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Branding, Social Media, Viral Marketing, PR, Blogging, Communications
Interests: food, wine, hiking, writing, photography, books, people, social media, video, really great literature, french and italian design
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The loons are echoing in the background and I can hear their call much louder than I can on Caroga Lake’s waters for some reason, my old stomping ground. I’m not sure if part of it is the fact that I’m a hundred feet higher than I normally am when the loons call to me or the fact that we’re further north in the Adirondacks – either way, as I sit here reflecting on Mirror Lake’s serenity and magic, the loons are part of it all and its a beautiful thing. Small as it is, Mirror Lake is large enough to tire your arms as you paddle from one end to the other. The loons are in the middle and along the edge. Frogs too. I never tire of lily pads and their slimy underpinnings that keep them connected to the lake’s murky black bottom. As I slide by them in my canoe, I hear nothing but the soft sound of the paddle jolting the still waters. I bring my paddle inside the canoe and then the real magic starts….I wait a moment or two and then....nothing but silence. Silence gives more to humanity than almost anything else I know and yet so few of us have ever been shown the beauty that lies within its oh so solo echo chamber. Within that echo chamber is a kind of fearfulness; it’s about as tangible as it gets. When all the sound and clutter disappears, we are left with nothing but ourselves and that can be a frightening thing at times. I bring my hand under the lily pad so I can scoop one up as I did as a child and in doing so, it brings a smile. It flops down onto the bottom of the canoe as I scoop... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2015 at down the avenue
I've experienced some of Digital Health Summit's energy, largely at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, where it has grown in size over the years and now represents some of the most innovative technologies happening in the health, wellness and medical arena. Last week, they held their Digital Health Summer Summit in San Francisco, which consisted of a full day of panel discussions, keynotes and something they refer to as Digital Health Playground, which is an expo of companies showing off their latest products. Photo credit: The reason I've been so interested in digital health lately is not just because of the marketing and communications work I've done for HAPILABS and Kolibree over the past few years, both of which announced the world's first in their respective categories (connected fork and connected electric toothbrush). This world obviously got me into deeper into the world of quantified self and devices that measure everything you do, from the quality of your breathe, to your sleep patterns and the steps you take every day. While I find quantified self interesting and in some cases, leaps ahead of our time, empowering individuals about their bodies in ways that was never possible before, I'm also concerned about over monitoring since doing so means that the EMFs emitted and other electrical energy that comes from these devices are close to our bodies if not on them 24/7. I for one sleep more peacefully when I'm far away from anything that has bluetooth or wifi connectivity and when I'm not using my phone for texting or browsing, I turn it to Airplane Mode as a safety precaution. That said, the benefits of self monitoring for more serious medical conditions can be a godsend, particularly for kids and seniors, so that other family members can stay... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2015 at down the avenue
While I’m not a 100,000 mile gal, I spend a lot of time on planes throughout the course of a year. When it comes to flying these days, I think we can all agree -- it's a far cry from fun. Barely tolerable is what comes to mind. Photo credit: The saddening reality is that airlines worldwide brought in $31.5 billion in non-ticket revenue in 2013 -- including passenger fees -- which is MORE than 11 times their non-ticket revenue six years prior, adjusted for inflation according to CNN Money. Unfortunately, there's little that we can do about it. There's no plea here and our voices go unnoticed....otherwise, the price increases wouldn't continue to soar year after year, not to mention new fees being added for incredulous things. Photo credit: Dave Customer feedback no longer matters since it's become an industry that treats people more like helpless cattle in tow than worthful customers they care about "serving." Truth be told, I haven't had a memorable and rewarding experience flying coach in about 8 or 9 years and it's getting worse. The smile comes on the video screen welcoming you prior to take off and if a video isn't enough to make the whole experience feel less personal, I saw a recent clip where an unnamed airline actually replaced people with avatars. During that "happy" video, you're reminded that if you didn't bring your own headset, you can get one from them for a mere $5 and that's before you have to pay for the in-flight entertainment, no longer free. I'm old enough to remember when all of the "now" perks were just part of your normal travel experience -- the headsets, the meals, the movie, changing your flight date or time and hell, American used to give away... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2015 at down the avenue
