Give scheduling a break and let Shedwool handle it

ShedWool is changing the way employees schedule. CEO Cory Warfield has spent 20 years in the restaurant industry and he’s ready to modernize organization. Warfield used to rap and talks about his past in the music industry as well as bootstrapping. Warfield had a negative experience with a Chicago steakhouse and took it upon himself to improve scheduling across many more industries than restaurants.

Find more innovators at Technori.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Good health starts with what we eat and eating well shouldn’t be hard

Any new customers can download the app, or sign up at the fridge and get 50% off. For existing customers, they can use the code WGN10 to get 10% off.

Farmer’s Fridge creates automated “micro-restaurants” delivered to offices, public lobbies, and airports and every unsold meal is donated to local pantries. The process doesn’t cost vendors anything, it’s all based on customer consumption. Founder Luke Saunders sought to build a company that offer high-quality food fast. And by tasting the results, it’s safe to say this startup succeeded. And stay tuned for a live startup pitch from Pree Walla, co-founder of Preemadonna. Preemadonna is disrupting the nailcare industry with the Nailbot.

Find more innovators at Technori.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Boomers are retiring. Retiring is the leading cause of bankruptcy. It’s time to plan.

10 thousand baby boomers are turning 65 every day.  Genivity is allowing seniors to retire without having to worry about bankruptcy by getting the whole family on board. Founder and CEO Heather Holmes helped create a SaaS platform that offers elder care cost planning. Listen and clear the air and the fear that comes along with elder care.

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AI leads every sale with your best rep

XSELL Technologies founder and CEO Matt Coughlin and Vice President Brad Bennett are revolutionizing sales. The platform utilizes AI to manage customer interactions. What if every customer talked with your best sales rep? That’s what XSELL offers!

Find more innovators at Technori.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Jiobit rallies the Chicago tech community around preventing gun violence

Jiobit CMO Lindsay Slutzky is helping to keep your kids safe. The company’s hardware gives parents peace of mind when they’re out in public with children. Parents can get GPS locating on their smartphone. Now the company is setting its focus on gun violence. Jiobit is joining forces with Motorola, Techstars Chicago and the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence to host an educational event at Merchandise Mart.

Find more innovators at Technori.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“Our message resonated.” How Monument hit it big on Kickstarter

Founder Ercan Erciyes and Director of Customer Success Hardik Patel join the show to discuss easily storing your photos with Monument. The intelligent monument device backs up all the photos you take automatically. The team crowdfunded with Kickstarter and discovered a bigger user base excited to embrace the product than they expected. Use code TECHNORI to get $30 off online orders.

Find more innovators at Technori.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Beginner’s Guide to Quantified Self (Plus, a List of the Best Personal Data Tools Out There)

A transformation is happening.

People, like you, are taking control of something conventional wisdom has told us is not ours to understand: our health. Why are we fat? What makes us feel sluggish? What causes our disease? How can I improve? Today, we ask our doctors. Tomorrow, we will ask our data.

Watch Ari Meisel explain how he cured his Crohn’s disease by following data. Here’s Larry Smarr doing it as well. Even Tim Ferriss tracks data in his life to hack his way to better health.

This is the Quantified Self. In short, it is self-knowledge through self-tracking.

This is not new. Benjamin Franklin famously tracked 13 personal virtues in a daily journal to push himself toward moral perfection. He shared this insight in his autobiography: “I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined, but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.”

The only difference today is the technology. Advancements have not only made data collection cheaper and more convenient, but is allowing us to quantify biometrics we never knew existed. Want to know your insulin or cortisol levels, or sequence your DNA, or learn what microbial cells inhabit your body? You can quantify that now.

Self-trackers are pushing the limits of personal health. By using a scientific approach, they are shedding light into a dark unknown. As they discover hidden insights, it is the entrepreneurs who are bringing their findings—and their tools—to the masses.

As self-trackers are pushing the movement forward, entrepreneurs are helping it scale.

Why this matters

Where there are trends, there are opportunities. About 69% of US adults track at least one health metric; however, almost half are still tracking in their heads. This is a problem entrepreneurs are looking to fix and venture capitalists are funding. In fact, VC funding in this space doubled last year.

