Rami Alkarmi builds lean startup Ecosystems





Geek. Investor. Growth Strategist.

A proud geek, investor, and widely recognized advisor and expert in strategy, lean startup ecosystems, business models, growth & distribution through big data and viral marketing, and corporate venturing.

In 2013, he founded Arcoten Holdings as his advising/investing vehicle where he partners with corporates, accelerators, and incubators to build lean startup ecosystems, and helps companies through providing expertise in growth, hands-on mentorship, access to capital, and helps companies iterate product and grow fast. From time to time, he also likes to build companies with friends and partners inside Arcoten.

Recent Tweets @alkarmi

Last week, Google announced they are rolling out an update to their Panda algorithm. The rollout is expect to last until the end of next week, but data is already pouring in about who was hit hardest and who has gained the most in terms of search engine rankings.

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Growing online sports media outlet Flocasts has received an $8 million investment from Causeway Media Partners, a fund that focuses on startups in the sports and entertainment space.

http://twt.lu/1x2oGqQ

Netflix Instagram

If you think professional Instagrammer is your calling, you’re in luck. Netflix is hiring.

We’re searching for three people to become the Instagrammers of Netflix; a role we call Grammaster. They’ll travel across the continent and take beautiful pictures for Netflix Instagram channels,” the site says.

What does this have to do with movies? Netflix says, “Grammasters will go to iconic film and television locations to take photos. They may even visit the sets of Netflix originals or other awesome shows and films.”

Here’s what you have to do to apply:

  • Follow Netflix
  • Hashtag (#) your three best photos with #Grammaster

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Congressional candidates are tripping over themselves to get in the good graces of West Virginia’s coal communities. And while such a political tack may the quickest way to endear themselves to certain voters, it is alienating those who realize that the best long-range development is to rapidly diversify the state’s economic base.

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Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp

Yelp and a coalition of like-minded travel and shopping web sites have created an elegant demonstration of the way they say Google biases search results in favor of Google’s own pages. It’s a Chrome browser extension that Yelp says strips Google+ pages from Google’s search results, forcing the search engine to display only the “organic” results Google would serve if it wasn’t biased in favor of Google’s own sites and links.

The device lets you compare Google’s results with, and without, interference from Google+, the anti-Google coalition claims. (We’ve got a couple of screengrabs below demonstrating the difference.) In other words, it removes all those “Google Review” star-ratings that you often see under links to your search results. Yelp claims that if Google didn’t automatically put its own links there, then reviews on sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor would appear higher up the page because those sites have hundreds or thousands of consumer reviews when Google’s reviews are often from only a handful of people.

For years, Yelp has complained that Google’s has shunted its relatively unpopular Google Reviews and Google+ links to the top of supposedly “organic” search results, while links to sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor, which have thousands of reviews per venue, are shunted down into the search engine’s equivalent of Siberia.

An internal document recently leaked from Yelp showed how the company believes Google is siphoning off up to 20% of its clicks, and directing them to Google’s own lower quality results. Yelp even persuaded the European Union to reopen an antitrust investigation into the way it alleges Google abuses its 90% share of the European search market to manipulate results. (Business Insider heard that Yelp’s intervention came after CEO Jeremy Stoppelman found himself at a dinner in San Francisco this spring with EC president José Manuel Barroso, where he was able to bend Barroso’s ear about Google’s market share.)

So Yelp has launched a coalition of business, including TripAdvisor and Consumer Watchdog, under the banner "Focus On The User," to draw attention to the way Google results are displayed.

Business Insider contacted Google for comment but we did not hear back from the company yet.

The most interesting part of the coalition’s work is the development of this widget that shows you what Google search results look like with, and without, Google+ links.

Here is what a “normal” search for “London Hotels” looks like:

google yelp

Note that the top organic result, for the Corinthia Hotel, has only 42 reviews on Google.

Now here is what you get if you strip out the Google+ results, so that Google only returns organic results based on its normal algorithm — in which Google+ results have to compete equally with everyone else’s pages:

google yelp 2

Note that the Corinthia has 1,222 reviews on Tripadvisor.

