Category Archives: Technology

14 Ridiculous Home Accessories You Can’t Live Without

All of these inventions are pretty smart. I think I like #3 the most – would use it on the regular!

1. Egg Minder

Egg Minder
Quirky / Via Grand.Stgrandst.com

What it is: A Wi-Fi-enabled tray that tells you how many eggs you have and when they’re expiring.
Why you need it: How many times have you been at the grocery store and wondered how many eggs you have at home? At least ONCE, right?
How much it costs: $49, on sale from $79

2. Porkfolio

Porkfolio
Quirky / Via quirky.com

What it is: A piggy bank with an app that tracks how much the bank holds.
Why you need it: A heavy piggy bank can hold $5 of pennies or $100 of quarters. You need to know if you’re hitting up fast food or gourmet for dinner!
How much it costs: $49.99

3. Champagne Sabre

Champagne Sabre

Fab / Via fab.com

What it is: A sword for slicing the top off a bottle of champagne.
Why you need it: Nothing is more badass than going all ninja on a pricy champagne bottle. So Great Gatsby.
How much it costs: $149.95

4. Aros

Aros
Quirky / Via quirky.com

What it is: Wi-Fi and GPS sensitive air conditioner.
Why you need it: Aros learns as you use it, so it changes temperature based on the day of the week, time of the day, weather outside, where you currently are, and how much money it’s costing you to cool your house.
How much it costs: $300

5. Madison Fireplace

Madison Fireplace

Fab / Via fab.com

What it is: A standalone fireplace.
Why you need it: Nothing says “high life” like a fireplace in every room. With a standalone, you can just move the one fireplace into whatever room you’re in. It’s basically the same.
How much it costs: $399

6. Birillo Towel Stand

Birillo Towel Stand

Fab / Via fab.com

What it is: A shiny towel rack. Maybe the SHINIEST towel rack.
Why you need it: Only heathens put their towels on the floor.
How much it costs: $410, ya baller.

7. Diamond Clock

Diamond Clock

Fab / Via fab.com

What it is: A clock, shaped like a diamond.
Why you need it: Who doesn’t want to live in a turn-of-the-century bachelor pad?
How much it costs: $520

8. aFrame

aFrame
TruAudio / Via Grand.Stgrandst.com

What it is: A high-quality speaker disguised as a framed piece of art.
Why you need it: Even the most beautiful speakers look like speakers. UNTIL NOW.
How much it costs: A cool $600, no big.

9. Organic Wool Herringbone Blankets

Organic Wool Herringbone Blankets

Coyuchi / Via amazon.com

What it is: A king-sized throw.
Why you need it: It’s full-on “The Princess and the Pea.” How can you sleep with anything less than the best?
How much it costs: $1,098 (with free shipping)

10. Green Rainforest Marble Wall Fountain

Green Rainforest Marble Wall Fountain
Adagio / Via amazon.com

What it is: A marble wall with water cascading down it.
Why you need it: You’re a boss. Game, set, match.
How much it costs: $10,599

11. Pizza Station with Sneeze Guard

Pizza Station with Sneeze Guard
Bon Chef / Via amazon.com

What it is: A serving station for pizza and pizza-related condiments.
Why you need it: You don’t love pizza, you LIVE pizza. Pizza is your life — it should definitely be the focus of your dining room.
How much it costs: $16,282.20

12. Wedgwood Vase

Wedgwood Vase

Wedgwood / Via amazon.com

What it is: A vase that you shouldn’t put stuff in.
Why you need it: Nothing says “I’ve made it” like a vase on a pedestal with a display light.
How much it costs: $32,000

13. Lalique Rinceaux Full-Length Mirror

Lalique Rinceaux Full-Length Mirror
Lalique / Via finebrandsales.com

What it is: A mirror.
Why you need it: To look at yourself.
How much it costs: $30,600. Seriously.

14. Silver Leaf Chandelier

Silver Leaf Chandelier

Louie Lighting / Via louielighting.com

What it is: A 95-inch tall chandelier.
Why you need it: Chandelier = class. A 95-inch chandelier = 95 inches of class.
How much it costs: Are you sitting down? Sit down. $253, 998.