I've always been fascinated by ancestry for as long as I can remember, but probably moreso because as a child, I knew very little about my blood mother, who we used to all refer to as my "real" mother. In fact, story has it that she simply disappeared when I was around 2 and that little was known about her except that she was living in Florida and from French descent. I always probed - what do you mean by French descent? The response was always the same -- "her mother spoke French, her father was French, they lived in Canada for awhile, dunno." So I was left wondering whether they were French Canadian or French European, but always thought the latter and later learned that her parents and grandparents were more old school French that I originally imagined and that on my father's side, my great grandmother who I knew personally until my teenage years when she died a ripe old age, had an ancestral past with the French Huguenots. No wonder I was so taken by the French Huguenot history and culture when I roamed through Europe like a bohemian nomad in my early twenties. Photo credit: Sometimes I wish that they had blogging tools (and the Internet for that matter) when I was that bohemian nomad, so many of those stories could have been captured online. The truth is that my travel was so bohemian, it may not have worked for a blog -- I crashed with people and camped more often than not and often did swaps of sorts to make my way around the world, doing everything and anything you can imagine for my "keep", from washing dishes, waiting on tables and smashing olives to selling art, milking cows, packing foam in a factory... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2015 at down the avenue
Ever heard of a Jeffersonian dinner? I've been invited to one or two over the last few years, one of which was being held in Washington DC, where it was birthed in the 1800's by none other than Thomas Jefferson himself. Because of those invitations, I had some vague idea of what they were, but never actually participated in one until the Arc Fusion folks hosted one recently in San Francisco. Photo credit: Rewind the clock to 1819 and visualize yourself at a long and decadently adorned table with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, his elegant Virginia home. Around the table, you're seated with a group of people steeped deep in culture, philosophy, education, history, politics, art, literature, science and theology. The idea behind a Jeffersonian Dinner is to bring people together from different disciplines, creating a new cause-centered community around a topic of importance or significance you might want to discuss for whatever reason. This can be done to tap into new resources, raise funds for a non profit or important issue, or simply to expand the group's thinking about a variety of topics. It's important that it be somewhat intimate so 12-15 people at a table is a good size and I'd argue that while someone's home isn't a requirement, it makes it more personal -- a private dining room could also work. The purpose of the Jeffersonian Dinner is to build a sense of community and partnership around a shared interest or theme. One of the rules is that everyone participates in a single conversation and are not encouraged to engage in one-on-one dialogues with their partners on either side. Photo credit: How fitting that the San Francisco Arc Dinner be held at the 1880's Payne Mansion on Sutter Street and also how intriguing that the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2015 at down the avenue
Preparing oneself mentally for leaving America's East Coast and its way of viewing the world is something I've done six times now, the first transition was to America's south, followed by Arizona and southern California and then, a few overseas stints where I lived in a variety of luxury, shacks and working class suburbs. In between, I hung my hat in villages, on a kibbutz, along the coast and amidst urban decay and sprawl.....I did it all. Above, rural Virginia in all its glory, on a cold and brisk winter day. Then, after many years doing what I was told in the Boston corporate world, I stored a three bedroom house in some warehouse in New Jersey and drove west in a silver Honda Accord named Hamilton with a kayak rack on its top. That was a decade ago. He's still with me btw and purring along. Above, Boston's Charles River at dusk in the days when I lived there, not long before I moved west. When you're born and bred in New England, East Coast roots are what you understand, what you know and connect to and the soil you want to touch when the tides are down, at least that's how it is for most people. I cried as I drove north on Route 128, for what I thought would be the last time, in a very long time. The car was packed, oozing with stuff I later would never need but couldn't part with at the time, and I looked like a young and modern version of a Beverly Hillbilly daughter, except with more miles under her belt. I was bound for Canada since I was always one for choosing the path less taken and certainly zigzagging north and south over borders was one such way to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2015 at down the avenue
