Month: June 2019

Revolut launches new, effortless way to donate to charities

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Revolut is a UK-based financial services company that offers clients a bank account and a pre-paid card, with many of its services free or incurring a lower fee than you’d get from a typical bank. It’s now also offering a new feature that makes it really easy to donate to charities — every time you make a payment. 

The feature, called Donations, lets you round up your Revolut card payments and donate the spare change to a charity of your choice. The service is kicking off with three charities: ILGA-Europe, Save the Children and WWF

More about Donations, Revolut, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

Former ‘Iceman’ writer shines a light on Marvel’s struggles with representation

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In January, there was much excitement around comic book writer Sina Grace, his Iceman series for Marvel Comics, and his latest creation: Shade, Marvel’s first drag queen superhero.

Much has changed since thenIceman is apparently done after five issues, Shade is now called Darkveil, and, with his Marvel work seemingly concluded, Grace has quite a bit to say about how the comics publisher operates behind the scenes, specifically with regard to a creative product that caters to audiences outside the heteronormative “standard” (if there really is such a thing, or ever was).

A little background may be in order: In 2015, an All New X-Men comic revealed that Bobby Drake, the human behind the mutant superhero Iceman, is gay. Then, two years later in 2017, Grace kicked off a solo Iceman series that further explored Bobby’s identity. Read more…

More about Marvel Comics, Iceman, Entertainment, and Comic Culture

Researchers developed a sensing system to constantly track the performance of workers

Researchers have come up with a mobile-sensing system that can track and rate the performance of workers by combining a smartphone, fitness bracelets and a custom app.

The mobile-sensing system, as the researchers call it, is able to classify high and low performers. The team used the system to track 750 U.S. workers for one year. The system was able to tell the difference between high performers and low performers with 80% accuracy.

The aim, the researchers say, is to give employees insight into physical, emotional and behavioral well-being. But that constant flow of data also has a downside, and if abused, can put employees under constant surveillance by the companies they work for.

The researchers, including Dartmouth University computer science professor Andrew Campbell, whose earlier work on a student monitoring app provided the underlying technology for this system, see this as a positive gateway to improving worker productivity.

“This is a radically new approach to evaluating workplace performance using passive sensing data from phones and wearables,” said Campbell. “Mobile sensing and machine learning might be the key to unlocking the best from every employee.”

The researchers argue that the technology can provide a more objective measure of performance than self-evaluations and interviews, which they say can be unreliable.

The mobile-sensing system developed by the researchers has three distinct pieces. A smartphone tracks physical activity, location, phone use and ambient light. The fitness tracker monitors heart functions, sleep, stress and body measurements like weight and calorie consumption. Meanwhile, location beacons placed in the home and office provide information on time at work and breaks from the desk.

From here, cloud-based machine learning algorithms are used to classify workers by performance level.

The study found that higher performers typically had lower rates of phone usage, had longer periods of deep sleep and were more physically active.

Privacy experts and labor advocates have long raised concerns about the practice of tracking employees. That hasn’t stopped companies from incentivizing employees to wear fitness tracks in exchange for savings on insurance or other benefits. Startups have popped up to offer even more ways to track employees.

For instance, WeWork acquired in February Euclid, a data platform that tracks the identity and behavior of people in the physical world. Shiva Rajaraman, WeWork’s chief product officer, told TechCrunch at the time that the Euclid platform and its team will become integrated into a software analytics package that WeWork plans to sell to companies that aren’t renting WeWork space but want to WeWork-ify their own offices.

Meanwhile, the team of researchers suggests that while its system of continuous monitoring via wearables and other devices is not yet available, it could be coming in the next few years. It’s unclear if the team is making a calculated guess or if there are designs to try and launch this system as a product.

The team, led by Dartmouth University, included researchers from University of Notre Dame, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Washington, University of Colorado Boulder, University of California, Irvine, Ohio State University, University of Texas at Austin and Carnegie Mellon University .

A paper describing the study will be published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile Wearable and Ubiquitous Technology.

A rare glimpse into the sweeping — and potentially troubling — cloud kitchens trend

Independent restaurant owners may be doomed, and perhaps grocery stores, too.

Such is the conclusion of a growing chorus of observers who’ve been closely watching a new and powerful trend gain strength: that of cloud kitchens, or fully equipped shared spaces for restaurant owners, most of them quick-serve operations.

While viewed peripherally as an interesting and, for some companies, lucrative development, the movement may well transform our lives in ways that enrich a small set of companies while zapping jobs and otherwise taking a toll on our neighborhoods. Renowned VC Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital seemed to warn about this very thing in a Financial Times column that appeared last month, titled “The cloud kitchen brews a storm for local restaurants.”

Moritz begins by pointing to the runaway success of Deliveroo, the London-based delivery service that relies on low-paid, self-employed delivery riders who delivery local restaurant food to customers — including from shared kitchens that Deliveroo itself operates, including in London and Paris.

He believes that Amazon’s recent investment in the company “might just foreshadow the day when the company, once just known as the world’s largest bookseller, also becomes the world’s largest restaurant company.”

That’s bad news for people who run restaurants, he adds, writing, “For now the investment looks like a simple endorsement of Deliveroo. But proprietors of small, independent restaurants should tighten their apron strings. Amazon is now one step away from becoming a multi-brand restaurant company — and that could mean doomsday for many dining haunts.”

The good news . . . and the bad

He’s not exaggerating. While shared kitchens have so far been optimistically received as a potential pathway for food entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses — particularly as more people turn to take out —  there are many downsides  that may well outweigh the good, or certainly counteract it. Last year, for example, UBS wrote a note to its clients titled “Is the kitchen dead?” wherein it suggested the rise of food delivery apps like Deliveroo and Uber Eats could well prove ruinous for home cooks and as well as fresh food providers, including restaurants and supermarkets.

The economics are just too alluring, suggested the bank. Food is already inexpensive to have delivered because of cheap labor, and that will cost center will disappear entirely if delivery drones every take off. Meanwhile, food is becoming cheaper to make because of central kitchens, the kind that Deliveroo is opening and Uber is reportedly beginning move into, as well. (In March, Bloomberg reported that Uber is testing out a program in Paris where it’s renting out fully equipped, commercial-grade kitchens to serve businesses that selling food on delivery apps like Uber Eats.)

The favorable case for cloud kitchens argues that businesses using the spaces are paying less than they would for traditional restaurant real estate, but the reality is also that most of the businesses moving into them right now aren’t small restaurateurs but quick service brands that already have a following and aren’t particular known for emphasis on food quality but instead for churning out affordable food, fast.

As Eric Greenspan, an L.A.-based chef who has appeared on many Food Network shows and has opened and closed numerous restaurants over the course of his career, explains in a new, independent documentary about cloud kitchens: “Delivery is the fastest growing market in restaurants. What started out as 10 percent of your sales is now 30 percent of your sales, and [the industry predicts] it will be 50 to 60 percent of a quick-serve restaurant’s sales within the next three to five years. So you take that, plus the fact that quick-serve brands are kind of the key to getting a fat payout at the end of the day . . .”

During an age when fewer people frequent them traditional restaurants —  with their overhead and turnover and razor-thin margins — running one simply makes less and less sense, Greenspan continues. “[Opening] up a brick-and-mortar restaurant these days is just like giving yourself a job. Now [with centralized kitchens], as long as the product is coming out strong, I don’t need to be there as a presence. I can quality control remotely now. I can go online and [sign out of a marketplace like Postmates or UberEats or Deliveroo] and not piss off any customers, because if I just decided to close the restaurant one day, and you drove over and it was closed, you’d be pissed. But if you’re looking for [one of my restaurants] in Uber Eats and you can’t find it because I turned it off, well, you’re not pissed. You just order something else.”

Big players only need apply . . .

The model works for now for Greenspan, who is running numerous restaurant “concepts” from one cloud kitchen in L.A. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that facility belongs in part to Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick, who was quicker than some to grok the opportunity that shared kitchens present. In fact, it was early last year that he announced he was investing $150 million in a startup called City Storage Systems that focused on repurposing distressed real estate assets and turning them into spaces for new industries, like food delivery.

That company owns CloudKitchens, which invites chains, as well as independent restaurant and food truck owners, to lease space in one of their facilities for a monthly fee, along with additional fees for data analytics meant to help the entrepreneurs boost their sales.

The pitch to restaurateurs is that CloudKitchens can reduce their overhead, but of course, the company is also amassing all kinds of data about its tenants and their customer preferences in the process that one could them seeing using over time. Little wonder that Amazon wants in, or that these outfits have at least one serious competitor in China — Panda Selected — that is doing exactly the same thing and which raised $50 million led by Tiger Global Management earlier this year.

No one can fault these savvy entrepreneurs for seizing on what looks like a gigantic business opportunity. Still, the kitchens, which make all the sense in the world from an investment standpoint, should not be embraced so readily as a panacea, either.

Most obviously, they rely on the same people who drive Ubers and handle food deliveries — people who aren’t afforded health benefits and whose financial picture is forever precarious as a result. As with Uber drivers, Deliveroo employees tried to gain status as “workers” last year with better pay and paid but they were denied these rights because they have the option of asking other riders to take their deliveries. The EU Parliament more recently passed new rules to protect so-called gig economy workers, though the measures don’t go far. (Meanwhile, in the U.S, Uber and Lyft continue to fight legislation that would give employee status to contract workers.)

Ripple effects . . .

Matt Newberg, a founder and foodie from New York, says he could see the writing on the wall when he recently toured CloudKitchen’s two L.A. facilities, along with the shared kitchens of two other companies: Kitchen United which last fall raised $10 million from GV, and and Fulton Kitchens, which offers commercial kitchens for rent on an annual basis.

Newberg is responsible for the aforementioned documentary (which you can also watch below), and he suggests that he most taken aback by the conditions of the first facility that CloudKitchens opened and operates on West Washington Boulevard in South L.A. Though most restaurant kitchens are chaotic scenes, Newberg said that as “someone who loves food and sustainability” the easy-to-miss warehouse didn’t feel “very humane” to him when he walked through it. It’s windowless for one thing (it’s a warehouse). Newberg says that he also counted 27 kitchens packed into what are “maybe 250-square-feet to 300 square-foot spaces,” and a lot of people who appeared to be in panic mode. “Imagine lots of screaming, lots of sirens triggered when an order gets backed up, tablets everywhere.”

Adds Newberg, “When i walked in, I was like, holy shit, no one even knows this exists in L.A. It felt like Ground Zero. It felt like a military base. I mean, it seemed genius, but also crazy.”

Newberg says CloudKitchen’s second, newer location is far nicer, as are the facilities of Kitchen United and Fulton Kitchens. “That [second CloudKitchen warehouse] felt like a WeWork for kitchens. Super sleek. It was as quiet as a server farm. There were still no windows, but the kitchens are nicer and bigger.”

Growing pains . . .

Every startup has growing pains, naturally, and presumably, shared kitchen companies are not immune to these. Still, Moritz, the venture capitalist, warns that they will benefit some far more than others. Writing in the FT, he says that in the early 2000s, his firm, Sequoia, invested in a chain of kebab restaurants called Faasos that planned to delivery meals to customers’ homes but was getting crushed by high rents and turnover among other things, so opened a centralized kitchen to sell kebobs. Now, he says, Fassos produces a wide variety of foods, including other Indian specialities but also Chinese and Italian dishes under separate brand names.

