For every 40 male CEO’s that is interviewed, approximately 1 female CEO is interviewed. This is the case regardless of the choice of media, or the media outlet, men are just at the top more frequently than women. Still, this doesn’t stop us for reading about female executives who reach the top of the career charts, perhaps because we see it so rarely. Of those that do make it and are interviewed, we read the compact and contrite answers that sound as though they came out of a scripted success book, “hard work, determination, a belief in self, a great family” on and on so that half way through the article you have no interest in reading the remainder. Not so with Skout’s CFO Portia Kersten. For those who don’t know, Skout is the leading mobile app for meeting new people in the world. Beginning in just 2007, the startup has skyrocketed the success scale and continues to grow. Not only is Portia uncommon being in the Chief Financial Officer’s position, but she specializes in running startups. What’s even more differentiating about Portia is her honesty and her genuine candor.
No place is this more apparent than in an interview she gave to Huffington Post. While she may not be the first women to go from a poor upbringing to the pinnacle of success, she credits her imagination with getting her there. Now perhaps her folks helped her along by not having a television in the house, but irrespectively, she like most successful people grew to love books. She states that growing up reading authors like Charles Dickens helped her to see that it was possible to beat the odds. Apparently her love of literature was fostered at home as her parent’s named her Portia after the character in Shakesphere’s Merchant of Venice.
When confronted with the same question that is posed to all powerful women about a home and work balance, Portia is outright honest and says she doesn’t maintain a delicate balance. On the contrary, her answer is that she’s so busy she only has time for high priority tasks, be it at Skout or at home. She’s even candid about her husband’s description of her mantra, as he relates with rolled eyes, “efficiency in all things.” Not too many women would be comfortable giving such a personal insight to a nationally well-read magazine. She credits the founder of Parenting Magazine, Robin Wolaner, with being her mentor and teaching her how to persevere and push through difficult challenges in her life. When asked what advice she would give other aspiring female CFO’s she’s well-grounded in her answer of “having patience” and exercising logic, politeness and its repetition as the foundations for success. Read more about Portia in her interview with the Huffington Post here.
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March 14 marked National Potato Chip Day. For many, that means buying and eating every bag of chips you can possibly get your hands on. But for one progressive company who seeks to make the world a happier more connected place, National Potato Chip Day meant giving back in a really positive way, and using technology to do so. The company’s name is SKOUT, and they used their app and millions of users as an excuse to do something wonderful.
SKOUT was founded in 2007 by Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindstrom and has since grown to become the largest meet and greet app out there. The app does some pretty amazing things. The travel feature, for example, allows users to find and meet each other even as they traipse around the world. It matches SKOUT users who have similar interests and hobbies, and even allows members to send virtual gifts to one another. The goal of the app is to help people connect safely and easily. The company has separate teen and adult versions, with certain features disabled for the teens so parents can feel more secure if their kids are using the app.
SKOUT is in 16 different languages and 180 different countries. In 2015, the company announced that it had reached more than 10 million members. That makes SKOUT number one for this type of service. Based in San Francisco, SCOUT was funded $22 million in venture capital by Andreessen Horowitz and subsequently became its subsidiary in April of 2012.
On March 14, of this year, in celebration of National Potato Chip Day, SKOUT encouraged members to send virtual bags of potato chips to one another, and for every virtual bag sent, SKOUT made a cash donation to the SF-Marin Foodbank until 20,000 meals could be served! SKOUT gave back, right in the community where they live and work. Considering that in that area one in every four people is at risk for hunger, those 20,000 meals are an excellent and practical way to show gratitude and community support. The company says it is happy to be working with the food bank to help end hunger and contribute to a situation where everyone has enough to eat.
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Since the advent of the internet, things took a change for the best when matters related to communication and socializing are concerned. Mobile applications have also been very influential when matters related to improving the same are concerned. Different applications have different features that are tailored for their different specific purposes.
