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How the Capsule Hackathon Bridges Sustainability and Corporate Innovation to Produce a Record-Breaking Event

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Hackathons are a special breed of events for their role in innovation. Originating in the tech industry, hackathons have been adopted across almost every segment and come in all shapes and sizes. The collaborative nature and mind share allows for rapid creation of ideas. Companies and industries continue to use hackathons to extract innovative ideas with individuals who can build them. If there is something that needs this innovative approach more than anything, its the climate crisis. 

Hackathons have become a crucial channel for generating new ideas and connecting with the people who can bring them to life. We’ve all heard how challenging it is for large companies to keep innovating, which is why Fortune 1000 companies are adopting hackathons as an integral component of their innovation pipelines. As large companies enhance their corporate social responsibility efforts, their interest in certain technologies overlaps with climate-focused solutions.

Seeing opportunity in the alignment of the need for corporate innovation, Experimental Civics is hosting Capsule 2020 with the participation of key partners. Capsule is a civic hackathon hosting over 4,000 hackers on June 20-21, 2020 in Austin, Texas to hack forward 500+ projects that all intersect with the environment.

Through various strategic partnerships with universities, corporate innovation labs, and non-governmental bodies, the innovation pipeline extends beyond the two-day hackathon event.

Early partner support

Nothing happens without the involvement of strategic and passionate partners. In the roster of community partners is Oxford AI Society, where VP of Partnerships, Ruben Drayton states, “Partnerships are very important for us in reaching more people and inching closer to our mission. Hackathons are where brilliant people come together to create novel solutions, and the spirit of Capsule reflects our goal of connecting AI talent with multidisciplinary problems for drastically improved answers to the most complex issues of our time. We are therefore excited to be able to see what comes out of the event, and hope to bridge Oxford’s AI knowledge with other communities around the world.”

An early partner of Capsule is The Earth Hacks Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to building grassroots environmental hackathons at universities. Also confirmed, is Tech Together, a student-run nonprofit that equips individuals with the tools and resources necessary to host an all-female and non-binary hackathon with the mission to end the gender hack gap in technology. Zero Waste Strategies, an Austin-based waste diversion, and consultancy group is a sustainability partner helping to reduce waste created at the event. Additional community partners include Welti, Youth Climate Leaders, and Key Conservation.

“Partnerships are at the heart of innovation. For Key Conservation, we are working to help conservation efforts on a global scale and to be able to do that we need to have our eyes and ears to the pulse of these efforts happening around the world. Our partnerships are crucial in allowing us to have these insights so we are not only building something that can be useful globally but they allow us access to local knowledge, personal in-field experiences, areas of expertise and to see the world from a different perspective, which is priceless. One of the more exciting features of the Key Conservation app is the ability for skilled professionals to use their skills to help conservation organizations. When we heard about how Capsule was bringing people from all over the world, from different skill sets to help tackle climate change we knew we had to be involved. We truly believe that no matter what you do for a living you can use those skills to make a difference which is exactly what Capsule is working to do.”

Megan Cromp, Director at Key Conservation

Innovation Pipeline

Capsule’s founder, Sarah Sharif, has successfully helped clients like Redbull, Google Fiber, and Mozilla to extract 6-figure ideas while also impacting their social bottom line. Sharif’s relevant, high-level unique experiences serve as a cornerstone in her efforts to execute on Capsule. Sharif is a former Director of ATX Hack for Change, winner of a Mozilla Science Grant in 2019 for her work with Life Sci Hack, and Judge for both the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund and City of Austin’s Gigabit Fund awarding over $310K to spur the generation of local social enterprises.

As an 18-month innovation program, Capsule uses the 2-day hackathon to bring together everyone that is involved throughout the process. Before the event, organizations and individuals are welcome to submit project ideas to lead and spread the word.

It takes a village

Hackathon projects are just projects at first, but the real goal is to see promising projects evolve into actual businesses. Diversity is key when it comes to organizing hacking teams with complementary skills. Participating hackers come from all sorts of backgrounds including students, developers, designers, scientists, entrepreneurs and more. 

A common misconception is that you need to have technical skills to participate in hackathons, but that is not the case with Capsule since the aim is to build a business that needs many diverse minds. Anyone looking to participate in Capsule to be a part of breaking a world record is welcome to share their project ideas during open call Jan. 27, 2020 – Apr. 15, 2020. Finalists will be announced on May 4, 2020.

“We need all the builders, doers, makers, creators, thinkers, and leaders to get involved now. The complexities of the climate crisis present certain challenges that I believe our hackathon formula is well equipped to overcome.”

Sarah Sharif, Founder of Experimental Civics and Founder of Capsule

Those who submit their project ideas will have their proposed idea go through the project selection process and finalists will have to be present at the event in order to run the project as a project lead. 

On-site support from a small army of volunteers will help the event run smoothly. Volunteers support all event functions from traffic control, runner duties, event setup, event takedown, greeter, information, etc. Volunteer training will be provided before the event and all volunteer-related affairs will be tracked using the volunteer management system, GivePulse. 

