Global Business Economy

Learn Why Airbnb, Etsy, and Patagonia Are Setting Trends.

In the world of constantly evolving technology and new start-up businesses popping up everywhere, change is inevitable. Businesses are catching on to new trends that appeal to both the business owners and the clients. Giving back to the community is becoming a trend in itself. A couple trends that are leaving their mark on the business world include the peer economy and becoming a benefit corporation. Companies such as AirbnbRelayRides, Etsy, and Patagonia are all major players that exemplify these particular trends.

I just shared a few thoughts on these trends and why they are finding success. Head over to my blog for more and be sure to follow me on Twitter!


New App Helps You Communicate Abroad

bravolol foreign language app logoIf you have traveled abroad extensively, for business or pleasure, you are probably all too aware of the fact that communication, or lack thereof, can cause a slew of problems. From genuine safety concerns to wandering aimlessly in foreign streets to ordering incorrectly at a restaurant, the language barrier can be a traveler’s headache. Thick guidebooks and language dictionaries are becoming things of the past as books are becoming increasingly obsolete due to the advent of the smartphone, tablets, and the omnipresence of the internet. In a recent article, Stephanie Rosenebloom from the New York Times outlines a few of the best language applications you can use on your smartphone that can be a true lifesaver abroad.

A cost-friendly alternative to these nettlesome books, Bravolol offers different language applications for a number of different languages including, but not limited to, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and many more. Each app features common phrases and words that you are bound encounter and use while traveling in the respective country free of charge. Another free feature of Bravolol is the romance section. Here, you can learn phrases such as “Would you like a drink?” and other things you may hear during a night on the town. The app allows the user to favorite certain phrases and subsequently displays them in an easily accessible favorites category.

Bravolol stands out from its competitors for two reasons. First, is its user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing design. The application displays the categories on plain white background with a colorful and easily identifiable buttons for the various categories. Ease of use for such an application is imperative because it is going to be most useful when you are roaming the streets of a foreign city, and not when you are lounging on your hotel room bed. It also allows you to increase the font size so you do not have to waste precious time repeatedly putting on your glasses.

Furthermore, Bravolol is tremendously useful for anyone on a foreign excursion as it pronounces the words and phrases aloud. This eliminates all guesswork regarding the pronunciation of these words. However, if you still find yourself butchering these phrases, simply let whomever you are trying to communicate with listen to the Bravolol app.

If you are looking for additional features such as weather, numbers, or directions, you are going to have to shell out $4.99 for the paid version of Bravolol.

Rosenbloom also considers Google Translate to be one of her favorite apps while traveling abroad. With Google Translate, you can learn new words by snapping a picture of a word or phrase you see. The app can scan the image and almost instantaneously provide you with the correct translation. This feature can prove to be quite useful when rushing through the airport or looking for a desired restaurant.

You can also speak into the app. Google Translate will translate what you just said and play it back for you in your requested language. How cool is that! On the flip-side, if you are having trouble communicating with a waiter or clerk, simply hold the phone up to reveal what they are saying.

from Ben Sheehy | Aerial Photography

A Brief History of the Chevy Corvette

I have always been a huge fan of Corvettes, and have loved the ones I was fortunate enough to own. After doing a little reading today on Corvettes, I decided to put together a brief history of the car I have come to love.

The Corvette is a sports car produced by General Motors; it currently has seven generations. Originally introduced in 1953 as a concept show car, it was designed by Harley Earl and named by Myron Scott. Currently, the Corvette is manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The first generation of the Corvette spanned from 1953 to 1962. The original horsepower was 150; however, since no manual transmissions at that time were able to handle 150 horsepower, Chevy used a two-speed automatic. This model of Corvette was considered the “solid-axle” generation due to its suspension being dependent on each other.

The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, with its split rear window, is one of the most iconic sports cars ever created.

In 1955, Corvettes offered a V8 engine that had a 0-60 time 3 seconds faster than the previous year’s model. The next year, a fuel injection system was introduced; this engine became the first mass-produced engine to reach 1 bhp per cubic inch. By 1957, the Corvette offered a four-speed manual transmission. By 1960, the engine was significantly more powerful than its original concept car.

