Month: April 2019

Stephen Colbert unpacks Joe Biden’s presidential bid

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After quite a bit of speculation, former Vice-President Joe Biden launched his 2020 presidential run over the weekend.

It got the attention of Stephen Colbert, who spent some time talking about Biden’s campaign video, which talked about Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville — something that the president had to explain again. 

“Trump’s already worried about Joe Biden,” Colbert said. “And the proof of that is that this ad did something none of the other Democrats have been able to do, and that’s put Trump on the defensive.” Read more…

More about Politics, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Stephen Colbert, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Samsung sees Q1 profit plummet 60%

Samsung’s Q1 earnings are in and, as the company itself predicted, they don’t make for pretty reading.

The Korean giant saw revenue for the three-month period fall by 13 percent year-on-year to 52.4 trillion KRW, around $45 billion. Meanwhile, operating profit for Q1 2019 came in at 6.2 trillion KRW, that’s a whopping $5.33 billion but it represents a decline of huge 60 percent drop from the same period last year. Ouch.

Samsung’s Q1 last year was admittedly a blockbuster quarter, but these are massive declines.

What’s going on?

Samsung said that sales of its new Galaxy S10 smartphone were “solid” but it admitted that its memory chip and display businesses, so often the most lucrative units for the company, didn’t perform well and “weighed down” the company’s results overall. Despite those apparent S10 sales, the mobile division saw income drop “as competition intensified.” Meanwhile, the display business posted a loss “due to decreased demand for flexible displays and increasing market supplies for large displays.”

That’s all about on par with what analysts were expecting following that overly-optimistic Q1 earnings forecast made earlier this month.

The immediate future doesn’t look terribly rosy, too.

Samsung said the overall memory market will likely remain slow in Q2 although DRAM demand is expected to recover somewhat. It isn’t expecting too much to change for its display business, either, although “demand for flexible smartphone OLED panels is expected to rebound” which is where the company plans to place particular focus.

On the consumer side, where most readers know Samsung’s business better, Samsung expects to see improved sales in Q2, where buying is higher. It also teased a new Note, 5G devices — which will likely limited to Korea, we suspect — and that foldable phone.

The Galaxy Fold has been delayed after some journalists found issues with their review units — TechCrunch’s own Brian Heater was fine; he even enjoyed using it. There’s no specific mention in the quarterly report of a new launch date but it looks like the release will be mid-June, that’s assuming what AT&T is telling customers is accurate. But we’ll need to wait a few weeks for that to be confirmed, it seems.

Samsung says it will announce a revised launch date for the Galaxy Fold in the next few weeks.
Executives are speaking on a 1Q earnings conference call.

— Tim Culpan (@tculpan) April 30, 2019

Amazing Discount Strategies That Keep Your Sales Moving Upward

While discounting is an intrinsic aspiration of all the customers, it is arguably the most important pricing strategy for all businesses, especially retailers. It, however, requires a great amount of prudence in execution.

You can consider it as a double-edged sword.

It can allure customers and drive sales. And with wrong implementations, it may lead to a reduced bottom line as well.

I know that after reading the previous paragraph, all ambitious entrepreneurs would be eager to know the most effective discount strategies and tactics they could use. If you are one of those people, then read on.

Setting conditions for discounts

special deals

Instead of announcing blanket discount offers like 15% off or $15 off on all purchases, a conditional discounting strategy keeps your margins protected. It enhances your conversion rate at the same time. You can always set conditions or fix certain limits for customers to avail discount.

The following examples will explain this strategy:

Get an X % discount if you buy Y or number of items: This is also called volume discount aiming to entice customers to purchase products in large quantities. Large discounts for large volumes attract first-time customers. In highly competitive markets, companies lock in customers through this strategy.
Buy one get one free or buy one and get another on discount: This strategy is commonly used by many retailers. They make a good profit on account of a large turnover.
• Spend a certain amount and save X %. This strategy motivates customers to purchase an item in bulk for future requirements or buy multiple items in order to avail the announced saving.

Rewarding loyalty

Loyal customers deserve special favor.

For businesses, it costs 10 times higher to sell something to a new customer than to an existing one. These discounts prove to be an excellent retention tool.

Offering rewarding discounts to regular and repeat customers make them feel privileged. The point scoring mechanism for members of the loyalty club is an excellent tool that motivates customers to spend more on shopping for scoring higher points. Each point carries a dollar amount which you can redeem any time.

