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China Roundup: TikTok stumbles in the US and Huawei shipments continue to surge

Raghav Jain

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Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. It’s been a very busy last week of October for China’s tech bosses, but first, let’s take a look at what some of them are doing in the neck of your woods.

TikTok’s troubles in the U.S.

The challenge facing TikTok, a burgeoning Chinese video-sharing app, continues to deepen in the U.S. Lawmakers have recently called for an investigation into the social network, which is operated by Beijing-based internet upstart ByteDance, over concerns that it could censor politically sensitive content and be compelled to turn American users’ data over to the Chinese government.

TikTok is arguably the first Chinese consumer app to have achieved international scale — more than 1 billion installs by February. It’s done so with a community of creators good at churning out snappy, light-hearted videos, highly localized operations and its acquisition of rival Musical.ly, which took American teens by storm. In contrast, WeChat has struggled to build up a significant overseas presence and Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Financial has mostly ventured abroad through savvy investments.

TikTok denied the American lawmakers’ allegations in a statement last week, claiming that it stores all U.S. user data locally with backup redundancy in Singapore and that none of its data is subject to Chinese law. Shortly after, on November 1, Reuters reported citing sources that the U.S. government has begun to probe into ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly and is in talks with the firm about measures it could take to avoid selling Musical.ly . ByteDance had no further comment to add beyond the issued statement when contacted by TechCrunch.

The new media company must have seen the heat coming as U.S.-China tensions escalate in recent times. In the long term, TikTok might have better luck expanding in developing countries along China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s ambitious global infrastructure and investment strategy. The app already has a footprint in some 150 countries with a concentration in Asia. India accounted for 44% of its total installs as of September, followed by the U.S. at 8%, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.

lark

ByteDance is also hedging its bets by introducing a Slack-like workplace app and is reportedly marketing it to enterprises in the U.S. and other foreign countries. The question is, will ByteDance continue its heavy ad spending for TikTok in the U.S., which amounted to as much as $3 million a day according to a Wall Street Journal report, or will it throttle back as it’s said to go public anytime soon? Or rather, will it bow to U.S. pressure, much like Chinese internet firm Kunlun selling LGBTQ dating app Grindr (Kunlun confirmed this in a May filing), to offload Musical.ly?

Huawei is still selling a lot of phones

The other Chinese company that’s been taking the heat around the world appears to be faring better. Huawei clung on to the second spot in global smartphone shipments during the third quarter and recorded the highest annual growth out of the top-5 players at 29%, according to market analytics firm Canalys. Samsung, which came in first, rose 11%. Apple, in third place, fell 7%. Despite a U.S. ban on Huawei’s use of Android, the phone maker’s Q3 shipments consisted mostly of models already in development before the restriction was instated, said Canalys. It remains to be seen how distributors around the world will respond to Huawei’s post-ban smartphones.

Another interesting snippet of Huawei handset news is that it’s teamed up with a Beijing-based startup named ACRCloud to add audio recognition capabilities to its native music app. It’s a reminder that the company not only builds devices but has also been beefing up software development. Huawei Music has a content licensing deal with Tencent’s music arm and claims some 150 million monthly active users, both free and paid subscribers.

Co-living IPOs

danke apartment

China’s modern-day nomads want flexible and cost-saving housing as much as their American counterparts do. The demand has given rise to apartment-rental services like Danke, which is sometimes compared to WeLive, a residential offering from the now besieged WeWork that provides fully-furnished, shared apartments on a flexible schedule.

Four-year-old Danke has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and listed its offering size at $100 million, typically a placeholder to calculate registration fees. Backed by Jack Ma-controlled Ant Financial, the loss-making startup is now leasing in 13 Chinese cities, aggressively growing the number of apartments it operated to 406,746 since 2015. Its smaller rival Qingke has also filed to go public in the U.S. this week. Also operating in the red, Qingke has expanded its available rental units to 91,234 since 2012.

Apartment rental is a capital-intensive game. Services like Danke don’t normally own property but instead lease from third-party apartment owners. That means they are tied to paying rents to the landlords irrespective of whether the apartments are ultimately subleased. They also bear large overhead costs from renovation and maintenance. Ultimately, it comes down to which player can arrange the most favorable terms with landlords and retain tenants by offering quality service and competitive rent.

Also worth your attention

  • WeChat has been quite restrained in monetization but seems to be recently lifting its commercial ambitions. The social networking giant, which already sells in-feed ads, is expanding its inventory by showing users geotargeted ads as they scroll through friends’ updates, Tencent announced (in Chinese) in a company post this week.
  • Alibaba reported a 40% revenue jump in its September quarter, beating analysts’ estimates despite a cooling domestic economy. Its ecommerce segment saw strong user growth in less developed areas where it’s fighting a fierce war with rival Pinduoduo to capture the next online opportunity. Users from these regions spent about 2,000 yuan ($284) in their first year on Alibaba platforms, said CEO Daniel Zhang in the earnings call.
  • Walmart’s digital integration is gaining ground in China as it announced (in Chinese) that online-to-offline commerce now contributes 30% sales to its neighboorhood stores. Last November, the American retail behemoth began testing same-day delivery in China through a partnership with WeChat.

Tech Passionate and Heavy Geek! Into Blogging world since 2014 and never looked back since then :) I am also a YouTube Video Producer and a Aspiring Entrepreneur. Founder, MyDroidDoes

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Android

Popular Android phones can be tricked into snooping on their owners

Raghav Jain

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on

Security researchers have found several popular Android phones can be tricked into snooping on their owners by exploiting a weakness that gives accessories access to the phone’s underlying baseband software.

Attackers can use that access to trick vulnerable phones into giving up their unique identifiers, such as their IMEI and IMSI numbers, downgrade a target’s connection in order to intercept phone calls, forward calls to another phone or block all phone calls and internet access altogether.

The research, shared exclusively with TechCrunch, affects at least 10 popular Android devices, including Google’s Pixel 2, Huawei’s Nexus 6P and Samsung’s Galaxy S8+.

The vulnerabilities are found in the interface used to communicate with the baseband firmware, the software that allows the phone’s modem to communicate with the cell network, such as making phone calls or connecting to the internet. Given its importance, the baseband is typically off-limits from the rest of the device, including its apps, and often come with command blacklisting to prevent non-critical commands from running. But the researchers found that many Android phones inadvertently allow Bluetooth and USB accessories — like headphones and headsets — access to the baseband. By exploiting a vulnerable accessory, an attacker can run commands on a connected Android phone.

“The impact of these attacks ranges from sensitive user information exposure to complete service disruption,” said Syed Rafiul Hussain and Imtiaz Karim, two co-authors of the research, in an email to TechCrunch.

Hussain and his colleagues Imtiaz Karim, Fabrizio Cicala and Elisa Bertino at Purdue University and Omar Chowdhury at the University of Iowa are set to present their findings next month.

“The impact of these attacks ranges from sensitive user information exposure to complete service disruption.”
Syed Rafiul Hussain, Imtiaz Karim

Baseband firmware accepts special commands, known as AT commands, which control the device’s cellular functions. These commands can be used to tell the modem which phone number to call. But the researchers found that these commands can be manipulated. The researchers developed a tool, dubbed ATFuzzer, which tries to find potentially problematic AT commands.

In their testing, the researchers discovered 14 commands that could be used to trick the vulnerable Android phones into leaking sensitive device data, and manipulating phone calls.

But not all devices are vulnerable to the same commands or can be manipulated in the same way. The researchers found, for example, that certain commands could trick a Galaxy S8+ phone into leaking its IMEI number, redirect phone calls to another phone and downgrade their cellular connection — all of which can be used to snoop and listen in on phone calls, such as with specialist cellular snooping hardware known as “stingrays.” Other devices were not vulnerable to call manipulation but were susceptible to commands that could be used to block internet connectivity and phone calls.

The vulnerabilities are not difficult to exploit, but require all of the right conditions to be met.

“The attacks can be easily carried out by an adversary with cheap Bluetooth connectors or by setting up a malicious USB charging station,” said Hussain and Karim. In other words, it’s possible to manipulate a phone if an accessory is accessible over the internet — such as a computer. Or, if a phone is connected to a Bluetooth device, an attacker has to be in close proximity. (Bluetooth attacks are not difficult, given vulnerabilities in how some devices implement Bluetooth has left some devices more vulnerable to attacks than others.)

“If your smartphone is connected with a headphone or any other Bluetooth device, the attacker can first exploit the inherent vulnerabilities of the Bluetooth connection and then inject those malformed AT commands,” the researchers said..

Samsung recognized the vulnerabilities in some of its devices and is rolling out patches. Huawei did not comment at the time of writing. Google said: “The issues reported are either in compliance with the Bluetooth specification or do not reproduce on Pixel devices with up to date security patches.”

