How to Use Drones to Make Money

In this week’s Brain Boost: how you can use drones to make money.

It’s looking more and more like Amazon’s vision of delivery by drone is less and less probable in the near future but the US Federal Aviation Administration has released new rules on drone operation that’s going to permit a lot of new ways that drones are going to be used in business. We’re probably going to see more drones as a part of our everyday lives.

If you’re interested in checking out the rules for yourself, go here. Already, we’re seeing drones being used for a lot more than photography.

For example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is using them to inspect bridges, energy companies are using them to inspect wind turbines and cell towers, and insurance companies are starting to send drones that take geotagged aerial photos, which are then combined to create 3d models of things like damaged houses or new homes that might be seeking insurance.

In the next two to three years, we’re likely to see drones that perform tasks around us. Now that engineers have successfully created drones that are capable of flying and lifting as much as 53 pounds (or twenty three kilos), we’re already starting to see manufacturers that are creating drones capable of carrying canisters that can de-ice roads or runways or spray fields of crops.

Other manufacturers have created drones that might soon be cleaning buildings and the windows of skyscrapers. In the next five to ten years, we should expect to see new air traffic control systems being developed and they’re likely going to enable things like Amazon’s drone delivery.

That’s probably when we’re going to see the second wave of drones being integrated into society.

Are you wary of the world of drones? Excited about it? Let us know what you think in the comments and we’ll see you next week at 10 a.m. Pacific Time for another Brain Boost.

People are Awesome: Entrepreneurs Edition

In this week’s Brain Boost: people are awesome. I’m going to highlight a civic chatbot, a distiller in Africa, and the head of Tesla Motors.

A Civic Chatbot
I met Andy and Sean at EazlLive events in Chicago. This week, the team released a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that enables you to chat with all the major US presidential candidates. For example, you can chat with Gary Johnson about Libertarianism or with Donald Trump about why he wants to build a wall.

Check out the messenger bot here and keep an eye out for an upcoming course with Andy about building a 12-month growth plan for your business.

A Distiller in Africa
Jake and I did our MBAs together and, after we graduated, Jake took the path less traveled. He moved to Benin -one of the poorest countries in the world- and started distilling Sodebe, a liqueur made from fruits and spices harvested sustainably and locally in Benin.

Today, Jake’s project is one of the first projects to raise funding using equity crowdfunding in the US and I am definitely going to invest. They just won a silver medal at a tasting competition in San Francisco and Jake and his team are super smart.

This is a good bet and I am not getting paid to say that.

The Head of Tesla Motors
I would highly suggest reading Elon Musk’s Master Plan Part Deux. One thing that is striking about it is the clarity of thought that Elon Musk has regarding the development of Tesla, the merging of Tesla and Solar City, and his bold vision of the future.

The leaders of today are not all about money. Instead, money is a resource to be deployed to do stuff that matters.

Check out the Master Plan Part Deaux here. I think it is required reading for all smart professionals.

The future belongs to makers.


If you like this video, enroll in our
free 25-minute course on getting started as an entrepreneur. It’s free, short, and fun. You’ll learn how to select a launch audience, perform interviews with a target market, and distill down customer needs.

I will see you next week for another Brain Boost.

 

Team Eazl and Tanmay Bakshi Need Ideas for IBM Watson Apps

Here’s the deal. IBM’s Watson is basically a cloud-based superbrain that can do a bunch of amazing stuff. For example, you can create a list of about 50 Tweets, tell Watson which ones are relevant to you and which aren’t, and then have Watson take a new list of 50 Tweets and predict which ones you’re going to find relevant. Why does this matter?

Well, there are a whole range of services that Watson can provide and Tanmay Bakshi has been working with Watson for a while now. We’ve started to collaborate with him to create useful applications of Watson’s technology for entrepreneurs and innovators like you. But before we start, we want to know: if we could create applications using Watson that would help you out, what would they be?

Watch the video to learn about some of the most important services Watson offers and meet Tanmay (did we mention that he’s only 12 and he’s already written a book for developers?). Then, let us know what problems you’d like us to solve using IBM Watson by leaving a comment on the post below.

Visit Tanmay’s YouTube channel here.
To learn more about Watson, go here.
Subscribe to Eazl here.

Chatbots: The Next Frontier

In this week’s Brain Boost, the superiority of chatbots, chatbots for business, and chatbot marketplaces.

The superiority of chatbots
2016 might be the year that we all start using chat bots. It turns out that messaging platforms are actually the killer app for smartphones. In a recent study in 2015, more than 1.4 billion people used chatting apps.

On the other side of things, it turns out that almost 70% of all app usage comes from just 200 apps. The lesson here is that most apps go unused.

