E-Commerce

NYC Startup Offers Software for Airbnb Hosts

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 10.57.42 AM

When Randy Engler and his wife started renting out their two homes using Airbnb, they soon realized it was hard to provide a high level of hospitality to their guests, especially while away. Engler, who has a background in Internet companies and an enthusiasm for the sharing economy, saw an opportunity: build an online service that takes care of cleaning, key exchange, and other rental logistics. The company he created, Proprly, supports rental markets for Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO in NYC and Brooklyn.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Five Challenges to Using Your Genome

Genetic puzzle image via Shutterstock

At last week’s 5th annual Consumer Genetics Conference, hundreds of scientists, clinicians, app developers, and analytical experts convened to talk about DNA analysis for healthcare and consumer applications. The good news: legions of clever, highly motivated people are working hard to make sense of the human genome and help the rest of us lead better lives. The bad news: major impediments stand in the way of free-flowing, useful genomic information. Here are the top five hurdles to be cleared before you will have ready access to your DNA information so you can improve your health and your life.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Inspiration and Entrepreneurship in New Orleans

Schrero

I first came to New Orleans in 2007, two years after Katrina, to enroll at Tulane University when I was 18 years old. There was still a lot to be desired, but the city never pretended to be anything other than what it was. What drew me to Tulane was not a particular career path, but a sense I had to be part of the impassioned rebuilding taking place throughout New Orleans’ communities.   More

Manufacturing

Roboticist Rodney Brooks on How Automation Helps Makers

Rodney Brooks, founder and CTO of Rethink Robotics, joined us at our Techonomy Detroit conference to talk about the intersection between robotics and the maker movement. Robots like Rethink's Baxter offer small industries a tool to make workers more productive. But because Baxter operates on a software platform, it also benefits from users who think of new functionality and specializations for the robot. "There's going to be some kids out there who come up with some ideas that we would never have thought of in a million years," Brooks said. Those users may in turn use Baxter for smaller scale, maker oriented production.   More

Cities

Etsy CEO Dickerson on Entrepreneurship in One Illinois City

What happens when you combine a Midwestern mayor with a leading-edge CEO and stir in a timely Tweet about building an entrepreneurial economy? You get "the Internet at its best," says Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, who spoke with us at our recent Techonomy Detroit conference about the partnership that's creating new entrepreneurs in Rockford, Illinois. Where does the program go from here? The possibilities seem limitless. "It's really reconnecting with the idea that we can overcome cynicism, that literally we can do anything," said Dickerson.   More

Techonomy Events

What Happened at Techonomy 2012, and What to Expect This Year

Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick shares highlights from our 2012 Tucson conference, which was more business-centric than previous gatherings. As a place "where the suits meet the geeks," the Techonomy conference looks at the big issues changing retail, banking, money, international trade, and leadership, as well as how the trends of cloud, mobile, social, and big data impact business.   More

Business Manufacturing

Quirky Brings Innovation Expert Doreen Lorenzo on as President

20121112_untitled_AT1T2605

The Manhattan-based invention machine Quirky just became a little more inventive. Former frog design President Doreen Lorenzo joins the four-year-old product development company as president today. Lorenzo, known for transforming frog into a global innovation firm during her 7 years as president there, was a speaker at the Techonomy conferences in 2011 and 2012.   More

Business E-Commerce

A Big Victory for the Sharing Economy

One of the many New York apartments available to rent on Airbnb

A New York City Airbnb host has won an appeal with the New York City Environmental Control Board after being fined for renting out a room in his apartment, Airbnb reported on its Public Policy Blog. The Board reversed Nigel Warren’s $2,400 fine, delivering a major victory for Airbnb and the entire sharing economy. Airbnb is “a global community marketplace that connects travelers seeking authentic, high-quality accommodations with hosts who offer unique places to stay.” Unfortunately, many cities do not allow these temporary rentals. But Warren and Airbnb were able to successfully argue that as long as a permanent occupant is present during the stay, it does not violate New York law.   More

Business Cities

This Native Detroiter Feels the Pull of Home

From left, David Kirkpatrick, Jack Dorsey, Scott Moloney, Catherine Kelly, Alex Southern

In the days since Techonomy Detroit, I'm more hopeful about my hometown than I have been since I left for New York to go to Columbia University 30 years ago. Yet before I headed to the conference, when I joked with media and tech pals that I was on my way to “the Paris of Southeastern Michigan,” I’d get a laugh or a look of grave concern. In their eyes, a place I love was a disaster zone, a dear family member on the critical list.   More

Global Tech

Is China’s “Internet Concession” Too Late for Facebook?

