Elon Musk Presents His 5 Secrets of Success To Graduates at USC

Elon Reeve Musk is a South-Africa–born, Canadian-American entrepreneur, engineer, inventor and investor. He is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity.

He spoke to graduates recently at the University of Southern California. Here are his 5 secrets of success.


“I think the first is you need to work, depending upon how well you want to do and particularly if you’re starting a company, you need to work super hard. So what does super hard mean? Well when my brother and I were starting our first company, instead of getting an apartment we just rented a small office and we slept on the couch. We showered at the YMCA and we were so hard up we had just one computer so the website was up during the day and I was coding at night; Seven days a week, all the time.”


“If you’re creating a company or if you’re joining a company, the most important thing is to attract great people. Either join a group that’s amazing that you really respect, or if you’re building a company – gather great people.”


“Focus on signal over noise. A lot of companies get confused, they spend money on things that don’t actually make the product better. For any given company just keep asking yourself “are the efforts that people are expending resulting in a better product or service? If they’re not – stop those efforts.”


“Don’t just follow the trend. You may have heard me say that it’s good to think in terms of the physics approach of first principles. Which is, rather than reasoning by analogy, you boil things down to the most fundamental truths you can imagine and you reason up from there.”


“The final thing I think I would encourage you to do is, now is the time to take risks. As you get older your obligations increase, so once you have a family you start taking risks not just for yourself but for your family as well. It gets much harder to do things that might not work out. Now is the time to do that, before you have those obligations. So I would encourage you to take risks now, to do something bold, you won’t regret it.”

Full version: http://www.simplethingcalledlife.com/2015/elon-musk-usc-success-speech/

50 Groundbreaking Startup Ideas – Video Compilation

Here are the startup founders/companies used in the video:

1) Brian Chesky – Airbnb 0:07
2) Ben Silbermann – Pinterest 0:32
3) Kevin Systrom – Instagram 1:14
4) Danae Ringelmann – Indiegogo 2:06
5) Alexis Ohanian / Steve Huffman – Reddit 2:54
6) Andrew Mason – Groupon 3:23
7) Jack Dorsey – Twitter 4:01
8) Leah Busque – TaskRabbit 4:31
9) Emmett Shear – Twitch 5:10
10) Alan Schaaf – Imgur 6:00
11) David Karp – Tumblr 6:51
12) Jake Nickell – Threadless 7:28
13) Dennis Crowley – Foursquare 8:16
14) Stewart Butterfield – Flickr 9:11
15) Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook 9:42
16) Steven Chen – Youtube 10:36
17) Eli Pariser / Peter Coechly – Upworthy 11:20
18) Garrett Camp – Uber 11:40
19) Jeremy Stoppelman – Yelp 12:00
20) Ryan Hoover – ProductHunt 12:40
21) Tony Fadell – Nest 13:42
22) Jack Dorsey – Square 14:59
23) Evan Spiegel – SnapChat 15:37
24) Drew Houston – Dropbox 15:52
25) Nira Tolia – Nextdoor 16:23
26) Tracy DiNunzio – Tradesy 16:56
27) Brian Wong – Kiip 17:16
28) Otis Chandler – Goodreads 19:10
29) Pierre Omidyar – Ebay 19:59
30) Salman Khan – Khan Academy 20:30
31) Zach Sims – Codecademy 21:43
32) Blake Mycoskie – TOMS 22:20
33) Naval Ravikant – AngelList 23:23
34) Adora Cheung – Homejoy 24:00
35) Phil Libin – Evernote 24:20
36) Daniel Ek – Spotify 25:10
37) Micha Kaufmann – Fiverr 26:35
38) Dom Hofmann / Colin Kroll – Vine 27:45
39) Adam Goldstein / Steve Huffman – Hipmunk 28:35
40) Tom Preston-Werner – GitHub 29:24
41) Alph Bingham – InnoCentive 30:27
42) Evan Williams – Medium 30:48
43) Charlie Cheever – Quora 31:51
44) Alex Ljung – Soundcloud 32:07
45) Rich Barton – Zillow 32:56
46) Scott Heiferman – Meetup 34:01
47) Rob Kalin – Etsy 34:50
48) Jack Conte – Patreon 35:40
49) Matt Mickiewicz – 99 Designs 37:25
50) Sean Rad – Tinder 38:18

What Does It Take To Be A CEO? (Infographic)





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Ask An Entrepreneur: What Can I Do To Attract Top Talent?

