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Friday, August 12, 2016

azure logoMicrosoft is phasing out its Azure RemoteApp over the next year in favor of relying on its partnership with Citrix — specifically, the XenApp “express” product currently under development, according to a Microsoft blog post today.

RemoteApp let developers make programs accessed remotely appear as if they were running on the end-user’s desktop, according to Microsoft documentation. In other words, it helps implement software as a service (SaaS).

Microsoft customers using RemoteApp will be supported through August 31, 2017, when the service will be shut down. No new purchases of the product will be allowed after Oct. 1, 2016. In  addition to XenApp “express,” alternatives include using a Microsoft hosting partner or Remote Desktop Services on Azure, Microsoft said.

Citrix on its blog called the announcement “a monumental shift in the mindset of cloud-hosted, business application delivery” and promised more details at upcoming industry events. It described XenApp “express” as an application virtualization and delivery system for Azure, combining “the simplicity and speed of RemoteApp with many of the enterprise capabilities of XenApp.”

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“Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson. (Credit: William Morrow)

Seattle science-fiction author Neal Stephenson’s tale about the moon’s destruction and what happens next, “Seveneves,” has won a place on President Barack Obama’s summer reading list.

Obama, who’s beginning his summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, isn’t the only one who has put Stephenson’s 880-page novel on a short list. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates put it on his summer reading list in May. And let the record show that I featured the 2015 book in my holiday book guide last December.

“Seveneves” is the latest dense-with-detail saga from the author of “Snow Crash,” “The Diamond Age,” “Cryptonomicon,” “Anathem,” “Reamde” and the Baroque Cycle. Obama might want to pay attention to what happens to the fictional U.S. president after she finds out that the moon has been blasted apart and Earth appears doomed. (Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty.)

Stephenson has lived in Seattle for decades. Every once in a while, he’ll take on a non-book-related project, like helping out Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture or the Magic Leap augmented-reality company. He’s known to tap out the occasional tweet. But he generally takes a low public profile, all the better to focus on his writing.

Among the projects reportedly on his radar screen are a historical time-travel book that he’s co-writing with Nicole Galland, and a screen adaptation of “Seveneves.”

If Obama is aiming to finish “Seveneves” and the other books on his list during his vacation, he may have a hard time tearing himself away for golf. Here are the four other volumes the president is putting in his luggage:

  • ‘Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life’ by William Finnegan. A Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir by an obsessive surfer who travels the globe.

  • ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead. An Oprah’s Book Club novel about a young slave’s bid for freedom in the antebellum South.

  • ‘H Is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald. The naturalist and falconer weaves a story about grief and the goshawk that brought her back into the world.

  • ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins. A psychological thriller told from three points of view, soon to be a major motion picture.

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hack for healthcare event logo (1)Seattle is a hub for healthcare innovation. But issues like high rates of hospital readmission, lack of accessibility, and costly diagnostics remain pressing concerns in the industry.

The Kal Academy, a nonprofit coding school for minorities, is teaming up with Microsoft’s LEAP program to host Hack for Healthcare, a one-day coding event focused on finding solutions to these pressing healthcare needs.

Attendees will work in teams to create tech-based solutions to these issues, with support from Microsoft Azure. At the end of the twelve-hour event, teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, and the winning team will be awarded $120,000 in Azure credits.

The event takes place Saturday, August 27, from 10 am to 10 pm at Startup Hall, in Seattle’s University District. Registration and more information is available here.

That’s one of the selections from the GeekWire Calendar, our curated list of the Pacific Northwest’s top tech events. Keep reading and visit the full calendar for more.

New Tech Eastsidenewtech-eastside

What: Meet hot startups, and learn who is building cool stuff at New Tech Seattle. Presenters at this coming week’s event include: presented by Jeremy Stone
Radish Medical presented by Joe Fogel
Beepi presented by Tyler Infelise
Scrum Inc. presented by William Newing and Joe Justice”

When: August 16, 5:00 pm7:15 pm

Where: OfferUp, Bellevue, WA

Register: More information and tickets available here.

Angel Capital Expo2Keiretsu Forum’s Angel Capital Expo

What: “The Angel Capital Expo is the premier gathering of the angel capital community, bringing together investors and entrepreneurs looking for funding. It is organized by Keiretsu Forum, the world’s largest angel investment network, and was created to foster collaboration among angel groups, as well as reach out to the larger investment community.”

When: August 18, 8:30 am5:00 pm

Where: Microsoft Conference Center Building 33, Redmond, WA

Register: More information and tickets available here.

pacific science centerNational Parks Centennial at Pacific Science Center

What: “Celebrate the National Parks Centennial at Pacific Science Center on August 25 with additional showings of the acclaimed IMAX documentary, National Parks Adventure 3D, hands-on activities from local organizations, environmental science demonstrations and prizes.

National Parks Centennial will feature environmental science, conservation efforts, activities relating to the National Parks, as well as giveaways. It will be a celebration of the service achievements from the past 100 years and will encourage a lifelong interest in exploring, learning and being inspired by the 400+ national parks and monuments around the country. Pacific Science Center will also host Tourism Arizona, who will provide an Arizona National Parks Ranger, photo booth and a special giveaway trip to visit one of their 24 National Parks.”

