All Articles Tagged "technology"

Behind the Click: Kelechi Anyadiegwu Merges Fashion & Nigerian Culture To Create Zuvaa

January 26th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Welcome back to “Behind the Click,” the column in which we profile Black women in STEM professions. Want to pitch this section? Email tgarcia@madamenoire.com.

Kelechi_Anyadiegwu-40

Name: Kelechi Anyadiegwu

Favorite read: Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

Recent read: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amouruso

Favorite apps: Goodreader and Read Later

Most inspired by: “The women in my life who don’t take no for an answer.”

One quote that inspires you: “Fashion should celebrate women, and I’m glad that I grew up in a culture that celebrated them.” – Alek Wek

Ultimate goal for 2015: “To create more opportunities for designers in the African fashion industry.”

Twitter handle: @KelechiUjuu | @shopZuvaa

The best innovations are born out of sheer frustration or to solve a problem. For Nigerian-American entrepreneur Kelechi Anyadiegwu, that problem was finding fashionable African-inspired designs. Instead of waiting on it, Anyadiegwu went out and created Zuvaa, an online marketplace for African-inspired fashion and accessories. With more than 29,000 Instagram followers, rapidly growing social media presence and a loyal community, Zuvaa is gearing up to transform the e-commerce space.

We caught up with the technology entrepreneur to discuss how she started Zuvaa, her tips for starting a successful online marketplace and why community has taken her brand to the next level.

MadameNoire: How did you get your start in the technology space?
Kelechi Anyadiegwu: I’ve always had an interest in technology, since my parents bought me a computer as a small child. I naturally found myself attracted to online communities (chatrooms, The SIMS, neopets, etc.) and building things (websites, avatars, digital Barbies, etc.). These were interests that really shaped my career aspirations going into high school and entering college. I loved digital design and I loved creating content. Everything from the yearbook club to creating layouts, or putting together short media clips. I loved it all.

MN: What inspired you to create Zuvaa, a premier marketplace for African-inspired fashion and accessories?
KA: This inspiration grew out of a personal problem that I had. My family is of Nigerian heritage and I grew up in the States. I grew up constantly going to Nigerian-themed parties, events and family functions. So African prints and textiles were always a part of my life. As I grew into young adulthood, I started to realize how difficult it was to find modern and trendy African-inspired designs. And it shocked me, because these prints were so beautiful and so much could be done with them. And anyone who knew me knew I loved fashion, especially eccentric and vibrant prints. So using my background in marketing and design, I created an online marketplace that I would personally shop at and I knew others would shop as well.

MN: When you first had the idea to create Zuvaa, what steps did you take to get it off the ground?
KA: I just dove in. The minute I told myself I was going to pursue Zuvaa, I bought a domain, signed up for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and started building the community right away. I knew right from the beginning that having a strong community that believed in our mission would be essential.

MN: Zuvaa is an online marketplace, but it’s also community focused. Why did you feel it was important to build a community within the platform?
KA: Building an online marketplace, community had to be a core part of my mission. Culture is something already so inherent in African communities, it only made sense that it would be the core of my marketplace for African fashion. I wanted the women who wore pieces from the marketplace, to feel like they were part of a bigger movement. Not only were they supporting small business owners and the African textile industry, but they were showing the love they had for African beauty and vibrancy through fashion. I wanted women to feel that personal connection to all the pieces they bought from the marketplace.

MN: What are your three tips to running a successful online marketplace?
KA: -Build a great community – Can’t emphasize this enough and the impact this has had for Zuvaa.

-Understand your customer – Don’t make assumptions. I made a lot of assumptions early on and did not do enough testing. I could have saved a lot of time and money, if I better understood my customer from the beginning.

-Patience and perseverance – E-commerce is hard, especially in fashion. There have been so many days I wanted to quit because we got no sales; then, the next day, we are featured on an awesome blog and sell out of an item that day. Running a company has taught me so much in what it means to never give up.