It’s the same playbook that Eric Greenspan is using, telling Food & WIne magazine last year that his goal was ultimately to have six delivery-only concepts running simultaneously, with two menus each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Greenberg, who is obviously media savvy, can probably pull it off, too, as has Fassos. But for restaurants that are not known franchises or have the star appeal of celebrity chef, the future might not look so bright.

Writes Moritz: “In some markets there is still an opportunity for hardened restaurant and kitchen operators — particularly if they are gifted in the use of social media to build a following and refashion themselves. But they need to move quickly before it becomes too expensive to compete with the larger, faster-moving companies. The mere prospect of Amazon using cloud kitchens to provide cuisine catering to every taste — and delivering these meals through services such as Deliveroo — should be enough to give any restaurateur heartburn.”

It should also worry people who care about their neighborhoods. Cloud kitchens may make it easier and cheaper than ever to order take-out, but there will be consequences, some of which most of us have yet to imagine.

It’s Jony Ive’s world now. We just live in it.

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Sometimes, nice guys finish first — even in the corridors of the world’s wealthiest company. 

Apple’s design guru Sir Jony Ive is departing the company he helped shoot into the stratosphere on the best possible terms. He gets to found his own company, called LoveFrom, and design for other clients; Apple maintains its longstanding link by being first among those clients. The world gets more streamlined Ive designs in its daily life. It’s a rare win-win-win. 

Whatever he builds next, Ive will take over the world in the same behind-the-scenes manner that got him here. How behind-the-scenes? Here’s a telling tale of the first time I interviewed him in 2001, long before he added the “Sir.” His groundbreaking iPod had just hit the market. He was soft-spoken, careful, serious. A lot of what he said was the usual overly evocative design language — even then, his speech was peppered with the oft-parodied Jony Ive-ismsRead more…

More about Design, Jony Ive, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

How To Change A Flat Tire And Other Important Car Tips

Driving and owning your own car means that there is one skill you totally should have up your sleeve, and that’s how to change a flat tire. Purchasing a quality tire brand like Cooper Tires helps to ensure better safety on the road for you and your loved ones, but knowing the steps in changing a flat tire will also equip you to handle emergencies and keep you out of potentially unsafe situations.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to help you through the process of changing a flat tire.

Step One: Find a Safe Location

If you’re driving and realize you have a flat, slowly reduce your speed and scan the area for a level and straight stretch of road. Never pull over on a narrow shoulder, and make sure to get a safe distance off the road.

Step Two: Turn on Your Hazards

Switch on your hazard lights as soon as you realize you have a flat. Turning on these lights will let drivers around you know that something is wrong. Pull over to your safe stretch of road and put on your parking brake. Turn your car off.

Step Three: Apply Wheel Wedges

Wheel wedges are bricks, pieces of wood, or stone that go behind your tires to ensure your vehicle doesn’t move. If it’s a flat front tire, put these wedges behind your rear tires. Place them behind your front tires if it’s a flat back tire.

Step Four: Remove the Wheel Cover or Hubcap

Most vehicles come with a wheel cover or hubcap covering the lug nuts. It’s easier to take it off before you jack up your car. If you don’t have any, you can skip to the next step. The flat edge of your lug wrench can usually slip between your tire and hubcap to pop it off.

Step Five: Loosen the Lug Nuts

Get your lug wrench and use it to turn your lug nuts counterclockwise. You may have to use force to break the resistance and get them turning. You may have to use all your body weight or your foot to get them to loosen. Next, turn each lug nut between a quarter and a half of a turn. Don’t remove them until you’re ready to remove the tire.

Step Six: Put the Jack Under Your Vehicle

Your jack should go under your vehicle’s frame next to the flat tire. A lot of vehicle frames have a cleared area of exposed metal and a molded plastic area specifically for the jack to help avoid damaging the car when you lift it up. Maneuver your jack until it’s under this area.

Step Seven: Raise Your Vehicle

Ideally, you should place a small two by six piece of wood beneath the jack before you raise your vehicle. This helps to prevent the vehicle from coming off the jack when the jack settles until the weight of the car. Slowly raise your car until the flat tire is around six inches above the ground.

Step Eight: Unscrew the Lug Nuts

You want to take time and remove all of the lug nuts. You should be able to unscrew them by hand and take them completely off. Don’t lose any!

Step Nine: Remove the Flat Tire

Get a good grip on your tire by holding on to the treads. Gently pull it toward you until you feel it come off of the hub. Set it on its side, so it doesn’t roll into traffic. If you have trouble, the below method can help you loosen it.

Step Ten: Mount the Spare Tire

Get your replacement tire and line it up with the lug bolts and the rim. Gently push it onto the rim until you can see the lug blots through the tire’s rim.

Step Eleven: Tighten the Lug Nuts with Your Hand

Put all of your lug nuts back onto the lug bolts before you tighten them as much as you can by hand. When you get them all on, double check and tighten them again if you find that they’re still loose.

Step Twelve: Lower the Car

Lower the vehicle all the way, and get your lug wrench and tighten all of the lug nuts by turning clockwise.

Step Thirteen: Replace the Hubcap and Pack Up

If your hubcap fits with your spare, put it back on. If it doesn’t, store it with your tire. Put everything in your car before you leave. , You should take your car to a technician to ensure the lug nuts are fully tightened and while there, have the flat tire inspected to see if it can be fixed.

Four Tips on How to Keep Tires in Safe and Good Condition

There are simple things you can do to keep your tires in tip top shape. Check out these 4 simple car care tips.

Tip One: Check Your Tire Pressure Each Month

Tires can lose about one pound of air per square inch each month. In colder weather, it’s even more. Make a point to know the optimal amount of air your tires should hold, and check them each month.

