People & Dreams



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Whilst Latin America is in the midst of an ongoing slowdown in both unique subscriber and revenue growth rates, the region is now seeing an accelerating migration to higher speed networks and smartphone adoption. This is driving strong data traffic growth and incremental revenues for operators, which in turn will help fund the major investments required to further build out both 3G and 4G networks.


What is the Internet of Things?



The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vision. It is being built today. The stakeholders are known, the debate has yet to start. In hundreds of years our real needs have not changed. We want to be loved, feel safe, have fun, be relevant in work and friendship, be able to support our families and somehow play a role – however small – in the larger scheme of things. So what will really happen when things, homes and cities become smart? The result will probably be an tsunami of what at first looks like very small steps, small changes. The purpose of Council is to follow and  forecast what will happen when smart objects surround us in smart homes, offices, streets, and cities.

The Only 10 Slides Needed fopr Pitching



Once you’ve come up with a business idea that you believe in, the next step is getting investors to believe in it, too. You need to pitch your idea in a way that’s interesting and informative — and quick.

Renowned entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki should know a thing or two about what it takes to successfully pitch investors. He’s been an evangelist for Apple and an advisor for Google’s Motorola division, he’s founded multiple companies, including Garage Technology Ventures — the a venture capital firm that invested in Pandora and Tripwire. Now, he wants to teach you how to pitch an idea that gets results.

He says a pitch only needs 10 slides and should have 15 at the absolute max. Beyond the Title slide — the one with your company name, title and contact information — you’ll need a value proposition, a go-to market plan and an analysis of your competition. Of course, your potential investors will also want to know what your timeline is and how their funds will be used, among other vital information.

Pitch your Startup

Check out the infographic below that originally ran on Kawasaki’s website to see what slides you need, and the order that you need to show them. A little of his expert advice could go a long way.

Keep Reading at …


Conoce la nueva mejora en HTML que hará a la web más rápida vía @FayerWayer

HTML es el lenguaje con que está escrita una página web: detrás de sitios como Fayerwayer o Wayerless, existen vastas líneas de código que dan instrucciones al navegador web acerca de lo que debe cargar y mostrar. Y como toda tecnología moderna, HTML está en constante desarrollo y mejora. Así, ahora aparece un nuevo elemento llamado <picture> que en pocas palabras ayudará a mover la web más rápido, especialmente en dispositivos portátiles con conectividad lenta.

Esta nueva etiqueta llega para solucionar un viejo problema de Internet. Porque cuando aparecieron los dispositivos móviles con navegadores web complejos, como el primer iPhone y los actuales smartphones y tabletas con Android, nos dimos cuenta que la carga de imágenes pesadas raletiza la experiencia del usuario, considerando que un sitio web pensado para pantallas más grandes estaba empujando imágenes pesadas a un dispositivo de pantalla pequeña. Para ponerlo en perspectiva, si en promedio un sitio web pesa 1,7MB, 1MB corresponden a elementos gráficos.

Pero ahora, cuando un desarrollador web utilice la etiqueta <picture> antes de una imagen, la plataforma escogerá de manera inteligente el tipo de pantalla que posee el usuario, cargando el archivo adecuado para cada uno. Según sea el caso, podremos acceder a contenido mucho más ligero desde su propio origen, acelerando el proceso de carga de un sitio web.

¿Cómo apareció esta nueva tecnología?

El nacimiento de <picture> ha sido largo y con múltiples protagonistas. Porque tras la aparición de los primeros dispositivos móviles con navegador web, Internet se adaptó y comenzó la creación de los portales alternativos para pantallas pequeñas, generalmente asociados a una dirección del tipo Esto obliga a los desarrolladores a crear dos sitios en lugar de uno.

Más tarde llegó una solución mucho más elegante: diseñar el sitio de manera flexible, es decir, adaptando su contenido según el dispositivo con que se visualiza. Esto permite ordenar mejor el texto y las imágenes incluso en pantallas diminutas, sin la necesidad de crear un sitio web paralelo. Fayerwayer y la red Betazeta utilizan dicha tecnología.