A lot of developers believe that it will be a lot easier to get users to just chat with a chat button than to download an app, login, learn to use the app, and then try to remember what it was they wanted to do in the first place.

Chatbots for business
What is a business bot? It’s basically a text-based service that lets users perform tasks like scheduling meetings, ordering a product, booking a flight, etc. –all via text. And there are three big players that we know of who are getting into this game.

Satya Nadella, who is Microsoft’s new CEO, is betting really big on bots. Microsoft is the team behind Tay, the AI chat bot, on Twitter. Next, Nadella wants to move Microsoft to computing systems that run totally based on conversation between the user and the computer.

Chatbot marketplaces
You’re going to see Microsoft’s messaging app, Kik, and (soon) Facebook all announcing some form of chat bot marketplace. Now, chat bots are actually going to be big business probably. I would expect to see many opportunities coming for developers for these simple bots.

For example, Digit is a simple bot-like software that allows users to interact with their bank accounts and save money via text. Pana can make travel bookings via text message. And MeCan can set up meetings for users of Slack –the popular messaging platform– via chat.

What are your top stories on career, entrepreneurship, or technology for the week? Share in the comments below or Tweet at us.

 

Tay the AI Chatbot, Algorithmic Social Media, Pinterest Video Ads, and a new AMA

Tay the AI Chatbot
Tay is an artificially intelligent chatbot developed by the teams at Microsoft and Bing. It has a Twitter profile and two other social media profiles.

Tay the AI chatbot twitter account

The way this works is that it uses machine learning to learn from its conversations with humans, however, within 24 hours of launching on Twitter, people had figured out how to make it racist and hateful so Tay the AI chatbot had to be put to “sleep” for while engineers worked on improveTwitter profile.

it is at twitter.com/tayandyou or www.tay.ai.

Algorithmic Social Media
Twitter and Instagram are both moving towards algorithmic feeds. This is more like the Facebook news feed. They’re moving away from chronologically ordered posts.

What’s happened here is that they’ve both developed algorithms that are similar to Facebook’s news feed and what it does is prioritize items that the algorithms believe are most important to you based on data about your relationships and your interests.

The concern with regular users is that celebrities and large brands will get prioritized on the network because they’ll get more engagement instead of, for example, their friends.

Pinterest Video Ads
Pinterest has rolled out video ads so now, when users are scrolling on Pinterest, they can see scroll activated video ads.

These are proving especially useful for big retail brands and also e-commerce shops. Companies like L’oreal and Hershey’s have been reporting big wins with this new advertising format.

Social Media AMA
On April 5th, Ludell Jones, who is Eazl’s Marketing Director, hosted a free AMA –or Ask Me Anything. During the event, she fielded questions about social media management, virtual HR and outsourcing, and social media advertising.

You can check out the archive here and stay updated on any future events by subscribing here.

 

What are your top stories on innovation in business this week? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

 

A Technology Detox That Will Help You Grow Your Business

Technology Detox

We live in a time where there is a digital tool or app for almost everything. With technology, you can grow your social media following, manage virtual workers, send timely responses to emails, monitor advertising, and much, much more. You might spend a lot of time on these apps because they seem effective and make you feel productive, which we all know is an entrepreneur’s priority.

In reality, all of these tools can be a huge distraction from the important things like product improvement and customer service. We deal with a constant assault from the hundreds of things we feel we need to stay on top of and we end up doing none of the important things as well as we should. We’re repeatedly distracted by our phones and web pages that simply won’t help us get where we need to go.

In order to grow your business, you really need to take your time back and get control over your technology instead of letting it control you. Here’s a technology detox plan Team Eazl put together to help you reclaim your bandwidth:

  1. Turn all email accounts off on your cell phone and your mail app on your laptop
    I would say that, if you are checking your email more than once a day –or even more than a couple of times a week– you’re wasting a lot of time. How often do you open up the email app on your phone or get distracted by email notifications on your desktop?

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) may have a hold on you. Unless you are actively networking and expecting to have tons of correspondence coming in, there is no reason to be a repetitive email checker.

That barrier of having to go into settings and turn your accounts back on will keep you from checking when you don’t need to check.

If it makes sense for your business, pick one day per week to respond to emails and send emails.

You can even set up an automatic email responder that kindly notifies people who email you that you are busy building a great product or taking care of your customers and clients.

  1. Turn off all app notifications
    Go to your settings -> scroll to the bottom where your downloaded apps are listed -> go through each app and deactivate notifications for each app.

You literally don’t need any notifications for any of the apps you use. And they do more damage to your productivity than you might think.

