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Jack Dorsey says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is 'mastering' Twitter, but Elon Musk is his favourite tweeter

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:26

  • Jack Dorsey told Recode's Kara Swisher that his favourite "influential" Twitter user is Elon Musk.
  • Dorsey said he respects the "ups and downs" that come with Musk's Twitter usage, which has famously landed him in hot water.
  • Dorsey also said that Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is "mastering the medium."

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was interviewed by Recode's Kara Swisher on Tuesday over — you guessed it — Twitter.

Swisher pressed Dorsey to give specific answers to her questions. After quizzing him on tech responsibility, Donald Trump, and abuse on his platform, Swisher asked Dorsey who he thinks the most "exciting influential" person on Twitter is.

Dorsey's answer: Elon Musk.

To me personally? I like how @elonmusk uses Twitter. He’s focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly. I respect that a lot, and all the ups and downs that come with it #karajack

— jack (@jack) February 12, 2019

Musk himself chimed in, evidently flattered. "Thanks Jack, Twitter rocks!" Musk tweeted, followed by a string of seemingly random emojis.

Thanks Jack, Twitter rocks!

Categories: English

10 things in tech you need to know today

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 08:23

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.

  1. Apple quietly makes billions from Google Search each year, and it's a bigger business than Apple Music. Google paid Apple $9.4 billion in 2018 to be the default search engine on the iPhone, according to a new Goldman Sachs estimate.
  2. Apple's rumored subscription news service will reportedly be announced at an event next month. Apple will host a March 25th event at The Steve Jobs Theater in its Apple Park campus where it's expected to unveil its subscription news service.
  3. A US Senator has demanded that Apple and Google remove a Saudi Arabian government app that allows men "abhorrent" control over women's lives. In a letter, UN Senator Ron Wyden told Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai that the app enables "surveillance and control of women."
  4. Amazon's latest acquisition further proves it wants to be everywhere in the home. Amazon's acquisition of mesh Wi-Fi router startup Eero marks yet another effort by the retail giant to integrate its products and services into the home.
  5. Bill and Melinda Gates revealed their 9 biggest surprises from 2018 in a letter dedicated to Microsoft's late cofounder. The Gateses surprises of 2018 included home DNA tests catching serial killers, sexist data, and the fact that toilets remain largely unchanged.
  6. Bill Gates also warned of the dangers of cow farts. He's looking for climate-friendly ideas on dealing with methane produced by cows "when they belch and pass gas."
  7. A lawyer at the heart of the National Enquirer's war with Jeff Bezos used to work for Amazon for 9 years. American Media Inc's Deputy General Counsel Jon Fine worked at Amazon from 2006 to 2015, and was focused primarily on publishing and the company's Kindle business.
  8. Russia plans to disconnect the entire country from the internet to simulate an all-out cyberwar. It plans to redirect domestic web traffic internally, through the Russian government routing points rather than using the global infrastructure on which the web was built.
  9. Mike Pompeo is bringing the hammer down on Huawei on his European tour. Speaking in Hungary while on his European tour, Pompeo said it was "more difficult" for the US to partner with nations that didn't distance themselves from Huawei.
  10. Reddit raised $300 million at a $3 billion valuation, and now it's aiming to take on Facebook and Google. Reddit has focused its efforts over the past year on cleaning up its platform to build a better advertising model, Axios reports.

Have an Amazon Alexa device? Now you can hear 10 Things in Tech each morning. Just search for "Business Insider" in your Alexa's flash briefing settings.

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NOW WATCH: We compared Apple's $159 AirPods to Xiaomi's $30 AirDots and the winner was clear

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Apple quietly makes billions from Google Search each year, and it's a bigger business than Apple Music (AAPL, GOOG, GOOGL)

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 07:32

  • Google paid Apple $9.4 billion in 2018 to be the default search engine on the iPhone, according to a new Goldman Sachs estimate.
  • This makes Google's payment to Apple worth as much as 23% of Apple's services business, which the company has highlighted as its growth engine as iPhone sales slow. 
  • Google could pay Apple as much as $12.2 billion next year, according to Goldman's model.
  • Still, Apple's services business may see slowing growth in the near future if it does not release a new content bundle, the Goldman analysts argue. 

Google pays Apple to be the default search engine on the iPhone, a deal worth billions to Cupertino.

In 2018, Google may have paid Apple as much as $9.46 billion in what's called "traffic acquisition costs," or TAC, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall, citing Google financial results. 

The amount Google pays Apple could increase to $12.2 billion next year, and $15.6 billion in 2021, according to the Goldman estimate, although TAC growth is slowing, Hall says. 

Hall's argument is that while Apple has recently drawn investor focus to its "services" revenue stream, the composition of that is weighted towards things like TAC, and the 15% to 30% fee Apple collects from the App Store, instead of recurring monthly subscriptions like Apple Music, which is often what Apple executives focus on in conversations with investors. 

"Combining our TAC work with App Store data from Sensor Tower we conclude that TAC and Apple’s share of app store downloads represented 51% of Services revenues in 2018 and an even larger 70% of Services gross profits," according to the Goldman note distributed on Monday. 

Apple's services business totaled about $37 billion in the company's fiscal 2018, and investors hope its growth will account for the majority of Apple's total revenue growth. 

Goldman analysts suggest that in order to hit those targets, Apple will need to launch a new content bundle, potentially bundling a subscription to online video, magazines, and online storage.

"We expect Apple to launch an 'Apple Prime' type package in late March though the profitability and attractiveness of this are key to better Services growth and profits than we currently model," the Goldman Sachs analysts wrote. 

In 2017, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimated that Google was paying Apple $3 billion per year in TAC costs. The only hard number we know for sure is that Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014, thanks to court filings.

Here's how Goldman Sachs sees Apple's services line item breaking down: 

SEE ALSO: Apple makes billions from Google's dominance in search — and it's a bigger business than iCloud or Apple Music

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NOW WATCH: Netflix copycats are changing the streaming game and making viewers pay the price

Categories: English

The shower head disrupters backed by Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt just launched a new water-saving nozzle on Kickstarter

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 04:10

  • Nebia — which was initially backed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt — announced its new Nebia Spa Shower 2.0 on Tuesday. 
  • The latest version can create 29% warmer temperatures and comes at a more affordable price than the original.
  • Cook and Schmidt re-invested in the shower head disrupters, along with North America's largest shower head company Moen, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, Starwood Hotel founder Barry Sternlicht. 
  • Nebia CEO Phillip Winter tells us that the Apple chief exec has been "incredibly supportive" with their efforts, answering email questions when they "have something that's very strategic." 

Nebia, the water-saving shower head company that made a splash in its 2015 Kickstarted debut, is back with a new and improved nozzle. 

On Tuesday the company announced its new Nebia Spa Shower 2.0, which it says can create 29% warmer temperatures and comes at a more affordable price. The new $499 shower head (compared to the $649 predecessor), preserves the original elegant, halo-shaped style but is now available in a matte black color, along with the traditional matte silver finish.

Nebia — which counted Apple CEO Tim Cook and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt among its initial backers — launched pre-order sales for the new model on Kickstarter this week.  The company has already tripled its $100,000 goal within the first 24 hours, and offered early bird prices for the latest model are as low as $349. 

As with the first version, water conservation is the central principle behind the product. Nebia's process of atomization — which breaks up water into tiny droplets — is supposed to create a more enveloping shower experience, all while using 65% less water than standard shower heads. 

The company says since first launching in 2015, it has helped save 100 million gallons of water. 

Read more: Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt stripped down to try this new kind of shower head and wound up investing

Along with announcing the new product and Kickstarter campaign, Nebia also announced it has raised a Series A funding round for an undisclosed amount, led by North America's largest shower head company Moen. 

Phillip Winter, Nebia's co-founder and CEO, told Business Insider in an interview Tuesday that the partnership with Moen is a "three-part deal," that includes assistance with design, manufacturing, and distribution. 

"Moen enabled us to get there five times faster," Winter said of Moen's involvement with the 2.0 model. 

Other notable investors in the Series A include Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, Starwood Hotel founder Barry Sternlicht, and the startup accelerator Y-Combinator. Eric Schmidt and Tim Cook also re-upped for second investments with the shower head disruptors. 

Cook, in particular, has been "incredibly supportive" according to Winter, as the Apple chief exec has particular expertise in the materials that Nebia works with (aluminum). 

"When we touch base, it's really when we have important decisions, and we have something that's very strategic," Winter said. "We don't just ping him unless it's something really important. He takes one or two days to respond to the email, and then he sends back six or seven paragraphs of a super thoughtful response." 

SEE ALSO: Someone created a $57 button that silently lets your partner know you want sex, and the internet is stunned

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NOW WATCH: The science behind why your phone shuts down when it's cold outside

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A 13-year-old girl reportedly makes over $1,000 a day creating ASMR videos as YouTube works to keep its child stars safe (GOOG, GOOGL)

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 01:28

  • ASMR, short for autonomous sensory meridian response, is a phenomenon where certain soft whispering or tapping sounds cause a tingly sensation in some people. It's become a whole YouTube trend.
  • A new report from Wired UK found an overlooked aspect of the ASMR movement: An increasing number of children are making their own ASMR videos.
  • The report highlights Makenna Kelly, a 13-year-old superstar on the ASMR scene with over 1.3 million subscribers — and who, YouTube tracking site SocialBlade projects, can make about $1,000 or more in advertising revenue in a single day from her channel. 
  • YouTube said that keeping these child stars and their families safe is a priority.