Sin embargo, incluso bajo este modelo muchos portales siguen cargando imágenes destinadas para pantallas más grandes. Con esto el móvil recibe un archivo de gran tamaño que no necesita; pero al menos lo podemos ver muy bien en un smartphone o tableta.

Así, durante varios meses se juntaron desarrolladores asociados a Google, Mozilla, Opera e incluso desde proyectos independientes como el Boston Globe, quienes finalizaron el estándar <picture>. Ahora faltaba su implementación en los navegadores web más populares. Y con campaña para reunir fondos en Indiegogo de por medio, llegamos al día de hoy.

Porque hoy, Google y Mozilla se comprometieron a implementar la nueva etiqueta en sus motores para Chrome y Firefox antes de final de año. Y Opera, Microsoft y Apple también están considerando integrar la tecnología en sus respectivos navegadores web. Así que muy pronto, navegar por Internet será mucho más rápido.

Fuente: Conoce la nueva mejora en HTML que hará a la web más rápida – FayerWayer

Happy accident: Sphero makes the move from toy to teaching

Orbotix, now simply known as Sphero, had the world in awe when it introduced itssmartphone-controlled, ball-shaped toy back in 2010. Back then, we were still getting used to the concept of «connected» things. Today, nearly four years after making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show, Sphero is one of the most popular peripherals around, on iOS and Android alike. But while the robotic ball may have started off as a knickknack for kids, or adults, to play with, it has recently started to break into another, more serious field: education. In an effort to boost that, Sphero launched an initiative called SPRK about five months ago, with the goal of letting schools adopt its product into education curriculum. Simply put, kids could not only learn about programming, but also have fun doing so.

The SPRK program, short for Schools Parents Robots Kids, is divided into two main segments: Core and Stem. Core is a series of lessons designed to help kids build their coding skills, both visual- and text-based. Stem, on the other hand, is the next step up for those who have mastered Core, offering a number of different challenges that let students experiment and build contraptions for Sphero. To assist with this, Sphero has two programming applications, available for iOS and <a#3399cc;» href=»» target=»_blank»>Android; MacroLab uses visuals to get kids started with the learning process, while orbBasic is a more advanced, text-based language tool. By using <ahref=»» target=»_blank»>MacroLab and orbBasic, students can, for example, program the Sphero ball to follow a number of custom commands, among other things.

Naturally, SPRK isn’t only about the young ones, as parents and teachers also play a big role in the program. «Any teacher can teach this, even if they don’t know robotics,» Ross Ingram, Sphero’s community manager, told Engadget. «It’s easy for teachers to adopt it into a curriculum. It’s instant gratification for kids — they are able to see their progress instantly.» And although SPRK is geared for third, fourth and fifth graders currently, Sphero’s idea is to expand beyond those levels, all the way up to high school and college. As Ingram puts it, «Sphero can grow up with them. There’s an SDK for iOS, Python, Ruby, so they can keep coding as they grow up.»

«Any teacher can teach this, even if they don’t know robotics.»

At the moment, 250 schools have integrated Sphero as part of their education syllabi, both here in the US and around the world. One of the reasons so many schools have decided to do so is because they can buy Spheros in bulk for a low cost — the company says it can sell them «at a cost of goods,» which is likely a lot less than the $80$130 each sphere costs via retail channels, depending on which generation it is. «We’re already making money through our consumer channel, so it’s easy for Sphero to explore,» Adam Wilson, founder and chief software architect, explained. «As a robotics company, we can create other things to integrate them with this educational program. Our main goal is to teach kids stuff. This isn’t our main line of business.»

Sphero told us there were never any plans to make its robot an educational tool, but the approach from many parents paved the way to eventually follow that path. Essentially, the grown-ups thought it would be a great idea to take advantage of Sphero’s fun attributes and, consequently, turn it into a training tool for robotics and programming. With SPRK now underway, Sphero wants to just embrace it, grow it and use it to make a dent in the educational world.

«It was a happy accident. We want to make a difference,» said Wilson.

The Internet Economy in the G 20 ( BCG Perspectives )

Although it is a one year old article (which in digital age, makes it a really old article) here is a BCG perspective on Internet seen as a «world economy».


