Samuel Leach: How You Can Come Out Ahead During The Pandemic Lockdown

April 23, 2020 - By 

Samuel Leach earned his success, not by sitting on the sidelines and waiting for it, but by being daring and actionable, and having the determination to win. Samuel is among the youngest self-made millionaires in the U.K., running a successful trading business that now teaches aspiring traders from across the globe the art of FX and stock trading.


How Academy of Art University Prepared For COVID19

April 17, 2020 - By 
academy of art university

The past few weeks have led the world to completely change. Measures have been taken to prevent the spread of COVID19 such as canceling major events, social distancing, and canceling classes.


COVID19’s Impact

Academy of Art University acted promptly in response to COVID19 by moving all classes online and locking down its San Francisco campus.  Academy of Art University closed its administrative buildings and most of its campus on March 17th through May 23rd based on the recommendations of the CDC. The buildings remained clean and additional procedures to ensure safety were in place. What It's Like to Attend Art School in a City - YouTube

Although this was a challenging transition for some students and staff members, Academy of Art University is equipped to provide students an all-inclusive online education experience. Since 2002, the Academy has been a pioneer in online learning due to its efficient portals, prompt student assistance services, and academic resources available.

The Academy sought to create an independent art school-oriented way of online teaching and learning.  In an effort to provide students with greater flexibility, the school built a three-camera TV studio on campus, where faculty were invited to record instructional videos. Now 18 years later, as the Corona Virus spreads, and students remain home, the school is well prepared to handle the switch to online learning.

 It offers over 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees online. It has been ranked as one of the top art and design online programs in the world. Most of the classes at the Academy also have an online class counterpart which ensures the same quality of learning experience. The professors are teaching the same classes in person and online, so students are getting a high-quality class experience either way. Both require rigorous effort and commitment.


Tools and Experience

Academy of Art University also offers comprehensive online academic support to provide you with the tools you need for success including an academic library, a music catalog, class discussion tutorials, how-tos, academic resources, communities, career support, and an entire guest speaker archive. Through this, the Academy has doubled the size of its Career Services Department.

In addition, community support is available to help faculty and students stay up to date with everything happening with COVID19. Social media channels and blogs are available for students to stay connected. There are over 900 online courses that students across over 50 countries are taking.  

The guest speaker archive gives access to a wide collection of lectures, slideshows, audio and video presentations that can help students succeed in an online classroom setting. The Academy is prepared to assist students every step of the way through this transition and toward achieving their goals in the art and design fields.


The Advantages of Online School

Online school will create a space for the student body to readily adapt to change and think out of the box. Academy of Art University’s online education program’s system is steady and effective. It was recognized as one of the Top 10 Best Online Art Schools in the US by the 2018 ad 2019 Art Career Project. It also earned a spot as one of the Top 10 Visual Effects Schools by the Hollywood Reporter. In 2020, Academy of Art University was recognized as the Best  Online Bachelor’s in Game Design Degrees in 2020 by the 2020 Online School Report. In 2019, recognized the university as one of the best online masters for Art History.

The Academy has been prepared to transition to online classes for a while. Chuck Pyle, an instructor for the School of Illustration, discussed that this is a teachable opportunity for students who work in traditional media such as ink and watercolor, because they have to provide high0 quality photographs to submit online.

Students and teachers alike are finding ways to create a more meaningful connection online by using tools like the digital whiteboard tool that can be used when screen sharing on Zoom video calls. calls. This takes are critiques to a new level because suggestions can be drawn digitally. “I think it will even end up transforming how we teach our on-site classes once this is behind us, because it has many options for a more exploratory way of teaching things in real-time.” Pyle stated on NBC.

Although the current COVID19 situation has led to major changes being made, the faculty and students are adjusting and have handled the transition well because of the excellent tools put in place.


About Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University is one of the largest private art and design schools in the United States. With degrees ranging from Industrial Design to Fashion Art Direction and Illustration, the possibilities are endless. Based in San Francisco, the Academy is dedicated to fostering a unique experience to creatives all over the world.



