Month: January 2021

Amazon’s Ring worked with more cops than ever before in 2020

Amazon's Ring worked with more cops than ever before in 2020

While the rest of us spent 2020 trying to reckon with the atrocities of police brutality and racism embedded into the American justice system, Amazon’s Ring spent it doubling down on its effort to cozy up to more cops.

More than 1,189 local police and fire departments joined Ring’s Neighbors Portal program in 2020 alone, according to a report from Amazon found by the Financial Times, giving a grand total of 2,014 government agencies access to one of the biggest private surveillance networks in the country. 

The number of departments added last year was more than double the 703 brought on board in 2019, and an even bigger increase from the 40 back in 2018. The participating agencies now span across almost the whole of the United States, with the exclusion of only Wyoming and Montana. Read more…

More about Amazon, Surveillance, Black Lives Matter, Ring, and Police Brutality

Want to watch American Netflix from the UK? Here’s how.

Want to watch American Netflix from the UK? Here's how.

SAVE 49%: A one-year subscription to ExpressVPN is on sale for £5.02 per month as of Jan. 31, and includes an extra three months for free.


Are you short on content options at the moment? Join the club. If it feels like you’ve exhausted every show and film that the likes of Netflix and Prime Video has to offer, we recommend considering a VPN.

These security services can be used to bypass geo-restrictions to unblock streaming services from other locations. By hiding your real IP address, you can trick these services into thinking you are based in another country, meaning you can access the library of content that is normally locked to that location. Read more…

More about Netflix, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, Uk Deals, and Expressvpn

Gillmor Gang: Back Then Now

Still figuring out what this newsletter is, I’m torn between aggregation and writing. The inputs vary from blog posts, Twitter threads, and the occasional video. Podcasting seems oddly muzzled by the acceleration of streaming. Blog posts are a misnomer; professional blogs represent the bulk of news and media citations, not usually the single voices of RSS yore.

Linear media is bifurcated between quick takes like The Recount and user tweets of streaming cable news. Podcasting meets longer form streaming with live casting on Facebook Live, Twitter (formerly Periscope), YouTube, and nascent LinkedIn live. As I discovered during a Restreamed recording session of the Gang, the Facebook Live version includes realtime captioning.

On this version of the show, recorded four days before the Inauguration of the Biden presidency, a familiar mood radiates from the Zoomcast. Anxiety, tinged with doubt that we will escape the grip of the pandemic any time soon, or the blight of Trump-o-nomics at all. Now, as I post this, there’s a reasonable chance of a renewal of rationality and respect. Then, it was a jump ball at best.

When we record the show, I leave either CNN or MSNBC on the monitor behind me. Given that we configure Zoom in Gallery Mode for the most part, that ups the chance that one of us will notice if some breaking news (haha) appears. It’s mostly for the sense of being plugged in without being overwhelmed by the repetitive analysis that oh, yes we are in deep trouble. Controlled anxiety beats plain old anxiety most of the time. Nonetheless, I still get complaints from viewers to turn it off.

I like the delay of the realtime version to accommodate post production sweetening with music and lower third titles. The interval gives me a chance to come up with a theme for this post to accompany the mixed show, and it allows for some of the buzzy issues to recede in favor of more sticky foreshadowing of the next show. Around this time, we usually come up with a title for the show. You may not find this all that interesting, but it helps me endure my pathetic contributions to the show.

On this session, Frank Radice is heard quoting lines from Firesign Theatre records. In the early days, we used to sit around college dorms and what we thought passed for hippie crash pads, reciting these Firesign catch phrases. In slightly earlier times, we did this with Bill Cosby records, in later years Monty Python routines. Michael Markman had posted to the Gang Telegram feed a Wisconsin Public Radio conversation with the two surviving TFTers Phil Proctor and David Ossman.

Back then, the comedy group had released I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus, featuring a futuristic ride on a Firesign update of the Disneyland animatronic Presidents attraction. Now, Michael wondered whether Disney would add Trump to the ride when it reopens. It’s a good question. What, whether Disneyland will reopen?

So, newsletters. It seems possible the form is subsuming many of the pieces of blogging, podcasting, streaming, and social networking into a new construct. Where blogs once represented a ticket to parity with the mainstream of journalism, now journalists are acquiring parity with individual voices. Cable news not only feels like podcasting with its oversupply of talking head roundtables, but each anchor has a separate podcast to boot. Just as the record business ate the movies business with Saturday Night Fever, so too are the cable networks eating the broadcast networks as they are in turn eaten by the streamers.

And just as the former president was deplatformed by the social networks, live streamers are replatformed in this newslettered channel-in-your-pocket. Commentary, notification-based two-way feedback, realtime analytics, first party data relationships with creators and subscribers. More creation, less curation.

from the Gillmor Gang Newsletter

__________________

The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, January 16, 2021.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

Subscribe to the Gillmor Gang Newsletter and join the backchannel here on Telegram.

The Gillmor Gang on Facebook … and here’s our sister show G3 on Facebook.

The biggest exit for this L.A. venture firm may wind up being . . . canned water

Earlier this week, Science Inc, the 10-year-old, L.A.-based incubator and venture firm, rolled out a blank-check company onto the Nasdaq, raising $270 million for what firm founders Peter Pham and Mike Jones say will be used to take public a company in the mobile, entertainment or direct-to-consumer service space — or maybe one that combines all three.

If they have one of their own portfolio companies in mind to take public, they wouldn’t say in conversation yesterday. Science would have some interesting candidates from which to choose if so. It helped incubate the amateur esports platform PlayVS after Pham met its founder, Delane Parnell, on a dance floor at a South by Southwest festival. It’s also an investor in Bird, the micro-mobility company that is reportedly working with Credit Suisse to strike a deal with a blank-check company. And it helped create and grow Liquid Death, a company with a tongue-in-cheek marketing strategy that’s selling mountain water in aluminum cans — a lot of it, says Pham.

That’s not trivial. Water is the top-selling packaged drink in the U.S. and has been since 2016. Meanwhile, Liquid Death is not just looking to “murder” its customers’ thirst, but it is specifically chasing after sugary drink makers like Monster Energy Drink, which currently boasts a market cap of $46 billion. (Even its much smaller rival, Rockstar Energy, sold to PepsiCo last year for a very respectable $3.85 billion.)

Indeed, we spent much of our time with the duo talking about how to create a powerful consumer brand in 2021. More from that talk follows, edited lightly for length and clarity.

TC: You have this new blank-check company. You’re about to start talking with potential targets. Will you consider a company that you’ve incubated or else funded at Science?

MJ: No. So the SPAC is an independent entity. We think that there’s a universe of well over 100 companies that would fit the credentials of what we’re looking for within the stack. Some of those companies, we may or may not have investment exposure [to them], but the process of analysis is independent of the Science portfolio.

TC: So you wouldn’t rule it out.

MJ: We have independent directors. So there’s a different process that would go through if we were looking at a company in the portfolio. But right now we’re just aggregating the right universe of potential targets. And then we’ll go through a formal process on it.

TC: What are the metrics you want to see? You are specialists, including in direct-to-consumer companies. Do the companies that you’re targeting have to be profitable?

MJ: When we look at the different, potential companies that we’re interested in, we’re not saying that they have to have some specific level of profitability or specific level of revenue . . . We don’t expose the the core metrics and revenue drivers that we think make for successful companies within sectors. But we’re a super data-focused team. We’re very much on the forefront of next-generation Gen Z and millennial-oriented marketing. And there are very specific things we look for that we think may build breakout brands.

TC: Both of you know the social media space. There are new social media plays that are gaining a lot of attention, such as Clubhouse. Back to your core business at Science, are there any investments in those areas in that area that you’re looking at?

PP: A decade ago is when YouTube became a platform for marketing. Then six of seven years ago, Instagram [became a platform for marketing]. And then Snapchat came along, and then all of a sudden Instagram stories [emerged], and then TikTok and now another platform, which is Clubhouse. There’s always something new coming around the corner.

You can’t take your eye off of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, but Clubhouse is real. It’s almost radio, but it’s participatory. If you go to South by Southwest, it’s almost like SWSX panels around the clock. There’s this really interesting dynamic where you could be in crowd, raise your hand, and if they pull you up on stage, now you’re part of the panel. That’s why a lot of people are there — for the chance of getting discovered [and] the chance of letting their voice be heard by a larger audience.

TC: What makes you think its growth is sustainable?

PP: The moment marketers join a platform [you know]. When real marketers, people who are selling classes on how to make money, how to have real estate, how to make money [selling] real estate, that type of marketing — when [they show up], it’s an arbitrage. It’s basically very smart people who make a lot of money realizing for that every minute they spend doing this, it’s more valuable in terms of ROI, customer acquisition cost, and revenue, than spending time on this other thing that everyone else is on.

TC: How do your portfolio companies use these platforms in 2021? You are investors in Liquid Death. You helped incubate MeUndies, a subscription underwear company that raised saw $40 million late last year. You were involved in the early days of Dollar Shave Club. How do you break through the noise with things like water, underwear and razors?

PP: Platforms are always just a springboard. You can’t rely on these places long term because the rules of the game change, the feed changes. Ten years ago, when we launched Dollar Shave Club, we had on the homepage an autoplay of this YouTube video that was just about driving customers to buy something. At the time, no one thought about posting YouTube videos to get somebody to buy something. MeUndies [used] Instagram. Who would imagine subscription underwear? But every month, there’s a holiday — Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day. What if there was something interesting and fun that you could wear?

With Liquid Death, it’s still very much [focused on] Instagram and now probably TikTok. But in all cases, the brand has to be worthy for somebody to talk about what’s interesting about it and even to defend it.

Mike underplays our data side, but we measure incessantly everything that’s happening in terms of the each one of our businesses, including their social reach, their engagements, business retention, how often customers are coming back, how much revenue we’re generating from each individual, what each piece of marketing is worth. All of these tie into this complex engine that [helps us determine], is there a business behind this thing? Can it grow on its own without a reliance on Facebook? With most companies, if you don’t understand how to build your own community, your own brand, and your own audience, ultimately the winner on the back end is Google or Facebook.

TC: How do you build that community right now?

I’ve handed out 4,000 cans personally. In the early days of Liquid Death, I just remember handing it to a bunch of teenagers, and six out of 10 would take a photo and Snap it to their friend. It was just this instant moment I kept seeing over and over, and I just knew, this is gonna work. If you noticed in March and April and May how boring your Instagram feed was, [it was] because everyone was staying home and there was nothing to do. But we [had this insight to] give somebody a piece of content.

TC: Liquid Death is now available in some stores, including 7-Elevens. Are people buying the water online? What percentage of them buy it through a subscription?

PP: One third of our customers who buy online [at the site] buy merchandise. They’re buying $24 hats, $45 hoodies — we’re selling out merch constantly. It’s the brand, it’s a lifestyle. Mike Cessario, the CEO, says he’s building something that’s like your favorite band. The product lets you be a fan of the thing [including] because it’s not a piece of plastic that’s going to go the ocean [like other water bottles]. It’s not sugar. It’s not alcohol that might result in a drunk driving incident.

It’s flair. It’s a reason to say hi to somebody. It’s an icebreaker. It’s fun. It’s irreverent. It’s dumb. It’s funny. It’s everything to everybody, but something worthy to talk about, something to look at.

The trajectory we’re on is hard to measure, You have to see it, and when you see it over and over, it’s obvious.

Pre-order this monstrous Nintendo Switch bundle for under £350

Pre-order this monstrous Nintendo Switch bundle for under £350

TL;DR: Pre-order the Nintendo Switch (Monster Hunter Rise Edition) for £339.99 on Amazon, before its release on March 26.


We know you’ve probably got big plans this weekend (yeah, right), but if you’ve got a second to spare, we think you should check out the latest Nintendo Switch Edition. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and pre-order are now available on Amazon.

The Nintendo Switch (Monster Hunter Rise Edition) features a stunning image of Magnamalo, the game’s flagship monster, along with other Monster Hunter Rise designs all over the console and Joy-Con controllers. It comes bundled with a download code for the game plus the Deluxe Kit DLC and bonus content. Read more…

More about Nintendo Switch, Mashable Shopping, Nintendo Switch Bundles, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

How To Avoid The Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes Men Make

So, you made it through the major holidays and you’re breathing a sigh of relief, right? That New Year’s kiss marked the end of worrying that you’d purchase the wrong gift, fail to be festive enough, or not show the right amount of appreciation for her efforts at making things merry and bright. Not so fast guys, there’s one holiday at large on the horizon and it can be a doosie.

Valentine’s Day is a love it or hate it Hallmark holiday. Generally, women love it and men hate it, which is one of the reasons men can get themselves in trouble. It seems silly doesn’t it – the idea that there’s this one day of the year where we’re supposed to prove our love by purchasing chocolate and flowers? But it’s out there and, for better or worse, it gets celebrated and we as guys need to walk the tightrope of doing it right – or at least not screw it up completely.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest Valentine’s Day mistakes that men make.

1. Ignoring V-Day all together. Yes, it’s kind of a cheesy holiday, and you shouldn’t need this one day in February set aside to prove your love. That being said, you’ll do more damage by ignoring the day altogether than by recognizing the opportunity to express your feelings.

2. Just signing your name to a generic card. There’s a card for everything it seems, but when it comes to your feelings don’t let a mass-produced card do the talking for you. There’s nothing wrong with buying a card, but make sure you write a few sentences about your own personal feelings.

3. Relying on the standard heart-shaped box of chocolates. Sure, most of us like a good chocolate from time to time, but carbs and sugar aren’t really the best “I love you” gifts. Not only is it rather unimaginative, but many women may also find it irritating after all the recent holiday indulgences and having a desire to be healthy in the new year.

valentines day mistake

4. Going to bed early – and sleeping. Unless her Valentine’s Day request is a good night sleep, hitting the sack early without any effort at intimacy is kind of tone deaf. It doesn’t have to be a wild night that sets the benchmark for the year to come, but a little romance goes a long way towards keeping a relationship happy. This could be as simple as a hug and kiss and some physical affection – it’s the effect that counts

5. Forgetting to say the most important words. One of the biggest mistakes men make – and not just on Valentine’s Day – is forgetting to say “I love you.” If there’s one great thing about this day in February, it’s that it’s a clear reminder to all men to say those very important words. In fact, it should serve as an opportunity to make a resolution for the year to say them more often.

6. Going overboard. While you don’t want to ignore the day, you also don’t need to go overboard. Women may feel more sentimental about this day than most men, but that doesn’t mean they’re silly about it. Being thoughtful is one thing, buying a 10-foot teddy bear is another.

So, if those are common mistakes, what are the best tips for making Valentine’s Day successful?

Tips For A Valentine’s Day Win

Allow The Day To Be Different

Valentine’s Day isn’t an actual “holiday.” No one gets the day off to celebrate love. So, you’ll need to put some effort into making the day different. This doesn’t have to be expensive or overdone, but starting the day with something different and adding some fun things in to make it stand out is a good idea. Bring her a cup of coffee in bed, send her an extra text telling her you love her, make her lunch if your working from home and put a love note in it, or anything else that makes the day seem special. A little romance can go a long way – especially if it’s not a regular practice in your relationship.

Keep It Personal

valentines day romantic meal at home

You know her and what she likes. You may both think Valentine’s Day is goofy, so you know to steer clear of grand gestures. But that should also mean that you know what she’d value. Maybe it’s a brief letter about what you love most about her, all the things you’d like to do with her, or perhaps it’s surprising her by cleaning the kitchen and setting the scene for a relaxing evening. Whatever you do, make it personal to what you know about her – that will be what’s most valued.

Be Thoughtful

The things most appreciated by anyone are the things that require thought and effort. Letters, little things that make the day better, an unexpected lunch or dinner date – just things that actually took more effort than picking up a card and flowers at the local grocery store and calling it good.

Keep It Simple

None of these things need to be expensive or grand. Using the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method is probably the best bet overall. Just keep it simple in a thoughtful, personal way.

Show Appreciation

It’s very easy to take each other for granted – especially as a relationship ages. You can use this day as a reminder to show appreciation for the love in your life and all she does to make your life better. One thing all women (and men too) like to hear is why they’re important to you and how they’ve enriched your life.

Valentine’s Day may seem like a commercial and contrived holiday that’s better ignored. I would argue, however, that it’s a good opportunity to recognize and resolve to make your relationship a priority for the year to come. So, rather than looking at it as a chore and falling into the most commonly made mistakes, try making it the start of your relationship’s new year and use it as a springboard into better things for you and your partner.

The post How To Avoid The Most Common Valentine’s Day Mistakes Men Make appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Huawei’s struggles hurt overall smartphone shipments in China, but rivals like Apple found new opportunities

The impact of United States government sanctions on Huawei is continuing to hurt the company and dampen overall smartphone shipments in China, where it is largest smartphone vendor, according to a new report by Canalys. But Huawei’s decline also opens new opportunities for its main rivals, including Apple.

Canalys says Apple’s performance in China during the fourth-quarter of 2020 was its best in years, thanks to the iPhone 11 and 12. Its full-year shipments returned to its 2018 levels, and it reached its highest quarterly shipments in China since the end of 2015, when the iPhone 6s was launched.

Overall, smartphone shipments in China fell 11% to about 330 million units in 2020, with market recovery hindered by Huawei’s inability to ship new units. Even though demand in China for Huawei devices remains high, the company has struggled to cope with sanctions imposed by the U.S. government under the Trump administration that banned it from doing business with American companies and drastically curtailed its ability to procure new chips.

In May 2020, Huawei rotating chairman Guo Ping said even though the firm can design some semiconductor components, like integrated circuits, it is “incapable of doing a lot of other things.”

This left Huawei unable to meet demand for its devices, but gives its main rivals new opportunities, wrote Canalys vice president of mobility Nicole Peng. “Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi are fighting to win over Huawei’s offline channel partners across the country, including small rural ones, backed by huge investments in store expansion and marketing support. These commitments brought immediate results, and market share improved within mere months.”

Apple benefited from Huawei’s decline because the company’s Mate series is the iPhone’s main rival in the high-end category, and only 4 million Mate units were shipped in the fourth quarter. “However, Apple has not relaxed its market promotions for iPhone 12,” wrote Canalys research analyst Amber Liu. “Aggressive online promotions across ecommerce players, coupled with widely available trade-in plans and interest-free installments with major banks, drove Apple to its stellar performance.”

During the fourth-quarter of 2020, smartphone shipments in mainland China fell 4% year-over-year to a total of 84 million units. Even though it held onto its number one position in terms of shipments, Huawei’s total market share plummeted to 22% from 41% a year earlier, and it shipped just 18.8 million smartphones, including units from budget brand Honor, which it agreed to sell in November.

Canalys' graph showing shipments by the top five smartphone vendors in China

Canalys’ graph showing shipments by the top five smartphone vendors in China

Huawei’s main competitors, on the other hand, all increased their shipments at the end of 2020. Oppo took second place, shipping 17.2 million smartphones, a 23% increase year-over-year. Oppo’s closest competitor Vivo increased its quarterly shipment to 15.7 million units. Apple shipped more than 15.3 million units, putting its market share at 18%, up from 15% a year ago. Xiaomi rounded out the top five vendors, shipping 12.2 million units, a 52% year-over-year increase.