Yelp argues that the Tripadvisor results are far more reliable than Google Reviews because there are more of them, and because Tripadvisor specializes in hotel reviews and is the market leader for that type of information.

The implication is that because Google dumps its own reviews on top of those, it is using its 90% market dominance to essentially interfere in the market for — in this case — hotels. That, possibly, is antitrust violation. Yelp isn’t complaining that Google dominates search, rather that it is using that dominance to distort markets outside of the search industry.

SEE ALSO: Google’s Biggest Haters Are Taking Another Swing At The Search Giant

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iphone, taking pictures, pic, photo, photography, camera, cell phone, bi, dngApple customers freaked out last month over a change in Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 8. Now, it looks like Apple has listened to the feedback.

iOS 8 removed “Camera Roll,” the album where every photo taken with an iPhone is stored. Photos were instead sent to a new folder named “Recently Added.” 

While this is just a small change, it caused outrage. iPhone users were left confused by the move. 

The “Recently Added” folder also contained deleted photos saved on iCloud, meaning that it was impossible to see which photos were actually stored on the device.  It also made deleting photos trickier, as they were then sent to a folder called “Recently Deleted” instead of being removed from the device.

 Here’s how iOS 8 photos used to work:

iOS 8 Camera Roll changes

Unhappy iPhone users complained on Twitter about the removal of camera roll. 

Noticing that people were unhappy, budding app developers have been building apps to provide an unofficial Camera Roll folder that shows all photos saved on a device. They’ve been using Twitter to track down angry Apple customers and let them know about their apps.

Now, Apple has abandoned its plan to move away from Camera Roll and force users to combine all of their photos together. The new iOS 8.1 beta has been released to developers, and they’ve noticed that Camera Roll has been restored. 

Here’s what the new beta version of iOS 8 looks like:

iOS 8.1 beta release notes live camera roll back

Product Reviews reports that a folder named “Camera Roll” has appeared in the new beta version of iOS 8, but that it may simply be a renamed version of “Recently Added” designed to stop users being confused.

SEE ALSO: iPhone Users Are Freaking Out After Apple Removed ‘Camera Roll’ And Made It Harder To Delete Photos

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adam sandler blended

Netflix is expanding its investment in original content.

It has signed Adam Sandler to a 4-movie deal. In a release announcing the news, Sandler had the following to say, “I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only…. Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks. “Let the streaming begin!!!!””

We’re not joking. 

Beverly Hills, Calif. October 2, 2014—Netflix, the world’s leading Internet TV network, will be the exclusive home of four feature films starring and produced by comic icon Adam Sandler, whose movies have delighted hundreds of millions of fans all over the world. 

Sandler is a unique and prolific comic voice, whose films have grossed more than $3 billion globally at the box office and made him one of the world’s top movie stars. He is among the few actors in the world whose films consistently rank among the most viewed by Netflix members in the U.S. and across its global territories from Brazil to the U.K. 

“People love Adam’s films on Netflix and often watch them again and again. His appeal spans across viewers of all ages — everybody has a favorite movie, everyone has a favorite line — not just in the US but all over the world,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. 

“When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only….Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks,” said Sandler. “Let the streaming begin!!!!” 

Under the deal announced today, Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions will work alongside Netflix to develop the four films and to premiere them exclusively to members in the nearly 50 countries where Netflix operates. Current studio film commitments are not included in this deal. 

Sandler began his career as a stand-up comedian and joined Saturday Night Live as a writer and featured player before starring in, producing and writing numerous films, including the box office smashes The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, The Longest Yard, Big Daddy, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. 

Sandler has received critical accolades for his work in Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, Funny People, and two upcoming films, Men, Women & Children and The Cobbler, which premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. 

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There is something of a “cool kids club” in the cloud vendor space, a group of companies all founded at roughly the same time whose success has been partly due to the fact that when it comes to messaging and marketing, they work together as one well-oiled machine. Perhaps the three tightest members of this grouping are newly-public Zendesk, allegedly soon to be public New Relic and not-yet-saying GoodData. Not only have these three companies co-marketed extensively, they’ve also been known to share executives.

http://twt.lu/1rMbG8c

Marissa Mayer Yahoo

Good morning! It will be relatively cool, and partly sunny today in New York. Let’s look at the news.

