SAME-DAY DELIVERY: E-Commerce Giants Are Battling To Own The 'Last Mile'
Companies like Google, Amazon, eBay, and Uber are operating and expanding services that allow shoppers to order something online and have it that same day, without ever leaving home.
If they manage it, despite the expense and complexities involved in delivering over the “last mile,” these companies will grow e-commerce’s customer base (as well as its share of retail dollars), and siphon off one of offline retail’s last real competitive advantages.
In a new report, BI Intelligence takes an exhaustive look at the same-day delivery market, sizing the percentage of people who will purchase goods to be delivered the same-day this year. We uncover the demographics of same-day delivery customers, the markets where these services have the best chance of taking off, and assess how each of the many new same-day delivery entrants compares to the others. We also look at the technology that really could make getting a package delivered to your door hours after you order it a common phenomenon.
USE:BI Intelligence estimates that 2% of shoppers living in cities where same-day delivery is offered have used such services. In dollar terms, we estimate that roughly $100 million worth of merchandise will be delivered via same-day fulfillment this year in 20 US cities.
CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS:Consumer interest in same-day delivery is already fairly high. Four in 10 US shoppers said they would use same-day delivery if they didn’t have time to go to the store, and one in four shoppers said they would considering abandoning an online shopping cart if same-day delivery was not an option.
DEMOGRAPHICS: The most common same-day delivery shopper fits a very specific profile — millennial, highly likely to be male, urban-dwelling, and young. The products people want delivered same-day are also fairly niche.
BARRIERS: Despite all the competition in the same-day delivery market, it still won’t be easy to get people to pay for these services. 92% of consumers say they are willing to wait four days or longer for their e-commerce packages to arrive.
To access the Same-Day Delivery Market Forecast Report and BI Intelligence’s ongoing coverage on the future of retail, mobile, and e-commerce — including charts, data, and analysis — sign up of a free trial.
Signing Up For Gmail No Longer Requires A Google+ Account
Earlier this month, Google stopped forcing Gmail users to create a Google+ account upon sign up. Google+ is considered the second largest social networking website after Facebook. The growth of Google+ was largely attributed to its requirement for using another Google-owned service like Gmail or YouTube’s comments section. The requirement to create a Google+ account to sign up for Gmail started in January 2012.
Way Beyond Kickbacks: More Serious Misconduct Alleged Against Medical Testing Company HDL
The problems go way beyond kickbacks. As previously reported (here and in the Wall Street Journal) the US government is conducting an investigation into Health Diagnostics Laboratory, a medical laboratory testing company that has enjoyed explosive growth since its founding in 2008. Previous reports centered on kickbacks given to physicians by the company to
Apple's iOS 8 Rapidly Overtakes Android's KitKat In Under Five Days
Alongside the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple also released the next version of its mobile operating system for its older devices. iOS 8 is a major release of the platform, and five days after its launch, one in four iOS devices are running the latest version of the OS.
Lyft Buys Carpooling Startup Hitch To Grow Lyft Line
In early August, Uber and Lyft tripped over each other to be the first to announce they were debuting a carpooling option. Hours before Lyft was set to announce Lyft Line, Uber jumped in front and shouted they were beginning UberPool, both of which offer riders the chance to pay lower fares and pair with other riders.
This General Motors Touchscreen From The 1980s Was Decades Ahead Of Its Time
Touchscreen infotainment systems are the all the rage these days.
For most drivers, the idea of a touchscreen that controls all of a car’s functions is sci-fi that only recently became reality.
However, in 1989 General Motors equipped its Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo with a touchscreen system that was decades ahead of its time. Called the Visual Information Center (VIC), the touchscreen gave the driver access to everything from the radio to engine management data.
This must have been mindblowing for drivers a quarter century ago. In a 1992 review, the Orlando Sentinel’s Richard Truett was astonished, writing ”I have never seen this in a car.”
First, the $1,300 option controlled the car’s radio and optional CD player:
Then the reviewer adjusted the car’s climate control using the touchscreen:
The Visual Information Center gave the driver access to a slew of diagnostic information:
Amazingly the The VIC even had a “Navigation” function. Unfortunately, in the era before GPS, the screen only provides access…to a compass!
To top it all off, for another $999, buyers of the Trofeo could get an in-car telephone controlled through the VIC.
As wonderful as the VIC was in its day, the system’s user interface and user-friendliness can’t compare to the infotainment systems of today.
However, for a piece of hardware that’s at least 25 years old, the overall presentation and functionality is remarkable. Considering some of the dashboards in GM cars over the past two decades, we have to ask, “Where the heck was this awesome piece of tech all of these years?”
(For the record, GM shut down Oldsmobile in 2004.)
Here’s the full MotorWeek review of the 1990 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo:
Ex-Cisco Engineer Admits To Murder In A Case Focused On A Damning Google Map
A former Cisco employee has pleaded guilty to killing his wife years after investigators found a Google map on his computer zoomed onto the exact spot where her body was discovered.
Ex-Cisco engineer Bradley Cooper was initially convicted of strangling his wife, Nancy, in 2011, but he appealed the verdict and won a new trial.
But instead of that trial, Cooper took a plea deal, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and received a sentence of 12 to 15 years. He also agreed to allow his two children to be adopted by Nancy’s sister.
In 2008, Cooper and his wife were having marital problems. One morning in 2008, Nancy went out running and never came back. She had been strangled, and the police found her body in a nearby park.
Investigators alleged the Google map search that led to her body was done the day before the murder while the computer was connected to Cisco’s network, Cooper’s place of employment.