  1. Remove social media apps from your phone
    Hear me out on this one. You might think that quick mobile access to your social media accounts is important for the growth of your business, but nothing is ever urgent enough to disrupt you multiple times during your work day. Or during dinner with family or friends. Here’s what I would recommend:
  • Remove the Facebook app completely. If you really want to be able to access your business pages, download the Facebook Pages app instead and turn off the notifications in your phone settings.
  • Keep Instagram because it’s mobile only, but turn off the notifications for this one too.
  • Keep the Twitter app because it’s actually more convenient to use in the mobile app. Turn off notifications.
  • In place of your social apps, download the Buffer app so you can still schedule from your phone if your are doing something productive like catching up on industry news.
  • Take a second look at what social media channels are actually a fit for your business. What’s working? What isn’t? Skim down wherever possible by closing down those excess accounts.
  1. Prioritize app placement on your phone
    Think about the things that you need to spend more time doing -or would like to spend time doing- on the first “screen” of your phone. This really does have a psychological effect.

My “home screen” includes: Evernote, Feedly, Buffer, and my Podcasts app. All of these apps help my business in someway, whether it’s organization, research, or a source of inspiration in my workday.

  1. Create a “not using” folder on your phone
    For those apps you want to have handy, but don’t use that often, combine in a folder on the last screen of your phone to reduce clutter.
  1. Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe
    Opt-out from literally every list that you no longer enjoy being on. Eliminate the emails that are straight up sales and no real value. Think of other ways to stay connected to the business and people you like. You’ll save time and money.


It might seem like a big change, but experiment with the above and see how much more real work you actually get done!

Do you have any productivity hacks for technology? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

 

Pay by Selfie, e-Commerce in India, and the AI Doctor

Pay by Selfie patent
Pay by Selfie is a patent that has just been filed by Amazon. It’s a application that’s been filed in the USA and it will allow Amazon users to pay via selfie. It uses facial recognition technology to verify the user’s identity and affirm that it’s a real human.

If the app needs further confirmation, it might even request that the users do something like blink their eyes. See how the technology works below:

Ecommerce in India
Recently, India became the largest market in the world for e-commerce and e-commerce is the fastest growing industry inside India. Flipkart and Snapdeal –two native Indian companies– are the two leaders in ecommerce in India (both over amazon.com). One of the leading firms even using the famed dabbawalas to make deliveries in Mumbai.

Dabbawala

Artificial Intelligence Doctor
Babylon is a smartphone-based healthcare AI app that is solving the number one problem in medicine: misdiagnosis. It’s asking users to report symptoms through the app that would will then cross reference a huge database of past cases and, if needed, ask further questions of the user to then recommend a course of action. It will cost users about $8 a month.

See an interview with Babylon founder Ali Parsa below:

Announcements
Finally, we have a couple of announcements. I want to welcome to Anchor app community to the Brain Boost. We will be broadcasting the Brain Boost audio through the anchor app every week.

We’re also looking for guest bloggers here at Eazl for the Eazl blog. It’s growing quickly and we can use contributors. If you’re interested, email us at care@eazl.co.

What are your top stories of the week?  Let us know in the comments or over on Facebook.

Apple and Facebook Stream Sports, Zingle and Anchor, and Facebook’s AI Mapping

In this week’s Brain Boost: Apple and Facebook Stream Sports, Zingle and Anchor, and Facebook’s AI Mapping.

Apple and Facebook Stream Sports
There are big plays in the sports streaming world this week.First, the NFL is in talks with Facebook to livestream Thursday night football games through Facebook to audiences in America.

One thing of note is that Dan Rose, who is Facebook’s VP of Partnerships, said that Facebook would be willing to pay for content to be streamed through Facebook as a content providing network.

Also, Apple TV has reached a landmark deal to stream March Madness and there’s going be a couple additional features. The main one is that viewers who are watching March Madness through Apple TV will be able to watch two games at once on their screens.

Zingle and Anchor
There were two big app launches this week–one that’s actually been out for a while. The first one is Zingle, which was trending on Twitter for a couple of days this week. What it does is allow any business to receive texts and then those texts go to a cloud-based dashboard for the business. Then, the people behind the dashboard can either send custom or automated replies.

You can see how Zingle works at a video that is linked in the description of this video.

Another app that has gotten a lot of attention this week is the Anchor App. This is an app that allows users to broadcast up to two minutes of video out to the Anchor app community and then community members can follow or reply to broadcasters on the anchor app. There are some major podcasters using it and it’s gaining a lot of new users.

Facebook’s AI Mapping

Apple and Facebook Stream SportsThis week in artificial intelligence, let’s look at Facebook,who is using image recognition technology to scan satellite photos all over the world and then create better maps of population density. They’re using this as part of their internet.org initiative to bring broadband to people who live in rural places. So, essentially, they’re using advanced imaging machine learning to create more accurate global population maps.
Tune in next week at 10a.m. Pacific Time for another Brain Boost. If you haven’t yet, subscribe to the Eazl channel here on YouTube.