Germany

Germany condemns official’s slaying as ‘attack on all of us’

BERLIN (AP) — The killing of a pro-migrant politician this month, allegedly at the hands of a violent neo-Nazi, illustrates the threat posed by far-right extremism, Germany's top security official said Tuesday.

Horst Seehofer, Germany's interior minister, said while the alleged perpetrator's motive has yet to be conclusively confirmed federal prosecutors had taken charge of the case because "there is sufficient evidence for a far-right background to the crime.Read more on NewsOK.com

Germany beats South Africa 4-0 to win World Cup group

MONTPELLIER, France (AP) — Germany is playing like a title contender, just at the right time.

After seeing her team start the Women's World Cup with a pair of one-goal wins, Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told her players to keep the game simple.

Germany played to its status as the world's second-ranked side and one of the top challengers hoping to dethrone the United States, routing South Africa 4-0 on Monday to top Group B with a 3-0 record.Read more on NewsOK.com

The Latest: France, Germany, Spain back new fighter jet

LE BOURGET, France (AP) — The Latest on the Paris Air Show (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

France, Germany and Spain have agreed to develop a joint European fighter jet and air combat system that could also control drones and satellites.

With a model of the jet as a backdrop, defense ministers from the three countries signed an agreement Monday at the Paris Air Show that lays out how the countries will cooperate on the project, which would include a new-generation combat aircraft.Read more on NewsOK.com

Germany: leader of Merkel’s party warns as Greens surge

BERLIN (AP) — The leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right party is warning that Germans risk ending up with a left-wing government if they vote for the Greens, who surged in last month's European Parliament election and are now level with or ahead of Merkel's Union bloc in several polls.

The Greens traditionally leaned left but in recent years have formed regional coalitions with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union in several states.Read more on NewsOK.com

Data-Driven Attribution Modelling Explained (Part 2)

One-click purchases are a rarity, rather than a reality for most businesses, and yet the standard attribution models imply that this is how purchases happen online. But companies, who are crediting only the last touchpoint in analytics for overall marketing success, are missing out on 20%-40% of potential ROI. Knowing more and guessing less about your customers’ journeys can help you recuperate that money and even multiply your marketing gains. That’s what data-driven attribution modelling is designed to accomplish.
What is data-driven attribution?
As mentioned in our previous post, attribution models that follow pre-defined rules (e.g. assign credit to first/last click) do not provide full visibility into your marketing campaigns. They are decent “patch” solutions to track certain activities, but they fall short when you want to dig into the complex customer journeys of today.
Google offers a Data-Driven Attribution (DDA) model which accounts for the importance of every touchpoint a prospect goes through before converting and determines which marketing actions played a role in the process. However, to start using this model, your business must first meet the general eligibility requirements. To meet these, you must have:

A Google 360 Analytics account which costs £115,000 per year
Either E-commerce Tracking or Goals set up
At least 15,000 clicks on Google Search and at least 600 tracked conversions within 30 days.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an option for many businesses, but there is another way.
Develop your own data-driven attribution model
Yes, you can develop your own model instead, based on GA data. We have built these for several of our customers and they are highly effective. And, unlike the Google model, with ours, you only need a minimum of 100 sessions per day, including traffic from all channels, which makes it much more accessible for many companies.
These models comb through different conversion paths and identify the number of touchpoints in different sequences, the order of exposure, creative assets used and several other factors to give you a complete and actionable view. The model uses the conversion path data from MultiChannel Funnels, as well as path data from customers who don’t convert.
We can then set up predictive analytics modelling that will supply your business with insights and valid predictions in near real-time. This way, you can identify winning campaigns and sequences, and make better decisions on-the-fly.
What are the benefits?

