Q&A with Emil Brunner, CEO of Takeoff1 GmbH

Q&A with Emil Brunner, CEO of Takeoff1 GmbH
Emil Brunner, CEO of Takeoff1 GmbH is an experienced businessman who has worked in many countries. He has dedicated more than 10 years to the intuitive method of language acquisition called the “Birkenbihl Approach” formulated by Vera F. Birkenbihl.  Emil and Vera have worked together on the digitalization of this language acquisition method which has been incorporated into Emil's language-learning platform, Brain-Friendly. 

In this interesting Q&A, Emil takes us through the Birkinbihl approach which is helping users worldwide to learn languages with ease.

MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us about your background?
EMIL BRUNNER:
 I started as a technician; then I changed to sales. In my heart, I’ve always been a salesman. I started my business as the first Xerox Partner in Austria, and then I managed a company selling office machines and equipment. It was my first time going into other countries, like Germany and Switzerland. In that business, I worked with many phone agents, so the company grew to an outbound sales call center. In the USA, I had my first technology experience and built an automated call machine. We then got the franchise partner of RTL Teleshop - it was after QVC the second largest in DACH, for Austria.  I gained knowledge in TV-Power plus Sales power and found it fascinating. The next step was to automate the call center.

In 2004, we ran a call center in a pizza box (computer) for teleshop companies. In the States, we closed orders for up to 60% of callers fully automated, the rest were connected to the classical human call center. It had a great future, but I did it with the wrong people. So the company went bankrupt, and we went back to Austria.
After that experience, back "home" - felt so small, and we went on to start a software development business.
I began working and studying TV & Film making at the same time. My master's degree was a documentary film about "Teleshop and new technologies.”

I met Vera F. Birkenbihl, and she was one of the most successful scientists for learning methods and strategies and held a lot of live seminars - long before TEDx came up. I produced about 10 of those seminars, gaining many skills in the process, and that's when I found out about the language learning method. Me and language? I had trouble all the time while I went to school. I was sure languages were not for me. However, my son was a successful young developer and was interested and started to develop an app for language learning - using the brain-friendly Birkenbihl method. Which means, you never waste time cramming vocabulary and you don't need to learn any grammar rules.

I don't know anyone who’s happy learning vocabulary. About 90+% of all people using a language (mother tongue and foreign language) are not able to describe a grammar rule — only the teachers can do it. So there must be another way without the pain. And here it was!
I tried to learn English. The goal was to speak well without thinking about what to say. I just wanted to talk.

That's it. It took me more than a year, but I had an experience I’ll never forget. I was working on my phone with many customers and collecting orders. After a while, I put the orders from my notes into the computer. Wow! I had made a request for English courses - an order from a bookstore in Birmingham. How did I do it? Yes, I did it in English, and I didn't even realize it. It was automatic. The gap, switching from German to English, was gone - forever.

In the meantime, both my sons, Herwig and Gerwin, were now professionals in software development on the international stage. I had a Swiss partner and last year, I sold my shares to set up a new company with a new app - the Birkenbihl language learning movies. The digitalization of language learning - watch a movie and get the language. Based on subscription models, we sell it now in DACH, US, and European Single markets.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning, that I am the only one, who got the okay from Vera F.Birkenbihl (she died 2011), to follow the method of the new science of language learning and take it to the next level. I got the seal of approval for the "Birkenbihl Approach" to honor products they follow with the principle of "brain-friendly" learning method.

I have put all of this experience into a new book, the follow up of Birkenbihl's bestseller "Einfach Sprachen Lernen". I completed it with Katharina Rucker, she has been on board since 2008 and is still the best blogger for language learning knowledge. The book will be published in English in Q1-2020.

"Using the brain-friendly Birkenbihl method, you never waste time cramming vocabulary and you don't need to learn any grammar rules."



M7: How far is the Birkenbihl method’s idea of ‘learning a language need not be difficult’ serving its purpose of making language acquisition effortless?
EB:
 Let me say 100%. Because the "classical" way to learn a language is totally different from the way our brain works. Our brain is trying to find new things to discover, to get new experiences and so on. What is there to discover when you use a vocabulary list? For example, table - Tisch / table - la mesa, etc. it could also be shown as table - Katze (cat). There is no sense, no meaning, no context.

If you learn it the brain-friendly way as a full sentence, and you "de-code" it, your brain has enough context, and there are new words to learn. 