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 12.49.55 PMAnswer provided by: Denise Tran, Founder of Bun Mee – gourmet Vietnamese sandwich eatery with two locations in San Francisco.

Previous Employment: Corporate Transactions Attorney for 5 years at Aoki Sokamoto Grant.



I founded Bun Mee in May 2011. We have over 65+ employees with annual sales of $3.5 million+. Attracting top management candidates in a competitive hospitality market such as San Francisco has required me to get creative with recruiting, have a “hands on” approach to interviewing, understand the type of talent needed at each stage of my business, and clearly communicate Bun Mee’s selling points.

Although, I do rely on traditional channels to recruit talent such as recruiters or placing online ads, I prefer to lean on my industry network. This includes industry vendors who typically have recommendations of people looking for new food and beverage opportunities.

The best candidates come from professional introductions. My business is a fast, casual restaurant operating in a competitive hospitality city. I often compete with fine dining establishments or established restaurant chains for top management talent. Other than the basics – a competitive salary, vacation, medical, and bonus benefits – I can’t offer any additional perks such as: the ability to learn from a known chef or an experienced front of the house manager.  With minimal corporate structure, Bun Mee is still in our startup phase and requires employees that can wear many hats and is attracted to learning on the job with minimal training.  I seek out candidates with intangible qualities such as a strong emotional intelligence and aptitude, who can excel wearing many hats, and who have an entrepreneurial bent willing to take a risk with a young company.

After narrowing the field down to a few candidates, I take a hands-on approach to interviewing my candidates, multiple times, in different settings. This also includes meeting their spouses or significant others over dinner or in a more casual setting. Taking on a new job opportunity is often a family decision, this approach allows me to sell Bun Mee not only to the candidate but also to someone in their lives who is an important part of their decision making process. Meeting the spouse or significant other also allows me to understand my candidate better from a personal standpoint, which is critical when assessing culture fit.

My approach when interviewing potential candidates:

  • I provide background on myself, my family, my values and why I started Bun Mee and what it means to me personally.
  • I share my dreams and vision for the business both from a strategic perspective, opportunity for growth, financial opportunity, and how I want Bun Mee to be a great company beyond what it is today.
  • I highlight accolades, awards, and investor interest we have received to validate the vision and to show the candidate that they have an opportunity to be a part of something at the ground level that has great potential to expand nationally.
  • I tell each candidate how they would fit into the vision based on their background, talents, and experience and how it would be mutually beneficial to work together.

No matter the approach, an honest, sincere, and passionate pitch from the company founder is most effective in recruiting top talent.

Denise can be found on: Linkedin and on the web,  http://www.bunmee.co

40 Brand Logos With Hidden Messages (Infographic)



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Butte, Montana Hosts Startup Weekend

Headwaters.png                   BX_LP_2014_RGB.png



Event Name:  Startup Weekend Butte
Event Date:  March 27 – 29, 2015
Event Times:  March 27, 6:30 to 10:00 p.m.; March 28, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; and March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Event Location: Thornton Building, 65 E. Broadway, Butte, MT 59701

Contact:  Pam Haxby-Cote or Adam Benson
Phone Number: 406.533.6781
Email Address: butte@startupweekend.org 
Web Site Address: http://www.butte.up.co/

Butte, Montana Hosts Startup Weekend.
Sign up to build entrepreneurial skills, network, and launch successful startups.
Featuring Facilitator Marc Nager, CEO UP Global
Keynote Speaker Martin Butts, Local Food Advocate, Small Potatoes


BUTTE, MONTANA, February 27, 2015

What’s happening and who’s it for?

Startup Weekend Butte is happening March 27-29, 2015, and will be the first event of its kind in Southwest Montana.

