How Chicago Is Becoming The New Silicon Valley

It’s no secret that Chicago is one of the most populated cities in the United States after New York and Los Angeles. Its population is 2.7 million and up to 58 million people visit it in a year. Therefore it comes as no surprise that, in recent years, Chicago has received a tremendous surge in the technology industry. According to a new KPMG report, Chicago is listed as a candidate for the home of an international hub for innovation due to its huge range of talent and infrastructure.

Chicago has also ranked highly in the best in the growth of jobs in the technology sphere. Careers in tech soar in this city, thriving in the range of opportunities on offer there that are unmatched anywhere else. this is the result of many incredible tech companies being based here, from Google to Motorola. It really is the place to be in terms of career progression and fully releasing the potential of your skills and talents.

The City Itself

Chicago is perhaps most well known for its manufacturing companies but after the rise of digital media and successful tech ventures, Chicago has capitalized well on this new technological age. A survey recently carried out by the University of Minnesota showed that Chicago has the sixth-largest high tech company in the U.S. This has been through the success of businesses such as Groupon, a company that gives people coupons and daily deals. Since Groupon was founded in Chicago, it has given the city visibility and revealed it as the place to be for new business start-ups.

When I was younger, I went to Chicago. It’s astounded me. I come from a small farm in Texas and was instantly dazzled by the bright lights and buzzing city that seems to have a life of its own. My mum took me on the subway and the place really felt amazing. It’s so much more exciting than any other city I’ve been to and its no surprise big tech companies are starting up there. If I was a CEO, I would start there without a doubt. It’s teeming with culture and life and has a vibrancy you simply don’t find in other places.

I have a friend who wanted to start a business with his wife. They had been brainstorming an app idea for nearly two years when they finally got a bank loan and decided to just go for it. I asked him where he would set it up and he said Chicago without hesitating. He had been a subscriber to many business magazines and he knew that the smartest place to go was Chicago. So they packed their bags and off they went. He called me on the first night he got there. I’ll never forget him telling me how amazing the city was. He wasn’t a huge fan of the pizza but he said what Chicago lacks in the crust, it more than makes up for in dough. The place just screamed success and wealth. He became a millionaire a year later, all thanks to Chicago.

He now has a huge office building. I asked him about how he repairs all his windows and he said he uses a very reliable window company called Friendly Windows.


The New Valley

Silicon Valley is old news. It’s had its time and now it is being succeeded by a place with a rich heritage and fresh look on the tech industry. About once a year I go to Chicago just to see the tech wizards at work. I visited Silicon Valley once on a holiday just out of curiosity and it was a terrible mistake. The place was lifeless compared to the thriving and fun-filled city of Chicago in Illinois. Whenever I ask my business owner friend and his wife their advice on a business-related matter, they always encourage me to come to Chicago as it has the answers. From it’s incredible skyscrapers to its railways, it’s already a work of art by its own merits. But now it’s adapted to the modern world and you can’t enjoy the feel of the place.

Computers are the new bicycles. Everywhere has them and technology is constantly evolving. I remember when I was younger having a computer the size of an oven. Now everything has gotten so much smaller and cleverer, it’s easy to forget sometimes just how fast everything is moving. And in Chicago, the place feels lightyears ahead of the rest of America. It’s moving so fast there because it has the smartest people. Talent is in surplus there and it provides a comfortable yet challenging environment for CEOs and programmers alike. You’ll never find a more dynamic and business-focused city than Chicago. I always thought this would be New York or even a city abroad like London or Tokyo but no, Chicago is the technological hub for all major changes in the industry.

I tell my parents this but they don’t believe me. They still think it’s New York. Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. It’s got great pizza and wonderful shows but it’s never taken a hold of the technological world quite as well as Chicago. And that’s okay. It can’t be perfect at everything. But if you really want to grow your tech business, one year in Chicago will increase your profits enormously. Go there and give your business the edge it needs. Chicago is waiting.

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9 Cool Gadgets That Will Change The Way You Live

Curious friends using modern gadgets and devices at home

Considering how much time it can help us save, it’s no wonder the majority of the world has accepted technology with open arms. With the vast amount of technology out there for anything you can think of, it can be overwhelming to decide on what is worth investing in.

Technology often isn’t cheap. Good quality products often come at a price and although it’s a shame, the vast majority of us don’t have the money to spend on all the tech we want to try out.

So, to make it easier for you to decide, this guide will show you 9 of the most awesome gadgets, with a range of both technological and practical options that will make sure you’re out there living your best life!


A gadget that has been sweeping the nation (and for good reason), the FitBit is a handy companion for anybody hoping to keep on top of their fitness. With a range of features and a wide selection of colours to choose from, you can be sure to find the perfect one for you.