Hussain said that iPhones were not affected by the vulnerabilities.

This research becomes the latest to examine vulnerabilities in baseband firmware. Over the years there have been several papers examining various phones and devices with baseband vulnerabilities. Although these reports are rare, security researchers have long warned that intelligence agencies and hackers alike could be using these flaws to launch silent attacks.

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Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed.

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Now the 37-year-old leader will be putting his inspirational demeanor and keen strategy sense to work to protect the environment and improve the government. Today at Wired25 conference, Cox finally shared more about his work advising political technology developer for progressives Acronym, and climate change-tracking satellite startup Planet Labs. He also explained more about the circumstances of his departure from the social network’s C-suite.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Chris Cox speaks onstage at the WIRED25 Summit 2019 – Day 1 at Commonwealth Club on November 08, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED)

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Leaving Facebook

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On how he felt leaving Facebook, Cox said, “part of the reason I was okay leaving was that afteru00a02016 I’d spent a couple years building out a bunch of the teams that I felt were most important to sort of take the lessons that we learned through some of 2016 and start to put in place institutions that can help the company, be more responsible and be a better communicator on some of the key issues.”

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LIVE: Chris Cox, Former Chief Product Officer, Facebook, in conversation with WIRED's Lauren Goode

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LIVE: We're live with Chris Cox, former Chief Product Officer, Facebook, from our #WIRED25 summit in conversation with WIRED senior writer Lauren Goode.

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Posted by WIRED on Friday, November 8, 2019

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As for what specifically drove him to leave, Cox explained that, “It wasn’t something where I felt I wanted to spend another 13 years on social media. Mark and I saw things a little bit differently . . . I think we are still investigatingu00a0as an industry, how do you balance protecting the privacy of people’s information and continuingu00a0to keep people safe,” Cox said.

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On whether moving toward encryption was part of that, he said he thinks encryption is “great: and that “It offers an enormous amount of protection,” but noted “it certainly makes some of those things more complicated” on the privacy versus safety balance. He complemented Facebook’s efforts to build ways of catching bad actors even if they’re shielded by encryption. That includes digital literacy initiatives in Brazil and India ahead of elections, and offering forwarding systems for sending questionable information to fact checkers. “I think there are pros and cons with these systems and I’m not a hard-liner on any one of them,” Cox said, and noted that what Facebook is building is “resonant with what people want.”

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Cox was asked about the major debate about whether Facebook should allow political advertising. “We think political advertising can be good and helpful. It often favors up and comers versus incumbents.” Still, on fact-checking, he said, “I’m a big fan,” even though Facebook isn’t applying that to political ads. He did note that “I think the company should investigate and is investigating micro targeting . . . if there’s hundreds of variants being run of the creative thenu00a0it’s tricky to get your arms around what’s being said.” He also advocated for more context in the user interface distinguishing political ads.u00a0

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Chris Cox speaks at Wired25

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Cox’s next projects

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Since leaving Facebook, Cox has joined the advisory board of a group called Acronym, which is helping to build out the campaign and messaging technology stack for progressive candidates. “This is an area where my perception is that the progressives have been behind on the ability to develop and use as a team infrastructure that helps you have a good voter file, how to develop messaging —u00a0just basic politics in 2019.”

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Wired’s Lauren Goode asked if he was aligning himself with progressives, taking a political stance, and whether he could do that while still at Facebook. “Absolutely not,” Cox responded.And why is that I think when you’re in a veryu00a0senior role at a platform, you have a duty to be much more neutral in your politics.”

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He then came out with a bold statement enabled by his independence. “I think Trump should not be our president. The other thing I care a lot about right now is climate change and he’s not going to help us there.”

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That led to Cox discussing that he’s also been working to advise San Francisco startup Planet Labs, which is using satellite imagery to track climate change. “The vision was to build these small, about shoebox-size satellites with solar panel panel wings and have a fleet of them in space, which is real-time imaging the Earth.”

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With that data, Cox explained you can track wildfires, deforestation, coal power plants, methane gas and more. Then, “You can start to contribute to having a health system, where you are basically imaging the Earth every hour, and then you’re creating some public data set with tools that plug into decision makers, banks, insurance companies, policymakers, investors, journalists, students…”

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Asked about big tech’s responsibility for addressing climate change, Cox said “I think at the very least it’s making a commitment to being carbon-negative.”

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Acronym and Planet Labs’ work intertwines, as Cox believes climate data proves the need for someone new in the Oval Office. While Cox didn’t discuss it onstage, Wired listed him as part of Shasta Group, which is Cox’s own vehicle for contributing to these projects. Still, he’s not ready to launch a full-fledged company of his own in politics and climate. “I’m still so youngu00a0at this field that I don’t have enough confidence in my own mental model of the world.”

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Cox concluded that by harnessing big company’s employees and having team leaders put more attention on climate change, “I do think tech can lead.”u00a0

n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed. Now […]

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Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.

nn

Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.

nn

Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.

nn

Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.

nn

Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.

nn

Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

nn

[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend’s social location-sharing startup codenamed ‘Signal’ that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch’s editors and has concluded. Constine’s fiancu00e9e Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine’s cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he’s since left and founded teen content studio Brat. Constine does not write about Founders Embassy or Brat. Constine has personal acquaintances stemming from college housing circa 2007 with founders at Skybox Imaging (now Terra Bella), Hustle, Snapchat, and Robinhood, but does not maintain close social ties with them nor does that influence his writing. Constine occasionally does paid speaking engagements at conferences, but only those funded by companies he does not cover. Constine owns a small position in Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, does not day-trade, and discloses his positions directly in articles where appropriate. Constine does not do consulting, angel investing, or public stock trading beyond public stock invesments by his parents’ estate that he has no role in managing or advising.]

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1415412437/xje35licfau9iewxnf44.png”,”twitter”:”joshconstine”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/1603003″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”]],”author”:[“id”:1603003,”name”:”Josh Constine”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/josh-constine/”,”slug”:”josh-constine”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”homepage”:”http://www.JoshConstine.com”,”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/JoshConstine”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/joshconstine”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshconstine/”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/josh-constine”,”position”:”Editor-At-Large”,”cbDescription”:”

Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.

nn

Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.

nn

Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.

nn

Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.

nn

Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.

nn

Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

nn

[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend’s social location-sharing startup codenamed ‘Signal’ that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch’s editors and has concluded. Constine’s fiancu00e9e Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine’s cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he’s since left and founded teen content studio Brat. Constine does not write about Founders Embassy or Brat. Constine has personal acquaintances stemming from college housing circa 2007 with founders at Skybox Imaging (now Terra Bella), Hustle, Snapchat, and Robinhood, but does not maintain close social ties with them nor does that influence his writing. Constine occasionally does paid speaking engagements at conferences, but only those funded by companies he does not cover. Constine owns a small position in Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, does not day-trade, and discloses his positions directly in articles where appropriate. Constine does not do consulting, angel investing, or public stock trading beyond public stock invesments by his parents’ estate that he has no role in managing or advising.]

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lung ‘breakthrough’ suggests lethal culprit in THC products could be vitamin E acetate”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Official word has come down from federal authorities on one potential cause of the mystery illness affecting vape users: Vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in some vaping products that has been demonstrated to linger in the lungs long afterwards. The finding has been called a “breakthrough” but is far from the last word on the situation.

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Sadly, the condition has already claimed the lives of at least 39 people, and more than 2,000 cases have been reported collectively from every state but Alaska. At present the only advice offered has been to stop vaping altogether.

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In a media teleconference, the heads of the investigation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained the basis for pointing the finger at Vitamin E acetate. The substance was cited as a possible problem early on but only recent testing has established it as a bona fide suspect, the team explained.

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Samples taken from the lungs of 29 victims of the condition were sent in from 10 different states, and vitamin E acetate was found in all of them. “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate as the primary site of injury within the lungs,” said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC .

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Although she agreed that this evidence is a “breakthrough,” she noted that it is at present merely a correlative finding u2014 more research is required to establish causation, namely the mechanism of harm, though other work has been done in that area.

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“Previous non-CDC research suggests that when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung function,” she said.

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“It’s important to note that these findings do not rule out other possible compounds or ingredients that may be causing these lung injuries,” she continued. “There may be more than one cause of the outbreak.”

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Equally important are the statistics involved with the sources of the substances in question. As mentioned earlier in the investigation, a huge proportion of those suffering from this condition were using THC products, and specifically ones acquired through unregulated channels like street dealers.

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The vitamin E acetate may have been added for the purpose of essentially cutting the product, Schuchat mentioned in response to a question on the call.

n

“That may be done for the illicit purpose, or the profit purpose, of diluting the materials, making it look nice and perhaps not having to use as much THC or other active ingredients,” she said.