Prosecutors also alleged that Cooper, a communications technology expert, borrowed a piece of network equipment from Cisco and used it to fake a phone call from his wife after she was already dead. The router was never found, reports Network World’s Paul McNamara.
Cooper’s lawyer wanted to present testimony that the Google map was planted on his computer by someone else. But the judge for the original trial refused to allow those witnesses to testify. The judge even ruled that national security would be comprised if the state’s investigators were questioned about how they found the Google Maps file, according to trial documents posted by blogger Brad Reese.
While he ultimately pleaded guilty, not everyone thinks he really killed his wife.
An anonymous blogger writing a blog called Justice for Bradley Cooper, has been criticizing how the computer evidence was handled. “It was quite painful to hear Brad Cooper plead guilty to second degree murder, knowing that all the evidence points to his innocence,” the blogger wrote on Monday.
The prosecuting attorney Howard Cummings disagrees. He said that Nancy Cooper’s death was the result of “mental and psychological domestic violence” that escalated to murder, reports WRAL news.
Uber's Biggest Rival Acquired A Startup That'll Help Make Rides Cheaper
Car-sharing service Lyft announced today that it is acquiring Hitch, a San Francisco-based service that connects passengers who are traveling along similar routes.
The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The move will give a boost to Lyft Line, the company’s carpooling feature that it announced last month.
With Lyft Line, you set your destination, and Lyft will match you with someone who’s already on your route, offering up to 60% off the original price of the ride. If it can’t match you up with someone else on the route, you’ll still get a discount on your ride. Lyft Line is only available in San Francisco, and will expand to Los Angeles soon.
Hitch’s concept is similar: You request a ride and tell the app where you want to be dropped off and how many passengers will be traveling with you. Then, if another person requests a ride going in the same direction, the app will create a route that works best for both passengers.
The app gets a little deeper, too. It shows you some Facebook information about your fellow passengers, like mutual friends and shared “likes.”
Hitch’s cofounders, Snir Koesh and Noam Szpiro, will join Lyft. Hitch’s service will shut down Tuesday.
Before creating Hitch, they created an app called Corral Rides. That app aggregated all the different transportation options available, including Uber and Lyft, and breaking down price and time tables for each option. But it was soon shut down because Uber and Lyft and other ride-sharing apps don’t provide an open API, according to TechCrunch.
Hitch will close today, and its drivers will be able to become Lyft drivers. Lyft says it will host a kickoff event that will make the transition to the platform easy for Hitch drivers.
The move to buy a platform that’s strictly devoted to carpools shouldn’t come as a surprise. Many of the major ride-sharing apps offer a carpool option. Uber announced UberPool the night before Lyft was set to launch Lyft Line. And that same week, Sidecar announced its version, called Shared Rides.
Sony announced on Monday that the PlayStation TV will be available on Oct. 14, and will launch with 700 games.
We got our first look at the set-top box at the E3 video game conference in June. The PlayStation TV will allow you to play PS3, PlayStation One, and PSP classic games through Sony’s streaming-game service, PlayStation Now. It will also give you access to music and video-streaming services, much like Amazon’s Fire TV or the Apple TV.
It will also connect with a PlayStation 4, allowing you to play PS4 games on another TV in your house, using what it calls Remote Play. The only caveat is that a wired internet network connection is necessary.
The PlayStation TV will be $99 for the system itself. You’ll also need to buy a DualShock 3 controller, which must be purchased separately and costs about $40. Or for $139, you can a bundle that includes a controller and a Lego game, as well as an 8GB memory card.
It’ll be interesting to see what Sony has in mind for the future of the set-top box, or if it’s just trying to throw its hat into an already crowded ring full of Apple TVs and Rokus. The Fire TV launched with more than 100 games back when it debuted earlier this year. And Microsoft doesn’t offer a set-top box or any sort of “remote” play functionality with its Xbox console.
Perhaps with a launch library full of 700 games and the promise of Remote Play, the PlayStation TV will offer people an alternative to a standalone streaming device, which costs way less than a full gaming console.
In an interview with Irish radio host Dan Fanning, Bono recounted a conversation he had with Steve Jobs in 2009:
So 5 years ago I began a conversation with Steve Jobs at my house in France and I said to Steve: “How is it that for a person who cares about the way things look and feel more than anyone else in the world that iTunes looks like a spreadsheet?”
Bono was probably talking about iTunes 9 (or eariler). Admittedly, it looks pretty spreadsheet-esque:
To Bono’s point, iTunes hasn’t changed much since this version came out. It got a slicker, more modern look in 2012, but it’s still pretty much the same.
Cardiology Group Withdraws 'Choosing Wisely' Recommendation
In the end it wasn’t wisdom for the ages. The American College of Cardiology said today that it was withdrawing one of its five recommendations in the “Choosing Wisely” campaign. In 2012 the ACC recommended that heart attack patients should have only their culprit artery unblocked. It said that patients and caregivers should question whether complete revascularization of all nonculprit lesions in heart attack patients should be performed.
“We may very well stand at one of those decisive turning points in history that separate whole eras from each other. For contemporaries entangled, as we are, in the inexorable demands of daily life, the dividing lines between eras may be hardly visible when crossed; only after people stumble over them do the lines grow into wall which irretrievably shut off the past.”
Kurzweil: Solar Energy Will Be Unlimited And Free In 20 Years
What energy crisis? In less than 20 years, solar power will be so inexpensive and widespread that it will meet the entirety of the world’s energy needs at virtually no cost, futurist Ray Kurzweil, told The Washington Post.
However, the artificial-intelligence pioneer points out that solar power use has been doubling every two years over the past three decades, as well as consistently dropping in cost. Kurzweil, who is currently Director of Engineering at Google, says that at the current rate of growth, solar power will be able to meet today’s energy needs in about 14 years.