When: August 25, 11:00 am4:00 pm

Where: Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA

Register: No registration needed for this event.

Cambia Grove’s Reverse Pitch Day, with Anchor Partner Overlake Medical CenterCambiaGrove_Brown

What: “We’re excited to announce our next Reverse Pitch Day event, with Cambia Grove Anchor Partner Overlake Medical Center. Overlake is an award winning medical center committed to maintaining the highest standards in medical care as well as providing patients with innovative approaches to their health care. Overlake will present two opportunities for startups to earn a paid pilot on August 25. At their Reverse Pitch, you’ll learn how to propose your own customized solutions for the organizations’ business needs.”

When: August 25, 5:30 pm8:30 pm

Where: Cambia Grove, Seattle, WA

Register: More information and tickets for this event are available here.

SeattleTechDays2016 Seattle Tech Days

What: “Meet Ukrainian high tech companies at the Westin Seattle on August 25th-26th, 2016, and see product demos of innovative new technologies in the area of IoT, Big Data and AR/VR.”

When: August 25August 26

Where: The Westin Seattle, Seattle, WA

Register: More information and tickets for this event are available here.

Coming up…

Editor’s note: Speaking of awesome events, don’t forget that GeekWire Summit early-bird ticket rates expire at the end of this month. Get yours today here!

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Scott Wu of NewSky Security
Scott Wu of NewSky Security

Hardly a day goes by without a high-profile security breach or nasty computer hack.

Scott Wu and Song Li — the co-founders of Redmond-based NewSky Security — want to stop those hackers in their tracks.

The longtime security professionals — Wu held engineering and research roles for Symantec, Microsoft and McAfee while “whitehat hacker” Li worked for Intel, eBay and Expedia — met as neighbors in Sammamish where they started kicking around the idea of better securing mobile apps and Internet of Things devices.

“We started sharing ideas about cybersecurity and internet hacking, and shared the same vision on mobile and IoT future,” said Wu, who in 2014 presented a research paper on mobile security risks at a conference in Australia.

Founded just a year ago, NewSky has already attracted attention — in part because of the track records of the founders. The company’s first product — a software-as-a-service offering known as AppRisk Scanner — has been deployed by PeoplePower, China Telecom and Baidu, not to mention strategic pilot customers such as Facebook and Inrix. For example, ComTechTel uses AppRisk to ensure that navigation apps meet security and privacy requirements.

It also has attracted about $600,000 in angel investment, with another capital raise underway. Competitors in the mobile security arena, include IBM, HP, which both have mobile app risk detection technology. Silicon Valley’s Bluebox also focuses on device protection, but Wu says the IoT security space is “wide open.”

“Our mission on IoT is a generic security containment to cut out man-in-the-middle attacks, and to provide customers threat intelligence of the adversary to their assets,” he said.

Based on early success of the AppRisk product, the 6-person company is now expanding its security offerings to attack the burgeoning Internet of Things arena, a market that Wu pegs at 28 billion devices and worth an estimated $1.9 trillion.

We caught up with the 45-year-old Wu for our latest installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Attackers are everywhere, anywhere and anytime in the age of mobile and Internet of Things. We disrupt the hackers’ business model before the attacks are plotted. This is the proactive risk management to solve the enterprise security nightmare.”

Inspiration hit us when: “When we report a vulnerability to an IoT vendor or an app developer, and they treat it as high priority to address the issue, that’s what inspire(s) us.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We are blessed by angels who bet on our visions in battling the new threat landscape of mobility and Internet of Things. This accelerated us to ship our V1 AppRisk product in three months, signing a significant contract with top tier carrier to empower the security development lifecycle (SDLC) of their hundreds of thousand of developers. It has enabled us to accept the challenges from IoT vendors to spearhead IoT Risk solution for smart home, smart office, smart utility, and many other verticals.”

NewSky-Logo_2_largeOur ‘secret sauce’ is: “Think like hackers to understand adversary. Crawl to build minimal viable product for our pilot customers. Set our vision to secure internet of everything.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Being around the great thinkers. For example former F5 CEO, former Cisco SVP Manny Rivelo has continued to mentor us to run (our) startup as business instead of hobby.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Distanced ourselves with developer community. Security risks can and should be prevented by developers to reduce the burden of (chief information security officers) and IT professionals.”

Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Yes;) Gates initiated trustworthy computing (TwC) and kudos to him to raise security awareness in the internet age. We challenge a TwC 2.0 from Zuckerberg and Bezos.”

Our favorite team-building activity is: “Lake Sammamish boating, Tiger Mountain hiking — clearing our mind to try next (proof of concept).”

The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Passion to break things and think as hackers.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Connect and brainstorm with peers in startup incubation.”

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ss containers infographic from shippable
Via Shippable.

More developers use Google Cloud Platform to run their containerized applications (52 percent) than either Microsoft Azure (49 percent) or Amazon Web Services (43 percent), according to a  a freely downloadable infographic released today by Seattle container-acceleration firm Shippable.

