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Gigwalk: Make money on your morning commute

2 Aug

By Jennifer Alsever @CNNMoneyTech June 22, 2011: 6:06 AM ET

Gigwalk founders (from left) Matt Crampton, Ariel Seidman and David Watanabe.Gigwalk founders (from left) Matt Crampton, Ariel Seidman and David Watanabe.

(CNNMoney) — Most people make a living while they’re at work. But what if you could earn a few bucks just walking to the office?

Gigwalk, a startup founded last summer in Mountain View, Calif., takes the phrase “mobile workforce” literally. The company harnesses America’s vast army of iPhone users, enlisting them to complete various “gigs” when they’re out and about.

Rates for these micro-tasks have included $5 to snap a picture of a restaurant’s chalkboard menu for an online restaurant guide, $7 to visit a wireless store and check on product placement for a cell phone manufacturer and $30 to test out a new iPhone app. Users are encouraged to work gigs into their regular routines, picking up pocket cash while they make trips to the gym or run errands.

“It’s whatever is convenient,” says Ariel Seidman, the co-founder and CEO of Gigwalk. Inspiration for the service came last spring when Seidman, 34, was the director of mobile search for Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500). He watched mapping companies spend exorbitant amounts of time and money dispatching contractors to gather information from far-flung locales. What if they could rely instead on iPhone users who were already there?

Seidman left his job last June. He enlisted two former Yahoo colleagues, Matt Crampton and David Watanabe, to help build the software platform that would bring his idea to life. In December, Gigwalk landed $1.7 million in startup capital from sources including the Greylock Discovery Fund, managed by LinkedIn (LNKD) co-founder Reed Hoffman, and Harrison Metal, founded by Michael Dearing, a former senior vice president of eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) and an early funder of AdMob, which Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) bought for $750 million.

“I thought it was an amazing concept,” says Jeff Clavier, a managing partner at SoftTech VC, which also invested in Gigwalk. “After five minutes I thought, ‘This is like mobile crowdsourcing.'”

Gigwalk’s corporate clients include TomTom, the Dutch maker of portable GPS systems, and MenuPages.com, the New York online restaurant guide. Gigwalk executives would not say how many clients, in total, have signed on so far. They also declined to release their revenues and the number of active “gigwalkers,” saying only that thousands of people have completed tasks in seven cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

To sign up for the service, iPhone users download an app, then register with Gigwalk and pass a background check. The company plans to launch an app for Android owners later this year.

Gigwalk uses iPhone owners’ GPS locations and home addresses to filter and distribute appropriate gigs for them. Once a user accepts a gig, there’s a limited time to finish it, usually a couple of days. After a completed task is approved, the user gets paid through PayPal.

To commission Gigwalk for a job, companies specify what tasks they’d like to outsource to smartphone users and pay Gigwalk a lump sum upfront. A percentage of that sum goes directly Gigwalk — the company would not disclose how much — and the rest goes to paying “gigwalkers” as they complete their tasks.

Reliable workers — those who do a good job and don’t submit fuzzy menu photos — are rewarded with the first pick of better-paying gigs.

Gigwalk has become a big time-saver for MenuPages, which maintains 32,000 online listings for restaurants across the country, according to Tom Bohan, the company’s director of content operations. One of MenuPages’ biggest challenges is keeping track of current information: new food items, hours of operation, whether there’s outdoor seating and wheelchair access. In the past, they’ve mostly used Craigslist to hire hourly contractors who can visit those businesses in person to collect data.

Bohan discovered Gigwalk late last year. Though they cost about the same as his regular contractors, gigwalkers turn assignments around for him much faster, he says — typically in about two weeks instead of eight.

Gigwalk’s biggest challenge? Getting people to take time out of their day for small payouts of just $2 to $15 apiece. Seidman says he doesn’t expect anyone to drive 15 minutes to do a $2 or $5 gig. But he hopes they’ll be willing to work multiple gigs into their morning commutes, or squeeze in a task that’s just two doors down from wherever they happen to be at the moment.

That’s worked out well for Andrew Schut, 47, a medical device consultant in New York City who’s the top-grossing gigwalker so far, earning $2,173 since March. Schut maps out clusters of gigs whenever he goes for a walk and tries to knock out a couple on the way to his clients’ offices.