Advertisements

Stark Presentation at Luxury Retail Summit NYC

I had the privilege of representing Stark at the Luxury Retail Summit in NYC yesterday and was able to inform attendees of what I am doing at Stark to protect our relationships with designs while expanding our business to include retail as well. Check out the below post from Luxury Daily‘s blog summarizing my presentation. Also, check out a quick video clip at the end on me speaking about how Ecommerce will help our business!

Stark Carpet Room Setting

NEW YORK – A Stark Carpet executive at the Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2013 yesterday discussed the lessons that the company learned while transitioning from trade-only to a retail trade combination.

During the “Stark: Evolving a Luxury Floor Coverings Brand from Trade-only Business to Retail” session, the executive discussed the challenges the company faced and how Stark readjusted its business model to accommodate both trade and retail without compromising its brand DNA and relations with interior designers. Exploring various methods can allow a brand to better adapt to a new market sector.

“Understanding the role of interior designers is vital to Stark,” said Chad Stark, vice president of operations and technology at Stark Carpet, New York.

“Interior designers are responsible for the growth and success of our business,” he said. “They understand the value of our products and translate this to consumers.”

“Designers are valuable consumers based on the frequency of projects compared to the average retail consumer.”

Luxury Daily organized the Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2013.

Technological, generational and economic challenges
Mr. Stark shared the brand’s challenges and lessons learned subsequently.

The Internet created design enthusiasts who had wide access to free design materials when previously this was left to a knowledgeable interior designer.

Between Web sites and design magazines, retail consumers are more informed than ever and many circumvent the advice and assistance of interior designers.

For Stark it was important not to tarnish its relationship with interior designers who had helped to elevate the brand to its standing as the leader in luxury floor coverings.

The new generation of consumers is less about touch and feel and is less inclined to travel far distances to experience a product first hand before making a purchase.

With a willingness to purchase online rather than in bricks-and-mortar locations, the new generation of Stark consumers prefer the accessibility of ecommerce.

Stark discovered that this new generation is much more price-sensitive than previous groups of consumers. The Internet and their increased knowledge led to consumers visiting showrooms without a designer in an attempt to buy products directly.

Stark Carpet Room Setting Elipse

Adaptations

To accommodate the growing number of informed and price conscious consumers, Stark held warehouse clearance sales every two years in different markets to sell its overstocked products.

Stark discovered that although the warehouse was successful from a consumer standpoint, interior designers pushed back at first. Overtime, interior designers began to bring clients to the warehouse sales.

Next, Stark developed retail outlets with a trade showroom within the same bricks-and-mortar location. The trade showroom was closed off to retail consumers, but the rest of the location was designed with a scaled-down warehouse format.

This concept damaged Stark because the brand featured its high-end exclusive products next to closeout items. From this model, Stark was able to re-envision its retail outposts in the form of Stark Home.

The Stark Home model replicated the exclusive nature of its trade showrooms but created a retail atmosphere as well. In theory, the Norwalk, CT, location was meant to amplify the New York showroom, but designers felt consumers were able to obtain Stark products without their assistance after visiting the showroom.

Stark, valuing the continued support of interior designers, sought out designers circumvented by consumers and compensated their time.

Ecommerce gave Stark significant exposure through flash sales with Web sites such as One Kings Lane, Gilt and Rue La La. Although sales and exposure were successful, the flash sales ruined the exclusive nature of its products while confusing design industry.

In 2014, Stark plans to re-launch its ecommerce site to increase convenience for trade and retail consumers.

Lessons learned
Today, Stark showrooms are rooted in experience. The showrooms carry carpets and fabrics, as well as “cash & carry” area rugs in a combined trade and retail space. To inform retail consumers about Stark, products are accompanied by relevant information allowing for more engagement.

Although the trade area is only shoppable by interior designers, retail consumers are welcome to browse the area. If a product strikes them, Stark suggests a local designer to assist with the project.

The “to-the-trade” program highlights interior designers as partners since their continued patronage has ensured the integrity of Stark. The program includes signature exclusive products for trade professionals such as Stark’s collaboration with fashion label Missoni, additional discounts online and in-store, and special services such a custom product development and home consultation.

Starks trials and tribulations during its adaptations from trade-only to retail is bound to affect the industry as a whole.

“Stark is the only luxury flooring brand and we take risks for the benefit of the industry,” Mr. Stark said.

“It is a scary and thrilling position to be in,” he said. “The industry is changing and the way interior designers work with clients is changing.

