Month: August 2020

Is Your Exercise Causing Good or Bad Pain?

“No pain, no gain” is a famous mantra in the fitness community, but it’s important to know where to draw the line. A little soreness usually means that you’re pushing yourself and building muscle, but not all pain comes with positive results. In fact, if you don’t know how to recognize bad pain, you could be causing potentially serious injuries.

Read on to learn the difference between good and bad pain so you can feel empowered to push yourself to the limit, without crossing the threshold into harmful territories.

Why Do You Get Sore During and After Exercise?

In order to recognize good pain, you need to know why it happens in the first place. Soreness is usually caused by delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This phenomenon is completely normal and usually occurs between 24 and 48 hours after strenuous physical activity, according to WebMD.

While you exercise, your muscles contract, causing microscopic tears in your muscles, as well as inflammation associated with these minor injuries. The soreness you feel after an intense workout is actually your muscles being repaired and growing back even stronger. However, if the pain is severe or lasts for more than a few days, there may be a more serious underlying injury.

How to Recognize Bad Pain

pain and exercise

It’s important that you’re able to recognize when bad pain occurs. That way you can seek treatment, adjust your workout routine, and consider pre-and-post workout supplements that empower your body to heal faster. As a general rule of thumb, when you feel pain, it’s a good idea to back off and allow yourself to heal. This is especially important if the pain is caused by an injury.

Typically, good pain isn’t focused in one specific area, but spread out. For example, it’s normal for your legs to be aching after climbing a large flight of stairs, but if just your right ankle is in pain, that’s a sign of a strain or other injury. An immediate jolt of pain is also a bad sign, as good pain tends to manifest slowly over time. If you feel sudden pain, you should stop what you’re doing immediately.

Good pain can be unpleasant, but it’s usually fairly mild and tolerable. If the pain is overwhelming, it’s probably not caused by delayed onset muscle soreness. Shooting pain and numbness may also be signs of an injury. You should also pay especially close attention to pain in the joints, especially the shoulders, knees, and ankles.

Embrace Proper Techniques

No matter how much exercise you do in a week, it’s crucial that you take the time to learn proper techniques. Once you develop bad habits, it’s difficult to break them, so be vigilant. Make sure you always stretch and warm up before a session, and then give yourself plenty of time to cool down and rest afterward. Nourishing your body with proper nutrition between your workouts will also help in muscle recovery and reducing discomfort.

If you feel like you’re performing exercises correctly, you may want to talk to a professional trainer for advice and guidance. The potential risks just aren’t worth the rewards. Once you know that you’re exercising properly, you’ll feel much more confident and inspired to push yourself.

How to Treat Bad Pain

exercise pain

There’s no single best method for treating a sports injury. Everyone’s body is unique, and injuries can take countless forms. In most cases of mild injuries, simply taking a break for a few days and resting up should have you feeling better. That said, even a minor injury can lead to complications, so be sure to speak to your healthcare provider if you’re concerned.

If simply relaxing isn’t cutting it, you may want to try the PRICE method:

  • Protection
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

PRICE is pretty self-explanatory. You’ll want to protect the injury with a bandage, cast, or splint, stop using it, apply ice every few hours, wrap it (snug but not too tight), and keep the injured area lifted, if possible. Be sure to talk to your doctor about pain relief options if you’re struggling with pain management.

Once the injury has subsided, you may require rehabilitation. Harvard Health Publishing recommends two days of rehab for each day of inactivity due to injury. During the rehabilitation phase, your injury may be vulnerable, so it’s critical that you only perform the proper rehab exercises recommended by a qualified professional.

Prevention Is the Key to Sustainable Exercise

There’s no denying the many physical and mental health benefits of exercise. At the same time, even a minor injury can cause major complications. One injury can lead to another, causing a snowball effect that can be tough to overcome. The best approach is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.

Be mindful before, during, and after each session. Over time, you’ll become more in tune with your body and how it reacts to various levels and styles of exercise. When in doubt, tap out! An extra five minutes isn’t worth months or even years of pain. Work smart so you can work hard. That’s how you keep your active lifestyle sustainable.

If you have ongoing joint pain or are dealing with arthritis, osteoporosis or other health concerns, be sure to check with your primary care doctor with any concerns prior to starting a new workout routine.

The post Is Your Exercise Causing Good or Bad Pain? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

First trailer for ‘The Stand’ teases the pandemic apocalypse, Stephen King style

First trailer for 'The Stand' teases the pandemic apocalypse, Stephen King style

CBS All Access just released the first teaser for 10-part miniseries The Stand, based on the post-apocalyptic fantasy novel by Stephen King. In The Stand, groups with opposing ideas of what society should be clash in the wake of a deadly pandemic, leading to significant repercussions for humanity’s future. The book was originally released in 1978, but its themes are unsettlingly relevant to 2020.

The Stand‘s 30-second trailer doesn’t give away much, mainly featuring people wandering eerily abandoned streets or experiencing emotional distress. We do get a good look at Whoopi Goldberg as spiritual leader Abagail Freemantle though, as well as Alexander Skarsgård’s supernaturally powered Randall Flagg. Read more…

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Twitter flags Republican leader’s video as ‘manipulated’ for altering disabled activist’s words

Twitter flagged an inflammatory video by House Republican Whip Steve Scalise on Sunday for altering footage of a conversation between progressive activist Ady Barkan and Joe Biden. The video is now labeled as “manipulated media” in a tweet from Scalise, though remains online.

The inflammatory video pulls in out-of-context quotes from a number of Democrats and activists, but appears to have crossed a line by altering Barkan’s words from a portion of the conversation about policing reform. Barkan, who has ALS, speaks with an assistive eye-tracking device.

“These are not my words. I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts,” Barkan tweeted in response, adding “…You owe the entire disability community an apology.”

.@SteveScalise,

These are not my words.

I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts.

You and your team have doctored my words for your own political gain.

Please remove this video immediately. You owe the entire disability community an apology. https://t.co/N6G5RgMXlO

— Ady Barkan (@AdyBarkan) August 30, 2020

In the video excerpt, taken from a longer conversation about policing and social services, Barkan appears to say “Do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding for police?” In reality, Barkan interrupted Biden during the conversation to ask “Do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?”

In the video, Barkan’s altered sentence is followed by a dramatic black background stamped with the words “No police. Mob rule. Total chaos. Coming to a town near you?” Those ominous warnings are followed by a logo for Scalise’s reelection campaign.

The addition of the two words, falsely rendered in Barkan’s voice, don’t significantly change the meaning of his question, but the edit still crossed a line. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the tweet violated the company’s policy for “synthetic and manipulated media,” though did not specify which part of the video broke the rules.

The synthetic and manipulated media policy states that Twitter “may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context.” In the policy, Twitter explains specifically that “new video frames, overdubbed audio” and other edits count as deceptive and significant manipulation.

The week’s biggest IPO news had nothing to do with Monday’s S-1 deluge

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s broadly based on the daily column that appears on Extra Crunch, but free, and made for your weekend reading. (You can sign up for the newsletter here!)

Ready? Let’s talk money, startups and spicy IPO rumors.

The week’s biggest IPO news had nothing to do with Monday’s S-1 deluge

During Monday’s IPO wave I was surprised to see Asana join the mix. 

After news had broken in June that the company had raised hundreds of millions in convertible debt, I hadn’t guessed that the productivity unicorn wouldn’t give us an S-1 in the very next quarter. I was contentedly wrong. But the reason why Asana’s IPO is notable isn’t really much to do with the company itself, though do take the time to dig into its results and history

What matters about Asana’s debut is that it appears set to test out a model that, until very recently, could have become the new, preferred way of going public amongst tech companies. 

Here’s what I mean: Instead of filing to go public, and raising money in a traditional IPO, or simply listing directly, Asana executed two, large, convertible debt offerings pre-debut, thus allowing it to direct list with lots of cash without having raised endless equity capital while private.

The method looked like a super-cool way to get around the IPO pricing issue that we’ve seen, and also provide a ramp to direct listing for companies that didn’t get showered with billions while private. (That Asana co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s trust led the debt deal is simply icing on this particular Pop-Tart).

This brief column was going to be all about how we may see unicorns follow the Asana route in time, provided that its debt-powered direct listing goes well. But then the NYSE got permission from the SEC to allow companies to raise capital when they direct-list.

In short, some companies that direct-list in the future will be able to sell a bloc of shares at a market-set value that would have previously set their “open” price. So instead of flogging the stock and setting a price and selling shares to rich folks and then finding out what public investors would really pay, all that IPO faff is gone and bold companies can simply offer shares at whatever price the market will bear. 

All that is great and cool, but as companies will be able to direct-list and raise capital, the NYSE’s nice news means that Asana is blazing a neat trail, but perhaps not one that will be as popular as we had expected.

The NASDAQ is working to get in on the action. As Danny said yesterday on the show, this new NYSE method is going to crush traditional IPOs, provided that we’re understanding it during this, its nascent period.

Market Notes

Look, this week was bananas, and my brain is scrambled toast. You, like myself, are probably a bit confused about how it is only finally Saturday and not the middle of next week. But worry not, I have a quick roundup of the big stuff from our world. And, notes from calls with the COO of Okta and the CEO of Splunk, from after their respective earnings report: 

Over to our chats, starting with Okta COO and co-founder Frederic Kerrest:

  • Okta had a good quarter. But instead of noodling on just the numbers, we wanted to chat with its team about the accelerating digital transformation and what they are seeing in the market. 
  • On the SMB side, Kerrest reported little to no change. This is a bit more bullish than we anticipated, given that it seemed likely that SMB customers would have taken the largest hit from COVID.
  • Kerrest also told us some interesting stuff about how the wave of COVID-related spend has changed: “We actually have seen the COVID ‘go home and remote work very quickly’ [thing], we’ve actually seen that rush subside a little bit, because you know now we’re five months into [the pandemic], so they had to figure it out.”
  • This is a fascinating comment for the startup world
  • Okta is big and public and is going to grow fine for a while. Whatever. For smaller companies aka startups that were seeing COVID-related tailwinds, I wonder how common seeing “that rush subside a little bit” is. If it is very common, many startups that had taken off like a rocket could be seeing their growth come back to Earth.
  • And if they raised a bunch of money off the back of that growth at a killer valuation, they may have just ordered shoes that they’ll struggle to grow into.

And then there was new McLaren F-1 sponsor Splunk, data folks who are in the midst of a transition to SaaS that is seeing the firm double-down on building ARR and letting go of legacy incomes:

  • I spoke with CEO Doug Merritt, kicking off with a question about his use of the word “tectonic” regarding the shift to data-driven decisions from Splunk’s earnings report. (“As organizations continue to adapt to tectonic societal shifts brought on by COVID-19, one thing is constant: the power of data to radically transform business.”)
  • I wanted to know how far down the American corporate stack that idea went; are mid-size businesses getting more data-savvy? What about SMBs? Merritt was pretty bullish: “We’re getting to tectonic,” he said during our call, adding that before “it really was the Facebooks, the Googles, the Apples, the DoorDashes, [and] the LinkedIns that were using [Splunk].” But now, he said, even small restaurant chains are using data to better track their performance. 
  • Relating this back to the startup world, I’ve been curious if lots of stuff that you and I think is cool, like low-code business app development, will actually find as wide a footing in the market as some expect. Why? Because most small and medium-sized businesses are not tech companies at all. But if Merritt is right, then the CEO of Appian might be right as well about how many business apps the average company is going to have in a few years’ time.

And finally for Market Notes, my work BFF and IRL friend Ron Miller wrote about Box’s earnings this week, and how the changing world is bolstering the company. It’s worth a read. (Most public software companies are doing well, mind.)

Various and Sundry

We’re already over length, so I’ll have to keep our bits-and-bobs section brief. Thus, only the brightest of baubles for you, my friend:

And with that, we are out of room. Hugs, fist bumps and good vibes, 

Alex

Chadwick Boseman tribute will air Sunday night on ABC after ‘Black Panther’

Chadwick Boseman tribute will air Sunday night on ABC after 'Black Panther'

Mourning together isn’t easy in these socially distant times, but Chadwick Boseman fans will have a chance to do that on Sunday night.

Marvel’s Black Panther is set to air commercial-free on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 30. Then, immediately after the movie, ABC News will deliver a 40-minute special tribute, titled Chadwick Boseman – A Tribute for a King.

Boseman died on Friday at the age of 42 after a four-year struggle with colon cancer. The news of his death came as a shock to fans, as the Black Panther star had opted to keep his diagnosis and subsequent treatments a secret.

The Sunday evening special will, according to ABC, “celebrate Boseman’s storied life, legacy and career, and the cultural imprint he made on- and off-screen.” The network doesn’t name any participants, but the announcement promises to feature tributes from “celebrities, political figures, and fans across the world,” as well as “special words” from friends and co-stars. Read more…

More about Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, Entertainment, Celebrities, and Movies Tv Shows

And now Triller is trying to buy U.S. TikTok, report claims

And now Triller is trying to buy U.S. TikTok, report claims

If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em.

