May 16th 2016

#MeaningfulMondays: Monster Help Day Lead Spotlight: Tom Wyland

Our #MeaningfulMondays series is extra meaningful this Monday. This past Friday was Monster Help Day at AOL, our company­-wide day of service, and our projections were right, 2016 was an amazing year for this event helping communities around the globe.

To see great pictures and learn more about the work AOL employees did this Monster Help Day, search the hashtag #AOLGivesBack on Twitter.

See, watch, and read more at http://monsterhelp.aol.com/.

Leading up to Monster Help Day, we've been featuring a site lead, an AOL employee who goes above and beyond to make this day a success. This week, meet Tom Wyland, Volunteer Lead, Loudoun County, VA Bicycle Mapping project.



Q: Tell us more about your Monster Help Day project this year.

I'm working with Loudoun County to enable AOLers to map park amenities and conduct bike parking surveys. Using our mobile phones we are creating crowdsourced map data for partners like the Northern Virginia Park Authority, which manages the Washington and Old Dominion Trail that goes right past the AOL campus. We're mapping more of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail and doing a bike parking survey that shows where bike parking is needed. Our mapping work is used for those who bike commute and use the parks. We're also helping local governments by offsetting costs that would go to this type of data collection work.

Q: Why did you sign up to be a volunteer lead?

If you're a subject matter expert in something outside your AOL job, it's great to introduce others to something that you're passionate about. I deal a lot with bikes and advocacy with local government, so it was important to me to put this project together for Monster Help Day. I'm also an AOL advocate to encourage people to ride their bikes to work as an alternate form of commuting.

Q: What excites you most about Monster Help Day?

That hopefully this isn't a once a year volunteer opportunity and that it encourages others to get involved outside of the office! I see Monster Help Day as a great way to introduce employees to the community so volunteering isn't just once a year.

May 15th 2016

Time to Make a Difference with Australian Non-profit Startups



Making a difference is in our DNA. Nearly every day, we unleash initiatives focused on making the world a better place.

As part of our commitment to giving back, we're proud to announce the launch of our new Australian startup support program #DeskAid. We want to use our talents to make a real difference by helping those who can make the world a better place.

#DeskAid is specifically designed to deliver exactly what early stage non-profit companies in Australia need: access to a community of experienced and well-connected professionals, opportunities to brainstorm and plan with a variety of mentors; and a fun and dynamic office space in Sydney with plenty of perks.

If you want to work in one of the most inspiring office spaces in Sydney, we're giving up to three enthusiastic entrepreneurs in the non-profit sector the opportunity to work alongside our team for six months or more.

There are plenty of other perks, including:

  • Three dedicated desks in AOL's Sydney CBD office with water views.
  • Brainpower from 25 ad tech experts – each will provide one hour a month in the form of ad support, website troubleshooting, insights into what other brands are doing with their marketing or leveraging partnerships to assist.
  • High speed wi-fi and printing supplies.
  • Meeting rooms.
  • Bi-weekly boot camp exercise program run by a team member.
  • Showers and change rooms.
  • Use of ping pong table.
  • Access to bicycles for inner city commuting.
  • Access to a weekly Pilates teacher.

If you're interested, we'd love to hear from you before midnight on 15 July 2016. Learn how to apply.

#DeskAid – a program by Citizen AOL
#AOLGivesBack

May 13th 2016

A Monster Help Day Message from Verizon Communications CEO, Lowell McAdam

Happy Monster Help Day!

Today is the day! Thousands of AOLers around the globe are currently out serving their communities at 150 projects in 47 cities covering a range of needs, from teaching kids to code, to helping victims of domestic violence with confidence building and career readiness.

This year marks our 7th annual Monster Help Day, an important part of the AOL global culture. Read more about what this day means to us in a message from Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Communications.

Follow the team's impact at #AOLGivesback and http://monsterhelp.aol.com/.

May 11th 2016

Happy Birthday BUILD!

BUILD Originals, a live interview series powered by AOL and Verizon, turns 2 years old this month, and the whole BUILD team is excited to celebrate this special milestone!

BUILD is an interview series unlike any other, and brings conversations with some of today's biggest names in entertainment, tech, fashion and business to you. The interviews yield insights, inspiration, and plenty of surprises! It all happens several times a day from the AOL studios in New York City at 770 Broadway.