Custom data-driven attribution enables you to create a personalised model that will depict the actual state of affairs for your business. You can add, track and optimise as many channels and touchpoints as you need to fully document the different types of customer journeys.
The best part is that all insights are connected, which provides a detailed look both within and across channels. Specifically, you can unlock the following benefits:

Improved budgeting: learn how each channel contributes to your set goals and optimise your spending for different campaigns with granular precision.
Cross-channel impact analysis: lift and funnel stage reports will reveal how different channels and marketing actions affect one another.
Unified view: set up a custom set of metrics for all channels, aligned to your business goals.
Reporting flexibility: generated reports can be viewed in multiple ways, allowing different teams to instantly access the insights they need.
Performance over time: estimate and predict customers lifetime value, drop off chances and multiple other factors that impact your business’s bottom line.

Ultimately, data-driven attribution allows you to give proper credit to previously hidden actions, such as conversions that came from non-branded keywords or from mobile devices (after a visit from a desktop), as well as exercise more precise control over individual campaigns/channels. Additionally, you gain access to predictive analytics insights, showing you the scope of change you will achieve when trying strategy A, B or C.
Several brands in different industries are already seeing great results after switching to DDA:

Select Home Warranty in the US witnessed a 36% increase in leads and a 20% drop in cost-per-conversion.
Medpex in Germany generated 29% more conversions while reducing cost-per-conversion by 28% using data-driven bidding on Google Adwords.
H.I.S., a global travel brand, combined DDA with Smart Bidding and Dynamic Search Ads to boost conversions by 62% without increasing the cost-per-conversion.

What do you need to implement a data-driven attribution model?
1. Google Analytics set up and configured
As mentioned already, you don’t need to be a Google Analytics 360 customer if you want to benefit from data attribution modelling with our help. But there are still a few technical requirements you need to meet:

Active Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager accounts
Either E-commerce Tracking or Goals set up
Receive at least 100 sessions per day, including traffic from all channels.

Implementing data-driven attribution at a lower daily traffic threshold is still possible, but you won’t be getting complete value out of it at that point.
2. High data maturity
Your analytics will only be as good as your data is. Businesses that are able to gather large, consistent and high-quality data sets across the channel mix will benefit most from data-driven attribution. Specifically, you’ll want to ensure that your data is:

Source: Google Attribution 360 White Paper

Focused: it’s collected from different channels and is relatively easy-to-access.
Systematic: you are able to collect relevant data from an online/offline marketing mix, and have respective processes in place for that.

Remember: all the big data stored in your systems will have to be operationalised and prepared for further analysis. In fact, that’s what we tend to focus on during the first two months of working with a customer.
3. Aligned KPIs and business goals
Data-driven attribution works best when your KPIs and goals are compatible across channels and departments. For example, if your PPC campaign is geared towards increasing the webinar leads, your Facebook ad campaign goal should be the same.
But there are different ways to measure those goals, right? What’s great about data-driven attribution is that it allows you to look beyond the vanity metrics such as clicks or shares on social media and focus on post click insights (e.g. visits) instead.
Not every social media campaign you run may be aligned with a specific outcome, such as sales. An Instagram campaign you run might be tailored to create brand awareness in a new market. But measuring that “buzz” can be problematic. With a DDA model, however, you can effectively capture social media traffic that never generated a conversion, and analyze how it had helped the performance of other channels.
Should you implement DDA?
Depending on the company size and how much value you see in data, a data-driven attribution model can be the tool you need to help you answer important marketing and business questions, such as:

Which channels contribute more towards conversions?
Do any campaigns not provide ROI?
Are there particular affiliates that increase the probability of conversion?
Which referral sites are crucial to the user journey?
What will happen if the PPC budget gets reduced?

Germany: 5 charged with trafficking, prostituting Thai women

BERLIN (AP) — Prosecutors have charged five people with trafficking Thai women to Germany and forcing them to work in a nationwide network of brothels.

