SEC-Fined Crypto Project Abandons Cannabis Co-Working Venture

A cryptocurrency project previously sanctioned by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is selling a property that it had intended to use as a cannabis co-working space.

The firm, ParagonCoin, revealed the news in a filing with the SEC late last month, stating that, while it had anticipated that its native PRG token could be used by marijuana-industry startups to pay rent for the shared office space, the property is now under contract for sale.

ParagonCoin has put a price tag of $4.2 million on the space, which was purchased for $3.75 million via a $2.45 million loan and cash holdings. The total amount paid for the property was $4.02 million as of May 2018, including interest.

The firm said in the filing:

“We currently do not intend to renovate, improve, or develop other properties. We currently do not intend to make further investments in real estate or acquire any interests in real estate and do not intend to make investments in real estate mortgages.

ParagonCoin explained it will now focus on the continued development of its blockchain “track and trace” software product for use in the cannabis business and potentially other industries. Transactions on the system are paid for with PRGs.

Last November, the SEC agreed to register the tokens as securities after the firm settled charges relating to its 2017 ICO. The firm raised $12 million in the sale in order to “develop and implement its business plan to add blockchain technology to the cannabis industry and work toward legalization of cannabis.”

However, the regulator contended that the startup should have registered its tokens as securities offerings and that it did not qualify for a registration exemption. As a result, ParagonCoin was forced to refund investors, as well as file periodic reports to the SEC and pay a penalty of $250,000.

The token is currently trading at around $0.11, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Blockchain at Berkeley Spring 2019 Report – Blockchain at Berkeley

Internal Projects

Each semester, selected members are presented with the opportunity to build internal consulting projects to be showcased to [email protected]’s greater community. Below is a snippet of present projects for Spring 2019:

1. Textbook Rental Project:Textbook rental and purchasing are problematic on various fronts — , particularly regarding online textbooks. A blockchain network has the ability to solve these problems. The issue of ownership could be alleviated by recording the transfer of rights from one individual to another upon the sale of these textbooks through tokens and could be used to lock out individuals and prevent them from accessing content that they have resold.

2. Curated Academic Journal:By creating a blockchain-based academic archive where anyone can submit a paper or contribute to the process of peer review, we hope to standardize and streamline the publishing process. This project will consist of a direct feedback system where verified experts are incentivized to review curated papers on a global scale.

3. Campaign Funding: For the target audience of individual campaign funders who want to fund and keep a record of the spending of campaigns without the need to trust other organizations, the team proposes the solution of building a hybrid blockchain platform. The first level of this platform is that individuals will send their donation from public blockchain, and platform will deposit it to the designated campaign. For this second level, the team aims to design a consortium blockchain with nodes of campaigners, companies that will work with campaigners and regulators for validating spendings to create an environment for recordkeeping of spendings.

Education Projects

Another important department of Blockchain at Berkeley, Education’s mission is to learn by teaching and offering accessible, open-source, world-class blockchain education to everyone, free of charge. Education members have put a lot of effort into enriching these educational experiences; this semester, they have also put in a lot of effort into conducting research on different topics whose results will be integrated into our educational resources. Here are some highlights of these projects:

  1. edX Blockchain for Developers: Blockchain at Berkeley is launching the Blockchain for Developers course on edX, which will provide prospective developers a comprehensive overview of relevant topics in blockchain development, as well as hands-on experience in developing and deploying their own smart contracts. The course will cover the fundamentals of blockchain, the Solidity programming language, as well as relevant industry tools such as Metamask, Geth, Truffle, and Ganache. Through completing the course, students will be confident in their ability to develop and deploy blockchain-based solutions on important industry issues.
  2. Distributed Systems Simulation: Consensus mechanisms are a core topic in distributed systems. Consensus can be approximated or avoided (as with traditional internet architecture) or can be explicitly defined and executed in conjunction with Sybil control systems, as with many of the projects in the blockchain space. We design a system for simulating relaxed instances of various consensus mechanisms. Our system is firstly an educational tool focused on clean user experience, but the modularity of design and data pipeline have been carefully considered for future data analysis/ML workloads.
  3. Financial Class Papers: The Financial Instrumentation team of Blockchain at Berkeley has switched gears from its past semester of researching bonds, derivatives, and credit swaps to topics in developing economies and the potential blockchain have in stimulating and revitalizing economies. From corruption and fluctuating currencies to foreign direct investment and identity ownership, we are eager to investigate how blockchain can reduce income inequality, curb centuries of societal injustice, and move towards global progression.
  4. Privacy Research: This project is focused on learning and contributing to zero-knowledge research. We start with modular math, RSA, Diffie-Hellman, and other cryptographic protocols, so we can understand their relation to the technical implementation of zero-knowledge proofs with the goal of contributing to current open-source projects working on zk theory, development, and optimization.
  5. Derivatives Platform Research: Working on revolutionizing the financial industry through a better exchange to replace the slow swaps/bonds/forwards market. We aim to equalize potential in the financial industry through decentralization.

