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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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 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 www.techblogwriter.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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 

www.anki.com

@Anki

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

http://www.softchoice.com/innovationstudy

 

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.
 
 

 

Mar 30, 2017

World Backup Day is a day for people to learn about the increasing role of data in our lives and the importance of regular backups.

This independent initiative to raise awareness about backups and data preservation started out — like most good things on the internet - on reddit by a couple of concerned users. Let’s make this happen!

In this new world of hacking, phishing, whaling, and ransomware, the CIO must embrace perseverance by consistently backing up files on the cloud and ensuring that this data is secure. On World Backup Day (March 31) spring is a great reminder to do so. Think of it as a data center spring cleaning behavior to roust out of its winter hibernation.

I chat with Michael Gaffney, CEO of Leonovus on World Backup Day and encourage listeners to take the pledge.

1. I solemnly swear to backup my important documents and precious memories on March 31st.”

2. I will also tell my friends and family about World Backup Day - friends don't let friends go without a backup.

 

 

 

Mar 30, 2017

Lexia Learning, a division of Rosetta Stone, empowers educators through adaptive assessment and personalized instruction. For more than 30 years, the company has been on the leading edge of research and product development as it relates to student reading skills.

With a robust offering that includes solutions for differentiated instruction, personalized learning, and adaptive assessment, Lexia provides educators with the tools to intensify and accelerate literacy skills development for students of all abilities.

“One of our greatest measures of success is the positive impact our products have on students’ lives,” said Nick Gaehde, president of Lexia.

After picking up three big awards recently for being the  Most Valuable Technology in Schools, Best Reading Program and Best Adaptive/Personalized Learning Tool I had ot find out more.

Guest Info 

Nick Gaehde - President of Lexia.

http://www.lexialearning.com/

 

 

Mar 29, 2017

The Shure MV88 Condenser Microphone Turns Your Smartphone Into a High-End Audio Recorder by simply plugging into your phone.

The MOTIV MV88 connects directly to any Apple iPhone, iPod, or iPad equipped with a Lightning connector to capture high-quality field recordings on the go. The mid-side microphone element is mounted to a 90-degree hinge with built-in rotation that allows for highly flexible microphone position, even in video applications.

Five built-in DSP preset modes, plus 5-band EQ, stereo width control, and other advanced features are easily accessed through the free ShurePlus MOTIV Mobile Recording App.

Having impressed me greatly when performing mobile interviews, I invited Soren Pedersen from Shure onto the show to find out more and the understand the best way to use this mobile mic.

Guest Info

www.shure.com

 

Mar 28, 2017

Blend is the world’s leading provider for Brands and Publishers looking to benefit from the deeper audience engagement that immersive content offers. Media entrepreneur, Damian Collier has built the largest library of premium 360° Video/VR films, available to license for use in campaigns across social media, Virtual Reality headsets and WebVR, and we run a global network of expert 360° Video Creators.

Blend also makes it easy for Brands and Publishers to create their own 360 ad experiences all within the browser.

Guest Info

Blend Media also hosts the largest 360 Videos page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/360vidz and regularly activates campaigns to an engaged audience. 

www.blend.media

 

Mar 25, 2017

Personalization was a theme that dominated Las Vegas last week across three events. ShopTalk impressed crowds at the Aria, while IBM showcased their InterConnect event at the MGM Grand. Meanwhile, Adobe dominated the proceedings with slick keynotes, glitz, and glamor with an appearance from Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling.

Anyone closely following how digital experiences and the digital transformation is changing our world would have been excited by Adobe's vision of our immediate future. Empowering every person and every organization to provide end-to-end digital shopping experiences using the personalization capabilities of Adobe Experience Manager is unquestionably impressive.

Adobe’s analytics and targeting engine are also designed to adapt personalized experiences in real time based on customer behaviors, preferences, and past purchases. However, Evergage CEO Karl Wirth believes that there’s just not much steak behind the sizzle.

