Starting a Startup

Being hard of hearing, I have always faced communication barriers.  Things like sitting at my families table eating dinner and not understanding the context of conversations because everyone is speaking over each other, or phone conversations, or anything in a loud setting, I have always struggled to understand spoken word.  In these last 10 years, technology has played a major role in breaking a lot of these barriers.  Smart phones, texting, FaceTime, and Video Phones have made it much easier for people like myself to communicate and be more part of the world.

My former employer is a member of an office space in Manchester, Connecticut, called AXIS 901.  Axis is what’s called a “Co-Working” space.  Basically it’s a place where small companies and start ups, rent time and a shared office space along with meeting space.  These Co-Working spaces have become an incubator for ideas and innovation around Connecticut and around the country.  In the case of AXIS 901, one day, I was working with one of my deaf consumers in finding job leads, at the same time, Paul Goldstein, a Google Glass and Android App Developer, and George Constance, an entrepreneur that’s been involved in a number of start ups was chatting near the coffee machine.  Paul, has just successfully developed an app for Google Glass and was looking for a new project and wondered if technology could be used for people to enhance their lives, then they both looked at me from across the office and asked me to join them for a minute.  From that conversation in June of 2014, CEESpeak was born.  With our team, we are seeking funding for the research and development of apps that will do a number of things.  We want to use Google Glass to take spoken word and convert it to word-for-word text in a 0-3 second delay and be displayed on the lenses of Glass.  We also want to use platforms like Android smart phones, iPhone and Windows to do the same thing.  We are also looking at Smart Watches as a platform, too.  At this time, we are seeking $200,000 for the research and development of these apps to look into the capability of current platforms and look into what we need to do to set up speech to text.  Do we buy a system, or set up one ourselves.  Do we need a team of developers, if so, how many?

In March, we hope to launch our KickStarter campaign to use altruistic funding for this.  We believe we have a cause and a mission that will change the world, because the ultimate goal is to convert any language to the English or convert English to any language.  Star Trek type of stuff.  We hope to make a difference in the Deaf world as means to perfect the technology then change the whole world.  It will definitely change mine.  Follow us for more updates.  If you are interested in getting involved in this company, or looking for an investment opportunity, please email me at [email protected].

Bridging the Gap Between People With Disabilities and Finding Real Jobs

Allow me to introduce myself, I am Timothy Blonsky, Danielle Ralston’s little brother. I live in the state of Connecticut, just south of the capital city of Hartford. My career for the last 14 years has been in the service of others. In the human service field, I have a number of success stories. My career in Human service started in the residential side of it in terms of working in group homes, helping people with disabilities with life skills, and general mental and physical care. As my career evolved, I had come to a realization that the best way to help disadvantaged, and disabled individuals, is by helping them seek and sustain employment. You see, when one gets a job, then they also get a voice. The saying goes “money makes the world go ‘round.” When a person with disabilities finally finds a sense of purpose and earns real wages, they then feel part of something greater than themselves. Most people with disabilities live in a cocoon where they only associate with others who have similar disabilities. When they earn real wages in a real job, they have the chance to gain non-disabled peers.

Before I go on, I should explain a little about this industry and where it came from. Since the 1930s, the federal government made it legal to allow people with disabilities work in conclaves or work-shops where they would do simple tasks like put together small items for various companies and earn sub minimum wages. This was done, so people with disabilities could have something to do during the work-day and be productive because real work wasn’t a possibility for them. About 20 years ago, that changed. Just this last year, President Obama signed a law stating that sub minimum wages is illegal. Many viewed this as modern day slavery for a sub culture that is ready, able and wiling to work real jobs.

One of the federal and state mandates in this field is that provider agencies like I worked for, finds “competitive employment” meaning real jobs, not just those whom bag groceries at your local market. Real jobs, like the individual I helped find a paralegal position in a law firm for an insurance company in Hartford. Or the deaf individual who works in life insurance division for Aetna world headquarters. I also worked with a young man who is a main employee of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles where he makes a salary of around $40,000 per year.