So it works, and it takes a minimum amount of time because our brain is memorizing everything in connections, like synapses, and that works very well, making it fun and available to use for the rest of your life.
The newest thing we have developed is the Movie(c) courses. Birkenbihl told us all the time, "a movie is the closest experience to real life". Watching a movie is like experiencing an actual event. 

When the "de-code line" is integrated into the movie,  entertainment and learning become cohesive. The "de-code line" in the movie, works as a karaoke player. The spoken word-pair is synchronized and highlighted. So you can close your eyes or your brain will automatically follow the decode line, and you will absorb the language. Repeat it, and you become perfect. It’s the digital way to learn a foreign language.

M7: How do you develop the movies and what is the approach for making users learn new languages easily with these movies?
EB: 
The classical way to learn a language is to cram grammar rules. Understanding and speaking are two processes in our brain that we have to learn separately. The idea developed by Birkenbihl was to find out how to use the mother tongue to understand a foreign language. She had done a lot of research and observed neuroscientists and decided to call the it the decode line which means you have two decoding lines – the upper line is the foreign language that you want to learn, the lower line is the word-by-word translation where you get the information about the meaning of the words.
It’s easy to follow them if you like to follow, but it’s enough if you just watch the movie. Your brain is automatically looking at the decode line and getting the information so if you repeat that you become more familiar with the sentence and you’ll understand it.

M7: How has your working with Vera F. Birkenbihl for more than 10 years helped you to come out with an intuitive method of language acquisition called the “Birkenbihl Approach”? What was the idea behind this?
EB: 
Birkenbihl told me that she’d had an experience with teachers and children. The problem was that the children didn’t enjoy learning vocabulary. It was, and still is, a pain. After a couple of days, all of the learned words go. So she thought, if most people have this problem then the problem couldn't be the people, it must be the method. There must be a better way.

After that, she started researching, and she found old documents, detailing how the aristocrats (the European marriage expansion) learned languages. There were many connections between the European Aristocrats, and this old document described how they learned. There was a transcript, a direct translation underneath and a live speaker. So the learners followed the speaker and read the word pairs.

All of the experiments she did, worked very well. I remember, it was approximately 2008, there was a teacher in Odelzhause who gave the children private English lessons Coached by Birkenbihl, in 3 months, the whole class were able to speak English very well and had no problem with vocabulary tests. That was the point we realized we were onto something. Based on our findings, my son built the first application for Windows. However, if you think that’s it, no. It took a lot of time to optimize it and to do all the beta tests. But after a while, we saw that it worked, and my experience was. WOW! - I got it.


"Watching a movie is like experiencing an actual event.   When the "de-code line" is integrated into the movie,  entertainment and learning become cohesive."


M7: How is the “Birkenbihl Approach” assisting people around the world to learn more languages efficiently?
EB:
Thanks, that’s an excellent question. You can do it, totally without any app, with paper or music. Take the lyrics of the song you love and start to “de-code” (translate it word-by-word). Yes, with the app, it’s much easier, and if you have a device ready, you can fit, learning a language, into every spare moment you have. So you waste no time, get entertained and learn simultaneously. After a while, you begin to speak automatically like a baby, who is listening for a long time.
When it becomes a year old, it starts with some words, after the second year it begins, from one day to the next to speak full sentences, only by listening. So while you improve upon your spelling skills, in your mother tongue or foreign language, always listen (day and night) in the background. Your sub-conscience will do the rest.
It is a kind of democratization of language learning; everybody can do it, independent of age or origin.

M7: You have played a vital role in digitalization of this language acquisition method. What inspired you to take up this challenge and what was your vision behind this?
EB:
Yes, first, it was a curiosity about the possibility and a challenge for myself to learn a language up to a level to be able to sell anything. Remember, I was a weak student.
Additionally, it was the feedback from the first beta tester, later from customers that they had the same experience I had, and they are now happy and successful.  So it was sensible. Yes, a little bit also to make it easier for people. So now, I see that the end of the traditional way to learn a language is coming.

Think about it... you can watch a movie, it doesn't matter which one, and you get automatically delivered the “de-code” line. I think we'll be able to get it in the near future, we are still working on it. So you don't need any teacher, because every child is learning it like their mother tongue, additionally. For example, a Hollywood movie uses about 1000 to 1500 unique words, a daily newspaper uses about 500 to 700 unique words. So let's watch Spanish movies this weekend, and that's it. My idea is that no child should have to suffer the cramming of vocabulary.