Wirth feels there is a mismatch between hype and reality that has set the market’s expectations for what is possible with personalization. Although he is in agreement that personalized web experiences increase brand engagement and conversion, the CEO argues that personalization is only effective if applied in real-time.

While IBM, Oracle, and Adobe all offer similar capabilities, Evergage, pride themselves on delivering true real-time personalization rather than “next time” personalization which is something they believe their competitors cannot currently compete with. In comparison with the Wizard of Oz, Wirth also wrote a blog post urging marketers to look behind the curtain.

However, the argument on who could offer the best service took a dark comic twist last week as the team from Evergage attempted to troll Adobe at their own event. Gatecrashing the Summit to make the 12,000 attendees aware of an alternative product was an incredibly bold or aggressive move depending on your school of thought.

In reality, it felt much more like a light-hearted and humorous look at the Adobe approach to personalization compared to the Evergage platform.

The #AdobeAlternative hashtag may not have gone viral, but startup succeeded in their mission of delivering a message that there is an alternative solution out there that is marketer-friendly, easy to implement and offers true real-time personalization.

Crashing your competitor's event is becoming somewhat of a trend, and this latest battle was slightly reminiscent of when Utah unicorn Domo hijacked the spotlight at the Tableau Conference by arriving with Flo Rida and Snoop Dogg last year.

When it comes to a marketing technology fight, Evergage was always going to be the underdog against a behemoth like Adobe. But, broadcasting a message that there is more than one way to empower marketers to turn the dream of 1:1 customer engagement into reality can only be a good thing in the name of competition.

Ultimately, competition creates innovation that in turn creates more efficient platforms to ensure that both consumers and business win. Evergage's CEO Karl Wirth recently appeared on my podcast. He talked about how his cloud-based platform delivers real-time personalization to more than 2 billion web visitors, the reasons behind their recent campaign and what caused him to reflect on the Wizard of Oz.

 

Mar 24, 2017

While wandering around the Adobe Summit this week, my keen eye spotted 6 NBA Hoops games. These seem to be everywhere at the moment and are a big hit with start-ups to a such a degree that they have become the new foosball table in chill out rooms.

However, I quickly noticed that anyone approaching these games machines was advised to scan their registration pass and it seemed their game seemed to populate a metrics dashboard.

It was at this point I discovered that after the announcement of the Adobe Analytics cloud to serve the experience business. Adobe wanted to find a way to simplify the complex world of analytics by showing every user how much data can be obtained by a simple game of NBA Hoops.

Giving the attendees an opportunity to see a real-time dashboard game visualization with an enormous amount of data enabled anyone regardless of their position to instantly understand the power of Adobe Analytics.

I tracked down the man behind this fantastic idea, and he is Jeff Allen, the Senior Director of Adobe Analytics. I cheekily asked for an interview, and thankfully he said yes.

So wherever you are listening to the show in the world and whatever you are doing whether it be walking your dog, going for a run or on the commute to work, I invite you to allow me to beam your ears all the way back to Las Vegas so you can evesdrop on a chat with Jeff Allen, the Senior Director of Adobe Analytics

 

Mar 23, 2017

Kevin Lindsay, head of product marketing for Adobe Target and personalization efforts talks about bringing personalization and experiences into business.

After meeting Kevin at the Adobe Summit here in Las Vegas, I invited him onto the show to learn more about the announcements over that last few days.

"provide the ability, through all our marketing solutions, for marketers to be able to market to their consumers as people rather than as separate devices. Typically this is viewed as a cross-device problem. How do I take this group of devices and treat them as the person they actually represent?” Kevin Lindsay - Adobe Summit

 

 

Mar 23, 2017

The Wyndham hotel group are the world's largest hotel company with 8,000 hotels 680,000 room night 77 countries. But, with the arrival of disruptors such as Airbnb, they decided to move forward with a digital transformation initiative. 

The team at Wyndham worked with Adobe to turn a challenge into an opportunity. This fantastic story is a text book example of how businesses should approach the digital transformation.