Interview with Darien Dash, CEO of Movement Management Advisors

March 13, 2020 - By 
darien dash with wife wearing a tux and black glasses

Darien Dash has always been one-part entrepreneur and two parts activist. He has utilized his keen understanding of technology and his family connections within the entertainment industry to build a marketing and internet empire. He uses his personal belief—that American minorities deserve the same access to technology and the internet as everyone else—to inform nearly every major entrepreneurial decision of his career. read more


What Alexis Kennedy Learned from Mobile and International Releases of Cultist Simulator

March 12, 2020 - By 

On April 2nd of 2019, Cultist Simulator was released for iOS and Android. It has since sold 120,000+ units across both platforms, which generated over £350,000 for Weather Factory, the indie games studio run by Alexis Kennedy and Lottie Bevan, and Playdigious, with whom they partnered to port the game to mobile. Given that Lottie’s initial estimate was to sell 100,000 units, this was a significant increase in sales – and one that was well deserved. Here’s why.


Weather Factory partnered with Playdigious to port Cultist Simulator for 50% of its revenue. They opted not to retool the game to function in an F2P model a la Candy Crush or any of the many other games in this style. It benefited from launching in Simplified Chinese and in English, and received launch features from Apple in a number of countries, but not the United States, possibly because the word “cultist” still feels like an echo of events like what took place in Waco, Texas in 1995.


Nonetheless, the title found its supporters. This didn’t surprise Alexis and Lottie, but they were initially worried, as Cultist Simulator is a divisive, challenging game that refuses to hold the player’s hand (something far more expected among mobile than PC or platform gamers). Weather Factory believes that they dodged the lousy review bullet by making explicit in the game’s description that it wasn’t easy, by launching with a high price point (£6.99, which would have been seen as too high years ago, but now is in line with what prestigious, higher quality titles price for on the App Store and Google Play), and because it’s one of a very small number of thoughtfully designed, single player games that don’t adopt the F2P model. All these facts indicate that there is a significant opportunity for small studios to create unique experiences on mobile devices without creating a Bejeweled clone.


Furthermore, the game found a number of champions and received great reviews in China. The localising agency who worked on the game, Indienova, didn’t have clear insight as to why, though they did note that it received substantial recommendations from influencers in China, was featured by Apple, got in front of a community of Chinese fans who love works inspired by Lovecraftian mythos, and that it was very, very different from the other mobile games that were popular in China.


There was an issue, though. Because the localisation of the game began in 2018, before a number of major updates were added to the game, the game had to be translated several times, delaying the rollout of both updates and DLC. Reviews from unhappy Chinese players did negatively impact the game’s reviews, it was difficult to explain the situation because of the language barrier, and it was also something their localisation team warned them about.


Knowing that the team wanted to port the game also changed how Alexis wrote Cultist Simulator. He attempted to cap the game’s word count at about 70,000 – only a quarter of the length of Sunless Sea – in order to make localisation easier and more practical to localise than either of those two titles. Furthermore, because the game’s text is cryptic and elliptical, it’s even harder to translate than a more straightforwardly written title, and one that requires very different cultural references in every territory it’s released in.


In addition to Chinese, the game was released in Russian as well. Alexis and Lottie had considered releasing in two to three languages. They originally considered French, Italian, German and Spanish, but opted not to due to the large number of English speakers in those countries. Brazilian Portuguese was another option, but there had been limited interest in Alexis’s games in Brazil in the past. Japanese was another language on the list, but it is a highly competitive, mature market to compete in, and localising a game to Japanese is extremely cost-prohibitive.


Russia and China, on the other hand, have fewer English speakers and were disproportionately interested in the game. Alexis’s past titles had resonated with audiences in these countries, and a partnership with Kitfox’s volunteer initiative helped make an otherwise expensive Chinese translation possible, and worked with QLOC to translate the game to Russian for about $20,000 US dollars, half paid for by Humble.


Answering complicated questions about language in translation was a time consuming and challenging process, ultimately yielding a spreadsheet with over 300 complicated explanations to questions about word choice, homophones, and the precise language used throughout Cultist.


These experiences all proved to be valuable, both monetarily and emotionally. In addition to developing a much better understanding of the localisation process, Cultist Simulator now sees 36% of its sales from China and brought Russian sales up to 3% despite receiving no major deals or marketing, likely seeing it recouped by the end of 2020.


Click here to learn more about Weather Factory and Alexis Kennedy.


