Robots will control everything you eat

It starts with a seed. That seed — maybe it’s a tomato seed — gets planted into the ground. Then it grows. And grows. Slowly, the plant pierces through the soil, emerging into the light. Weeks to months later, this seed becomes a plant, waist-high, bearing dozens of ripe tomatoes. Someone picks the fruit and packs it into a box. Someone else ships those boxes to warehouses where a restaurant or grocery buys the tomatoes. Later, a cook will take one, cut it up and put it in a salad. Today, this process is still pretty low tech. Sure, there are cars and trucks involved, but robotics? Not as much. People are still key players at every step. But that may change, and soon. “There are major technologies coming in the next 10 years to make each part of farming more efficient, more productive and hopefully healthier and less expensive,” says Dan Steere. He heads up a company called Abundant Robotics in Menlo Park, Calif. In other words, robots increasingly are going to play roles in growing and preparing our food. By time the time kids in middle school become adults, the entire food cycle may be robotic. Even now, robots help farmers. Some plant fruits, vegetables and grains in a more efficient way. Soon, they’ll help harvest that food more quickly. Some food warehouses already have self-driving trucks. Robots will even help get that food onto our plates. In fact, a robot named Sally is already doing just that. The goal is to make the way food is produced and prepared faster, easier and more efficient. Getting seeds in the ground Every field has some areas that are naturally less fertile than others. Farmland may not be level, either. It can have areas that rise or are lower than their surroundings. There may even be ditches. Plowing evens out the ground somewhat, but never completely. If a creek runs through a field, there’s always going to be land near that creek where it’s difficult — or impossible — to plant. Soil quality also varies throughout a field. All of these things can impact how much food the land can produce and how good that food will taste. And the amount of food produced affects how much money a farmer makes. Math helps farmers calculate how many seeds to plant and where. But land also changes over time, so these calculations must be done over and over again every year. A quadcopter drone moves over a farm, taking pictures from the air. This can map the quality of the soil, any crops and even pests.ackab1/Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0) Theo Pistorius is head of a company called DroneClouds. It’s in Cape Town, South Africa. His is one of many companies using drones to help farmers know where to plant. Drone is slang for unmanned aerial aircraft — a flying robot. The craft that DroneClouds uses has five cameras. Pistorius says each camera “is essentially [like] a camera on an iPhone.” But not a normal iPhone. He says think of each as “a very Read More…

15 ways how to grow your Startup

Hi everyone! So you arrive at the point where you think and realize on taking your precious startup on the next level? And have you ever been curious what it takes to grow your startup? Here are the top 15 guiding principles on growing you startup. I made it plain and simple for you so most of readers can relate. Most of entrepreneurs, startuppers and founders get overwhelmed easily with stuff when it comes to just starting a startup, there’s a lot of things to learn or to know, just imagine when you have to scale it. Well you don’t have to be no more, atleast when you want to grow your startup to bigger scale or markets. Startups and companies like AirBnB, Uber, Glances (AR Facial Recognition startup), Away (startup for selling high end luggages), Warby Parker (startup for prescription glasses) or even SpaceX has proven to follow atleast 10 of these. Below are 15 simple key principles that are results of my research analysis about successful startups and companies up to this date and these principles are fitting and applies to the upcoming year 2018. Pick good co-founders — Also pick a great and talented diverse teamLaunch fast, learn fast and move fast — MVPLet your idea evolveUnderstand your users — Every user is an evangelist of your productMake your users love youOffer good customer service — i mean really really good, this is something you can be much better with than fully-grown companiesYou make what you measureSpend as little as possible — remember money can either something or everything.Avoid distractionsDon’t get demoralized — believe in you, your team and on your vision no matter what!Don’t give up — Obstacles on your startup are requirements for your achievementsDeals fall through — Never stop trying and always be boldEngage through social media — must have!Get a very talented and open-minded design teamKeep moving forward One last thing… Word of mouth marketing — the most valuable form of marketing , you can’t buy it. You can only deliver it. Aside from the product you are offering, if for example you’re deciding about merch pieces, t-shirts or hats or stickers, they have to be weill designed and cool enough for somebody to want to buy it or the wear it, walk around advertising the brand of your startup.
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4 Ways to Improve Your Office’s Work Environment