An ambitious goal of solving the climate crisis needs to be met with an equally ambitious approach. That’s exactly what Capsule offers with a civic hackathon, focus on open science, diverse participants, and a support network for the continued development of promising projects. 

Peter Salib is a Contributor at Disrupt, Grit Daily, and Thrive Global. He has been going to CES in Las Vegas consecutively for the past seven years since the age of 21 and is an avid attendee of events nationwide. Having attended hundreds of events, he is now a co-founder of Event Integrity, the first integrity-based, vetted marketplace for event professionals. He also frequently works with startups to consult and advise on media, strategy, events, and fundraising. His dog, Scruffy, was featured on the Today Show with Kathy Lee & Hoda and was dubbed "Scruffy the Wonder Dog."

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Business

LENNY LEONG – TOP EFFECTIVE TIPS TO RUNNING AN EFFECTIVE BUSINESS

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For starters, digital marketing is basically marketing that takes place online, or on the internet. An entrepreneur is a risk-hungry business person who risks a lot in the short term, for heavy returns in the medium to long term. Digital marketing just works like any other; the difference is just the venue. But the magnitude of difficulty or ease is the same as that of traditional marketing. Now, you don’t just wake up one day as a digital marketer. Almost every job in this world has important tips to go about; so is digital marketing. To be successful in any field, you’ve got to listen to the authorities or leaders in the fields. In digital marketing, Lenny Leong is a trusted digital marketing specialist who has run successful campaigns helping other people grow their businesses. According to him, success in digital marketing for entrepreneurs comes about through the following ways:

SEO and SEM

Lenny Leong insists that entrepreneurs must add to their skill both set Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. We live in the technological era where keywords are a key factor in online marketing. SEO means the use of keywords a specific number of times to rank high on the search engine results. High rankings can only mean entrepreneur’s enterprises becoming easily visible after one search. Driving more traffic to tour sites through the SEO optimization technique is a great way to grow your business as it increases your customer prospects and hence increasing your sales. When your website is highly ranked them more people will be able to visit your pages and get more information concerning your products and services hence boosting your sales.

Affiliation and Association 

This involves marketing products and/or services of other online marketplaces for commissions. Lenny Leong advises entrepreneurs to take their businesses online and create affiliate or associate marketing jobs for successful marketing. Through affiliate marketing there also a great way to increase your earnings. However, you need to get a better strategy to reach and convince more people to access your products and services. You may consider posting quality content that would attract your customer’s attention, include quality videos in your blogs and encourage more customer interactions to build stronger relationships with them.

Coaching

Digital marketing is a skill and skills are learned and perfected over time. Lenny Leong, therefore, directs that amateurs/beginners really seek help and guidance from more experienced people. This also applies to small enterprise owners. You need to embark on building more business networks to grow your business. Interacting with other business people gives you a chance to explore other business ideas which would be ideal to boost your business. The training sessions also give you better ideas on how to make your products and services more efficient to satisfy your customer’s needs.

Blogging

Entrepreneurs should have blogs where they can have articles written by experts or just themselves. Here they can improve their SEO skills and consequently become successful digital marketers. Lenny Leong says it is important to have a blog. But most importantly, he insists that marketing blogs should be fine-tuned to offer great user experience. This, of course, is in terms of building trust through blogs.

Email marketing 

This is probably a cliche by now but it still counts. This is more than just sending emails; it also entails having email lists of people with specific needs so that you can personalize your marketing messages. Lenny Leong emphasizes keenness in identifying and analyzing customer behavior. Then, further using that information solely for strategy. 

Social Media Marketing 

Last but not least, this revolves around taking advantage of close to 2 billion users. In the eyes of digital marketers, these are 2 billion potential customers. Lenny Leong advises entrepreneurs to capitalize on Snapchat stories, Facebook lives, Instagram stories, Pinterest pins, and WhatsApp Business, in that order. This will really engage users, especially if they are young people. He advises that social media fanatics love motion picture content that is fun and eye-catching and not annoying as in ads. Therefore, targeting them means more brand sales, exposure, leads through shares, and conversions.  

Digital marketing has become more of a necessity for entrepreneurs. Some years back, it used to be a bitter pill to swallow. Now, we are talking of it made much easier; all thanks to Lenny Leong’s contribution. You can also follow Lenny on Facebook for more business tips @Lenny Leong.

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Business

TripleOne, The “Decentralized” Business Owned By Everyone In The World!

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James William Awad started programming at the age of 11. His main goal initially was just to create video games. He finished developing his first game with his cousin at the age of 12. After finishing the game, they didn’t know how to market or sell it, so they scratched the project.

At the age of 14, James created an account online in order to work as a freelance developer. He was forced to lie about his age to increase his credibility as no one would want to work with a 14 year old. He told potential clients that he was 28 years old.

His first real project was for a bank in Mexico. He was tasked with fixing and creating features for a user management system. Luckily, they never asked to speak on the phone with him, as they easily could have guessed his age.

James ended up making a couple thousand bucks while working on multiple projects. He took all this money to buy C++ coding books and pay his parents mortgage for the year.