Huawei’s decision to sell Honor means the brand may rapidly gain market share in 2021, since it already has brand recognition, wrote Peng. 5G is also expected to help smartphone shipments in China, especially for premium models.

Experience 30 days of Amazon Music HD for free

Experience 30 days of Amazon Music HD for free

SAVE £14.99: A 30-day subscription to Amazon Music HD is free for new customers, saving you £14.99 on list price.


Audiophiles rejoice, because you can now try Amazon Music HD for 30 days without spending a penny of your hard-earned cash.

Amazon Music HD provides unlimited access to 70 million songs in HD, with 5 million songs in ultra HD. You can listen to your favourite tunes with up to ten times the bitrate of standard streaming services, and get access to exclusive ultra HD remastered albums. 

This 30-day free trial offer is only available for a limited time, and is redeemable towards an Amazon Music HD Individual Plan or the Amazon Music HD Family Plan. After the trial period, your subscription will automatically renew at the full monthly price of £14.99 (£12.99 per month for Prime members) for the Amazon Music HD Individual Plan or £19.99 for the Amazon Music HD Family Plan. You can cancel this at anytime though, so there’s no pressure to pay anything. Read more…

More about Mashable Shopping, Amazon Music, Shopping Uk, Uk Deals, and Tech

The Case Against 50/50 Fairness In Modern Marriage

The mindset of modern, two-career marriage isn’t working.

This has certainly been our experience. Like most working couples, getting married left us asking an impossible question: how do we balance our individual career ambitions and achieve equality in marriage, all while staying connected and in love?

For a decade or so, we couldn’t seem to muster up a good answer. So, like many couples, we fell into the trap of 50/50 fairness. When confronted with tough marital questions like, “Who does the dishes?“ “Who plans our vacations?“ or “Who picks up our kid from daycare?”, we did our best to ensure that everything was perfectly, 50/50, fair.

Striving for fairness makes sense. It’s the obvious response to centuries of gender inequality. Fairness, after all, is the bedrock principle of social justice movements and democracy. So why shouldn’t it also reign supreme in marriage?

There was just one problem. Fairness never seemed to deliver on its promise. For one thing, it didn’t solve the equality problem. Kaley still did more. Nate still did less. For another, it seemed designed to destroy our experience of love, kindness, and connection with each other at every turn. Instead, fairness created a very different kind of atmosphere in marriage, a culture of constant tension, conflict, and resentment.

At first, we thought this was some strange quirk of our relationship. So we set out to interview over one hundred people from all walks of life about their marriages. What we found is that it didn’t matter what these people did, how much money they had, or who they voted for, everyone expressed some version of this constant battle over fairness.

The specific content varied but the result – this lingering sense of resentment – was always the same. Some couples waged this battle for fairness over who did more and who did less around the house. Other couples fought about money, who spends more and who’s diligently saving. Others fought about fairness in the bedroom, who controls when, why, and how often we get it on.

making a marriage work

Eventually, we began to realize that fairness isn’t real. It’s like a mirage in the desert. We think it’s there. We think that if we could just find it, we would finally experience a state of marital bliss. But, just like the mirage, fairness is an illusion and, the more we chase after it, the more miserable we become.

Recent research in psychology helps illuminate the problem. Our assessments of fairness, it turns out, are based on a somewhat delusional understanding of our partner’s contributions. It’s a phenomenon cognitive psychologists call availability bias.”

When it comes to our own contributions, we have perfect insight. We have a complete data set of all those trips to the store, the hours spent helping the kids with their homework, and the meals we cooked. But when it comes to our partner’s contributions, things start to get fuzzy. Much of this information simply isn’t available to us. We often don’t even see their trips to the store and other random acts of service. As a result, our calculations of what is or isn’t fair often become infected with this bias of availability. We end up focusing more on our contributions and discounting those of our partner.

But suppose we could somehow overcome the problem of “availability bias”, there’s still a major problem that distorts our ability to judge what is or isn’t fair. It’s the problem of overestimation. The longitudinal time diary research of Jill Yavorsky at the University of North Carolina Charlotte suggests that, when it comes to domestic labor, we’re really bad at estimating our actual contributions.

We may say that we spent two hours preparing dinner or three hours watching the kids, but the data shows that we’re prone to systematically exaggerate these numbers. We asked Yavorsky why we so often overestimate. She told us, “Our work around the house isn’t continuous. We’re actually better estimators of the time we spend working in the office because it’s more continuous. Childcare, on the other hand, is often off and on and involves so many moving parts that it’s difficult to pinpoint the actual time spend on household work.”

The upshot of all of this is that we seem to be wired to underestimate the contributions of our partner and exaggerate our own, an outcome that makes fairness impossible to achieve. When it comes to this conversation over who does more, who cares more, or who’s trying harder, the conversation over fairness itself seems to be the problem.

And that means that the path to balancing equality and love, personal ambition and shared success in modern marriage must take us beyond fairness.

We think there’s a radical solution to finding this balance and changing the game of modern marriage. It’s a mindset we call “radical generosity.” It’s the idea of contributing far more than your fair share, of striving for something more like 80 percent.

From the common-sense view of modern marriage, this may sound like an insane strategy. It might leave you with thoughts like, “Why should I do more than my fair share? Wouldn’t that just lead us back to the 1950s, to a model of marriage where one person, most often the woman, does it all?”

In our experience and the experience of many of those we interviewed, radical generosity has the opposite effect. When you move beyond the familiar guardrails of 50/50 fairness, you begin to upend the sources of tension and resentment. You cook dinner not because it’s your turn but because it’s your gift.

This shift then becomes contagious. Your kind act inspires your partner to act in more radically generous ways. It creates an upward spiral of generosity that gives us more of what we really want: love, connection, and deeper intimacy.

make a marriage work

You might still worry, however, that radical generosity won’t work. You might be concerned that it will reinforce the all-to-familiar dynamic of over- and under-contribution, where one partner does almost everything and the other almost nothing. But, paradoxically, radical generosity is often the best way to dissolve this dynamic.

It turns out, after all, that berating your partner with fairness-based criticisms about how they never do enough often creates the opposite of what it is intended to do. It leads the under-contributor, to check out, withdraw, and do less instead of more.

Radical generosity, by contrast, upends this dynamic. It opens the space for the under-contributing partner to act from a positive motivation (kindness and the desire to reciprocate) rather than the negative motivation of criticism and resentment.

It’s radical. It’s extreme. It may even cause you to feel uncomfortable and uneasy at times. But this mindset of radical generosity has transformed our life together as a working couple with a young child. We think it can do the same for you.

The post The Case Against 50/50 Fairness In Modern Marriage appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Bumble bans fatphobic messages and body shaming

Bumble bans fatphobic messages and body shaming

Bumble is banning body shaming. 

From today, the popular dating app will be modifying its terms and conditions to prohibit unsolicited, pejorative, disrespectful comments about someone’s body shape, size, health, or appearance. Comments that are fatphobic, ableist, racist, colourist, transphobic, or homophobic will also be prohibited. 

The ban will apply to comments made through the dating app’s chat function — so messages that people send their matches — as well as the content in people’s profiles. If a person’s profile, comments, or images contain body-shaming language, Bumble says they will be picked up by automated safeguards and “moderated.” This means that a human moderator will take a look at the profile or message before deciding what action should be taken.  Read more…

More about Dating Apps, Bumble, Culture, and Sex Relationships

Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature will be enabled by default and arrive in ‘early spring’ on iOS

Apple has shared a few more details about its much-discussed privacy changes in iOS 14. The company first announced at WWDC in June that app developers would have to ask users for permission in order to track and share their IDFA identifier for cross-property ad targeting purposes. While iOS 14 launched in the fall, Apple delayed the tracking restrictions until 2021, saying it wanted to give developers more time to make the necessary changes.

Now we’ve got a slightly-more-specific timeline. The plan is to launch these changes in early spring, with a version of the feature coming in the next iOS 14 beta release.

This is how Apple describes the new system: “Under Settings, users will be able to see which apps have requested permission to track, and make changes as they see fit. This requirement will roll out broadly in early spring with an upcoming release of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14, and has already garnered support from privacy advocates around the world.”

And here are the basics of what you need to know:

  • The App Tracking Transparency feature moves from the old method where you had to opt-out of sharing your Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to an opt-in model. This means that every app will have to ask you up front whether it is ok for them to share your IDFA with third parties including networks or data brokers.
  • The feature’s most prominent evidence is a notification on launch of a new app that will explain what the tracker will be used for and ask you to opt-in to it.
  • You can now toggle IDFA sharing on a by-app basis at any time, where previously it was a single toggle. If you turn off the “Allow apps to request to track” setting altogether no apps can even ask you to use tracking.
  • Apple will enforce this for all third-party data sources including data sharing agreements, but of course platforms can still use first party data for advertising as per their terms of service.
  • Apple expects developers to understand whether APIs or SDKs that they use in their apps are serving user data up to brokers or other networks and to enable the notification if so.
  • Apple will abide by the rules for its own apps as well and will present the dialog and follow the ‘allow apps to request’ toggle if its apps use tracking (most do not at this point).
  • One important note here is that the Personalized Ads toggle is a separate setting that specifically allows or does not allow Apple itself to use its own first party data to serve you ads. So that is an additional layer of opt-out that affects Apple data only.

Apple is also increasing the capabilities of its Ad attribution API, allowing for better click measurement, measurement of video conversions and also — and this is a big one for some cases, app-to-web conversions.

This news comes on Data Privacy Day, with CEO Tim Cook speaking on the issue this morning at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection conference in Brussels. The company is also sharing a new report showing that the average app has six third-party trackers.

While this seems like a welcome change from a privacy perspective, it’s drawn some criticism from the ad industry, with Facebook launching a PR campaign emphasizing the impact on small businesses, while also pointing to the change as “one of the more significant advertising headwinds” that it could face this year. Apple’s stance is that this provides a user-centric data privacy approach, rather than an advertiser-centric one.

 

Renting vs. Buying a Home: This Is Exactly How To Decide Which Is Best For You

Figuring out whether to rent or to buy property is a big and important decision. Each of these options has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Before you decide which option to choose, you have to take some time to evaluate both the pros and cons.

The decision might affect your lifestyle. For instance, if you decide to buy property instead of renting it, you won’t be able to spend as much as you did before. It requires saving a substantial amount of money, so it will affect your everyday expenses. On the other hand, you will only spend money once, unlike renting, which you need to pay each time. Plus, a lot of people see it as a good investment.

As for renting a property, it has its own advantages. For instance, the taxes you need to pay won’t be hugely affected. And this is an affordable option too. A lot of people want to wait, so they could afford a house in a certain neighborhood instead of buying a cheaper one somewhere where it is less comfortable. But overall, when people rent for too long, they spend much more money than those who have already bought their own house.

This article aims to help you make a decision. To get started, ask yourself questions related to your potential purchase. Here, they’re addressed accordingly to shed some light on whatever queries you have about the subject, including the benefits and the drawbacks of each option.

How To Make A Decision

deciding which is better buying or renting a house

Before you start evaluating and considering the pros and cons of buying or renting the house, answer these questions:

  • How much can you spend?
  • What is your goal – having stability, or being able to afford changes?
  • Are you planning on staying for good in the city?
  • Your financial situation, is everything OK?
  • Is affording the maintenance of your purchased home (including repairs and design changes if any) something you could do?

It is one of the common questions most people ask – what is your budget. Whenever you decide to spend on something, ask yourself what is the sum you can spend. In this case, you can calculate how much you already have and how much you need to save. Calculate how much money each month you have to save and whether you can afford that. If not, perhaps, renting will be a better option. If you are ready, you might want to start saving.

As for the goal, do you want to have some stability in life? If you have a job in a city you live in and it’s unlikely that you’ll be moving because you’re focused on your career, you might need a home. If you have a family with kids, it might be also more reasonable to spend only once on a house. Naturally, families with children incur higher expenses, so you might prefer to allot more money for your kids rather than to constantly pay the rent.

As for how long you are planning to stay, the question of whether you have a stable career or not comes into the picture. Are you sure you won’t have a better option in another city? You’re not open to any changes in your life? If the answer is “no”, you might consider buying land. If you are not sure, you could still be better off by just paying rent.

Purchasing a house is a big deal. What is the current situation with your career? Is it stable? What about your family? Can you afford to purchase a house? And what about other house expenses? Can you afford the maintenance? Answer these questions as well.

If your financial situation is stable, then it would be more logical to buy a property. If you do the math, the money you have spent on renting all these years is probably already equivalent to the sum you need for your own place. If your current finances are OK and you can put aside money each month to grow your savings, then it’s better to buy a house.

Purchase vs Rent

There are some differences you need to consider. Apart from the amount of money you spend, you should think about some other things.

Equity

When you buy a house, you build equity. Over some time, your house might increase in value. You can buy it at a lower cost and later sell at a higher price to purchase a bigger property. The good news is that borrowing money is easier than ever at this moment. So instead of overspending on renting, you might even gain more by buying land.

Maintenance

The maintenance and replacements of broken things are included in the cost of the rent. So if you rent property, you don’t have to be worried about a broken washing machine or other equipment. That is something an owner should be thinking about. If the house is yours, everything is at your expense.

Make sure you can afford such expenses. If you are determined to buy your own home, then keep in mind one important thing – make sure you carefully examine a house you are about to buy. If it has some flaws and might need repair soon, the price should be lowered. Or there could be better options.

Taxes

Before the purchase, try to figure out whether you can deduct the mortgage. This might be extremely helpful in terms of saving some money. But you should be careful, this option is not always available.

Free to Move Out

If you are thinking about changing your job, or you are not sure whether you will stay in your current city, you should consider renting. If your financial situation is not stable, the best way not to get in trouble is to postpone your decision about buying a home.

For and Against House Purchase

buying a house

Now let’s see what the fors and against of having your own home are. Here are some advantages:

  • It’s an investment – you can always sell it if you need money. And don’t forget about building equity. Over time, your house will increase in price.
  • Stability – you won’t be relying on the landlord. You won’t have to suffer from increased rent costs and you won’t have headaches while seeking a place to rent, etc.
  • Tax benefits – you might have some perks. For example, if you could deduct the mortgage, you won’t have to pay that much. But only if it is possible as there’s eligibility for such benefits.
  • The privacy – renters don’t have that much privacy, and they can’t make some decisions without consulting the landlord.
  • You can do what you prefer. You might want to change something in your apartment, and you won’t have to ask anyone’s approval on those changes.

And here are some disadvantages:

  • The cost is high – if you don’t have the required sum of money, you will have to borrow it. The closing costs on mortgage vary from 2 to 5 percent from the overall price. Plus there are some taxes you should pay.
  • Less flexible than when you are renting. If you want to move out, it will be a problem.
  • You won’t be able to sell your house fast. Typically, it takes time to sell a house so you will still be paying the mortgage costs until you find a buyer.

These are just some of the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a home. Consider them before making a final decision.

For and Against Renting

Even though it seems that renting property is easier and less stressful, this option has some disadvantages. But let’s start with the pros:

  • You won’t lose flexibility. You are moving to another city? Changing your job? You won’t have to worry about anything since you can simply rent a house in another city.
  • You don’t have to pay for any repairs. It is the responsibility of your landlord. The cost of the repairs of broken items is included in the cost of the rent, so there are no additional expenses.
  • Rent costs are lower. It depends on the area you live in and on some other factors. Nonetheless, you can rent an apartment or even a house at a reasonable price. Although in some areas the rent costs are so high that it makes more sense to purchase a house.

And now some disadvantages:

  • No changes – even if you badly want them. If you want to expand a backyard, or to buy a deck, etc., you won’t be able to do any of those. It is not your property so you’re not allowed to change anything. You would need permission even for cosmetic improvements and there’s no guarantee that the landlord would approve.
  • You are spending, but not building equity.
  • The rent price might increase.
  • You don’t gain any credit score improvements.

To Sum Up

You should consider several factors before you decide to buy a property. You need to know exactly how much you can afford and whether you can pay for other related expenses. This way, you can save to accumulate a sum of money that’s enough to settle the initial payment. If you can afford that, then certainly it will be better to buy a house.

The post Renting vs. Buying a Home: This Is Exactly How To Decide Which Is Best For You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

ByteDance is cutting jobs in India amid prolonged TikTok ban

Chinese internet giant ByteDance has told employees in India that it is reducing the size of its team in the country after New Delhi retained ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps last week, a source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The company, which employs more than 2,000 people in India, shared the news with employees in the country at 10am local time and said only critical jobs will be retained in the country, the source, company, and an internal memo obtained by TechCrunch said. ByteDance said it was left with no choice after the Indian government, which banned its marquee app late June last year, had offered no clear direction on when TikTok could make return in the nation, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

“It is deeply regretful that after supporting our 2000+ employees in India for more than half a year, we have no choice but to scale back the size of our workforce. We look forward to receiving the opportunity to relaunch TikTok and support the hundreds of millions of users, artists, story-tellers, educators and performers in India,” a TikTok spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Prior to the ban, India was the biggest international market for TikTok.

TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas and VP of Global Business Blake Chandlee shared more context about the move in a memo to India employees today. “We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived, and that we would be able to resolve this quickly. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. Many of you have patiently waited to hear how this would play out, which has been very stressful. Thank you for your continued belief and trust in us,” they wrote.

“As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We’ve cut expenses, while still paying benefits. However, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while our apps remain un-operational. We are fully aware of the impact that this decision has for all of our employees in India, and we empathize with our team.”

Today’s move caps some of the strangest and confusing months for ByteDance employees in India. Following the ban, the employees were told to focus on developing a range of other apps from the Chinese giant such as the productivity suite Lark that had not been blocked in India.

But they were asked to not talk about these apps in the public to avoid putting risk of other ByteDance properties also getting the limelight. The source said ByteDance also stopped all marketing efforts in India to promote its other services in the country.

“While we don’t know when we will make a comeback in India, we are confident in our resilience, and desire to do so in times to come,” Pappas and Chandlee wrote in the memo.

This is breaking news. Check back for more information.

The fastest VPNs for browsing, streaming, and shopping securely

The fastest VPNs for browsing, streaming, and shopping securely

There is a fairly long list of things that you should care about when it comes to VPNs. These services are primarily designed to provide data and identity protection when you’re navigating the online world, so they need to provide powerful encryption that secures all of your traffic. 

With this in mind, you should only consider investing in a VPN that provides advanced security features like split tunnelling, IP protection, ad blocking, and a kill switch. All of this is vital for securing your online identity and data, which is really important at the moment. The online world can be a dangerous place, and VPNs are effective tools for protecting yourself against viruses, malware, hackers, and other threats. Read more…

More about Tech, Vpn, Mashable Shopping, Consumer Tech, and Tech

7bc472ec 9fa3 4487 b8b9 38634a2bc726



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR STREAMING

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the best option for serial streamers, with strong connection speeds and server network.