Tip Two: Rotate

You want to maintain your tread on your tires and get the maximum life out of them. To do this, have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tip Three: Replace Your Tires Regularly

Don’t wait until the steel radials are poking through your tires to replace them. Turn a penny upside down and stick it between your tire’s tread. If you can’t see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head, you’re okay. If you can see it, it’s time to replace.

Tip Four: Don’t Buy Mismatched Tires

Mismatched tires can cause your vehicle to handle incorrectly. It can also cause odd wear on the other three tires, so they wear out faster. Instead, buy the same type of tires that match the tires you currently have.

If you have to replace a tire, experts say you should replace all 4 at once. However, if you can only purchase two new tires at a time, be sure to have the two new tires installed on the back—for both front and rear-wheel drive vehicles.

Cooper® provides tips and maintenance information on their website as well, along with information on the right tire for your car.

Original research for article conducted by author. Thanks to Cooper Tires for providing additional resources.

The post How To Change A Flat Tire And Other Important Car Tips appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

India reportedly wants to build its own WhatsApp for government communications

India may have plans to follow France’s footsteps in building a chat app and requiring government employees to use it for official communications.

The New Delhi government is said to be pondering about the need to have homegrown email and chat apps, local news outlet Economic Times reported on Thursday.

The rationale behind the move is to cut reliance on foreign entities, the report said, a concern that has somehow manifested amid U.S.’s ongoing tussle with Huawei and China.

“We need to make our communication insular,” an unnamed top government official was quoted as saying by the paper. The person suggested that by putting Chinese giant Huawei on the entity list, the U.S. has “set alarm bells ringing in New Delhi.”

India has its own ongoing trade tension with the U.S. Donald Trump earlier this month removed the South Asian nation from a special trade program after India did not assure him that it will “provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets.” India called the move “unfortunate”, and weeks later, increased tariffs on some U.S. exports.

The move to step away from foreign communication apps, if it comes to fruition, won’t be the first time a nation has attempted to cautiously restrict usage of popular messaging apps run by foreign players in government offices.

France launched an encrypted chat app — called Tchap — for use in government offices earlier this year. Only those employed by the French government offices can sign up to use the service, though the nation has open sourced the app’s code for the world to see and audit.

Of course, a security flaw in Tchap came into light within the first 24 hours of its release. Security is a real challenge that the government would have to tackle and it might not have the best resources — talent, budget, and expertise — to deal with it.

China, which has restricted many foreign companies from operating in the nation, also maintains customized versions of popular operating systems for use in government offices. So does North Korea.

It won’t be an unprecedented step for India, either. The nation has been trying to build and scale its own Linux-based desktop operating system called BOSS for several years with little success as most government agencies continue to use Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Even as India has emerged as the third-largest startup hub in the world, the country has failed to build local alternatives for many popular services. Facebook’s WhatsApp has become ubiquitous for communication in India, while Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows power most smartphones and computers in the nation.

Cory Booker’s peeved reaction to Beto speaking Spanish at the debate is an instant meme

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Ever felt threatened by someone else’s fancy language skills?

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker seemed to feel just that during the Democratic Debate on Wednesday night, when rival candidate Beto O’Rourke flexed his Spanish skills first.

When Beto was asked if he would support a higher tax rate for top earners, he responded by stating that the economy needed to “work for everyone.” Beto then switched mid-answer to Spanish, and Booker was caught glaring in his wake.

Booker, of course, can also speak SpanishHe made his pitch to voters when he called into Univision’s Despierta América when he announced his candidacy back in February. Read more…

More about Politics, Democratic Debate, Cory Booker, Beto O Rourke, and Culture

WeWork acquires Waltz, an app that lets users access different spaces with a single credential

WeWork announced today that it will acquire Waltz, a building access and security management startup, for an undisclosed amount. Waltz’s smartphone app and reader allows users to enter different properties with a single credential and will make it easier for WeWork’s enterprise clients, such as GE Healthcare and Microsoft, to manage their employees’ on-demand memberships to WeWork spaces.

WeWork’s announcement said “with deep expertise in mobile access and system integrations, Waltz has the most advanced and sophisticated products to provide that single credential to our members and to help us better connect them with our spaces.” Waltz was founded in 2015 by CEO Matt Kopel and has offices in New York and Montreal. After the acquisition, Waltz will be integrated into WeWork, but maintain its current customer base.

WeWork has been on an acquisition spree over the past year as it evolves from co-working spaces to a software-as-a-service provider. Companies it has bought include office management platforms Teem (for $100 million) and Managed by Q, as well as Euclid, a “spatial analytics platform” that allows companies to analyze the use of workspaces by their employees and participation at meetings and other events.

Likewise, Waltz isn’t just an alternative to keys or access cards. Its cloud-based management portal gives companies data about who enters and exits their buildings and also allows teams to set “Door Groups,” which restricts the use of some spaces to certain people. According to Waltz’s help site, it can also be used to make revenue through ads displayed in its app.

Arnold Schwarzenegger pushes gas guzzlers as undercover car salesperson

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Do it now

That’s sleazy used car salesman Howard Kleiner back in action, this time trying to get would-be electric car buyers hyped about gas-guzzling, fossil fuel-burning cars. 

Except it’s — surprise! — former California governor, body builder, and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger with a fake mustache and wig. He’s just pretending to be a salesman obsessed with muscle cars that burn tons of gas as part of a campaign to get more people informed about electric vehicles. 

“We need to get off fossil fuels as quickly as we can,” the governator said in a phone call this week.

