Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Welcome Guest!

Join us now to get access to all our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, and so, so much more. It's also quick and totally free, so what are you waiting for?



  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by NelsonG

  1. hero-image.jpg

    AirPods are great and all, but have you heard of literally anything else?

    Listening to music, podcasts, or audio books on your iPhone makes perfect sense given its origins are steeped in the old days of the iPod. To get the most out of your audio experience however, you really need a good set of headphones or earphones. The ones that come bundled with your iPhone just don't sound as good as a dedicated pair.

    It's important to know what you're looking for when seeking out the best headphones for iPhone. Here's what you need to know and the best headphones and earphones for every scenario in life.

    Know your iPhone's capabilities

    It's probably time to go wireless.

    If you've got an older iPhone, i.e. an iPhone 7 or earlier, you still have a headphone jack which means you can use older types of headphones as well as connect to them via Bluetooth.

    Anything newer such as an iPhone 8 or upwards only has a Lightning port for charging as well as plugging headphones in that have the right cable.

    You can buy a dongle adaptor that means you can plug a regular headphone jack into the Lightning port but it's not entirely convenient. For one thing, it's not cheap to buy and for another, it makes your iPhone pretty clunky to use. The best option is to connect your iPhone to the headphones or earphones wirelessly. It's far more convenient and means you don't have to deal with too many cables.

    Are AirPods the best option?

    Yes and no. AirPods are great, especially AirPods Pro, but they're expensive compared to competitors. They're definitely a good one stop solution thanks to being so convenient to set up with your iPhone and they fit the Apple aesthetic perfectly. However, if you're keen to search around and spend a little longer setting up, there are better options out there depending on what you need your headphones for.

    Can't I just buy the cheapest pair?

    You can just spend a few bucks on the cheapest pair of headphones out there but it's rarely worth it over using the pair you've already got with your iPhone. If you regularly listen to music, it's worth investing a little in a more expensive pair as you'll be surprised how much better the sound quality is. You can also benefit from extra features like active noise cancellation which blocks out surrounding noises while you're listening to something.

    What pair should I buy?

    Have a think about the main reason why you want new headphones. Are you going to be using them while you travel a lot? At home listening to music? While exercising? We’ve looked at a number of different scenarios when you want to use headphones, and figured out the best headphones or earphones for you and your needs.


    View the full article

  2. Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle technology startup backed by Ford and VW, has landed a permit in California that will allow the company to give people free rides in its self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roads.

    The California Public Utilities Commission issued the so-called Drivered AV pilot permit earlier this month, according to the approved application. It was posted on its website Friday, a little more than a week after Argo and Ford announced plans to launch at least 1,000 self-driving vehicles on Lyft’s ride-hailing network in a number of cities over the next five years, starting with Miami and Austin.

    The permit, which is part of the state’s Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot, puts Argo in small and growing group of companies seeking to expand beyond traditional AV testing — a signal that the industry, or at least some companies, are preparing for commercial operations. Argo has been testing its autonomous vehicle technology in Ford vehicles around Palo Alto since 2019. Today, the company’s test fleet is about one dozen self-driving test vehicles.

    Aurora, AutoX, Cruise, Deeproute, Pony.ai, Voyage, Zoox and Waymo have all received permits to participate in the CPUC’s Drivered Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service Pilot program, which requires a human safety operator to be behind the wheel. Companies with this permit cannot charge for rides.

    Cruise is the only company to have secured a driverless permit from the CPUC, which allows it to shuttle passengers in its test vehicles without a human safety operator behind the wheel.

    Snagging the CPUC’s Drivered permit is just part of the journey to commercialization in California. The state requires companies to navigate a series of regulatory hurdles from the CPUC and the California Department of Motor Vehicles — each agency with its own tiered system of permits — before it can charge for rides in robotaxis without a human safety operator behind the wheel.

    The DMV regulates and issues permits for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. There are three levels of permits issued by the DMW, starting with one that allows companies to test AVs on public roads with a safety operator behind the wheel. More than 60 companies have this basic testing permit.

    The next permit allows for driverless testing, followed by a deployment permit for commercial operations. Driverless testing permits, in which a human operator is not behind the wheel, have become the new milestone and a required step for companies that want to launch a commercial robotaxi or delivery service in the state. AutoX, Baidu, Cruise, Nuro, Pony.ai, Waymo, WeRide and Zoox have driverless permits with the DMV.

    The final step with the DMV, which only Nuro has achieved, is a deployment permit. This permit allows Nuro to deploy at a commercial scale. Nuro’s vehicles can’t hold passengers, just cargo, which allows the company to bypass the CPUC permitting process.

    Meanwhile, the CPUC authorized in May 2018 two pilot programs for transporting passengers in autonomous vehicles. The Drivered Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service Pilot program, which is what Argo just secured, allows companies to operate a ride-hailing service using autonomous vehicles as long as they follow specific rules. Companies are not allowed to charge for rides, a human safety driver must be behind the wheel and certain data must be reported quarterly.

    The second CPUC pilot allows for driverless passenger service, which Cruise secured in June 2021.

    It’s important to note that to reach the holy grail of commercial robotaxis requires the companies to secure all of these permits from the DMV and CPUC.


    View the full article

  3. hero-image.png

    Seeking some sensational escapism? What could possibly satisfy more than fabulous fantasy films? This wonderous genre leads viewers down a path into magical realms, where myths and monsters roam, surprises lie around every corner, and heroes set forth on adventures epic, outrageous, and exciting. Whether you’re searching for something silly, scary, or surreal, pulse-pounding, heart-warming or heart-breaking, we’ve got you covered with a wide selection of the fantasy favorites.

    Here’s the ten best fantasy films now available on Netflix.

    1. Pan's Labyrinth

    Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro awed audiences around the world with his distinctive and dark tale about a brave young girl on an unforgettable adventure. In the rural outskirts of 1944 Francoist Spain, ten-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) yearns for freedom from the tyranny of her sadistic stepfather (Sergi López). So, when a cryptic faun (Doug Jones) offers a perilous quest, she eagerly delves into a world of monsters, magic, and malevolence. Visionary director del Toro ties together the real-world horrors of war with the fantastical terror oft found in fairy tales, creating a film fascinating and frightening. Jaw-dropping visuals, eye-popping creature designs, and a heart-tugging story earned this stunner critical acclaim as well as three Academy Awards, three BAFTAs, and a whopping eight Goya Awards (Spain’s answer to the Oscars).

    How to watch: Pan’s Labyrinth is streaming on Netflix.

    2. Stardust

    Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, this jaunty 2007 offering follows a pair of star-crossed lovers, one of whom is a cross star! Charlie Cox and Claire Danes headline this magical tale of boy-meets-girl. He’s a daring young man, venturing for a stellar treasure to woo the prettiest lass in his quaint English village. Meanwhile, she’s a literal celestial body who has been knocked out of the sky by a royal twist of fate. Together, they must traverse a strange land full of cloud-sailing pirates, blood-thirsty princes, and wicked witches. Director Matthew Vaughn brings together an impeccable cast that boasts Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, and a scorching hot Michelle Pfeiffer. All this makes for a wild ride full of thrilling action, cheeky humor, and swooning romance.

    How to watch: Stardust is streaming on Netflix.

    3. Zathura

    Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, and Kristen Stewart in Jon Favreau's "Zathura."
    Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, and Kristen Stewart in Jon Favreau's "Zathura." Credit: Merrick Morton / Columbia / Kobal / Shutterstock

    If you love Jumanji, you’ll relish its out-of-this-world sister flick. Likewise adapted from a Chris Van Allsburg book, Zathura also features a board game bleeding into the real world, but rockets the premise all the way to outer space. When two squabbling brothers (Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo) roll the dice on a mysterious game, their humble house is lauched among the stars, leaving them open to outrageous attacks from meteor showers, a rampaging robot, and a vicious alien race of man-eating lizards. To survive the game, these brothers must band together with their surly older sister (Kristen Stewart) and an enigmatic astronaut (Dax Shepard) for a rocky road of thrills and adventure. In his follow-up to the widely adored Elf, director Jon Favreau offers an adaptation sparkling with family-friendly fun and enthralling action, making Zathura a perfect play for good times.

    How to watch: Zathura is streaming on Netflix.

    4. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

    What if the baggage you brought into a relationship played out like a video game? That’s the premise of the Bryan Lee O'Malley graphic novel, which inspired this wacky romantic-comedy. Michael Cera stars as 22-year-old Torontonian, Scott Pilgrim, who explodes into cartoonish swoon over his new relationship with the impossibly cool Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). That is until he learns about her Seven Evil Exes, each of whom he must defeat in brutal battle. Edgar Wright brings the manic mayhem of video games, the graphic panache of comic books, and a rocking soundtrack together with an ensemble littered with the likes of Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman. All this star power and style couldn’t make Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World a hit at the box office. Nonetheless, critics cheered, and a fierce fan following has made this a kooky cult classic.

    How to watch: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is streaming on Netflix.

