Daimler Introduces the First Autonomous Truck to the U.S. That Makes Me Think Optimus Prime

Auto-Maker Daimler, straight out of Germany, introduced the world’s first autonomous truck on Tuesday night, May 5th, atop the famous U.S. landmark, The Hoover Dam. Dubbed the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, it is the world’s first self-driving truck licensed to drive on public roads as part of the Highway Pilot system.

Infographic illustrating the highway benefits of the first licensed autonomous truck
Infographic illustrating the highway benefits of the first licensed autonomous truck

As an autonomous truck, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input thanks to Daimler’s unique sensor and camera technology. The company has stated a driver must be present, but that driver has the option to relinquish control to the 18-wheel commercial vehicle. That’s a relief for not only safety reasons, but from an economic standpoint it means that for right now humans won’t be losing their jobs to robots.

Look at all the pretty blue lights
Look at all the pretty blue lights

It seems like technology is “driving” us more and more into the future and every month or so a new car company announces its driverless vehicle. I still can’t help thinking about The Transformers, so in the iconic words and voice of Optimus Prime, ROLL OUT!”

Optimus Prime in battle mode
Optimus Prime in battle mode

Join the Live Debate via Virgin Disruptors on ‘Your Workplace Wellbeing: at What Cost?’

With moderator Emily Chang, the San Francisco-based anchor of Bloomberg West, this year’s panelists include:

  • Richard Branson (Virgin Group founder)
  • Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO and founder)
  • Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO)
  • Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post CEO)
  • Jackie Reses (Yahoo CDO)
  • Jim Clifton (Gallup CEO)

Read my guest blog on Virgin.com featured as part of their workplace wellbeing series

It’s already kicked off, but it’s not too late to join the LIVE* discussion/debate now by clicking the image below:

Virgin disruptors 2

*In case you missed it, you can still watch the discussion/debate.

Introducing One of My Favourite Filmmakers Casey Neistat

Like many of you, I spend parts of my days watching videos on YouTube. It never gets boring! There’s always something new.

I’m not really familiar with a lot of video bloggers, but the ones I do know tend to just sit in front of a camera and record themselves talking. That’s fine, if you’re into that sort of thing. I, however, appreciate people who are great and genuine storytellers and one such storyteller is Casey Neistat.

He’s a young filmmaker whose YouTube channel I’ve been following for a few years now since I first stumbled on this video entitled “Make It Count” posted April 9th 2012. Nike basically hands him some money to make them a movie about what it means to make it count, Casey opts for making his own movie on what it means. Personally I preferred his approach which was a trip across the globe capturing the moments as they went along until the film budget was spent.

Flash-forward to 2015, Casey makes a rather BIG ANNOUNCEMENT and as a fan, I had no idea what that could be. When I watched the video it was the greatest news I could ever imagined! His new plan outside of making films for his YouTube channels was going to be one vlog every day for a year or until he got bored. It was his big pivot of sorts for turning 34 and wanting to keep pushing his passion and his craft.

Film-making can’t be easy with all the footage that you have to capture then the editing, colour correction and adding of sound and music in the post-production phase. By the way, the music featured in every vlog Neistat puts out is always top-notch! I respect the quality that goes into the quantity of films he’s produced to date. It’s impressive and really motivates me to work on my own craft and try to explore various medium of expression.

Below is his latest vlog, which came as a bonus today and it’s a musing from the Farrelly Brothers known for movies like “Dumb and Dumber”. Casey’s film is 27 seconds long, but manages to show his talent and creativity as a filmmaker. Not sure what typeface he uses (outside of being a sans-serif), but it works especially, in upper-case letters. It makes me want to pick up my smartphone and start creating some films too. I doubt they’d be as good, but like everything else you just have to start somewhere.

