Dollars

November 2011


INTERNET LANGUAGES ARE MANY & COMBINED ARE NOT ENGLISH

Five hundred and thirty seven million people use the Web in English; 445 million use it in Chinese. Yet the vast majority of users, 985 million people, navigate the Web in other languages.

“Although every Web site is global from the moment it goes live, few are designed with a worldly aspect,” says author John Yunker. Companies miss crucial opportunities if they don’t address a global audience. Research shows that people prefer to visit Web sites written in their own language.

A Eurobarometer survey, for example, found that 90 percent of European Web site users will always visit a Web site in their own language if they are offered a choice. Only 53 percent of users would choose to use an English Web site in place of one in their own language. Up to 60 percent of users who did navigate to an English language website expressed missing interesting information. In some countries, users only watch and read online content in their own language. This reluctance extends to buying products. A paltry 18 percent of users surveyed said they would “frequently or always buy products in a foreign language.”

Businesses ignore translation and localization at their own peril. The rise of the Millennial generation underlines the need for these tools. People under the age of 30 comprise more than half of the world’s population. The majority of Millennials live in China, Africa, South America, and other countries with per capita incomes of less than $1,000 per year. More than half of the users in China, which is expected to surpass the U.S. in terms of Internet users by 2013, are under the age of 25. Most U.S. Internet users are between 18 and 29 years old, according to a December 2010 Pew Internet survey.

Millennials are poised to make big changes to the global economy. The world is facing a peak population of 9.7 billion estimated for the middle of the century, an aging global workforce, and decreasing fertility rates. It is ready for the Millennial business model, which focuses on social causes in addition to the bottom line. An entrepreneurial group, Millennials harness widespread access to information and markets to collaborate internationally. Lower equipment costs, improved telecommunications infrastructure, and widespread mobile adoption around the world have ensured that almost everyone can connect easily and cheaply. Income no longer presents an insurmountable barrier to entry.

In many ways, big organizations are on the same page as millennials. A hypercompetitive economy has forced corporations to decrease their response times around both market and stakeholder needs. As a result, collaboration has to be efficient and take place on a global scale. Corporations have flattened their organizational hierarchies and become more flexible. Offshoring and outsourcing have led to a more diverse, multilingual global workforce, even within the same organization. Within this context it is essential to have training, marketing and technical materials available in relevant languages so that global teams can collaborate and work more efficiently.

Meeting Translation Needs

International collaboration is a must in the modern, Millennial-driven economy. Still, most translation options are one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t address a company’s unique needs. Hiring a good human translator is the traditional course of action. But at an industry-standard rate of 23 cents per word, the average millennial entrepreneur, who probably comes from a country with a low per-capita income, wouldn’t foot the cost. Considering the increasing predominance of social media within the organization, combined with how quickly content ages online, the time it takes to find the right translator, communicate the parameters of the project, find a project manager, wait for the translator to finish, then correct the content could cost a company its competitive edge & position.

One recent alternative, machine translation, is fast and free. But it doesn’t guarantee quality. The solution lies in combining the speed and low price of machine translation with the expertise of humans. Corporations today need a collaborative translation platform, which leverages both technology and crowds to create custom translation solutions. Through a combination of software and humans, analyzed and customized translations can match the level of importance of content. Instead of applying a uniform solution to unique needs, companies can match the workflow to the job at hand.

Millennials and multinationals alike benefit from fast, accurate, and cost-effective translation. In the new global economy, massive international collaboration is a core facet of doing business. The need for localized content and translation is no longer a luxury. It’s an absolute bare necessity.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Fraud takes numerous forms, from lottery wins to emails from friends.

SCAMS are the hardest security threat to protect against because they rely on exploiting naivety more so  than technical flaws.

Always be suspicious of emails, faxes, text messages, instant messages and even phone calls from people you don’t know. Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.

You didn’t really win a huge prize in a foreign lottery, get a massive unexpected tax return or inherit millions of dollars from a long-lost relative. A Nigerian businessman doesn’t need your help to smuggle money or gold.

Your potential online Russian bride doesn’t need money for her mother’s operation. Your bank will never send you an email asking you to change your password or confirm your account.

”Common sense can’t be your only defence online – but it certainly helps,” Trend Micro’s David Peterson says.

”Despite being around since the 1980s, the old Nigerian scam alone still sees Australians conned out of over $4 million every year.”

Telephone scams are also becoming more complicated, warns Nigel Hedges, of Kaspersky Lab Australia & New Zealand.