Given growing energy needs, Kurzweil predicts that solar power will be inexpensive and ubiquitous enough to power the planet in about 20 years.
The prediction may sound far-fetched, but Kurzweil isn’t the only one making it. X Prize founder and Singularity University co-founder Peter Diamandis agrees:
The price of solar panels has dropped 97% & there’s been a 500% increase in alternative energy investments.Here’s why:http://twt.lu/1uzv7Qm
Likewise, Vivek Wadhwa, a distinguished fellow at Singularity University and director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University, points out that a mere three decades ago, people were just as skeptical of mobile phones as they are of solar energy today, and with similar justification.
The Future Smart City Will Be Built Around You and the Internet of You
Pssshhhhhhtttt. Like a shot of steam in your morning latte, the sound of train doors opening injects vitality into any urban commute. But imagine that at 7:18 a.m. on Monday in the London Underground the red doors stay open and quiet, and stay, and stay …
An Aborted Deal That Would Have Been a Disaster--HP And EMC Investigated a Merger
A Wall Street Journal report suggested that EMC and HP have investigated a potential merger deal that would have created a massive vendor worth close to $130 billion. Citing unnamed sources, WSJ wrote that the deal was approached as a “merger of equals” and was in discussion over the past year. Under the proposal, Current HP CEO Meg Whitman would have become CEO of the combined company, while EMC boss Joe Tucci would have been President. According to the report, the deal fell apart because both companies had concerns over whether their respective shareholders would have approved it.
Inside The High-Tech Effort To Prevent The US Navy From Running Over Endangered Whales
Confrontations between rival navies are rare these days, but American seamen face another challenge: avoiding collisions with the largest animals that have ever existed.
Marine biologist Greg Silber is after new insights to prevent US vessels from striking whales. In 2009 he and his team used an artificial basin at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in West Bethesda, Maryland, to test the hydrodynamics of “ship strikes” — collisions between vessels and the massive yet highly vulnerable sea mammals.
Undertaken at a military facility and by a government organization — Silber works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA — their resulting study had a purpose far beyond satisfying the researchers’ individual curiosity.
“What we did was build a whale model that was completely to scale,” Silber told Business Insider. “The same density, the same weight, the same size, relative to the size of the vessel model. And then we ran the ship model at the whale.” Researchers hoped that studying the dynamics of a simulated collision could help develops methods for avoiding ship strikes.
Granted, there were limits to what the study could achieve. Living whales are likely to move as a collision unfolds, and organic tissue don’t have the same properties as the plastic resin and fiberglass model the researchers used. But the simulations still gave a glimpse into what happens in the “near field,” Silber’s term for the few dozen yards that are closed before a ship and a whale collide.
For instance, researchers were able to figure out a “lethal” and “safe” zone for whales relative to a given naval vessel, based on the size and position of both (see chart at left).
"We know how vessels work. We know a little about how whales work. We don’t know anything about the actual interaction," said Silber.
The oceans are vast — but not so vast that whale strikes are unavoidable. One line of the Old English epic Beowulf calls the ocean a “whale road,” and the animals can suffer the same violent fate as any creatures that share their habitat with human traffic.
Another Silber study collected nearly 300 incidents of confirmed or possible ship strikes in 27 years. Over two thirds were fatal for the whales involved.
In his research at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Silber was surprised to find the model ship successfully recreated the suction effect of a working propeller — which is strong enough to suck in certain whales, a class of creatures that can weigh in excess of 100 tons.
“Even when the whale was at depth, let’s say [the equivalent of] 30 feet, 50 feet, maybe even 80 feet, it can be drawn towards the ship and then hit by the propeller,” said Silber. This “significant lateral drawing action,” which often occurred when the model whale was submerged rather than afloat, was perhaps Silber’s biggest finding, though it wasn’t always quite strong enough to draw all whales into a ship’s blades.
Ship strikes often occur head-on as well. The most extreme case may have been off the coast of Florida in 1991, when a Navy hydrofoil traveling at 45 miles an hour struck a whale, causing a fast landing that threw the crew forward.
A warped hull and broken steering arms on both sides of the vessel were only part of the $1 million in damage.
The US Navy, which has nearly 300 vessels deployed around the world, has had an outsized role in reported ship strikes. Among the cases with “known vessel type” in Silber’s study, 23 involved the Navy, ahead of 20 container ships and 19 whale-watching ships.
But the Navy isn’t necessarily the most blameworthy party. Silber said the military branch reports cases “religiously,” even in cases where it can’t verify whether a strike actually took place. And since commercial ships are often larger in size than naval vessels, freighters and or massive container ships might not even notice they’ve struck a whale. Silber’s study notes that “a 10,000-ton Naval ship has a greater likelihood of recognizing that a collision has occurred than does a 40,000-ton container ship.”
The Navy is also busier along seaboards than in the open ocean, where most ship strikes occur.
One whale species suffers from ship strikes most — and it’s also the Atlantic’s most critically endangered.
North Atlantic right whales as a species seem to be more prone to being hit by large vessels than other large whale species,” says Tony LaCasse, a representative of the New England Aquarium, which runs conservation programs targeting the species. “They are basically all black, and they often are feeding near the surface for long periods of times at a slow speed.”From the mid ’80s to the mid aughts, nearly 40 percent of right whale deaths were attributed to ship strikes, a significant blow to a population thought to be smaller than 500 individuals. That vulnerability is what led Silber and his team to use the right whale, specifically, as their model.
In 2008, US agencies including NOAA implemented a speed limit of 10 knots for ships 65 feet or greater in length. The restriction applied to locations along the Atlantic seaboard at times of year when right whale populations were at their densest.