ASMR, short for autonomous sensory meridian response, refers to a phenomenon where soft sounds such as whispering or soft tapping triggers a tingling or relaxation effect in the listener. 

It's become a whole subculture on YouTube, which hosts some 45 million ASMR videos. The rapper Cardi B has gotten in on the action with her own ASMR video, and even Michelob Light turned its Super Bowl ad into an ASMR sensation.

But, as Wired UK reported, there's another side to the subculture: Kids as young as 5 years old are making their own ASMR videos — and making good money in the process. Wired spoke with 13-year-old Makenna Kelly, who makes ASMR videos for the 1.3 million subscribers to her "Life with MaK" channel. In some of her most viewed videos, Makenna eats instant ramen noodles and glides makeup brushes over a microphone. 

Here's one of her recent videos, in which she "eats" a Gucci shoe: 

YouTube stat tracking service SocialBlade estimates that the "Life With MaK" channel can bring in about $1,000 in advertising revenue, or more, in a single day.  That puts her on a par with ASMR Darling, also known as Taylor Darling, the biggest name in the ASMR space with 2.2 million subscribers. ASMR Darling now brings in about $1,000 a day, Wired reported, which roughly jibes with SocialBlade figures. 


Apart from the YouTube revenue Wired reported that Makenna also makes money from her channel by letting viewers pay for special requests. For example, Makenna was paid $50 over PayPal for 10-minute ASMR videos in which she chewed whole pieces of honeycomb. The video brought in 12 million views.

This clearly raises some challenges in keeping the children safe from online predators and other bad actors — especially since finding these channels is a simple search for "child" and "ASMR" away. YouTube said that it's prioritizing keeping these children safe and has even taken channels down while it talks with the families of young creators. 

Claire Lilley, YouTube’s child-safety policy manager, told Wired in a statement: 

"We believe technology presents great opportunities for young people to express themselves creatively and access useful information, but we also know we have a responsibility to protect young creators and families and consider the potential impact of emerging trends on them. We’ve been working with experts to update our enforcement guidelines for reviewers to remove ASMR videos featuring minors engaged in more intimate or inappropriate acts. We are working alongside experts to make sure we are protecting young creators while also allowing ASMR content that connects creators and viewers in positive ways."

Spokespeople for Makenna and YouTube did not respond to a request for comment.

Read the full story at Wired.

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NOW WATCH: Netflix copycats are changing the streaming game and making viewers pay the price

Categories: English

Here's why Angela Ahrendts' departure could be a good thing for Apple (AAPL)

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 01:00

  • Angela Ahrendts' resignation could end up being a good thing for Apple.
  • Ahrendts, who headed up the company's retail operations, was charged with remaking Apple as a luxury brand.
  • That strategy has resulted in higher prices for Apple's products, which have depressed sales.
  • With Apple's revenue falling and its iPhone sales plunging, it could use a new approach.

Angela Ahrendts' departure from Apple may end up being a blessing in disguise for the iPhone maker.

A big part of Ahrendts job was to transform Apple into a luxury brand. But it's just that kind of thinking — and the nosebleed prices that go with it — that's gotten the company in trouble lately.

With revenue falling amid plunging sales of its all-important iPhone line, Apple could use a fresh perspective on its ritzy remake. Ahrendts' resignation gives it the opportunity to get just that.

Apple, of course, has always charged a premium for its products. The original Macintosh was expensive even in its day, compared with rival computers. Consumers had to pay more for the iPod when it launched than for comparable MP3 players.

But under former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple recognized that in order to attract a mass market, it needed to offer products at lower prices and it needed to try to keep its prices stable rather than continually ratcheting them up. To broaden the market for the iPod, the company introduced a lower-priced iPod mini and then the budget-priced iPod shuffle. To expand the market for the Mac, it launched the relatively inexpensive Mac mini.

Apple under Jobs also launched the iPad at $500, which was considered an surprisingly low price at the time. And when initial sales of the first iPhone were slower than expected, he worked with AT&T to subsidize the cost, slashing the upfront price and making the device a lot more appealing to many consumers.

Apple has been pushing up the price ladder

But in its drive to become a luxury brand, the company in recent years seems to have forgotten that history and the importance of price in attracting and retaining a mass market of customers. It also seems to have been oblivious to the  inherent problem of a company that depends on large and growing sales to mainstream consumers trying to upscale its offerings without losing much of its current customer base and stalling out its business.

One of Apple's first stabs at its upscale transformation came with the launch of Apple Watch, soon after Ahrendts joined the company. Although Apple offered versions of the device at relatively affordable prices, it gave particular attention to its gold-cased models that retailed for $10,000 on up.

There's been plenty of other examples since. Apple struck a deal with Hermès to create a version of the Apple Watch that carried the luxury goods purveyor's brand and used its straps. In its iPad line, Apple has put most of its energy lately into its Pro line, which retails for $800 on up, at a time when Amazon and others have been offering tablets for as little as $50. Apple offers a $150 version of Apple TV; but that's no bargain when compared with Roku's $25 streaming stick or even it's top-of-the-line model, which costs $100.

But it's in the iPhone line where Apple has really been pushing upward on pricing. It launched one of the first $1,000 phones in 2017 with the iPhone X then followed that up with an even pricier model last fall with the iPhone XS Max, which starts at $1,100. Even Apple's supposed mid-tier model — the iPhone XR — cost $750.

That was the starting price of the most expensive model just two years ago — the iPhone 7 Plus. By contrast, the original iPhone when it launched cost $500 — or about $602 in today's money.

Apple keeps learning tough lessons about high prices

The problem with Apple's premium push is that as prices go higher, the number of consumers who can afford or can be convinced to pay them gets smaller. That's particularly true when it comes to computer products; there just aren't that many consumers who will pay top dollar for a product that will become obsolete in a few short years.

Apple seems to have learned that the hard way with the gold version of the Apple Watch. Within a year of launching those models, the company discontinued them, replacing the gold-cased models with a much more affordable — but still pricey — ceramic encased version. Last fall, Apple dropped even that model. You can bet if either version had sold particularly well, Apple would still be offering it.

But the company seems to keep having to learn that same lesson over and over. Its iPad sales consistently shrank for years amid its premium push with the Pro and its resistance to introducing a truly low-cost model. Its share of the streaming media player market declined too. And in terms of the number of phones it sells in a given year, Apple peaked in 2015 and hasn't come close to reaching that level since.

Read this: Hey Tim Cook, there's a simple solution to your iPhone sales problem

Boosting prices can be beneficial. Even though the number of iPhones Apple sold in its last fiscal year was basically flat with the year before, its revenue from selling them jumped 18%, thanks to its new $1,000 phones.

But that kind of revenue surge tends to be fleeting, as Apple is starting to discover this year. Because the number of people able to pay higher prices is so much smaller, companies tend to reach saturation quicker and unit sales can quickly fall. That's precisely what's happening with the iPhone. Unit sales plunged in the holiday quarter, taking Apple's iPhone revenue down with it.

Worse, the decline iPhone sales imperils the company's move to remake itself as a services company. Much of its services revenue, including AppleCare warranties, commissions on App Store sales, and Apple Music subscriptions, is closely tied to purchases of new phones.

You can't blame all of Apple's premium push on Ahrendts. Tim Cook is the CEO, after all, and Ahrendts was just one of his top lieutenants.

Ahrendts was a key part of Apple's rebranding

But since she came aboard in 2014, she exemplified and personified the company's prioritizing of the premium over the plebeian. Indeed, Cook brought her in from fashion house Burberry specifically to remake Apple as a luxury brand.

Pushing the gold Apple Watches — and the new devices, generally, as exclusive products — was just the first step in that effort. Under her direction, Apple redesigned the interiors of its stores to make them more of a showcase for premium goods and the company made room on its shelves for super-pricey products, such as the $2,000 Phantom wireless speaker. The company also began opening up more stores in high-end locations and in historic buildings in city centers, attempting to cater to the affluent customers it was now targeting.

These moves sparked a backlash in some cases and ridicule in others, particularly when she attempted to rebrand the stores as Town Squares. Many found that move in poor taste, particularly when Apple was trying to convert formerly public areas in some cities into its private retail space.

But the biggest downfall of the Ahrendts era has been Apple becoming increasingly out of touch with its mainstream customer base. Those consumers have long been willing to pay a premium for the perceived quality of Apple's products. But now many have come to think of them as just to darn pricey.

SEE ALSO: Here's why Apple's iPhone sales won't get better anytime soon

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Categories: English

A bank with one of the fastest growing stocks teams is looking to empower its traders by teaching them how to code in Python

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:44

  • There has been a push within Barclays over the past few months for its equity traders to learn the coding language Python.
  • The goal is to empower traders to run post-trade analysis for their own clients, as opposed to asking Barclay's small team of quants, to do it.

It's time to go back to school for members of Barclays' equities trading desk.

The bank has been encouraging and enabling its traders to learn how to code in the programming language Python in recent months. Daniel Nehren, Barclays' head of statistical modeling and development for equities, told Business Insider the goal is to have traders develop and run their own post-trade analysis, as opposed to relying on Nehren's team of roughly 30 quants to do it for them. 

Doing so will free up Nehren's team to have more time to analyze post-trade reports and make adjustments to improve how the bank executes trades for clients. 

Read more: Barclays has the fastest growing stock trading team around — and it's posing a threat to some of the biggest players

It's a move that indicates a shift in how the bank services clients — gone are the days of on-size-fits-all. Clients of the British bank, which has one of the fastest growing stock trading teams in the industry, don't want to be overburdened with a 40-page document that covers more information than they need, Nehren said. Instead, they're interested in specific analysis geared exactly towards what they are looking for. 

The issue, however, is that Nehren's team only has so much time and resources. 

"You have to find a way to balance, essentially, that bespoke resource-intensive view with the reality of, we are not going to have 500 quants running post-trade analytics for everybody," Nehren said. 

Barclays is setting up traders with code, template examples and blogs and online training classes they can watch to teach themselves how to code. No formal classes are held, but Nehren said his team is happy to sit down with any of the traders to talk through issues they are having or to help them code.

One of Python's key benefits is its readability. Unlike other coding languages, Python can be more easily understood by those without a background in programming. Just because it is easily digestible doesn't mean it has sacrificed any power, though. Python can be used for machine learning and data analysis. 

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The language has become increasingly popular within the finance community. According to a recent GitHub report ranking the top technologies favored by its community, Python was the third most popular programming language

Nehren also said he believes traders will be able to offer suggestions for improvements to algos the bank is using as they gain better insight through their Python programs. 

"As we give them the depth of being able to look at what these algos do and how they behave, the innovation comes actually from this cross-pollination," Nehren said. "The depth of partnership that just this effort has brought between my team and the coverage team and sales team, I think that just could be a game changer on its own.

Barclays' equities business posted $614 million in 2018 third quarter revenue, an 33% increase from the year-ago period. It will report fourth quarter results later in February. 

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NOW WATCH: $20 billion alternative investor shares his favorite long-term themes

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President Trump orders all hands on deck to keep the US ahead of China in the AI arms race

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:42

  • President Donald Trump called on the US to prioritize advancements in artificial intelligence in a new executive order. 
  • Trump, however, did not allocate any funds for the effort, but told aides to budget the costs required to maintain a lead in AI.

After months of pushing China to retreat from its strategy to dominate the technologies of the future, President Trump today ordered US agencies to prioritize keeping the US ahead in the development and deployment of artificial intelligence.

He did not allocate specific sums of money — and it will be expensive to match Chinese spending — but told aides to tally up what it will cost to maintain the lead, and to budget it.

Trump's executive order comes amid tense brinkmanship between the US and China, driven by a trade war declared by the US

  • The order brings new focus to the core of US unhappiness: Beijing's strategic plan "Made in China 2025" and its goal of capturing the commanding heights in AI, quantum computing, biotechnology and more.
  • The bottom line: This may be an attempt by Trump to signal deeper resolve ahead of coming new talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, possibly in March.

Simply signaling an all-hands push by the White House on AI is valuable, says Michael Allen, of Beacon Global Strategies and a former member of President George W. Bush’s National Security Council.

  • "This has a galvanizing effect and elevates AI as a critical national priority," Allen tells Axios.
  • "I read [the order] as a demand for the federal agencies to give the White House specifics for what steps they are going to do to make AI a priority and what resources they need to make those steps a reality," says Gregory C. Allen, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "Overall, this [order] is great news."

The billion-dollar question is how the government's new priorities will be funded.

  • Trump set aside no new money in his executive order. When Axios asked how the initiative will be funded, a senior administration official said that money is the purview of Congress.
  • While true that Congress is in charge of appropriating funds, the White House can move existing money around, says William Carter, a technology policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
  • "If they can find $5 billion for a border wall, they should be able to find a few billion for the foundation of our future economic growth," says Carter.

What the plan does do, however, is tee up civilian agencies to make AI investments, and encourages them to do so.

So far, US funding for AI has been anemic.

  • An analysis from Bloomberg Government found that the Pentagon's R&D spending on AI has increased from $1.4 billion to about $1.9 billion between 2017 and 2019. DARPA, the Pentagon's research arm, has separately pledged $2 billion in AI funding over the next five years.
  • It's hard to put a number on the entire federal government's AI spend, says Chris Cornillie, a Bloomberg Government analyst, because "most civilian agencies don't mention AI in their 2019 budget requests." (The new executive order would keep better track of civilian agencies' AI funding.)

These numbers pale in comparison to estimates of Chinese spending on AI. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but just two Chinese cities — Shanghai and Tiajin — have committed to spending about $15 billion each.

One element of funding is building and maintaining talent superiority, and education is a pillar of Trump's executive order.

  • A key issue is whether threats to slow down immigration and make it more difficult for foreign students to attend US schools will detract from US competitiveness, says Elsa Kania, an adjunct senior fellow at CNAS.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We compared Apple's $159 AirPods to Xiaomi's $30 AirDots and the winner was clear

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Apple's rumored subscription news service will reportedly be announced at a March 25 event

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:19

  • Apple will reportedly host a March 25th event at The Steve Jobs Theater in its Apple Park campus where it's expected to unveil its rumored subscription news service.
  • Apple has previously hinted that it will launch new services this year, but hasn't revealed any details yet or confirmed the March 25th event.
  • The news comes shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has run into resistance from news publishers over a proposed revenue split that would see Apple pocket 50%.

Apple is planning to hold a special event on March 25 during which it's expected to share details on its rumored subscription news service, according to a new report from BuzzFeed.

The event would mark Apple's first major product announcement for 2019. Although the company has unveiled new iPads during events held in March in years past, the report indicates a subscription news service will be the focus of the event. Other rumored products like a new iPad mini and second generation Air Pods are not expected to make an appearance at this event.

The report comes hours after The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has run into resistance during negotiations with top news publishers over the terms of its subscription news service. Apple is looking to partner with publishers on a subscription news service that would allow readers to pay around $10 per month to read content that is usually paywalled, but Apple's proposed 50% revenue split with publishers has not gone over well, according to the Journal.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently teased that "new services" from Apple are coming in 2019 during an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer. "On services, you will see us announce new services this year," Cook said. "There will be more things coming, I don't want to tell you what they are."

The launch would be Apple's latest push to grow its services revenue with a goal of hitting $50 billion by 2020. Services revenue will be an important metric for Apple moving forward as it grapples with slowing iPhone sales in China. Since Apple announced in November that it would no longer break out iPhone sales in its quarterly earnings reports, investors will likely be looking to the growth of its services business moving forward, which reached an all-time high of $10 billion during the holiday quarter.

Apple declined to comment on or confirm a March 25 event.


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NOW WATCH: Apple forever changed the biggest tech event of the year by not showing up

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12 AI startups that will boom in 2019, according to VCs

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:14

  • Artificial intelligence is the next big technological wave, bringing new technologies, businesses and opportunities.
  • While the big tech corporations are all betting on AI, a number of startups are quietly pushing the AI boundaries AI to create smarter, faster apps and products.
  • Here's a list of AI startups that are on track to boom in 2019, according to the people closest to the startup world — the venture capitalists that watch, advise and invest in them.

As part of our comprehensive coverage of the startups that will boom in 2019, we asked the startup experts – venture capitalists – to name the startups they think are are going to be hot this year.

We asked them to tell us about companies within their portfolio as well as ones they haven't invested in but are hearing good things about.

One group of startups came up over and over again: those that specialize in artificial intelligence tech.

From AI robots to software that uses machine learning to automate tasks, here are Silicon Valley insiders' top AI picks, with funding information taken from Pitchbook, the deal-tracking database.

SEE ALSO: Everything you need to know about Kubernetes, the Google-created open source software so popular even Microsoft and Amazon had to adopt it

Appzen: automatically audit expense reports

Startup:  AppZen

Total raised: $51 million

What it does: AppZen uses AI to automatically audit 100% of a company's expense reports, invoices and contracts in real time.

VC who selected it: Arif Janmohamed, Lightspeed

Relationship to the startup: Investor

Why it's hot in 2019: "Every company has employees who expense things that are out of compliance, out of policy or are just fraudulent. Similarly, every company has suppliers that game the system and push the envelope," says Janmohamed.

Atrium: using AI on legal documents

Startup: Atrium

Total raised: $75 million

What it does: Atrium is like the offspring of a law firm and a tech startup. It uses machine learning AI software to deal with ordinary legal documents and has lawyers who work on the complex legal issues.

VC who selected it: Nakul Mandan, Lightspeed

Relationship to the startup: No relation. Just thinks it's cool.

Why it's hot in 2019: "Legal advisory is a huge, huge industry that still operates pretty much the same way it operated two decades ago. Atrium is bringing together all the advancements in AI, workflow automation and collaboration to build a next-gen more scalable law firm," says Mandan.

Farmwise: self-driving, robot tractors

Startup: Farmwise

Total raised: $7.5 million

What it does: Farmwise has built an autonomous tractor that uses computer vision to cut weeds without the use of herbicides. 

VC who selected it: Niki Pezeshki, Felicis Ventures

Relationship to the startup: Investor

Why it's hot in 2019: The tractor could help farmers save money and overcome labor shortages. "The autonomous tractor that drives over rows of crops and uses computer vision to determine if what it’s looking at is a plant or a weed. If it’s a weed, it uses scissors to chop it, and if it’s a plant, it doesn’t do anything," says Pezeshki.

"With only a seed round raised, they already have multiple tractors operating on farms in California and are generating significant revenue," he says.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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MoviePass' parent company has been kicked off the Nasdaq, but claims it 'has no effect on the day-to-day business' (HMNY)

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 23:05

  • Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY), the parent company of MoviePass, has been kicked off the Nasdaq, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
  • The company had failed to meet the Nasdaq's listing standards by trading below $1 per share since July.
  • "HMNY’s delisting has no effect on the day-to-day business operations of HMNY or its subsidiaries, including MoviePass and MoviePass Films," the company said in a statement to Business Insider.


Helios and Matheson Analytics, the parent company of movie-ticket subscription service MoviePass, has been kicked off the Nasdaq, it disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. It will now trade over the counter under the same ticker, HMNY.

Helios had failed to meet the Nasdaq's listing standards by trading under $1 per share since July. In December, the Nasdaq sent Helios a warning that the company would delisted, but Helios appealed the decision. The effort failed.

"The Company timely appealed the delisting notice and appeared in front of the Panel on January 31, 2019," Helios wrote in the filing. "The Panel issued a decision on February 11, 2019, and determined to delist the Company’s common stock from The Nasdaq Capital Market. The suspension of trading in the Company’s common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market will be effective at the open of business on February 13, 2019."

Helios raised its profile in the summer of 2017 when it acquired MoviePass and lowered the service's monthly subscription price to $9.95 a month to see one movie in theaters per day. The move led to millions of new subscribers, but also hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Helios has primarily used the selling of billions of new shares to cover its losses, and has seen its stock lose over 99% of its value.

Despite this, the company said in a statement to Business Insider that "HMNY’s delisting has no effect on the day-to-day business operations of HMNY or its subsidiaries, including MoviePass and MoviePass Films."

Read more: A MoviePass product manager resigned and blasted its leadership in a scathing letter to all staff

In January, Helios announced that it had sent a registration statement to the SEC to make MoviePass a separate public company. In a statement Tuesday to Business Insider, Helios said that effort would continue.

"HMNY will consider applying to be listed on an exchange again should it meet the applicable listing criteria in the future," the company also noted.

Helios had a complicated history as a Nasdaq-listed company before getting kicked off.

Before the MoviePass era, the New York outpost of Helios and Matheson was controlled by an Indian company (Helios and Matheson Information Technology), which stands accused of defrauding at least 5,000 creditors in India, including banks and senior citizens.

Here is Helios' full statement on its delisting:

"HMNY’s delisting has no effect on the day-to-day business operations of HMNY or its subsidiaries, including MoviePass and MoviePass Films. HMNY expects that its common stock will begin trading on the over-the-counter market on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. HMNY will consider applying to be listed on an exchange again should it meet the applicable listing criteria in the future. In the meantime, HMNY is proceeding with its planning efforts to effectuate a partial spin-off of MoviePass Entertainment Holdings Inc. (“MoviePass Entertainment”), which would take ownership of HMNY’s film industry related assets, including its shares of MoviePass Inc., membership interest in MoviePass Films and MoviePass Ventures and the Moviefone entertainment information service. The spin-off remains subject to numerous conditions, as previously described in HMNY’s SEC filings."

SEE ALSO: Netflix and HBO are fighting over the original TV crown, but the nunbers of hours Netflix is putting out is overwhelming

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Apple went from a $1 trillion company to losing over 20% of its share price

Categories: English

Apple is reportedly facing resistance from publishers over its plans to keep 50% of the revenue from its rumored subscription news service

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:56

  • Apple is facing pushback from publishers over its planned subscription service, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The phone giant plans to keep half the subscription revenue it makes from the so-called "Netflix for news" service, which will cost about $10 a month.
  • Some publishers also are concerned that Apple won't share customer data with them.

Apple is trying to line up big publishers to participate in its planned subscription service, but it's facing pushback from outlets that are balking at the terms, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The phone giant reportedly plans to keep half the subscription revenue it makes from the so-called "Netflix for news" service, which could cost about $10 a month, and share the rest of the revenue with publishers.

Apple sees the service as a way to help shore up sales of its iPhones.

The report lists The New York Times and Washington Post as major outlets that haven't agreed to be part of the service, while talks between Apple and The Journal are ongoing.

Those publications all get substantial revenue from selling subscriptions directly to consumers, and risk giving up revenue and a direct relationship with readers by being part of a subscription bundle. On the other hand, the subscription service represents a potentially huge audience of Apple device owners to be put in front of subscription publishers.

The strained relationship speaks to an ongoing tension between tech giants and publishers that depend on these tech companies for distribution but are wary of their control of the revenue, data, and publishers' brand.

After being burned by Facebook, which has cut the amount of traffic it's sending publishers, many publishers have found a welcome traffic source in Apple News, the news aggregation app that's baked into Apple's mobile products.

Apple News also represents a safe, hand-picked environment for quality news publishers. 

Publishers also have groused that despite helping send readers to their stories, Apple News doesn't do much to help them sell advertising on those pageviews because of Apple's historic anti-advertising stance.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Apple went from a $1 trillion company to losing over 20% of its share price

Categories: English

See inside the modest Bellevue, Washington, house Jeff Bezos was renting when he started Amazon, now on the market for $1.5 million (AMZN)

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:46

  • The home where Jeff Bezos started Amazon is now up for sale.
  • It's a nearly 1,600-square-foot three-bedroom ranch house in Bellevue, Washington, just outside of Seattle.
  • Bezos was renting it in 1994 and started the business in the garage.
  • The home was renovated since Bezos lived there and is now on the market for $1.49 million.

House hunters in Bellevue, Washington, have a new option to choose from — and this one's historic.

A new home on the market is the very same one that Jeff Bezos was renting when he started Amazon in 1994. It's a nearly 1,600-square-foot three-bedroom ranch house in Bellevue, Washington, just outside of Seattle. 

The home looks very different from how it did in Bezos' days thanks to a rebuild that happened in 2001, according to the Seattle Times. It does retain some of his additions, however, like a large mailbox that was meant to receive catalogs. The famous garage was also redone.

The house, on sale for $1.49 million, isn't more expensive due to its historical significance. 

"We didn't price any of that historical significance into it," Pat Sullivan, who is hosting the listing with John L. Scott Real Estate, told the Times.

That relatively low price for the region puts it in the range of many Amazon workers who may purchase it for "bragging rights," Sullivan said.

SEE ALSO: Anybody can now offer free 2-day shipping on — and Amazon should be worried

This may seem like any random three-bedroom ranch house in Bellevue, Washington.

But the house has a significant unseen history as the unofficial birthplace of Amazon.

Enter the home through a stately red door.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Categories: English

When Warren Washington created the first climate model, he had no idea how necessary it was. He just won the 'Nobel Prize for the environment.'

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:40

  • Warren Washington, who's 89 years old, has been awarded the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement — an award sometimes described as the "Nobel Prize for the environment."
  • The prize honors Washington's pioneering work modeling Earth's climate.
  • Washington's climate models have been integral to the scientific community and general public because they've improved our ability study weather patterns and make predictions about the impacts of climate change.
  • Washington is sharing the award with climate scientist and writer Michael Mann, one of the first people to present scientific evidence of human-driven climate change.

Warren Washington has been in the climate game a long time.

The 89-year-old was the second African American ever to receive a doctorate in meteorology, earning his PhD from Pennsylvania State University in 1964,  and he developed one of the first computer models of Earth’s climate.

Before models like Washington's, scientists' understanding of the planet's climate was based on theory and observation alone; now, experts can study weather patterns, make long-term projections about climate change, and simulate what the climate looked like tens of thousands of years ago.

For this work, Washington was just awarded the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, a prestigious award that's sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for the environment." Washington is sharing the prize with another climate scientist, Michael Mann.

Although Washington started his prize-winning work in the 1960s, it's more relevant today than ever. In an era of unprecedented warming, Antarctic melting, and sea-level rise, the ability to model Earth's future is vital.

"Keep in mind that we're the first generation that actually sees climate change in human history," Washington told Business Insider. "Most climate change has been us going in and out of ice ages over thousands of years. Now we're seeing things happen over tens of years."

A career in climate modeling

Washington started working at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 1963.

Over the next decade, he created one of the world's first climate models in collaboration with his NCAR colleague Akira Kasahara.

Climate models leverage fundamental laws of physics to simulate how heat energy, water vapor, and chemicals move between Earth's oceans and the atmosphere. Supercomputers use the models' mathematical equations to calculate how matter and energy get exchanged between different parts of the environment. The models then yield predictions about what the planet's atmosphere will look like in the future.

"Dr. Washington literally wrote the earliest book on climate modeling," Shirley Malcom, director of education and human resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said in a press release. Malcom was referring to Washington's seminal book, "An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling," which he co-wrote with climatologist Claire Parkinson.

Washington's models were also critical in the landmark 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which concluded that the "warming of the climate system is unequivocal." The assessment named the cause of global warming directly: an increase in greenhouse gases resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.

Washington, his NCAR coworkers, and colleagues around the world shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the IPCC work. President Barack Obama recognized Washington's achievements in 2010 by awarding him the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor bestowed by the US government. 

But when he started out, Washington was not thinking about the human-driven causes of climate change.

"The objective wasn’t to observe climate change at that point in the early 1960s. It was to see if we could duplicate what we were seeing in terms of temperatures, precipitation, and El Niño events," Washington said.

Models are better now, but the predictions are still troubling

As technology has improved, so have climate models' capabilities.

With more supercomputing power, Washington started incorporating additional elements into his models, like the melting and movement of sea ice, as well as levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"For example, what we're able to do now that we couldn’t earlier is examine hurricanes and see how they could change with time," he said. "Now we see that the hurricanes are much stronger and spinning faster, thanks to the feedback between warming ocean and atmospheric temperatures and hurricane strength."

Observations of hurricanes had suggested this was true before the models could analyze the data, he said, but early computers just didn't run fast enough to confirm that feedback loop.

Yet even before computers became powerful enough to model hurricanes, they showed that the planet was undoubtedly warming.

"What's interesting to me as someone who's done modeling for some time," Washington said, "is that while early versions of models were quite crude compared to today's, we did capture global warming in our predictions."

In the 1970s and 1980s, Washington combined various climate models to see how much warming would occur if different amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases entered the atmosphere.

"Surprisingly, these early predictions were reasonably accurate in terms of how the climate system was changing," he said.

Today's models can also incorporate changes to glaciers and the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, but the big picture has remained consistent.

"We've come a long ways," Washington said. "But the answer keeps coming out the same: the climate is changing."

The future of climate-change action in the US

During his long tenure at NCAR, Washington advised six consecutive US presidents — from Carter through Obama — on climate change. Though he officially retired in July 2018, he still holds the title of distinguished scholar at NCAR, and said he continues to go into work a couple of days each week.

With that long view, today's public discourse about climate change is both heartening and frustrating to Washington. He said he has "a lot of difficulty with this administration," since President Donald Trump "doesn’t cite anything — he doesn’t know where his information comes from."

"I can't argue with someone who says an idea, but offers no data," Washington added, noting that his own models are available to the public.

"There's no secrets," he said. "Anybody in the world can download the models and carry out experiments and essentially contribute to what we’re learning."

Read More: Greenland is approaching the threshold of an irreversible melt, and the consequences for coastal cities could be dire

But at the same time, Washington said he's encouraged by the new surge of interest in addressing climate change.

"I'm impressed now — not only that climate change is talked about almost nightly on TV, and above the newspaper fold in the New York Times, but that the public agrees it's real and that we need to do something about it," he said. (A 2018 Yale survey that showed that 70% of Americans accept that climate change is happening.)

Washington said he's intrigued by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal plan. But he knows transitioning away from fossil fuels is no easy change.

"Are [Americans] ready to sacrifice the way they live now to shift to other energy sources? I don’t have an easy answer for you on this," he said. "I don’t think there's been enough educating about the overall issue ... As we know, the fossil-fuel industry fights back with a lot of information on TV and supports congressmen through their donation of campaign funds."

But Washington said he's continuing to make pro-environment changes in his own life.

"I bought a Tesla," he said, "which I have to admit is fun to drive."

SEE ALSO: People are using the viral '10-year challenge' as a stark warning about what's happening to our planet

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 6 major US cities could be underwater within 80 years — here are the disturbing ‘after’ images

Categories: English

The Fitbit Versa smartwatch has all the fitness-tracking features you want — and it’s $30 off until February 16

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:30

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

  • The Fitbit Versa smartwatch is $30 off at Amazon, Best Buy, and Fitbit's website until February 16, bringing it down to $169.95 (originally $195.95). 
  • Like all of Fitbit's fitness trackers, the Versa can track your steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep. 
  • It also has smartwatch features, including the ability to show notifications, download apps, and play music. 
  • The Versa is one of our favorite Fitbit trackers, and its smartwatch features make it a great buy — especially at this price.

The Fitbit Versa smartwatch is $30 off at Amazon, Best Buy, and Fitbit until February 16, bringing it down to its lowest price since the holidays. It's one of our favorite Fitbits, thanks to its sleek design and great feature set.

Although it's about half the price of competitors like the Apple Watch, the Versa is a great buy. It combines some of the best features from popular smartwatches with top-notch fitness tracking to make a great all-around device.

Now that it's on sale, it's an even better deal for anyone who wants to try a smartwatch but doesn't want to pay a premium.

The Versa can track your steps, calories burned, heart rate, sleep, and more than 15 specific types of exercise, so you can get the most accurate assessment of your workout. This information is automatically logged in Fitbit's smartphone app, so you can watch for trends or track your progress.

Like any good smartwatch, the Versa gets notifications from your phone and you can download third-party apps on the device. Fitbit also lets you download up to 300 songs on the Versa, so you can listen to your music during your workout with just your watch and a pair of Bluetooth headphones — no phone needed.

One place where the Versa trounces its competition is battery life: Fitbit says it will last for four days or more on a single charge, which is way higher than the 18-hour estimate Apple gives its smartwatch

The Fitbit Versa works with both iOS and Android, but things are a little more limited on the Apple side. All of the fitness features are identical, but Android users can send short responses to text messages right from the watch. If you're on an iPhone, you'll be able to see the texts, but won't be able to respond to them on the watch.

If you're looking for a fitness tracker, but wouldn't mind having a smartwatch, the Fitbit Versa strikes a good balance. For $169.95, you'll be able to track your fitness metrics, receive notifications on your wrist, and exercise with music without taking your phone with you. But this deal is only around until February 16, so don't wait too long to pick one up.

Fitbit Versa, $169.95 (originally $195.95), available at Amazon, Best Buy, and Fitbit [You save $30] Read our full guide to the best Fitbits you can buy

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Activision-Blizzard, the major video game company behind 'Call of Duty' and 'Overwatch,' is laying off about 800 employees (ATVI)

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:26

  • Blizzard Entertainment, the creator of huge video-game franchises such as "Overwatch," "World of Warcraft," and "Hearthstone," is undergoing a big round of layoffs.
  • The layoffs will ultimately affect some 800 employees across Activision-Blizzard, representing some 8% of its workforce. 
  • Activision Blizzard, the parent company of Blizzard, has seen its stock lose almost half its value since October 2018. 
  • Read the full memo to Blizzard employees below. 

Blizzard Entertainment, one of the biggest names in the video game business, has begun a significant round of layoffs. The move confirms earlier reports from Bloomberg.

On its quarterly earnings call on Tuesday afternoon, parent company Activision-Blizzard announced that it would lay off 8% of of its workforce, representing some 800 out of about 9,600 total jobs. The layoffs were first reported by Kotaku, and appear to primarily affect Blizzard itself. 

The layoffs will ultimately affect every part of Activision-Blizzard, including "Call of Duty" publisher Activision, "Candy Crush Saga" maker King, and Blizzard itself, which is responsible for flagship gaming franchises including "World of Warcraft," "Overwatch," "Hearthstone," and "Diablo." 

The news comes after Activision-Blizzard reported mixed results for its holiday quarter, and gave guidance that fell short of Wall Street expectations. While earnings were ahead of expectations, revenue fell short. Shares of Activision-Blizzard have just about halved since October 2018. 

"In-game execution was inadequate in some of our franchises, and we saw weaker-than-anticipated retail demand," Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told investors on the earnings call, according to CNBC. 

Despite owning a catalog of fan-favorite titles including "World of Warcraft," "Diablo 3," and "Destiny 2," Blizzard has seen some of its thunder stolen by free-to-play newcomers like "Fortnite" and "Apex Legends." Meanwhile, "Overwatch," Blizzard's newest franchise, was a smash hit when it landed in 2016, but has slowly lost ground to rival titles with more frequent updates, including "Call of Duty" and "Rainbow Six: Siege."

A memo to employees

In a memo to staff obtained by Business Insider sent before the earnings call, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack promised an "comprehensive severance package" to affected employees. The memo says that managers have begun notifying affected employees if they're affected by the layoffs. 

In a separate blog post released to the public, J. Allen Brack reassured fans that Blizzard isn't slowing down on game development.

"With that in mind, we have plans to add to game development," he wrote. "We are dedicated to bringing you more content across existing game franchises and bringing our unannounced projects to life.

A person close to the company previously told Kotaku's Jason Schrier that the layoffs are expected to hit Blizzard’s esports and publishing divisions especially hard. Blizzard has spent the last several years supporting professional competition for its most popular games, including “Overwatch,” “Hearthstone,” and “Starcraft.“

Notably, it seems that Blizzard esports head Amy Morhaime left the company in December, according to her LinkedIn. That came just months after Blizzard cofounder Mike Morhaime, her husband, announced that he would step down as president of the company. Morhaime is staying on as a strategic advisor to Blizzard through April.

As they brace for today's layoffs, Blizzard employees are crying and hugging in the parking lot, according to a person there. Still no official word from the company, but people in publishing and esports are expecting big cuts. Earnings is at 5pm ET - news should be around then.

— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) February 12, 2019


Beyond Amy Morhaime and Mike Morhaime, Activision Blizzard has lost other key executives, including CFO Spencer Neumann. More recently, Activision Blizzard sold the commercial rights to flagship online shooter "Destiny 2," in a mutual agreement after the game's developer, Bungie, opted to split from the company.

Activision Blizzard cited underwhelming sales for the "Destiny 2: Forsaken" expansion as one of the reasons the company underperformed during the third quarter of 2018. In that quarter, the video game publisher reported a 5% decline in earnings over the same period of 2017, and revenue over the same quarter declined by 6.6% to $1.151 billion. 

Blizzard has reportedly been working to cut costs since early last year. Employees at Blizzard told Kotaku that they were repeatedly told to reduce spending by former CFO Amrita Ahuja, who left in January 2019. In December, Eurogamer reported that Blizzard negotiated buyouts for more than 100 customer service employees based in Ireland.

Read the full memo from Blizzard president J. Allen Brack to employees:

Hello Blizzard....

Today is a difficult day, and I have some hard decisions to communicate. 

The Blizzard leadership team and I have been talking a lot about how we want to build on Blizzard's legacy and what the priorities are for the company going forward. Our top priority is to continue making great games, and entertainment experiences. It's critical that we prioritize product development and grow the capacity of the teams doing this work to best serve our player community. We also need to evolve operationally to provide the best support for new and existing products. As a result, we've made the decision to change parts of the organization, which I'll share more about in a separate email later today.

Unfortunately, these changes come with a harder reality. Over the last few years, many of our non-development teams expanded to support various needs. Currently, staffing levels on some teams are out of proportion with our current release slate. This means we need to scale down some areas of our organization. I'm sorry to share that we will be parting ways with some of our colleagues in the U.S. today. In our regional offices, we anticipate similar evaluations, subject to local requirements. 

There's no way to make this transition easy for impacted employees, but we are doing what we can to support our colleagues. In the U.S. we are offering a comprehensive severance package, extended health and benefits continuation, profit sharing for 2018, career coaching, and job search/placement assistance. These people are members of the Blizzard Family—they care deeply and contributed greatly to the work we are all committed to. We are extremely grateful for their contributions here at Blizzard. 

Managers in the U.S. will meet with impacted employees this afternoon, and we will be following up with team meetings later today and tomorrow. The managing director in each regional office will provide an update to explain in detail what this means for employees in their respective locations. 

I will also post a message to the community about the changes this afternoon, so our players understand that these measures do not affect our game development efforts, and are not related to any individual franchise. If anyone from the press or a fansite contacts you, please refer them to Rob Hilburger on the communications team. 

This is a lot to take in, and it is not going to be easy. Let's do our best to support each other through this process. I know many of you will have questions. In addition to my follow-up note later today, I'll be hosting a fireside chat this Thursday to provide more details about the organizational changes. As always, in the meantime, reach out to me or any member of the exec team if you have questions. 


Official comment from Activision-Blizzard:

Activision Blizzard achieved record GAAP revenue and EPS for both the fourth quarter and the year, and we also achieved record segment financial results across Activision and King in 2018. While we performed well in these areas of our business last year, and continued to make progress in mobile, advertising, and esports, we ultimately did not meet our own, nor our communities’, expectations for content delivery and growth.

As a result, we’re taking important steps to reinforce our foundation for future growth. We’re increasing our investment in game development across our biggest franchises, mobile and geographic expansion, as well as in adjacent opportunities with demonstrated potential, like esports and advertising.

Over the course of 2019, we plan to increase the number of developers working on our key franchises by approximately 20%, ultimately allowing us to put even more content into the hands of existing and new fans around the world.

To fund this investment, we are de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting our expectations and reducing certain non-development administrative expenses across the company. We are also bringing together our regional sales, partnerships, and sponsorships capabilities enabling us to better leverage our talent, expertise and scale.

We’re confident in our plan and the leadership teams in place who will navigate us through this time of change. These actions will allow us to return to the franchise focus that has fueled our long-term success so that we can bring the most epic entertainment to our players around the world.

Do you work at Blizzard or have a confidential tip to share? Contact this reporter by email at, or via Twitter DM at @ForteK. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: New York City’s first official esports team hosted a Brooklyn pop-up shop with celebrity appearances and tons of video games, and fans couldn’t get enough of it

SEE ALSO: Activision Blizzard responds to criticism after a former employee claimed workplace discrimination nearly led him to suicide

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NOW WATCH: Netflix copycats are changing the streaming game and making viewers pay the price

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Tesla's charging network gives it a huge advantage over its rivals — but the company is still lacking in one crucial area (TSLA)

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:07

  • Tesla's network of thousands of charging stations gives it a huge leg up on the competition, a Wall Street analyst said Tuesday. 
  • But, Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley warns, the company's retail and service infrastructure is going to need to keep pace with its vehicle sales. 
  • Tesla buyers have reported long waits for service and parts after receiving their vehicles from the company. 

Tesla’s network of superchargers is now close to 12,000 — blowing other automaker’s electrical infrastructure out of the water. 

Morgan Stanley estimates that Tesla alone could account for up to 40% of the US’ total charging outlets. That gives the company a huge "competitive moat" over other automakers, the bank said in a note to clients Tuesday.

"Growth in the charging footprint, while strong, is far slower than the growth in Tesla’s car population, which we estimate increase by 83% last year," analyst Adam Jonas writes. "We calculate Tesla’s car fleet per supercharger increased to 45 by the end of 2018 vs. 33 at the end of 2017."

But while the company has been successful in ramping production to get more cars on the road and increasing revenue, Tesla's next pain point could be in servicing vehicles if and when they encounter problems.

"Tesla's vehicle fleet has grown far faster than its physical store and service location network, raising investor concerns about strain on the system," Jonas said. 

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that many Tesla Model 3 buyers were facing long waits for service and parts, a pain point Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk acknowledged on the company's fourth-quarter earnings conference call. In one case, a Model 3 is still in the shop awaiting after an accident in September — nearly five months ago.

"I want to note that one of our major priorities this quarter is improving service operations," Musk told analysts and investors on the call.

"So really, from my standpoint, when I think about what my priorities are this quarter, it's improving service in North America. That's #1. And I think that there are some very exciting initiatives that we're going to roll out with regard to that," he continued.

Jonas, who has an equal-weight rating for Tesla stock, says Tesla has significant room to improve on the service front, especially when it comes to mobile service centers. Tesla currently has 411 vans that can be dispatched to fix cars at owners' homes.

The company estimates 80% of repairs can be done outside of its 85 service centers, according to the Wall Street Journal. And with more cars hitting the road every quarter, those vans may not be able to keep up.

For now, at least, it's got its charging network to attract new customers.

"Part of the strategic attraction to Tesla is its physical infrastructure footprint," Jonas said. "Which we believe, over time, can improve the customer experience, reduce friction points, and support the fleet management of many millions of Tesla vehicles on the road and in both captive and 3rd-party fleets."

SEE ALSO: Elon Musk is selling his $4.5 million home that overlooks Los Angeles. Here's a look inside

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Porsche's factory in Germany manufactures over 160,000 vehicles per year. Take a look inside.

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How to clear the cache on your iPhone and make it run faster

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:05

  • Clearing your iPhone's cache is easy maintenance that you should make a regular priority, as a cluttered cache could be the reason your iPhone is slow.
  • You can clear up space on your iPhone's cache by manually deleting information from your individual apps and browser or by deleting and reloading apps to automatically clear the cache.
  • Here's an easy step-by-step process to clear your cache from Safari and third-party apps.

Ever wonder why your iPhone's loading speed is slower than usual? Contrary to what you might think, it isn't necessarily because your phone is getting old or because your network is slow. It could be that your iPhone is bogged down by too many useless files and app data, which likely means it's time for you to clear out your cache.

Cached data encompass all the files and images that your phone has hidden away in its memory. That includes passwords and scripts from previously visited websites that your phone keeps handy for easy access.

In theory, the feature is supposed to make things easier and faster for you because your phone doesn't have to repeatedly ask you for your passwords and other information. While Apple hasn't confirmed it directly, the general consensus of the tech community is that when your iPhone gets backed up with too much data, your phone's cache can make the device run at slower speeds.

Clearing your cache can be a healthy habit to adopt to keep your phone operating at full capacity. Lucky for you, it's a quick and easy process that even those who aren't exactly iPhone-savvy can do themselves.

So if you feel your iPhone is in dire need of a spring cleaning, then follow these simple steps, starting with the app you probably use the most, Safari.

Clearing cache on Safari

  1. Before you go deleting data, make sure you know your essential passwords. This process will log you out of the websites you frequent.
  2. In "Settings," find the "Passwords & Accounts" sections and tap "Safari."
  3. Past the toggles, you'll see "Clear History and Website Data." Click that.
  4. Your device will double-check that you want to clear Safari's data, so click through the message that follows.
Clearing cache on third-party apps

1. As for the third-party apps that you've downloaded — Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps, and the like — you can manage your storage in "Settings." In "Settings," go to "General" and click "iPhone Storage."

2. In "iPhone Storage," you'll find a list of your apps, with the ones holding the most data at the top.

3. If you tap any of these apps, you can see exactly how much space its "Documents & Data" is taking up.

4. If your device is getting full, it will offer you recommendations for what to clean up on the "iPhone Storage" page. Just tap the "Show All" button next to "Recommendations" to read the each one's description.

5. If you would like to take any of the recommendations, simply tap "Enable."

6. If you'd rather clear out space manually, then go into the app and start clearing out unnecessary files, such as old text conversations, playlists, photo albums, emails, and the like.

Deleting and redownloading apps to clear cache
  1. If you have one app that's taking up a tremendous amount of space unnecessarily, then it could be worth deleting the app and redownloading it, according to PCWorld. That's because your social apps are storing away images and videos that you've already watched, and sometimes the only way to clear that cache is to just erase it and clear out a significant portion of its cached data. 
  2. To delete an app, just tap said app under the "iPhone Storage" menu and hit "Delete App" at the bottom of the page.
  3. Redownload it by going into the Apple Store and searching for it or finding it in your "My Purchases" list. If it's a paid app, you will not have to purchase it again.

SEE ALSO: How to properly clean an iPad screen without damaging your device

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At 19, I left my job to build a billion-dollar company. But I didn't do it, and considered myself a failure for years until I made a critical change in my thinking

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 21:49

  • In 2011, Sahil Lavingia left his job as the second employee at Pinterest to build Gumroad, which he dreamed would become a billion-dollar company. He raised about $8 million in his first year.
  • But things didn't keep growing. At one point he ended up having to lay off 75% of his staff, including his friends, and strongly considered selling his company. Eventually, he was working completely on his own.
  • Lavingia began to be OK with the fact that Gumroad would never be a billion-dollar company. He decided to grow a small team, slowly buy back investors, and build Gumroad into a meaningful business focused on our creators. 
  • "I consider myself 'successful' now," he writes. "Not exactly in the way I intended, though I think it counts. Where did my binary focus on building a billion-dollar company come from in the first place?"

This post was originally published on Medium.

In 2011 I left my job as the second employee at Pinterest — before I vested any of my stock — to work on what I thought would be my life’s work.

Just had an idea for my first billion-dollar company. Tomorrow, I start building it.

— Sahil Lavingia (@shl) April 2, 2011

Gumroad would become a billion-dollar company, with hundreds of employees. It would IPO, and I would work on it until I died. Something like that.

That didn’t happen.

Now, it may look like I am in an enviable position, running a profitable, growing, and low-maintenance software business with customers who adore us. But for years, I considered myself a failure. At my lowest point, I had to lay off 75% of my company, including many of my best friends. I had failed.

I no longer feel shame in the path I took to get to where I am today. It took me years to realize that I was misguided from the outset. This is that journey, from the beginning.

A weekend project turned VC-backed startup

The idea behind Gumroad was simple: Creators and others should be able to sell their products directly to their audiences with quick, simple links. No need for a storefront.

I built Gumroad that weekend, and launched it early Monday morning on Hacker News. The reaction exceeded my grandest aspirations. Over 52,000 people checked it out on the first day.

Later that year, I left my job as the second employee at Pinterest — before I vested any of my stock — to turn it into what I thought would become my life’s work.

Almost immediately, I raised $1.1M from an all-star cast of angel investors and venture capital firms, including Max Levchin, Chris Sacca, Ron Conway, Naval Ravikant, Collaborative Fund, Accel Partners, and First Round Capital. A few months later, in May 2012, we raised $7M more. Mike Abbott from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), a top-tier VC firm, led the round.

I was on top of the world. I was just 19, a solo founder, with over $8M in the bank and three employees. And the world was starting to take note.

We grew the team. We stayed focused on our product. The monthly numbers started to climb. And then, at some point, they didn’t.

To keep the product alive, I laid off 75% of my company — including many of my best friends. It really sucked. But I told myself things would be fine: The product would continue to grow and no one far from the company would ever find out.

Then TechCrunch published Layoffs Hit Gumroad As The E-Commerce Startup Restructures. All of a sudden my failure was public. I spent the week ignoring my support network and answering our customers’ concerns, many of whom relied on us to power their business and wanted to know if they should look for an alternative after reading the news; some of our favorite, most successful creators left. (It hurt, but I don’t blame them for trying to minimize the risk in their own businesses.)

So what went wrong, and when?

Failing in style

Let’s start with the numbers. This is our monthly processed volume, up until the layoffs:

It doesn’t look too bad, right? It’s going in the right direction: up.

But we were venture-funded, which was like playing a game of double-or-nothing. It’s euphoric when things are going your way–and suffocating when they’re not. And we weren’t doubling fast enough to raise the $15M+ Series B (the second major round of funding) we looked for to grow the team.

Every month of less than 20% growth should have been a red flag.

For the type of business we were trying to build, every month of less than 20% growth should have been a red flag.

But at the time, I thought: “It’s okay.” We had money in the bank, we had product-market fit. We would continue to ship product and things would work out. The online creator movement was still nascent; it wasn’t our fault. It always looked like change was right around the corner.

But now, I realize: It doesn’t matter whose “fault” it is, we hit a peak in November 2014 and stalled. A lot of creators absolutely loved us, but there weren’t enough of them who needed our specific product offering. Product-market fit is great, but we needed to find a new, larger fit to justify raising more money (and then do it again and again, until acquisition or IPO).

In January 2015, after our final double-or-nothing hail-mary, when our bank balance dipped below 18 months of runway, I told the twenty-person team: the road ahead was going to be a tough one. We didn’t have the numbers to raise a Series B, and we would have to work really hard over the next nine months to get even close to them. To that end, we deprioritized everything except features that would directly “move the needle.” Many were not core to our business, but we needed to try everything we could to get our monthly processed volume to where it needed to be.

If we succeeded, we would raise money from a top-tier VC again, hire more people, and start the journey again. If we didn’t, we would have to drastically downsize the company.

In those nine months, when the whole team knew that we were fighting for our company’s life, not a single person left Gumroad. From “this is gonna be hard,” to “yep, turns out it was,” every single person worked harder than ever.

We launched a “Small Product Lab” to teach new creators how to grow and sell. We shipped a ton of features, including weekly payouts, payouts to debit cards, payouts to the UK, Australia, and Canada, various additions to our email features, product recommendations and search, analytics to see how customers are reading/watching/downloading the products they’ve purchased, and add-to-cart functionality. And that was just from August to November.

Unfortunately, we didn’t hit the numbers we needed.

Slim down or shut down?

Looking back, I’m glad we didn’t hit those numbers. If we doubled down, raised more money, and appeared in the headlines again, there was a very real possibility it would only lead to a more spectacular failure.

With that off the table, our options were:

  • Shut down the business, return the remaining money to investors, and try something new.
  • Continue with a slimmed-down version of the company to aim for sustainability.
  • Position the company for an acquihire.

Some of my investors wanted me to shut down the business. They tried to convince me that my time was worth more than trying to keep a small business like Gumroad afloat, and I should try to build another billion-dollar company armed with all of my learnings–and their money.

I tended to agree with them, to be honest. But I was accountable to our creators, our employees, and our investors — in that order. We helped thousands of creators get paid, every month. About $2,500,000 was going to go into the pockets of creators  —  for rent checks and mortgages, for student loans and kids’ college funds. And it was only growing! Could I really just turn that faucet off?

And if I sold the company, it would be mostly for our stellar team, which means I would no longer be able to control the destiny of the product. There were too many acquisition stories that promised exciting journeys and amazing synergies to come — and ended with a deprecated product a year later.

It was certainly tempting. I could say I sold my first company, raise more money, and do this all again with a new idea. But that didn’t sit right with me. We were responsible to our creators first. That’s what I told every new hire and every investor. I didn’t want to become a serial entrepreneur, and risk disappointing another customer base.

We decided to become profitable at any cost. The next year was not fun: I shrunk the company from twenty employees to five. We struggled to find a new tenant for our $25,000/month office and focused all of our remaining resources on launching a premium service.

In June 2015, a few months before our layoffs, our financials looked like this:

  • Revenue: $89,000 for the month
  • Gross profit: $17,000
  • Operating expenses: $364,000
  • Net profit: -$351,000

A year later, in June 2016, our monthly numbers looked like this:

  • Revenue: $176,000 for the month
  • Gross profit: $42,000
  • Operating expenses: $32,000
  • Net profit: +$10,000

It hurt, but it meant creators would keep getting paid, and that we were in control of our own destiny.

Skeleton crew to lifestyle business

It got worse from there.

Gumroad was no longer the venture-funded, fast-growing startup our investors and employees signed up for. As everyone else found other opportunities, the skeleton crew fizzled from five to one.

I was basically alone. I didn’t have a team, nor an office. And San Francisco was full of startups raising gobs more money, building amazing teams, and shipping great products. Some of my friends became billionaires. Meanwhile, I had to run a “measly” lifestyle business. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I had to keep the ship from sinking.

Now, I understand some people would dream to be in that position. But at the time, I just felt trapped. I couldn’t stop, but there was only so much I could do as an army of one.

I shut off the rest of the world. I didn’t tell my mom about the layoffs — she had to read the article and tweets herself to find out. My friends were worried, but I assured them I was neither depressed nor suicidal. I left San Francisco for long stretches at a time, thinking that some travel would give me adequate distance. It only made me more lonely.

Every day, I woke up and took care of all of Gumroad’s support queries. I tried to fix all of the bugs I could. Often, I had to ask for help from former Gumroad engineers. They were all employed now, but they always found time to help. Once all things Gumroad were taken care of, I tried to go to the gym, and if I had the willpower, work on a side project (a fantasy novel). Most days, I failed.

To me, happiness is so much about an expectation of positive change. Every year before 2016, there was an improvement in my expectations — in the team, the product, or the company — and this was the first time in my life when the present year felt worse than the last.

Living in San Francisco was already a struggle, and when Trump won the election, I ended up leaving for good.

New beginnings

Then one day, everything changed. Again. I’m wary about sharing this part of the story, because I don’t know if there is anything to learn from it. But it happened, so here it is.