Online dating is currently on the increase like never before. It is embraced by all ages and races precisely the reason mobile dating apps have been very popular since 2013. According to recent statistics, seven percent of mobile app users have in the past used a dating app on their phone. These apps present the user with numerous benefits including the ability to meet different people from different places through the mobile phone. The applications also speed up the meeting process when compared to other dating platforms.
Of late, mobile dating has become a truly epic social dating experience. Many apps are either belonging to social networking, social dating or social discovery brackets though all of them end up playing a single role; bringing people who are looking for friendship and eventually love together.
Skout is a mobile application that is well known for its role in making people from different parts of the world interact. Initially, it started as a travel app that sought to make it easy for people from different parts of the world make friends with others in cities they intend to visit in future. This feature worked magnificently well and currently, the application is considered by many as the best mobile app when matters related to making it much easier for people from different parts of the world to meet, become friends and date are concerned..
Different with other applications in the same category, Skout has very unique features. For instance, the Shake feature allows users to simply shake their phones when online and as a result, get to know the nearest users who are online at the time. Skout can be be described as a global network that brings together like minded people from more than a 100 different countries of the world. The best thing about the application is the fact that it does not confine itself to only English speaking countries and it is currently available in not less than 17 different languages.
It is also free on both Android and iPhone platforms though a user can upgrade to the paid option for better features. This mobile application has definitely set the standards when matters related to communication, socialization and dating are concerned. It can be described betters as the phenomenal mobile application that played a very big role in setting the standards when matters related to quality are concerned.
FreedomPop is one mobile provider that will be getting an advantage out of the Black Friday spirit by practically giving their services and devices away. The company, a Los Angeles operation, gives wireless internet and mobile phone service is based in Los Angeles, and provides service over Sprint and Clearwire networks. Clearwire and Sprint’s network.
Until Nov. 27 the carrier allowed customers to get a Motorola E smartphone for the low pricetag of $40. This is a big deal considering the usual bill for this device would be $190 more. Other options included a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone for $100, shaving nearly $350 off of the usual price. These refurbished devices are not the latest out on the market, but this sale model has become the norm for providers that are looking to increase interest in second hand markets.
Apple’s upgrade program is one example for providers getting a lot out a second hand marketing angle. This also benefits individuals who would not otherwise be able to afford these products. These refurbished products are also LTE capable, running on Sprint’s network. FreedomPop exhibits a determination to provide the best possible free mobile experience for a market that wants an increasing amount of choice in regards to what devices are made available to them.
In addition to sleek devices at lower prices, these deals also give customers unlimited voice calling for a whole month! Additional services such as text messaging an additional gigabyte of data are also reasons why customers will enjoy this holiday offer from FreedomPop. Not only are the company interested in providing customers extra incentives for using their service, up to 500 calling minutes are available after customers transition over to the network for a longer contract period. This new company, launched in late 2012, will soon hit 1 million customers.
The company has recently acquired funding from Intel Capital that it plans to use for international expansion. In addition to setting up markets in the UK, the company will also build upon its smartphone portfolio. Next year’s plans include a Wi-Fi first model built according to Intel’s Sofia platform. This will no doubt be of benefit to the company that has benefitted from a $10 million investment from telecom giant Axiata Group, an operation with a 230 million customer base across Asia.
FreedomPop has made the interesting transition from a wholesale to commercial company is an interesting one. The company is currently in conversations with multiple major global carriers that are active in several markets. It seems that new company are preparing for fast growth as their capital gains seem to just roll out. The company CEO, Stokols, who previously served as CEO of Woo Media, seems to be optimistic about projected growth over the next year or two. As of June they were able to get $30 million in series B funding from several companies. While the company continues to project growth into the future, FreedomPop doesn’t rule out an eventual sale down the line.