Crowdfunding sites are often a good indicator of market trends, and quantified self tools are among the most successful. The Misfit Shine, an elegant activity tracker, raised $446k. uBiome, a startup that can sequence your microbiome, raised $351k. Pebble, a customizable watch that can track and analyze activity, raised $10 million. Amiigo, an automated fitness and workout tracker, raised $580k. These products are grabbing the interest and money of early adopters. Many of these, and more, also made an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show and this year’s SXSW.

Making it personal

Are you becoming happier over time?
Are your mind and body performing better?
Are your days more productive than they were a year ago?

Unfortunately, happiness, performance, productivity, and other variables in our lives are complex, confusing, and chaotic processes. Every day we blindly make decisions we hope lead to improvement. To make matters worse, we judge success based on imperfect and biased feelings. If our world is dark, it seems we are also covering our eyes.

What about your startup? It began with a problem. You recognized it and believed, “I can fix this.” How? You likely tested your solution, tracked key measures of success, and adjusted course when necessary.

In other words, instead of relying on intuition or feelings, you use data. Your company’s growth rate, web traffic, conversions, and even the way users interact with your homepage are all measured and analyzed. If you aren’t measuring key metrics you won’t manage progress and you can’t make the best decisions.

Our daily lives are no different. We want to make the best decisions, yet we lack appropriate data to guide us.

Let’s change that.

How to get started

You are busy, so here are a few templates to start.

  1. Want to lose weight? Keep a food log. Use MyFitnessPal, pen and paper, or just take a picture. Tracking your food intake will lead to interesting insights about your diet and health. A 2008 study also showed that the act of tracking food further facilitates weight loss.
  2. Searching for happiness? Track your mood. I used AskMeEvery (a site I now run) to track my mood for 3 months and it proved that I was unhappy with my job. Soon after, I quit. Other good apps include MercuryApp and TrackYourHappiness. We often are not mindful of our changing moods or the factors that affect them. Tracking them daily keeps us self-aware.
  3. Need to move more? Track your activity. There are tons of great tools including Fitbit, Nike Fuelband, Jawbone UP, Basis, Omron, and more. Your iPhone can also track your activity. I use an app called Moves.

Let’s begin

Track something that matters to you.

It doesn’t need to be structured or complex. In fact, keep it simple. Track one thing for one week in the easiest way. Pick something that is important to you—maybe you keep a tally every time you drink a glass of water or you record how many hours you slept last night. The act of tracking increases your awareness, which has immediate benefits. After a few days, the data will highlight trends and behaviors you may not have known.

If you prefer structure, you can follow a framework, similar to the lean methodology, to ensure validated learning. This framework starts with a hypothesis. Through planning, it becomes an experiment. Data is then collected and analyzed which triggers insights that iterate the cycle.

For more details on these steps, read this article on designing QS experiments.

The future

I am consistently humbled by the adventurous and curious spirit of self-trackers. As entrepreneurs, we’re no different. We’re all wired to solve problems.

We are fortunate to live at a time when technology is enabling the exploration of solutions. Suddenly, we are all scientists and our discoveries are limited only by our imaginations. As sensors are added to our phones, glasses, clothing, and even implanted within our bodies, the potential for what is imaginable is growing.

As a self-quantifier, I see the potential to control my own health and to modify my behaviors to optimize the length and quality of my life. As an entrepreneur, I see a revolution of the healthcare industry. Soon, technology will be spotting trends and diagnosing problems far quicker and more accurately than doctors.

As data from people around the world are aggregated, explored, and decoded into bits of knowledge, imagine the discoveries that become possible, the mysteries of the human experience that can be solved. With hands at our sides and eyes open, our world becomes that much brighter.

So close that KISSmetrics tab, put down your sales projections, and archive your marketing statistics. Answer this question: what is important to you?

Now go track it.

Top tools for data collection and visualization

The lists below include some, but not all devices. Be sure to do your research when picking the best device for you.

Track anything
To start: Use pen and paper or a digital spreadsheet (Google Drive or Excel).
My recommendation: AskMeEvery – Simple tracking of meaningful data via email or text
Alternatives: IFTTT – Connect your online services (ie. Save foursquare checkins to Google Drive). Daytum – Collect, categorize, and communicate everyday data.

