Q&A with Emil Brunner, CEO of Takeoff1 GmbH

MEDIA 7 | June 13, 2019

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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Amplifi, Pyramid Analytics | September 21, 2022

Pyramid Analytics (Pyramid), a pioneering decision intelligence platform provider, and Amplifi, a specialist consultancy providing Advisory, Delivery and Support services for data management, data governance and data quality, today announced a partnership from Big Data LDN, the UK’s largest data and analytics conference. Expanding channel partnerships with complementary technology companies, independent software vendors (ISV), consulting firms, value-added resellers (VAR) and systems integrators (SI) is a strategic priority. Pyramid has expanded its Alliances team and partner recruitment capabilities, invested in partner training and development, and launched joint go to market programs. Key Points: Amplifi provides a portfolio of services across the data management spectrum: Strategy & Advisory; Implementation & Integration; and Managed Services & Support. Partnership enables Amplifi to broaden its service portfolio to include top-rated augmented and prescriptive analytics with the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform. Pyramid continues to build a roster of SI and VAR partners to extend market reach and scale. Pyramid is a CRN Channel Awards 2022 finalist in the Emerging Vendor of the Year category which recognises new and emerging organisations which have successfully supported the growth of their channel partners in the UK. To learn more about becoming a Pyramid partner in the UK & Ireland, contact bill.clayton@pyramidanalytics.com. Pyramid Analytics Demonstrates its Commitment to and Value for Channel Partners Channel partners are critical for Pyramid’s ability to continue to grow in a scalable manner, in turn offering them access to pioneering innovative technology that can transform their business. Pyramid understands that for outstanding growth to be achieved for the company and for its channel partners, its partners should be thoroughly supported with training to develop in-depth knowledge and insights. Pyramid’s partner portal is vital in delivering learning, development and growth value for Pyramid and its partners. Decision Intelligence is the Next Big Data Analytics Innovation The next major innovation in analytics is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Applying AI across Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science is what separates Decision Intelligence from traditional business intelligence tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Qlik, and Tableau. AI lowers the skills barrier by automating the highly technical work needed to prepare and analyze data and create and share reports and dashboards. The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform delivers data-driven insights for anyone to make faster, more intelligent decisions. The Pyramid Platform provides instant access to any data, enables automated governed self-service for any person, and serves any analytics need, from the simple to the sophisticated. By uniquely combining Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science with AI guidance in a single environment, the Pyramid Platform reduces cost and complexity while accelerating growth and innovation. This enables a strategic, organization-wide approach to Business Intelligence and Analytics. Quotes Bill Clayton, Vice President of Global Partner Sales, Pyramid Analytics: “Amplifi has a proven record of building solid data foundations for customers in a variety of industries. This partnership brings additional vertical expertise and services to Pyramid customers across the UKI and Europe. Importantly, analytics is the catalyst that turns data into intelligent decisions. The combination of the data infrastructure architected, deployed, and managed by Amplifi and the decision intelligence capabilities of the Pyramid Platform are highly complementary and will deliver added value to joint customers.” Mike Evans, Chief Innovation Officer at Amplifi: “Our partnership with Pyramid Analytics is a strategic step for Amplifi as we advance our capabilities and services along the Data Value Chain. Until now, our focus has been on the foundational management of data – from data strategy through to implementation of MDM, PIM and data governance frameworks. Mike Evans, Chief Innovation Officer at Amplifi: “Our partnership with Pyramid Analytics is a strategic step for Amplifi as we advance our capabilities and services along the Data Value Chain. Until now, our focus has been on the foundational management of data – from data strategy through to implementation of MDM, PIM and data governance frameworks. Being able to offer the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform to operate on top of that foundation means we’re able to provide increased value to our customers when they’re making business decisions with their data.” About Amplifi Amplifi is the go-to consultancy for Enterprise organizations that want their success to be driven by data. We establish and deliver data strategies that enable global brands to manage, govern and analyse their most important data so they can innovate, grow and succeed. Consistently recognized as a leader by Gartner on the Market Guide for MDM External Service Providers report, Amplifi provides strategic consulting and implementation services for industry leading B2B and B2C companies through its global offices in North America, the UK and Northern Europe. About Pyramid Analytics Pyramid is what’s next in analytics. Our unified decision intelligence platform delivers insights for anyone to make faster, more informed decisions. It provides direct access to any data, enables governed self-service for any person, and serves any analytics need in a no-code environment. The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform uniquely combines Data Prep, Business Analytics, and Data Science in a single environment with AI guidance, reducing cost and complexity while accelerating growth and innovation. The Pyramid Platform enables a strategic, organization-wide approach to Business Intelligence and Analytics, from the simple to the sophisticated. Schedule a demo. Pyramid Analytics is incorporated in Amsterdam and has regional headquarters in global innovation and business centers, including London, New York City, and Tel-Aviv. Our team lives worldwide because geography should not be a barrier to talent and opportunity. Investors include H.I.G. Growth Partners, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Sequoia Capital, and Viola Growth. Learn more at Pyramid Analytics.