MN: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received or given?
KA: Focus, focus, focus. Don’t try to do too much at once. Become really strong at one thing and then branch out to others, once your core is set. When I first started Zuvaa, I wanted to start designing my own pieces, I wanted to have a showroom, I wanted to do so many things. But my advisor, humbly told me, to focus on one aspect of the business and do it really, really well. Then I could branch out to other things. She said, “Black women, we often feel like we have to do all these things at once to prove we are 10 times better than the competition. But you don’t have to do that. Go at your own speed and things will fall into place.”

MN: What’s next for Zuvaa?
KA: Continuing to grow our community. We have such an amazing community of fashionistas who have really been pivotal in the growth of our company. These women are funny and engaged and supportive of the work we do at Zuvaa. We’re working on some amazing new projects and initiatives to further engage our community and our designers.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

New Gadgets, Tons Of Announcements: Here’s What To Expect From CES 2015

January 6th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Techies, industry analysts, journalists and gadget lovers alike are turning up in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not necessarily the typical turn up you’re thinking about (although there’s some of that, too), but a tech-infused turn up comprised of numerous announcements on the latest gadgets and trends, celebrity appearances from the likes of Nick Cannon, Shaquille O’Neal, Ryan Seacrest and many more, and vendors showcasing tons of consumer electronics on showroom floors.

Starting on Tuesday, January 6, the International CES is the place to be to hear firsthand what’s coming down the pipeline in tech and consumer gadgets for 2015. While Monday was reserved for press, several announcements caught the eye of techies already on the ground such as Samsung’s release of new 4K televisions, particularly its gigantic 105-inch bendable TV (release date and price not set); and Sony’s new 4K action camera, which is available this March, which records point of view videos in full 4K resolution and pinpoints the best clips for you.

With the official opening, there’s a lot of speculation on what will be revealed during the four-day event. Here are three trends you’ll see more of this year:

Wearables – Wearable tech became more accessible in 2014, but expect more this year. You won’t hear much from Apple and Google in this respect; however, keep an eye on companies like Fitbit, Jawbone and Pebble, to name a few. You’ll see wearables going beyond fitness and tapping more so into health and safety.

High-tech home – Smart devices aren’t new to the market, but they are getting better by the year. Let’s take Samsung’s Flex Duo, which allows you to cook two meals at once, even if they’re at different temperatures. Also, you can do something similar—as in wash two loads of laundry at the same time — with LG’s Twin Wash system.

4K TV for everyone – CES would not be complete without larger television sets and greater resolution. This year, consumers will get their hands on 4K resolution. We mentioned Samsung’s unveil above. Well, Sharp took it there, announcing a “Beyond 4K” TV that approaches 8K. It’ll be available next year, according to the company. We’re sure to see more on this front.

CES runs until January 9. You can follow second-by-second updates by following the hashtag, #CES2015, or the official Twitter account, @intlCES .

Are you following CES? Let us know what you’re hoping to see this year in the comments section below!

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites

The Phat Startup To Host Hip-Hop & Entrepreneurship Conference, Tech808

November 6th, 2014 - By Janel Martinez
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phat startupTechnology entrepreneurship offers an extensive amount of opportunities. But flip through most magazines and websites that delve into the space and, at times, it seems as though the content isn’t speaking to you, more so at you…and in another language. It’s a concern that The Phat Startup (TPS) team—Anthony Frasier, James Lopez, Jesal Trivedi and Jahde—recognized and aimed to disrupt.

Influenced by Lean Startup methodology and hip-hop culture, The Phat Startup is an integrated media company that develops premium content for new to serial entrepreneurs. Known for their well-attended NYC events, where they’ve brought tech heavyweights such as Reddit founder and serial investor Alexis Ohanian, VaynerMedia founder and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk, and Ben Horowitz (a.k.a Nas’ bestie), co-founder and general partner of the venture capital fund, Andreessen Horowitz, the Phat Startup is entering a new chapter, hosting their inaugural Tech808 conference on November 21 at New York University. The conference, which is in partnership with the Clive Davis Institute, will explore the world of entrepreneurship through the view of those who are grinding and hustling to make power moves.