Frankfurt prosecutor Alexander Badle said Wednesday that four Thai women aged 49, 51, 53 and 60 were charged with trafficking transsexuals and women to Germany.Read more on NewsOK.com

The Grand Gateway in Waiting: Envisioning the New-Old Penn Station

A photo of the original McKim, Mead and White Penn Station on display in the Amtrak concourse of Pennsylvania Station in New York, on Feb. 6, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
NEW YORK—Nostalgia and heartbreak for the original Pennsylvania Station has persisted since it was destroyed over half a century ago. The beauty of that beaux-arts structure will probably remain a mythos in our imaginations until it is actually resurrected. Those who remember experiencing its magnificence still sigh. Those who discover a glimpse of its iconic grandeur in photographs—like the one displayed where it once stood in the current Penn Station—gasp in shock, “That was here?!”
Its classic columns, its pink granite walls, and its soaring vaulted glass ceilings made for a grandiose gateway into the city from 1910 to 1963. Its elegance engendered a sense of dignity and appreciation for anyone walking through it—for native New Yorkers, for visitors from near or far, for rich and poor, and for everyone in between.

Not since the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla, which had inspired the design of the general waiting room, had there been a larger room on earth. The great steel frames and arcades in the train shed were reminiscent of the Gare d’Orsay in Paris. The station was like a piece of ancient Rome and Paris in New York, distinguishing the country’s achievements.
Its grand scale would still be fit for over half a million people who come in and out of the city every day through the busiest transportation hub in the Western Hemisphere. “It’s marvelous to be in a space that is designed not only to hold that many people, but to also allow them to graciously flow through it in a way that makes sense,” Richard Cameron said, from his architectural design studio, Atelier & Co., in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The dimensions of the original Penn Station were so grand, in fact, that even Grand Central Terminal (a.k.a. Grand Central Station) could fit inside its general waiting room. Under the great train shed, thick glass floors allowed natural light to reach all the way down to the lower level of train tracks (four floors down from street level). Even a crowd-fearing, claustrophobic person could feel delighted when coming out of a train and walking though a sunlit space like that.
A section collage by Richard Cameron showing the facade of Grand Central Terminal inside the waiting room of the original Penn Station designed by McKim, Mead & White. (Courtesy of Richard Cameron)
Cameron, who is one of the main proponents for rebuilding the original Penn Station designed by Charles McKim and the firm McKim, Mead & White, explained how classical structures of that scale create the feeling of being both inside and outside at the same time. You can experience that by going into Grand Central—one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions.
It’s difficult to feel discouraged upon seeing the stars wheeling above us under a clear night sky in a remote area. “You get some sense of the created order of the universe that is just really comforting. You realize you are part of some much bigger thing, and it’s okay,” Cameron said. “That’s why the evocation of the stars in the vault of Grand Central Station, for example, is so brilliant. A vault like that is a representation of the heavens.”
More architecture designed to evoke a mini-version of experiencing a starry sky would make living in the city so much more humane—so much more livable.