    5. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

    Liam Aiken, and Emily Browning star as the beleaguered Baudelaires in "Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events."
    Liam Aiken, and Emily Browning star as the beleaguered Baudelaires in "Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events." Credit: Francois Duhamel / Paramount/Kobal / Shutterstock

    Based on the titular children’s book series, this darkly comedic movie follows a trio of brilliant orphans as they outwit a greedy villain. Tossed from one foster home to the next, the Baudelaire children must combat not only their grief but also calamity, conspiracy, and the sinister mechanizations of Count Olaf (a gleefully game Jim Carrey). Thankfully, each of the children has a special skill to aid in their survival and the film’s audacious whimsy. Director Brad Silberling brings Snicket’s gothic adventure to vivid life with a rollicking pace, a lush production design, and a dazzling supporting cast that includes Jude Law, Billy Connolly, Catherine O'Hara, Cedric the Entertainer, and THE Meryl Streep. Plus, if you can’t get enough of these outlandish yarns, Netflix has a rebooted TV series too.

    How to watch: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is streaming on Netflix.

    6. About Time

    Time travel is often the stuff of science-fiction. However, in the hands of Love Actually writer/director Richard Curtis, this timey-wimey device is more about romantic fantasy than anything else. Just imagine you had a second chance to make the right first impression, to redo a fumbled flirtation, to win over your crush? That is the enviable position in which a nebbish Englishman (Domhnall Gleeson) finds himself, realizing he’s inherited the power to travel up and down his own timeline. At first, this makes for the kind of frolicking fun you’d expect from a romantic comedy. However, Curtis soon explores the double-edged sword of slipping into the past. Driving home the movie’s most emotional moments is the impeccable ensemble of Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan, and Tom Hollander. Be warned: this one is a tearjerker. So have a tissue or two at the ready.

    How to watch: About Time is streaming on Netflix.

    7. A Monster Calls

    Want fantasy that’s wild and heartbreaking? Then, you’ll treasure this tender adaptation of Patrick Ness’s beloved novel. With the ghost tale The Orphanage and the disaster drama The Impossible, Spanish director J. A. Bayona has carved out a niche for crafting compelling mother-son tales. Here, he chisels out the stirring story of a boy coming to grips with his mother’s terminal illness. In need of a friend and a space to share his pain and rage, the boy bonds with a towering tree beast, who speaks with the comfortingly familiar snarl of Liam Neeson. Photo-real computer graphics ground this eponymous monster in the real world. Then, ferocious fables animated in splashes of watercolor and spilled ink bring an added oomph and sense of wonder. The result is a gorgeous and poignant portrait of grief, which had critics and audiences in awe.

    How to watch: A Monster Calls is streaming on Netflix.

    8. The Old Guard

    Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Andy (Charlize Theron), and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) in "The Old Guard" on Netflix.
    Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Andy (Charlize Theron), and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) in "The Old Guard" on Netflix. Credit: AIMEE SPINKS / NETFLIX

    For fantasy with a superhero flare, check out this action-packed thriller from critically cheered director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Charlize Theron stars as Andy, the leader of a covert band of almost-immortal mercenaries. For centuries, they have fought together to save humanity from ruin. However, as a new member is added to the team (a mesmerizing Kiki Layne), this old guard tangles with a threat that could tear them to shreds for good. Adapted from Greg Rucka’s graphic novel of the same name, The Old Guard brings a sharp edge and an R-rating to the glossy and bloodless superhero standard. The sprawling and graphic fight scenes hit hard, but the incredible ensemble, which includes Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, hits harder. Together they bring a sophisticated pathos that doesn’t tend to fit with the flashy capes crowd.

    How to watch: The Old Guard is streaming on Netflix.

    9. Bleach

    Few things are as fantastical and fun as a Manga made live-action. Based on the popular Japanese comic by Tite Kubo, Bleach follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a moody teen who turns into a Soul Reaper through a twist of face and brave sacrifice. By day, he must endure all the drama inherent in high school. By night, he—with the help of his pestering mentor Rukia Kuchiki—must guide good ghosts to their peaceful afterlife and battle back sinister spirits. Director Shinsuke Sato brings an anime-like verve to the film, employing zipping graphics, a lively soundtrack, a bouncy tone, a barrage of frightful foes, and kick-ass martial arts action. Stars Sôta Fukushi and Hana Sugisaki are totally in tune, delivering performances that pop with personality. Best of all, if you want more, Netflix is also streaming five seasons of the animated adaptation.

    How to watch: Bleach is streaming on Netflix.

    10. Little Monsters

    Long before there was Monsters, Inc., this live-action comedy explored the wacky friendship between a kid and the monster under his bed. Wonder Years-era Fred Savage stars as a suburban boy giddy to dive into the subterranean world of night-crawling critters. Howie Mandel slathers on blue face-paint and horns to play a manic monster bud. Together, they party in a raucous realm without parents, homework, or rules, offering audiences the vicarious thrill of what it means to be the thing that goes bump in the night! Sure, Little Monsters was a bomb at the box office and was snarked at by critics. Nonetheless, this 1989 fantasy hits a sweet spot for nostalgia. Director Richard Alan Greenberg employs practical effects, slapstick, and a proudly juvenile sense of humor to create a gleefully goofy guilty pleasure.

    How to watch: Little Monsters is streaming on Netflix.


    View the full article

  4. Deliveroo announced today that it is considering leaving the Spanish market, citing limited market share and a long road of investment with “highly uncertain long-term potential returns” on the horizon.

    The company, an on-demand outfit based in the U.K., went public earlier in 2021. Its shares initially sagged, drawing concern about both the value of on-demand companies and tech concerns listing in London more broadly. However, shares of Deliveroo have since recovered, and the company’s second-quarter earnings report saw it raise its expected gross order volume growth expectations “from between 30% to 40% to between 50% to 60%.”

    Given its rising growth expectations and improving public-market valuation, you may be surprised that Deliveroo is willing to leave any of the 12 markets in which it currently operates. In the case of Spain, it appears that Deliveroo is concerned that changes to local labor laws will make its operations more expensive in the country, which, given its modest market share, is not palatable.

    Recall that Spain adopted a law in May — a law generally agreed to in March — requiring on-demand companies to hire their couriers. This is the sort of arrangement that on-demand companies in food delivery and ride-hailing have long fought; many on-demand companies are unprofitable without hiring couriers, and doing so could raise their costs. The possibility of worsened economics makes such changes to labor laws in any market a worry for startups and public companies alike that lean on freelance delivery workers.

    Let’s parse the Deliveroo statement to better understand the company’s perspective. Here’s the introductory paragraph:

    Deliveroo today announces that it proposes to consult on ending its operations in Spain. Deliveroo currently operates across 12 markets worldwide, with the vast majority of the Company’s gross transaction value (GTV) coming from markets where Deliveroo holds a #1 or #2 market position.

    Translation: We’re probably leaving Spain. Most of our order volume comes from markets where we are in a leading position (the company competes with Uber Eats, Glovo and Just Eat in different markets). We are not in a leading position in Spain.

    Spain represents less than 2% of Deliveroo’s GTV in H1 2021. The Company has determined that achieving and sustaining a top-tier market position in Spain would require a disproportionate level of investment with highly uncertain long-term potential returns that could impact the economic viability of the market for the Company. 

    Translation: Spain is a very small market for Deliveroo. To gain lots of market share in Spain would be very costly, and the company isn’t sure about the long-term profitability of the country’s business. This is where labor issues like this come into play — investing to gain market share in a country where your business is less profitable is hard to pencil out.

    And according to El Pais, the decision by Deliveroo comes as it was up against a deadline regarding worker reclassification. That may have contributed to the timing of the announcement.

    From this juncture, Deliveroo spends three paragraphs discussing how it will support workers in case it does leave the Spanish market. It closes with the following:

    This proposal does not impact previously communicated full-year guidance on Group annual GTV growth and gross profit margin.

    Fair enough.

    On-demand companies have made arguments over the years that changes to labor laws that would push more costs onto their plates in the form of hiring couriers — or simply paying them more — would make certain markets uneconomic and drive them away. Here, Deliveroo can follow through with an exit at essentially no cost, given how small its order volume is compared to its other 11 markets.


    View the full article

  5. Every week over the past three and a half years, an average of three CEOs have exited tech companies in the U.S. That tally is higher — in good times and bad — than in any of the other 26 for-profit sectors tracked by executive search firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. You’d think tech companies should be the paradigm of how to prep for leadership transitions, since they operate in such a constant state of flux.

    They’re far from it.

    A change of command is one of the most delicate moments in the life cycle of any organization. If mishandled, the transition from one CEO to the next can result in a loss of market valuation, momentum and focus, as well as key personnel, customers and partners. It may even become that turning point when an organization begins to slide toward irrelevance.

    With so much at stake, 84% of tech execs agree that succession planning is more important than ever because of today’s fast-changing business environment, according to our new survey of corporate America’s leaders. Seven out of 10 survey respondents agreed that tech companies face more scrutiny than other multinationals during a transition.

    84% of tech execs agree that succession planning is more important than ever because of today’s fast-changing business environment.

