I'm Always Doing Things I Can't Do... #inspiration #startup #founder

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What a week. You can't start a fire without a spark...

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8 Habits of the Determined via @inc #startup #motivation #entrepreneur

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We all need sleep, caffeine or naps, and other stimulation to keep our mental energy reservoir going throughout the day, but sometimes, it starts to dry up.

This list of general good habits to have by Inc is a nice quick read on remembering the good, and letting go of the bad of living in a world where seemingly constant focus is required. 

Our favorite part:
  • Most successful people are great at delaying gratification.
  • Most successful people are great at overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do.
  • Most successful people don't set priorities; they do the things they decide are most important.


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Make goals, stay focused by working on one step at a time...

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Another Example of Social Pyschology in Flux via @slate #startup #lifehack #entrepreneur

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We enjoy psych studies, just as much as the next Curious George, but every now and then we'll read something and really wonder how much sense it makes ('difference' between male and female brains, anyone?).   We also post a lot on this blog about will power, because to be a founder of a startup or small business, you need lots of it. 

Here's another example from Slate about the rocky field of social psychology.

Our favorite part:

The diminution of the Big Idea isn’t easy to accept, even for those willing to concede that there are major problems in their field. An ego depletion optimist might acknowledge that psychology studies tend to be too small to demonstrate a real effect, or that scientists like to futz around with their statistics until the answers come out right. (None of this implies deliberate fraud; just that sloppy standards prevail.) Still, the optimist would say, it seems unlikely that such mistakes would propagate so thoroughly throughout a single literature, and that so many noisy, spurious results could line up quite so perfectly. If all these successes came about by random chance, then it’s a miracle that they’re so consistent.


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Bored Mice More Likely To Become Addicts via @IFLScience #lifehack #startup #entrepreneur

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photo from LifeHack Quotes

We live in a world containing a multitude of extremes and addictions, not just to drugs. Some of us are addicted to work (workaholics), some addicted to play (lazy), others collect every single New Yorker magazine and stack them along the walls like a glossy, paper moat (hoarders).   We found this article on some recent studies a refreshing reminder that with the right support system, addictions can be overcome.

Read the full article here

Our favorite part:

"Our data are exciting because they suggest that positive learning experiences, through education or play in a structured environment, could sculpt and develop brain circuits to build resilience in at-risk individuals, and that even brief cognitive interventions may be somewhat protective and last a relatively long time," Wilbrecht said.


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An enlightened society is best for all...

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The Distraction Addiction via @tonyschwartz #startup #lifehack #entrepreneur

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photo by @JasonOkuma

If this article isn't a wake-up call to install Rescue Time or some other performance monitoring/mindfulness software on your computer, we don't know what is.

Read the full article on our new found addiction to distraction here. 

Our favorite part:

The brain’s craving for novelty, constant stimulation and immediate gratification creates something called a “compulsion loop.” Like lab rats and drug addicts, we need more and more to get the same effect.


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7 Kitchen Hacks via Jumblejoy #startup #lifehack #entrepreneur

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Given as busy entrepreneurs we need all the life hacks we can get, we found some really nifty kitchen hacks in this article by Jumblejoy

Our favorite part:

If you constantly struggle with trying to bat away tears as you are chopping those onions, remember to grab an extra bottle of white vinegar the next time you are at the grocery store. Before chopping the onions rub white vinegar over your chopping board. Whip the vinegar over the cutting board and NO MORE TEARS!

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Pre-crastination and Procrastination via @AdamMGrant #startups #lifehack #entrepreneur

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Maybe it depends on the obligation, but sometimes we need to get something done immediately, while other times you wonder how you blinked and it became 8pm on a Friday night with a half-baked assignment you must submit within a few hours. 

Here's an interesting look at pre-crastination and procrastination

Our favorite part:

Carving out small windows of time can help, too: The psychologist Robert Boice helped graduate studentsovercome writer’s block by teaching them to write for 15 minutes a day. 

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Check out our blog for the latest article on sleep and how it affects your mind. 😴

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Your Mind is a Garden and Sleep via @fastcompany #startup #lifehack #entrepreneur

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Ever notice that it is getting harder for you to focus and learn new tasks?  There are lots of sleep articles out there, but this one utilizes metaphors wonderfully to explain sleep and the synaptic activities occurring behind our eyes.

Read the full story here

Our favorite part:

And in fact, you actually have some control over what your brain decides to delete while you sleep. It's the synaptic connections you don’t use that get marked for recycling. The ones you do use are the ones that get watered and oxygenated. So be mindful of what you’re thinking about.If you spend too much time reading theories about the end of Game of Thronesand very little on your job, guess which synapses are going to get marked for recycling?


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Complaining is only worth your time if you also plan on doing some action to change the status quo.

