O Tech Canada! Snapshots of 3 tech-heavy companies born north of the border


Let’s talk about the coolness happening north of the border – And it has nothing to do with temperatures. Canadians are no slouches when it comes to creating innovative or popular technologies. Below are quick profiles of three Canadian companies helping the world with useful tech.
short wide break utility


Sniply – URL shortener for social media marketing

Toronto-based Sniply isn’t “just another link shortener”. Have you ever seen a cool and great webpage but you can’t remember how you landed there, nor who shared it with you? If you tap into your natural memory to try to remember, it might be easy if the “cool and great” content was shared by someone you know well. But if one of your 12,000 Twitter followers shared it, and you two hardly interact, then chances are you’d need a reminder of some sort, assuming you want to thank or engage. The technology offered by Sniply helps to boost engagement and recognition by placing a small overlay on top of a webpage with a note from you – and it can even include a CTA and show your face pic too if you’d like.

Sniply also provides a standard retweet icon to encourage people to retweet the page with your custom note. There’s nothing to download, and you can customize the appearance of the overlay for extra impact, or to tie into your branding. CEO Michael Cheng said “Sniply falls under the umbrella of online marketing tools, but it’s in a hybrid genre because it involves social media too.” If you share often and utilize Sniply consistently, you can boost your brand and even be “top of mind” because your face pic can be easily overlayed on top of pages. For an example of that, click here to see my Sniply’ed author page on SmallBizTrends.com.

A few weeks ago, Sniply reached agreements to acquire Denver-based Hoverpost and Paris-based Headshare.



Lightspeed Retail – Inventory and POS software

Founded in 2005 around the time of Apple’s resurgence, Lightspeed Retail offers affordable solutions for retailers. Brick and mortar stores can use it to sync inventory with their e-commerce site, and store employees complete transactions from any device, even off-site at a conference or pop-up store. It can also manage a full POS front counter that works with cash drawers, scanners and printers. Reporting functions are also available so best-selling items can be identified and ordered ahead of demand, or to see which employees are top performers.

CEO Dax Dasilva noticed stores and boutiques lacked modern serious solutions. Existing tools were only handling one element at a time, e.g. payment or inventory. The company believes it’s important for commerce platforms to use a single database, especially when new stores are opened.

Now backed by Accel Partners and iNovia Capital, Lightspeed actually operated without backing from 2005-2012. Dasilva said there was some help from Canadian government programs, but credits much of the early success to bootstrapping. Last year’s introduction of “Lightspeed Cloud” was significant to its growth. Today, the Montreal-based company employs more than 200 people. More than 19,000 stores in 30 countries use Lightspeed to process 7.3 billion in annual sales. For years, this kind of enterprise-level tech was accessible only to big box stores. Now any retailer can have the same type of management software for under $100 a month. Lightspeed helps clients manage and sell products like clothes, wine, toys, ski equipment, and pet items. There’s even a whole street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood where nearly every store uses Lightspeed, and a marquee client is the Kardashian-owned boutique known as DASH.



Predictive Success – Workforce acquisition analytics and consulting

The cost of a bad hire can hurt a business even after the employee is long gone. Interviews often don’t tell the whole story. Predictive Success, based in Toronto, offers secure tools to help companies design jobs, attract the right candidates, onboard new hires, measure progress, develop experts and succession planning, and more. According to their website, 8,000 clients (including 80 in the Fortune 500) and 28 percent of Canada’s best managed companies use their systems.

President and CEO Dave Lahey said “If you’ve seen the movie Moneyball, you’ll understand the importance of a data-centric philosophy. Using data, companies are able to reduce uncertainty for the frontline leader and increase efficiency, proving that evidence beats opinion.” Predictive Success provides clients with ongoing training and is part of a network of over 300 associates including academic leaders. Tools, workshops and webinars are available in multiple languages.

The company’s “Connect” enhancement integrates their staple Predictive Index (“PI”) with 20 web-based solutions such as Oracle/Taleo Business and Enterprise Editions. The Predictive Index assessment was developed and validated in compliance with EEOC Guidelines, as well as standards set by the American Psychological Association and the Society of Industrial & Organizational Psychology.