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Other potentially dangerous chemicals have been identified in vape products when heated and aerosolized, including many that even the creators might not have predicted.

n

Knowing a potential culprit doesn’t get at the heart of the problem, which would be that this chemical (perhaps among others) has already built up over months or years in the lungs of frequent vape users. Treatment is a parallel line of research, but knowing at least one substance responsible should be helpful.

n

The CDC’s previous advice still stands, the officials noted: They advise avoiding vaping altogether, as there are very few controls at present over which ingredients are allowed in vape products, and what must be declared on the packaging, or indeed whether those declarations are in any way accurate.

n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Official word has come down from federal authorities on one potential cause of the mystery illness affecting vape users: Vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in some vaping products that has been demonstrated to linger in the lungs long afterwards. The finding has been called a “breakthrough” but is far from the last word on […]

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Devin Coldewey is a Seattle-based writer and photographer. He first wrote for TechCrunch in 2007. He has also written for MSNBC.com, NBC News, DPReview, The Economist/GE’s Look Ahead, and others.

nn

His personal website is coldewey.cc.

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nn

His personal website is coldewey.cc.

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A vape pen exuding vapor.

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Every startup is a story and every startup’s success depends — on some level — on how well they can either tell that story or get that story told.

n

The best stories are the ones that create an instant brand. One that sparks a relationship or a moment of inspiration with customers and consumers alike. Those are the stories that transform industries and re-contextualize how businesses think of themselves and their competition.

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On the Extra Crunch Stage at Disrupt Berlin three of the finest practitioners of the dark arts of branding, public relations, marketing and communications will share their tips and tricks on how to get coverage for a company and how to use that coverage to get at the strategic objectives that companies need to fulfill as they grow.

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These alchemists of allusive include Collette Ballou, the founder of the eponymous Ballou PR; Katy Turner, the managing director of Multiple; and longtime public relations pro, Joanna Kirk.

n

Ballou began her career in European public relations in the aftermath of the dot-com collapse in the U.S. in 2001. Both an investor and an entrepreneur, Ballou has worked with startups and investment firms including 83 North, Accel Partners, Box, Criteo, Eventbrite, Facebook, GoEuro (now Omio), Lakestar, Pinterest, Stack Overflow, Stripe, TransferWise, Twilio, Waze, WhatsApp and Zendesk. She also is an investor in venture funds, including Cavalry Ventures and Connect Ventures.

n

Before founding Multiple, Turner worked in several different roles across the tech industry in the U.K. and Europe. She began her career at Orange (in a time when it was actually cool to work for a mobile operator, she says). That role led to positions at Eden Ventures, Videoplaza and as the chief marketing officer at Tech City UK. In addition to her work at Multiple, Turner also serves as a mentor for Seedcamp and Techstars and sits on the investment committee for the University of Bristol’s Enterprise Fund.

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Kirk has led multiple public relations initiatives at nonprofits like Techfugees, is a co-founder of the startup events organization Startup Sesame and previously handled marketing and communications for Le Web, MIP and Midem.

n

As the number of global startup companies competing for customers and public attention continues to rise, having a compelling story and an electrifying brand is becoming ever more important to be a signal among all the noise. Hear how to raise a startup’s voice above the fray with these amazing speakers at Disrupt Berlin.

n

Tickets to Disrupt Berlin are available here.

n

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Every startup is a story and every startup’s success depends — on some level — on how well they can either tell that story or get that story told. The best stories are the ones that create an instant brand. One that sparks a relationship or a moment of inspiration with customers and consumers alike. […]

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Earning more dollars from home easily just by working 0nline j0b from home. Makes every month extra $20k or more from this easy h0me j0b. Last month i have made $22759 from this just in my spare time. Every person can now get this and start earning 0nline from the instructions given to this web page.. visit This Site ———->>> http://www.Buzz-Work.com

n”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/22/learn-how-to-win-customers-and-influence-consumers-at-disrupt-berlin/#comment-677110″,”type”:”comment”,”author_avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9501dc94fa113cf78b67098bd3622179?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9501dc94fa113cf78b67098bd3622179?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9501dc94fa113cf78b67098bd3622179?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments/677110″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments”],”up”:[“embeddable”:true,”post_type”:”post”,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1900747″],”id”:677097,”parent”:0,”author”:0,”author_name”:”Rashaverick Overlord”,”author_url”:””,”date”:”2019-10-22T14:42:22″,”content”:”rendered”:”

Will this be as poorly attended as SF Disrupt and essentially a series of agendaed and scripted press conferences?

n”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/22/learn-how-to-win-customers-and-influence-consumers-at-disrupt-berlin/#comment-677097″,”type”:”comment”,”author_avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b754eef8128d0724750c038787218fa9?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b754eef8128d0724750c038787218fa9?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b754eef8128d0724750c038787218fa9?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments/677097″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments”],”up”:[“embeddable”:true,”post_type”:”post”,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1900747″]]],”authors”:[“id”:59254947,”name”:”Jonathan Shieber”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/jonathan-shieber/”,”slug”:”jonathan-shieber”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/a81fccb1686f7db1afd1c14a019b5bc1?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/a81fccb1686f7db1afd1c14a019b5bc1?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/a81fccb1686f7db1afd1c14a019b5bc1?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/jshieber”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jonathan-shieber/0/baa/b27″,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jonathan-shieber”,”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

Jonathan is an editor at TechCrunch. Previously he worked as a senior reporter for Dow Jones & Co., covering venture capital and private equity investment from New York and Shanghai. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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Jonathan is an editor at TechCrunch. Previously he worked as a senior reporter for Dow Jones & Co., covering venture capital and private equity investment from New York and Shanghai. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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look at the top trends exciting NYC’s consumer VCs”,”content”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0

n

Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs:

n

    n

  • Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures
  • n

  • David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup
  • n

  • Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund
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  • Craig Shapiro, Partner at Collaborative Fund
  • n

  • Jeremy Levine, Partner at Bessemer
  • n

  • Beth Ferreira, Partner at Firstmark Capital
  • n

  • Graham Brown, Partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures
  • n

  • Eric Reiner, Partner at Sinai Ventures
  • n

  • Chris Paik, Partner at Pace Capital
  • n

n

Consumer health and banking startups were recurring areas of interest, and there’s a sense that apps and product brands which provide a deeper sense of community are an untapped opportunity.

n

Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures

n

At USV, we are focused on opportunities that broaden access by leveraging technology to increase value and decrease cost in big buckets of consumer spend. In doing so, we are looking for ways to make products and services previously available to a select segment available to many more. In particular, we have been investing in areas of consumer health where the delivery mechanism not only makes the care more convenient but also more affordable and higher quality; products and platforms in financial services that change the traditional underlying model to drive financial health for a mass customer; and opportunities that create new access to education both for kids and lifelong learners.u00a0

n

Within each of these segments, I’ve been very interested in how new communities are forming inside products–users that come for a specific offering are forming allegiance and increasing engagement by interacting with other users. I think that is a trend we will only see accelerate.

n

David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup

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People are bored on their phones, not of their phones. I am most excited to meet founders working on consumer apps that bring happiness and fun to a mass consumer audience, as I continue to believe we are in the early days of mobile and the app store is not dead.

n

These apps may look like a game, they may be a game, or they may be a new feed, but TikTok, Twitch, HQ, Yolo and other Snap app kit apps, Tinder and others have shown consumers want new apps, the barrier for adoption and retention isu00a0 just very high. All apps and games have a half-life, creating something with a very long one is really hard, but the demand is sitting on the phone scrolling thorough feeds, waiting for some new fun. We are excited about apps that allow people to interact with others in different ways, in new worlds, using new hardware, or new interfaces.

n

n

Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund

n

With the rise of the sober curious movement, we invested in Kin Euphorics, offering consumers a sexy option to an alcoholic drink, creating a social experience around a non-alcoholic beverage that doesnu2019t exist in the market today. With beer sales decreasing five years in a row, brands like Heineken are offering alcohol-free alternatives catering to this growing audience.

n

With the decline of religion, we have seen the rise of what we call the u201crise of the alternate community.u201d Consumers are looking for ways to connect online and offline based on specific interests. Examples of this in our portfolio include The Wonder, a membership model for familyhood, Peanut, a social network for modern motherhood, and Co-Star, an astrology app.