The waterproof watch comes with a handy feature that can not only track your steps and distance, but it can also let you know what your heart rate is while exercising. It can be handy to keep an eye on your heart rate so you don’t accidentally overdo your workout.

Portable WiFi and Power Bank

While many people have discovered the benefits of investing in a power bank, surprisingly few people are aware of the unbelievably useful power bank that also comes with a built-in mini wifi router.

We often take wifi and our data for granted. But when we go on vacation, we quickly realize that not everywhere actually has internet – which when you’re in a completely new and foreign country may lead to more issues than you’d care to think about.

Save yourself the hassle of counting on your three-star hotel having excellent wifi and ensure you aren’t left in the dark by having your own connection!


More of an old-fashioned gadget, it’s been making a massive comeback in the last few years. With a range of beautiful and aesthetically pleasing colours to choose from, Instax is the place to find the perfect polaroid camera for you.

You’ll find every memory much more precious when you have a polaroid to remember it by. Mark important moments in your life with your friends and family and give yourself a multitude of wonderful and heartwarming memories to look back on. It’ll warm your heart every time you look back.

Working on table with gadgets

Mesmerizing Wireless Charging Pad

Okay, so it may not be ‘life-changing’, but hell does it look cool. When I first saw a video of one of these bad boys online my jaw dropped. As the Magic Array charging pad lit up as the phone was placed, it looked as though the phone was powering a mystical tablet. You’ll feel like a wizard every time you go to charge your phone and it’ll certainly impress all of your friends.


Have you been bored with your routine? Well, now is the time to shake it up. Invest in a GoPro to get some awesome handsfree footage of all of your adventures.

Whether you’re hoping to get better footage for your travel vlogs or if you’re wanting to try out skiing or any other dangerous activity for the first time, why not get proof of your achievements to show your friends and family when you get back! Free up your hands and focus on enjoying yourself with this nifty little camera.

Electric Scooter

The first mention of a gadget that will help with transportation, an electric scooter is a great alternative transport. While not only getting you to your destination faster than walking, it is also an environmentally friendly alternative to taking a bus or car.

Considering how much it can improve your daily commute, it also makes an amazing gift. You’ll find links to scooters and other great gifts just like it at Stonefoot. You’ll be the absolute talk of the town when you rock to school or work on your electric scooter.

Ring Video Doorbell

The sort of thing you’d imagine to see on one of those 3 am infomercials, this product is actually incredibly useful. If you’re looking for some extra security for your home, this is the perfect place to start.

This doorbell comes with a handy little camera that means that even if you aren’t at home, you can see who is at your door and keep your home safe. Another handy feature is its built-in microphone that allows you to ask the person at your door what they’re there for. It can prove an effective deterrent for any potential scammers or thieves if they believe you’re still home.

Portable Blender

Perfect for all you budding chefs or fitness fanatics. Blend up perfect smoothies or sauces in an instant with a portable blender. Given its smaller size, it almost entirely reduces the clean-up time, while also giving you the perfect amount for a personal portion of whatever you’re wanting to concoct. Impress your friends and family with your delicious creations.

VR Gaming Set

An amazing addition to any gamers collection, with the out of this world experience VR gaming provides, it makes total sense that so many people are trying it out for themselves. It’s something that’s honestly too difficult to describe. Just trust us, it’s worth the investment!

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How a Local Tech Firm helped Rebuild a Community

When you think of Tech Firms, I guarantee your first thought is large cooperate entities that seek to improve their bottom line, innovate their newest products, and advance the technology race. With our world becoming swamped in ever-changing tech, it is easy to assume these tech firms are disconnected from the real-world issues. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A small community, informally called Kawana Island, in the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, was faced with an issue that plagues a lot of Australia. Internet issues. These issues went further than simple downtime, it was impairing the livelihood of people working from home, starting up new businesses. It can be a crippling issue when you are looking for business IT support for your business and come up against a roadblock like this. Not to mention those simply hoping to keep in touch with others around the world.


To understand this issue we must look at why Australia has such notoriously terrible internet issues. It is a mix of historical lack of foresight and a shady plot of corporate control. The first issue goes all the way back to the introduction of phone lines in Australia. Famously the country set up all their connection lines using copper, which worked great for the time. But the issue is, now with fiberoptic, it is much less useful and in fact weaker than other alternatives. This compounded to mean download and upload speeds for the country as a whole are a lot weaker than other countries, and this itself gets weaker or stronger depending on the region of Australia.

Secondly, there was the issue of corporate plotting. Initially, the introduction of these internet services and managing was handled by a government body, in its early days. All the different internet providers had to follow the rules set out by legislation. But there was a shift in government. The people in the know, and running the companies, managed to get permission for the companies to go private and dictate their own rules for providing internet to its customers.

This means that customers are very limited in their options for internet services. The companies found themselves with the power to freely gouge their customers into paying higher prices for internet services that were weaker than cheaper alternatives in different countries. All of these compounds to create massive issues the country over.