”Such calls claim to be from Microsoft or an information security company and claim they’ve identified malware on your computer. Some people are fooled into granting remote access to their computer via the internet and are charged to have non-existent malware removed.”

Also watch for spam emails taking advantage of current events to trick you into clicking on links. Some scams are designed to trick you into handing over money. Others attempt to install software on your computer to steal passwords and other sensitive information, such as banking details, security expert Lloyd Borrett warns.

”Every time there is a major, high-profile disaster somewhere on the planet, within hours we see the bad guys setting up fake charitable donation websites or services to help you to locate family members,” Borrett says. ”Security companies have the software solutions in place to protect people from technology-based attacks. But it’s really up to each and every one of us to be alert and aware of these sorts of social-engineering scams.”

You even need to be suspicious of messages from people you do know, Borrett says. If a friend sends you a Facebook message asking for money because they’re stuck overseas, it means their account has been hacked. Scammers are also prevalent in the virtual worlds of online gaming.

Be wary of in-game messages promising free gifts if you register at a bogus website.

Then there are messages from fake administrators, threatening account suspension if you don’t log into a bogus website & divulge your account details.

Along with these are ”duping” scams – players who claim they’ve found a bug that lets them duplicate precious items.

So you hand them your hard-earned magic sword, never to see it again.

The rise of social networks such as Facebook as gaming platforms has delivered a new community of people ripe to be scammed. FarmVille might seem safer than Azeroth but scammers still lurk in the dark shadows.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Groupon has been valued at $US16.7 billion after an initial public offering, Lefkofsky as executive chairman still calls many shots alongside Mason, who represents the company’s public face.

Lefkofsky’s outspoken manner has drawn regulatory scrutiny, and his mixed record at other startups may leave some investors reluctant to buy shares of Groupon as it faces rising competition from Amazon and Google, said Kris Tuttle, chief executive officer of Research 2.0.

“He’s a guy that makes a good entrepreneur, a startup guy,” said Tuttle, whose Boston-based firm researches technology investments. “To get to your first $US20 million, you can have all the colour you want, and he’s got that. But now, you’re talking about a public company that’s going to take direct competition from Amazon and Google.”

With Groupon’s stock rising 31 per cent on the November 4 debut, Lefkofsky, 42, must demonstrate that he can provide the oversight the company needs to fend off bigger rivals while chasing profitability. He would follow in the tradition of Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt, who helped guide founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin through the search engine’s 2004 IPO.

Management growth needed

Groupon owed almost twice as much to merchants at the end of September as it held in cash. Marketing costs rose 37 per cent in the latest quarter, four times as quickly as its cash pile. And rivals’ discounts are putting pressure on Groupon’s margins, according to researcher PrivCo.

“They have to prove that they’re a real company, that they can continue growing,” Jeff Clavier, founder of SoftTech VC in Palo Alto, California, and a Groupon shareholder, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We’ll see whether the management team can grow into a public company management team.”

Culture of Debate

Lefkofsky, the largest shareholder with a 17 per cent stake, keeps an office on the seventh floor of Groupon headquarters in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, one level above where CEO Mason sits. While he oversees Lightbank LLC, a technology incubator that has invested in almost 20 companies, Groupon occupies a majority of his time, according to people close to the company.

Lefkofsky is frequently seen drinking coffee in the hallways and meeting rooms at Groupon. He attends the weekly “National Deals” meeting, where the company plans widespread discounts designed to raise its profile.

The gatherings act as a stage for what Mason, 31, has referred to internally as a “culture of debate”, where most proposals are met with objections from Lefkofsky or someone on the executive team, say people central to the company. In one meeting, chief financial officer Jason Child called Mason and Lefkofsky a “married couple” because of their tendency to bicker, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While no business section reports directly to Lefkofsky, the chairman moves between several functions in the company, including legal affairs, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and fundraising, according to a person familiar with the processes.

Executive departures

Lefkofsky’s hands-on role alongside Mason – a college music major who dropped out of a master’s program in public policy to start websites – has lessened the need for a chief operating officer and contributed to the departure of two executives in that role in six months, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Rob Solomon, who joined in 2010 after stints at Yahoo! and Electronic Arts, left in March. Margo Georgiadis, who succeeded him in April, departed in September to return to Google, where she worked before Groupon.