Since the day the first domain was registered in 1985, the Internet has not stopped growing. It has sailed through multiple recessions and one near-collapse and kept on increasing in use, size, reach, and impact. It has ingrained itself in daily life to the extent that most of us no longer think of it as anything new or special. The Internet has become, quite simply, indispensible.

By 2016, there will be 3 billion Internet users globally—almost half the world’s population. The Internet economy will reach $4.2 trillion in the G-20 economies. If it were a national economy, the Internet economy would rank in the world’s top five, behind only the U.S., China, Japan, and India, and ahead of Germany. Across the G-20, it already amounted to 4.1 percent of GDP, or $2.3 trillion, in 2010—surpassing the economies of Italy and Brazil. The Internet is contributing up to 8 percent of GDP in some economies, powering growth, and creating jobs.

The scale and pace of change is still accelerating, and the nature of the Internet—who uses it, how, and for what—is changing rapidly too. Developing G-20 countries already have 800 million Internet users, more than all the developed G-20 countries combined. Social networks reach about 80 percent of users in developed and developing economies alike. Mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—will account for four out of five broadband connections by 2016.

The speed of these developments is often overlooked. Technology has long been characterized by exponential growth—in processing speed, bandwidth, and data storage, among other things—going back to Gordon Moore’s observation nearly five decades ago. The Intel 80386 microprocessor, introduced in the same year as that first domain name, held 275,000 transistors. Today, Intel’s Core i7 Sandy Bridge-E processor holds 2.27 billion transistors, or nearly 213 times as many. As the growth motors along, it is easy to lose track of just how large the exponential numbers get.

The power of exponential growth is illustrated by an ancient fable, repopularized by Ray Kurzweil in his book, The Age of Spiritual Machines. It tells of a rich ruler who agrees to reward an enterprising subject starting with one grain of rice on the first square of a chessboard, then doubling the number of grains on each of the succeeding 63 squares. The ruler thinks he’s getting off easy, and by the thirty-second square, he owes a mound weighing 100,000 kilograms, a large but manageable amount. It’s in the second half of the chessboard that the real fun starts. Quickly, 100,000 becomes 400,000, then 1.6 million, and keeps growing. By the sixty-fourth square, the ruler owes his subject 461 billion metric tons, more than 4 billion times as much as on the first half of the chessboard, and about 1,000 times global rice production in 2010.

The Internet has moved into the second half of the chessboard. (See Exhibit 1.) It has reached a scale and level of impact that no business, industry, or government can ignore. And like any technological phenomenon with its scale and speed, it presents myriad opportunities, which consumers have been quick and enthusiastic to grasp. Businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs)—the growth engine of most economies—have been uneven in their uptake, but they are moving online in increasing numbers and with an increasingly intense commitment.


There are threats too, some misunderstood, and policymakers and regulators alike are challenged to make the right choices in a fast-moving environment. As is often the case with fast-paced change and complex issues, many governments are still trying to determine what their role should be.

Meanwhile the rice pile on the next square keeps getting bigger.

This report assesses the far-reaching economic impact of the Internet. It shows how the benefits are large and getting larger, identifies the drivers behind them, and examines their clout. It quantifies gains—economic growth, consumer value, and jobs—in the context of the economies of the G-20. It demonstrates that no one—individual, business, or government—can afford to ignore the ability of the Internet to deliver more value and wealth to more consumers and citizens more broadly than any economic development since the Industrial Revolution.

Statistics on mobile usage and adoption to inform your mobile marketing strategy

Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014” was the big headline from the widely shared infographic later in this post.

To help you keep up-to-date with the rise in consumer and company adoption of mobile and it’s impact on mobile marketing, Dave Chaffey, Rob Thurner and I will be keeping this post updated throughout 2013 as the new stats come through. Rob Thurner is the Smart Insights Expert commentator on Mobile marketing and author of our Briefing on Mobile Marketing Best Practices. You can hear Rob talk on how to assess mobile marketing priorities in a free webcast at the Smart Insights #marketingpriorities2013 Digital Marketing Summit on 11.01.2013.

Since we’re just into 2013, in this January 2013 update to this post we are featuring some of the latest updates on mobile statistics from 2012 and highlight some of the best sources to make the business case for investment in mobile marketing in your presentations and business cases to colleagues or clients.