The survey of 300 developers found that though only 14 percent are now using containers in development or test environments, 89 percent are likely to increase their use of containers within the next year. Those not using containers most often cited as reasons their lack of in-house skills, the technology’s immaturity, inappropriate infrastructure, fear of security risks and unclear ROI.

Google also led as a container registry, with 54 saying they use it, versus 45 percent for Amazon’s EC2 and 34 percent for Docker Hub. Fully 58 percent of respondents said they use GitHub as a resource or tool, while 27 percent use Atlassian, 23 percent each use Jenkins and Puppet and 19 percent use Chef.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) said they’re shipping new software faster because of container technology.

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Mr Robot[Spoiler Alert] This article may spoil some of the surprises from the latest episode of “Mr. Robot.” If you haven’t watched eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes, check it out on USA Network, Amazon, or iTunes before coming back to this article to learn its secrets.

LATEST IN A SERIES: Corey Nachreiner, CTO at Seattle-based WatchGuard Technologies, is reviewing episodes of Mr. Robot on GeekWire. The show airs on USA Network on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Join the conversation on on Twitter using #MrRobotRewind, and follow Corey @SecAdept.

There aren’t many shows that can portray hacking and technology accurately, while managing to stay dramatic and interesting. USA’s cyber thriller “Mr. Robot” does such a good job at it that you can actually learn a lot by taking a deeper look the show’s hacks to examine their accuracy. So let’s take a look at Episode 6 and do just that.

Wow! This week was intense. With a period-accurate 80s flashback, Elliot in mortal danger, and Price trying to influence nation states, there’s plenty of drama I’d love to talk about. However, this series is about hackuracy, so it’s a good thing the episode contained an FBI cyber heist full of hacks and tech.

Angela’s hacking training

If you kept up with last week’s Rewind article, you know that Elliot and Darlene have set the stage to use a hacked femtocell to intercept and man-in-the-middle FBI Android phones. However, they need someone who can plant this Trojan cellular device on the FBI floor in the Evil Corp building. After a little consideration, Angela volunteered for the task.

This episode, Mobley and the fsociety crew struggle to quickly turn a tech newb into at least a script kiddie hacker, seemingly with little success. During the scene we see Angela learning to type commands for the hack.

Mr Robot
Figure 1: Angela practicing her script kiddie-fu.

As usual, this command line interaction (CLI) and the tools fsociety uses are very true to life. We see Angela in Kali, a popular hacking distro. The femtocell she’s practicing on seems to be loaded with OpenWRT, a popular and hackable Linux distro for routers and embedded devices. Even the commands she types are syntactically accurate. And while EnableAttack and femtopwn don’t relate to any real tools I know of, they could easily be a customized script. All in all, the CLI interaction itself is very accurate.

However, the one place this scene technically drops the ball is in the whole idea that Angela needs to learn and memorize these complex commands in the first place. Frankly, Mobley could have pre-written a script that ran all the commands they were trying to teach her. All she’d have to do then is run that one command to spark the entire attack. So realistically, the whole exercise of whether or not she’d execute the hack correctly was false drama. That said, I can understand how the show runners might sacrifice a bit of accuracy for some suspense during the heist.

Evil rubber duckies

During the training scene, we also see that Mobley is getting frustrated with Angela’s lack of 1337 skills, and doubts her ability to pull off the hack. To ensure they get some access to the FBI’s computer, he also gives her something he calls a Rubber Ducky, as a backup option.

Mr Robot
Figure 2: Angela’s backup Rubber Ducky.

The Rubber Ducky is a real thing. Many hackers have figured out how to create small USB keys that can act like Human Interface Devices (HID), essentially creating a scriptable virtual keyboard and mouse. When you plug in these small USB devices—which look like any other USB storage key—they can automatically launch a command prompt, hide it, and take control of the computer. The Rubber Ducky is a commercialized version of this released by a well known group called Hak5.

Skimming hotel keycards with Magspoof

During the Heist, while Angela drops the rogue femtocell, Darlene is setting up across from the Evil Corp building so that they can wirelessly exfiltrate the intercepted data. To do this, she needs to break into a hotel room (since she doesn’t want to leave a paper trail by checking in).

Before the episode aired, the show’s tech consultant, Kor Adana, tweeted that they would feature a tool from a well known hacker, Sammy Kamkar. During this scene, Darlene distracts a maid so she can run a small magnetic strip reader over the maid’s master keycard. Then she uses this small device to open the door of a hotel room.

Mr Robot
Figure 3: Darlene using MagSpoof to hack into a hotel room.

This tool really exists, and it’s called MagSpoof. As Adana referenced, Kamkar designed this tool to basically allow you to skim credit cards and any magnetic strip card, in order to play the data back wirelessly, among other things. Again, Mr. Robot gets “+1 Internets” for accuracy.

One other note from this scene, when Darlene gets in the room you see her set up a weird tripod device on the window sill.

Mr Robot
Figure 4: Darlene’s WiFi yagi antenna.