The sixth annual TEDxBerkeley, which will fill Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley CA tomorrow, February 28, will focus on Wisdom, Compassion and Connection. On stage in front of over 2,000 attendees, 57 speakers and performers will share riveting insights on these important and pivotal themes. From Indian & Japanese Performers to Renowned Leaders, Professors & Apple’s Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, don't miss the Live Stream at This year’s inspiring line-up aims to transform the way we think about ideas that can re-shape the world’s priorities in education, science, the environment, healthcare and beyond, all of which is center to the core of TED. Apple co-founder and philanthropist Steve Wozniak will close this year’s sold out event. Those interested in hearing the 2015 speakers and performers can tune into the live stream at starting at 10:00 am PST. The social media hashtag for the event is #TEDxBerkeley. The complete line-up this year includes the following performers, thought leaders and visionaries, listed under the “theme” they will present. Wisdom: UC Men’s Octet: UC Berkeley A Capella Group Prasad Kaipa: CEO of Kaipa Group, Business and Leadership Coach Adora Svitak: Activist for Feminism & Youth Causes Marc Gopin: Director, Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution Carolyn Gable: CEO and Founder, Expect a Miracle! Eric Holt-Gimenez: Executive Director, Food First Dan Garcia: UC Berkeley Computer Science Professor Valerie Joi: Musical Minister Compassion: Cal Raijin Taiko: UC Berkeley Japanese Performance Drum Group Suzanne Ackerman-Berman: Transformation Director, Pick-N-Pay, South Africa Dr. Victoria Kisyombe: Innovator in Women Empowerment Alison Meyer: Leadership Coach, UC Berkeley Assistant Professor Mike Robbins: Life Coach & Author Meera Shenoy: Founder, Youth4Jobs Dan Viederman: CEO of Verite Connection: New Orleans Manifesto: New Orleans Jazz Band Cal Bhangra: UC Berkeley Punjabi Dance Group Richmond Sarpong: UC Berkeley Chemistry Professor Emily Levine: Producer... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at down the avenue
There was no shortage of companies jumping on the "we must be connected to everything, or else.." trend that was central to most announcements coming out of this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, an event that I've been going to for a couple of decades. It was even the heart of Samsung's keynote address this year. At the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), the main building for CES's heftiest exhibitors, it was Samsung (not Apple) who stole the show with its ever so impressive 360 screens that circled around its booth, showing flashy and compelling videos of cars racing and more. It was all about their 4K TVs, which are bendable, flat and curved although Samsung had plenty to offer in the mobile, audio and home automation space as well. Samsung JS9500 series is a new concept in UHD (4K technology), which they tout as eco-friendly. It uses nano-crystal technology and an intelligent SUHD re-mastering picture quality engine, which gives vast improvements in contrast, brightness, color reproduction, and detail. People seemed to be raving about FLIR at my evening networking events, a new infrared camera that connects to smartphones at around a $250 price point. As crazy as this sounds, the camera can spot pets and animals in the dark, as well as detect cold air drafts and leaking pipes in walls. FLIR ONE translates thermal energy into dynamic color images for personal safety, home repairs, outdoor adventures, and even artistic expression. The "all things connected world" seemed to proliferate the Sands Convention Center, located just off the strip a stone's throw from the Wynn Hotel, where I demoing and singing Kolibree's praises, the world's first connected electric toothbrush with truly interactive feedback, gamification and 3D motion sensors. The toothbrush tells you how you've brushed,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at down the avenue
Kolibree was in full force last week at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It is the only connected electric toothbrush on the market that gives you real-time feedback using its 3D sensors (9 axis), and built in accelerometer, gyrometer and magnetometer. Kolibree’s proprietary technology knows whether you’ve effectively reached every zone of your mouth and statistically what areas you have missed. Once you brush your teeth, feedback on how well you’ve brushed goes directly to your smartphone via Bluetooth and the data is stored in an individual profile – you can also store countless people’s brushing habits on one smartphone, making it motivating for the whole family. The data can be kept private or shared with your dentist. “What’s great about the Kolibree toothbrush, for a dentist who focuses on children’s dental care, is that I can see how well they’re doing and can coach them on where to improve. For patients who have just had dental surgery, I can even recommend which vibration is the most effective one based on the condition of their mouth,” said Holly Hasegawa, DDS, MS, Co-Founder and Advisor of Kolibree. Below, Holly demos Kolibree to an eager-to-learn consumer. The toothbrush has built in sophisticated sensors and spatial analysis which not only records where the brush is in your mouth but also understands how to collect and decipher that data so that it becomes truly useful for both users and dentists. Pirates is the answer to the biggest challenge parents and dentists have – motivating their kids to brush for two minutes without getting bored. The game, which was developed using the open Kolibree SDK, rewards kids with coins when they brush correctly and spend enough time at each location of their mouth. After a series of brushings, parents and dentists... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2015 at down the avenue