    Yet we found that tech execs appear just as unprepared for C-suite transitions as their peers in other sectors. Three out of five respondents said their companies don’t have a documented plan to handle a leadership change, even though, by that same ratio, they acknowledge that a documented plan is the biggest determinant in seamless transitions.

    The findings may not be troubling if these respondents were millennial startup founders, years from leaving their companies. The executives we polled, however, hail from 160 companies that have been in business for a minimum of 15 years — 35 are tech companies, the largest industry cohort in the survey.

    The smallest companies have at least 1,500 employees and $500 million in annual revenue, while the largest have head counts of over 500,000 and revenue upward of $100 billion. They have been around long enough to understand — and put into place — risk management and crisis planning, including what happens should their leaders fall victim to the proverbial milk truck.

    Tech execs should be more rigorous about succession planning for one important reason: institutional memory. Tech firms generally are younger than other companies of a similar size, which partly explains why the median age of S&P 500 companies plunged to 33 years in 2018 from 85 years in 2000, according to McKinsey & Co.

    These enterprises clearly have accomplished a lot in their short lives, but in their haste, most have not captured their history, unlike their longer-lived peers in other sectors. Less than half of these tech firms, in fact, have formally recorded their leader’s story for posterity. That puts them at a disadvantage when, inevitably, they will be required to onboard newcomers to their C-suites.

    It’s best to record this history well before the intense swirl of a leadership transition begins. Crucially, it will help the incoming and future generations of leadership understand critical aspects of its track record, the lessons learned, culture and identity. It also explains why the organization has evolved as it has, what binds people together and what may trigger resistance based on previous experience. It’s as much about moving forward as looking back.

    Most execs in our poll get it, with 85% saying a company’s history can be a playbook for new executives to learn and prepare for upcoming challenges and opportunities. “History is the mother of innovation for any type of company,” one respondent said. “History,” writes another, “includes the roadmap to failures as well as successes.”

    But this documented history cannot be a hagiography of the departing CEO. Too often, outgoing execs spend their last years in office constructing their own trophy cases. Even as they conceded their own flat-footedness on transition planning, the majority of execs said they have already taken steps to create and reinforce their personal legacies — two-thirds said they have already completed their own formal legacy planning, many with the blessing of their boards.

    It’s ironic, then, that three out of five also said that the legacy of a CEO or founder often overshadows the skill set and experience a successor brings. Two-thirds of tech execs believed that the longer a leader has been in office, the more it complicates a transition.

    Tech leaders can do this right and have done so. Asked which five big-name CEO transitions was most successful, respondents’ No. 1 was Apple’s handoff from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook (38%), followed by Microsoft’s page-turn from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella (28%). The others, at General Electric, General Motors and Goldman Sachs, each netted no more than 13% of votes.

    Apple’s apparent predominance in this survey might contradict the advice to play down the aggrandizement of an exiting CEO and highlight the compilation and transfer of an organization’s history to the next chief executive. Jobs, after all, painstakingly managed his legacy until the end. But even as he continued to take center-stage, he also made sure to pass along Apple’s institutional knowledge and ethos to Cook over the 13 years they shared space on Apple’s executive floor.

    Sooner or later, everyone in the C-suite today — including startup founders — will depart. For the sake of everyone they’ll leave behind, they should begin prepping for that day now.


    View the full article

  6. This year, livestream viewers in China are projected to spend more than $60 billion on digital shopping experiences that let them interact with influencers in real time.

    Promoting everything from cosmetics to food, social media stars use Taobao, TikTok and other platforms to livestream products and take questions from the audience.

    On Taobao’s Singles Day in 2020, livestreams racked up $6 billion in sales, twice as much revenue as the year prior.

    Sensing a trend, Western startups are getting in on the action, with companies like Whatnot and PopShop.Live raising rounds to build out their infrastructure. Looking forward, Alanna Gregory, senior global director at Afterpay, says she foresees four major trends:

    • Networks
    • SaaS streaming tools
    • Host discovery and outreach tools
    • Host marketplaces and agencies

    “For brands, SaaS streaming tools will be the most impactful way to take advantage of livestream commerce trends,” Gregory writes in an Extra Crunch guest post. “All of this will be incredibly transformative.”

    To help entrepreneurs take on the most fundamental challenge facing early-stage startups, our team is speaking to growth marketers to learn more about the advice they’re offering clients these days.

    This week, Miranda Halpern and Anna Heim interviewed experts on growth marketing:

    Growth is an existential issue, so these stories are free to read and share. If you’ve worked with an individual or an agency who helped your startup find and keep new users, please let us know.

    Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch this week; have a great weekend.

    Walter Thompson

    Senior Editor, TechCrunch


    Why Latin American venture capital is breaking records this year

    Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim’s global exploration of Q2 venture capital data wrapped up this week with an in-depth look at Latin America.

    One investor told them that today’s LatAm startup market “is a story about talent, not about capital.”

    “The union of talent and money is what startup markets need to thrive,” they write. “But there are other reasons why Latin American startups are so frequently in the news today, including structural factors, such as strong digital penetration and quick e-commerce growth.”

    Dear Sophie: Should we sponsor international hires for H-1B transfers and green cards?

    lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

    Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

    Dear Sophie,

    My startup is desperately recruiting, and we see a lot of engineering candidates on H-1Bs.

    They’re looking for H-1B transfers and green cards. What should we do?

    — Baffled in the Bay Area

    Why I make everyone in my company be the CEO for a day

    Vincit runs a CEO of the Day program once a month

    Image Credits: Blake Little (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

    In the reality TV series “Undercover Boss,” high-powered executives disguise themselves so they can work alongside everyday employees, ostensibly to learn from them.

    Flipping that script, software company Vincit USA has a “CEO of the Day” program where staffers move into a metaphorical corner office for 24 hours and receive a very real unlimited budget. There’s just one requirement.

    “The CEO must make one lasting decision that will help improve the working experience of Vincit employees,” said Ville Houttu, Vincit’s founder and CEO.

    Since instituting the program, Vincit USA has received multiple awards for its workplace culture and sees reduced staff turnover.

    “Though it may seem crazy, the initiative has paid off tenfold,” said Houttu.

    What I’ve learned after 5 years of buying common stock in startups

    Buying common stock can help align investor and founder incentives

    Image Credits: Tim Robberts (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

    Instead of giving founders standard term sheets, Boston-based seed-stage venture capital firm Pillar VC offers to buy common stock.

    “There are many terms and conditions in a preferred term sheet that can misalign investors and founders,” says founding partner Jamie Goldstein.

    “As with any experiment, we have learned a few things that have surprised us and faced challenges we’ve had to overcome.”

    China’s regulatory crackdown is good news for startups aligned with CCP goals

    Alex Wilhelm takes stock of the wall of news out of China over the past week to see if there’s a silver lining for startups in the country as the Chinese Communist Party cracks down on everything from edtech companies to streaming platforms.

    His take?

    “The result may be concentrated effort and capital in sectors that Beijing favors and reduced capital and focus from entrepreneurs in sectors that have been deemed fit for strict control,” he writes. “Simply: Central planning is going to tilt business more toward centrally planned goals.”

    Duolingo’s IPO pricing is great news for edtech startups

    The Pittsburgh-based language-learning unicorn initially aimed for an $85 to $95 per share IPO price range, then bumped that up to $95 to $100 before it began to trade. It ultimately entered the public markets at $102 per share.

    Alex Wilhelm notes that based on Duolingo’s expected Q2 revenues, the company has a run-rate multiple of nearly 16x. Compare that to the median multiple for public SaaS companies of 14x.

    “Duolingo, a consumer edtech company, is now more valuable per revenue dollar than the median public enterprise SaaS business,” Alex writes.

    Financial firms should leverage machine learning to make anomaly detection easier

    Machine learning can make anolmaly detection easier

    Image Credits: GOCMEN (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

    “Anomaly detection is one of the more difficult and underserved operational areas in the asset-servicing sector of financial institutions,” EZOPS CEO Bikram Singh writes in a guest column.

    But it’s critical to detect these anomalies amid a sea of data. That’s where unsupervised learning can offer a solution.

    ​​”With all eyes on data, it’s crucial that financial institutions find solutions to detect anomalies upfront, thereby preventing bad data from infecting downstream processes,” Singh writes.

    “Machine learning can be applied to detect the data anomalies as well as identify the reasons for them, effectively reducing the time spent researching and rectifying executions.”

    African startups join global funding boom as fintech shines

    Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim continued their global tour of Q2 2021 venture capital data, this week focusing on Africa.

    “Early data indicates that Africa is set to trounce historical records in terms of venture capital raised in the year and that the first half of 2021 saw roughly twice the funds raised by African startups as was recorded in the first half of 2020,” they write.

    “Startups across Africa have never had more access to capital than they do right now.”

    True ‘shift left and extend right’ security requires empowered developers

    Empowered developers will change the nature of true shift left and extend right security

    Image Credits: kuritafsheen (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

    The intention of DevSecOps is to wedge security and compliance into DevOps. But that’s easier said than done, says Apiiro founder and CEO Idan Plotnik.