That appears to the thinking of Triller, a U.S.-based “social streaming” app, which according to Bloomberg teamed up with an asset management firm in an attempt to buy TikTok for $20 billion. Or, more specifically, to buy parts of TikTok for $20 billion. 

Those parts include TikTok’s U.S., Australian, New Zealand, and Indian components — locations where the ByteDance-owned company ran into various legal troubles, faced security concerns, and risks possible shuttering. India went so far as to ban TikTok outright in June for “[engaging] in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”  Read more…

More about Social Media, Tiktok, Triller, Tech, and Social Media Companies

Reliable Robotics is bringing remote piloting to small cargo planes

Nearly one year ago, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk stealthily made aviation history when it landed at a small airport in Northern California marking the completion of the first successful remote-piloted flight of a passenger airplane in the United States.

The company behind this milestone in commercial aviation history is Reliable Robotics, a startup founded in 2017 by former SpaceX and Tesla engineers who previously brought autopilot to the electric vehicle auto driving masses and made the Dragon rocket soar.

The company has raised $33.5 million in venture funding from investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Eclipse Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures and Teamworthy Ventures, and is now making its pitch to potential customers in the logistics and shipping industry.

Robert Rose, the co-founder of Reliable Robotics, comes from a family of flyers. Both of this grandfathers flew in World War Two and had done stints as a pilot himself. In fact, the company’s origins stem from Rose’s attempts to get back in the cockpit and behind the yoke.

“Flying’s hard,” Rose said. “It requires a lot of cognitive ability.”

But a lot of that cognitive ability are tasks that Rose, with his experience designing Tesla’s autopilot system and the flight systems for both the Falcon and Dragon spacecraft, knew could be automated. Helping Rose to automate these tasks is Juerg Frefel, the company co-founder, vice president of engineering and the former leader of the team behind the computing platform for the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecrafts.

Reliable’s systems aren’t fully automated, there’s still a pilot behind the scenes, but that pilot is monitoring systems and controlling the plane remotely, rather than sitting in the cockpit.

Reliable started its experiments with retrofitting existing planes with autonomous systems in much the same way that Tesla began its journey into manufacturing by using existing frames for aircraft rather than designing its own.

Control systems inside a Cessna retrofitted by Reliable Robotics. Image Credit: Reliable Robotics

“We spent the first portion of our flight test program focused on the C172. We thoroughly tested every aspect of our system in simulation and conducted rigorous safety checks before operating the aircraft without a pilot on board and are now proud to share what we’ve been working on,” said Rose, in a statement.

The company started with the Cessna 172 Skyhawk but graduated to the larger Cessna 208 Caravan. The Caravan, which is designed as a passenger plane, is also used by logistics companies like FedEx for shipping. In June, the company demonstrated a fully remote landing for the Caravan over the San Jose approach path — a particularly heavily trafficked route.

“There’s never been a privately funded program that’s ever done anything like that before,” said Rose.

Enabling remote piloting and automating certain aspects of flight has tremendous potential to drive down costs and improve efficiencies in an industry that’s struggling with multiple stresses.

“Automated aircraft are going to fundamentally shift the entire airline business, and Reliable Robotics is well positioned to be a key player in this new market,” said David Neeleman, a founder of several commercial airlines including JetBlue (and an investor in Reliable Robotics).

The company’s autonomous platform can be applied to any fixed wing aircraft, but Reliable’s co-founder and chief executive doesn’t expect to be selling components. Instead, Reliable Robotics will retrofit and operate aircraft as a service for its customers, Rose said.

“Initially, by necessity, we’re going to have to operate this as a service,” said Rose. “The certification of systems for air. If you want to operate in the airspace you have to certify your maintenance plan, your procedures… the entire business needs to be certified by the FAA… If for the first time someone operates an aircraft with no pilot on board that entire business is going to have to be certified. At least for the first several years we see this being operated as a service.”

Reliable conducted its first retrofit and flight on a Cessna Caravan owned by FedEx, which operates around 235 planes in its fleet, according to Rose. Several other shipping companies also use the Caravan for air logistics.

“There’s a communication component, a ground network, a control center for operating the thing. It’s entirely a vertically integrated enterprise,” Rose said. “Integrated hardware that allows us to control flight systems and get telemetry and data [and that’s] integrated into a custom computer that can process this and fly the aircraft and integrated into a ground network so a pilot in our control center can oversee the operations of the plane.” 

Rose said the pitch to customers is increasing pilot utilization. “How could the economics change if [pilots] could teleport from one aircraft of the next after they’re done flying?” Rose said. “Our system enables you to more efficiently utilize the pilot and more efficiently utilize the aircraft.” 

Closeup of a Reliable Robotics control system. Image Credit: Reliable Robotics

 

Chadwick Boseman, star of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther,’ has died

Chadwick Boseman, star of Marvel's 'Black Panther,' has died

Actor Chadwick Boseman, perhaps best known for his star performance in Marvel’s Black Panther, has died at 43. 

A statement shared on Boseman’s official Twitter account Friday night confirmed the star had passed in his Los Angeles home with his wife and family, four years after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016.

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy,” it reads. Read more…

More about Marvel, Obituary, Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, and Entertainment

Elon Musk demonstrates Neuralink’s tech live using pigs with surgically implanted brain-monitoring devices

Elon Musk -founded Neuralink has made headlines over the past many years around it efforts to develop a new kind of interface between the human brain and computing devices. On Friday, the company provided a demo of the technology, and Musk kicked off the demo by saying that the purpose of the entire presentation was recruiting — not fundraising or any other kind of promotion.

“We’re not trying to raise money or do anything else, but the the main purpose is to convince great people to come work at Neuralink, and help us bring the product to fruition — make it affordable and reliable and and such that anyone who wants one can have one,” he said.

Musk then went on to say that the reason he wants to make it generally available is that just about everyone will have some kind of neurological problem over time, including memory loss, anxiety, brain damage, depression and a long list of other ailments. Of course, there’s no clear evidence that any of this long list of problems can be quickly and easily “solved” with any one solution, so it’s a bit challenging to see this as a reasonable end goal for the company.

The goal may be ambitious — and definitely subject to a lot of ethical and medical debate — but the technology that Musk actually demonstrated was much less so. Musk first noted that Neuralink had changed design since the reveal last year, with a smaller physical device profile that he said can be fully hidden under hair once installed in the skull. He had a physical device in-hand to show its size.

Image Credits: Neuralink

Musk then turned the audience’s attention to three pigs that were in attendance in nearby pens, with handlers nearby. The three pigs were one that was untreated, the second (“Gertrude”) was installed with a Neuralink device, called the “Link,” and the third had previously had one installed but then subsequently had it removed. Musk at first had trouble coaxing Gertrude to come out and perform for the small, socially distanced crowd in attendance (who were seated at bar-height tables as if they were at a comedy club). Eventually, however, he skipped Getrude to show that the pig who had her Link removed was very healthy and normal-looking.

Image Credits: Neuralink

Back to Gertrude, Musk showed a display that played a sound and showed a visual spike whenever the Link detected that Gertrude made contact to something with her snout while rooting around for food.

“For the initial device, it’s read/write in every channel with about 1024 channels, all-day battery life that recharges overnight and has quite a long range, so you can have the range being to your phone,” Musk said. “I should say that’s kind of an important thing, because this would connect to your phone, and so the application would be on your phone, and the Link communicating, by essentially Bluetooth low energy to the device in your head.”

Image Credits: Neuralink

Musk closed the prepared portion of the presentation by noting that the company had received a Breakthrough Device designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July, and that the company is “preparing for first human implantation soon, pending required approvals and further safety testing.”

While the device demonstrated was only a read-device, receiving data from the signals in the pig’s brain, the plan is to provide both read and write capabilities with the goal of being able to address neurological issues as mentioned above. Musk also stressed that why he showed the pig which had had its implant removed safely was because the plan is to provide updates to the hardware over time as better versions become available. Ultimately, Musk said during a later Q&A that Neuralink hopes to get the cost down to somewhere in the thousand-dollar range, with a minimal cost for the hardware itself along the line of modern wearable devices.

Musk actually referred to the Neuralink devices as a “Fitbit in your skull with tiny wires” at multiple points during the presentation, which actually seems like a pretty dystopian proposition, depending on your perspective. Capabilities he teased eventually include the ability to summon your Tesla with a thought, and video game control interfaces — including complete control of Starcraft. Musk also said in the future he expected people with Link to be able to “save and replay memories,” adding the caveat that “this is obviously sounding increasingly like a Black Mirror episode, but well, I guess they’re pretty good at predicting.” He even went so far as to say that “you could potentially download [memories] into a robot body.”

The first clinical trial will focus on individuals with paraplegia or tetraplegia, resulting from cervical spinal cord injury. The plan for a first trial is to enroll a “small number” of these individuals in order to test the efficacy and safety of the technology.

The Mistakes Smart Guys Make With Women

There are a lot of smart guys out there. They’re successful with good educations and stable jobs, and they also respect women. They’re just overall good guys. Yet even these men seem to be able to mess up relationships with women repeatedly and with such ease that it makes it almost seem deliberate. Why is that?

It seems like an age-old story, right? Guy meets girl, guy and girl have a connection, guy immediately (and then ever after) puts his foot in his mouth, does something insensitive, or any number of other things that suddenly makes the connection tenuous and creates strife. As it turns out, there are some specific reasons for this and very common mistakes that even the smartest men tend to make.

Why Men Make Mistakes So Often

mistakes in relationships by men

Men and women are different. Duh, right? I mean, that’s why relationships are fun and exciting – while also confusing and frustrating. One of the biggest differences between men and women, however, is their emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). Women simply tend to score higher.

Emotional intelligence is not synonymous with being emotional. What it is, really, is how we  manage our relationships with others and relate with them. EQ, in its actual definition, refers to emotional and social capacities that cumulatively demonstrate how efficient we’re able to:

  • Perceive and convey our feelings
  • Grow and sustain our social connections
  • Deal with hardships, stress, and make decisions
  • Utilize emotional information in an effectual and relevant manner

What this means is that someone with a high EQ is not only in-tune with their own emotions, but can recognize and effectively respond to the emotional state of others. This is an area where women typically outdo men.

Having a higher EQ can be a benefit in many areas, not just relationships. But when it comes to relationships, being able to see, understand, and respond to emotions and the non-verbal cues related to emotion can prove to be crucial. Without this skill (ahem…guys are you listening?) you can make big, insensitive mistakes and mess up a good thing.

The Big Five

mistakes in relationships

Okay, we know even smart guys make dumb mistakes with women. And not all of these mistakes are the same, but here are a few that seem to be fairly universal.

Trying to control everything

This is a big one and most of us have been guilty of it. We can blame society, stereotypes, or our parents, but men are generally taught they need to be strong and in charge. Control issues for men can show up anywhere from making plans for the two of you without consulting her, to trying to “fix” every problem or dilemma she encounters.

Women aren’t fond of being treated like subordinates, which is what you may be unconsciously doing if you try to take charge of everything. Remember, she’s your equal; she may even be smarter than you, and a relationship is a partnership.

You fail to consider her feelings (or simply ignore them)

If you pay attention and listen, most women will tell you (or show you) how they feel. Not acknowledging these feelings and responding appropriately can leave you in a bad spot. Because women are generally more in-tune with emotions they want them to be recognized and understood. It makes them feel closer to you and safe in your relationship. And guess what? It’s good for you too.

You don’t express your own feelings

Yep, she expresses hers and she wants to hear yours too. The tendencies toward one-word answers, holding things in, and trying to be “strong” that many men do can leave your lady feeling uncared for and in the dark. Just like Billy Joel advises, “tell her about it, let her know just how you feel.” This includes when you’re feeling hurt, scared, or insecure.

You ASSume

This may rival being controlling as one of the largest mistakes. Never assume anything (pretty good advice in general). You can’t read her mind and she can’t read yours. You must establish good communication if you want things to be strong and healthy between the two of you.

You don’t make her feel valued

Although the need to feel valued isn’t just a girl thing (we need it too), typically, women are much better at making us feel valued than we are at making them feel valued. Men are notorious for taking the love, affection, and small things that the women we love do for us for granted. Find a way on a regular basis to let her know how much you appreciate her.

While smart men do often make dumb mistakes with women and their relationships, it should be noted that women can be equally as guilty at times. I, by no means, don’t want to insinuate that men are knuckle-dragging morons that can’t treat women properly. Or that women are universally angelic and never at fault.

The fact is that relationships are tough at times and both genders are capable of making dumb mistakes. The blunders of men often just happen sooner and are more immediately obvious.

The post The Mistakes Smart Guys Make With Women appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Did Trump just use the soundtrack of a kids’ movie at his convention?

Did Trump just use the soundtrack of a kids' movie at his convention?

OK, hear me out.

I have seen the animated film Sing approximately 700 times. (I have five-year-old twins, that’s my excuse.) I have also subjected myself to all four bleak, droning nights of the Republican National Convention. As I was watching the main event — aka one long abuse of presidential power — unfold on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday night, I came to a strange realization: The soundtrack to this unethical campaign rally bore a striking similarity to the Sing soundtrack.