On November 27, 2017 I got this email from KPCB, our lead investor:

I am following up our conversation a few months ago. KP would like to sell our ownership back to Gumroad for $1. Can we discuss this week?

Mike had left KPCB to start a new company, and KPCB didn’t want the operational headache of appointing a new board member. Plus, it helped their taxes. In one fell swoop, our liquidation preferences (how much we would have to sell for before dollars started going to employees) went from about $16.5M to $2.5M. All of a sudden, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Small, dim, and far away, but present. There was a path to an independent business, not beholden to the go-big-or-go-home mentality I signed up for when I raised money.

One investor joined them. We’ve bought back a couple more, since then. I keep the rest of the investors up-to-date with a brief email every few months.

The future came into focus: I could grow a small team, slowly buy back our investors, and build Gumroad into a meaningful business focused on our creators. We would never become a billion-dollar company, and that started to feel okay. Certainly, the thousands of creators selling on Gumroad wouldn’t mind.

Finding new forms of impact

The eight years I worked on Gumroad were full of personal ups and downs. There were months where I worked 16 hours a day. But there were also some months where I worked four hours a week. Here’s one way to picture that time:

Can you tell which is which? I can’t. We had a sales team for a few years, then we didn’t. Can you tell when we made the switch? I can’t.

It doesn’t matter how amazing your product is, or how fast you ship features. The market you’re in will determine most of your growth. For better or worse, Gumroad grew at roughly the same rate almost every month because that’s how quickly the market determined we would grow.

So instead of pretending to be some sort of product visionary, trying to build a billion-dollar company, I’m just focused on making Gumroad better and better for our existing creators. Because they are the ones that have kept us alive.

Creating and capturing value

At a CEO Summit many years ago, my all-time hero, Bill Gates, was on stage. Someone asked him how he dealt with failing to capture so much value? Microsoft was huge, sure, but tiny compared to the total impact it has had on the world and on humanity.

Bill’s answer: sure, but that’s true with all companies, right? They create some value and succeed in capturing a very small percentage of it.

Similarly, I am now more focused on creating value than capturing it. I still want to have as large an impact as possible, but I don’t need to create it directly, or capture it in the form of our revenue or our valuation.

For example, Austen Allred, who’s raised $48M for his startup Lambda School, got his start selling a book on Gumroad.

I shifted my focus from selling my book (using Gumroad, the platform he built) to growing a VC-backed company (which he invested in).

We still disagree on some things I’m sure, but everyone could learn a lot and quickly by getting out of his or her bubble.

— Austen Allred (@Austen) February 7, 2018


Startups have been founded by former Gumroad employees, and dozens more companies have been massively improved by recruiting our alumni.

On top of that, our product ideas, like our credit card form and inline-checkout experience, have proliferated the web, making it a better place for everyone — including those that have never used Gumroad.

While Gumroad, Inc may be small, our impact is large. There is, of course, the $178,000,000 we have sent to creators. But then there’s the impact of the impact, the opportunities that those creators have taken to create new opportunities for others.

Opening up

I’ve found other ways to create value, too. After the layoffs, I didn’t talk to anyone about Gumroad. Not even my mom. And after moving away from San Francisco, I felt pretty disconnected from the startup community.

So, as a way to re-engage with the community, I thought about sharing our financials publicly. Founders starting their own companies could learn from our mistakes, utilizing our data to make better decisions.

It was scary: What if we don’t grow every month? It could scare off prospective customers. It’s something I would never expect a startup seeking venture capital to do. It makes sense to hold those cards as close to your chest for as long as possible when you must raise money, hire people, and compete for customers with other venture-seeking startups.

But, since we were not any of those things anymore, it was easier to share that information. We were profitable, and a no-growth month won’t change that. So in April 2018, I started to release our monthly financials publicly.

Gumroad in April:

GMV: $4.2M (down 2%)
Revenue: $273K (down 2%)
Gross profit: $65K (up 34%)

Let me know if you have any questions!

— Sahil Lavingia (@shl) May 14, 2018


Ironically, more investors have reached out (we’re just interested in raising money from our customers for the moment, thanks!), more folks want to contribute to Gumroad, and our shift in focus has brought us closer to our creators.

Instead of freaking out about how ‘small’ Gumroad actually is (like I thought they would), our creators have grown more loyal. It feels like we’re all in this together, trying to do earn a living doing what we love.

Soon, we will also open-source the whole product, WordPress-style. Anyone will be able to deploy their own version of Gumroad, make the changes they want, and sell the content they want, without us being the middle-man.

In 2018 we donated over $23,775 (8% of our profits) to different causes. We raised money for the hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the floods in Kerala. We helped fund the Presence-of-Blackness project in speculative fiction, and a Mexicanx publication.

Seeking the non-binary

For years, my only metric of success was building a billion dollar company. Now, I realize that was a terrible goal. It’s completely arbitrary, and doesn’t accurately reflect impact.

I’m not making an excuse or pretending that I didn’t fail. I’m not pretending that it feels good. Even though everyone knows that the failure rate in startups, especially venture-funded ones, is super high, it still sucks when you do.

I failed, but I also succeeded at many other things. We turned $10 million of investor capital into $178 million and counting for creators. And without a fundraising goal coming up, we are just focused on building the best product we can for them. On top of all that, I’m happy creating value beyond our revenue-generating product, like these words you’re reading!

I can't wait until I'm successful so I can write about failure.

— Sahil Lavingia (@shl) October 1, 2013


I consider myself “successful” now. Not exactly in the way I intended, though I think it counts. Where did my binary focus on building a billion-dollar company come from in the first place?

I think I inherited it from a society that worships wealth. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Bill Gates was my all-time hero and was also the world’s richest person.

Since I can remember, I equated “successful” solely with net worth. If I heard someone say “that person’s really successful,” I didn’t assume they were improving the well-being of the people around them, but that they had found a way to make a lot of money.

Wealth can be a measure of success, as seems to be in the case of someone like Bill Gates, who has invested heavily in philanthropy. But it’s not the only way to measure success, nor is it the best one.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to build the next Microsoft. I personally don’t think billionaires are evil. And there’s a part of me that wishes I was still on that path.

But for better or worse, I’m on this one now. This has been my path to not building a billion-dollar company. There are many like it, but this one is mine.


A post shared by Gumroad (@gumroad) on Jan 27, 2014 at 9:03am PST on Jan 27, 2014 at 9:03am PST


Let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to help, or at least to listen.

Gumroad is a product of many people’s hard work, including our alumni: Leigh McCulloch, Sidharth Shanker, Anish Bhayani, Kathleen Warner, Heather Whiles, Benjamin Nguyen, K. Tighe, Steve Kaye, Tuhin Srivastava, Avinash Ananth, Joel Packer, Katsuya Noguchi, Matan-Paul Shetrit, Amir Haghighat, Ian Atha, Emmiliese von Clemm, Kate Yu, Sri Raghavan, Ryan Delk, Al Hertz, Travis Nichols, Maxwell Elliott, Phil Howes, Ben Reynolds, Michael Klocker, Bryan English, Laura Biester, Jake Heimark, Aaron Relph, Ben Walsh, Greg Terrono, Donald Huang, Paul McKellar, Francisco Gutierrez, Kyle Doherty, and Jessica Jalsevac. Thank you.

Sahil Lavingia is the founder and CEO of Gumroad, an e-commerce startup that has helped more than 40,000 artists and creators earn over $180,000,000. In his free time he writes and paints. You can follow him on Twitter.

This post was originally published on Medium.

SEE ALSO: A CEO who built the skills that helped him sell his first startup for $1 billion explains how he got there from starting at 'absolute zero'

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Google Cloud's new CEO used his first public talk to throw shade at Amazon over its feud with open source startups (GOOGL)

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 20:54

Amazon has a habit of taking free software created by other companies and selling it on its cloud. But Google Cloud isn't like that, new CEO Thomas Kurian says.

At his inaugural appearance as the new CEO of Google Cloud on Tuesday, Kurian spoke about how Google Cloud allows customers to use a variety of open source tools to build applications on its cloud.

Many of these tools are developed by other startups and made available as open source, meaning that they are free for anyone to use, download, modify — and even sell, something that Amazon Web Services frequently does.

Kurian, a former Oracle executive who replaced Diane Greene as CEO, said that Google Cloud takes a "different approach" from its competitors when it comes to open source.

"If you look at the open source community, we’re taking the approach of partnering with the open source community, as opposed to taking their technology and selling it on our platform," Kurian said onstage at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference.

AWS, Google Cloud's biggest competitor, is known for repackaging and selling other startups' open source software on its cloud — and igniting resentment from these startups. Some companies, like Redis Labs and Confluent, even fought back by with the controversial move of changing their licensing.

Amazon, and particular AWS, has a reputation for not contributing as much to open source as would be appropriate from a company this size, furthering these tensions. That said, AWS has started introducing major open source projects of its own, which have been well-recieved by the community, in a move that could defrost that relationship.

Read more: The new CEO of Google Cloud explains the updated master plan for taking on Amazon Web Services

Microsoft and Google both have more employees contributing to more open source projects on GitHub. Kubernetes, one of the most popular open source projects, was started by engineers at Google.

Currently, Google Cloud supports popular third-party databases such as Redis, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Cassandra, Hadoop, and Microsoft SQL Server.

SEE ALSO: Here's why investors are throwing money at startups that give away their software for free

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Categories: English