In celebration of BUILD's anniversary, we're sharing our five favorite moments from the BUILD stage.

Michael Strahan Duets With Gabrielle Union
Talk show host and former NFL Linebacker Michael Strahan surprised everybody in the studio when he showed up unannounced for Gabrielle Union's interview. The "Live With Kelly and Michael" star is a fan of "Being Mary Jane," and is friends with the leading lady's significant other, Dwyane Wade. The Ex-New York Giant sat in on grabbed a microphone during the Q & A segment of the show, and asked Union who her "favorite two karaoke guys" were, to which she responded with a spontaneous duet with Strahan.




The Cast of Spectre: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, and Monica Bellucci of Spectre
In one of the most anticipated movies of the year, the all-star cast assembled on the AOL BUILD stage to discuss the latest installment in the Bond Franchise, in one of the most anticipated AOL BUILD interviews of the year. Craig shared how he was thrilled to be part of the creative process and contribute to the development of the character throughout the movies.




Anthony Mackie and Casey Affleck Invite A Fan Up To The Stage
Anthony Mackie and Casey Affleck stopped by AOL Build to promote their movie together, "Triple 9." The two costars proceeded to make one lucky fan's day when they invited her to join them on stage, mid-interview. The girl even got a chance to ask her heroes a few questions from the moderator's chair, proving there is never a dull moment at AOL BUILD.




Little Mix at 30 Rock
The international girl-group and pop sensation, celebrated their four-year anniversary in front of a crowd of adoring fans in an interview with Hoda Kotb at 30 Rock, for AOL BUILD. The four discussed how they got their start on "The X-factor," and talked about their inspirations and unbreakable bond. The group also demonstrated their appreciation for their fans by giving away free concert tickets to two unsuspecting fans in the audience.




Reggie Watts Beatboxing
Former bandleader of the "fake" talk show, "Comedy Band Bang" (on IFC), and current, actual bandleader of the real talk show, "The Late Late Show with James Corden," multitalented musician and comedian Reggie Watts, talked about his musical style and tastes, delighted us with a few jokes, and even treated us to a surprise, beat-box rendition of "Skinny Puppy," live at AOL BUILD.




Here's to many more years of laughter, surprises, and stars on the BUILD stage! Check out this week's schedule and tune into your favorites by streaming them live at aol.com/build and keep up to date by signing up for the newsletter and following @AOLBUILD on Twitter.

May 10th 2016

AOL and Cornell Tech Are Disrupting Digital



Cornell Tech develops pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age bringing together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in an environment to produce results that will reinvent the way we live. At AOL, our mission is to connect consumers and creators through open marketplaces and data-driven innovations in mobile and video. Together, we aim to reinvent digital media experiences for consumers.

In November 2014, an AOL gift launched a four-year partnership with Cornell Tech which created the Connected Experiences Lab. The lab was founded to explore and create technologies at the forefront of the digital ecosystem – including analytical techniques that fuse diverse personal data streams into actionable insights; content personalization that works across delivery platforms; and connectivity tools that deepen and sustain engagement within families and communities.

The first technology to emerge from the lab tackles the issue of the "cold-start problem," solving for how to engage users with relevant content when they first start using a platform. If viewers don't like what they see from the outset, their chances of returning are low, which is a problem many content platforms struggle with. Called "Immersive Recommendations," this technology allows a user to opt in to a tool that translates personal digital traces from one platform into content recommendations in another.

"Capturing signals across as many channels as possible leads to better targeting and syndication of content, especially in mobile settings," said AOL CTO Bill Pence. "We're interested in how these techniques can be applied to create more relevant and 'immersive' ad experiences, specifically in video and in VR."

As part of the continued partnership, AOL mentors Cornell Tech students as they develop groundbreaking technology. Often the students come by the AOL offices to present their work and get feedback from peers. A recent lunchtime mentoring event focused on using 3D printing technology to help blind people read.



This summer, AOL will host five Cornell Tech students working as developers and project management interns. We'll chronicle their journeys on @AOL_Inc. For more information on engineering life at AOL, visit https://engineering.aol.com.

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