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The Power of Social Data: A Conversation with Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll

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DaneAtkinsonEver since starting a dog walking business at the ripe old age of 10, Dane Atkinson has been hooked on entrepreneurship. He wrote his first piece of software at 12 and starting working in advertising at 13. By the time he was 18 years old, Dane was the C.O.O of an advertising company with about 30 employees. Now, he’s making headlines as the CEO of SumAll, a social media and e-commerce data platform, where he’s implemented a company-wide pay transparency policy. 

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Dane when he came in to film a live stream. Read on to discover his thoughts on entrepreneurship, open data, social media, and more. 

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NYC Becomes a More Talented Tech Hub Thanks to New CTO, Minerva Tantoco

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It was a Tuesday morning deep in Lower Manhattan, steps away from the World Trade Center and City Hall. While suits swarmed the sidewalks on their way to offices in the sky, we made our way to LMHQ, which hosts events and allows space for coworking.

Fellow startup folks filled the main room, chatting, exchanging cards, drinking coffee, and taking pictures of the whiteboard art. It seemed exactly like the kind of place where Techweek New York would kick off, with none-other than a CTO as the featured speaker. But this wasn’t the kind of CTO the startup crowd is used to hearing — it was Minerva Tantoco, the very first CTO for the government of the City of New York.

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“Let Dreams Evolve,” A Conversation with Kristian Nairn of Game of Thrones

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Fans of Kristian Nairn, known for playing the well-loved character of Hodor on the TV phenomenon, Game of Thrones, may be surprised to know that he’s enjoyed a thriving DJ career for the past two decades. His latest, and perhaps most notable, set being Rave of Thrones—an epic dance party that brings together die-hard Game of Thrones fans and music lovers from around the world.

We caught up with Nairn backstage at the Hard Rock cafe, right before he played a rowdy crowd of ravers and cosplay enthusiasts at this year’s Comic Con in New York City.

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Make Your App A Viral Hit in 5 Simple Steps

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Tyler Swartz is a graduate of General Assembly and the creator of Bar Roulette. You can follow him @TylerSwartz on Twitter.

Bar Roulette is my first web app. Last year I decided to learn how to code beyond the free code academy courses and signed up for front-end web development at General Assembly. I loved it and as soon as I finished I took the back-end web development course to learn Ruby on Rails. My decision to build Bar Roulette was a result of Uber releasing a new ride request API and the need to pick a final project for my General Assembly class. Uber also had an online hackathon and I thought that deadline would help give me an extra push.

Initial sketches of the user experience.

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Should You Try Crowdfunding Your Startup?

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Essentials-of-CrowdfundingUnless you are independently wealthy or have a line of investors at your door, you’re going to need capital to get your startup going. If you want to steer clear of traditional loans, crowdfunding is an option worth exploring. Crowdfunding is a way of raising money for a project through donations or investments from the public. In the case of startups, crowdfunding can be used to launch or grow a small business.

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“Don’t Be Afraid to Fail,” a Conversation with Techweek CEO, Katy Lynch

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In 2014, American startups saw the largest year-over-year growth in twenty years. New businesses are on the rise—helping reverse a five-year downward trend in startup activity, according to a Kauffman Index report. With 310 out of every 100,000 U.S. adults building a startup or small business, entrepreneurs make up a small but significant part of the American workforce.

No one appreciates this significance more than Katy Lynch, the new CEO of Techweek, a series of festivals celebrating entrepreneurs in cities across the world.

We caught up with Katy on the eve of Techweek New York to chat about her own experience launching and selling a successful social media agency and what excites her about her new role as CEO. 

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Father of “The Lean Startup” Movement Clarifies His Message: Don’t Bulls— Yourself

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Eric Ries discusses his lean startup methodology at General Assembly in New York City.

“Lean Startup is not a religion,” said Eric Ries, the 37 year-old author of The Lean Startup (2011), which is the handbook for what has become a cult-like movement embraced by entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide.

The core philosophy of the book – and of its practitioners – is to test ideas early and often by getting feedback from potential customers. Before investing very much time and money into a product, the idea is to quickly create an MVP (minimal viable product) and put it in front of potential consumers. This avoids wasting time and money developing products that people may not want.

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How General McChrystal Captures the Magic of Small Teams at Scale

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In today’s fast-moving society, the greatest leaders are those who discard bureaucratic business models in favor of a networked “team of teams,” empowered to make decisions quickly by breaking down communication silos between departments and positions.

This is retired United States Army General Stanley McChrystal’s philosophy, who dedicated more than thirty-four years of service to the U.S. military. His final, and perhaps most notable assignment, was as the commander of all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2003 until he retired in 2010.

Throughout his tenure, General McChrystal worked to develop scalable management practices that enabled the U.S. Army to embody this “team of teams,” which possessed the necessary agility and flexibility to fight in a modern, technologically advanced war environment and beat back Al Qaeda.

Five years into civilian life, General McChrystal applies the leadership skills he learned during his time in the Army to the business world as co-founder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership and management consultancy firm.

We recently had the great honor of speaking to General McChrystal before he came to our headquarters in New York for a keynote discussion on leadership and team building.

This special event was moderated by Scott Kirkpatrick, the President and COO of General Assembly, who spent time as an officer in the United States Coast Guard.

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5 Companies Using Data for Social Impact

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Can data improve the future of our humanity? You better believe it. “Big data” is more than just big businesses. Every day, social impact groups are finding new and creative ways to act upon the information that they’re generating. They’re using data to surface new information, uncover underserved communities, and track performance over time. Here are 5 very different organizations that are using data, in new and creative ways, to improve the lives of people around them:

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Former Astronaut Scott Parazynski Discusses Leadership Under Pressure at General Assembly

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Former Astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski addresses the crowd at General Assembly.

We recently hosted former astronaut, Mt. Everest climber, Emergency Medicine doctor, and entrepreneur, Scott Parazynski, at our NYC headquarters for a talk about leadership under pressure. The discussion was moderated by Jillian Bellovary, who studies black holes as a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History.

Parazynski captivated the crowd with his daring tales of  space missions, mountaineering adventures, and even how he met his wife. At the crux of these stories were battle-tested tips for managing risk, assembling an excellent team, and learning from failure.

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