We will have a showcase for all the education and internal projects at the end of this semester. If you are interested to learn more, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for finalized details!

Research & Development

Besides our initiatives in education, we have also put in a lot of effort in conducting original academic research on various topics in the field. Here are some of the highlights of our accomplishments for this semester :

  1. DHT: The Distributed Hash Table (DHT) team is focused on creating a distributed hash table that has byzantine fault tolerance built in as a primitive. It works via a traditional DHT with a protocol that reaches local and shard-level consensus through simple gossip-based views similar to avalanche and a main Byzantine fault-tolerant chain that is used to settle disagreements with the rest of the network.
  2. Bitcoin Network Analysis: The team conducts a literature review process that has covered 28 articles published between 2011 and 2019, which analyze data from the Bitcoin Network. Using research methodologies including, clustering, labeling and graph modelling, the team comes up with the research result that shows literature related to Bitcoin Data analysis is centered around three main objectives: Presenting descriptive analytics of the networks and study its evolution; evaluate privacy guarantees, attempt to de-anonymize entities (users) and characterize their behaviour; create software or theoretical frameworks to better process data or model the network.
  3. Cryptoeconomics research: Innovators in the blockchain space are beginning to bring financial products sold and traded in traditional markets to a decentralized marketplace. The objective of our project is to design a robust and secure decentralized market for insurance products. The cryptoeconomics research team is focused on designing a distributed Oracle, marketplace, and reputation system to facilitate the offering and purchase of insurance policies.

SEC-Fined Crypto Project Abandons Cannabis Co-Working Venture

A cryptocurrency project previously sanctioned by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is selling a property that it had intended to use as a cannabis co-working space.

The firm, ParagonCoin, revealed the news in a filing with the SEC late last month, stating that, while it had anticipated that its native PRG token could be used by marijuana-industry startups to pay rent for the shared office space, the property is now under contract for sale

ParagonCoin has put a price tag of $4.2 million on the space, which was purchased for $3.75 million via a $2.45 million loan and cash holdings. The total amount paid for the property was $4.02 million as of May 2018, including interest.

The firm said in the filing:

“We currently do not intend to renovate, improve, or develop other properties. We currently do not intend to make further investments in real estate or acquire any interests in real estate and do not intend to make investments in real estate mortgages.

ParagonCoin explained it will now focus on the continued development of its blockchain “track and trace” software product for use in the cannabis business and potentially other industries. Transactions on the system are paid for with PRGs.

Last November, the SEC agreed to register the tokens as securities after the firm settled charges relating to its 2017 ICO. The firm raised $12 million in the sale in order to “develop and implement its business plan to add blockchain technology to the cannabis industry and work toward legalization of cannabis.”

However, the regulator contended that the startup should have registered its tokens as securities offerings and that it did not qualify for a registration exemption. As a result, ParagonCoin was forced to refund investors, as well as file periodic reports to the SEC and pay a penalty of $250,000.

The token is currently trading at around $0.11, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

SEC-Fined Crypto Project Abandons Cannabis Co-Working Venture

A cryptocurrency project previously sanctioned by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is selling a property that it had intended to use as a cannabis co-working space.

The firm, ParagonCoin, revealed the news in a filing with the SEC late last month, stating that, while it had anticipated that its native PRG token could be used by marijuana-industry startups to pay rent for the shared office space, the property is now under contract for sale.

ParagonCoin has put a price tag of $4.2 million on the space, which was purchased for $3.75 million via a $2.45 million loan and cash holdings. The total amount paid for the property was $4.02 million as of May 2018, including interest.

The firm said in the filing:

“We currently do not intend to renovate, improve, or develop other properties. We currently do not intend to make further investments in real estate or acquire any interests in real estate and do not intend to make investments in real estate mortgages.

