Day: September 13, 2019

Cloudflare co-founder Michelle Zatlyn on the company’s IPO today, its unique dual class structure, and what’s next

Shares of Cloudflare rose 20% today in its first day of trading on the public market, opening trading at $18 after it priced its IPO at $15 a share yesterday and holding steady through the day.

Put another way, the performance of the nine-year-old company — which provides cloud-based network services to enterprises — was relatively undramatic as these things go. That’s a good thing, given that first-day “pops” often signal that a company has left money on the table. Indeed, Cloudflare had initially indicated that its shares would be priced between $10 and $12, before adjusting the price upward, which suggests its underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs, fairly accurately gauged demand for the offering.

Of course, it was still a very big day for Cloudlfare’s 1,069 employees and especially for Cloudflare’s founders Matthew Prince, its CEO, and Michelle Zatlyn, its COO. We talked with Zatlyn today in the hours after the duo rang the opening bell to ask about the experience, and how the IPO impacts the company going forward. Our chat has been edited lightly for length and clarity.

TC: Thanks for making time for us on a busy day.

MZ: Of course! [TechCrunch’s] Battlefield [competition, in which Cloudflare competed in 2011] is such an integral part of our funding story. Thank you for giving us the stage to launch our company.

TC: Did you get any sleep last night?

MZ: I was so exhausted that I got a great night’s sleep. This whole process has been so incredible, so special. I didn’t know what to expect, and it’s been way better than I could have imagined. There are 150 of our teammates, early employees, family members, board members, champions and other friends here with us [in New York at the NYSE]. We also live-streamed [our debut] to our offices around the world so they could share this moment with us.

TC: How are you feeling about today? The stock is up 20%. There’s always banter afterward about whether a listing was priced right, whether any money was left on the table.

MZ: At this point, we’ve raised almost a billion dollars between today and all of the money we’ve raised from venture investors. We have a great team. We’re really happy. The markets are going to react how they react, but it’s part of our DNA to provide more value than we capture. We think that’s the way to build an enduring company.

TC: You have a liquid currency now. Do you imagine Cloudflare might become more acquisitive as a public company?

MZ: We’ve done some acquisitions on the smaller side and of course, we have a team that’s always looking at different opportunities. But we’re really engineering-driven, and we think we have many products and services left to build, so we’ll continue to invest in our products and in R&D development, as well as in our customer relationships.

TC: Retaining employees is a challenge that some newly public companies worry about. How will you address this in the coming days and months as lock-up periods expire?

MZ: I’m so proud of where we are today and of our whole team, and we’re just getting started. [Matthew and I will] show up Monday morning and get back to work and so will our employees, because they want to make the company [an even greater business].

TC: The company went public with a dual-class structure that gives not just management but all employees 10 times the voting rights of the shares sold to the public. Why was this structure important to Cloudflare, and did it give investors pause?

MZ: There are more than 1,000 people around the world who are building the product and working with customers, and we think it’s important for them to have that 10:1 structure, so it’s something we put in place a few years ago with the encouragement of some of our earlier investors.

TC: Were you modeling this after another company? Is there a precedent for it?

MZ: I don’t know of another one — there may be — but we weren’t inspired by another company. We just felt passionately about this being the right corporate structure and [I don’t think it was harder for us to tell the story of Cloudflare because of it]. Over the last two weeks, in talking with investors across the world, it wasn’t in the top 10 topics that came up, so I think we did a good job of describing it in our S-1.

TC: What was the roadshow like? What surprised you most?

MZ: Don’t get me wrong, there’s a ton of work involved from all kinds of people, in finance, our legal teams … But roadshows have a bad rap in that people think they’re grueling and that, by the end, you’ll be exhausted. That was my expectation. But it was really fun. It was a huge privilege to represent Cloudflare to all these investors who were incredibly smart and well-prepared. We traveled all over and people told us ‘You look better than most teams.’

Michelle Zatlyn

TC: Where does one go for these roadshows?

MZ: You have the usual suspects; there’s a travel roadshow circuit, with some variations based on people’s vacation schedules, but New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore is common, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Toronto. You go in person to some places and in others, people dial in. But the whole thing gave me new insight into these pools of capital after venture capital. It was really interesting.