You can subscribe to Casey’s YouTube channel or follow him via Instagram http://instagram.com/caseyneistat

An Australian Photographer Making Big Waves in His Industry

This photographer captures waves in a totally gnarly way (surfer speak) that makes them the focal point of his awe-inspiring images. Ray Collins is an Australian photographer who bought his first camera a mere eight years ago (in 2007) to shoot his friends surfing around home.

Ray Collins photo waves
Source: Ray Collins’ Facebook Page

He’s since gone on to work for major companies like tech giant Apple and renowned magazines like National Geographic and adrenaline junkie Red Bull employing “his unique signature seascapes across their international campaigns.”

'Found At Sea' is a 184 page hardcover coffee table book
‘Found At Sea’ is a 184 page hardcover coffee table book

One of the most striking revelations is that Collins is colour blind, yet this hasn’t held him back in a space like photography. I suppose the worse case scenario, he could’ve just shot all his images in black and white! His published book, Found At Sea, features stunning photographs of seascapes and the first edition has already sold out. You can follow Ray on Instagram where he already has 80,000 followers.

I can’t swim nor can I surf, but I definitely want to learn; I can’t promise you I’ll be taking pictures of waves. In the video below, you get to see Collins in his element capturing nature’s most powerful element.

Jack Ma’s Creating Many of China’s Jobs and Boosting E-commerce

Jack Ma (Ma Yun) is the founder of Alibaba, one of China’s and the world’s most valuable companies at an estimated worth of $235 billion. It’s pretty impressive when you consider that Ma founded the e-commerce giant with $60,000 in angel investment from 17 friends. The idea for Alibaba came to Jack Ma when he visited the US for the first time in the 1995 and was introduced to the internet. He typed the word “beer” and the search engine turned up no results related to China. His first search was as random as they come, but highlighted a bigger opportunity that no one had yet capitalised on in China.

Alibaba's headquarters located in Hangzhou, China
Alibaba’s headquarters located in Hangzhou, China

Ma would bring the internet to China and pioneer online shopping for anyone with net access. He developed and launched an escrow service called Alipay in 2004 with no transaction fees bringing consumers and businesses together. On September 19, 2014, Jack Ma took the company to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) raising $21.8 billion in its debut, placing it as the biggest U.S.-listed IPO in history.

Inside the offices of Alibaba
Inside the offices of Alibaba

Thanks to Ma’s vision, the Alibaba Group has grown from 15 employees to 30,000 in 16 years. Ma has stated that the company has directly and indirectly created 40 million jobs. At just age 50, the self-made tycoon has already amassed a net worth of $30 billion and has no plans of slowing down now. He’s come a long way from growing poor and being rejected from numerous jobs to creating an e-commerce empire. I’ll be watching to see what Ma does next in the world of business.

Google announces its play to become a wireless service provider

They already make smartphones (Nexus) and one of the leading smartphone Operating System (Android). It makes the perfect market entry and pivot don’t you think? Not quite.

According to Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President at Google, the plan is to do some experimentation and possibly get established mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) to implement some of Google’s best practices.

Although initial plans are to be small scale, the approach will be to purchase wholesale access from it’s carrier partners Sprint and T-Mobile and sell back to its own customers. I guess the long and short of it is don’t expect Google to become a giant MVNO anytime soon. Still, it’s exciting to think of Google as added competition and a possible industry disruptor.

Google serves up $300 million worth of solar panels for US homes

Tech giant, Google has just invested a staggering $300 million in solar panels to help home owners across 15 US states make the move into cleaner energy.

Google will be partnering with SolarCity, made famous by tech magnate Elon Musk. Once the solar panels are installed, SolarCity will be charging the residents a lower bill than the traditional utility that used fossil fuels.

It’s a very strategic move by Google who are “currently using renewable energy to power 35% of our operations, and we continue to look for ways to increase our use of clean energy.” They’ve made agreements to fund $1.5 billion in renewable energy projects. More ‘power’ to Google!

This is Google’s second investment in SolarCity, joining their mission in providing a better way to power homes and businesses while contributing to a cleaner Earth. To date, SolarCity has raised funds sufficient to finance more than $4 billion in solar systems. They boast that “a new customer signs up with us every 3 minutes”. That’s a staggering 175,200 people annually.