Lefkofsky, whose stake was worth $US2.86 billion on November 4 and ranked number 293 on the Forbes 400 list of richest people in America this year, also caught the attention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, whose rules limit what companies can say about future prospects to potential investors between the time they file for an IPO and when shares start trading.

‘Wildly profitable’

In remarks to Bloomberg News, Lefkofsky said he expected the money-losing company to become “wildly profitable”. The company later updated its IPO filing to tell investors to disregard the comments.

While Lefkofsky sways debate, his view doesn’t always prevail. Early on, he repeatedly rejected Mason’s idea to increase spending on marketing to bring in more customers. Lefkofsky shot Mason down because he wasn’t convinced that customers acquired through marketing would be valuable over the long haul. Mason created a mathematical model to prove his point, and eventually won the day, people familiar with the matter said.

Lefkofsky encouraged deliberation when Groupon received two buyout offers in 2010. In the fall of that year, after Yahoo offered $US3.5 billion to buy the company, Mason wanted to immediately reject the offer on the grounds that he didn’t want to work for Yahoo or its then-CEO, Carol Bartz. Lefkofsky insisted that the board take time to discuss the offer, which they did for about three weeks before deciding to turn it down.

Rebuffing Google

Google’s offer for $US6 billion, made in November 2010, also prompted a drawn-out debate by the board. Kevin Efrusy, a Groupon director and partner at Accel Partners, wanted to turn down the offer. Lefkofsky wavered on the matter for about a month, before he and Mason finally decided that the deal would take too long to pass clearance with regulators, according to people close to the company.

As Groupon’s IPO filing brought questions about its accounting practices and rising marketing costs, Lefkofsky’s leadership has helped give the company credibility, said Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago securities lawyer.

“Eric has always been viewed as the most experienced hand on deck,” Stoltmann said in an interview. “He’s the adult in the room, the babysitter, the supervisor – a lot of people have a lot of confidence in him and that he’s on board.”

Other technology startups that have turned to seasoned executives to provide oversight include Facebook, which brought in former Google executive Sheryl Sandberg as chief operating officer to work beside founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Past ventures

Not all of Lefkofsky’s background instills confidence for investors. His investment in Groupon follows a series of past ventures, some of which floundered. In the 1990s, Lefkofsky and his business partner, Brad Keywell, bought children’s apparel company Brandon Apparel Group. It later faltered after accruing debt and when fashion trends shifted, Lefkofsky explained in his blog.

Lefkofsky also co-founded Starbelly.com, an online promotional-merchandise seller, in 1999 and then sold to Ha-Lo Industries for $US240 million. Ha-Lo filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in July 2001 after writing down the acquisition.

In 2001, he founded printing-service provider InnerWorkings, which went public in 2006. He also helped found Echo Global Logistics, a shipping-technology company, in 2005. That company held its IPO in 2009.

 Selling early

“Mr. Lefkofsky is proud of his track record as a founder of successful and innovative technology companies, including InnerWorkings, Echo, MediaBank, and Groupon,” Charles Sipkins, a spokesman for Lefkofsky, said in an email. “His career has not been without numerous learning experiences that have shaped him as entrepreneur and investor.”

Lefkofsky also raised eyebrows with his sale of shares in Groupon. In late 2010, he brought together a pool of investors that included large institutional backers like Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price Group to raise $US950 million in equity.

Lefkofsky sold $US257.5 million of his Groupon shares to investors during that round of funding, in addition to the $US57.1 million he had already sold in a previous round, transactions that are unconventional for a closely held company, said Mark Cannice, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of San Francisco School of Management.

Daily involvement

“You wonder if that makes the most sense for the long-term value of the company,” Cannice said. “Early investors have already achieved large liquidity events well before the public gets involved.”

Lefkofsky gradually lessened his involvement in InnerWorkings and Echo Global after their IPOs, according to people close to the companies. He also spends less time focused on Groupon than he did at its founding, the people said.

Whatever his daily involvement, Lefkofsky still holds a disproportionately large share of voting power. In recent months, Groupon approved a dual-class stock structure that grants shares owned by Lefkofsky, Mason and Keywell 150 times the voting power of all other shares.

“He’s really the puppet master behind the scenes,” Sam Hamadeh, CEO of New York researcher PrivCo, said on Bloomberg Television. “I don’t think he wants to let go of this company, and he’ll be pulling the strings behind the scenes for a long time to come.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

  • Gold diggers: Aussies strike it rich in Silicon Valley

Technology entrepreneurship in Australia is booming and several Australian companies have received millions in investments in the past week.