“It’s given me the motivation to see parts of the city I didn’t know about,” says Schut, who created an online community called gigwalkingtips.com. “The beauty of it is you do it when you have time, and if you have time.” To top of page

Tech Mogul Pays Bright Minds Not to Go to College

17 Jun

(While we promote higher education here at Insiders Group Inc, it really isn’t for everyone (Bill Gates was a college dropout, keep in mind).  What’s more important is doing what works best for you and promotes a strong mindset and future.   So read on…)

By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press Sun May 29, 3:41 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Instead of paying attention in high school, Nick Cammarata preferred to read books on whatever interested him. He also has a gift for coding that got him into Carnegie Mellon University’s esteemed computer science program despite his grades.

But the 18-year-old programmer won’t be going to college this fall. Or maybe ever.

Cammarata is one of two dozen winners of a scholarship just awarded by San Francisco tech tycoon Peter Thiel that comes with a unique catch: The recipients are being paid not to go to college.

Instead, these teenagers and 20-year-olds are getting $100,000 each to chase their entrepreneurial dreams for the next two years.

“It seems like the perfect point in our lives to pursue this kind of project,” says Cammarata of Newburyport, Mass., who along with 17-year-old David Merfield will be working on software to upend the standard approach to teaching in high school classrooms.

Merfield, the valedictorian of his Princeton, N.J., high school class, is turning down a chance to go to Princeton University to take the fellowship.

Thiel himself hand-picked the winners based on the potential of their proposed projects to change the world.

All the proposals have a high technology angle but otherwise span many disciplines.

One winner wants to create a mobile banking system for the developing world. Another is working to create cheaper biofuels. One wants to build robots that can help out around the house.

The prizes come at a time when debate in the U.S. over the value of higher education has become heated. New graduates mired in student loan debt are encountering one of the toughest job markets in decades. Rising tuitions and diminishing prospects have led many to ask whether college is actually worth the time and money.

“Turning people into debt slaves when they’re college students is really not how we end up building a better society,” Thiel says.

Thiel made his fortune as a co-founder of online payment service PayPal shortly after graduating from Stanford Law School. He then became the first major investor in Facebook. In conversation and as a philanthropist, Thiel pushes his strong belief that innovation has stagnated in the U.S. and that radical solutions are needed to push civilization forward.

The “20 Under 20” fellowship is one such effort. Thiel believes that the best young minds can contribute more to society by skipping college and bringing their ideas straight to the real world.

And he has the shining example of Facebook to back up his claim. Thiel’s faith in the world-changing potential of Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg’s idea led him to invest $500,000 in the company, a stake that is now worth billions.

Still, the Zuckerbergs of the tech industry are famous because they are the exceptions. Silicon Valley is littered with decades-worth of failed tech startups.

Vivek Wadhwa, director of research at Duke University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and a writer for TechCrunch and Bloomberg Businessweek, has assailed Thiel’s program for sending what he sees as the message that anyone can be Mark Zuckerberg.

“Silicon Valley lives in its own bubble. It sees the world through its own prism. It’s got a distorted view,” Wadhwa says.

“All the people who are making a fuss are highly educated. They’re rich themselves. They’ve achieved success because of their education. There’s no way in hell we would have heard about Peter Thiel if he hadn’t graduated from Stanford,” he says.

Thiel says the “20 Under 20” program shouldn’t be judged on the basis of his own educational background or even the merits of his critique of higher education. He urges his critics to wait and see what the fellows achieve over the next two years.

According to data compiled by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, workers with college degrees were laid off during the Great Recession at a much lower rate than workers without degrees. College graduates were also more likely to be rehired.

But for fellowship recipients like John Burnham, 18, such concerns pale next to the idealism of youth. At his prep school in western Massachusetts, Burnham started an alternative newspaper to compete with the school’s official publication.

The entrepreneurial experience of creating something out of nothing captured his imagination. Now his ambitions have grown.

Burnham believes that the world’s growing population will put an unsustainable strain on the planet’s natural resources. That’s why he’s looking to other worlds to meet humanity’s needs.

Specifically, he believes that mining operations on asteroids could hold the key. For the next two years, he’ll be studying rocket propulsion technology and puzzling through the economics of interplanetary resource extraction.

