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All posts by Brad Merrill
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October 6, 2015

Wantboards Wants To Change The Way You Shop With A “Reverse eBay”

Los Angeles startup Wantboards wants to disrupt the traditional understanding of commerce by putting the pricing power into the hands of consumers. It’s doing this with a demand-based marketplace where users can post a “Wantboard,” along with the price, condition, and brand of a product they’re looking for. The team then finds sellers who have what they’re looking for, and—if things go well—the process ends with a sale.

“It all started with a little car shopping,” says Wantboards’ Shannon Lotka. “Rudy Marilla first came up with the idea for Wantboards while searching for an offroad SUV for his family. He knew what target [...]

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October 2, 2015

Marketing And Social Media Resources For Startups

There’s a lot of info about marketing and social media out there, and piecing it all together into an actionable plan can be overwhelming. To make matters worse, most free marketing resources aren’t specifically focused on startups, which have unique needs and characteristics.

That’s why we’ve put together this short list of marketing and social media resources for startups. They’re all 100 percent free and totally valuable. Have a look at each of them, dive deep into the ones you feel best suit your business, and you’ll be well on your way to crushing it in marketing and social media.

Marketing Plan Resources

The Ultimate [...]

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October 2, 2015

This Drone Video Shows Amazing Views Of Chicago

Filmmakers Rick Wayne and Brad Johnson left Chicago last month to take their film company Underscore Films to Los Angeles. Before they left, though, they decided to create one last film of their home city: a beautiful drone-captured video called Homesick for Chicago.

“It’s hard to say goodbye to someone you love but nothing can prepare you to say goodbye to your city,” the filmmakers wrote on YouTube. “We were born here, had our hearts broken then mended and we grew up into business men. Chicago is something you have to let into your soul to understand. Although our careers lead us out west to Los Angeles, our hearts will forever remain in the Windy [...]

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October 1, 2015

Weebly Launches Carbon, The First Mobile Platform For Building E-Commerce Stores

Website building platform Weebly today announced Carbon, the third major iteration of its service. This update is a “complete relaunch of the Weebly platform,” bringing with it a plethora of services to help entrepreneurs build and grow e-commerce stores from any device.

Carbon is reportedly the first platform that allows users to build and manage an online store using only a phone or tablet. Weebly’s new apps for iOS and Android offer an all-inclusive drag-and-drop experience that entrepreneurs can use to manage their businesses from anywhere—no desktop computer required.

Weebly has also launched a new App Center, which offers integrations from [...]

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October 1, 2015

Tailgater Concierge Takes The Work Out Of Your Football Tailgating Experience

Chicago startup Tailgater Concierge is a new service that aims to offer college football fans an easier way to tailgate. It provides amenities including tents, tables, chairs, ice-filled coolers, and even BBQs and TVs.

Behind the company are co-founders Jennie LaGrow and Neil Golden. Jennie is a businesswoman from the financial world who has worked for companies like The Walt Disney Company and Computershare. Neil previously worked as Chief Marketing Officer for McDonald’s USA where he oversaw the national marketing efforts for nearly 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S.

“Tailgater Concierge makes it easier for fans to enjoy their time with [...]

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September 21, 2015

Apple Car To Launch In 2019

Apple plans to release its first car in 2019, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. It’s the focus of a major initiative dubbed “Project Titan.”

This has been a topic of discussion for quite some time, and now it’s getting very real. The company is now referring to Titan as a “committed project” internally, and plans to triple the number of people working on it—jumping from 600 to 1,800 employees.

Rumors thus far have suggested that Apple is working on a self-driving car, but the company’s first vehicle is unlikely to be fully autonomous, the WSJ says, citing people familiar with the company’s plans.

The [...]

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September 18, 2015

The Next-Gen Chromecast Is Coming September 29 With Spotify Support, Better WiFi, And “Fast Play”

Two years ago, Google released a cool little gadget that turns any TV into a smart TV. At only $35, it was (and is) an absolute steal for watching digital content in your living room.

Since its release, the Chromecast has received a number of software updates, but its hardware has remained unchanged. But that’s no longer the case, according to a report from 9To5Google. Internal documents from Google suggest we’ll see a new Chromecast on September 29, the same date we expect to see new Nexus devices. The new Chromecast will have a totally new design (round, with three color options) as well as an assortment of new features.

Spotify, which is still [...]

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September 17, 2015

Periscope Introduces Web Profiles

Periscope today announced that it has added Web-based profiles for its streaming service.

Now, you can view broadcasters’ profiles and recent broadcasts in a browser by simply going to periscope.tv/username.

“We think it’s really important for broadcasters to have a home on the Web, and today’s launch is just the beginning,” Periscope wrote in a blog post.

Periscope launched mobile-first six months ago, but after passing 10 million users, the Twitter-owned company wanted to make it easier for desktop users to view broadcasts.

Broadcasting can still only be done from the mobile app.

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September 17, 2015

ZenPayroll Changes Name To Gusto, Expands Into Benefits To Compete With Zenefits And ADP

ZenPayroll, the startup that aims to make payroll painless for business owners, today announced that it’s changing its name to Gusto and plans to expand into offering employee benefits to compete with companies like Zenefits and ADP.

In the past, the company focused on the six million U.S. small businesses that have done payroll by hand. But going forward, Gusto will position itself as a one-stop-shop for all compensation based needs—including health benefits and workers’ compensation.

CEO Josh Reeves says this has been in the works for a while, and plans to eventually offer benefits even appeared in the company’s 2012 seed fundraising [...]

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September 13, 2015

This Restaurant Serves Food With No Human Interaction

Eatsa, a new San Francisco restaurant specializing in quinoa, is doing something that turns the traditional understanding of food service on its head: the entire process, from ordering to delivery, is automated. The only humans on-site are those working behind the scenes—and even they may soon be replaced by machines.

The result is something as-of-yet unheard of, but long anticipated, in the fast food industry. From the moment you walk in the door until you leave the restaurant, no human interaction is required.

What this means depends on whether you’re a glass-half-full or half-empty kind of person. On one hand, it makes restaurant-going cheaper and more [...]

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