Disclaimer re: compensation received: None. Unrelated gift received at a later time via a special unrelated promotion, i.e., gift was not pre-arranged and not given quid pro quo.

Small Businesses Have a Friend in Signpost: Marketing Software Helps Reach and Maintain Customers, and it’s Cost Effective

Do you own a brick and mortar business? You’ve got a friend in Signpost

According to research by IDC, small businesses are getting more comfortable using hosted software for better customer insights. Why? Costs are now lower and the actual software is easier to use and better now compared to even just 2-3 years ago. And it’s only up from here. One such SaaS provider is a company named Signpost.

Among many things it can help you do, Signpost gets your business’s details listed on Yelp, GooglePlus, MapQuest, and dozens more sites. It helps at different points in the sales funnel, such as capture of emails, follow up, encouraging your customers to review you on important social platforms, suggesting different campaigns for you to try, and tracking the amount of your visitors (and conversions) including a map so you can see where visitors are viewing you online. Signpost’s monthly pricing is affordable compared to expenses like hiring a social media marketer or using a dedicated CRM system.  In addition, it lets you create a conversion page without hiring an SEO or an expensive local marketing pro. Adjuncts like MailChimp or Unbounce are absolute headaches for many businesses, and can be removed from some scenarios thanks to Signpost. The fewer steps, the better, right? And what business has time for techno mumbo jumbo? None.

Client Samantha Shih of 9Tailors.com said “Signpost is an economical way for us to reach a broader audience and get our service directly in front of those searching for custom suiting and shirting. It’s like having a robust, yet inexpensive marketing team at your disposal. They do all the legwork for me, managing our online presence, attracting new clients, and remarketing to existing contacts. Unbeknownst to me and my team, we were already listed in dozens of online directories and databases beyond the major players like, Yelp, Google, etc. What was disconcerting is that somehow those listings contained my personal mobile number! Signpost ensures that your information is corrected and up-to-date. By adding engaging content and an offer to our listings we now convert online traffic and get new long-term clients in the door.”


All businesses need to market their products and services, keep track of customers and build loyalty. Signpost is an option for automating these “front office” tasks that are essential for customer relationships. Relationships are the lifeblood of business, but as they get complex, they become tougher to manage. Co-founder and CEO Stuart Wall said “We’ve only scratched the surface of meeting the needs of small businesses in an increasingly tech-driven economy. American small businesses represent a huge addressable market and there’s an equally large opportunity to create technology designed to improve their success. Automated cloud-based software — particularly those platforms that improve efficiency and effectiveness in front office operations — has the potential to be the solution for small businesses and a sustained future growth of the American economy.” Their Twitter address is @SignpostSMB. For more info or to speak to a sales rep, visit their main website at www.Signpost.com



Ingrid Kopp talks about Tribeca Film Institute’s Digital Initiatives

Alex H. Yong: Hi Ingrid! Would you tell us how you became Tribeca Film Institute’s Director of Digital Initiatives?

Ingrid Kopp: Yes, my background is in television. I’m from South Africa but worked in the U.K. at Channel 4 before moving to the U.S. At that point I wasn’t doing very much around digital but I always wanted to know more about technology’s effects on documentary filmmaking. I’d have conversations with TV engineers about cameras and broadcast quality and what types of technologies affected what kinds of stories we could tell.

I was working with a global online network for independent filmmakers called Shooting People, running the New York office. I was teaching classes for filmmakers, such as how to use the internet for marketing, and ways to use online communities.

I realized a new world was emerging, a world that wasn’t confined to using the web just as a promotional tool, but the tools and media themselves were changing and influencing what could be produced in the first place. For example, some people were experimenting with films where interactive elements, such as online choices, were added. It became apparent this world would continue to grow – The rise of social media, web tools becoming cheaper, smartphones where you could record footage and play it back on the same device – All these were fueling the growth.