  • Monthly: £9.80/month
  • Six-month plan: £7.56/month
  • 15-month plan: £5.05/month


Bcd74a14 2b67 46ce bd31 753b12aea8fe



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR SERVER NETWORK

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access lets you select from over 25,000 servers, so you should always be able to find a speedy connection.

  • Monthly: £9.99/month
  • One-year plan: £2.71/month
  • Two-year plan: £2.19/month


Ffee195f 3743 4c32 a200 cc8c24556660



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Surfshark

Surfshark offers everything that VPN newbies need to stream, shop, and browse securely.

  • Monthly: £9.48/month
  • Six-month plan: £4.75/month
  • Two-year plan: £1.82/month


5efb0dd7 bd27 423e bfc6 133e8c7f8bfe



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR SECURITY

NordVPN

NordVPN finds a nice balance between connection speed and powerful online security.

  • Monthly: £9.20/month
  • One-year plan: £3.79/month
  • Two-year plan: £2.86/month


2c90a667 2cd7 4aa3 bc62 fadde68c3021



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT

PureVPN

PureVPN has a good reputation for delivering reliable customer support, which is reassuring.

  • Monthly: £8.63/month
  • One-year plan: £4.26/month
  • Two-year plan: £2.44/month


Role Of HR Technology During The Pandemic And Beyond

One of the biggest challenges for businesses was to shut down operations immediately, as the pandemic took the globe in utter shock. However, as soon as the businesses went remote, a new family of problems became apparent. Most of the businesses were not prepared with the necessary technology suite to smoothly pivot to a remote-working model.

As a matter of fact, 80% of respondents to a Gartner survey stated that they did not have the digital technology needed to execute their professional responsibilities. This issue got exacerbated, as companies shifted to an entirely remote-working model. HR technology has not been entirely immune from this sudden set of changes.

Companies have now started observing some footfall of employees in the office, as the world is reopening slowly. However, several key functions are still being executed by remote teams. This lever between remote and on premise will keep moving in unfavourable directions, if apt HR technology is not deployed to acquire, retain, train, and manage human capital.

Understanding HR technology’s role in organizational success during and after the pandemic depends highly on the human capital engagement journey that the firm witnesses. Here are the typical stages of an individual’s interaction with the firm:

a. Hiring: The stage where an individual is a potential employee.
b. Training & Induction: When an individual has been hired and is making the first contact with the insider systems of the firm.
c. Retention & Engagement: The employee has been with the firm for a few years and is now delivering value.
d. Growth: The employee has been producing significant value for the firm and should now have a more expanded set of responsibilities to ensure this value generation pans out across the firm.

HR technology’s key role would be to ensure that a skilled individual with the right attributes is able to seamlessly go through all the stages. Here are some of the trends spotted by Gartner that will grow over the next decade and help firms optimize the journey from the above-mentioned stages.

Remote Interviewing

hr technology role during a pandemic

It is not difficult to find the right video communication tool that can help the human capital management team conduct online interviews. A little more thought into this would show that an online video interview is the closest replacement to an in-person interview. Such interviews require a high degree of engagement from top staffers in the firm. Hence, the firm has to bear opportunity costs by putting its top-value producers in the interview panel.

An efficient way to conduct online interviews is by using Machine Learning and AI approaches for conducting recorded interviews. Such platforms allow firms to scan through hundreds of applications without having to use any human effort. This also adds a component of interpersonal attributes to each applicant’s profile. The firm can now filter applicant pools using more holistic approaches, do so at a scale, and without tapping into the valuable time of the firm’s leadership.

More and more firms have been hiring from distant talent markets. As the pandemic has allowed people to work at a distance of several hundred miles from the office, this trend will continue.

Freelancer Management Systems

role of hr technology during pandemic

For the first time ever, firms started evaluating the possibilities of using more independent contractors than choosing permanent employees. Resource constraints create a two-way need for such arrangements. One – the firm does not want to incur additional costs of having a full-time employee who has to be paid benefits as well. Two – since they are more cost-effective for the firm, freelancers tend to have a higher ROI if they can execute their responsibilities.

All said and done – having more freelancers in the talent-mix at the firm creates some systemic challenges. HR technology platforms will have to cope with them during and after the pandemic settles:

  • Monitoring Working Hours: Many freelancers are paid on an hourly basis. Hence, firms will have to ensure that there are the right monitoring systems to verify the billed hours in each freelancer’s invoice.
  • Smart Contracts: HR firms are generally dependent on a large process of decision-making to release the payments for each independent contract the firm employs. As the sheer scale of such freelancers employed by the firm grows, smart contracts that help the firm automatically release payments on the basis of successful deliverables will become a necessity. Till such systems are not viable at scale, firms will have to focus on seamless payment integrations.
  • Unified Global Payroll Systems: As the possibility of engaging with more freelancers arises, firms will start tapping into talent arbitrage markets. IT team from Bangalore, back-office in Warsaw, digital marketing team in Boston, and legal team in London – such arrangements are highly dependent on payroll systems that have been optimized for global functioning. If the right payment systems are not integrated, firms will lose any efficiencies they have garnered by hiring a global set of independent contractors.

3. Learning & Productivity and Employee Engagement Platforms

While online education has made it possible for employees to work on their skill sets, workplace engagement has gone for a toss. Working remotely has created a sense of fatigue in most people. In order to control this from becoming a tailwind into downward spirals of productivity, HR technology will have to step up:

a. Stop Online Course Reimbursements and Develop Integrated Skill Assessments & Training

The conventional model tells HR teams to look at the potential returns of the acquired skills and reimburse the online courses the employees take. Instead of that, companies should use the ERP systems to analyse the skill deficiencies in their employees and create tailor-made training modules for employees. HR technology will help in analysing these skill gap areas and in delivering the skill acquisition process across the globe.

b. Setting a Uniform Agenda with Employee Engagement Platforms

The company’s employee engagement platform would reflect the true culture of the firm. As a large percentage of people work from home on a near-permanent basis, the need for reinforcement of culture will become more important. HR Technology in the form of team management, collaboration, and productivity suites delivered on the cloud, will become the pathway to setting a uniform cultural agenda within the business.

In Conclusion

Taking a page from the marketing playbook, HR technology initiatives will have to be optimized around converting each source of talent into a growing employee at the firm. That would be possible only with systemic changes that focus on automated remote hiring processes, freelancer management, and engaging employees.

The post Role Of HR Technology During The Pandemic And Beyond appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A look at the soaring valuations of Rivian and Cruise with transportation VC Reilly Brennan

Perhaps more than most, Reilly Brennan loves cars and trucks. The native Michigander happily did grunt work for an automotive magazine as an undergrad at the University of Michigan before landing a gig as a trackside communications manager at General Motors, spending a few years as an editor and a general manager with an automotive publisher called NextScreen, then becoming a programming director for AOL’s automotive properties.

His next role would be on the West Coast, as executive director of an automotive research program at Stanford, where Brennan continues to be a lecturer. Little surprise that soon after, a seed-stage fund began to make sense, too, and thus was born Trucks Venture Capital, which has since made dozens of bets out of a $20 million debut effort and is wrapping up a larger fund soon.

Late last week, we talked with Brennan about two of the fastest-soaring valuations we’ve seen recently in the automotive sector: that of the electric vehicle company Rivian, which raised a giant new round last week at a nearly $30 billion post-money valuation, and Cruise Automation, which also raised a giant new round last week, and also at $30 billion valuation. (Along with some other interesting bets, Trucks managed to write an early check for Cruise before it was acquired in 2016 by GM, which maintains majority ownership of the company.)

We wondered if even an auto aficionado might deem things a little bubbly. You can listen to that full conversation here. In the meantime, the excerpts below have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

TC: Who are your investors in Trucks VC? Are they individuals? Are any auto manufacturers that are trying to get a look at nascent technologies?

RB: We have some former execs from the car industry in the tech world, and a handful of family offices and definitely some large strategic companies. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you their names because I’ve signed documents that prevent me from doing that. But one of the cool things about our little Rolodex of [limited partners] is that our founders — when they want to come in and do something in transportation — it’s an easy doggie door into a lot of those entities, whether they’re people or businesses. One of the things I love about [the mix is] there’s probably no part of a vehicle, whether you’re talking about a car, truck, a bike, or a plane, that one of our investors couldn’t help out with.

TC: Do you look to be the first money into your deals?

RB: One of the interesting learnings I had in the first fund was, we were just trying to participate; we were just happy to be at the party. So we were participating in rounds that other people were leading, and our checks [from Fund I] were anywhere from $100,000 to a few thousand dollars.

The new fund is designed to take advantage of leading rounds [because] halfway through our first fund, founders would ask us to lead rounds, and frankly, the fund wasn’t big enough to do that. Our new fund is really designed so we can lead seed rounds, and that’s what we do. We’ll lead or co-lead and sit on the board. Usually, we’re  owning about 10% to 12% of a company at seed.

TC: One of Truck’s early checks went to Cruise, the self-driving car company that GM acquired for an amount that has variously been reported as more than $1 billion, as well as for closer to $500 million . . .

RB: The Cruise investment, my [fellow general partners] Jeff and Kate made. I can’t tell you specifically what the acquisition price was, but it was pretty good. That being said, if you read about the valuation of Cruise now within General Motors, or that of another [self-driving] company we invested in, Nutonomy, which was acquired by [automotive supplier] Delphi [for $450 million in 2017] and is now essentially a company called Motional, they’re pretty high.

I think a lot about those early exits because they validated the space, but I also think a lot of the early investors probably wish they had more ownership. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have sold. But you look at the valuation of Cruise and Motional today — if you put those two entities together — it’s more than the valuation of General Motors, or maybe Ford Motor Company.

TC: But is Cruise’s valuation perhaps too high right now? They still have a very long lead time to making money.

RB: I would agree with you that in the public market, it feels a little bubbly when it comes to electric vehicles and some of these ideas related to technology and auto. But I do think a lot of these companies look at the opportunity to automate things greater than just robo-taxis. Last year in particular provided good insight into how the logistics and delivery part of automation is probably on the nearer term horizon than robo-taxis and therefore more valuable.

TC: How much have valuations been driven up by Tesla, whose valuation now dwarfs all the major car manufacturers?

RB: One of the things the market appears to want is the simple story, and belief in Tesla is now highly aligned to [thinking that] this is just the way that transportation is going to be organized. It’s going to be a zero-emission vehicle that is highly connected and maybe attached to a consumer in a new way.

You’re seeing the same with a lot of these pure-play EV companies, whether it’s [carmaker] Fisker doing a SPAC or the way that [carmaker] Neo is received in China. There’s this purity of their message.

You can argue, successfully, that a lot of other companies have more engineering or a greater dealer network or more IP around a particular idea, but when it comes to the public market stuff, it really is about painting the picture in this one specific way that’s aligned with the future. And right now, the public markets really don’t like that composite, liberal arts approach to vehicle manufacturing; they really just want one thing that aligns very well with the future, which they believe is better electric vehicles.

TC: This seemingly applies to the Detroit carmaker Rivian. What do you think of this company that’s valued at nearly $30 billion yet hasn’t yet sold a truck or SUV? You aren’t one of its investor. Does its valuation make sense to you?

RB: From an engineering perspective, Rivian is probably one of the companies I respect most out of this new breed of manufacturers.

Tens years ago, when they started, there were a lot of new supercar entrepreneurs who were trying to start something new, but they were always small batch ideas. Like, maybe you could get 100 people to buy one. But they weren’t really well-aligned with what consumers were buying, which is increasingly utilities and trucks. So Rivian’s approach, with the segment it’s going after, is really smart, and it has fantastic engineering. So I’m actually quite bullish on Rivian.

In a year’s time, there will probably be two big events for Rivian. One, they will deliver the first batch of [electric delivery vans being built for investor] to Amazon, along with [other orders] to some of the early customers. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they’re public at some point in the next year.
They haven’t told me that; just my own personal speculation here.

TC: When you say it will go public, do you mean through a traditional IPO or maybe through a giant SPAC? Would what you guess?

I bet that Rivian will probably do a traditional IPO, that’s my guess. But they could also do a SPAC at some point. [Either way] I think the public markets are going to be really interested in Rivian. I just think there’s really good stuff there.

TC: Have you been able to test-drive its cars? Have you seen its tech up close? What makes you so confident that what Rivian is building is superior?

RB: I think the point of view they have about the segments is really interesting In the U.S., they are going after two great-growing segments in the business, which is utilities and trucks where, by the way, there’s a lot of margin, and there’s nobody specifically going after those segments.

The Rivian engineering that I speak about is really about the hires they’ve made and a lot of things they’ve done for years in advance of getting these vehicles ready. They’ve got a lot of amazing talent from big manufacturers. They made an unusual but really smart investment in a vehicle assembly facility that they purchased for relatively cheap years ago that was owned by Mitsubishi. And they put together all these components well in advance of anybody really even knowing about them, which is really smart.

Obviously, there’s still a huge amount of risk. What I’m saying is not investment advice. I just think there’s a lot of interesting stuff there that’s head and shoulders above many of the other EV companies, where there’s not a lot of substance, to be candid.

TC: My colleague Kirsten reported in December that Rivian is developing a network of charging stations along interstate highways and also at spots like hiking trails to accommodate who it imagines will be its customers. Does that make sense to you? Relatedly, how many different types of charging stations are we going to have in the world?

[Regarding the location of its stations], it’s definitely a nice ingredient in the story they’re trying to tell, though I don’t think you’ll see a Rivian charger at the entry point of every national park. They’ll probably have access to other charging networks. One of the things we’re seeing in the U.S. is you have some of these dedicated networks like Tesla has, and then you have a lot of agnostic [stations], where you can plug in and charge in a lot of other places, and Rivian will likely take advantage of that. An open question would be whether Rivian builds its own [larger] dedicated network that has a lot of coverage, and I don’t know about that yet.

The other component about Rivian that’s really fascinating is what they do for service and maintenance. I saw an open job that Rivian had a few months ago around remote diagnostics, and one of the bullet points of the job posting was that this job was really designed so that people didn’t have to go back to the dealership. [It begs the question of]: could you design experiences digitally,  as with [on-demand remote doctor visits], where you could potentially talk to somebody live, you could [have Rivian] assess the vehicle, or maybe walk you through a situation where you can fix something that would prevent a lot of the trips to dealer?

If you consider the traditional dealer and OEM relationship, a lot of the ways that cars are designed is that they’re constantly having to go back to the dealer. Rivian’s point of view on that is really different, and that’s one of the other reasons it’s one to watch.

Save £5 on an extra Xbox wireless controller with this voucher code

Save £5 on an extra Xbox wireless controller with this voucher code

SAVE £5: The Microsoft Xbox wireless controller is available for £49.99 on Currys PC World, using the code GAMINGFND1 (without next day delivery).


If you have been looking to boost your gaming collection recently, you might have come across the code GAMINGFND1 on Currys PC World. The code gives shoppers free next day delivery, but if you’re willing to be patient, it can also be used for a discount.

If you select a longer delivery time or collection from store, this code can be used for a £5 saving on list price. That means you can pick up an extra Xbox wireless controller for £49.99 on Currys PC World. We know this isn’t the biggest discount, but it’s about as good as it gets for these controllers. Read more…

More about Xbox, Wireless Controller, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

The 7 Signs of Fake News

These days, it’s hard to know what’s fact and what’s fiction, especially on the internet. Everyone has their own agenda and some people are willing to post fake information to manipulate people or get more people on their side. “Fake news” is a real and serious problem.

One of the biggest problems with fake news is that the stories can seem legitimate. They look credible and the information seems like it could be real. People often fall for fake news when they’re trying to support their own beliefs and don’t want to dig too deep.

Trying to avoid fake news can be a challenge. But it’s important to learn the warning signs so you can do some more research and make sure you’re not being tricked. Here are 7 signs that you might be reading a “news article” packed with false information.

Sources Are Not Properly Noted or Listed

Fake news stories will never have legitimate sources listed for obvious reasons. Not all articles need to have citations, but when you’re looking for facts, not opinions, it should be a red flag to see no sources linked or listed.

Sources should also be credible. Just because an author lists a source doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy. A fake news article writer might include sources that are just as unreliable to make it appear more credible.

Check those sources, especially for scientific or medical stories. Some writers are clever and will link to a .gov site claiming that it backs up their position. Most people won’t bother to look into things any further and won’t discover that the connection is weak at best.

Poor Writing

Fake news has been a major problem in public health, politics, and more. It has caused distrust in vaccines and even the election process. False information can lead to unnecessary deaths due to illness and spread conspiracy theories.

Although it’s almost always possible to “spin” a story or manipulate the context to fit the author’s view, many fake news writers are pretty bad at writing. Not only that, but they usually don’t have qualified copyeditors reviewing the content before they release it. Keep an eye out for poor writing and lots of typos—these are red flags that could indicate fake news.

Unreliability of Author

ways to identify fake news

If Dr. Anthony Fauci makes an announcement, his credentials and experience give his words more weight. But if you’re getting your information from some random guy on the internet, the results will be a lot more questionable. Sometimes, spotting fake news just comes down to the reliability (or unreliability!) of the author.

Do a little research and see what else the author has written. If the rest of their articles look suspicious, chances are good that you’re dealing with someone who is unreliable and distributing false information.

Lack of Widespread Coverage By Reputable News Outlets

If you’re reading about a topic or opinion for the first time, be extra cautious. Check some reputable news outlets and see if they have any reporting or coverage on it. If not, it could very well just be someone trying to spread conspiracy theories, stir up trouble, or create chaos. Big news outlets are usually on top of things, so be suspicious of articles that don’t relate to anything else in the news.

Only Shared on Social Media By Influencers

Influencers on social media are, of course, very influential! But that does not make them an authority on what’s fact and what’s fiction. Often, they’ll share the most sensational “news” without doing due diligence.

If something is only being shared on social media—and especially only by influencers—be suspicious. What could an influencer be gaining from sharing this story? Take the time to check around and see if coverage extends beyond social media.

Headlines Are Evocative

identifying fake news

Sensational stories get clicks—but that doesn’t mean they’re all true. If a headline seems overly dramatic, take a step back and ask why. Fake news headlines are designed to create an emotional response and push you to share the article immediately.

Information Can’t Be Cross-Checked Across Other Sources

Whenever you spot a red flag that something might be fake news, it’s important to do some additional searches and cross-check for similar information. If you can’t find anything else to cross-check, then there may be a problem—unless the information comes from a known and trusted source.

Follow your instincts, but be suspicious. Make sure you’re not falling for fake news just to confirm your own opinions. Remember—fake news might seem real in the moment, but a few minutes of research could reveal it as a total scam.

The post The 7 Signs of Fake News appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

‘Black excellence’: Gymnast Nia Dennis blesses the internet with another stunning floor routine

'Black excellence': Gymnast Nia Dennis blesses the internet with another stunning floor routine

Last February, UCLA’s Nia Dennis went viral for a flawless, swaggering floor routine set to a Beyoncé medley. So how do you follow that? By adding Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, and Tupac, apparently.