ParagonCoin explained it will now focus on the continued development of its blockchain “track and trace” software product for use in the cannabis business and potentially other industries. Transactions on the system are paid for with PRGs.

Last November, the SEC agreed to register the tokens as securities after the firm settled charges relating to its 2017 ICO. The firm raised $12 million in the sale in order to “develop and implement its business plan to add blockchain technology to the cannabis industry and work toward legalization of cannabis.”

However, the regulator contended that the startup should have registered its tokens as securities offerings and that it did not qualify for a registration exemption. As a result, ParagonCoin was forced to refund investors, as well as file periodic reports to the SEC and pay a penalty of $250,000.

The token is currently trading at around $0.11, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Spring 2018: Berlin becomes Robot City!

Robots&Girls – Techfashionlabel Startup in a new dimension.

The Berlin-based fashion label start-up company Robots&Girls GmbH establishes humanoid robots in the retail trade. Opening of the first workerbotkioskTM is scheduled for spring 2018 in the ‚BIKINI BERLIN‘ concept shopping mall. In order to finance this ambitious project, Robots&Girls has started a worldwide crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com on January 18th, 2018. (https://igg.me/at/robotsandgirls )


The robot Gisela in the Robot&Girls Kiosk

Encountering a humanoid robot is sometimes very difficult. A small kiosk in the middle of a concept shopping center in Berlin will very soon change this situation however. Robots&Girls GmbH will open the doors to the public of its first flagship store in the BIKINI BERLIN in Spring with a festive atmosphere and in the presence of the media and switch on the friendly huma- noid robot Gisela for it to start its work. The robot will then produce goods on its own in the unique shop and then hand over the final products to customers.

The TechFashion label company Robots&Girls will offer technical Gadgets such as wearab- les, TechJewelry and TechToys. The first product will be a small robot, that the robot Gisela assembles in front of her customers. Also ‘click and collect’ purchases are being considered. This involves customers being able to order goods in advance in Internet and then collect them at the workerbotkioskTM.

But Robots&Girls GmbH will however go much further. The newly established company also of- fers the kiosks for sale or rent and plans, following a successful start in Berlin, to bring worker- botkioskTM to the market as a franchise concept, or to grant individual licenses for use of the concept.

Robots&Girls GmbH operates as the worldwide first company to run, lease or grant licenses for kiosks as retail outlets run by humanoid robots.

RobotsandGirls.de

iRobot Announces Stock Repurchase Program

BEDFORD, Mass., Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in consumer robots, today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a stock repurchase program. Under the program, iRobot may purchase up to $50 million of its common stock beginning March 28, 2018 and ending December 28, 2018.

Under the repurchase program, the Company is authorized to repurchase shares through Rule 10b5-1 plans (which would permit the Company to repurchase shares when the Company might otherwise be precluded from doing so under insider trading laws), open market purchases, privately-negotiated transactions, block purchases or otherwise in accordance with applicable federal securities laws, including Rule 10b-18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Company may choose to suspend or discontinue the repurchase program at any time but cannot carry over unused authorization amounts to future periods.

„The Board’s authorization of a share repurchase program reflects our confidence in the health and long-term outlook of the company,“ said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. „With a strong balance sheet and cash flows, we believe we can take advantage of volatile market conditions to buy back our shares while maintaining the flexibility to make strategic investments in our future.“

As of December 30, 2017, iRobot had 27,945,144 shares of common stock outstanding.

About iRobot Corp.

iRobot, the leading global consumer robot company, designs and builds robots that empower people to do more both inside and outside of the home. iRobot created the home robot cleaning category with the introduction of its Roomba® Vacuuming Robot in 2002. Today, iRobot is a global enterprise that has sold more than 20 million robots worldwide. iRobot’s product line, including the Roomba and the Braava® family of mopping robots, feature proprietary
technologies and advanced concepts in cleaning, mapping and navigation. iRobot’s engineers are building an ecosystem of robots and data to enable the smart home. For more information about iRobot, please visit www.irobot.com.

For iRobot Investors

Certain statements made in this press release that are not based on historical information are forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release contains express or implied forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, iRobot Corporation’s expectations concerning management’s plans for execution of a stock repurchase program, including the maximum amount and duration of purchases of our common stock under our authorized stock repurchase program.  These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results and actions to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. iRobot Corporation undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new
information, future events or circumstances or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by iRobot Corporation, see the disclosure contained in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, without limitation, our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Camera Passport Review: You Can Take This Drone Anywhere

A 2017 Wall Street Journal survey found that employers have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite soft skills. But what if employers are looking for soft skills and are not seeing them? The vast majority of mid-size and large employers in the US, UK and Canada utilize Applicant Tracking Systems.

