Building a $100 Million Brand Without Spending a Dime on Advertising

In today’s typical business models, a corporation has to spend thousands, if not millions, of dollars on advertising just to begin to build a new brand or product.  In order to get the word out about a new and upcoming idea, most companies will immediately turn to traditional advertising industries such as television commercials, online advertisement agreements, or in person promotions.  While this strategy does have a significant success rate if the product is marketed correctly, it can set the company back financially before the first item in the product line is even sold.  A recently popular brand that has been acquired by makeup giant, L’Oreal, is breaking the foundation of this idea by nearing $100 million in sales without spending anything on advertisements.  This product line is named NYX and is an extremely popular line of professional makeup products.

NYX has gained its popularity within the beauty product market with the use of global internet connections through social media outlets and independent bloggers.  This innovative business plan strategically has cornered the market of internet video bloggers, otherwise known as vloggers, to advertise the product line for their viewers.  The largest website that features these vloggers is YouTube and those who sponsor NYX on their products post videos of them using the makeup.  This direct access to consumers through social media outlets garners millions of views for their products, thus creating a free marketing opportunity.  This idea could be applied many different ways and it is interesting to see such a large company find a way around losing money through advertising.



Finding a Solution Our Battery Problem

As today’s technology world continues to grow at continually increasing rates, our lives continue to be integrated with computer software and hardware that helps to make our lives easier and more efficient.  Newer technology defies the bounds of what we though was possible just 20 years ago and this trend does not seem to want to stop, but these innovations will soon run into an unavoidable issue.  Many of the new smartphones and tablets are so complex and run on more powerful computer hardware and software than that which put a man on the moon.  Besides incredible software, these devices require an abundant amount of power that today’s batteries cannot keep up with, thus limiting their abilities to a battery charge.  Most batteries that are used in any smartphone or tablet are lithium ion batteries, which seem to be reaching their peak in the amount of energy that can be made available for a substantial amount of time. Not only are these lithium ion batteries inefficient in containing energy for a long time period, but they are easily damaged and tend to degrade quickly if not used with extreme care.  In addition to both of these issues, existing batteries run off of chemical potentials created from toxic chemicals that, when disposed of, are very harmful to the environment.

In order to levy these issues, Dongxu Optoelectronics, a Chinese based company,  is creating a battery called G-King that they believe to be the future of the energy industry. This company has created a battery that is graphene based and can store up to 4800 mAh and can recharge in about 15 minutes.  Graphene is a revolutionary material that is a one atom thick layer of carbon atoms and is created by unfolding carbon nanotubes, to put it simply.  Graphene has incredible properties when it comes to electrical conductivity, overall strength, and durability.  This combination of properties gives the G-King the ability to surpass lithium ion batteries in all categories.  The battery is claimed to be able to sustain 3,500 recharges, which we all know is incredibly more than any of our iPhones, tablets, and laptops are capable of.

While this idea has the possibility to rule out lithium ion batteries and put us on the track towards a more sustainable future, Graphene continues to be extremely difficult to manufacture and incredible expensive.  This limitation could curb this idea and delay the release of the G-King and batteries similar to it.  If Dongxu Optoelectronics can find a way to bring this idea to life, then the advancements that it could add to our technological world are endless.



Providing a Platform for Open Source Hardware

As open source hardware and software continues to become more popular, it is hard to say exactly which ones are reliable and how to move forward with open source ideas and innovations.  As a movement of makers takes the stage as the new creative thinkers, open source hardware provides them with the opportunity to continue already started ideas so that a vision can be reached quickly and efficiently.  With this movement taking hold at a very rapid rate, one organization has taken it upon themselves to provide open source hardware innovators with a space to share and validate innovations.  This organization is known as the Open Source Hardware Association, or OSHWA for short.  The OSHWA takes it as its goal to neutrally discuss with users on open sources ideas and how they are available to makers to build an idea in an organized way.  This not for profit association wants to build a community of bright individuals that will work with each other to provide creative solutions to existing issues.