Dennis helped take her team to a win over Arizona State on Saturday with this joyous, confident celebration of Black excellence, opening with Kendrick’s defiant “DNA” and (ahem) rounded off with “California Love” — which obviously went down a treat with the hometown crowd. 

“This routine definitely reflects everything that I am today as a woman,” Dennis told the Los Angeles Daily News, “and of course I had to incorporate a lot of parts of my culture. I wanted to have a dance party because that’s my personality and of course I had to shout out LA because we out here, UCLA.” Read more…

More about Gymnastics, Culture, Identities, and Sports

Cybersecurity startup SpiderSilk raises $2.25M to help prevent data breaches

Dubai-based cybersecurity startup SpiderSilk has raised $2.25 million in a pre-Series A round, led by venture firms Global Ventures and STV.

In the past two years, SpiderSilk has discovered some of the biggest data breaches: Blind, the allegedly anonymous social network that exposed private complaints by Silicon Valley employees; a lab leaked highly sensitive Samsung source code; an inadvertently public code repository revealed apps, code, and apartment building camera footage belonging to controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI; and a massive spill of unencrypted customer card numbers at now-defunct MoviePass may have been the final nail in the already-beleaguered subscription service’s casket.

Much of those discoveries were found from the company’s proprietary internet scanner, SpiderSilk co-founder and chief security officer Mossab Hussein told TechCrunch.

Any company would want their data locked down, but mistakes happen and misconfigurations can leave sensitive internal corporate data accessible from the internet. SpiderSilk helps its customers understand their attack surface by looking for things that are exposed but shouldn’t be.

The cybersecurity startup uses its scanner to map out a company’s assets and attack surfaces to detect vulnerabilities and data exposures, and it also simulates cyberattacks to help customers understand where vulnerabilities are in their defenses.

“The attack surface management and threat detection platform we built scans the open internet on a continuous basis in order to attribute all publicly accessible assets back to organizations that could be affected by them, either directly or indirectly,” SpiderSilk’s co-founder and chief executive Rami El Malak told TechCrunch. “As a result, the platform regularly uncovers exploits and highlights how no organization is immune from infrastructure visibility blind-spots.”

El Malak said the funding will help to build out its security, engineering and data science teams, as well as its marketing and sales. He said the company is expanding its presence to North America with sales and engineering teams.

It’s the company’s second round of funding, after a seed round of $500,000 in November 2019, also led by Global Ventures and several angel investors.

“The SpiderSilk team are outstanding partners, solving a critical problem in the ever-complex world of cybersecurity, and protecting companies online from the increasing threats of malicious activity,” said Basil Moftah, general partner at Global Ventures.

All the best VPNs for streaming films from the UK

All the best VPNs for streaming films from the UK

What would we do without films? It’s honestly not worth thinking about. A good film has the ability to capture your attention and keep it for hours, which is especially useful if all you’ve got planned is staying in and doing as little as possible.

The good news for anyone planning on a movie marathon is that we’re living through a golden age of streaming services. Nowadays, film buffs can pick from Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and many more sites to get their fix. Put simply, we’re not short of options when it comes to settling down on the sofa for a day sat in front of a screen.

More about Movies, Streaming, Vpn, Mashable Shopping, and Consumer Tech

Be3427e3 717c 402a a10e bd050a9f6410



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR STREAMING

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is not the cheapest, but it’s probably the best option for streaming.

  • Monthly: £9.80/month
  • Six-month plan: £7.56/month
  • 15-month plan: £5.05/month


2413afba 5dbb 4188 ab4f dbbd492f744f



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR INTERFACE

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN helps you to access anything and everything online, with an attractive and user-friendly interface.

  • Monthly: £10.89/month
  • One-year plan: £3.45/month
  • Two-year plan: £2.89/month
  • Three-year plan: £1.99/month


F1028532 6321 454c 9ddc 28f67cbf2257



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR SECURITY

NordVPN

NordVPN effectively protects your online data and privacy, whilst being able to unlock leading streaming sites.

  • Monthly: £9.20/month
  • One-year plan: £3.79/month
  • Two-year plan: £2.86/month


8f2af425 3eb1 4ceb 846c d4751e52fe8c



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT

PureVPN

PureVPN offers subscribers a lot for their money, and if something goes wrong, its customer support has your back.

  • Monthly: £8.63/month
  • One-year plan: £4.26/month
  • Two-year plan: £2.44/month


0fb60de8 57c6 48b6 a3ed b4e2f9de21b8



IMAGE: Mashable



BEST FOR BEGINNERS

ZenMate VPN

ZenMate VPN is a straightforward and effective VPN that is great for newbies.

  • Monthly: £9.49/month
  • One-year plan: £3.89/month
  • Three-year plan: £1.44/month


Instacart to eliminate about 2,000 jobs and GitHub head of HR resigns

Hey y’all. You’ve just landed on Human Capital, the weekly newsletter that details the latest in labor, and diversity and inclusion in tech. The week kicked off with GitHub making a public apology to the person the company terminated for cautioning his employees about Nazis in D.C. on the day of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Later in the week, Google revoked corporate access from AI ethicist Margaret Mitchell in what some are saying is reminiscent of the company’s treatment of Dr. Timnit Gebru. Meanwhile, Instacart is making some changes to its platform that will result in job loss. 

Sign up below to get this in your email every Friday at 1 p.m. PT.

GitHub’s head of HR resigns; company offers fired Jewish employee his job back

A GitHub internal investigation revealed the company made “significant errors of judgment and procedure” in the firing of the Jewish employee who cautioned his coworkers about the presence of Nazis in the D.C. area on the day of insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In a blog post, GitHub COO Erica Brescia said the company’s head of HR took full responsibility for what happened and resigned from the company yesterday. GitHub did not disclose the name of the person who resigned, but it’s widely known that Carrie Olesen was the chief human resources officer at GitHub.

GitHub said it has “reversed the decision to separate with the employee” and is talking to his representative.

“To the employee we wish to say publicly: We sincerely apologize,” Brescia said in the blog post. However, the terminated employee previously told me that he did not want his job back but instead some other form of reconciliation.

Google AI ethicist under investigation 

Google is investigating AI ethicist Margaret Mitchell for reportedly using automated scripts to find examples of mistreatment of Dr. Timnit Gebru, according to Axios. Gebru says she was fired from Google while Google has maintained that she resigned. In a statement to Axios, Google said the company had locked Mitchell’s account:

Our security systems automatically lock an employee’s corporate account when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered. In this instance, yesterday our systems detected that an account had exfiltrated thousands of files and shared them with multiple external accounts. We explained this to the employee earlier today.

The recently-formed Alphabet Workers Union made a statement saying it was concerned by Mitchell’s suspension of corporate access:

“Regardless of the outcome of the company’s investigation, the ongoing targeting of leaders in this organization calls into question Google’s commitment to ethics—in AI and in their business practices. Many members of the Ethical AI team are AWU members and the membership of our union recognizes the crucial work that they do and stands in solidarity with them in this moment.”

Google’s Sundar Pichai to meet with HBCU leaders

At least five HBCU presidents are scheduled to meet with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker later this month to discuss recent allegations of racism and discrimination at the company, according to CNN. Additionally, the goal of the meeting is to ensure HBCUs have a good relationship with Google and that the company offers a good environment for its students and graduates.

Context:

I’m finna tell yall why @Google fired me- their MOST successful diversity recruiter in the history of their company- with the receipts to support that statement.

— Real Abril🌈 (@RealAbril) December 21, 2020

Amazon launches anti-union website

Ahead of Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama gearing up to vote on whether to form a union, Amazon launched an anti-union website. Called Do It Without Dues, the site aims to dissuade workers from voting to unionize.

Instacart plans to terminate nearly 2,000 jobs 

Instacart plans to lay off nearly 2,000 of its workers, including the 10 workers from the Kroger-owned Mariano’s who unionized early last year, Vice reports. These workers are responsible for in-store shopping and packing of groceries.

According to Vice, 10 of the workers affected unionized with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1546 in Skokie, Illinois. However, they have yet to negotiate a contract with Instacart, according to Vice. Instacart notified the union of the planned changes earlier this week. In the letter, Instacart said it planned to stop using in-store shoppers at Kroger-owned stores, which includes the Mariano’s store in Skokie, in Q1 and Q2 of this year, but no earlier than mid-March.

Here’s how to get a subscription to EA Play for under £1

Here's how to get a subscription to EA Play for under £1

SAVE 80%: A one-month subscription to EA Play is on sale for £0.79 as of Jan. 23, saving you 80% on list price.


Subscribing to EA Play is one of the simplest, fastest, and cheapest ways of boosting your gaming collection. Members get rewards, exclusive content, and unlimited access to top EA titles.

Subscribers get instant access to a collection of EA’s best loved games, including Jedi Fallen Order and Titanfall 2. All progress will carry over if you decide to buy the title, and members receive a 10% discount on EA digital purchases, including full games, season passes, DLC, and much more. 

More about Gaming, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, Uk Deals, and Tech

Is any company too big to be SPAC’d?

While many deemed 2020 the year of SPAC, short for special purpose acquisition company, 2021 may well make last year look quaint in comparison.

It’s probably not premature to be asking: is there any company too big to be SPAC’d?

Just today, we saw the trading debut of the most valuable company to date go public through a merger with one of these SPACs: 35-five-year-old, Pontiac, Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage, which is among the biggest mortgage companies in the U.S.

Its shares slipped a bit by the end of trading, closing at $11.35 down from their starting price of $11.54, but it’s doubtful anyone involved is crying into their cocktails tonight. The outfit was valued at a whopping $16 billion when its merger with the blank-check outfit Gores Holdings IV was approved earlier this week.

Why is this interesting? Well, first, despite UWM’s size, unlike with a traditional IPO that can require 12 to 18 months of preparation, UWM’s path to going public took less than a year, beginning with Gores Holdings IV completing its IPO in late January 2020 and raising approximately $425 million in cash.

Alec Gores, the billionaire founder of of the private equity firm Gores Group, led the deal. The tie-up was announced back in September and ultimately included an additional $500 million private placement. (It’s typical to tack-on these transactions once a target company has been identified and accepts the terms of the proposed merger. Most targets are many times larger than the blank check companies with which they are joining forces.)

Also notable is that UWM is a mature company, one that says it generated $1.3 billion in revenue in the third quarter of last year alone and whose CEO, whose father started the company in 1986, said last fall that the company is “massively profitable.”

It’s a story unlike that of most outfits to go public recently through the SPAC process. Consider Opendoor, Luminar Technologies, and Virgin Galactic. Each are developing businesses that need capital to keep going and which might not have found much more from private market investors.

SpaceX director Steve Jurvetson underscored the point pretty bluntly last week, saying, for example, that Virgin Galactic has seen “no positive business development” since being taken public. “They announced that they’re going to develop a hypersonic plane, but that has zero synergy with the current business they’re trying to launch, which is suborbital spaceflights, which have yet to happen for customers.”

If more profitable, more mature, more businesses with a very clear path to future revenue begin choosing SPACs over traditional IPOs, it could, at long last, change stubborn perceptions of SPAC candidates as fly-by-night operations that aren’t sustainable as public companies.

It could also widen ideas about what size companies are appropriate to take public this way.

More certain: UWM isn’t likely to hold the record for ‘biggest SPAC deal ever’ for long. Not only is interest in SPACs as feverish as ever, but one vehicle in particular seems poised to take the title, and that’s the SPAC of billionaire investor William Ackman, whose blank-check company raised $4 billion last summer.

Presumably, the deal will be a doozy. Reportedly, Ackerman was at one point looking to take public Airbnb with his SPAC. When Airbnb passed on the proposed merger, he reportedly reached out to the privately held media conglomerate Bloomberg. (Bloomberg has said it’s untrue.)

Because SPACs typically complete a merger with a private company in two years or less, speculation has been runs rampant about what Ackman — who plans to kick in an additional $1 billion in cash from his hedge fund — will piece together with all that money.

In the meantime, there have been 59 new SPAC offerings in the last 22 days alone — as many as in all of 2019. They’ve raised $16.8 billion. And there’s seemingly no end in sight.

Just this week, Fifth Wall Ventures, the four-year-old, L.A.-based proptech focused venture firm, registered plans to raise $250 million for a new blank-check company.

Meanwhile, Intel Chairman Omar Ishrak, who previously ran medical device giant Medtronic, is planning to raise between $750 million and $1 billion for a blank-check firm targeting deals in the health tech sector, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

As for Gores Group, on Wednesday, it registered plans to raise $400 million in an IPO for its newest blank check company. It will be the outfit’s seventh SPAC to date.

How Society Helps Entrepreneurs Succeed

Today, many people want to be like entrepreneurs. Relatively few are willing to face the risks business owners do, but everyone can admire the rewards some manage to earn. Glowing accounts of how companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google began are the epic tales of a modern fairy tale story.

how do entrepreneurs succeed

But what made Bill Gates’s success possible? Biographical and business literature consider the individual, evaluating conditions such as mindset, personal network, background, and awareness of market characteristics. Necessities that get treated as a guarantee include open and competitive markets, widely respected property rights, and a favorable legal system to businesses.

Literature evaluating those considerations is more commonly found elsewhere in a library. While the factors listed above can appear to be permanent fixtures, they’re recent phenomena in the historical context. They require consistent maintenance if they are to stick around for future generations.

The free market system Americans currently take for granted emerged in Europe during the early modern period. One by one, Western society rejected the aristocratic deal (summarized as “do what I say and I’ll let you work”) in favor of the bourgeois deal (which can be thought of as “leave me alone and I’ll make you rich”). To make this possible, a great deal of blood and ink spilled within and between the forming nations of the time.

Numerous revolutions, revolts, and reformations over a span of centuries were required for this reevaluation of Western values to stick. When the dust settles, the bourgeois social class perception changed from immoral characters to directors of progress. Working in one’s personal interest was in bad taste no more. Rather, it was a common expectation held of anybody who wanted to make it commercially.

Society creates entrepreneurs by embracing those motivated by self-interest. According to groundbreaking economist Adam Smith, “it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

Thanks to these developments, global wealth exploded in ways never previously witnessed. 85% of the globe lived on less than $2 per day in 1800, but only 9% did in 2017. That change comes despite the global population increasing over 650% in the same two centuries. In the United States more recently, the population living below the national poverty line cut in half from 1959 to 2019. Living standards reflect the change; 9 in 10 of American households have air conditioners today. The mean household owns 1.88 cars.

Things that would have once been produced exclusively for the rich are commonplace today. Twenty-first century examples of this phenomenon may include items like smartphones and wireless internet service. Entrepreneurs are to thank for this change. While true that the most successful entrepreneurs explicitly seek to increase personal prosperity, they often improve general social welfare along the way.

how entrepreneurs succeed through society

The “Great Enrichment” of our modern age doesn’t solely rely on modern science and strong work ethic, despite their utmost significance. It is the liberty and dignity of entrepreneurs that greatly contributes to the world’s continuous flourishing.

When individuals from different sections of society look at entrepreneurship as a potential course of action, incomes increase and poverty is mitigated. People wouldn’t consider embracing innovation, and the successes and failures that come with it, if there was no way for them to retain the profits they worked very hard for.

Centrally directed economies permit monopolies to grow, regulate market extent, and suppress innovation. This only creates impediments to entrepreneurs and their innovative endeavors. Strict control on the free market can cause a reversal in the direction that the society is heading for, taking entire countries back to the aristocratic ways of things. Taking America’s history into account, immigrants originally wanted an escape to aristocracy, but not an embrace of it.

Free markets are necessary conditions for national prosperity, but they are insufficient alone. Recognizing the individual right to self-author requires society to extend liberty and dignity to everyone. Prosperity can’t reach all people until everyone, particularly women and minorities, is empowered to view innovation as an available career path.

The ideal world is one in which anyone can be a merchant. A world where it is possible for women and minorities to embrace the entrepreneurial maxim (“we are rich because we are free”), just like their white male peers have for centuries.

Becoming An Entrepreneur
Source: EdSmart.org

The post How Society Helps Entrepreneurs Succeed appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

JustKitchen is using cloud kitchens to create the next generation of restaurant franchising

JustKitchen operates cloud kitchens, but the company goes beyond providing cooking facilities for delivery meals. Instead, it sees food as a content play, with recipes and branding instead of music or shows as the content, and wants to create the next iteration of food franchises. JustKitchen currently operates its “hub and spoke” model in Taiwan, with plans to expand four other Asian markets, including Hong Kong and Singapore, and the United States this year.

Launched last year, JustKitchen currently offers 14 brands in Taiwan, including Smith & Wollensky and TGI Fridays. Ingredients are first prepped in a “hub” kitchen, before being sent to smaller “spokes” for final assembly and pickup by delivery partners, including Uber Eats and FoodPanda. To reduce operational costs, spokes are spread throughout cities for quicker deliveries and the brands each prepares is based on what is ordered most frequently in the area.

In addition to licensing deals, JustKitchen also develops its own brands and performs research and development for its partners. To enable that, chief operating officer Kenneth Wu told TechCrunch that JustKitchen is moving to a more decentralized model, which means its hub kitchens will be used primarily for R&D, and production at some of its spoke kitchens will be outsourced to other food vendors and manufacturers. The company’s long-term plan is to license spoke operation to franchisees, while providing order management software and content (i.e. recipes, packaging and branding) to maintain consistent quality.

Demand for meal and grocery deliveries increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the United States, this means food deliveries made up about 13% of the restaurant market in 2020, compared to the 9% forecast before the pandemic, according to research firm Statista, and may rise to 21% by 2025.

But on-demand food delivery businesses are notoriously expensive to operate, with low margins despite markups and fees. By centralizing food preparation and pickup, cloud kitchens (also called ghost kitchens or dark kitchens) are supposed to increase profitability while ensuring standardized quality. Not surprisingly, companies in the space have received significant attention, including former Uber chief executive officer Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens, Kitchen United and REEF, which recently raised $1 billion led by SoftBank.

Wu, whose food delivery startup Milk and Eggs was acquired by GrubHub in 2019, said one of the main ways JustKitchen differentiates is by focusing on operations and content in addition to kitchen infrastructure. Before partnering with restaurants and other brands, JustKitchen meets with them to design a menu specifically for takeout and delivery. Once a menu is launched, it is produced by JustKitchen instead of the brands, who are paid royalties. For restaurants that operate only one brick-and-mortar location, this gives them an opportunity to expand into multiple neighborhoods and cities (or countries, when JustKitchen begins its international expansion) simultaneously, a new take on the franchising model for the on-demand delivery era.

One of JustKitchen's delivery meals, with roast chicken and vegetables

One of JustKitchen’s delivery meals

Each spoke kitchen puts the final touches on meal before handing them to delivery partners. Spoke kitchens are smaller than hubs, closer to customers, and the goal is to have a high revenue to square footage ratio.