There are more employers that claim soft skills are hard to find than hard skills

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) make it possible for employers to post new positions online and manage the hundreds of applicants who typically respond to each opportunity. No human hiring manager reviews hundreds of applications.

Instead, the ATS produces a manageable number of viable candidates for the hiring manager to review. How does the ATS do this? It’s not magic, but rather a keyword-based filter, comparing resumes to the posted job description, and passing through candidates who appear to be a better match.

Photographing the most wonderful nature scenes

The keyword-based filter at the top of the hiring funnel of most employers has a number of interesting knock-on effects. One is the phenomenon of resume spam: candidates who literally copy the job description in white font into their resume in order to get past the screen. A second is an over-emphasis on technical skills.

Faced with the need to differentiate hundreds candidates for every online posting, employers have added many new job requirements most of which are technical.

According to Burning Glass, technical skills now dominate in terms of the sheer number of competencies demanded in job descriptions more than cognitive and soft skills combined for virtually every career.

While the dominance of technical skills in job descriptions is probably a reflection of the fact that it’s easier to come up with 10 technical requirements for a job than 10 different ways of saying problem solving or communication skills, this is the reality Millennials face in being seen by hiring managers. Because if they don’t have these technical skills, they’re not making it through the ATS filter. And if they’re not making through the ATS filter, they’re effectively invisible to employers.

The pleasure of outdoor photography

Does this mean there’s a soft skills shortage or that Millennials are all late, disorganized poor communicators? The punctual, organized and well-spoken Millennials whom employers should want have played by the rules and completed college degrees.

But because nearly all colleges and universities continue to live in a bubble, floating high above the mundane concerns of the labor market, and because they continue to believe that the job of higher education is to prepare students for their fifth job.

Colleges have not seriously undertaken to provide last mile technical training to students. So all these Millennials are missing.

The first is giving all Millennials a chance to become visible to employers through last-mile technical training

The second is that employers need to escape the tyranny of the keyword-based filter at the top of their hiring funnel. Employers need to demand that their ATS vendors like Taleo (Oracle) incorporate new technologies that allow them to screen (and search) on competencies rather than keywords.

The best full frame compatible lenses

The shift to competency-based hiring is inevitable and will broaden the top of the funnel to include candidates with great soft skills, and likely more diverse backgrounds than the current pedigree- and degree-based hiring system allows.

Gyroscope founder Anand Sharma seems pretty content when we meet up for a walk to The Mill, a hip cafe known for its $4 toast in San Francisco’s NOPA neighborhood. It’s a rare sunny day in the city and his startup is growing.

His self-tracking platform with a sleek UI has added a genetics and step tracking component and soon blood tracking. He’s also closed on a small sum of angel funding from key investors like Periscope founder Keyvon Beykpour.

Even Jack Dorsey has started using Gyroscope, he tells me. Sharma’s worked for well over two years! He called it AprilZero then but the idea grew to include friends and soon anyone who wanted to track themselves on a range of different metrics relating to health and wellness.

The plan now includes where you go, what you eat, how many times you go running in a year and how much time you spend staring at the screen in front of you.

Sharma developing his next big project

The platform seems like an outgrowth of the quantified self movement a movement pairing technology with personal data to help you improve your life in some mental or physical way. But Sharma shrugs off the suggestion.

I don’t like to place myself in that category, he says. Mainly because those guys are little weird. He’s not wrong. The movement, also known as life logging, conjures up images of folks wearing six different health tracking bands, sensors on their heads and measuring every little detail of their actions in every part of their life for what sometimes is very unclear.

But Sharma, whom we’ve written about before when he was just getting started, has shaped the platform up quite a bit since starting out. Gyroscope is in the App Store now!

He has thought about productivity components like how much time you spend surfing the internet each day and added a bit of a competitive enhancement to the platform, allowing you to compare how many steps you took compared to your friends on the platform.

He’s also launching a feature this summer called Insights, an AI component that aims to help you make connections between certain behaviors and what you log on the platform. Sharma tells me it would work by drawing these connections and then sending push notifications to motivate and remind those using Gyroscope to do something relating to their goals.