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MARTECH

Workspot Debuts Cloud Alliance Program, an Innovative Program for End User Computing Partners

Workspot | September 22, 2022

Workspot, the Cloud PC company, today announced the launch of the Workspot Cloud Alliance Program, an invite-only, cloud-forward, partner program. Through the program, Workspot provides members with the ability to sell its Cloud PC solutions to customers. Workspot will collaborate closely with members of the Cloud Alliance Program in helping customers accelerate their cloud transformation projects. Historically, partner programs have been very transactional with limited collaboration between vendors and channel partners. Through the Cloud Alliance Program, Workspot is transforming the relationship between technology vendor, channel partner and customer, creating a laser focus on the customer’s success. Additionally, making the shift from selling on-premises solutions to focusing on SaaS is at the core of long-term partner growth and overall success as well. “Customers are looking for solutions that accelerate their digital transformation in a multi-cloud world. We are proud to be collaborating with cloud-first partners that will enable us to jointly simplify our customers’ digital transformation,” said Amitabh Sinha, CEO & co-founder of Workspot. “Customers are looking for solutions that accelerate their digital transformation in a multi-cloud world. We are proud to be collaborating with cloud-first partners that will enable us to jointly simplify our customers’ digital transformation,” said Amitabh Sinha, CEO & co-founder of Workspot. Workspot has welcomed some of the foremost end user computing partners in the world, including Ferroque Systems and Entisys 360, among others. Core to the program is the selection of cloud-forward partners with extensive VDI experience, who understand the imperative of moving desktop workloads to the cloud to take their customers into the future. Workspot found it critical to choose partners who have a strong culture of customer centricity, empathy for the importance of the end-user experience, and a collaborative mindset that drives overall customer success. Ferroque Systems, a digital workspace and virtualization service provider, sees a significant opportunity to help customers modernize end user computing by using Workspot Cloud PCs and workstations. “SaaS applications continue to grow in popularity because of their operational efficiency,” said Michael Shuster, CEO of Ferroque. “With the post-pandemic market doubling down on digital workspaces in general for all workstyles, we view moving desktop workloads to a SaaS model as transformational for our customers with unique advantages over other digital workspace models.” Todd Hsu, President of Ferroque, added “Most of our customers have a multi-cloud strategy so they can optimize for features and cost. Workspot fulfills that strategy with its ability to deploy Cloud PCs across multiple clouds, manage and monitor them easily from a single admin console, and scale globally in minutes so our customers can respond to new opportunities instantly. That’s a great formula for customer success.” “Customers are looking to the cloud to achieve new levels of agility and security, and Cloud PCs have quickly become an essential component of enterprise cloud-forward strategies,” said Mike Strohl, CEO of Entisys 360. “Workspot’s SaaS platform makes it easy for us to move desktop workloads to the cloud and deliver the flexibility and reliability our customers require to keep up with a complex and ever-changing business environment.” In today’s IT landscape, having access to multi-cloud solutions is critical for customers to transform the end user experience and achieve levels of agility, security and reliability previously unattainable. As organizations’ cloud-first strategies mature, they are turning to their trusted consulting partners for cloud solutions that modernize end user computing. Just as many enterprise applications are now delivered as SaaS solutions, the modern desktop is now a Cloud PC, delivered as a service with massively simplified management. This model enables channel partners to easily fulfill customer requirements while also building a recurring revenue stream for their own business. The Workspot Cloud Alliance Program re-defines traditional partner programs and generates new revenue opportunities for members. Both parties work closely together to bring the full complement of technology, solution expertise and a growth mindset to customers, with ongoing customer satisfaction as the measure of success for all parties. Customers benefit from SaaS flexibility, with predictable pricing tailored to each use case and instant, global scalability to respond to new opportunities. Layered security enforces Zero-Trust policy, and innovative high-availability features that are unmatched in the industry keep the business up and running during a continuity event. These key capabilities accelerate digital transformation and future-proof organizations’ technology stacks so they can be ready for anything in today’s dynamic business environment. Workspot is the only solution on the market offering multi-cloud support for Cloud PCs, including the big three public clouds, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services, giving customers the ultimate freedom to select best-of-breed cloud capabilities for each use case. With Workspot’s very high customer satisfaction, including an NPS score of 76 and 100% customer support satisfaction, members of the Cloud Alliance program can also have complete confidence they are offering their customers the very best end user computing solution. To learn more about the Workspot Cloud Alliance Program, please visit: Workspot Solution Partners Page About Workspot Workspot is the only cloud-native solution that delivers enterprise-class Cloud PCs. This innovative service lets IT securely stream the right compute capabilities for each user, on any device, anywhere they want to work. As the only Cloud PC solution that operates across all the major public clouds – Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud – Workspot is uniquely positioned to address today’s remote work challenges by providing a multi-cloud and multi-region approach to end user computing. Simple to deploy, scale, and operate, Workspot’s award winning Cloud PC solution benefits IT as well as end users with a seamless work experience that enhances productivity while maintaining the highest performance standards for intensive workloads. For more information on Workspot Cloud PC solutions please visit www.workspot.com.

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