"While you grow up your spelling skills, in your mother tongue or foreign language, always listen in the background. Your sub-conscience will do the rest. It is a kind of democratization of language learning."



M7: As a language instructor, how important is resolving the problem of language acquisition as a barrier to businesses and marketing when globalization is the trend?
EB: It is vital. In two cases, one of them is, that companies spend a lot of money, year by year and nothing is changing. The costs go up, and success is equal to or less. Especially the production industries who have many difficulties, i.e. when the company is based in Germany, and the production is in Mexico. In this case, we can help. We can produce a learning movie for the technical process and add the “de-code line”, so the employees get both, the knowledge and the language. I think this is an excellent opportunity for all instructors and trainers of language. They can supply companies to work with the Birkenbihl method, and it gives more success with less time to spend. 

M7: Do you think that the Birkenbihl method will encourage more people around the world to learn languages swiftly?
EB:
Yes, that's what I hope, and it is essential to tell everybody that with this method it is possible, yes it works. Also, my hope is that it could connect people and bring more happiness. It's okay, if you start now and only spend 10 minutes every day. After approximately 6 weeks, you will get about 400 to 600 unique words. However, you can also do it in 2 weeks if you spend 10 minutes, 10 times a day (less than 2 hours). Alternatively, if you spend only 10 minutes every 3rd day, it takes a little longer. Do it when you want with the time that suits you. Overall, you get it.

M7: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
EB:
Not much, except one thing: Whatever you do, if it doesn't work, find out how it could work, there is surely another way. But, just do it.

ABOUT BRAIN FRIENDLY

The Birkenbihl Approach (BBA) means, learning as the brain loves to learn. Our brain - look to the minds of children - how they like to discover and to understand how things work. It uses neuro mechanisms like abstracting rules (grammar) and background listening (to build synapses for spelling). To know more, visit Brain-Friendly.

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The new Partner Specializations showcase partners’ unique strengths in the market and encourage innovative ways to continue to grow their ServiceNow practice. “Last year at this time, we made a massive commitment to our partner community by completely transforming our partner program to ensure that partners are front and center in everything we do as a company,” said Erica Volini, senior vice president, global partnerships at ServiceNow. “With the launch of Specializations, our customers can easily identify partners with the best experience and expertise they need to help solve some of their biggest digital transformation challenges.” Obtaining a Specialization will help partners in three critical areas: Differentiate among the ecosystem:Partners will receive badging that will appear across their ServiceNow profiles with increased visibility on the ServiceNow Partner Finder. Prospective customers will also be able to search partner experts in Partner Finder based on the current Specializations. Unlock new revenue opportunities:Each Specialization addresses a pressing customer need that presents a large, untapped market opportunity and high year-over-year growth. Earn benefits to grow ServiceNow practices:ServiceNow will offer additional benefits for partners to build and grow their business through invitation to the ServiceNow Partner Advisory Council to ensure their needs and counsel are being addressed across the broader ServiceNow ecosystem. Qualifying partners will also have access to ServiceNow co-marketing programs and the ServiceNow Partner Development Fund announced last January. The program is launching with three Specializations, Service Operations, Serve the Customer and Power the Employee, that present large market opportunities with high year-over-year growth and a large total addressable market (TAM). All Specializations can be obtained at the regional and global level as well as two levels of achievement for further differentiation. Additional Partner Specializations are expected to be launched in 2024. The three Partner Specializations are expected to be available for partners to obtain starting in ServiceNow’s second quarter of 2024. Many partners have already expressed their feedback on the importance of the ServiceNow Partner Specializations including: Jason Rosenfeld, Senior Vice President at Cask: “ServiceNow’s new Partner Specializations offer an opportunity for Cask to showcase our unique consulting expertise and change management solutions to drive digital transformation across enterprises. Program updates like subsequent badging and product line achievements provide greater reach and visibility with organizations looking for the best partner to meet their specific needs. We believe Specializations and the partner finder are a winning combo for connecting customers with the right support and implementations.” Michael Lombardo, Chief Executive Officer at GlideFast Consulting: “We’re thrilled about the new designations to ServiceNow’s Partner Program. With new Partner Specializations, we can continue expanding our technical consulting services and delivering deep ServiceNow expertise to new markets. We look forward to helping customers find value in the Now Platform.” Michael Vadini, Chief Executive Officer at Infocenter:“Today, organizations are looking for a collaborative partner for support with the adoption and scale of new technologies. ServiceNow’s new Partner Specializations will help Infocenter build industry-specific solutions and accelerate technology for customers and their businesses more quickly. We are excited about the enhanced benefits offered by ServiceNow and the continued focus on partners.” Jon Reynolds, Senior VP Global Alliances & Corp Development at Thirdera, a Cognizant Company:“As our company looks to further expand our work across different industries, we’re focused on differentiating our services and ServiceNow platform expertise. ServiceNow's comprehensive Partner Program provides valued guidance and incentives to improve how we advise, implement and optimize technology for businesses worldwide. ServiceNow sets a standard for what it means to be an innovative partner.” ServiceNow is also launching a brand-new partner channel on LinkedIn. Join the new social community for the latest ServiceNow partner news here. For more information on the ServiceNow Partner Specializations visit here. About ServiceNow ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) makes the world work better for everyone. Our cloud-based platform and solutions help digitize and unify organizations so that they can find smarter, faster, better ways to make work flow. So employees and customers can be more connected, more innovative, and more agile. And we can all create the future we imagine. The world works with ServiceNow™. For more information, visit: www.servicenow.com.