Over the next decade, I anticipate even in the developing world, the solution to the energy crisis will be renewable. It’s far more accessible and versatile when it comes to harvesting and installation in comparison to traditional fuels and infrastructure.

Herjavec Group Expands Into Europe with Acquisition of Sysec LTD

TORONTO, CANADA & LONDON, UK- FEBRUARY 3, 2015– Robert Herjavec, Founder and CEO of Herjavec Group and star of ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit show Shark Tank, announces the acquisition of Sysec™, a leading IT security solutions provider headquartered in the United Kingdom and the 2014 McAfee EMEA Accredited Certified Engineer (ACE) Partner of the Year. Sysec specializes in information, identity and infrastructure security, offering managed, consulting and professional services to over 200 enterprise clients across the United Kingdom and Europe. Sysec is forecasted to achieve over $20 million in sales revenue for 2015 and has developed a reputation for outstanding technical engineering talent. By acquiring Sysec, Herjavec Group expands its presence in the European IT security market and is well positioned to service its growing multinational customer base.

The Sysec transaction accelerates Herjavec Group’s 3-year, $250 million expansion plan. “We started as a small Canadian firm and have grown exponentially over the past twelve years to 250 team members and $140 million in annual sales revenue,” says Herjavec. “We recognize that the threat of cybercrime is a global challenge and this acquisition provides the platform for Herjavec Group to support our clients overseas with exceptional, localized, managed services 24/7/365”

Sysec’s office in Reading, UK will now serve as Herjavec Group’s European headquarters. The firm will be rebranded as Herjavec Group and continue to expand its product and service offerings throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. Cris Pikes, Sysec’s Managing Director, who will lead Herjavec Group’s European expansion remarks, “Herjavec Group is a world-class information security organization that shares Sysec’s high-touch, customer-first approach. I am confident Herjavec Group will take our managed services practice to the next level.”

The acquisition facilitates Herjavec Group’s plans to complete its “follow-the-sun” technical support structure by developing a London-based Security Operations Centre (SOC) to complement the comprehensive support offered from its world-class, Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, Toronto-based SOC and its technical security centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, Herjavec Group expects to finalize construction of its Los Angeles, California SOC by close of Q1 2015.

“The work we do in enabling enterprises to be more secure has never had a greater focus on a global scale,” says Herjavec. “I am so pleased to embark on our expansion into Europe and welcome the Sysec team to Herjavec Group.”

About Herjavec Group
Dynamic IT entrepreneur Robert Herjavec founded Herjavec Group in 2003, and it quickly became one of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies, accelerating from $400K to $140 million in sales annually over 12 years. Herjavec Group delivers managed security services globally supported by a state-of-the-art, PCI compliant Security Operations Centre (SOC), operated 24/7/365 by certified security professionals. This expertise is coupled with a leadership position across a wide range of functions including compliance, risk management & incident response. Herjavec Group has offices globally including three headquarters in Toronto (Canada), New York City (USA) and Reading (United Kingdom).

For more information, visit www.herjavecgroup.com.

SOURCE The Herjavec Group

Maya Angelou: the Great Author and Poet of Our Time

Maya Angelou
The eloquent author and poet.

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” — this quote resonated with me most of all.

This morning when I heard that Maya Angelou had passed away at age 86, a part of me felt really sad. The other part of me felt very happy that she had walked amongst this earth and through her words made it a much better place than how she found it.

She proved just how powerful words and speech could be to change people’s minds and above all people’s hearts. There’s not much to be said about someone who penned so many poems, essays, scripts, autobiographies, and stories. Sometimes the most pointed statement about any one person is not said through words, but through their works and worth. Maya’s certainly done that.

Rest knowing your words will live on.

Fun Fact: Maya is the nickname from her brother. Angelou is a family name.