New Day – New Skype Update

With all the buzz and hype over emojis and GIFs these days, it’s no surprise that another Mobile Messaging giant, Skype, followed suit. Today, Skype announced a brand new update to their platform. As we all know, Skype is a messaging platform that lets users stay connected via mobile and desktop, through messaging, video conferencing, and much more. It has users all around the globe, and its usage varies from person to person. For example, there are those who use Skype to chat with family members abroad. Others may use it for business/professional services to stay in communication with team members and clients. I for one use it for team communication (along with Slack).

“A brand new way to express yourself” – Skype

Now for the update: Skype launches a new feature called “Skype Mojis.” – I’ve gone ahead and linked an article courtesy of VentureBeat. What are “Skype Mojis” you ask? Well, think of them as your normal GIFs – you know, those animated short videos that are being shared by millions across both mobile and desktop. However, “Skype Mojis” are a little bit different. According to the article provided by VentureBeat, these “Skype Mojis” are “short movie and TV clips from Microsoft’s partners.” So far, the current partner list includes: BBC, Universal Studios, and Disney Muppets. What this entails is: you can open up the Skype Emoticon tab, browse a variety of options ranging from TV shows or Movies from one of their partners, and send to a friend. However, there’s a slight twist, whenever a user shares an “Skype Moji” from its emoticons list, the end result will be a “semi-advertisement.” I’ve categorized it as “semi” because what essentially happens is:

  1. User chooses a “Skype Emoji” from the range of categories/partners
  2. User sends the “Skype Emoji” to friend
  3. User see’s a ‘watch link’ that once clicked on, directs them to Microsoft’s Windows Store
  4. Receiving user see’s the “Skype Moji” play – sees link to Microsoft Store afterwards

Screen via Skype’s Official Blog

It’s no surprise that Skype’s jumping on the GIF bandwagon, considering they’ve been the pioneers for animated emoticons since it’s birth. This new tactic of “Skype Mojis” with advertisements, just gets me thinking: Could this be the spark of new mobile messaging advertisements? Hmm……

If you want to get the full detailed report, click here to be taken to Skype’s Official Blog.

Why I Joined SSG – Startup Study Group

A few months ago, I was doing my usual Twitter browsing, and was invited to join a group called Startup Study Group, by Charles Jo. At first, I was a little hesitant to join, as I thought it was just another spam invite. However, my personality tends to like to try new things, so I thought I would give it a shot and join. To give you a little background on Startup Study Group, or SSG for short, the organization “is a free resource for entrepreneurs: future, current, and former founders. Goal is to become the most useful tool for this community by learning Startup as a Second Language together.” It’s a unique place that has a numerous amount of members, with topic discussions ranging from best pitch practices to sharing new products. SSG is an ecosystem that connects angels, founders, advisors, entrepreneurs, developers, and many others.


Upon joining, I was immediately welcomed by Charles, and other members of the group. Although the group has its own website, the best place to actually communicate with all its members is through its Slack Channel, linked here. SSG’s Slack Channel has a number of sub-channels ranging from: General (a place to just have general discussions) to Advice-For-Startups (a place where general Startup advice and suggestions are discussed). Since I’ve joined, I’ve met a lot of great people virtually, and have participated in a number of great topics and discussions. SSG isn’t your ordinary “forum group.” It is a place for those who are startup focused and have experience or want to gain experience in the industry. Once you join, you’ll end up virtually meeting all sorts of unique and knowledgeable individuals ranging from developers to startup founders. A lot of its members, including myself, are also very active on Twitter as well. Members curate all sorts of content with each other and share with the rest of the world.