    “Shifting left and extending right doesn’t mean that a scanning tool or security architect should detect a security risk earlier in the process — it means that a developer should have all the context to prevent the vulnerability before it even happens,” he writes.

    4 key areas SaaS startups must address to scale infrastructure for the enterprise

    bonsai tree with miniature scaffolding

    Image Credits: Stewart Sutton (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

    Asana’s head of engineering, Prashant Pandey, rounds up four tips for SaaS startups looking to build up their infrastructure to meet customers’ growing needs.

    “Startups and SMBs are usually the first to adopt many SaaS products. But as these customers grow in size and complexity — and as you rope in larger organizations — scaling your infrastructure for the enterprise becomes critical for success,” he writes.

    He offers four areas to focus on:

    • Address your customers’ security and reliability needs
    • Give IT admins control over product usage
    • Build data isolation into your architecture
    • Support customers by interconnecting their data across applications

    View the full article

  7. hero-image.jpg

    As the laptop market has grown over the last few years, Chromebooks have too often been shoved into a niche as a cheaper device that isn’t quite a full featured laptop but gives you a little more juice than a tablet. Well, guess what? Chromebooks have outgrown that label and it’s time to give them some real consideration as a primary laptop.

    Here’s what is still true about Chromebooks. In general, they run smaller and lighter than your standard laptop. They run on Chrome OS, as opposed to MacOS or Windows. And they rely on connectivity a bit more than your average machine, with smaller hard drives that get supplemented with cloud storage.

    But if you think that these machines can’t keep up with the competition, well, it’s time you catch up. Chromebooks are increasingly capable machines. So let’s dispel some misconceptions about these laptops and help you pick the one that is best for you.

    Can I run all my favorite apps on a Chromebook?

    Unless you’re a creative and need very specific apps like Adobe After Effects, odds are there is a way to run just about anything that you need on a Chromebook — or at least find a viable alternative. Because Chromebooks are a popular option for students, there are plenty of ways to run apps like Microsoft Word and other parts of the Microsoft Office suite on a Chromebook.

    If there isn’t an app option available, there is typically a web-based alternative that will let you create and edit documents and store them in the cloud so you can access them anywhere. Even an app like Zoom has the ability to run on Chromebooks so you’ll be able to stay connected to your class or your office while operating remotely.

    Isn’t Chrome OS pretty limited compared to Windows or macOS?

    There are definitely limitations to Chrome OS, don’t get us wrong. It’s an operating system designed specifically to operate on Chromebooks, and it’s relatively young compared to its competitors in macOS and Windows. But it’s more than capable of handling most tasks.

    Chrome OS is based on Linux and in recent years has become capable of running Linux apps, which gives it a whole new arsenal of capabilities. Linux has many alternatives to popular apps — GIMP for Photoshop and LibreOffice for Microsoft Word, for instance — and being able to tap into this well of existing apps makes Chromebooks more fully featured than you might have imagined.

    Additionally, some Chromebooks have the capability of running Android apps. While this is limited to Chromebooks that have access to the Google Play Store, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. If you’re already using an Android phone or tablet, being able to seamlessly hop into that same ecosystem on a laptop makes it easy to pick up your work anywhere.

    So what can’t a Chromebook do?

    While Chromebooks are more than enough to help you keep up with your school work or make the commute to the office, they aren’t fully featured machines. If you want to do some high-level creative tasks like photo or film editing, you’re going to find the Chromebook a bit lacking. Same goes for gaming.

    That said, these machines are more powerful than you might think. Many come equipped with Intel processors that you might find in mid- to high-tier Windows machines, and have 8GB to 16GB of RAM available, as well.

    What you’re more likely to find lacking is physical memory. You aren’t going to be able to load up a Chromebook with lots of photos and videos, nor are you going to be able to download your favorite series from Netflix to watch offline. Chromebooks ditch big hard drives, which can often add a significant amount of weight, in favor of cloud storage. This keeps the machines portable, but also makes you more reliant on having an internet connection available.

    What Chromebook should I get?

    Now that you have a better idea of what a Chromebook is capable of (and what it can’t quite handle), you can finally start considering which Chromebook is best for you. The one problem? There are a lot of them. So we’ve put together a list of some of the best available to get you started.


    View the full article

  8. Kodiak Robotics is one of the last private autonomous vehicles companies focused on trucking that is still standing. Nearly all the rest have been wooed by the public marketplace and the capital it can provide. But co-founder and CEO Don Burnette says the three-year-old company’s strategy of staying focused and small(er) is paying off.

    It will be able to deploy a commercial-scale operation for about $500 million in funding, he says in the interview below. To put those go-to-market costs in perspective, that’s 10% of what Waymo has raised in external fundraising and less than 25% of newly publicly traded company TuSimple’s total fundraise.

    Kodiak’s strategy is to take a specialized, hyperfocused approach to autonomous trucking that outsources a lot of tech, like data labeling, lidar, radar and mapping, to existing companies. Burnette, who was one of four founders of the self-driving truck startup Otto that Uber acquired, thinks this is a faster, cheaper and more efficient path to commercialization versus building out your own systems and teams.

    The company is moving freight for commercial customers, dipping its toes in the market by working with technology partners within the existing ecosystem. Burnette says Kodiak’s Driver technology has achieved a level of maturity where it can handle anything the highway throws at it. In December, the startup achieved “disengagement-free deliveries” between Dallas and Houston, meaning the autonomous system didn’t have to be switched off for safety reasons.

    The following interview, part of an ongoing series with founders who are building transportation companies, has been edited for length and clarity. 

    You previously told me that Kodiak would need about $500 million in total funding to get to commercial driverless. You also said you’ve had some undisclosed funding rounds, but publicly, you’ve only raised $40 million. Can you still execute on your vision this far off?

    Absolutely. We are always, as startups are, in fundraising mode. We’re always talking to investors. And there’s a lot of great things happening behind the scenes currently that we haven’t yet announced. We are growing, we’re hiring, if you can look to that as an indicator of the health of a company.

    Our tech and our plan is really sound, and we are building up our commercialization efforts in a way that I think is going to be very exciting to the overall industry and to the market. We will need to raise more money, as you pointed out, that’s certainly no secret, but I think that we have multiple options to do that.

    “Kodiak is one of the only remaining serious AV trucking companies still in the private sector, and so I think that gives us some advantages in a lot of ways.”

    How do you intend to close that gap? Are you looking at venture capital, or maybe going for an IPO or SPAC?

    We’re considering all of the above. It’s a constant conversation internally on what is the best path for Kodiak, what is the appetite of the various forms of investors and strategic relationships. Nothing is excluded.

    The stock market is obviously very attractive and exciting. I think TuSimple has demonstrated that an IPO with the right set of metrics and the right set of momentum and partners is possible and can be successful. I think there’s also lots of opportunity within the VCs and the private markets. Kodiak is one of the only remaining serious AV trucking companies still in the private sector, and so I think that gives us some advantages in a lot of ways.

    What’s your sense of the venture funding environment right now in autonomous? Is it harder now than it was, say, four years ago?

    The appetite has changed. In particular, investors are more skeptical of timelines and promises. There is not this sense of Wild West excitement like there was four or five years ago, and that was the Golden Age of raising capital, certainly for earlier stage companies.

    Kodiak was at the tail end of that age, and now the goalposts have changed, and the target investors have changed. It’s no longer the early-stage VCs that companies like Kodiak and others are talking to. It’s more of the growth-stage funds, and growth-stage funds look for different types of metrics. They look for commercial traction, product-market fit, users, efficiencies, etc.


    View the full article

  9. “The best thing a startup can do, and I’m seeing it happen more and more, is investing in community early on,” growth marketing expert Max van den Ingh of Unmuted tells us. “When I was leading growth at MisterGreen, we created a community for the first thousand Tesla Model 3 owners in the Netherlands. Everyone wanted to be a part of this founding tribe, learn from each other, get insights and so on.”

    “This group turned out to be our most effective marketing tool,” he explains in an interview we published this week. “Word-of-mouth went through the roof. We had all of these people talking about our community at birthday parties, in their office, you name it. This is a great example of investing in marketing you can’t really measure, but which you do strongly believe in.”

    Elsewhere in this week’s growth marketing recap, you’ll find TechCrunch’s coverage of growth marketing, and related topics, from the past week. You’ll also find a few recommendations for growth marketers. If you’d like to recommend a great one you’ve worked with, please fill out our survey.

    Marketer: Scott Graham
    Recommended by: Heather Larrabee, CMO, FORM
    Testimonial: “He was referred to us and blew our socks off from his initial analysis. He’s the rare growth adviser expert at strategy and execution. He’s a servant leader, a systems thinker, integrates with the team with empathy and curiosity like he’s an internal teammate, brings a wealth of cutting-edge knowledge, and a stable of incredible partners and resources. He runs with the best and the brightest, but he’s the first one on and the last one off for the day, putting in the time to make things great. He has an uncanny ability to communicate complex concepts and make them accessible for all audiences, and he’s been a foundational game changer for our business and many others.”