The tongue-in-cheek video is part of EV coalition Veloz’s “Kicking Gas” and Electric For All campaign to bring more electric cars to California and beyond. The organization works with automakers, utilities, government agencies, charging networks, and other transportation groups to raise awareness about electric vehicles. Read more…

More about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Electric Vehicles, Tech, and Transportation

7 Really Common Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

Success is gradual, not spontaneous. It is a collection of thousands and thousands of good life choices, marred with many regrettable choices. To succeed, regrettable choices need to be minimal. That is why you must assess your daily habits at all times to ensure that you don’t pile up too many errors and know which bad habits to give up.

The greatest challenge with taking stock of your habits is that they’re mostly deeply ingrained in your life. They are part of you. Sometimes, you will call out other people on their bad habits without knowing that you suffer from equally disgusting, if not more, disgusting habits.

However, working on your daily habits is the first step towards success and prosperity. If you wish to change for the better, you probably should consult with a life coach to challenge your habits and get advice on where to rectify.

That is why you will benefit greatly by reading this article, as it gives you 7 of the most common bad habits to give up for success.

Seeking unnecessary approval

Parents have the tendency of training their young ones to seek approval from elders at all times. For every small step they make, they expect a tap on the back for a job well done. Every bad comment they get, their self-esteem goes down.

Regrettably, this habit of seeking approval from others on every single thing in life never goes even after we grow up. Adults will always feel underappreciated because the boss doesn’t compliment them often enough, or because their life partners do not seem to appreciate their effort. In the long run, this habit hinders productivity and growth.

Encouraging the feeling of overwhelm

Maybe you are feeling stagnant on your job because you spend less time on yourself. After all, your job is too overwhelming to even afford an hour in the gym, right?

You would be wrong.

The most successful people dedicate a significant amount of time to themselves. Taking vacations, reading motivational material before work, working out regularly, and doing generally everything to remain healthy and happy. That enables them to be happy and productive at their workplace and in life as a whole.

Procrastination

The day to ask for a pay rise or quit that oppressive job is today. The day to start your business is today.. And today is the day to make your financial plans.

Many people fail because they wait for the “right” time to act on their plans. Don’t be like them. Take action and grab opportunities as they come. If you fail in one venture, you surely will succeed in another.

Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist?

If you are, then it’s time you drop that habit. It is important to appreciate that you are human. Your employees and everyone around you are humans, too. We all have our limitations.

Don’t expect too much from people because you will be disappointed. There isn’t a perfect job, business, career, family or a perfect life. The key to success is doing your best and asking other people to fill in where you come short. Then, leave what cannot be fixed to chance.

Dwelling too much on non-priorities

What are your priorities in life? Are you thinking of going back to school? Do you wish to save time for a side hustle? Or are you watching too much TV and neglecting your loved ones?

You need to discard whatever is preventing you from accomplishing your top priorities. You can start by determining those bad habits to give up. If it is your computer or phone, keep it away. If it is your habit of drinking or partying too much, control that.

Overworking

Do you see that the department you work too hard to “save”? Well, it probably doesn’t need you to “save” it.

Don’t overwork to make things run smoothly. They will somehow sort themselves out even without your intervention. Always do your best and then delegate the rest. Remember that if you die today, someone will sit in the desk you’re sitting on today.

So, stop overworking and create time for some other things.

Know-it-all attitude

You are well-educated and connected, but that doesn’t make you the custodian of all knowledge. Giving people a chance to challenge your knowledge and advise you occasionally is important for your growth. Even if someone is your junior in terms of career or age, you should never shoot them down when they try to air their opinions.

See Also: 5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today

The post 7 Really Common Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Monzo, the UK challenger bank, raises £113M Series F led by YC’s Continuity fund at a £2B post-money valuation

Monzo, the fast-growing U.K.-based challenger bank with more than two million account holders, has raised £113 million (~$144m) in additional funding.

Confirming TechCrunch’s scoop in April, the Series F round is led by Y Combinator’s “Continuity” growth fund, and gives the company a new £2 billion (~$2.5b) post-money valuation. That’s double the £1 billion valuation it garnered in October last year.

A number of other new and existing investors have also participated in the Series F. They include Latitude, General Catalyst, Stripe, Passion Capital, Thrive, Goodwater, Accel, and Orange Digital Ventures.

The investment by London-based Latitude, the growth fund from prolific seed investor LocalGlobe, is particularly noteworthy given that LocalGlobe itself didn’t previously back Monzo. The same might be said of YC’s Continuity, considering that Monzo isn’t a YC alumni (although GoCardless, Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield’s previous startup, did take part in the Silicon Valley accelerator).

The take-away: a growth fund attached to an early-stage fund can be a great antidote to the anti-portfolio (the list of successful companies a VC firm either missed, were unable or chose not to invest in).

Meanwhile, Monzo’s new funding round and YC’s backing should be viewed within the context of not only fast growth and increasingly convincing product-market fit in the U.K. — the challenger bank is currently adding 200,000 new sign-ups for its current account each month — but also recently unveiled plans to tentatively launch across the pond.

We first reported that Monzo was busy assembling a U.S.-based team over five months ago, and the U.K. company made its U.S. plans official last week. This will see a U.S. Monzo app and connected Mastercard debit card available via in-person signups at events to be held soon. The rollout will initially consist of a few thousand cards, supported by a waitlist in preparation for a wider launch.

The U.S. launch is being done in partnership with a local bank, but in the longer term Monzo plans to apply for its own U.S. bank license, similar to the strategy it employed in the U.K. so as to own and operate as much of its technical, product and regulatory infrastructure as possible.

In the U.K., this has helped Monzo achieve an NPS score of 80, which Blomfield previously told me is unusually high for a bank. This is seeing 60% of U.K. signups remain long-term active, transacting at once per week. As a counterpoint, however, the percentage of Monzo users that pay a salary into their Monzo account sits at between about 27% and 30% of active users, suggesting that a significant number of Monzo customers aren’t yet using it as their main account (Monzo’s definition of salaried is anyone who deposits at least £1,000 per month by bank transfer).