This device is a Wifi Yagi antenna, sometimes referred to as a “cantenna.” It can significantly extend WiFi range directionally. In fact, the cheap, homemade Pringles version of this type of antenna was very popular with DEF CON wireless hackers back in the day. Darlene is credibly using this to get to the wireless backchannel from the rogue femtocell across the way, in the Evil Corp building.

Dropping the rogue femtocell on the network

One of my potential hackuracy complaints has been that Darlene’s initial description of how Angela would have to plant the femtocell seemed too simplified. She appeared to imply that you could just drop this small, purely wireless device and be done with it. A femtocell is not small or unnoticeable and actually requires wired components.

In the end, I’m happy to say that the show portrayed the actual drop very realistically. Not only did Angela have to plug it in, but she even brought in battery backup power.

Mr Robot
Figure 5: Dropping the rogue femtocell.

I do have one note about the special rogue femtocell that fsociety got from the Dark Army. The femtocells I’m aware of have a wired connection for Internet access and one cellular wireless radio to intercept cellular devices. This particular femtocell seems to have both cellular and WiFi. It seems that fsociety is using the WiFi connection to exfiltrate intercepted FBI data. Although I haven’t personally seen a femtocell featuring a WiFi component, it’s quite plausible that they could exist.

Saving the hack with Kali Live

The heist seems like a success once Angela plants the femtocell, but a minute later Darlene loses connection. To recover, she has Angela use a USB storage device to boot a live version of Kali. She then remotely logs in to the femtocell (probably over the Evil Corp office’s wired connection) and Darlene walks her through resetting both the device’s wireless interfaces (cellular and WiFi). Everything you see in this scene is accurate. I’ve talked about Kali a lot already in past articles, but the scene also realistically portrays the “Live” boot feature of this (and many other) Linux distros.

Keep your eye out for Easter eggs

Finding Easter eggs is half the fun, so I won’t go through every hidden detail in this episode.. I’ve previously advised that you search for IP addresses anytime you see a command line, and that advice holds true. I will say that in this episode, you should also look for IP addresses hidden in unexpected locations (this link will spoil this clue).

In any case, there are at least two fun sites you can find from this episode. One continues with the 80s reference by emulating an old school BBS (with even more hidden puzzles) and another allows you to follow along with the command Angela learned this episode, to learn more details about the hack.

Mr Robot
Figure 6: A emulated BBS Easter egg.

So accurate you can learn from it

As I’ve said before, Mr. Robot’s hacks are often so accurate that you can learn from them. There’s plenty we can take away from a security standpoint this episode.

Rogue femtocells are dangerous because cellular phones within range of them will automatically connect. In my last article, I didn’t leave you with much hope for protecting against this attack, but I am aware of a few third party tools that help. For instance, the femtocell hackers themselves have released a tool called Femtocatcher. This tool can actually prevent your phone from connecting to rogues, with the caveat that you lose all network connectivity when you are near a rogue femtocell.

Between live booting USB hacking distros, and the Rubber Ducky, it is pretty clear that you should be using caution when it comes to USB devices you plug into your computer. For more USB security tips, check out a video I recently posted that explains USB HID attacks in more detail.

It was great to see the fsociety team back in total cyber heist mode this week! And more hacking action is sure to follow. Be sure to check in with “Mr. Robot” Rewind next week, and leave your thoughts, theories, feedback and Easter eggs in the comments below.

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UnitedHealthcare ad
Don’t try this at home. A screen shot of the UnitedHealthcare ad making a splash online during the Olympics. (Via

Who wins in the pool or on the soccer pitch or at the gymnastics venue is all well and good when it comes to the Rio Olympics, but at they’re in the business of tracking who is winning the advertising game.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based data analytics company has taken a look, halfway through the Games, at TV advertising across six networks: NBC, NBC Sports, USA Network, BRAVO, MSNBC, & CNBC. So far, 351 brands have run 667 unique TV ads a total of 7,867 times (1,488 in primetime).

According to, which tracks and measures TV ads in real time and correlates appearance of those ads on more than 11 million TV sets, the Olympics have generated  7.7 billion TV ad impressions. In addition to the 1 billion TV ad impressions set aside for network promos, automakers have generated 1.128 billion, insurance companies contributed 518 million, movie studios account for 431.7 million and credit card companies led by Visa have tallied 351 million.

BMW, according to, is the clear winner in terms of visibility, generating over 262,297,430 impressions to their ads. The brand has run 10 spots 113 times. No individual ads have generated enough impressions to be leading on their own, but this spot is performing best for the big-spending car company:

When it comes to view rate — the average amount of an ad that was watched — a couple of movie trailers from Paramount Pictures are at the top of the list: “Arrival” and “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.”

Across digital, the top performer is UnitedHealthcare’s “Pool Vault” spot, featuring some backyard BBQ antics gone wrong. The ad has been seen over 103.3 million times, and generated over 968,000 online views, 78,500 searches and over 10,500 social actions, according to’s data. Nike, McDonald’s, Nike again, and Samsung Galaxy complete the top five.