The best sources for mobile marketing statistics?

  • 1. Google Mobile Planet. A regular survey for different countries starting in 2011, this enables you to prepare your own reports. We recommend this source for the range of countries covered:

In addition to downloads for each country, you can also create your own charts focusing on KPIs of interest. For example, if you’re based in Australia you can look at usage by demographic.



The weakness of the current data is that it focuses on Smartphones, not tablets. It may be useful for pushing back against over-enthusiastic colleagues or understanding consumer barriers. For example, less than a third of Australians have ever bought on a smartphone and you can see there are barriers of security and preference for desktop purchases.

Wave 2 was in spring 2012, with Wave 1 in 2011. Hopefully Wave 3 is due for 2013. You can read about the sample size in each country.

  • 2. ITU. The International Telecoms Union data reports mobile usage including mobile broadband subscriptions to show growth in use of mobile. This reported at country, continent and overall levels, so is the best overall source for mobile penetration worldwide. Much of the information is free – see their free mobile statistics section.

  • 3. Xyologic app download reports. This is a great source for showing the overall level of app usage across the four major mobile app platforms by country and drilling down into the popularity of individual apps for different sectors like retail, banking and travel. Around 30 countries are covered, for example, if you’re based in Canada:

We also recommend the Flurryblog ( for specific reports on trends in app usage. For example, this recent compilation of app usage shows the dominance of games and social networking and the potential of utilities.

  • 4. Ofcom Internet usage report. Ofcom’s seventh International Communications Market Report was published on 13th December 2012, this examines take-up, availability, price and use of broadband, landlines, mobiles, TV, radio and post across 17 major countries.

Global increase in use of mobile browsing – May 2012

Here’s some interesting new data showing how mobile use varies between different parts of the world. Look at the scale and growth of mobile usage in Asia in particular.

Source: Pingdom, May 2012

This table also shows the dramatic growth rates in mobile share of web traffic across the world over the last two years:

Consumer preferences for using mobile commerce for retail

We know from the oft-quoted stat later in this post that mobile access to the Internet will exceed desktop access by 2012. But when reviewing mobile adoption statistics, it’s access doesn’t equate to usage or preference. Good evidence is presented in this new research published by eMarketer on Jan 24th, 2012.

It shows that PC/laptop purchases are preferred by 87% of respondents, with mobile websites preferable compared to apps for retail.

Mobile usage statistics in Europe

We now add some detail to consumer mobile preferences using the latest July 2011 Comscore Mobile Lens data on Mobile phone usage.

The latest data (collected May 2011) suggests that mobiles are not used as widely as might be expected, given the hype, for different web applications across Europe, with just 32% using a mobile browser across these 5 European countries, although the figure exceeds 40% in the UK.

Mobile retail usage in Europe

Looking at the retail sector, we can see that just 1 in 10 use mobile access to retail sites through mobile web and apps.

However, the report does show the future growth potential with year-on-year growth rates of 80% suggesting a brighter future for mobile usage.

If you’re a retailer planning your strategy then the report has additional info on breakdown between mobile web and app access to retail. The stats that matter most will be the % of visitors already accessing or buying by mobile and I know this is over 10% in many cases.

Dave Chaffey

In 3 years mobile “should” take over desktop internet usage

What do you think? Either way – this info-graphic from Microsoft Tag provides some serious food for thought and it’s great to see this data together to help with future marketing planning.




Las pulseras sociales harán competir a los profesionales del canapé

Club Xataka: ¿Cómo jugabas con tu primer ordenador? Participa con ASUS y gana una tarjeta gráfica VGA y un monitor LCD

Club Xataka: ¿Cómo jugabas con tu primer ordenador? Participa con ASUS y gana una tarjeta gráfica VGA y un monitor LCD

Revive la experiencia y el comentario más divertido, simpático o entrañable puede servir para ganar una tarjeta gráfica VGA y un monitor LCD de ASUS.

