Category: United States


6 480x245 Entrepreneurs gather in Eden for the first Summit Outside

Last Friday, my friend Shak pathed, “Productivity at tech companies must be low today. Half the folks are headed to Utah while the other half are looking for an ice cream truck.”

Told to pack for a camping trip but not much else, 850 like-minded individuals showed up in Eden, Utah last Friday for the first Summit Outside event, hosted by the Summit Series team famous for its weekend retreats like Basecamp and Summit-at-Sea. For Outside, attendees were encouraged to disconnect, with the promise of “finding a better connection.”

Without WiFi or outlets, a group of the world’s most Internet-addicted human beings found immense freedom letting go of the digital world and reconnecting with nature.

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It was the first major event held in Eden, Utah since the 45-person team purchased Powder Mountain for $40 million earlier this year. Weekend tickets started at $2,000 and went up to $12,000 depending on housing options like a 10-person dome, quad tent or air-conditioned RV.

Summit donated a portion of ticket sales to local nonprofits and attendees made optional donations at registration. In total, Summit Outside raised nearly $100,000 for Ogden Valley and Weber County nonprofits, including the Weber School Foundation, Ogden Valley Land Trust, Weber Pathways, Weber County Fire Officers Association and The Nature Conservancy.

When the mountain purchase was announced, there were several complaints from local townspeople who were dubious of the team’s ability to preserve the mountain’s old-fashioned charm. Change is still a thing you should believe in, as the event drove more than $2 million dollars into the local economy and resulted in over 300 local jobs.

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Upon arrival, attendees geared up for the weekend with free Nike Fuelbands, headlights, tin cups and camouflage backpacks for carrying around their new Tom’s sunglasses. After chucking bags into tents and strapping on hiking boots, attendees were delighted by surprises at every turn like a sonic meditation deck, a late-night noodle truck, a flash sale of coconuts and LeWeb founder Loic LeMeur giving office hours in the middle of a forest.

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Attendees stopped by the activity tent to sign up for paint ball, hiking, horse-back riding and mountain bike riding – or a knot tying workshop with Philippe Petit, the man featured tightrope-walking between the World Trade Center towers in the documentary Man on Wire.

Somewhat retired, Petit decided to climb the stage at the event’s closing plenary instead.

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Each morning on Powder Mountain, we practiced yoga on The Lotus Deck, overlooking Ogden valley. Teachers included Sasha Bahador, Founder of ShaktiLife and Kenneth Von Roenn III, Creator of Skanda Yoga.

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Just a 5-minute walk down the hill, Taylor Kuffner’s robotic orchestra, known as “The Gamelatron” was tied to trees in a forest of hammocks, providing an oasis of relaxation for weary Summiteers.

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One of the more popular surprises was the Duck Pond, a hedonistic escape from the killer content and outdoor adventure experiences. Aerated and perfectly clean for swimming in, the Duck Pond served as an ideal cool down during the 90 degree days. Summit’s Chief Reconnaissance Officer Thayer Walker says the Duck Pond will be a permanent structure for the years to come.

DSC 0052 520x346 Entrepreneurs gather in Eden for the first Summit Outside

As entrepreneurs do, the Summit team members are building a permanent community that didn’t exist before, a home they’re proud to live in, and one they can call their own. “Our goal is to create a center of gravity for the innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders of the world,” says Summit co-founder Jeremy Schwartz, pictured below with fellow co-founder Brett Leve. “We hope Summit Eden will become a community built around a shared ethos that emphasizes collaboration as tool to drive positive, multidisciplinary output.”

 Entrepreneurs gather in Eden for the first Summit Outside

Many will compare Summit Series to TED, Davos or even Burning Man, but lining up such energetic entities side-by-side is boring. While there were quite a few speakers at Summit Outside who have also spoken in Long Beach, and people important enough to fly to Switzerland each year, and a lot of dust and dancing in The Electric Forest, what’s more interesting is why events like this exist, and how The Summit Series team has brought such magical experiences to life that are shaping a generation of change-makers.

Content

The Summit Team offered content and activities ranging from a 3-hour mountain biking tour to a discussion of the female hormonal system to an hour-long talk about the recent Trayvon Martin trial. When asked to reflect on a high point from the weekend, Shervin Pishevar, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Sherpa Ventures, answered:

“The Trayvon talk. Cheeraz [Gorman]‘s tears opened a flood gate of love and truth. It changed hearts and minds and planted the seeds of a new social justice movement. Our nation still needs a process of reconciliation. There’s too much locked within our hearts. We need to get in that circle we formed in the forest and widen to all so we can all feel what we did that day.”

