What is the key to being a successful entrepreneur? Work a lot? Innovate? Or maybe it’s something else? We consulted entrepreneurs and other experts from different parts of the world.

Ajay Harinath Singh

“Innovation is a word that is said without thinking much,” says Indian businessman Ajay Harinath Singh.

He believes that entrepreneurs should focus on meeting the needs of consumers. “Designing models that adapt to different markets is as important as creating innovative products,” he says. “It’s not about the complexity of an idea or how ‘innovative’ it is, it’s about doing well and offering a very good service.”

For Ajay Harinath Singh, the main reponsibility of an entrepreneur is to make things happen. “Many people have great ideas, but ideas have to be carried out,” he says.

“Some of the best ideas are the simplest; an entrepreneur does not necesirly need to reinvent the wheel. We currently have many social problems, such as the distribution of food for example, that could do with more entrepreneurship.”

Ajay Harinath Singh dedicated a considerable amount of his career to bring innovation to the people who are at the bottom of the pyramid in India. For Singh, the simplest innovations are usually the most important for this group. The success of some entrepreneurs can be an incentive for more young and intelligent people to develop ideas to solve the problems of the poorest. “In reality, it’s not about making great inventions but about applying the inventions to our daily life,” Singh says.

Cesar Salazar

Cesar Salazar, 27, created his first company while preparing his degree in Sweden.

His current company, Mexico VC, deals with financing and advising Mexican entrepreneurs. Salazar believes that the lack of available natural resources and markets encourages innovation.

“Sweden is very good at generating wealth from ideas, and it shows when we see that a country of around nine million inhabitants has produced numerous global and successful brands,” explains Salazar. “Since Sweden has only few resources to exploit, we have had to focus on exporting ideas.”

The United States benefits from the magnitude of its domestic market and, therefore, in comparison, it is not as innovative, according to the Mexican entrepreneur. And although American culture is usually inclined to taking risks, Salazar believes that this country can still host more entrepreneurs.

An easily accessible market can also hinder innovation, as well as Mexico’s dependence on US consumers. The competition from Chinese manufacturers and their cheap products are pushing Mexico to focus more on ideas concerning not only how to do things but also what to do first.

Salazar understands innovation as a fundamental part of business activity. As such, he believes that entrepreneurs are crucial to the economy and society as a whole.

“Entrepreneurs are going to model the future of the world,” he says. “They are building the next generation of products and services for a very complex and challenging world.” Innovation is fundamental to the nature of entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship is about trying things and experimenting,” Salazar says, “and about failing many times.”

John Maeda

The idea that experimentation and failure are important echoes the work of graphic designer and computer scientist John Maeda. Maeda is the current president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

With his experience in technology, art and design, Maeda has actively participated in the development of ideas from a variety of viewpoint. Innovation consists of failure in a productive way, he believes.

“When you can fail productively, you can experiment, and it’s generally a good experiment,” he says.

The close relationship between entrepreneurial activity and innovation raises questions about which comes first: Do entrepreneurs adapt good ideas in response to market opportunities, or will the best innovations be motivated by market opportunities?

Maeda believes that our world has been too driven by the market and that this has led to unrealistic ideas. For Maeda, when undertaking an innovation process, we take into account the way in which artists think.

The artistic process is innovative by nature, since artists resort to trial and error until they reach some kind of compromise. They take risks that are essential in the generation of ideas.

“Regardless of age, all good innovative thinkers can be very playful,” he says. “They have managed to keep a part of the sould that is still creative. One of my favorite things is to children drawing, because at some point they tend to go crazy. They can draw a horse with 18 legs and 17 eyes, and in purple, and that’s great. But one day someone tells them: ‘That’s not the way to draw a horse: it must have four legs and two eyes and it’s never purple.’ At that moment, we have annulled imagination and let ourselves fall into the hands of the market.”

 

In a nutshell, Threat Intelligence Feeds (TIF) are data streams that display information concerning possible cyber attacks and malicious activities happening around the world. These can include malicious IP addresses, domains, file hashes, and other data from 3rd party applications. The six main sources of Thread Intelligence Feeds include honeypots and darknets, human intelligence, open source, customer telemetry, scanning and crawling, and malware processing.

