Rami Alkarmi builds lean startup Ecosystems

Geek. Investor. Growth Strategist.

A proud geek, investor, and widely recognized advisor and expert in strategy, lean startup ecosystems, business models, growth & distribution through big data and viral marketing, and corporate venturing.

In 2013, he founded Arcoten Holdings as his advising/investing vehicle where he partners with corporates, accelerators, and incubators to build lean startup ecosystems, and helps companies through providing expertise in growth, hands-on mentorship, access to capital, and helps companies iterate product and grow fast. From time to time, he also likes to build companies with friends and partners inside Arcoten.

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Code Words, Cash, Bearer Shares, Travelers Checks & Other Stealth Moves Can Be Self-Defeating, Making Your Conduct Look Far More Culpable. Avoiding Tax Evasion Is All About Transparency.


One month after the Germanic victory at the 2014 World Cup, the topic of soccer has mostly fallen off the headlines in America (with the exception of Qatar’s 2022 slave-labor scandal), and yet in China the football phenomenon is still being hotly discussed. While the rest of the world continues on with their interim four years of local clubs and regional tournaments, China is still obsessing with the World Cup. As a leader in sports of the Olympic variety, China is staggeringly bad at soccer, and painfully aware of it.


Tim Shaw on Tuesday announced that he’s suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.


The best look yet at the new iPhone 6 comes courtesy of Feld & Volk, who assembled leaked parts into a finished looking mock up. The smooth-looking result echoes the iPad in many design elements. In addition, an examination of developer files suggest Apple will make modest increases in screen resolution over current models.


man working laptopWe’re all trying to find the next productivity hack

But did you know that the key to getting more done might be in your browser?

Google’s Chrome Web Store is chock-full of cool ad-ons for your browser.

But as Chrome has become more popular, the Chrome Web Store has become like Apple’s App Store: bloated and hard to navigate.

So to save you the trouble, we’ve found some extensions guaranteed to keep you focused and productive during working hours.


AdBlock may be the most popular Google Chrome extension out there.

The extension removes the annoyance of banner advertisements from your web experience. That may seem like a slight difference, but visiting some sites that tend to be bogged down with such ads can really improve your experience.

AdBlock also works with Safari, Opera, and Firefox if you don’t have Chrome.

Chrome Remote Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop isn’t technically an extension, but it gives you the magical ability to access other computers from your own and vice versa. 

Left a file at work? Connect up via Remote Desk and grab it. It’s also an easy way to share your screen with someone else if there’s a problem.

Delicious Bookmark Extension

The Delicious Bookmark Extension makes sharing links quick and easy. 

No longer will you have to copy and paste a link into an email, spawning a chain that will earn you the resentment of your colleagues.

We think sharing links is an integral part of the work experience. Delicious makes that task quick and easy, freeing you up to focus on other things.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Lock Chain Key

In the next two weeks, Abe Storey is aiming to launch his latest startup, an email product called Lock Up Mail.

He’s on a self-imposed time crunch, because after that, he’s starting his junior year of high school.

"In its most simple form, locked Up Mail is two things. One, it’s super secure email. The other is a new authentication system," Storey told Business Insider.

The San Francisco-based 16-year-old explained how both will work.

When you sign up for Locked Up Mail, you do so with a username and password, just like Gmail, Yahoo, or anything other email service. Then Locked Up Mail sends you a QR code image, which Storey says will self delete after 10 minutes. That’s the difference between Locked Up Mail and the others: You need that QR code to get into your email account.

He says he initially thought about trying to be an add-on for Gmail, where Locked Up Mail would easily supply a long, hard-to-crack password for your Gmail account. The problem, he said, is though your password would be harder for a computer to crack, with only one form of authentication, it’s still just as easy to steal.

Storey says Locked Up Mail will allow users to choose how often they need to scan their QR code with their phone or computer camera. He suggested putting the service on a timer — as in every 4 hours — or requiring it every time you log out. He knows users won’t want to do it all the time, but also knows it will make for maximum email security.

You can sign up for the viral waiting list here.

Locked Up mail graphicHe says though he can program, it’s not his strenghts. Instead, he likes to focus on growing his ideas and developing products. To do that, he’s formed solid teams. 

In 2013 he entered a Santa Barbara startup weekend with a teacher, and their “Uber for moving” idea, called Next Mover, won the competition, along with $55,000 for funding. Being from San Francisco, Storey was a little too far away and a little too busy to take on Next Mover full time.

His second project, retentiontab.com, he made with his current Locked Up Mail partner, Kevin Davies, a programmer from New Zealand. That project was for online retailers to stop shoppers from getting distracted with Facebook and other sites. He said he abandoned that one because it seemed too spammy.

With launch around the corner, Storey certainly isn’t thinking about quitting his newest venture, but he is thinking about what’s next. It could be bigger than email.

"Email is a starting place for us. We’re going to play it by ear," Storey said. "Ideally I think it’d be really interesting for banks."