It comes as big US venture capital firms have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Australian technology companies over the past year or so. Several have recently visited Australia eyeing new prospects.

"Tech is booming right now" ... Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie.“Tech is booming right now” … Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie.

Today crowd-sourced graphic design website DesignCrowd, based in Sydney, announced it had received a $3 million investment from Melbourne venture capital firm Starfish Ventures.

Its founder, Alec Lynch, 27, started the company with $10,000 in capital – which quickly grew to $60,000 after he tapped three credit cards and his family for loans – on his parent’s kitchen table.

Also today, professional domain name trader Winged Media, based in Australia but now with an office in the US, announced a $3 million investment from the Carnegie Innovation Fund.

"Companies can be based in Australia while winning their first customers all around the world" ... Startmate co-founder Niki Scevak“Companies can be based in Australia while winning their first customers all around the world” … Startmate co-founder Niki Scevak Photo: Billy D. Aldea-Martinez

Last week, Perth-based smartphone app maker Filter Squad, creator of the Discovr range of iOS apps that make it easier to find new apps, announced it had received $1.1 million in funding from Perth firm Yuuwa Capital.

Moving your base to Silicon Valley is no longer essential for technology startup success. Other Australian technology companies that have received huge funding of late include BigCommerce ($15 million in August), 99designs ($35 million in April), OzForex ($110 million in November last year) and Atlassian ($US60 million in July last year).

Earlier this year Australian mobile social media startup Roamz secured $3.5 million from several investors including Salmat.

David McKinney and a screenshot of the Discovr app, which has taken the world by storm.David McKinney and a screenshot of the Discovr app, which has taken the world by storm.

“Tech is booming right now and certainly I’m seeing a resurgence in technology entrepreneurship in Australia,” said Sydney-based Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie, adding there had never been a better time to turn the spark of an idea into an exciting new company.

He said entrepreneurs in Australia were finding new ways to shake up stagnating industries and nothing was off limits. It was now possible to start a company off a credit card and showcase your products to the world.

“Big US investors are starting to look outside their own borders more than ever before, and they’re regularly visiting Australia,” said Barrie, who was BRW’s Entrepreneur of the Year for 2011 and has been selected as a featured speaker at the big SXSW 2012 event in Texas.

“Because valuations in the US are quite high right now, US investors are looking abroad, and that’s great for Australia because we’re high on the list.”

Accel is one big US venture capital firm that has made significant investments in Australia. It was the source of the investments in Atlassian, OzForex and 99designs.

Another big US VC firm, Sequoia, had “actively been visiting” Australia, Barrie said.

“Certainly this year I received about 60 or so cold calls from the late stage [investor] guys who, when I say we’re not raising money right now, rattle off a list of their favourite ten Australian tech companies wanting an opinion,” Barrie said.

Barrie runs a Technology Venture Creation class at the University of Sydney and they held their “2011 pitch day” last Friday, with eight teams pitching their startup ideas to a panel of real investors and entrepreneurs.

He said the ideas included Groupon 2.0, online multiplayer game hosting platforms, car pooling platforms, educational games and location-based games.

Barrie said one startup he was advising just got an interview with YCombinator, the “Harvard of startup incubators in the US”, while another got into StartupChile. Two other groups of entrepreneurs had also come to him with term sheets from early stage US investors.

In Australia, those with startup ideas are being encouraged to apply to the local incubator, Startmate, which is accepting applications up until November 30.

Startmate, which helped launch five companies last year, is a mentor-driven seed fund that invests $25,000 in the companies it selects and pays for their legal bills, travel to the US and office space.

“The rise of web and mobile startups with low-priced monthly subscriptions or in-app purchases mean that companies can be based in Australia while winning their first customers all around the world because they don’t need to hire expensive sales people and setup overseas offices,” said Startmate co-founder Niki Scevak.

“The world’s top venture capital firms and investors are increasingly comfortable investing in growth rounds of Australian companies and we are also starting to see that interest move downstream to earlier and earlier stages.

“Dave McClure, of 500 Startups, for instance, invested in three of the five Startmate companies in the last batch.”

Australian entrepreneurs are using the investment dollars to create significant, viable companies that are often acquired by bigger fish.

Australian iOS game developer Firemint sold to Electronic Arts in May for an estimated $20-40 million. Tapulous, founded by an Australian, sold to Disney in July last year, while RetailMeNot was acquired by US company WhaleShark Media for $90 million in December.