El lanzamiento hecho por Nike de su kit de desarrollo de software para la FuelBand ha tenido un éxito comparable al de la popular pulsera que registra la actividad física mediante acelerómetros. El Nike+ FuelBand Dev Kit fue lanzado este mismo 10 de diciembre y ya son varias las propuestas de aplicación que distintos desarrolladores han mostrado a la marca en busca de su aprobación.

La más original de esas propuestas es, sin duda, la SocialBand, una aplicación desarrollada por una compañía llamada Social-abs que aprovecha la conectividad Bluetooth 2.1 de la Fuelband para convertirla en el testigo de nuestra vida social en internet.

Socializando por Bluetooth para ser el mejor Infuelencer

La idea detrás de SocialBand es convertir la Fuelband en un agregador de redes sociales basado en geolocalización. El proyecto se basa tan sólo en software, concretamente en una aplicación para Windows u OSX que modifica el firmware de la Fuelband mediante su conexión USB, y otra aplicación para sistemas operativos móviles que es desde donde se controlan las funciones de la pulsera.

Una vez configurada, la SocialBand permite agregar cuentas de redes como Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram, o Google +. Todas las redes se agrupan bajo una única cuenta de usuario llamada InFuelencer (Nike Infuelencer si finalmente la multinacional da su aprobación al proyecto).

Una vez activa nuestra cuenta de InFuelencer, la SocialBand se convierte desde ese momento en un dispositivo que registra lafrecuencia con la que acudimos a eventos de Social Media simplemente rastreando las pulseras de otros usuarios que tengamos agregados en redes sociales en el área de cobertura del Bluetooth (máximo diez metros).

Tener un gato fotogénico da más puntos

Cada vez que coincidamos con otro InFuelencer, la pulsera nos premia con Social Points que aumentan cuanto más tiempo dure el evento. La conexión con Twitter permite programar la SocialBand para que tuitee los puntos que vamos ganando cada cierto tiempo y lo que es más interesante, ganar más Social Points cada vez que alguien retuitee o haga fav en uno de nuestros tuits.


Si el usuario que se hace eco de nuestros mensajes en redes sociales es un InFuelencer, los puntos se doblan. Sin embargo, laSocialBand restará puntos si somos nosotros los que contestamos o retuiteamos a un usuario con menos de 1.000 seguidores. Los hashtags aportan puntos adicionales, pero si enlazamos algún tipo de contenido interesante como texto o vídeo la aplicación nos penaliza eliminando todos los puntos conseguidos en la última hora.

La pulsera también da puntos por los Me gusta de Facebook, pero menos cantidad que en Twitter. Un Retuit proporciona 5 SocialPoints, un Fav da cuatro, un Me gusta de Facebook sólo tres y un +1 en Google + suma sólo un punto.

La integración con Instagram ha sido tratada aparte en la aplicación y sólo funciona si el smartphone en el que instalamos la aplicación está conectado. Un complejo algoritmo cedido por los creadores de la red social fotográfica se encarga de analizar las imágenes para identificar temáticas populares que proporcionan más SocialPoints. Entre estos temas se cuentan clásicos como atardeceres, gatitos, pies con una playa de fondo, gin-tonics preparados con mucha verdura, cafés servidos de forma exótica y hamburguesas de autor. Los Me gusta en Instagram no contarán porque un estudio de los creadores de la aplicación sugiere que son sólo fruto de la envidia de otros usuarios.

La labor de los acelerómetros

Los impulsores de la SocialBand no han querido dejar sin aprovechar los acelerómetros usados originalmente en la pulsera para medir la práctica deportiva. Durante los eventos, la pulsera registra movimientos como levantar los Gin Tonic o estirar el brazo hacia la bandeja de canapés para dar puntos adicionales. Igualmente, saludar agitando la mano permitirá hacer check-in automático en Foursquare.

Fiesta Xataka

La pulsera modificada SocialBand está siendo ya probada por un grupo de superusuarios en beta cerrada y, si Nike da su visto bueno, podría abrirse al público antes de final de año. Responsables de Social-abs han comentado, sin embargo, que si la multinacional finalmente no apoya el proyecto, podrían desarrollar su propia pulsera social en Kickstarter. La aplicación estaría disponible para IOS, Android y Windows Phone 8, tanto en tablets como en smartphones. Distintas compañías de tecnología se han interesado en la idea para promocionar sus fiestas pero desde Social-abs indican que, por la propia filosofía de la Social Band, se darán más puntos a los usuarios que se presenten sin estar en listas de invitados.

