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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Zyxel Access Point and Security Service Bundle for Small Businesses Protects and Optimizes Connectivity for WiFi Networks

Zyxel US Channel | November 29, 2022

Zyxel Networks, a leader in delivering secure, AI- and cloud-powered business and home networking solutions, today announced the bundling of its robust Connect and Protect security service with select Zyxel WiFi access points. Available as a bundled option with Zyxel’s best-selling NWA1123ACv3 802.11ac Wave 2 Dual-Radio Ceiling Mount PoE Access Point and NWA110AX 802.11ax (WiFi 6) Dual-Radio PoE Access Point, the security service protects small business WiFi networks from cybersecurity threats and optimizes WiFi connectivity for the business and its patrons to improve connectivity and customer satisfaction. Connect and Protect, which filters out any unsafe web content and prevents users from accessing dangerous websites, provides a high level of security for small businesses without the hassle of setting up complex security settings. As an added level of protection for both the business and its customers, the service ensures that users logged onto the network are unable to access the data streams of others, preventing malicious actors from spying on or stealing the information of others. Features and Benefits of Zyxel Connect & Protect: IP Reputation Filter – The cloud-based service accesses an expanding database of malicious IP addresses to block undesirable website content, and prevent data theft and security breaches. Application Visibility with Throttling – Prioritizes bandwidth for business-critical applications, such as mobile POS systems, online streaming, and voice and video calls, to protect core applications and facilitate smooth business operation. Ease-of-Management – The WiFi access points and Connect & Protect security features can be easily deployed and managed from anywhere using Zyxel’s Nebula Cloud Networking Solution. “Wireless networks not only provide the network backbone that enables many small businesses to operate, but wireless access to the internet is increasingly becoming an expectation by their customers and vendors. However, the cyber attacks enabled by unprotected networks can result in serious damage to the business and liabilities to their customers,Deploying Zyxel APs with Connect and Protect enables businesses to leverage an extensive range of security features without the complexity often associated with setting up network security.” Shawn Rogers, Market Development Manager at Zyxel Networks. Connect and Protect (CNP) is available in two licensing options: CNP and CNP+. CNP features the IP reputation filter and CNP+ adds application visibility with bandwidth throttling. CNP and CNP+ licenses are available as bundles with NWA1123ACv3 and NWA110AX access points. CNP is offered as an optional license on WAC500 and WAC500H access points, and CNP+ is offered as an optional license on NWA210AX, WAX510D, WAX610D, WAX630S, and WAX650S access points. About Zyxel: Since their first day in business over 30 years ago, Zyxel has kept business and home users online with a focus on innovation and customer-centric service. In 1989, this was accomplished with analog modems. Today, the company combines the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) and the cloud to deliver rapid, reliable, and secure networking solutions for business and home users.

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MANAGEMENT

Bwanaz Partners with World Depot to Provide Unbeatable Wholesale Prices to Help Small Businesses Grow

Bwanaz | November 23, 2022

Bwanaz (JJFK Inc.), an online fusion marketplace platform that combines wholesale and retail, announces today that it has partnered with World Depot, a global supplier that boasts 65+ warehouse locations worldwide and a 500 million dollar yearly-revenue, to make wholesale affordable and easily accessible for small businesses. This gives small local businesses the opportunity to expand and grow in the marketplace. Big companies have unmatched buying power and ample resources to beat out small competitors," says John Xie, founder of Bwanaz.com (JJFK Inc.) "That's why these big companies have monopolized the market. To this day, it's been next to impossible for small businesses to flourish because they simply don't have the means to purchase wholesale in bulk the way large companies can, so wholesalers always work with the big players. It's like the rich grow richer and the poor get poorer!" John Xie continues. "But that's all about to change. With Bwanaz partnering with World Depot, we now have a way to close that gap! This partnership makes it possible for small businesses to purchase items with shockingly low wholesale prices and with small MOQ's- as little as two units! Even when combined with shipping, the total wholesale cost will still be 30% to 35%, or as much as 50% lower than what the big companies can get. "This is revolutionary! This will change the entire existing retail and wholesale structure of our current marketplace because this will even out the playing field among the big and small players. Anybody who has tried starting a small business knows how difficult it is to promote and maintain its growth. This partnership between Bwanaz and World Depot is the solution to helping small business owners get their big break!" Terry Tan, co-founder of Bwanaz. On Bwanaz.com, customers can find World Depot Inc. and see all the new products that have been listed. New products have recently been introduced under categories such as home, garden, kitchen, and pet products. The Wooden Computer Gaming Desk With a Drawer, LED Patio Lights, LED Mirror, Chandelier, Throw, the Dog Car Seat, the Aluminum Hanging Basket for Flowers, and the COSVALVE Food Processor are all new additions to the website. More products are coming. ABOUT BWANAZ Bwanaz is a California-based e-commerce, high-tech fusion marketplace that combines wholesale and retail onto one platform. In a world where industry giants are becoming more and more prominent and crushing out small businesses, Bwanaz seeks to ensure that these small local businesses can retain a competitive edge in today's market by creating opportunities that allow them to buy less and sell more. Visit Bwanaz at www.bwanaz.com to accelerate the growth of your small business to new heights today!

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