Change the world through digital experiences and investing in the customer experience is now paramount as the expectation levels of consumers charges ahead with AR, VR, Voice, etc.

Guest Info

Barry Goldstein Chief Digital Officer at the Wyndham Hotel Group and Aseem Chandra from Adobe.

Mar 22, 2017

Niko Chauls is the director of emerging technology at the USA Today Network where he manages a product division focused on leveraging new technologies to improve the storytelling experience.

Niko announced on stage at the Adobe Summit that he believes that the VR space is about leveraging presence and empathy.The team experiment, incubate, iterate and fail fast. They also operationalize and empower all of Gannett's 100 local newsrooms and national USA Today flagship brand.

The team at USA Today experiment, incubate, iterate and fail fast. They also operationalize and empower all of Gannett's 100 local newsrooms and national USA Today flagship brand.

After discovering how virtual reality and mixed reality are their current areas of focus at the Adobe Digital Summit, I invited Nico onto the show to find out how the USA Today is pioneering storytelling experiences through VR & AR.

Now that Nck and his team at USA Today believes that VR is a truly new medium and the first since the dawn of the web, maybe it needs the same care & consideration.

Guest Info 

Niko Chauls - Twitter @0kin ‏

Mar 21, 2017

Gigya provides a customer identity management platform that helps companies build trusted digital relationships with consumers. Used by some big names such as Nike, Forbes, and ABC, it's easy to see why over 500 top brands are relying on Gigya too.

I bumped into Jason Rose at the Adobe Summit - (Digital Marketing Conference) in Las Vegas this week.As the SVP of Marketing at Gigya, Jason leads Gigya's Global Marketing efforts, responsible for developing a world-class marketing team and create a new market around Gigya's Customer Identity Solutions. Jason is responsible for Gigya’s brand strategy, customer, and influencer.

Jason is also responsible for Gigya’s brand strategy, customer and influencer engagement, and helping to support Gigya's product strategy to drive Gigya's demand generation and revenue objectives.

We also talk about the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the impact this will have on businesses. 

Guest Info

Jason Rose - @rosejason

http://www.gigya.com/

Mar 21, 2017

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, speaker and author. He is a principal analyst studying disruptive technology and its impact on business at Altimeter Group, a research firm acquired by global brand management consultancy Prophet in 2015.

For the last two years, Brian has tracked the evolution of the autonomous industry. At the end of 2016, he released his inaugural report on the subject, “The State of Autonomous Vehicles: A Who’s Who of Industry Drivers.”

It tracked the state of every automaker, startup and university building technology for self-driving vehicles. Three months into 2017, the deluge of industry news, necessitated a series of significant updates to remain current.

With almost thirty new entries and including over 75 companies, the latest version of the report is now available. While the report tracks and organizes the state of all industry players, the latest round of updates also reveal interesting trends that reinforce the challenges facing the autonomous industry.

Guest Info 

@briansolis

Mar 20, 2017

Virtual Instruments is an exciting, high-growth Silicon Valley technology company. Since their founding in 2008, they’ve been focused on delivering unparalleled value to our customers through a combination of innovative technology and high-value services.

They have helped to solve some of the most critical IT performance and availability issues in more than 500 of the world’s largest data centers. In fact, their client lists it's like the who’s who of tech with IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, VMWare, HP, etc. all depending on Virtual Instruments.

In March 2016, they also merged with Load DynamiX, the leading storage performance analytics company. The combination of advanced workload analysis and modeling software with extreme workload generation appliances give IT professionals the ability to cost-effectively validate and stress today’s most complex physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure to its limits.

After reading how they have become the leading infrastructure performance management and analytics company, servicing the world’s most business-critical IT infrastructure as it evolves in the software-defined era. I had to find out more.

Guest Info

Philippe Vincent, the former CEO of Load Dynamix and now CEO of Virtual Instruments.