However, one of the issues with Thread Intelligence Feeds is that many of them are open source and free, and their reliability can greatly vary. Paid TIF services often provide more accurate data, though this requires some time and technical knowledge in adjusting feeds to display relevant data on relevant topics. Another known issues with Thread Intelligence Feeds is that they often display far more data than needed. Analyzing the data can therefore become time-consuming, making it harder to detect threats.

Threat Intelligence Platforms, on the other hand, are often perceived as more practical and better organized. Thread Intelligence Platforms (TIP) collect and categorize security threat data in real time. They include actionable indicators that can be used to identify potential threats to an organization (such as known bad IP addresses and URLs, and malware hashes).

Different paid services provide different tools. For instance,  ThreatIntelligencePlatform.com uses APIs to gather data from different providers and generate detailed information about hosts (including infrastructures). It also provides real-time host configuration analysis, geographical location of IP addresses, reverse IP lookup, website content analysis, WHOIis records, Name servers, and SSL certificates.

ThreatIntelligencePlatform.com also checks DNS MX record’s configuration, mail servers, and other possible malwares. Other major Threat Intelligence Platforms include LogRhythm Threat Lifecycle Management (TLM) Platform, FireEye iSIGHT Threat Intelligence, LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, and AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM). These platforms provide various features including consolidation of threat intelligence feeds from multiple sources, automated identification and containment of new attacks, security analytics, and integration with other security tools.

Once again the Faculty of Science at Royal Holloway will be hosting a free programme full of fun and educational talks, hands on activities and events. Women Inspire Science Festival pic

Special events on the day include The Ugly Animal Roadshow, led by biologist and presenter Simon Watt which celebrates and explores the incredible biology of the animal kingdom’s most monstrous, The Royal Institution shows on Explosive Food and Feel the Power, a planetarium experience, a wizard lab, and an introduction to the Bloodhound supersonic car.

Other activities offered on the day are:

  • Mobile zoo with minibeasts
  • Finding out how steam railways work
  • The Big Bang Experience
  • Mars in 3D
  • Virtual Reality and eye tracking demonstrations
  • Balancing robots and more
  • Science Festival Passport  – a treasure trail for younger visitors
  • Women in science – meet some of our science heroines across campus.

The free tickets will be released on the day and are first come, first served.

Anyone wishing to come along can pick up a full programme and tickets  at the information point in Windsor Building at Royal Holloway.

Morning tickets will be released at 9.45am on the day and afternoon (for events from 2pm) will be released at 12.45pm.

No booking required and car parking is available on site. A free shuttle bus will run from Egham station to the campus.

Refreshments are available to purchase at the festival food fair and other outlets across campus.

Visit here for more information on science at Royal Holloway.

Geotargets and ccTLDs

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Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller recently revealed that Google geotargets search rankings in varying locations around the world ccTLDs:

“For geotargeting we use mostly the ccTLD or search console setting, so place the server where it works best for you.”

In previous years, Google would determine SEO ranking based on the location of a domain’s server. It seems that this is no longer the case, and according to Mueller’s statement, server location is not an important factor for SEO ranking anymore.

On the other hand, what has become an important are ccTLDs. If your domain has a location-specific extension, Google is more likely to geotarget results for your site toward searchers in that particular country.

To briefly explain what a ccTLD (country code top-level domain) is: this involves an Internet country code top-level domain extension usually assigned to countries. Each country is allocated their own ccTLD extension

There are ccTLDs that are restricted to be used only be citizens and business owners of their respective country. For instance, to be able to register a domain with the extension “.au” (Australia’s ccTLD), one needs to be able provide proof of owning a business in Australia or being a resident there.

This is usually administered by the registrar. One of the major registrars to manage ccTLDs is Marcaria.com. Marcaria provides more geographic extensions (ccTLDS) than any other registrar in the world. They provide domain registration services in numerous countries. Working with a registrar that specializes in ccTLDs is crucial as it can help to keep all registrations under a single registrant account.