The small suburb of Parrearra, know as Kawana island, is where this all takes place. Being a suburb, and particularly one surrounded by water, Kawnw has been suffering from internet issues for years. Download speeds are beyond slow, communication to the outside is patchy and those trying to start up a business were faced with countless roadblocks on the path to success. The residents mostly made up of people who immigrated from England and America, also had an issue with allowing these people to get online to communicate with those they miss.

But that is where the small tech firm, Tech-Lite, stepped in. The firm was founded by a group of tech savants from Queensland who met during their school years. The idea came to them to try to tackle the issues that plague the residents of Queensland, and eventually, Australia. But to really start, they aimed small and looked at Kawana Island.


The Community

Tech-Lite decided to first approach the issues from a human standpoint. They began by canvassing the locals and organizing a meet and greet. Their plan was to get the issues straight from the local’s mouths. By doing this their thinking was that they could focus their design and programming on the stuff that is important to those around them. During this stage, they didn’t sell anything to the people but rather used this as an opportunity to get people talking to each other and find out their issues were similar and they weren’t alone.

But they didn’t expect what happened after. Once they had done their preliminary research, they went to the drawing board and began working on their newest innovation. Their plan was simple, creating a booster program and device that increases the download and upload of speed for people in troubled areas. They approached service providers and showed how this device might possible cut costs for both the providers and the customers.

They received significant push back from the major service providers who didn’t believe in the product or the idea. This seemed like a finishing roadblock that would be the end of Tech-Lite and the continuation of the issues on Kawana Island.

But they soon found this wasn’t the case at all. The residents of the island had banded together and launched an online campaign to raise awareness and funds for tech-lite. Once they shared their own stories of the issues they were facing and how nice it was to have a company looking out for them, people were quick to relate their own experiences and jump on board showing their support with both kind words and by opening their wallets to the cause.

While Tech-lite is still working to get everything done and dusted, this story is a fantastic example of how tech firms can work together with people and bring the wondrous advancements we have made with tech and use them to a better life for the average citizens. Nature and technology need not be separate, and Tech-lite is a great example of the unification of people and technology.


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5 Critical Reasons Hiring a Financial Advisor Is Best for Your Online Startup

On the average, an online startup business will have more assets and financial concerns than the individuals who run and manage the company. While many look to financial advisers to aid them in personal affairs, business owners will benefit by hiring an adviser for a number of reasons.

1. Determine a Company’s Financial Health

There’s a reason corporate balance sheets have areas for long-term investments and fixed assets such as land, buildings and equipment. In addition to these accounts, there are also liabilities for short and long-term loans and owner’s equity.

To the average business owner, a review of the balance sheet may not reveal the financial health of the business but to an experienced financial adviser  they are educated in delving deep into these accounts to find bad investments, fixed assets no longer viable and analyzing the company’s true liability behind short and long-term loans.

These insights will help business owners obtain needed knowledge on making changes to company assets and liabilities and advisers can help lead entrepreneurs in the right direction with sound strategic plans.

2. Company Retirement Plans

If business owners offer retirement plans to their employees, there are rules to these plans. CEO of Fisher Investments, Ken Fisher recommends enlisting the help of experts in the field who can cultivate a good plan that will benefit not only employees but the business owner(s).

Many financial advisers also offer entire benefit plans and in today’s economy, many employees choose to work for a company based on the benefits they offer such as healthcare, EAP plans and retirement benefits.

3. Recommend Tax Strategies

For Limited Liability Companies and S-Corporations, tax strategies are key on earned income. Because these types of corporations are pass-through entities which means profits pass to the owners and partners of the business, a solid tax strategy is essential.

Is it best to reinvest in the company or place profits in personal investments? What tax liabilities will the company face with a profitable year? As a business owner, if you’re unsure of how to manage your tax liability, a knowledgeable financial adviser can be gold.

4. Business Plans and Case Statements

Not only can a qualified financial adviser help you with essential business plan elements like forecasting revenue and expenses, they can also review current business plans to determine if the business is on track or going downhill fast.

Through an analysis process and working with corporate leaders, an adviser can guide and suggest the right path to financial health which will ultimately help businesses develop realistic case statements investors or lenders will find attractive.

5. Business Valuation

Most business owners know what their equity is on paper but don’t know the actual value of their business. It is essential to understand that value to attract investors, succession planning or when selling a business.

How do you value intangible assets or intellectual property? A financial adviser is versed in business valuation can help determine the right method for valuing a business based on the industry—and there is more than one way to place a solid valuation on a business.

Hiring a financial adviser for your online business can be invaluable for a number of reasons. If you randomly guesstimate, expenses are eating your revenues, don’t understand business plan structure or how much your business is really worth, it’s best to turn to an adviser who is knowledgeable in these areas.

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