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Humans weren’t the only ones leaving Powder Mountain with new flight patterns. Summit partnered with Earthwings, a raptor nonprofit, to release two rehabilitated birds of prey into the wild at the event.

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Summit also partnered with Pack and Pounce, a local animal shelter to create a puppy pen where attendees could adopt puppies destined to be put down. 9 puppies were adopted and saved.

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The event could’ve been called the “Summit of Love” – not because of the plethora of mountain-top sessions – but because love was on everyone’s lips, particularly speaker and therapist Esther Perel, who wins the award for giving the most talks in a 48-hour period.

As entrepreneurs, we are used to giving all of ourselves to our companies and careers, then we come home at night with just leftover scraps of our energies for our loved ones. How will we ever have as successful relationships as we do careers if we keep carrying on like this? Esther didn’t have all of the answers, but she made us realize that if its a fulfilling love life we want, we need to explore the possibilities of adjusting our current priorities.

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Production

The Summit team’s production talents are extraordinary. On Saturday night, attendees were invited to have dinner around a quarter-mile long picnic table in a field. The walk to dinner was led by jazz musician Jonathan Batiste.

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For many photo-takers, this visual feat and delightful feast was a highlight of the weekend.

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The Summit team knows how to throw a party too. After dinner, the electronica ensemble Thievery Corporation played a 2-hour set before 50 fans jumped on stage for a late-night dance party. There were all dozens of artists and DJs, like Big Boi, RAC, Sean Glass and DJ Equal, who played until the wee hours of the morning for sparkly-pantsed dancers. To listen to all of the artists who performed this weekend, SoundCloud’s David Noel made a playlist for you.

Curation

While Summit is often knocked for being exclusive, its curated community creates an environment for some of the world’s most ambitious people to open up professionally, emotionally and physically. “It’s going to be a place on Earth that becomes a sacred space for growth and development,” says Nicole Patrice De Member, the Founder of Toi and the woman responsible for introducing Summit to Greg Mauro, the entrepreneur and Eden, UT resident who brought the Powder Mountain opportunity to the team. “The people who need love will end up here. We want the world to be a part of this. It’s not a secret journey, but you still have to go on that journey to get here.”

Summit designed the event with serendipity built-in so that porch-front dinner conversations, afternoon walks down dusty Main Street, or late night discussions in the tea hut became places where we shared journeys of success, failure and personal hardship. “No matter where I went or what I did, I stumbled upon some of the most amazing, interesting people I’ve ever met. It’s a magical experience unlike any other,” says Summit first-timer Ryan Matzner, Fueled’s Director of Strategy.

The first night of Summit Outside I stood next to a stranger as we waited for our camp mates. I said “Hi” and gave him a warm hug the way you might a friend. He said, “Thank you, I really needed that.” He then told me his father had just passed away that morning. And instead of canceling plans to be with his immediate family, he decided that his first step towards healing was to be with his Summit family. In a place so loving, empowering and supportive, I understood.

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Summit Outside was the team’s first big event on Powder Mountain – and for most in attendance, those 72-hours were a transformational experience. The Summit Team’s passion shines through everything it touches, and they’ve fortunately chosen to build their home in one of the most beautiful settings on Earth. In Eden, once again, we feel like we’re just at the beginning of it all…

122486570 520x245 LearnVest wants to fix your poor spending habits, nabs $16.5M to scale its financial planning service

Financial planning startup LearnVest has its heart set on fixing your poor spending habits – and minting money because of them. Now, after polishing its product and launching on the iPhone, LearnVest is gearing up for expansion with a new round of funding: $16.5 million in funding, to be exact, with investments from Accel Partners, American Express Ventures, Claritas Capital and others.

Sitting nicely alongside this news, LearnVest, which offers both a money management app and advising services, is also announcing its first West Coast office. The space, located in Phoenix, will serve as the company’s hub for housing and training financial planners. We’re told LearnVest’s new space will hold about 25 people, and that the company plans to “scale up to a few dozen.”

LearnVest as a company has seen success with its product – according to CEO Alexa von Tobel “the product works; now we’re scaling [it].” Gearing up for this expansion, LearnVest tells us it has new distribution plans in the works, including partnerships with undisclosed companies that offer LearnVest services to their employees.

A “major commercial partnership” is also apparently coming, which could involve American Express, given its fresh stake in LearnVest. We’ll be sure to update you on that deal as news surfaces. Until then, you can check out LearnVest here.