The loyal customers often get reward through special arrangements as well. For instance, a sports clothing store offers discounted membership to a local gym to its customers who spend a certain amount. Reciprocally, the gym also offers discount vouchers to its loyal customers for purchasing from that sports clothing shop.

Discounting bundled products

This strategy bundles a group of products and sells this set at a discounted price. The customers perceive a discount on the package as a better deal than a discount on individual items.

The fast-food chains, like McDonald’s and KFC, understand this bundling discount concept quite well. With that, they offer various deals which combine many items for a reduced cumulative price than buying each item individually.

Similarly, a cable service provider may sell you internet, cable TV, and home phone service separately or in a bundle. In the latter case, the price you will pay will be a much-discounted one against individual services.

The bundles work well for profit margins, which are high enough to cover the cost of offering. The higher sales thus increase profitability.

Discounting select consumer groups

The sellers can make the best use of special discounts for selected groups of consumers. For example, students, senior citizens, and women generally shop for discounts. They hunt promotional deals and search keenly for sale.

According to a Payment sense report, 71% of women say they would more likely purchase an item that is on sale. A research study by Stock and Bailey reveals that both male and female students hunt items on sale and search for promotional deals.

The strategy to offer discounts for exclusive consumer groups allows sellers to leverage these discounts without straining their profitability. There are plenty of businesses that offer discounts to select consumer groups.

FedEx, for instance, gives 30% discounts on documents and 20% on shipping to students. Bealls, the retail clothing store, offers a discount of 50% to senior citizens (50+) every Tuesday. These are just two examples.

In fact, the strategy to discount consumers on segmentation basis is very common. Most customers highly value those companies that offer discounts for students, military persons, and seniors.

Prepayment discounts

prepayment discounts

The businesses offer a good discount on advance payments of services and physical products. There are software companies that either bill monthly or annually, offering discounts in case customers choose the annual option. The advance payments can be used to acquire additional inventory or to improve cash flows.

The early-bird discount is also a special kind of prepayment discounting strategy. Many online stores use it for to-be-launched products. The customers are motivated to book their orders prior to launch and are rewarded with substantial discounts.

Hotels, training academies, and publishers are some examples that use this strategy successfully.

Incentive discounts

These are rewards for certain favorable action from your customers that can open doors for greater business opportunities. For instance, you may announce an automatic 10% discounts to customers when they share your products on Twitter. Another of such incentives may be a 20% discount on referring three friends.

These action-oriented discounts may initially seem costlier but they promote and benefit the company in many ways. In fact, prudent use of this strategy brings multiple marketing benefits for the company.

Incentives for abandoned carts

Every online business confronts these shoppers who add items to their shopping cart and then leave the site without making a purchase. The reasons for abandonment often include higher shipping cost, lengthy/complicated checkout process, and poor navigation of the site.

Being a huge issue for E-commerce, the businesses are paying serious attention to this. Enters the abandoned cart email strategy, which includes sending a suitable personalized message soon after abandonment. The message is sweetened by incentivized purchasing deal, offering some discount.

Most companies report increased conversion by using the discount for abandoned carts. A word of caution, however, is to make this discount a one-time offer only. This is important in preventing the customer from getting used to abandoning the card for getting a discount.

Event-based and seasonal discounts

Events and discounts now seem inseparable. Be it Black Friday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, businesses offer substantial discounts.

Most people tend to be in a shopping mindset these days. Retailers can boost their sales volumes backed by intelligent and well-thought-out discounting strategies.

Many companies relate discounting schemes to company-specific events. A leading TV shopping channel in Germany cleverly discounts their not-selling-well products on self-designed events, like the anniversary of the internet site or an annual-themed Exercise week.

Seasonal discounts often target out-of-season inventory to help reduce the inventory carrying costs. The seasonal discounts usually exclude high-end brands and confine to those products, which are sought by bargain hunters.

See Also: How to Survive Black Friday

Coupon codes

The savvy marketers are using the ubiquitous coupon codes very commonly to track their campaign’s ROI. The retail shoppers delightedly search sites like RetailMeNot or SlickDeals to find the best shopping deals.

The coupon codes are alphanumeric strings. They are offered by online shopping stores as a vital part of their overarching marketing strategy. The coupon, according to a research conducted by Center of Neuroeconomic studies, Claremont graduate university, is physically shown to be more enjoyable than getting a gift.

These sophisticated marketing tools drive sales and help build the brand image. The coupon code strategy for a discount is producing excellent results in revenue generation for retailers around the globe.