Kolibree and Dentegra Insurance Company announced plans at this year's CES show in Las Vegas, to offer innovative Kolibree Connected Electric Toothbrush, dental discounts and rewards through new Dentegra Smile Club, slated to go live early this quarter. Dentegra offers innovative and affordable dental insurance plans to individuals and groups in 38 states and is one of the nation’s leading stand-alone dental issuers on the public health exchanges of the Affordable Care Act. The new Dentegra dental discount plan will not be an insurance program, but rather a part of Dentegra’s new “Smile Club” connecting members to advances in dental health care, pricing transparency, reviews and discounts on dental products and services. The Kolibree Connected Electric Toothbrush is the first of its kind that offers 3D sensors and real-time interactive feedback to users in an innovative way. The toothbrush includes a free mobile app that keeps people of all ages engaged and motivated to brush better and for longer. Basically, it registers both brushstrokes and location in toothbrushing. A fun way to connect to their phones and mobile devices while improving their brushing techniques, the Kolibree toothbrush will also allow parents to see how well their kids are brushing on a daily basis as well as store the entire family’s brushing behavior data on one smart phone. That data can be kept private or users can share that data with their dentist if they choose. Dentegra’s collaboration with Kolibree will give consumers access to the connected electric toothbrush at a significant discount, complete with interactive games. The combination of real-time dental discounts from Dentegra with Kolibree’s real-time data on brushing behavior will empower users to take better care of their teeth while changing the traditional paradigm of how people think of dental care. The announcement marks another step in Dentegra’s... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2015 at down the avenue
You don't even have to read this site that often to know that I'm a huge fan of French culture, art and food/wine. We Blog the World has a ton of content on France in general and I've written about the food in Paris numerous times, the most recent being my trip this summer and fall (yes, I graced Paris with my presence twice this year -- be sure to read my write-up on Michelin star La Cuisine) and Normandy and Brittany in September. Also learn more about Calvados and the foodie scene from my trip. So, whenever there is an opportunity to go deeper into the world of French food, you don't need to twist my arm very hard to say yes. This month at the International Culinary Institute in New York City, Anthony and I attended a food event dedicated to southern French cooking, specifically Nice. What was so magical about it was how it a fog of smoke you wonder? No, not quite, but in a fog of smoking cold and scary looking frozen air so to speak. Yup -- the very cool effect of cooking with liquid nitrogen. Cooking with liquid nitrogen isn't new but it's certainly not common and you don't get the experience of eating a dish immediately after the process in too many places. Apparently as far back as the 1800's, ice cream was made with liquid nitrogen, but today, it's really only used by the more innovative and cutting-edge chefs. The mayor of Nice (pictured below) and the head of the Nice Tourism board flew over for the event, as did some of the best chefs in Nice. Below, the head of Nice's tourism board gives liquid nitrogen a try :-) As does one of the chefs.... The result? Well, it... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2014 at down the avenue
SAND is such a great name for a conference and no, it doesn't hold that acronym because it's a travel conference that focuses on adventure in the sand. SAND stands for and is about all things that encompass Science and Nonduality. The mission of SAND is to forge a new paradigm in spirituality, one that is not dictated by religious dogma, but based on timeless wisdom traditions of the world, informed by cutting-edge science, and grounded in direct experience. I first attended the event two years ago (see my blog post from 2012), when it was held in Marin, just north of San Francisco. While they have an annual event in Europe as well, the U.S.-based event is always held in California. This year, they headed south and set up shop for their nearly week long event at the Hayes Mansion on Edenvale Avenue in San Jose California, a resort which was once a lavish private estate. People across continents and from all walks of life started flowing in on October 22 for this annual gem of an event. It was an entirely different vibe this year and I'm not sure if it was due to its extravagant venue choice, the fact that the quality of the content was even better or that I'm a little further along on my spiritual journey. My guess is that it's a combination of all three. Surrounded by lush, emerald green lawns, accented with gardens of vibrant, colorful flowers and guarded by towering palm trees, the 100-year old mansion was transformed into a spiritual wonderland inside and out. Outside was an experiential oasis, which included a sound therapy tent run by Danny Goldberg (below). Here, you could lie down and go into a deep hypnotic relaxation through a series of vibrational sounds. The sounds... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2014 at down the avenue