“This fellowship is so much of a better fit for my personality than I think college would be,” Burnham says. “When you get an opportunity of the magnitude of this fellowship, I couldn’t see myself being able to wait.”

Corcoran Forced to Correct False Neighborhood Boundaries in Brooklyn

15 Jun

We missed this story last month, but better late then never in applauding our Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries for representing his districts properly…

Residential real estate giant the Corcoran Group has been commended by King’s County Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries for correcting its advertising practices.

Corcoran, Jeffries said in today’s statement, had been falsely stating the boundary between Prospect Heights and Crown Heights in an effort to market Crown Heights’ properties as being in the more desirable Prospect Heights neighborhood. (TheRealDeal.com)

Read the rest HERE.

You Can’t Be Lazy and Still Want to Change Your Life for the Better

1 Jun

If you’ve read this blog before, or watched my videos or even more so have come to my classes, you know that what I’m about to tell you about really pisses me off.  In a survey taken a few months ago,it was found that most people that are unhappy at their jobs to very little to change their situation.  This is a behavior that leaves me dumbfounded.

For my new readers, I became fed up with my lack of financial success – and increasing debt – more than a decade ago.  After stumbling through bad business ideas and deals, I plunked down and finally discovered the keys to my now continued success.  But even before I found those keys, I declared to my job that in two years (this is in 20o2) that I would be leaving –retiring – and that they should find my replacement.  In that two years I cleared up my $45,000 worth of debt and soon after became a millionaire.  I realized that not everyone has my fortitude, and so I founded Insiders Group Inc. to teach others how to do what I did and am glad to have made others very successful in their own right.  But enough about me, this is about laziness.

If all you do is wallow in your depression, your situation will never change.  Everyone isn’t an entrepreneur, true, but anyone – given they seek the knowledge out to do so – can make something better of themselves for themselves, their families and their communities.

Unhappy Workers Do Little About It, Says Survey

by Kyle Stock

from FINS Technology – The Wall St. Journal

Griping about your job is one thing; doing something about it is something else entirely.

When it comes to hunting for a better position elsewhere, most of us don’t bother, according to a survey released this morning by Accenture. Almost half of the 3,400 workers questioned by the technology consulting firm said they were dissatisfied with their jobs, but only 30% of respondents had any plans to switch employers.

The more common strategy was to build up experience and look for a better opportunity in-house.

“There’s still a sense of commitment to take action with their current employer,” said LaMae Allen deJongh, the author of the study and Accenture’s managing director for human capital and diversity. “We interpret that as an opportunity.”

And while feeling underpaid was the biggest complaint, only about half of those surveyed had ever asked for or negotiated a pay raise.

If companies aren’t in a position to hand out raises, deJongh said they should offer promotions, greater responsibility and flexibly work arrangements to keep employees happy.

There is some evidence that job dissatisfaction is running particularly high. A recent report by the Conference Board, a nonprofit, New York-based research firm, found that 55% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs, the highest level in 22 years. Respondents also said the best part of their work as the company of colleagues and the commute.

No doubt, much of the recent discontent is tied to the economy at large. Those still in the workforce are likely doing more and earning less — or at least not much more — than they were a few years ago. And many are likely slogging away in positions they have little interest in.

Then again, there are almost 14 million people still looking for work — something to consider next time you feel like griping about your paycheck.

Knock, Knock… Who’s There? OPPORTUNITY!

19 Apr

Greetings Insider:

It’s amazing how the mind works. You know you are not happy with your current financial situation, and you know that if you do the same things you did last year your financial situation is not going to get better… as a matter of fact, it will probably get worse. Yet, you still find yourself creating excuses why you aren’t willing to sacrifice two hours of your time to find out exactly how you can turn your financial situation …around. This is insane, especially when there is nothing to risk and a world of OPPORTUNITY to gain.

I know it’s not easy to make changes, even if the changes are good for you, and I know having a job and a family is tiring. Before 2004 I was in the same boat as you. I had a job that didn’t quite meet my expenses, family obligations and zero energy left at the end of the day. It wasn’t until I was sick and tired of working hard just to not have enough that I was able to take the right action, connect with the right people, and walk away from being broke and miserable forever.