“The world is transparent and information is widely found online so our sales will likely to continue to be based on designers.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fancy adds same-day delivery in NYC to encourage impulse buys

Email I got this morning from The Fancy

Email I got this morning from The Fancy

My favorite website just got even better. The Fancy, a social e-commerce startup, just added some kick-ass features to their service (see the email I got from them this morning). Below is a post about how this new functionality fits into this evolving industry from Eliza Kern at Gigaom.

The Fancy plans to add same-day delivery on items shipped to customers in New York City, as a way to differentiate the design-oriented e-commerce company, and to get customers to take the plunge and make a purchase.

 

The Fancy

Just last week, I wrote that one of the biggest challenges for design-oriented e-commerce companies like Fab and The Fancy isn’t pleasing the user or helping them discover cool products — the companies have those experiences down. Rather, it’s getting the user to actually hit “buy” for items they want, but maybe don’t immediately need.

On Tuesday, The Fancy plans to announce same-day delivery in Manhattan for no additional cost, with plans to expand throughout NYC, which the company hopes will push the consumer a little closer toward completing those transactions.

The Fancy is a NYC-based e-commerce company that sells high-end and design-oriented home, fashion, and travel items. In quickly browsing the site, you scroll through a grid of products that could include everything from Beats by Dr. Dre, awall-mounted fishbowl, a Helmut Lang maxi skirt, a waxed canvas lunch bag andBreaking Bad-themed art prints. We explained the idea behind the site last year, when it was just getting started.

Bloomberg recently reported that The Fancy had raised $53 million at a valuation of $600 million from investors including American Express and Will Smith, and that the company was doing $3 million in revenue a month. At the time, Om wrote that the company has been part of the trend toward the “Pinterest-ization of the web,” where companies use design to influence what we buy and how we think about their items, and where consumers buy things based on social interactions and suggestions from friends and followers online.

So why would a company like The Fancy care about same-day shipping? There’s been a flood of recent interest in the idea of same-day delivery as a key differentiator for e-commerce companies. Farhad Manjoo wrote for Slate recently about the glories of Google’s same-day shipping when you don’t plan ahead, or when you run out of something like toilet paper — there are times when tomorrow just won’t cut it. And there’s no question that fast shipping through Amazon Prime has helped the e-commerce giant dominate the retail market, as Om pointed out in a recent post.

For The Fancy, it’s obviously not about delivering you toilet paper when you need it. The company isn’t selling “must-have” items (unless you forgot someone’s birthday.) Instead, it’s more about convincing you to take the plunge on that Helmut Lang skirt — and assuring you that if you do, it’ll be in your hands as quickly as it would be if you ran over to Barney’s to pick one up yourself.

We’ll be talking about the impact of design on commerce and technology at ourRoadMap conference in November 2013, which you can sign up to get information on when tickets become available this summer.

Tagged , , , , ,

Writing down ideas in a notepad? Psht. Meet Elevatr

elevatr-screen-4s-0-1

If you couldn’t tell from What I’ve Done, I had a new idea every hour of every day. Until now, I haven’t really found a way to organize and develope my ideas. Thankfully, Elevatr is here to save the day!

Background Info

Serial entrepreneur will love this new mobile app called Elevatr, which helps you keep track of your inspirations, as well as develop a business model, in order to turn your passing thoughts into plans actually worth pursuing some day.

The beautifully designed app was dreamt up by New York-based David Spiro (one of my closest friends and past business partners), a recent college of engineering and business school grad from the University of Michigan. We spent all our time outside the classroom learning through standard tools for business model development, including the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas.

03-Elevatr-Screen-2.0

“It became very clear that entrepreneurship – and people inspired by the startup revolution – is more than those actually studying entrepreneurship,” Spiro says. “I was really inspired to take those tools that I was taught to use, and create a mobile-first product that could apply to more than just those people who were in my classes.”

After the two of us decided to end development on our most recent collaboration, Spiro finally decided to commit himself to the creation of Elevatr full-time, after first doing some consulting for a local angel following graduation in spring 2012. By this January, he had an MVP (aka Minimum Viable Product) ready to go after contracting with Fueled, a mobile app development agency in Soho that had previously built apps for JackThreads and Urban Daddy. David  now works out of Fueled’s offices, and has hired a small team (with help from AngelList), including CTO Rafael Amorim.