Desde diversos sectores de comunicación se ha criticado el lanzamiento de la SocialBand por considerarlo demasiado ligero, especialmente en lo que a la ausencia de enlaces se refiere. Kevin Stromm, Social media Online Trendsetter Analyst Senior de Social-abs ha salido en defensa de la aplicación. ‘No se trata de aportar nada a la comunidad. Tan sólo de medírsela y ver quien es más popular y va a más fiestas’ comenta Stromm. ‘¿O acaso creen que la FuelBand es para medir la práctica deportiva?’ añade enigmático.


Companies are realizing that gamification, or the use of key game concepts to engage users and solve problems, can be a powerful way to create happiness and innovation and spur on results and education among their workforce, said Gabe Zichermann, CEO of Gamification.Co.

Gabe Zichermann of Gamification.Co at GigaOM's Net:Work 2011Gamifications can have a bad rap, admits Gabe Zichermann, CEO of Gamification.Co. He said people think it means turning everything into Angry Birds.

But he said companies are increasingly turning to gamification to accomplish a number of real world goals and they’re not simply turning everything into a game. They’re realizing that gamification, or the use of key game concepts to engage users and solve problems, can be a powerful way to create happiness and innovation and spur on results and education among its workforce, said Zichermann at GigaOM’s Net:Work conference.

The key, he said, is that our brains are wired to want to go through a process of desire to mastery. That process, which includes incentives, challenges, achievements and feedback, looks a lot like videos games, following a similar path. By tying into those mechanics, companies are able to tap into the higher desires of people, who often see work through the lens of self actualization and esteem. When companies employ game techniques and provides broad metrics tied to social interactions, it can motivate people in very significant ways, he said.

Zichermann said it can be simple like a checkout game for Target cashiers, who get audible feedback noting how their product scans are going. It takes a mundane and job and makes it a little more fun and gives workers a little more sense of control or agency in their lives, Zichermann said.

Other companies are looking to leverage feedback and use it to encourage people. Apps such as Rypple and DueProp are being used by companies to prompt more immediate feedback among employees, so workers can recognize each other in real time for the work they’re doing. Car companies are using feedback in their hybrid cars to encourage users to drive in a more eco-friendly way, showing them the results of their driving habits on screen through representations like a growing tree.

Zichermann said teamplay can also have a strong effect. He noted the experience of NextJump, an employee rewards provider, which now has more than 80 percent of its employees working out because of a new gamified health system that splits the workforce into teams and doles out cash to the teams that work out the most.

Zichermann said that it’s still hard to create the change that companies want to see internally but they’re increasingly seeing game mechanics as a way to accomplish their goals. He said a Gartner study found that 70 percent of the Global 2000 expect to use gamification by 2015 and 50 percent expect innovation to come from game processes.

“In order to get us to collectively create the major change we’re looking for, we need to design things in ways that are motivating and meaningful for people individually. Gamification gives you a toolkit to accomplish that,” Zichermann said.

Watch live streaming video from gigaomnetwork at

Why Every Company Is Now an Incubator (Issie Lapowsky | Inc. magazine 21 Dec.2012)

From Microsoft to PayPal, it seems every day another business launches an incubator. Here’s what’s motivating them to get in the game.

These days, it seems, there’s an incubator for everything. In fact, the National Association of Business Incubators estimates there are some 1,250 of them operating in the United States. There are incubators for every race, gender, industry, and region in the country. Some incubators combine several requirements to narrow their niche even further, like La Cocina, a San Francisco-based incubator for low-income, minority women, who want to launch food business.

Now, even businesses are getting into the incubation business. Recently PayPalannounced it would be incubating companies at its new Boston offices. Earlier this month LinkedIn broke the news about [in]cubator, an internal incubator for LinkedIn employees. Microsoft’s launching a tech center in Rio de Janeiro. Google’s launchingone in Tel Aviv. Even smaller companies are doing it. This year, Tough Mudder launched an internal angel fund for employees who want to pursue a business idea, and the ad agency Ignited pays employees to take part in a business plan competition.