Success in the U.S., therefore, isn’t a given, conceded Blomfield when I had a call with him earlier this month. Instead, he argued that the key to cracking North America will be creating a fully localised version of Monzo based on carefully listening to U.S. users and once again finding product-market fit. He says there are obvious and less obvious cultural and technical differences in the way Brits and Americans save, spend and manage their finances, and this will require significant product divergence from the U.K. version of Monzo. Today’s new £113 million injection of capital is clearly designed to provide some of the breathing space required to achieve that.

As a side note, there are encouraging signs from other London-based fintechs that have ventured across the pond. One recent example is the financial “digital assistant” chatbot Cleo, which entered the U.S. around a year ago and has been more successful than the company anticipated, seeing Cleo add 650,000 active U.S. users to date. In fact, the U.S. currently makes up more than 90% of new Cleo users, prompting one source to describe the U.K. startup as effectively a U.S. company now.

Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau got engaged and no one is sure if it’s real

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YouTube’s loudest couple is engaged, and honestly nobody surprised.

Jake Paul proposed to fellow vlogger Tana Mongeau during a weekend trip to Las Vegas to celebrate her 21st birthday. At around 1:30 a.m. at a club on Monday, he brought out a three-tier cake decorated with an enormous ring and the words, “Will you marry me, Tana?”  

She immediately tweeted about it. 

JAKE JUST PROPOSED

— Tana Mongeau (@tanamongeau) June 24, 2019

JAKE PAUL AND TANA MONGEAU ARE ENGAGED! @jakepaul @tanamongeau Y’ALL CRAZY CRAZY DAMN CANT WAIT FOR THE CONTENT & THE DRAMA ALERT @KEEMSTAR pic.twitter.com/eUPns3mv0J

— 💌 (@fullsendjana) June 24, 2019 Read more…

More about Youtube, Jake Paul, Tana Mongeau, Culture, and Web Culture

Save $500 on the Alienware curved gaming monitor and get a $150 Visa card

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TL;DR: The immersive Alienware 34-inch curved gaming monitor is on sale for $999.99, saving you $500. Plus, get a $150 Visa prepaid card with your purchase.


If you’re going to make the investments into PC gaming (i.ecomputer, keyboard, mouse, headset, etc.), you want to make sure what you’re spending money on is actually worth it. A monitor is arguably one of the most important pieces of your gaming setup — it’s how you actually see what you’re playing. 

The Alienware 34-inch curved gaming monitor features a display that will cause you to lose yourself in every game. Currently, you can snag the monitor on sale for $500 off, and you’ll receive a $150 Visa prepaid card with your purchase. Read more…

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The next service marketplace wave: Vertical market-networks

Ivan Smolnikov
Contributor

Ivan Smolnikov is the CEO and founder of Smartcat, the market network platform for the translation industry.

The last few decades have produced many successful marketplaces. We went from goods marketplace pioneers such as eBay and Amazon to simple service marketplaces such as Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Upwork, Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, and Fiverr. But why haven’t we seen many successful B2B service marketplaces?

Table of Contents


Why Many B2B Service Marketplaces Failed

Some would argue that companies such as Upwork, Thumbtack, Fiverr, or TaskRabbit are horizontal B2B marketplaces in the sense that they provide access to suppliers of different services. But while businesses do indeed transact with freelancers on such “horizontal” marketplaces, for most service verticals these are limited-value, one-off transactions. They fail to enable long-term business collaborations.

So, such marketplaces haven’t delivered more valuable services nor introduced a new paradigm for how businesses buy specific services at scale and on an on-going basis. Why is that?

Horizontal marketplaces are stuck at the discovery process

Horizontal services marketplaces don’t provide much value beyond matching clients with quality service providers. In other words, they don’t facilitate collaboration between buyers and suppliers, never mind provide ways for the two parties to collaborate more efficiently over time as they engage in follow-on projects.

In essence, the model these marketplaces were built around is not much different from the likes of Craigslist, which put a convenient UX on traditional classified advertisements.

Complex B2B services require workflow and collaboration tools

In their article “What’s Next for Marketplace Startups?,” Andrew Chen and Li Jin found that there aren’t many successful service marketplaces because those offerings are complex, diverse, and difficult to evaluate. It’s challenging to define a successful transaction in a service marketplace because it’s harder to quantify success.

One reason is that several service providers must often work together to complete a single job for a buyer, requiring a complex workflow from end to end. As a result, it’s difficult for marketplaces to not only mediate service delivery but also make it significantly more efficient for buyers and suppliers. If both the buyer and suppliers don’t see a significant efficiency gain other than being initially matched, why would they continue using the marketplace?

(Image via Getty Images / Lidiia Moor)

The $50 billion translation industry is a prime example of complex B2B services marketplaces. On the supply side are roughly 50,000 small agencies around the globe responsible for more than 85% of this $50 billion industry. (Note we are referring to agencies here as suppliers, though they play on both sides.)

On the demand side are businesses that need to translate text from one language into another. Plus about 1,500,000 freelance linguists work in this industry, many of whom are more specialized than professionals in other industries.

Anyone can find and hire a translator on Fiverr or Upwork. Both provide a vast selection of language translators. However, the quality and cost of the translation depends on the translation tools available to the translator as well as their subject expertise.

Neither Fiverr nor Upwork provide computer-aided translation (CAT) and collaborative workflow solutions for users of their platforms. Additionally, neither provides an effective way for all parties to collaborate and continuously improve the efficiency and quality.

