With $4M From Khosla And More, ALOHA Launches A Wellness Platform That Helps You Drink Your Greens

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Startups have begun to take on the food market with gusto of late, and a slew of new companies are now looking to connect consumers with high-quality meals, especially on-demand. Many of these startups also happen to be taking a healthy approach, not only joining the movement to revolutionize the way food gets sourced and delivered, but, by improving access to products, drinks and supplements, help everyday people make healthier choices when it comes to their diet.

Whether it’s businesses that help people to plan meals, improve access to better foods by showing you the healthiest options at your local restaurants or by offering Birchbox-style subscription programs for healthy foods and snacks, investors have taken notice of the growing trend. Soylent, the nutritional drink and food substitute, for example, saw a flurry of headlines recently after raising more than $1 million via crowdfunding and after attracting an additional

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Want to learn Arabic? Klingon? Duolingo turns to the crowd to create new language classes

Syed Bukhari:

Do we really need to learn more than one language? Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO) said that he sat through a demo where English (voice) was translated to Mandarin (voice) then to Mandarin sign language. The end receiver then used Mandarin sign language with a response which made it’s way all the way through the channels into English Sign language! That’s the future.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

For the past two years, startup Duolingo has helped people learn new languages while crowdsourcing translations of real-world web content. Now, it’s tapping the crowd for new language classes, too.

To date, the company, which has 10 million users, has released mobile and web classes for six languages. But founder and CEO Luis Von Ahn, who also created ReCAPTCHA, said the startup receives about 50 messages a day from users requesting new languages. In total, he estimates users have asked for the addition of classes for hundreds of new languages.

“We simply cannot add so many by ourselves,” he said. “When we get asked for a language, a fraction say I’m willing to help. We took a cue from that and developed a system that lets the community contribute classes.”

Through the startup’s new Language Incubator, users can apply to add a new language to the site. Duolingo reviews the…

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Can sensors help seniors hold on to independence? Lively is betting on it

Syed Bukhari:

There’s also a new shoe that sends vibration into elderly people’s feet that helps them maintain their balance and avoid falls. No more, “I fell and I can’t get up” commercials! Watch out #LifeAlert!

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Plenty of startups target younger consumers with sensor-embedded wristbands, watches and other gear that offer paths to a fitter physique, healthier habits and peak athletic performance. But San Francisco-based Lively wants to use sensors around the home to help the elderly preserve something that can often feel even more precious with age: independence.

Mobilize_badge_product-showcaseLaunched last year, the startup sells sets of sensors that can be attached to objects in a senior’s home to learn and share information about the person’s routines. Sensors attached to pill boxes could track when medication is taken or, clipped to a keychain, could indicate when the person leaves and returns home. Once it learns a person’s habits, it can send alerts to loved ones and caregivers when it senses deviations from the norm.

“This isn’t about monitoring, it’s about caring,” said co-founder and CEO Iggy Fanlo. “It’s about creating an activity-based social network and…

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Simple’s MoneyDrop Will Soon Let Users Transfer Funds Using Bluetooth

Syed Bukhari:

Any one know how secure Bluetooth tooth is? I’m especially interested in its comparison to NFC? What’s the range of Bluetooth – will I be able to pay in the parking lot when I pick food to-go?

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Things seem to have been moving rather smoothly for the folks at online banking startup Simple. They’ve spent the last year fleshing out their mobile apps with some much-needed features and added some 25,000 customers to their ranks since July. Now the team is looking to add yet another feature to the fold in the coming months: Simple-to-Simple fund transfers.

Yeah, fine, I’ll admit the concept doesn’t immediately sound like a game-changer. Just as the name implies, Simple customers will be able to quickly exchange sums of money from directly within the app, a stark contrast from some of the clunkier peer-to-peer transfer methods used by competitors like Chase or Wells Fargo. Considering the sort of oomph that recent updates have brought to Simple’s mobile apps, something like this was only a matter of time.

Here’s the catch, though — Simple’s iOS development team (which at this point only…

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Poll the Audience:

Digital Dysruption is NOT the same as Digital Disruption

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You may be thinking that the title of this post or blog contains a misspelled word, but you’d be wrong. I actually created this word to represent what I see happening in the digital world today. There’s a lot of content about digital disruption out there, but the word “disruption” just doesn’t articulate the phenomena we experience everyday. In Texas, we’d say it just doesn’t cut the mustard!

The word “disruption” is defined as “Disturbance that interrupts an event, activity, or process.” This implies that the event, activity or process will continue after the interruption or disturbance passes.

However, that is simply not true. Digital Technology and disruptive innovation is changing the world, permanently. Things will never be the same.

Furthermore, the term “digital disruption,” doesn’t capture the magnitude of these fundamental changes. Any MBA graduate can tell you about the “Value Disciplines Model.” It’s a concept described in the book “The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market” by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema. In the book, Treacy and Wiersma introduced the three following values:

  • Operating Excellence: characterized by low or lowest price and hassle free service, like Walmart.
  • Product Leadership: characterized by products that are the best in their market and highly valued by customers, like Apple.
  • Customer Intimacy:  characterized by occupying only one (or a few) high-value customer niches and being obsessive about understanding the individual customers in detail, like Amazon.

Treacy and Wiersma found that, in order for companies to be successful; they had to have a minimum competence in  all of three values above, but had to be the best or the market leader in only one! They represent the idea with the following diagram:

Value Disciplines Model
Courtesy of The Enterprise Advocate

Treacy and Wiersma asserted that enterprises that sought to be the best at more than one of these values actually reduce their competitiveness which would result in loss of market share and profit. The reason for this is because the basic enterprise culture, structures, people, facilities, processes and business models that lead to excellence in any one discipline are incompatible with achieving excellence in the others.

For example, Operationally Excellent enterprises tend to have a limited range of products and configurations as this is cheaper to build and deliver than a vast range of products and configurations typical of a Customer Intimate enterprise. Tracey and Wiersema thus proposed that Enterprises  must make a key strategic choice about which value discipline to select.

And if you were to believe Treacy and Wiersema a few years ago, then you’d be correct. Now, you’d be wrong! And in the future, Every company must be the best or the market leader in all three disciplines or they will dysrupted permanently!

Notice that I used the word “Dysrupted,” I coined this term to expand the definition of disruption to reflect the fundamental and permanent change to the status quo which we know today.  The word “Dysfunctional,” defined as “Not operating normally or properly,” provides the missing element when combined with the word “Disruption” to make the point that the affected event, activity or process  will never again function normally. Taken together, the term “Dysruption” means a “Disturbance that fundamentally interrupts an even, activity, or process to such a degree that it will never operate normally (in the same way) again.”