Your work environment impacts your mood, drive and performance. If employees work in a dreary office setting with unfriendly workers, they likely won’t feel motivated or confident to speak up. That’s why creating a productive work environment is critical to the overall success of your company. Here are four ways you can improve your work environment and, in turn, employee engagement. 1. Hire great team members (and don’t be afraid to let bad ones go) Smart businesses know that a good work environment starts with hiring the right people. Make sure employees are professional and team players. The same idea translates to those who are already in the office. When employees work with toxic workers, they are more likely to become toxic themselves. “It’s amazing to watch one bad attitude affect everyone’s daily performance,” said Claire Marshall Crowell, chief operating officer of A. Marshall Family Foods/Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. “I can’t tell you how many times I have been thanked after letting poisonous employees go. Though it’s a hard thing to do, it ultimately impacts the working environment, which can be felt by not only our employees but also by our [customers].” 2. Improve the lighting Lighting plays a vital role in workers’ performance and attitude. An article by MBA@UNC, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler’s online MBA program, states that exposure to natural light improves mood and energy, greatly impacting focus and productivity. But according to a survey by Pots Planters and More, nearly half of office workers said there is little to no natural light in their office. If it’s not possible to incorporate natural lighting through windows, there are other options. Blue-enriched light bulbs may reduce fatigue and increase happiness and work performance, according to the article. Use this type of lighting in brainstorming rooms. In meeting or break rooms, use warmer tones to promote calmness and relaxation. In conference rooms, use middle tones that welcome workers while keeping them alert. 3. Make the office comfortable Working in a clean, attractive office can have tremendous effects on co-workers and manager relationships, said Mike Canarelli, CEO and co-founder of Web Talent Marketing. “Even if the sun can’t shine into your workplace, make an effort to provide a relaxing atmosphere with comfy furniture, working equipment and a few ‘extra-mile’ amenities,” he noted. For example, give your employees the flexibility to choose to work where they’re comfortable, including comfy chairs or a choice of whether to sit or stand at their desks. According to the Pots Planters & More survey, people who labeled their work furniture as “bad” are three times more likely to consider their environment as less productive, and two times more likely to find it “depressing.” “Make it easy for [workers] to purchase things like exercise balls and plants on Read More…

On the Facebook Like button, and why it’s awful.

In Company of One, around page 8, I wrote: It was a hackathon that led to the creation of Facebook’s “Like” button, which arguably connects its ecosystem to the rest of the internet. It seems like a fairly innocuous sentence. While it’s factually true and fits into the overarching story, there’s a huge failure by omission on my part. What I failed to mention is that the Like button is awful. It’s an awful feature from an awful company, from an awful type of product, run by horribly awful leadership. Let me explain. First, Facebook keeps getting into hot water because of the lines they’re willing to cross to make money. It’s not just Facebook, most massive (tech) companies do it, but it’s easy to single them out because they’ve made so many morally gross decisions. Like selling user data, exploiting teens who are feeling anxious or insecure, and even paying teens a pittance to watch and track their every move online. And, this is just what they’ve been caught doing. Who knows what they’ve gotten or are currently getting away with? Even with the bad PR, Facebook’s profit is unscathed, showing that we’re willing to trade our privacy and data for “free” use of their platform. Second, the Like button specifically creates intermittent reinforcement to heighten our desire for social approval. This has been studied numerous times by behavioural psychologists, as a way to shortcut our dopamine system and make us take part in that behaviour far more than we should. As in, wanting social approval is a deep human need (we’re social creatures) and getting it at random intervals from people liking our status updates on platforms like Facebook, keep us anxious and compulsively seeking more. Studies are finding that on average we spend 4 hours a day on our phones, checking them every 12 minutes—on vacation (it’s far more if it’s a work day). A lot of this has to do with “social” media platforms being built specifically to encourage checking them as often as possible for those bursts of dopamine. Third, these platforms being called “social platforms” or “social media” seem to be a huge misnomer. Research indicates using them increases—not decreases—loneliness and depression. The Like button specifically heightens anxiety and decreases feelings of self-worth. We use these platforms because we seek validation and human acknowledgement and interaction, but never get it. So we come back (at least every 12 minutes). Looking for self-worth on these platforms is a false dichotomy—how can we increase “self” from external factors? How we can place any part of worth in the number of clicks we get on a heart after our updates? Facebook’s own former president, Sean Parker, said their platform was “exploiting vulnerability in human psychology”. Facebook is easy to point at but every other platform like theirs, from Twitter to their Instagram, works thRead More…