I spent a few weeks in Tokyo, the well recognized global city most frequent travelers have been to more than once. For this well-traveled chica, it was my first trip, largely since I had been told for years how hard it is to get around as well as how expensive it is to get around. People also talked about the language barrier and truth be told, none of these stereotypes should scare a long time traveler and for some reason, between the stories and the radiation in the north, I put Japan on hold for awhile. In just a few days, after nearly losing my cool getting lost five times in Shibuya's massive maze of a station, I fell in love with this renowned global Asian city. First of all, a few surprises for the record. Formal But Genuine Friendliness: I was astonished how friendly people were despite the language barrier. Regardless of whether I was pointing to my map trying to get directions from a subway station to a restaurant or shop, or simply saying hello, I was greeted by a warm smile and a concerted effort to help even if they didn't speak any English at all. One day as I flew forward in an effort to catch a fabulous shot in the north of Tokyo, I ended up face first on the ground, my camera lens thankfully was still in tact when I finally looked up. What wasn't in tact was my knee, which had lost a chunk of skin and was bleeding profusely. I tried to ignore this little incident because there were far too many photos to take and food to try, however a few women nearby came to my aid by pulling out band aids and antiseptic from their purses and offering them to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at down the avenue
Imagine an eclectic conference in the heart of bourbon country that brings together thought leaders, big thinkers, educators, scientists, politicians, urban planners, technologists, authors, artists, students and musicians under one roof? And...that is not by all means an exhaustive list. Idea Festival is the one event that I've jumped on an airplane for every year, bound for Louisville Kentucky to make the time for a four day discussion on creativity and innovation. Last year's event coverage will give you a taste of who they attract and while the focus may change slightly depending on who's on the main stage, the mission remains the same: to Stay Curious. Hear from founder and the force behind Idea Festival Kris Kimel; a snippet from a video I shot a couple of years ago will demonstrate his passion for the event and why he started it. Think of it as an intellectual playground in one of America's most interesting southern cities where people celebrate ideas, creativity and transformational learning across multiple disciplines, including science, technology, design, education, philosophy, business and the arts. While not in any of these categories, Walgreen's Chief Diversity Officer Steve Pemberton received a standing ovation for his talk that not just touched on diversity but what it means to be human. His childhood was far from stellar, yet he managed to rise above inequality and obstacles thrown in his path to where he sits today. Truth be told, his talk makes you care about kindness, rethink adversity and if you're a business, understand the importance of diversity. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, Pemberton has gone from being a forgotten ward of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to becoming a trailblazing Divisional Vice President at Walgreens and the first Chief Diversity Officer for the 113 year old company. Prior to that, he made... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at down the avenue
I'm in a taxi whizzing down Boulevard de Magenta, one of those wider than normal Parisian streets. There are cheap shops where you can buy mobile phones, bags and wedding dresses in the windows on both sides and you wonder what surprise will come around the next corner. We pass a sign for a Bach concert at one of the music halls, somewhere around Place de Clichy. My driver hangs a right on Rue de Rocroy and the street gets narrower. Small shops, a coiffure Mixte, a few not so stellar looking 2 star hotels, a cafe brasserie and tabac on every corner, a nail salon and a few optique stores for glasses. In my rear view mirror, I see travel agent and pharmacy signs as we weave in and out of even more narrow alleys and roads. The meter is escalating and I can't help but think of the sign that had prefix prices for certain districts of the city. He is miserable and not worth the fight despite his fabulous taste in classical music which he has blaring from some device in the front seat I can't see. Salt and pepper, a sharp nose, no smile. He refuses to smile in fact and he hates that I am paying by credit card. It was the first Sunday of the month and the sky was hazy but the day was warm, a rarity on Paris visits. I originally had plans to get out of Paris for the day with a friend, take in some gardens and have a picnic in a park however after the plans fell through, I changed course and decided after a taxi towards a more remote spot on the Seine, I would begin to walk and keep walking until the sun set. One of my... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at down the avenue