Silber’s study had called the casualty numbers are probably an under-counting, since “many other strikes likely go undetected or unreported.” He believes fatal ship strikes could number in the hundreds annually.
The world’s oceans are also set to get a little busier, with freight transport projected to grow four percent every year this decade. If sea traffic increases as a result, whales will have additional deadly hazards to content with, on top of the ones already facing them.
Apple on Monday announced yet another record-breaking opening weekend for its latest iPhone lineup, which includes the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. But by now, it’s customary — even expected — for each new iPhone to break the opening weekend record of its predecessor. Based on company data charted for us by BI Intelligence, Apple has successfully one-upped itself each year since the first iPhone was released in June 2007.
A new comic book called "Female Force: Sheryl Sandberg" tells her whole life story in drawing form, from working for former treasury secretary Larry Summers to joining Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook.
The “Female Force” series has highlighted a number of successful women in the past, including Melinda Gates, Hillary Clinton, and Arianna Huffington. The imprint was created by Bluewater Productions, who has also written about Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs, among many others.
"Our goal is to show the behind-the scenes machinations — many of them ignored by the mainstream media — that resulted in Sheryl Sandberg becoming a leading voice in empowering successful businesswomen," publisher Darren Davis said. "A visual medium provides perspective that is not only accessible but more relatable to the average person without losing any of the information involved."
"The facts of climate change are not in question anymore, everyone understands that climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place, and we should not be aligned with such people,” Google chairman Eric Schmidt said in a statement.
For those who don’t know, ALEC was founded in 1973 as “the Conservative Caucus of State Legislators,” but its current goal is to further “the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism.”
Among its various campaigns, ALEC has focused on opposing abortion in the US; expanding “Stand Your Ground” gun laws that allow citizens the right to self-defense if they feel their property is under attack; opposing the individual health insurance mandate enacted by the Affordable Care Act; prohibiting cities from building public broadband networks; advancing the cause to privatize state prisons; forcing states to demand that voters produce state-issued IDs; and much more.
Last October, Google (and Facebook, too) joined ALEC, a group that has initiatives to give tax cuts to tobacco companies, privatize schools and for-profit education companies, repeal state taxes for the wealthy, and oppose renewable energy efforts.
But Google didn’t just join ALEC; it also funded it.
According to the watchdog group Common Cause, "In addition to paying to be a member of ALEC ($12,000 - $25,000 per year), Google and Facebook both pay to be a member of ALEC’s Communications and Technology Task Force ($5,000 per year). If they sponsor a workshop, training, or party during ALEC’s conferences, that is an additional amount (somewhere around $40,000 per event), plus conference fees to send their lobbyists/executives to ALEC conferences, plus any additional funding they give to ALEC or ALEC scholarship accounts. All of this funding is considered charitable contributions to a 501(c)(3). Google may write it off as a tax write-off.”
“Any qualms about privacy, commercialism, avoiding taxes, or paying low wages to Third World factory workers were quickly forgotten,” McChesney writes. “It is not that the managers are particularly bad and greedy people — indeed their individual moral makeup is mostly irrelevant — but rather that the system sharply rewards some types of behavior and penalizes other types of behavior so that people either get with the program and internalize the necessary values or they fail.”
Solomon believed Google joined ALEC so it could remain in a position of power, which would allow the company to impact — or at least know about — future changes to national policies and legislation.
“Google’s involvement in ALEC is consistent with the company’s mega-business model that relentlessly exploits rigorous data-mining of emails, online searches and so much more,” Solomon writes.
Another theory from Todd O’Boyle, director of Common Cause: “[Google] might be concerned about right-of-way and video franchising related to Google Fiber, or maybe they want to work on state tax issues.”
It’s unclear why Google initially joined ALEC — there are theories, but the company offered no official statement. That said, it’s pretty clear why Google decided to back out of its deal with ALEC on Monday.
(Boeing received a contract to develop its own manned space craft, the CST-100 capsule, as well, to the tune of $4.2 billion.)
Under the Commercial Crew Program contract, SpaceX will not only assist NASA in transporting astronauts and cargo to the ISS, but will also be free to transport civilians, in effect providing a taxi service to low-Earth orbit for anyone who can afford it. So how will it work?
First, the basics. Elon Musk unveiled the Dragon V2 capsule in May:
The pressurized capsule seats up to seven people, with a total payload volume of 10 cubic meters. The trunk provides an additional 14 cubic meters of unpressurized cargo room:
It also features a clean, simple interface for the pilot, including touch screens, a joystick for navigation, and manual buttons for emergency functions:
The Dragon is launched into Earth’s orbit by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket (pictured below launching the unmanned version of Dragon, which has been used to send cargo up to the International Space Station):
As it gains altitude, the Dragon V2 sheds the Falcon 9 rocket stages that get it to space and positions itself by the International Space Station (ISS).
To dock with the space station, its nose cap opens to expose the docking hatch. Unlike the original Dragon, the new version will not discard the nose cap entirely, but have it swing open:
The docking hatch, as the name implies, allows the Dragon V2 to dock at the ISS — or on any spacecraft, in theory, according to Musk. The original Dragon relies on the Space Station’s Canada Arm to wrangle it upon approach, a limitation that the manned capsule will not share.
Once the cargo and passengers are safely aboard, the Dragon decouples from the ISS, potentially engaging up to 12 thrusters to maneuver away, and the nose cap closes.
Prior to re-entry, the Dragon jettisons its trunk, which carries the two solar arrays that power the capsule, along with unpressurized cargo, while it navigates around the ISS. It’s not needed when the capsule is ready to return home.