See Also: Everything You Need To Know About Coupon Codes

Wrap up

The correct discounting strategy definitely boosts the sales and enhances your income streams. However, there are three prerequisites that are critical for getting a guaranteed positive outcome of discounting. These are:

  • What strategy to apply?
  • When to execute?
  • To whom it should be offered?

While a correct and well-timed strategy offered to relevant customers may turn around your sales volumes, a wrong strategy may likely impact your business negatively. It’s all about matching your goals with an appropriate strategy.

The post Amazing Discount Strategies That Keep Your Sales Moving Upward appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Cersei teases aftermath after the battle in eerie ‘Game of Thrones’ preview

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If you can see through your tears, the scenes for next week on Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 is here. And it is all about the bloody aftermath that will seemingly follow the Long Night we just survived.

“We Have won the Great War,”  Daenerys says. “Now we will win the Last War.”

Surprisingly, this strongman tactic appears to work on the ice cold northerns, who seem to finally be warming up to their new dragon king. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Hbo, Game Of Thrones, Game Of Thrones Season 8, and Entertainment

Apple defends its takedown of some apps monitoring screen-time

Apple is defending its removal of certain parental control apps from the app store in a new statement.

The company has come under fire for its removal of certain apps that were pitched as tools giving parents more control over their children’s screen-time, but that Apple said relied on technology that was too invasive for private use.

“We recently removed several parental control apps from the App Store, and we did it for a simple reason: they put users’ privacy and security at risk. It’s important to understand why and how this happened,” the company said in a statement

The heart of the issue is the use of mobile device management technologies in the parental control apps that Apple has removed from the app store, the company said.

These device management tools give  control and access over a device’s user location, app use, email accounts, camera permissions and browsing history to a third party.

“We started exploring this use of MDM by non-enterprise developers back in early 2017 and updated our guidelines based on that work in mid-2017,” the company said.

Apple acknowledged that the technology has legitimate uses in the context of businesses looking to monitor and manage corporate devices to control proprietary data and hardware, but, the company said, it is “a clear violation of App Store policies — for a private, consumer-focused app business to install MDM control over a customer’s device.”

The company said it communicated to app developers that they were in violation of App Store guidelines and gave the company 30 days to submit updates to avoid being booted from the App Store.

Indeed, we first reported that Apple was warning developers about screen-time apps in December.

“Several developers released updates to bring their apps in line with these policies,” Apple said in a statement. “Those that didn’t were removed from the App Store.”

Bad PR ideas, esports, and the Valley’s talent poaching war

Sending severed heads, and even more PR DON’Ts

I wrote a “master list” of PR DON’Ts earlier this week, and now that list has nearly doubled as my fellow TechCrunch writers continued to experience even more bad behavior around pitches. So, here are another 12 things of what not to do when pitching a startup:

DON’T send severed heads of the writer you want to cover your story

Heads up! It’s weird to send someone’s cranium to them.

This is an odd one, but believe it or not, severed heads seem to roll into our office every couple of months thanks to the advent of 3D printing. Several of us in the New York TechCrunch office received these “gifts” in the past few days (see gifts next), and apparently, I now have a severed head resting on my desk that I get to dispose of on Monday.

Let’s think linearly on this one. Most journalists are writers and presumably understand metaphors. Heads were placed on pikes in the Middle Ages (and sadly, sometimes recently) as a warning to other group members about the risk of challenging whoever did the decapitation. Yes, it might get the attention of the person you are sending their head to, in the same way that burning them in effigy right in front of them can attract eyeballs.

Now, I get it — it’s a demo of something, and maybe it might even be funny for some. But, why take the risk that the recipient is going to see the reasonably obvious metaphorical connection? Use your noggin — no severed heads.

Why your CSO — not your CMO — should pitch your security startup

Apple shuts down screen limiting apps, but its own version is flawed

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With Apple’s iOS 12 arrival in September, iPhone users saw “Screen Time” features make their way to  phone screens to counter-intuitively help them spend less time on their phones. But Apple’s built-in phone addiction fighting tool isn’t necessarily the best way to decrease screen time.