    Marketer: Ascendant
    Recommended by: Robyn Weatherley, Thirdfort Limited
    Testimonial: “Beyond their knowledge and experience (which is in abundance!), they have a deep understanding and appreciation for the unique challenges early-stage businesses have. They are in tune with the particular hurdles at various stages of growth and are able to adapt their working style dependent on those. They haven’t just helped us execute vital growth tactics, but they’ve helped us set up the framework to keep executing on those whether we are 5, 50 or 500 people. This is incredibly important as we scale and to demonstrate to future investors. They are also exceptional mentors and are able to offer real-world advice and work flexibly to suit the ever-changing nature of a high-growth early-stage business.”

    Marketer: Ferdinand Goetzen
    Recommended by: Willem van Roosmalen, Homerun
    Testimonial: “Exceptional skills and experience in B2B SaaS, impressive track record, clear communicator, true leader, makes impact from day one, entrepreneur (actually launched his own start up, Reveall).”

    Marketer: Adriana Ivascu, HoneyPot Dgtl
    Recommended by: Mihaela Petre, Brussels Beer Project
    Testimonial: “Besides her solid experience in growth and digital, Adriana has a genuine interest in growing not only the company but its people. She is hands-on in digital transformation but on top of it, she is a coach who inspires and brings the best in teams. We are very happy to have benefited from a long-term strategic growth path and a skill playbook that we can pass on to our whole organization.”

    Marketer: Mariska Vroegindeweij, Growth & confetti
    Recommended by: Hugo Pereira, EVBox
    Testimonial: “[During our time working together] she was very young and bright. She started the Growth Marketing division on her own, built a team of developers, designers, advertisement specialists, product owners to drive conversion on the whole funnel from MQL to Opportunities. It’s hard to find a marketer that combines leadership skills with hardcore skills to drive growth. She was also very data-driven, challenged me a lot on assumptions and proved me wrong a few times by doing experiments and showcasing better ways to convert. And she was bold enough to start her own agency at a young age and doing well. Plus, she’s tons of fun.”


    Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

    Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we’ll share the results with everybody.


    The MKT1 interview: Growth marketing in 2021, hiring versus outsourcing and more: We hosted a Twitter Spaces with strategic marketing firm MKT1 recently, following a popular interview we published with them a few weeks ago. “The skill sets of growth marketers are in high demand,” co-founder Kathleen Estreich told host Danny Crichton during the event. “They always have been, but it feels pretty acute right now. Given that a lot of the companies are raising money earlier and starting to try and build that traction faster to grow into the valuations, we’re starting to see a huge need.” If you’re curious to see what skills are needed in growth marketing positions right now, take a look at the job board curated by MKT1.

    Draft.dev CEO Karl Hughes on the importance of using experts in developer marketing: Anna Heim interviewed Karl Hughes, founder of Daft.dev, which works with a large number of developer tool companies. Hughes’ insights come from personal experience, “I’ve been a software developer, and then most recently was a CTO at a startup in Chicago, so I knew that there were lots of companies trying to reach developers [ … ] and that a lot of them were doing a poor job of it.” In this interview, Hughes addresses the mistakes made when targeting marketing toward developers, the steps that Draft.dev takes to mitigate them and more.

    Unmuted founder Max van den Ingh on success beyond the metrics: “At Unmuted, when we start working with a new client, we perform a series of exercises together,” he told us in the interview. “This helps us get a clear picture of where the client is now and where they could be when we’ve optimized marketing. Next, instead of fixed numbers, like a specific amount of new customers in a given period, we focus on growth levers, like month-over-month growth in certain conversion or activation areas. Focusing on growth levers makes our work more actionable.” Read the interview with him for more about Unmuted’s “modern” marketing approach, setting realistic goals and trends seen in growth marketing during the pandemic.

    Dan Olsen leads a product-market fit masterclass for the Startup Alley+ cohort: As part of Startup Alley+, TC Disrupt 2021 is offering a VIP experience where Dan Olsen will be holding a product-market fit masterclass. Olsen’s roster of clients includes Google, Facebook and Amazon.

    Is there a startup growth marketing expert that you want us to know about? Let us know by filling out our survey.


    View the full article

  10. I learned about Yat in April, when a friend sent our group chat a link to a story about how the key emoji sold as an “internet identity” for $425,000. “I hate the universe,” she texted.

    Sure, the universe would be better if people with a spare $425,000 spent it on mutual aid or something, but minutes later, we were trying to figure out what this whole Yat thing was all about. And few more minutes later, I spent $5 (in U.S. dollars, not crypto) to buy ☕👉💩❗, an emoji string that I think tells a moving story about my caffeine dependency and sensitive stomach. I didn’t think I would be writing about this when I made that choice.


    Kesha’s Yat URL on Twitter

    On the surface, Yat is a platform that lets you buy a URL with emojis in it — even Kesha (y.at/🌈🚀👽), Lil Wayne (y.at/👽🎵), and Disclosure (y.at/😎🎵😎) are using them in their Twitter bios. Like any URL on the internet, Yats can redirect to another website, or they can function like a more eye-catching Linktree. While users could purchase their own domain name that supports emojis and use it instead of a Yat, many people don’t have the technical expertise or time to do so. Instead, they can make a one-time purchase from Yat, which owns the Y.at domain, and the company will provide you with your own y.at link for you.

    This convenience, however, comes at a premium. Yat uses an algorithm to determine your Yat’s “rhythm score,” its metric for determining how to price your emoji combo based on its rarity. Yats with one or two emojis are so expensive that you have to contact the company directly to buy them, but you can easily find a four- or five-emoji identity that’ll only put you out $4.

    Beyond that, CEO Naveen Jain — a Y Combinator alumnus, founder of digital marketing company Sparkart and angel investor — thinks that Yat is ultimately an internet privacy product. Jain wants people to be able to use their Yats in any way they’re able to use an online identity now, whether that’s to make payments, send messages, host a website or log in to a platform.

    “Objectively, it’s a strange norm. You go on the internet, you register accounts with ad-supported platforms, and your username isn’t universal. You have many accounts, many usernames,” Jain said. “And you don’t control them. If an account wants to shut you down, they shut you down. How many stories are there of people trying to email some social network, and they don’t respond because they don’t have to?”

    Yat doesn’t plan to fuel itself with ad money, since users pay for the product when they purchase their Yat, whether they get it for $4 or $400,000.

    In the long run, Yat’s CEO says the company plans to use blockchain technology as a way to become self-sovereign. Yats would become assets issued on decentralized, distributed databases. Today, there are several projects working to create a decentralized alternative to the current domain name system (DNS), which is managed by internet regulatory authority ICANN.  DNS is how you find things on the internet, but uses a centralized, hierarchical system. A blockchain domain name system would have no central authority, and some believe this could be the foundation of a next-gen web, or “Web 3.0.”

    Today, words like “blockchain” and “cryptocurrency” don’t appear on the Yat website. Jain doesn’t think that’s compelling to average consumers — he believes in progressive decentralization, which explains why Yats are currently purchased with dollars, not ethereum.

    “Something we think is really funny about the cryptocurrency world is that anyone who’s a part of it spends a lot of time talking about databases,” Jain said. “People don’t care about databases. When’s the last time you went to a website and it said ‘powered by MySQL’?”

    Y.at, however, was registered at a traditional internet registrar, not on the blockchain.

    “This is laying the foundation — there are certain elements of the vision that are certainly more of a social contract than actual implementation at this point in time,” says Jain. “But this is the vision that we’ve set forth, and we’re working continuously towards that goal.”

    Still, until Yat becomes more decentralized, it can’t yet give users the complete control it aspires to. At present, the Terms & Conditions give Yat the authority to terminate or suspend users at its discretion, but the company claims it hasn’t yet booted anyone from the system.

    As Yat becomes more decentralized, our terms and conditions won’t be important,” Jain said. “This is the nature of pursuing a progressive decentralization strategy.”

    In its “generation zero” phase (an open beta), Yat claims to have sold almost $20 million worth of emoji identities. Now, as the waitlist to get a Yat ends, Yat is posting some rare emoji identities on OpenSea, the NFT marketplace that recently reached a valuation of $1.5 billion.


    A still image of a Yat visualizer creation

    “For the first time ever, we’re going to be auctioning some Yats on OpenSea, and we’re going to be launching minting of Yats on Ethereum,” Jain said. Before minting Yats as NFTs, users can create a digital art landscape for their Yats through a Visualizer. These features, as well as new emojis in the Yat emoji set, will launch this evening at a virtual event called Yat Horizon.

    Yat Creators will now have more rights,” Jain said about the new ability to mint Yats as NFTs. “We are going to continue to pursue progressive decentralization until we achieve our ultimate goal: making Yat the best self-directed, self-sovereign identity system for all.”

    Consumers have a demonstrated interest in retaining greater privacy on the internet — data shows that in iOS 14.5, 96% of users opted out of ad tracking. But the decentralization movement hasn’t yet been able to market its privacy advantages to the mainstream. Yat helps solve this problem because even if you don’t understand what blockchain means, you understand that having a personal string of emojis is pretty fun. But, before you spend $425,000 on a single-emoji username, keep in mind that Yat’s vision will only completely materialize with the advent of Web 3.0, and we don’t yet know when or if that will happen.