Image credit: Thinkstock

1600404101 645x250 520x245 Starbucks adds Duracell Powermat wireless charging stations to its coffee shops in Silicon Valley

Starbucks is quickly becoming the ultimate chain of Internet caf s due to its solid Wi-Fi connectivity, free app vouchers, access to The New York Times website and now, reliable wireless charging.

Following a successful roll-out across Boston, Duracell announced today that it will be fitting the Duracell Powermat in a number of Starbucks stores across the Silicon Valley area. These wireless charging spots are fitted directly to the tables, giving consumers the ability to recharge their various electronic devices while sipping a cup of hot joe.

The caveat, it would seem, is that these charging spots require the user to own a Powers Matters Alliance (PMA) certified device or smartphone case. Duracell sells these independently for the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III, but that seems like an awfully restrictive range of devices – we’ve reached out to the company to see if it’ll support more handsets in the future.

For reference, AT&T announced in April this year that it would be integrating wireless charging within a select number of smartphones by 2014. Blackberry, HTC, LG and Samsung, among others, are also signed up with the PMA.

The selective roll-out in Silicon Valley, combined with the need for a specialist device or case, restricts the scope of the program and how useful it will be to the majority of global Starbucks coffee lovers.

What it does show, however, is a glimpse at how the company wants to expand the in-store Starbucks experience and make it increasingly tempting for people to come in on a regular basis. A fast, stable Wi-Fi connection is now a given for almost any Starbucks store – it’s easy to see how wireless charging could quickly become just as prevalent.

“We know that our customers use our caf s in a number of ways beyond buying coffee. For some, it’s their home office, for others it’s their place to get away and have some time to themselves. More and more customers are using Starbucks as their home base and they are looking to recharge in a number of ways,” said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, Starbucks Coffee Company.

A similar effect has been achieved inadvertantly in Apple stores – consumers walk in all the time to charge their iPhone or iPad – so Starbucks would be wise to expand the number of stores offering Duracell Powermats as quickly as possible. People increasingly need to charge their smartphones in the middle of the day – we use them more and more with power-hungry apps – so more places to charge will never be unwelcome.

Image Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

164685991 520x245 T Mobile cuts upfront smartphone costs in the US, but ramps up monthly payments instead

T-Mobile made a great deal of fuss over its flexible ‘uncarrier’ contracts back in March – clearly separating the cost of the call plan and the handset – but now it’s taking the idea one step further by dropping the upfront cost of the handset altogether.

In what it describes as an “unparalleled” promotion, T-Mobile subscribers will be able to pick up a flagship device such as the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 for free. The network operator is then adding most, if not all of the difference to the regular monthly instalments that consumers need to pay to actually own the handset.

There’s some savings to be made here, but it’s essentially just another payment plan. Accept the upfront cost and the user benefits from lower device payments. Forgo the down payment entirely, however, and subscribers have to accept that most of the savings will be added on to their final monthly bill.

As The Verge reports, to put the price difference in perspective the Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $149.99 up-front alongside a $20 monthly fee for two years. Or, a total of $629.99. Under the new $25 tier, with no up-front cost, that comes to $600 exactly. Other handsets, such as the iPhone 5, offer even more negligible discounts.

The promotion is also compatible with T-Mobile’s JUMP! program, enabling consumers to upgrade after six months to a new handset. The catch, however, is that T-Mobile takes subscribers’ existing handsets back, nullifying the payments made up until that point.

“The number of reasons not to switch to T-Mobile this summer is ZERO,” John Legere, president and chief executive officer of T-Mobile US said. “Adding Zero Down in addition to JUMP!, and Simple Choice with no contract is all about making wireless work for consumers and shaking up this industry.”

The scheme is described as a promotion, so it’s fair to assume that it will only run for a short period of time. All of the new monthly payment amounts are listed below – if you’re strapped for cash but looking to switch to a new carrier in the US, this could be a viable option.

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 – $25
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II – $27
  • Samsung Galaxy S III – $22
  • Xperia Z from Sony – $25
  • iPhone 5 – $27
  • Nokia Lumia 925 – $20
  • Nokia Lumia 521 – $5
  • BlackBerry Q10 – $25
  • HTC One – $25
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 – $20

Image Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

Jason Farago: The notoriously ugly Penn station has a chance to be reborn, but here are 10 termini which need no beautification at all

Jason Farago

Boy born by caesarean section after Nachman and Raizy Glauber were killed on way to hospital, but died about a day later

Police have identified a suspect being sought in the hit-and-run deaths of a pregnant woman and her husband whose baby died on Monday, a day after the Brooklyn car crash.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said police are looking for 44-year-old Julio Acevedo, who had a DWI arrest in February. Acevedo was going at least 60 mph when the car slammed into the cab carrying the couple to a hospital, police said.