SEE ALSO: A 16-year-old Google science fair finalist wants to help people with disabilities communicate with their breath

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Everything I’ve seen so far of From Software’s upcoming PS4 exclusive Bloodborne looks amazing. This applies to the latest gameplay demo the developer released today as well, with footage taken from the behind-closed-doors demo at Gamescom.


SpaceX denies reports that it’s seeking a new investment round.


The 25 biggest tax bills go to the likes of Apple, ExxonMobil, Microsoft and General Electric.


As HTC launches the HTC One running Windows Phone, is there still a place for Microsoft’s mobile operating system? Yes there is. It might not be glamorous, but three areas of focus could bring a respectable amount of credibility to the platform.


AstraZeneca announced today that the US Department of Justice has ended its investigation into alleged misconduct associated with the pivotal PLATO trial. The company said it had fully cooperated with the investigation, which began in October of 2013.



"When people hear ‘Wi-Fi’ they say, ‘That’s that thing that doesn’t work very well at my house,’" says Jaime Fink.

His company, Mimosa, works with technology that could turn Wi-Fi from a way to save money on our smartphone data plans to an internet connectivity option on par with fiber and leagues above DSL. 

Mimosa gets its name from the technology that’s become its bread and butter: MIMO. As the company’s cofounder, CPO, and “product visionary,” Fink explained the impressive and important tech to Business Insider.

MIMO stands for multiple in, multiple out and has everything to do with radio waves and spectrums. Usually there is a limit on the amount of information a computer, radio, phone, or anything a device can send over the air over a single spectrum. The “multiple” in MIMO, though, allows for more than one stream to transmit over a single spectrum.

Imagine sipping on a drink through a straw. To sip on a second drink at the same time, you need another straw. MIMO lets a computer send and receive two data streams (drinks) through one spectrum (straw). And Mimosa has figured out how to double that again to four.

"This is a completely new frontier we have to innovate on," Fink said.

The Future Is Now

Fink explains that almost 50% of global internet traffic comes over Wi-Fi. Cellular networks support less than 3% of the world’s traffic. But to Fink, the future of Wi-Fi should be going after that other 50%. With MIMO, Wi-Fi could replace cable and fiber, he says. When medium-size, suburban ISPs realize they can invest in relatively cheap wireless tech to bring high-speed internet to customers instead of cable or fiber, a movement will start and sweep through America’s cities.

"I absolutely believe as this awareness grows you’ll see a different breed of ISPs," Fink said.

That’s all part of Mimosa’s game plan. Earlier this month, the company unveiled products that will allow ISPs and consumers to eventually hook up Wi-Fi internet service, bypassing cable and fiber entirely. The tech is expected to be available for in-home use this fall. 

Mimosa products

Wi-Fi is getting a push from a completely different side of the market, too: developing countries. In many part of the world, internet is seen as a necessity, but creating the infrastructure to make it accessible is posing challenges.

Fink cites nations like Brazil and Nigeria as future hubs for Wi-Fi trailblazing. These nations are home to driven entrepreneurs who see the need for internet for both their communities and their own endeavors. In these environments, Wi-Fi is almost the only option for infrastructure.

"People are not putting more copper in the ground. In developing countries it gets stolen before it gets lit up,” Fink said.

In the 1920s and 1930s what we did in America putting copper everywhere, that was like God’s work.

He said the copper necessary for building a traditional wire network is too valuable as a raw material to stay buried underground.

It’s unlikely for any community to ever go back to that model, he said. "In the 1920s and 1930s what we did in America putting copper everywhere, that was like God’s work.” 

Still, without large, powerful cable companies to stop them, developing nations could actually build out Wi-Fi networks even faster. Fink said without the terrifying incumbents looming over the industry like we have in America, African and South American entrepreneurs might be more inclined to take risks.

Help From The Hill

Another factor that could cause the all-wireless movement to speed up: some helpful legislation from congress. Earlier this spring, Mimosa launched a petition for the FCC to allow a certain chunk of the broadcast band to be shared for wireless ISPs to use, FierceWireless reports. 

The range Mimosa wants is the 10Ghz to 10.5Ghz range. Right now that space is used for amateur radio operators and government applications, Fink said. But he still sees a possibility for congress to eventually grant shared use of the band, especially if Mimosa and similar companies can prove they won’t cause interference with the activities operating in that spectrum.

"The public interest is we need more broadband,” Fink said. “The government and the Obama administration have been very clear that we’re moving into a spectrum-sharing world.”

SEE ALSO: A city in Tennessee has the big cable companies terrified

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Johannesburg, South AfricaSAP, the German enterprise software giant, has committed to invest $500 million by 2020 in the African region.

The goal is to grow its business across five main regions in Africa — South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, and Morocco — but it said most of the investment will be spent outside of South Africa.

SAP said Africa is a great market to introduce some of its newest technologies, such as the SAP HANA in-memory platform, because none of the legacy systems is currently in place there. It also hopes to train new talent in the region through its training programs, like “Skills for Africa Scholarship Programme.