Activity
To start: Moves – free mobile app
My recommendation: Fitbit. They are one of the few activity tracking companies that promote an open API.
Alternatives: Nike Fuelband, Amiigo, Bodymedia, Omron, Misfit Shine, Jawbone Up, RunKeeper, Strava

Sleep
To start: SleepCycle – mobile app
My recommendation: Zeo
Alternatives: Wakemate, Lark

Mood
My recommendation: Happiness
Alternatives: MoodPanda, Moodscope, Moodjam, MercuryApp

Heart
To start: Cardiio – uses the iPhone camera to measure heart rate
My recommendation: Emwave2 – heart rate variability tracking and stress reduction
Alternatives: Polar, Mio, Basis, Myithlete, Adidas miCoach – training shirt with heart rate sensors, Tinke – heart rate variability

Blood Pressure / Weight
My recommendation: Withings
Alternatives: Blipcare, iHealth

Blood Testing
My recommendation: WellnessFX
Alternatives: InsideTracker, Talking20

Miscellaneous

Visualization tools: Excel, Tictrac, Nineteen. Indiemapper

Inspiration: FlowingData, Feltron Reports, Visualizing.org

If you want to learn what others are tracking or share your own experiences, join the Quantified Self meetup community.

Protect yourself with these Chicago security startups

Facebook is taking major hits this week. Stock and user engagement have been falling. It’s likely that Facebook will sustain itself through this rough patch since it’s in a kind of “too big to fail” situation.

But we’ve grown estranged.

The Cambridge Analytica story has sparked renewed interest in how our data is collected, used and manipulated. Facebook has shown in recent weeks that they shouldn’t be trusted when it comes to protecting our information. Therefore, we must take matters into our own hands.

Good thing security startups in Chicago are putting users in the driver’s seat. Here’s a list of Chicago startups that put you in command against both digital and physical threats.

Keeper Security Inc.

Passwords. We as a society treat them very poorly which makes them the easiest entry point for hackers. Keeper Security Inc. is an app that allows users to create and store passwords to keep your accounts safe and accessible to only those who need it. You can also save 50% by using promo code TECHNORI.

Scout Alarm

Most Americans forego a home security system. But with Scout Alarm, it couldn’t be more personalized to your needs and specific home. The app and monitor always keep you connected when you’re away. And you’ll be notified if anything suspicious happens. You can even tell your Scout how to react to different scenarios. 

ThirdPartyTrust

For protecting data between your company and vendors, ThirdPartyTrust is the Chicagoland B2B solution. This startup automates vendor risk management in order to free up more time to keep your business running. The profiles provided by ThirdPartyTrust will show that you made security a top priority. This trust can then help streamline dealmaking.

Guard Llama

If you’re looking for a night out on the town but also want to stay protected, Guard Llama has your back. The app and fob pair offer a simple alert system that will notify local authorities to your exact GPS location when you’re in distress. It’s much faster than dialing 9-1-1 too. 

Rippleshot

Let’s close things out with card fraud. Rippleshot processes millions of credit card transactions and then pinpoints exactly where and when fraudulent activity occurred. This data is then used to predict where future breaches may happen. Rippleshot is different in how it goes to the root, investigating merchants rather than consumers, where fraud usually originates. 

So that’s it! Chicago offers a mix of tech to fend of both old school and new school thievery. Hackers are getting increasingly proficient in fraud which means you should be looking at your local startup allies for support in stopping them cold.

Chicago ranks #1 in returns to investors

A recent study shows that Chicago leads in returns to investors. Lightbank Managing Director Victor Pascucci III is one of those investors that opens doors for some of the hottest Chicago startups. Host Scott Kitun talks with Vic about Chicago’s rising tide as a tech hub and what sets the Windy City apart from the rest of the world.

Find more innovators at Technori.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Two-time winner of “Most Effective IT Team” is getting kids in college

ISAC has been around for 60 years and has sucessfully attracted new tech talent and has won Most Effective IT Team award for the second time, being the first state agency to do so. CIO Ramnath Cidambi joins the show to talk about how ISAC has stays relevant and how they help low-income students flourish. Sean Froelich fills in for Scott Kitun to learn about how tech is helping the modern student get to college, succeed in college and then finally, find a career.

Find more innovators at Technori.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.