  1. Rovio, the parent company of Angry Birds is cutting 130 people, or 16% of its workforce. Yet another sign that mobile gaming is a tough business.
  2. Here’s what the activist investors that have taken a stake in Yahoo really want: They will spin out the core Yahoo business, and keep Yahoo as a company that just owns shares of Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.
  3. Cloud storage company Box has pushed back its plans to IPO until 2015. It filed for its IPO in March of this year.
  4. Google donated $600,000 to San Francisco to buy and install equipment to provide free WiFi in 30 public parks, plazas and recreation areas, says the AP.
  5. Here is the App 100, our list of the 100 greatest apps in the world.
  6. Elon Musk hinted that he’s going to unveil a new car, the Tesla D on October 9.
  7. Perry Chen, founder of Kickstarter, has a new company called “Dollar a Day” that takes the daily deals model and applies to charity. You donate $30 per month to one charity picked by Dollar a Day. As it scales, it gives more and more money, but still only costs you $365 per year.
  8. Apple’s part-time designer Marc Newson designed this beer keg for Heineken. 
  9. Paul Graham, founder of startup school Y Combinator, gave a lecture on “the things to remember if you want to prepare yourself to start a startup.”
  10. Apple might turn on Apple Pay, its mobile payment system on October 20.

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kate upton model

Hollywood lawyer Marty Singer has written to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as Chairman Eric Schmidt, threatening to sue them for $100 million if they don’t remove the naked photos of his clients that were posted online after the iCloud hack. 

Page Six reports that Singer represents over a dozen of the celebrities whose naked photos were posted online after hackers used a flaw in Apple’s password recovery system to gain access to their iCloud backup files. Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Rihanna and Ariana Grande were all targeted by hackers, but it’s unknown which women Singer represents.

In his letter to Google, Singer accuses the company of “making millions from the victimization of women” and engaging in “blatantly unethical behavior.” 

According to Singer, takedown requests were sent to Google days after the celebrity photos leaked online. Apparently the images have not been removed from YouTube and Blogger, and Singer is accusing Google of failing “to act expeditiously, and responsibly to remove the images.”

To be fair to Google, its staff don’t choose what the search engine turns up on the net. The system is an algorithm that simply detects what other people have published.

Singer’s letter, seen by Page Six, claims that Google is aware that the photos are hosted on its sites, but hasn’t done anything to take them down.

Google knows the images are hacked stolen property, private and confidential photos and videos unlawfully obtained and posted by pervert predators who are violating the victims’ privacy rights … Yet Google has taken little or no action to stop these outrageous violations.

Singer’s letter goes on to compare Google’s failure to remove naked photos to the recent Ray Rice assault scandal:

Like the NFL, which turned a blind eye while its players assaulted and victimized women and children, Google has turned a blind eye while its sites repeatedly exploit and victimize these women.

Google has already been criticized for failing to remove the stolen photos. Kate Upton’s boyfriend, baseball player Jason Verlander, sent DMCA takedown requests to Google asking the company to delist sites that host the naked photos. Torrent Freak reports that Google rejected nearly half of the takedown requests, and the images remain easily discoverable through the site.

SEE ALSO: The Hackers Behind The Naked Celebrity iCloud Photo Leak Have Regrouped, And They Are Unhappy

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Jennifer Lawrence

The release of hundreds of naked photos of celebrities was a crisis for Apple. It was also a disaster for the iCloud hackers on the porn forum “AnonIB.” For years they had used the venue to openly trade hacking tips and software, stolen photographs of women, and even advertise their hacking services.

As news emerged of the iCloud hack, the anonymous staff of AnonIB took the site offline. They were presumably aware that “OriginalGuy,” the source of the photos, began to release the images there. The message displayed on the site claimed that it was merely offline for “scheduled maintenance.” However, the fact that the site was offline for two weeks, rather than the usual few hours reserved for maintenance, signaled that the site’s founders were instead concerned over the wave of attention that AnonIB had come under.