It's no secret to anyone who has followed my posts for awhile, that I have a soft spot for the Adirondacks and that I spent my childhood hiking in her woods, climbing her peaks and swimming in her waters. For those who haven't followed my travels and may not even know where the Adirondacks are, it refers to the Adirondack Mountains, a mountain range in upstate New York, roughly a 3-4 hour drive from New York City. The Adirondacks are not that close to get to for urban travelers nor for those who only have a short window to see a few major highlights when they come to the states. If you have a car, it's a fairly easy shot up the New York Thruway but if not, you're stuck on a not so stellar Trailways bus which I had the misfortune of taking this past summer. That said, if you give the Adirondacks your time, you'll experience a serene spirit and sense of peace you've never known before. Does that serenity and peace come from the Mohawk Indians of yesteryear? The Hudson River with her long history and roots? Or, does it come from the pine trees? Perhaps it's the loons who wake you up in the morning and sooth your weary soul as the sun sets? I'm sure it's a combination of all of them and more, or perhaps its merely the remoteness of the place combined with the fact that people are about as genuine as they get. I rarely get back to the Adirondacks for a myriad of reasons. Family have passed or those who are still alive, feel as if they have. The place brings me as much sadness as it does joy for many of the same reasons that Richard Russo writes about in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2014 at down the avenue
Imagine a conference that combines surfing, technology and entrepreneurship on Ireland's magical wild coast. A subset if you will of Dublin's Web Summit, the first ever held Surf Summit brought 200 attendees to the west coast of Ireland to join in discussions, surfing and other adventurous and cultural activities. When I told people I was going to an event where they planned to surf in Ireland's coastal waters in the middle of November, they looked at me as if I was a bit mad, unless of course they happened to be Canadian or from a Nordic or Celtic country. You see, the Scots, the Welsh, the English, the Scandinavians and the Canadians thought this sounded perfectly normal, for when you come from a country where it is cold and rainy, you need to have a "can-do" attitude regardless of the climate or you simply won't experience anything at all. I learned this from living in England many moons ago and it has made me a lot more resilient because of it. Iceland is another great example of where their personal and cultural life infiltrates into their business life in a positive way and adds to the entrepreneurial spirit, rather than detracts from it. I was born into water -- in other words, I grew up on lakes, was thrown into one before I could walk and was waterskiing by 5. None of that quite prepares you for the cold waters of the Atlantic, however the enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs at the Summit made it easier to embrace it all. Below is a beginner lesson on the shores of Keel Beach on Achill Island which is part of West Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. Achill Island is the largest island off the coast of West Ireland. The island is a magical place... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at down the avenue
At the fourth annual Web Summit event in Dublin from November 4-6, 2014, 22,000 people from around the world came to see new gadgets, get cool demos and hear the latest scoop on where technology is heading. Since we love travel, we decided to spend a little time learning about what some of the new travel start-ups were up to on the show floor. While we mostly cover news and destinations for the luxury traveler, we threw in several apps into the mix that would be useful for hotels, airlines, property and guest house owners and even boat owners. What I found fascinating was just how diverse the nationalities were across the board -- there are some creative apps coming out of Portugal, Israel, Germany, Finland, Greece, the states, France, England, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Russia, Brazil, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Australia and even Monaco and Malta, among countless others. I put together a curation of some of the apps I came across during my scouting exercise across three days at this massive technology event. Yonderbound is another B2B solution. Based in of all places Monaco, the female founder team (uncanny fact but they're both named Barbara), is trying to help travelers get a kick back for sharing their knowledge and travel experiences. Millions of people share their travel knowledge on popular sites for free and Yonderbound thinks you should be rewarded for it -- up to 70% of the net revenue you produce. TripFlr is a new travel app from London-based co-founder Jerome Lapaire and team. The pitch? What else but "travel with flair." Remembering the name of a bar or a shop is often a pain. City by city, you can now store your favorite spots and all the places you have yet to discover in your private Triplogs! Georama... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at down the avenue
At the fourth annual Web Summit event in Dublin from November 4-6, 2014, 22,000 people from around the world came to see new gadgets, get cool demos and hear the latest scoop on where technology is heading. Since we love travel, we decided to spend a little time learning about what some of the new travel start-ups were up to on the show floor. While we mostly cover news and destinations for the luxury traveler, we threw in several apps into the mix that would be useful for hotels, airlines, property and guest house owners and even boat owners. What I found fascinating was just how diverse the nationalities were across the board -- there are some creative apps coming out of Portugal, Israel, Germany, Finland, Greece, the states, France, England, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Russia, Brazil, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Australia and even Monaco and Malta, among countless others. I put together a curation of some of the apps I came across during my scouting exercise across three days at this massive technology event. Yonderbound is another B2B solution. Based in of all places Monaco, the female founder team (uncanny fact but they're both named Barbara), is trying to help travelers get a kick back for sharing their knowledge and travel experiences. Millions of people share their travel knowledge on popular sites for free and Yonderbound thinks you should be rewarded for it -- up to 70% of the net revenue you produce. TripFlr is a new travel app from London-based co-founder Jerome Lapaire and team. The pitch? What else but "travel with flair." Remembering the name of a bar or a shop is often a pain. City by city, you can now store your favorite spots and all the places you have yet to discover in your private Triplogs! Georama... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at down the avenue