Managing SEO for a global audience isn’t applicable for many smaller websites, but if you have the kind of company or content that can transcend borders and languages, then ccTLDs would become necessary. Most international SEO experts recommend that a site consider the use of a subdirectory for different languages (example.com/fr); however, if one can afford the financial and technical cost, a ccTLD is the most powerful way to filter international markets online.

James Thomas

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Cisco recently released a report on Geolocation outlining the Visual Networking Index Global IP Traffic Forecast, 2015-2020. The forecast estimates that by 2020, half of the world’s population will have access to the Internet. Inevitably, this will also shape and modify global economies, how people access and trade goods, and how demand is identified and targeted.

Geolocation software is currently being used by a wide range of industries to gather data about financial trends. Primarily through the user’s IP address, Geolocation software gathers user information, determining user location (country, province, city, time zone, latitude and longitude). This information can then used to help improve online security, enhance user experience, and identify possible markets.

This practice is often referred to as “Geomarketing”, where geolocation software is used to detect customer demand and organize sales and distribution of goods. In Geomarketing, the data gathered from geolocation software serves to pinpoint and categorize regional trends. This in turn helps determine retail practices and customer needs. A common practice within the field also involves “Geo-fencing.” This is used to predefine geographical boundaries to in order to target user activity. Another such tactic involves Geolocation authentication, which stops unauthorized users from gaining access to restricted and copyrighted content.

Geolocation data will become increasingly valuable, and is already helping organizations personalize their approach to connect with different audiences around the world based on geographical areas. There are a few companies online that specialize in gathering Geolocation data. A prominent organization is IP Geolocation API, an American start-up that provides geolocation data for numerous major companies including IBM, Apple, eBay, Amazon, and various others.

Such companies use geolocation data to categorize and organize currencies and products, as well as protect online content by blocking access from selected geographical areas. It provides insight about market demographics, helping generate new markets and commercial trends. It also identifies risk, fraud, security breaches, and criminal activity online. As the use of the Internet continues to rise, there will be an increasing interest in geolocation data.

Bruno Lingas

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MTF (MT Financial Services), a London-based Bridging Finance organization, has recently proposed one-year mortgages to help people who are unable to move because of the housing market slowdown. The deals are essentially bridging loans for those who have found new homes, but are unable to sell their existing property. MT Financial Services has been operating since 2008, and constitutes one of the most prominent British Bridging Finance companies.

On the other hand, mortgage broker  Enness calculates that it would be £18,000 cheaper to borrow £500,000 on one of these new mortgages than it would be to take out a typical bridging loan. The Shorter Term finance mortgage from Market Harborough building society has a rate of 5.49 per cent for up to a year, almost half the 9 per cent rate at which bridging loans start. You have to pay a fee of 2 per cent (£6,000 minimum) and there are no early repayment charges. The minimum loan size is £200,000 and the maximum £1.5 million.

“It is great to see lenders evolving their products to suit market conditions,” says Chris Lloyd, associate director at Enness. “This product has been very popular with our older clients highlighting its importance in the downsizing market.”

Harpenden is another lender that is arranging rapid loans for Generation Stuck: an Enness client needed to find £687,500 after the sale of their £1.2 million home fell through and they wanted to complete on a new-build within a tight deadline. The building society agreed a rate of 6.19 per cent and an arrangement fee of 2 per cent.

The rates for bridging loans typically start at 0.75 per cent a month, which works out as 9 per cent a year, according to Stephen Wasserman, the managing director of West One Loans, a specialist bridging finance lender. Typical arrangement fees are 1 per cent.

He says this type of finance is sought by people who are “stuck in a chain and it’s taking longer than they would like to sell their existing homes,” or small business owners who need to release money for their business quickly. The majority of his clients are property investors.

The other option for short-term finance, suitable for people who don’t need to borrow so much, is a personal loan. These are becoming increasingly generous and rates have gone down. First Direct launched loans of up to £50,000 at 6.7 per cent last year (most personal loans are capped at £30,000). This is almost double the 3.4 per cent it charges for loans below £30,000. Someone borrowing £50,000 over the maximum seven-year term would repay £743.45 a month — a total of £62,449.