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0 Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs: Rebecca Kaden, Partner at […]

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 19: An aerial view of scenes around Manhattan from a Royal Navy helicopter on October 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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look at the top trends exciting NYC’s consumer VCs”,”content”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0

n

Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs:

n

    n

  • Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures
  • n

  • David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup
  • n

  • Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund
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  • Craig Shapiro, Partner at Collaborative Fund
  • n

  • Jeremy Levine, Partner at Bessemer
  • n

  • Beth Ferreira, Partner at Firstmark Capital
  • n

  • Graham Brown, Partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures
  • n

  • Eric Reiner, Partner at Sinai Ventures
  • n

  • Chris Paik, Partner at Pace Capital
  • n

n

Consumer health and banking startups were recurring areas of interest, and there’s a sense that apps and product brands which provide a deeper sense of community are an untapped opportunity.

n

Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures

n

At USV, we are focused on opportunities that broaden access by leveraging technology to increase value and decrease cost in big buckets of consumer spend. In doing so, we are looking for ways to make products and services previously available to a select segment available to many more. In particular, we have been investing in areas of consumer health where the delivery mechanism not only makes the care more convenient but also more affordable and higher quality; products and platforms in financial services that change the traditional underlying model to drive financial health for a mass customer; and opportunities that create new access to education both for kids and lifelong learners.u00a0

n

Within each of these segments, I’ve been very interested in how new communities are forming inside products–users that come for a specific offering are forming allegiance and increasing engagement by interacting with other users. I think that is a trend we will only see accelerate.

n

David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup

n

People are bored on their phones, not of their phones. I am most excited to meet founders working on consumer apps that bring happiness and fun to a mass consumer audience, as I continue to believe we are in the early days of mobile and the app store is not dead.

n

These apps may look like a game, they may be a game, or they may be a new feed, but TikTok, Twitch, HQ, Yolo and other Snap app kit apps, Tinder and others have shown consumers want new apps, the barrier for adoption and retention isu00a0 just very high. All apps and games have a half-life, creating something with a very long one is really hard, but the demand is sitting on the phone scrolling thorough feeds, waiting for some new fun. We are excited about apps that allow people to interact with others in different ways, in new worlds, using new hardware, or new interfaces.

n

n

Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund

n

With the rise of the sober curious movement, we invested in Kin Euphorics, offering consumers a sexy option to an alcoholic drink, creating a social experience around a non-alcoholic beverage that doesnu2019t exist in the market today. With beer sales decreasing five years in a row, brands like Heineken are offering alcohol-free alternatives catering to this growing audience.

n

With the decline of religion, we have seen the rise of what we call the u201crise of the alternate community.u201d Consumers are looking for ways to connect online and offline based on specific interests. Examples of this in our portfolio include The Wonder, a membership model for familyhood, Peanut, a social network for modern motherhood, and Co-Star, an astrology app.

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0 Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs: Rebecca Kaden, Partner at […]

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 19: An aerial view of scenes around Manhattan from a Royal Navy helicopter on October 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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Indonesian capital will impact nation’s startup ecosystem”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Recently reelected, Indonesian President Joko Widodou00a0announced a desire to move the nation’s capital from Jakarta to the East Kalimantan region, citing environmental concerns, the most exigent of these being the fact that Jakarta is literally sinking due to the uncontrolled extraction of groundwater. Widodo said he wished to separate Indonesiau2019s government from its business and economic hub in Jakarta.

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However, what would a move from Jakarta do to Indonesiau2019s burgeoning startup economy?

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Shifting administrative governmental hubs

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According to Widodo, studies have determined that the best site for the proposed new capital is between North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara, both located in East Kalimantan. The basis of this selection is due to studies highlighting the regionu2019s relative protection from natural disasters, especially when compared to other regions. This would definitely be a benefit for the governmental heart of Indonesia, ensuring continuous administrative functions in a disaster-prone region. Other governments have separated administrative centers from their economic hubs with varying degrees of success, with some examples being Brazilu2019s creation of Brasu00edlia, as well as Koreau2019s projected move from Seoul to Sejong.

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What is most interesting to note from prior examples is that these newer branched-out cities are non-surprisingly, heavily government-centric. In Brasu00edlia, roles tied to the government make up nearly 40% of all jobs, while in Sejong, a lack of facilities like public transit and commercial mall space cause many to commute into Sejong for government work, instead of permanently settling in the area. Given the semi-undeveloped nature of East Kalimantan, these anecdotes are quite troubling if the government is actually moving to North Penajam Paser or Kutai Kertanegara.

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These facts raise the question of economic impacts of such governmental moves. In fact, one may even opine that while these moves do allow for governmental growth, ultimately, they may hurt the country economically due to a divestment between both government and economic hubs. In this specific instance, it is most important to analyze the impact of such a move on Indonesiau2019s startup economy, as the nation is one the worldu2019s leaders in startup growth.

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Indonesiau2019s startup economy

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Indonesia has emerged as a startup hub within Southeast Asia in recent years, with its population of over 260 million marking it as the worldu2019s fourth-most populous country. Additionally, Indonesiau2019s mobile-first population has enabled the full embrace of the internet era, with 95% of all internet users in Indonesia connected to the web via a mobile device.

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Similarly, startup growth has boomed in the island archipelago, with several Indonesian-based unicorns disrupting local, regional, and global economies. Softbank-backed ecommerce giant Tokopedia is currently in talksu00a0for a pre-IPO funding round, while emerging super-app Gojek controls significant portions of the ride-sharing industry in Asia, simultaneously expanding intou00a0separate industriesu00a0to include digital payments, food delivery, and evenu00a0video-streaming. Additionally, online travel portal Traveloka (in which Expedia has a minority stake) has recentlyu00a0entered the financial services space, furthering its impact within Asia. These specific examples of high-growth startups demonstrate a population hungry for innovation, further driving the developing startup economy.

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

A move to East Kalimantan would allow for further development in the startup industry, with a focus on ecommerce and sustainability-focused enterprises.

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Hugh Harsono writes about emerging technologies and economics in developing Asia nations. He is currently a US Army officer, and previously worked in finance for Monsanto. Hugh holds a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Vehicles commute next to a construction site of the LRT (light rapid transit) in Jakarta on October 31, 2019. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP) (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Academy is scaling up a coding program for ‘the heartland’”,”content”:”rendered”:”

The crowded landscape of programs teaching non-technical people to become software developers has been a proving ground for a new model of education financing: income share agreements (ISAs). With an ISA, students avoid paying tuition upfront or taking out private loans, instead paying a percentage of their income for a time after graduation after they’re earning a minimum income.

n

The model aligns education providers with students’ career outcomes, and one startup is staking a claim to be the leader in the space; Kenzie Academy, a year-long program with a physical campus in Indianapolis u2014 and a student body that’s 66 percent online u2014 announced a partnership with Community Investment Management (CIM) earlier this week that provides $100 million in debt to cover the operating costs associated with students who defer payment through ISAs.

n

Kenzie co-founder and CEO Chok Ooi says that core to Kenzie’s mission is the goal that its graduates “can stay in the heartland and attract more jobs so that someone coming out of the Midwest no longer has to move to Silicon Valley or New York to have a successful career in tech.” This $100 million is one of the largest commitments yet to financing ISAs and Kenzie is using it to recruit a more diverse population of students who may not be able to afford tuition or qualify for student loans otherwise.

n

I interviewed Ooi to understand how Kenzie differentiates itself from competitors, how it has iterated its model to improve retention and job placement and how he expects the ISA market to evolve over the next couple years. Here’s the transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity:

n

Eric Peckham: The landscape of software developer training programs is crowded. Where did you see an opportunity to do something different, and how do you position Kenzie relative to others in the market?

n

Chok Ooi: My co-founder came from Galvanize, so we observed firsthand the proliferation of tech and coding boot camps. These are typically short-term, three-to-five month programs and they tend to do well serving people with college degrees. I would say that they are disrupting the masters’ program space. We saw a major gap in programs that serve a much larger demographic of people who are much earlier in their development. People who never went to college, or did a little bit of college and dropped out, or just never had a professional work experience. A three-month training is insufficient to get them to a point where they could land a technical job and be successful.

n

We saw an opportunity to bring high-quality tech education to the American heartland that is 12 months in length. For about two-thirds of our students, this is their first post-secondary credential training.

n

We are giving them not just the technical skills, but elements from a traditional four-year college as well, like critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.

n

Compared to those other bootcamps or training programs, is Kenzie targeting different job outcomes for its graduates?

n

We did a survey of our students that asked them to name the top five tech companies they desired to work for. None of the Silicon Valley companies made the list other than Salesforce. Indianapolis is the second largest Salesforce office outside of San Francisco. The rest of the companies our students named were companies like DMI and Zylo that people in Silicon Valley don’t hear about but are doing very well in the Midwest. Their friends work there. They’re a fabric of the community. If we really want to create job opportunities for the rest of America, we cannot adopt the Silicon Valley mindset.

n

Kenzie Academy co-Founder and CEO Chok Ooi.