How the Dakota Access Pipeline Benefits Its Four Host States

March 12, 2020 - By 

In the United States, we consume approximately 800 million barrels of crude oil per day. And 570,000 barrels of this crude oil are transported every day via the Dakota Access Pipeline — or DAPL. The underground pipeline was completed in 2017 as a part of the Bakken pipeline and runs from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa and finally to Illinois — a total of 1,172 miles. Its design and construction cost $3.78 billion.


Energy Transfer Operating L.P.

The developer behind the Dakota Access Pipeline is Energy Transfer Operating L.P., which operates more than 86,000 miles of pipeline across a total of 38 states. It’s an all-American company that promotes American values, employs American workers, and uses American materials and ingenuity to achieve its mission of safe energy delivery to fuel homes and businesses around the country.

Because Energy Transfer is committed to safety, as well as to leaving the smallest possible environmental footprint, it employs numerous knowledgeable professionals to design its pipelines. These professionals include engineers, geologists, environmental scientists and wildlife biologists, amongst others.


The Benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the Local Community

There are several distinct benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the local community.

The local economy has grown since the beginning of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. During the construction phase, between 8,000 and 12,000 local jobs were created in the heavy construction industry. Moreover, as a result of workers visiting local businesses, the local economy flourished even further.

Energy Transfer contributes millions in property taxes annually in each of the four host states. This is revenue the states can invest in the local community, for example in emergency services, schools and hospitals, amongst other things. The company has also donated $15 million to the State of North Dakota — plus, it’s gifted philanthropic support amounting to over $11.2 million across all four states.

Furthermore, local landowners receive production royalties on the oil that’s transported via the DAPL. That’s approximately 40 percent of the total crude oil production out of the Bakken oil fields.

The pipeline has also helped increase the output of crude oil in the Bakken formation, which in turn has made the local economy more robust. And because the pipeline provides a safe yet low-cost form of transportation for operators, it has improved drilling economics.

Finally, for the entire country the increased production from the Bakken oil fields has resulted in improved energy security, as well as a lowered trade deficit and a bolstered economic growth.


The Dakota Access Pipeline’s Design, Construction and Monitoring Meets or Exceeds Regulatory Requirements

Because Energy Transfer Partners is committed to the safety of the communities and environment that surround their pipelines, it designed the Dakota Access Pipeline to be highly technologically advanced. With the latest in engineering innovation and state-of-the-art construction methods, the pipeline meets or exceeds all applicable state and federal environmental and safety regulations.

The DAPL’s design and development process encompassed a complex series of reviews and subsequent approvals by the four host states’ state regulation authorities and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In fact, those involved in the construction of the pipeline even went above and beyond the regulatory requirements.

For example, although only 10 percent of mainline girth welds had to be tested, 100 percent of girths were tested using ultrasound or x-ray. In addition, in agricultural areas, the pipeline was buried two feet deeper than the minimum requirement. Furthermore, all mainline valves are equipped with motorized actuators that allow for the remote closing of the individual segments of the pipe if needed.

It’s also interesting to note that the pipeline has no impact on the local drinking water supplies or groundwater. Additionally, it passes below Lake Oahe at a depth of 95 feet or more below the bottom of the riverbed — much deeper than the other pipelines that cross underneath the lake — which minimizes the risk of contamination of the lake water in the event of any issue.

The DAPL is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by an advanced computer system, as well as ground and aerial control and in-line inspection tools. What’s more: A year after the completion of the DAPL, it was thoroughly inspected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose report concluded that the pipeline does not pose any significant threat to the local surroundings and environment.


Increasing the Capacity of the Dakota Access Pipeline

In June 2019, Energy Transfer announced plans to adapt the Dakota Access Pipeline so it can accommodate increased capacity. This project is expected to cost between $30 to $40 million.

The additional capacity can be achieved relatively easily, without installing any additional pipe or performing more main-line construction. Instead, more horsepower will be added to the existing pump stations, and three new mid-point pump stations will be built. To mitigate noise levels and safeguard the local environment, the pump stations will be completely sheltered within isolated structures. As before, Energy Transfer will work closely with the authorities to ensure that the project will continue to meet or exceed all applicable regulations.

As a result of the optimization of the DAPL, the surrounding communities are expected to thrive even more. Moreover, the state taxes generated from the three pump stations will significantly benefit the relevant states, which will be able to utilize the funds for public services such as schools and hospitals.


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