In the land of the "world's biggest online population" Facebook has "almost zero" users, Reuters reports. Of course, that's because, since 2009, the Chinese government has blocked its citizens' access to the U.S. social media leader. Likewise, it has blocked Twitter. But when the ban is finally lifted in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone this weekend, crowds are not expected to rush on to either site.   More

Manufacturing

TechShop: Democratizing Manufacturing and Creating Personal Industrial Revolutions

tech shop welding

“It took the U.S. and Europe 150 years to go through the Industrial Revolution. Now, you can go through your own personal industrial revolution in 90 days.” At least that’s what TechShop CEO Mark Hatch told Yahoo! Small Business writer Adrienne Burke (also a regular contributor to Techonomy). TechShop is a membership-based DIY workshop with six locations around the country, each with about $1 million worth of advanced machinery and software. Members pay just $125 dollars for monthly access to a plethora of design, prototyping, and manufacturing tools.   More

Global Tech Internet of Things

Weibo, Hisense Explore Internet of Things

hisense

Social networking apps have become the flavor of the day among Chinese Internet firms, especially in the mobile space, and it’s rare to go more than a week or two without reports of a big new move by a major player in the space. Amid all that chatter, I was intrigued to read the latest report of an interesting new tie-up between leading microblog operator Sina Weibo and appliance maker Hisense into the unlikely field of smart air conditioners.   More

Cities Internet of Things

Can the Internet of Everything Help Cities?

Michael Mandel speaking at the Techonomy Detroit 2013 conference.

Local governments are about delivering services and getting things done: Fixing highways, running buses, picking up trash, ensuring public safety, educating children. To do their job in an era of tight finances, what’s needed are technologies that make public services better and cheaper, and improve the quality of life for urban Americans without increasing costs. So far the Internet and the shift to digital has boosted the efficiency of smart local governments, increased transparency, and made it easier to communicate with local residents.   More

Business Manufacturing

TechShop Seeks Big Bucks Using JOBS Act

A TechShop maker cuts metal on a flowjet in the Detroit facility.

With the public announcement of a $60 million investment offering this morning, TechShop is among the first to attempt to leverage eased fundraising regulations made possible by the JOBS Act. An 80-year SEC ban on general solicitation and advertising for certain offerings was lifted today as a result of the act. TechShop CEO Mark Hatch, who spoke at Techonomy Detroit 2012, told us Friday that the company is seeking $30 million in a Series B Preferred stock offering to support corporate overhead, and $30 million more in loans to fund construction of at least 11 new local TechShop facilities, support the new location in Pittsburgh, and relocate the one in Menlo Park.   More

Global Tech

Beirut’s Coders Convene for Community and Social Progress

LebGeeks founder Samer Nakfour (photo by Jo Baaklini)

AltCity is a co-working space tucked away from the hustle and bustle of one of Beirut’s busiest neighborhoods, Hamra. On a Friday summer night, a mostly male crowd is settling in for the second in a series of Programmer Talks hosted by LebGeeks, an online forum and community for Lebanese technophiles. The room is filling up fast and buzzing with Arabic chatter, before the English-language presentations begin. The small space boasts typical techie décor: bean bag chairs, neon painted pipes, concrete floors, white boards galore   More

Internet of Things

“Rise of the Machines” Forecasts a Digitized Future that is Happy, Healthy—and Scary

CNBC's Melissa Lee in a driverless car

We have seen a glorified yet apprehensive vision of the future in literature and film for years, from Jules Verne to “The Jetsons.” These fictional portrayals of the future suggest that while new inventions and computers will make our lives easier, there are risks involved—especially as computers become more and more humanlike. Today this fiction is almost a reality. “Rise of the Machines,” a documentary that aired last week on CNBC, explores the risks and rewards of the very real Internet of Things, where machines speak to each other and us to solve problems and make our world smarter.   More

Business

Dorsey Tells Entrepreneurs: Meet Customers Where They Are

From left, David Kirkpatrick, Jack Dorsey, Scott Moloney, Catherine Kelly, and Alex Southern (photo by Asa Mathat)

An ice cream maker, a newspaper publisher, food trucks, pop-up shops, and numerous farmers’ market vendors are among the thousands of small businesses in Detroit using mobile apps invented by Jack Dorsey—namely Twitter and Square—to win customers, manage sales, and save time. In fact, Square has already helped to power $174 million in transactions for 5,500 Detroit businesses, the company claims. And at Techonomy Detroit this week Dorsey said entrepreneurs can expect more developments targeted to their businesses from him in the future.   More

Manufacturing

How the Maker Movement Is Reinventing Retail

From left, Lou Rassey, Matt Clayson, Chad Dickerson, Marleen Vogelaar, and K. Venkatesh Prasad

The jury is still out on whether the maker movement could bring about a new American industrial revolution. But anecdotal evidence suggests it is well on its way to reinventing retail. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and Shapeways co-founder Marleen Vogelaar joined Detroit Creative Corridor Center director Matt Clayson and Ford’s open innovation guru K. Venkatesh Prasad for a “maker movement” discussion moderated by McKinsey & Company principal Lou Rassey at the Techonomy Detroit conference.   More

Detroit 13 Government Video

A Conversation with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick speaks with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder at the Techonomy Detroit 2013 conference. Watch video and read the complete transcript here.   More

Detroit 13 Video

Turbo Charging Detroit’s Techonomy

Catherine Kelly of Michigan Citizen News, Scott Moloney of Treat Dreams, and Alex Southern of GrowDetroit join Square CEO and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick for a discussion about how Detroit's economy can thrive in a technologized age. Watch video and read the complete transcript here.   More