Intruder in Your Home? The Alarm Will Release the Drones

A 2017 Wall Street Journal survey found that employers have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite soft skills. But what if employers are looking for soft skills and are not seeing them? The vast majority of mid-size and large employers in the US, UK and Canada utilize Applicant Tracking Systems.

There are more employers that claim soft skills are hard to find than hard skills

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) make it possible for employers to post new positions online and manage the hundreds of applicants who typically respond to each opportunity. No human hiring manager reviews hundreds of applications.

Instead, the ATS produces a manageable number of viable candidates for the hiring manager to review. How does the ATS do this? It’s not magic, but rather a keyword-based filter, comparing resumes to the posted job description, and passing through candidates who appear to be a better match.

Photographing the most wonderful nature scenes

The keyword-based filter at the top of the hiring funnel of most employers has a number of interesting knock-on effects. One is the phenomenon of resume spam: candidates who literally copy the job description in white font into their resume in order to get past the screen. A second is an over-emphasis on technical skills.

Faced with the need to differentiate hundreds candidates for every online posting, employers have added many new job requirements most of which are technical.

According to Burning Glass, technical skills now dominate in terms of the sheer number of competencies demanded in job descriptions more than cognitive and soft skills combined for virtually every career.

While the dominance of technical skills in job descriptions is probably a reflection of the fact that it’s easier to come up with 10 technical requirements for a job than 10 different ways of saying problem solving or communication skills, this is the reality Millennials face in being seen by hiring managers. Because if they don’t have these technical skills, they’re not making it through the ATS filter. And if they’re not making through the ATS filter, they’re effectively invisible to employers.

The pleasure of outdoor photography

Does this mean there’s a soft skills shortage or that Millennials are all late, disorganized poor communicators? The punctual, organized and well-spoken Millennials whom employers should want have played by the rules and completed college degrees.

But because nearly all colleges and universities continue to live in a bubble, floating high above the mundane concerns of the labor market, and because they continue to believe that the job of higher education is to prepare students for their fifth job.

Colleges have not seriously undertaken to provide last mile technical training to students. So all these Millennials are missing.

The first is giving all Millennials a chance to become visible to employers through last-mile technical training

The second is that employers need to escape the tyranny of the keyword-based filter at the top of their hiring funnel. Employers need to demand that their ATS vendors like Taleo (Oracle) incorporate new technologies that allow them to screen (and search) on competencies rather than keywords.

The best full frame compatible lenses

The shift to competency-based hiring is inevitable and will broaden the top of the funnel to include candidates with great soft skills, and likely more diverse backgrounds than the current pedigree- and degree-based hiring system allows.

Gyroscope founder Anand Sharma seems pretty content when we meet up for a walk to The Mill, a hip cafe known for its $4 toast in San Francisco’s NOPA neighborhood. It’s a rare sunny day in the city and his startup is growing.

His self-tracking platform with a sleek UI has added a genetics and step tracking component and soon blood tracking. He’s also closed on a small sum of angel funding from key investors like Periscope founder Keyvon Beykpour.

Even Jack Dorsey has started using Gyroscope, he tells me. Sharma’s worked for well over two years! He called it AprilZero then but the idea grew to include friends and soon anyone who wanted to track themselves on a range of different metrics relating to health and wellness.

The plan now includes where you go, what you eat, how many times you go running in a year and how much time you spend staring at the screen in front of you.

Sharma developing his next big project

The platform seems like an outgrowth of the quantified self movement a movement pairing technology with personal data to help you improve your life in some mental or physical way. But Sharma shrugs off the suggestion.

I don’t like to place myself in that category, he says. Mainly because those guys are little weird. He’s not wrong. The movement, also known as life logging, conjures up images of folks wearing six different health tracking bands, sensors on their heads and measuring every little detail of their actions in every part of their life for what sometimes is very unclear.

But Sharma, whom we’ve written about before when he was just getting started, has shaped the platform up quite a bit since starting out. Gyroscope is in the App Store now!

He has thought about productivity components like how much time you spend surfing the internet each day and added a bit of a competitive enhancement to the platform, allowing you to compare how many steps you took compared to your friends on the platform.

He’s also launching a feature this summer called Insights, an AI component that aims to help you make connections between certain behaviors and what you log on the platform. Sharma tells me it would work by drawing these connections and then sending push notifications to motivate and remind those using Gyroscope to do something relating to their goals.

