Dropcam: Not Just Another Silicon Valley Cinderella

Google’s Nest recently announced acquisition of Dropcam in a $555 million cash deal is more than just a classic Silicon Valley Cinderella story. The two developers of this popular improvement on the traditional webcam are Greg Duffy and Aamir Virani, veterans from Xonbi. Yahoo paid $30 million for Xonbi, an email inbox app in 2013, but the Dropcam deal is significantly bigger. Who would have thought that the Dropcam dream began with the misbehavior of a local dog?

Security Camera

Image courtesy of nipitphand / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dropcam on Dog Patrol

Dropcam’s very humble origins began as an effort to assist Duffy’s father in determining which of the local dogs was leaving its manure on the family’s yard. He used several webcams in an effort to catch the culprit, but these webcams were difficult to coordinate, and he found it inconvenient to store the prodigious files on his hard drive. Duffy along with Virani came up with the idea to design a web camera that would be activated by motion and store video files in the cloud.

Seed Money from Kapor Capital Produces Dropcam’s Bumper Crop

Mitch Kapor of Kapor Capital provided the seed money for Duffy and Virani’s project which the two engineered and launched as Dropcam in 2009. Mitch Kapor is the founder of Lotus Capital, which produced game-changing technology that helped power the now historic personal computer phenomenon. From the initial investment, Dropcam was able to secure more funds and eventually created a half a billion dollar company. While Dropcam does not release information about its revenue, Dropcam is the best-selling security camera on Amazon and generates a large number of sales in Apple retail stores and in Best Buy. This is a huge leap from the early days, when Duffy and Virani had to package and ship every Dropcam they sold by hand.

Want to Know What’s Funny About Saving the Rainforest?

The Three Types of People in the World
When it comes to the environment, there are three types of people in this world -

Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance Logo

  1. People who don’t care about the carbon footprint that they’re leaving behind.
  2. People who are conscious of the damage that they’re causing to the environment, but feel too overwhelmed to do anything about it.
  3. People who devote time and effort to making sure that they’re living an eco-friendly lifestyle. If asked which of these types a person would want to be, hopefully most, if not all people would answer #3. So how can a person be a #3 without feeling too overwhelmed and becoming a #2?

What is Rainforest Alliance?
Rainforest Alliance is just one of many great organizations that works to preserve this beautiful planet by saving one of its most valuable resources – the rainforests. One of the things that makes the Rainforest Alliance unique is that it tries to help people and groups find the balance between what is taken from the rainforest, and what is put back. Oftentimes this can be as simple as making sure that the methods used to harvest the rainforests’ vast resources are more eco-friendly, striking a balance between man and nature.

Saving the World, One Video at a Time
Imagery and content are powerful tools when it comes to not just grabbing a person’s attention, but holding it as well. In a day when high-definition 3D movies are having so much success, people walk out of theaters thinking about two things on both the unconscious and conscious levels – the movie’s plot, and how appealing the images were to them. Rainforest Alliance has embraced both of these factors to convey its message.

With their video posted on Vimeo, Rainforest Alliance took full advantage of the visual approach, depicting the rainforest through visually stunning and soothing images. The images are so pure that a viewer will want to just jump through the screen, and directly into the locations where it was filmed.

They took a different approach with their “Follow the Frog” video. With this video, it was more about the content. Of the many content methods available such as drama and action, Rainforest Alliance used comedy to get the populations’ attention. For almost all of the three minute video, Rainforest Alliance keeps you amused and paying attention as they list all of the extreme things that a person SHOULDN’T do to save the rainforest. After showing a wealth of extreme, comical scenarios, Rainforest Alliance then says what should be done. The balance the video strikes shows how easy it is to help the rainforest, simply by purchasing Rainforest Alliance approved products. After truly exaggerating the overwhelming aspects of saving the rainforest, a person sees just how easy it is to help. 

Google vs. Deforestation

Google Forest Watch

One of Heather Clancy’s recent posts on Forbes.com brought to light a fabulous effort to quell the problem of deforestation. Google, in conjunction with the World Resources Institute (WRI), as well as over 40 other organizations, should be credited for developing a way to submit data used for the monitoring of deforestation.