Mar 18, 2017

Anyone that is thinking about embarking on a tech startup journey could quite easily fail at the first hurdle and spend far too long on name suggestions and logos etc

Imagine if you could take ideas and logos from creatives across the world thanks to technology and the crowd. Squadhelp provides hundreds of handcrafted brand name suggestions and logos from creatives across the world.

Darpan Munjal has also held various senior level positions with Fortune 500 Companies. As a Divisional vice president (eCommerce) at Sears Holdings, Darpan led the initial launch of Sears.com and led the technology and product teams for Sears.com as well as Kmart.com which generated over $1 Billion in annual revenue.

However, Darpan is now the founder of Squadhelp, an innovative crowdsourcing platform that connects creatives from across the globe with startups and businesses for their branding related projects.

Guest Info 

www.squadhelp.com

@darpanmunjal

 

Mar 16, 2017

Everything But The House (EBTH), the world’s largest online (and app) estate sale marketplace, where you can bid on literally everything but the house. Products range from vintage art and jewelry to home decor and collectibles and everything in between.

Emmy-Winning icon Susan Lucci recently made the headlined for auctioning off her prized possessions on the platform. EBTH is a revolutionary platform for one-of-a-kind discoveries. But, what attracted me to the platform is how it is powered by innovative technology.

I invited Everything But The House CEO/President, Andy Nielson onto the show to find out more about the platform and how technology has transformed the business.

www.ebth.com

Mar 15, 2017

It seems that whatever problem we encounter in life, we naturally turn to YouTube for a how to fix video rather than read a confusing manual. But why is it in most corporate environments, we are expected to revert to reading 100-page documents written by a burnt out employee with 30 years service.

This is just one of the reasons why Maven Wave is has launched an enterprise video solution called Reveal. Reveal features a familiar video streaming experience combined with enterprise-level security, content management, and analytics. The company recognized the need in the market for a platform that meets the needs of large organizations and is both simple to use and cost efficient.

“The use of video in the enterprise has significantly lagged in comparison to the consumer market. We all use YouTube in our daily lives to learn and communicate, but we rarely use it at work. Maven Wave saw the opportunity to address that gap. Reveal allows companies to bring video to everyone in the workplace while providing control over the video content,” advised Brad Foster, Google Cloud Practice Lead at Maven Wave.

I Invited Brad Foster onto the show to find out more.

Guest Info

http://reveal-video.com/

Mar 15, 2017

Appy Pie is a mobile application development software that allows anyone with no technical knowledge to create advanced applications for mobiles and smartphones. There is nothing to download or install, no programming required – just drag and drop.

But enough from me we have Appy Pie’s CEO, Abs Girdhar

Mar 13, 2017

How JotForm Takes the Pain Out of Form Building 

JotForm helps you create online forms and collect data, all without needing to write a single line of code. With a simple concept of what you see is what you get, it's easy to see why JotForm is so popular.

Creating and designing forms seamlessly from any device to enhance real-time collaboration and offline editing, the latest update 4.0 has taken the simple art of creating an online form to another level.

Steve Hartert manages and leads the global marketing strategy, strategic planning, advertising, sales, public relations and communications activities at JotForm.

Guest Info

www.jotform.com

Mar 9, 2017

Most of us would admit they are oblivious the world around them when face down in a phone. Everywhere we look there are human beings with real stories, lives, and connections that represent meaningful collaboration and even opportunities.

James Eder was on the receiving end of several instances of serendipity and these happy accidents changed how he see's the world. Having successfully bootstrapping his first company Student Beans he is now in the process of growing his second called Causr that joins up the dots of those intimate strangers that we see every day but never speak to.

After a learning how a Causr user has already generated a £500,000 business deal as a result of using Causr. I invited James Eder onto the show to learn how many other bigger opportunities he has helped create.

Guest Info

Live on the App Store now my new venture - Causr - A location based app connecting professionals on the go.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/causr/id1129819484?ls=1&mt=8

@causrapp

 

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