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Although WHOIS data can be obtained by using a dedicated Internet protocol, this isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. WHOIS data is stored and updated by registrars, but many providers pose limitations on the how the data may be accessed. Organizations such as Whois XML API, INC. specializes in collecting and organizing WHOIS data within a central database. WHOIS data is of fundamental importance in numerous fields. Here we will explore what this involves and how it is used.

Whatever the field or market, domain names are becoming increasingly important. A domain name is essentially a synonym of a brand, and it’s the fundamental basis of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Named and Numbers) keeps information on the root of Domain Name Systems. The organization runs a specialized website where anyone can access detailed information on WHOIS data.

When connecting to the Internet, devices have a unique identification number called the IPv4 address. These are assigned a name in order to searchable on the Internet. The names are organized hierarchically to domains. The assignment between IP addresses and names constitutes a DNS (Domain Name System), which is implemented and distributed by the Domain Name Servers. These servers operate on zones: subsets, often a single domain of the hierarchical domain name structure. The information about a zone is contained in so-called zone files.

Top-level domain information is kept and managed by ICANN. There are of two kinds of Top-Level domains: country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs, such as .us, .uk, etc.), and generic top level domains (GTLDs, such as .com, org.) Originally, gTLDs involved extensions such as .com, .org, etc. From 2012 onwards, the set of gTLDs started to significantly extend thanks to the new GTLD program announced by ICANN. These gTLDs are termed as new GTLDs (nGTLDs).

The registration ccTLDs subdomains (as well as lower level domains) are carried out by registrars. These registrars usually consist of competing companies complying with ICANN’s regulations. Although basic contact information is documented when someone registers a domain, but how can we verify the information is accurate? This is where WHOIS (with its distributed database and dedicated protocol) comes into play.

Registrars usually maintain WHOIS servers. This involves detailed information on how, when, and who registered a given domain. This also involves the name and contact data of the registrar as well as the registrant (who registered the domain), update and expiry dates, the address of the primary domain name servers, and the date of the last update of the given record.

Domain branding and marketing research

Having an online presence is currently considered one of the most important aspects of a business, regardless the field or product it sales. An adequate domain name is crucial to help potential clients whatever they’re looking for online. Domain names have a vital role in assisting search engines with queries. In other words, domain names can greatly assist search engines connect customers to products. This is referred to as SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

WHOIS data allows companies to determine if relevant domain names are available. When they’re not available, it provides information on whom a domain belongs to, how that person or company may be contacted, when that registration would expire, and other technical info.

When considering domain names for businesses, searching for domain reputation is also common practice. When buying a domain name, it’s important to consider if the domain name has any conflicting history, or if there are other companies using similar domain names. Even when a domain name does not have a bad track record attached to it, it’s important to keep track of possible trademark violations. This happens when other domains use similar or deriving names (e.g. “amaz0n.com” infringing on “amazon.com”).

There are also circumstances when a domain you previously owned becomes available. Even if you don’t care about that business anymore, the domain can be purchased by a illegitimate company (a porn website, for instance), which may eventually connect back to you.

As such, domain databases can be useful marketing tools. With this, one can identify potential clients, collaborators or competitors, and check a domains history. One can also follow business trends in any given market.

Domain name registration is also a business in itself. This is referred to as “domaining”, and it involves buying domain names that may be sold for a profit to interested companies. This requires following market trends and keeping up with ownership and expiration information.

In conclusion, bulk and historical WHOIS data is a crucial aspect of domain branding, domain protection, and marketing research.

Economics research

In the field of economic research there are vast amounts of scientific publications in which WHOIS data has been used.

For instance, WHOIS data includes information about a company’s dynamic structure, which helps understand how its SEO functions. For instance, NESTA, a global innovation foundation based in the UK, recently published research that pointed out that most businesses today start through domain registration rather than company registration. The research was carried out by accessing data through Whois database download . Such data allowed the study to understand entrepreneurial trends, including information on the business and market sectors involved, as well as Geolocation and Geo-marketing analysis.