“The thesis in general is how do you get economies of scale or a large volume at the hub, or the central kitchen where you’re making it, and then send it out deep into the community from the spokes, where they can do a short last-mile delivery,” said Wu.

JustKitchen says it can cut industry standard delivery times by half, and that its restaurant partners have seen 40% month on month growth. It also makes it easier for delivery providers like Uber Eats to stack orders, which means having a driver pick up three or four orders at a time for separate addresses. This reduces costs, but is usually only possible at high-volume restaurants, like fast food chain locations. Since JustKitchen offers several brands in one spoke, this gives delivery platforms more opportunities to stack orders from different brands.

In addition to partnerships, JustKitchen also develops its own food brands, using data analytics from several sources to predict demand. The first source is its own platform, since customers can order directly from Just Kitchen. It also gets high-level data from delivery partners that lets them see food preferences and cart sizes in different regions, and uses general demographic data from governments and third-party providers with information about population density, age groups, average income and spending. This allows it to plan what brands to launch in different locations and during different times of the day, since JustKitchen offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.

JustKitchen is incorporated in Canada, but launched in Taiwan first because of its population density and food delivery’s popularity. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery penetration in the U.S. and Europe was below 20%, but in Taiwan, it was already around 30% to 40%, Wu said. The new demand for food delivery in the U.S. “is part of the new norm and we believe that is not going away,” he added. JustKitchen is preparing to launch in Seattle and several Californian cities, where it already has partners and kitchen infrastructure.

“Our goal is to focus on software and content, and give franchisees operations so they have a turnkey franchise to launch immediately,” said Wu. “We have the content and they can pick whatever they want. They have software to integrate, recipes and we do the food manufacturing and sourcing to control quality, and ultimately they will operate the single location.”

Seth Meyers blasts Trump’s ‘criminal’ lack of coronavirus vaccine plan

Seth Meyers blasts Trump's 'criminal' lack of coronavirus vaccine plan

Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden has already reversed some of Donald Trump’s most damaging policies, abolishing the Muslim travel ban and halting construction on the border wall. So of course, as Late Night host Seth Meyers noted Thursday, upset Trump supporters are lashing out — including Republican senator Ted Cruz.

In a shockingly misinformed tweet, Cruz nonsensically accused Biden of being “more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh” because he rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. To be clear, the Paris Climate Agreement isn’t actually about Parisians. It was named such because it was signed in Paris, and it’s kind of mind-blowing that a U.S. senator would insinuate otherwise. Also, Pittsburgh was in favour of the Paris agreement. Read more…

More about Ted Cruz, Seth Meyers, Culture, and Politics

How Increases In Remote Work Will Affect The Wage Gap

The past year has led to an unprecedented increase in employees working from home. Just under 90% of global organizations either mandated or requested their workers to do their jobs remotely last year. Of the companies who made that transition, two thirds of them believe remote work will continue for the foreseeable future. 2020 was a year of many temporary changes, but working from home is destined to become a permanent fixture of the American workforce.

Given this information, many workers are not wondering what the change will mean for them. What trends in business operations are at play? How will the dynamics that traditionally shaped the workplace be altered? On the subject of persistent problems like pay inequity, will remote work improve or worsen the matter?

Every update to a new system of work includes a period of confusion. When the dust clears on the teleworking trend, winners and losers will become more apparent. While both employer and employee have something to gain from remote work, the benefits still exclude certain marginalized groups.

What are the benefits of remote work for businesses? By having fewer employees make use of the company’s office, companies no longer need to own or rent as large a complex. They can downsize on both property and overhead by reducing the number of workers on location. Because employees can work from anywhere, businesses are free to relocate to lower cost markets.

Certain tech companies were already leaving built-up industry hubs like Silicon Valley in favor of other locations (namely Texas), but the shift to remote work has accelerated the move. Already, American employers as a whole can save up to $30 billion a day from offering remote work to employees.

remote work salary gap

On the side of workers, employees also save money by eliminating their daily commute. Along with eating up a great deal of a worker’s time, commutes incurred regular transportation expenses such as gas and maintenance. Being able to work from anywhere also leaves the worker free to relocate. Already, between 14 and 23 million American workers may move for this reason. That’s up to 12% of American households!

The most likely group to relocate are city dwellers who want to find affordable housing. In major metropolitan areas like New York City, San Francisco, and Washington DC, average housing costs can easily outpace average income. Moving from Palo Alto, CA to Denver, CO can bring about an 18% decrease in the cost of living. The main budget item that changes in the move is housing.

remote work

Does this mean remote workers might get paid less? While it depends on the company, remote workers can see a drop in pay if they move to a less expensive area. For example, Stripe has offered its workers $20,000 to cover moving expenses followed by a 10% salary cut. The reason for this phenomenon is that part of their annual salary was designed to be able to support them in the area surrounding company headquarters.

With remote work, that is no longer necessary. If the decrease in annual expenses is greater in proportion to a drop in earnings, the employee can still come out ahead. American workers still stand to save between $2,500 and $4,000 by working from home. Pay differences based on location is a variation of the wage gap, but in this case, it’s one where everyone can benefit.

The forecast is not as optimistic when it comes to the more well-known forms of wage gaps. Even in 2020, women still made 82% as much as men while black men made 87% as white men according to the AAUW. Uneven compensation on the basis of gender and race continues in the new decade. While remote work may make it easier for women and racial minorities to get hired and decrease management bias against them, these factors alone are not enough to fix the problem.

Women in remote jobs still earn less than their male counterparts. Making matters worse is the fact that women and racial minorities are less likely to have the option of telework in their jobs, meaning they can’t reap any of the benefits discussed previously. As with any change, remote work is a mixed blessing.

Remote work and the modern wage gap - TrackTime24.com
Source: TrackTime24.com

The post How Increases In Remote Work Will Affect The Wage Gap appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

This startup says its AI can better spot a healthy embryo — and improve IVF success

With every year, AI is beginning to bring more standardized levels of diagnostic accuracy in medicine. This is true of skin cancer detection, for example, and lung cancers.

Now, a startup in Israel called Embryonics says its AI can improve the odds of successfully implanting a healthy embryo during in vitro fertilization. What the company has been developing, in essence, is an algorithm to predict embryo implantation probability, one they have trained through IVF time-lapsed imaging of developing embryos.

It’s just getting started, to be clear. So far, in a pilot involving 11 women ranging in age from 20 to 40, six of those individuals are enjoying successful pregnancies, and the other five are awaiting results, says Embryonics.

Still, Embryonics is interesting for its potential to shake up a big market that’s been stuck for decades and continues to grow only because of external trends, like millennial women who are putting off having children owing to economic concerns.

Consider that the global in-vitro fertilization market is expected to grow from roughly $18.3 billion to nearly double that number in the next five years by some estimates. Yet the tens of thousands of women who undergo IVF each year have long faced costs of anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle (at least in the U.S.), along with long-shot odds that grow worse with age.

Indeed, it’s the prospect of reducing the number of IVF rounds and their attendant expenses that drives Embryonics, which was founded three years ago by CEO Yael Gold-Zamir, an M.D. who studied general surgery at Hebrew University, yet became a researcher in an IVF laboratory owing to an abiding interest in the science behind fertility.

As it happens, she would be introduced to two individuals with complementary interests and expertise. One of them was David Silver, who had studied bioinformatics at the prestigious Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and who, before joining Embryonics last year, spent three years as a machine learning engineer at Apple and three years before that as an algorithm engineer at Intel.

The second individual to whom Gold-Zamir was introduced was Alex Bronstein, a serial founder who spent years as a principal engineer with Intel and who is today the head of the Center for Intelligent Systems at Technion as well as involved with several efforts involving deep learning AI, including at Embryonics and at Sibylla AI, a nascent outfit focused on algorithmic trading in capital markets.

It’s a small outfit, but the three, along with 13 other full-time employees to join them, appear to be making progress.

Fueled in part by $4 million in seed funding led by the Shuctermann Family Investment Office (led by the former president of Soros Capital, Sender Cohen) and the Israeli Innovation Authority, Embryonics says it’s about to receive regulatory approval in Europe that will enable it to sell its software — which the team says can recognize patterns and interpret image in small cell clusters with greater accuracy than a human —  to fertility clinics across the continent.

Using a database with millions of (anonymized) patient records from different centers around the world that representing all races and geographies and ages, says Gold-Zamir, the company is already eyeing next steps, too.

Most notably, beyond analyzing which of several embryos is most likely to thrive, Embryonics wants to work with fertility clinics on improving what’s called hormonal stimulation, so that their patients produce as many mature eggs as possible.

As Bronstein explains it, every woman who goes through IVF or fertility preservation goes through an hormonal stimulation process — which involves getting injected with hormones from 8 to 14 days — to induce their ovaries to produce numerous eggs. But right now, there are just three general protocols and  a “lot of trial and error in trying to establish the right one,” he says.

Though deep learning, Embryonics thinks it can begin to understand not just which hormones each individual should be taking but the different times they should be taken.

In addition to embryo selection, Embryonics has developed a non-invasive genetic test based on analysis of visual information, together with clinical data, that in some cases can detect major chromosomal aberrations like down syndrome, says Gold-Zamir.

And there’s more in the works if all goes as planned. “Embryonics’s goal is to provide a holistic solution, covering all aspects of the process,” says Gold-Zamir, who volunteers that she is raising four children of her own, along with running the company.

It’s too soon to say whether the nascent outfit will succeed, naturally. But it certainly seems to be at the forefront of a technology that is fast changing after more than 40 years wherein many IVF clinics worldwide have simply assessed embryo health by looking at days-old embryos on a petri dish under a microscope to assess their cell multiplication and shape.

In the spring of 2019, for instance, investigators from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City published own their conclusion  that AI can evaluate embryo morphology more accurately than the human eye after using 12,000 photos of human embryos taken precisely 110 hours after fertilization to train an algorithm to discriminate between poor and good embryo quality.

The investigators said that each embryo was first assigned a grade by embryologists that considered various aspects of the embryo’s appearance. The investigators then performed a statistical analysis to correlate the embryo grade with the probability of a successful pregnancy outcome. Embryos were considered good quality if the chances were greater than 58 percent and poor quality if the chances were below 35%.

After training and validation, the algorithm was able to classify the quality of a new set of images with 97% accuracy.

Photo Credit: Tammy Bar-Shay

Start browsing privately with the help of an unlimited subscription to TunnelBear

Start browsing privately with the help of an unlimited subscription to TunnelBear

TSAVE 67%: A three-year subscription to TunnelBear is on sale for £2.43 per month as of Jan. 21, saving you 67% on list price.


If you’ve ever considered downloading a VPN, you’ve probably come across TunnelBear. It’s one of the few services that offers a genuinely free plan, and for that reason it’s one of the most popular options for boosting online security.

The free plan is a solid option, but you really should consider upgrading to an unlimited plan if you want to browse, shop, and stream securely. An unlimited plan provides users with apps for every device, five simultaneous connections, fast speeds, and AES 256-bit encryption. Unlike the free version, there are no data limits. Read more…

More about Cybersecurity, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, Uk Deals, and Tunnelbear

A Look At The Healthcare Jobs Of The Future

With each passing year comes a whole new series of ingenious innovations, especially in STEM fields. During this past year, a majority of the leading edge developments revolved around finding ways to improve upon the traditional standard of medical care by integrating more technology into the field of healthcare.

As we enter the first few months of the new year, companies all over the globe have found themselves in a mad dash to create 2021’s next big thing. As reported in the Apploi 2021 healthcare trends report, governments and private equity firms around the globe have finally begun to realize just how important holistic healthcare is.

Private equity firms alone have already invested a record of $1.37B this year and with the funds that governments have set aside for mental health initiatives – community care, a new approach to mental and physical health, appears to be this year’s next frontier.

The concept of community care is built on the idea of increasing the amount of interpersonal acts of compassion in order to provide a more well-rounded approach to medical care, but what does that actually look like?

The Impact of Community Care

future healthcare jobs

The community care approach to physical health would actually be based on a concept documented in a recent Lancet article that depicts an increase of monitoring devices installed in homes, on smartphones, in public places, and healthcare facilities that would have the ability to routinely record and upload patient data in real time.

This may raise some red flags as far as privacy is considered. Having access to raw, biometric, and physical data on patients would go a long way towards decoding the effects that a person’s social determinants can have on their health. Understanding those links would go a long way in being able to treat the whole patient rather than just their symptoms.

Now as the community care approach relates to improving mental healthcare, Apploi offers several solutions in their 2021 report. Last year’s big push to improve the standard of medical care has caused countless insurers and employers to re-examine their own care policies, which revealed several glaring gaps in protocol as it relates to gaining access to care.

Many have opted to rely on peer support in order to fill said gaps, causing peer support to become monetized in ways it’s never been. Several educational institutes have also agreed to adopt the community care technique, mainly by increasing their efforts to attract more underrepresented minority groups in the hopes that the psychiatric field will one day include a more diverse workforce.

The Future of Mental Healthcare

healthcare jobs of the future for mental health

Universal mental health screenings will soon become a routine, societal norm within primary, community, and long-term care in order to help identify if someone is feeling symptoms and intervene as early as possible. Increasing the public visibility when dealing with mental health will significantly contribute to reducing societal stigmas while simultaneously increasing the access to care, another important factor in being able to treat the patient as a whole.

It wasn’t until very recently that projects like this one wouldn’t have been immediately labeled as excessive or too cost-prohibitive to sustain. Luckily, Apploi didn’t waste any time in advocating for better. For far too long patient healthcare has been viewed in how many zeros it could generate at the end of a check rather than how much good it could do.

The community care approach may prove to be more expensive than other methods in the beginning; however, the light it shines on traditionally taboo aspects of the field is invaluable. Hopefully widespread implementation, especially as it applies to the mental health aspect of the plan, will eventually lead to the end of the societal stigma and ability to finally give mental healthcare “the attention and the funding it deserves”.

Achieving that would be momentous as studies show that with heightened awareness and enough funding, the market size for behavioral health is projected to reach USD $350B by 2025 alone. The medical advances of 2020 have certainly proved to advance the standard of medical care up to a certain point, but it is Apploi’s community care proposal that is going to take up all the way. What do you think the healthcare jobs of the future will look like?

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

Apploi’s 2021 Healthcare Trends Report

The post A Look At The Healthcare Jobs Of The Future appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Save £30 and stay in touch with a little help from the Echo Show 5

Save £30 and stay in touch with a little help from the Echo Show 5

SAVE £30: The Echo Show 5 is on sale for £49.99 on Amazon as of Jan. 20, saving you 38% on list price.


Staying connected with friends and family has arguably never been more important, and the good news is that these days, it’s extremely easy to stay in touch.

The Echo Show 5 connects to Alexa to give you vivid visuals on a 5.5-inch screen. You can use it to call almost anyone hands-free, and also make video calls to other Echo devices with a screen. It can even connect with other Echo devices in your home, so you can quickly and easily communicate with everyone in the house.

More about Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, Uk Deals, Echo Show 5, and Tech

Wattpad, the storytelling platform, is selling to South Korea’s Naver for $600 million

Wattpad, the 14-year-old, Toronto-based, venture-backed storytelling platform with reach into a number of verticals, is being acquired by Naver, the South Korean conglomerate, in a $600 million cash-and-stock deal.

Naver plans to incorporate at least part of the business into another of its holdings, the publishing platform Webtoon, which Naver launched in 2004, brought to the U.S. in 2014, and that features thousands of comic strips created by its users. It also has a huge audience. According to Naver, Webtoon was averaging more than 67 million monthly users as of last August.

On its face, the deal appears to make sense. According to Korea’s Pulse News, some of the region’s webtoons are finding a broader geographic audience and crossing over into film. (Below is a trailer for one popular series called “The Secret of Angel.”)

Similarly, Wattpad, which originally launched as an e-reading app, has evolved into a highly popular platform where users publish their original work and more than 90 million people visit monthly to read them. (Indeed, according to a story published last week in the Verge, Wattpad has published more than a billion stories over the years,  and it claims its users spend a collective 22 billion minutes per month reading these.)

Like Webtoon, Wattpad has been more focused on streaming media, given the many platforms now needing fresh content, from Netflix to Apple to farther flung outfits, like GoJek’s GoPlay, launched by the Indonesian ride-hailing giant in 2019. (In addition to Wattpad Studios, Wattpad also launched a book publishing division in 2019.)

CEO Jun Koo Kim of Webtoon said in a press release about the new tie-up that it represents a “big step towards us becoming a leading global multimedia entertainment company.”

Meanwhile, CEO Seong-Sook Han of Naver — a search engine giant whose properties include the popular Tokyo-based messaging app Line — said in a separate release that Wattpad co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen will continue to lead the company they have built post-acquisition.

As for whether the acquisition is a win for Wattpad’s investors, it appears to be a moderate one. (It’s hard to discern much without knowing the terms under which each outfit invested.)

Wattpaid had raised $117.8 million from investors in Asia, the United States, and Canada over the years and closed its most recent round with $51 million from Tencent Holdings, BDC, Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, Peterson Group, Canso, and Raine Ventures.

That last deal, announced in 2018, assigned the company a post-money valuation of $398 million according to Pitchbook.

7 Smart Strategies To Deal With Unemployment

Having been retrenched in 2018 after being with a company for 17 years was quite frightening. I have just turned forty-nine, which have put me in the age bracket where finding employment is exceedingly difficult. Being hard of hearing has also limited me with regards to the positions I can apply for.

Coping was extremely hard, especially as time wears on. Because you do not receive any feedback on your applications, you quickly start losing confidence in your abilities and struggle to stay positive.

In 2020, millions lost their jobs due to the pandemic and the lockdowns enforced worldwide. The resulting economic downturn made it even more difficult to find employment or generate an income working for yourself.

How do you cope with this situation that is so stressful and emotionally draining?

Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise

deal with unemployment

This is a time that you need to take care of yourself.

Now more than ever, it is essential to get enough sleep. Matt Walker states in his Ted Talk Sleep is your superpower, that sleep is essential for many reasons like learning and memory, cardiovascular health, immunity, and your overall wellness.

That said, the stress of your situation and an overactive mind could make it hard to fall asleep. If this continues for too long, it may severely impact your ability to function. To help you to fall asleep, create a bedtime routine: set a specific time to go to bed and to rise in the morning. Avoid using your digital devices an hour before bed.

Have a hot bath to help you relax and engage in calming activities like listening to music. For some people reading in bed might help to fall asleep, but only hard copies. You can also opt to use a digital device that does not emit blue lights.

You should also consider natural solutions like chamomile or rooibos tea, and meditation. Another natural remedy is journaling, which helps by getting all your thoughts down on paper.

As a last resort, consider asking your doctor for medication to relax you and help you to sleep. But use it only when necessary to avoid the danger of becoming dependent on it.
Also, eat healthy and nutritious food. Fruits and vegetables provide you with essential vitamins and minerals to stay strong and healthy. For example, vitamin B helps to combat depression, while vitamin C and zinc strengthen the immune system.