The Product

The product itself is simple. Elevatr is essentially a note-taking app that takes the structure of a traditional business plan and makes it more accessible to design and develop on the smaller screen of mobile devices. After tapping the button to add your idea, the app prompts you to describe the idea in 140 characters or fewer, just like Twitter.

06-Elevatr-Screen-2.3

This is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs, who can’t seem to condense their business’ idea to a single sentence, as Techcrunch has discovered in the past, much less 140 characters. Spiro goes on to say, “if you can’t explain it in less than 140 characters, you probably don’t know what you’re doing.”

On the following screens, you’re walked through the other standard pieces to business-model creation, filling out details as to the target market, market size, competition, differentiation, features and uses, and so on. There’s also plenty of room for free-form note making in Elevatr, so you can really flesh out your ideas and plans.

At launch, the app is designed for personal use, but the team already has the intention to expand its capabilities in the near future. Next week, an option to export your ideas to a responsive website will be introduced, essentially turning your notes into a more fully developed online deck of sorts that you can share with others in order to get feedback. In addition, collaboration will be built into the app, which will allow you to invite others to view or comment on the content, given their permission levels.

Another idea for future expansion is to partner with other companies – agencies like Fueled, for example – giving them access to an administrative interface that would allow them to leverage the service to sort through a larger group of startup ideas, like those submitted as part of a contest, for instance.

“One day I will be using this at STARK”

That, and some other advanced features, may be paid options in the future, but currently the app itself is a free download here on iTunes.

Elevatr has a small amount of friends and family funding, but is now raising an angel round upwards of $500,000.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Great Insight into Relevant Smartphone Usage

I thought this was a great article so i posted it via BII MOBILE INSIGHTS: 50 Million Shoppers To Use Smartphones This Holiday – Business Insider. Enjoy!

People Watching TV Are Also Doing Other Things (Marketing Pilgrim)
According to Nielsen, many people don’t just watch TV, they are also using a mobile device to multitask. Mobile is no longer just for techies. 50% of us are walking around with smartphones and 20% of people in the U.S. who have a TV also have a tablet. That’s amazing. Even more amazing, 40% of Americans use their mobile device while they watch TV every day. Yes, that’s what they’re saying, every day. When you pull back to “at least once a month,” the number more than doubles to 85%.

simultaneous mobile tv usage

The takeaway here is that TV time is a good time to promote your product. Shoppers are relaxed, part of their brain is bored and they have the means to research and buy— laying right on their lap. All you have to do is figure out how to get their attention.

Let the “Showrooming” Begin! (IDC via Internet Retailer)
This holiday season, 48 million shoppers (about 20% of the U.S. adult population) will use their smartphones to compare prices and research products while shopping in stores, a practice known as “showrooming,” according to IDC. This represents a 134% increase from 2011 when 20.5 million shoppers engaged in showrooming. IDC forecasts the number of showrooming shoppers will grow to 59 million next year, 69 million in 2014 and 78 million in 2015. This year, showrooming will influence $700 million to $1.7 billion in holiday retail purchases. Big-ticket items, in particular those that consumers can easily evaluate by reading descriptions, specifications, ratings and reviews, will be the biggest target of consumers shopping with smartphones.

Mobile Shoppers Don’t Just Compare Prices (Vibes via Internet Retailer)
Consumers who use their mobile phones when shopping are doing more than just comparing prices. They’re gathering more information on products and in the process sometimes using a retailer’s site or app, finds a new study from mobile marketing and technology firm Vibes. Retailers that operate physical stores need not fear “showrooming,” where consumers in stores compare prices between retailers and later make a purchase online or through mobile commerce. Rather, Vibes points to the full spectrum of activities of mobile shoppers in stores and concludes that retailers armed with their own sites, apps and deals can convince shoppers to buy in-store. While 54% of mobile shoppers have compared prices in-store, 51% have looked up a product review, 45% have scanned a QR code or bar code for more information, 33% have researched a product on the store’s web site and 28% have used a retailer’s app in-store.

The Rise Of The Mobile Shopper: Here’s How To Win (BI Intelligence)
In this report, we’ll first gauge the size of the mobile commerce opportunity in dollar terms, and then look at some of the top mobile commerce trends. The bottom-line: Purchases from mobile devices are on track to account for $154 million in Cyber Monday sales this year, and over $10 billion in 2012 sales, according to BII forecasts based on comScore data. Tablet consumers spend more per transaction than PC-based shoppers. Tablets’ role in commerce will drive more brands and retailers to design tablet-optimized sites and campaigns. Mobile payment apps will come to serve as full-service shopping suites, incorporating loyalty programs and couponing. Gamification-influenced marketing campaigns will be increasingly influential.