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Complaining is Bad For Your Health via @inc @EntryLevelRebel #startup #entrepreneur #founder

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Photo from quotesgram.com

While it's good to vent and get your emotions out instead of allowing it to steadily build like a sleeping volcano, being around constant negativity is a real downer.

Turns out it's also very unhealthy as well.  You can read all about it here.

Our favorite part:

So let's boil that down--having a thought makes it easier for you to have that thought again. That's not good news for the perpetually gloomy...It gets worse, too. Not only do repeated negative thoughts make it easier to think yet more negative thoughts, they also make it more likely that negative thoughts will occur to you just randomly walking down the street.


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A Person Who Hasn't Used Money in 17 Years via @thepennyhoarder #imagine #learn #culture

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What is money?

No, we aren't going to dive that deep into this blog post, but if you've ever wondered what life would be like without using money, look no further than the life of German psychotherapist Heidemarie Schwermer.

The story of her fascinating life devoid of money for 17 YEARS is here.

Our favorite part:

Schwermer’s story is a fantastic reminder that in the end, money is just a utility — a key that unlocks your freedom to travel, move to a different city… or, yes, make a purchase.But if you take the time to figure out what you value and what makes you authentically happy, you may discover you don’t need money to get what you really want out of life.


A quick thank you to the BarterSugar member that emailed us this story.  We love it! Please keep sending us more interesting barter stories, or your barter stories.  

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BarterSugar Inforgraph - how it works in a few words

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BarterSugar Infograph on how it works

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Great show, and question. πŸ’ΌπŸ’ͺ☕️ #bartersugar #startup #founder

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N.C.A.A (basketball) barters, and so should you via @nytimes #startup #entrepreneur #lifehack

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As Marvel, D.C., Met Opera, and tech hackathon nerdlings, we never expected to post about popular sports, and yet here we are, covering none other than the U.S. men's basketball tournament!

Turns out, athletic sportsplayers barter all the time too.  But don't take our word for it, read all about how these basketball stars barter and trade here

Our favorite part:

“We have fun with it,” Farrell said. “We’ll play, like, games for it, stuff like that — ‘What do I got to do for that ticket?’ ”

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Daredevil barters, and so should you via @daredevil #startup #entrepreneur #netflix

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Have you caught the latest season of the devil of Hell's Kitchen?  

Well, if you needed any more reason to watch Daredevil - there it is, bartering front and center in our favorite fictional law firm.


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No Sunday love for #WeWork from #Brooklyn when it's over 65 degrees outside today. #startup #happyofficialpersianparadedaynyc

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Our latest #blog post about #bartering red bull across Europe is up at blog.bartersugar.com :) #startup #lifehack #entrepreneur

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Bartering Red Bull Across Europe via @themmailonline @redbull #startup #lifehack #entrepreneur

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If you didn't read it already, there are 165 teams from 50 countries participating in the Red Bull barter challenge.   Teams have to travel Europe using only Red Bull to barter for what they need. 

We love this, though as we tweeted to our energized business neighbors, it would be much easier bartering with us! 

You can read the full article here

Our favorite part:

“We marketed our sportiness and musical talents and I think that made us stand out among the other contestants,” said Lee, a keen sportsman, while Teh is a pianist and Teoh plays the erhu. 

We'll provide an update once we know! 

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Lunch break at #aolbuild with the hilarious #samanthabee #fullfrontal @iamsambee #comedy #satire #tv

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Good morning from #Cambridge #Massachusetts

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The Essentials for Understanding Self-Driving Cars

The Essentials for Understanding Self-Driving Cars

By: Layla Tabatabaie

There is a good chance in the near future you’ll be interrupted from day dreaming in the backseat of your ride-hailed car by the sight of the person in the driver’s seat of the car next to you craning intently over her phone, texting with both hands, and the realization will dawn on you that you have witnessed your first fully operational self-driving car. 

Still hazy on what they are all about? Still not sure how far away in the future this scenario is? Are you one of the seventy-five percent of drivers that feel you would not be safe in a self-driving car?[i]  Never fear, here are the essentials for you to quickly understand autonomous vehicles.

1.    What is a self-driving car?
Everything has an official definition – muggle, FOMO, shipping (as related to fictional characters).  I didn’t find our definition from the usual suspects of dictionary.com or urbandictionary, so I went to the source that normally has the final say – the government.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Self-driving vehicles are those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode.”[ii]

Beyond defining autonomous vehicles, the U.S. government is the real reason why self-driving cars will one day be our reality - our new normal.  If it wasn’t for the million-dollar bounty offered by the American federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 2004, we might all have still been pining for a more advanced, but simple solution to a major issue.[iii]  So how do these puppies work? Keep reading.