But the problem with traditional marketplaces goes even further: Multiple translators and reviewers are usually needed to complete a single job for a customer. Multi-language translation projects are even more complicated. Such projects require multiple service providers and cost estimates, in addition to project management tools.

This is why building a B2B service marketplace is difficult. Service marketplaces must not only connect buyers and suppliers, but also provide tools to enable an efficient and collaborative workflow that reduces wasted time and effort.

Horizontal marketplaces suffer high attrition

In addition to the problems already outlined, traditional marketplaces experience another issue that prevents them from growing and retaining market participants: Buyer and supplier attrition.

Many business services are based on regularly recurring engagements. In some cases, a buyer and a service provider interact daily, requiring a different workflow than gig-marketplaces are built around.

Buyers and suppliers have little motivation to continue interacting on a platform with no workflow automation solutions. They lack a way to improve service efficiency and quality, automate collaboration, payment, paperwork, and other basic processes required for a business.

This is why many traditional marketplaces suffer from slow network effects and high attrition. (A network effect is what happens when a platform, product, or service delivers more value the more it is used.

Think Facebook, eBay, WhatsApp.) Why wouldn’t companies work directly with service providers outside of a marketplace after they were introduced? What incentives keep the service transaction on the marketplace? These are critical questions to answer when building a marketplace.

Traditional marketplaces target broad services, making it nearly impossible to provide workflow solutions for buyers and suppliers. Going forward, successful service marketplaces will be developed relying on an industry-specific SaaS workflow. This will focus buyers and suppliers on longer-term projects and interactions that serve the unique needs of collaborations and transactions in a specific vertical.

Image via Getty Images / OstapenkoOlena

What makes a successful service marketplace?

In “The next 10 Years Will Be About Market Networks,” James Currier, Managing Partner at NFX Ventures, defines a new era of service marketplaces, which he calls market networks.

A market network is a platform that combines elements of an n-sided marketplace, a network, and workflow solutions. An n-sided marketplace is one that requires coordination of multiple supply-side parties to provide a complex service for a single buyer.

Market networks enable multiple buyers and suppliers to interact, collaborate, and transact on the same platform. They provide users with industry-specific workflow solutions that enable efficient, ongoing collaboration on long-term projects. This reduces costs and leads to a higher quality of services and increased overall value for all users.

But how do you actually build a successful market-network platform? While the answer to that varies from company to company, here is our approach. We were able to build a market network for the translation industry that combines the components: network, marketplace, and workflow solution.

STEP 1: SaaS workflow platform unlocks high-value collaboration

The first step to building an effective complex market network is to develop a workflow that is easy for users to embrace. It might not seem like much, but this increases productivity by enabling teams to perform tasks that were previously impossible.

7 Awesome Ways to Effectively Manage Your Stress on Weekdays

Stress is a silent killer and if you’re not doing well in coping with stress at work, it can spell problems for you.

Stress can strike anyone, even the most optimistic and energetic of people.

Your boss or teacher might not help as they keep pushing you to hit your goals. The next thing you know, you’ve lost your focus, energy, and confidence. You start going home late with stoop shoulders and a heavy feeling.

Then, you start seeking sweet treats to lift your mood.

Studies show that stress is one of the leading causes of chronic health conditions. Heart disease, accelerated aging, and diabetes are linked to stress. And if you’re not careful, this can lead to depression, too.

Yes, stress is inevitable. But there are many ways to manage it effectively on a daily basis.
Here are the best ones to help you start coping with stress at work.

Identify the nature or cause of your stress

To start coping with stress at work, you need to be more self-aware. Every time you are stressed out, step back and find out what’s really dragging you down.

In the workplace, stress can be due to the fear of being laid off. It can be due to an overwhelming workload or because of the leadership or management style of your boss.

At school, stress can be due to project deadlines, an unfavorable environment, and teaching style. Stress could also be due to financial and time constraints. It can also happen after a recent loss of a loved one.

To handle these situations, it’s best to talk to experts.

Control yourself. Eliminate your triggers to avoid feeling negative.

Allocate time for your hobbies, exercise, and social life

Set aside a couple of hours to hit the gym, do some painting (or writing), and commit to other hobbies. Choose who to hang out with. And, if possible, talk to an expert to get the social and emotional support you need to stay positive.

Coping with stress at work starts with your mornings

When you wake up early, you sleep early. This is especially true if you’re productive throughout the day and be more tired at the end of it.

It’s also the best time to apply Tony Robbins’ 15 Minutes of Fulfillment wherein you allocate the first 15 minutes of your day doing positive visualization. You may extend the 15 minutes to 30 minutes or an hour if possible.

Mel Robbins also promotes the 5-Second Rule that helps you avoid pushing your alarm clock’s snooze button. These principles can help you get on your feet fast and ready to take the day.

The secret to waking up and starting a great day really lies in your bedtime routine. Before you sleep, spend some time to pray, meditate, and write a one-liner gratitude journal. It also helps to plan, organize, and prioritize your to-do list for the next day before you sleep.

Choose your breaks strategically

Taking a break just because your friend invites you for a short cigarette or coffee break isn’t a good idea. Stopping in the middle of a task can disrupt your flow. When you get back to work, you won’t be as focused as before.

Learn to say no.

You can use the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time. This technique allows you to transition from work-mode to relax-mode without compromising your productivity.

See Also: Hack the Pomodoro Technique to Boost Your Productivity

Don’t compromise your sleeping patterns and your healthy diet

It’s easy to fall into the trap of hanging out with friends for too long after work to ease your stress. But remember, the best way to ease your stress is to get adequate sleep.

Eating sweets may seem to alleviate stress, but indulging on sweet treats after work and at night can increase your insulin levels. The next thing you know, you’re having trouble sleeping.