Maintenance message on AnonIBNow, AnonIB is back online, and iCloud hackers are starting to come to terms with the release of photos that changed their “hobby” forever. 

The “Obtained Photos” section of the site, known as /stol (short for “stolen photos”) has been completely deleted following the iCloud hack. As Business Insider reported last month, it had previously served as an advertising service where hackers could share their expertise, and as a place for iCloud hackers to pool their resources in search of nude photographs:

AnonIB screenshotWe don’t know for sure why AnonIB chose to delete the infamous section of the site that played host to a legion of iCloud hackers, but it’s likely due to the threat of police action, or, absurdly, concerns over the privacy of its users. Email addresses have been posted in public for years, and journalists had begun to contact iCloud hackers wishing to speak about the leaked photos.

iCloud hackers returning to the forum have been able to discuss the celebrity photo leak for the first time after the mainstream press reported on the story. And they’re not happy. 

AnonIB users discussing the iCloud hackForum posts frequently insult “OriginalGuy,” the user who leaked photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and others. One commenter refers to him as “nobody leecher scum.”

Elsewhere on AnonIB, one user complains that only a selection of the stolen celebrity photos were published.

AnonIB screenshotWhile users are still posting on the public forum, the real discussion about hacking techniques has moved to a collection of private chatrooms. But the hackers aren’t stopping their hobby. While they’ve been spooked by the publicity caused by the celebrity photo leak, and Apple has made their lives slightly tougher, iCloud hackers are still hard at work.

SEE ALSO: The Full Story Of The iCloud Hacker Who Leaked Those Naked Celebrity Photos

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Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Mathias Dopfner

Google’s conflict with European publishers reached a new level on Wednesday as Google agreed to stop publishing extracts and thumbnails from stories published by a group of German publishers who are unhappy with the search engine’s dominance in Europe. 

In a blog post published Wednesday, Google explained that search results for stories from some of Germany’s biggest websites would be stripped back to just the headline, omitting the thumbnail image and extract that is customary for Google News listings. 

The change will effect search results from media sites such as bild.de, bunte.de and hoerzu.de, all of them part of the legal case against Google. 

One of the most outspoken critics of Google has been German media executive Mathias Döpfner of Axel Springer, who published an open letter in April that was heavily critical of Google’s business practices. 

In the letter, addressed to Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Döpfner claims that German publishers are “afraid of Google” because of its dominance in Europe and the way it republishes snippets of content in search listings.

The changes announced by Google on Wednesday will be seen as a partial victory for German publishers. They had previously accused the search engine of piracy because of the way it displays search listings. Publishers had lobbied for Google to pay a fee every time it reposted extracts, but this compromise means that at least Google can’t be accused of piracy any longer.

Google is the most commonly used search engine in Europe, and it actually has a higher market share here than in America. 90% of European web searches go through Google, while that figure is at 68% for the US.

SEE ALSO: Germany Just Asked Google To Do The Impossible: Reveal Its Secret Search Algorithm

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Pretty much anywhere you go today you can hear about the issues and challenges with our education system, especially in the United States. Whether it’s our falling test scores, decreasing graduation rates, increased cost of education followed by increased debt, or just the fact that our education system seems outdated - it seems that there is consensus that something needs to change. But can Open Badges be the solution?

http://twt.lu/1nOP3k5

Pretty much anywhere you go today you can hear about the issues and challenges with our education system, especially in the United States. Whether it’s our falling test scores, decreasing graduation rates, increased cost of education followed by increased debt, or just the fact that our education system seems outdated - it seems that there is consensus that something needs to change. But can Open Badges be the solution?

http://twt.lu/ZtOtNZ

Two discussions are occurring in the marketplace around customer experience, one focused on how to interact, inspire and influence buyers to trust and prefer your brand, the other on what to do post purchase. Reintegrating those conversations into one takes moxie.

http://twt.lu/1E2sGMG