Although users could finally track phone and specific app usage while also limiting the amount of time spent on the phone and in apps, it didn’t instantly eliminate the problem. For parents, it offered a way to manage kids’ tech and connected time. The tool was a long time coming (Google’s similar wellbeing tool for Android phones was available in Aug. 2018), but other apps had stepped up over the years to offer phone addicts and parents similar, yet often expanded, features.  Read more…

More about Iphone, Ipad, Kids, App Store, and Screen Time

Elon Musk, SEC agree to guidelines on Twitter use

Tesla,  Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reached an agreement Friday that will give the CEO freedom to use Twitter —within certain limitations — without fear of being held in contempt for violating an earlier court order.

Musk can tweet as he wishes except when it’s about certain events or financial milestones. In those cases, Musk must seek pre-approval from a securities lawyer, according to the agreement filed with Manhattan federal court.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, the presiding judge on this matter, must still approve the deal. Nathan had given the SEC and Musk two weeks to work out their differences and come to a resolution.

Musk must seek pre-approval if his tweets include:

  • any information about the company’s financial condition or guidance, potential or proposed mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures,
  • production numbers or sales or delivery number (actual, forecasted, or projected),
  • new or proposed business lines that are unrelated to then-existing business lines (presently includes vehicles, transportation, and sustainable energy products);
  • projection, forecast, or estimate numbers regarding Tesla’s business that have not been previously published in official company guidance
  • events regarding the company’s securities (including Musk’s acquisition or disposition of shares)
  • nonpublic legal or regulatory findings or decisions;
  • any event requiring the filing of a Form 8-K such as a change in control or a change in the company’s directors; any principal executive officer, president, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer, principal operating officer, or any person performing similar functions

The fight between the two parties began after Musk’s now infamous August 7, 2018 tweet that had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share. The SEC filed a complaint in alleging that Musk had committed securities fraud.

Musk and Tesla settled with the SEC last year without admitting wrongdoing. Tesla agreed to pay a $20 million fine; Musk had to agree to step down as Tesla chairman for a period of at least three years; the company had to appoint two independent directors to the board; and Tesla was also told to put in place a way to monitor Musk’s statements to the public about the company, including via Twitter.

The fight was re-ignited after Musk sent a tweet on February 19 that Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year, correcting himself hours later to clarify that he meant the company would be producing at an annualized rate of 500,000 vehicles by year end.

The SEC argued that the tweet sent by Musk violated their agreement. Musk has said the tweet was “immaterial” and complied with the settlement.

The SEC had asked the court to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement agreement reached last October over Musk’s now infamous “funding secured” tweet. The SEC had argued that Musk was supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors, the agency has argued. The SEC claimed a February 19 tweet violated the agreement.

Musk has steadfastly maintained that he didn’t violate the agreement.

Elon Musk is annoying the hell out of people who work with self-driving cars

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Elon Musk really went for it this week at Tesla’s Autonomy Day, ripping into widely used self-driving technology like laser sensors and (over)promising to put 1 million self-driving Tesla taxis on the streets next year. These bold claims certainly stirred up some feelings among autonomous vehicle experts and industry leaders.

On Friday, Velodyne president Marta Hall released a long statement — with a lot of ALL CAPS — defending her company’s main product, LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles. While acknowledging Tesla’s good work with electrification and car design, she shredded Musk’s “claims” about deploying Teslas without a driver and without “lame” LiDAR sensors. Tesla only uses cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and a radar unit for its sensor suite. Read more…

More about Tesla, Autonomous Vehicles, Self Driving Cars, Lidar, and Tech

15 Signs That Show Someone Is a Real, True Friend

Friends are very important in our lives. If you have a true friend and find love in someone special, then you are one of the luckiest people in the world.

Essentially, true friendship is an expression of a type of love.

Whether you find friendship in a lover or someone you are just friends with, there may be a time when you question if this person is a true friend or not — and that’s ok.

Even well-established relationships need reviewing once in a while. No one would like to invest time into a relationship that is unproductive or heading nowhere.

These 15 signs of true friendship will help you determine whether someone in your life is a real friend or not.

They support you in everything

true friendship

A real friend will encourage you in anything that you try. They will be there every step of the way, looking for opportunities to help you grow. Your cause becomes their cause. They will rejoice when you are making progress and celebrate with you.

They stick with you at your worst

Life has its ups and downs. For many people, it is easy to stick around when the going is good but not when things are tough.

A real friend is not one of these many people, he or she is different.

They will be there when the going gets tough. Your worries become their worries. They share your successes as well as your failures.

They forgive you for anything

We are all humans and we may screw up sometimes. With a fake friend, a mistake can cost you a friendship but this is not the case with a real friend. A real friend forgives because he or she values your friendship more than your mistakes.