I want to share with you the hard fought knowledge that I gained while turning my life around from having a $45,000 debt and a dead end job, to retiring at age 36, acquiring millions of dollars worth of real estate, several successful businesses and the comfort in knowing that I will never have to have another job in my life.

I hope you don’t have to hit rock bottom before you decide to take action, but if you can find just one good reason to drag yourself to this workshop I’m offering on Wednesday (4/20) at 7pm (If you absolutely can’t make Wednesday, I have one more date on Saturday 4/23 at 1pm). I’m holding nothing back in this truth revealing workshop about how wealth is really created and how you can cash in on the trillions of dollars being left on the table because others haven’t cracked the code to profiting in this new economy.

Multilevel marketing will not solve your problem! Dumping money into a 401K or Roth IRA is not the answer! And trying to acquire properties using short sales or REO’s is not the solution either! To find out how REAL money is being made, register for this powerful workshop “Insider Secrets to Financial Freedom” at 216 Greene Avenue in Brooklyn on Wednesday, April 20th at 7pm .

For information as valuable as this, you could easily expect to pay a thousand dollars or more. But I’m offering it to you absolutely FREE so don’t waste time registering. Warning: Because of space constraints, this offer is limited to the first thirty people to respond. (This email is going out to 278 people. So, register immediately by emailing me back right now or calling 718-622-2271 to secure your seat!)

I can’t force you to come. It’s always going to be your choice whether you get wealthy or not. To be honest, making lots of money and having plenty of free time isn’t for everyone. Some people need to work for someone else for the rest of their life. Only you know if you are ready… If you are ready, then call now or email me. I look forward to sharing in your success.

SUCCESS!!!!!!
Heru Nekhet
Taking Ordinary People From Rags to Riches

PS – If you could discover how you can quit your dead end job and have a steady stream of income for the rest of your life, it’s certainly worth two hours of your time. But since you may still be skeptical, I’m going to guarantee that this workshop will absolutely blow you away. If you don’t agree that his is the most mind blowing workshop you have ever attended, I’ll give you a crisp $20 bill for wasting your time.

PPS – Feel free to pass this on to family and friends

Insiders Group, Inc.
216 Greene Ave., B’klyn, NY 11238
718-622-2271
http://www.InsidersGroup.com

article: Facebook, Zynga, Groupon minting billionaires

7 Apr

This is a pretty interesting piece published by MarketWatch a few weeks back in how internet entreprenuers are wasting zero time in cashing in on their investment…which makes sense given the current financial climate. Yet, as I repeatedly tell you all in my classes, videos , etc…money doesn’t disappear, it just gets transferred into other outlets.  These millionaires are proof positive of that.  Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think:

Facebook, Zynga, Groupon minting billionaires

Commentary: Internet insiders who don’t need IPOs to cash in

By John Shinal of FINS.com

Early investors and executives of the hottest Internet startups know something that retail investors hoping to get rich on their expected IPOs may not: A sizable chunk of the value in companies such as Facebook and Groupon has already been cashed out.

And most of what hasn’t will still belong to insiders after any initial public offering.

Take Groupon, the fast-growing online coupon service that was founded in late 2007 as a way to help people raise money for their favorite causes. Since morphing into a group buying site, it’s raised a tidy sum of money for its owners.

When Groupon closed a huge investment round near the end of last year, the majority of the $950 million it received didn’t go to fund company operations. Instead, $573 million, or 60%, was paid to existing shareholders selling their stakes, according to a January SEC filing.

It was the second time in less than a year that Groupon insiders were selling, as a filing for the company’s previous round, in April, 2010, said part of the amount raised was used to “facilitate liquidity for employees and early investors.”

That means founder and CEO Andrew Mason and other early employees, as well as venture capital investors New Enterprise Associates and Accel Partners, likely don’t need an IPO to get rich off Groupon, which is reportedly now raising another round that could value it as high as $15 billion.

The same holds true for those who were early into any of the latest batch of fast-growing Web companies. Based on public filings and widely reported valuation of private-market transactions, the combined worth of equity in Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga Game Network is somewhere between $75 billion and $90 billion.