Last year I missed Web Summit, what has become Europe's number one technology event, amusingly labeled as the Davos For Geeks. I went the first two years and this year's event is a far cry from my year one experience when they only had 500 attendees. Now in its fourth year, 20,000 people flew into Dublin early this week for the premier 3 day event. Founder, Paddy Cosgrave opened the Summit in the morning, emphasizing the importance of the social element to the Summit where deals can – and have been – done. That said, there was still a lot of activity around the main stage, where they had a host of high level discussions and speakers on the hour all day. The center stage had Brendan Iribe, the founder of Oculus Rift who spoke about the rise of virtual reality and its applications in everyday life. Skip Rizzo the Director for Medical Virtual Reality and early stage developer of Oculus Rift gave a demonstration of the technology's uses for post-traumatic stress disorder for returning veterans. From being shot at to street explosions, the virtual reality exposure therapy has assisted veterans in dealing with their PSD, explained Rizzo, outlining how in one recent study, of 23 completers of the therapy, 16 showed gains and benefits resulting from it. Next stage development will be treating civilians who have experienced stressful situations in their lives. Index Ventures partner Saul Klein talked about how entrepreneurialism is becoming mainstream. From money and venture hype to an emotional topic around healthcare. Jorge Soto described how from a personal family diagnosis of cancer, a way to decode disease and identify cancerous cells in their earliest stages may have been found. Then, John Collins of Stripe spoke of the rise of his online payment company and how... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at down the avenue
We've been seeing significant advances in 3D printing lately, a prototyping process that makes it possible to create an actual object from a 3D file. The object is formed by applying successive layers of solid material. This fall in Paris, I attended an event called Digital Day, which was a conference focused on an interactive discussion around the latest in technology and innovation largely from French start-ups. The event held workshops and vendors participated in an area where they showed up their latest. I was fascinated by Sculpteo, who has offices in both Paris and San Francisco. On-site, they had a machine which scanned YOU and then from that scan, was able to create a 3D object of yourself...a miniature version that is. And so, of course I did this, how could I not? Below I'm standing in the machine as I wait for it to circle around me and scan my body. Above is the engineer at work as the image of me comes up on the screen in real time. As it formulates what it needs of my body, I watch in amazement. Sculpteo allows users to upload a 3D file, change the size and dimensions of the object directly within the browser, select a printing material, and order their design to be 3D printed and shipped. Below are a few views on the computer screen of what the Sculpteo machine sees as it scans my body. Here are some of the objects of people Sculpteo has already created to give you an idea of what they're capable of.... I've been waiting to receive my 3D image of myself before posting this review -- alas, it has arrived. How fun! I'm astonished at how realistic it is. It was sitting atop one of my books on a bookshelf... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2014 at down the avenue
This year's Travel + Leisure Smitty Awards recently announced their winners for 2014, an Awards Program which recognizes the companies in the travel and tourism industry showcasing the best and most innovative uses of social media. I am proud to announce that I was a judge this year, together with Skift's Jason Clampet, Twitter's Mike De Jesus, Gogobot's Travis Katz, BuzzFeed's Ashley Perez, travel photographer Cole Rise, NBC Today Show's Al Roker, Google's Rob Torres and travel social media strategist Ann Tran. We reviewed hundreds of submissions and named winners and runners-up in 30 categories. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts took home the most awards with four wins and Virgin Atlantic and The Hertz Corporation received two wins in two categories each. The winners and their campaigns can be seen on, with additional information available by searching #TLSMITTY on social media. The SMITTY Awards is also featured in the Travel + Leisure July 2014 issue which went on stands in mid-June. To celebrate the SMITTY Awards, Travel + Leisure hosted an event on July 9, 2014 at the Refinery Hotel rooftop in Manhattan. Below are a handful of fun shots I took at the event. Travel + Leisure's Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Novogrod, Renee Blodgett, and Rich Beattie, Travel + Leisure's Executive Digital Editor Above, Four Seasons' Laura Fairweather Above, Tadashi Matsushita from ANA (All Nippon Airways), Renee Blodgett and Athanasios "Tommy" Sikolas of ANA (All Nippon Airways) Above, Rich Beattie Above and below, kudos to the Hyatt team & a few others :-) Above, Travel + Leisure reps from social media, digital and design! Above, Ruth Moran (left) from Tourism Ireland even made a showing :-) Below are the Winners: Best Use of Twitter: Virgin Atlantic; Runner-Up: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company Best Use of Pinterest: VisitBritain; Runner-Up: Explore Georgia Best... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at down the avenue