Deforestation Running Rampant

Anyone who has been monitoring the level of deforestation in the first part of this century knows how horrifying and upsetting the statistics are. The issue of deforestation is one that will continue to get worse and worse unless more efforts such as this one are developed.

How Anyone Can Help, Or Be Helped

The initiative allows governments and businesses, as well as the average Joe within local communities, to contribute to the data entry. This is the embodiment of utilization on a global scale – putting the power in the hands of people that are being directly affected by this issue, whether they know it or not. Through the help of their communities, it wouldn’t be at all shocking if this gets armchair ecologists out of their homes and outside, where they can influence matters for themselves through the contribution of basic data. The fruit of everyone’s labor becomes apparent when it results in the high accuracy rate – falling within 30 meters annually.

The way this will benefit businesses is also a crucial aspect. The data that is essential for them knowing the problem areas in their individual industries will help them guarantee that they’re not contributing to a problem that will come back to affect them in the long run.

Visualization is Key

This global map can be used as a tool to educate people about the chaos that carelessness is reaping around the world. Sometimes it’s easier for people to visualize the effect they’re having on the world, whether intentionally or not, by seeing it for themselves. The more that people and businesses are aware of the problems of deforestation, the easier it will be to suppress this growing problem before it gets too far out of hand.

A New Champion Enters The Data Security Scene

PKMS2 Technologies Ltd.In today’s ever growing, rapidly changing technological world, more tools are been offered to help companies and their employees to grow, and work more efficiently. With new and innovative ways to boost corporate performance, also come risks that can turn the statistical graph from Up-stat to Down-stat. High security threats to organizational data can come from experienced hackers, unwitting employees, or just a plain lackadaisical attitude towards the need to be careful with how data is transferred at work. For small or sole-proprietor businesses, who may not be able to afford the highest level data security systems, this poses an even greater threat.

Many companies allow their employees to work from home on their portable devices, or to log-in remotely from their personal PC. The website Logmein.com, allows users to remotely access sensitive corporate information from anywhere in the world, and to control their work computer remotely. In theory, an employee who is not too fond of his company, or has a lapse in loyalty, could very easily go into his work computer from anywhere, opening the corporate network to the influences of unscrupulous third parties who may have installed infected software on this employee’s personal computer or mobile device. Apps for the iPhone or Android that sync with company computers to obtain new e-mails may carry a conduit of infections from one person’s mobile device across the world wide web, to nest within this “secured” corporate network.

To combat data security threats on a large scale, Richard Blech has begun a new venture with PKMS2 Technologies Ltd. A cyber-security data encryption company, PKMS2 Technologies seeks to utilize their patent-pending technology across a wide array of platforms, including all mobile technologies such as smartphones, iPads and of course, corporate networks. This is a new breakthrough in secured online communities that will allow users to share sensitive information while social networking. The company intends to continue to develop their security measures with partnerships and ensure a safer online change of information across multiple communication channels.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Industrious Bees for Industrious People

Money Bees

Money Bees

Among almost one million known species of insects, bees are singled out for their importance to people and plant life. While the importance of most insects are subtle, the benefits of bees are apparent to all. Even still, new uses for bees and their products are continually being developed. Farmers, the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, furniture care producers and, skin care manufacturers have a long tradition of converting bee products into useful revenue producing products.

Bees Honey: More Than Just Sweet
Industrious bee keepers have learned to harness bee products from almost any stage in their development and life cycle. While honey is a part in people’s daily diet, honey is also an effective antiseptic with an anti-bacterial agent, preservative and therapeutic product.

Beeswax: A Common Household Item
Beeswax is in products for beauty care, skin care, furniture care and more. Beeswax has an amazing ability to protect and seal surfaces. Therefore, it is used in many salves, varnishes, polishes and various waxes. Beeswax has been used for centuries in candles and wax based products, but is less commonly known for its uses in many medical products.