Exhibit A: Ivanka Trump walked out to give the speech introducing her father to a tinny-sounding version of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” It caught my attention because I immediately wondered if Sir Elton would sue the Trump campaign for using it.  Read more…

More about Music, Movies, Trump, Election 2020, and Culture

Presenting TechCrunch Disrupt’s Asia sessions

As you know by now, Disrupt is going completely virtual for its 10th anniversary. TechCrunch’s Asia team (me, Rita Liao and Manish Singh) will miss seeing everyone in Moscone Center, but this will be the most accessible Disrupt ever, and we are excited to bring a full roster of Asia-focused sessions to its agenda for the first time. The sessions, with people from some of Asia’s most influential tech companies, startups and investment firms, will be broadcast during the day in this part of the world, followed by live Q&A sessions. And of course, all Disrupt attendees will get full access to everything TechCrunch’s team has spent months working to bring online: the Disrupt and Extra Crunch stages, virtual networking at CrunchMatch and Digital Startup Alley.

Many of the most important recent startup trends and tech stories have come from Asia, or were driven by Asian companies. The continent is home to several of the world’s most complex and dynamic markets: China, India and Indonesia, to name just some of the biggest ones.

Available at a time that works best for you, catch these sessions Sept 15-18th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM HKT. Immediately after each interview, join the speakers for a live Q&A. So come with your questions!

India is Facebook’s biggest market by number of users, and our speakers will include its head of India, Ajit Mohan.

We also have Russell Cohen, regional head of operations at Grab, the ride-hailing company that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations two years ago and is now also one of the region’s largest on-demand delivery platforms.

Byju Raveendran, founder of BYJU’s, India’s most highly-valued edtech startup, will talk about online learning, one of this year’s most important topics.

As another example of how tech innovations in Asia influence other parts of the world, we will speak to Kaisei Hamamoto, co-founder and chief operating officer of SmartNews, which runs versions of its news aggregator app in two very different markets, Japan and the United States.

Our lineup of founders include Sonny Vu, whose last startup, Misfit, was acquired by Apple, and is currently the chief executive officer of continuous carbon-fiber 3D printing company Arevo.

We’ll also talk to Steven Yang of Anker about how he built his company into one of the most popular and well-regarded smartphone charger and power bank brands.

Gillian Tee, founder of Singapore-based caregiving and telehealth startup Homage, will share insights about how tech can serve the world’s most vulnerable people.

On the investment side, we will hear from Edith Yeung, general partner at Race Capital, about emerging technology trends in China and Silicon Valley.

East Ventures, one of the most prolific and influential investment firms in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest market, will be represented by Melisa Irene, the firm’s first female partner.

And Karthik Reddy, co-founder of Blume Ventures, will be on hand to talk about the challenges and opportunities of helping build India’s startup ecosystem.

Each session will be followed by a live Q&A, so attendees will get a chance to ask each speaker questions. Stay tuned for the final schedule. In the meantime, make sure to get your pass to attend these sessions and a whole bunch more! If you move quickly, you can take advantage of savings on your pro pass if you buy before Friday, September 11 at 11:59pm PT.

10 Tips to Use YouTube to Market Your Business

Since its introduction in 2005, YouTube has become an indispensable marketing tool for every business. With more than one billion users, YouTube is definitely not a platform to ignore if you want to grow your business.

It has enabled more than 50 million content creators to showcase their content through interesting videos everyday and reach a global audience. YouTube supports video marketing, therefore, expands social reach of your business, builds traffic and enhances your online existence.

Entertaining your viewers while promoting your brand might sound challenging, but with the right approach it is totally doable. Creating intriguing videos with valuable content can keep your viewers engaged. Get your YouTube channel noticed with fascinating images and interesting titles. Remember, symbols can establish your channel’s identity.

Creating an alluring YouTube logo is essential to express your brand’s personality and attract viewers. A highly creative logo maker is the right person to contact to add charm to your YouTube channel and make it stand out from the crowd.

By the time you finish this 10 step-by-step guide to market your business on YouTube, you’ll surely have a clear idea and detailed understanding of the facts you need to know to reflect your brand on YouTube. Let’s get started.

Creation & Customization of Your YouTube Channel

Once you create a YouTube channel, customize the background banner and icon. Use high-resolution images that create a strong impact and convey the message to your audience. To ensure a good impression and global recognition of your brand, it’s essential to have a professional logo. You can either create your own brand logo using a logo creator or hire a professional who’ll do that for you.

Don’t shy away from writing a channel description in the ‘About’ section. It helps your audience understand your business, offerings, and mission. Don’t forget to include links of your company’s website and social media pages on the videos and in the descriptions, too. Also, invite new and potential viewers to follow you on social media platforms.

Uploading a Trailer

It’s worth spending some time in creating an impressive trailer for your YouTube channel. Because that gives you an opportunity to engage with your audience with superb content, convincing them to subscribe to your channel.

The ideal duration of a YouTube channel is 1-2 minutes. Hence, you need to ensure that the preview is short yet informative. It’s also important that it captivates your audience in the first five seconds. With the concept of ‘show, don’t tell’, you can encourage your audience to subscribe to your channel and leave comments.

Work with an Influencer

promote your business using youtube

You’ve created your YouTube channel and you’re done with the customization but your brand is still not getting the exposure it deserves? If this is so, working with an influencer is the best step to take for your brand to achieve global recognition.

Get in touch with an influencer relevant to your niche and send them some free samples so that they can try your products. Make sure that you let them know the pros of the products. This enables them share the information with their followers, who might be your relevant audience.

Ask the influencer to share images of the product and even highlight its benefits, which can help in catching the attention of social media followers. Working with an influencer can, therefore, engage new target audience, build trust, and improve search ranking of your channel.

Researching Keywords

Research, find, and implement the keywords relevant to your niche and reach your target audience with ease. Putting researched applicable keywords in your video title, as well as in the description and tags, is a smart approach towards enhancement of the channel’s visibility. Keywords in place tells the search engine what the content of the video is and lets people searching for videos related to your business find you.

Channel Optimization

Don’t hesitate to browse your competitor’s YouTube channels to find out what kind of titles and meta tags they are using. Now try and execute the researched keywords into Google AdWords. Choose the right video format and examine the results.

Integration of your YouTube Channel with Social Media

You have amazing content on your YouTube channel. But delivering it right to your potential subscribers might be difficult. But with social media you can do that easily. In today’s time, it’s an effective and a handy video marketing platform to help expand your reach, create brand awareness, and improve your ROI.

Above all, make sure you have an active presence on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Creating unique videos and posting them on social networking sites is the key to increase the number of subscribers of your YouTube channel. Moreover, encourage your viewers to share the published videos on social media.

Video Creation and Optimization

use youtube to promote your business

The best part about creating YouTube videos is that they don’t have to be expensive and also save the expense of hiring a professional. Having a smart phone is enough to film interesting videos and create sharable content. But make sure you have a good amount of lighting and better sound quality to leave your viewers with a pleasant experience.

After you have created and posted the video on your channel, then comes the optimization part for SEO ranking. To do so, select a catchy title (less than 70 words) and use keywords relevant for your business. This will help in getting more views for your content.

Have Testimonials

Remember YouTube is one of the most preferred platforms for marketing that’s visited by billions of people every day. And leaving a mark on the minds of the viewers becomes quite challenging in today’s competitive world. One of the effective tricks is to include testimonials from your existing customers on your YouTube channel to build a solid reputation and gain the confidence of viewers.

Include YouTube Advertising

YouTube advertising is the best platform to get connected with your audience. When you opt for this, you can expect to have an extra exposure of your brand that ensures personal brand building, customer retention, and more subscribers to your YouTube channel. Moreover, YouTube advertising keeps the video entertaining and hyper-targeted.

Understand Your Audience

If you have a business YouTube channel, you have access to the Analytics tab. It gives you a statistics of your channel’s insights and the behavior of your audience. Moreover, you can have the count of the viewers, average watch time, rate of videos and last but not least, generation of revenues. This step is a confidence-booster and definitely helps you reach the right audience.

To Sum Up

Marketing your business on YouTube is a learning process. The more you create videos, the more you’ll get better in content creation and filming. Analysis of the viewers can help you refine your style, improve keyword usage, and understand the left out points that might increase your subscribers, resulting in the growth of your business.

So, keep posting unique content and make visitors stay tuned to your channel!

The post 10 Tips to Use YouTube to Market Your Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns, citing ‘political environment’

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns, citing 'political environment'

Kevin A. Mayer, the chief executive officer of TikTok, has resigned after less than four months in the job, citing current political pressure on the company. 

“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for,” Mayer wrote in an email to staff, according to the New York Times. “Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.” Read more…

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TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigns after 100 days

Kevin Mayer, the chief executive of TikTok, announced on Wednesday that he is resigning, just over 100 days after the former Disney executive joined the world’s largest short video app in mid-May.

The news came just days came on the heel of TikTok’s move to sue the U.S. government over its forthcoming ban. The app, owned by Chinese internet upstart ByteDance, is caught in tensions between Beijing and Washington, which accuses the app of posing a national security threat to the U.S.

On August 6, President Donal Trump signed an executive order to shut down TikTok if ByteDance doesn’t sell the app’s U.S. operations. The app has until mid-November to divest itself.

“We appreciate that the political dynamics of the last few months have significantly changed what the scope of Kevin’s role would be going forward, and fully respect his decision. We thank him for his time at the company and wish him well,” said a TikTok spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch.

The New York Times reported earlier that Mayer announced his decision in a note to employees as TikTok came under pressure from the Trump administration over its links to China. Mayer “did not anticipate the extent to which TikTok would become involved in tensions between China and the U.S.,” sources told the Financial Times, and the executive “didn’t sign up for this.”

Vanessa Pappas, currently general manager of TikTok, will reportedly become the interim head.

The looming TikTok sale has attracted investor interest across the board, from Microsoft which publicly announced its intention through to the less expected bidder Oracle.

This is an updating story…

10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for your Student Blog

If you are in the learning industry, you’re probably looking forward to using your website to organize your teaching materials. WordPress offers various plugins to assist you to build, sell subject lessons, or turn your page into an education hub.

The plugins help you customize multiple aspects of your website that are important in your lesson management. They can also be used to put in various elements on your webpage to improve its overall performance. Plugins can enhance your website’s operation usability and accessibility. Here are numerous WordPress plugins that you can use to enhance your student blog.

Learn Press

learn press
Via wordpress.org

Learn Press helps you to develop free or paid lessons through Stripe and WooCommerce incorporated. This plugin enables you to develop a powerful module administrative system with WordPress. Thus, you can access the details pertaining to how your users are utilizing your materials.

It allows you to outline various sections for questions and lessons for each segment. Furthermore, the full-screen editor can also help you set enrollment numbers, session duration, plan for retakes, and present the lesson prerequisite. The tool can also be used to upload student’s assignments for grading, bring in multiple instructions, and assign progress points for each and every task you have.

Learn Dash

This is another incredible all-around administrative plugin that can help you create various learning sessions and questions. This tool can help you produce mobile adaptive information so that students can access classes using their mobile phones. You can use it to create questions via videos, images, or audios. You can also schedule the course session’s time using this plugin.

It gives your users a chance to either pay per course or through subscription. The quizzes also have a built-in feature that gives certificates based on performance and even provides a scoreboard for top students. Its analytical feature gives you a breakdown of the individual student’s performance. Aside from that, this plugin also allows you to set prerequisite conditions for your students to be accomplished prior to proceeding to the next lesson.

Buddy Press

For those who wish to create a virtual community in their educational pages, they can opt for the Buddy Press plugin. This plugin enables WordPress site members to register, make social connections, create profiles, communicate, and interrelate with other members of the group.

If you are offering various courses, this plugin allows you to separate students belonging to different groups based on their levels. The students can, thus, easily access help from their peers if need be. Besides, it also adds interactivity to your website.

Badge OS

Do you wish to add some game mechanics in a classroom online journal to increase participation? The Badge OS is an ideal plugin that gives away award badges to your students after completing assignments successfully. It’s a great way to boost the learning process to motivate students to complete tasks on time.

This plugin can help you create assignments, award points, and display leaderboards for top students. The plugin also has additional features where you can create various learning groups or exhibit a visual progress map that indicates goals accomplishments. Furthermore, you can create a pop-up congratulation menu after the student achieved a set objective.

Sensei

sensei wp
Via wpmayor.com

Sensei enables you to register students, charge for lessons, and use your WordPress dash to set preliminary conditions. Additionally, it can also help you gauge your students’ individual performances as this plugin can give you an analysis of individuals undertaking your class based on their performance. You can even produce and sell your educational lessons as an independent contractor at WooCommerce incorporated.

You can use several extensions to enhance the overall plugin features like the ability to produce certificates upon course completion, attach files, or aid in scores sharing through social media platforms.

WP Courseware

It’s a complete education control system that can help you produce lessons, offer multimedia sessions or online quizzes, and conduct surveys. After students turn in their assignments, you can leave written feedback to help them improve their performance better. It has a drag-and-drop function to help you create logically engaging lessons. It can also help you create questions with limited retake chances and time deadlines.