Regular exercise is essential to deal with feelings of depression, anxiety, and frustration. It helps to get all the stress hormones out of your body and calm your mind. Cycling is a good option to consider. The repetitive action of pedalling helps to organise your mind, for which you will often discover innovative ideas and insights while out riding.

Upgrade your knowledge and skills

Even if finances are tough, try to upgrade your knowledge and skills and learn as much as possible. The internet contains a wealth of information about various subjects and you will be able to learn a lot from just accessing free material like blog posts, free eBooks, webinars, etc.

If you subscribe to receive a free eBook and you do not like the newsletter, it is easy to unsubscribe. But sometimes the information in these emails might be useful, especially the ones relating to self-help and self-improvement.

As far as courses go, Udemy has many different courses, which is often discounted to as little as R180 (about $12) per course. It gives a detailed breakdown of the course content and most courses have plenty of reviews to help you decide if a course is worth taking.

Also, look out for the LinkedIn trial offer – a free month to access many useful courses offered on LinkedIn Learning. Just remember to cancel the subscription before the first billing takes place. You will lose access to all the material after cancelling, so make sure to make notes of valuable information.

Budget and Finances

Financially you need to look at your budget with a sharp eye and see if there are any items that you could save on. Cut all luxury items like subscription services, DSTV, etc. But ensure that you do have a reasonable amount of data available every month as a lot of job hunting can be accomplished online.

Also, look at entertainment expenses like eating out or going to the movies. Buy good, healthy food and prepare it yourself. If the family joins in with the cooking, it may become a precious and long-remembered family time.

Confide in somebody you trust

It is important to find a person you trust to share your feelings with, somebody who will be prepared to listen without judgment. It’s important to have someone who’ll listen and understand, especially when the emotional part becomes extremely difficult to deal with.

This can possibly lead to having very dark and negative thoughts, which is not easy to control. This person must not be scared to listen to this. It is not so much about getting advice but having someone who will listen when you need to talk.

Family, Friends, and Hobbies

how to deal with unemployment

Spend enough time with your family and friends as they are your biggest support group. Look for activities that do not cost a lot of money. A daily walk gives you some precious talking time and much-needed exercise. Preparing meals together is a fun activity. Pack it all in a basket and have a picnic in the backyard under the stars.

Many a winter night may be whiled away with games like Scrabble, chess and many more. Building puzzles and doing crosswords is a challenge and helps to keep your brain sharp!
Find time for hobbies and do things that you enjoy.

To break the monotony of job hunting or working on your own business, set aside some time for that hobby that you always wanted to start but never had the time. The possibilities are endless: photography, writing (start a blog or write a book if you dare), scrapbooking, woodwork, knitting or crocheting. It may very well become your next career.

Join support groups

Joining support groups on Facebook and WhatsApp is also beneficial. It helps to know that you are not the only one in this situation, and others are also experiencing the same challenges and fears that you are facing.

Because you are all in the same situation, it is easier to share your feelings and get encouragement. These groups assist by sharing information and referring people in the group to their different networks.

Network

Networking is critical. Attend as many social events and group meetings as possible in your area. It does not necessarily have to be a professional group. It is important to get your name out there, talking to many people as possible. They might just know of or hear about a potential opportunity or job opening and refer you as a candidate.

Finding a job is hard, but perseverance does pay off in the end. You can give up or you can keep striving. Add all your new-found skills and knowledge to your CV, optimize your LinkedIn profile, keep it updated, and network with as many people as possible.

Keep active on social media to ensure that you stay visible since prospective employers look at candidates’ profiles these days. Make sure that your social media activities display you as the type of person that an employer would love to have as part of their team.

I hope things will go well for you and you find your dream job soon!

In the meantime – look after yourself, keep on looking for opportunities, and remember to spend enough time relaxing with your loved ones and doing the things you love!

Which one of these tips will you do today to help you cope until you find your next opportunity?

The post 7 Smart Strategies To Deal With Unemployment appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Save £5 on your first Baby Wishlist purchase with this handy code

Save £5 on your first Baby Wishlist purchase with this handy code

SAVE £5: New customers who spend £20 on their first Baby Wishlist purchase can save £5 by using the promo code BABY5. 


Before we get into the nitty gritty of this Baby Wishlist deal, we should probably explain what Amazon’s Baby Wishlist actually is. 

Basically, you can add items from any website in one easy to manage wishlist using the Amazon Assistant, and save up to 20% on baby items. You can check out curated lists of popular products for inspiration, and your list can be shared with family and friends.

You can now save £5 on your first Baby Wishlist purchase with the promo code BABY5. To access this deal, you need to create a Baby Wishlist (if you don’t already have one), add at least £20 worth of eligible baby products, add your selected products to your shopping basket, and enter the code BABY5 at the checkout. It’s not complicated, guys. Read more…

More about Baby, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, Uk Deals, and Lifestyle

Prosus Ventures leads $30 million investment in Indian agritech startup DeHaat

Once overlooked, agritech startups are beginning to have a moment in India.

On Tuesday, DeHaat, an online platform that offers full-stack agricultural services to farmers, said it has raised $30 million in a new financing round as the Indian firm looks to maintain its accelerated growth despite the pandemic.

Prosus Ventures, formerly known as Naspers Ventures, led Patna and Gurgaon-based startup’s Series C financing round. RTP Global and existing investors Sequoia Capital India, FMO, Omnivore and AgFunder also participated in it, bringing the startup’s to-date raise to over $46 million. (Dexter Capital was the advisor for this funding round.)

One of the biggest challenges farmers in India face is securing agri-input items such as seeds and fertilizers and then finding buyers after producing the yields.

DeHaat, which is Hindi for village, is solving this by bringing brands, institutional financers and buyers to one platform, which is accessible through a helpline and an app in local languages.

Only about a third of the yields Indian farmers produce reaches the big markets, according to industry estimates. It’s traditionally proven immensely difficult for farmers to find buyers for their produce.

Once the season is over, DeHaat helps farmers sell their yields to bulk buyers such as business-to-business marketplace Udaan, Reliance Fresh, and food delivery firm Zomato.

The 10-year-old startup has also developed a database of crop tests and uses artificial intelligence to provide farmers with free-of-cost personalized advisory on what they should sow in a season. DeHaat also helps farmers secure working capital through partnership with hundreds of institutional firms.

We wrote about DeHaat last year, when it had raised a $12 million financing round. The past nine months has been the story of its accelerated growth despite the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted lockdowns across the nation for several months.

The startup, which today has presence in eastern part of India — states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal — serves close to 400,000 farmers, up from about 210,000 in April last year, Shashank Kumar, co-founder and chief executive of the startup, told TechCrunch in an interview.

How the startup is tackling these challenges is equally impressive. It works with nearly 1,400 micro-entrepreneurs, up from about 400 last year, in rural areas who distribute over 4,000 types of agri-input goods to farmers from their regional hubs and then bring back the output to the same hub. “They are the ones responsible for last-mile delivery and aggregation,” he said.

DeHaat has grown on every front, including the revenue it clocks, which is up 3X to 3.5X since last year, he said.

“At the end of March, our daily volume out was around 200 metric tonne. Now it’s over 600 metric tonne. Everyday we aggregate this much from farmers and supply to FMCG players and modern retails. Similarly on the agri-input side — seed, fertilizers, and pesticide — we are processing close to 10,000 orders everyday, compared to about 2,600 in March of last year,” he said.

“Prosus Ventures invests in industries around the world where innovation can significantly address big societal needs,” said Ashutosh Sharma, Head of India Investments at Prosus Ventures, in a statement.

“DeHaat is catering to a massive market in India with the agriculture sector worth more than $350 billion to the country’s economy and consisting of an estimated 140 million+ farmers. Through its end-to-end agricultural services offerings, DeHaat will have a major societal impact in India, improving the earning potential for Indian farmers and overall yield for the sector while also enabling microentrepreneurs all over the country, including in rural areas where there is often less income opportunity,” he added.

The startup plans to deploy the fresh capital to expand to more states in India including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra and eventually serve 10 million farmers.

And another area where it intends to focus is hiring top tech talent. The startup has doubled its workforce since the past year, with many high-profile hires from major firms. The startup, which recently made its second acquisition, is also open to exploring more M&A opportunities, said DeHaat’s Shashank Kumar.

Once ignored, scores of agritech startups have cropped up in India in recent years — and many old startups are beginning to receive large-sized checks from investors.

Around two dozen #agritech startups have raised funds this year (till date)

Ergos
Unnati
Bijak
DeHaat
Ninjacart
Gourmet Garden
Farmers Fresh Zone
Krishitantra
Kheyti
BigHaat
VeGrow
Procol
Agro2o
Waycool
Jai Kisan
Intello Labs
Crofarm
Eggoz
Aibono
Arya
Clover
Kisan Network

— Harsh Upadhyay (@upadhyay_harsh1) October 13, 2020

Further reading: Omnivore and Accel recently co-authored a report on India’s agritech landscape.

These Upgrades Will Make Your Home Eco-Friendly Instantly

Your home is where you feel the safest and most comfortable. It’s your very own sanctuary. Big investments or purchases like a house require upkeep and regular maintenance to ensure everything is in good condition.

If you’re taking steps to reduce your impact on the environment, whether by eliminating single-use plastics or opting for reusable cotton rounds, then you can go a step further and convert your home into a green space.

Building an eco-friendly home brings about many advantages for the environment and your own (e.g., increases your property’s resale value, less maintenance over time, and reduces house bills). With the wealth of resources you can find online, it’s easier to create a more efficient and greener home now more than ever.

If you’re planning to get started with this sustainable home journey, we’ve got you covered. Below are some cost-efficient tips for an eco-friendly home that will instantly upgrade your space. Let’s dive into it!

Consider shopping for pre-owned items

Conserving energy and water isn’t the only way to be environmentally-friendly. Purchasing pre-owned home items instead of new ones is also an excellent way to save Earth.

New products use virgin materials and consume more energy to build. Additionally, you’re keeping the secondhand or used items from going to the landfill. You can also ask your relatives or friends to let you know if they’re going to replace a piece of furniture to see if they could hand them down to you instead of throwing them away.

Catch rainwater for gardening

If you have a home garden and lawn, then you’ll probably agree that your water bill wouldn’t cost as much if you didn’t have one. Plants need regular watering, which requires you to use a lot of water to keep them alive. Thankfully, collecting rainwater solves this predicament.

You can get a rainwater barrel to harvest water. Leave it out when it’s about to rain, then use the collected water for your garden and lawn. Not only does this help you conserve water and reduce your bill, but it also makes your plants happy.

Invest in solar panels

make your home eco-friendly through solar panels

One of the best ways to make your home eco-friendly is by using renewable energy like solar power through solar panel technology. In a nutshell, this technology captures sunlight and converts it into electricity.

Solar energy is free, except for the installation and purchasing of solar panels. While the initial upfront costs of installing solar panels run expensive, it can save you a significant amount of cash on your electricity bill in the long run, especially if you will rely on it one hundred percent.

Opt for environmentally-friendly appliances

If you have the money and think it’s time, swap your old home appliances with eco-friendly upgrades. Choosing energy-saving appliances may seem like an expensive move, but it will make more financial sense over time.

Energy-efficient home appliances operate and perform just as well as standard models, but they consume less energy. This green change will help lower your carbon footprint while also saving you big bucks.

Replace regular light bulbs with LED bulbs

Something as simple as switching your light bulbs with LED light bulbs will make a massive difference in the green home you’re creating. With energy-efficient light bulbs, you use less electricity and replace it less frequently since LED light bulbs last longer than your traditional bulbs. Talk about saving more money while saving mother Earth.

Plant your own herbs

make your home eco-friendly through planting herbs

Growing your own herbs is worth a try, whether you already have a garden or not. Herbs don’t take a lot of space and can survive in small pots. They are also relatively low maintenance since you can place them inside the house by a sunny window.

With this, you can make your favorite dishes tastier with fresh herbs. They smell heavenly as well, making it a big plus if you plan to grow them inside the house.

Get a recycling bin and compost bin

This upgrade doesn’t cost much, and you’ve probably started recycling already if you have long begun switching to a sustainable lifestyle. Recycling glass bottles, papers, jars, and other household items prevent these things from adding to the landfill. You can repurpose bottles for your propagations, reuse jars as containers, and turn paper into wrappers.

On the other hand, a compost bin allows you to eliminate leftovers and turn them into fertilizers for your plants. You can find compost bins designed to be neat and odor-free. It’s a fantastic way to reduce household waste.

Wrapping it up

No matter how big or small steps you take turning your home into a more eco-friendly space, your contribution will bring drastic changes to the environment and make the world a better place for future generations. Imagine if there are hundreds of people like you with the same mindset. A small upgrade like using rainwater for watering plants already makes a big difference for the environment.

The post These Upgrades Will Make Your Home Eco-Friendly Instantly appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Startups at CES showed how tech can help elderly people and their caregivers

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a harsh spotlight on the challenges many elderly people face. Older adults are among the highest-risk groups for developing cases that need hospitalization and nursing homes were especially vulnerable to outbreaks. While dealing with COVID-19, the elderly have also faced many other problems, including the difficulty of accessing medical care for chronic conditions during lockdowns and isolation.

Many of these issues won’t go away after the pandemic. According to the United Nations, the global population of people 65 and over is growing faster than any other age group. At the same time, there is a critical shortage of caregivers, especially for elderly people who want to continue living at home instead of moving into nursing homes.

Tech can help in many ways: by helping caregivers (and reducing burnout), allowing seniors to perform health monitoring at home and creating tools to combat isolation. During CES, there were several “age-tech” presentations. One of the most notable was AARP Innovation Lab, the non-profit’s startup accelerator program. It presented nine companies at the virtual show.

Zibrio's smart scale for assessing postural stability, or balance

Zibrio’s smart scale for assessing postural stability, or balance

One common theme among AARP’s group was tech that helps elderly people “age in place,” or stay in their homes or communities instead of moving into a nursing home. For example, Wheel Pad designs accessible home and work spaces that can be installed into existing structures and sites. Mighty Health is an app that pairs users with health coaches, certified trainers and personalized nutrition plans, while Zibrio, a scale that assesses users’ balance to predict if they are at risk for a fall, can also be incorporated into at-home routines.

Other startups from AARP Innovation Lab focus on helping caregivers, too. For example, FallCall Solutions’ creates Apple Watch apps that send alerts if a fall is detected and help family members check on users. Another app, called Ianacare, helps family members coordinate caregiving tasks and ask for support. End-of-life planning is one of the most emotionally difficult processes for families, and Cake, an “end-of-life platform” helps by providing tools for estate and health care planning, as well as resources to help relatives cope with caregiving issues and grief.

Other startups center on medical care. For people with chronic conditions, Folia Health helps monitor the progress of treatments. On the clinical side, Embleema’s software allows clinical investigators to share data and design studies, making pharmaceutical research more efficient.

Other noteworthy age-tech startups at CES included Nobi, a smart lamp that automatically turns on when users stand up and sends alerts to family members if they fall. Nobi can also be used in residences and nursing homes.

Caregiver Smart Solution's app for caregivers to coordinate tasks

Caregiver Smart Solution’s app for caregivers to coordinate tasks

Caregiver Smart Solutions is a multi-faceted platform that makes it easier for seniors to stay at home with a machine learning-based app for early detection of potential health issues, fall sensors, monitors and emergency buttons. For people with incontinence, DFree, a wearable device, can reduce stress by monitoring how full their bladder is with an ultrasound sensor and keeping track of their average time between bathroom visits. It’s available for both consumers and health care facilities.

A diagram of companion robot Cutii's features

A diagram of companion robot Cutii’s features

For elderly people living in nursing homes, Rendever is a virtual reality platform that wants to help reduce isolation. It can be used with reminiscence therapy, which guides individuals with dementia through experiences that remind them of their pasts, and to allow virtual travel to landmarks. Cutii, a companion robot, also seeks to reduce loneliness. While companion robots have been a mainstay of CES for years, Cutii sets itself apart with entertainment like music, games and live events. It also has video call and night patrol features.

Step up your spreadsheet game with this set of interactive Excel courses

Step up your spreadsheet game with this set of interactive Excel courses

TL;DR: The Complete Excel Pro Tips Certification Bundle is on sale for £13.92 as of Jan. 18, saving you 93% on list price.


Love them or loathe them, spreadsheets are inescapable in practically every single industry. So, there’s virtually no way to avoid the number-crunching powerhouse that is Microsoft Excel. Sorry. 

Excel has been the leader in spreadsheet software for decades. Yet, despite its necessity, most people don’t bother going deeper than the surface. But now, you can step out of the majority and learn how powerful and complex this software really is with the help of this Complete Excel Pro Tips Certification Bundle, which is on sale for just £13.92. Read more…

More about Excel, Mashable Shopping, Online Courses, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals

Save up to 70% on Valentine’s Day essentials from Lovehoney

Save up to 70% on Valentine's Day essentials from Lovehoney

SAVE UP TO 70%: Lovehoney has extended its January sale, with up to 70% off sex toys, bondage gear, lingerie, and more.


Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and we recommend doing your preparation sooner rather than later. It’s the sort of thing you can easily put off, and then it’s too late. We wouldn’t want this year’s big day to be a big disappointment.

Fortunately, you can do all of your shopping in the same place. You can save up to 70% on a wide range of sex toys, bondage gear, and lingerie sets in Lovehoney’s January sale. We know that these aren’t your classic Valentine’s Day gifts, but this could be the year to try something different.  Read more…

More about Sex Toys, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, Uk Deals, and Lovehoney

After a record year for Israeli startups, 16 investors tell us what’s next

Israel’s startup ecosystem raised record amounts of funding and produced 19 IPOs in 2020, despite the pandemic. Now tech companies across industries are poised for an even better year, according to more than a dozen investors we talked to in the country.

Mainstay sectors like cybersecurity continue to matter, they said, but are maturing (more about that here). Some people are more excited by emerging areas like artificial intelligence, which has been a focus of the country’s military for years, and like cybersecurity is now producing many fresh teams of founders. Other investors felt that a broader range of industries, like fintech and biotech, would eventually produce the biggest companies in the country.

Overall, local investors cited the country’s focus on global markets from day one, general support from the Israeli government and deep relationships with Silicon Valley and other global tech centers as additional factors that are powering it forward today.

Here are the investors in their own words, for any TechCrunch reader who is interested in hiring, investing or founding a company in the country. Oh, and one more thing. We just launched Extra Crunch in Israel. Subscribe to access all of our investor surveys, company profiles and other inside tech coverage for startups everywhere. Save 25% off a one- or two-year Extra Crunch membership by entering this discount code: THANKYOUISRAEL

The investors:


Boaz Dinte, Qumra Capital

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
At Qumra, we get excited about companies that disrupt traditional industries while doing good and improving quality of life. Our portfolio includes some great examples such as Fiverr that has disrupted the labor market by unlocking the global talent pool, or Talkspace, which is providing access to therapy to all.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Our latest investment is At-bay, the insurance company for the digital age. At-bay offers an end-to-end solution with comprehensive risk assessment, a tailored cyber insurance policy, and active, risk-management service.