Mobile Means More (Success)
Mobile phones are changing how people buy, so you need to adjust how you market now to gain a huge business advantage. This “digital layer” that connects customers, merchants all the time, has resulted in a sea change in customer behavior that is shaking up how, when, and why people buy. This transition to mobile can be overwhelming. Where do you start if you’re self-employed or have less than $100 to invest? Here are three actions to take right away:

  1. Make your website mobile-friendly
  2. Make buying from you a game
  3. Offer customers the ability to stay in touch

Mobile is no longer the future of business. It’s an option that consumers want now.

Top Resources For Mobile Web Design (Downgraf)
This article gives a comprehensive list of mobile web design resources, tools and plugins. Many only cost a few dollars to use:

  • 320 and Up: HTML5 starter kit
  • 960 Grid on jQuery Mobile: Scaling plugin
  • Foldy960: Responsive web aid
  • JQTouch: Swipe technology
  • jQuery Mobile: Website creation tool

Check out the full article for more helpful tips.

The Smartphone War Is Down To Two Players (Gartner via All Things Digital)
Apple shipped 36.2% more smartphones in the third quarter of 2012 than it did in the same quarter a year earlier, but that wasn’t enough to protect its market share from an unceasing Android onslaught. Apple’s share of the global mobile OS market slipped to 13.9% from 15% in the third quarter, according to Gartner. Meanwhile, Android’s market share rose to 72.4% from 52.5% a year earlier. Remarkable that Apple can increase iPhone sales by a full third year over year and still lose traction to Google’s mobile platform. Android is a juggernaut. And the rest of industry? Floundering in the market’s shallows, but here’s the race to be third.

Is Apple’s iMessage Killing Texting After All? (Read Write Mobile)
We recently reported that texting was on the decline. In the third quarter of this year, the number of text messages people sent to one another in the U.S. dropped by about 2%. That may not sound like much, but considering how fast texting had been growing, the fact that the number declined at all is significant. It’s not that people are any less connected or firing off any fewer messages. They’re just doing it in different ways. One of the biggest culprits is indeed iMessage, which operates exactly as text messages do, but bypasses the carrier entirely for Apple to Apple communications. Another culprit is Facebook’s Messenger app. It turns Facebook’s desktop IM feature into a very SMS-like communication method, again without having to route messages through the mobile provider.


chart of the day, sms/month/user, november 2012

Mobile Healthcare Faces The Future (Read Write Mobile)
One industry has been surprisingly slow to embrace the benefits of mobile: healthcare. That said, we are starting to see progress in mHealth adoption. According to researchers, 62% of doctors use a tablet in some shape or form and 71% of nurses use a smartphone at work. The mHealth industry is forecast to be a $11.8 billion market by 2018. Mobile healthcare is about more than just how doctors and nurses operate on a day-to-day basis. Mobile technology promises to contribute to wellness, preventive care, personal health records, communication with physicians, diet tracking, prescription reminders and many other health-related improvements. For instance, 30% of smartphone users are expected to use wellness apps in one form or another by 2015. By that year, analysts predict there will be nearly two billion smartphone users on the planet. You do the math.

mobile healthcare

via BII MOBILE INSIGHTS: 50 Million Shoppers To Use Smartphones This Holiday – Business Insider.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jet Skiing + Surfing = Jet Surfing

Image

Just when you think you’ve seen it all. Hello Jetsurfing

Now this is a sport I need to try. These dream machines from the company Jet Surf are manufactured in the Czeck Republic in 3 different models: one for beginners, intermediates, and experts.They are only distributed in France, Brazil, Russia, Ibiza (Spain), and Dubai.

Who wants to bring these to America with me? Pretty sure they’ll be on The Fancy available for global purchasing soon enough…

Tagged , , , , ,

How Sandy-Related PR Nightmare Cost Startup Uber $100,000 In A Day

Taxis are hard to get in NYC right now.

Uber, a company that makes an app you can use to summon a private cab, had to deal with an extremely messy situation in New York yesterday. Now it’s having to deal with obnoxious punditry. Let’s hit yesterday first.