Not only is it a place for great startup discussions, but it’s also a beneficial avenue for product promotion. Because it is a place for content sharing and discussion, founders and startup employees alike, can freely share their new products and request feedback, pointers, or simply ask for ‘word-of-mouth’ promotion. A perfect example: Just last week, a new member of SSG had just recently launched a new product that was featured on Product Hunt. She was kind enough to share it to all of SSG’s members, and asked for their feedback. Well what did the members do? They immediately congratulated her, asked for more detail regarding her product, shared it across multiple mediums, and much more. To view her product’s showcase on Product Hunt, click here. Below is a sampling of how engaging SSG members are :).

ssg tessa

Overall, I’ve had nothing but a great experience so far while being a member of SSG. It’s really a great place for startup founders, entrepreneurs, developers, and many more. SSG lets you share ideas, brainstorm, discuss relevant topics, get feedback for your ideas, or just simply grow your network. There are members from all across the globe, and each member is unique in his/her own way. If you’re like me, and love to share ideas and discuss entrepreneurship, this is the place for you. I suggest you immediately reach out to Charles Jo (I’ve linked his Twitter again) to ask for an invite. Trust me, you’ll learn a whole more once you join.

Finally, I want to thank Charles for inviting me to join SSG and helping me grow my network. If you still aren’t convinced, follow either Charles or me on Twitter, to see for yourself ;).

The Apple Announcement

I know this is long overdue, but here it is. In case you missed it, Apple held is annual ‘Apple Announcement’ this past Wednesday, September 9th – held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. As usual, the entire tech industry was a buzz as all journalists and reporters had they ears and eyes glued to the event. This year, Apple live streamed the entire event for those who couldn’t attend, through their Website. NOTE: You had to have a verified Apple Product (iPhone, iPad, Mac) using Safari to be able to view it. Thankfully, I have an iPhone, so I was able to view the entire stream. No different than any of its previous announcements, Apple started off going straight into business. To get a really good full summary, check out TheNextWeb’s article here. (FYI – TheNextWeb is one of my favorite tech news sites)

Image credit:

First up: Updates to the Apple Watch. Apple announced a new Watch OS, along with additional new bands with color variety, and OH – a partnership release with the luxury brand Hermès. ( Pronounced ‘Er – mees’ 🙂 ) There’s no change with the starting price for the Watch, as it still stands at $349 for the basic standard one. See below for a screenshot via TheNextWeb regarding the watch.

Apple Watch Image via TheNextWeb

Next: iPad PRO. A ridiculously HUGE 12.9′ iPad. This HUGE bad boy comes with a new A-Chip, higher resolution than its little brothers, and much more kick. The thing is hella big, yet – I kind of want one. HOWEVER, here’s the kicker – you can’t just buy the iPad Pro alone, or you won’t be able to use all of its features. Why? Well….after immediately showcasing the new iPad Pro, Apple followed up with 2 crazy new accessories that you should purchase with it: Apple Pencil & iKeyBoard. Let me just say this – soon as these two were unveiled, Twitter was on fire. If you’re wondering why, again – see TheNextWeb’s article.

Starting price for the big bad boy, pencil, and Keyboard: $799 for 32GB, Pencil for $99, $169 for Keyboard.

Image via TheNextWeb

After this, the next update was about the newly updated Apple TV. With its new updates, you can now use Siri to look up shows, play or pause, skip back a few seconds, and much more. They’ve also added a new ‘touch’ feature to the remote for the TV. You can now use it to scroll, search, and hell – even play games! Again, if you want the full breakdown, click on the TheNextWeb article here. Below is a GIF by TheNextWeb that shows the new Apple TV off.

Starting price for Apple TV: $149 32GB

GIF via TheNextWeb

Lastly, Apple saved their bread and butter for last – updates to the iPhone and the newest iOS 9. They officially announced the 2 newest iPhone models: iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Along with the new iOS 9 and iPhones, Apple also unveiled their new ‘3D Touch’ – a new innovative feature that allows for quick views of emails, images, and much more. OH – forgot to mention, they’ve also added a new color to their lineup – Rose Gold Pink! In addition to all the newest features for the new phones; new A Chip, faster processor, better camera, etc., – they’ve also added a new ‘Live Photos’ features. This basically just turns your photos into a GIF with sounds. To learn more, click here.

Prices: iPhone 6S & 6S Plus – $199 16GB, $299 16GB

Live Photos GIF via TheNextWeb

Finally, the last announcement they made was something NEW. Apple will now, for the first time, offer ‘upgrade’ plans. Basically, following the model of Mobile Service Providers, Apple will now allow users to update their phones on a yearly basis, directly through Apple Retail stores. Starting at just $32 a month, users can pay off their new devices on a monthly basis, and upgrade to a new iPhone every year. Not too shabby I guess.

OK – I’ve saved the best for last. If you’ve read my post up to this point, you’re probably wondering – “Hey, what about that Jony Ive guy, who’s Chief Design Officer at Apple? – We love his voice and videos!” Well, don’t worry, keeping with tradition, he narrates the new iPad Pro and its features. I’m including the video below :).

Who is Startup L. Jackson?????

Good morning! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and got some great rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, it’s back to work mode for all :(. However, in spite of having to go back to work, I thought I’d do a post that might give you some humor. For those of you who are in the tech world like me, there are a number of ‘parody’ tech Twitter accounts. There are a ton out there, but the one that strikes me the most is Startup L. Jackson. If you’re wondering who Startup L. Jackson is, I am in the same boat as you. In fact, NO ONE knows who he/she really is :). To date, the parody account has over 55K followers, and still hasn’t revealed their identity. Started back in 2011, the person behind the mystery decided to create an account that would tweet about his/her honest, but funny, opinions on the startup industry. Be warned, the parody account is a ‘no holds barred’ type of narrative. You can see for yourself below from a Tweet that went viral.

Since then, there have been numerous articles, interviews with the mysterious person, and blog posts about the puzzle behind Startup L. Jackson. Startup fans, VCs, tech reporters, and entrepreneurs alike all follow the account and engage with whomever is behind the mask. I for one, am an avid follower. The person speaks the truth, and makes real conversational posts. Just recently, the account posted about an ongoing topic, “Twitter.” The post went viral and was shared among peers in the startup/tech industry. If you want to read the full post, you can view it below from the actual tweet.

If you’re still curious, there was a great interview conducted by Ryan Hoover from @ProductHunt via soundcloud. Listen for yourself and see if you can solve the mystery behind who Startup L. Jackson is!

Let me know if you figure it out!

Tongue out STKR via

Tongue out STKR via

HoverCards – A Cool New Hip Way To Preview Links

Hello! For those of you living here in the U.S, hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day Holiday! I came across a very interesting new product from a Startup group(SSG) that I am part of. The product is called HoverCards. What caught my attention about the product was that it’s a cool unique extension for your Google Chrome Browser (click link to download extension), that enables you to ‘quick view’ links that users share from various social media sites.

Screenshot from HooverCards

Screenshot from HooverCards Home Page

According to their site, HoverCards is: a Chrome extension that lets you preview social links from YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, SoundCloud, imgur, & Instagram. Basically, you can ‘hover’ over any links mentioned above, and it will automatically give you a quick preview. So if you’re too ‘lazy’ to click on a link, you can just quick view it instead (See screenshot from my Twitter account below).

HoverCards Link Preview

HoverCards Link Preview

I’ve tested the extension out myself and it’s pretty unique. It doesn’t impede my browsing experience and works seamlessly. If you’re in need of a cool new extension, I highly suggest you go ahead and check them out. Download it for yourself and see the magic :).

Congratulations to the HoverCards team, and thank you @tbh of HoverCards for sharing on SSG’s Slack Channel! Great job on your new launch and wish you all the best. Oh, and on a side note – They’ve also launched their product on Product Hunt! Go and give them an upvote when you get a chance 😉 – You can view their showcase by clicking here.

Star Wars and Sphero – The Little Droid That Could

This morning, there was quite the buzz surrounding the new upcoming Star Wars film, and a little new droid, BB-8. The reason for the hype, was because of a company called Sphero – an organization that specializes in creating connected entertainment robots. According to Crunchbase – Sphero is “the world’s first robotic ball gaming system that you control from your smartphone or tablet.” The company has 2 main products: Ollie and Sphero – that are controlled by your smartphone or tablet.

Image via

Image via

Now, for the juicy stuff: Sphero has launched a BB-8 Star Wars Droid Robot through a partnership with Disney/Star Wars. What does this mean? It means that the company has created an awesome robot using their technology, in the form of a new droid that will be showcased in the new upcoming Star Wars Episode 7 film. Tech geeks and Star Wars fanatics alike, including me – are raving about this new gizmo. BB-8 via Sphero, can move based off of voice commands or from directions given through your mobile or tablet. To get the full list of awesome features and a live hands on experience, you can view an awesome write up about it via TechCrunch –  here. I’ve also gone ahead and included the intro video that showcases Sphero’s BB-8 Droid below. Enjoy!

Gary Vaynerchuk – A VC to Follow

As an entrepreneur, I am constantly looking for advice, suggestions, and VCs to follow for motivation. Interestingly enough, I came across a VC/Entrepreneur, that I heard about, but never really took the time to research. His name is Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and co-founder of Vayner Media along with VaynerRSE – an Incubator/Angel Seed Fund that invests in ‘next technology’ companies. I first came across Gary’s profile, via Medium. He had written a great post titled Why You Shouldn’t Take VC Money (click link to read full post). In his post, he discusses why he feels taking VC money isn’t worth it, and how entrepreneurs should think when they’re first starting out. One of my favorite points he makes about startups was:

The first few years of a startup aren’t supposed to be cushy. Those are the years that you grind. If you’re getting into entrepreneurship because you want a lavish lifestyle, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. – Gary Vaynerchuk

I responded to Gary’s post with my own thoughts which you can see below.

My response to Gary Vaynerchuks Medium Post

My response to Gary Vaynerchuks Medium Post

After my response, I never thought twice about it. Fast forward a few days later, I come across an interesting Twitter session between some VCs I follow and Gary. I’ll spare the details and just skip to the end. After all the conversations back and forth, Gary posts a YouTube video. Of course, being a Twitter fanatic, I clicked on the link to view his video. WHAM, I was blown away. Gary Vaynerchuk is a NO BULL-SHIT VC. He’s a man who made his fortune through hard work and dedication. The video he shared was really motivational (hint that was the whole purpose for the video he made). After watching the clip (several times), I decided to do a little research on who Gary was, and how he got to be a VC. In short, he took his then $3M a year family owned Wine business, and grew it to a $60M dollar empire. If you want to read more about him, or any of his books, check out his website

Since I’m an avid fan of VC news and advice, I wanted to post his YouTube video as well. *Warning some graphic language* – as he’s a no BULLSHIT guy. Also, check out his other videos, which he does various interesting segments on YouTube.

E-Sports – A Rising Sport

Lately, there’s been a new rising phenomenon, called E-Sports. For those unaware, E-Sports is defined as ‘competitive sports gaming in the video game world.’ To give a back history around E-Sports, it was first introduced in South Korea. Sports in the form of playing video games, became an overnight hit in the country. Its primary focus being on computer games, the country took the concept of competitive video gaming, and introduced a cult hit through the game StarCraft – created by Blizzard. Fans of all ages, both male and female, became infatuated with watching players play live competitive e-sports against one another. Top players became overnight celebrities, being sponsored by major corporations such as Samsung. A top player could earn an average of over $100,000 per year based off of earnings from winning. Below is a screenshot of StarCraft competitive game play being watched by fans.

Image courtesy of

Fast forward to present day, E-Sports has now become a global phenomenon. Not only just in South Korea, but countries all over the world are now having E-Sports leagues, teams, and a growing fan base. With the rise of technology and streaming, companies like YouTube and have helped showcase competitive gaming a lot more. Now, E-Sports teams aren’t just your local fan favorites, they have become world-wide sensations, with fans from all across the globe following them religiously. Keeping up with the trend, there have been a lot of new tech companies getting funding for E-Sports. For example, MobCrush, just recently announced an $11M funding raise, for ‘live mobile game streaming.’ It’s no surprise that companies like MobCrush are getting funding for E-Sports and gaming related areas. This is most likely because of the marketing potential E-Sports can bring. Over here in the U.S, E-Sports has grown so big that just recently, a major event took place at one of the most iconic sports stadiums, Madison Square Garden. The competition focused solely on one game, League Of Legends – another INSANELY popular game with a massive fan base. Hell, it’s so damn popular, that even Business Insider, did a documentary around the game, the cult following, and one popular North American Team – Team Liquid. I’ve gone ahead and included Part 1 of their series below, and you can click here to watch the entire series.

As more and more Teams continue to be formed, sponsorship and endorsements will only continue to happen. There is a new captive audience in town, and brands and advertisers all want a piece of them. Although I’m no hardcore gamer, it’s pretty neat to see players and view their competitions via live stream. With that, I’ll end this post. I thought it would be interesting to blog about E-Sports, and give a glimpse of the rising cult following.

LinkedIN Updates its Messaging Feature – Now Adds Stickers

So today’s news was about 2 things, first Google’s logo rebrand (I’ll do a separate post on that later) and LinkedIN, and it’s newly updated messaging function that now includes, you guessed it, STICKERS! It was a shocker of an announcement to me. LinkedIN was the last company I expected to jump on the sticker/emoji bandwagon. But, truth be told, the organization indeed has added this feature for its user base. To read the full article, click here.

screenshot via LinkedIN

screenshot via LinkedIN

I guess it’s no surprise that LinkedIN had to do something to keep up with the tide? I’m not sure how positive this new feature will be received by its users. Coming from this space, I am very intrigued to find out what the user base reactions will be. Stickers/Emojis/GIFs, have all become a widely used phenomenon. With more and more companies plopping up in this space, it seems that companies that incorporate messaging, i.e LinkedIN, Facebook, and others are including stickers/emojis/GIFs. Then again, the ‘communication’ we knew of the past, has drastically changed in today’s standards. Perhaps we’ll see some of stickers on LinkedIN? :).

Twitter Is Testing Potential New Photo/Video Editing Tools

Good morning. Hope everyone enjoyed their weekends. Some may be recovering from the crazy antics from yesterday’s MTV VMAs. As per usual, I was doing my usual news article browsing, when I came across something VERY interesting, via @TechCrunch. The article was fresh off my Twitter feed – you can read the full post here. With all the recent buzz surrounding Twitter, it was really interesting to see a post about a potential new feature for Twitter. What was more intriguing was that they timed it perfectly for the VMAs, where celebrities were using the new features.

The potential new features include:

  1. Ability to add stickers
  2. Ability to add your own doodles
  3. Ability to add your own text
  4. Ability to add more photos
  5. Ability to add short video clips (like VINE?)
  6. Ability to add GIFs???????????????

Twitter’s own, Lara Cohen, Twitter’s Director of Entertainment Talent, tweeted some of the ‘new features’ during last night’s MTV VMAs. Below is a Tweet from her account last night:

It comes to now surprise, with the new update for mobile featuring a redesigned sleek UI (see Tweet capture below), that Twitter has been quietly working on a few new additional updates/features. With all the hype about Twitter having to either sell or be bought out, it seems that Twitter has been ‘quietly’ working on improving its platform. I’m a big Twitter user, and have always been an avid fan. I don’t buy the BS that Twitter is lagging, and that it no longer is ‘innovative.’ I think in due time, Twitter will rebound and regain its place with the likes of the other social media giants out there.

With that, kudos to Twitter for keeping it fresh, and look forward to more awesome features!

Thumbs up STKR -

Thumbs up STKR –