Startup Weekends are 54­-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Local CEOs, founders, startup veterans, attorneys, publishers, professors, and economic developers with entrepreneurship, investing, marketing, and technology expertise will be on hand to coach teams.

UP Global currently powers Startup Weekend, Startup Digest, Startup Next, Education Entrepreneurs, and more. Entrepreneurship is something that can be both taught and learned, and UP Global is on a mission to ensure the world takes advantage of that.

Startup Weekend Butte kicks-off with a keynote address from foods advocate Martin Butts, founder of Small Potatoes. Small Potatoes is a New York-based boutique consulting firm specializing in working with food businesses of all kinds. Butts specifically focuses on developing fair and sustainable food systems that support independent businesses and healthier communities, and has worked with a variety of “foodrepreneurs” helping them turn their product ideas into businesses. He has spoken at conferences and summits around the country, including at TEDxUtica in October 2013. He has also spoken at universities, community centers, grocery stores, private homes, city parks, and on stairways and wooden crates.

Alongside members from the local tech and entrepreneur communities, Startup Weekend Butte will welcome students from Montana University System’s Blackstone LaunchPads at the University of Montana and Montana State University. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation knows that entrepreneurship is the single most effective way to spur economic growth and job creation. Through the Blackstone LaunchPad, students will have access to an expanded universe of resources and years of institutional knowledge, helping them launch ventures that can take root locally and strengthen Montana’s economy. Organizers intend the event to be a catalyst for the Butte and southwest Montana entrepreneurial community.

“Southwest Montana folks are entrepreneurial by nature… Startup Weekend Butte provides our local entrepreneurs with the opportunity to network, pitch their ideas, build teams, ideate and curate and launch a business– all in 54 hours,” Pam Haxby-Cote, Regional Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad Montana program, said.

Startup Weekend Butte is also excited to announce that the facilitator for the weekend is UP Global CEO Marc Nager. UP Global exists to empower startup community leaders and the entrepreneurs they serve worldwide. With a platform offering action-based learning programs, resources, and networks for entrepreneurs and leaders, UP Global aims to be the leading organization furthering human welfare through entrepreneurship.

Why attend a Startup Weekend event?

  • Education — learn by doing.
  • Build your network­ — meet talented entrepreneurs.
  • Find cofounder(s)
  • Learn a new skill ­– flex your technical and business muscle.
  • Get face time with thought leaders — local leaders on tap.
  • Join a global community ­of over 45,000+ alumni out to change the world.

How is it done?

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts. Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend. (Statistics from http://startupweekend.org/about/)

When and where is it?

The detailed Startup Weekend Butte 2015 Schedule can be found online at http://www.butte.up.co/. The general hours of the event are Friday, March 27, 6:30 to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, March 28, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; and Sunday, March 29, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will be held at the Thornton Building, 65 E. Broadway.

How can I sign up?

Interested parties can click on the “Startup Weekend Butte” link at the main website, then either of the “Buy Tickets” buttons on the event page to sign up: http://www.butte.up.co/ Students tickets are offered at a discounted price and are limited. Contact event organizers for the student discount code. Registration includes all meals and caffeine. Attendees will also receive a custom team t­shirt and exclusive Startup Weekend perks.

About our local sponsors:
Thanks to our local sponsors Blackstone LaunchPad Montana and Headwaters RC&D. Sponsorship opportunities still available, please contact us.


Startup Weekend is a program of UP Global along with Startup Next, Startup Digest and Education Entrepreneurs. UP Global is a nonprofit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities around the world and in partnership with over 60 leaders and corporations including Google for Entrepreneurs, CocaCola, Amazon Web Services and the Case Foundation. Read UP Global’s White Paper on, “Fostering A Thriving Startup Ecosystem

Ask An Entrepreneur: 4 Tips On Partnering With Foreign Suppliers

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 4.59.10 PMAnswer provided by: Olga and Shane Rai, Co-Founders VinoRai, LLC – importers of quality Turkish wines. Bringing the Turkish wine renaissance to America.