TC: Cloudflare said in a recent amendment to its S-1 that it was in touch with the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control back in May after determining that its products were used by individuals and entities that have been blacklisted by the U.S. Did this new revelation slow anything down?

MZ: There was no impact. Your group of advisors expands when you go through a public offering, and lawyers dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t,’ and you become a better company for it.

We deliver cybersecurity solutions that are made broadly available to businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits, and that’s incredible, but there are also some unsavory actors online, and we’ve always been a transparent organization [about having to grapple with this].

TC: How will Cloudflare handle requests for service by embargoed and restricted entities going forward? As a public company, does that process change in any way?

MZ: We have a really good process today. I think people think that we let anyone use Cloudflare and that’s it. But if customers are breaking the law, we remove them from our network and that’s not new and we publish transparency reports on it.

Sometimes, [you’re confronting] things that aren’t illegal but they’re gross, and the question is whose job is it to take it offline. But I work with some of the smartest minds on this and we try to be very transparent about how we figure this out. The conversation is so much better than it was a few years ago, too, with policy makers and academics and the business community engaging on this. People around the world are talking about where the lines can be drawn, but these are tricky, heady conversations.

TC: They certainly put Cloudflare in a precarious spot sometimes, as when the company banned the internet forum 8chan earlier this year after it was learned that the site was used by a gunman to post an anti-immigration rant. Can we expect that Cloudflare will continue to make decisions like this on a case-by-case basis?

MZ: Freedom of speech is such a fundamental part of this nation. Citizens should want the lawmakers to decide what the law should be, and if lawmakers could do this, it would be much better. On the other side, these are new issues that are arising so we shouldn’t rush. Lots of opinions need to be weighed and conversations are much further along than they once were, but there’s still work to be done, and Cloudflare is one [participant] in a much broader conversation.

MoviePass is dead (for real this time)

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MoviePass, the once uber-popular movie subscription service, is shutting down. For real.

In a press release published on Friday and first noticed by CNBC, Helios and Matheson Analytics — MoviePass’ parent company — announced the shutdown of the service. Subscriptions will cease to work on Saturday.

“MoviePass notified its subscribers that it would be interrupting the MoviePass service for all its subscribers effective September 14, 2019, because its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date,” says the statement. “The Company is unable to predict if or when the MoviePass service will continue.” Read more…

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9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit

We all know that water is good for us, but the reasons are sometimes a little fuzzy. Even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that we can easily form.

The truth, however, is that we don’t focus enough on this habit. This is why we end up drinking lots of coffee, soda, alcohol, fruit juices, teas, milk, and a bunch of other beverages. And despite all those fluids, we still end up dehydrated which isn’t good for our health.

I’ve made drinking water a daily habit, although I will admit that a couple of years ago I was more likely to drink anything but water. Now, I don’t drink anything but water, except for a cup of coffee in the morning and beer with dinner once in a while.

Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards):

Weight loss

Water is one of the best tools for weight loss. it doesn’t have calories, unlike high-calorie drinks, like sodas, juices, and alcohol. It’s also a great appetite suppressant.

Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Drinking plenty can help your weight-loss regimen. 

Heart health

Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of heart attack.

study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack. That’s in comparison to people who drank less than two glasses.

Energy

Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired, even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. It can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Headache cure

Another symptom of dehydration is headache. In fact, when we have headaches, it’s often caused by not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

See Also: Water And Brain Function: How Staying Hydrated Makes You Smarter

Healthy skin

Drinking water can clear up your skin, but it won’t happen overnight, of course. Drink a healthy amount of water for a week and you’ll notice its good effects on your skin.

Digestive problems

Our digestive system needs a good amount of water to digest food properly. Water can help cure stomach acid problems. It can help treat constipation, too.

Cleansing

Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

Cancer risk

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. It can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Better exercise

Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities. It can slow you down and make it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during,and after exercise.

How to form the water habit

So you’re convinced that water is healthier, but you’d like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.

Here are some tips that have helped me:

Know how much water you need

This is a debatable question. What’s clear is that the old recommendation of “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” isn’t right, for several reasons.

That amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages. It also ignores a person’s body weight which is an important factor in figuring the right amount. It also varies if you are sick or exercise.

Plus, it’s also not good to just drink when you’re thirsty because you’re already dehydrated by then.

Best is to form a routine. Drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, and a glass in between meals. Be sure to drink before, during and after exercise, too. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty.