And finally, in the “Top Spots by Spend” category, Chevrolet is leading so far with its “Up: Camaro, Equinox, Malibu, Silverado” ad. It’s had 60 airings and a view rate of 90.15 percent at 2.21 percent of the total advertising spend.

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blazersmodacenter111Bloomberg reported Friday that the NBA is nearing a 6-year, $250 million deal with sports data companies Sportradar and Second Spectrum that would support the league’s big data and streaming ambitions.

Sportradar, based in Switzerland with its U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis, has a large footprint among professional sports leagues in North America. It already has data partnerships with the NFL, NHL, and NASCAR; some of the company’s clients include Turner Media, Twitter and Samsung.

CNN is using Sportradar for this month’s Olympic Games.

Adding the NBA to its portfolio would be a big win for Sportradar, which is backed by NBA owners like Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan, and Ted Leonsis. The NBA currently works with Stats, which provides its SportVU tracking technology.

Bloomberg notes that sports betting would be a key part of the deal, with Sportradar helping to provide real-time data to betting houses. Though currently illegal in the U.S., NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has voiced his support for legalized sports gambling.


Sportradar would partner with Second Spectrum for the deal, Bloomberg reported. The Los Angeles-based startup utilizes data analytics and machine learning to help provide more information about a given game, both to fans and team analytic departments. The company is already working with teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, whose owner, Steve Ballmer, spoke at the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit last month.

Ballmer said that fans could potentially use technology built by Second Spectrum to examine plays with more depth and see how they were defended and how likely they are to be successful. This kind of technology could be part of a “second screen” experience built into a team-run streaming service, for example.

“That is possible over the next several years,” Ballmer said.

Ballmer, who acquired the Clippers for a record $2 billion in 2014, also explained that “the real opportunity is to, if you will, augment reality as people are watching the game.”

“Can you put yourself in the position of Blake Griffin?,” he said. “What does the game in question look like in real time from his perspective? Can you sit on the shoulders of Chris Paul or DeAndre Jordan or even someone who plays for the other team? Can we allow you to do that?”

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(Photo via Shutterstock)
(Photo via Shutterstock)

For anyone that has been involved in naming a startup, blog or product, you are well aware of the complexities.

The good news is that you have 26 letters to produce something magical. The bad news: According to WhoAPI, all four letter .coms are registered — that’s 456,976 different letter combinations. Then you have to worry about things like spelling, pronunciation, translation, trademarking, phonetics, and memorability.

Before commencing your naming journey, build a creative brief to educate those involved on the must-haves and the-nice-to-haves in the brand name, set a deadline to create a short-list, and as the list becomes more focused, encourage people to rank the remaining names.

Commonly, as days go by, the volume of potential names starts to diminish and thinking outside the box is nearly impossible.

We’ve compiled the stories behind the names of 13 Seattle startups to re-energize your thinking. For each brand, you’ll learn what they do, what their main naming requirements were and how they went about the process.

peter hamilton
Peter Hamilton.


Peter Hamilton, CEO

In one sentence, what is TUNE? “TUNE is a software-as-a-service company that provides attribution, analytics, automation, and advertising management technologies for mobile marketers.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “We actually rebranded from our first name, HasOffers. Though it was an awesome first startup name, it was also the name of our flagship product. As we expanded products and offerings we needed something that could be large enough to house many products. Beyond that, we wanted something short and powerful, that could loosely tie to our industry (we help marketers tune their campaigns), and most importantly that was fun and had some other connotation or imagery. Tune is filled with lots of musicians, artists, and creatives along with engineers that are making the leaps in technology to build the most innovative, efficient systems. It is a fun badge to wear, and it’s not a bad domain either.”

How did you come up with your name? “We tried just about everything over two years to come up with the right name. We worked with outside agencies, talked to customers, and had all kinds of brainstorming sessions. At one point I decided to just start looking for amazing domains that I could possibly get my hands on. I have an incredible broker, and I started getting lists and lists of interesting domains. Tune was actually on one of the first lists and though it didn’t immediately stick it was one that stayed in the maybe category. The more we looked, the more it kept coming back as the strongest most impactful name, and the one that resonated with our people. Finally, we decide to explore what it would look like to become Tune and the response across the company was unanimously for it.”

Tom Leung
Tom Leung.


Tom Leung, Co-founder and former CEO

In one sentence, what is Anthology? “Anthology is a confidential job matchmaking service for employed tech professionals in Seattle, NYC, and SFO.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “That it had gravitas and had headroom to allow us to expand beyond confidential job matchmaking to do other career optimization services in the long-term.”

How did you come up with your name? “We were originally called Poachable but hit trademark disputes and decided it wasn’t worth it to fight it out. We also got feedback from employers that Poachable sounded illicit or underhanded. So we started a renaming process and came up with a few candidates that were differentiated, captured our requirements, and were trademarkable.”

Kevin Merritt.
Kevin Merritt.


Kevin Merritt, Founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is Socrata? “Socrata offers cloud-based data democratization for government.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “The main requirements for our name were that it had to be memorable, pronounceable, original, and resonate with public servants. ”

How did you come up with your name? “Our leadership team came up with the name Socrata as we were discussing the start of democracy and data. The brand is a play off of the name Socrates and the concept of data democratization.”