But unlike most incubators that aim for a monetary return on their investments, the businesses operating these incubators seem to have different motivations, entirely. Here are a few we came up with:

It’s R&D reinvented.

For some, the term «incubator» is more or less another word for «research and development.» The LinkedIn [in]cubator, for instance, will foster only those products and services that can benefit LinkedIn’s customers or employees in some way. Once a quarter, LinkedIn employees can pitch an idea about a potential product offering to the executive staff, including founder Reid Hoffman and CEO Jeff Weiner. If the idea is approved, the employee gets paired up with an executive mentor, and is allowed up to three months (if the progress is satisfactory, that is) to work solely on the project. So far, five projects out of 50 submissions have been approved. One of the most successful so far is go/book, a tool that changes how meetings get booked at LinkedIn.

According to Florina Grosskurth, who runs the company’s engineering programs, «LinkedIn sees [in]cubator projects as small investments that have the potential to become big wins for the company.»

It’s an acquisition primer.

For others, like the telecommunications giant Qualcomm, incubation is a strategic investment strategy for potential acquisition targets down the line. In May, Qualcomm partnered with an existing incubator called EvoNexus to launch a program called QualcommLabs@evonexus. The idea is for companies that are already incubating at EvoNexus to apply for up to $250,000 in funding and guidance from Qualcomm. So far, the company has doled out a total of $550,000, divided between three start-ups focused on the wireless and telecom space. «It’s a directed investment initiative,» says Liz Gasser, vice president of business operations at Qualcomm. «We’re encouraging growth in the segments we care about.»

It keeps ideas fresh.

PayPal’s incubator started off as a co-working space in PayPal’s Boston office, which was being underutilized. That experience, says David Chang, COO of PayPal media network, reminded the company how invigorating it is to work in a start-up environment. Now, the company is welcoming nine start-ups to its new offices in Boston, where they’ll get access to PayPal executives and leads to PayPal’s vast network of investor contacts (hint hint). According to Chang, PayPal’s motivation is to reinvigorate a massive corporation with start-up sensibilities. He also says networking with so many bright young developers and their personal networks will be beneficial to recruiting. «We get to be really plugged in to these problems start-ups are solving. It’s great to be on the cutting edge, but not have your foot fully in,» Chang says. «The incubator, we hope, will keep us really sharp.»

It’s an employee perk.

Will Dean of Tough Mudder, an obstacle course company, is a culture junkie. The company is full of clubs, retreats, and traditions to keep employees on their feet and engaged. This year, Dean realized that a lot of the people work at start-ups because they have dreams of launching their own businesses one day. He decided it’s better for the company culture to help those would-be entrepreneurs along, rather than forcing them to work in secret. So this year, Dean and his co-founder Guy Livingstone set up a $2 million angel fund to invest in employee ideas. This summer, the company launched an internal business plan competition to encourage employees to pitch new business ideas, even if they weren’t considering it before.

Unlike [in]cubator, Dean says he hopes many of the companies Tough Mudder invests in will be able to stand on their own someday. «A lot of people came here to work out of business school and wanted an entrepreneurial experience. We said, ‘We want you, and it’s completely fine to stay for two years,'» he says. «We’re an entrepreneurial company, and I think it’d be great if we could have our own alumni community of successful entrepreneurs like, PayPal does.»

It’s a licensing pipeline.

Through Procter & Gamble’s Connect+Develop program, entrepreneurs can pitch a product and develop it under P&G’s supervision, leveraging their equipment, contacts, and expertise. For a lucky few entrepreneurs, this program is a direct path to commercializing a product, as P&G regularly mines its Connect+Develop portfolio for potential licensing agreements. In fact, more than 50% of P&G’s new products have come from collaborations with external partners. The Connect+Develop program is responsible for the birth of products like Glad ForceFlex bags, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Swiffer Dusters, and Tide PODS. As Lisa Popyk, a spokesperson at P&G, put it, «Connect and develop continues to deliver winning results because it’s rooted in, and continues to develop from, the core belief that together we can do more than any of us can alone.»