2.    How does a self-driving car work? The Brain.
There’s three key steps to remember: first, the “driver” of the car is artificial intelligence; second, self-driving cars use an array of hardware –think of it as the body and organs below the neck - coupled with the artificial intelligence software – think of it as the brain – that plays a pivotal role in telling the software how to behave; and third, memory and data storage is critical for self-driving cars to navigate when weather conditions leave the roads in a less than ideal state – this is like the endless photos in your smart phone, except with near perfect search capability so you can find exactly what photo you want and when you want it.

First, artificial intelligence software (AI), or the brain, of a self-driving car is basically a web of computer algorithms that digest and interact with data that is sucked in through the hardware components, or body and organs.  For AI to develop, the system needs to have access to massive reams of data to detect patterns and build a dynamic repository of assumptions and predictions.  Our brains make assumptions and predictions every second, like when you go to eat that juicy, fast-food hamburger, your brain is delighted because of the prediction it will taste just as good as it did last time. However, unlike AI, human memory has far more complexity, and flaws.  After all, you ate the fast-food burger because you were able to fool yourself into forgetting that you always feel like you’re body is decaying and dying thirty minutes after you finish your meal.   The AI in self-driving cars won’t highlight the good and downplay the bad the way our brains do, and that’s where the hardware, or body, comes in.

3.    How does a self-driving car work? The Body and Organs.
Second, autonomous vehicles use a multitude of hardware and technology, including sensors, sonar devices, radar, stereo cameras, and laser light to create 3D images of the vehicle’s surrounding environment.[iv]  Similar to throwing a yellow yo-yo and feeling the impact of when it jerks back to you, the lasers on a self-driving car uses the light that rebounds to measure the distance of objects from the vehicle.

Third, memory retrieval is how a self-driving car navigates through rough weather conditions.  When the roads are in excellent shape, the laser light creates images of the surrounds such as the road, traffic light, stop sign and other objects.  If snow or other weather obstructs the road, the software will call up a stored image or map of the surroundings that it “saw” previously when the roads and environment was excellent to distinguish what is normally a part of the image and scene and what is foreign.[v]

4.    Who has invested in self-driving cars?
Almost every car manufacturer or major mobile application you can think of has its hand in research and development for self-driving cars.  Tesla, Ford, Google, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Honda are just a few from a long and growing list of private entities betting on autonomous vehicles being the solution to transportation woes.
While the public sector beyond the U.S. and UK governments has been a bit more cautious, countries like Japan have developed self-driving taxis with the government promising to ease regulations to allow for more autonomous vehicle testing on the roads.[vi]

5.    How do self-driving cars compare to regular cars?
For one, as the driver in a regular car you generally have complete control over the movement, speed, and precision of the car.   In an autonomous vehicle, the artificial intelligence driver has control.  That’s not bad if you want to take a nap, or check your phone instead of driving, except you can’t control how fast or how slow the self-driving car will go.  In November 2015, a self-driving car was pulled over by police in Mountain View, California for going too slow.[vii] 

6.    What are the immediate problems with self-driving cars?
On Valentine’s day of 2016, one of Google’s self-driving SUV cars struck a public bus, causing a fender bender.  No one was hurt in what is the first reported accident caused by a self-driving vehicle. The self-driving SUV was only going two miles per hour when it hit the side of the bus that Google claims it was tracking and believed would slow down.  Google’s engineers have developed a set of assumptions based on data they review that tell the vehicle to assume, for instance, whether a normal vehicle will yield in a specific situation versus a bus or a truck in that same situation.  Google’s self-driving cars, which they have been testing since 2009, have been in over a dozen accidents, though the autonomous vehicle caused none of those accidents. [viii] Companies are required to store all the data related to a car crash, including what was happening before and after the collision. 

7.    What are the long-term problems with self-driving cars?
The goal of self-driving cars is to eventually remove the need for a physical driver to be in the front-seat…if there will even be a front seat in the future.  Decades from now, manufacturers might construct cars that have no pedals or steering wheels, meaning if a self-driving car makes a miscalculation, there may be limited ways to intervene. 

Though tests have started, current self-driving cars still cannot handle a host of natural weather changes, such as fog or heavy snow.[ix]   Additionally, the prototypes of self-driving cars are only the cute, grey and egg-shell white, two-person, bubble vehicle, which is completely impractical for families, and the general public at large that has a daily use for spacious cars that transport not just people, but groceries and other household necessities.

Finally, there are other limitations due to the hardware and technology. The stereo cameras are accurate up to thirty meters, which means if let’s say a truck with an open cargo of logs was out of range and suddenly got into an accident out of the range of the cameras (Final Destination fans, this one is for you), you have to wonder whether the vehicle would detect it, and more importantly, move you to safety.