They always have your back

Whether you are wrong or right, once the deed has been done, a real friend will stand by you no matter what.

They will take your side and fight for you irrespective of who is on the other side. But even so, they will rebuke you and correct you when you are wrong.

They constantly keep in touch

Fake friends will only contact you when they need something or when things take a turn in their life. A real friend will contact you because they are interested in what is going on in your life.

They keep your secret

No one knows you quite like your real friends. If anyone is privy to your dark little secrets, it would be your true friend. A real friend values your confidence and will keep your secrets safe with them.

They make time for you

A real friend doesn’t just stay in touch via calls or chats, they make time for you. If you need them to help out with something really important, they will find time for it.

They will also squeeze out time to spend casually with you even when they have busy schedules.

They are loyal and faithful

A loyal and faithful friend is a true friend. Such a friend is someone who is unwavering in their devotion to you and any agreed cause. He or she would not betray you and can be trusted to keep to agreements.

They don’t ridicule you in public

A true friend knows your flaws but still accepts you regardless. The person does not go about mocking or humiliating you, especially in public.

A real friend will showcase your bright sides while helping you work on your weakness where they can.

They are open to you

A true friend is real, the person discusses things openly with you and does not hide feelings.

A real friend will tell you the truth irrespective of whether it hurts or pleases.

That’s not to say they don’t care how you will feel, they actually do.

They keep their promises

A true friend keeps promises. When a real friend says something, the person means it and keeps his words.

If something happens that makes fulfilling a promise difficult, a true friend will be sincere in telling you. And they would make it up to you at a later time.

They are trustworthy

A true friend should be a trusting and trustworthy person.

You are going to be sharing a chunk of your life with this person. It is important that they be someone you can trust and who trust you also.

The thing about trust is that it is earned. A true friend will not only earn your trust but not break it.

They know and understand you

sign of true friendship

Part of what makes someone a true friend is their understanding of you and how well they know you.

A friend should be able to say what you can do and what you cannot. A real friend may even understand you more than you understand yourself.

They will always have your interest at heart.

They remember things about you

What we care about we think about, and what we think about we remember. A true friend hardly forgets any event that is dear to you.

It may be your birthday, anniversary or any other celebrations.

When they can’t make it there, they will be proactive in telling you. Also, when it comes to discussions, a true friend will remember most because they are true listeners.

They think about you before themselves

Thinking of other people before oneself is an attribute of love. A true friend is a loving and caring friend.

Such a person will always look out for your interest, sometimes to their own detriment.

True friendship is about sacrifices.

See Also: 10 Characteristics of A Good Friend

The post 15 Signs That Show Someone Is a Real, True Friend appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

U.S. slams Alibaba and its challenger Pinduoduo for selling fakes

China’s biggest ecommerce company Alibaba was again on the U.S. Trade Representative’s blacklist over suspected counterfeits sold on its popular Taobao marketplace that connects small merchants to consumers.

Nestling with Alibaba on the U.S.’s annual “notorious” list that reviews trading partners’ intellectual property practice is its fast-rising competitor Pinduoduo . Just this week, Pinduoduo founder Colin Huang, a former Google engineer, wrote in his first shareholder letter since listing the company that his startup is now China’s second-biggest ecommerce player by the number of “e-way bills”, or electronic records tracking the movement of goods. That officially unseats JD.com as the runner-up to Alibaba.

This is the third year in a row that Taobao has been called out by the U.S. government over IP theft, despite measures the company claims it has taken to root out fakes, including the arrest of 1,752 suspects and closure of 1,282 manufacturing and distribution centers.

“Although Alibaba has taken some steps to curb the offer and sale of infringing products, right holders, particularly SMEs, continue to report high volumes of infringing products and problems with using takedown procedures,” noted the USTR in its report.

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Alibaba said it does “not agree with” the USTR’s decision. “Our results and practices have been acknowledged as best-in-class by leading industry associations, brands and SMEs in the United States and around the world. In fact, zero industry associations called for our inclusion in the report this year.”

Pinduoduo is a new addition to the annual blacklist. The Shanghai-based startup has over the course of three years rose to fame among China’s emerging online shoppers in smaller cities and rural regions, thanks to the flurry of super-cheap goods on its platform. While affluent consumers may disdain Pinduodou products’ low quality, price-sensitive users are hooked to bargains even when items are subpar.