Jake Cooney.
Jake Cooney.


Jake Cooney, Creative Director and Co-founder at Porch.

In one sentence, what is Porch? “Seattle-based is a home services platform that helps homeowners maintain their home and get projects done by connecting them with quality home improvement professionals.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “There were actually a few requirements that we had from the start:

  • Domain name was obtainable

  • Spelled properly. We wanted to avoid tacking -ly or -ify onto the end, dropping vowels, swapping letters, or making up a word. The litmus test was whether we could say the name on the phone without having to give instructions on how to spell it.

  • To convey a sense of simplicity, we wanted the name to be as short as possible — ideally one word.

  •  It ideally would reference the home but not be too literal or limit our future product offering.

And we wanted it to feel approachable and conjure warm memories.”

How did you come up with your name? “We involved the entire company in the process (then about 10 people). We compiled a spreadsheet that had 200 or so options which also tracked the availability of the domain names. People flagged their favorites. We met weekly, narrowing the list down and debating the favorites. Porch was on the list for most of the process but wasn’t a favorite until the final stage when we narrowed it down to four options. When considering Porch, one co-worker noted that the porch is the public area of a private home. And it’s where neighbors meet. That sold the company on the name, with it implying a safe space and community. From there, we did some informal focus groups with friends and family on our top four names which turned out to be all over the place and not useful. Instead, we decided that Porch was the perfect name and we could make it work. From there, the name stuck and we just hoped we could secure the domain name which luckily worked out.”

Aseem Badshah.
Aseem Badshah.


Aseem Badshah, Co-founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is Socedo? “Socedo helps B2B marketers grow their lead database by helping to discover, engage and qualify prospects through social media at scale.”

What was the one requirement for your brand name? “It had to be an available domain, less than 8 characters, scalable in case we pivot and look good/be brandable from a typography perspective.”

How did you come up with your name? “A long exercise of brainstorming hundreds of names and whittling down. We landed on Socedo as it’s a combination of ‘social’ and ‘succeed.'”

Seaton Gras.
Seaton Gras.

Surf Incubator

Seaton Gras, Founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is Surf Incubator? “SURF is an inspiring space where creative ideas are fostered and innovative companies grow.”

What was the one requirement for your brand name? “Easy to remember, easy to spell, can be reduced to a single syllable and makes you smile.”

How did you come up with your name? “We knew we were onto a great opportunity (due to the very rapid adoption) and yet we had no name — we were just a bunch of programmers who were working side by side. But if we were to continue our growth, we would need to have a name. It was a sunny day when Candace and I walked around Lake Union with the primary focus of creating a name. Halfway ’round the lake, we came up with “SURF” (for Start Up Really Fast) and “Incubator” as a place where startups can build momentum in a supportive environment combined with easy access to mission-critical resources. The name fit our spirit for a dynamic and adventurous company. We hurried home to secure the domain.”

David Leeds
David Leeds.

Tango Card

David Leeds, Founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is Tango Card? “Tango Card is a reward delivery platform for the global enterprise.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “I wanted our name to clearly convey a spirit of partnership.”

How did you come up with your name? “I have always liked the name Tango. I like its simplicity, I think it is friendly and approachable, and I think it immediately conveys fluidity that any young company has to have and that two or more partners need to have to be successful.”

Jeff Turley.
Jeff Turley.


Jeff Turley, Founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is GoNetYourself?  “GoNetYourself is a revolutionary ‘shared’ video production company.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name?  

  • Uniquely memorable

  • .com domain

  • Trademark

“We tell everyone at GoNetYourself, the name isn’t a joke it’s exactly what it says: We help your team consistently scale your video productions in an affordable, repeatable, and executable strategy.”

How did you come up with your name? “I went for a long drive. Ok, a few long drives. When it comes to naming your company, I always say the name doesn’t define you, you define the name. It’s not what the name means today, it’s how the name will be defined when your vision has been executed. Therefore, don’t get too much input because those you ask don’t have your vision or understanding of what you will become. Don’t overthink it and be prepared for everyone to criticize it.”

Liz Pearce.
Liz Pearce.


Liz Pearce, CEO

In one sentence, what is LiquidPlanner? “LiquidPlanner is dynamic project management technology for technology teams.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “When thinking through the naming and branding we wanted to represent our core belief — that project management is fluid, dynamic, and always in motion. This, coupled with the notion that work projects are full of uncertainty and risk, helped us frame the brand concept quite clearly. It didn’t take long for us to settle on LiquidPlanner as the company name, as the Liquid reference represents the dynamic nature of our product, and the changing nature of work pretty clearly. To this day, it does a great job communicating what makes us unique and helps us stand out in a crowded market.”

How did you come up with your name? “That’s a funny story. The company was originally incorporated under the name Team46. When our initial product was close to complete, we embarked on a formal naming process. All kinds of crazy ideas were thrown around and we considered calling our product Technaplan or SmackDab, but neither of those names spoke to the value of this dynamic product we built. At the time, I was in charge of marketing, so one of my first tasks was to lock in the company and product name. I pulled together a short list of new names and then surveyed a couple of hundred people to get their feedback. The wisdom of the crowd overwhelming liked the name LiquidPlanner. We liked it so much that we named the company and our product.”

