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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Malwarebytes Unveils New K-12 ThreatDown Bundle to Defend Schools and Districts from Cyberattacks

Malwarebytes | January 24, 2024

Malwarebytes, a global leader in real-time cyber protection, today announced the availability of ThreatDown K-12 Bundle, combining the cybersecurity technologies and services that K-12 education institutions need into a streamlined, cost-effective bundle. Purpose-built to reduce risk, complexity and costs for districts and schools, the ThreatDown K-12 Bundle delivers unified protection with an intuitive, easy-to-manage design. The ThreatDown K-12 Bundle allows schools to optimize device uptime and improve productivity, while protecting students and staff, devices and data from the latest cyber threats. "Schools are increasingly facing cyber threats with limited IT resources, leading to a rise in ransomware attacks that affect staff, teaching, and student well-being," said Marcin Kleczynski, Founder and CEO of Malwarebytes. "Historically, cost barriers prevented schools from adopting cybersecurity managed services. Our K-12 Bundle packages together everything districts need to reduce risk and comply with regulations within a manageable budget. We're committed to making powerful protection and managed services accessible to vulnerable schools and students." Bridging the Cybersecurity Gap for Resource-constrained K-12 IT Teams Modern K-12 educational institutions have a wide range of school-, staff- and student-owned devices – from traditional laptops, desktops and servers to Chromebooks, iPadOS, iOS, and Android devices. While these devices greatly enrich the student learning experience and streamline operations for staff, they also introduce new risks. Key features of the ThreatDown K-12 Bundle include: Award-winning endpoint security: K-12 Bundle is built on ThreatDown's strongest AI/ML-driven prevention, detection and response technologies fortified by built-in innovations to reduce the attack surface. These technologies simplify the process of finding and patching software vulnerabilities and prevent unauthorized programs from executing. 24x7x365 managed services: The K-12 Bundle combines ThreatDown advanced technologies with Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service of ThreatDown cybersecurity experts to manage security and resolve alerts around the clock, delivered as an affordable, hassle-free bundle. Unified endpoint management: ThreatDown extends powerful endpoint protection across workstations, servers and mobile device to substantially strengthen schools' cybersecurity postures in compliance with new and pending regulations. Quick and easy to deploy, the K-12 Bundle saves time and resources with unified endpoint management for both traditional and mobile devices – all from a single, cloud-native console. Centralized, real-time visibility: K-12 IT teams can easily view activity across all devices in real time. With a unified platform and visibility for traditional and mobile endpoints, teams can monitor and protect devices from a single pane of glass. Teams can understand the threats to devices in their environments and mitigate potential risks. Advanced mobile protection: ThreatDown K-12 Bundle provides effective protection for Chromebooks, iPadOS, iOS, and Android devices, guarding against the latest mobile threats such as ransomware, malicious apps, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). With real-time protection, schools can also prevent accidental access to harmful websites, safeguard against malicious apps, block unwanted in-app ads, and enable a secure mobile experience for students. About Malwarebytes Malwarebytes is a global cybersecurity leader delivering award-winning endpoint protection, privacy and threat prevention solutions worldwide. Built on decades of experience as the last resort to find and eradicate the latest malware, Malwarebytes is now trusted by millions of individuals and organizations to stop threats at each stage of the attack lifecycle, secure digital identities and safeguard data and privacy. A world class team of threat researchers and proprietary AI-powered engines provide unmatched threat intelligence to detect and prevent known and unknown threats. The company is headquartered in California with offices in Europe and Asia. For more information and career opportunities, visit https://www.malwarebytes.com.

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Data Security

Rubrik Chosen by Carhartt to Drive Complete Cyber Resilience

Rubrik | January 10, 2024

Rubrik, the Zero Trust Data Security™ company, today announced that America’s premium workwear brand Carhartt has consolidated multiple legacy backup tools with Rubrik Security Cloud to achieve cyber resilience. After moving to Rubrik, Carhartt realized more than 50 percent in monthly cost savings, while significantly improving its data security capabilities. “Data resilience is key to the continued security and success of our business. We work hard to ward off intruders but we have to operate on the assumption that they will find a way in,” said Michael Karasienski, cloud platforms manager at Carhartt. “Rubrik Security Cloud restores data fast and without fail for both our cloud and on-premises environments. Rubrik plays a key role in building trust in our system with secure protocols and access controls; it isn’t just a data security solution, it’s peace of mind for our brand.” Established in 1889, Carhartt has a rich heritage of developing rugged products for workers on and off the job. The company honors hard work, approaching its business with the same honesty, dependability, and trust that its consumers display day-in and day-out. Prior to Rubrik, Carhartt used a variety of different backup solutions across its operations. After an upgrade of a critical application failed, Carhartt’s administrators discovered that that application data hadn’t been backed up, forcing the team to reconstruct more than two-weeks’ worth of data manually. Furthermore, the Carhartt team discovered malware in backups from its legacy tools, resulting in weeks of searching data sets to manually complete the investigation. With Rubrik Security Cloud, Carhartt’s IT team can now devote more time to other priorities — like business requests, incidents, and reducing technical debt — while saving more than 50 percent in operational costs each month. The company’s IT and Security teams are also collaborating to reduce risk to the organization, zeroing in on malware and tying investigations into its security operations center. “A highly interconnected business like Carhartt is responsible for mountains of sensitive data. Protecting that data is paramount to maintain customer trust and minimize business disruption,” said Anneka Gupta, Chief Product Officer at Rubrik. “Outdated legacy technology was never built with security in mind, so organizations must turn to modernized platforms and zero-trust methodologies to defend their data. With a holistic solution like Rubrik Security Cloud, organizations like Carhartt know their business will be resilient in the face of any cyber threat.” Carhartt utilizes numerous Rubrik products, including Anomaly Detection, Sensitive Data Monitoring, Threat Hunting, as well as its integration with Microsoft Sentinel. About Rubrik Rubrik is on a mission to secure the world’s data. With Zero Trust Data Security™, we help organizations achieve business resilience against cyberattacks, malicious insiders, and operational disruptions. Rubrik Security Cloud, powered by machine learning, secures data across enterprise, cloud, and SaaS applications. We help organizations uphold data integrity, deliver data availability that withstands adverse conditions, continuously monitor data risks and threats, and restore businesses with their data when infrastructure is attacked.

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