‘RuMAD’: innovation in mobile application technology

R U MAD? This was the question asked to me by a student at the information counter of Rutgers University, when I inquired about the startup tech event which was held at the Rutgers Piscataway Campus last Friday. I was a bit startled and a lot confused at this question. But later realized ‘RuMAD’  is an acronym for “Rutgers Mobile App Development.” And it is pretty cool, isn’t it?

RuMAD is a tech club that holds events and meet-ups for students who are passionate about mobile application development. The club was founded about two years back by Rutgers University students David Zafrani, Chris Dilks, Kyle Byrne, Justina Sigle and Nate Kott. The club hosts weekly events, calls eminent speakers to enlighten the students, and conducts student demos.

The event on Friday started with the introduction of the speaker guests Mike Swift- founder of HackerLeague and former Evangelist at SendGrid. The speaker was followed by a presentation by Peter Sullivan- an entrepreneur and former CEO of Tripl. He was followed by  a formal presentation by George Matthews, Project Manager at Microsoft.

Peter Sullivan gave a brief presentation on the startup business. He stressed various factors that one has to consider while starting a business. He started off by letting the enthusiastic students know the importance of a correct product. The product that the engineers should design and market has to be exclusive but simple. According to Pete Sullivan, understanding the psychology of people is equally important for  running a successful business “this is the hardest part,” exclaimed Pete Sullivan. Sullivan continued with explaining the importance of promotion of a product. Later on he also talked on the investor pitch. He advised the students looking for a start up venture to convince an investor by giving a formal demo/presentation of the product. After the presentation, Pete showed us a demo of an app for buying lottery tickets on iPhone. This app is called  “Jackpocket app,”  developed by Pete Sullivan himself, and it uses the iOS platform.

Pete’s presentation was followed by a speaker who has an illustrious career as a Project Manager at Microsoft. He shared his experiences with the students. He spoke about the trends in innovations and shared some keynotes on work ethics with the students.

The presentation was followed by student demos.  One such demo which stood out was of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. A group of three students gave a demo of using the RFID technology and the convenience in using the technology when the RFID chips are installed in the phone. With the use of this technology, according to the group we could unlock our computer without having to type the password. This could be done by scanning an identity badge  on the phone and thus protects one’s privacy. Also there was another feature that the group highlighted. It was that of eliminating the long checkout lines at the shopping center. This can be achieved by scanning the item through the phone and boom! You are done. The group has a YouTube video on the RFID adapter technology that can be watched for more details.

The event was concluded by allowing the students to have an informal chat with the speakers. The RuMAD club is particularly significant as it sharpens the programming skills of tech savvy students and along with it , exposes them to the marketing strategies.

[Photo by Purva Chitnis]


Legal piece of advice for start-ups

attorney 1When starting a new business everyone is apprehensive about its success. But one thing no one wants to get into is legal complications. One of the key indicators of a successful business is when it is free of any legal tangle.

Gregory Dell’aquila, organizer at the Mission 50 Workspaces Hoboken, New Jersey, who aims to aid this process, held a start-up meeting with legal expert, Dror Futter from SorinRand LLP, a New York-based corporate law firm which tends to clients in sectors such as finance and technology.

The meeting stressed on the 10 most important things an attorney should inform the individuals looking to start their own businesses. The event was attended by lawyers, bankers, entrepreneurs, financial planners and analysts.

Futter started off by explaining that individuals realize the difference between an LLC and a corporate entity. It is important to know how the firm is going to be registered, what the trademark/logo of the firm should be.

“Always pay your taxes and pay to people who you are entitled to,” he said.

The speaker also stressed the importance of data privacy especially for healthcare, insurance related firms. He also went over by explaining the difference between hiring a consultant and an employee.

When asked how successful he thinks his lectures are, Futter replied with a smile, “Inevitably after a lot of programs, I do get a phone call or two telling me what I spoke in the lecture was helpful. This is quite rewarding.”

The event was insightful for most of the individuals.

“I attended the event because I realize the importance of legal matters when starting one’s own business.  I have several questions that I need to have answered by a legal expert and was hoping to find some answers,” says Carmen Bonilla, who previously worked in insurance and financial services and is currently looking to start her own consulting business.

“Whenever I get an opportunity, I attend such events in the hope of making contacts for my business,” said an investment banker who is venturing into the world of entrepreneurship.

Photo by Purva Chitnis