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Channel Partnerships

HiddenLayer Launches Channel Partner Program to Secure AI and MLOps Lifecycle

PR Newswire | January 25, 2024

HiddenLayer, the leading security provider for artificial intelligence (AI) models and assets, today announced a new partner program to empower enterprises with complete AI protection including rapid threat detection and security across the entire MLOps lifecycle. "Our Channel Partner Program is designed to drive innovation by allowing partners to introduce security for AI to their customers, helping to educate more businesses about a new threat landscape," said Rebecca Cahak, Head of Channel, HiddenLayer. "By leveraging this new offering, partners will ensure margin and deal protection, leverage incentives, access flexible and easy-to-use training tools, demo environments, and proof of value tools to drive success." The Channel Partner Program allows partners to seamlessly onboard while providing predictable, transparent pricing and flexible licensing models, and a first-of-its-kind unobtrusive, automated, scalable Artificial Intelligence Security (AISec) Platform. Partners will be able to educate customers on a new threat landscape and provide the solutions they need to protect their AI, and competitive edge, build stronger relationships, and establish their team as AI leaders for their customers. "The HiddenLayer line of products is an important component in our AI security service offerings," said Matt Keating, Head of AI Security at Booz Allen Hamilton. "We are excited to continue to strengthen our strategic partnership with the HiddenLayer team, furthering our ability for joint strategy and co-solutioning." HiddenLayer aims to optimize its current partner network, enhancing it through streamlined support and collaborative offerings. There will be three tiers for the program, Covert, Concealed, and Clandestine, so customers can work together with HiddenLayer to achieve the best-shared outcome. Each tier includes pricing discounts, free online training for sales, and technical enablement and security for AI marketing partnerships. Concealed includes free on-site training and performance incentive programs for extra financial success. Clandestine includes everything previously mentioned, with the addition of account mapping, executive security research briefings, and more. "By joining HiddenLayer's partner program, we're enabling customers to safeguard against constantly evolving cybersecurity risks," said Rick Echevarria, Vice President and General Manager, Intel Security Center of Excellence. "We are now able to provide a scalable security solution for AI and help more businesses foster the acceleration of safer AI adoption." Additionally, HiddenLayer recently announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, named HiddenLayer to its 2023 Stellar Startups list. This annual list, previously known as CRN Emerging Vendors, recognizes fast-rising technology manufacturers committed to delivering leading-edge solutions that propel innovation and growth in the IT channel. Learn more about HiddenLayer's Channel Partner Program here. About HiddenLayer HiddenLayer, a Gartner-recognized AI Application Security company, helps enterprises safeguard the machine learning models behind their most important products with a comprehensive security platform. Only HiddenLayer offers turnkey security for AI that does not add unnecessary complexity to models and does not require access to raw data and algorithms. Founded in March of 2022 by experienced security and ML professionals, HiddenLayer is based in Austin, Texas. For additional information, including product updates and the latest research reports, visit www.hiddenlayer.com.

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