Kenzie Academy co-founder and CEO Chok Ooi.

n

So how do you evaluate technical aptitude and critical thinking in the admissions process? What’s that process look like, and how has it evolved over the last couple of years? What have you learned in order to make that more effective?

n

Prior to founding Kenzie, I started a company nine years ago called AglityIO. The model for AgilityIO was similar to companies like Andela. We were trying to solve the talent crunch in the Bay Area by recruiting and training people with the raw talent in Vietnam. Today, that company works with Google, Uber, NerdWallet, Meetup.com and 150 other tech companies. So Iu2019ve experience in developing processes to identify raw talent in this context.

n

As people are doing the online assessments, we collect data points of how long it takes for them to solve the problem, what their different decision points are and things like that. Then as they get enrolled in Kenzie, we continue to collect attendance data, grades, and then placement data and use that to look at success and failure cases. We constantly refine our assessment.

n

Are you seeing any particular pattern or cluster in the applications youu2019re receiving or the candidates youu2019re accepting in terms of prior field of employment or aspect of their background?

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

The crowded landscape of programs teaching non-technical people to become software developers has been a proving ground for a new model of education financing: income share agreements (ISAs). With an ISA, students avoid paying tuition upfront or taking out private loans, instead paying a percentage of their income for a time after graduation after they’re […]

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Eric Peckham is TechCrunch’s Media Columnist. He focuses on analysis of interactive media, non-interactive media, content creation platforms, communications tools, and education. Separate from TechCrunch, he writes the popular Monetizing Media newsletter.

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Photos: Kenzie Academy

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Microsoft is trying to become more innovative”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Microsoft Research is a globally distributed playground for people interested in solving fundamental science problems.

n

These projects often focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and since Microsoft is on a mission to infuse all of its products with more AI smarts, it’s no surprise that it’s also seeking ways to integrate Microsoft Research’s innovations into the rest of the company.

n

Across the board, the company is trying to find ways to become more innovative, especially around its work in AI, and it’s putting processes in place to do so. Microsoft is unusually open about this process, too, and actually made it somewhat of a focus this week at Ignite, a yearly conference that typically focuses more on technical IT management topics.

n

At Ignite,u00a0Microsoft will for the first time present these projects externally at a dedicated keynote. That feels similar to what Google used to do with its ATAP group at its I/O events and is obviously meant to showcase the cutting-edge innovation that happens inside of Microsoft (outside of making Excel smarter).

n

To manage its AI innovation efforts, Microsoft created the Microsoft AI group led by VP Mitra Azizirad, who’s tasked with establishing thought leadership in this space internally and externally, and helping the company itself innovate faster (Microsoft’s AI for Good projects also fall under this group’s purview). I sat down with Azizirad to get a better idea of what her team is doing and how she approaches getting companies to innovate around AI and bring research projects out of the lab.

n

“We began to put together a narrative for the company of what it really means to be in an AI-driven world and what we look at from a differentiated perspective,” Azizirad said. “What we’ve done in this area is something that has resonated and landed well. And now we’re including AI, but we’re expanding beyond it to other paradigm shifts like human-machine interaction, future of computing and digital responsibility, as more than just a set of principles and practices but an area of innovation in and of itself.”

n

Currently, Microsoft is doing a very good job at talking and thinking about horizon one opportunities, as well as horizon three projects that are still years out, she said. “Horizon two, we need to get better at, and that’s what we’re doing.”

n

It’s worth stressing that Microsoft AI, which launched about two years ago, marks the first time there’s a business, marketing and product management team associated with Microsoft Research, so the team does get a lot of insights into upcoming technologies. Just in the last couple of years, Microsoft has published more than 6,000 research papers on AI, some of which clearly have a future in the company’s products.

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Microsoft Research is a globally distributed playground for people interested in solving fundamental science problems. These projects often focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and since Microsoft is on a mission to infuse all of its products with more AI smarts, it’s no surprise that it’s also seeking ways to integrate Microsoft Research’s innovations […]

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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Microsoft logo at Ignite 2019

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from China and India can accelerate the green card process”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Securing a green card can feel overwhelming for people in Silicon Valley who were born in India and China. But with the right help and guidance from a skilled immigration attorney, the process can be simpler, smoother and more successful.

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Limits written into existing immigration laws on both the number of green cards issued each year, as well as the number of green cards available based on country of origin, leave some waiting half a century or more for a green card, with people from India and China facing the longest wait times for employment-based green cards.

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In this fiscal year, which ended on October 31, 226,000 family-sponsored green cards and 141,918 employment-based green cards were available. And the per-country cap, which is the maximum number of green cards available to individuals born in a particular country, was 25,754.u00a0

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Although these U.S. laws pose an extra challenge for people born in countries with the highest demand for green cards, if you were born in India or China, there are some things you can do to mitigate this wait.

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Differentiate yourself

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The EB-1 green card is considered the u201cfirst preferenceu201d for those who’ll receive offers for employment-based green cards. It offers three unique and accelerated sub-paths:u00a0

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  • EB-1A green card for individuals of extraordinary abilityu00a0
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  • EB-1B green card for outstanding researchers and professors
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  • EB-1C green card for multinational managers and executives
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The EB-1A green card for extraordinary ability does not require an employer sponsor or even a job offer, which means itu2019s one of the few self-petition green cards. To demonstrate eligibility,u00a0you must be able to show you have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and that you and your work have received national or international acclaim.u00a0

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Individuals who apply for the EB-1A do not need to obtain labor certification (as required of employers). That means the process is simpler and can be much faster than typical employment-based green cards. Also, an individual applicant may have more flexibility to change jobs than if an employer applied on their behalf.

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The EB-1B green card for outstanding researchers and professors requires an employer to sponsor you. Candidates for the EB-1B green card must demonstrate great achievements in their academic field.u00a0

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And finally, the EB-1C green card for multinational managers and executives enables an employer to bring an executive or manager who has been working abroad over to the U.S. to live and work. The EB-1C candidate must have worked outside the U.S. for the employer for at least one year.

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This Cato Institute analysis estimates individuals born in China and India face waiting eight and nine years, respectively, for an EB-1 green card.u00a0Despite the small and growing backlog for EB-1 green cards for individuals born in China and India, it still remains one of the quicker options.
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Invest in a project that creates jobs

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Securing a green card can feel overwhelming for people in Silicon Valley who were born in India and China. But with the right help and guidance from a skilled immigration attorney, the process can be simpler, smoother and more successful.

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21 January 2019, Brandenburg, Jacobsdorf: The speedometer of a car indicates the speed of 120 kilometers per hour. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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Security researchers have found several popular Android phones can be tricked into snooping on their owners by exploiting a weakness that gives accessories access to the phone’s underlying baseband software.

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Attackers can use that access to trick vulnerable phones into giving up their unique identifiers, such as their IMEI and IMSI numbers, downgrade a target’s connection in order to intercept phone calls, forward calls to another phone or block all phone calls and internet access altogether.

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The research, shared exclusively with TechCrunch, affects at least 10 popular Android devices, including Google’s Pixel 2, Huawei’s Nexus 6P and Samsung’s Galaxy S8+.

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The vulnerabilities are found in the interface used to communicate with the baseband firmware, the software that allows the phone’s modem to communicate with the cell network, such as making phone calls or connecting to the internet. Given its importance, the baseband is typically off-limits from the rest of the device, including its apps, and often come with command blacklisting to prevent non-critical commands from running. But the researchers found that many Android phones inadvertently allow Bluetooth and USB accessories u2014 like headphones and headsets u2014 access to the baseband. By exploiting a vulnerable accessory, an attacker can run commands on a connected Android phone.

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“The impact of these attacks ranges from sensitive user information exposure to complete service disruption,” said Syed Rafiul Hussain and Imtiaz Karim, two co-authors of the research, in an email to TechCrunch.

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Hussain and his colleagues Imtiaz Karim, Fabrizio Cicala and Elisa Bertino at Purdue University and Omar Chowdhury at the University of Iowa are set to present their findings next month.

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“The impact of these attacks ranges from sensitive user information exposure to complete service disruption.”
nSyed Rafiul Hussain, Imtiaz Karim

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Baseband firmware accepts special commands, known as AT commands, which control the deviceu2019s cellular functions. These commands can be used to tell the modem which phone number to call. But the researchers found that these commands can be manipulated. The researchers developed a tool, dubbed ATFuzzer, which tries to find potentially problematic AT commands.

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In their testing, the researchers discovered 14 commands that could be used to trick the vulnerable Android phones into leaking sensitive device data, and manipulating phone calls.

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But not all devices are vulnerable to the same commands or can be manipulated in the same way. The researchers found, for example, that certain commands could trick a Galaxy S8+ phone into leaking its IMEI number, redirect phone calls to another phone and downgrade their cellular connection u2014 all of which can be used to snoop and listen in on phone calls, such as with specialist cellular snooping hardware known as “stingrays.” Other devices were not vulnerable to call manipulation but were susceptible to commands that could be used to block internet connectivity and phone calls.

