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Month: September 2012

A Tech Way Around “Creative Block”

Editor’s note: Alex Cornell is co-founder and creative director at Firespotter Labs, makers of ÜberConference, NoshList, Nosh, and Jotly. Firespotter is backed by Andressen Horowitz and Google Ventures. Follow him on his website and on Twitter. I’ve always found it interesting when the non-creatives in a company estimate how long it will take the creative team to accomplish something. What’s often baked into their scheduling assumption is that the creatives will deliver results at a predictable and regular rate. They expect that 10 hours of creative work will produce 10 hours worth of pretty pictures; as predictable as a banker crunching numbers. Instead, it’s entirely possible to spend all day “creating” and literally accomplish nothing. In a way, it’s like a baseball game. The process of arriving at an effective creative solution, while scheduled to take nine innings as it were, could theoretically last a lifetime. And you still might lose the game. Working all day doesn’t always mean anything is actually being created. There are many reasons for this, and of course some turmoil is a necessary part of a creative process, but there is one particularly gnarly reason artistic production can be so erratic. What causes the creative process to arrest most haltingly is often described as a “block.” Most are familiar with writer’s block of course, but I’ve always been interested in how this ailment affects...

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Italians Take Up The Torch To Ignite Their Own Tech Startup Scene

Last year Italy’s official statistics bureau, ISTAT, produced a report on the state of the internet in Italy. It found that in world terms, Italy was below average in terms of Internet usage. The European average is 73% usage by population, but Italians were hovering around the 63% mark. But official statistics can be cruel and out of date – and it’s clear now to any observer on the ground that whatever is happening in the home market, Italian tech startups aren’t just shooting for their own country but for yours as well. Evidence of this emerged when Facebook bought Italy-based Glancee, this year – this was the location based mobile story of the year. And there have been other undercurrents. The Italian Startup Scene Facebook Group which now has over 8,300 members, up from less than 3,000 last year – is still growing. Clearly many of the old attitudes are changing fast, and are probably out of date as we speak. For instance, the TechCrunch Italy CrunchUp event in Rome this last week was originally supposed to be a simple meetup. But it’s a sign that Italy’s startup eco-system has exploded in the last 18 months or so that we ended up having to find a venue for over 1,000 people who wanted to come. Italy has clearly changed since I scratched around a tiny Italian-only event in...

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How Technology Is Empowering Teachers, Minting Millionaires, And Improving Education

Thanks to the rise of in-classroom technology, the focus in education tends to be on student engagement and how to improve learning. It becomes easy to forget the importance of great teachers. Startups, entrepreneurs, businesses (and the rest) need to remember that technology doesn’t have to put teachers in jeopardy; it can help them lead the education evolution, even if their traditional role in the classroom becomes obsolete. Today, in spite of the significance and potential long-term value of the job they do every day, teachers (especially in K-12 and public education) tend to be underpaid. In May, we wrote about a few platforms that are looking to change that — to empower the world’s under-salaried educators. TeachersPayTeachers, a platform that enables teachers to buy, sell, and share their original content and lesson plans, hit a big milestone this week which is sure to catch the attention of educators around the country: It minted its first millionaire. Deanna Jump, a 43-year-old kindergarten and first grade teacher at Quail Run Elementary in Warner Robins, Georgia, is the first on the platform to pass $1 million in sales, having amassed 17,000 followers and sold 160,000 items since joining the platform three years ago. And according to TeachersPayTeachers founder Paul Edelman, there are more teacher-millionaires on the way, with two other teachers having reached $300,000 and 23 at $100,000 in sales. Uncertain...

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SMART: A Bathing Ape 2012 Fall/Winter Editorial

It has been a little while since we focused on an editorial from SMART magazine, but this month sees an impressive return with the Japanese publication bringing us this very nicely produced feature that throws the spotlight on select items from the A Bathing Ape 2012 fall/winter line-up. As with many of the recent looks at BAPE collections, a more mature approach has been taken, with the stylists showing how to put together clean and classic looking outfits using some of the latest pieces available. Both colors of the much-desired Schott NYC collaboration leather jacket are highlighted along with the GORE-TEX 1st Camo snowboard jacket and many other winter outerwear. The A BATHING APE 2012 fall/winter collection is available now at all BAPE stores and official online retailers worldwide. Article source:...

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Opening Ceremony Leopard Print Calf-Hair M6 Shoes

Opening Ceremony‘s latest iteration of its mid-top M6 shoe has started to hit retailers and it’s quite the standout. The wild leopard print upper is crafted from a rich calf-hair leather upper and features a top-stitched midsole atop a cream rubber outsole. Tonal stitching and espresso-colored waxed laces keep things clean while an internal leather lining offers an extra touch of luxury. Available now from SSENSE for $365 USD. Article source:...

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