Because the subways were (and basically still are) out, Uber’s black car drivers were in huge demand. To get the drivers to pick up Uber customers, Uber had to start paying them 2X their normal rate. At first, Uber passed this rate increase onto its customers through a program it calls “surge pricing.” But then customers and reporters started complaining, saying that Uber was “price gouging” in the middle of a disaster.

So, while continuing to pay drivers 2X their normal rate, Uber started charging customers 1X the normal rate. This act of generosity (and, let’s be honest, PR damage control) cost Uber about $100,000. 

So what did Uber get for its expensive pains? A nasty column from PandoDaily’s Paul Carr is what. About 12 hours ago he wrote: “As NY floods, “Robin Hood” Uber robs from the rich and… Nope, that’s about it.”  The URL for his column is: “http://pandodaily.com/2012/10/31/assholes-shrug/” It’s unfortunate.  $100,000 is a lot of money for a still young startup trying to gain its footing. (A week ago, Carr wrote a column about how Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has a reckless fascination with disrupting government regulation. Carr mocked Kalanick’s alleged obsession with Ayn Rand. That’s all fair and a separate issue. Kalanick should be more respectful of some government regulation. Rand is terrible.)

Unless Carr is mailing a check, Uber obviously can’t afford to keep losing so much money. So today, Uber announced that it will return to surge pricing, but will not keep any of its normal fees. In a candid blog post, co-signed by the entire Uber New York team, he company said: “For those needing a ride this week, it’s going to be expensive.”

Kudos for the honesty despite certain backlash from critics a thousand miles away.

Here’s the whole blog post:

First and foremost, we hope that you and your family and friends are safe. The Uber NYC office is currently closed and some of our team members are without water and power.

With limited public transportation, demand for Uber rides is astronomically high. That means we’re working to get as many drivers out as possible to help New Yorkers get around the city. So, in order to maximize the number of drivers on the system yesterday, we started paying drivers 2x the fare on all trips – and in the meantime charging riders the standard 1x fare avoiding surge pricing for most of the day after Sandy. Doubling drivers’ fares tripled the number of cars on the road and kept them out there far longer. However, footing the bill for higher driver costs came at a significant expense to Uber with over $100,000 in additional payments to drivers in a single day – something we can’t continue indefinitely without breaking the bank.

So while we were mostly able to avoid higher prices the day after Sandy, the reality is that under this week’s extreme conditions, raising the price is the only sustainable way to maximize the number of rides and minimize the number of people stranded – by providing a meaningful incentive for drivers to come out in undesirable conditions.

Later this morning we will be reverting back to standard Surge Pricing for riders. It is a hard decision, but one we feel strongly about. Without raising the price, there will be less than ½ the number of drivers on the system with several times more demand on far fewer drivers. Without Surge Pricing, Uber would become essentially unusable this week. For those needing a ride this week, it’s going to be expensive; there will be a clear pricing notification in the app at the time of request. During this emergency price increase, Uber will waive all of its own fees with 100% of the fare going directly to the drivers helping New Yorkers move around the city.

You can read more about Surge Pricing on our blog: http://blog.uber.com/2012/03/14/clear-and-straight-forward-surge-pricing/

Our thoughts and prayers are with all New Yorkers in this time of crisis. We’re going to do everything we can to continue to provide the most reliable, efficient transportation option for NYC. Be safe, and stay Uber. 

The Uber NYC Team

Josh, Andrew, Ed, Kyle and Nicole in Manhattan,

Jeremy in Brooklyn,

Betty in Queens

and Cait in The Bronx

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

YouTube Cofounder Steve Chen’s Penthouse for Sale

steve chen youtube penthouse

Gotta love those techies.

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen has listed his penthouse inside the Ritz Carlton Residences (equipped with 24/7 concierge and a gym) in San Francisco for $8 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Complete with a fully furnished roof deck, the two-story, 3,063-square-foot pad has two-bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Chen spent 21 months working with architect Joel Sander to turn the condo into a “tech lovers dream home,” including installing a glass wall between the master bedroom and bath that turns from clear to frosted at the touch of a button, according to Curbed SF.