Taylor Ward.
Taylor Ward.


Taylor Ward, Founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is Hubtag? “Hubtag is a technology company building livestreaming software for gamers with the ultimate goal of making eSports look and feel like traditional sports.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “The one requirement in a good brand name for us was something that spoke to our vision as a company.”

How did you come up with your name? “We came up with our name by first creating a word cloud of every word we could think of that spoke to our vision (Creating a central place for gamers and gaming content). After eliminating single words that were already in use, we broke up several words and began mixing rearranging them into new ones. Once we got down to a list of 3 or 4, we began checking URL Availability, Trademark availability, and social media accounts. This brought the final count down to two names.

We took the two names and shared them with our friends, tried to use them in the context of a user, and slept on the decision for the week. After that week we emerged with Hubtag.”

Mike Kichline
Mike Kichline.


Mike Kichline, Founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is Yesler? “Yesler is a full-service B2B marketing agency that offers data-driven, buyer-centric solutions for every stage in the customer lifecycle.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “We looked at several factors. We thought a lot about the meaning we wanted to convey and the perception of the name in general, and knew that as long as our name was fairly simple and avoided common word associations, the brand name perception and identity would be up to us to develop. We wanted a name that would be relatively simple and concise, easy for our audience to find and remember, and somewhat unique without creating phonetic respellings of existing common words.”

How did you come up with your name? “We looked at a number of ideas in this process. We explored  words associated with our service offerings — including options in other languages like French or Latin — and words that we felt conveyed the association with an emotion or attribute that would resonate with our audience and clients. But our name also needed to resonate with our team and reflect who we are, and thinking about our roots in Seattle got us focused on names that would be distinctly local without limiting our growth into global markets.

After narrowing down to a handful of options, we decided to name the company after Henry Yesler — one of Seattle’s first entrepreneurs and the namesake for Yesler Avenue, where our company is headquartered in the Smith Tower in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. This was a perfect combination for us on a number of levels, in that it’s a name recognized here in Seattle, but carries no real association to anything for anyone outside of the area. It’s simple and concise (a bonus for our short domain name), spelled the way it sounds, and open to define the way we want to define it. It’s who we are, where we began, and reflects a heritage of entrepreneurship and growth that fits with our approach to modern B2B marketing.”

Amber Osborne.


Amber Osborne, Co-founder and CMO

In one sentence, what is Meshfire? “Meshfire is the first artificial intelligence for social media. It helps community managers find the people, conversations, and opportunities they’re missing out on now in the flood of incoming tweets.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “We chose our name to communicate a sense of togetherness (“mesh”) both for the teams of community managers who use our service, and to represent the connection they make with their audience. The element of “fire” signifies enlightenment, communications (like a signal fire), and the ability of great communicators to motivate and entertain tremendous tribes of people.

How did you come up with your name? “Lots of brainstorming and a little luck. We tried out lots of different names before settling on Meshfire. Not only did we decide that it had the right connotations, but we found that we could obtain the relevant trademarks, assets, and company name. We took this to be a good omen.”

Brian Bosche.
Brian Bosche.


Brian Bosche, Co-founder and CEO

In one sentence, what is Slope? “Slope makes it easy for teams to plan, track, and collaborate on content.”

What was the main requirement for your brand name? “Every company in our industry has very stationary names like ‘Box’ or ‘Silo.’ We wanted our name to be dynamic and relate to motion and progress.”

How did you come up with your name? “My Co-founder, Dan Bloom, and I were driving through the mountains near Seattle. We really liked the idea of companies ‘keeping their content moving,’ so we were coming up with names that represented movement and change. Naturally, ‘Slope’ popped into our heads as we were looking at the Cascades, and it stuck.”

Adam Lang is the founder of Rewind & Capture, which helps startups determine the strength of their brand names. 

Source :

thePlatform-logothePlatform, a subsidiary of Comcast, is a leading provider of online video publishing and management, used by global video streaming services. The company is hiring for several engineering and management positions through GeekWork.

One position is the Client Integration Engineer (CIE), a hybrid role which combines core-programming, communication, and project management skills. The CIE engages thePlatform’s clients to design and implement end-to-end solutions.

The position requires strong experience with Java/Groovy and broad experience with web development tools, as well as strong communication and management skills.

Learn more and apply for the position on GeekWork, and also geekwork1see other listings from thePlatform.

That’s one of the current highlights from GeekWork, GeekWire’s job siteContinue reading for more of this week’s top openings, hand-picked from GeekWork’s featured listings, and search for more open positions here.

(And, as long as you’re job hunting, other good resources include the GeekWire 200 ranking of top technology startups in the Pacific Northwest, the related GeekWire startup list database of more than 800 companies, and our Startup Resource directory. Good luck in your search!)