The US Department of Labor states that persons with disabilities are unemployed at the rate of 19.6%, while the non-disabled is 5.9%. More work needs to be done. The best way it can be done, is by more people realizing the ability, motivation and many other positive reasons why you, and whomever you work for, hires people with disabilities.

Timothy J Blonsky was born in Dansville, New York. He was born deaf due to a hereditary condition. Tim attended public schools and integrated himself in the hearing world while maintaining fluency in American Sign Language. Tim has worked in the Human Service field for the last 14 years helped deaf and hearing people in skill building and seeking and sustaining employment. Recently, Tim has been working on his Start up, CEESpeak, which uses Google Glass to instantly translate spoken words into text via display in the glasses. Tim resides in Marlborough, Connecticut with his significant other, Stephanie, his daughter Marissa and his Fox Red Lab puppy, Charlie. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Trade Show Presence

Grove Social can help you to have a popular and effective trade show booth. The process of planning for a trade show can can start up to a year before you attend a trade show. Do you know what IT Professionals want to see? Do you know why types of swag can give you a lasting impression? We can help you do it all including tying it in with your online presence and getting people excited to meet you before the trade show even begins.

Welcome to Grove Social

Danielle Ralston, the president of NTG, is venturing into the world of social marketing with her new business GroveSocial. The company officially launches on January 5, 2015 and will provide its full list of services to vendors seeking to market their products and services to IT professionals.

Danielle has had the opportunity to work with many IT professionals and vendors and has learned how they communicate and thrive in a shared environment. Because of her position at the head of an IT service provider, she gets to work with MSP’s, IT professionals and vendors on a daily basis. Through the communication with those different groups, she better understands what it takes for each party to work together in a cohesive manner.

Vendors looking to connect their products with those in the IT profession needn’t look further than Grove Social. Having one of Grove Social’s dedicated posting specialists generate an online presence or create cohesive booths, banners and documentation for a trade show are only a few of the many services offered by Grove Social.

Grove Social aims to fill the gap between IT professionals and vendors through by making it easy for venders to market their products to the IT community through various social media platforms, trade shows, and online communities. With the help of Grove Social, vendors can better reach those in the IT profession, making it possible to grow their connections and cultivate their businesses.

How to Lose the Respect of IT Pro’s Fast

The other day, I was reading a thread on a popular IT community. The original post was asking how people liked a specific product.  The follow up posts (about three quarters of them) were all from first time posters in this community, ALL supporting this product and touting its wonders.  Umm, all of those posters joined that day.  Not a one of them were established at all.  Something is fishy here… this is not the first, or (I am sure) the last time we will see this.  I have seen this exact thing on multiple communities over the years.

Vendors, marketing, and sales people all need to realize that IT pro’s, by nature of what they do, are a pretty intelligent lot and you are not going to be able to pull a fast one on the majority of them.  Now if you are looking for stupid, gullible customers, well, then by all means go for it.  But, if you are looking for long term customers who will be able to talk about your product with authority and real knowledge, do NOT do that!

IT pro’s, while being intelligent, (well for the most part; there are a few that make you wonder) are also an extremely hard bunch to get their attention and keep it long enough to learn about your product.  As a vendor and/or marketing person, you have a very tough job ahead of you to get that attention.  You really have to spend a bit of time with this group and learn what makes them tick.  Oh yeah, have fun learning that if you aren’t technical because, well, they don’t got time for that!  They are really smart, but they are also overworked, underpaid, and exhausted all the time.  Normal hours for them are usually 8am -3am, most every day of the week.  Vacation?  What the heck is that?  So, they only have time for what they understand and can get real technical value out of.  Showing things off in a webinar or at a trade show is not enough (and you will be lucky if there is good attendance), if (1) you are just giving the sales pitch, and (2) they can’t ask those in-depth technical questions.

I have been lucky enough to get to work with IT pro’s, both in day-to-day operations of a meta-MSP and on various communities.  I love talking to them and getting to know them.  I have learned what makes them tick, how to get them to pay attention to things and how to get them connected with vendors.