“Many of these price-conscious shoppers are reportedly aware of the proliferation of counterfeit products on pinduoduo.com but are nevertheless attracted to the low-priced goods on the platform,” the USTR pointed out, adding that Pinduoduo’s measures to up the ante in anti-piracy technologies failed to fully address the issue.

Pinduoduo, too, rebutted the USTR’s decision. “We do not fully understand why we are listed on the USTR report, and we disagree with the report,” a Pinduoduo spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We will focus our energy to upgrade the e-shopping experience for our users. We have introduced strict penalties for counterfeit merchants, collaborated closely with law enforcement and employed technologies to proactively take down suspicious products.”

The attacks on two of China’s most promising ecommerce businesses came as China and the U.S. are embroiled in on-going trade negotiations, which have seen the Trump administration repeatedly accused China of IP theft. Tmall, which is Alibaba’s online retailer that brings branded goods to shoppers, was immune from the blacklist, and so was Tmall’s direct rival JD.com.

Taobao has spent over a decade trying to revive its old image of an online bazaar teeming with fakes and “shanzhai” items, which are not outright pirated goods but whose names or designs intimate those of legitimate brands. Pinduoduo is now asked to do the same after a few years of growth frenzy. On the one hand, listing publicly in the U.S. subjects the Chinese startup to more scrutiny. On the other, small-town users may soon demand higher quality as their purchasing power improves. And when the countryside market becomes saturated, Pinduoduo will need to more aggressively upgrade its product selection to court the more sophisticated consumers from Chinese megacities.

Internet connectivity projects unite as Alphabet spinout Loon grabs $125M from SoftBank’s HAPSMobile

Two futuristic projects are coming together to help increase global internet access after Loon, the Google spinout that uses a collection of floating balloons to bring connectivity to remote areas, announced it has raised money from a SoftBank initiative.

HAPSMobile, a SoftBank project that is also focused on increasing global connectivity, is investing $125 million into Loon, according to an announcement from SoftBank made this morning. The agreement includes an option for Loon to make a reciprocal $125 million investment in HAPSMobile and it includes co-operation plans, details of which are below.

HAPSMobile is a one-year-old joint venture between SoftBank and U.S. company AeroVironment . The company has developed a solar-powered drone that’s designed to deliver 5G connectivity in the same way Facebook has tried in the past. The social network canceled its Aquila drone last year, although it is reported to have teamed up with Airbus for new trials in Australia.

Where Facebook has stumbled, HAPSMobile has made promising progress. The company said that its HAWK 30 drone — pictured below in an impression — has completed its initial development and the first trials are reportedly set to begin this year.

Loon, meanwhile, was one of the first projects to go after the idea of air-based connectivity with a launch in 2013. The business was spun out of X, the ‘moonshot’ division of Alphabet, last year and, though it is still a work in progress, it has certainly developed from an initial crazy idea conceived within Google.

Loon played a role in connecting those affected by flooding in Peru in 2017 and it assisted those devastated by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year. Loon claims its balloons have flown more than 30 million kms and provided internet access for “hundreds of thousands” of people across the world.

In addition to the capital investment, the two companies have announced a set of initiatives that will help them leverage their collective work and technology.

For starters, they say they will make their crafts/balloons open to use for the other — so HAPSMobile can tap Loon balloons for connectivity and vice-versa — while, connected to that, they will jointly develop a communication payload across both services. They also plan to develop a common ground station that could work with each side’s tech and develop shared connectivity that their airborne hardware can tap.

Loon has already developed fleet management technology because of the nature of its service, which is delivered by a collection of balloons, and that will be optimized for HAPSMobile.

The premise of HAPSMobile is very much like Loon

Outside of tech, the duo said they will create an alliance “to promote the use of high altitude communications solution with regulators and officials worldwide.”

The investment is another signal that shows SoftBank’s appetite in tech investing is not limited to up-and-coming startups via its Vision Fund, more established ventures are indeed also in play. Just yesterday, the Vision Fund announced plans to invest $1 billion in German payment firm Wirecard and its past investments include ARM and Nvidia, although SoftBank has sold its stake in the latter.

Elon Musk banks on his self-driving taxi service as Tesla burns through cash

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Tesla’s robo-taxis are needed more than ever.

The company lost $702 million in the first three months of the year and the EV maker doesn’t expect to be profitable again until the second half of the year, according to first quarter earnings results reported Wednesday. Revenue was lower than expected at $4.5 billion.