But ask anybody how they feel about the current Penn Station and they will describe a combination of dread and misery in a million different ways. It’s confusing, ugly, and chaotic. The first thing most people think about is how to get out of there as quickly as possible. The Yale architectural historian Vincent J. Scully Jr. summed up the difference between the original and the current Penn Station best: “One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat.”
Undoing a Cultural Crime
In the 1960s, the Pennsylvania Railroad was about to go bankrupt. The company decided to demolish the monumental structure to make way for renting its air space.
It took over three years (1963–1966) to demolish all of the solid granite and steel girders, and the classic statues and ornaments, over a platform installed to protect thousands of passengers who kept getting on and off the trains beneath it every day. “This was not just a matter of swinging the wrecking ball and knocking it down,” Cameron said.
Penn Station kept functioning, more or less, squished below, while Madison Square Garden, a high-rise office and sports complex, was built above it.
All the while, the nostalgia for what was lost continues. Several books have been written about it, including “Conquering Gotham” by Jill Jonnes; the photography book “The Destruction of Penn Station,” photographed by Peter Moore and edited by Barbara Moore; and a play based on the Moores’ book, “The Eternal Space” by Justin Rivers, which was recently performed off Broadway.
People picket Pennsylvania Station in New York on Aug. 2, 1962, in protest over plans to tear it down and build an office building on the site. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Cameron calls the demolition a cultural war crime. “The idea to destroy something that valuable and that important to the culture is staggering. … It was a lot more than terrible,” he said.
Perhaps it’s force of habit, or our ability to adapt so well, that leaves us numb to realizing how much architecture really affects us. When we think of other design possibilities for Penn Station, most New Yorkers probably think of something like the recently opened Oculus at the World Trade Center—with an interior that conjures cartoon images of the ribcage of a whale and an exterior that looks like a meat cutter. We wouldn’t immediately think of a beautiful beaux-arts design because, ironically, that idea is unusual and radical today.
Yet, there are plenty of successful reconstructions of classic, baroque, beaux-arts, and other styles of beautiful buildings. In Dresden, Germany, the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) was fully rebuilt (partly funded by Americans), along with many other baroque buildings that had been completely decimated during World War II. In London, the Palace of Westminster, where the U.K.’s Houses of Parliament meet, has been rebuilt more than once.
In Moscow, the great Cathedral of Christ the Savior, blown up under Josef Stalin, was rebuilt shortly after the fall of the Iron Curtain. “Russia did this in the 1990s when it was barely functioning as a country,” Cameron said, “so it should not be beyond the capabilities of New York and of Americans to rebuild McKim’s Penn Station.”
Possibility Supplants Nostalgia
The thought that we could actually have the original Penn Station back again (rebuildpennstation.com) may seem outlandish, yet it would be difficult to come up with a more humane, a more timeless solution.
Richard Cameron, co-founder of Atelier & Co., an architectural design firm, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Jan. 19, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
As the principal of Atelier & Co. and co-founder of both the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art and the Beaux-Arts Atelier, Cameron has a well-entrenched affinity for and knowledge of the timeless qualities of classical architecture. Together with his Atelier & Co. partner, Jason Grimes, he collaborates with infrastructure designer Jim Venturi of ReThinkNYC, as well as architects, engineers, artisans, and builders. The way he sees it, the original foundation, which is currently in place, is waiting patiently.
The rebuilt Penn Station would match and surpass the original. It would have all of the amenities and conveniences that we expect today, and it would be adaptable for the future.