Carry a bottle

water bottles

A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk and I drink from it all day long. When it’s empty, I fill it up again and keep drinking.

Set a reminder

Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour or set a periodic computer reminder. that way, you won’t forget to drink water.

Substitute water

If you would normally get a soda or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

Filter

Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It’ll make tap water taste like bottled water at a fraction of the price.

Exercise

Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It’s not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you’re going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time. That way, it will get through your system in time.

Track it

It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it.

Tracking increases awareness and helps ensure that you’re staying on track. Keep a little log on an index card or a notebook and create a mark for each glass of water you drink.

The post 9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey pair their wings with weapons and wine in ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’ video

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All the women who independent and also anyone else who would like to do so: Feast your eyes on the clip for “Don’t Call Me Angel.” Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Lana Del Rey team up on the lead single from the forthcoming Charlie’s Angels remake (starring Kristen Stewart and I guess also some other people) and while they are wearing angel-like wings for most of this video, they respectfully ask that you do not, and I cannot stress this enough, call them angels. 

It’s hard not to compare it to the 2000 film’s classic theme “Independent Women”, especially when Miley brags about writing cheques and sings “All my girls successful, and you’re just our guest.” But does “Independent Women” have Lana Del Rey throwing a knife at a practice target’s crotch and carrying a whole roast chicken around on a fork? No. It does not. Read more…

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Another high-flying, heavily funded AR headset startup is shutting down

While Apple and Microsoft strain to sell augmented reality as the next major computing platform, many of the startups aiming to beat them to the punch are crashing and burning.

Daqri, which built enterprise-grade AR headsets, has shuttered its HQ, laid off many of its employees and is selling off assets ahead of a shutdown, former employees and sources close to the company tell TechCrunch.

In an email obtained by TechCrunch, the nearly 10-year-old company told its customers that it was pursuing an asset sale and was shutting down its cloud and smart-glasses hardware platforms by the end of September.

“I think the large majority of people who worked [at Daqri] are sad to see it closing down,” a former employee told TechCrunch. “[I] wish the end result was different.”

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The company’s 18,000+ square foot Los Angeles headquarters (above) is currently listed as “available” by real estate firm Newmark Knight Frank. The company’s Sunnyvale offices appear to have been shuttered sometime prior to 2019.

Daqri’s shutdown is only the latest among heavily funded augmented reality startups seeking to court enterprise customers.

Earlier this year, Osterhout Design Group unloaded its AR glasses patents after acquisition talks with Magic Leap, Facebook and others stalled. Meta, an AR headset startup that raised $73 million from VCs including Tencent, also sold its assets earlier this year after the company ran out of cash.

Daqri faced substantial challenges from competing headset makers, including Magic Leap and Microsoft, who were backed by more expansive war chests and institutional partnerships. While the headset company struggled to compete for enterprise customers, Daqri benefitted from investor excitement surrounding the broader space. That is, until the investment climate for AR startups cooled.

Daqri was, at one point, speaking with a large private-equity firm about financing ahead of a potential IPO, but as the technical realities facing other AR companies came to light, the firm backed out and the deal crumbled, we are told.

As of mid-2017, a Wall Street Journal report detailed that Daqri had raised $275 million in funding. You won’t find many details on the sources of that funding, other than references to Tarsadia Investments, a private-equity firm in Los Angeles that took part in the company’s sole disclosed funding round. We’re told Tarsadia had taken controlling ownership of the firm after subsequent investments.

In early 2016, Daqri acquired Two Trees Photonics, a small UK startup that was building holographic display technologies for automotive customers. The UK division soon comprised a substantial portion of the entire company’s revenues, sources tell us. By early 2018, the division was spun out from Daqri as a separate company called Envisics, leaving the Daqri team to focus wholly on bringing augmented reality to enterprise customers.

The remaining head-worn AR division failed to gain momentum after prolonged setbacks in adoption of its AR smart glasses, including difficulties in training workers to use the futuristic hardware, a source told TechCrunch.

All the while, the company’s leadership put on a brave face as the startup sputtered. In an interview this year with Cornell Enterprise Magazine, Daqri CEO Roy Ashok told the publication that the startup was forecasting shipments of “tens of thousands” of pairs of its AR glasses in 2020.

Daqri, its founder and several executives did not respond to requests for comment.