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.

Recent Tweets @alkarmi

iPhone 6 line video

On Friday, we, like many others published photos of thousands of people standing in line to buy the new iPhone, the iPhone 6. 

Most people think of these lines as being filled with crazed fanboys who just can’t wait to get their hands on the latest product from Apple. However, filmmaker Casey Neistat (via Re/code) created a 6-minute video that shows there is a dark, disturbing side to these lines.

The lines are not just filled with crazed fanboys. Neistat shows that the lines are filled with Chinese people waiting for days to buy an iPhone 6, only to flip it as soon as they leave the store. On YouTube, he says, “this entire experience was disheartening.” 

We have the full video below, here’s a quick run down of what you’ll see:

This was the first person in line for the iPhone 6 at the SoHo store:

iPhone 6 line video

She’s not what you think of when you think of the kind of person that waits for an iPhone. But, maybe she should be:

iPhone 6 line video

The guy in the front said he was waiting for two days.

iPhone 6 video

In the evening, the lines get even more depressing. There are people sleeping in garbage bags:

iPhone 6 video

The cops patrol the streets, telling people they can’t sleep. This cop was harassing people, saying, “You people ever heard of soap? You f—-ing stink.”

iPhone 6 video cop

And then, for reasons unknown, there was screaming, and police were cuffing this woman.

iPhone 6 line

When the long wait was over, people got into the Apple store and bought two iPhones, with cash:

iPhone 6 video

And as soon as they leave the store, they find someone willing to buy their phones:

Apple iPhone 6 line video

In all, it’s not a pretty picture for Apple. These lines look like great marketing, but up close they’re depressing. People are waiting in line for days just to make a quick buck flipping new phones. 

(It’s also interesting to think about what this means for Apple in terms of opening weekend sales. Is this really a great way to gauge demand? As Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes put it: “We caution investors that first weekend sales for iPhones is a meaningless figure since it really only represents Apple’s supply.”)

Here’s the whole video, which you really should watch: 

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With a very high cost of labor in Australia, it’s uncommon to have a personal cleaner. However, Research firm IbisWorld projects the demand for home cleaning in Australia will rise due to high dual-income households and a progressive ageing population. To capture this demand, a new cleaning platform called Helpling has entered the Australian market this month. The company values the domestic cleaning market at AUD$2 billion annually.

http://twt.lu/1tPTOKy

Sony’s latest flagship mobile is the Xperia Z3. Building on the Xperia Z1 and Z2 handsets, the Z3 improves many areas of the older handsets. Existing Xperia Z owners may not find enough here to merit an immediate upgrade, but anyone looking for a new handset should seriously consider this Japanese handset.

http://twt.lu/XIxLZl

The highest performing cloud computing stocks year-to-date when measured by share price gains are Zendesk (NYSE:ZEN) up 68.65% or $9.22 per share since its IPO earlier this year, NetScout Systems (NASDAQ:NTCT) up 54.61%, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) up 42.56%, F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) up 37.4%, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) up 34.16%, and Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM) up 32.2%.  A $10K investment in Zendesk shares at IPO are now worth $16,865, leading all companies in the index.

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The problem with the Apple Watch is not just complexity. It missed an opportunity to define the new design and usability principles for the Internet of Things and to finally move us beyond the mainframe/PC/wristop computer paradigm.

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You don’t need to be a cardiologist to know that heart attacks kill lots of people. But unless you’re a cardiologist you may not know that many people remain at high risk for a second serious heart event in the first few months after a myocardial infarction (MI), the technical name for a heart attack. Often that second event isn’t another MI, which is caused by a clot blocking one of the vital arteries supplying the heart itself with blood. Instead, after a heart attack the electrical activity of the heart is often disturbed, leading to a much higher risk than before the heart attack of a life-threatening arrhythmia, or dangerous heart rhythm.

http://twt.lu/1ubtrjy

Congress has decided to prop up the U.S.-Export Bank for nine more months, after threatening to cut its cord and saying it typified corporate welfare. In “preserving” the 80-year-old institution, U.S. lawmakers have given American exporters — both big and small — a chance to regroup, especially the nuclear energy industry.

http://twt.lu/1mw3ZDd

Somedays it seems like all you have to do is take your iPhone off the charger and it’s already dipped below 90%. Carrying a Mophie or wireless charger around is a simple fix, but there are ways to see what’s actually killing the life of your iPhone’s battery.