“If you make something beautiful, people will want to be there, which means the value will go up.” Cameron is seeing it before many of us have yet to believe it. “We used to have the greatest train station in the country and we could again. There is no practical reason why that couldn’t be true,” Cameron said, with a big smile.
Richard Cameron, co-founder of Atelier & Co., an architectural design firm, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Jan. 19, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
McKim’s 353 drawings of Penn Station, housed in the New York Historical Society, can be digitized and used again. Some of the original granite that was dumped in the New Jersey Meadowlands could be recovered, and so forth. Like a phoenix, McKim’s crowning masterpiece could rise from the ashes of its predecessor, breathing new life into the city.
Spearheading the Vision
Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to turn the James A. Farley Post Office Building into a train hub and to renovate Penn Station. That announcement reignited Richard Cameron’s long-kindling idea.
The National Civic Art Society (NCAS) decided to spearhead the effort to rebuild McKim’s Penn Station. It would complement Cuomo’s plans for the Farley building (also designed by McKim). The non-profit organization brought into the effort Richard Cameron of Atelier & Co. as the architectural adviser, and Jim Venturi of ReThinkNYC as the adviser of transportation infrastructure.
Justin Shubow, president of the National Civic Art Society, in New York on Feb. 10, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Cuomo’s renovation plan—to raise the ceiling of Penn Station by two feet and to add LED video screens showing puffy clouds—pales in comparison to the soaring glass vaulted ceilings of the McKim Penn station with views of the real sky. Cuomo’s renovation plan is a short-term solution, with technology that would become outdated in a decade, whereas a McKim Penn Station would last hundreds of years.
Time and Money
The president of the NCAS, Justin Shubow made a very rough estimate of two billion dollars to rebuild Penn Station to service 650,000 passengers a day. That is less than the four billion it cost to build the Oculus, which services only 50,000 passengers a day.
There are so many players involved to be able to predict how much time it would take, Shubow said. It took nine years for McKim’s Penn Station to be completed in 1910. Presumably, it would take less time to rebuild because the railway tunnels are already in place, the original foundation and salvaged granite could be reused, and computer-aided manufacturing would expedite building sections off-site.
Main Stakeholders
The following players would have to be on board: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the City Council, Port Authority, MTA, Amtrak, and Vornado Realty Trust. Vornado owns most of the property in the area, including Two Penn Plaza, the 29-story high-rise on the east side of the station.
Related CoverageAffirming the Art in Architecture
Shubow pointed out that their proposal, which is in the process of being formalized, would include the possibility of keeping Two Penn Plaza in place, but re-clad in classical masonry. “In an ideal world, Two Penn Plaza would come down, and Vornado would get air rights to build in the neighborhood,” he added.
To rebuild the station, Madison Square Garden would have to move and still be accessible by train. Some suggestions include moving it behind the Farley building, or onto the Hudson River, or in Sunnyside Queens as part of Jim Venturi’s infrastructure plan.
Next Steps
The National Civic Art Society is creating partnerships for public-private fundraising. It plans to produce an independent cost-benefit analysis, digitalize the original McKim, Mead & White building plans, and create a 3-D visualization of the station for a Kickstarter campaign to garner public support.
Although the practicalities of making a new McKim Penn Station a reality are numerous, that is the wonderful challenge the NCAS has taken upon itself with tenacious resolve.
Quoting the urban planner Daniel Burnham, NCAS President Justin Shubow said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”
The James A. Farley Post Office Building on Eighth Avenue, New York on Feb. 12, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times). Nineteenth-century architect Charles McKim’s enduring designs include the Washington Square Arch, the Brooklyn Museum, the Morgan Library and Museum, the University Club, the Low Memorial Library of Columbia University, and the James Farley Post Office, among many other structures.
Related CoverageAffirming the Art in ArchitectureSculptor Sabin Howard in Service of Something BiggerArtist Anthony Baus Time Travels to the SourceAll Abuzz in Wonderment Over Gouthière

Your Evening News Brief in Pictures: August 25, 2015

South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong-Pyo (L) shakes hands with Kim Yang-Gon, a senior North Korean official responsible for South Korean affairs, as South Korean presidential security adviser Kim Kwan-Jin looks on after their meeting at the Panmunjom on Aug. 25, 2015, in Paju, South Korea. Both countries came to an agreement to ease tensions after an exchange of artillery fire last week. (South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images)

The Minumurra River floods farm land in Jamberoo on Aug. 25, 2015, in Jamberoo, Australia. Residents downstream of the Jerrara dam which feeds into the river have been evacuated following the flooding of Jerrara dam. (Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Smoke billows from Ain El-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp near Lebanon’s southern port city of Sidon during fighting between members of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement and Islamist militants on Aug. 25, 2015. Tensions between Islamists and Fatah have risen in recent months in the refugee camp. In July, two people were killed in clashes between the two sides. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on August 25, 2015 in New York City. Following a day of steep drops in global markets, the Dow Jones industrial average rallied early in the day only to fall over 200 points at the close. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Lava flows out of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, as it erupts on Aug. 25, 2015, on the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean. The volcano started to erupt on August 24, 2015 for the fourth time since the beginning of the year, according to a statement released by the Prefecture. (Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images)

A Cambodian police official holds packets of marijuana for the media in a room filled with bags of the narcotic at the Anti-Drug Department in Phnom Penh on Aug. 25, 2015. Cambodian police on Aug. 25 said they have made a large seizure of nearly 1.5 tonnes of marijuana packed into coffee bags that worth more than 7 million USD in Western markets. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP/Getty Images)

