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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Malwarebytes and Stellar Cyber Partner to Investigate and Mitigate Cyber Threats

Malwarebytes | November 28, 2022

Malwarebytes, a global leader in real-time cyber protection, today announced a new partnership with Stellar Cyber, an industry-leading Open XDR platform that delivers comprehensive, unified security without complexity. The partnership helps resource-constrained teams produce consistent security outcomes across all environments; on-premises, cloud and anything in between. The partnership comes at a critical time in the cybersecurity landscape, as security products become more complex and IT teams spend more time maintaining their security controls, instead of investigating and mitigating cyber threats. According to a 2020 report from Palo Alto Networks, only 46 percent of security operations decision makers are satisfied with their current ability to detect threats. "They point to wasted time chasing false leads, poorly integrated security tools, and a large learning curve for effectively using those tools," according to the report. "Every security team should be able to deliver continuous, consistent security regardless of their skills or experience. "By tightly integrating Malwarebytes' cutting-edge EDR technology with the Stellar Cyber Open XDR platform, IT teams are able to close the gaps between security controls that attackers exploit." Andrew Homer, Vice-President of Technology Alliances at Stellar Cyber The integration pairs Malwarebytes' EDR solution–which collects detailed threat information for analysis and investigation–with the Stellar Cyber Open XDR Platform that ingests, normalizes, and enriches security data, including endpoints, network, cloud and logs into a single repository. Malwarebytes EDR collects critical endpoint and server data and sends it to Stellar Cyber, which analyzes the data to identify potential threats. As security analysts complete investigation in Stellar Cyber, response actions are sent to Malwarebytes to eliminate the threat. "Today's IT and security teams spend more time sifting through data than eliminating actual threats. Organizations need real-time data sharing and visibility to enable decisive actions before attackers are successful," said Brian Thomas, Malwarebytes Vice President of Worldwide MSP and Channel programs. "Stellar Cyber shares our mission to simplify cybersecurity for resource-constrained organizations. Together we uniquely deliver an intelligent and automated solution that allows security teams to be more efficient, and organizations more productive and protected." About Stellar Cyber Stellar Cyber Open XDR platform delivers comprehensive, unified security without complexity, empowering lean security teams of any skill to successfully secure their environments. With Stellar Cyber, organizations reduce risk with early and precise identification and remediation of threats while slashing costs, retaining investments in existing tools, and improving analyst productivity, delivering an 8X improvement in MTTD and a 20X improvement in MTTR. The company is based in Silicon Valley. About Malwarebytes Malwarebytes believes that when people and organizations are free from threats, they are free to thrive. Founded in 2008, Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski had one mission: to rid the world of malware. Today, that mission has expanded to provide cyberprotection for every one. Malwarebytes provides consumers and organizations with device protection, privacy, and prevention through effective, intuitive, and inclusive solutions in the home, on-the-go, at work, or on campus.

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DATA SECURITY,PLATFORM SECURITY,SOFTWARE SECURITY

Netskope Further Improves Risk Visibility on AWS, Strengthening Customers' Security Posture

Netskope | December 01, 2022

Netskope, a global leader in secure access service edge (SASE), is announcing new support of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to further improve visibility of risks and threats on AWS services, resulting in even stronger security postures for customers. Through this work, Netskope will support the launch of AWS Verified Access and Amazon Security Lake to drive innovation for enterprises running on AWS. As the cybersecurity landscape becomes more complex and multifaceted, organizations want to confidently know their data, employees, and resources are safe from potential attacks. Netskope has helped thousands of customers, including more than 25 of the Fortune 100, improve their security posture through integrated zero trust network access (ZTNA), secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security broker (CASB), cloud security posture management (CSPM), storage scanning with data loss prevention (DLP), cloud firewall, Borderless WAN, and more. By meeting the rigorous standards of supporting the launch of AWS Verified Access and Amazon Security Lake, Netskope and customers can have greater confidence in the company's deep technical expertise on AWS and its proven track record in securing even the most complex cloud journeys. "As organizations search for seamless support and unification of their cloud security services, our work with AWS will help customers achieve even better visibility and protection in a cloud-first, hybrid work environment. "Hybrid work today happens in the office, at home, or on the go, and with this new support of Amazon Security Lake and AWS Verified Access, we'll help customers navigate their cloud security journey by securing data from anywhere, on any device." Andy Horwitz, Vice President, Business Development and Technology Alliances at Netskope Netskope will support Amazon Security Lake and AWS Verified Access by providing visibility and real-time data and threat protection when accessing cloud services, applications, and data. Customers can expect broader and more granular data sharing to expose cloud threats and security gaps, better alert prioritization so security teams can remediate the highest threats first, and a stronger security posture with faster remediation strategies in place. "Netskope and AWS continue to help organizations with security capabilities they need to protect their users and data everywhere," said Chris Grusz, Director, ISV Partner and AWS Marketplace Business Development. "Netskope is a trusted security provider for many cloud-first organizations, and the expanded relationship with AWS will allow customers to better realize the full value of their AWS Security investments." About Netskope Netskope, a global cybersecurity leader, is redefining cloud, data, and network security to help organizations apply Zero Trust principles to protect data. Fast and easy to use, the Netskope platform provides optimized access and real-time security for people, devices, and data anywhere they go. Netskope helps customers reduce risk, accelerate performance, and get unrivaled visibility into any cloud, web, and private application activity. Thousands of customers, including more than 25 of the Fortune 100, trust Netskope and its powerful NewEdge network to address evolving threats, new risks, technology shifts, organizational and network changes, and new regulatory requirements.

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