Furthermore, the technology kings dominated the recent BRW Young Rich List, while a quarter of the BRW Fast 100 list of fastest growing Australian companies are technology-related.

David McKinney of Discovr said he was proud to be able to run his startup from Australia and would use the $1.1 million investment to expand his team and grow faster.

“We’ve seen an incredible startup culture emerge in the local scene that has been fostered by people like Pollenizer, Atlassiaan, the Startmate progam, and local angel and VC community,” he said.

Lynch, who studied programming and IT at UTS in Sydney and won the university medal, started DesignCrowd in 2008.

Before that he had started another company, which failed, and was working in strategy consulting for Booz and co.

“I took a leave of absence for a year and took $10,000 in capital, moved back home, setup at the family kitchen room table – didn’t have a garage suitable – and launched the business from home,” he said.

He got the idea for a crowd-sourced graphics design service after he saw the London Olympics logo, which was released several years ago after months of development and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to a professional design firm. The logo was panned by the public and the media.

“The traditional design process is expensive, slow and very risky,” said Lynch.

In late 2009 DesignCrowd received $300,000 from angel investors and spread that money thin over two years, during which the business grew by around 1300 per cent.

One of the angel investors was Todd Forest, the boss of NineMSN. But Lynch remains the single biggest shareholder, even after the venture capital injection from Starfish.

“The market that we’re operating in is the global graphic design market – it’s a $180 billion market and there’s over 120 million small businesses in the world,” said Lynch.

“To get our service in front of those small businesses and to get a slice of that global market, we need capital.”

Lynch said 60 per cent of his clients were new businesses looking for a logo but now he is trying to target businesses that are in later stages of their life cycle and also offer them related services beyond just graphic design.

According to market research firm IBISWorld, there are 11,000 designers employed at design agencies around Australia. Lynch said that on DesignCrowd there were 40,000 freelance designers and clients typically received over 100 different designs, allowing them to pick the best one.

Lynch said he was now in an aggressive expansion phase and was urgently seeking to hire 10 staff to aid his moves into the US and Britain.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

JULIAN ASSANGE has lost his High Court battle to avoid extradition to Sweden but is likely to make a final appeal to Britain’s Supreme Court to avoid facing allegations of sexual assault against two women.

The 40-year-old WikiLeaks founder, wearing demure glasses and a conservative, short cropped haircut, showed no emotion as judges ruled he should be sent to be questioned over allegations of rape against one woman and the molestation of another woman in Stockholm last year.

It is understood that Mr Assange and his team knew they had lost the appeal last week and that the four arguments raised by his new legal team failed on all grounds.

Rejected ... WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves The High Court after losing his appeal.Rejected … WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves The High Court after losing his appeal. Photo: Getty Images

However, the High Court has stated that it will reconvene in 21 days – leaving him on the same bail conditions – to decide if he has the right to appeal to Britain’s highest tribunal, the Supreme Court.

This will be possible only if his new legal team, led by the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, can persuade the High Court that his case is representative of issues of wider ”public importance” and is not merely a matter of a strict legal decision.

Appeal judges Sir John Thomas and Justice Ouseley said the decision by Swedish authorities to issue a European Arrest Warrant could not ”be said to be disproportionate”.

”In any event, this is self-evidently not a case relating to a trivial offence, but to serious sexual offences,” the judges said.

Assange had also claimed in his appeal that the alleged offences would not have been regarded as crimes under English and Welsh law, a stance the judges rejected.

”There can be no doubt that if what Mr Assange had done had been done in England and Wales, he would have been charged,” the ruling said.

Legal sources told the Herald that if a final appeal to the Supreme Court granted, it would potentially allow Assange to remain on conditional bail in the UK while the arguments are formulated and heard, probably not until early next year. The Royal Courts of Justice were packed once again and Assange was accompanied and supported by several backers including the activist and journalist John Pilger, and his protector and host over the past 11 months, the former British Army captain Vaughan Smith, who provided refuge in his 10-bedroom country estate after bail was granted under strict conditions and night curfew.

The decision was handed down nearly four months after an appeal in July, when Assange’s lawyers argued the arrest warrant should be deemed invalid because there were major discrepancies between the statements of the two women who allege sexual assault and the claims in the warrant.

The verdict will add to WikiLeaks’ supporters’ burgeoning anxiety about the future of the whistleblowing website which its founder says may have to close by year’s end after credit card companies and major banks worldwide decided to block payments and donations

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha