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BLACK LIVES MATTER! ×
BLACK LIVES MATTER!

NelsonG

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  1. Trending house artist Matroda and his buddy San Pacho have made a major winner of a single in, “La Pasion.” Dark, techy, and all around infectious, you can feel the rhythm and groove deeply in this one. A bit of a Spanish ambience in there for the romantics to ruminate on and technically equipped to go off in the club, this is one single with all the parts in play to pop off. It’s no surprise that Matroda knows what it takes to make a track right, he’s got over 50,000,000 plays to his name and artists like Diplo, Tiesto, Dj Snake, Tchami, and Don Diablo have all played out his music in recent times.  Now Matroda is embarking on a crazy long tour in North America, hitting a ton of stops along the way. San Pacho is someone not to sleep on as well, he’s released with a bunch of well known labels like UKF, Confession, In Rotation, Divided Souls, and Space Yacht and gained the support of the king himself on his debut EP: Skrillex. Don’t miss out out on two talents combining the best parts of their style in “La Pasion.” Check out the tour dates below. JACK THE HOUSE TOUR NORTH AMERICA 2021 SEP 3 TREEHOUSE, MIAMI BEACH, FL SEP 10 DISTRICT, ATLANTA, GA SEP 11 THE RITZ YBOR, TAMPA FL SEP 12 DAY TRIP AT ACADEMY, LOS ANGELES, CA SEP 16 SOUNDCHECK, WASHINGTON, DC SEP 17 ILL FEST MUSIC & ART FESTIVAL, AUSTIN, TX SEP 18 THE SALT YARD EAST, ALBUQUERQUE, NM SEP 24 SPYBAR, CHICAGO,IL SEP 25 AURA, KANSAS CITY, MO OCT 1 NOTO, PHILADELPHIA,PA OCT 2 SKYWAY THEATRE, MINNEAPOLIS, MN OCT 8 KABANA ROOFTOP, RICHMOND, VA OCT 9 SHADY PARK, TEMPE, AZ OCT 14 SKY SLC, SALT LAKE CITY,UT OCT 15 TEMPLE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA OCT 22 THE CHURCH NIGHTCLUB, DENVER, CO OCT 30 FREAKY DEAKY, HOUSTON, TX NOV 5 DAHLIA NIGHTCLUB, COLUMBUS, OH NOV 6 GREEN DOOR, EL PASO, TX NOV 12 TIME NIGHTCLUB, ORANGE COUNTY, CA NOV 19 VULCAN GAS COMPANY, AUSTIN, TX NOV 20 DEEP ELLUM ART CO., DALLAS, TX This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: Matroda & San Pacho Come Full Force on Infectious Collaboration, ‘La Pasion’ View the full article
  2. The track appears on the forthcoming Velvet Underground & Nico tribute compilation View the full article
  3. It's been a while, but Motorola's got new flagships. Three of them, in fact: the Motorola Edge 20 Pro, Motorola Edge 20, and Motorola Edge 20 Lite. They're the first flagship devices the company launched since the Edge+, which launched in April last year. The star of the show is, of course, the Motorola Edge 20 Pro, which has a decent set of features: a 6.7-inch, OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 870 processor, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, 5G connectivity, and a 4,500mAh batttery with fast, 30W charging (no wireless charging, though). The phone has a triple rear camera, with a 108-megapixel main sensor, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and an 8-megapixel sensor with a periscope lens that offers 5x optical zoom. On the front, you'll find a single, 32-megapixel wide sensor. Other tidbits of note include an under-display fingerprint sensor, and a splashproof (but not waterproof) design. The Edge 20 Pro is available in blue vegan leather, or the Midnight Blue and Iridescent White colors. SEE ALSO: The best smartphones of 2021 (so far) Both the Edge 20 and the Edge 20 Lite have the same-sized, 6.7-inch display (though refresh rate only goes to 90Hz on the Lite), and a 108-megapixel main camera. Motorola Edge 20 is a bit thinner than the Edge 20 Pro, but it pays for that with a smaller battery. Credit: motorola The Edge 20, however, is a bit thinner at 6.99mm, has a smaller, 4,000mAh battery, a less powerful, Snapdragon 778G processor, 6/8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. There's also no periscope camera on the back. Colors on offer are Frosted Emerald, Frosted Grey, and Frosted White (yes, everything's frosted with this one). Finally, the Edge 20 Lite has a Dimensity 720 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but it has the largest battery in this bunch, with a 5,000mAh capacity and 30W fast charging. Colors that are available are Electric Graphite and Lagoon Green. Side-by-side: Motorola Edge 20 Pro, Edge 20, and Edge 20 Lite. Credit: motorola Now for the not-so-great bits. At €699.99 ($833), €499.99 ($595), and €349.99 ($416), these three phones undercut top flagships by a fair amount, and should ideally provide good value. But Motorola is only committing to two years of security updates and "at least" two major Android OS upgrades, which erodes the value for anyone planning to buy these phones and have them for more than two years. All three devices will be available in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, though there's no exact date right now. Motorola didn't share details on U.S. availability. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/PdIQOaZvvMQView the full article
  4. http://torrentfreak.com/images/brein.pngWhen it comes to civil anti-piracy enforcement, BREIN is without a doubt one of the best-known players in the industry. The group, which receives support from Hollywood and other content industries, has shuttered hundreds of smaller sites and services in recent history. It was also responsible for taking down Mininova, once one of the largest torrent sites online. Despite the COVID pandemic, BREIN continued these enforcement actions in 2020. The group has just published a detailed overview of last year’s accomplishments, which provides a clear insight into the group’s anti-piracy priorities. BREIN Dealt With 466 Pirate Sites and Services Looking at the numbers we see that the anti-piracy group has closed the books on a rather productive year. In total, it completed 479 investigations which resulted in the shutdown of 466 illegal sites and services. These targets include torrent and streaming sites but also open directories, Facebook groups, and sellers of illegal IPTV subscriptions. In addition, over a million links to pirate sites were removed from third-party search engines such as Google. BREIN often starts its investigations based on referrals from copyright holders. Interestingly, some referrals point to scam sites. These are fake pirate sites that try to trick people into handing over credit card details or other info. In 2020, BREIN received 154 of these tips from copyright holders. The sites don’t offer pirated content so BREIN doesn’t have to take action. However, the group was kind enough to report them to ScamAdviser.com, so people can avoid these traps in the future. Dynamic Pirate Bay Blockade One of the most prominent achievements is the Pirate Bay blockade. After a legal battle of more than ten years, the court ruled that Dutch ISPs have to block access to the torrent site and all proxies that pop up. This ‘dynamic’ blocking order allows BREIN to add any new IP-addresses and domain names that may appear online. It doesn’t just apply to the main Pirate Bay site. In total, 180 proxies and mirrors were added to the blocklist. According to BREIN, this measure resulted in a significant decrease in Dutch Pirate Bay visitors. The group hopes to extend its reach in the near future, by requesting more blocking orders from the court. “The blocking of access to the illegal bittorrent site The Pirate Bay has led to a drop of more than 95% in Dutch visitors. Now that it has finally been granted by the Dutch courts in 2020, BREIN is focusing on obtaining blocking of other popular illegal sites as well,” BREIN notes. In addition to these measures, the anti-piracy group also took direct action against the operator of the proxy site provider Piratebay-proxylist.net, which had millions of monthly visitors. BREIN took over the domain and the operator agreed to pay 280,000 euros in compensation. Settlements, Warnings, and Potential Prosecutions As every year, BREIN also goes after uploaders and other people who make pirated content available. Just last week, it announced a settlement with a large-scale uploader of Dutch comic books, who was tracked down through open-source intelligence. In 2020, the group signed a total of 42 settlements with copyright infringers, and efforts to tackle other major uploaders will continue. BREIN also started to warn large-scale torrent uploaders. The group is not interested in casual pirates, but tracks down the big fish and asks Internet providers to forward a warning to these subscribers. This warning campaign is still at an early stage but BREIN hopes that it will have a significant impact in the long run. Finally, BREIN is also hinting at possible criminal prosecutions. Generally speaking, copyright infringement isn’t a priority for Dutch law enforcement. However, that may change when there’s an annual turnover of 100,000 euros, or when there’s an organizational layer involved. The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) is currently processing a case referred to it by BREIN, and more referrals are in the pipeline. From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  5. Jeremih, Davido, and Yung Bleu feature on the Chicago R&B singer-songwriter’s full-length View the full article
  6. The visual was directed by Mars and Florent Déchard and co-directed by Philippe Tayag View the full article
  7. TL;DR: The 2021 Google Software Engineering Manager Prep Bundle is on sale for £28.84 as of July 30, saving you 98% on list price. Aspiring to be a software engineer is admirable. Aspiring to be a software engineer at Google is extraordinarily ambitious — but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to achieve. Just like any other dream job, the only way to get there is by simply taking the first step. And this 2021 Google Software Engineering Manager Prep Bundle offers the perfect stepping stone. This bundle is curated with key courses to help you master all the tech skills you need to become a Google software engineer. There are a dozen courses total and each of them is taught by a top online instructor, including Minerva Singh, a data scientist with a 4.3-star rating; Mark Misin, an aerospace and robotics engineer with a 4.7-star rating; Paulo Dichone, an Android, Java, and Flutter developer with a 4.4-star rating; along with a few others. You can train completely at your own pace with over 90 hours of content and start filling your CV with in-demand skills like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning with Python, AI in digital marketing, UI design, data visualization, and programming in Java and C#. There are even courses designed to help you prep for and ace specific ISACA exams, like the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification. These courses will come in handy as study guides before you sit for the exams. Of course, because this is Google software engineering preparation we’re talking about, there’s also a course specifically focused on business data visualisation, analytics, and reporting with Google Data Studio (GDS). Remember, this course load is just a starting point. If you really want to become a software engineering manager at Google, building up your management skills wouldn’t be a bad idea either. In fact, the more well-rounded you appear, the more desirable you’ll be to hiring managers. Of course, nobody can promise a job at Google, but these skills could be a stepping stone. For a limited time, you can sign up for all 12 courses in this bundle for just £28.84. Credit: Lazy Programmer Save 98% on the 2021 Google Software Engineering Manager Prep Bundle Buying Options See Details http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/i7c9YBiXlpgView the full article
  8. “2021 has this feeling of a darkness lifting and I just wanted to capture that”—Aluna View the full article
  9. Kenny Beats produced the track from the newly released The House Is Burning View the full article
  10. TL;DR: The 2021 Premium Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs Certification Bundle is on sale for £25.24 as of July 30, saving you 98% on list price. Discover how to expand your brand’s reach with the 2021 Premium Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs Bundle. Through 10 courses, you’ll dive into the major digital marketing tools at your disposal. You'll take classes on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as more general topics like email marketing, podcasting, and building a community online. There's over 70 hours of content, but you can work your way through it at your own pace. You'll also have lifetime access. You’ll learn about Google Ads from Isaac Rudansky, who is the co-founder of AdVenture Media and has earned an instructor rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. You’ll get an email marketing masterclass from Ryan Ford, a seven-figure Amazon FBA seller, consultant, and online entrepreneur. And you’ll learn about podcasting, YouTube, blogging, SEO, and more from Phil Ebiner. While this course bundle is valued at £1,442, you can sign up for all 10 of these premium digital marketing courses for only £25.24 for a limited time. Credit: Isaac Rudanksy Save 98% on the 2021 Premium Digital Marketing for Entrepreneurs Certification Bundle Buying Options See Details http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/PWT-2NP6YYUView the full article
  11. Grammy-winning singer Lorde joined "high priest of the hot sauce universe" Sean Evans on Hot Ones this week, remaining admirably composed as she happily worked her way through Evans' selection of high-Scoville sauces as though they were simply sharing a normal lunch. Speaking about her new album Solar Power, becoming famous at 16, and her love of New Zealand cheese, Lorde also finally provided the criteria she uses to judge onion rings on her Instagram account famously dedicated to the fried snack. SEE ALSO: Watch 'WandaVision' star Elizabeth Olsen conquer 'Hot Ones' like a superhero "I want an onion that has been cut thickly," Lorde told Evans, indicating with her fingers just how big she's talking. "I want a pretty toothsome vertical bite. I want a pretty crisp yet thick crust, you know, I want it to have some substance. I guess I'd probably more be into a battered than a crumbed if forced to make a choice, so that's maybe the way that my bias skews. I like a white onion, although I have had a few red onion rings that have caught my eye." Of course, a Lorde-approved onion ring also has to cleanly yield when bitten. "Nothing worse than the threads," said Lorde. "Makes a mockery of the institution." http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/qFx0O2xqWeMView the full article
  12. Lady Gaga will always be known for her pop hits and meat dresses, but the trailer for upcoming movie House of Gucci sees her dominate the screen in slightly more luxurious couture. House of Gucci follows Italian socialite Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) throughout her relationship with eventual ex-husband Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), the head of luxury Italian fashion house Gucci. The biographical film isn't all clothes and canapés though, eventually culminating in an intensely high profile murder. Directed by Ridley Scott, House of Gucci also features Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Jack Huston, Salma Hayek and Al Pacino, who will all presumably perform Italian accents to the best of their varying abilities. However if the trailer is anything to go by, it's Gaga's big voice, big hair, and bigger presence that will be the film's magnetising force. House of Gucci hits theatres November 24. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/WXJKtMQmFsgView the full article
  13. UPDATE: July 30, 2021, 4:03 p.m. AEST Snap has announced via Twitter that the problem has now been solved, telling users to manually update the app if they continue to experience issues. Original story below: The Snapchat ghost is even more elusive than usual right now. Users on Twitter and on Downdetector reported Thursday that they were unable to access Snapchat. Snap confirmed on Twitter that it was aware of the issue. Multiple people have posted on Twitter that they were unable to sign in, and that the issue did not resolve after deleting the app, restarting their phones, and re-installing. Downdetector shows that outages occurred in cities across the U.S. (Editor's note: Mashable's parent company, J2, owns Downdetector). A spicy Thursday! Credit: SCreenshot: downdetector Snapchat had an outage last month involved with updates to its app. That issue resolved in about one day. Mashable has reached out to Snap for more information. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/ivzHwZ9geJsView the full article
  14. When "work from home" becomes "work from the Airbnb," you better hope the rental host has a good WiFi setup. Now, with a new change to Airbnb's listings, you no longer have to hope — you'll know exactly what type of internet connection you'll be dealing with. On Thursday, Airbnb announced plans to include a new section on its rental listings that will show WiFi speed and quality — before you book. Hosts can now fill out a WiFi speed check available in the app. Airbnb is using M-Lab's download and upload speed checker, which tests the connection through the host's mobile device. The new feature will begin rolling out in U.S. locations before going global a few weeks later. WiFi info added by hosts will show up on the Airbnb app as part of the rental description for browsing guests. WiFi info is now available in the Airbnb app. Credit: Airbnb Previously, hosts could manually post speed test screenshots showing upload and download speeds for their listing's network. But not every listing offered this information and that'll continue even with the built-in feature. For guests, especially those working remotely while traveling or living away from home, the change is a boon since checking on internet strength has been an extra hassle and factor in selecting and booking a stay. Airbnb's new WiFi check will spell out how fast (or slow) a connection is, but if you want to better understand what the numbers for download and upload speed, and latency mean, here's a primer. SEE ALSO: Airbnb's party crackdown has blocked more than 100,000 bookings Our next Airbnb feature request? Information about outlets, nearby public stations, or home set-ups for electric vehicle charging. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/jGiEWGSamycView the full article
  15. "Cassie" is a robot created at Oregon State University that made history by running a 5K thanks to machine learning. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/GMUbzyKUckwView the full article
  16. The Office successfully wrapped up its fair share of complex storylines over the course of nine seasons, but in the year 2021 fans still don't know the identity of the infamous Scranton Strangler. Or do we? For anyone who needs a refresher, the Scranton Strangler was a mysterious serial killer referenced within Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch during Season 6 to Season 9. There have been a number of theories (both on and offscreen) surrounding the identity of the killer, but we never got definitive closure. Some people assumed the chaotic, constantly unhinged Creed Bratton was to blame, while others swore that the incredibly dull and largely loathed HR rep Toby Flenderson was more capable of murder. Toby eventually served on the jury for the strangler case and said he believed the man accused, one George Howard Skub, was innocent. Interesting! Then, in March 2018 the official YouTube channel for The Office posted a Making a Murder parody video titled Making A Strangler, which explored the theory that Toby was indeed the one doing the strangling. There's a lot to unpack here, but one theory we'd like to throw into the ring for consideration is that David Wallace, Dunder Mifflin's CFO played by Andy Buckley, was the Scranton Strangler all along. It may seem like a bizarre theory, but even Buckley himself confessed that it sounds pretty plausible. Let's walk you thought it, shall we? The uncommon theory was tweeted by Mashable's very own video producer, Jules Suzdaltsev, more than a year ago on February 15, 2020. In a thread about the workplace comedy he came right out and said it: "David Wallace is the Scranton Strangler." A few days later Buckley replied to the theory by saying, "Very well could be Jules," then sharing some thoughts of his own. "He had it in him to just snap. Hot tub middle of the day, boozing, creating the Suck It. And what was he doing in Season 8 the 3rd or 4th to last Ep. Runs into Andy at a local Scranton Charity Dinner? Why was he in Scranton?" Buckley tweeted about his character David before saying, "Perhaps you're correct." For fans of The Office who've been trying to figure out who the Scranton Strangler was since 2010, this is potentially a huge development. Technically the information was shared over a year ago, but we're reporting it now because Jules just saw the tweet and is now "LOSING IT." (We'll give him a pass because life gets hectic and sometimes you miss things, but do not leave Office fans hanging again.) Since I share a workplace with Jules I messaged him and asked him to explain the David Wallace Scranton Strangler theory in a little more detail. Here's what Jules had to say: My friend and I came up with this theory a few years ago, and it makes perfect sense. Wallace is essentially The Office's Patrick Bateman, a clean-cut, unflinching multi-millionaire with a "heart of gold" who everyone likes. So why does he let Michael get away with everything, and why does he spend so much time in Scranton when he lives in Greenwich, Connecticut and works in NYC? That’s like a three hour drive! Its simple - Michael's branch gives him plausible deniability to be in Scranton, where he has been strangling strangers for a better part of a decade. Who would ever suspect David Wallace? Nobody, and it's always the person you least suspect. In fact, why do you think he sent away Holly? Is it because she and Michael were getting too close, or is it because Holly was getting too close to the truth? David Wallace is a murderer and should be brought to justice. What do we think, people? Is David Wallace actually a criminal who de-stressed in his hot tub after long days of cold-blooded killing? Or was it just Toby? You decide. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/MUTWivTbj2YView the full article
  17. The Airship Orchestra is an interactive art installation that just so happens to incredibly cute and mesmerizing. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Mashable/~4/TGvVbJ-hYXoView the full article
  18. The “repeat infringer” issue remains a hot topic in US courts after rightsholders filed lawsuits against several ISPs. These Internet providers are accused of not doing enough to stop copyright infringers on their networks, even after receiving multiple ‘copyright infringement’ notifications. The copyright infringement allegations can have real consequences. In 2019, a Virginia jury ordered Internet provider Cox to pay a billion dollars in damages to a group of major record labels. This case is being appealed but at the same time, other ISPs have been dragged to court over similar issues. Filmmaker Sue WOW! Most of the early ‘repeat infringer’ cases were filed by music companies backed by the industry group RIAA. However, in recent weeks some independent movie companies have filed similar lawsuits featuring even more far-reaching demands. This includes a copyright infringement lawsuit against Internet provider Wide Open West, better known as WOW!. In a complaint filed at a federal court in Colorado, the makers of movies including “After We Collided,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Rambo V: Last Blood,” and “London Had Fallen” accuse WOW! of contributory and vicarious copyright infringement. The ISP allegedly turned a blind eye to pirating subscribers. “Defendant failed to terminate the accounts and/or take any meaningful actions against its subscribers in response to the Notices consistent with a reasonably implemented policy for termination of subscribers […] who are repeat infringers,” the complaint reads. No Meaningful Action The movie companies, represented by attorney Kerry Culpepper, list several examples of account holders for whom WOW! was sent dozens of copyright infringement notices. Despite these alerts, the accounts remained active and continued their piracy activities. For one IP address, the rightsholders sent over 100 infringement notices, without any meaningful response. That account was eventually terminated earlier this year after the attorney alerted WOW! through a separate letter. The fact that WOW! advertised high-speed Internet access, combined with the inaction against online piracy, attracts potential copyright infringers to the ISP, the complaint alleges. As such, WOW! should be held liable for the pirating activities on its network. “Defendant’s subscribers are motivated to become subscribers from the knowledge of Defendant’s practice of ignoring notices of infringements or failing to take any meaningful action,” the movie companies write. YTS Evidence There are a few key differences between the music companies’ repeat infringers lawsuits and the present one. Most notably, the movie companies cite specific cases where WOW! subscribers used the popular torrent site YTS to download content. That claim is backed up by an affidavit from the operator of YTS, who signed settlements with several of the movie companies in the past. As part of this deal, the operator agreed to hand over data from the site’s user database. With this lawsuit, the movie companies hope to recoup millions of dollars in piracy damages. However, that’s just the beginning. Site Blocking, Three-Strikes, and Identifying Pirates What stands out most are the far-reaching and concrete demands for injunctive relief. The complaint specifically requests an order requiring WOW! to terminate subscribers whose accounts were targeted by three unique infringement notices in three days. In addition to this mandatory three-strikes policy, WOW! should also block all alleged pirate sites that are listed in the USTR’s annual overview of notorious markets. This includes the likes of The Pirate Bay, RARBG, and YTS. Finally, the movie companies request an order which requires the ISP to disclose the identities of account holders whose accounts are flagged for copyright infringement. This would allow the companies to target the alleged pirates directly. – order Defendant to adopt a policy that provides for the prompt termination of subscribers for which Defendant receives more than three unique notices of infringements of copyright protected Works within 72 hours – order Defendant to block subscribers from accessing notorious piracy websites of foreign origin that are listed in the annual trade report of Notorious Foreign Markets published by the United States Government on all networks under its control to prevent further pirating of Plaintiffs’ Works via the BitTorrent protocol – order the Defendant to disclose to Plaintiffs the identifications of the subscribers who used and use Defendant’s service to infringe Plaintiffs’ Works on an ongoing basis after said subscribers are provided notice as required by 47 U.S.C. § 551 Needless to say, these demands go further than those in the repeat infringer cases we’ve seen thus far. Court-ordered site blocking and Internet disconnections are a novelty in US courts, which will be fiercely contested. At the time of writing WOW! has yet to respond to the complaint. When it does, we will report on it accordingly. The present lawsuit is similar to the allegations that many of the same movie outfits lodged against Internet provider Frontier Communications in a bankruptcy proceeding. That case could eventually be referred to a District Court as well, but that decision has yet to be made. — A copy of the movie companies’ complaint against WOW!, filed at the US District Court for Colorado, is available here (pdf). From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  19. Facebook’s booming business is dominated by digital ads, but it also has hardware ambitions beyond VR. During the company’s latest earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said its next product release would be a pair of smart glasses from Ray-Ban. “The glasses have their iconic form factor, and they let you do some pretty neat things,” the Facebook co-founder said. “So I’m excited to get those into people’s hands and to continue to make progress on the journey toward full augmented reality glasses in the future.” Facebook’s sunglasses have been the subject of rumors since 2019. Back then, sources told CNBC that Facebook was working with Ray-Ban owner EssilorLuxottica on AR eyewear nicknamed “Orion.” The glasses were billed as a full-fledged phone replacement on which you could take calls, see information and even broadcast livestreams. That inevitably drew comparisons to Google Glass (another Luxottica collab) instead of the phone-tethered Spectacles from Snap. Last year, Hugo Barra, then VP VR at Facebook Reality Labs, confirmed that the glasses would land in 2021. But, we haven’t heard much since. For Facebook, the glasses hold the key to its future. Alongside virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) is integral to building the “metaverse,” Zuckerberg said. In the future, Facebook will morph into a shared, liveable platform that lets you “teleport” between different social experiences using VR and AR, Zuckerberg explained. The term metaverse is the latest buzzword seized upon by Silicon Valley and futurists. While the concept has been around for well over a decade, it gained traction after the breakout success of multiplayer game creation platforms like Fortnite and Roblox. Earlier this week, Microsoft chief Satya Nadella mentioned an “enterprise metaverse” on his company’s earnings call. For Facebook, the metaverse is more than just a fad. The company is spending billions in order to build its shared universe, which will be populated with Facebook users and digital ads, according to Zuckerberg. In order for it to become a reality, the company needs more people to buy its computing hardware. Therefore, the plan is to make those devices more affordable. “Our business model isn’t going to primarily be around trying to sell devices at a large premium or anything like that because our mission is around serving as many people as possible,” Zuckerberg noted. “So we want to make everything that we do as affordable as possible, so as many people as possible can get into it and then compounds the size of the digital economy inside it. So that’s kind of at a high level how I’m thinking about this.” Sunglasses aren’t the only hardware Facebook is reportedly working on. Multiple reports have claimed Facebook is developing a smartwatch with a built-in cellular connection and a detachable display. Initially, it was believed that the watch would be first out the gate, but it seems Zuckerberg had other plans. Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Engadget. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=6MbwMWzBwjo:Mf4BHWjC1d8:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=6MbwMWzBwjo:Mf4BHWjC1d8:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/6MbwMWzBwjoView the full article
  20. Industrial robotics are big and heavy — and in some cases, legitimately dangerous. They’re also extremely difficult to train — particularly if you plan to implement them for tasks outside of their purpose-built intentions. There’s huge opportunity for the right AI/software company to come along and help make the bulky systems intended for things like auto manufacturing easier to program and more versatile. Honestly, there’s probably enough room to support multiple companies in the category as robots become an increasingly essential part of how we do business. This week we saw a pair of big news stories from companies operating in that space. On Tuesday, Covariant announced an $80 million raise — a quick follow-up to the $40 million Series B it announced in May 2020. Image Credits: Covariant I spoke to president, chief scientist and co-founder (and recurring TC Sessions: Robotics guest) Pieter Abbeel for the piece, which you can check out here. I further picked the long-time UC Berkeley professor’s brain about some broader robotics trends. We’ve seen a marked increase in investment activity around robotics and automation since the beginning of the pandemic. Do you anticipate that this interest will maintain? It won’t just maintain. It’ll continue to accelerate on a dramatic scale. The demand isn’t new but the pandemic has certainly increased demand for resilient and robust robotics. COVID-19 accelerated a timeline that was already in motion. Other factors that contribute to the momentum include the rise of e-commerce replacing in-store purchases along with Amazon’s strive for efficiency. They’ve raised consumer expectations of fast delivery across the board and making good on that promise often starts with warehouse automation. As someone with experience in both an educational setting and a startup, how have universities’ approach to incubating companies evolved. What more can and should be done to foster entrepreneurship? With AI the transition from research to practice has been exceptionally fast. An idea could be published today, and many companies might be implementing it into their systems the next day. This trend has made AI researchers uniquely positioned to build new applications (compare this to, let’s say, Airbnb, Uber, food delivery companies, etc., which were not enabled by research advances, but by everyone having a smartphone, enabling a new model of doing business). Structurally, one clear change at many universities is the introduction of artificial intelligence across many programs. A great example is “The Business of AI” course, which I co-teach in the Haas Business School at Berkeley, and which gives business students a solid understanding of the role of AI today, as well as trends and what the future might bring. To foster more entrepreneurship in the U.S., leadership should consider how many international students are also the leading AI researchers. A faster visa/green card process for entrepreneurs would have a very high impact. Do you foresee continuing to teach, as Covariant grown? Yes. I see a very strong synergy between being at the forefront of academic AI research at Berkeley and being at the forefront of industrial R&D bringing AI Robotics into the real world as chief scientist at Covariant. The culture our CEO Peter Chen has fostered at Covariant also has great alignment with this; curiosity and lifelong learning are core values at Covariant. How actively does your team consider biases in its AI work? Bias in AI systems is of course a broader industry issue and is on the minds of our team members. As of today, bias in AI systems doesn’t directly play a role in our current robotic warehousing efforts. However, quality assurance more generally is core to everything we do, and quality assurance isn’t a one-axis thing, we have to consider quality and coverage of various data sources and performance across SKUs, warehouses, customers, etc. In that sense, there are actually many technical parallels. It seems like most of the activity on the industrial robotics front is happening on the software/AI side. Are robotics manufacturers continuing to evolve their hardware as software improves? Indeed, while we largely focus on the software/AI ourselves, we work with amazing partners to deliver fully functioning robotic systems. In doing so, we see continual improvement on the hardware as well. Most visible over a short time period are continual changes in end-of-arm tooling. In addition, we see interesting multiyear roadmap ideas in robotic arm form factors that take more R&D and design effort to bring to market. Image Credits: Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich The other big news of the week is the unveiling of Intrinsic, Alphabet’s most recent robotics play. Or, I guess I should say, most recently announced robotics play. The Alphabet X spinout has apparently been in the works for about five years now. It follows a fairly uneven robotics track record for Alphabet/Google that involved brief ownership of Boston Dynamics. But the company’s offering seems much more in-line with what Google excels at. Here’s Intrinsic CEO, Wendy Tan-White, who most recently served as Alphabet’s VP of Moonshots: Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications. Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation and force control. Image Credits: Agility Closing the week’s roundup with a pair of athletic ‘bots. First is the return of Cassie, Oregon State University’s bipedal robot. Cassie took a bit of a backseat to OSU spinoff Agility’s delivery robot, Digit, but the school is continuing to do interesting things with the platform. A team of research helped teach the robot to run, using a a deep reinforcement learning algorithm. In fact, Cassie managed to run a 5K in 53 minutes. Not great by human standards, but extremely solid for a robot using a single battery, particularly when you factor in the 6.5 minutes of troubleshooting an overheated computer and a poorly maneuvered turn. Outside Olympians and T-shirt vendors, Toyota may well have been the most disappointed about the initial decision to delay the summer Olympics. The automotive giant clearly envisioned the Tokyo games as an ideal opportunity to showcase its technology for the world. Now that the games are on, the company’s basketball robot CUE is back in a big way. After debuting in 2018, CUE returned to sink three-pointers during half-time at the USA-France game. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=p2rC0i1vpOM:3BcPE8uA8uo:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=p2rC0i1vpOM:3BcPE8uA8uo:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/p2rC0i1vpOMView the full article
  21. Air taxis may still be pie in the sky, but there’s more than one way to move the air travel industry forward. Craft Aerospace aims to do so with a totally new vertical-takeoff and landing aircraft that it believes could make city-to-city hops simpler, faster, cheaper, and greener. The aircraft — which to be clear is still in small scale prototype form — uses a new VTOL technique that redirects the flow of air from its engines using flaps rather than turning them (like the well-known, infamously unstable Osprey), making for a much more robust and controllable experience. Co-founder James Dorris believes that this fast, stable VTOL craft is the key that unlocks a new kind of local air travel, eschewing major airports for minor ones or even heliports. Anyone that’s ever had to take a flight that lasts under an hour knows that three times longer is spent in security lines, gate walks, and of course in getting to and from these necessarily distant major airports. “We’re not talking about flying wealthy people to the mall — there are major inefficiencies in major corridors,” Dorris told TechCrunch. “The key to shortening that delay is picking people up in cities, and dropping them off in cities. So for these short hops we need to combine the advantages of fixed wing aircraft and VTOL.” The technique they arrived at is what’s called a “blown wing” or “deflected slipstream.” It looks a bit like something you’d see on the cover of a vintage science fiction rag, but the unusual geometry and numerous rotors serve a purpose. The basic principle of a blown wing has been explored before now but never done on a production aircraft. You simply place a set of (obviously extremely robust) flaps directly behind the thrust, where they can be tilted down and into the exhaust stream, directing the airflow downwards. This causes the craft to rise upwards and forwards, and as it gets enough altitude it can retract the flaps, letting the engines operate normally and driving the craft forwards to produce ordinary lift. During takeoff, thrust is redirected downwards by extending flaps. The many rotors are there for redundancy and so that the thrust can be minutely adjusted on each of the four “half-wiings.” The shape, called a box wing, is also something that has been tried in limited fashion (there are drones with it, for example) but ultimately never proved a valid alternative to a traditional swept wing. But Dorris and Craft believe it has powerful advantages in this case, allowing for a much more stable, adjustable takeoff and landing than the two-engine Osprey. (Or indeed many proposed or prototype tilt-rotor aircraft out there.) During flight, the flaps retract and thrust pushes the plane forward as normal. “Our tech is a combination of both existing and novel tech,” he said. “The box wing has been built and flown; the high flap aircraft has been built and flown. They’ve never been synthesized like this in a VTOL aircraft.” Again, to be clear, the company has demonstrated a limited scale model that shows the principle is sound — they’re not claiming there’s a full-scale craft ready to go. That’s years down the line, but willing partners will help them move forward. The fifth generation prototype (perhaps the size of a coffee table) hovers using to the blown wing principle, and the sixth, due to fly in a few months, will introduce the transitioning flaps. (I was shown a video of the prototype doing tethered indoor hovering but the company is not releasing this test footage publicly.) The design of the final craft is still in flux — it’s not known exactly how many rotors it will have, for instance — but the basic size, shape, and capabilities are already penned in. It’ll carry 9 passengers and a pilot, and fly around 35,000 feet or so at approximately 300 knots, or 345 mph. That’s slower than a normal passenger jet, but whatever time you lose in the air ought to be more than regained by skipping the airport. The range of the cleaner hybrid gas-electric engines should be around 1,000 miles, which gives a good amount of flexibility and safety margins. It also covers 45 of the top 50 busiest routes in the world, things like LA to SF, Seoul to Jeju Island, and Tokyo to Osaka. It probably wouldn’t be flying at this altitude. Notably, however, Dorris wants to make it clear that the idea is not “LAX to SFO” but “Hollywood to North Beach.” VTOL aircraft aren’t just for show: regulations permitting, they can touch down in a much smaller location, though exactly what kind of landing pad and micro-airport is envisioned is, like the aircraft itself, still being worked out. The team, which has just worked its way through Y Combinator’s summer 2021 cohort, is experienced in building sophisticated transport: Dorris was a primary on Virgin Hyperloop’s propulsion system, and his co-founder Axel Radermacher helped build Karma Automotive’s drivetrain. It may not have escaped you that neither of those companies makes aircraft, but Dorris thinks of that as a feature, not a bug. “You’ve seen what’s come out of traditional aerospace over the last 10, 20 years,” he said, letting the obvious implication speak for itself that the likes of Boeing and Airbus aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel. And companies that partnered with automotive giants hit walls because there’s a mismatch between the scales — a couple hundred aircraft is very different from half a million Chevy sedans. So Craft is relying on partners who have looked to shake things up in aerospace. Among its advisors are Bryan Berthy (once Director of Engineering at Lockheed Martin), Nikhil Goel (one of Uber Elevate’s co-founders), and Brogan BamBrogan (early SpaceX employee and Hyperloop faithful). The company also just announced a letter of intent from JSX, a small airline serving low-friction flights on local routes, to purchase 200 aircraft and the option for 400 more if wanted. Dorris believes that with their position and growth curve they could make a perfect early partner when the aircraft is ready, probably around 2025 with flights beginning in 2026. It’s a risky, weird play with a huge potential payoff, and Craft thinks that their approach, as unusual as it seems today, is just plainly a better way to fly a couple hundred miles. Positive noises from the industry, and from investors, seem to back that feeling up. The company has received early stage investment (of an unspecified total) from Giant Ventures, Countdown Capital, Soma Capital, and its advisor Nikhil Goel. “We’ve demonstrated it, and we’re getting an enormous amount of traction from aerospace people who have seen hundreds of concepts,” said Dorris. “We’re a team of only 7, about to be 9 people… Frankly, we’re extremely pleased with the level of interest we’re getting.” http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=CDWSdwIIsWs:I-A_DzwvLWc:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=CDWSdwIIsWs:I-A_DzwvLWc:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/CDWSdwIIsWsView the full article
  22. PayPal’s plan to morph itself into a “super app” have been given a go for launch. According to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, speaking to investors during this week’s second-quarter earnings, the initial version of PayPal’s new consumer digital wallet app is now “code complete” and the company is preparing to slowly ramp up. Over the next several months, PayPal expects to be fully ramped in the U.S., with new payment services, financial services, commerce and shopping tools arriving every quarter. The company has spoken for some time about its “super app” ambitions — a shift in product direction that would make PayPal a U.S.-based version of something like China’s WeChat or Alipay or India’s Paytm. Similar to these apps, PayPal aims to offer a host of consumer services under one roof, beyond just mobile payments. In previous quarters, PayPal said these new features may include things like enhanced direct deposit, check cashing, budgeting tools, bill pay, crypto support, subscription management, and buy now/pay later functionality. It also said it would integrate commerce, thanks to the mobile shopping tools acquired by way of its $4 billion Honey acquisition from 2019. So far, PayPal has continued to run Honey as a standalone application, website and browser extension, but the super app could incorporate more of its deal-finding functions, price tracking features, and other benefits. On Wednesday’s earnings call, Schulman revealed the super app would include a few other features as well, including high-yield savings, early access to direct deposit funds, and messaging functionality outside of peer-to-peer payments — meaning you could chat with family and friends directly through the app’s user interface. PayPal hadn’t yet announced its plans to include a messaging component until now, but the feature makes sense in terms of how people often combine chat and peer-to-peer payments today. For example, someone may want to make a personal request for the funds instead of just sending an automated request through an app. Or, after receiving payment, a user may want to respond with a “thank you,” or other acknowledgement. Currently, these conversations take place outside of the payment app itself on platforms like iMessage. Now, that could change. “We think that’s going to drive a lot of engagement on the platform,” said Schulman. “You don’t have to leave the platform to message back and forth.” With the increased user engagement, the company expects to see a related bump in average revenue per active account. Schulman also hinted at “additional crypto capabilities,” which were not detailed. However, PayPal earlier this month increased the crypto purchase limit from $20,000 to $100,000 for eligible PayPal customers in the U.S., with no annual purchase limit. The company also this year made it possible for consumers to check out at millions of online businesses using their cryptocurrencies, by first converting the crypto to cash then settling with the merchant in U.S. dollars. Though the app’s code is now complete, Schulman said the plan is to continue to iterate on the product experience, noting that the initial version will not be “the be-all and end-all.” Instead, the app will see steady releases and new functionality on a quarterly basis. However, he did say that early on, the new features would include the high-yield savings, improved bill pay with a better user experience and more billers and aggregators, as well as early access to direct deposit, budgeting tools, and the new two-way messaging feature. To integrate all the new features into the super app, PayPal will undergo a major overhaul of its user interface. “Obviously, the [user experience] is being redesigned,” Schulman noted. “We’ve got rewards and shopping. We’ve got a whole giving hub around crowdsourcing, giving to charities. And then, obviously, Buy Now, Pay Later will be fully integrated into it…The last time I counted, it was like 25 new capabilities that we’re going to put into the super app,” he said. The digital wallet app will also be personalized to the end user, so no two apps are the same. This will be done using both A.I. and machine learning capabilities to “enhance each customer’s experiences and opportunities,” said Schulman. PayPal delivered an earnings beat in the second quarter with $6.24 billion in revenue, versus the $6.27 billion Wall St. expected, and earnings per share of $1.15 versus the $1.12 expected. Total payment volume from merchant customers also jumped 40% to $311 billion, while analysts had projected $295.2 billion. But the company’s stock slipped due to a lowered outlook for Q3, impacted by eBay’s transition to its own managed payments service. In addition, PayPal gained 11.4 million net new active accounts in the quarter, to reach 403 million total active accounts. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=hlRkSiyXhAQ:DIPtMvm9mKo:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=hlRkSiyXhAQ:DIPtMvm9mKo:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/hlRkSiyXhAQView the full article
  23. Trevor Milton, the fast-talking showman founder of Nikola and the electric truck startup’s former CEO and executive chairman, has been charged with three counts of fraud. Milton “engaged in a fraudulent scheme to deceive retail investors” for his own personal benefit, according to the federal indictment unsealed by U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan on Thursday. Milton was charged with two counts of securities fraud and wire fraud by a federal grand jury. Specifically, prosecutors detailed in the complaint how Milton used social media and frequent appearances on television in a PR blitz that flooded “the market with false and misleading information about Nikola” before the company even produced a product. The charges reflect a fast and furious run for Nikola and Milton, who founded the company in 2015. Milton received more attention after unveiling the first prototype and boasted that the company would produce “the iPhone of trucking.” Promises around other products including an electric pickup truck called Badger would soon follow as well as plans to build a factory in Arizona. In March 2020, the company announced it would go public via a merger with special purpose acquisition company VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. Milton frequently posted on Twitter directing his message to retail investors after the company went public that summer. Then in September and just days after GM had announced a $2 billion investment in the company, noted short-seller Hindenburg Research accused Nikola of fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an inquiry in the matter and within two weeks Milton had stepped down as executive chairman. Nikola issued a statement Thursday that distances itself from Milton, who is still its largest shareholder. Trevor Milton resigned from Nikola on September 20, 2020 and has not been involved in the company’s operations or communications since that time. Today’s government actions are against Mr. Milton individually, and not against the company. Nikola has cooperated with the government throughout the course of its inquiry. We remain committed to our previously announced milestones and timelines and are focused on delivering Nikola Tre battery-electric trucks later this year from the company’s manufacturing facilities. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=Rj3fy-nVsOs:QCuqMtlnNH8:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=Rj3fy-nVsOs:QCuqMtlnNH8:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/Rj3fy-nVsOsView the full article
  24. Talkiatry announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series A to scale a strategy simple in theory yet potentially challenging in execution: bring psychiatry services in-network with insurance providers. The round, led by Left Lane Capital with participation from the founder and former CEO of CityMD, Dr. Richard Park, is an extension of Talkiatry’s previously secured $5 million financing. That check was led by Sikwoo Capital Partners with participation from Relevance Ventures and Park. Co-founded by Robert Krayn and Dr. Georgia Gaveras, Talkiatry is a digital health startup that helps consumers access in-network appointments with psychiatrists for therapy and medicine management. The company employs an ongoing care model in which it takes a consumer in through a virtual survey, matches them with a psychiatrist based on their needs, and then follows the consumer through the care process from diagnosing symptoms to the actual prescription of medicine. The startup’s true innovation lies in its plan to make psychiatric services covered by insurance providers for consumers. Many plans today don’t cover mental health services beyond a certain point — and at the same time, many high-quality psychiatrists don’t participate in private insurance plans because of minimal reimbursement and paperwork nightmares. As a result, the psychiatrists that are in-network may be consumed with patients, and the ones at private practices could have a price of up to $300 per session. “There’s many people who have identified the problem that [psychiatrists are not accessible],” said Krayn. “What the issue comes to next is are they really, really solving the problem, or are they working around it?” Krayn explained how startups have turned to hiring therapists and nurse practitioners as replacements for psychiatrists, which he thinks decreases the clinical quality of care (the difference between a therapist and psychiatrist is that the latter can prescribe medication). He said his competitors have also focused more on lessening the out-of-pocket costs instead of avoiding them altogether. “While that does increase access to mental health, we think that that necessarily doesn’t give the most amount of access to solve a real problem, which is that psychiatrists are not accessible,” he said. Talkiatry has partnered with a number of insurance providers including United Healthcare, Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield and more. While companies like Cerebral, Headway and Uplit have similarly gone in-network, the co-founder argues that it has the least restrictive relationship with providers, meaning that consumers won’t have to pay out of pocket for anything outside of the typical copay. “Sure, some platforms are offered as an added benefit in addition to a health insurance plan, but may have additional restrictions, i.e., a patient may get access to the platform but still pay a monthly fee to get service. Others may only be allowed a certain number of visits and some may only be available if your employer decides to offer it in addition,” he said. “Talkiatry has none of these restrictions and can be used like any other in-network doctor you typically go to.” Stability among its supply of psychiatrists is key here. Talkiatry has hired psychiatrists as W-2 employees instead of contractors. By not using a contractor model, Talkiatry will have more stability in its services but could struggle with scale. The startup will rapidly and consistently hire psychiatrists with varying backgrounds to serve consumers. Plus, in order to expand into new markets, Talkiatry has to go through the arduous legal process of local licensing requirements, instead of just going to a white-label solution that helps staff similar companies while offloading individual practitioner certification. While Ginger, a well-capitalized growth stage company, and Lyra Health, a digital health unicorn last valued at $4.6 billion, have recently made waves in the behavioral health space, Talkiatry is confident that it can break into the sector, which continues to attract record amounts of venture capital from investors. Its competition is paying attention. For example, Ginger has made more efforts to bring in-network mental health solutions to users, recently partnering with AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia and Cigna. “Providing psychiatry in-network is one avenue to ensure people receive care, but it still does not solve the supply-demand imbalance in the mental healthcare space,” said Russell Glass, Ginger CEO and co-founder. He explained how Ginger’s product being on-demand and virtual helps it address the growing shortage of mental health providers, which will be a hurdle that Talkiatry will need to address, too. Currently, Talkiatry has 44 clinicians on its platform, with 33 as psychiatrists and the remaining as nurse practitioners. It has done 30,000 visits since its launch. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=fJcRdjqCit0:M9kYGqcDByk:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=fJcRdjqCit0:M9kYGqcDByk:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/fJcRdjqCit0View the full article
  25. Developers can be a tough crowd. They typically hate being marketed to and are often short on time, which sets a particularly high bar for any content marketing aimed at them. Coming up with relevant content that developers find interesting takes specific know-how, and this is where Draft.dev comes in. Its Chicago-based founder and CEO Karl Hughes describes the firm as “a superniche content marketing production company, producing technical content for companies that want to reach software engineers.” Hughes and his agency were recommended multiple times in our growth marketer survey, which we launched to surface experts that startups can work with. (If you have your own recommendation, please fill out the survey!) One of the survey respondents noted that developers are underrated as a target audience: It may be niche, but it is a large one. More importantly, they are an audience a growing number of startups need to reach. “If you are going to have subject matter experts write, you also need to have good editors to work with them.” Developer marketing came up in our conversation with strategic marketing firm MKT1, so we called on Hughes to learn more. Our discussion covered a lot of ground, from what he has learned and his ambitions to Draft.dev’s process. Editor’s note: The interview below has been edited for length and clarity: What kind of clients does Draft.dev work with? Karl Hughes: Almost all of our clients are developer tools companies. Mostly Series A- and Series B-funded, so they have got some funding and some knowledge that content marketing works for their audience. What they are trying to do with us is scale production and make sure that what they are writing is going to resonate with developers. What inspired you to create Draft.dev? 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. So last year I wanted to combine my tech knowledge with writing knowledge, and that’s where Draft.dev came from — and it’s been awesome! We get to work both with technical and non-technical marketing and developer relations people to help them get more content out. And even though it’s marketing content, it’s super focused on education, because developer marketing is a bit tricky. Developers can be a bit skeptical of marketing, so you have to be nuanced in your approach. You have to be genuinely helpful, so we really try to focus on helpful content that is also a net positive for the client. What are some mistakes that you see companies making when creating content for developers? There are a couple of big challenges that Draft.dev is specifically built to solve: Relying too much on your own team to create content when they are busy and have other priorities, and thinking that you can just get your general copywriting agency to cover developer topics. It usually doesn’t work well. Many companies start off getting their engineers to write content and make the mistake of thinking this will work forever. Let’s say you’re a continuous integration tool and you want to write content that shows developers how your tool works and that it’s a good option. Marketing teams will go to developers and say: “Hey, could you guys write a blog post?” And they’ll usually get a few blog posts here and there, but it’s really hard to build consistent content when these engineers are building the product and have production deadlines to hit. When you look at companies that have done developer marketing really successfully, like Okta and DigitalOcean, you see that they have dedicated teams to produce this content. There’s a reason for that: It’s almost impossible to get your engineers to write everything that you need to produce high-quality and consistent content over time. The other big mistake that I see companies making is thinking that a general marketing writer or SEO copywriter can write great content for developers. That is super rare. I mean, I’ve probably met two or three who can do a decent job of making it look like they know enough to speak with some authority. In general, you either want somebody — either at your company or otherwise — who knows the tool. So for example, if I ask a general SEO copywriter, “Could you write about how to write a SQL query that does X, Y and Z?”, maybe they can hack some other articles together and come up with something, but it’s certainly not going to have the authority that a real software developer has. This is true in any area where you have to rely on subject matter experts to help you with marketing content, but because my background is in development, I knew that this was a huge problem for companies. How does Draft.dev address that? We are definitely not right for every company. But for companies that are looking to scale-up content production and have technical authority behind those pieces, that’s where we come in. Typically, these are companies that know they want to do developer content, but are stretched too thin on their engineering team or they have tried freelancers and have a really hard time managing them and keeping quality consistent. So they come to us to do that. We solve that problem with a huge pool of software developers who write for us on the side. Right now we have about 50 or 60 active monthly writers who are all software developers; they work full-time jobs and do this at night and on weekends. We bring people who are actually in the field, doing these things every day. They bring that technical expertise to the articles that we create for clients. The mutually beneficial aspect here is that while we obviously pay these writers, they also get a byline out on the client’s site. We don’t do a lot of ghostwriting, which is a little unique, but is really good for our style of content because you want to show subject matter expertise. It’s preferable when you don’t have your head of marketing listed as the author of every piece of developer content. It’s nice to have a byline by a real software developer. All of this goes back to what your content strategy is and who you want to reach. This is not blanket advice for everybody, but for companies trying to reach developers who are writing code every day, I think it’s super helpful to have some technical authority from people actually doing this. How do you make sure your writers have subject matter expertise? We have a writer vetting and selection process. Once we have vetted the writers who have applied, we also look for the best match for each article. We are looking through their skills and past experience to see who’d be the best fit. We also recruit specific writers to write about niche topics. Sometimes that means doing cold outreach; sometimes it means going through our networks and figuring out who we know who’s written about Rust before. Things like that can be really tricky and time-consuming for a marketing team to do, but because we are doing this full time for lots of clients, we can spread that work around. It makes a lot of sense, and our clients like that we do this for them. How to you balance your writers’ technical expertise versus writing skills? That is tough! But there are some best practices in this field. If you are going to have subject matter experts write, you also need to have good editors to work with them. There are two sides to how we get high-quality content from software engineers who may be average writers when they start, and are often ESL speakers. The upfront part is that we plan content pretty thoroughly. We go back and forth with the content to make sure we know what we are producing, and we also have technical content planners who make sure that each article has a story, an outline and lot of structure before we give it to a writer. The writer fills in the technical details and personal experience, and then every piece will go through three rounds of edits to get it up to our standards: a technical review; a developmental edit for things like structure and flow, and a copy edit. How do you split these tasks? We’ve refined this process a lot since starting this [in May 2020]. Initially, it was just me and my managing editor Chris [Wolfgang] — she had a lot of experience in editing, so she could do full-stack editing, and I was focused on writing, picking writers, reviewing, etc. That’s how we divided things in the early days, but as we grew, we realized that we wouldn’t find an army of Chrises and Karls. We had to figure out how to split these jobs into specialities where people can do their best work, and that’s how we managed to scale and keep quality high while growing at the pace we have. We now have five full-time people and we work with over 35 startups of various sizes, so we are still a small business, but it has been growing very quickly. How do you get new clients? Our biggest source of new business has been referrals. Clients who work with us love what we do and refer us to other people. We have also ended up working with companies going through accelerator programs like Y Combinator, so when new YC companies ask who does developer content, they hear about us. Besides us there’s probably just a couple of other companies that specialize in this. It’s a very small field so we get mentioned a lot. Have you worked with a talented individual or agency who helped you find and keep more users? Respond to our survey and help other startups find top growth marketers they can work with! Growth has been so organic at the moment that I haven’t pursued a lot of active outreach strategies, but we are starting to get better at boosting this [organic growth]. One of the first hires I made this year was an account manager who’s helped with maintaining relationships with existing clients and getting things like testimonials, case studies, etc. Another thing is that when people see our content, they ask the company who did it, because companies that are selling developers tools really need a way to produce this kind of content, and there aren’t many providers. How do you complement your clients’ own content production efforts? Our two sweet spots are bigger companies that are looking to augment their in-house content team, because they have a hard time keeping developer content going, and really small teams that are building a tool specifically for software developers and need to get going with content production or ramp it up. A lot of our clients will have something like a community writer program in addition to what we provide. For instance, we work with Strapi, which is an open-source tool that has a big community with community writers writing about how they use Strapi. But then they use us to augment that content, because they want to be able to set some topics themselves. A lot of times, community contributions are good for whatever your community happens to be working on, but you can’t necessarily ask your community to write about X or Y. The other challenge here is that with any developer-focused community writing program, you are going to need to spend a lot on editing. A lot of companies underestimate the work it is going to take. That’s where we come in: Instead of hiring all these different people you need and trying to build your own process, you can slot Draft.dev in there for a while. If some day you want to go hire your own team and replace us, that’s great — we’d love you to outgrow us. But ideally, we’d like to stick around and always be part of your developer content efforts. Do you also do anything related to content distribution, such as writing the tweets that go with the articles? We just started doing that; it’s our first big add-on service, where for each piece of content we’ll create social media collateral, like a couple of tweets, LinkedIn posts and Reddit submissions with the subreddits they would be most appropriate for. Then the client just has someone on their team copy-paste and schedule it with whatever system they want. We also send a full promotional checklist they can use to promote the content, because one of the challenges I see with some of the smaller companies we work with is that they sometimes get lost when it comes to getting the content we produce in front of people. If you are not a developer, it’s hard to come up with copy about a technical piece. So by offering that collateral, we’re making it a bit easier. It’s been our first foray into this. We could expand into other things in the future, but that would probably be next year. http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=1ZAkauK4qyc:byas9bnRhgA:-BTjWOF_DHI http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?i=1ZAkauK4qyc:byas9bnRhgA:D7DqB2pKExk http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Techcrunch/~4/1ZAkauK4qycView the full article
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