    View the full article

  11. Google Maps is an entry into your local Black history.

    April Hamm knows Google Maps is more than just a tool to navigate from point A to B. She's harnessed the power of the app to teach people about Black history in her current city of New Orleans.

    Though she grew up in a small town in Georgia, Hamm spent a lot of time visiting New Orleans as a kid. Since 2017, Hamm's been a Google Maps Local Guide for her adopted city. Guides are contributors who volunteer their time to helps others get acquainted with places on Google Maps via personally-crafted contributions like written reviews, photos, and fact-checking information.

    "Places that were part of my own community...and primarily run or visited by Black, Indigenous, [and] people of color were simply not on the map or didn't have a strong presence," says Hamm, who is Black. "Not a lot of people were writing reviews or maybe people didn't know about them [the businesses] to visit them in the first place."

    Hamm pours a lot of energy and love into the position, even if it is unpaid. While local guides are not Google employees, there has been a chorus of activists generally calling for people of color to get paid for corporate diversity initiatives recently. Still, Hamm finds being a guide fulfilling and knows the importance of encouraging her community and tourists to visit and learn about undiscovered places in their own backyard and beyond.

    "It really starts offline for me. I love going places. Whenever I go someplace new, I love going to museums, learning about local history," says Hamm about her motivation to become a local guide.

    You, too, can create these lists in your own community, and learn from Hamm's experience. Each guide uses the technology Google provides to support the causes they care about, Hamm says.

    In her time as a local guide for Google Maps, Hamm's made lists highlighting Black history museums and other Black landmarks in New Orleans and Louisiana, created a self-guided tour to celebrate Black freedom both on Juneteenth and throughout the year, and curated places to celebrate Juneteenth in New Orleans in 2021. (Juneteenth, which marks the true end of slavery in the U.S., became a federal holiday this year.)

    For Hamm, creating these lists goes beyond an attempt to inspire her community to delve into Black history and visit local Black-owned businesses.

    "If you're a member of any minority group...it's really hurtful when you're looking for places that you care about and they're not there."

    "If you're a member of any minority group...it's really hurtful when you're looking for places that you care about and they're not there," she says.

    Not only is Hamm a fan of cultural institutions that uplift Black stories, she's also a co-founder and educator at the Jim-Ree African American Museum in Elberton Georgia. The museum is a family affair. Hamm's stepfather planted the seeds for it after he started a Black History Month committee in Elberton in the '90s. In 2015, after years of work by Hamm, her mom, and aunt, the museum formally opened in what was a former county jail.

    After opening a museum centered around Black history and culture, it was a natural segue for Hamm to create Google Maps lists of Black businesses and landmarks.

    While Hamm hasn't seen other people creating similar Google Maps lists to hers, she's observed people commenting online that they'd like to do the same.

    Hamm doesn't think the lack of Black businesses and cultural sites on Google Maps always stems from an intentional whitewashing. Sometimes, it's simply because people don't know these places exist.

    By drawing people's attention to these businesses via Google Maps lists, Hamm wants to help spotlight them and, hopefully, draw more visitors. And, of course, make Black history come alive for everyone.

    1. Creating a Google Maps list to highlight local Black history

    If you want to follow Hamm's lead and make Google Maps lists to put your local Black history on the map, Hamm has some advice.

    If you already have a few places you want to spotlight, first save them on Google Maps for yourself so you can find them later.

    "The cool thing about [Google Maps] lists is you can begin to organize it for yourself before you publish it," says Hamm. "As you discover new places, you'll simply save them."

    After, Hamm suggests visiting these places IRL to gather information about them so you can include that on your list. If you can't physically go to the site right now, do a deep dive of its website to collect as much info as possible.

    "As soon as you can, go and physically visit the location," says Hamm. "If it's a museum, find out if you need an appointment, if there's any cost, and all of that is information you're going to want to add to Google Maps so that other people will know too."

    People often avoid visiting public places because they don't know what to expect, like the hours, parking availability, or entrances for people with physical disabilities, Hamm says. While you're there, seek out that information. Also look for and include details like restroom locations, if the site is family friendly (like if they have high chairs), what kind of seating is available, and if it's wheelchair- accessible.

    Hamm also sometimes includes photos with her lists to help give people an idea of what to expect.

    "You can gather that information for yourself so you can go and visit, but also then [it's important] to share it so other people won't have to go through all of that extra trouble," says Hamm. If it's easy for people to locate that information, they'll likely visit the place rather than give up.

    Once you've gathered this information, you can use these instructions to make a Google Maps list.

    2. Identifying the right places

    If you don't know what sites are out there that celebrate Black history, that's OK.

    Start with a simple Google search, suggests Hamm. You can type something like "African American places near me" to get started.

    Don't restrict your search to the internet. Do research. Find historians in your area who study Black history and pick their brains on places they think are important to include. Hamm started this practice long before she became a Local Guide and then integrated the places she learned about into her lists.

    You can also reach out to museums and historical societies to supplement your list, suggests Hamm.

    3. Naming your lists

    Hamm often relies on themes for her lists. For example, "African-American landmarks," "Best of New Orleans Black-owned restaurants," or "Where to find clothes to wear for Juneteenth." Themes can help organize your lists so they're not random and people know what to expect from them at first glance.

    Beyond a name, you'll also want to include a short but evocative description of the location, any helpful details, and why you think it stands out.

    "It's very important that we identify things that make the place special," says Hamm. "I think that being Black-owned or women-owned, certainly those are things that are special."

    Overall, Hamm suggests making lists with content you truly care about.

    "You don't have to go with what you think might be popular," she says. "It will be more meaningful for you...and more authentic for other people," if you highlight what you're passionate about.

    4. Visiting sites in person

    If you're able to physically visit a place you want to include in your list, ask the owners or management if they'd be open to a private visit. This way, you can talk with them to curate interesting details to put in your list's description.

    If not already on the site's website, or if you want to know more, consider questions like "Tell me your story" or "how did you get started?" These kinds of questions can elicit personal stories that can help a business pop off the screen.

    "I can learn from them, what do they want people to know about their location," says Hamm about these private visits. For example, when she visited the Meals From the Heart Cafe in New Orleans' French Quarter for her New Orleans Freedom Tour list, Hamm learned its recipes have been passed down through generations.

    "I could relate to that because that's something we do in my family," says Hamm.

    If you're not able to visit a location in person, you can use information from a business' website or interview the owners via phone to fill in details.

    "It's really a human effort to get these locations on the map," says Hamm. "You don't have to be Black or anything other than what you are to help make this information more accessible."

    At the end of the day, Hamm says, Black history is American history and Google Maps lists are a way to spread this knowledge:

    "Creating lists makes it easier for people to find the information online," says Hamm. By helping to create lists, regardless of your background, you're helping more people to discover these amazing places!"


    View the full article

  12. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk claim neither has ever spoken to the other about Apple potentially acquiring Tesla.  A new book tells a different story.

    Ah, who doesn't love some drama between two rich adult men.

    On Friday, the Los Angeles Times published a review of Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins' new book about Tesla, Power Play. The review stresses that the book is about "the many employees not named Elon Musk who made essential contributions to whatever success the carmaker enjoys today," with Musk serving "not as main character but dramatic foil to those doing their best under chaotic, dysfunctional conditions," Spicy!

    But, of course, the part of the book the review discusses that is making the most waves is directly about Musk.

    Specifically, the review recounts an anecdote in the book about an alleged call between Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook. According to the book, the two CEOs spoke about Apple potentially acquiring Tesla when the electric automaker was having financial problems in 2016. Musk was into the idea, under the condition that he become the CEO. Not "stay" the CEO of Tesla — but become the CEO of Apple.

    What was Cook's response to Musk's proposition that he take over Cook's job? To say "Fuck you," and hang up the phone, according to the review's account of the book.

    Obviously this is hilarious and a beautiful exchange to contemplate. But both parties are denying that this happened.

    Which, in turn, is leading to typical Elon Musk Twitter drama.

    Reporter Mark Gurman originally published a story in Bloomberg in 2020 about how Tesla and Musk did broach a potential acquisition of Tesla by Apple in 2016. According to Musk and the report, Apple wouldn't take the meeting.

    Gurman points out that Cook told Kara Swisher a similar version of events to Musk's, but a less acrimonious one. In the interview transcript, Cook says he has "never actually spoken to" Musk, and then goes on to compliment him. Which is basically the CEO version of "I don't know her."

    Cook's assertion that they've never spoken is a bit hard to believe, considering that the two CEOs sat one seat apart at the infamous tech CEO summit held in 2017 by Trump. But a generous reading of the statement is that "never spoken" refers to a meaningful conversation about Tesla vis-à-vis an Apple acquisition. Hrmm.

    Also, Cook has not actually weighed in himself, and Apple did not return Mashable's request for comment before the time of this article's publication.

    Musk, however, couldn't let the situation naturally diffuse without having the last word.

    Musk takes Gurman's Twitter thread as an opportunity to bash the book as "false *and* boring" and talk up Tesla's growth.

    Also, just a few moments later he goes on to criticize Apple for...its App Store fees?!

    As Fortnite maker Epic Games and anti-trust investigators have argued, Musk's got a point. But with respect to the Tesla/Apple dramz, hello, left field, nice to be in you!

    The LA Times review does not give details about the source of the anecdote. Musk did reportedly refuse to participate in the book. Per the LA Times: "In an author’s note at the end, Higgins writes that Musk 'was given numerous opportunities to comment on the stories, facts, and characterizations presented in these pages. Without pointing to any specific inaccuracies, he offered simply this: 'Most, but not all, of what you read in this book is nonsense.''"

    So we've got the book giving one version of events, Cook giving his non-version, and Musk's Twitter account, all of a conversation that may or may not have happened. And now, there's a new canon of Twitter drama about it all. And scene.


    View the full article

  13. It all seems so simple. Instead of the dreaded back-and-forth on email, what if there was a solution that helped two parties (or multiple parties) schedule a call or a hangout?

    Calendly was born out of that question. Today, the company is worth more than $3 billion, according to reports, and has more than 10 million users. The growth of the product is insane, with more than 1,000% growth from last year.

    But that kind of success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication.

    To hear more about the journey from bootstrapped to billions, Calendly founder and CEO Tope Awotona will join us at Disrupt this September.

    P.S. Early Bird Tickets to Disrupt end today, Friday, July 30. Book your tickets now! 

    Awotona put his entire life savings into Calendly and managed to bootstrap it for years before taking a $350 million funding round led by OpenView and Iconiq.

    We’ll chat with Awotona about the early days of Calendly, how he navigated the hypergrowth phase, what made him choose to finally take institutional funding, his thoughts on pricing and packaging, and much more.

    Awotona joins an incredible roster of speakers, including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Mirror’s Brynn Putnam, Chamath Palihapitiya, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and more. Plus, Disrupt features the legendary Startup Battlefield competition, where startups from across the globe compete for $100,000 and eternal glory.

    Disrupt’s virtual format provides plenty of opportunity for questions, so come prepared to ask the experts about the issues that keep you up at night.

    One post can’t possibly contain all of Disrupt’s events. Don’t miss the epic Startup Battlefield competition, hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting in the Startup Alley expo area, special breakout sessions — like the Pitch Deck Teardown — and so much more.

    TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 offers tons of opportunities. Don’t miss out on the first one — buy your Disrupt pass today, July 30, by 11:59 p.m. (PDT) for less than $100. It’s a sweet deal!

    Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


    View the full article

  14. At the end of every year, Your EDM releases a list of 40 artists we believe will do great things in the following year. In 2020, we put euphorian on that list, and their debut EP on Never Say Die only serves to reinforce that our decision was 100% accurate.

    Where to even begin with youth, the 6-track EP that dropped today on NSD. It’s bombastic, diverse, powerful, and perpetually interesting. It’s also a sound that we haven’t really heard on NSD apart from Moore Kismet, which is no coincidence as the two are friends and Moore actually designed euphorian’s new cover art and logo.

    But that is not to say that euphorian was given special treatment — one listen to the EP will throw away all misconceptions of such as you intently listen to the bubbling synths, deep bass, and beautiful melodies on each of the tracks. Beginning with the dazzling chaos of “mentality” and ending with the opulent, refined songwriting and composition of “magic,” the entire EP is a polished and pure listening experience from start to finish.

    Listen to youth below and don’t forget to follow euphorian!

    This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: euphorian makes their Never Say Die debut with incredible “youth” EP

    View the full article

  15. TrillerEver since the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight was streamed illegally online, Triller has been filing copyright infringement lawsuits against the alleged culprits.

    The campaign began with a $100m complaint against multiple “business entities” but a judge dismissed all but one of the parties from the action, warning that by joining all of them as cooperating parties, the illegal conduct of one defendant could be wrongly attributed to another independent defendant.

    In response, Triller began filing separate actions against each entity. One of those suits targeted YouTuber ‘ItsLilBrandon’, later identified as Brandon T. Williams.

    Allegations Against Williams

    Triller’s complaint alleged that Williams is the operator of the ‘ItsLilBrandon’ YouTube channel, which seemed a reasonable conclusion to draw, adding that Williams publicly displayed the Jake Paul fight and asked followers to “help out” by donating to mobile payment processing service Cash App.

    However, without any supporting evidence, the company also went on to claim that Williams owns and operates a number of torrent and streaming websites and accused Williams of utilizing the ‘ItsLilBrandon’ branding as a shell to avoid liability to Triller.

    Following up on these somewhat grand allegations, Triller accused Williams of copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement, violations of the Federal Communications Act, conversion, and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

    Williams Was Served, Triller Seeks Default Judgment

    The case docket reveals that 19-year-old Williams was served with the summons and complaint during the morning of June 7. Triller’s representative couldn’t locate the defendant at the expected address but Williams later accepted service at an address in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

    On July 1, Triller applied for entry of a clerk’s default against Williams, stating that Williams had failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint within 21 days of being served. A day later, the clerk entered default against Brandon Williams and ItsLilBrandon, ordering Triller to file a motion for default judgment no later than July 20, 2021.

    United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin informed Triller on July 6 that its motion should include detailed information, such as the damages and injunctive relief sought, and any claim for attorney’s fees. One of the basic requirements was that any claim for damages must be “supported by detailed, clear, and thorough calculations” that cite the “underlying admissible evidence, such as contracts, spreadsheets, and declarations.”

    The Judge warned that failing to file for a motion for default containing the information detailed in his order could result in the motion being denied. It could even see the case against the defendant being dismissed for failure to prosecute and/or failing to comply with a court order.

    Triller Fails To Comply With The Judge’s Instructions

    In minutes dated July 26, Judge Olguin notes that Triller had been ordered to serve a motion for default judgment no later than July 20 and had been warned that failure could result in the action against Brandon Williams and ItsLilBrandon being dismissed.

    Triller failed to comply with that order.

    Noting that dismissal is a severe penalty and an extreme remedy, the Judge adds that relevant factors have to be weighed before dismissal including the public’s interest in expeditious resolution of litigation, the court’s need to manage its docket, and the risk of prejudice to defendants and respondents.

    “Plaintiff’s failure to file the motion for default judgment hinders the court’s ability to move this case toward disposition and indicates that plaintiff does not intend to litigate this action,” Judge Olguin writes.

    “Thus, having considered the Pagtalunan factors, the court is persuaded that the instant action should be dismissed for failure to comply with a court order and failure to prosecute.”

    The case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that a new complaint can be filed at a later date. However, in light of the Judge’s demands that a detailed damages claim is required (no evidence supporting such a claim has been presented to the court), it’s open to question whether Triller is genuinely interested in pursuing this matter any further.

    The supporting court documents can be found here (1,2,3 – pdf)

    From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

    View the full article

  16. Software developers and engineers have rarely been in higher demand. Organizations’ need for technical talent is skyrocketing, but the supply is quite limited. As a result, software professionals have the luxury of being very choosy about where they work and usually command big salaries.

    In 2020, the U.S. had nearly 1.5 million full-time developers, who earned a median salary of around $110,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the next 10 years, the federal agency estimates, developer jobs will grow by 22% to 316,000.

    But what happens after a developer or engineer lands that sweet gig? Are they able to harness their skills and grow in interesting and challenging new directions? Do they understand what it takes to move up the ladder? Are they merely doing a job or cultivating a rewarding professional life?

    To put it bluntly, many developers and engineers stink at managing their own careers.

    These are the kinds of questions that have gnawed at me throughout my 25 years in the tech industry. I’ve long noticed that, to put it bluntly, many developers and engineers stink at managing their own careers.

    It’s simply not a priority for some. By nature, developers delight in solving complex technical challenges and working hard toward their company’s digital objectives. Care for their own careers may feel unattractively self-promotional or political — even though it’s in fact neither. Charting a career path may feel awkward or they just don’t know how to go about it.

    Companies owe it to developers and engineers, and to themselves, to give these key people the tools to understand what it takes to be the best they can be. How else can developers and engineers be assured of continually great experiences while constantly expanding their contributions to their organizations?

    Developers delight in solving complex challenges and working hard toward their company’s objectives. Care for their own careers may feel unattractively self-promotional or political — even though it’s in fact neither.

    Coaching and mentoring can help, but I think a more formal management system is necessary to get the wind behind the sails of a companywide commitment to making developers and engineers believe that, as the late Andy Grove said, “Your career is your business and you are its CEO.”

    That’s why I created a career development model for developers and engineers when I was an Intel Fellow at Intel between 2003 and 2013. This framework has since been put into practice at the three subsequent companies I worked at — Google, VMWare, and, now, Juniper Networks — through training sessions and HR processes.

    The model is based on a principle that every developer can relate to: Treat career advancement as you would a software project.

    That’s right, by thinking of career development in stages like those used in app production, developers and engineers can gain a holistic view of where they are in their professional lives, where they want to go and the gaps they need to fill.