I was speaking and writing about what I saw as this emerging world within storytelling, and connected with the Tribeca Film Institute. They invited me to work with them on a new fund, the TFI New Media Fund, which launched in 2011 with the Ford Foundation. So I said yes and eventually became Tribeca Film Institute’s Director of Digital Initiatives.


Alex H. Yong: You’ve been quoted as saying that it’s good to look outside one’s usual circles. Would you elaborate?

Ingrid Kopp: Yes, for example, Twitter is a platform I find useful because it allows you to dabble in different worlds that you’re not fully a part of. What I’ve learned regarding indie films and storytelling, is that it’s beneficial to look outside of film because we need to learn from developers, designers, the NGO community, activists and others. Twitter is where a lot of those conversations are taking place. It leads to info on what’s happening in other disciplines, and that’s key to pulling in many pieces of knowledge.

We want to collaborate with coders and others in the tech industry. We’re in our fourth year (editor’s note: They’re in their ninth year as of 2019) at the Digital Initiatives department and we’re happy to say the community has grown, plus we’ve learned a lot – It doesn’t feel like we’re at step one anymore, which is nice. We’re delighted to build strong collaborations with the broader tech industry and others who like what we’re doing.

For me, there were definite learning curves because my background was in TV, specifically documentaries. ‘Interactive’ meant I was forced to think about code, UX and UI, and the audience doing active things, not just passively watching something. Years ago, if you were in the film industry you’d mostly go to film festivals and film conferences, but now we also attend tech conferences, design conferences, interdisciplinary events. There you might find journalists trying to better understand data journalism, or museum designers thinking about interactive installations. Everyone’s trying to figure out what interaction means for their industry, especially online. Technology moving forward brings enthusiasm to us here at TFI because of the creative world we’re in – Everything’s exciting on the creative front, the technology front, the audience front, all around.

Alex H. Yong: Your Twitter bio mentioned constant thought. What do you mean by that?

Ingrid Kopp: Constant thought is required for digital storytelling because you’re thinking about it from the creative’s point of view and how artists and filmmakers can be supported. But then you’re also thinking about the audiences, about how projects reach them and how they’re invited to engage. And even when you’ve thought about both, things can change quickly. One obvious constant is change, and so you’ve got to be on your toes.

Often, when one problem gets solved, another comes up, but as a film institute and as artists, we encourage people to think about what’s “timeless.” How can stories be created that aren’t just jumping on a new tech bandwagon? We’ve learned that you’ve got to look beyond the technology – it’s about the story. Sometimes, the more the technology gets in the way, the less successful the story is. For example, I don’t have all the answers on the future of Oculus Rift, or where browser technology is headed, but we stay informed because we have to. But at the end of the day, it’s still about filmmaking, and the story is always key. Stories that can be told 10 years from now are important.

Alex H. Yong: This was my first TFI Interactive (#TFIi) Week. It was packed with activity – I was overwhelmed, in a good way. Were there others?

Ingrid Kopp: Yes, this was our third TFI Interactive Week. All departments within TFI as well as our grantees, and of course the Tribeca Film Festival, and many others take part. For us, it’s as much about the audiences too, not just the presenters. We realize some people are working on these very same issues – and throughout the week, they get to meet each other. Sometimes projects come out of that, and that’s really great. Building a community around this space is key. Attendance has been up every year – People relish the opportunity to hear stories and new thoughts and then apply the experiences to their work.

Alex H. Yong: What kind of funding can artists get via the TFI New Media Fund? And would you talk more about what excites TFI Interactive?

Ingrid Kopp: Grantees have received between $50,000 and $100,000 each. These are sizeable grants because we like to see projects realized. We’ve funded 17 projects so far, including incredibly sophisticated works such as Hollow and Use of Force. Through the fund, we’ve also been able to include projects into the Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes exhibition module – We’re excited about that because Storyscapes emphasize how powerful storytelling can be when told across different interfaces.

We’re also proud of the global hackathons we host throughout the year – These hackathons build community by bringing diverse sets of people into teams to solve a challenge within a set timeframe, usually 2-5 days. Overall, TFI is excited by diverse projects, global ones too – Immigrant Nation and 18 Days in Egypt are just two examples. They’re diverse not only in subject matter, but also in the way they’re created, which includes the use of various technologies.