Traditional insurers don’t have the know-how to properly and continually assess risk and approach digital risk the same way they approach physical products, through a statistical model that tries to predict the future based on past events. This a great example of company that is disrupting a traditional market.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
As a growth fund, we are sector agnostic and diversify our investments across multiple industries. Would be happy to add proptech and agritech startups to our portfolio.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
We stay clear of nonregulated industries and do not invest in cryptocurrency-related companies, gambling, etc.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
We are focused on Israeli and Israeli-related companies. As growth companies they may have moved to NY or CA with their headquarters and maintained their R&D in Israel.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
A great amount of talent is cultivated in the military, which has spawned innovative cyber, AI and machine-learning companies. Also, significant experience and know-how have been accumulated here in big data analytics. SaaS models and cloud technologies have eliminated some of the barriers for Israeli companies and enable companies to quickly set up and set up a proof of concept.

A few highlights in our portfolio include AppsFlyer, JoyTunes, Riskified, Talkspace and Guardicore.

Data-driven AppsFlyer, spearheaded by Oren Kaniel, is an exciting mobile-attribution company that is rapidly growing ($200 million+ ARR in 2020) yet maintains a unique DNA. JoyTunes, led by Yuval Kaminka has developed a music-learning platform that has skyrocketed in 2020. The platform has been widely adopted doing so much good for so many people in a short amount of time. Guardicore is disrupting the traditional firewall market by providing fine-grained segmentation for greater attack resistance. Led by CEO Pavel Gurevich the company is seeing excellent traction. Riskified makes e-ommerce easier and safer and enables a thriving e-commerce environment. Founder duo Eido Gal and Assaf Feldman are a powerhouse of vision and execution capabilities. Talkspace has not only created the leading online therapy business, but is actually improving the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Americans, which are gaining access to therapy for the first time. Founding husband and wife Oren and Roni Frank are the ultimate power couple — creating an incredible business while creating some real impact.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Tech investors must make sure that Israel is part of their portfolio. Same as VC funds are deeply acquainted with Silicon Valley, tech investors cannot ignore this hub of innovation that has produced global market leading companies and serial entrepreneurs

What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
Products and services that require anything requiring on-site visits and integration as well as a long sales cycle involving face-to-face meetings and customer education are negatively impacted during this time. The upside is that companies that will develop a remote and simplified approach can reap gains from this time. Such an example is Augury from our portfolio that has developed an end-to-end solution to provide manufacturers with early, actionable and comprehensive insights into machine health and performance. This has proved to be of crucial value in the supply chain during the pandemic.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy?
Earlier in the month we have closed our third fund, Qumra III, at $260 million. This was done in a short time in a period when traveling and face-to-face meetings were impossible. Commitments to this fund, which is larger than its predecessor, included increased investments form existing LPs as well as new LPs from new geographies. This is a vote of confidence in the Israeli growth market in general and in Qumra in particular and has been a great achievement and source of hope going forward.

Rafi Carmeli, Viola Growth

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Platforms that are transforming how people and businesses operate, go about their business or leverage their core assets, using superior products, data and AI.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Zoomin Software.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
Transformation of the CFO and treasury suite of tools.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
A+ team, superior product demonstrated with business/market traction and a sizable market opportunity.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?

Any area that needs to compete both with incumbents and also a set of already successful “new age” companies that made the first step of meaningful disruption.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
More than 50%.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?

Plenty of interesting opportunities but like many places, competitive around the best of the best.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
Definitely see changes in evolution of young startups given the behavioral changes caused by COVID.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
Any area that is exposed to mass physical engagement (pockets in travel, food, sports, etc.) are at risk. Remote engagement and productivity have potential to disrupt more industries, such as corporate events/virtual events.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
Founders are generally resilient and based on their view on the company’s position post-COVID (winner/at risk) and the capital resources available, should decide on appropriate level of caution/aggressiveness.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes in many areas. In general software has proven to be a winner and specifically SaaS as a business model has proven its resilience.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
The speed and decisiveness at which humanity acted to adjust to the effects and aftermath of the pandemic, and importantly to proactively get us all out of the health and economic crisis as quickly as possible (e.g., the speed of creating vaccines).

Any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers?
If something won’t matter in five years, don’t waste more than five minutes worrying about it now — easier said than done!

Yonatan Mandelbaum, TLV Partners

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Fintech (specifically embedded finance or financial SaaS), synthetic bio. This is in addition to traditional focus areas that we remain bullish on — cloud infrastructure, ML infra and cyber.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Unit.co, meshpayments.com.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
There simply isn’t enough innovation in fintech from the Israeli ecosystem. Our locale has managed to produce three of the most prolific insurtech companies (Next, Lemonade and Hippo), has a strong history of successful fintech companies (Payoneer, Forter, Riskified) and even has a few very promising earlier-stage ventures (Unit, Melio). That said, only about 10% of our overall deal flow are fintech companies. Areas such as vertical banking, embedded finance, compliance as a service and consumer finance consistently get overlooked by young Israeli founders.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
The cliche VC answer: strong team, big market. This remains constant during all times.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
(1) Cybersecurity — with one caveat. Israel will always be at the forefront of cyber innovation, and thus there will always be an opportunity for fledgling cyber companies in Israel. That said, it is 100% oversaturated, and there are too many examples of strong technical founders creating “yet another” SaaS security startup. (2) Remote work collaboration — clearly an issue that needs solving, but we have unsurprisingly seen an absurd amount of companies in the space. They are largely reactionary companies, and the companies that will prove to be the winners in this market have already been in the market for quite some time (Zoom, Alack, Miro, etc.).

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
More than 50%.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Fintech and bio are very well-positioned to thrive in Israel. In 10 years I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel is more well-known for those two sectors than it is for its cyber companies. Some companies to keep an eye on: Next Insurance, Unit, Mesh Payments, Aidoc, Deepcure, Immunai.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
I’m not saying anything new, but Israel is known as the startup nation for a reason. There is an incredible, thriving entrepreneurship culture that breeds fascinating companies weekly. Interestingly, valuation trends seem to trail the U.S. by about 12-18 months. So for later-stage VCs around the globe, Israel can represent an interesting opportunity to do deals of the same quality that they are doing in their locale, but for a more reasonable price.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
Not particularly. Israel a small country, and even if there may be a residential exodus from Tel Aviv, there won’t be a commercial one.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
Travel and proptech are more exposed due to COVID-19.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
COVID hasn’t impacted our investment strategy much. We have remained steady in our search for interesting early-stage software opportunities and our commitment to invest substantial amounts even at the seed round. The biggest worries of the portfolio founders surround slower enterprise sales cycles due to WFH and smaller budgets from potential customers. Our early advice to founders was to ensure runway for 18 months in order to weather the storm. Recently however, after witnessing the incredibly founder-friendly fundraising landscape, our advice has been to put the pedal to the metal, reach certain benchmarks and raise capital.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
No, there still hasn’t been enough time. That said, I will say that the initial enthusiasm of WFH has faded. The vast majority of our companies are clamoring to be back in the office.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
My grandparents both recently passed away from COVID-19. Despite the tragic loss that it was for my family, there was one moment that truly gave me hope. I had the opportunity to visit my grandmother in the COVID ward at a local hospital before she passed (in full protective gear of course). Before entering the ward, while the nurses were going over the protocols with me and four other individuals who were there to visit their sick family members, I was surprised to realize that the five of us in the room were an eclectic bunch. Jewish, Muslim, religious and not, young and old. In that moment, we all gave each other strength, wished each other well and it gave me hope that we can truly become a unified country in the near future. The next exponential growth that occurs in the Israeli ecosystem will be when there is an influx of minorities (Arabs, ultra-Orthodox) into the workforce.

Natalie Refuah, Viola Growth

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
DevOps, martech, digital health.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
RapidAPI.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
Exciting team, hypergrowth, disruptiveness.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Cyber, automotive.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
Close to 100%.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
DevOps, cyber, enterprise software.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Very positively.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
There will be changes, that’s for sure.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19?

E-commerce tech-related companies will thrive.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
We lowered our check size per company. My advice — if you are “with COVID trend” push hard, if you are “against COVID trend” — preserve cash.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
More time with my kids, but in general I miss hugging people when i meet them, and I prefer meeting people face to face.

Any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers?
Let the vaccine go!

Daniel Cohen, Viola Ventures

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Games, vertical AI and AI agencies, digital health.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Hyperguest, creating direct connectivity between hotels and OTAs. It’s the perfect next-gen travel infrastructure for the world post-pandemic.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
The biggest trend in the post-COVID world will be the new work environment. We would love to see more startups that will create corporate solutions that are focused on the future of work. That can be at the workplace or at the home.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
Unique, innovative go-to-market. Leveraging technology to reach consumers in a more innovative way. It’s basically innovation in growth hacking, not only in great products.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Cybersecurity — the market is real and important, but there are too many startups with small niche solutions.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
More than 50%.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
The most exciting trends locally are everything AI with focus on B2B apps. Same goes with digital health and consumer-focused health applications.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Israel is the #1 region globally in unicorn production, probably the hottest startup region right now.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
No.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?

The biggest change has been on company culture, which is hard to maintain in a distributed work-from-home environment. Companies need to be innovative and creative in maintaining/building culture, which was so much easier pre-COVID.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic? What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.

The announcements around the vaccines make it clear that the end of the pandemic is near. I think 2021 will be amazing.

Ben Wiener, Jumpspeed Ventures

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Jumpspeed invests exclusively in pre-seed and seed-stage startups from the Jerusalem startup ecosystem.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
MDGo.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
Not really, we are sector agnostic/bottom-up rather than thesis driven.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
10x better, paradigm-shift solution to a large, near-term, acute business problem, produced and led by a complementary founding team (hacker+hustler+designer).

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Cybersecurity, crypto, telehealth.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
EXCLUSIVELY, see above.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Jerusalem is well-positioned in certain clusters such as computer vision, general enterprise SaaS, AI/ML and healthtech.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Our city’s startup ecosystem is underexploited and generates a few fantastic under-the-radar opportunities per year.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
Yes.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
Little direct impact on strategy because by definition I am investing in things that will go to market and ripen over years.

Founders’ biggest worries are employee well-being, after that access to overseas customers and markets.

Advice to founders: Stay calm and healthy, play the long game, take care of yourself, your family and your employees, don’t panic or cut staff reactively.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes but not that I can attribute directly to the pandemic.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
No specific moment, just the general resilience and ability to adapt to the radically changing new realities that our portfolio founders have exhibited.

Any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers?
“Entrepreneurship in advanced technology, is not merely a matter of decision-making; it is a matter of imposing cognitive order on situations that are repeatedly ill-defined.” — W. Brian Arthur, “The Nature of Technology”

No situation has been this ill-defined in the past century. Keep calm and carry on 🙂

Inbal Perlman, TAU Ventures

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
At TAU, we are interested in a variety of sectors and evaluate each potential investment independently. In regards to trends, we look at trends with a grain of salt understanding that trends might come and go. When we see a particular trend, we try to understand if there is a need behind the trend and see beyond the initial hype. We want to assure that a startup is meeting a real need in the market. We are particularly interested in technologies that do not require too much time and capital to get to market.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
We invested in a company called Xtend, which is creating human-machine telepresence allowing us to “step into” a machine, anywhere in the world, breaking the limits of physical reality. In particular, it develops solutions that allow people to interact with drones and other unmanned machine technologies. The company’s technology enables humans to extend themselves into the action by allowing them to virtually sit inside the drone for various tactical missions. What is exciting about Xtend is how the technology can be implemented in a variety of ways from defense and homeland security to reimagining entertainment, gaming and cinematography.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
We like to see startups that are disrupting traditional industries by solving basic challenges and needs with innovative means. There are some industries that haven’t changed in many years. And if you create a technology that can be simply integrated into existing markets, it has the potential to gain significant traction and drastically change an industry. So we would love to see more startups going “back to the basics” asking questions about commonly felt pain points and innovating to solve those pains.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
We want to get the feeling from the entrepreneur that they are professional, ready for the entrepreneurial journey, have the right mindset and skill set and will conquer the world. We understand that with early-stage startups, the product or service will likely change and therefore pay significant attention to the entrepreneurs themselves as an early indicator of future success.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Technology trends that often come and go can create an oversaturated market for startups. For example, previously there was hype around drones. Now, only the strongest companies in the drone industry have stuck around. Today, there are many startups responding to needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic such as remote learning and remote work. It is important to filter out whether these are solutions that will be around for a while and survive a post-COVID world or are temporary.

We are more cautious about particular industries. In edtech, those who have successfully done exits, have done so at low amounts ($200 million-$300 million). For us, we are seeking larger exits. Blockchain is a difficult sector because it lacks a clear regulatory environment, subsequently raising many questions. Similarly, the cannabis industry also does not have a fixed regulatory environment across countries. Any small regulation change can highly impact the company. These are the sectors and areas that we are more cautious around.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
We invest in startups that are exclusively Israeli startups but are targeted for a global market. At TAU Ventures, we have 1,000 sq. meter coworking office space where majority of our portfolio companies and accelerator program companies sit on a daily basis. On a daily basis we are engaging with our startups through kitchen chats and hallway encounters. Through our coworking space, we are directly investing in our local ecosystem both supporting entrepreneurs and identifying rising entrepreneurs.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
In Israel, many Israeli entrepreneurs bring a high level of technical capabilities that they learn in the army such as in cyber and AI. After acquiring this knowledge and ability, they are well-prepared and able to transfer it to the commercial area. This is why we see many successful startups coming out of Israel particularly in these fields.
For example, founders of our portfolio company, SWIMM all come from leading elite tech training units in the army (Aram, Talpiot) and before founding SWIMM, established ITC (Israel Tech Challenge, a nonprofit high-tech academy that offers in-demand tech training programs in English in Tel Aviv, inspired by the IDF’s 8200 unit).
Furthermore, Tel Aviv University (TAU), our affiliated university, is a leading research institute and academic leader in AI, engineering and other sciences and is producing entrepreneurs with high levels of knowledge. 50% of entrepreneurs in Israel have studied at TAU. And TAU ranked eighth worldwide as a top university producing VC-backed entrepreneurs, and the first outside of the US. So we are very excited by the added advantage we have in being affiliated closely with the university and the talent which it is producing.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
The significant advantage of Israel is its small size. Because there is little to no local market, startups automatically think globally in their marketing and growth strategies. To best understand Israel and Israelis, it’s important to understand the influence of the military and the reality of thriving in a complex political environment in the Middle East. Military service is compulsory for all Israelis at the age of 18. The army plays an important role in the socialization, education, skills development, social network and fabric of Israeli society. Many personal and professional networks are the result of army service. As Israelis, we live in an environment where we need to constantly be innovative and one step ahead to survive. This innovative mindset has been instilled in our state of mind and cultural DNA.
We are proud that In Israel we have academics at the highest level in the world across a variety of fields. Multinationals from all over the world have local R&D centers or innovation hubs in Israel to source from the local talent pool. This presence of multinationals creates mutual exposure for both startups and corporates alike.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
At TAU Ventures, the majority of our portfolio and accelerator companies sit next to us at our 1,000 sq. meter coworking space. At our offices, we love seeing our founders and their employees on a regular basis. This is how we have successfully created a strong familial culture at our VC. Throughout COVID, companies have continued to come in person to the office. This has reinforced to us that there is no exchange for face-to-face engagement. As early-stage investors, we understand that at this stage it is all about the people. At the end of the day, people want to be around people and you can not replace the experience of sharing a cup of coffee and shaking someone’s hand.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19?
COVID affected companies in different ways. For some, it boosted business and for others it led them to shift their strategy and approach. Our companies who had clients in the travel industry or airports were obviously affected. In this situation, the company looked at their technology and reconsidered where and how their technology could be relevant to other consumers and industries. This particular company saw an opportunity to shift to logistics and supply chain clients. COVID is presenting opportunities for companies to reevaluate their target market and discover new applications of their technology for different purposes.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
As a result of COVID, we have come to understand that things simply are taking more time, such as processes of raising funds or achieving the next milestone. We are patient and empathetic to the experiences of our startups.

The startups’ most significant worry is that they will not succeed to raise enough funds before reaching their next milestone. And more so, if they are unable to prove their achievement milestones in time, then they might be forced to close business. As a result, our startups are raising more funds during this time to assure a longer runway. Our startups are also keenly aware of how periods of crisis might call on them to pivot and adapt to the current circumstances. Startups are making decisions around adjusting budgets, determining whether customers are still relevant, anticipating whether the circumstances are temporary or will renormalize and ultimately whether there is a completely new path to pivot to.
In light of the circumstances, we are advising our portfolio startups to raise more funds in next rounds to have runway for at least 1.5 years and not to be afraid of making drastic changes (i.e., pivots, changing budget, raising more funds).

As a fund, we are assuring our entrepreneurs that if they choose to change paths, it is okay. Working from a coworking space alongside many of our founders enables us to stay updated on the startups, foster a strong internal ecosystem and network, and provide ongoing psychological safety for our entrepreneurs, which is ever so needed during these unprecedented times for startups.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Two of our portfolio companies have experienced impressive growth and are thriving in 2020.
1. Gaviti is a SaaS company that specializes in receivable collections acceleration. Its system maps out the collection process to spot inefficiencies and optimize clients’ procedures. Specifically during COVID, many companies had increased economic pain points related to generating cash flow on a timely, efficient basis. Gaviti’s solution helps companies manage their collection payments. As a result of of the economic crisis this year, Gaviti saw fast growth in clients and have thrived during 2020.
2. Medorion understands that health companies and hospitals want us to get regular health checkouts. Using AI and behavioral science, Medorion is driving people to take action for their own health by increasing engagement and communication between insurance companies and patients. During COVID, they are combating the coronavirus pandemic by applying their technology to create highly personalized engagement and communication plans targeted at those individuals who are at highest risk of COVID-19.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
In recent months, it is inspiring to see our entrepreneurs continue fighting despite the uncertain economic and global circumstances. Many of our companies are continuing to recruit and hire. Our founders are resilient and are finding creative means to succeed. It is also a blessing to have a large coworking space hosting the offices of 10 startups and to see employees continue to come in to the office day in and day out working with their teams.

Any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers?
TAU Ventures is a venture capital fund, affiliated with Tel Aviv University, for investing in early-stage, cutting-edge technologies based in Israel. TAU Ventures is the first and only university-affiliated VC in Israel.

The fund has a unique, triangle model creating ecosystem connections between industry, academy and entrepreneurs. We connect to available resources at Tel Aviv University, foster strong partnerships in the high-tech industry and support entrepreneurs as they work side by side in the coworking office space of the VC located on the university campus.

TAU Ventures also runs incubation programs in a variety of tech fields and offers a vibrant hub for entrepreneurs with concrete opportunities for design partnerships with international leading companies: AlphaC program (in partnership with NEC, Checkpoint, Innogy, Team8 and Cybereason) and The Xcelerator (an acceleration program with the Israeli Security Agency).
In 2018, IVC awarded TAU Ventures an award for one of the most active VCs in Israel. And in 2019, Geektime ranked TAU Ventures among the top five best VCs in Israel.