    Step 1: Functional specification

    In software development, a team can’t get started until it has a functional specification that describes the app’s requirements and how it is supposed to perform and behave.

    Why should a career be any different? In my model, folks begin by assessing the “functionality” expected of someone at their next career level and how they’re demonstrating them (or not). Typically, a person gets promoted to a higher level only when they already demonstrate that they are operating at that level.


    View the full article

  17. A 13-tonne Tesla Megapack caught fire on Friday morning at a battery storage facility in south-east Australia. The blaze occurred during testing at between 10 and 10.15am local time, according to Victorian Big Battery. The regional fire service said a specialist fire crew had been dispatched to the site in Geelong, Victoria. Firefighters were using a hazmat appliance designed for hazardous chemical spills and specialist drones to conduct atmospheric monitoring, according to Fire Rescue Victoria.

    The site was evacuated and there were no injuries, Victorian Big Battery said in a statement. It added that the site had been disconnected from the power grid and that there will be no impact to the electric supply. French energy company Neoen, which operates the facility, and contractor Tesla are working with emergency services to manage the situation.

    As a result of the fire, a warning for toxic smoke has been issued in the nearby Batesford, Bell Post Hill, Lovely Banks and Moorabool areas, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Residents were warned to move indoors, close windows, vents and fireplace flues and bring their pets inside.

    The Victorian Big Battery site, a 300 MW/450 MWh battery storage facility, is viewed as key to the Victorian government’s 50 percent renewable energy target by 2030. It follows the success of Neoen and Tesla’s 100 MW/129 MWh battery farm in Hornsdale in South Australia, which was completed ahead of schedule and has resulted in multi-million dollar savings for market players and consumers. Both sites essentially provide a regional power backup for when renewable energy is not available, effectively filling the gap when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

    In February, Neoen announced that the Victorian Big Battery would utliize Tesla’s megapacks — utility-sized batteries produced at the company’s Gigafactory — and Autobidder software to sell power to the grid. Victorian Big Battery has a contract with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). As part of the pact, the site will provide energy stability by unlocking an additional 250 MW of peak capacity on the existing Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector over the next decade of Australian summers.

    Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Engadget.


    View the full article

  18. NGHTMRE offers another way to listen to Illenium and Matt Maeson’s recent release, “Heavenly Side.”

    “Heavenly Side” in its original form is a fresh take on the signature Illenium sound fans know and love, romantic as ever with an alternative edge. The song is all about overcoming pain, anger and darkness to become a new and improved version of yourself.

    MORE: ILLENIUM Releases Emotional Fourth Album, ‘Fallen Embers’

    Trading the production’s emotional, rock-fused undertones for a more upbeat, dance arrangement with pitched-up vocals and bright synths, “Heavenly Side” is nearly unrecognizable in NGHTMRE’s remix. If you already love the original, try to go in with an open mind.

    Listen and hear “Heavenly Side” in a new light!

    Illenium & Matt Maeson – Heavenly Side (NGHTMRE Remix)

    This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: NGHTMRE Remixes Illenium & Matt Maeson’s “Heavenly Side” [LISTEN]

    View the full article

  19. Jhay Cortez and Skrillex bring the heat in their new club-friendly collaboration together, “En Mi Cuarto.”

    Vocals from the Puerto Rican singer/songwriter glide effortlessly over the track, also produced in part by Tainy. This genre-bending deep cut fuses elements of reggaeton and dance into one seamless, addictive groove, embracing styles of both Skrillex and Jhay Cortez at its core.

    The music video directed by Stillz features Mia Khalifa, flashes through lonely moments following a breakup, only to be interrupted by motorcycle stunts and an imminent, fiery blaze.

    Cortez shares of the track (translated), “I can die in peace because I made a track and Skrillex finished it.”

    “En Mi Cuarto” follows up a wave of collaborative releases from Skrillex including “Butterflies” with Starrah and Four Tet, “Too Bizarre” with Swae Lee & Siiickbrain, “Supersonic (My Existence)” with Noisia, josh pan & Dylan Brady and “In Da Getto” with J Balvin.

    Listen here!

    Jhay Cortez, Skrillex – En Mi Cuarto (Official Video)

    This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Jhay Cortez & Skrillex Drop New Club Heater “En Mi Cuarto,” Music Video Starring Mia Khalifa [WATCH]

    View the full article

  20. hero-image.jpg

    You Got This is a series that spotlights the gear you need to improve one area of your life. If you buy something from this post, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Whether you’re living on or off-campus, starting your first semester, or heading into your final year, it’s important to set yourself up for maximum success as a college student. That means coming prepared for whatever campus life might throw at you, both in the classroom and back at your home or dorm.

    Having the best tech for your lifestyle will be essential to your success — and there’s nothing more important than choosing the right laptop to power your collegiate pursuits. While many students assume a general usage laptop will be the best all-purpose computer for their needs, that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, students looking for speedy and portable machines should consider turning to a gaming laptop.

    The key to gaming laptops’ MVP status for college coursework and beyond? The same thing that makes them so great for the highly visual world of your favorite games: a high-performance GPU. A solid GPU delivers eye-popping graphics for gaming, yes, but that also means accelerated performance for the apps you’ll need in your classes and more. NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 Series Laptop GPUs accelerate apps and creative workflows so that you can make the most of student life.

    Along with our picks for the best all-around back-to-school laptops, we’ve got great recommendations for the right tech and accessories to keep campus life running smoothly:

    Get a STEM-ready machine

    Unless you want to waste valuable time waiting for your computer to process your coursework in your STEM classes, you’ll want a powerful GPU to keep up with your science and engineering apps. With the latest NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU, this MSI system enables speedy simulation, visualization, computation, fast model training for data science, economics, and rapid AI processing.

    Have the power to create

    If you’re a creator, NVIDIA Studio laptops offer the powerhouse performance of an entire creative studio, turbocharging your apps so that your ambitions and creative visions are never hamstrung by slow or choppy workflows. Thanks to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs, your creative work will look amazing and run as smoothly as silk. Filmmakers can edit and render 4K, 6K, and even 8K video with ease. Designers and visual artists can render jaw-droppingly detailed 3D worlds at blazing speeds, power Adobe Creative Cloud with breezy ease, and enjoy GPU-accelerated ray tracing for visualizing hyper-realistic spaces. There are tons of NVIDIA Studio options — check out this Acer Swift X laptop as a great example.

    Empower studying from anywhere

    Chances are, you’ll be attending virtual classes or doing some measure of remote work at school. NVIDIA Broadcast taps powerful AI to improve your remote learning and collaboration experiences: AI noise reduction adapts to block distractions in both ingoing and outgoing audio, while background blur, background replacement, and low-light noise removal ensure your camera will work wherever you need to be as you collaborate with classmates. Pairing easily with all top remote learning video conferencing apps, NVIDIA Broadcast will have you covered no matter your prof’s preference of vid-chat software. This lightweight MSI Stealth offers heavy-hitting graphics of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU in an ultra-portable design weighing just 3.7 pounds and measuring less than an inch thick — with NVIDIA Broadcast tech, that makes for a powerfully portable remote-learning machine.

    All gaming goodness

    For a gamer’s gaming laptop, systems with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU offer visually stunning ray tracing, NVIDIA DLSS AI acceleration, and NVIDIA Reflex, which is a revolutionary suite of technologies that measure and reduce system latency in competitive games. Needless to say, this is a computational powerhouse when you’re diving into coursework. The Razer Blade 14 can be configured with this GPU in a nice 14” form factor.

    Enable swift multitasking

    Juggle assignments or make power plays with an ultra-lightweight, Reflex Latency Analyzer compatible wireless mouse, designed for top esports pros.

    Set up a virtual lecture hall

    Even with the return to campus, remote learning is here to stay as a powerful tool for studying on your schedule and digging deeper into a subject. Get immersed in your game with the newest NVIDIA G-SYNC gaming monitors. Models with IPS panels offer great color to satisfy your creative streak, and a blazing-fast 360Hz refresh rate gives you an advantage on the battlefield

    Mobilize your tech

    Comfortably carry all your gear in a sturdy and stylish backpack with a five-point balance strap system and a roomy interior to fit your laptop and books, as well as headphones and keyboard. It’s also stackable on a roll-on suitcase when you’re traveling.

    Get a smart desk lamp

    Illuminate your study space with a dimmable, touch-controlled lamp providing white, warm, and warm white light. Cram for exams late-night and use Alexa or Google Home to let your lamp know when it’s lights out.


    View the full article

  21. Today seems to be a day for long-awaited collaborations, as RL Grime and Baauer put out “Fallaway,” and Sullivan King and Subtronics finally team up for the explosive “Take Flight.”

    Sullivan King is fresh off the release of his sophomore album, LOUD, and Subtronics has already put out a ton of new music this year, in addition to his own debut album last year, String Theory. The new collaboration sees the two put their styles together in a guitar-shredding, face-melting fusion of rock and dubstep.

    Check out “Take Flight” below!


    Photos via Rukes.com

    This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Sullivan King & Subtronics Collide On Brand New Collaboration, “Take Flight”

    View the full article

  • Create New...