By Samson Okalow - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 0 Comments
It’s a different kind of mobile advertising
This story originally appeared in Canadian Business.
Not long after being laid off in June 2010 from his job at social news website Digg, Brian Wong was on a long-haul flight passing through Southeast Asia when he had his great idea. He looked around and was struck by how many people were enjoying themselves with games on their mobile phones or tablets. It was no new insight to recognize that mobile gaming could be monetized, but the problem was the current state of mobile advertising was, as he describes it, “in a state of absolute disrepair.” Mobile ads were typically tiny, in-your-face reproductions of desktop banner versions. “It was annoying and just really counterproductive,” he says. Wong’s trick is to capitalize on what he calls “moments”—those times where players are enjoying accomplishing something in a game.
“That’s when I was like, that’s really exciting and there’s already millions of people playing these things, getting these moments. And no one’s doing anything with these moments. What if we could reward people in these moments? What if we could make the most out of the fact that you’re happy and actually augment that happiness by bringing brands in to reward you? Then it hit me that this shit was going to blow up!”
Such was the extemporaneous beginning of Kiip (pronounced “keep”), a little startup headed by a Canadian whiz kid.
Wong is the kind of young guy who’s so smart and self-confident, he makes you say “huh.” Not huh with a question mark. Just huh. Along with co-founders Amadeus Demarzi and Courtney Guertin, at 21 he’s running a successful business that integrates rewards into mobile games. To start he got $300,000 from True Ventures and some angel investors. Then in April 2011 he got another $4 million from Hummer Winblad and True Ventures, followed by $11 million in a second round in July 2012, led by Canadian VC Relay Ventures.
By Richard Branson - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Richard Branson on the proverbial lemons and lemonade
This story originally appeared in Canadian Business.
Richard Branson is a philanthropist, adventurer, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group of companies.
Whenever something goes wrong or you find yourself at a disadvantage, often the best way to handle it is to turn a negative into a positive. I learned this early on as I struggled with dyslexia, a learning disability that affects reading comprehension.
I left school when I was 16 years old partly because of my dyslexia. I couldn’t always follow what was going on, so I didn’t find the lessons interesting and became distracted. My teachers thought I was lazy because, back then, people didn’t understand as much about dyslexia as they do today.
I seemed to think in a different way from my classmates, and I’ve done so from an early age. Over the years, my different way of thinking helped me to build the Virgin Group and contributed greatly to our success. My dyslexia even guided the way we communicated with customers. When we launched a new company, I made sure that I was shown the ads and marketing materials. I asked those presenting the campaign to read everything aloud, in order to test the phrasing and the overall concept. If I could grasp it quickly, then it passed muster.
I still check our ad campaigns today, so we have continued to use ordinary language instead of industry jargon. Our bank, Virgin Money, doesn’t talk about “financial services’’ or “leading industry intelligence.” Instead, we talk about building a better bank for everyone.
By admin - Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 3:15 PM - 0 Comments
Iran state television has reported that the country’s military has built a new long-range…
Iran state television has reported that the country’s military has built a new long-range weapon. The drone, they say, has a range of 2,000 kilometres and is capable of carrying bombs and missiles. At that range, it would be able to attack almost all of the Middle East, including Israel.
In response, Israel has renewed threats to take action against Iran’s nuclear sites. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a pre-emptive strike against is probably necessary and he rejects U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that economic sanctions against Iran and diplomacy should be given more time before the country turns to military action.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has accused Obama of being too soft on Iran and has appeared to be unequivocally supportive of Israel and any war plans they may have throughout the campaign. In a leaked video, Romney confessed to donors that he doesn’t have much faith in peace prospects between Israelis and Palestinians.
Although President Obama has been weary of calling for war against Iran, he said his administration will “do what they must” to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
By admin - Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 2:11 PM - 0 Comments
The fans take to Twitter
By admin - Monday, September 10, 2012 at 4:07 PM - 0 Comments
GoDaddy, the world’s largest registrar of domain names and among the largest web hosts,…
GoDaddy, the world’s largest registrar of domain names and among the largest web hosts, is experiencing severe and widespread technical difficulties today, Mashable is reporting.
The offical website, GoDaddy.com, cannot be reached and countless websites hosted by the registrar are also down. Even domain names registered with GoDaddy that are not being hosted by the site have gone dark.
A prominent hacker with the Anonymous collective has taken credit for the attack, saying that the intent of the hack was, in part, to test GoDaddy’s “cyber security.” Although Own3r, who is the security leader of Anonymous, took credit for the action this afternoon in a tweet, many are taking the pronouncement with a grain of salt. Anonymous has recently come under fire for spreading misinformation, saying that they found 12 million UDIDs (unique codes that identify Apple iPhone and iPad information) in hacked FBI computers. On their website they wrote “FBI IS USING YOUR DEVICE INFO FOR A TRACKING PEOPLE PROJECT.” In reality, the group had retrieved only one million UDIDs, which were stolen from an app developer.