Instead of sweets, eat foods that will help you fall asleep faster. A dinner consisting of almonds, turkey, walnuts, fatty fish, and kiwi is best. You can pair this up with chamomile tea, tart cherry juice or passionflower tea.

Take advantage of online time management, productivity tools, and stress management apps

A plethora of apps and tools are now available to help enhance productivity. These can help you get more things done in a day. Specifically, you may get started with the following:

Pomodoro Timer– to allocate time for work and rest

Pocket, Wunderlist, Trello – to create and organize tasks

Pocket Yoga – to meditate and exercise on the go

Spotify, Deezer – to listen to your choice of soothing, stress-relieving, or inspiring music or audio

Don’t forget to equip your web browser with a plug-in that limits your use of social media and other non-work related websites.

Be consistent and be patient with yourself

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

You have to understand that handling stress is a skill that needs to be developed with consistency and commitment. If you think you failed today, plan and commit to doing better tomorrow!

Doing this helps you avoid the feeling of being stuck with self-blame and self-pity which also causes stress.

The reality is this:

Stress is as constant as change in the world. So don’t feel helpless and depressed when you’re experiencing it. This is normal and everyone has their own kind of stress.

You just have to know how to start coping with stress at work. And for that, what you need to do is to commit to following the tips above to fight stress and live a happier and longer life.

The post 7 Awesome Ways to Effectively Manage Your Stress on Weekdays appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

UK age checks for online porn delayed after bureaucratic cock-up

The UK government has delayed the introduction of mandatory age verification for accessing online pornography — blaming an administrative cock-up.

The controversial scheme had been due to launch on July 15, after an earlier implementation date also came and went. Although in this instance it does not appear the policy has been derailed by the technical challenges around online age verification.

Giving a statement in the House of Commons this morning, digital minister Jeremy Wright said the government failed to notify the European Commission of age verification standards it expects companies to meet — in line with EU law.

Not having done so means it can’t legally introduce the policy at this stage.

“It has come to my attention in recent days that an implementation process was not undertaken for an element of this policy and I regret to say this will delay the commencement date,” he told parliament — adding that the error is expected to result in a delay “in region of six months”.

Apologising for the delay, Wright emphasized that government remains committed to the policy.

“This is not a change of policy or a lessening of this government’s determination for these changes to come about,” he said.

“Many [people] have campaigned passionately for age verification to come into force as soon as possible to ensure children are protected from seeing pornography they shouldn’t — I apologise to them all that these measures will not be brought in as soon as they and I will like.”

“In the mean time there is nothing to stop responsible providers of online pornography from implementing age verification mechanisms on a voluntary basis,” he added. “I hope and expect that many will do so.”

In the statement on age verification, Wright also referenced other policy measures the government has in train which he said will help protect children from seeing inappropriate content online — such as the Online Harms white paper, published in April.

He said a draft code of practice on child online safety will be published ahead of the new regulatory framework coming in — “to set clear standards” for online child safety.

He also noted that the technical challenge of accurate online age verification had been raised during the consultation on the white paper — and said he has commissioned new guidance that will be published in the fall “about the use of technology to ensure children are protected from inappropriate content online”.

As we reported in March, tech companies including Snap have been participating under NDA in a government working group on age verification.

Wright said the government would publish a response to the consultation by the end of the year. And that legislation would be introduced as soon as parliament time allowed after that.

“The new regulatory framework for online harms announced in the white paper will be introduced as soon as possible because it will make a significant difference to action taken by companies to keep children safe online,” he said.

“Age verification for online pornography needs to happen, and I believe it is the clear will of the house and those we represent that it should, and in the clear interests of our children that it must.”

IBM, KPMG, Merck, Walmart team up for drug supply chain blockchain pilot

IBM announced its latest blockchain initiative today. This one is in partnership with KPMG, Merk and Walmart to build a drug supply chain blockchain pilot.

These four companies are coming to together to help come up with a solution to track certain drugs as they move through a supply chain. IBM is acting as the technology partner, KPMG brings a deep understanding of the compliance issues, Merk is of course a drug company and Walmart would be a drug distributor through its pharmacies and care clinics.

The idea is to give each drug package a unique identifier that you can track through the supply chain from manufacturer to pharmacy to consumer. Seems simple enough, but the fact is that companies are loathe to share any data with one another. The blockchain would provide an irrefutable record of each transaction as the drug moved along the supply chain, giving authorities and participants an easy audit trail.

The pilot is part of set of programs being conducted by various stakeholders at the request of the FDA. The end goal is to find solutions to help comply with the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act. According to the FDA Pilot Program website, “FDA’s DSCSA Pilot Project Program is intended to assist drug supply chain stakeholders, including FDA, in developing the electronic, interoperable system that will identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed within the United States.”

IBM hopes that this blockchain pilot will show it can build a blockchain platform or network on top of which other companies can build applications. “The network in this case, would have the ability to exchange information about these pharmaceutical shipments in a way that ensures privacy, but that is validated,” Mark Treshock, global blockchain solutions leader for healthcare and life sciences at IBM told TechCrunch.

He believes that this would help bring companies on board that might be concerned about the privacy of their information in a public system like this, something that drug companies in particular worry about. Trying to build an interoperable system is a challenge, but Treshock sees the blockchain as a tidy solution for this issue.

Some people have said that blockchain is a solution looking for a problem, but IBM has been looking at it more practically with several real-world projects in production including one to track leafy greens from field to store with Walmart and a shipping supply chain with Maersk to track shipping containers as they move through the world

Treshock believes the Walmart food blockchain is particularly applicable here and could be used as a template of sorts to build the drug supply blockchain. “It’s very similar, tracking food to tracking drugs, and we are leveraging or adopting the assets that we built for food trust to this problem. We’re taking that platform and adapting it to track pharmaceuticals,” he explained.