Previous Employment: Olga- Marketing consulting at Accenture and other consulting firms followed by two years of marketing and strategy at Starbucks Corporate.

Shane – IT strategy and implementation consulting at Deloitte Consulting for seven years followed by two years of product management building social intelligence products for a UK based customer experience technology company.


There are many reasons why a business would consider partnering with foreign suppliers.

– Cost efficiency
– The superior quality of goods or services
– A personal or emotional connection to an overseas land

For us at VinoRai, our raison d’être is introducing the United States to a unique experience that only a foreign partner can provide.

Our unique experience is wines – wines from Turkey. Our honeymoon adventure to Turkey a few years earlier led to this fortunate and serendipitous discovery of wines that we soon realized weren’t just only unique to Turkey but also embodied the deep and rich history of the region.

Turkey is regarded as one of the birthplaces of grape domestication and ancient wine making, and home to 800+ grape varieties many of which are unique to the country. While many established wineries exist in Turkey today dating back to early 20th century, the last 10-15 years has seen an encouraging surge in new and prolific wine producers after the wine industry was opened to privatization. Many are heralding this Turkey’s wine renaissance and it is poised to blossom further.

We’ve now been importing wines from Turkey for a year and a half, and over this period we’ve been fortunate in expanding our portfolio of wine producers to five.

With zero prior knowledge of the trade, there were many on-the-job lessons learned, good and bad, just like many of you have surely experienced or will experience.

For those of you contemplating kick-starting your own venture that would need extensive partnerships with foreign suppliers, we’ve compiled our top 4 things to consider:

Vet, vet and vet some more: it’s imperative to vet your suppliers and their products before you ink that deal and sink those funds. Making onsite visits and in-person meet-ups are a good start but not sufficient. Bring in a few samples or prototypes, test & validate in your market with your customers, and then make a decision. Repeat for every new supplier and product. This iterative model has been our bread and butter approach.

Success needs to be mutual: sounds cliché but can your partnership really thrive if success is mutually exclusive to either of you? Spend the time & money to build a relationship. Genuinely get to know your suppliers, their culture and their business practices. Go visit them, share your market success stories as well as challenges, and seek out government export/import subsidies that might be beneficial to them. Relationship building takes time, so be patient and invest the time. The pay off is well worth it down the road: you’ll get better pricing terms, consistent quality and many other benefits that incrementally will help your business thrive.

Adapt and don’t unnecessarily accept: nothing is perfect, and chances are cultural and business differences will almost certainly exist between you and your foreign supplier. Common yet crucial differences will relate to pricing terms and sense of urgency/timing based on our experiences. Try to uncover these differences as quickly as possible and then decide which ones are acceptable to your business and those that aren’t. Surprises later down the road are always costly and a blow to your relationship building efforts.

Protect yourself: congrats, you’ve built a market for your products. Chances are competition is not too far behind now. What stops your competitors from partnering with your valued suppliers? You can start by seeking exclusivity agreements from your suppliers (if applicable) and seek legal counsel to draft the agreement. Understand what legal action you can undertake later should you (unfortunately) need to.

Olga and Shane Rai can be found on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vinorai.com.

What I Learned at Startup Weekend: 12 Lessons on Leaping, Connecting, and Finishing

This post is written by Aaron Wolfson and was originally published here.  

Startup Weekend is a singular experience. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the magic is that the simple act of attending a Startup Weekend unfaintens you. Only by doing something like this do you discover that your heart is as strong as you want it to be.

Startup Weekend throws you together in a room with dozens of other people, many of whom you haven’t met. Anyone who wants to can pitch an idea for a company. Everyone votes for their favorite ideas, the best ones are selected, and the winning ideas become teams. You work for 54 hours trying to make the company real. You get out and talk to people you think have the problem you’re trying to solve, and if they do, you build whatever the hell you can before the bell rings. At the end the teams pitch again, and a table of judges selects the winners.

But it’s not about winning. (And I’m not just saying that because my team didn’t win.) It’s about learning.