In 1961, the rear of the car was completely redesigned. The “duck tail” and the four round taillights were introduced; they have been a staple of the car through 2014. The 1962 Corvette offered a fuel-injected version with 360 bhp – the first generation’s fastest car.

The Sting Ray model was introduced during the second generation (1963-1967). Referred to as the mid-years, this generation was much smaller than the first. Designed by Larry Shinoda, the car had three major inspirations:

1. The Q Corvette, a concept design that was created under the direction of Bill Mitchell;
2. The Mitchell Sting Ray, a car that Mitchell sponsored because Chevy did not participate in factory racing at this time;
3. A Mako Shark that Mitchell caught while deep-sea fishing.

The 1963 model was the first coupé that Corvette had created; it featured a split rear window, hidden headlamps, an independent rear suspension and a tapered rear deck. The split rear window, however, did not hang around for long; Corvette’s chief engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov felt that it blocked the driver’s vision and thus changed it over to a full width window.

By 1965, the Corvette offered four-wheel disc brakes as well as the “big block” engine. This 6.49 liter V8 pumped out a whopping 425 horsepower; after the big block engine, Corvettes no longer used the Rochester fuel injection system.

The second generation of Corvettes offered a wide-variety of new features from the previous generation. The Big Block engines, AM-FM radio, air-conditioning, a telescopic steering wheel and headrests were all added. Also, an independent rear suspension was built for the Sting Ray.

In 1962,Duntov came up with a lightweight version of the Sting Ray. Only five Grand Sport Corvettes were produced; today, the Corvettes are held by private owners. They are some of the most valuable and coveted Corvettes ever produced.

from Ben Sheehy | Sports Cars

Google Drives Better Than You

ben sheehy denver colorado google cars drive better than youI recently blogged about Google’s efforts to seek suppliers for their new self-driving cars, which you can find here. Six years since beginning to test their self-driving cars, Google happily claims that they are indeed better drivers than your average human motorist. In those six years, Google’s fleet of 20+ self-driving vehicles have had 11 accidents, all of which Google says were caused by nothing more than human error and not the autonomous vehicles.

Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car program, calls the 11 accidents minor, involving a few dents and scratches and notes that not once during any of those collisions was a Google car responsible. Instead, many of the accidents were caused by other nearby drivers who have crashed into Google’s cars from behind at traffic lights, side-swiped or hit some of the cars by not following the rules of the road. Most of the accidents occurred on city streets rather than freeways, which should come as a relief and a surprise to people who feared how an autonomous car would perform in fast-moving traffic.

So what makes Google’s autonomous car algorithm a better driver than the rest of us? According to Urmson, it all comes down to how much attention we put on the road versus how much attention a machine puts on the road and everything else around it. Humans are easily and often distracted; Urmson cites statistics that indicate that at any given moment, there are 660,000 people distracted behind the wheel either by checking their devices or other distractions. Currently, Google’s self-driving cars have a safety-driver, a human that is present in case anything does go wrong on the part of the car, and those drivers have witnessed other drivers doing rather strange and very distracting things while on the road. Reading books is a common one, but so is playing a trumpet apparently.

Google’s cars will not be reading books or playing trumpets while rolling down a city street. Instead, the latest sensors on Google’s cars come with 360 degree visibility and 100% attention on the road in all directions at all times. They can also track vehicles, pedestrians and cyclist from a distance of close to two football fields. Looks like they have us humans beat there.

from Ben Sheehy | ServiceNow

Tesla Powerwall

ben sheehy tesla powerwall denver coloradoIn other car news, Tesla, the automaker who has built the best battery-operated vehicle in the industry, recently announced that it will be expanding its product and technology to the home. In addition to battery-operated cars, Elon Musk and his team at Tesla will be responsible for battery-operated homes. Tesla’s new company, called Tesla Energy, will release their first wall-mounted battery known as the Powerwall. The Powerwall, a 10 kWh home battery, is expected to cost $3,500. Not only can this new product be mounted on the wall, but the new design will allow multiple Powerwall’s to link together for up to 90 kWh of energy.