With this tool, you can also make open-ended or multiple-choice questions and upload files to accompany your instructions. It also helps develop an educational program to help you switch between lessons swiftly and also enables you to monitor course progress. Furthermore, this plugin can help generate modules and course completion certificates.

Questions and Answers

This WordPress plugin can help you develop joint study conventions and knowledge base lessons to help your students interact better. It also allows you to create a single panel for each specific discipline and offers an excellent exam delivery where students can send in their private attachments.

It also comes with other excellent features such as personalized email notifications, student progress tracker, and educational programs. Furthermore, it helps you create varying question types, be it true and false, multiple-choice, or open-ended questions. This plugin also allows your students to upload a file as their answer.

LifterLMS

LifterLMS offers you an opportunity to produce, sell, and protect your lessons online. It helps develop media-enhanced content that contains audio, video, and texts to cater to a wider variety of learning styles.

Furthermore, this plugin features a shopping cart component that allows you to sell your courses. It also has gamification, which improves students’ engagement, automatic email integration, and analytics to track course progress.

StudyPress

StudyPress can help you produce an interactive media teaching blog that you can post in your WordPress site in slides form. It allows you to come up with unlimited lesson ideas. This plugin can also be used to integrate additional elements to help you add quizzes, access automatic grading, and student ratings in different tests or lessons.

CM Video Lesson Manager

The plugin helps manage YouTube or Vimeo video courses displayed on your WordPress site. With this plugin tool, you can be able to charge users viewership on various content in a limited time. Also, this plugin allows both users and administrators to take notes, mark favorites, and track progress. With the pro version, you can access additional features like students’ notes and payment options. You can also view the individual students’ progress reports and share their level of individual advancement to them.

Conclusion

You will find numerous WordPress plugins in the market today for anyone who wishes to create students’ blogs. Remember to do further research before choosing the WordPress plugins you will use to help meet your goals for your student blog. For greater functionality, you can opt for pro versions. You can try one or a few of the plugins mentioned above to enhance your site and engage your learners.

The post 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for your Student Blog appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Kickstart a career as an IT professional with this training course

Kickstart a career as an IT professional with this training course

TL;DR: The Complete IT for Beginners Bundle is on sale for £38.11 as of Aug. 26, saving you 94% on list price.


No modern company is complete without IT experts. These pros basically make it possible for everyone else in the company to do their work. And what’s cool about the IT field is it branches into countless career paths – and not just at ultra-technical companies. In a nutshell, that’s why there are more and more job openings in IT. In fact, you’ll find segments of IT work like cloud computing on LinkedIn’s top in-demand hard skills of 2020.

Looking to fill one of these in-demand IT jobs? You’ll need to be properly certified. And CompTIA certifications are the gold standard; all types of institutions from government entities to Fortune 500 companies say so. If you’re not a great test-taker, don’t panic. This Complete IT for Beginners Bundle can help you prepare. Read more…

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BlackBerry makes China push as the OS for Xpeng smart cars

The once-pioneering BlackBerry is pretty much out of the smartphone manufacturing game, but the Canadian company has been busy transitioning to providing software for connected devices, including smart cars. Now it’s brought that section of its business to China.

This week, BlackBerry announced that it will be powering the Level 3 driving domain controller of Xpeng, one of the most-funded electric vehicle startups in China and Tesla’s local challenger. Baked in Xpeng’s intelligent cockpit is BlackBerry’s operating system called QNX, which competes with the likes of Android and Linux to enter automakers’ next-gen models.

Sitting between BlackBerry and Xpeng’s tie-up is middleman Desay SV, which specializes in automotive system integrators like Aptiv. Desay SV, founded in 1986, has an illustrious past as a previously Sino-German joint venture that involved Siemens. The Huizhou-based company today supplies to Tier 1 automotive brands and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in China and around the world.

The kernel of Xpeng’s domain controller is NVIDIA’s Xavier cockpit chip for automated cars, so a good amount of software and hardware in Xpeng’s new car is based on foreign technologies.

The mass-produced Xpeng model in the spotlight is an electric sports sedan numbered P7. It features a processing unit that can calculate “the vehicle’s driving status and provides 360-degree omnidirectional perception with real-time monitoring of the surrounding environment to make safe driving decisions,” according to the announcement.

“Desay SV Automotive has extensive experience in intelligent cockpits, smart driving and connected services. Augmented with the safety expertise of BlackBerry QNX, together we can address the diverse needs of an auto industry that is undergoing meaningful transformation,” said John Wall, senior vice president and co-head of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, in a statement.

“To that end, it’s a real privilege to have BlackBerry technology powering the intelligent driving system within Xpeng Motors innovative new P7 system.”

The partnership arrives as Alibaba and Xiaomi backed-Xpeng is looking to raise up to $1.1 billion from its initial public offering in New York. Its Chinese rivals Li Auto and NIO raised similar amounts from their U.S. IPOs.

How Much Screen Time is Enough?

In the 21st century, it’s unlikely you aren’t addicted to technology. Although our reliance on technology serves many benefits, it can also present risks. In the digital era, it’s no secret we need screens, but how much screen time is enough?

Are Kids More At Risk?

how screen time is too much

Too much screen time can collapse into developmental delays, depression, and prevent you from developing social skills.

For example, children under 2 years old who regularly watch at least 1 hour of television daily have been found to show an increased risk of cognitive, language, and motor delays. Additionally, children between 2 and 6 who commonly use screens may be more likely to develop emotional problems and experience family dysfunction. Even further, teens aged 13-18 and young adults aged 19-32 who spend long periods on social media exhibits higher rates of depression – and even a higher risk of suicide.

The Solution: Official Recommendations

As more knowledge on the dangers of prolonged screen time becomes available, the more parents worry. Today, 85% of parents are worried about the amount of time their kids spend online. To remedy, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), WHO, and CDC have all given insights.

For children under 6 years old, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a 1-hour limit. On the contrary, WHO and CDC give children under 18 years old more leeway, recommending 2 hours or less of screen time.

Many experts have weighed in on the matter as well. Jocelyn Brewer, a psychologist who specializes in the concept of digital nutrition, believes, “It’s not just about whether you consume any potential digital junk foods, but also your relationship to technology and the role it plays in your family life…. We want to avoid using screens to placate tantrums, just like we want to avoid eating ‘treats’ to calm emotional storms.” However, not all screens are all equal as they also provide a fleet of benefits.

The Need For Screens

too much screen time

As previously stated, screen time can create many positive outcomes. For example, technology can assist users in connecting with like-minded peers. Moreover, technology can help users explore their interests and hobbies on a wider scale. For example, kids can explore their passion for sports through use of video games. Furthermore, people can use technology to keep in touch with their family and friends.

The reason television has shown more negative effects than gaming or computer use is because children aren’t actively engaged. For the youngest children, sharing screen time with family members (and talking about what they see) is the key to making screen time more active.

Take it from Diana Graber, the Founder of Cyber Civics & Cyberwise, “One can either be ‘participant’ or ‘consumer’ when it comes to screen time… not all screen time is ‘bad.’” Graber is also the author of Raising Humans In A Digital World.

How To Get The Best Out Of Screen Time

From 2015 to 2019, children’s daily use of computers for homework nearly doubled. As a result, it’s crucial to steer children in the right direction when navigating the internet.

For starters, keep screens out of the bedroom. A private television can lead to more screen time and sleep problems. Keeping computers and televisions in shared spaces not only promotes communal living, but makes kids more likely to keep up safe habits – and parents more likely to notice negative interactions.

More along these lines, talk with your child about what’s on the internet. Even with parental controls, something will likely slip through the cracks. Setting up parental controls can help you control what your child has access to and monitor their activity. It is also easy to do as most technology has easy-to-use features that can help.

Simply directing your child’s devices to the kid-friendly version of popular sites can make a huge difference. Furthermore, talking with your child about what they see online, and why some of what they see may be wrong, can reduce the impact of negative content.

As Sherry Skyler Kelly, the founder of PositiviTeens, said, “You and your kids can access a variety of information, but you need to choose wisely and be a discerning and smart consumer of the online products and services.” Knowing this, consider designating screen-free times to your child – like meals, bedtime, and one night per week. You can also ensure time is set aside for exercise, family, and other valuable activities. This way, you can set expectations for screen time that fits your family’s needs.

Remember, not all screen time is equal. Growing evidence proves that how children use technology is far more important than how much time they spend on screens. As most things, screen time is most beneficial when used in moderation. For more information on getting the most out of screen time , take a look at the infographic below.

Please include attribution to https://www.ubreakifix.com with this graphic.

Reevaluating Screen Time in an Age of Social Distancing [infographic]

 

The post How Much Screen Time is Enough? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Apple ordered to not block Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, but Fortnite to stay off App Store

A district court denied Epic Games’ motion to temporarily restore Fortnite game to the iOS App Store, but also ordered Apple to not block the gaming giant’s ability to provide and distribute Unreal Engine on the iPhone-maker’s ecosystem in a mixed-ruling delivered Monday evening.

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Apple can’t retaliate against Epic Games by blocking the gaming firm’s developer accounts or restrict developers on Apple platforms from accessing Unreal Engine. 

“The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers,” she said.

But the ruling was not a complete win for Epic Games, which had also requested the sleeper hit title Fortnite to be restored on the iOS App Store. Rogers said the game will remain off the App Store unless Epic Games attempted to bring it back in accordance with App Store guidelines. 

More to follow…

Save on school supplies with 50% off refurbished tech on eBay

Save on school supplies with 50% off refurbished tech on eBay

TL;DR: Refurbished technology is on sale on eBay until Sept. 22, saving you up to 50% on list price.


We understand how some people struggle with the idea of refurbished products, but there really isn’t anything to fear.

Sites like eBay are offering absolutely loads of refurbished gaming equipment, audio systems, laptops, desktops, and tablets with a one-year warranty. So you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Refurbished items are a great way to get the kit and equipment you want for a fraction of the cost of a new product. All the refurbished items on eBay are thoroughly checked and tested to make sure they are in full working order. Some products even come with a new case or battery. Read more…

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The ABC’s of Debt Consolidation – What It Is And How To Do It Properly

People all around the globe are currently struggling to pay numerous loans. If you’ve heard of debt consolidation and would like to know if it’s a viable option for you, then it’s this is the perfect opportunity to learn the ins and outs of this debt refinancing.

What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation involves taking out a new loan to help you pay off your other consumer debts and liabilities. It typically refers to unsecured debts. You combine all of your smaller debts into a single larger debt that usually comes with more favorable terms. This is most ideal for people who owe $10,000 or more.

You could get a lower payment each month, reduced interest rates, or a combination of both. You can use the money from this loan to pay your credit cards, student loans, and other assorted liabilities. This can reduce your stress levels because it’ll streamline everything into a single payment.

This type of debt refinancing has its pros and cons so make sure to get all the information you can before applying for a debt consolidation loan.

What requirements you need

debt consolidation requirements

Here is what you will need to prepare if you decide to go ahead:

  • Proof of income
  • Credit history
  • Creditworthiness or financial stability
  • Collateral or equity

Sample of documents you will need to prepare:

  • Proof of employment or letter from employer
  • Two months’ statements for every loan or credit card you want to pay
  • Letters from repayment agencies or creditors

Once everything is ready to go, you have to decide which one to pay first. The lender will decide this in a lot of instances. However, you should go for the one with the highest interest rate if you get a choice. When you pay this debt, you’ll move to the next one until you pay everything off. As long as you follow the plan, you can be debt-free in a few years.

Secured vs Unsecured Loans

When it comes to debt consolidation loans, there are two broad types available. You can choose a secured or unsecured loan.

• A secured loan uses your assets like a car or home as collateral. If you don’t pay your debt, you run the risk of losing whatever you put up for collateral.

• Unsecured loans do not have assets as collateral. This can be a relief, but it can also make them much more difficult to get. They come with lower qualifying amounts and higher interest rates to help minimize the risk.

Both types of loans usually come with lower interest rates than you’ll get with credit cards. A lot of these loans have fixed interest rates. This means that they won’t fluctuate over the time you repay them.

Your Most Common Options For Loan Consolidation

You have several options available when you consolidate loans into one larger payment. We picked out the most common ones for you below.

• Traditional Banks and Peer-to-Peer Lenders

The majority of traditional creditors like peer-to-peer lending platforms, credit unions, and banks offer debt consolidation loans. They’re great for borrowers who are having trouble managing the size of their debt or the number of monthly payments. If you want to pay down several high-interest debts, this is the option you want to choose because you get a lower rate and one payment per month.

• Balance Transfer Credit Cards

A second option you have is to take all of your current credit card debt and transfer it onto a new balance transfer card. This card usually gives you a set amount of months to pay down your balance with a 0% interest rate. Look for cards that come with promotional offers or bonuses. The goal is to pay down as much debt before the 0% APR stops.

• HELOC

Home equity lines of credit or home equity loans are another way you can consolidate your debts to make them easier to manage. As a bonus, you can typically deduct the interest on this loan from your taxes as long as you itemize all of your deductions come tax time. Your home is the collateral in this loan option, and this means you run the risk of losing it if you don’t or can’t pay it.