The newborn boy, delivered after the crash, died early Monday, according to Isaac Abraham, who serves as a spokesman for the family’s Orthodox Jewish community.

“We in the community are demanding that the prosecutor charge the driver of BMW that caused the death of this couple and infant … with triple homicide,” Abraham said in a statement. “This coward left the scene of the accident not even bothering to check on the people of the other car.”

Nachman and Raizy Glauber, both 21, were looking forward to welcoming their first child into their tight-knit community of Orthodox Jews.

The horrific crash happened in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn as the couple headed to a hospital.

The engine of the livery car ended up in the backseat, where Raizy Glauber, who was seven months pregnant, was sitting before she was ejected, Abraham said. Her body landed under a parked tractor-trailer, said witnesses who raced to the scene after the crash. Nachman Glauber was pinned in the car, and emergency workers had to cut off the roof to get him out, witnesses said.

The Glaubers both were pronounced dead at hospitals, and the medical examiner said they died of blunt-force trauma. Doctors had delivered the baby by cesarean section.

Neighbors and friends said the boy weighed only about 4 pounds. The Glaubers’ livery cab driver was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and was later released. Acevedo and a passenger fled and were being sought, police said.

Meanwhile, police said the registered owner of the BMW, who was not in the car, was charged with insurance fraud. Police said Takia Walk, 29, was arrested Sunday. They did not have any details regarding the charge.

On Saturday, Raizy Glauber “was not feeling well, so they decided to go” to the hospital, said Sara Glauber, Nachman Glauber’s cousin. Abraham said the Glaubers called a car service.

The Glaubers were married about a year ago and had begun a life together in Williamsburg, where Raizy Glauber grew up in a prominent Orthodox Jewish rabbinical family, Sara Glauber said.

Jewish law calls for burial of the dead as soon as possible, and hours after their deaths, the Glaubers were mourned by at least 1,000 people at a funeral outside the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue.

Afterward, the cars carrying the bodies left and headed to Monsey, where another service was planned in Nachman Glauber’s hometown.

75165019 520x245 WunWun is like having a personal assistant: It runs errands, walks dogs - even bartends parties

Following the ranks of affordable luxury services like Uber, WunWun is a young, peculiarly named startup with one simple goal: to be your on-demand helper.

The iOS app, which is only available in New York City for the time being, is part concierge service, part personal assistant. It’s comparable, in some ways, to services like TaskRabbit, but instead of posting your needs and waiting for someone to bid, WunWun’s own staff helps you immediately.

The tasks which WunWun is able to help with vary in price, but are seemingly unlimited – so long as they’re within the law.

Deliveries

For deliveries, there’s a flat fee of $15. That’s not a steal if you’re in need of a cup of coffee, but for groceries, a trip to the Apple store or busy days when you can’t leave your desk, WunWun is there. These fees will also keep WunWun from ending up like Kozmo.com.

While trying out the service for myself, I was struck with two cravings: banana chips and cider, and that’s what I ordered. Why? Because I could. That’s why.

Image 730x418 WunWun is like having a personal assistant: It runs errands, walks dogs - even bartends parties

I then received a pleasant text, asking me “are these the right chips?” Shortly after I responded, my delivery arrived, and I felt like a spoiled king (as I trudged up the stairs of my 6-floor walkup).

Services

When it comes to services like walking your dog or assembling IKEA furniture, the company charges $2 for every five minutes.

Let’s say you need a bartender for an upcoming party – WunWun can make that happen for a rather accessible $24 per hour.

A Concierge

Rounding out its offerings, WunWun provides free suggestions. “New in town? Need an idea of what to get your brother for his birthday? The best place to take a vegetarian on a first date in New York City?” WunWun can offer advice on where to eat, what to order when you get there, and can even tell you the best streets to take.

WunWun starts by asking you “What can we help you with?” From there, just type in whatever you need, choose when you need it, and you’ll receive a text from your “helper.” Like Uber, all costs are billed to your card and you don’t need to tip, but you’ll be able to look over and approve your receipt before being charged.

If you’re in New York, or planning a visit, WunWun is worth checking out. Just for TNW readers, WunWun’s offering $15 in free credits. Snag them via the link below and let us know what you think!

WunWun + $15 credit

If you’re on the West Coast, you should look into Exec, which provides help with errands and tasks.

Image credit: Thinkstock / David Woolley

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