Afghan mourners offer funeral prayers during a ceremony after a series of explosions at a gas storage facility on the edge of the western city of Herat on Aug/ 25, 2015. At least 11 people including several children were killed in a series of explosions at a gas storage facility on the edge of the western city of Herat, officials said on Aug. 25. The explosions triggered an inferno which spread to a nearby camp for internally displaced people where most of the deaths occurred. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images)

A police investigator (C) and firemen walk among wreckage left by a fire that struck a sports hall that was intended to house refugees and migrants applying for asylum in Germany on Aug. 25, 2015, in Nauen, Germany. Police announced they have ruled out a technical source as causing the fire and are assuming arson is to blame. Germany has seen a spate of protests, arson attacks and violence in recent weeks from right-wing groups opposed to Germany accepting more refugees. German authorities recently announced they expect 800,000 refugees and migrants to arrive in the country this year, many of them from war-torn countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

An African illegal migrant carries his belongings following his release from the Holot Detention Centre in Israel’s Negev desert, on Aug. 25, 2015. Israel began releasing hundreds of African migrants from the detention center after a court order, but the asylum-seekers were barred from entering two cities. A recent court decision ordered Israel to release the illegal migrants held for more than a year at a detention centre in the Negev desert, a ruling affecting 1,178 of the asylum-seekers. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Telephone poles lean after Typhoon Goni hit Kamimine town, Saga prefecture, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. The powerful typhoon damaged buildings, tossed around cars and flooded streets in southwestern Japan on Tuesday before heading out to the Sea of Japan. (Masahito Ono/Kyodo News via AP)

Tens of thousands of protesters from Gujarat’s Patel community participate in a rally in Ahmadabad, India, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. The members of the community from this western Indian state are demanding affirmative action for better access to education and employment. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

People protest in front of the Embassy of the Russian Federation to support Oleg Sentsov and other political prisoners in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2105. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Citizens walk on handrail as severe flooding blocks the road on Aug. 24, 2015, in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Central Meteorological Observatory has issued yellow and orange alert to rainstorm as the accumulated precipitation data within three hours will rise to 50 mm in most part of Shanghai City. (ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Syrian refugees wait near the border railway station of Idomeni, northern Greece, in order to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. The U.N.’s refugee agency said it expects 3,000 people to cross Macedonia daily in the coming days. Greece has been overwhelmed this year by record numbers of migrants who have been arriving on a number of Greek islands. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

Colombians deported from Venezuela return for their belongings and carry them across the Tachira River, border between the two countries, to Cucuta, in the Colombian North of Santander Department, on Aug. 25, 2015. Over a thousand Colombians “who did not have any type of identification” had been deported since Friday, according to the governor of the Venezuelan state of Tachira, Jose Gregorio Vielma. On Aug. 21 Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro indefinitely closed his country’s border with Colombia and declared a state of emergency in part of the frontier region following an attack on Wednesday that wounded four people. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

Lebanese protesters set fire to barriers and trash behind the barbed wire separating them from the police, during a protest against the trash crisis and government corruption in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. The powerful Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah threw its weight behind mass protests calling for the government’s resignation Tuesday, deepening a crisis that started over trash collection but is tapping into a much deeper malaise. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Chicago Locals Love Their Startup Ecosystem