Getting rid of the trunk exposes the Dragon’s heat shield, which is what allows the astronaut-carrying capsule to safely re-enter Earth’s atmosphere without burning up due to friction with the atmosphere.
The heat shield on the Dragon is an advanced version of the one NASA used for its Stardust robotic space probe. It protects the capsule as it accelerates to speeds up to 17,500 miles per hour.
But unlike Stardust, the Dragon V2 uses 18 powerful thrusters, capable of producing 90 lbs of thrust apiece, to land safely and gently on almost any kind of surface, instead of landing in the ocean.
This gives Dragon V2 the flexibility to land nearly anywhere on Earth.
7 Free Ways for Boosting Your Social Media Engagement
Did you know that there are over 1.82 billion social network users worldwide? That number is expected to increase to approximately 2.33 by 2017. Needless to say, being active on social media is an essential part of your marketing plan. But, how can you reach your audience more effectively than your competitors?
While creating quality content is a must, you also need to engage your audience. Again, this should be obvious. But, it can be a problem is you’re on a tight budget. That’s why I’ve compiled the following seven ways to boost your social media engagement for free.
1. Make Use of Free Social Media Listening/Monitoring Tools
You’ve probably heard this before, and you’ll most likely hear it again, but your online reputation can make or break your brand. But, how can you know what people are saying about your brand? By using tools that monitor and listen to your social media activity.
If you believe that you’ll have to dish out some of your hard earned cash for these tools, then you may be surprised to learn that there are plenty of free tools that can accomplish this task. Here are a few tools that have free versions that should do the job:
A Tipping Point In The Net Neutrality Debate? User-Directed Priority Could Bring Huge Benefits to Broadband Customers
The FCC Open Internet Roundtables began last week, and if the agency were judging solely on the merits, the debate would be over. But net neutrality will be decided in part on popular opinion, which makes this race too hard to call.
Beats Music is very similar to Spotify, Rdio, and other streaming music services. You pay $10 per month for unlimited access to songs from all the major record labels. The service was one of the key reasons Apple bought Beats Electronics, which also makes popular headphones and other audio accessories.
However, it doesn’t seem likely that the product will completely go away. It’s more likely that Apple will take the Beats Music technology and incorporate it into iTunes and/or iTunes Radio. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently told Charlie Rose that he was so impressed with Beats Music that he “couldn’t sleep” after listening to it for the first time.
9 Incredibly Successful Startups That Were Born At Stanford
Thanks in part to its proximity to nearly every major tech company you could think of, Stanford University has become a sort of incubator for Silicon Valley itself.
Some of tech’s most important figures have attended classes here, from Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard to Marissa Mayer and Peter Thiel.
But Stanford’s campus is also known for being a great place to launch a new company, with top-notch engineering and business programs, an extensive alumni network, and even university-affiliated accelerator programs. It makes sense that the California school was named the Best College In America.
We’ve highlighted some of the most successful startups to be born on Stanford’s campus in the last two decades.
Instagram cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger met through the Stanford alumni network.
After graduating in 2006 with a degree in management science and engineering, Kevin Systrom started developing a location-based photo-sharing app. When he realized he needed a cofounder, he turned to the Stanford network and found Mike Krieger, a Brazilian native who graduated with a degree in symbolic systems two years after Systrom.
"When people say that college isn’t worthwhile and paying all this money isn’t worthwhile, I really disagree," Systrom said to Forbes. “I think those experiences and those classes that may not necessarily seem applicable in the moment end up coming back to you time and time again.”
Trulia cofounders Pete Flint and Sami Inkinen met during class at the Graduate School of Business.
Flint and Inkinen were inspired to create Trulia when they saw how difficult it was to find a place to live in Palo Alto. They developed their real estate aggregation site during two semesters in Stanford’s competitive "Startup Garage" class.
The Monday after graduation, they had lined up meetings with several VCs interested in funding their company.
The idea for StubHub came out of a business plan competition at Stanford.
Eric Baker and Jeff Fluhr met in a class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. After sharing stories of the problems they had had selling event tickets online, they entered a competition with the business plan for a company they called needaticket.com. After the plan made the final round, they pulled out of the competition, and in 2000, Fluhr dropped out of school to work on the company full-time.
Baker and Fluhr used Stanford computer labs and classrooms to build their site, now a major player in secondary ticket sales for sports and entertainment events.
Return of the Brand Giants: Southwest, Apple, Starbucks and Target Reclaim Relevance
I admit I love talking about Uber, AirBnB, Alibaba, FlipBoard, Tesla, Buzzcar, Bitcoin, Trunk Club, Warby Parker, Lyst and the rest of the up-and-comers as much as the next guy. These new brands are handily stealing headlines and mindshare from traditional—and often old— disintermediated business models. They have been able to create a powerful vision and purpose, exploit relevant societal and consumer trends and deliver on-brand experiences. This is due in large part to the fact that they are starting from scratch and inventing on the fly with relevant product, service and experience offerings.
LINKEDIN DEMOGRAPHICS: The Top Statistics That Make The Network's Audience So Valuable To Businesses
LinkedIn is perhaps the most overlooked social network. But overall it is actually more popular than Twitter, generally considered the number two social network in the U.S. The latest data shows a higher proportion of U.S. adults on the internet (22%) have used LinkedIn, compared to the percentage who have used Twitter.
LinkedIn is a valuable platform for brands interested in its highly educated, relatively mature, professional audience.
The iPhone 6 Display Is Amazing, But Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 Is Still Better (AAPL)
One of the first things you’ll notice about the iPhone 6 is its display — not only is it much larger than that of the iPhone 5s (4.7 inches vs. 4 inches), but it’s also significantly sharper.
Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate conducted a test to see just how much Apple has improved its smartphone display since the iPhone 5 was released in 2012. According to Soneira’s iPhone 6 Display Technology Shootout, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have the best LCD displays of any smartphone on the market.
The iPhone 6 Plus is the second smartphone ever to score all green, which falls in the “very good” to “excellent” ratings, in most test measurement categories since DisplayMate started its testing in 2006.
These categories include display resolution, display sharpness at typical viewing distances, pixels per inch, and color depth, among others.
While Soneira noted that the iPhone 6’s display is still very good and consumers will be happy with it, he did say that text and re-scaled images looked better on the iPhone 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6 features a 1334 x 750 resolution display compared to the iPhone 6 Plus’ 1920 x 1080 resolution screen. That’s 326 pixels per inch on the iPhone 6’s display versus 401 pixels per inch on the iPhone 6 Plus.
Soneira praised the iPhone 6’s display after his testing, but it wasn’t enough to steal the title of “Best Overall Smartphone Display” from Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
The Note 4 uses a different type of display than Apple’s new iPhones — Samsung’s handset features an OLED screen while Apple’s uses LCD. The Note 4’s 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 screen is also a bit larger than the iPhone 6 Plus and has a higher resolution.
Soneira says the Galaxy Note 4 matches or breaks records in smartphone display performance in categories such as highest absolute color accuracy, highest screen resolution, and highest peak brightness, among other areas. Although Apple’s new smartphones come with the best displays of their kind, Soneira believes the Galaxy Note 4’s display is generally better.
Working at home has ups and downs. This morning I found myself picking a piece of Lego out of my foot that I managed to step on in the darkness, again. That coupled with the fact that I had to yet find my way to the coffee maker meant that my mood was far less than pleasant.
For those on the Apple Watch hunt, the Apple Watch Sport looks like this:
The reason the Apple Watch isn’t expected in stores until early 2015 is because it’s not finished yet.
The demo units Apple showed off two weeks ago were running a video highlighting some of the functions the Apple Watch will have when its done.
The Apple employees Jenveja mentions are presumably wearing functional Apple Watches. Apple is probably using employees as beta testers for the device so they can add last-minute features before the watch’s release.
Foursquare Hires Marketing Guru Kinjil Mathur To Be Its New VP
Kinjil Mathur has joined Foursquare as VP of Marketing.
The role was formerly filled by Jon Steinback, who became Foursquare’s VP of Product Experience when early employee Alex Rainert left the company. Rainert co-founded Foursquare’s predessesor, Dodgeball, with CEO Dennis Crowley.
Prior to joining Foursquare, Mathur was CMO of ArtSpace, a company founded by DailyCandy COO Catherine Levene. ArtSpace was acquired earlier this summer by Phaidon earlier. She also served as VP of Marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue and was a marketing leader at magazine publishing house, Conde Nast.
Mathur has already started the Foursquare gig and is reporting to COO Jeff Glueck.
Chrysler And Google Teamed Up To Create This Awesome Factory Tour
To mark the arrival of Chrysler’s eagerly awaited 200 sedan, the auto giant teamed up with Google to give carbuyers a behind the scenes look at the company’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan.
Using Google Maps Business View, Chrysler shows off the 5 million square foot facility that’s fresh off of a $1 billion renovation. The interactive tour, available at http://twt.lu/1DtwGFR, features 360-degree views of the production facility, along with narration from a plant employee.
In addition, the tour offers a dozen videos chronicling the Chrysler 200’s production process, ranging from the assembly of the frame to painting to final quality control checks.
Here are some of the highlights:
The tour starts in the plant’s 1 million sq. ft. body shop where the 200’s frame and body panels are assembled by a team of 1,000 robots.
The body shop uses a technique called “butterfly assembly,” where the left and right sides of the car’s frame are assembled on opposite sides of the shop and them joined to the frame in the middle of the plant. According to Chrysler, this process increases production efficiency, worker safety, and chassis strength.
After the bodyshop, the tour goes to the plant’s metrology lab, which uses sensors to measure the frame’s fit and finish.
Chrysler’s metrology lab uses coordinate measurement machines (CMM) and blue light sensors to check for irregularities in the body and frame.
The next part of the tour involves the plant’s all-important paint shop. In the shop, the Chrysler 200’s frame is subjected a series of procedures that protect the car’s frame from the corrosive elements on the road. This includes seven baths…
…and seven showers to make sure any residual dust or particles are washed away before painting starts.
The final bath for the frame is in a 130,000 gallons of primer that’s infused with 250 volts of electricity in a process called “electrocoating.” According to Chrysler, the electric charge in the pool allows the primer to stick to the car “like a magnet.”
After electrostatic bath, the Chrysler 200 frame is flipped upside and coated with a sealant that keeps everything from water to corrosive road salt from damaging car. Before the actual paint can be applied, an army of robots applies a layer of powder coating, which Chrysler says adds resistance to chipping and scratches.
In the final step before painting, the Chrysler 200 frame is brushed with ostrich feathers. Why ostrich feathers? According to Chrysler, each feather has hundreds of naturally occurring hooks that effectively remove excess dust.
After the car is painted by a team of robots, the frame moves into the main assembly area where workers install by hand everything from doors to seats to the engine.
Finally, the new Chrysler 200 goes through final quality inspections before being shipped off to a dealership.
Tim Cook: Apple's New HQ Will Be 'The Greenest Building On The Planet' (AAPL)
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at NYC’s Climate Week on Monday where he proclaimed that Apple’s new “spaceship” headquarters would be “the greenest building on the planet,” according to 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall.