8.    Where will you see self-driving cars first?
Since successfully changing legislation in California state to officially authorize autonomous vehicles in 2012, self-driving vehicles used to only pepper the streets of areas like Mountain View.  Now, it feels like self-driving cars are being tested everywhere - from the streets of Northern Virginia[x] to Austin, Texas to our neighbors across the pond in the Greenwich, London.[xi]

9.    Will self-driving cars save lives? The Elderly.
As regulators of car safety have mentioned before, a fully functioning, safe self-driving cars are in everyone’s best interest because they don’t text, fall asleep at the wheel, react erratically, or speed.

What about the elderly?  Since we’re born, we aren’t getting any younger.  Research predicts that number of people in the world over the age of 65 will reach 1.5 billion by 2050.[xii] And what about the disabled?  Currently fifteen percent of the world’s population lives with a disability.[xiii]  Wouldn’t it be wonderful, and more cost-effective, for families to purchase an autonomous vehicle once and give the flexibility and freedom to their loved ones to be mobile and move through the world on their own terms?

10. Will self-driving cars save lives? The Hackers.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what’s on every Mr. Robot enthusiast’s mind: what if malicious cyber hackers break into my self-driving car? While that question alone can lead to another article, the short answer is most if not all models will offer a “kill switch” accessible to occupants that will shut down the system should it get hijacked by black hat hackers.[xiv] 

Today, the battle continues between the tech manufacturers that want to remove the ability for people to intervene and government agencies that insist a human driver must be able to enforce a manual override, with the government’s position as the status quo.  While fans of franchises like the Fast & Furious series will lament that they can no longer project their ego as Dominic Toretto, consider this: ninety-four percent of automobile accidents are caused by human error.  Perhaps one day that statistic will be extinct.[xv]

Layla Tabatabaie, Esq. is a New York attorney, and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer for BarterSugar where she runs the day to day operations.  She is also a producer at the The Drinking Press, a New York City podcast covering the intersection of history, culture through the lens of a different beverage each episode.  Layla is the author of the law chapter in the academic text Learning in Virtual Worlds (2016).  Prior to BarterSugar, Layla was a key legal research assistant for the legal treatise Art Law: The Guide for Collectors, Investors, Dealers, and Artists. She lives in her favorite metropolis, New York City.


Check out our latest blog post at blog.bartersugar.com highlighting the SFExaminer piece where the #uber talented Natalie Merchant mentions she believes in #barter. :) Write the line from your favorite NM or 10,000 Maniacs song below, and...thank you, thank you...

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"I barter. I believe in bartering" - Another Reason to Love Natalie Merchant via @sfexaminer #inspiration #startup #music

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As long long looooooooong time fans of 10,000 Maniacs front person, Natalie Merchant, we are so pleased to find out that Natalie is firm believer of barter.  

Read all about her album release of "Paradise is There" in this piece by SFExaminer

And here's the link to Kind and Generous, because why not

If by some grace of something if Natalie reads this, we would love to send her BarterSugar t-shirt to thank you, thank you. :D

Our favorite part:

There’s a resort near where I live, and I’ve found this great deal, wherein I give free concerts, and in exchange they give me access to their lovely spa and pool. That’s been the most significant change in my life – I barter. I believe in bartering, and so do they!

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Baby steps toward completion...#startup #entrepreneur #founder

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Keep on experimenting, folks. :) #startup #entrepreneur #lifehack

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Loving the glass encapsulated conference room we're working out of. Jersey City has beautiful old charm to it. #startup #nyc #workwithus

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Coworking in #jerseycity today. Waving from here to our homebase. #startup #weekend #nyc

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10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Use via @householdhacker #startup #lifehack #entrepreneur

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Believe it or not, there are more useful keyboard shortcuts then just Ctrl + Alt + Delete - and we've uncovered just the video to show you 10 Mac keyboard shortcuts that you really should use.   

Don't have a Mac?  The same host made a video for Windows too, so let us all unite this new year! 

Our favorite part:

Hold Option the press your cursor over the app that's frozen.  A force quite item appears. Click that, and you're all set.
Option and click all things.  

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600 Rejections Can Turn You Into The Next Hulk via @castingworkbook #startup #entrepreneur #lifehack #inspiration #nevergiveup

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Rejection can symbolize many things: you're too early and see a vision most still cannot, you don't have the right about of visibility, you didn't have the right connections to get in, or you're plain crazy.  

They say the line between genius and insanity is thin, so how do you know?  How many rejections should you endure before you stop pursing your goal?   Well, look no further than this article on the actor of our favorite raging, mass of green muscles.

Our favorite part:

‘It’s been mythologized now but it started with about 600 auditions without success,’ he said about his long slog to stardom. ‘Most smart people would have quit when it takes that long.’

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