1. You advance the fastest by making things happen.

This is the single most important thing to learn about being an entrepreneur. You can, and should, read all the Lean Startup books you can get your hands on. But it’s not enough.  This knowledge is fragile. And if you don’t test it in the real world, you never find out which of it is going to break. Every situation is unique and there is no gospel. The ugly truth is that you can read and read and read, but you will still never know what you’re doing, at first. Maybe you never really know. Reading books is great, but it also lulls you into a feeling of security in your knowledge. Learning and doing is not an either-or decision. It’s both-and.

2. You must get out into the real world.

The reason learning-by-doing is so important is because it forces you into the real world. And in the real world, there are people. People are the world. The overriding lesson of Startup Weekend is that your idea means nothing if you can’t validate it with real people. This is a much-discussed but, I believe, still little-understood principle, for those who haven’t experienced it. Our Startup Weekend champion was a company called Baby Steps. Their idea wasn’t the most impressive or inventive, but it was the best. Why? They understood their customer and they proved that their customer wanted what they had to offer. Other teams had slick websites and fancy app prototypes. Baby Steps knew who they could help and how they would do it.

3. Talking to people is hard as hell.

Which is probably why most people don’t do it. Getting rejected really sucks. Whether it’s someone who doesn’t want to talk to you at all, or someone who doesn’t understand the problem or belittles it, or someone who couldn’t care less about your idea, or someone who takes offense at something you say: it’s all viscerally painful. So what separates those who try it and persist at it, from those who never try it, and those who try it and give up? I don’t know. I’m not there yet, but I’m going to learn. My hunch? If you just keep doing it, you realize that while it’s always painful to get rejected, each time you do, it’s a tiny bit less painful than the last time. You get familiar with the feeling of being rejected. You start becoming friends with it. You start to revel in it, like a pig in mud; you use it as a springboard, you let it bring you to life. Because it makes you stronger.

4. Connecting with other people is an art.

Interviewing users is an art. So is working with a team. So is getting funded. Here’s how I, an introverted quasi-homebody, learned how to relish making new connections. I believe every pair of people in the world has a shared link. A tie that binds. You have the same favorite beer. You both just moved to the same city. You have a mutual friend (or enemy). And you, meeting a new person, are a detective: the game is to figure out what binds the two of you together. To win the game, you must find the tie and cultivate it. Let it bloom. Celebrate it: your tie is unique in the entire world. No other pair of people have exactly the same one.

5. Everyone has something to offer.

The secret of teams is that complementary skills allow each member to go all-out on the one thing they do best, which means they get done faster and produce better work than any single person could. Nine women can’t make a baby in one month, but nine women can make nine babies in nine months, and all those babies can have full sets of hand-sewn clothing from Mother #1, and a room full of furniture constructed by Mother #2, and an array of baby toys constructed by Mother #3 (and so on). And if you dismiss someone for not being good enough, that means you’re the one who’s not good enough at finding what that person’s best skill is and setting them to work.

6. Accountability is king.

After a disappointing user interview, I felt discouraged. I questioned my skills, my purpose, and myself. But I knew I had to put those feelings aside for the time being, because my teammates needed my full efforts. Even if I was down on myself, I wasn’t down on them. And if you can’t do something for yourself, you can always do it for someone else instead. (Check out the short book The Accountability Effect to learn more about this magic.)

7. You get to practice sublimating your ego.

Make it your #1 priority. Try to accept blame for everything. Refuse to take credit for anything. Force yourself to shut your mouth and listen: to your teammates, to the coaches, to the people you’re interviewing. When they stop talking, and you must open your mouth, ask a question. Delight in encouraging others to tell you what they see and what they believe. You can listen to yourself talk any day of the week (and a thousand times on Sundays). P.S.: it’s fucking difficult. That’s why you’re practicing.

8. Own the work but not the outcome.

Should you try to win competitions? Hell yes. Always. Do everything you possibly can. And then, right before the winner is announced, divorce yourself. This is not a verdict. Win or lose, the work is yours, and nobody can take it away. The most important thing? What you’re going to do next.