Flipora has been steadily rising in the ranks of Silicon Valley start ups for the past couple of years. Initially Flipora had been founded under the name InfoAxe before moving on to Flipora. Then, with their core focus fully refined, the group decided to move to the name Rover. The name change, which comes at a time when the company is pulling in heavy investor interest, looks to target people who make positive connotations to the brand. Rover is a web browsing companion app that will be available across all major web browsing platforms: handheld devices and desktop/laptop computers. Rover seeks to connect users to creative, quality, content without eve rmaking them work for it.
The Rover system works because of the companies vaunted Discovery Engine. The Discovery Engine is an AI based algorithm that runs in the background of your web browsing experience. As you browse the internet, like normal, your search history is uploaded into the cloud. Once in the cloud the data is indexed along with all of the other users who are integrating the system into their browsing experience. Much like Amazon’s “Recommended for users who liked ____”, Rover will churn out content suggestions by pulling data from other users. So if a frequent visitor of a football forum ends up going to a specific niche NFL site, then that suggestion will find its way to the end user.
Rover has already found some huge investments from major players in the tech world. We’ve seen the founder of Google Adsense, executives at Microsoft and Facebook, and even a few other data mining companies get involved. Rover has managed to raise big money recently, in the form of $3 million via capital investments, and the team of developers will look to leverage it into a big expansion into the mobile market. With more people becoming hooked to browsing on their mobile devices, iOS or Android, this expansion could pay big dividends for the still growing company.
Going from Flipora to Rover is a big move for a company that seems to have an acute sense of what their identity is. The initial Flipora system relied on users literally ‘flipping’ through content pages. As we are further removed from physical magazines, this simply was an outdated concept. The Rover system looks to hone in on the idea that there are machines and programs out there to bear the heavy lifting for the users.
To say that online social interaction has had a profound impact on the way we go about meeting and socializing with other people would be a gross understatement. It would be a “What rock have you been living under” kind of understatement. Nearly everyone who has participated in modern civilization can name couples they know who have met online. Online dating has become a part of our digitally connected world that is not going away, but rather, evolving. It is becoming more commonly accepted and is less frequently viewed with suspicion when people reveal to their friends and family that they met their latest squeeze at their computer.
Some people won’t accept online dating as a legitimate way to feed that human need for companionship. These are possibly the same people who can not get over the fact that a cell phone does more these days than just let you call and talk to other people. They stubbornly insist on pointing out the fact that “back in my day, a phone was for one thing, talking to other people”. Times change. The way we go about living and interacting changes. Deal with it.
To those who are willing to change with the times, online dating is what they make of it. If hopeful singles hang out in a sleazy meat-market bar, they can expect to often be treated like a piece of meat. If a person is in search of meaningful connection and healthy human companionship, the world is your oyster. We all have heard the horror stories about meeting psychos or fakes online. It’s true, there are enough “bad apples” out there in digital dating land to make us wonder if that “fit young athlete” on the dating site profile is actually an old fat couch potato who still lives in mom and dads garage. Using a bit of common sense with online dating is often all that is needed to avoid the mentally un-balanced psychopaths and find companionship with people who don’t subsist on haloperidol.
There are dating sites that cater to very specific demo-graphs and others who try to cover it all. Dating sites like “www.hookupcloud.com” appear to be reaching out to one type of interest, while “www.skout.com” seems to be focused on meeting people for fun, companionship and possibly romance. Skout has a very organic “Meet people, on zendesk.com socialize and see where it goes from there” kind of feel. There is an element to Skout that includes traveling that is aimed at making it easier to connect with people in places that you may be traveling to. Skout has a mobile app that can keep you connected on your smart device on the go. Over and over on the Skout web site, the theme is all about meeting people and getting to know them.
Online dating is all about possibilities. There are much more possibilities available simply because the far reaches of the world are not as far away as they used to be. Just like in real life, where you hang out in the digital world can make the difference between winding up being pestered by some pubescent pervert who wants to know what color underwear you are wearing or meeting an engaging conversationalist who wants to know what you are all about. It is up to users to take advantage of the good and neglect the bad in the online dating world.