Google Pixel 2 Will Arrive this Spring in the Premium Segment

A 2017 Wall Street Journal survey found that employers have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite soft skills. But what if employers are looking for soft skills and are not seeing them? The vast majority of mid-size and large employers in the US, UK and Canada utilize Applicant Tracking Systems.

There are more employers that claim soft skills are hard to find than hard skills

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) make it possible for employers to post new positions online and manage the hundreds of applicants who typically respond to each opportunity. No human hiring manager reviews hundreds of applications.

Instead, the ATS produces a manageable number of viable candidates for the hiring manager to review. How does the ATS do this? It’s not magic, but rather a keyword-based filter, comparing resumes to the posted job description, and passing through candidates who appear to be a better match.

Photographing the most wonderful nature scenes

The keyword-based filter at the top of the hiring funnel of most employers has a number of interesting knock-on effects. One is the phenomenon of resume spam: candidates who literally copy the job description in white font into their resume in order to get past the screen. A second is an over-emphasis on technical skills.

Faced with the need to differentiate hundreds candidates for every online posting, employers have added many new job requirements most of which are technical.

According to Burning Glass, technical skills now dominate in terms of the sheer number of competencies demanded in job descriptions more than cognitive and soft skills combined for virtually every career.

While the dominance of technical skills in job descriptions is probably a reflection of the fact that it’s easier to come up with 10 technical requirements for a job than 10 different ways of saying problem solving or communication skills, this is the reality Millennials face in being seen by hiring managers. Because if they don’t have these technical skills, they’re not making it through the ATS filter. And if they’re not making through the ATS filter, they’re effectively invisible to employers.

The pleasure of outdoor photography

Does this mean there’s a soft skills shortage or that Millennials are all late, disorganized poor communicators? The punctual, organized and well-spoken Millennials whom employers should want have played by the rules and completed college degrees.

But because nearly all colleges and universities continue to live in a bubble, floating high above the mundane concerns of the labor market, and because they continue to believe that the job of higher education is to prepare students for their fifth job.

Colleges have not seriously undertaken to provide last mile technical training to students. So all these Millennials are missing.

The first is giving all Millennials a chance to become visible to employers through last-mile technical training

The second is that employers need to escape the tyranny of the keyword-based filter at the top of their hiring funnel. Employers need to demand that their ATS vendors like Taleo (Oracle) incorporate new technologies that allow them to screen (and search) on competencies rather than keywords.

The best full frame compatible lenses

The shift to competency-based hiring is inevitable and will broaden the top of the funnel to include candidates with great soft skills, and likely more diverse backgrounds than the current pedigree- and degree-based hiring system allows.

Gyroscope founder Anand Sharma seems pretty content when we meet up for a walk to The Mill, a hip cafe known for its $4 toast in San Francisco’s NOPA neighborhood. It’s a rare sunny day in the city and his startup is growing.

His self-tracking platform with a sleek UI has added a genetics and step tracking component and soon blood tracking. He’s also closed on a small sum of angel funding from key investors like Periscope founder Keyvon Beykpour.

Even Jack Dorsey has started using Gyroscope, he tells me. Sharma’s worked for well over two years! He called it AprilZero then but the idea grew to include friends and soon anyone who wanted to track themselves on a range of different metrics relating to health and wellness.

The plan now includes where you go, what you eat, how many times you go running in a year and how much time you spend staring at the screen in front of you.

Sharma developing his next big project

The platform seems like an outgrowth of the quantified self movement a movement pairing technology with personal data to help you improve your life in some mental or physical way. But Sharma shrugs off the suggestion.

I don’t like to place myself in that category, he says. Mainly because those guys are little weird. He’s not wrong. The movement, also known as life logging, conjures up images of folks wearing six different health tracking bands, sensors on their heads and measuring every little detail of their actions in every part of their life for what sometimes is very unclear.

But Sharma, whom we’ve written about before when he was just getting started, has shaped the platform up quite a bit since starting out. Gyroscope is in the App Store now!

He has thought about productivity components like how much time you spend surfing the internet each day and added a bit of a competitive enhancement to the platform, allowing you to compare how many steps you took compared to your friends on the platform.