By admin - Monday, September 10, 2012 at 8:41 AM - 0 Comments
In initiative to clamp down on illegals voting in elections, Florida Republicans have launched…
In initiative to clamp down on illegals voting in elections, Florida Republicans have launched a sweeping investigation of past election lists and have found only one fraudulent voter — Canadian citizen Josef Sever, the Globe and Mail reports.
The Republican effort to impose new voter-identification measures has been regarded by many as a thinly veiled effort to keep African-Americans, Hispanics and lower-income citizens from voting. The party, however, has stood by the measure, saying they are trying to protect the “sacred” act of voting.
After months of searching, the state has found only one illegal voter. Sever, a naturalized Canadian who was born in Austria, masqueraded as an American citizen in order to buy guns. He has voted in at least two presidential elections.
Josef Sever has plead guilty to multiple felony charges. He will be sentenced Nov. 6.
By admin - Monday, September 10, 2012 at 7:51 AM - 0 Comments
Archeologists hunting for the wreckage of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition have discovered human remains…
While the underwater team has not found the remains of ships, they have discovered a human bone, a tooth, and a toothbrush in Erebus Bay.
The hunt for remains will improve when the team receives an underwater vehicle from the University of Victoria. The search, sponsored by Parks Canada, is one of several attempts to find the crew, which consisted of 135 men who went missing in 1845, in search of the Northwest Passage.
In 1859, a search party hired by Franklin’s widow found a message left by the crew, saying the ships had become trapped in the ice in late 1846, and Sir John Franklin died June 11, 1847. In April 1848, the rest of the crew left a note saying they were setting out from the ships on foot, with no word of what they were hoping to find.
Modern surveys have been conducted in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Rising temperatures and shrinking ice coverage have made a more extensive search possible.
By admin - Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 7:03 AM - 0 Comments
This year, select students at Dalhousie University will be treated to plush seats, surround…
This year, select students at Dalhousie University will be treated to plush seats, surround sound, panoramic slides and extra large cup holders. Due to a lack of space at the rapidly growing Halifax university, second-year engineering classes will take place in a downtown movie theatre, The Chronicle Herald reports.
For the theatre, it’s an easy way to raise money during the morning hours when movies are not being shown. Dalhousie is paying about $54,000 to rent the theatre for a year, and 250 to 300 students will spend 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. each weekday attending class in the theatre.
The university says it considered all options before renting out the theatre, but there was simply not enough space on campus. Dalhousie is in the midst of a $20 million to $30 fundraising initiative in order to build a new building for the engineering school.
By admin - Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 12:15 PM - 0 Comments
Three schools in Brampton are in a hold-and-secure situation after a stabbing at Cardinal…
Three schools in Brampton are in a hold-and-secure situation after a stabbing at Cardinal Leger Catholic Secondary School on the first day of classes.
Emergency personnel were called to the school just after 11 a.m. and are searching for a suspect, who may be armed after leaving the high school on foot.
St. Mary School and McHugh Public School are also in a hold-and-secure as a precaution. The victim suffered minor injuries.
By admin - Friday, August 31, 2012 at 9:28 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian economy expanded by 1.8 per cent between April and June, according to…
The Canadian economy expanded by 1.8 per cent between April and June, according to Statistics Canada. The number was only a touch above the consensus forecast and just below the Bank of Canada’s projection of 1.9 per cent, but it was enough for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to pat himself on the shoulder, saying that Canada continues to have the strongest economic growth among G7 countries. (For the record, we beat the U.S. by a “whopping” annualized 0.1 per cent this quarter, according to StatsCan.)
The lion’s share of our somewhat muted growth came from robust business investment, with companies investing in new equipment and stocking inventories. Investment in the housing sector, however, was unusually week, rising by less than two per cent annualized. As foreshadowed in earlier retail reports, Canadian consumers kept their wallets fairly tightly shut, with demand growing by a mere 0.3 per cent in the second quarter. The real drag, though, where exports, which edged up by only 0.2 per cent, far slower than imports, which soared 1.6 per cent.
By admin - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 9:45 AM - 0 Comments
Allegations are widespread, but investigation into the robocalls scandal is narrower
Court documents made public Monday show investigators at Elections Canada are not investigating the robocalls affair nationally, the National Post reports. Although spokespersons from Elections Canada have told the public that they are making a full investigation into reports of fraudulent and deceptive calls across Canada during the 2011 election, they have not sought phone or Internet records for any calls beyond Guelph, Ont.
While Guelph has been the epicenter of news from the robocalls scandal, Elections Canada has received complaints from over 200 ridings across the country. The documents give no indication of any investigation beyond the hunt for the “Pierre Poutine” suspect behind fraudulent robocalls made to non-Conservative voters in Guelph in 2011.