Position: “Platform Engineer (Android)”

Summary: “WildTangent, Inc. is looking for an Platform Engineer (Android) for our AMP engineering team. AMP (App Management Platform) is an enterprise platform that facilitates distribution of Mobile Apps and creates a direct communications channel with the end user. An extensible platform by design, AMP allows the addition of modules to support enhanced offerings. This individual must be a highly motivated professional who enjoys working in a fast paced, agile development environment.”

Learn more and apply on GeekWork.

Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2)AI2 logo

Position: Software Engineer

Summary: “As an engineer at AI2, you’ll be working side-by-side with world-class researchers, helping to build state-of-the-art AI systems. We have projects focused on understanding and answering real-world questions, understanding pictures and videos, and building the world’s best academic search engine. Engineers build core infrastructure, research tools, and help out with just about every aspect of our work. There are also many opportunities to contribute directly to research – fresh ideas and enthusiasm are great additions to any team!”

Learn more and apply on GeekWork.

VulcanVulcan logo

Position: Executive Desktop Support Engineer

Summary: “We are looking to hire an Executive Desktop Support Engineer to provide internal technical support for company executives’ workstation issues and projects.  The position offers resolution and options to known technical challenges by performing first, second and third level troubleshooting to gain the best possible outcome for the executive.  This position is also responsible for keeping abreast of emerging technologies and providing proactive options on how these emerging technologies can be used to improve the executive’s efficiency and productivity. ”

Learn more and apply on GeekWork.


Position: UI Developer

Summary: “Would you like to join one of the fastest growing and exciting startups in Seattle?   Our team is looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic developer who love to create elegant, robust, user-centric software. Working as part of a small but highly skilled team of peers, developers will do rapid prototyping and testing to innovate new features, optimize existing ones and drive improvements in the overall performance of our product.”

Learn more and apply on GeekWork.

Source :

Seattle tunnel
Click for larger image. (Via WSDOT Flickr)

If you’ve lost track of how long Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine has been underground (mostly) working on Seattle’s new waterfront roadway, well, forget about her for a minute. Things above ground look cool!

The Washington State Department of Transportation Flickr site is a great place to check in with for recent images from the massive Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project — as well as roadwork big (520 floating bridge) and small across the state.

Photographs uploaded this week include a great panorama (click above to make it bigger) showing progress at the north portal of the tunnel near South Lake Union. The photograph appears to have been taken from the roof the new operations building, looking north.

The Space Needle and EMP Museum are visible on the far left of the image and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is in the center. Highway 99 runs through the picture and to the right of the frame there are construction cranes and apartments — no Seattle image would be complete without them.

Another shot on Flickr shows a before and after of the area around the north portal. The before image, taken in January 2014, shows a giant pit just a few blocks east of the Space Needle as work was in the early stages. The after image from this month shows the operations building and new sections of Harrison Street and Sixth Avenue North.

Seattle tunnel
Click for larger image. (Via WSDOT Flickr)

The distinctive yellow ventilation stacks on the operations building (they’re the same at the south end of the tunnel) frame the Space Needle in a third image.

Seattle tunnel
(Via WSDOT Flickr)

In a fourth image, crews with Seattle Tunnel Partners are shown moving the base and motor of a ventilation fan into the fan room of the building. WSDOT says it’s the first of four fans to be installed inside the room.

Seattle tunnel
(Via WSDOT Flickr)

Finally, a giant propellor for one of the fans is shown before installation.

Seattle tunnel
(Via WSDOT Flickr)

There really is quite a bit happening beneath the surface, as Bertha continues to mine under downtown Seattle. Watch how they make the concrete segments for the tunnel’s outer wall rings, and see the double-deck highway taking shape.

For more on the SR 99 tunnel project, visit the WSDOT site.

Source :

Photo via BMW.
BMW launched ReachNow in Seattle in April. Photo via BMW.

This week on the GeekWire radio show and podcast: BMW’s ReachNow car sharing program added service to Seattle’s SeaTac Airport this week. For an additional $5 on their trip, users can now rent a car anywhere in ReachNow’s Seattle home area—which covers most of the city—and drop it off at a garage a short shuttle ride from SeaTac.

Also check out this review of ReachNow at the Seattle airport by GeekWire’s Todd Bishop.

Plus, GeekWire reporter Taylor Soper joins us to discuss the pros and cons of this year’s Olympics coverage, which has been heavily criticized for tape delays and prepackaged material. Soper shares hacks to watch events live and avoid spoilers.

We also speak with Luke Timmerman, founder and editor of the Timmerman Report and author of the new book “Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age,” a biography of Leroy Hood. Hood is known for leading the team at Caltech that created the automated DNA sequencer, and is a controversial and mythic figure in genomics.

Timmerman shares his experience researching the book, and discusses Hood’s impact on biotechnology, particularly in the Seattle area. Also see this transcript of the discussion, and our review of the book. “Hood: Trailblazer of the Genomics Age” is available for $19.95 as a PDF download via Timmerman Report. Readers can also place a pre-order for a signed hard copy, or buy the Kindle eBook edition. An excerpt is available at

Listen to the show above, or download the MP3 here.

Source :

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