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Microsoft Teams Competing With Slack

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Last week, Microsoft unveiled products catering to the professional creative. Yesterday, Microsoft is looking to capture the business collaboration market with Teams. Teams is an online collaboration service that competes directly with well-known collaboration service Slack by allowing real time chat and collaboration on projects. It supports threaded 1:1 private chats or open chats. Just like Slack, there is a sidebar with notifications, chat, and meetings.

Microsoft’s biggest advantage over Slack is the tight integration with Office 365. Excel, Word, and Powerpoint content can all be shared and members can be invited directly to Skype for Business calls. Per Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “Office 365 is the broadest toolkit and platform for creation, communication and collaboration. Microsoft Teams adds a new experience to Office 365 as the chat-based workspace designed to empower the art of teams”. Microsoft products like Power BI and Sharepoint are also integrated for those more engrained in the Microsoft business ecosystem. However, Microsoft has released APIs to allow third party tab integration and even bots into Teams. Microsoft showed off Zendesk and Asana tab support as well as Polly bot integration. There’s even Twitter integration with the ability to push messages from tweets. On the security front, Microsoft promises that data is encrypted always, in transit and at rest. Multi-factor authentication is also available for an additional layer of security.

With Office 365 tying directly into Teams, it’s automatically available to any small business or corporation with a 365 account. This means that millions of people will automatically have “free” access to it. Microsoft’s massive presence inside of the business market positions Teams to be a major player in the collaboration space that is largely dominated by Slack. Slack is very well-known (and used) with 750 apps in the Slack App Directory. Still, Slack seems to be aware of the threat Microsoft poses. Shortly after Microsoft’s announcement, Slack penned a letter congratulating Microsoft on the additional competition and providing a few “tips” for success.

For now, Teams is only available for enterprise customers in 181 countries in 18 languages. Rollout to the general public will be in early 2017.

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Business

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy And The Race To Space

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People are looking to the stars again — even though they might just be looking for Elon Musk’s midnight-cherry Tesla Roadster that’s somewhere in orbit between Mars and the asteroid belt. The successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which sent that car on its potentially billion-year journey, has everyone scrambling to get their rocket program on the same level as SpaceX. What does the Falcon Heavy launch mean for the future of space travel and the possibility of a new space race?

The Falcon Heavy

On Feb. 6, Elon Musk and SpaceX celebrated the maiden voyage of the Falcon Heavy. This miracle of engineering was launched successfully at 3:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, powered by a whopping 27 Merlin engines — nine inches each of the side booster rockets, and nine more in the center core.

The two booster rockets successfully separated and landed almost simultaneously at Landing Zones 1 and 2 back at Cape Canaveral in a mind-blowing feat of synchronization — if you haven’t had a chance to watch the replay of this landing, you should. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

The third core, which was supposed to land on the autonomous droneship Of Course I Still Love You about 300 miles off the Florida coastline, didn’t fare as well. According to the post-launch press conference, the core didn’t have enough fuel to reignite all three of its engines for its final landing burn. It hit the water at about 300 miles per hour — hard enough to take out two of the engines on the droneship.

If the cameras on Of Course I Still Love You weren’t damaged in the crash, we may be in for some spectacular crash footage in the coming weeks.

It’s not a great loss, though — Space X wasn’t planning to reuse any of the cores from the Heavy’s maiden launch. The two Falcon 9 boosters that landed successfully are Block 4 style rockets — the ones that will be used for future Heavy launches will be Block 5.

Despite the spectacular failure of the center core, the launch itself was a complete success — pretty good for something Elon Musk was expecting to explode before it even made it off the launchpad. As Musk put it, “Crazy things can come true. When I see a rocket lift off, I see a thousand things that could not work, and it’s amazing when they do.”

Now that it’s off the ground and proven its viability as a reusable heavy lift option, the Falcon Heavy is much cheaper than any other currently available options. “At $90 million per launch, it’s the cheapest heavy lift option available,” said William Ostrove, a space industry analyst. “The Delta IV Heavy, for example, typically costs $350 million to $400 million per launch.”

The Future of SpaceX

Now that his Roadster is traversing the solar system, what is next for Elon Musk and SpaceX?

In the short term, the next big milestone for SpaceX and for the Falcon Heavy specifically is to get certified by the U.S. Air Force to carry secure and government payloads. The Falcon 9 received this certification back in 2015 and has since carried several military and classified payloads into their places in orbit. The next flight for the Falcon Heavy is scheduled for June for the Air Force — and depending on its outcome, it could be the flight that qualifies the Heavy for military and government contracts.

Next year, in addition to continuing to develop the Falcon Heavy, there are two more projects on SpaceX’s plate — Crew Dragon and the BFR.

Crew Dragon is an upgraded incarnation of the currently used Dragon capsule, but instead of just hauling cargo to the International Space Station autonomously, Crew Dragon will be outfitted for carrying astronauts into orbit and beyond.

This will likely become an essential part of the space program, or at least in getting America’s astronauts to space, especially with the current administration’s plan to defund the International Space Station by 2025 and hand it over to private investors, shifting that funding toward the goal of putting humans back on the Moon.

The BFR — short for Big F*****g Rocket — is designed for use a lot closer to home, at least to start. Once completed, the BFR will be even larger than the gargantuan Falcon Heavy. A BFR with a capsule could potentially turn a 12-hour airline flight into a 30-minute hop around the globe. It could also change the way we look at travel to the Moon, Mars and other planets, as well as facilitating asteroid mining to allow us as a species to take advantage of the resources in the rest of the solar system.

Experts estimate the BFR, once it’s off the ground, could turn space into a multi-trillion-dollar industry — currently, space travel is worth about $300 billion.