CEO Elon Musk had braced for a losing quarter back in February when he announced the $35,000 base price for the Model 3, but he still sounded disappointed on Wednesday’s investor call to discuss the sluggish numbers. 

“The brand is losing steam,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds, said in an email. Read more…

More about Tesla, Elon Musk, Earnings, Model 3, and Electric Vehicles

10 Tips to Manage Your Time Effectively Under Pressure

Do you ever feel the need to be more productive and organized in order to accomplish much more than what you are doing right now?

Time management is one of the most important skills that you need to develop in life. With effective time management, you enable yourself to become more productive at achieving the goals and objectives assigned to you at work. You also get better in achieving the ones you assign to yourself in daily life.

In this particular article, you will find 10 useful and effective time management strategies that will boost your productivity dramatically.

Conduct a Time Audit

To acquire the skill of time management, you need to figure out where you spend most of your time and what you accomplish in that particular time. Track all your activities for a week and evaluate them to find areas that need improvement.

For example, if most of your time is utilized in unproductive meetings and low-priority tasks, try to reschedule your agenda. That way, you’ll bring more positivity in your daily routine so that you accomplish more than what you are currently doing.

Prioritize your work according to the weight and importance that each task carries. The most important and heavy tasks should be performed first so that you can relax your mind whilst performing the less important tasks.

Prepare for Meetings in Advance

When going to a meeting, be clear in the points that need to be addressed in the meeting. This will help you save precious time which you can use in other productive tasks.

In addition to this, share the meeting agenda with your colleagues and subordinates. This will help make sure that they know about the topics that would be discussed in the meeting.

Set Time Limits

Before you start performing a task, make sure that you set a timer for that particular task. This will let you know how long it will take to complete it.

By setting time constraints, you will focus more on your work and you are more likely to complete it on time. In case you still fail to complete your tasks in the given time, examine the workflow. Eliminate the unnecessary breaks to complete the tasks in a timely manner.

Plan Your Week

time management strategy

Plan your week on a Sunday so that you know your priorities. Make a full-fledged plan regarding the activities that you have been assigned so that you don’t forget anything.

After completing the tasks, mark them done in your notepad. This will allow you to simplify your assignments and you will have a better idea about the time you need to put in to complete your work.

Create a Daily Plan

Before starting with your daily routine, take a few minutes to make an outline of the tasks that are lined up for that day. This will enable you to know how much time you can spend on each individual task.

Moreover, knowing the time will help you gain motivation for the day and you will be able to perform better.

Most people find the first hour of their day more productive. If you are one of them, use this precious time to complete the most important tasks of your day.

Block/Ignore Distractions

When working on a high priority task, make sure that you enable the “Do Not Disturb” function in your smartphone and laptop. You can also go offline by logging out of all social media networking sites.

It is worth mentioning the fact that you should not consider multitasking when doing something important. When you multitask, you are dividing your attention into several other tasks and you lose focus.

Don’t Wait for Inspiration

Instead of waiting for inspiration, create the perfect environment for yourself to work. Waiting for inspiration is a waste of time and businessmen do not have time for such things because time is money.

Keep your mind busy and stay away from daydreams because these emotions also tend to waste your precious time. Similarly, instead of striving for perfection, strive for your best performance and perfection will automatically follow you.

Organize Your Messengers

Keep your inbox organized at all times because, with everything classified, you will be able to find the right email without wasting any time. People with cluttered inbox usually lose important information at the time when they need it the most.

In order to organize your messengers, you should:

  • Keep your inbox clean
  • Archive messages that are important but do not require immediate action
  • Store the files attached in the messages in order to access them later when needed
  • Use filters to assign labels to all the incoming and outgoing messages.

Use Your Calendar

time management strategies

Keeping a calendar at your office desk is always a good idea to keep track of your upcoming meetings, routine tasks, and events. Mark the tasks that are done and complete the ones that are left so that you can enjoy your leisure time doing fun activities.

You can also download a calendar app in your smartphone in order to know when exactly a certain task is due.

Balance Your Life

Take full responsibility for your work and take some time out to relax your mind. Research shows that relaxed and peaceful minds perform better than the ones that are always tensed up about work.

The key to a stress-less mind is a balanced life. Have a great time with your friends and family when you are not at work because you deserve it.

See Also: How To Increase Your Productivity By Harnessing Dead Time

Conclusion

Your time belongs to you

Therefore, instead of wasting it in unproductive tasks, utilize it to accomplish the goals that mean something to you. Delegate some tasks on your subordinates and teach them how to perform better. That way, you can spend your precious time doing something that others are not capable of learning and executing.