9. You are not the first one to do this.

Whatever you’re doing, someone has come before you. On Saturday afternoon, we’d just done our user interviews. We were working on formulating some models of our ideal customer. We wanted some feedback, so when we saw one of the coaches walking by, we called him over. He told us, in so many words, “Fuck that. You need to start building your solution. Something. Anything. You’re running out of time.” Bless his heart, he snapped us out of it right before we walked off the precipice. And it had totally been my doing! Maybe because I was scared of trying to execute, or for some other reason, I had been leading us into analysis paralysis purgatory. But I somehow had enough sense to suck it up, put my ego aside, ask for someone’s opinion who knew more than me, and to do what he said. So simple; so hard.

10. You don’t get a gold star for working hard.

It’s part of the deal—a minimum requirement, only. One of the example slides for our final pitch asked us to mention some challenges we faced. I put down that our choice to do a Wizard of Oz prototype (where things look automated to the user, but really you’re doing everything manually) was a challenge, since it meant we had to work for four hours straight manually copying data between the web, email, a spreadsheet, and a browser-based texting app. When our coach saw that slide, he told us to scrap it immediately. “You think people are going to care that you had to do a bunch of work? It’s hard enough to find customers and give them something they want. But now you’re saying it’s also hard to send out a few text messages? Do you want some magical button to do this for you?” Real shit.

11. Nothing is about you.

Your idea? Doesn’t mean shit. It’s about what you can do to help people who have problems and needs. Your pitch? Meaningless, if you don’t demonstrate how what you’re talking about will provide value to the judges or investors or potential employees you’re talking to. This is why you must fully embrace the practice of ego-banishment. Because of course all of these things are important to you. And that’s great. It’s essential. Your ambition and your desire to be great is what makes you you, and it’s what makes you put yourself on the line and stretch your comfort zone. But the sooner you can completely forget about all of that and start making other people look good, the sooner you will understand how to satisfy that ambition and desire, and achieve the things you want.

12. Everything is better when you commit yourself 100%.

I pitched an idea, one I’ve been working on for a long time and thinking about for longer. It fell one vote short of being selected to get worked during the weekend. I could have shut down and left, or joined another team and pouted and half-assed everything I did. Instead, I let it go, I picked a team that I felt passionate about, and I had one of the best weekends of my life. I forged a real connection with someone else, working on a real business, trying to solve real problems for real people. Being committed puts you in rarefied air. So many people, millions of them, who have this kind of opportunity, never commit to anything on this level their whole lives. You don’t have to be smart. You don’t have to be educated. You don’t have to be rich. You just have to care. Care more. Make things happen.

10 Tricks To Appear Smart In Meetings (Humorous Infographic).

infographic by The Cooper Review 


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Touch-Based Virtual Reality For The Blind Developed At Startup Weekend Education Hyderabad

Original post can be found on Imgur. Written by user SathvikP.

We built a wearable device that can help people sense a virtual object (like a square, a map of the world, a cube or an entire solar system), through a small vibrating motor on their hand by moving their hand around in the air. This would be particularly helpful for the blind and the visually impaired as it can help them better visualize shapes, learn geography and access images like they never could before. And I’m very proud to tell you that our team at Color Me Black won Startup Weekend Education Hyderabad!

Congratulations to the rest of the team! And many thanks to all our avid supporters and friends. Also a very special thanks to Faisal from Dialogue In the Dark – India for sparing his valuable time. He helped us fine tune the idea to better help students and showed us how technology has been helping the visually impaired. Stay tuned, you’ll be hearing more about this soon! #MakeInIndia #Wearables #InternetOfThings #VirtualReality #Haptics


The prototype is a glove that people can wear. When they move their hand around, an arduino onboard detects the movement and turns on a small vibrator-motor on the glove. If we have the computer simulate the shape of a square, the glove-wearer would feel a vibration on their hand as they move it along it’s imagined boundaries, allowing them to get a sense of it’s shape.



Blind students and blind people in general have a tough time visualizing, understanding and using images. With the help of this smart-glove, we can give them a sense of what things in the image might be shaped like, enabling them to better use that information.

Learn more about our startup, Colour Me Black and how we will continue to innovate for the blind!