“We’re building a new headquarters that will, I think, be the greenest building on the planet,” Cook said about the building, which is currently under construction. ”It’ll be a center for innovation, and it’s something clearly our employees want and we want.”
“You know, we want to leave the world better than we found it,” he said. “What does that mean for us? It means that we take toxins out of all of our products. We’ve done that.”
To his claim about Apple’s new headquarters, Cook said the building would be exclusively powered by renewables like wind and solar energy.
“I know some people have issues with this, but to me it’s all about leaving the world better than you found it,” Cook said. “We owe it to the generation, to the younger generation, to solve this and not to keep turning and looking away.”
Here are Cook’s full Climate Week remarks (he starts talking around the 1 hour, 39 minute mark):
What Dogs Can Teach Us About Corporate Social Responsibility
I like dogs as much as the next guy. Hey, we have a dog, adorable Zoe, who I take for walks more often than do the two adorable kids who promised they’d be the ones to do so. Zoe has become a member of our family, an integral part of our home life. Now, before all you cat people jump off to another article, let me quickly make clear that this article is not about dogs, per se. It’s about marketing and, specifically, something known as corporate social responsibility marketing, or CSR. More specifically, this article is about the difference between using CSR as a business model and using it as a promotion.
Meet The Inventor Who Is Finally Making Virtual Reality Real
For the first time, Forbes is bringing together 1,000+ members of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list with some of the globe’s top leaders and mentors to create partnerships that will change the world over the next 50 years. The Under 30 Summit will take place in Philadelphia from Oct. 19 – 22.
Google Has Finally Stopped Forcing Users To Have A Google+ Account For Gmail
Google used to require its users to make a Google+ profile to be able to create a Gmail account. But now, Google is quietly allowing its users to opt out of Google+.
If you sign up for a new Gmail account today, you can say “No thanks” to Google+. However, opting out means you won’t have access to certain features. You can’t rate apps on the Google Play Store or comment on YouTube.
A Google spokesperson later confirmed the changes to WordStream blogger Larry Kim, stating: “We updated the signup experience in early September. Users can now create a public profile during signup, or later, if and when they share public content for the first time (like a restaurant review, YouTube video or Google+ post).”
Google has been easing up on its policies surrounding Google+ over the last several months. It all started in April, when Vic Gundotra, the man responsible for having built Google+, left the company after eight years.
Could 'Range Anxiety' Actually Be Holding Back Some Tesla Investors? (TSLA)
If you follow electric cars, you know that they have one major disadvantage, relative to gas-powered autos.
The don’t go as far.
For the major automakers who are also building all-electric cars, this isn’t a big deal. Nissan, for example, doesn’t pitch its Leaf electric vehicle (EV) as a long-range hauler. It only get about 100 miles per charge.
But it all depends on conditions and how you drive.
The Model S has been a pretty big hit, winning Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” award as well as accolades from the automotive media (for the most part — some long-term tests have turned up problems). It’s not selling in massive volumes, but it has established Tesla and CEO Elon Musk as forces to be reckoned with. And it’s set the stage for the company’s future.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some skepticism taking shape. Over the past two weeks, both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have sounded cautionary notes about Tesla’s stock, which has been on a tear — up 65% year-to-date (although down almost 5% in trading on Monday).
On CNBC last week, Charles Sizemore of Sizemore Capital Management joined the cautionary chorus. He followed up his appearance with some published analysis in which he reiterated his concerns but also expressed his own point of view on whether Tesla ownership makes sense for him:
As an example, I regularly drive from Dallas to Houston on business, a trip of about 250 miles door-to-door. A Tesla Model S couldn’t get me there on one charge. Assuming a driving speed of 70 miles per hour and an outside temperature of 90 degrees, Tesla estimates that I would get 180-229 miles on a single charge. I tend to drive fairly aggressively — this is Texas, after all — so the figures are probably lower.
It takes an hour and 12 minutes to charge a Tesla battery. That means my three-and-a-half-hour business trip gets lengthened to nearly five hours each way.
Again, I’m not bashing Tesla’s technology. Personally, I think it’s incredible. But I’m also realistic enough to know that it’s impractical for most drivers at this time, irrespective of cost.
This is something of a practical encapsulation of what I’ll call the rational bear case for Tesla: The company is impressive as hell, but is it really going to convince luxury buyers to turn in the keys to their Mercedes, BMWs, and Audis? And even if it can, will it be able to manage the same trick with the mass-market buyers it wants to choose its forthcoming Model X SUV and Model 3 EV?
If it doesn’t, then all that future growth that’s supporting today’s elevated stock price could vanish.
But then there’s the bull case, which boils down to something like this: Tesla is transforming the auto industry and others will follow its lead. It’s like personal computers were in the 1980s. You’d be nuts to not invest.
And then there’s the burned bear case: Tesla’s demise has often been predicted, and yet…the company is still around, bigger and better than ever.
Something interesting is going on right now with these various predictions about where Tesla is headed. For a while, the discussion was all about the stock and whether the run-up was justified.
It was a largely financial debate.
Questions are now being asked about two other issues. First, are EVs — an especially Tesla EVs — truly ready to capture significant amounts of market share from conventional cars? Second, does Tesla’s Model S really match or improve on the current luxury driving experience?
This debate is about the product.
So we end up with two types of “range anxiety”: a concern that Tesla’s stock can’t go the distance at its current valuation; and the more practical matter of whether the cars themselves can go far enough.
Apple fans have long wondered if charging the iPhone with an iPad adapter made any difference. (The iPad plug is bigger and can provide more juice to your iPhone.)