MadameNoire caught up with The Phat Startup co-founders to discuss tech entrepreneurship, starting your own venture and why Tech808 is a must-attend conference.

alleywatchThe Phat Startup merges Eric Ries’ Lean Startup methodology and hip-hop principles. What inspired you to create The Phat Startup?

Lopez: I was inspired to start TPS because I noticed that the similarities between hip-hop and lean were a perfect way to educate aspiring entrepreneurs that resonated with the hip-hop culture. Buzzwords are cool, but if you don’t understand them you cant learn from them, or apply those lessons.

Frasier: What played a big part of me jumping into The Phat Startup is being constantly asked questions about becoming an entrepreneur. When I got together with James, and we began to see we could use the culture as a way to get entrepreneurs interested and informed, it was magic.

How did The Phat Startup go from an idea to a platform to a movement, which entails events and now your conference, Tech808?

Frasier: The blog was the first step. The content was the second. The content played a huge part in our journey. When we wrote resource guides and conducted interviews, we weren’t talking to a white kid at Stanford. Sure, anyone could relate and benefit from our content, but we had a certain demographic in mind. We wanted to ask questions a single mother in Newark, NJ could relate to. I wanted to create a guide that a college dropout in Oakland would vibe with.

As a result, it helped us gain a following. The largest reason people follow us is because we present the same resourceful, quality information you would get anywhere else, but with a cooler voice. It’s less intimidating, and people love that. We love hip-hop, so when we wave our flags we do it like any hip-hop movement would. We wear our T-shirts; we make sure the logo is visible on our products. It makes people want to join the squad and be part of something. Hip-hop taught us that.

What can attendees expect from your inaugural conference?

Lopez: For Tech808, we decided that having people talk about the come up wasn’t as valuable as them telling you how to create your own come up or movement. We wanted to get off the usual background information and have all speakers leave the community with executable advice that they can start implementing the day of in a TEDx style conversation.

We want to educate our community, so Tech808 is pure executable advice, no self-promotion.

Talk to me about the inspiration behind the name Tech808

Frasier: The Tech808 name came from our founding members: Jesal Trivedi and Jahde. The 808 is the most famous bass sound in hip-hop. It has a boom to it that is unmatched. Bringing tech together with that represents the convergence of the two cultures. It also means we not playing games out here!

How will Tech 808 be different from a lot of the other technology conferences happening in other tech hubs such as San Francisco, Austin, Atlanta and New York?

Lopez: Tech808 is different because we wanted to focus on the lessons learned from founders in the trenches right now. People like Mark Zuckerburg are super special, but the tactics they use now can’t be used by a company that is just launching. All of our speakers are building their empires from an early stage and their tactics are the ones our community needs to implement now.

Frasier: I agree with James. What also makes us different are the same reasons we were able to attract our audience. It’s the culture. It’s the comfort level [of] people asking questions and not feeling dumb, or left out. We are for the people. You don’t get that vibe when attending a larger, more popular conference.

For those aspiring to be tech entrepreneurs, what advice would you give them about starting a business in the tech space?

Lopez: As Nike would say, just do it. There will never be a perfect time to start. Start now and learn how to overcome the obstacles that you’ll face. There isn’t a blueprint to follow, but you can learn from how others over came adversity. Do that and grind!

Frasier: My biggest piece of advice for aspiring tech entrepreneurs is to learn and build as much as you can. Learn how to code. Don’t have the time to learn how to code? Learn how to prototype! Learn how to build wire frames. Learn how to communicate your vision to a technical person. But, as much time as you spend learning, you have to start building and making mistakes. Making mistakes is how we get better and, trust me, you will learn to love making mistakes in the tech world. Making mistakes is actually better than reading articles and books.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.

Amateur Detectives: Your Guide To The Latest Gadgets For Catching Him Cheating

November 5th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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How far would you go to catch your man cheating? Once upon a time, you had to follow him around. But today catching him in the act is as easy as downloading an app.

Gadgets For Catching Him Cheating

Image Source: Shuttestock.com

Key-Logging Software

Upload these programs onto his computer and they’ll track every keystroke he makes: porn websites, deleted e-mails to his mistress and flirty Facebook messages he sent to his old high school crush.