The Daily Dot’s Taylor Hatmaker explains how iOS 8 users can take a peek behind the curtain:

Once you open up Battery Usage [see below], you’ll be able to view a list of apps in order of battery consumption. There’s a 24-hour view and a view for the last seven days, which is handy whether you’re trying to explain a sudden change in battery life or if you’re just taking a look at your habits over time. It’s an overdue addition to iOS, but an extremely useful one, assuming you know it’s there at all. 

Here’s what Battery Usage looks like, and where it can be found: Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage.

Battery Life iOS8

 

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Microsoft has waited until practically the last possible minute to delay the launch of the Xbox One in China, originally slated to be released this Tuesday, September 23rd. Now they’re saying it will be out in the country before the end of the year, though they’re rather unclear about the reasons behind the delay.

http://twt.lu/XGoVuV

How I’m Informed is a look into the reading and learning habits of people from all walks of life. Tweet me @kaviguppta if you know someone interesting who should be featured.

http://twt.lu/1sQqE9Z

Most crowdfunding campaigns fail, often because the idea needs a little work. Prospective crowdfunders could do themselves a favor by pitching their idea to an expert before they hit the submit button.

http://twt.lu/Z57nuf

Once mental health care becomes AI-driven, it should make for a happier world. But it will be a very different world.

http://twt.lu/Z57nu6

Marc Benioff talking

Although Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has been a big, visible supporter of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, he says he’s not a Democrat.

"I’m not a Democrat and I’m not a Republican. I’m an American," he told TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington. during the Disrupt conference in San Francisco earlier this month. “If I like someone I’ll give them money, but I’m not particularly close to anyone.”

Records kept by political donation watchdog site OpenSecrets.org more or less support that. Although Democrats do seem to grab more funds from him, he has donated to the National Republican Congressional Committee and various specific Republicans.

He says whenever he meets with the politicians that he has backed, there are four things he asks of them:

1. Benioff wants the government to give more H1-B Visas to the tech industry so that bright kids that study graduate from U.S. universities can stay and get jobs here. The visa should “stapled to them” when they graduate, he jested on stage.

H1-B Visas let U.S. companies bring in employees from overseas for jobs that require special skills. The U.S. allows about 85,000 of these Visas per year, it says, and they tend to run out of  them within days of making them available every year.

2. He wants patent reform. “Patent trolls have become a huge problem in the industry. We had something phenomenal which was a bipartisan effort led by Eric Cantor, also supported by Nancy Pelosi, called the Innovation Act.” It passed the House and went to the Senate where “Harry Reid killed it. … Everybody supported it. The President supported it and the Senate killed it. It would have created patent reform in our industry,” he says.

The house version of the bill is H.R. 3309. It was sent to the Senate in December, 2013, and has been languishing in committee every since, according to Congress.gov.

3. He wants companies to be allowed to bring back their stockpiles of overseas cash at a reasonable tax rate. “We need repatriation. Big companies, not Salesforce, have a lot of overseas because they have tried to avoid paying taxes. But that’s not the point. For them to grow, to buy companies, make change, they need the money domestically. There needs to be some clear, easy-to-understand repatriation rate, say 15$-20%,” he says.

Currently the tax rate is 35% to bring overseas cash back, the full-corporate rate. Fortune 500 corporations have stashed nearly $2 trillion in offshore accounts, says think tank Citizens for Tax Justice. And tech companies have some of the biggest tax hoards.

5. He wants common sense fiscal reforms, such as those from the 2010 bipartisan committee known as Simpson Bowles. “We need a greater financial security for our country. We need a balanced budget, things like Simpson Bowles need to pass so we can have confidence that entitlements are going forward.”