Chicago, it goes by many names: The Windy City, Chi-Town, and Chicagoland. I’ve even heard some people on the West Coast Best Coast call it the Los Angeles of the Midwest. Alternatively there are those on the East Coast that call it the New York of the Midwest.
This celebration of the Chicago ecosystem is brought to you by @properties, the leading Chicago real estate brokerage serving both the city of Chicago and North Shore through dynamic marketing and innovation. Follow the full content series here!
However, regardless of where you hail from, I think we should move past the small potatoes here and give Chicago some much deserved love. Sure, they have amazing museums, great pizza, and winning sports teams, but that’s not why they deserve our recognition today.
Rather, Chicago has one of the strongest crops of entrepreneurs who put the entirety of their being into building companies which elevate the people, the city, the region, and ultimately America. To that end, I went out and talked with some of the embedded, local entrepreneurs who know the ins and outs of Chicago better than most.
I asked them all one question: what makes Chicago’s landscape so awesome? I think you’ll find their answers inspiring and interesting.
Here are 9 entrepreneurs who love their city, and they’re not afraid to show it:
Abby Ross – COO – ThinkCERCA
“There are three main points: collaboration, physical spaces, and a supportive community. I work hand in hand with my CEO Eileen Murphy Buckley, who has decades of education and administration experience. But this isn’t the only opportunity I have to collaborate with people outside of traditional entrepreneurial spaces though – Chicago’s open and inclusive startup ecosystem affords an opportunity to collaborate with people from a number of different backgrounds.
And when it comes to places to work, Chicago houses coworking spaces across the city that give entrepreneurs the space they need to jumpstart their company without the headache of finding a place and furnishing it alongside running the actual business. Great example: ThinkCERCA started off at 1871, a collaborative space where entrepreneurs can focus on the work and less on the office administration.
There are also startup accelerators like Impact Engine, which gave me the confidence to create a company that would have a meaningful impact. Because of this support, I was able to scale ThinkCERCA to reach more students, and help schools achieve the only thing in this business that matters the most: student outcomes.”
Robert Haidari – Founder – Hot Emu
“Chicago is a big city with a small town feel: I love it. Business is done the traditional way, based on trust and respect. If a business wants to operate it has to try its best to satisfy clients, employees, partners, and investors. And everyone knows each other, whether they’re inquiring about someone’s work history, getting in touch with a potential business partner, or finding a mentor – everyone is within reach.
We also have a lot of great talent. Chicago universities are top ranked and produce a lot of graduates, which gives the startups here a wide range of potential employees. Not to mention we’re surrounded by various industries, many of them ripe for disruption.
In the middle of a highly concentrated pool of businesses, with money to spend and appetite to get ahead, I’m often asked if I would ever relocate to either coast. Never. Chicago has a very special feel to it, and I owe this city everything I have accomplished.”
Hazem Dawani – Cofounder – OptionsCity
“As a trading technology company, there is no better city in the world than Chicago. Obviously this is a market center, and the home of the world’s largest futures exchange, huge hedge funds, major trading firms, and other global companies that are active in the markets.
But the key is that when you combine that environment with a deep, talented, and stable labor pool, particularly of tech talent, it becomes an even better place for a business like ours. Every day I’m reminded of just how lucky we are to be in Chicago.”
Craig Vodnik – Cofounder – Cleverbridge
“Our first office was a 300 square foot space that cost about $600 a month. Today, the 1871 offers something even more attractive than what we had, but to start out, that was a very reasonable cost. Once we started hiring, we were finding really motivated and sharp people that wanted to work for an ecommerce company, not only for the job, but also for the career path that we would set them on. In California, companies are competing with Facebook, Twitter, and Google for the best talent and that free market thinking results in more outrageous costs all the time.
Obviously, being a Chicagoan, I had a support structure that I could call on in a pinch to help out, whether that was one friend answering phones for a week while I was in Germany or another friend shipping boxes from my house while I was at a tradeshow for three days.
Also, while there’s a 7 hour time difference to Germany, there’s a big difference in having two hours of workday overlap each day versus having none, which is what would have happened had we been based in California.
Not to mention I’ve seen what goes on in California, and Midwestern attitudes towards hard work, loyalty, and trust are intangibly important for an entrepreneur to build a successful business. Does your key salesperson come to you and talk about the recruiters hunting him down, or does he stay silent, always listening for the best offer and then jump ship after a year?”
Joseph Collins – Cofounder – Markr
“It’s all about the community. The 1871 is a great example of this: when the City of Chicago passed a law on SaaS companies that was going to hurt a lot of Chicago startups, 1871 was able to get in the ear of the mayor. Further, they were instrumental in influencing the Mayor to change the law and help the startups. I don’t know if there are many other cities that do that, or places that will help small startups in that way.”
Stephen George – Cofounder and COO – IndiCard
“Chicago’s diverse service economy gives IndiCard the perfect market to truly build a brand that we can then roll out to any city in the country. I’ve found that when Chicagoans get it, they get it and they love it. Businesses and individuals are inundated with so much technology here in Chicago that we really have to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack. Since we have a proven brand and product here in Chicago, we have a great foundation for success in our other live market like Denver and Las Vegas.”
Darren Guccione – CEO – Keeper Security
“I was born in Chicago, have lived here most of my life, studied Engineering at the University of Illinois, and have built my companies here. My family and I love living here – except when it’s 30 degrees below zero :).
The tech startup ecosystem has grown into something I would describe as amazing. There are so many creative entrepreneurs here that are challenging the ways we interact with technology, innovating, and creating environments to help each other succeed with organizations like 1871, Matter, TechStars, and Catapult.
Despite being a big city, we know how to stay both humble and grounded – this city is all about a no-BS attitude and disposition focused on execution. People are cool, friendly, and in the sincere Midwestern way, welcoming to newcomers. My team in Chicago is an extension of this, and they are some of the most dedicated, smart, and creative people I’ve ever worked with.”
Adam Fridman – Founder – Mabbly and Meet Advisors
“Chicago’s entrepreneurship community is exploding and the growth is daily and visible. It’s driven partly by the energy of the city itself but also by a wave of young people who are highly motivated to create their own spaces, both personally and outside the shadows of New York and San Francisco.
The good news is that Chicago’s startup community and culture are evolving so quickly that there are overwhelming events and opportunities like 1871, Technori, and SBAC. Finding the right one can be a challenge, so trying many different things and keeping an open ear are keys to getting the most of what’s happening in Chicago now.”
Greg Fenton – CEO and Tim Haitaian – CFO or RedShelf
“We think the Chicago tech ecosystem is the perfect place to be. Because we have team that is majority made up of individuals under the age of 30 that live downtown, it provides the best atmosphere to get to and from work. We love that our office is surrounded by art galleries, pubs, and bars to enjoy a few cold ones after working hard all day.
Greg considers working in Chicago and being a part of the tech startup ecosystem like summer camp for adults. There are so many different pieces of Chicago that one or a group of people can experience and do together, whether it’s after work on a Thursday night or getting together as team on a Saturday to go sailing.
​Having a team full of different personalities, we chose Chicago as our headquarters because it has something to offer everyone’s personal tastes and preferences. And our office is pretty sweet, too!​”