Elon Musk has a clear vision for the home of the future. Homeowners will be living in their own solar powered stations, replacing the current need and demand for coal and natural gas. Musk and Tesla plans on combining the 400-volt Powerwall with solar panels. With these pieces in place, the battery pack can be used to power an entire home overnight. According to recent numbers from the Energy Information Agency, the Powerwall can run the typical American household for approximately 8 hours. The EIA also states that the average home requires around 30 kWh a day.

Tesla is also planning on launching a line of industrial batteries that are roughly the size of a refrigerator. These larger batteries are scalable to larger sizes which could power entire neighborhoods. Tesla will be producing these products at their plant in Fremont, California. Elon Musk expects to be shipping higher volumes of these products sometime next year at the new Tesla Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada.

from Ben Sheehy | Sports Cars

Summer Car Care Products

ben sheehy sports cars denver colorado summer car careSummer time is upon us and it is time to hit the road. If you are like me, or any car lover, now is the time to start opening the windows, putting the top down, and hitting the road for a much needed drive. Before doing so, however, it is important to make sure our vehicles are in the best possible driving condition. Assuming everything under the hood is fine, let’s take a look at a couple products that will be absolutely necessary to improving the look and feel of your car.

Let’s start with the paint. Sending your car for a new paint job can really hit the bank account. The good news is that there are a lot of different products out there to touch up the common chip in the paint. Dr. ColorChip is an automotive paint chip repair product that consistently delivers. Using its three-step repair kit, you can touch up chips, scratches, and even deeper grooves that have reached the metal. Dr. ColorChip offers a few kit options, including the Basic Kit, the Road Rash Kit, and the Squirt-n-Squeegee Kit. Each kit comes complete with all necessary materials, such as the paint color of your choosing, a brush, blending cloth, and glove.

Keeping the interior of your vehicle clean can be a difficult task. With all the nooks and crannies, it is easy for dirt and trash to build up. Using a powerful vacuum like the Metrovac will help get everything out and leave you with a really clean car. The Metrovac is built for automotive detailing. Its well built design and assortment of attachments will leave no spot unclean. The hard to reach spots under the seats, in the trunk, or inside the engine bay will look a lot cleaner after a few minutes with the Metrovac. Its lightweight size and design make it easy to maneuver and store.

Whatever products you choose, be sure to give your vehicles the proper treatment they deserve!

from Ben Sheehy | Sports Cars

Finding Your Drone

There are plenty of options available in the drone market. As new companies continue to hop on board, the market for drones is only going to grow and options will be plentiful. While some consumers may be hesitant to hand over hundreds of dollars for a quality drone, you can currently find a select few quality drones for less than a few hundred dollars. Some of the cheaper options are as follows:

EYE One Xtreme Aerial Photography Set by RC Logger – $279

Ben Sheehy Denver CO EYE One Xtreme Aerial Photography Set by RC LoggerOne of the cheapest available drones is the EYE One Xtreme. The basic model offers a standard HD camera with 720p HD video resolution and 5 megapixels for still images. Another great feature of the EYE One Xtreme is its distinct flight modes – beginner, sport, and advanced. With a 2.4 GHz transmitter, the drone offers a range of 400 feet and approximately 7 minutes of flight time.

QR Ladybird V2 – $220

ben sheehy denver colorado QR Ladybird V2If you are looking to purchase a drone that is easy to use and built for beginners, then the Ladybird is built for you. What it lacks in power, it more than makes up for in user ability and style. For starters, the Ladybird is a flying lady bug – it was built to look like a lady bug, and it was built for maneuverability. The Ladybird includes a 200 MP video camera that can stream live video, though it does not record.