So far, his requests has fallen on deaf ears, as none of these things seem likely to happen anytime soon.

But Benioff is nothing if not persistent. In January of this year, he was among a handful of billionaires that donated $25,000 to a SuperPAC for Hillary Clinton, Bloomberg reported at the time.

SEE ALSO: Here’s What You Can Earn At The 20 Top Tech Companies

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John Meyer teen Tim Cook

Last week, 19-year-old John Meyer dropped out of a prestigious university computer science program to work full-time on his tech startup, Fresco News.

His parents weren’t happy at first. He was attending NYU where his mom is a professor, he told Business Insider.

But they eventually came around to support him, because they had to admit: Meyer is already a successful independent computer programmer. He’s been writing apps since his freshman year in high school, 2008, after teaching himself the programming language Objective C.

And he’s been making money at it since his sophomore year of high school, he says.

"Money-wise, I’ve been pretty fortunate. I’ve been able to support myself since just a year after I got started," he said.

He’s making so much money writing iPhone apps that during his first year of college he could afford to live alone, pay NYU tuition while bootstrapping Fresco, he told Business Insider. Fresco News is a sort of intersection between Instagram, Twitter and Flipboard that turns photos from ordinary people on the scene of big news events into news stories.

We pressed him to reveal his income but promised not to share it. Let’s just say it’s on par with what software engineers earn at some of the best tech companies.

Despite his young age, Meyer’s app portfolio is impressive. He’s written about 40 apps, mostly through his app company TapMedia, he says.

This includes the popular iPhone 4 flashlight app Just Light (which may have been the very first flashlight app). It went nuts, downloaded about 2 million times, he said. Apple now includes a flashlight app with the iPhone.

He’s just had another huge hit called Perfect Shot, too, released about a year ago for iOS 7. It was downloaded 60,000 times in the first four days and is now at over 1 million, he says. 

It uses the smile and eye detection features in the iPhone camera for taking the perfect group photo. Hold the phone up and wait. The app takes the shot in the perfect millisecond when everyone is smiling, no one is blinking. A very smart idea.

So smart, that Meyer nabbed the attention of Apple. The company asked him to become an intern, he says. That’s a dream come true for most students. And it pays. Apple interns can make $5,723 a month.

But he turned Apple down.

"I get emails from recruiters all the time, and this past summer an offer to intern at Apple," he says. But, he explains,"I am, at heart, an entrepreneur. I won’t be happy working for someone else."

He’s not worried about missing the chance of a lifetime. “If I wanted to, I’m sure they would offer me another internship,” he says.

That’s not just the bravado of being 19. “I’ve been close with a lot of people at Apple, from going to Apple’s developer conference every year,” he says. “I’m in a field where I’ve done a lot of things already, an expansive portfolio of projects I’ve worked on.”

He’s actually been attending the developer’s conference since he was 16, sneaking in the first time with his dad’s help. His dad flew him to San Francisco, registered himself for the conference, then handed the pass to his son to attend.

"I was 16 and anyone under 18 wasn’t allowed. It was right after the successful flashlight app. My dad got the ticket from Apple, flew back home and left me in San Francisco," he laughs.

Since then, Apple has created a teen program at the conference he says. It’s been great for meeting other programmers his age, he says.

If all that wasn’t impressive enough, Meyer was also a finalist in the Thiel Fellowship, he says. That’s a program by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel in which gifted young people drop out of school to start companies. Only 40 people become finalists, flown to the Valley for mingling. 20 are accepted, and Meyer wasn’t one of them.

That doeesn’t bother him at all. He’s focused on turning Fresco into a money maker, talking to potential clients for it like New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

And he hasn’t ruled going back to college some day. But for now, he’s writing apps for fun and profit.

SEE ALSO: This Is The Man Making Bill Gates So Rich

SEE ALSO: The Woman Who Protected Yahoo’s $27 Billion Windfall From Alibaba Cried With Joy Last Night

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