David (Dede) Goldschmidt, Samsung Catalyst Fund

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Digital transformation and AI.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Solarisbank (Germany).

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
AI-acceleration technologies seems to be overcrowded.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
Less than 50%.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
AI, cyber security. Excited about our portfolio company Innoviz (LiDAR). Excited about Avigdor Willenz, serial entrepreneur, including our portfolio company Habana Labs that was acquired for $2 billion.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Highly dynamic and competitive, very global approach of entrepreneurs, risk takers, “can-do” approach.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
I don’t expect that to happen because a strong ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors and service providers would be needed, and it takes years for that to grow.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19?
Industries serving brick-and-mortars are likely to get weakened by accelerated transition to online.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
Our advice has been to be careful with cash. There is a disconnect between the strong momentum in the tech financing vis-a-vis overall economic crisis (unemployment, governments deficits, etc.). We have yet to see the full impact of COVID-19 on tech startups and better be prepared for that.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes, for pure digital plays.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
Frankly, I remain concerned because of the disconnect alluded to above. Vaccine momentum brings some hope, but too early to tell.

Any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers?
I am very concerned from potential crunch in early stage. While overall financing numbers are growing almost across all geographies, investments are heavily weighted toward later stage and unicorns, and much fewer new companies are being formed. This will have dramatic impact on the tech ecosystem a few years out, if it does not change in 2021.

Dror Nahumi, Norwest Venture Partners

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
We are a large fund that invests in early-to-late-stage companies across a wide range of sectors with a focus on consumer, enterprise and healthcare. My focus is primarily in Israeli companies and I’m seeing many exciting startups in security, SaaS, enterprise and cloud infrastructure, robotics and semiconductors.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
We are naturally excited about all our latest investments. I recently invested in three seed-stage companies that are in stealth mode: an open-source cloud infrastructure company, a people analytics (HR) SaaS company and a next-generation business-intelligence platform.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
I believe there is a massive opportunity for startups to develop new solutions to fuel the digitization of next-generation enterprises. We’re seeing innovation and activity in this sector, but there’s so much more to be done, especially in light of challenges and vulnerabilities that COVID-19 has exposed. The hottest areas will be in human resources, production, security, infrastructure, sales and remote work.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
We look for a great team, strong intellectual property and compelling execution. The new product idea can be a replacement (i.e., replace existing products that are aging, low performance) or a new category. Gong.io is a great example of a new category we invested in early on. We created the new “revenue intelligence” category that offers businesses automated, unfiltered and real-time insights on customer interactions and deals. This helps businesses understand what’s actually being said to transform the way they go to market.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Security is currently oversaturated. There are too many companies doing similar things, which can make it difficult for newcomers to break through. Additionally, most emerging security startups are all claiming to use machine learning and AI to combat the next level of breaches. These are important areas to focus on, but it’s getting harder for these companies to differentiate themselves. That aside, we have made several great investments in security over the years and will continue to invest in great teams.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
Our team in Israel is 100% focused on our local market.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Numerous industries in the Israeli market are poised to thrive and are doing so currently. Examples include startups in the security, SaaS, enterprise and the cloud infrastructure space, and even consumer services. We are especially excited to continue to witness the growth and success of Gong, VAST Data, WekaIO, Cynet, Wiliot, ActiveFence, Ermetic and SundaySky while building new companies who are still in the stealth stage.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
At Norwest and especially among our Israel portfolio companies, we’ve been able to let our companies mature. We’ve given them the time and support they need to reach maturity. This is a very different approach than what we are seeing in other environments.

Today, growth comes before M&A and companies get valuations much quicker. In past years, it was hard to raise money but it’s not so difficult now. In Israel, inside sales and marketing analytics allow companies to sell more effectively now than in the last decade. This gives entrepreneurs flexibility, room to expand into other markets and the ability to hire top talent globally versus just within their own region.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
Israel is so small that you are never really too far outside a major city. We expect our startup hub to stay intact even if individuals and businesses choose to move slightly outside of the main CBD.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
The travel industry has been massively impacted in every market globally since the COVID-19 outbreak. That said, that means there is a huge opportunity to fill gaps based on business and consumer needs as we approach a post-pandemic normal.

I would say that solutions with huge potential are those centered on hybrid workforces as enterprises rethink the future of work. These have the potential to significantly benefit from the pandemic in the short and long term.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
COVID-19 has not impacted our investment strategy. However, in recent conversations with our portfolio companies, it’s clear that brands can emerge stronger than ever with an adaptable strategy, adjusted expectations, strong marketing and B2C communications, and compassionate leadership.

Over the past several months, we’ve advised companies in our portfolio to focus on building their business while prioritizing the safety of their workforce, which could mean further extending work-from-home policies or making remote work a standard option in their hiring practices. Companies’ ability to innovate and adapt while building their business around the new normal will be better positioned to succeed in a post-COVID landscape.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
While it’s not one particular moment, there were many times this past year where our portfolio companies faced major challenges due to the pandemic and were still able to continue to expand their businesses. Every sales quarter that shows growth and success gives me hope.

Sharin Fisher, Fort Ross Ventures

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
I’m mostly excited about AI/ML technologies, cybersecurity companies and the global opportunity in B2B SaaS companies in general; companies that help to optimize business processes and boost efficiency (e.g., one of our portfolio companies, Kryon, is operating in the robotic process automation space, evaluating business processes, and recommending which ones to automate in order to free up underutilized human talent). We are seeing many successful Israeli SaaS companies across the board, from marketing and collaboration tools, business intelligence products, to payment systems.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
My latest investment was in a B2B SaaS company that disrupts a huge market. I’m mostly excited about the team, which contains senior executives and second-time entrepreneurs with domain expertise.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?

We are looking for companies that have a big market, a compelling story and a clear path to building a large business. When we invest, companies already have traction, a diverse customer base, established and repeatable sales process and metrics. So, when we dive deeper into the company’s metrics we would like to see they support the company’s assumptions and ability to scale up properly.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
WFH enablement tools (from security to communication tools).

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
We are a global VC with a distributed team, focused on investing in midstage companies based in the U.S. and Israel, that can become global leaders. I’m leading our investments in the Israeli companies, globally.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Israel is well-positioned to build and grow large companies that can become segment leaders. We are seeing many leading companies across multiple sectors such as mobility (Moovit, Mobileye), cybersecurity (Armis, Cybereason, SentinelOne), fintech (Lemonade, Payoneer, eToro), information technology (Jfrog, Snyk), etc.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
The Israeli ecosystem has matured significantly over the last decade, mainly due to repeat entrepreneurs who bring knowledge and relevant experience to the table. They aspire to build meaningful companies. On top of that, there’s more available late-stage capital, allowing companies to stay private longer and become mega-acquisitions/IPO.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted Israeli founders in terms of how and from where they work. As many Israeli startups aim to tap into the U.S. market, they usually relocate pretty early on, mainly to build relationships with potential customers. Since the pandemic has created a situation where you have to sell your product/service remotely, physical location has become less relevant. In the short term, I believe we’ll see more Israeli founders working out of Israel, especially when taking into account the advantages (e.g., lower cost of living compared to other places like NYC/San Francisco). In the long run, there’s a high probability that founders who can keep the same sales efficiency remotely will continue to work out of their home country.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
All of the segments we look at are thriving or haven’t changed significantly. I’m mostly interested in startups that are able to sell remotely and have an established inside sales team with a simple integration/deployment, because I believe they are in a better position to scale faster even in this climate.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
Our investment strategy remains the same; we are still looking to back companies that can become global leaders and aspire to disrupt huge markets. In terms of the work with our portfolio companies, our founders have already made the needed adjustments and are now more focused on capital efficiency and expanding the runway.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Most of our portfolio adapted to the crisis quite fast and have enough runway to reach their next milestone. For some of our portfolio companies, especially those that support the digital transformation, the pandemic has created business opportunities and accelerated the adoption of their technology. As a result, we deployed additional capital to help them leverage this momentum.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
Although the pandemic has created uncertainty for all of us, we have still been seeing more (+14) Israeli companies reaching unicorn status/going public during the past months.

Adi Levanon Chazan, Flint Capital

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Sensi.ai.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
A bit over 50% of the portfolio are Israeli startups, the remaining 50% divide between Europe and the U.S.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Fintech has been continuing to grow and will thrive over time. I’m excited about companies like Melio, Unit, Acrocharge and Rapyd.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Very important to have local partners and try to expand the local network as much as possible, best would be to have a person on the ground dedicated to Israeli investments.

Chaim Meir Tessler, partner, OurCrowd

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Fintech, cloud services, quantum software, cyber.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Closed at time of writing this: D-ID.
Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
Built from the ground up remote educational platforms.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
Founders I like to work with and believe in.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Micromobility, autonomous car sensors.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
60%-70% local.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Cyber, computer vision, semiconductor, quantum computing all thrive.

The banking infrastructure companies starting to emerge look fantastic.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Great market, easy to network, mostly friendly to coinvestment.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
With the world becoming flat, innovation will definitely sprout up in new areas.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy?
COVID hasn’t strongly affected our overall strategy other than a slowdown in March/April. The biggest worry is inadequate funding/runway.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
Realizing that we landed in this pandemic on a moment in history that we had the tools needed to enable a large amount of the world’s population to continue working without having to be in a specific physical location.

Noam Kaiser, Intel Capital

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Cloud adoption through digital transformation to hybrid cloud, 5G, vertical AI-based SaaS.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Cellwize — basically opening up RAN (4G and 5G) to any API, cloud environment compatibility.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
Solution allowing application to run across data sources in multiple buckets across hybrid/multicloud environments.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
Deep understanding of the area and the customer needs, a complementing trend, high revenue potential within five years.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
MLOps, too many, too quickly, Storage at large.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
More.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Safebreach — Red Team automation for cybersecurity teams, Verbit — vertical AI, transcription.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
It hasn’t slowed down, plenty of opportunity, you have to move fast.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
I don’t see the pandemic having that effect. Hubs will remain as are.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19?
Anything relying on on-prem slowed down; this can be semiconductors and retail. but it’s recovering.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
Not really, we invest the same amount into the same amount of companies at same stages as before.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes, deals are closing, financing is taking place as well as M&As.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
Simply lively investment atmosphere, new up rounds and several M&A processes emerging.

Any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers?
Careful optimism, raise aggressively and cash up when possible, refresh the pipeline and get to it, corporates are back into closing deals.

Tal Slobodkin, StageOne Ventures

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Cloud computing and​ software infrastructure​/cybersecurity/DevOps/connected everything/deep compute, big data and AI/next-generation storage and data center.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
R-Go Robotics are pioneering an artificial perception technology that enables mobile robots to understand complex surroundings and operate autonomously just like humans.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
More sophisticated cyber solutions, additional MLOps technologies, AI solutions.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
Deep-tech technology solving complex enterprise challenges.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
We see a lot of could monitoring services/SaaS cloud startups all competing with very similar technologies.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
Israel 85%; USA 15% — always looking to expand in the U.S. market as well.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
StageOne portfolio companies: Coralogix, Silverfort, Epsagon, Avanan, Neuroblade. Other companies: OwnBackup/RunAI/Verbit/Indegy — all based in Israel.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
Less relevant for Israel and more for the U.S., but yes we will probably see new founders from different geographies, which is a good thing, giving new opportunities to people that before may have not considered starting a company.

What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
We do see that COVID-19 has less of an effect on the cybersecurity industry as many organizations are looking for new solutions, as the risk of cyberattacks increases due to remote working and refocusing a lot of their activity to the digital world.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
Our companies continue to adapt and make the necessary changes and plans for the near future. Most of the companies have continued the work-from-home policy.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Seeing our companies continue to grow and expand both in people and product. They all adapted to the situation for both the short term and long run. They have continued to raise funds and some companies have even developed additional products to assist with COVID-19-related issues.

Ayal Itzkoviz, partner, Pitango First

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
Disruption in traditional markets yearning innovation, such as retail, insurtech, logistics, etc.

B2B2B: Companies no longer wish to build things they can buy. Buying key components of the product/software enables companies to focus on the innovation side. One example is Frontegg — the company provides a set of pre-built, essential SaaS product capabilities that can easily and seamlessly integrate within any new or existing SaaS application. This enables dev teams to focus on perfecting the truly differentiating and valuable features at the heart of their SaaS offering. Another viable example is Stripe and its offering in the payments market.

Cyber: 2020 taught us many lessons, one of them is that tech is just getting more exciting as digital transformation is enhanced, and the other is that the digital revolution presents cyber challenges that didn’t exist before. This results in continued opportunities for disruption in this domain.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Frontegg — a startup that transforms the way SaaS is being built, so that developers don’t need to develop nondifferentiating code and features. Frontegg provides a state of the art SaaS-as-a-service platform, perfectly integrated within the company’s stack and allowing it to do what it’s best at: building their own product. Frontegg is the first pre-built suite of universal SaaS capabilities, enabling teams to focus on core features, shorten time-to-market and drive user adoption. Frontegg’s mission is to accelerate the delivery of enterprise-grade SaaS applications while providing the safest, most secure and optimal user experience.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
First: more open-source projects. They do exist, but usually operate under the radar and come out of stealth mode when they’re already mature and beyond the phase of seed and stage on which Pitango First is focused.

Quantum computing, in our view, has reached a point of no return. We’ll be happy to see entrepreneurs, scientists and business people in Israel jumping on the opportunity wagon already now, and build companies now, before the quantum market begins what will surely be an exponential growth.

Lastly are startups with a double bottom line, i.e., startups that while solving a pain point in the market they’re in and have a potential to become category leader, also address an impact category. Pitango is the first VC to integrate ESG practices into its mainstream activities. As part of this strategy, and as a first step, we are focusing on our vast portfolio of companies and work closely with them to embed

ESG into their core practices through a “migration” process.

Pitango aims to move the needle in the venture capital space through the “AND” philosophy: profit AND purpose, capital AND impact. Pitango is introducing a new paradigm of how venture capital does impact and integrates the “AND” philosophy by turning to a new opportunity set: the impact migrants. i.e., those startups that, although might not have been created under the SDG narrative, have the potential and a desire to embrace and track their impact. They will define their impact mission, integrate SDG targets within their business performance and track impact in alignment with financial targets, all without losing sight of their primary mission to deliver superior financial returns.

Furthermore, Pitango applies this AND philosophy beyond its existing portfolio and onto future deal flow review. We call it the “mainstreaming” of impact investing.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
The Israeli market has evolved tremendously in recent years. While the IPO market used to be out of reach for Israeli-born companies, this is no longer the case. We are looking for the visionaries, the dent blowers, the unconventional types who are eager to solve the biggest of challenges and are aiming at building an IPO-able business rather than an M&A one.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
Pitango First is focused on Israeli/Israeli-related startups. From time to time we identify an investment opportunity in areas we have defined as strategic, in which the Israeli market isn’t mature enough and for which we believe we can add significant value and then invest in non-Israeli companies.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Israel is a super strong innovation hub. One of the major evolution trends of recent years is that the traditional glass ceiling that Israeli startups used to tackle has been shattered. Global players realize that now they can get the same upside like SV-based companies, in much more reasonable terms, and sometimes, less competition.
Somewhat counterintuitively, we see the investment climate in these times of COVID-19 being extremely vibrant and competitive. Strong teams are raising significant rounds at record high valuations, which add up to the current belief that COVID-19 didn’t slow, but accelerated the digital transformation.

What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
For many seed early-stage startups that have secured funding, COVID-19 didn’t set setbacks in their plans, as they are further from the market from more mature companies. However, such companies, when backed by strong investors, while they may experience decrease in their revenues, are using this period to gain strength by acquiring companies within their ecosystem and position themselves better toward the out-of-pandemic curve that will eventually be here in a few short quarters.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
The pattern of investing for the long run during the pandemic. Looking far into the horizon, as veterans of previous crises we were able to share our experience and insights and help them better deal with the crisis. Also, this question can’t be answered without mentioning the COVID-19 vaccines, which set a magnificent example to the extent humanity can benefit when tech, medical companies and governments join hands and engage in a group effort.

Ittai Harel, Pitango HealthTech

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
The consumerization of healthcare.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
HomeThrive — a tech-enabled healthcare services company tackling the aging-in-home challenge and helping families help their loved ones age happily.

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
An all-star team building a category-defining or category-leading company with demonstrable clinical AND financial outcomes.

Which areas are either oversaturated or would be too hard to compete in at this point for a new startup? What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Narrow wearables that do not integrate into a clinical or life workflow.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
Pitango HealthTech is focused on Israeli/Israeli-related startups. From time to time we identify an investment opportunity in areas we have defined as strategic, in which the Israeli market isn’t mature enough and for which we believe we can add significant value, and then invest in non-Israeli companies.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Israel has many thriving healthcare sectors — from RPM and computer vision in digital health to cardiovascular in med devices to drug research in biotech and pharma. We are excited about our portfolio company Variantyx (a provider of whole genome sequencing and analytics unique platform solution) and Alike (a patient-facing platform to allow individuals to access and analyze their medical data and to connect to others similar to them). We are also excited to be part of this ecosystem and to lead thought leadership in it.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
The healthcare innovation ecosystem in Israel is thriving. There are incredible entrepreneurs and opportunities with global potential and reach that global investors should be aware of.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
To some extent we are witness more disbursement in Israel, but there is nonetheless a strong draw to co-locating in hubs and we expect to see Tel-Aviv and the central area in Israel to continue dominating in terms of attractiveness to strong teams.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19?

Hospitals have seen a drastic decline in elective procedures and an overall disruption to their operations and budgets. Startups that are able to introduce new technologies to make this shift efficient and painless stand to win from the current trend.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
For the healthcare industry, COVID-19 has brought challenges — but also opportunities. We believe overall that our companies (and the industry overall) stand to gain from the shift as stakeholders are quicker to adopt changes that before took much longer. We advise our — and all — portfolio companies to prepare for the days after COVID and think through what changes in their specific segment will be long-lasting and are “here to stay.”

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
When the first individual in the U.K. — a 90-year-old woman — received the vaccine. A turning point hopefully for the entire world.

Pre-order Samsung’s latest range of Galaxy smartphones

Pre-order Samsung's latest range of Galaxy smartphones

TL;DR: Pre-order the new Samsung Galaxy S21 range of smartphones before Jan. 28 to claim your free Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy SmartTag. 


The world of smartphones can go really quiet for months, and then all of a sudden you’re hit with big news from the biggest of brands. Samsung is the latest brand to launch a new range of smartphones, and you can now pre-order a Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, or S21 Ultra.

If you pre-order these devices before midnight on Jan. 28, you can claim a free gift from Samsung. This isn’t one of those free gifts that nobody really wants. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy SmartTags are up for grabs, which is a pretty impressive incentive to pre-order sooner rather than later. Read more…

More about Smartphones, Samsung Galaxy, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Uk, and Uk Deals