Chen purchased the pad in 2007 for $4.85 million, when it was “just an empty shell,” according to the WSJ. The living room has a large sectional and a bar for entertaining, but Chen said his “favorite part of the home” were the 3 TVs located here. My favorite part is the minimalistic kitchen with beautiful white and wood accents and walls. His office with blue accents is pretty baller as well. Chen is selling this amazing place because he just has a 2nd child and his family needs more space. Check out the photo tour below!

The Ritz Front Entrance

Welcome to the Ritz Carlton Residences in downtown San Francisco.

Chen purchased the pad in 2007 for $4.85 million, when it was

The living room has three TVs, which Chen said were his

Chen is selling because he just had a second child, and his family needs more space.

The kitchen is very minimalistic with its combination of white and wood accents and walls.

This room has a very serene vibe to it.

The living room is a prime spot for entertaining. With a large sectional and a bar, there's plenty of places for your guests to sit.

We love the lighting and the fireplace in this room.

With the purchase of the residence comes access to the hotel's 24/7 concierge service.

The high ceilings really open the place up.

The home incorporates a lot of wood into the design.

The master bedroom has views of the south. And in the master bath, there are lava-rock floors.

The roof deck is fully furnished.

The apartment has views of the San Francisco Bay, the East Bay, Twin Peaks and Nob Hill.

You also have access to the hotel's gym.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Home Furnishings And Design Site LuxeYard Bets on Social Media for Changing Industry

Banner Image

LuxeYard, a luxury home furnishings and decor site, launched an interesting e-commerce platform this past January that added a twist to the flash sales model.

Similar to sites line One Kings Lane and Gilt, LuxeYard offers up to 70 percent discounts on furniture, home decor and other accessories in daily sales. However, LuxeYard also offers what it calls ‘concierge buying,’ which allows members to request items they would like to purchase at a discounted price by posting photos to LuxeYard’s Facebook page. The most popular product will be voted up by members, and the startup’s experts will attempt to source either the exact product, or a similar product and offer this on sale to members.

LuxeYard members also have the ability to push product prices down for certain items by using Facebook and Twitter to encourage others to purchase a product, which will drive the price down. For example, members may purchase an item for $100; share the information on Facebook encouraging others to buy the same product; and two days later find out that customer demand, which they helped drive, dropped the price to $50. Everyone who purchased the Group Buy Item will pay the final lowest price.

The site also includes a set of featured design professionals and influencers provide design curation and offers aesthetic insights, product recommendations and special events exclusively for LuxeYard members. Consumers can also enter room dimensions and/or upload a photo of the room in which they’d place the piece to get a sense for how it fits with the current décor and layout before they buy.

LuxeYard has raised $3.5 million in funding from a group of undisclosed investors.

Tagged , , , , ,

How Europe is Kicking America’s Ass

Kid Programmer

What a BOSS

Guess who’s winning the brains race, with 100% of first graders learning to code? Estonia announced today that it is implementing a new education program that will have 100 percent of publicly educated students learning to write code.

Called ProgeTiiger, the new initiative aims to turn children from avid consumers of technology (which they naturally are; try giving a 5-year-old an iPad sometime) into developers of technology (which they are not; see downward-spiraling computer science university degree program enrollment stats).

ProgreTiiger education will start with students in the first grade (which starts around the age of 7 or 8 for Estonians) and will continue through a student’s final years of public school (around age 16). Teachers are being trained on the new skills, and private sector IT companies are also getting involved (since they will likely end up being the long-term beneficiaries of a technologically literate populace).

The ProgreTiiger program is launching at a few pilot schools and will soon be rolling out to all general education schools in Estonia.

By contrast, the U.S. public education system has been described as “running on empty” when it comes to tech literacy, leaving young adults unprepared to compete in a digitally driven economy.

In 2009 and 2010, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) conducted a joint study and found that most public schools in the U.S. focus only on the consumer aspects of using computers.

Rather than truly teaching kids about computers, we’re teaching them to see the machines and programs as mysterious tools, offering little or no instruction about “the conceptual aspects of computer science that lay the foundation for innovation and deeper study in the field (for example, develop an understanding of an algorithm,” the report’s findings state.

Already, in hacking competitions around the world, Eastern European programmers are often leading the pack. Estonia’s new bid for comp-sci dominance has increased the odds of that occurrence and will likely help Estonia in the international competition for jobs, capital, and talent in a growing tech economy.

Top image courtesy of Kiselev Andrey Valerevich, Shutterstock

via VentureBeat.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: