Messaging App Yo Acquired By Facebook For $21 billion.

New iOS and Android messaging app Yo, that enables you to send the word Yo, and only Yo, to your contacts has been acquired by Facebook one day after launch for a reported $21 billion.  

HAHA only joking. But with the current technology landscape producing many similar stories and Yo garnering international press and media attention from its launch yesterday, you have to wonder what Yo's next big headline will be. 

Anonymous messaging apps Whisper and Secret recently raised $30million and $10 million respectively and Instagram and What's App both sold to Facebook for $1 billion and $19billion. 

The seemingly pointless messaging app has no clear revenue model, but who knows what's next in the crazy world of tech, a $20 million funding round or exit to Facebook - what do you think? 

10386278_10152536956676983_8592270450537799984_n.jpg


Why I Didn't Believe In Marriage A Year Ago, What Changed And Why.

In just over 72 hours I will be married at City Hall in San Francisco.

But less than a year ago I didn't believe in the concept of marriage, here's what changed, how and why:

I studied the construct of marriage for many years, its religious roots, and thought it made sense in the dark ages when the average human life span was around 30 years old but it could not possibly work now that 'being with one person your entire life'  means an average estimated lifespan of 100 + years.

Photo: Marc Flores

Photo: Marc Flores

Religion + marriage. 

I classified myself as 'agnostic' and as a huge believer in science, I was in the school of thought that humans, like most of the animal kingdom, were meant to roam free and have many different partners their entire life. 

I was so strong in my belief system that I was about to write a book to help educate other women on my theory, entitled: 'Hacking Men: It All Comes Down To Pu**y'.  

The thesis of the book was that not enough women understood that the primary driver of human relationships was sex. Many of my my friends were getting upset and teary eyed when Tinder hookups and one night stands didn't end in emotional attachment from the man's side.

They were clasping onto their phones, waiting for a text or a call back.  I tried to explain to them that the men they were hooking up with were not interested in the relationship part, they had a physical need to get their semen out of their body and into the world. 

And if my female friends could understand that and separate sex from getting emotionally invested in men, they might enjoy the process of dating and having sex just for fun, like men. 

But the more I began to think about the history of marriage, the more I began to change my views. The meaning of marriage changes from culture to culture, but marriage has religious roots and religion is largely a control mechanism enforced by capitalising on the human trait of fear that something bad will happen if you do not comply. 

But many of these ancient traditions started with good intentions and practical roots, for example, muslims have to wash before they prey in the mosque - this was a brilliant mechanism to keep disease from spreading hundreds of years ago back at a time when showers didn't exist and disease was rife. 

I watched a brilliant TED talk by philosopher Alain de Botton on 'What aspects of religion should atheists (respectfully) adopt?' showing how many religious practises started with practical intentions and what they could teach modern humans. 

I began to think, 'if many of these practises started out with practical, good intentions maybe marriage did too?'  

A woman who wants a family one day. 

As a woman who has always known she wanted to start a family one day I began to ask myself under what circumstances that would happen?

Another reason for the history of marriage was that it was the best economical construct for having a child and as much as I believe in equal opportunities for women, I do believe the format of one parent working whilst the other looks after the children works pretty well.

Unlike most of the animal kingdom, human offspring cannot fend for themselves and need constant care for five or six years. Perhaps this was why humans needed to be bounded together, for the survival of their offspring? 

And rather than being a constraint on women, maybe marriage was optimised for women?

It's the security and protection a women needs when when she is pregnant or has young offspring. It is a contract saying 'hey lets do a partnership, you go out hunting to get food and i'll protect the offspring in the cave.' 

With modern technology women don't need men to make a baby these days - there are numerous sperm banks where you can impregnate yourself with a home insemination,  there are YouTube videos of lesbian couples showing you how

Being straight I knew I did not want to go the route of bringing a child into the world alone without a man to share the experience. Life was a hard enough struggle alone without bringing a child into the world, I knew I could not do It alone. 

Not meeting the right man for family

My belief of sex for enjoyment rather than attachment + my career ambitions meant that the men I was dating were not in the right frame of mind or at a stage in their life where they wanted to settle down.

They were focused on building heir career and fine with satisfying their physical needs via Tinder and fleeting hookups. Unlike women, men do not have any time constraints as to when they need to focus on starting a family, but women have to make a decision earlier on if they want children. 

Falling In love 

Then I met him (this is the gooey part)  A man who showed me that true love did actually exist and you can experience a much more fulfilling relationship going deeper with one person than spreading yourself too thin.

He was also at the stage in his life where, after years of partying and fun, he also wanted marriage and family and wan't afraid to tell me that I was the one he wanted to do that with.  

A year ago, if you'd have told me I would be having sex with one person only for the rest of my life I would have told you that was the most boring thing I'd ever heard, but after a year of full time monogamy I can tell you that I'm having the best sex of my life, and it keeps on getting better and better.

When you are committed to one person you go on a new road of discovery within the layers of each other, but also experiencing life together.

As much as technology connects us it also disconnects us, having a life partner means you get real-life likes versus Facebook virtual likes to verify your existence. 

Photo: Marc Flores

Photo: Marc Flores

Conclusion

I wouldn't have been able to set up my life with someone if I hadn't of done years of self exploration, traveling and, ahem *cough* partying, first. 

But a combination of 15 years of traveling the world, the free and single life combined with meeting the right person combined with views on family and marriage changing, I can say that I am really excited about the next 15 + years of exploring this planet with a partner who I am 100% committed to investing in. 

Some people have open marriages, some choose polyamory, some monogamy, but what I have learn't about marriage is that it's an agreement between two people based on a set of values that you both believe in reflecting what you both want from life.

You can make marriage what you want it to be. 

WATCH: TED talk by philosopher Alain de Botton on 'What aspects of religion should atheists (respectfully) adopt?'



Chinese Billionaires Are Investing In Silicon Valley Startups And Want You To Know About It.

This week I've received a few different mails about Chinese Internet billionaires wanting to invest in Silicon Valley startups and also wanting everyone in the world to know about it. 

Tomorrow at Plug And Play tech Centre in SunnyVale The Dark Horse Competition will pit the top Chinese tech entrepreneurs against their American counterparts for funding and access to the China market.


Their press release says" China investors have invested "more than US$6bn into private US-based tech firms in Q1 2014* alone and it is set to rise even further on June 13th 2014 ."

Of course we are not familiar of these Chinese billionaires but I verified with my journalist friend Yin Jenkin Xia, who works for the TechCrunch of China PingWest, that yes, in fact these guys are a big deal: 

●  Wu Xiao Guang - CEO of Tencent ecommerce / Senior Executive VP Tencent inc

●  Yao Jinbo - Founder 58.com

●  He Boquan - Co-founder 7 Days Group

●  Luo Zhaoxing - Chairman of biggest online lottery ticket platform

●  Dai Zhikang - Partner of Sequoia Capital China and Morningside

This also co-insides with another Chinese event next Friday put on by PingWest where I will be speaking about Vibease.  http://sync2014sf.pingwest.com/

You can check out the competition and find out how to attend here:  http://www.youaredarkhorses.com/

See You Next Tuesday: Wearables And The Innovation Of Sex

Next Tuesday at 3:45pm I will be on a panel discussing wearable technology and the innovation of sex. At Vibease we are on the forefront of developing a technology that women can use to explore reaching climax with a device they already carry around in their pockets- their smartphone. 

I will be along side some great sexperts including Brian Dunhan, founder OhMiBod, Sexologist Lanae St. John and Ethan Imboden founder of Jimmy Jane. 

I have a discount for all my friends: Buy tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/glazedcon-2014-the-dawn-of-the-wearable-economy-tickets-11421452873?discount=speaker_discount with code:  speaker_discount

What Buying My Wedding Dress From Alibaba.com Taught Me About The Global Ecommerce Revolution

I admit it: I bought my wedding dress from Alibaba.com, it cost $169, it fits perfectly and I love it.

After the wedding costs were spiralling out of control north of $25k I began to panic and couldn't bear to spend another few thousand dollars on a wedding dress.

I was Googling options for wedding dresses and kept getting directed to Alibaba.com - the Chinese ecommerce site that announced its $20 billion IPO this month, said to be the biggest IPO in tech history with a whopping $160 billion valuation.

And now I understand why. To look at Alibaba.com is an eyesore, it looks like the sale rack at Walmart or Asda in digital form, and that's because that's exactly what it is. But the price + service is unbeatable. 

I read numerous online forums and watched YouTube videos of disastrous wedding dress purchases of people who have received the wrong product or size, people said 'UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOP HERE'. 

But amongst the disastrous stories there were some good reviews, I found my dream dress for $169 and thought I would take the risk, consider it more of a learning process than anything else, after all if it didn't fit, $169 was nothing to cry about. 

User experience of Alibaba.com 

I messaged the seller of my dress enquiring about sizes, she replied within 12 hours and was extremely accommodating , calling me 'dear friend' - nice touch! 

Sent her my measurements, uploaded some pictures of myself so she could get an idea of my size and I was tracking the dress's journey from Guangdong, China to my home in San Francisco with a month.

As you can see the dress fits perfectly, the quality is as good as a dress off the high street, and I will be buying again from Alibaba.com

Ecommerce has always been big, but I feel right now we are going though another revolution where shoppers have more trust in sites as success stories from their trusted peers get told and shared online.

Sites like LA's based Clearance.co have gone from zero to $2.1 million revenue in 7 months, women's clothing site Nasty Gal hit $100, million on it's sixth year in business, NoMoreRack raised for $40 million and Zulily.com - the flash-sales site for mom's has been hailed the public market success story as it's share price continue to rise. 

These sites might look ugly to us design conscious folks in Silicon Valley but to middle America they are the same as going to the sale rack at Walmart and sniffing out a good bargain. 

Staples announced it's closing 250 of it's retail stores as now it sees over 50% of it's sales online. 

High Street shopping is mainly Chinese manufactured clothing, but you pay extra costs of brick and mortar. Alibaba sells similar items but because they go direct to consumer, it's cheaper. 

Do you think Alibaba will be as big as Walmart in 5 years time? Comment below.  

Ps: Like the dress? 

10406733_10152153429096939_4492394824289249010_n.jpg
10345834_10152153427641939_2936129063339802185_n.jpg






Why I've Stopped Writing On Medium

When I write on Facebook and Twitter I get RT's and Likes which I can convert into social capital. When I share a video on YouTube I get paid a percentage of the advertising revenue. But when I write on Medium I get, well, nothing. 

At least by writing here I am getting brand exposure for my company by diverting traffic back to my brand. 

Unfortunately Medium has also also adopted the reputation of being a platform for tech douchebags sharing their overbearing, first-world startup problems.  

Yes it's an extremely easy in-browser publishing tool but is it worth it? Just a thought. 


Apple acquiring Beats: Proof that good marketing can sell shit products.

By now you've heard the news Apple plans to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. It's a story that's had the Internet up in arms wondering why a finesse hardware company like Apple is buying the manufacturer of celebrity loved headphones.

Speak to any audiophile and they will tell you that the quality of Dr Dre's endorsed Beat's products are renowned in the music industry for having terrible sound quality compared with competitors like Monster Cable.

But how has this hardware company that has over 60% of the world's headphone markets managed to be generation Y's favourite headphone of choice?

Beats has triumphed on celebrity marketing over hardware quality, with HUGE margins that saw its company's revenue at $1.billion this year. 

Retailing between $100-$299 when it costs the manufacturer as little at $14 to make. 

Their strategy exactly?

Partnerships with celebrities that gave the headphone's personality in a world of minimalist white, boring Apple dominated earbud market.

Proof that good PR and marketing can sell any shitty product on the planet. 

Ps: Did we tell you we want to do your PR & Marketing?

info@waymedia.co 


Could The Standardization Of Silicon Valley Be Detrimental In Building A Successful Startup?

My weekend was spent reading #girlboss the autobiography of Sophia Amoruso who built her eBay vintage store into a $100 million business in the space of six years. 

My weekend was also spent stressing over getting Vibease's pitch deck ready for a huge Silicon Valley investor who I'm pitching to this Thursday in Mountain View. This investor is very specific on exactly how he wants you to present your slides and It's the investor's money we want, so we have to play by his rules. 

The biggest take away from Amoruso's book was that she built her retail business to $100 million in revenue without going through any of the process or bureaucracy (yes, not meritocracy) of Silicon Valley. 

When Silicon Valley investors sniffed out her cash making abilities and came knocking on her door demanding they see her pitch deck, she found their buzzwords alien and gave them a 'whatever' expression and told them she'd didn't have a clue how to use PowerPoint and didn't have a deck, if they wanted a piece of her company, they'd have to play by her rules. 

Her book even has an amusing glossary where she pokes fun at the alien lingo the investors from Silicon Valley used to get her attention: deck, growth hacker, terms sheet, pivot, exit!

For a place that is supposed to be about thinking different and innovating in creative ways there sure is a 'right way of doing things' in the valley that may be detrimental in building a fast growing startup: 

Startup, deck, test, pivot, find revenue model, customers, iterate, growth hack, inject cash, exit. 

Innovation itself has become automated, standardized and mechanical in nature. It's become a process when innovation should mean a new method of doing things. 

Like livestock on a conveyor belt in a factory farm, startups are injected with hormones from investors, growth hacked, fattened up and sold for the price of their meat mass, but these often aren't the most nutritious cows or the most tasty.  

I wonder if entrepreneurs are getting lost and wasting time on the process of building a company, pandering to their investors needs, rather than focusing on their customers needs?

The system does work for some people, If I had money it would be wise of me to start an accelerator or incubator where I can get high equity and cheap labour building startups that I could flip and make a quick exit. 

What do you think? Has Silicon Valley become standardized? Let me know in the comments below... 


 

Helping the 'Toms for Water' expand in the USA.

We have always loved the profit + social impact model championed by Toms shoes. 

So when we met Edwin Broni-Mensah, the founder of Give Me Tap we were excited to help this enthusiastic Brit expand stateside. 

Give Me Tap's water bottle's are £12 ($20). Once you buy a bottle you can find the nearest water station via their app with partners who are signed up to their networks.  In the UK there are currently 500 partners signed up to their networks who also love the service for sending more foot traffic through their doors. 

The profits from the bottle you buy go to giving one person clean drinking water in the developing world and have the double effect of helping eradicate plastic bottles that are continuously clogging our oceans and landscapes.

Follow them on Twitter @givemetap and if you would like to get involved either as an investor or as a partner email hermione@waymedia.co 

H:) 



Well, hello there..

 

 

 

 

Welcome to our new site!

After six years of trying out many different projects and working with a range of brands, all over the world, we are excited to focus on building a company to house all of our products and brands for the long term. 

Like our hero Richard Branson who founded Virgin, we envision building Way as the core brand which we will diversify into different verticals over time. 

For now, there are two main elements to our company - 

Home Ventures - These are projects we've spent the past six years building, connecting niche, engaged audiences with authentic and original content.

Services - We offer PR, marketing and media production services working with a range of companies from startups to some of the world's most recognized brands. We are specialists in video production and building live TV studios. 

Here's a more in-depth press release about our launch. 

mail info@waymedia.co to get involved!