If accurate, those reports mean their aggregate valuation has more than doubled in less than a year. And with reports of new funding rounds emanating almost weekly, the valuation continues to grow, leading some to call the investment climate a new Internet bubble.

“Whenever you have new value being created, you’re going to have a bubble,” said Tim O’Reilly, founder and president of O’Reilly Media and a veteran observer of Silicon Valley. “Investors don’t know how to value it.”

Even if the market crashes and investments in the second wave of Web companies never pan out for individual investors, those with big stakes in the startups are staring at big future gains and, in some cases, have already pocketed some major cash.

Facebook

In January, Facebook said it raised $1.5 billion of investment that valued the company at $50 billion. The latest round came from Russian investment firm DST (formerly Digital Sky Technologies), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) and Goldman’s non-U.S. clients.

The valuation was more than twice the $24 billion the company was reportedly worth in July, 2010, in private market trading. Since then, global users of the world’s largest social networking service increased to 600 million from 500 million.

More recent talks reportedly value Facebook at $65 billion. At that level, co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 24% stake is worth more than $15 billion, by far the largest stake in the company. Several other early employees and investors also have multibillion-dollar stakes in Facebook.

Russia’s DST and the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners each own 10% of the company, with each stake now worth $6.5 billion.

Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin own stakes of 6% and 5%, respectively worth $3.9 billion and $3.25 billion. Sean Parker, an early investor and former executive of the original Napster music service, owns 4%, worth $2.6 billion. Peter Thiel, who founded PayPal and now runs a hedge fund, owns 3%, or $1.95 billion.

Trading in Facebook shares reportedly is active in private markets such as SecondMarket, suggesting that at least some early Facebook investors are cashing out.

Several reports have pegged Facebook’s 2010 revenue at $1.97 billion, and one private investor who has seen the company’s financial reports told me it generated $680 million in cash last year.

The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., declined to comment for this story.
Twitter

In December, Twitter reportedly raised $200 million, valuing the company at $3.7 billion. Investors included the marquee Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

The valuation is more than triple the amount that investors paid in a funding round just a year earlier. Recent discussions have pegged the company’s worth at up to $8 billion, making the stakes of Twitter co-founders Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams likely worth several hundred million dollars apiece.

That’s not bad considering that Stone, in an onstage interview at a Federated Media conference in February, said of Twitter: “we’re just in the early phases of being a real business.”

The San Francisco-based company is not profitable and had 2010 revenue of $45 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.  Among other Twitter shareholders are several prominent tech investors including Ron Conway and Marc Andreesen and venture capital firms Union Square Ventures and Charles River Ventures.

Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Zynga Game Network

Zynga, a maker of social games played mostly on Facebook, is reportedly in talks to raise a $250 million funding round that values the San Francisco-based company at between $7 billion and $9 billion.

That’s a huge leap in valuation for a three-year-old startup that in April, 2010, filed papers to issue new stock that valued the company at $4 billion. In December, 2009, Zynga raised $150 million from Digital Sky Technologies in a transaction that reportedly valued it between $1.5 billion and $3 billion.

In July, 2010, Zynga took $147 million in investment from Softbank (PINK:SFTBY) , (TOKYO:JP:9984) , a Japan-based Internet investment company, as part of an agreement to create a joint venture called Zynga Japan.

At the more recent valuation, founder and CEO Mark Pincus’s stake could be worth at least $1 billion, given that founding CEOs with no co-founders typically own at least 10% of their startup if the company is profitable early on, as Zynga reportedly has been. Read related story: Millions at stake as startup equity pay rises.

The company generated $400 million in profit last year on revenue of $850 million, the Journal reported.

also check out their reference article: Facebook, Twitter, Zynga Bubbles Minting Millionaires

Insider Secrets – Globalization’s Effect on the USA’s Economy

28 Mar

In this latest video, I respond to to viewers questions about the current job market (and lack thereof of jobs) and how the expanded globalization effects all Americans as well as what you can do to enhance your attractiveness to employers.

Have your own questions that you want answered? Submit them and and get valuable financial advice by emailing me at Heru@Insidersgroup.com or to my Twitter page – twitter.com/HeruNekhet

Heru Nekhet
President, Insiders Group Inc
www.InsidersGroup.com