But he has returned to today to talk about how it can wireless charge anything, and it will blow your mind.

Dr. Alex Lidow, is the CEO and co-founder of Efficient Power Conversion and he is going to talk about how tech will make power cords disappear and how EPC is leading the charge in the wireless space.

Apr 13, 2017

I recently read that many organizations around the world are failing to implement effective digital customer experience (CX) strategies, in new research from Dimension Data, .

In fact, just one in 10 organizations (9.5%) considers their digital business strategy to be optimized, leading to disjointed CX solutions.

As digital and automated channels fail to meet user needs, digital is not displacing traditional phone interactions – or reducing cost obstacles – at the speed companies desire.

There are bright points, though, as 81% of organizations cite CX as a competitive differentiator. The top factor driving digital transformation is improving CX, followed by customer demands for digital – with companies reporting benefits associated with improving CX including:

Increased customer loyalty (92%)
An uplift in revenue (84%)
Cost savings (79%)

Its a fascinating report and I felt compelled to find out more so I invited Matthew Saskin, Managing Principal Consultant - Customer Experience at Dimension Data to speak with us tonight

Apr 12, 2017

As regular listeners know I am a sucker for wearables devices and love how you can now track our diet, exercise, sleep, weight, heart rate, blood pressure and even create our own dashboards of wellbeing.

But there is much more to wearables than trying to reach 10,000 steps. Monitoring your heart rate and sleep for example not only helps you monitor and improve your health but also help against cardiovascular disease.

Lifetrak Zoom HRV optically streams continuous heart rate data, monitors all physical movements, auto-detects sleep, calculates calories burned based on heart rate intensity, manages ambient light exposure, and syncs data with a mobile app. It’s watertight up to 50 meters and can count laps in a pool while measuring continuous heart rate.

Zoom HRV can automatically monitor physical fatigue to assess personal recovery and provides exertion recommendations for upcoming training sessions.

The device can also measure cycling cadence and heart rate simultaneously if worn on the ankle. It streams continuous heart rate data, monitors all physical movements, auto-detects sleep, calculates calories burned based on heart rate intensity,

But I wanted to take a different angle to look at this wearable, so I invited Lifetrak president Mike Hosey. And also Dr. Harmon on here to understand both the tech and health aspects of this device.

Apr 11, 2017

AlienVault is the leading provider of unified security management & community-powered threat intelligence required to detect and act on today’s advanced threats

The platform has simplified the way organizations identify and respond to today's ever-evolving threat landscape. Their unique and award-winning approach, trusted by thousands of customers, combines the essential security controls with an all-in-one platform, AlienVault Unified Security Management.

The power of AlienVault's Open Threat Exchange, the world's largest crowd-sourced threat intelligence community is making effective and affordable threat detection attainable for resource-constrained IT teams.

Tonight's guest is Barmak Meftah, CEO of Silicon Valley-based AlienVault

Apr 10, 2017

I have spoken a great deal recently about a personalized digital world where we get what we want, when we want it and on whatever device we have to hand.

SimpleDeal and their newly launched mobile app that allows consumers to find dining deals at nearby restaurants all at the tap of a button on their phones.The instantaneous deal method provides restaurants with the ability to customize unique experiences for customers in real time.

Once again its a great story and indication of where the industry is heading. So I invited Founder, James McKinney onto the show tonight and I'm delighted he said yes.

"Restaurant customer engagement is not the same as it once was. People are looking for 1-2-3 fast, even when they aren't searching for fast food. I wanted to create something that emphasized a strong one-to-one level of engagement between individual businesses and consumers," states James McKinney, Founder of SimpleDeal. "We didn't want to chunk off restaurants

James McKinney has also brought growth and technology to some of the world’s largest organizations and across multiple sectors. With a background in strategic partner development, his strengths are in ideation and execution.

His personal career sales total more than $250 million while his implemented technologies continue to generate profits that have exceeded $1 billion. so if that doesn't leave you wanting more, I don't know what will.

"We didn't want to chunk off restaurants profits or force them to take any losses or hits. Advertising shouldn't be difficult. It's simple, it should garner a return. On the same token finding a place to eat with an amazing offer should be simple as pie. We managed to pack all of that into SimpleDeal and we are thoroughly excited about location-based discovery options within the future."

Apr 8, 2017

In this episode, Neil answers questions from the listeners.

Jacob Martin from Canada asks: You have had some guests talking about using customer data to create personalized experiences? Do you think it's borderline creepy?

"You have had several guests talking about using customer data to create personalized experiences? Do you think it's borderline creepy?"

Henry in Bielefeld, Germany asks:

"You recently had a show about the Shure MV88 microphone, would you recommend it for Podcasting?"

Lucas Johnson from Sydney Australia asks:

"In a recent episode, AppyPie spoke about allowing users to create their own AR and VR Apps with no technical knowledge, this is a great opportunity, but how does it combat app fatigue?"

Apr 6, 2017

Mattel, the world’s #1 toy company and the ultimate bellwether of where things are going, recently posted a 5% drop in sales during its most crucial holiday season. The industry has changed as ‘toys’ have evolved into technology platforms that now make their debut at CES or even, WWDC. 

But I have noticed that non-traditional companies are beginning to take market share and are innovating the future of play in ways the old guard is unable could only dream of.

For example, Anki - a consumer robotics and AI startup - landed two of the top four best-selling premium toys of the holiday season of 2016. As I delved a little deeper, I came across Boris Sofman who is the Co-Founder & CEO at Anki, Inc.

As an engineer and researcher with experience in building diverse robotic systems — from consumer products to off-road autonomous vehicles and bomb-disposal robots — Boris is making it his life’s work to create products that people would not expect to be possible.

Anki’s deep technical prowess puts the company in a unique position to create unprecedented products that astound the world in ways that traditional toy industry behemoths cannot. Unlike toy companies, Anki is made up of a team of Phd graduates and engineers schooled in robotics, artificial intelligence, and sophisticated animation.

It’s a mix of skill sets and an approach that is unique for the industry that will be difficult to replicate. Anki is just one of a handful of companies that are taking the bite out of the toy industry and shaking up retail shelves.

Guest Info


Apr 5, 2017

IT managers would like to think they’re at the forefront of innovation, but a new study by Softchoice found that this isn’t always the case.

The study found that 75% of employees wish their IT departments were more proactive in proposing new tools that could help them innovate.

As someone that always tried to be the bridge between IT and the business units or departments, I wanted to find out more about how they can all innovate together.

Francis Li is the vice president of IT at Softchoice, and he offered to come on the show tonight to speak in-depth about the study’s findings and what IT teams can do to inspire innovation across organizations.

Guest Info


Apr 3, 2017
Marketers are always looking for new ways to be innovative and creative in their marketing efforts. Leveraging new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can not only help marketers connect better with their key market, but also influence behaviors.  
Today, Monitor 360 unveiled the launch of the first-ever narrative analytics technology specifically designed to analyze complex, cross-platform data sets that reflect the underlying beliefs and motivations behind consumer actions. This launch is under a new name of Protagonist.
The new platform uses advanced natural language processing and machine learning to uncover the narrative forces that impact a given market, while the company’s team of narrative experts apply high-level evaluation to give actionable meaning to the findings for CMO’s and other marketers.