Is It Hot? These Pictures Will Refresh You

As heat waves hit across the globe, adults, children, even animals enjoy some cool relief. The mercury is high not just in the expected places, like India, the Middle East, or California, but this year places like Germany and the United Kingdom are also getting scorched.
Who can then blame one for taking advantage of every opportunity to soak one’s body in a pool, sea, ocean, or perhaps a water fountain.
June 2015 was the hottest ever for 32 American cities from Alaska to Arizona. The list includes places like Las Vegas, Reno, and Miami. Miami is actually experiencing the hottest year on record, according to Weather.com.
Across the ocean, Madrid hit a record temperature for July with 103.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Berlin broke their record as well with 100.2 F and Frankfurt set a new high at 102.2 F. Germany as a whole hit a new July record when a middle-sized town of Kitzingen in central Germany heated up to 104.5 F.
United Kingdom toppled its July heat record with 98.1 F measured on the London’s Heathrow Airport. Paris, France, came close to its all time high with temperatures of 103.5 F, the second hottest reading since 1873.
Yet if you’re really hard to impress, you may want travel all the way to the south of Spain to the historical city of Córdoba, where July has brought, so far, a scorching high of 113 F.
Now if you’re looking for a slight counterbalance, you’d have to look all the way down to Australia. That’s right. Aussies have winter these days, meaning the temperatures dropped to chilling 41 F over the first July weekend.