As far as we can tell, it’s been possible to use an iPad charger to charge the iPhone before now, but doing so may have risked the longevity of your battery. It’s also not clear the iPad charger juiced up the iPhone any faster than the traditional iPhone charger.
But with the iPhone 6, you’re sure to see a difference with the iPad charger. MacRumors is reporting that iPhone 6 Plus owners were able to get their phones to a full charge in just two hours.
The iPad adapter is $19, so it might be worth picking up even if you don’t already own an iPad.
EMC Stock Soars After Investors Learn About Mega-Merger Talks With HP, Others (EMC, HPQ)
For nearly a year, EMC and HP have been kicking the tires on a merger that would have created one the biggest enterprise tech companies on the planet — with over $130 billion in annual sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“Meg was going to run the company, Joe’s guys were going to have significant roles, it had been worked out who would run the divisions, they’d done all this work on it,” says the source, referring to HP’s CEO, Meg Whitman, and EMC’s CEO, Joe Tucci. “They were very close last week, and then things went on pause,” says the source. “Things feel imminent-ish.”
This is surprising news for all sorts of reasons.
HP is only now digging itself out of a hole from its decades-long acquisition binge that left it heavily in debt, laying off up to 50,000 employees. Whitman even admitted it paid too much for at least one mega-deal (the $11 billion it paid for Autonomy).
Just last month, when talks with EMC would have certainly been going on, Whitman told analysts in the quarterly conference call that HP’s acquisition strategy would be “focused on only things that we cannot do organically, and given the choice, I would rather invest organically this is the heritage of Hewlett-Packard.”
The WSJ said EMC was talking to Dell about a merger, which may have involved just selling parts of itself off. Dell is working hard to get a piece of EMC’s enterprise storage business.
This means that EMC is open to talks with others, too, with names like Oracle and Cisco being dropped to the WSJ and Barron’s.
Then again, HP, Cisco’s main rival in the network industry, has been all-in on SDN. Owning EMC/VMware would be sweet for HP on that count.
All this merger talk might amount to nothing, but EMC is at a crossroads.
EMC’s bread-and-butter technology, enterprise computer storage, is under attack from a whole slew of young new technologies that offer bigger, faster, and cheaper storage options — and from cloud computing.
Here’s everything we know about the mysterious cell towers so far.
How were the towers first uncovered?
The first news of the mysterious towers came from a press release for a high-end smartphone — they were not uncovered through a research paper or security researcher’s blog as you would normally expect.
ESD America has been the source for every story about the fake cell towers, gradually releasing details of the towers as the phone’s owners discover new locations.
How can a fake cell phone tower be used to intercept your call?
If your phone connects to a fake cell tower, whoever operates the device can listen to your calls, intercept your text messages, and send fake text messages to your phone. It’s also possible to monitor and track the physical location of a mobile phone using a hacked cell tower, meaning that so-called “Interceptor” towers can be used to follow people as they travel in the area of the cell tower.
There are two different types of “Interceptor” devices:
IMSI Catchers: These devices collect cellphone information. They can store data for later use.
Active GSM Interceptors: A GSM interceptor can act as a “man in the middle” to intercept cellphone traffic between two devices.
Fake cell phone towers are a big problem in China, where it’s common for scammers to use these devices to trick people into handing over their credit card details, according to a report on The Verge. Cell phones automatically connect to the strongest available signal, meaning that it’s easy for criminals to gain access to cell phones and send fake messages requesting card information if they’re close to a target cell phone. According to Chinese security company Qihoo Security, there are over 13 million of these fake messages sent every single day in China.
There hasn’t been any confirmation on who actually owns and operates the fake cell towers. But that hasn’t stopped people from guessing…
One of the likeliest theories behind the fake cell towers is that they’re used by criminal gangs to send spam text messages en masse to American citizens. This is a long-established practice in China, so it’s possible that it also goes on in America.
It has been speculated that the “Interceptor” towers are part of a new surveillance network used by local police forces to keep track of citizens and possibly even spy on their phone calls. This isn’t an outlandish theory, as American police forces are already known to use “Stingray” technology to track cellphones. These devices mimic cell towers to connect to cell phones and relay their information to the operator of the Stringray device.
It’s been speculated that foreign governments have formed this network of fake cell towers across America in order to track cellphone location and intercept calls. Is this possible? Yes. But it’s not likely. If, for example, Russia or China were to embark upon a campaign of mass surveillance against American citizens, they probably wouldn’t use unsophisticated technology that can be discovered by a modified Samsung Galaxy SIII.
Every time there’s talk of someone spying on our phone calls, the blame is usually placed on the NSA or another government surveillance institution. This is one of the less plausible theories, although the government already has access to our calls through agreements with carrier networks, wiretaps, and court orders.
Do the fake towers really exist, or is this just a marketing campaign?
The cell towers almost certainly exist, but they’re probably not part of a foreign spying ring, as the CEO of the company who sells the ultra-secure phones suggests.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Goldsmith gave his opinion on the cell towers. He remarked, bizarrely: “My suspicion is that it is a foreign entity.” As proof of his claim, Goldsmith reveals that an Interceptor was located near Embassy Row in Washington, DC, a street that includes the American embassies of nations such as Russia.
Conveniently, Goldsmith’s opinion served to bring the cell towers back into the spotlight, as the idea that a foreign government is using fake cell towers to spy on Americans is a terrifying prospect. But it’s also incredibly unlikely.
Ultimately, there are no photographs of the towers and ESD America has not released the exact location of any Interceptor devices. Instead, the company has released a handful of maps and given interviews to the press about them. ESD America’s Facebook Page has turned into a media center for the cell towers, teasing upcoming reveals of more cell towers.