Controlled Pollination
Pollination is the most important activity of bees. It helps the widespread fertilization and reproduction of plants. While bees naturally pollinate plants, experts can control some of the pollinating activities of bees for the development of certain crops. Bees are also very efficient pollinators.

Therapeutic Bee Venom
The uses of bees venom in medicines and pharmaceutical research is definitely the most surprising use of bee products. In Europe alone, there are at least twenty-four medicines with bee venom. A drop of venom from a bee sting is more toxic than a drop of venom from a rattlesnake.
Innovative ways of using bee products are developed and researched continuously. A creature that contains such powerful and multifaceted abilities to promote plant growth, and produce food, medicinal poison, and more is invaluable. Richard J. Blech calls bees “Money Bees”

About Richard Blech
Richard Blech is an entrepreneur who is vested in environmental technologies and research. He has expertise in renewable energy as founder of Eco Corporation, and internet security technology as founder of PKMS2 Technologies Ltd. Beekeeping is more than just a hobby to Richard Blech.

A Cure for Cyber Sensitivity: PKMS2

Worried about banking online for fear of a security breach? Do the words “data transfer” make you break out in hives?
It appears that a cure is on the horizon. PKMS2 Technology, Ltd. has it ready for the masses and it doesn’t require FDA approval. 
Eco-friendly entrepreneur Richard J. Blech, the company’s cofounder and managing director, holds the prescription: it is PKMS2 encryption, a technological wonder that Blech is predicting will be installed in every mobile device before long. PKMS2, acquired from Wikifamilies, Inc., provides a safe connection for online communities with which they can access, share and archive data securely. Its use will be especially valuable in institutions that routinely process transactions containing sensitive information, such as those in the financial or governmental sectors. 
In addition to aiding in security, PKMS2 Technology, Ltd. offers a multitude of other services including video services and time line data management.

Richard J Blech: Why Retro Really Works

Richard Blech is all for “retro”. It is his business and his passion in fact. In his role as Manager for ECO Corp, Richard is able to put his innovative ideas and systems into place in a way that not only makes financial sense, but also is also profitable. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Richard studied Business Administration at Fullerton, California and though he now makes his home in Europe, he has close ties with his native country and home state.

ECO Corp and Sustainable Real Estate

In a recent interview about the staggering success of the ECO Corp retrofit of the Superior Court building in downtown Los Angeles, Richard J Blech represented the management company of the building: Commonwealth Management LLC where he is the CFO and financial strategist.

“We are able to provide our tenants with a quality environment they can be proud of while saving energy and ultimately increasing the value of the property.” Said Blech on the subject of creating environmentally friendly buildings that not only comply with state regulations but also are profitable to boot.

It’s an interesting subject and one that concerns many building owners and real estate investors right now. ECO Corp has found workable, sustainable and profitable solutions for commercial properties that ensure they are energy efficient as well as increase the value of the property. With the prestigious project at Superior Court, Richard was able to utilize the latest technology to provide a cost reduction of 11% in electrical budgets alone. It is through a combination of high-tech, clean and environmentally friendly systems and the appliance of science and financial factors that have ensured Richard Blech’s success.

Bridging Finance and the Environment

One of Richard’s main areas of interest is finance. He started his career as a financial advisor and investment analyst. It is his passion for the environment however, that has led to his work with ECO Corp and Commonwealth Management LLC. A number of years ago, Richard became increasingly concerned with the amount of buildings in urban areas being torn down to make way for new energy efficient and compliant buildings. Determined to make a difference, Richard sought to find the best environmentalists and building experts to prove that a retro-fitted building not only made more sense from an environmental perspective, but that it made more sense from a financial perspective.

Richard J Blech does not only believe that retrofitted buildings can save money, but that they can actually make money and be consistent profit producers in the long-term. He is a member of the Coalition for Green Capital and the Green Chip Investment Group. He is also actively involved in working for CleanTechies Around The World.

On a personal level, Richard keeps it retro with one of his hobbies: he is an avid student and acknowledged authority on music theory of the Beatles. Making his home in the small town of Cruseilles in the Rhône-Alpes in France, Richard is a keen skier and beekeeper.