About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

Everything you ever needed to know about blockchain

Picking your way through technology is harder than remembering the acronyms that govern our lives.

As the word ‘blockchain’ moves out of its humble bitcoin beginnings, many profess to know what it means while secretly munching their eyelashes at not getting it.

However, have no fear, the creative people at BitFortune.net have kindly supplied you with the following infographic that should still your beating blockchain heart.

Future conferences, dinner parties or even conversations with builders in dodgy pubs are no longer congregations of fear. Instead, you can dazzle, learn, share and you might even copulate.

Please see below…

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS #5 – Achilles Chef’s Knife

A Kickstarter campaign wants to deliver Michelin quality to the domestic cook with a design-led kitchen knife that cuts to the chase.

achilles

 

 

The Achilles knife is the most beautiful thing I have in my kitchen at the moment and while I’m not even a half-decent cook, men like me always enjoy having the equipment.

Twenty-five years ago when I was on the dole, I bought a bread knife for £20 and it still sits proudly in my drawer, so far living up to its life-time guarantee. So, I like kitchen knives and what they represent.

The Achillles Chef’s Knife will cost considerably more than £20 when its Kickstarter campaign comes to an end, $249 (£174) to be precise. For early birds though who wish to pre-order can now get one for $100 (£68).

The campaign is already wildly over-subscribed so there is already a market for such a high-end product. However, does it cut through the hype?

The answer is a resounding yes and that’s because it is design-led. It comes in a box-for-life that begs to be displayed on the kitchen island and is ergonomically spruce.

The hole in the knife may seem like a gimmick, but it adds to the aesthetics and fits the high-end emotions experienced when using it. It also does what every other knife does; it cuts things.

The knife has also been recognised by those who bestow awards. Earlier this year, the Achilles Knife won the German Design Award for 2018 for “Excellent Product Design – Kitchen“. It’s well-deserved.

It remains moot whether a lot of people will pay nearly $250 for a knife, but like anything that is expensive, cost-per-use is vital. It may seem like a lot of money, but if it’s used every day and retains its looks over the years, then it’s a bargain.

I don’t know how much £20 was worth when I bought my bread knife in the early 1990s, but I do know it was one of best purchases of my life.

I have the feeling the Achilles Chef’s Knife possesses the same qualities. Over to you.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS #4 – FretX guitar LED learning

Now you have no excuses, the FretX makes learning the guitar a walk along the fretboard with lights to show the way.

fretx
The FretX device is an ingenious piece of musical kit that was originally launched on  Indiegogo and was successfully crowdfunded to 198% of its target.

It is now, indeed, a most viable product… in fact, there are two viable products, one is the Rockstar that retails at $89 (£62) and the other is FretX pack at $59 (£42)… and it is fantastic for anybody who has struggled to learn the guitar.

I am one of those such people. I tried to learn when I was travelling, looking good with it wrapped around my neck, but not so much when I played. I was always a long way from perfect pitch, tuning was difficult to my ear and my fingers were like thumbs when I used the fretboard.

However, that guitar has always been my friend and I’ve always wanted to improve my relationship with it. The first action was to get hold of a Roadie 2 so I could actually tune my guitar; the second was to use the FretX.

At first, I was unimpressed, it looked like a stencil kit for amateur artists, but once I realised that I could stretch its four ‘fingers’ around the top four frets of my guitar, then it all made sense.

The next step was to download the app (available at leading stores) and then link the device, when then effectively becomes an LED learning device, with lights coming on and off when the wannabe musician needs to make a chord shape.

After registering as a user and inputting the skill of the guitarist and type of guitar, the new musician then has to follow YouTube tutorials and other media to learn the guitar.

This device does not come with a manual and that makes the learning experience obviously digital, but also a more effective and modern one.

I have a long way to go before I can even consider myself a minor musician, but the FretX has set me on a better way.

It’s certainly struck a chord with me, maybe it will do the same for you. A most excellent smart learning device.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS #3 – The nanotech Lotushirt

Sick of shirts that take ages to iron, stain easily when travelling to business conferences? Look no further than the ‘nanotech’ Lotushirt that is a shirt for all occasions.

LotushirtFor the business travellers in this audience, be they male or female, there is nothing worse than packing the wrong clothes for that conference.

Even for those such as myself who travel light for those three-day trips, getting the wardrobe right is never easy. One pair of shoes, two pairs of trousers (one for travelling, the other for the conference) and three/four shirts is generally the right mix.

The shirts, however, are always an irritant. Those freshly dry-cleaned articles are now crumpled and look dirty as soon as arrival at the hotel… and the iron and ironing board never seem to sync.

So step forward the so-called Lotushirt, a shirt for all seasons that launches tomorrow on Kickstarter and something its creators MircoNovelty believe will change the way we wear.

I gave the Lotushirt a thorough road test when I recently flew from London to the STEP conference in Dubai and I can report that it wears it well. I wore the shirt in high temperatures when I was emceeing, no small challenge when running around.

It was excellent. As previously mentioned, I didn’t need to iron the Lotushirt and it still looked as if I had. It was comfortable, looked good and felt natural. The reasons for doing so are tabulated here:

• Designed to repel water and stains
• Inspired by the self-cleaning lotus leaf
• Doesn’t wrinkle, no iron needed
• Flying Fish breathable underarm netting
• Suitable for any occasion

The future retail price for the Lotushirt will be US $99 (£70). But early backers on Kickstarter will receive special discounts to our kind backers. The early bird perk of the Lotuhsirt is us $49 (£35).

Get in now; it will change your life… it has mine. No more ironing boards, no more irons and no more hassle.

Pitch@Palace 9.0 selects next cohort of tech entrepreneurs

Pitch@Palace’s new cohort of innovative entrepreneurs will be competing in the semi-final today at the University of Manchester.

Image ©Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media.
contact – dan@heisenbergmedia.com or +447821755904

Pitch@Palace, the programme established by The Duke of York to guide and support entrepreneurs, is today assessing the 42 entrepreneurs that have been selected to pitch at Pitch@Palace Boot Camp at the University of Manchester.

The theme for Pitch@Palace 9.0 is ‘Data, Intelligence and the Future of Security’ and will showcase companies that have developed innovative technologies to solve prevalent security issues that businesses and individuals are exposed to.

Pitch@Palace Boot Camp provides Entrepreneurs with the chance to hear from leading industry experts and Pitch@Palace alumni, as well as receiving support and mentoring.

All are asked to Pitch their business to a panel of judges, as well as senior business leaders, investors, and influencers from across the technology, investment and business communities.

The Judges will select 12 of the 42 entrepreneurs to pitch for three minutes at Pitch@Palace 9.0 at St James’s Palace on 25th April. The rest of the Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to Pitch for 30 seconds.

Pitch@Palace attracts a wide range of businesses from across the UK. Since its launch in 2014 it has helped more than 490 businesses, which have created 1,865 new jobs and generated over £541 million in new economic activity. Pitch@Palace Alumni companies include Blocks, Desolenator, Open Bionics, Appear Here and Grabble.

Daniel Murray, Co-Founder of Grabble said of his Pitch@Palace experience: “Since winning we’ve been on a rollercoaster, having expanded our initial offering, building Mobula for B2B, launching another B2C App, and raising a further £3 million since taking part. I can wholeheartedly say we’ve had unwavering support from HRH The Duke of York and the whole Pitch@Palace team.”

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