He’s also launching a feature this summer called Insights, an AI component that aims to help you make connections between certain behaviors and what you log on the platform. Sharma tells me it would work by drawing these connections and then sending push notifications to motivate and remind those using Gyroscope to do something relating to their goals.

iPhone will Adopt Fast Charging and Retain Lightning Port

A 2017 Wall Street Journal survey found that employers have a very or somewhat difficult time finding people with the requisite soft skills. But what if employers are looking for soft skills and are not seeing them? The vast majority of mid-size and large employers in the US, UK and Canada utilize Applicant Tracking Systems.

There are more employers that claim soft skills are hard to find than hard skills

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) make it possible for employers to post new positions online and manage the hundreds of applicants who typically respond to each opportunity. No human hiring manager reviews hundreds of applications.

Instead, the ATS produces a manageable number of viable candidates for the hiring manager to review. How does the ATS do this? It’s not magic, but rather a keyword-based filter, comparing resumes to the posted job description, and passing through candidates who appear to be a better match.

Photographing the most wonderful nature scenes

The keyword-based filter at the top of the hiring funnel of most employers has a number of interesting knock-on effects. One is the phenomenon of resume spam: candidates who literally copy the job description in white font into their resume in order to get past the screen. A second is an over-emphasis on technical skills.

Faced with the need to differentiate hundreds candidates for every online posting, employers have added many new job requirements most of which are technical.

According to Burning Glass, technical skills now dominate in terms of the sheer number of competencies demanded in job descriptions more than cognitive and soft skills combined for virtually every career.

While the dominance of technical skills in job descriptions is probably a reflection of the fact that it’s easier to come up with 10 technical requirements for a job than 10 different ways of saying problem solving or communication skills, this is the reality Millennials face in being seen by hiring managers. Because if they don’t have these technical skills, they’re not making it through the ATS filter. And if they’re not making through the ATS filter, they’re effectively invisible to employers.

The pleasure of outdoor photography

Does this mean there’s a soft skills shortage or that Millennials are all late, disorganized poor communicators? The punctual, organized and well-spoken Millennials whom employers should want have played by the rules and completed college degrees.

But because nearly all colleges and universities continue to live in a bubble, floating high above the mundane concerns of the labor market, and because they continue to believe that the job of higher education is to prepare students for their fifth job.

Colleges have not seriously undertaken to provide last mile technical training to students. So all these Millennials are missing.

The first is giving all Millennials a chance to become visible to employers through last-mile technical training

The second is that employers need to escape the tyranny of the keyword-based filter at the top of their hiring funnel. Employers need to demand that their ATS vendors like Taleo (Oracle) incorporate new technologies that allow them to screen (and search) on competencies rather than keywords.

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The shift to competency-based hiring is inevitable and will broaden the top of the funnel to include candidates with great soft skills, and likely more diverse backgrounds than the current pedigree- and degree-based hiring system allows.

Gyroscope founder Anand Sharma seems pretty content when we meet up for a walk to The Mill, a hip cafe known for its $4 toast in San Francisco’s NOPA neighborhood. It’s a rare sunny day in the city and his startup is growing.

His self-tracking platform with a sleek UI has added a genetics and step tracking component and soon blood tracking. He’s also closed on a small sum of angel funding from key investors like Periscope founder Keyvon Beykpour.

Even Jack Dorsey has started using Gyroscope, he tells me. Sharma’s worked for well over two years! He called it AprilZero then but the idea grew to include friends and soon anyone who wanted to track themselves on a range of different metrics relating to health and wellness.

The plan now includes where you go, what you eat, how many times you go running in a year and how much time you spend staring at the screen in front of you.

Sharma developing his next big project

The platform seems like an outgrowth of the quantified self movement a movement pairing technology with personal data to help you improve your life in some mental or physical way. But Sharma shrugs off the suggestion.

I don’t like to place myself in that category, he says. Mainly because those guys are little weird. He’s not wrong. The movement, also known as life logging, conjures up images of folks wearing six different health tracking bands, sensors on their heads and measuring every little detail of their actions in every part of their life for what sometimes is very unclear.

But Sharma, whom we’ve written about before when he was just getting started, has shaped the platform up quite a bit since starting out. Gyroscope is in the App Store now!

He has thought about productivity components like how much time you spend surfing the internet each day and added a bit of a competitive enhancement to the platform, allowing you to compare how many steps you took compared to your friends on the platform.

He’s also launching a feature this summer called Insights, an AI component that aims to help you make connections between certain behaviors and what you log on the platform. Sharma tells me it would work by drawing these connections and then sending push notifications to motivate and remind those using Gyroscope to do something relating to their goals.