• Student Loans

debt consolidation student loan

You have several debt consolidation programs available for your student loan debt. The federal government sponsors many of these consolidation programs. You can use the Federal Direct Loan Program to consolidate any non-private loans you have into one easy payment with a lower interest rate. To get the interest rate on this new loan, the company will look at the weighted average of all of the previous loans’ interest rates.

You should note that opting in and getting debt consolidation services doesn’t erase your debt. All it does is transfer it to a different type of lender or loan. If you need debt relief and don’t qualify for a loan, debt settlement is a solid option. The goal of debt settlement is to reduce how much you owe instead of the number of creditors you owe. You’ll work with credit counseling services and debt settlement companies to try and negotiate your debts with the original lenders.

5 Steps To Getting A Loan Consolidation

Once you make up your mind, these are the steps you will be going through:

1. Get a good grasp of your expenses and income. List down your total monthly income alongside your total monthly expenses. This will allow you to get a good handle on how much you can afford to set aside for your debt consolidation payments.

2. Next, confirm your credit score. The higher your credit score, the likelier you are to get approved and even get lower interest rates. Remember that your goal is not just to consolidate your payables but also to get a lower interest rate in the process.

3. Make a list of all the debts you want to consolidate. Include your credit card balances and other high-rate debts.

4. Check out the different loans available to you whether they are from banks, credit unions or online lenders. Compare and contrast their charges and repayment schemes. Make sure that the latter fits in with your monthly income and expenditure.

5. Choose the best option for you and start the loan application process. Make sure to read all fine print including penalties.

Although your credit score may potentially suffer and your payment schedule may take longer, if it will help you clear all your debts in the long run, then you should come out on top.

The post The ABC’s of Debt Consolidation – What It Is And How To Do It Properly appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Twitter hides Trump tweet behind notice for potentially dissuading people from voting

Twitter flagged one of President Donald Trump’s tweets on Monday, placing it behind a notice that warns users it violates the platform’s rules against dissuading people from voting.

In the tweet, posted on Monday, Trump claimed mail drop boxes are a “voter security disaster” and also said they are “not COVID sanitized.” Twitter’s notice says that the tweet violates its rules about civic and election integrity, but it “determined it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.” Users can still retweet it with comment, but are nor prevented from liking, replying, or retweeting it alone.

Through its Twitter Safety account, the company gave more details, saying that the tweet had been flagged for “making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.” It also cited a section from its Civic Integrity Policy, highlighting a line that forbids users from making “misleading claims about process procedures or techniques which could dissuade people from participating” in elections.

Per our policies, this Tweet will remain on the service given its relevance to ongoing public conversation. Engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but not Like, Reply, or Retweet it. pic.twitter.com/USuaRr5ING

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 23, 2020

Mail-in ballots, which are expected to be used more widely by states in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have become a partisan issue leading up to the November presidential election. Despite what Trump said in his tweet, expert consensus is that mail-in ballots and absentee ballots are both secure. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states COVID-19 is spread mostly through close contact from person to person. Though it is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, the CDC says this is “not thought to be main way the virus spreads.”

After years of controversy over how the platform handled the president’s tweets that contained misleading, false, or incendiary statements, Twitter has recently begun taking a harder stance on Trump’s account. In May, Twitter applied fact-check labels about mail-in ballots to two of Trump’s tweets.

Days later, Trump signed an executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives internet companies legal protections that shield them from liability for user-created content while also giving them power to make moderation decisions. The executive order argued that platforms forfeit their rights to legal protection when they moderate content, as Twitter did when it applied fact-check labels to Trump’s tweets.

Though it is not clear if Trump’s executive order is legally enforceable, it may serve to intimidate some platforms. Twitter called the order a “reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law,” and its actions on Trump’s tweets today may indicate that the company does not see it as a threat.

TechCrunch has contacted the White House and Twitter for comment.

Microsoft backs Epic Games, says Apple is threatening game development

Microsoft backs Epic Games, says Apple is threatening game development

Microsoft has inserted itself into the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Epic Games, and the Xbox company is lining up behind the Unreal Engine.

Unreal, which is Epic’s creation, is a set of software tools (often referred to as an “engine”) that developers use to build video games. Epic confirmed on Monday that Apple will cut the company off from iOS and MacOS development tools on Aug. 28. That spurred a response from Microsoft.

On Sunday, Microsoft filed a statement with the U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif. claiming that Apple’s move to cut off Epic threatens a sizable community of creators that have no connection to the ongoing litigation. Read more…

More about Apple, Microsoft, Epic Games, Fortnite, and Entertainment

Save 80% on a lifetime subscription to this clever translation tool

Save 80% on a lifetime subscription to this clever translation tool

TL;DR: A lifetime subscription to LingvaNex Translator is on sale for £60.85 as of Aug. 23, saving you 80% on list price.


When a language barrier is present, it makes things like creating marketing briefs, pitch decks, contracts, and other business materials extra complicated. But a subscription to LingvaNex Translator can eliminate that barrier altogether. 

This top-rated tool can translate text, voice, images, websites, and documents into more than 100 different languages, making your work significantly less frustrating. It’s basically like having a personal translator in your pocket at all times. Simply speak and it translates your voice, or give it an image or document, and it will translate any text that’s present. It even works on a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. Read more…

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Palantir and the great revenue mystery

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s broadly based on the daily column that appears on Extra Crunch, but free, and made for your weekend reading. You can subscribe to the newsletter here if you haven’t yet.

Ready? Let’s talk money, startups and spicy IPO rumors.

Palantir and the great revenue mystery

As I write to you on Friday afternoon, the Palantir S-1 has yet to drop, but TechCrunch did break some news regarding the impending filing and just how big the company actually is. Please forgive the block quote, but here’s our reporting:

In screenshots of a draft S-1 statement dated yesterday (August 20), Palantir is listed as generating revenues of roughly $742 million in 2019 (Palantir’s fiscal year is a calendar year). That revenue was up from $595 million in 2018, a gain of roughly 25%. […] Palantir lists a net loss of roughly $580 million for 2019, which is almost identical to its loss in 2018. The company listed a net loss percentage of 97% for 2018, improving to a loss of 78% for last year.

A few notes from this. First, those losses are flat icky. Palantir was founded in 2003 or 2004 depending on who you read, which means that it’s an old company. And it was running an effective -100% net margin in 2018? Yowza.

Second, what the flocking frack is that revenue number? Did you expect to see Palantir come in with revenues of less than $1 billion? If you did, well done. After a deluge of articles over the years discussing just how big Palantir had become, I was anticipating a bit more (more here for context). Here are two examples:

  • Reporting from TechCrunch that Palantir expected “more than $1 billion in contracts” in 2014
  • Reporting from Bloomberg that Palantir had “booked deals totaling $1.7 billion in 2015”

Notably, Palantir’s real revenue result, or one very close to it, made it into Business Insider this April. The reporting makes the company’s S-1 less of a climax and more of a denouement. But, hey, we’re still glad to have the filing.

The Exchange will have a full breakdown of Palantir’s numbers Monday morning, but I think what Palantir coverage over the years shows is that when companies decline to share specific revenue figures that are clear, just presume that what they do share is misleading. (ARR is fine, trailing revenue is fine, “contract” metrics are useless.)

Market Notes

The Exchange spent a lot of time digging into e-commerce venture capital results this week, including notes from some VCs about why e-commerce-focused startups aren’t raising as much as we might have guessed.

Overstock!

We got a chance to fire a question over to the CEO of Overstock.com on the matter, adding to what we learned from private investors on the same topic. So here’s the online retailer’s CEO Jonathan Johnson, answering our question on how many smaller vendors are signing up to sell on its platform during today’s e-comm boom:

We have had increased demand to sell on Overstock and we are adding new partners daily. To protect the customer experience, we have become more selective and have increased the requirements to become a selling partner on our site. Our customers’ experience is critical to our long-term success and if partners cannot perform to our operational standards, we do not allow them to sell on our site.

We care because Shopify and BigCommerce are stacking up new rev, and we were curious how widely the e-commerce step-change from major platforms extended. Seems like all of them are eating.

How today’s evolving economic landscape isn’t working out better for e-commerce-focused startups is still a surprise. Normally when the world changes rapidly, startups do well. This time it seems that Amazon and a few now-public unicorns are snagging most of the gains.

Airbnb!

Anyhoo, onto the Airbnb world; we have a few data points to share this week. According to Edison Trends data that was shared with us, here’s how Airbnb is doing lately:

  • Per Edison Trends, “Airbnb July spend was 22% higher than it had been in 2019” in the United States.
  • From the same source, Airbnb has seen U.S. spend rise around 10% week-over-week “increase in customer spending” since April 27th.

This explains why the company is prepping to go public sooner rather than later: The second-half of Q2 was a ramp back to normal for the company, and July was pretty good by the looks of it. If Airbnb is worth what it once was is not clear, but the company is certainly doing better than we might have expected it to. (More on the comeback here.)

For more on the big unicorn IPOs, I wrote a digest on Friday that should help ground you. I can say that with some confidence, as I wrote it to ground myself!

Various and Sundry

Finally some loose ends and other notes like an after-dinner amuse-bouche:

  • A PE deal caught our eye, namely that the Williams Formula 1 team has been sold to Dorilton Capital. We had two thoughts: First, who is that. And second, it’s all good so long as they make the car faster but still slower than Haas F1, the official team of this newsletter, I’ve just decided. (Note to F1 lawyers: I am kidding, please don’t sue.)
  • The folks at Sensor Tower sent over some fintech data this week that we tucked into our pocket for this newsletter. According to the data and analytics firm, “the five largest mobile payment apps saw their average monthly active users grow 41.5% year-over-year in 1H20 when compared to 1H19” for “Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, and Google Pay.”
  • Now, we’ve covered fintech often on The Exchange because it matters. But we’ve mostly been covering the startup/unicorn side of things. The above growth rates for some of the incumbent-led apps was a surprise, with faster growth than we would have guessed.
  • If momentum from the majors is good or bad for startups, we leave to you to decide.
  • Robinhood raised more money on the back of its huge revenue gains.
  • Until the Palantir brouhaha, the lead story of our missive today was going to be about BlockFi, which we’re still working to understand. The crypto outfit just raised more money, so we got curious. I wound up chatting with the CEO on Twitter about, you know, what BlockFi is. Turns out it’s like a credit union, but in the crypto space. That seems fair enough. Credit unions work! Maybe this will, too! We have some questions into the company, the answers to which we might post if they are interesting. (The company has detractors, as well.)
  • made a bad bet.
  • The Exchange chatted with a number of VC firms this week, including Tribeca Venture Partners for the first time. We caught up with Brian Hirsch from the firm, who told us a bit about the SaaS market (doing better than anticipated pre-COVID thanks to “rocket fuel” from the accelerating digital transformation) and the future of New York and cities in general (going to be fine long-term). We’ll cut out the best bits from the chat for next week if we have time.

And we’ll wrap with a tiny note from Greg Warnock, managing director at Mercato via email about the late-stage venture capital market. We asked for “notes on current valuation trends, in particular re: ARR/run rate multiples.” Here’s what we heard back:

I think valuations are correlated with economic activity and certainly something like COVID would qualify, but it’s very much a lagging indicator. It takes a while for entrepreneurs’ expectations to shift. Once they feel like the economy has moved in a permanent way, they begin to rethink. The first thing that they experience a little bit more urgency. They start from a belief that they can raise money any time they want, from anyone they want. Soon they realize there are fewer investors in market, that those opportunities appear less frequently, and each one should be managed more carefully. From there they go to thinking about terms. They might have to be flexible around some terms or some construct. Finally, they go to just fundamentally thinking about valuation in terms of multiples.

Going back to my first comment about economic factors being a lagging indicator, COVID related shocks haven’t moved through the system yet. It will take something more like a year for all the expectations to shift. My experience is that a shift in the economy from an investor standpoint creates a flight to quality. Companies with lackluster performance are first to feel lack of options in fundraising and exits. High performing businesses are the last ones to experience a change in valuation multiples. It disproportionately affects average businesses more quickly and more dramatically than high quality businesses which may feel no significant effects.

Hugs, fist bumps and good vibes,

Alex

Almost everything you need to know about SPACs

Feeling as if you should better understand special purpose acquisition vehicles – or SPACS — than you do? You aren’t alone.

Like most casual observers, you’re probably already aware that Paul Ryan now has a SPAC, as does baseball executive Billy Beane and Silicon Valley stalwart Kevin Hartz. You probably know, too, that entrepreneur Chamath Palihapitiya seemed to kick off the craze around SPACS — blank-check companies that are formed for the purpose of merging or acquiring other companies — in 2017 when he raised $600 million for a SPAC. Called Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings, it was ultimately used to take a 49% stake in the British spaceflight company Virgin Galactic.

But how do SPACS come together in the first place, how they work exactly, and should you be thinking of launching one? We talked this week with a number of people who are right now focused on almost nothing but SPACs to get our questions — and maybe yours, too — answered.

First, why are these things suddenly spreading like weeds?

Kevin Hartz — who we spoke with after his $200 million blank-check company made its stock market debut on Tuesday — said their popularity ties in part to “Sarbanes Oxley and the difficulty in taking a company public the traditional route.”