IT security: practice

Cybersecurity agencies are continually facing new challenges. New forms of cyber attacks are constantly being devised, which makes it difficult for Cybersecurity agencies to keep up with.

Malicious agents frequently collect data by phishing or other methods. These are often targeted at the infrastructure of a company.

In a phishing mail campaign, for instance, attackers send emails with the purpose of obtaining private data. These emails are usually from websites that collect data or contain viruses. In such cases, WHOIS data serves identify the individuals or companies behind such websites.

WhoisXMLAPI allows users to access information and reputation scoring of domain names and websites. When having a full WHOIS database, one can develop custom approaches to this problem. 

The MITRE corporation, for instance, has developed a pivot table tool for analysts and researchers of cybersecurity to work with WHOIS data obtained from WhoisXMLAPI. Their tool named WhoDat is freely available under the General Public License and can be used for a variety of tasks.

IT security: research

WHOIS data is also a fundamental aspect of IT security research. Data from WhoisXMLAPI has served an important source for various such studies. Protection against malicious websites is an important task within cybersecurity. A common way of identifying these sites is through the use of blacklists that contain large sets of URLs that are considered dangerous.

There are various techniques for compiling such lists. For instance, researchers of the University of Calabria, Italy have recently proposed and demonstrated an efficient machine-learning approach that is based on WHOIS data. This machine-learning approach is able to identify and compile a “blacklist” of malicious websites.

Other areas

In addition to the aforementioned fields, there are several other areas where WHOIS data bears fundamental importance.

For example, WHOIS data is often used within the field of bank transaction fraud, where banks and payment processors need to identify physical entities associated with IP addresses. These organizations also use geolocation information to identify suspicious transactions. Criminal investigators and lawyers also depend on WHOIS data for identifying criminal and fraudulent activities. Geo-fencing can also be used in such circumstances.

How to obtain BULK WHOIS data?

WHOIS data may be accessed via a dedicated Internet protocol. As long as you need data concerning a few domains, you should not encounter any issues.

However, if you require data on more than a few domains, one can easily encounter issues as many operators pose limits on the frequency WHOIS data may be accessed.

Organizations such as WHOIS XML API provide up-to-date data through restful interfaces. The data is provided in standard formats including JSON or XML.

 

 

A survey of 2016’s best and most creative not-for-profit organizations.

By Gina Desmond

1) The Foundation for Detroit’s Future

In 2014, a federal judge and Detroit-based entrepreneur Kevyn Orr formed The Foundation for Detroit’s Future. The organization contributed $366m over a 20 year span. The funds helped save the Detroit Institute of Art, as well as numerous of its art works.

 

 

2) The ALS Association

The ALS Association generates funds to pay for research concerning ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). In the summer of 2014, the organization managed to raise over $100m through the Ice Bucket Challenge (which was initiated by the public, including many ALS patients). The challenge involved well-known celebrities posting videos of themselves on YouTube of themselves getting soaked with a bucket with ice and water. The ordeal generated a lot of international attention. The ALS Association promoted the idea, which generated $21.7m (most of which was used for ALS research).

 

 

 

 

3) Taking It To The Streets

Taking It To The Streets is an American NPO that generates funding to help individuals in poverty throughout selected regions. The organization is managed by entrepreneur Rene Boisvert. Boisvert devises for-profit business strategies that generate income. These are then used to provide education, job training, housing, food, and medical help to numerous people in need throughout the U.S. Taking It To The Streets works with numerous media and corporate partners and other philanthropic organizations.

 

4) The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation was created through a cyber initiative to conduct research on cyber privacy, innovation, and data security. The organization has generated over $65m to date. Funds are being by Berkeley (University of California), Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help protect governments and the public from hackers and online criminal activity.

 

 

 

 

 

5) Direct Relief

Direct Relief was created to eradicate the Ebola outbreak that took place around 2013. In collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the organization used an interactive mapping system that outlined the locations where Ebola was spreading the most. This led to an organized and effective campaign to set up clinics and distribute medicine and protective equipment where it was needed the most.