Blavity Co-Founder Morgan Debaun On Creating A Digital Platform For The Black Community

August 20th, 2014 - By Rana Campbell
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morgan-blavity

Who said young Blacks aren’t making their mark in the tech world? Morgan DeBaun, co-founder of  recently launched tech startup Blavity, is on a mission is to empower minority creators, inspire self-expression and connect people to content that reflects their culture. Blavity users can visit the site daily to check out the top videos curated by their preferences and what their network has been watching or sharing. Morgan talks about what inspired the platform, the power of black consumption habits, the challenges of being a Black female startup founder, and her future plans for Blavity. Check out the interview below.

MadameNoire (MN):  You launched the platform in July 2014. What inspired you to start Blavity?

Morgan DeBaun (MD): There was this moment during my freshman year  at Washington University in St. Louis where I was like, “I know I go to an all-white school, but I only hang out with Black people.” We had this term called “blavity” which is black + gravity. How did we all find each other?  That’s where we got the idea of aggregating and bringing together different perspectives of diversity of Black experience into one platform.

Living in Silicon Valley, my business partner Jeff and I were always baffled as to why there is no platform  geared towards solving our problems when we  are a huge population of consumers. We were passionate about building a platform for people to discover new things and for creators to build their audience  and to be powered to be their own brands.

MN:  A 2013 Nielson report showed that African Americans are aggressive consumers of media and have unique buying behaviors different from the other major consumer groups. How is Blavity going to change the Black consumer marketplace?

MD: Look at Black Twitter. It’s bringing together people virtually over what’s happening and is relevant in our community. We’re killing Instagram. People  love seeing other people’s experiences.  With Blavity, we want to continue to empower the population to create those shared experiences.

Blavity uses a mix of Lean Startup practices where  you’re asking, “What is the core root  problem that we are trying to solve?” “How can we solve that problem the fastest and cheapest,  get it to market and get feedback from our customers?” And  “How we are going to build something substantial that is unique and proprietary and give us a competitive advantage?” What you see today is the first bucket but we are working behind the scenes on the second  bucket.

MN: What were some of the challenges you faced to get Blavity up and running?

MD: The first thing was putting a stake in the ground that said we are building this community for the Black diaspora. This totally influenced everything else. We knew if we focused on solving this problem for a specific group of people, there’s so much opportunity. The second was figuring out who are we prioritizing.  The creators are the lifelines for Blavity. We spend 65-75% of our resources and our time towards helping these creators be successful.  Right now we are starting to thinking about venture capital funding.  The first time raising money is a huge barrier for a woman of color with a minority product. It’s like we are a triple whammy: A woman, a Black woman founder, building a product for Black people. It’s a cool challenge to have. I am confident that our team can make it work.

Computer Love: How Technology Changed The Dating Game

December 17th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

 

From HelloBeautiful 

The folks over at sparks & honey have completed studies of dating in the future and explored how we will date, have sex and break-up in the next decade by looking at three “macro” trends including: how technology is speeding up how we interact; that unconventional relationships are becoming more accepted; and that kink is going mainstream.

It’s no secret that the online world is changing how we do everything, especially dating. Technology has completely changed what used to be so simple. Boy used to meet girl, flirt with her, get her house number, call her and patiently wait until they connected with that girl and they would then take it from there. Dating is different. Sex is different. Break-ups are different.

Check out these trends that effect how we will date, have sex and break-up in the next ten years:

Technology Is Speeding Up How We Interact:

Technology advances continue to shape and speed up all aspects of dating, falling in and out of love, communication and sex. People volunteer their date willingly and apps generate that information, pulling from preference settings. Technology has become a distraction from our daily lives and created a new type of love triangle.