Troy Steckenrider, an operator who has partnered with Hartz on his newly public company, said the growing popularity of SPACs also ties to a “shift in the quality of the sponsor teams,” meaning that more people like Hartz are shepherding these vehicles versus “people who might not be able to raise a traditional fund historically.”

Indeed, according to the investment bank Jefferies, 76% of last year’s SPACs were sponsored by industry executives who “typically have public company experience or have sold their prior business and are seeking new opportunities,” up from 65% in 2018 and 32% in 2017.

Don’t forget, too, that there are whole lot of companies that have raised tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital and whose IPO plans may have been derailed or slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some need a relatively frictionless way to get out the door, and there are plenty of investors who would like to give them that push.

How does one start the process of creating a SPAC?

The process is really no different than a traditional IPO, explains Chris Weekes, a managing director in the capital markets group at the investment bank Cowen. “There’s a roadshow that will incorporate one-on-one meetings between institutional investors and the SPAC’s management team” to drum up interest in the offering.

At the end of it, institutional investors like mutual funds, private equity funds, and family offices buy into the offering, along with a smaller percentage of retail investors.

Who can form a SPAC?

Basically anyone who wants to create one and who can persuade shareholders to buy its shares.

These SPACs all seem to sell their shares at $10 apiece. Why?

Easier accounting? Tradition? It’s not entirely clear, though Weekes says $10 has “always been the unit price” for SPACs and continues to be, with the very occasional exception, such as with Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management.

Last month it launched a $4 billion SPAC that sold units for $20 each.

Have SPACS changed structurally over the years?

Funny you should ask! This gets a little more technical, but when buying a unit of a SPAC, institutional investors typically get a share of common stock and a warrant or a fraction of a warrant. A warrant is security that entitles the holder to buy the underlying stock of the issuing company at a fixed price at a later date; warrants are used as deal sweeteners to keep investors involved with a company.)

Earlier in time, when a SPAC announced the company it planned to buy, institutional investors in the SPAC — who had to sign NDA-type agreements — would vote yes to the deal if they wanted to keep their money in, and no to the deal if they wanted to redeem their shares and get out. But sometimes investors would team up and threaten to torpedo the deal if they weren’t given founder shares or other preferential treatment. (“There was a bit of bullying in the marketplace,” says Weekes.)

Regulators have since separated the right to vote and the right to redeem one’s shares, meaning investors today can vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and still redeem their capital, making the voting process more perfunctory and enabling most deals to go through as planned.

Does that mean SPACs are more safe? They haven’t had the best reputation historically.

They’ve “already gone through their junk phase,” suspects Albert Vanderlaan, an attorney in the tech companies group of Orrick, the global law firm. “In the ’90s, these were considered a pretty junky situation,” he says. “They were abused by foreign investors. In the early 2000s, they were still pretty disfavored.” Things could turn on a dime again, he suggests, but over the last couple of years, the players have changed for the better, which is making a big difference.

How much of the money raised does a management team like Hartz and Steckenrider keep?

The rough rule of thumb is 2% of the SPAC value, plus $2 million, says Steckenrider. The 2% roughly covers the initial underwriting fee; the $2 million then covers the operating expenses of the SPAC, from the initial cost to launch it to legal preparation, accounting, and NYSE or NASDAQ filing fees. It’s also “provides the reserves for the ongoing due diligence process,” he says.

Is this money like the carry that VCs receive, and do a SPAC’s managers receive it no matter how the SPAC performs?

Yes and yes.

Here’s how Hartz explains it: “On a $200 million SPAC, there’s a $50 million ‘promote’ that is earned at $10 a share if the transaction consummates at $10 a share,” which, again, is always the traditional size of a SPAC. “But if that company doesn’t perform and, say, drops in half over a year or 18-month period, then the shares are still worth $25 million.”

Hartz calls “egregious,” though he and Steckenrider formed their SPAC in exactly the same way, rather than structure it differently.  

Says Steckrider, “We ultimately decided to go with a plain-vanilla structure [because] as a first-time spec sponsor, we wanted to make sure that the investment community had as as easy as a time as possible understanding our SPAC. We do expect to renegotiate these economics when we go and do the [merger] transaction with the partner company,” he adds.

From a mechanics standpoint, what happens right after SPAC has raised its capital?

The money is moved into a blind trust until the management team decides which company or companies it wants to acquire. Share prices don’t really move much during this period as no investors know (or should know, at least) what the target company will be yet.

Does a $200 million SPAC look to acquire a company that’s valued at around the same amount?

No. According to law firm Vinson & Elkins, there’s no maximum size of a target company — only a minimum size (roughly 80% of the funds in the SPAC trust).

In fact, it’s typical for a SPAC to combine with a company that’s two to four times its IPO proceeds in order to reduce the dilutive impact of the founder shares and warrants.

In the case of Hartz’s and Steckenrider’s SPAC (it’s called “one”), they are looking to find a company “that’s approximately four to six times the size of our vehicle of $200 million,” says Harzt, “so that puts us around in the billion dollar range.”

Where does the rest of the money come from if the partner company is many times larger than the SPAC itself?

It comes from PIPE deals, which, like SPACs, have been around forever and come into and out of fashion. These are literally “private investments in public equities” and they get tacked onto SPACs once management has decided on the company with which it wants to merge.

It’s here that institutional investors get different treatment than retail investors, which is why some industry observers are wary of SPACs.

Specifically, a SPAC’s institutional investors — along with maybe new institutional investors that aren’t part of the SPAC — are told before the rest of the world what the acquisition target is under confidentiality agreements so that they can decide if they want to provide further financing for the deal via a PIPE transaction.

The information asymmetry seems unfair. Then again, they’re restricted not only from sharing information but also from trading the shares for a minimum of four months from the time that the initial business combination is made public. Retail investors, who’ve been left in the dark, can trade their shares any time.

How long does a SPAC have to get all of this done?

It varies, but the standard seems to be around two years.

What do you call that phase of the deal after the partner company has been identified and agrees to merge, but before the actual combination?

That’s called De-SPACing and during this stage of things, the SPAC has to obtain shareholder approval through that vote we talked about, followed by a review and commenting by the SEC.

Toward the end of this stretch — which can take 12 to 18 weeks — bankers aretaking out the new operating team and, in the style of a traditional roadshow, getting the story out to analysts who cover the segment so when the combined new company is revealed, it receives the kind of support that keeps public shareholders interested in a company.

Will we see more people from the venture world like Palihapitiya and Hartz start SPACs?

So far, says Weekes, he’s seeing less interest from VCs in sponsoring SPACs and more interest from them in selling their portfolio companies to a SPAC. As he notes, “Most venture firms are typically a little earlier stage investors and are private market investors, but there’s an uptick of interest across the board, from PE firms, hedge funds, long-only mutual funds.”

That might change if Hartz has anything to do with it. “We’re actually out in the Valley, speaking with all the funds and just looking to educate the venture funds,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of requests in. We think we’re going to convert [famed VC] Bill Gurley from being a direct listings champion to the SPAC champion very soon.”

In the meantime, Hartz says his SPAC doesn’t have a specific target in mind yet. But he does takes issue with the word “target,” preferring instead “partner” company.

“A target sounds like we’re trying to assassinate somebody.”

EliteSingles vs. Match: How do the dating sites compare in the UK?

EliteSingles vs. Match: How do the dating sites compare in the UK?

TV makes meeting people look much too easy. No one expects to live across the hall from their soulmates like Monica and Chandler or to find love at their small town office job like Jim and Pam.

Between success stories from Love Island and going on first dates via video calls to get around a pandemic, the rules for finding love have officially gone right out the window.

Online dating is hardly a novel way to meet people and is an increasingly popular topic of study. If you’re still doubting the possibility of finding love online, consider this study cited in the MIT Technology Review that found that compatibility was greater in partners who had met online. A similar study found that couples who met online said their marriage was more satisfying than those who met their spouse offline. The thought is that people who take the time to make a profile and answer each bio prompt thoughtfully are looking for the same substance you are, and online dating is your chance to meet them when you otherwise probably wouldn’t have known they exist. Read more…

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An Easy-To-Understand Guide To Car Insurance Coverage Options

If you have car insurance, you most likely know that there are several car insurance coverage options available. Understanding what they all mean can help you in the event of an accident. You’ll know exactly what your insurance company will and won’t cover, and this can remove any nasty surprises you could get if you don’t understand your insurance. We’ll quickly go over everything you need to know below.

Five Car Insurance Coverage Options

A lot of states require that you carry more than one of these coverage options or complete coverage, but it varies from state to state. You can contact your local insurance agency to see what your particular state requires you to have.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

guide to car insurance coverage

If you purchased a car and used a company to finance it or if you leased a vehicle, the lienholder will require you to have comprehensive and collision coverage. Once you pay your vehicle off, both of these coverage types usually become completely optional.

Collision coverage is exactly what it sounds like. If you damage your car by colliding with an object or another vehicle, this coverage will help you replace or repair it. Collision coverage will help cover the costs to protect your car. Still, property damage liability will help pay for any damage you cause the other person’s vehicle if you cause the accident.

If you have comprehensive coverage, you have insurance that will help pay to replace or repair your vehicle if someone steals it or it gets vandalized. It also covers animal damage and things like hail. Both types of coverage come with limits and deductibles. The limit will dictate the maximum amount of money your insurance company will payout in the event of an accident. The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of your pocket before your insurance benefits kick in and pay anything.

Liability

One of the most popular coverage options you have is liability. You can split it into property damage liability and bodily injury liability. If you get into an accident, bodily injury liability will help cover the medical costs for the other person. If you damage another person’s property during an accident, property damage liability will help pay for it.

Every state will set limits on the liability coverage your insurance must offer. The insurance coverage will outline the maximum amount they’ll pay for property damage, bodily injury per person, and bodily injury per accident. You can go above and beyond these requirements and buy an insurance policy that offers higher liability coverage maximum caps. You’ll pay higher premiums doing this, but it’ll offer you more protection in the event of an accident.

Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payment Coverage

guide to car insurance coverage option

Having coverage for any medical payments are optional, but many insurance companies will recommend it. Medical payment coverage will help to pay for the cost of your or any passenger’s medical expenses they incur after an accident like emergency room visits, x-rays, or surgery. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident with this coverage option.

Another coverage option you have is personal injury protection. This isn’t available in every state, but some states do require that you carry it. This coverage works very similarly to medical coverage. As long as you have a covered loss and need medical treatment, this coverage can kick in and help pay for the medical costs. It can also potentially cover other expenses you have while you recuperate from the accident like lost income or childcare expenses.

Rental Reimbursement

This is optional insurance coverage. If you choose to have this coverage, your insurance company will help to pay for the cost of renting a vehicle while a shop fixes yours after a covered event. Check with your insurance company’s limits with rental reimbursement coverage. It usually comes with a set number of days and a specific dollar amount they’ll payout per day.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance will protect you if you get into an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance. Normally if you sustain injuries in an accident that the other person causes, their liability insurance will help to pay for any medical expenses you incur. However, this won’t happen if the driver that caused the accident doesn’t have auto liability coverage. If this happens, your uninsured motorist coverage would kick in and help pay for any medical expenses you rack up in response to the accident.

If you have underinsured motorist coverage, it works the same way. If the other driver causes the accident has insurance with liability coverage that has lower limits than will trigger your state’s underinsured motorist coverage to kick in and pay, your coverage will pick up the costs. You do want to check with your state’s limits and insurance requirements about this coverage, so you’re not stuck with huge medical bills.

Car Insurance Coverage – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a such thing as full coverage?

Technically, there is no such thing as getting full coverage with your car insurance. However, you can customize your policy by picking and choosing which coverage options you want to have to help protect yourself and your passengers in the event of an accident.

2. What is a car insurance deductible?

The deductible is the set amount you have to pay out of your pocket before your insurance company will pay for a covered accident or loss. Popular deductible amounts range from $500 to $1,000. The higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be.

3. Can you change your coverage?

Yes. Many insurance companies allow you to change your coverage options any time you like before an accident. You can contact an agent or log into your account and look at your policy. You’ll see an option to make changes and pick the date you’d like the changes to go into effect.

The post An Easy-To-Understand Guide To Car Insurance Coverage Options appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A 13-year-old with a stutter gave the Democratic convention’s best speech

A 13-year-old with a stutter gave the Democratic convention's best speech

The fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention wrapped up on Thursday night with a speech from now-official nominee Joe Biden, and fireworks in place of a balloon drop. But the most powerful moment of the four-night event came in the form of a two-minute speech from an extraordinary teenager.

Brayden Harrington recounted how he met Biden at a campaign event in New Hampshire earlier this year. 

“He told me that we’re members of the same club: We stutter,” Harrington said. “It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became vice-president. He told me about a book of poems by Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud, so I did the same thing today. And now I’m here talking to you today about the future — about our future.” Read more…

More about Joe Biden, Democratic National Convention, Entertainment, and Politics

Exo raised $40 million for its handheld medical imaging device

Exo, a developer of new diagnostic hardware for the medical industry, has raised $40 million in a new round of funding as investors continue to back new companies that are reducing the cost and complexity of medical devices.