A community such as this is vital to the success of the open source movement because as any movement grows, some ideas could be shut off to only a certain set of individuals or, even worse, a fantastic idea could not effectively find other users.  If a credible space can be created for all ideas to be equally shared and provided, then an idea can receive input from a diverse crowd of designers and thinkers.  Through organizations like OSHWA, an idea could reach many difference innovators from a multitude of disciplines, thus allowing for creative teamwork.  When trying to build an idea, one of the biggest challenges is reaching out to people in different areas of study that likely have a greater knowledge in solving an issue, but this could become non-existent with an organized open source movement.  What the Open Source Hardware Association is doing will very much spark new and exciting ideas that the world has never seen the likes of.




Saying Goodbye to the Selfie Stick and Hello to the AirSelfie

The iconic term ‘selfie’ was made famous when Apple integrated a front facing camera into the iPhone, thus allowing anyone with a phone to snap a photo of themselves anywhere and anytime.  Moving forward, iPhone users were introduced to a large, cumbersome pole that would allow the user to take selfies from a farther distance and from whatever angle best suited their good side.  This innovative device is known as the selfie stick, and since its creation has become a running joke to walk around with in public due to its glaringly obvious use.  A small startup company out of the UK is currently challenging this idea with a creative phone case for any iPhone or Android that holds a mini-drone that will take your selfies for you.

AirSelfie Holdings wants to show the world that a drone attached to the back of your phone can easily take your picture without any contact with the phone, providing the user with a high quality photo that appears to be taken by someone else.  This drone is stored in the back of a phone case that can easily fit in the user’s pocket to allow for easy use in any situation that warrants a selfie with friends or family.  The drone itself weighs less than 52 grams and is encased by an aluminum body that houses the four powerful brushless motors, a 5 megapixel HD camera, and the latest drone hardware.  The AirSelfie can stay in the air for about 3 minutes, allowing for many opportunities to take pictures on only one charge from the USB port.  In order to take the picture, the user just has to use the AirSelfie app on their phone to move the drone into the optimal angle for the picture.  After the right spot is found, the user can set the timer and join the group for the picture as the drone autonomously stays in flight, holding its own position in the air.

This incredible invention utilizes many different aspects of drone and micro HD camera technology, while at the same time providing the user with a fun, useful, and compact phone accessory.  I believe that this is an innovative invention because it uses the latest in hardware and software to easily be able to provide the user with a reliable and social tool for capturing memories.  The AirSelfie has already crowdfunded over $400,000 for their idea, proving that drone technology does not have to be overly complicated or just for hobbyists.  Inventions such as this are only the beginning to the individual use of mini drones in everyday life.




Sleep Better without Blue Light on Your Device’s Screens


Those who regularly are unable to easily fall asleep and stay asleep may finally be able to stop their search for the reason.  Current research has shown that those who suffer from difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep tend to spend a large amount of time on their phones before making their way to bed.  It is not the content on the devices or the device itself causing this lack of sleep, but instead the blue light that the device’s screen gives off to the user’s eyes.

Devices that are used before bed such as phones, tablets, and laptops all utilize LED lights in their screens to provide crisp, clear images.  In order to produce these detailed images, the LED lights give off different wavelengths of visible light, which includes a wavelength related to blue lights.  Everyone has a circadian rhythm that regulates their natural sleep pattern based off of environmental cycles like night and day, but the blue light wavelength tricks the brain into thinking that night is day.  This unforeseen consequence shifts the user’s natural sleep patterns off from the environmental pattern and forces them to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  Harvard researchers have found that being exposed to 6.5 hours of exposure to blue wavelengths a day can shift the natural circadian rhythm of the user by 3 full hours, forcing the user into poor sleep habits.

While this issue seems completely unavoidable, Apple added their own possible solution by introducing ‘Night Shift’ into iPhones within IOS 9.3.  The night shift option allows the user to take out the blue light from the screen altogether to limit the sleep issues caused by blue light wavelengths in LED screens.  Apple recommends using this option after 10 pm in order to avoid negative effects on the user’s circadian rhythms.  Other installable software like Flux carry out the same process for laptops and desktops, turning off the blue light and hopefully giving heavy users the ability to have a normal sleep