Elections Canada has reported that it received 1,394 complaints about alleged misleading robocalls in 234 ridings. Voters in seven ridings are to have election results overturned. In Nipissing-Timiskaming, where Conservative Jay Aspin defeated Liberal incumbent Anthony Rota by 18 votes, a call centre worker signed an affidavit which said that she was instructed to give people polling station locations that she came to believe were false.
By admin - Friday, August 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM - 0 Comments
Gawker has posted 950 pages of financial information from Mitt Romney’s time at Bain…
Gawker has posted 950 pages of financial information from Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital. While reporters at Gawker do not seem to have uncovered tax dodging or malpractice, writer John Cook is asking knowledgeable readers to examine the papers and report back in the comments, noting that the documents are “exceedingly complicated.” This is the largest collection of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters available to the public since Romney disclosed two years of tax returns in 2007.
Since releasing the documents, Gawker has been criticized for allegedly lack a good understanding of how private equity firms work. Fortune.com reports that much of the information had already been brought to light by other organisations and some is even listed on Bain capitals’ website. Fortune’s Dan Primack says that while some of the information Gawker collected is confidential, it isn’t necessarily relevant.
By admin - Friday, August 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM - 0 Comments
Seeking to break his country’s political isolation, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un announced he wants…
Seeking to break his country’s political isolation, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un announced he wants to make a state visit to China, Reuters reports. While the People’s Republic has long been North Korea’s only powerful ally, relationships between the two nations have cooled since Kim ordered weapons testing against China’s — and the larger international communities’ — wishes.
It’s not clear whether China will be prepared to host North Korea’s new, young leader in September, as Kim requested. Beijing will be preoccupied with its own leadership change this fall. As well, the Chinese government may not be keen on a visit after North Korea patently defied its allt by conducting a long-range missile test.
Kim is hoping China will assist in reforming North Korea’s economy and agree to boost bilateral. North Koreans are among Asia’s poorest people, due to a deeply corrupt leadership, decades of government mismanagement and the effect of international sanctions.
By admin - Friday, August 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM - 0 Comments
Alberta’s new, tougher impaired-driving penalties come into effect on September 1, the Calgary Herald…
Alberta’s new, tougher impaired-driving penalties come into effect on September 1, the Calgary Herald reports.
The laws will introduce stricter penalties for drivers with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 and above, although the criminal level will remain at 0.08. First time offenders who blow more than 0.05 will have their vehicle seized for three days and their licence suspended for one week. The penalties become stiffer with each repeat offence.
On July 1, Alberta also introduced harsher vehicle seizure and license suspesion penalities for those who blow over 0.08. Those motorists lose the ability to drive until their charges are dealt with.
Critics of the new penalties maintain the government is penalizing social drinkers, as opposed to those who blow well over the legal limit and put others’ lives in danger. The Redford government, however, insists the rules will not effect “regular people.”
By admin - Friday, August 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM - 0 Comments
Judges in Seoul, Korea have ruled that both Apple and Samsung have copied each…
Judges in Seoul, Korea have ruled that both Apple and Samsung have copied each other’s patented designs, Reuters reports. The two companies, which control over 50 per cent of the smart phone market, have been locked in a patent battle since Apple, maker of the iPhone, accused Samsung of copying patented designs, suing them for it. South Korea-based Samsung, maker of the Galexy 5, countersued.
A judge ruled that design variations on touch-screen mobile devices are generally “limited” and that Samsung differentiated its product sufficiently by changing three buttons and the camera placement. He also said it was difficult to argue that consumers would confuse the iPhone with the Galaxy given the two devices carry the respective company logos on the back.
The court, however, ruled that Apple infringed on two of Samsung’s wireless technology patents and ordered the California-based company to pay $35,400. Samsung, in turn, was found to have violated one patent relating to a so-called bouncing-back function used when scrolling through documents, and fined about $22,000.
While this ends Samsung and Apple’s dispute in Korea, the court battle continues in the United States. Here, Apple is seeking to permanently ban Samsung from selling what it says are patent-infringing products, like the Galaxy 5, along with $2.5 billion in damages. Samsung has, in turn, accused Apple of violating their own patents, and demands $422 million in damages.
By admin - Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 9:27 AM - 0 Comments
Photo op backfires as Harper takes a spin in sensitive wilderness area
It was planned as a harmless photo-opp, but Stephen Harper has come under fire from environmentalists after he was photographed riding an ATV in the Yukon yesterday.
Prime Minister and his wife took a short, off-road trip near Whitehorse on Monday after leaving a community barbecue and before visiting husky puppies. The move, however, irritated local activists, who say they have spent years trying to mitigate the damage done by all-terrain vehicles on the area’s “pristine wilderness”.
The Carcross Desert — which Mr. Harper explored on rented ATVs — is home to at least two species of at-risk plant and insect life, conservation officials told the National Post.