Cost, portability, image quality and the inability to image dense body compositions have all limited the impact that diagnostic tools like ultrasounds can have on patient care around the world, according to a statement from the company.

Exo solves that problem by building on a patented piezoelectric micromachined ultrasound transducer, the company said.

Its device improves image quality, while an accompanying software toolkit boosts the diagnostic capabilities of the device.

Exo predicts that the worldwide point of care ultrasound market will reach $1.5 billion in 2024 and grow at nearly 10 percent a year.

“Emergency room phyisicians around the world are often tasked with solving some of the most urgent healthcare problems — COVID-19 diagnosis and complications, cardiac emergencies, internal bleeding — without being able to see clearly into a patient they only have minutes to diagnose and treat,” said Exo chief executive Sandeep Akkaraju, in a statement.

The new $40 million round to back the company’s technology follows a $35 million investment in 2019 and brings the company’s total capital raised to nearly $100 million, according to a statement. The funding was led by Fiscus Ventures, Reimagined Ventures (both affiliates of Magnetar Capital) and Action Potential Ventures, with additional participation from TDK Ventures, Solasta Ventures and all previous investors, including Intel Capital and Applied Ventures.

Exo’s team comes from consumer tech giants like Apple and Google and leading medical device companies like GE, Johnson & Johnson, Maxim, Medtronic, and Siemens.

“As both an emergency room phyisician and a venture capitalist, I know firsthand the transformative potential of the products that Exo is bringing to market,” said Dr. Ted Koutouzis of Fiscus and Reimagined Ventures, in a statement. “The Exo team is focused on a building a device that works seamlessly within the often chaotic and urgent environment of a hospital, and delivers the image quality, clean interface, and diagnostic tool sthat doctors have dreamed about having in the palm of our hands.”

The Exo hardware comes with a suite of software tools that have been designed to integrate with existing workflows. And the company has plans to use its initial foray into medical imaging as a way to land and expand into a broader suite of tools for the hospital or urgent care environment. The company envisions a multi-functional device that can perform a number of different diagnoses.

“Exo is creating a platform technology that can drive true adoption of point of care imaging in emergency rooms and critical care units, can facilitate advanced surgical robotics and endoscopic procedures, and could enable therapeutic modalities in non-invasive neuromodulation and drug-delivery,” said Juan Pablo Mas, of Action Potential Venture Capital (the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline focused on bioelectronic technologies).

 

How to Fall in Love the Second (or Fifth) Time Around

We were two mature adults in our mid-60’s, both grandparents, both with divorces behind us. We’d met through a dating website, and this was just our third date, each an innocent daytime picnic or lunch. I saw a spark dance in her eyes and asked, “What are you thinking?” And she startled me with this: “I’m thinking … this is what love feels like.” Huh? How does that happen? And how can you experience that yourself?

It’s Never Too Late

My experience doesn’t just pertain to Baby Boomers. The lessons I painfully learned can be embraced by anybody at any age. I’m sharing my revelations in hopes that you might avoid the kind of heart-breaking mistakes I made throughout my life.

And here is the bottom line, right near the top: Keep an open mind!

I know! That’s so easy, right? Everybody knows that. Sorry, but no, they don’t. Especially males, although females aren’t immune to shallow thinking, either. Here’s what happened to me.

The Problem

to love again

I grew up in Southern California in the Sixties, land of the Beach Boys, sunshine, and millions of blue-eyed blonde girls with beautiful tans and tiny bikinis. Yes, please, I’ll take one of those, and could you throw in pink lips and long eyelashes? What’s not to love?

The problem is, when it came to love, all my choices were based on these parameters, in exactly this order:

  1. Hair color (blonde)
  2. Eye color (blue)
  3. Body shape (voluptuous)
  4. Face shape (roundish)
  5. Content of her character (she likes me)

I was not unusual in this approach, given that it was Southern California and I was young. And I think I can safely say that women at that time and place weren’t all that different, although their desired qualities in a potential mate might vary slightly.

The bottom line (we might have several bottom lines in this story) is that our priorities were all wrong, and it took me 65 years to figure that out. What really matters is the person on the inside … their brain, heart, emotions, likes, dislikes, personality and, most important of all, at least from my point of view, their integrity.

That woman in the first paragraph of this story turned out to be the finest human being I have ever met. And how lucky am I that she loves me?

How the Problem Wreaks Havoc

I’m not happy to be disclosing some of the following, because it doesn’t reflect well on my decision-making, or intelligence, for that matter. But for the reader’s sake, I will admit that I made the same mistake over and over and over again. I added various twists to my mistakes, but they were all basically the same mistake. I chose romantic partners for all the wrong reasons.

My first choice was a woman who loved physical intimacy all the time, anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, I later learned she also loved it with anybody. My second choice was based on my desire to have a family, so I chose a woman for whom that also was a priority. It seemed like a sound decision, but I realized much later that a healthy couple needs something much stronger to bind them together than just the children.

Rebounding from that divorce, I foolishly went back to my primitive urges and chose a younger, beautiful, and intelligent woman. That blinded me to the obvious fact that she was a diseased alcoholic. And my fourth choice was even more “retro” – a blue-eyed blonde with money. To my great surprise, that didn’t work out either.

The Solution

I would love to tell you that after a series of heartbreaking experiences in romance, I suddenly came to my senses and had an epiphany that led me to finally get it right. I’d also like to say that it’s possible for anyone to find the perfect romantic partner who’s capable of changing your life forever. But those would be lies.

The bottom line (that’s three so far) is that I got lucky. I stumbled upon a perfect woman who doesn’t even know that she is perfect. But I will take credit for one tiny little moment that led me to what now feels like eternal happiness.

This woman and I were exchanging messages on a dating website, and we still hadn’t met. She eventually sent me a photo, and that’s where my lifelong mindsets surfaced once again. After looking at her photo, I responded honestly that she really wasn’t “my type.” I then proceeded to foolishly explain my type as blonde, blue-eyed, and a moon-shaped face (none of which described her).

how to love again online dating

She should have dropped me right there and then. In point of fact, she did write, “I think you’re dumb,” but we continued to write to each other anyway. She later shared that she simply enjoyed writing to me, although she felt (correctly) that I had a lot to learn about women.

Here’s the tiny part I take credit for: When I sensed she was about to permanently sign off, I wrote to tell her that I would like to meet her. I didn’t realize until later that I was at a turning point in my life. My priorities were beginning to shift.

And that led to what has become, truly, the love of my life.

It can happen to you, no matter your age or gender.

The bottom line (yes, that’s number four) is that you need to get out of your own way. Don’t be stuck in a mindset that probably hasn’t changed much since your high school days. Getting to know someone involves far more than swiping right or left or quickly looking at a photo. You might be surprised by what you learn about yourself and the person you are getting to know.

What does love feel like? I just used a bunch of words to scrape away at these amazing feelings deep inside of me, hoping the collective sentences would offer a glimpse, a taste of this epiphany.

But maybe my Lady Love said it best when she told me simply: “Love feels like a warm blanket wrapped all around you.”

The post How to Fall in Love the Second (or Fifth) Time Around appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Taiwan set to bar Chinese streaming services like iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV

iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV, two of China’s most popular streaming services, may be banned in Taiwan next month as the government prepares to close regulatory loopholes that enabled them to operate through local partnerships.

In an announcement posted this week, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said Taiwanese companies and individuals will be prohibited from providing services for OTT firms based in mainland China. The proposed regulation will be open to public comment for two weeks before it takes effect on Sept. 3.

Though Taiwan, which has a population of about 24 million people, is self-governed, the Chinese government claims it as a territory. The proposed regulations means Taiwan is joining other countries, including India and the United States, in taking a harsher stance against Chinese tech companies.

iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV set up operations in Taiwan through “illegal” partnerships, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in its announcement, working through their Hong Kong subsidiaries to strike agreements with Taiwanese companies.

In April, the NCC declared that mainland Chinese OTT firms are not allowed to operate in Taiwan under the Act Governing Relations between People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area. Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said at the time that Chinese firms and their Taiwanese partners were operating at “the edges of the law.”

But NCC spokesperson Wong Po-Tsung said the proposed regulation isn’t targeted solely at Chinese OTT operators. According to the Taipei Times, he stated “the act was necessary because the cable television service operators have asked that the commission apply across-the-board standards to regulate all audiovisual service platforms, which should include OTT services. It was not stipulated just to address the problems caused by iQiyi and other Chinese OTT operators.”

Wong added that Taiwan is a democratic country and its government would not block people from watching content from iQiyi and other Chinese streaming services.

Once the act is passed, Taiwanese companies that break it will face fines of NTD $50,000 to NTD $5 million [about USD $1,700 to USD $170,000].

TechCrunch has contacted iQiyi and Tencent for comment.

Elizabeth Warren hid some inspiring Easter eggs in her Democratic convention speech

Elizabeth Warren hid some inspiring Easter eggs in her Democratic convention speech

Senator Elizabeth Warren might have been one of the last candidates standing in the race for the Democratic nomination this year, but she showed up to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in full voice on night three of the Democratic National Convention. 

Warren, a former teacher with “the energy of a mother of five boys who all play a different sport,” delivered her brief address from Square One early childhood education center in Springfield, Massachusetts, and aptly focused on education and childcare. It’s a tough gig knowing you’re one of the opening acts for former president Barack Obama, who’s given an OK speech or two in his time, but Warren’s plainspoken message of practical policy solutions, like universal preschool, was sure to resonate with Americans worn down and worried by pandemic parenting. Read more…

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7 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Wristwatches As An Entrepreneur

Watches are a timeless symbol of class and sophistication. Even in this age of smartphones, wristwatches offer a more convenient way to check the time. They also act as tasteful statement pieces and can bring together an entire outfit. In this article, we will discuss the versatility and enduring nature of the wristwatch industry, and why men’s and women’s watches are a good investment opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Reasons to Invest in Wristwatches

While some people may argue that wristwatches are a symbol of a bygone era, wristwatches remain a symbol of class, professionalism, and taste – depending on the watch and the setting in which they wear it. Read on to find out the different types and uses of wristwatches, and how there are many niches in the watch industry that entrepreneurs can invest in.

Watches are a Booming Industry

With wristwatches becoming more accessible and with the increasing variety of designs on the market, the wristwatch industry is experiencing a boom. In 2018, the international luxury watch market had a reported value of roughly 6.93 billion. It is even estimated to increase to 9.3 billion USD by 2025.

Apart from the luxury watch business, there are numerous new brands coming up every year that offer watches of distinct qualities at different price ranges, signifying the fact that many people from all walks of life are taking part in the wristwatch industry.

Keeping this trend in mind, a lot of wristwatch companies are appealing to the working class and student market. That is by creating low-cost models and offering incentives such as discounts on their items.

Impact of Technology on Modern Watches

watches a good investment

Modern technology has had a big impact on the watch industry by incorporating additional features and turning a wristwatch into more than just a tool to tell the time.

These range from simple digital watches to highly advanced models which include a variety of other features. The most famous example of this would be the Apple Watch, a smartwatch released in 2015. It is designed to act as a fitness tracker and can also be paired to the wearer’s iPhone. The success of the Apple Watch has incentivized other watch manufacturers to create similar models with more useful and unique features.

Symbol of Quality Craftsmanship

Both watch enthusiasts and even laymen to some extent can appreciate the quality and finesse of a luxury wristwatch. There are several established brands that have been crafting high-quality watches for decades.

Other than the longevity and quality offered by a quality wristwatch, watches are also a collector’s item. Some watch enthusiasts take great pride in their collections of novel models and quality wristwatches from established manufacturers.

Signifiers of Professionalism

Watches are an essential feature of many workplaces. Even with the presence of smartphones, wristwatches provide a discreet way to check the time. Watches can also add covey an air of professionalism to the wearer. A wristwatch is an infinitely better way of checking the time than your smartphone, especially in professional settings such as meetings, where looking at your smartphone can seem like you’re not paying attention.

A wristwatch can also signify that you are serious about being punctual and that you value discipline, qualities that will allow you to make a good impression on your colleagues and superiors, and therefore help you advance in your professional life.

Watches as Accessories

watches as good investment

With the explosive growth of the fashion industry, brands have created a variety of strikingly different wristwatches, which act more than accessories and statement pieces than just a functional wristwatch.

Wristwatches that are meant to be used as accessories are especially popular among women’s fashion. These differ in style, with many different faces, embellishments, strap colors, and materials.

These kinds of wristwatches are also available at different levels of quality and price, and cheaper and discounted models are most prevalent in this category of watches. To give an extra advantage to customers, there are some discounts and offer such as stylogear.com that helps your customers to become your potential consumers

Watches as Signals of Class

Quality watches are an established symbol of wealth and class, harkening back to the days when watches were an exclusive luxury item. Even though watches are a ubiquitous item these days, a quality wristwatch will still stand out because of its fine craftsmanship and the high quality of the materials used to construct it.

A quality wristwatch can, therefore, be a worthy investment, depending on the wearer’s social status and what they want to convey through wearing it.