The New Space Race

The U.S. hasn’t really been in a “space race” since the 1960s, when we threw everything at the wall to see what would stick. This grand idea resulted in the Apollo program, and we sent men to the Moon for the first time. During his Falcon Heavy post-launch news conference, Elon Musk set forth a challenge: “We want a new space race. Space races are exciting.”

They most certainly are — and Musk isn’t the only billionaire with his eyes turned toward the stars. Jeff Bezos, the mind behind Amazon, is also throwing his hat into the ring, as is Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, Tory Bruno of the United Launch Alliance and the Sierra Nevada Corp.

Bezos’ entry into the space race is his company Blue Origin — he’s launched and landed his New Shepherd rocket multiple times, even before SpaceX managed a successful landing, though all his flights were suborbital. Bezos was planning on his first space tourism launches in 2017, but that fell through. Musk and Bezos regularly launch friendly barbs at one another on Twitter, but when it comes down to it, they each support the other’s endeavors.

Virgin Galactic, headed by Richard Branson, has been trying to make it into orbit for a while now, and has even started selling $250,000 tickets. Unfortunately, Virgin Galactic has hit a few roadblocks, namely the explosion of the space plane during a test flight in 2014 that killed the copilot of the flight.

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is the mind behind NASA’s Space Launch System and the Delta IV Heavy rockets. Bruno and Musk are butting heads on Twitter, but Musk isn’t worried. He’s actually said if ULA can launch a national security mission before 2023, he’ll eat his hat — with a side of mustard.

The Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) is one of the most exciting entrants in this space race. Their space plane, dubbed Dream Chaser, completed its first successful suborbital test flights in 2017 and recently landed a contract with NASA for an ISS resupply mission in 2020. Musk might have some stiff competition if SNC can manage to nail this launch.

SpaceX might be the first one out of the gate, but they’re not the only game in town anymore — and that’s exactly how Elon Musk wants it. “I think it’s going to encourage other companies and countries to say, ‘Hey, if SpaceX, which is a commercial company, and it can do this and nobody paid for the Falcon Heavy, it was paid with internal funds,’ then they could do it too. So I think it’s going to encourage other countries and companies to raise their sights and say, ‘We can do bigger and better,’ which is great,” Musk said at the post-launch press conference.

The Falcon Heavy launch was history in the making, and being able to witness this launch is an amazing feeling. You can expect SpaceX to continue to push forward in their quest to find new and innovative ways to explore the solar system, but they’re not the only company we need to watch anymore — they’re just the only ones with rockets in the air. Elon Musk may have provided the spark to start this new space race, but he’ll have to come up with some amazing innovations to stay on top!

And if this launch has taught us anything, it’s that we need to keep looking at the stars — and believe crazy things can happen.

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We need to talk to Marketing and PR Agencies about Amazon

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Owner’s Magazine is writing an article featuring the top Marketing and PR Agency’s perspectives on why Amazon should choose their city as it’s next HQ. We’re reaching out to all marketing and PR agencies in each of the 20 cities on Amazon’s list for a private interview. If you’re a marketing or PR agency, then we want to talk to you to get your perspective of your city. Your interview and responses will be featured in an article published featuring your city.

Here are requirements to qualify to be featured in article:

  1. Must be legally classified as a Marketing or PR Agency (cannot only be a service you offer)
  2. Company must either be headquartered in a prospective HQ2 city or have an active office there (No satellite offices)
  3. Company must be at least $1MM+ revenue anually

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Camden

First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ

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Penji

First Tech Startup to join Camden NJ

Penji is a new tech startup who recently launched in Camden NJ. Instead of having costly all-inclusive packages that design agencies typically offer, Penji offers unlimited graphic design, unlimited revisions, at a flat monthly rate. The startup launched on October 21st 2017, a day after Camden Catalyst, a startup pitch competition hosted by Waterfront Ventures to bring startups into the city.

camden nj

 

Penji solves a unique problem that startups, small businesses, and agencies tend to have. According to Penji, startups and small business owners spend too much of their time attempting to design their own marketing materials, logos, business cards, etc. And even if they hire a company or a freelancer to help them, it often costs quite a bit more than they originally thought. 

” It’s a huge time waster. And that’s why we created Penji, to solve that graphic design problem for startups and small businesses.” – Johnathan Grzybowski (Cofounder)

Penji’s unique mission

Penji also has a unique mission. The startup plans to be one of the first community conscious startups to plant their flag in Camden NJ. For Penji, being a community conscious startup means giving back to their community on a consistent basis and in ways that truly helps their community. The startup plans to offer jobs and opportunities specifically for students and residents in Camden. Their goal is to hire as many talents as they can from the city with the hope of keeping those talents in Camden. Camden is home to major school institutions such as Rutgers, Rowan, Camden County, and Cooper. Despite having these big names investing in the city, few job opportunities currently exist for students graduating from any of these 4 colleges.

“The only way to successfully revitalize Camden sustainably is if our students are willing to stay in the city and invest in the city themselves. And they can only do that if there are good paying jobs available in Camden. Currently there aren’t many available, and we plan to change that.”- Khai Tran

Penji

The startup already hired 4 students from Camden and have plans to hire more as they grow in Camden. Things are definitely looking up for Camden NJ as the interests for startups are growing from surrounding cities. The Camden city has been struggling with bringing in new businesses for the past few decades and many efforts have been put forth to revitalize the city. Things may be different this time around if enough startup companies join Penji in Camden and invest in the city.

Melissa Le (office manager of Waterfront Lab, Camden’s very own co-working space) is optimistic that Camden will be revitalized this time around.

“We’re feeling good about Camden’s revitalization and we know it will be successful if enough key industries get involved. Having major companies such as American Water, Holtec, and Subaru is a great start, however we need more interests from startups and small businesses to make Camden’s growth sustainable.”

 

 

 

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