I've attended a few GlazedCon events now and find them to be incredibly useful from both a content and networking perspective. They are specifically focused on an area that is exploding and isn't going to slow down anytime soon: Wearables. We're proud to be a media partner again and this time, GlazedCon is expanding to London on October 22, 2014, where they'll gather together Wearable and IoT executives, along with other top tech thought-leaders to debate the real business opportunities for the hottest emerging tech ecosystem. The event is instrumental for key executives, startups, media, mobile warriers and investors. In conjunction with GlazedCon London, they will be holding the first annual Wearable World Expo where over 50 of the hottest Wearable Tech companies will showcase products so cool you'll actually want to leave with them....or at least let the world know about them! We have a special 30% discount code for those interested in attending below: Discount Code: 30% off tickets glazed_weblogtheworld Eventbrite: Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at down the avenue
The team behind Lima, which consolidates all of your content and enables you to see the same files on all of your devices regardless of operating system or device size, today announced that Partech Ventures, an American-European Fund, has invested $2.5 million in a Series A Financing round to accelerate Lima’s development worldwide. Lima was perceived as a must-have after nearly 13,000 people supported its initial launch on Kickstarter last summer. Lima not only reached its initial funding goal in less than 12 hours, but became the 6th most crowdfunded technology project at that time, raising a total of $1.2 million. The goal of the new investment from Partech Ventures will further accelerate the Company’s development of the Lima platform and allow the team to expand its engineering, marketing, sales and distribution efforts across North America, Europe and Asia. What got me excited about working with Lima is that they provide a solution to the painful siloed data problem that zaps my productivity every day. While I'm a Dropbox user and find it useful for sending huge files when in a pinch or when there's no other alternative, I find the interface too geeky and I can't organize things the way I want. I also have to pay for storage (same ole same ole) and it still means that I can't access my fat photo library sitting on an external hard drive at home from any device I happen to be using at the time. Frankly, it shouldn't be this hard nor should I have to think about it. Unlike other solutions like iCloud Drive, Dropbox and others, Lima doesn’t create yet another silo for your content: it actually reinvents how your devices store data. Composed of a hardware adapter and a multi-platform app, Lima changes the OS architecture of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at down the avenue
AT&T Foundry Innovation centers are the home to technology collaboration, innovative ideas and new projects. The center in Palo Alto teamed up with Ericsson and earlier this year, they kicked off a series of interactive discussions led by Cult of the Amateur and Digital Vertigo author Andrew Keen. They host a series of salon-style discussions called FutureCasts, where they bring together the brightest minds in Silicon Valley to tackle the future of a wide array of technologies. Each event brings together more than 30 leading experts – enterprise executives, startup founders, academics, journalists and public officials – on a technology topic. The latest FutureCast focused on the Wearable Revolution and featured Recon CEO Dan Eisenhardt Wednesday night, May 7. The discussion centered around how wearable technology will change our lives in the areas of sports, manufacturing, health, lifestyle and beyond. Dan talked about how their heads up display technology got started and is now being frequently used by skiiers and athletes around the world. Says Dan about simplicity and design in wearables, "you have to focus on the user and what they want. It's often about saying no rather than saying yes which is harder to do. In other words, we need to take more things away and dumb it down so it's an easier experience for the user." Andrew organically brought people into the conversation including input focused on my hot button, the #1 reason I don't wear ANY wearable product on the market today -- Design -- or rather lack thereof. Since it's still early days, we have a whole lotta technology being built by technologists for technologists and designers are not an integral part of the development process. To my left was one of the guys behind the Rufus Cuff from Rufus Labs which is currently... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2014 at down the avenue