Specialized Watches

An oft-forgotten aspect of watches is how certain professions require specialized wristwatches. Advances in watch mechanics and technology have led to the production of a wide variety of watches for different purposes and for different professions.

For example, such advances now specifically make diving watches for divers and swimmers to be waterproof and to also withstand the high pressures faced by divers underwater.

Triathletes also require watches that are designed to both withstand and track the different aspects of running, swimming, and cycling.

Other professions that require watches include medical professionals, both for noting the time for medical records and for recording a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate, etc. Watches for medical professionals often include another smaller face which can act as a stopwatch. They also require a watch that is easy to clean and disinfect, for obvious reasons.

Conclusion

Wristwatches have strengthened over time to serve a variety of different purposes and to communicate different styles. As the watch industry grows, both in physical outlets and in the e-commerce industry, it provides an opportunity for investors to take part in the market and grow their business.

The post 7 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Wristwatches As An Entrepreneur appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

InfraDigital helps Indonesian schools digitize tuition and enrollment

In Indonesia, about half of adults are “underbanked,” meaning they don’t have access to bank accounts, credit cards and other traditional financial services. A growing list of tech companies are working on solutions, from Payfazz, which operates a network of financial agents in small towns, to digital payment services from GoJek and Grab. As a result, financial inclusion is increasing for consumers and small businesses in Southeast Asia’s largest country, but one group remains underserved: schools.

InfraDigital was founded in 2018 by chief executive officer Ian McKenna and chief operating officer Indah Maryani. Both have backgrounds in financial tech, and their platform enables parents to pay school tuition with the same digital services they use for electricity bills or online shopping. The startup currently serves about 400 schools and recently raised a Series A led by AppWorks.

Many Indonesian schools still rely on cash payments, which are often delivered by kids to their teachers.

“My kid had just started school, and one day I spotted my wife giving him an envelope full of cash for tuition. He was only three years old,” McKenna said. “That triggered my curiosity about how these financial systems work.”

To give parents an easier alternative, InfraDigital, which is registered with Indonesia’s central bank, partners with banks, convenience store chains like Indomaret, online wallets and digital payment services like GoPay to allow them to send tuition money online.

“The way you pay your electricity bill, it’s likely that your school is already there, regardless of whether you have a bank account or live in a really remote place” where many people make cash payments for services at convenience stores, McKenna said. The startup is now working on a system for schools in areas that don’t have access to convenience store chains and banks.

Before building InfraDigital’s network, McKenna and Maryani had to understand why many schools still rely on cash payments and paper ledgers to manage tuition.

“Banks have been trying to tap into the education market for a long time, 12 to 15 years probably, but no one has become the biggest bank for schools,” said Maryani. “The reason behind that is because they come in with their own products and they don’t try to resolve the issues schools are facing. Since they are focused on the consumer side, they don’t really see schools or other offline businesses as their customers, and there is a lot of customization that they need to do.”

For example, a school might have 2,000 students and charge each of them about USD $10 a month in school fees. But they also collect separate payments for books, uniforms, and building fees. InfraDigital’s founders say schools typically send out an average of about 2.5 invoices a month.

Digitizing payments also makes it easier for schools to track their finances. InfraDigital provides its clients with a backend application for accounting and enrollment management. It automatically tracks tuition payments as they come in.

“People don’t get paid that much and they are ridiculously busy taking care of thousands of kids. It’s really, really tough,” McKenna said. “When you’re giving them a solution, it’s not about features, it’s not about tools, it’s about the practicalities of their day-to-day life and how we are going to assist them with it. So you remove that burden from them.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in movement restriction orders in different areas of Indonesia, InfraDigital’s founders say the platform was able to forecast trends even before schools officially closed. They started surveying schools in their client base, and sent back data to help them forecast how school closures would affect their income.

“From the school’s perspective, it’s a really damaging situation, with 30% to 60% income drops. Teachers don’t get paid. If the economy goes down, parents at lower-income schools, which are a big part of our client base, won’t be able to pay,” McKenna said. “It’s built into the model, and we’ll continue seeing that however long the economic impact of COVID-19 lasts.”

‘Out of control’: Kerry Washington gets kids’ opinions on Trump

'Out of control': Kerry Washington gets kids' opinions on Trump

“Voting is one of our most sacred duties, and it’s important to start talking about it early,” said Kerry Washington on Tuesday. With this in mind, the returning Jimmy Kimmel Live guest host asked several kids for their thoughts on President Donald Trump and the electoral process, speaking to them via video call. 

Overall, there was some confusion concerning exactly how people cast their votes (“Maybe you go inside the White House and say it?”), who can vote (“Actually I think I voted before”), and how much it costs to do so (“$2000?”). However, the children were more or less united on their opinion of the current president. Read more…

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5 Steps for Managing Your IT Audit & Security Career In Strange Times

No one figured that this would be the year of uncertainty when we were making those ‘Mission 2020’ statements. For individuals, professionals, businesses, and humanity at large – these are trying times. Now, the question is, amid crisis how should we be thinking about our career management?

Constant surveys and key findings are pointing to what the future might hold for tech professionals. Interestingly, observing all such findings, one can infer that IT Audit, cyber, and information security jobs are more stable than other domains.

For now, this may be good news; however, how long can the center hold the things from falling apart is still a mystery.

Experts also found that challenges are not limited to job losses, insecurity, pay cuts, or furloughs, it goes beyond that. We, as a generation, are facing trouble in managing and balancing work and family, managing stress, and continuously staying connected with co-workers and remote teams in this era of ‘new normal’.

Tech community and IT professionals, considered as the most innovative people, are trying new and innovative ways to cope up with these blues and implementing new strategies for building connections and getting work done every day.

Career planning for 2020 and beyond, is still a daunting challenge. However, it need not be stressful, with some strategic and well-laid career planning methods in place.

Offered below are five impeccable and actionable steps that each IT Audit & Security professional can take to safeguard their career progress and prepare for the post-pandemic changes:

First and foremost, Update Your Profile for the Era

information technology career resume

Simply updating your profile with the latest job role and responsibilities is not enough in these times. Frankly, loading up your resume with self-descriptive adjectives such as  ‘accomplished security professional’ and ‘exceptional leader’ is passé.

No one is believing in these terms anymore. The most crucial contents that we can add to our profile in these times are our contributions in figures and facts, the value that we bring to the table, and the problems we can handle or solve beyond our regular KRAs. It’s also important that we describing them in a clear, factual manner. Demonstrate your skills, recent contributions, and major projects concisely to draw more attention.

Being an IT Audit and security professional, clearly mentioning your CISA certification or related credentials are highly appreciated among the fraternity.

Second, Keep a Record of Your Recent Projects

Nothing can be more helpful than maintaining an updated record of your yesteryear work projects. Create a journal [spreadsheet or document] for each year recording your projects. Identify who, what, when, how, tools implemented, duration, challenges and learning, and foremost the value it added to your journey.

Start from the present year and group them one-by-one chronologically. This will give you a clear picture of your growth and better perspective when you would be required to present yourself somewhere, for example, at performance reviews or future employment or simply for communication purposes with bosses and seniors.

Third, Make an Enticing Professional Community Profile

It is wise to update and create an intriguing profile on that popular professional community platform. Let the hiring managers headhunt you for the top-notch positions in your domain. Update your most valued projects.

It is also important that you mention your newly gained CISA certification credential on your profile as an IT Audit and Security expert. Ask your past seniors to drop by and give you a good recommendation.

Remember these recommendations are immensely helpful and reflect your credibility. Remember, that along with hiring managers, your past and present colleagues, bosses, and clients also get to look for your skills there.

It helps in your brand building and personal marketing as well. It is the best practice to work on your profile display. Make a periodic audit and review it accordingly.

Fourth, Stay Connected, Keep Your Network Updated

information technology career networking

In this era of online social networking, people may not drop by often and get to meet you or vice versa, but you can always stay connected with your best career references.

Keep a track of your networking activities, take time out to chat with your past colleagues, and drop a line to greet and video call your former boss. It is important to let them know about your new achievements and industry takeaways and share an interesting article with a note of your insight on it. Make them refresh their knowledge on your latest endeavors by sharing information on your latest certifications achieved.

Remember – ‘Inspiration is Contagious’. Constant strive for betterment might as well motivate others to take career progression seriously, even in these trying times, and focus on the future beyond this pandemic.

Fifth, Evaluate, Learn, and Gain those pending Certifications and Training

Professionals, especially in top management, experts, and leadership roles are preferably offered to those who have certifications that are globally recognized to validate top-level expertise. So, earning those industry-recognized certifications in IS Audit and Security domain, such as CISA certification, is significant to demonstrate your knowledge and your willingness to do whatever it takes to reach your goals. Beside, CISA certification guides your next move in your career.

Most importantly, even the certification bodies, like ISACA, has made changes in their exam pattern as part of today’s ‘new normal’. Now, the aspirants can take the ‘Online Remote Proctored Exam’.

This clearly indicates how committed ISACA and aspired professionals are towards career progress in the face of the pandemic. Even certification bodies address the need for uninterrupted access to their resources even when we all are restricted at our homes and making exams available with an online remote proctored option.

To enable aspirants to continue their learning and upskilling process, many training providers aligned their objectives and started promoting the CISA Online training via Instructor-led mode for equipping learners with knowledge and skills to pass the CISA Exam.

By applying these strategic ways in your career progress path, you will be ready for what comes next. Besides, being ready for future roles, you will gain more clarity on your current credentials, making job search and internal growth more effective.

As leaders of tomorrow, you will have done your job well!

The post 5 Steps for Managing Your IT Audit & Security Career In Strange Times appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Kerry Washington’s adorable father cracks her up with topical dad jokes

Kerry Washington's adorable father cracks her up with topical dad jokes

The summer of Jimmy Kimmel Live guest hosts rolls on, with a super glam Kerry Washington taking the reins for Monday night’s show. She was joined by her dad Earl, whom she reveals was an Emmy-deserving background extra on Little Fires Everywhere

“He’s the most adorable man in America, and he loves to tell jokes,” she said, “so when he heard I was doing my first late night monologue, he wanted to pitch in and help me out with material, because he doesn’t think I’m funny.”

Earl is indeed completely adorable, telling Washington about the importance of humor during tough times, and kicking off with a meta moment: “How do you know it’s a dad joke? It becomes ap-parent.” Read more…

More about Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kerry Washington, Dad Jokes, Entertainment, and Talk Show

Lightspeed raises $275 million fund for India

Lightspeed India Partners on Tuesday announced it has closed $275 million from LPs for its third fund as the top American venture firm looks to ramp up its investments in the world’s second-largest internet market.

The new fund, its biggest for India, will enable Lightspeed India Partners to make early stage bets on more than two dozen startups in the region, said Hemant Mohapatra, a partner at the firm, in an interview with TechCrunch.

The announcement comes as the firm, which began investing in India in 2007, has made two high-profile partial exits in the past year from budget-lodging startup Oyo and edtech giant Byju’s that together delivered cash returns of more than $900 million.

Some of its other major bets including backing business-to-business marketplace Udaan, which was valued at more than $2.75 billion last year, local social media platform ShareChat, which is in advanced stages of discussions to raise capital at more than $1 billion valuation, and SaaS startups DarwinBox, Yellow Messenger, and OkCredit.

The firm, which has six partners in the region, closed its first dedicated fund for India, of $135 million, in 2015. In 2018, it closed its second fund for the region, which was $175 million in size. But the venture firm has invested more than $750 million to date.

The Indian arm, which typically invests at early stages of a startup, continues to work with its global mothership for writing bigger checks to support some portfolio startups at later phases. (More than 80% of its investments have been committed to firms at Seed or Series A stages in India.)

“That’s one of the strongest points of differentiation we have. There are not many venture firms that have such a global presence. Our synergy with the global fund will continue,” said Mohapatra. (Lightspeed also has a big presence in China. Last year, its China arm announced a $560 million fund.)

Lightspeed partners in India. From left: Bejul Somaia, Akshay Bhushan, Harsha Kumar, Dev Khare, Vaibhav Agrawal, and Hemant Mohapatra. (Photo credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed, which earlier this year closed a $4 billion fund globally, is one of the handful of American venture firms that aggressively scouts for deals in India. Sequoia, its global peer, announced two venture funds, of $1.35 billion in size, last month for India and Southeast Asia. 11 of its early-stage bets have grown to become unicorns in the last 14 years in this region.

Mohapatra said the Indian startup ecosystem has matured in recent years, demonstrating high-scale growth and delivering big outcomes. It’s also seeing more exits than ever before. Earlier this month, Byju’s acquired WhiteHat Jr., an 18-month-old startup that teaches coding to children, for $300 million in an all-cash deal.

Indian startups raised more than $14.5 billion last year — a record for the local community. The coronavirus has decelerated the funding spree in India, like in any other market.

Mohapatra said a fraction of the firm’s portfolio startups has been disrupted by the virus, but noted that most startups are marching ahead unfazed and some have accelerated in recent months.

“Lightspeed believes this is when the best entrepreneurs and companies of the future will emerge. Strong founders are utilizing the tailwinds of India’s digital ecosystem growth to build out a new future and Lightspeed is strongly committed to backing these founders,” the firm said in a statement.