“The African market is unique in its growth potential and readiness to innovate,” Robert Enslin, a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Global Customer Operations, said in a statement. “In Africa, we plan to engage and invest in even more markets while helping build the appropriate talent base for the IT industry.”

SAP already has 700 employees in Africa, and plans to add up to 250 more employees through 2015. It has over 1,300 customers across the African region, and operates in more than 50 African countries, the company said.

Africa has become one of the hottest investment destinations for some of the tech giants in recent years. IBM, for example, opened its first commercial R&D lab in Africa in November 2013. And Google invested $12 million in a solar project in South Africa in 2012. Earlier this month, General Electric unveiled its plan to invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018.

Even President Barack Obama said in a speech this month that U.S. companies will invest more than $14 billion in Africa, across the banking, construction, and IT industries.

In fact, we might see even more tech investments in Africa this year. Research firm IDG predicted that 2014 would be the year when Africa sees massive growth in its information and communications technology industry because of “strong GDP growth and high ICT investments.” 

We’ve reached to SAP Africa for comment and will update this article accordingly.

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Cisco employees

The year-end layoffs that Cisco confirmed last week should not have shocked anyone.

Although the layoff will be big, 8% of the workforce or 6,000 people, this was the fourth year in a row that Cisco ended its fiscal year by telling employees to watch for pink slips.

When asked by an employee during an internal town hall meeting if year-end layoffs have become the “new normal” for Cisco, COO Gary Moore said he hoped not. The audio version of that meeting was posted online by Cisco blogger Brad Reese.

Cisco’s senior leaders stressed in that meeting that Cisco wasn’t trimming its overall headcount or expenses. Instead it was shifting employees from declining areas of the business to growth areas.

But Moore wants managers of those declining units to do a better job of trimming staff all year round to “make room” for the employees Cisco wants to add, instead of forcing top executives to announce another year-end layoffs. He said:

This is the fourth [restructuring] in four years. … We constrained [hiring] requisitions for anyone listing [a new job]. As a leader, they knew they were constrained. We were very careful about where we added. Some leaders did a better job than others in terms of hiring and adjusting their expectations. We saw our revenue in the first half. We were very open with every employee about that. …  We’ve invested 2,000 people last year just in cloud. One of our growth areas. We hired 1,300 people through acquisitions and 25% of all people we hired were university hires [new college grads]. We need to as leaders see that and make room, not in a yearly, annual restructuring. It’s just a wrong way to do it.

It seems like pone way that Cisco might do that is by using a “stack ranking” process.

Stack ranking is a controversial employee evaluation system where employees are pitted against each other to rate comparative best and worst performers. Microsoft famously used it until recently. But it wasn’t the only company that did so.

Cisco Gary MooreCisco recently identified the “bottom 15%” of its employees and the top 2%, head of HR Fran Katsoudas said during the meeting.

"This is something we’ll do on a very regular basis," she said.

The bottom 15% would not automatically be cut in the layoff, she said because layoffs will not be across the board but will be concentrated in  underperforming business units.

Here’s the rest of what we know about the layoff and workforce plans:

  • Senior management was vague as to which business units would be targeted. We do know that the worst performing unit was Service Provider, which sells networking equipment to telecom, Internet and cloud providers. It declined 11% in the year. Also, the unit that sells gear to the government experienced no growth either.
  • Cisco will be hiring like mad, too. Execs talked a lot about hiring for growth areas including software, security, Internet of Things, cloud and data center. The Commercial business unit, which sells much of these wares, was called out specifically as a unit that will be hiring, not letting people go.
  • Despite the hiring, up to 6,000 people will be let go, Moore confirmed. “We have to bring in new talent where we don’t have the experience,” Chambers said, naming software as an example. Plus the company needs people who speak the language in the emerging markets it wants to staff, Moore said.
  • Cisco is not accepting volunteers for the layoff, Katsoudas said.
  • Salespeople could be targeted and are being retrained. Cisco wants them selling packages of hardware and software (or “solutions” to use the jargon), not just individual products
  • Employees will be getting 89% of their bonuses, and that’s good news. At the mid-year point, Cisco told employees to expect 50-75% of their maximum bonuses. (Blogger Reese posted the full memo on this.)
  • Top performing employees can expect raises but not everyone else, Moore said on the call. “I don’t want everyone to believe [raises] will be so broad based that everyone will get a raise. You may be one of the people that doesn’t get one.”
  • Mid-management will also be targeted for layoffs but not as heavily as last year. Moore explained that last year’s layoff “took out 21% of VP and above population.” Over the added back 29 VP and above managers mostly through acquisitions, as the company limited middle management promotions. “We’re not as top heavy as we were. There will be VPs and above that are part of this [layoff].” But he said Cisco is not going to single out middle management for particularly heavy cuts.

Cisco expects the layoffs to cost up to $700 million. Employees can expect a similar package to the ones given to folks in previous years. Cisco will also pay according to tenure.

Cisco PR declined to comment for this story.

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p1.25 M Americans will Travel Outside the U.S. for Medical Treatment This Year