Quanum Nova – $319

ben sheehy denver colorado Quanum NovaThe Quanum Nova, also known as the Cheerson CX-20, has gained a lot of popularity as a customizable quadcopter. While the drone does not include a camera, users have the option to buy and install their own. A major plus of this product is the ability to connect the camera to the integrated gimbal control, which allows you to adjust the tilt and roll functions, giving you a multitude of video angles. GPS capabilities are another exciting feature on this model, enabling position and altitude hold, waypoint navigation, and return-home functionality. The Cheerson CX-20 has a range of approximately 300 meters and around 15 minutes of flight time.

from Ben Sheehy | Aerial Photography

Sinkhole at National Corvette Museum

ben sheehy sports car blog denver coloradoThis is a story from last year’s Autoweek that I am just now coming across. In February of last year, a large sink hole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The following vehicles fell victim to this unexpected sinkhole:

The Corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole included the following:

  • 1962 Black Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 White 1 Millionth Corvette
  • 1993 Ruby Red 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
  • 2009 White 1.5 Millionth Corvette
  • 2009 ZR1 Blue Devil

You can witness some of the collapse in this security footage. Of the 8 vehicles swallowed up by the sink hole, 3 of the Corvettes have been chosen to restored. The lucky Corvettes to be restored will be the ‘09 ZR1 Blue Devil, the white “1 millionth” ‘92 convertible, and the black ‘62. The remaining ‘Vettes will be left to be viewed as they are.

Another piece of this story which grabbed my attention was the drone footage captured inside the sink hole. You can see the video here.

from Ben Sheehy | Sports Cars

Proposed Commercial Drone Rules From FAA

ben sheehy federal aviation administration commercial drones denver coIt seemed to be only a matter of time before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stepped in and introduced limits on drones, as they have continued to grow in popularity. After all, there is a real potential for issues moving forward as drone technology continues to advance. A day may come when we see drones flying above just as frequently as birds.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration submitted its proposed rules for smaller commercial drones. While many of the rules are to be expected, some may impede the commercial delivery ambitions of major companies such as Amazon.

Key rules applying to drones weighing fewer than 55 pounds:

  • Pilots must be at least 17 years old.
  • Pilots must pass a test to obtain the newly developed drone operator license, which will also require vetting by the TSA.
  • License will apply to all small drones.
  • Review tests will be required every 24 months.
  • Flights must occur during daytime hours.
  • Pilot must see the drone at all times, though a 2nd operator may be utilized as an observer.
  • Drones can fly no faster than 100mph and must remain below 500 feet.
  • Drones must be registered with the FAA.
  • No flights over people and you must maintain visibility.

Amazon’s delivery drones will not be possible under these proposed regulations, however, the rules are not finalized. More rules and adjustments are being considered for different types of drones as well.

from Ben Sheehy | Aerial Photography

Google Seeks Self-Driving Car Suppliers

ben sheehy sports news denver co google carTechnology is finally catching up to our science-fiction driven ideas, as self-driving vehicles are just around the corner. Google is taking the next steps in producing its fully autonomous vehicles. These vehicles will be able to transport human passengers free of a steering wheels, brakes, and accelerators.

Google is currently communicating with various automakers around the world. These communications are an attempt to assemble a global supplier team and push its self-driving vehicles to market. Some of the suppliers Google has reach out to include Bosch, ZF Lenksysteme, LG, Roush, and Continental. Roush has already been confirmed as the company who engineered the two-seater vehicle which Google expects to test drive via public roads this year.

Some expected Google to reach out to larger, more notable automakers, but they just are not at that stage yet. Once the vehicles are safe and ready for commercialization, then Google will seek these partners to build the vehicles and release on the market. As reported by Reuters, Google has contacted GM, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota.

At some point this year Google will release its fleet of test vehicles. Google expects a fully autonomous vehicle within the next 5 years – a sentiment shared by famed auto and space pioneer Elon Musk. As Musk pointed out, while the vehicles may be ready for prime time, it is very likely that federal regulations will delay the introduction of everyday driving until around 2022.

As someone who takes such pride and joy in manually operating a vehicle, I am still on the fence, but it is hard to deny how amazing an accomplishment this will be.


from Ben Sheehy | Sports Cars