Doing business in China

I traveled to Beijing to meet truckers and brokers first-hand while performing market research with Xin Tian You (XTY). Xin Tian You (XTY) was founded by industry veterans with the vision to transform the Chinese transportation industry. China has 26M truckers, approximately 12M trucks (85% individually owned/operated), and hundreds of thousands of information brokers. Shipping and truck information market is highly fragmented, inefficient, and lacks transparency; return-trip logistics is problematic and costly. XTY created a mobile app that puts shipment info at truckers’ fingertips, helping them reduce costs and wait time for finding return-trip cargo.

Big Data Is Less About Size, And More About Freedom

My favorite quote in this interview:

Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, recently said,

“The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians… The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it”

Unfortunately for those of us working on these problems in real life, it is not so simple. The archetypal data-renaissance man is mathematician, statistician, computer scientist, machine learner, and engineer all rolled into one. There are opportunities where you can lack some of these skills and work with a team that supplements your weak points—a startup is not one of those.

via TechCrunch Big Data Is Less About Size, And More About Freedom .

Facebook Kicks Off Implementation Of QR Codes

I can’t see this on my own Facebook profile yet, but we’ve gotten a number of tips in our inbox in the past 10 minutes so it’s safe to assume it’s not a hoax or anything: Facebook appears to have started enabling users to generate custom two-dimensional QR codes.

From the looks of the screenshot embedded above, there are two types of QR codes: a personal barcode or a “status QR barcode”. This also seems to appear on Facebook Fan Pages.

via TechCrunch: Facebook Kicks Off Implementation Of QR Codes .

QR barcodes are two-dimensional bar codes… similar to what you see on computer generated postal stamps when you use USPS automated kiosks.  The QR codes on facebook would have a link to one’s facebook profile, presumably.  This has tremendous potential, I believe, and could be use in everything from loyalty marketing programs, to integration w/ airline/hotel checkins etc. Of course, there’s the privacy issue, but that could be fixed with PGP or other security issues.  Heck, why not use the QR codes to store your public PGP key and use as a voter identification at these new high tech electronic voting booth.  Lots of possibilities here… a cheaper alternative than embedding RFIDs on everything… (I wonder if people realize how companies have begun embedding RFIDs in clothing — well, that’s a topic for another day)

QuickStats – Amazing online tool to grab US Education Statistics

Was doing some research and found this amazing online resource for finding statistical and demographic info on college students in the US.

You can dynamically build charts and tables using a Pivottable-like web interface.  Very cool stuff indeed.  Hope to see this functionality in other web sites.

Check it out at QuickStats .

Entrepreneurship Corner: Stanford University’s free podcasts and video clips of entrepreneurial thought leaders and innovators from Silicon Valley.

This is a great resource everyone should know about:

The Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) Entrepreneurship Corner is a free online archive of entrepreneurship resources for teaching and learning. The mission of the project is to support and encourage faculty around the world who teach entrepreneurship to future scientists and engineers, as well as those in management and other disciplines. The site has been developed by a dynamic team of educators, entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP). The project has been financially supported by Stanford University and a number of generous sponsors. Other collaborators in its creation include the Stanford Center for Professional Development and Stanford Video.

Entrepreneurship Corner: Stanford University’s free podcasts and video clips of entrepreneurial thought leaders and innovators from Silicon Valley..

Short film shot entirely on Pentax k-x digital SLR camera

This is an amazing work of art – shot entirely on a digital SLR by Pentax and Pentax lenses, this short film showcases what is possible with today’s digital cameras.

Shot in downtown Denver entirely at night, the film keeps you rooting for a troubled character with a big heart. UNCLE JACK was filmed with the smc PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM, the smc PENTAX DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 ED (IF) Fish-Eye and the smc PENTAX DA Star 60-250mm F4 ED (IF) SDM lenses


Off the Shelf: The Retail & CPG Blog: Can the grocery store provide an Amazon experience?

Found an interesting post on Infosys website:

It is possible to create a unique shopping experience for grocery shoppers in the brick & mortar world. I believe this will create a unique differentiation in the minds of shoppers who are looking for a better shopping experience in the grocery stores. This will create loyalty resulting in the Grocers ability to command higher prices leading to better profitability in the long run.

via Off the Shelf: The Retail & CPG Blog: Can the grocery store provide an Amazon experience?.

via Mashable: How Social Gaming is Improving Education

For decades, educators have been scrambling to find better ways to prepare students for the real world. It began with the mildly apocalyptic government report, A Nation at Risk, which warned that an outdated school system was unwittingly sabotaging America’s economic superiority. … Audits of the U.S. educational system have revealed that the highest hurdle to adopting skills-based teaching practices is the lack of an easily implementable curriculum.

Enter social video games as a solution — immersive environments that simulate real-world problems. Today, technologically eager schools are replacing textbook learning with social video games, and improving learning outcomes in the process. Here’s how they’re doing it.

via Mashable & Slashdot ->  How Social Gaming is Improving Education.

Mashable’s list of top 15 iPhone apps for the kids

Within the article, the following NYC school is mentioned, Question  2 Learn… a school that puts “social gaming” in the classroom:

Design and innovation are at the heart of Quest to Learn (Q2L), a school committed to helping every student to achieve excellence in the skills and literacies necessary for college and career readiness. We believe that students today can and do learn in different ways, often through interaction with digital media and games. Q2L builds on this belief to create a nurturing and vibrant 6th-12th grade school environment that supports all students in the pursuit of academic excellence, social responsibility, respect for others, and a passion for lifelong learning.

From Google's blog: Moms Give Up High Heeled Shoes and Lipstick For Search

Interesting article on Google’s CPG blog about how mothers increasingly rely on search, suggesting how CPG companies should rethink their ad search campaign spend to take advantage of this trend.  Key takeaways from a recent study include:

  • Mothers conduct nearly twice as many searches as non-mothers: the study showed that before becoming a Mother, participants averaged 11 searches per week — while Mothers averaged 21 searches per week
  • 3 out of 4 Moms believe that they have become better at searching versus a year ago
  • Moms use search engines throughout their purchase decision making process
  • Moms most often delegate activities like finding recipes, reviews of products/services and finding coupons/deal to search engines

Read more at: Official Google CPG Blog: Moms Give Up High Heeled Shoes and Lipstick For Search.