At the age of 15, James got serious about playing video games. He found a trick in an online game by generating coins. James then sold the coins to a company in China. That company would then sell them to players all around the world.

He ended up making a lot of money through this venture. Until eventually, they fixed the bug and he couldn’t do it anymore. He even lost his bank account because the bank couldn’t understand how he was making that much money at such a young age.

Soon after, James thought it would be a good idea to start an online clothing brand with a girl he had met while selling coins to the company in China.

She started looking for manufacturers while James built the website. She found many manufacturers but they had a big issue. The manufacturers were giving them excel files with thousands of products. Most manufacturers were using different formats. James had to find a way to import all these products. So he created a smart bot that would guess the format and upload all the products into their database.

Their store ended up having more than 200,000 products. And they didn’t need a warehouse for the inventory as the manufacturers agreed to ship one product at a time. Not long after, it was a success.

James is now working on a company called TripleOne. It is a decentralized company where users around the world work together to build and manage it. Each member has proprietary ownership of the company, and TripleOne allocates awards to users based on their level of participation.

James is currently working developing the concept while making sure its initial companies are running and growing. The initial companies will allow them to test the concept once it’s online. TripleOne currently owns 13 companies that are currently operational.

James says that one day users of TripleOne will manage and operate e-commerce, real estate, and other businesses as a decentralized team. Each member will be paid out on a monthly basis based on the value brought to the table. Value such as coming up with business ideas, and fulfilling related work that comes with any business venture.

The idea behind TripleOne is completely revolutionary. If successful, there is a possibility that it will change the way businesses operate all together. It is still in the development phase, but you can follow the project on Instagram at their handle @tripleone. You can also follow James on Instagram at his handle @senior.

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Business

The Aesthetician Behind the Beauty of Kim Kardashian and Countless Other A-list Influencers & Celebrities

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In a social media world where attractiveness and good looks are more common than ever, meet the doctor tasked with keeping Hollywood looking young and beautiful.

His name is Dr. Ourian, and he’s been credited with enhancing the beauty of stars like the Kardashian sisters, Christina Brinkley, Olivia Culpo, Jenna Dewan and plenty more.

One may wonder how somebody would find themselves in the business of aesthetics, but to Dr. Ourian the choice was completely natural.

Born in the Middle East and immigrating to the United States in the 1980s, Dr. Ourian has always been obsessed with beauty in every sense of the word. His passion for beauty stems from a love of art and sculpting.

During his childhood, Dr. Ourian spent years practicing the art of sculpture and studying the works of master painters and sculptors. He would have loved to pursue a career in art, but after failing to sell a single piece of his work during shows put on in his teens, he decided to pursue the safer option of medicine instead.

Although he graduated with a medical degree from Wayne State University, Dr. Ourian never lost his love for art. And while attending his residency at UCLA, he discovered his true calling after learning about the field of laser and aesthetic surgery.

Soon after, Dr. Ourian opened his practice Epione Beverly Hills. Now servicing the luxury class with treatments that include innovative aesthetic procedures such as Botox, Restylane, and Radiesse injections, stretch mark removal, vein treatment, laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels.

But starting his first business was far from a walk in the park. Like many other entrepreneurs, Dr. Ourian faced a number of challenges and made mistakes that would shape the person he is today.

One of those major mistakes? Showing off his cutting edge laser treatment technology, the Coolaser, to a company that would go on to make millions by ripping off his unique design.

Dr. Ourian created the Coolaser after realizing laser resurfacing worked for only a small percent of the population-those with pale white skin. It took him months to find a manufacturer that was able to take on my new concept for reducing the settings on a laser while also spacing out the laser columns and simultaneously cooling the skin. But when he finally found a German manufacturer to create the initial prototypes, he knew he had a winning product that would change the industry forever.

Unfortunately he didn’t know much about patent laws. And ended up showing off his technology to a company that apparently was interested in purchasing his design. They never did end up purchasing. And about a year later he learned that the same company was selling a ripoff version of his Coolaser specifically in a way that he couldn’t sue.

That company ended up making millions of dollars from Dr. Ourian’s design, which was obviously a huge blow.

But Dr. Ourian decided that he would double down on the technology instead of succumbing to the competition. He ended up creating a more effective and safer version of the Coolaser which he still uses in his practice today.

It ended up working out well for Dr. Ourian because clients didn’t just want to go to any office that had laser resurfacing technology for darker skin tones. They wanted to go to his clinic because he invented the technology, and who better to apply it than the creator?

Looking back at all of his trials and tribulations as an entrepreneur, Dr. Ourian does have some advice for those starting out.

“Find a mentor & take whatever feedback they give you and learn from it.” He also advises anyone entering business to take care of themselves when pursuing their passion. Because doing so will give you more energy and determination than anyone else, and that will help set you apart from others.

As for the future of Epione, Dr. Ourian is determined to spread his practice worldwide. He feels as though providing the best equipment and the highest level of treatment for anyone looking to have work done is his duty.

“There’s nothing that makes me feel better than making such a visible impact in other people’s lives on a daily basis,” Dr. Ourian says.

If you want to keep up with Dr. Ourian, check out his Instagram.

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