The post 10 Tips to Manage Your Time Effectively Under Pressure appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The first reactions to ‘Avengers: Endgame’ are in, and it’s one heck of a finale

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Welcome to the end.

The world premiere of Avengers: Endgame took place on Monday evening, with critics and industry peeps getting a look at the much-hyped film before it hits cinemas.

Based on the first reactions on social media, the epic, three-hour long Endgame is a satisfying conclusion to a series which began 21 films ago, with most reviewers leaving positive comments about the film.

As Mashable’s Angie Han and Ali Foreman noted, Endgame is quite the send off.

#AvengerEndgame is an immensely satisfying payoff, not just to Infinity War but to all the films that came before. This is why the MCU. (And I say this as someone who was not especially enamored of Infinity War, FWIW.) ♥️💙💜

— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) April 23, 2019 Read more…

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Douyu, China’s Twitch backed by Tencent, files for a $500M U.S. IPO

Douyu, a Chinese live streaming service focused on video games, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as it prepares to raise up to $500 million on the NYSE less than a year after its archrival floated on the same stock market.

Wuhan-based Douyu, whose name translates as “fighting fish”, is the second Twitch -like service backed by Tencent to go public in the United States. Its direct competitor Huya, who has a similarly fierce name “tiger’s teeth” and also counts Tencent as a major investor, raised $180 million from its NYSE listing last May.

It’s not surprising for Tencent to hedge its bets in esports streaming, given the giant relies heavily on video games to make money. For example, Tencent can use some of its portfolio companies’ ad slots to get the word out about its new releases. Indeed, Douyu’s filing shows it received a hefty 27.48 million yuan ($4.09 million) in advertising fees from Tencent last year.

As Douyu warns in its prospectus, its alliance with Tencent can be tenuous.

“Tencent may devote resources or attention to the other companies it has an interest in, including our direct or indirect competitors. As a result, we may not fully realize the benefits we expect from the strategic cooperation with Tencent. Failure to realize the intended benefits from the strategic cooperation with Tencent, or potential restrictions on our collaboration with other parties, could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.”

But there are nuances in the giant’s ties to China’s top two live streaming services that could mean more affinity between Tencent and Douyu. The social media and gaming behemoth is currently Douyu’s largest shareholder with a 40.1 percent stake owned through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nectarine. Over at Huya, Tencent is the second-largest stakeholder behind YY, the pioneer in China’s live streaming sector that had spun off Huya.

When it comes to the financial terms, the rivaling pair is in a head-on race. In 2018, Douyu doubled its net revenues to $531.5 million. Huya held an edge as it earned $678.3 million in the same period, also doubling the amount from a year ago.

Huya may have learned a few things about monetizing live streaming from 14-year-old YY as it managed to pull in more revenues despite owning a smaller user base. While Douyu claimed 153.5 million monthly active users in the fourth quarter, Huya had 116.6 million.

How the two make money also diverge slightly. In the fourth quarter, 86 percent of Douyu’s revenues originated from virtual items that users tipped to their favorite streaming hosts, with the remaining earnings derived from advertising and more. By contrast, Huya relied almost exclusively on live streaming gifts, which made up 95.3 percent of total revenues.

douyu

Screenshot of a Douyu live streaming session 

As Douyu grows its coffers to spend on content as well as technologies following the impending IPO, competition in China’s live streaming landscape is set to heat up. Just earlier this month, Huya raised $327 million in a secondary offering to invest in content and R&D. Like many other businesses anchored in content, Huya and Douyu depend tremendously on quality creators to keep users loyal. Both have offered sizable checks to live streaming hosts, promising to grow the internet celebrities into bigger stars.

And they’ve extended the battlefield outside China as emerging media forms, most exemplified by short video services Douyin (TikTok’s China version) and Kuaishou, threaten to steal people’s eyeball time away. Both bite-size video apps now enjoy a much bigger user base than their live streaming counterparts.

“We intend to further explore overseas markets to expand our user base through both organic expansion and selective investments,” noted Douyu in its IPO filing.

In a similar move, Huya’s overseas expansion is also well underway. “In addition to our vigorous domestic growth, we have successfully leveraged our unique business model to enter new overseas markets. We believe we are delivering long-term value through strategic investments in overseas markets in 2019 and beyond,” said Huya chief executive Rongjie Dong in the company’s Q4 earnings report.