These days, technology has turned our culture into a microwave society and we’re too impatient when it comes to anything, especially dating. Well, let me speak for myself. I want things QUICK! If I text a guy and he doesn’t get back to me that day or even within that hour, I think he’s just not that into me and I don’t consider him a potential any longer. And don’t get me started online dating. Forget sites like OkCupid and Match.com, the apps that allow people to meet by simply swiping, proclaiming their interest or non-interest in someone have created instant gratification that is unrealistic in the “real world.”

How will technology continue to influence dating? Read more at HelloBeautiful.com 

Tech And The City: Startups Are Attracted To NYC

November 16th, 2013 - By Lauryn Stallings
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via @MadeinNY

via @MadeinNY

Once upon a time, being a techie and launching a business meant adapting to the warmer climate in California after graduating from MIT or dropping out of Carnegie Mellon. Young developers and designers, hopeful inventors and ideological innovators descended upon Silicon Valley starting in the late ’60s. And up until the past few years, not much had changed.

Now tech startups are sparking in cities across the country, but none so much as New York. Brand new micro corporations are settling in the Financial District, illuminating Chelsea, running Lower Manhattan and invigorating all parts of Brooklyn. The same talent pools that once fled to the west coast are sticking closer to home and saving on rents by headquartering in the city.

However, it’s more than cost-savings drawing technological hopefuls to the five boroughs. Initiatives from the city, such as We Are Made in NY, are already in place to offer a support system to emerging businesses. Mayor Bloomberg, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Digital launched the Digital Roadmap, enhancing accessibility and education. Not to mention AT&T’s $1.6 million investment into the homegrown well of expertise.

New York City has made a point of highlighting and investing in the tech industry. So have its businesses.

Quirky, headquartered on 28th Street, helps innovators prototype, market and sell new products. Cooperatives across the city provide work space and tight communities for tech-minded makers to collaborate. Startups around the city start small and grow from the input and programming provided by others.

Exhibitions are a factor, too. The companies showing at the first Engadget Expand New York were given unprecedented access to interface with future consumers beyond Kickstarter campaigns. The show allowed inventors to gauge interest in their products, beta test, promote and chat with investors and peers in the industry. The fact that Engadget holds an annual competition that invests a total of $25,000 in startup enterprises is no small thing either.

But more than anything, what appeals to these new companies is its flagship market status. Technology is flocking to the city for the same reason fashion does: New York City gets it first. Innovators are using robotics, cloud computing and apps to make everyday life easier, save money and generally just do better. Today’s tech companies are lifestyle brands, and there’s no greater location to introduce them to the world. New York’s all-embracing environment is making it possible to get everything from energy conscious powerstrips to calorie counting scales. If this keeps up, the newfangled things we thought were just fantasies for The Jetsons and Back to the Future aren’t too far away.

They’re already making plans for the hoverboard.

Rotten Apple! Users Report iOS 7-Related Sicknesses

September 27th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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iphone

 

Whether it is modifications on Facebook or phone updates, we all have become sick and tired of the changes technology puts us through. No really. Some of us have literally become ill.

According to the New York Daily News, users of the iOS 7 Apple software updates have experienced nausea and headaches. They have also stated that while looking at apps on their iPhone or iPad they have experienced symptoms of car sickness. The iOS7 zooming animation is the cause of the problem.

On an Apple support forum, a user wrote, “I had severe vertigo the minute I started using my iPad with iOS 7, Lost the rest of the day to it… And not happy at all.”

Unfortunately, there is no way to downgrade an iPhone or iPad operating system. Users who became sick decided to buy Apple products that had older versions of iOS installed.

Check out the report out of Cincinnati, OH below. Has this been happening to you? Separately but related, what do you think of the new operating system?

15 Tech Skills Every Business Woman Should Possess

September 25th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Shutterstock

 

 

Black Enterprise asked a number of entrepreneurs about the must-have tech skills other up-and-coming business people should have.

Question: What is ONE baseline tech skill all entrepreneurs should have a good handle on before starting up?

Know How to Wireframe
“Being able to wireframe a page is an incredible important skill for technology development. It’s critical for being able to properly and ideally communicate with your technical and product teams. While not a coding skill per se, it requires understanding how sites or apps are designed, and the more advanced wireframing can involve complex software. Be sure to develop this skill before starting up.”

– Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.
Managing an Inbox
“It sounds basic, but most people drown in email without any skill for how to manage, delegate, and reign it in. If you aren’t careful, email can take your entire day. Use tools like filtering, auto-forwarding, labeling and auto-responders to clear out your inbox quickly so you can get on to the business of actually running your company.”

– Laura Roeder | Founder, LKR Social Media
How To Learn New Tech Skills!
“The most important tech skill that you could learn is the ability to learn new ones. That might seem like a hard skill to acquire, but it’s actually pretty simple if you practice learning and researching new things using search engines to find solutions to problems. Try it now: find a solution to one of your tech problems, and you’ll be on your way in no time!”

For more, click to BlackEnterprise.com.

‘Fibbing Is Finished:’ Aisha Tyler Talks Sex Scandals And Why Lying Doesn’t Work In The Age Of Technology

September 19th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Aisha Tyler

Source: WENN

It seems like now more than ever, people are being exposed for their dishonest deeds, and not just celebrities and public figures either. We probably have advanced technology to thank for this, which has made it possible for anyone to find out almost anything.  The Talk host Aisha Tyler recently shared her thoughts on new media and why lying no longer works, especially in relationships.

“I actually feel sorry for Anthony Weiner. Not because he lost his job in Congress after he tweeted photos of his boxer-clad erection to women who were not his wife, and not because he may lose his bid for mayor of New York City after tweeting photos of his boxer-freeerection to other women who were also not his wife. Not because he has an overinflated sense of his sex appeal, an even more overinflated sense of the appeal of his junk, and the world’s worst impulse control. I feel sorry for him because, through all that frantic sexting—all that career-incinerating, marriage-threatening, life-destroying correspondence—he seems to have thought that even in our high-tech, Wi-Fi world, he could actually get away with it. It’s so gullible it’s almost cute,” Aisha wrote in her Glamour.com blog post.

The 43-year-old beauty went on to say that deception is no longer an option.

“Here’s the cold, hard truth, ladies and gentlemen: Our days of deception have officially ended. From mendacious blood doper Lance Armstrong to greedy womanizer Tiger Woods, from street worker-patronizing Eliot Spitzer to private part-parading Anthony Weiner, prominent men—and women (witness the ham-fisted3 cover-up and tumble from grace of one Paula Deen)—are finding it hard to pull a fast one. Lying. Is. Over.”

“No more secret sexts; they live on the servers forever. And no more trysts in dark restaurants, where every diner with an iPhone is a potential filmmaker, ready to make you famous. We are triangulated, photographed, cookied, and pinged at every turn—computers know more about us now than we know about ourselves. It’s no longer a question of if you’ll get caught in a lie—it’s a question of when,” Aisha continued .”It’s time to accept that fibbing is finished. This is a bitter pill to swallow…”

While taking the spotlight off of men by adding that women are also deceitful, she encouraged readers to try being more transparent.

“Now, many of you may be smugly imagining a world free of two-timing boyfriends and dirty-dog spouses. (And yes, that would be awesome.) But while it may feel like guys are doing all the bad stuff, women stray almost as much as men: 19 percent of us cheat on our partners, compared with 23 percent of men. And when it comes to lying in general, the genders are actually tied.”

“Before you fling your Android into traffic, consider the idea that transparency could be good: Lying’s exhausting. Even a tiny fib requires energy—the fabrications avalanche in an attempt to cover the first one8. And often the lie is worse than the crime.”

“While we’re a judgmental culture, we’re also forgiving—America loves a comeback. Apologize and we’re right there with you, ready to move on. (We even forgive liars: Just ask notorious stomp-around Tiger, now dating Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.) But for those who do persist in cheating, stealing, and manipulating without compunction or regret, your day of reckoning is at hand. (Cue evil laughter.) So here’s my radical suggestion: Tell the truth. All the time. It may be painful at first, even foreign. But with all the evidence out there in the ether, honesty has never been a better policy.”

 Read Aisha’s full blog post here. Would you agree? Is fibbing finished?