As I mentioned previously, this week marked a huge milestone for Ziggeo. We launched our API for video recording and playback (so any site can now integrate video recording and playback with just two lines of code), and unveiled it at New York Tech Meetup.
The support and rallying from colleagues, friends and family to make this happen was amazing and truly touching. Just some of the faces who were there for us can be found on this Wall of Videos we created during the demo.
One of the issues I’ve had in the past with school assignments is that they’ve been assigned in a vacuum with little rhyme or reason as to why a particular subject was being studied. Subjects frequently seemed randomly selected.
We’re off next week on a safari to Kenya and Tanzania with the kids (one of the benefits of homeschooling is that they can take vacation whenever they like).
In preparation for the trip, the kids, Albert and I each prepared oral presentations (with slides) around particular topics of interest related to our trip (e.g. evolution, wildlife, local customs). In the process, the kids were able to refine their research and oral presentation skills — and focused on a subject they were genuinely interested in with a concrete reason behind their research. Our youngest also raised over $250 (via a funding platform) for supplies he purchased and is bringing to a local school there. And in the process he learned about crowd-funding, building networks, and charitable work.
Needless to say, the trip itself will be a wonderful learning experience — but preparing for the trip has proved to be a surprising fruitful learning experience as well.
At the upcoming New York Tech Meetup on March 4th, I’ll be announcing the launch of Ziggeo’s API for video recording and playback — and we’ll be doing a quick, live demo. In fact, in under 3 minutes (we’ll be setting a clock), Oliver will be programming a Brady-Bunch style wall of videos with audience members recording themselves and submitting their videos for all to see.
In case you haven’t been to a New York Tech Meetup, it’s a fun evening full of demos. There is still time for you to get tickets. In fact, today at 1pm (Monday, Feb. 24th) is another ticket release — and Feb. 28th at 1pm is the last ticket release. Here’s more information where you can also sign up.
We’re also looking for volunteers to help with our demo; if you’re interested, please contact me at email@example.com
Hope to see you there!
I’ve teamed up with Albert to help other women entrepreneurs hone their pitches.
We’re extending an open invitation to women entrepreneurs around the world to record 60 second pitches describing their startups. We’ll start with the first dozen pitches submitted. And if all goes well, we’ll open it up again to another dozen or so.
With Ziggeo’s technology, the videos will be submitted in private, directly to our screening room. Feedback will be given in the form of private, written messages.
Since the videos and feedback will all stay private, entrepreneurs can feel comfortable giving their pitches, and we can feel free to give honest feedback.
Videos will be accepted through February 28th, 2014. Here’s the link entrepreneurs can use to record and submit their pitches: http://ziggeo.com/45b4605a
One of the benefits of homeschooling (which actually should be named outside-the-home-schooling), is that the kids are learning to navigate the mass transit system.
We’re now entrusting our 14 year olds to get to their classes on their own. That means they need to figure out how to get from Chelsea to the Lower East Side to mid-town West and then also to the Upper East Side. Armed with their cel phones and metro cards, they’re in explorer mode as they’ve learned to read a map, ask for directions, and navigate the streets.
Sure, occasionally we get a panicked phone call that they’ve gotten off the wrong stop, ended up in Brooklyn, or had to get off a train that was going express. And then, like a control center to an astronaut, we’re on our phones, talking them down, making sure they find their way.
So not only are they getting a course in navigation and survival, they’re also clearly learning how to be independent.
And you should see how proud they are when they’re able to take their friends from the suburbs on excursions through the city. So sweet to watch.
Normally when you send your kids to school, from first thing in the morning to 3 or 4 in the afternoon, you are home free. The school takes care of their entire schedule. Turns out if your kids don’t go to school, their schedules aren’t automatically set (no surprise there). And I suppose that’s one of the best parts of homeschooling. We’ve been very lucky to have found some terrific guides, tutors, classes and internships for the kids throughout the city. But in terms of coordinating their schedules and making sure they all fit together, that job falls to — uh wait — that would be I: the de facto Principal. Some homeschooling kids call that position the Mommy-Lord.
Here’s a sample week of just the kids’ schedules (color coded for each child) — haven’t included my own (that’s another story). How we love our Google Calendar!
Thanks to Squarespace's new logo-maker, our 11 year old was able to quickly create this logo for our homeschool (which we call The School of Wonder). And thanks to SwissMiss for featuring it on her blog (she also includes a helpful how to video there).
Ever having started Ziggeo, I’ve been acutely aware how drastically different the quality of videos look when people record themselves. The main issue I’ve found is that people don’t know how to properly use lighting. I had the same issue when I started recording myself using my laptop computer.
We decided to create this short video solve just this problem. It gives tips on proper lighting, what to wear, and where to place your camera, particularly if you’re recording from your laptop.
Thanks to the wonderful Adam Watstein for his expertise in putting this video together.
When I was looking for office space for Ziggeo this past month we put the word out among our various networks. People immediately reached out with suggestions and offers to share space with their companies. Little did I realize at the time that Mark Josephson's offer at bit.ly came without a price tag. All we needed to do was bring in a treat now and then for the office.
Mark explained it’s for good office karma. I’m still not sure exactly what that means. Maybe, by being generous to the world, the world will be generous to his company. It’s also smart business. He now has a first rate developer in the office happy to give advice and a world of connections we bring to it. Either way, thanks to Mark and the rest of the bit.ly office, Ziggeo has a wonderful new home.
More companies should consider offering extra desks to promising new start-ups. Good office karma could just be the key to success.
One of the subjects we want the kids to master is world geography so the kids’ guides are making it a point to include geography in the kids’ curriculum.
Our little guy, Peter (aka Chef Peter), who is interested in cooking, is learning geography from the point of view of countries’ cuisines. The hope is that through food he can gain a deeper understanding of where a country is located, its culture/tastes and available resources (e.g. spices). This week he prepared (with a little help) Chicken Tagine from Morocco. It was delicious. Below is a picture (he plated it all). He claims he’ll be cooking every Wednesday. I can only hope.