Alex H. Yong: Thank you, Ingrid. I’m glad I learned more about TFI and its Digital Initiatives department. I look forward to #TFIi 2015!


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What is Thunderclap? A tool with thunderous impact!

Update: Sept 2018:

Thunderclap is now defunct, not because of a lack of users. They had plenty. Facebook imposed new rules which had major negative effects on Thunderclap. So major that it was senseless for them to carry on. Our 2014 interview with its founder is below, for posterity.

May 4, 2014: A few weeks ago, Thunderclap won top honor at the International Andy Awards, taking home the “Grandy”. In 2013, they won the first-ever Cannes Innovation Lion Award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In 2012, Forbes said Thunderclap was the future of social empowerment. What is Thunderclap, you ask? It lets you build a large (or even massive) support campaign for anything you care about. Then, in one dramatic moment, all your messages are blasted out to social media. Think of the impact of a very loud thunderclap heard in a storm – you can hear one for miles. That’s where the name comes from. I spoke with the founder and CEO of Thunderclap, David Cascino, and what I heard floored me.

Alex H. Yong: How did you come up with the idea for Thunderclap?

David Cascino: Thunderclap‘s story began with my frustrations with the SOPA/PIPA issues from a few years ago. For those who don’t remember, it was about the government’s plan to make a law that would let them shut down any website at any time, anywhere, just by issuing a court order. They could literally make a site go dark, with no trial, no due process, no committee, nothing. “Suspicion” was reason enough for a website to be shut down. There was a lot of outcry from people in the tech industry, myself included. I remember I felt so strongly about it and how I was sharing to social media, trying to get others to rally against it. I actually called my elected representatives for the first time in my life. I remember speaking to staffer after staffer, feeling like I was speaking into a void no matter what I did.

I thought: Who’s going to listen to one person?

Then one day I went for a walk near Zuccotti Park, the famous park in the Occupy Wall Street saga, and I experienced something called the human megaphone, which I’d never seen before. The purpose of the human megaphone is to counteract the law that says you can’t have a bullhorn, megaphone or PA system unless you can get a permit from the city. Well, Mayor Bloomberg wanted the Occupy protesters out of Zuccotti Park, so there was no way they were going to get a permit. So they borrowed a technique from the nuclear war protests where someone would stand up on a high point to speak, and everyone that could hear would repeat what was said word-for-word, and then everyone behind them would repeat it. The words would ripple through the park maybe three or four times until the message could be heard by the entire park, loudly and clearly, powered solely by human voices – no technical amplification at all. Watching this stopped me dead in my tracks.

It was like getting punched in the face. I couldn’t stop watching.

I realized there wasn’t a way for people to rally around a message and amplify it online all at the same time. As a developer and long-time technologist, I got really excited about an idea I had, which eventually became Thunderclap. I went straight home and started working on a prototype, first checking if something similar had been built already, and didn’t find anything. I also spent time researching the technical side, to see if there were any limitations with the APIs in social media sites which might obstruct the entire project. Again, I didn’t find anything. At that moment, I realized there was an opportunity to create something powerful which people could use to band together around a message.  From there I joined an incubator and within three months, we launched.


Alex H. Yong: How were the early days after launching?

David Cascino: We were lucky enough to get a few early adopters with decent followings to do beta testing. Within a week of launching, one of the first users we got to help was Matt Taibbi, the Rolling Stone journalist. Within 24 hours, he had 500 supporters, and by the end of the week he had almost 2,000. We were so excited because it worked, and people were using it! We blasted out all of Matt Taibbi’s messages on Twitter – because at the time we were only on Twitter – and a few hours later, I got an email from Twitter – It said they revoked our API token! Yeah, they shut us down.

As you can imagine, we went from feeling all sorts of excitement to being shut down by Twitter – all within one week.

We got up and running on Facebook as soon as we could, and shortly after, our discussions with Twitter began. We wanted them to tell us what we were doing wrong, what changes we could make to get back in, because we definitely wanted to be on Twitter. It took about a month of back and forth through emails, trying to hone in on what specific terms we were violating, if any. We wanted them to know we were ready to modify our side of things to comply with their TOS. It took some time, but Twitter’s Trust and Safety team eventually saw the good in what we were doing and gave us our access back.

Alex H. Yong: I heard the White House uses Thunderclap – I need to hear more about that!

David Cascino: Yes, the White House called us a few weeks after we launched, wanting to know more about our concept. Our hopes got up because they took notice and we felt they were going to run a campaign, but nothing happened for months. We kept following up with them, including pointing out new features and interesting campaigns. One week I was in D.C. for meetings and emailed the White House to let them know I was in town. I didn’t hear back for days, but on the Friday I was scheduled to head back to New York, I got an email from their digital strategy team asking if there was any way I could stop by! I changed my ticket, headed over and gave my presentation, which included a feature they had been asking about. I showed them the new feature and they were really excited.

Within three days, the White House was up and running on Thunderclap.

Even better, the GSA (Government Services Administration) heard about us and asked if we could amend our TOS to be more compatible with the federal government. We went through a long process to create a separate TOS for government clients, which then unlocked Thunderclap for all the different government agencies. Since then, we’ve seen FEMA run a campaign, and the Ad Council in conjunction with some government agencies ran one about drunk driving. A few months ago, we had a meeting with the FBI down in D.C. about using Thunderclap for missing children and capturing fugitives.

It’s definitely taken a life of its own. It’s such a simple platform, but at the end of the day, it’s a tool.  The real excitement comes from how people are using Thunderclap – We’re always amazed at the creative concepts our users apply to it. We’re just trying to create a simple way to organize people to amplify a message.

Alex H. Yong: Thunderclap isn’t dominated by politics, is it?

David Cascino: No, we see lots of campaigns created around medical and environmental causes, even crowdfunding projects. And now we’re seeing more and more entertainment-based campaigns. W magazine used Thunderclap to engage with social media users about who should appear on the cover for their 20th anniversary. People magazine used us in conjunction with their famous “Sexiest Man Alive” issue.  Blake Shelton, country music star and judge on The Voice used Thunderclap to announce his tour dates. We’re seeing content from all across the spectrum! Politics, as you can imagine, are well-suited for Thunderclap because when people are passionate about a certain issue, they want to raise the most awareness about it.

Alex H. Yong: To be clear, users need to drum up support and hit a minimum, is that right?

David Cascino: Our minimum goal is 100 supporters. If you don’t hit 100, your messages don’t go out. It’s hard to predict what people will respond to. In our queue where we can see each campaign, we sometimes see clients with large followings not get the support we guessed they would, and conversely, an individual person might receive an amazing amount of supporters.

If you think about it, Thunderclap is low-risk. It takes 5 minutes to set up and it’s a simple way to find out if your content resonates with people or not. If it does, great; if it doesn’t, you can try another idea. We’ve seen a big uptick in the amount of crowdfunding enthusiasts using our site to vet an idea before they go ahead and do a concerted crowdfunding effort. To do a successful crowdfunding campaign takes months of preparation. You need to create a really compelling video, you have to figure out what your rewards will be for different tiers – It’s a lot of work. Thunderclap is low-risk compared to that. We can help you get a sense if anyone cares about your issue, meaning, does the world want the thing you’re trying to create or promote? Is it even interesting? One vivid example is Dave Hakkens and Phonebloks,
Dave PhoneBloks
the modular phone. When we first saw it on our site, we thought it was kind of cool but within 24 hours, 100,000 people had supported it. It struck a chord none of us expected!  By the end of the Phonebloks campaign, Dave had 950,000 people link their Twitter or Facebook accounts to it. We were blown away that it skyrocketed. The day Dave’s Thunderclap was blasted out, Motorola announced they’d be partnering with him to bring his vision to life!  Project Ara, as it’s known, was amazed that one guy got a million people to express enthusiasm in a concept phone. It was a remarkable match because here they were with their skunkworks prototype, and here was Dave with a large, target audience. I’m blown away by these types of stories.

One person really can spark a massive groundswell of interest.

Alex H. Yong: Yes, that’s amazing – and it’s a far cry from the day you felt it was hard for one person to make a difference. I’m thinking the Thunderclap story might make a good indie film or something. Tell me more! I can’t get enough.

David Cascino: Another amazing moment is when I see some of my personal heroes supporting and making Thunderclap campaigns. For example,  Lawrence Lessig, the IP attorney known for his role in setting up Creative Commons, popped up on our radar a few times. I knew about his work with regard to campaign finance reform, an issue I care strongly about personally. Well it turned out his Thunderclap involved a rally and march down the state of New Hampshire. The walk was set to begin in Dixville Notch and end in Concord.  Along the way, random people would join the march like Ben Cohen from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. I said “I wanna do this!” So I packed my son and wife in the car and drove up to New Hampshire on a Friday night to join Lawrence’s march and speak with him in-person. It was great – we ended up walking a few hours discussing the things we’re passionate about. Now we’re actually collaborating on a new project, and he mentioned it in one of his recent TED talks. It was cool to get his thoughts on the idea – and now his support.

Alex H. Yong: I’m thrilled I got the opportunity to speak with you. This has truly been amazing David. Thank you!

To watch Thunderclap’s video, click here to scroll to the top of this article


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Exactly what is a “mastermind group”?

If you could get an answer you need in minutes instead of hours (or days!), which would you pick? People helping people: Informal but powerful

Harry Hawk: Hello, we’re here with Alex Yong, a journalist and a watcher of all things public relations 2.0. Alex, can you tell us what a “mastermind group” is?

Alex Yong: It’s basically people sharing what they know freely and openly. That collaboration then becomes one mind, a mastermind – and everybody has access to it if you keep records. The big advantage is the ability to get an answer or suggestion in minutes instead of wasting hours. It’s a Napoleon Hill concept but you can modify it as you see fit.

Harry Hawk: How large is the group you’re talking about and how often does it meet?

Alex Yong: The group is around 90 or so people and one of the founders compares it to a water cooler. There’s no schedule, whoever’s around can use it, and there’s a lot of serendipity to that. I like that there’s no schedule. Some people tend to pop in when they need answers, and while that’s not ideal, we don’t judge. However, we do prefer actively getting to know each other. Many masterminds are small; some have just 5 or 6 people. Ours happens to be large. We don’t “hold each other accountable”, as done in small masterminds. If individuals wish to do that privately, they certainly can.
Alex Yong loves knowledge mastermind groups

Harry Hawk: Does it meet online or face-to-face?

Alex Yong: We meet on Skype! But if you happen to hit it off with somebody locally, there’s no rule against meeting up in person. We’re very coast to coast. We even have members in Canada, Scotland, Japan, Israel, Brazil and elsewhere, but mainly the lower 48 states.

Harry Hawk: Is it sponsored by anybody? Do you have to pay to join? How does your group work and how did you find them?

Alex Yong: There’s no centralized body, and the group’s creator doesn’t and hasn’t EVER charged a fee or anything like that. I’m unsure how the group has grown because by the time I joined there were more than 60 members. I found out about it through Gail Gardner of Growmap. Gail is an award-winning small business consultant with a high-traffic blog and tremendous internet experience. She explained that it’s a Skype-based mastermind. There’s no sponsor. Also — we have no rules against hiring or firing or cooperating with whomever you choose to network with. It’s very hands-off, I’d say.

Harry Hawk: What do you like best about it?

Alex Yong: I’m blown away by all the granular expertise that I see being exchanged in the room. While a lot of the high-level technical talk flies over my head, I’m helping maintain a library of as many terms as I encounter, whether those terms are high-tech or “martech” or specific tools. What’s said on Skype can have an ephemeral feel, even though Skype allows you to scroll back. Even so, you’ll see friendly chatter to sort through, and that makes maintaining the library necessary – for all the ‘businessy’ content minus the friendly chatter. It’s really the only way to negate that impermanent feel. The library exists on the app Trello. If you don’t want to use or even take a look at our Trello library, that’s perfectly fine! You can just stick with the chat.

Harry Hawk: It sounds like everything’s conducted through the Skype IM module as opposed to Skype video chat is that right?

Alex Yong: Yes, that’s correct. Many people forget that Skype has the convenient IM module. They hear “Skype” and they immediately think “video”! That’s a bit of a branding challenge that Skype faces, in my opinion – it’s more than what people think it is. In fact, it’s the typing which makes everything feel so quick and “mercurial” yet helpful. Skype rooms rock. Good ones turn into communities. If you haven’t been in a Skype room before, you have no clue what you’re missing.

Harry Hawk: Would you give us one more example of how it’s helped you personally?

Alex Yong: It’s opened my mind for sure. Before I joined, I already knew that I don’t know everything. No one person can, honestly, and the mastermind is a great reminder of that, that there’s so much to learn. It increases my appetite for learning.

Harry Hawk Inbound.org

Harry Hawk: That’s a fantastic answer, Alex. One last question. Has it helped you gain any confidence in the knowledge that you already have?

Alex Yong: Yes, I’m happy to bring my unique views and experiences to the table. I’ve become a good person to direct certain questions to, especially if the questions are about PR, due to my interactions with the broad PR world. I can bring perspectives to the group that others might not be able to.

Harry Hawk: Please tell everybody where they can find you.

Alex Yong: Absolutely, I’m on Twitter as @SocialAlex and I’m on LinkedIn too.

Harry Hawk of hawksocialmarketing.com is a social and digital marketer focused on hospitality, community and technology.

More on why masterminds are good for business: disruptware.com/business/the-power-of-masterminds/
short wide break utility

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What are people saying about the Passport Max by Escort Radar?

The Passport Max by Escort is marketed as a radar which can help you avoid speeding tickets. It has an integrated GPS receiver, and, understanding the criticisms of this class, Escort engineers made notable strides in this model’s ability to detect false alerts. The Passport Max allows you to mark your own false positives and remove them if they turn out to be real. This feature is called SmartMute. However, advanced signal-processing is one of the keys which help reduce false alerts in the first place. The radar utilizes an FPGA and an ARM chip to convert the analog signal into digital form. Escort compares this to signal processing used by NASA to filter background noise from weak signals transmitted by satellites.


The Escort Passport Max has a similar but non-identical design compared to the Escort 9500ix. The U-shaped layout for the buttons differs from previous Escort radars, and buttons on the Max are recessed.

The high-definition simple OLED interface alerts you with either a robo-voice, Escort tones or chimes. At the display’s far left is where you see your vehicle speed and it has an adjustable backlight level and color control to optimize daytime/nighttime viewing (The OLED colors are red, blue, green, amber). Novice mode gives you just the basics to nix the possibility of an unwanted configuration.

Overall, CNET reviewer Antuan Goodwin reviewed the Passport Max for a few weeks and found it was more sensitive than Escort’s previous generation of detectors. He also says the nearly $550 price tag is justified. As you can expect it’s pricier than its predecessor, the Passport 9500ix, which is around $470, or the low $400’s on Amazon.com

Quote from cnet.com: With its Variable Speed Sensitivity, the Max is also able to tailor its sensitivity to the sort of driving the vehicle is actually doing. At highway speeds, it can optimize for long-range sensitivity, while at slower speeds, the sensitivity can be adjusted to tune out more false positives, since you’re not at risk of getting a speeding ticket.


More reviews: For detailed reviews, visit the cnet.com link above, and these:

radartest.com: RadarTest.com reviewed the Passport Max in the Phoenix area: radartest.com/Escort-Max-review.asp

macnn.com: This is a very thorough review: macnn.com/reviews/escort-passport-max.html#ixzz2v8hWnptB

Caveats and where to ask questions: The Escort Live smartphone app (iPhone or Android) is not included in the $549.95 retail price. It costs around $50 per year extra (for the premium features) and the SmartCord Live that goes with it is a one-time extra expense of around $40. For more information, connect with Escort Radar on Twitter.

Suggested reading:

Guest review of the Garmin nuvi-2597 LMT navigation device

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