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The vulnerabilities are not difficult to exploit, but require all of the right conditions to be met.

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“The attacks can be easily carried out by an adversary with cheap Bluetooth connectors or by setting up a malicious USB charging station,” said Hussain and Karim. In other words, it’s possible to manipulate a phone if an accessory is accessible over the internet u2014 such as a computer. Or, if a phone is connected to a Bluetooth device, an attacker has to be in close proximity. (Bluetooth attacks are not difficult, given vulnerabilities in how some devices implement Bluetooth has left some devices more vulnerable to attacks than others.)

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“If your smartphone is connected with a headphone or any other Bluetooth device, the attacker can first exploit the inherent vulnerabilities of the Bluetooth connection and then inject those malformed AT commands,” the researchers said..

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Samsung recognized the vulnerabilities in some of its devices and is rolling out patches. Huawei did not comment at the time of writing. Google said: “The issues reported are either in compliance with the Bluetooth specification or do not reproduce on Pixel devices with up to date security patches.”

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Hussain said that iPhones were not affected by the vulnerabilities.

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This research becomes the latest to examine vulnerabilities in baseband firmware. Over the years there have been several papers examining various phones and devices with baseband vulnerabilities. Although these reports are rare, security researchers have long warned that intelligence agencies and hackers alike could be using these flaws to launch silent attacks.

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n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Security researchers have found several popular Android phones can be tricked into snooping on their owners by exploiting a weakness that gives accessories access to the phone’s underlying baseband software. Attackers can use that access to trick vulnerable phones into giving up their unique identifiers, such as their IMEI and IMSI numbers, downgrade a target’s […]

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Zack Whittaker is the security editor at TechCrunch. You can send tips securely via Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

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He can also be reached by email: [email protected]

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Zack Whittaker is the security editor at TechCrunch. You can send tips securely via Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

nn

He can also be reached by email: [email protected]

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Google hires former Disney and Star executive to head its India business

Raghav Jain

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Google said on Friday it has appointed Sanjay Gupta, a former top executive with Disney India and Star, as the manager and vice president of sales and operations for its India business.

Gupta will be replacing Rajan Anandan, who left the company in April this year to serve VC fund Sequoia Capital India as a managing director.

Gupta served as a managing director at Disney India and Star (which Disney now owns) before joining the Android -maker. (Not to be confused with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who hosts a popular medical show on CNN.) He helped Star make a major push in the digital consumers business through video streaming service Hotstar, where he aggressively worked on partnerships and licensing for cricket rights and other content.

Hotstar has cashed in on the popularity of cricket — during a major cricket season earlier this year, Hotstar claimed that more than 100 million users were enjoying its service each day and more than 300 million were doing so each month. (Facebook roped in Ajit Mohan, the former chief executive of Hotstar, to head its India operations late last year.) Gupta also held top executive roles at other companies, including Bharti Airtel telecom network.

Sanjay Gupta, a former top executive at Disney and Star, is now the head of Google’s India business

In a statement, Gupta said, “it’s an exciting opportunity to leverage the power of technology to solve some of India’s unique challenges and make Internet an engine of economic growth for people and communities. I am happy to join the passionate teams across Google and look forward to contributing to India’s digital journey as it becomes an innovation hub for the world.”

When Anandan, a long-time influential and widely respected Google executive, left the company earlier this year, Google said Vikas Agnihotri, who is the director of sales for the firm’s India operations, would be temporarily taking over the role. For Google, this was the latest in a series of high-profile departures in Asia. Karim Temsamani, head of Asia Pacific (APAC) at Google, also left the company earlier this year.

Even as India contributes little to Google’s bottom line, the company has grown increasingly focused on India and other Asian markets to develop products and services that solve local problems and address barriers that are hindering growth in these markets.

In a statement, Scott Beaumont, president of Google APAC, said the company’s operation in India “is important and strategic for its own sake but also for the innovation which then feeds breakthroughs elsewhere in Google.”

Gupta will also have to oversee some major challenges, including the fast growth of Facebook’s advertisement business in India and an antitrust issue with the local regulator.

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Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed.

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Now the 37-year-old leader will be putting his inspirational demeanor and keen strategy sense to work to protect the environment and improve the government. Today at Wired25 conference, Cox finally shared more about his work advising political technology developer for progressives Acronym, and climate change-tracking satellite startup Planet Labs. He also explained more about the circumstances of his departure from the social network’s C-suite.

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 08: Chris Cox speaks onstage at the WIRED25 Summit 2019 – Day 1 at Commonwealth Club on November 08, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED)

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Leaving Facebook

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On how he felt leaving Facebook, Cox said, “part of the reason I was okay leaving was that afteru00a02016 I’d spent a couple years building out a bunch of the teams that I felt were most important to sort of take the lessons that we learned through some of 2016 and start to put in place institutions that can help the company, be more responsible and be a better communicator on some of the key issues.”

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LIVE: Chris Cox, Former Chief Product Officer, Facebook, in conversation with WIRED's Lauren Goode

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LIVE: We're live with Chris Cox, former Chief Product Officer, Facebook, from our #WIRED25 summit in conversation with WIRED senior writer Lauren Goode.

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Posted by WIRED on Friday, November 8, 2019

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As for what specifically drove him to leave, Cox explained that, “It wasn’t something where I felt I wanted to spend another 13 years on social media. Mark and I saw things a little bit differently . . . I think we are still investigatingu00a0as an industry, how do you balance protecting the privacy of people’s information and continuingu00a0to keep people safe,” Cox said.

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On whether moving toward encryption was part of that, he said he thinks encryption is “great: and that “It offers an enormous amount of protection,” but noted “it certainly makes some of those things more complicated” on the privacy versus safety balance. He complemented Facebook’s efforts to build ways of catching bad actors even if they’re shielded by encryption. That includes digital literacy initiatives in Brazil and India ahead of elections, and offering forwarding systems for sending questionable information to fact checkers. “I think there are pros and cons with these systems and I’m not a hard-liner on any one of them,” Cox said, and noted that what Facebook is building is “resonant with what people want.”

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Cox was asked about the major debate about whether Facebook should allow political advertising. “We think political advertising can be good and helpful. It often favors up and comers versus incumbents.” Still, on fact-checking, he said, “I’m a big fan,” even though Facebook isn’t applying that to political ads. He did note that “I think the company should investigate and is investigating micro targeting . . . if there’s hundreds of variants being run of the creative thenu00a0it’s tricky to get your arms around what’s being said.” He also advocated for more context in the user interface distinguishing political ads.u00a0

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Chris Cox speaks at Wired25

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Cox’s next projects

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Since leaving Facebook, Cox has joined the advisory board of a group called Acronym, which is helping to build out the campaign and messaging technology stack for progressive candidates. “This is an area where my perception is that the progressives have been behind on the ability to develop and use as a team infrastructure that helps you have a good voter file, how to develop messaging —u00a0just basic politics in 2019.”

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Wired’s Lauren Goode asked if he was aligning himself with progressives, taking a political stance, and whether he could do that while still at Facebook. “Absolutely not,” Cox responded.And why is that I think when you’re in a veryu00a0senior role at a platform, you have a duty to be much more neutral in your politics.”

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He then came out with a bold statement enabled by his independence. “I think Trump should not be our president. The other thing I care a lot about right now is climate change and he’s not going to help us there.”

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That led to Cox discussing that he’s also been working to advise San Francisco startup Planet Labs, which is using satellite imagery to track climate change. “The vision was to build these small, about shoebox-size satellites with solar panel panel wings and have a fleet of them in space, which is real-time imaging the Earth.”

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With that data, Cox explained you can track wildfires, deforestation, coal power plants, methane gas and more. Then, “You can start to contribute to having a health system, where you are basically imaging the Earth every hour, and then you’re creating some public data set with tools that plug into decision makers, banks, insurance companies, policymakers, investors, journalists, students…”

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Asked about big tech’s responsibility for addressing climate change, Cox said “I think at the very least it’s making a commitment to being carbon-negative.”

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Acronym and Planet Labs’ work intertwines, as Cox believes climate data proves the need for someone new in the Oval Office. While Cox didn’t discuss it onstage, Wired listed him as part of Shasta Group, which is Cox’s own vehicle for contributing to these projects. Still, he’s not ready to launch a full-fledged company of his own in politics and climate. “I’m still so youngu00a0at this field that I don’t have enough confidence in my own mental model of the world.”

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Cox concluded that by harnessing big company’s employees and having team leaders put more attention on climate change, “I do think tech can lead.”u00a0

n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Chris Cox’s motivational speeches were at the heart of Facebook’s new employee orientation. But after 14 years at the social network, the chief product officer left in March amidst an executive shake-up and Facebook’s new plan to prioritize privacy by moving to encrypt its messaging apps. No details on his next projects were revealed. Now […]

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Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.

nn

Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.

nn

Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.

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Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.

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Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.

nn

Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

nn

[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend’s social location-sharing startup codenamed ‘Signal’ that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch’s editors and has concluded. Constine’s fiancu00e9e Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine’s cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he’s since left and founded teen content studio Brat. Constine does not write about Founders Embassy or Brat. Constine has personal acquaintances stemming from college housing circa 2007 with founders at Skybox Imaging (now Terra Bella), Hustle, Snapchat, and Robinhood, but does not maintain close social ties with them nor does that influence his writing. Constine occasionally does paid speaking engagements at conferences, but only those funded by companies he does not cover. Constine owns a small position in Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, does not day-trade, and discloses his positions directly in articles where appropriate. Constine does not do consulting, angel investing, or public stock trading beyond public stock invesments by his parents’ estate that he has no role in managing or advising.]

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1415412437/xje35licfau9iewxnf44.png”,”twitter”:”joshconstine”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/1603003″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”]],”author”:[“id”:1603003,”name”:”Josh Constine”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/josh-constine/”,”slug”:”josh-constine”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/fd3b857e7f0024396cdbd36c4c102a5d?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”homepage”:”http://www.JoshConstine.com”,”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/JoshConstine”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/joshconstine”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshconstine/”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/josh-constine”,”position”:”Editor-At-Large”,”cbDescription”:”

Josh Constine is a technology journalist who specializes in deep analysis of social products. He is currently an Editor-At-Large for TechCrunch and is available for speaking engagements.

nn

Previously, Constine was the Lead Writer of Inside Facebook through its acquisition by WebMediaBrands, covering everything about the social network.

nn

Constine graduated from Stanford University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Cybersociology, examining the influence of technology on social interaction. He researched the impact of privacy controls on the socialization of children, meme popularity cycles, and what influences the click through rate of links posted to Twitter.

nn

Constine also received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Stanford University in 2007, with a concentration in Social Psychology & Interpersonal Processes.

nn

Josh Constine is an experienced public speaker, and has moderated over 120 on-stage interviews in 15 countries with leaders including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whistleblower Edward Snowden (via on-stage video conference), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He is available to moderate panels and fireside chats, deliver keynotes, and judge hackathon and pitch competitions.

nn

Constine has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, The Atlantic, BBC World Magazine, Slate, and more, plus has been featured on television on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, China Central Television, and Fox News. Constine is ranked as the #1 most cited tech journalist on prestigious news aggregator Techmeme.

nn

[Disclosures: Josh Constine temporarily advised a college friend’s social location-sharing startup codenamed ‘Signal’ that was based in San Francisco before dissolving in 2015. This advising role was cleared with AOL and TechCrunch’s editors and has concluded. Constine’s fiancu00e9e Andee Gardiner co-founded startup accelerator Founders Embassy. Constine’s cousin Darren Lachtman is the founder of influencer advertising startup Niche that was acquired by Twitter, and he’s since left and founded teen content studio Brat. Constine does not write about Founders Embassy or Brat. Constine has personal acquaintances stemming from college housing circa 2007 with founders at Skybox Imaging (now Terra Bella), Hustle, Snapchat, and Robinhood, but does not maintain close social ties with them nor does that influence his writing. Constine occasionally does paid speaking engagements at conferences, but only those funded by companies he does not cover. Constine owns a small position in Ethereum and Bitcoin cryptocurrencies, does not day-trade, and discloses his positions directly in articles where appropriate. Constine does not do consulting, angel investing, or public stock trading beyond public stock invesments by his parents’ estate that he has no role in managing or advising.]

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lung ‘breakthrough’ suggests lethal culprit in THC products could be vitamin E acetate”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Official word has come down from federal authorities on one potential cause of the mystery illness affecting vape users: Vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in some vaping products that has been demonstrated to linger in the lungs long afterwards. The finding has been called a “breakthrough” but is far from the last word on the situation.

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Sadly, the condition has already claimed the lives of at least 39 people, and more than 2,000 cases have been reported collectively from every state but Alaska. At present the only advice offered has been to stop vaping altogether.

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In a media teleconference, the heads of the investigation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained the basis for pointing the finger at Vitamin E acetate. The substance was cited as a possible problem early on but only recent testing has established it as a bona fide suspect, the team explained.

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Samples taken from the lungs of 29 victims of the condition were sent in from 10 different states, and vitamin E acetate was found in all of them. “These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate as the primary site of injury within the lungs,” said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC .

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Although she agreed that this evidence is a “breakthrough,” she noted that it is at present merely a correlative finding u2014 more research is required to establish causation, namely the mechanism of harm, though other work has been done in that area.

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“Previous non-CDC research suggests that when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung function,” she said.

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“It’s important to note that these findings do not rule out other possible compounds or ingredients that may be causing these lung injuries,” she continued. “There may be more than one cause of the outbreak.”

n

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Equally important are the statistics involved with the sources of the substances in question. As mentioned earlier in the investigation, a huge proportion of those suffering from this condition were using THC products, and specifically ones acquired through unregulated channels like street dealers.

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The vitamin E acetate may have been added for the purpose of essentially cutting the product, Schuchat mentioned in response to a question on the call.

n

“That may be done for the illicit purpose, or the profit purpose, of diluting the materials, making it look nice and perhaps not having to use as much THC or other active ingredients,” she said.

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Other potentially dangerous chemicals have been identified in vape products when heated and aerosolized, including many that even the creators might not have predicted.

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Knowing a potential culprit doesn’t get at the heart of the problem, which would be that this chemical (perhaps among others) has already built up over months or years in the lungs of frequent vape users. Treatment is a parallel line of research, but knowing at least one substance responsible should be helpful.

n

The CDC’s previous advice still stands, the officials noted: They advise avoiding vaping altogether, as there are very few controls at present over which ingredients are allowed in vape products, and what must be declared on the packaging, or indeed whether those declarations are in any way accurate.

n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Official word has come down from federal authorities on one potential cause of the mystery illness affecting vape users: Vitamin E acetate, a chemical found in some vaping products that has been demonstrated to linger in the lungs long afterwards. The finding has been called a “breakthrough” but is far from the last word on […]

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Devin Coldewey is a Seattle-based writer and photographer. He first wrote for TechCrunch in 2007. He has also written for MSNBC.com, NBC News, DPReview, The Economist/GE’s Look Ahead, and others.

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His personal website is coldewey.cc.

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1458774381/r4iwkrm6qsw3n2ximghe.jpg”,”twitter”:”techcrunch”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/12084691″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”]],”author”:[“id”:12084691,”name”:”Devin Coldewey”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/devin-coldewey/”,”slug”:”devin-coldewey”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/69fae9a8a3933fa91e81c086b8eee14a?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/69fae9a8a3933fa91e81c086b8eee14a?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/69fae9a8a3933fa91e81c086b8eee14a?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”homepage”:”http://techcrunch.com/author/tcdevin”,”twitter”:”http://twitter.com/techcrunch”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/company/techcrunch”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/devin-coldewey”,”position”:”Writer & Photographer”,”cbDescription”:”

Devin Coldewey is a Seattle-based writer and photographer. He first wrote for TechCrunch in 2007. He has also written for MSNBC.com, NBC News, DPReview, The Economist/GE’s Look Ahead, and others.

nn

His personal website is coldewey.cc.

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A vape pen exuding vapor.

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how to win customers and influence consumers at Disrupt Berlin”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Every startup is a story and every startup’s success depends — on some level — on how well they can either tell that story or get that story told.

n

The best stories are the ones that create an instant brand. One that sparks a relationship or a moment of inspiration with customers and consumers alike. Those are the stories that transform industries and re-contextualize how businesses think of themselves and their competition.

n

On the Extra Crunch Stage at Disrupt Berlin three of the finest practitioners of the dark arts of branding, public relations, marketing and communications will share their tips and tricks on how to get coverage for a company and how to use that coverage to get at the strategic objectives that companies need to fulfill as they grow.

n

These alchemists of allusive include Collette Ballou, the founder of the eponymous Ballou PR; Katy Turner, the managing director of Multiple; and longtime public relations pro, Joanna Kirk.

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Ballou began her career in European public relations in the aftermath of the dot-com collapse in the U.S. in 2001. Both an investor and an entrepreneur, Ballou has worked with startups and investment firms including 83 North, Accel Partners, Box, Criteo, Eventbrite, Facebook, GoEuro (now Omio), Lakestar, Pinterest, Stack Overflow, Stripe, TransferWise, Twilio, Waze, WhatsApp and Zendesk. She also is an investor in venture funds, including Cavalry Ventures and Connect Ventures.

n

Before founding Multiple, Turner worked in several different roles across the tech industry in the U.K. and Europe. She began her career at Orange (in a time when it was actually cool to work for a mobile operator, she says). That role led to positions at Eden Ventures, Videoplaza and as the chief marketing officer at Tech City UK. In addition to her work at Multiple, Turner also serves as a mentor for Seedcamp and Techstars and sits on the investment committee for the University of Bristol’s Enterprise Fund.

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n

n

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Kirk has led multiple public relations initiatives at nonprofits like Techfugees, is a co-founder of the startup events organization Startup Sesame and previously handled marketing and communications for Le Web, MIP and Midem.

n

As the number of global startup companies competing for customers and public attention continues to rise, having a compelling story and an electrifying brand is becoming ever more important to be a signal among all the noise. Hear how to raise a startup’s voice above the fray with these amazing speakers at Disrupt Berlin.

n

Tickets to Disrupt Berlin are available here.

n

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Every startup is a story and every startup’s success depends — on some level — on how well they can either tell that story or get that story told. The best stories are the ones that create an instant brand. One that sparks a relationship or a moment of inspiration with customers and consumers alike. […]

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Earning more dollars from home easily just by working 0nline j0b from home. Makes every month extra $20k or more from this easy h0me j0b. Last month i have made $22759 from this just in my spare time. Every person can now get this and start earning 0nline from the instructions given to this web page.. visit This Site ———->>> http://www.Buzz-Work.com

n”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/22/learn-how-to-win-customers-and-influence-consumers-at-disrupt-berlin/#comment-677110″,”type”:”comment”,”author_avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9501dc94fa113cf78b67098bd3622179?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9501dc94fa113cf78b67098bd3622179?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9501dc94fa113cf78b67098bd3622179?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments/677110″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments”],”up”:[“embeddable”:true,”post_type”:”post”,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1900747″],”id”:677097,”parent”:0,”author”:0,”author_name”:”Rashaverick Overlord”,”author_url”:””,”date”:”2019-10-22T14:42:22″,”content”:”rendered”:”

Will this be as poorly attended as SF Disrupt and essentially a series of agendaed and scripted press conferences?

n”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/22/learn-how-to-win-customers-and-influence-consumers-at-disrupt-berlin/#comment-677097″,”type”:”comment”,”author_avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b754eef8128d0724750c038787218fa9?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b754eef8128d0724750c038787218fa9?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b754eef8128d0724750c038787218fa9?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments/677097″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments”],”up”:[“embeddable”:true,”post_type”:”post”,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1900747″]]],”authors”:[“id”:59254947,”name”:”Jonathan Shieber”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/jonathan-shieber/”,”slug”:”jonathan-shieber”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/a81fccb1686f7db1afd1c14a019b5bc1?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/a81fccb1686f7db1afd1c14a019b5bc1?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/a81fccb1686f7db1afd1c14a019b5bc1?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/jshieber”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jonathan-shieber/0/baa/b27″,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jonathan-shieber”,”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

Jonathan is an editor at TechCrunch. Previously he worked as a senior reporter for Dow Jones & Co., covering venture capital and private equity investment from New York and Shanghai. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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look at the top trends exciting NYC’s consumer VCs”,”content”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0

n

Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs:

n

    n

  • Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures
  • n

  • David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup
  • n

  • Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund
  • n

  • Craig Shapiro, Partner at Collaborative Fund
  • n

  • Jeremy Levine, Partner at Bessemer
  • n

  • Beth Ferreira, Partner at Firstmark Capital
  • n

  • Graham Brown, Partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures
  • n

  • Eric Reiner, Partner at Sinai Ventures
  • n

  • Chris Paik, Partner at Pace Capital
  • n

n

Consumer health and banking startups were recurring areas of interest, and there’s a sense that apps and product brands which provide a deeper sense of community are an untapped opportunity.

n

Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures

n

At USV, we are focused on opportunities that broaden access by leveraging technology to increase value and decrease cost in big buckets of consumer spend. In doing so, we are looking for ways to make products and services previously available to a select segment available to many more. In particular, we have been investing in areas of consumer health where the delivery mechanism not only makes the care more convenient but also more affordable and higher quality; products and platforms in financial services that change the traditional underlying model to drive financial health for a mass customer; and opportunities that create new access to education both for kids and lifelong learners.u00a0

n

Within each of these segments, I’ve been very interested in how new communities are forming inside products–users that come for a specific offering are forming allegiance and increasing engagement by interacting with other users. I think that is a trend we will only see accelerate.

n

David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup

n

People are bored on their phones, not of their phones. I am most excited to meet founders working on consumer apps that bring happiness and fun to a mass consumer audience, as I continue to believe we are in the early days of mobile and the app store is not dead.

n

These apps may look like a game, they may be a game, or they may be a new feed, but TikTok, Twitch, HQ, Yolo and other Snap app kit apps, Tinder and others have shown consumers want new apps, the barrier for adoption and retention isu00a0 just very high. All apps and games have a half-life, creating something with a very long one is really hard, but the demand is sitting on the phone scrolling thorough feeds, waiting for some new fun. We are excited about apps that allow people to interact with others in different ways, in new worlds, using new hardware, or new interfaces.

n

n

Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund

n

With the rise of the sober curious movement, we invested in Kin Euphorics, offering consumers a sexy option to an alcoholic drink, creating a social experience around a non-alcoholic beverage that doesnu2019t exist in the market today. With beer sales decreasing five years in a row, brands like Heineken are offering alcohol-free alternatives catering to this growing audience.

n

With the decline of religion, we have seen the rise of what we call the u201crise of the alternate community.u201d Consumers are looking for ways to connect online and offline based on specific interests. Examples of this in our portfolio include The Wonder, a membership model for familyhood, Peanut, a social network for modern motherhood, and Co-Star, an astrology app.

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0 Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs: Rebecca Kaden, Partner at […]

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 19: An aerial view of scenes around Manhattan from a Royal Navy helicopter on October 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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Horowitz launches free crypto startup school”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Last month, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) general partner Chris Dixon announced at TechCrunch Disrupt that the VC firm would run a free crypto startup school. And the company is officially launching its school today. Applications are now open and you have four weeks to apply.

n

With this initiative, a16z wants to democratize cryptocurrencies. Dixon and the a16z team has been involved in the cryptocurrency/blockchain space for seven years, and the firm now wants to share some of its learnings with entrepreneurs.

n

This way, it could give a boost to the crypto community, which could create investment opportunities for a16z down the road u2014 a16z says clearly that participating in the crypto startup school doesn’t mean you’ll receive an investment from a16z. It also positions a16z as a thoughtful investor when it comes to crypto startup investments u2014 not just for participants of the crypto startup school but for the crypto community at large.

n

The a16z Crypto Startup School will be a seven-week program that starts February 21, 2020. The program is free and a16z doesnu2019t take any equity.

n

Lectures will take place in Menlo Park, so you have to be based in Silicon Valley or willing to spend a couple of months there. And because a16z knows that it can be challenging to move to another country just to attend this program, the firm will also be recording all lectures. Anyone will be able to watch videos and download curriculum materials later.

n

Hereu2019s a sneak peek of the course outline:

n

n

    n

  • What are Crypto Networks, and Why Do They Matter?
  • n

  • Blockchain Computing Primitives: Cryptography and Consensus
  • n

  • Overview of Application Development Tools
  • n

  • Applications: Today and 2025
  • n

  • Crypto Business Models
  • n

  • Cryptoeconomics
  • n

  • UX, Product Development and Security
  • n

  • Go-to-Market Strategy and Developer Relations
  • n

  • Community Participation and Governance
  • n

  • Regulatory Landscape and Considerations
  • n

  • Guide to Fundraising
  • n

n

n

As you can, itu2019s a mix of lectures purely focused on cryptocurrencies as well as broader startup 101 lessons (fundraising, go-to-market strategy, etc.).

n

The program is looking for 20 to 25 teams, which should represent approximately 40 participants. You should have prior experience when it comes to building software products, but you donu2019t need to be a crytpo expert. Participants can expect 12 to 15 hours of lectures, workshops, mentorship and networking opportunities per week.

n

At the end of the course, participants will showcase a project idea or a prototype during a demo day.

n

ntt

nttntt

n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Last month, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) general partner Chris Dixon announced at TechCrunch Disrupt that the VC firm would run a free crypto startup school. And the company is officially launching its school today. Applications are now open and you have four weeks to apply. With this initiative, a16z wants to democratize cryptocurrencies. Dixon and the […]

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nn

He now lives in Paris when he’s not on the road. He used to live in New York and loved it.

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He owns small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.

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Romain Dillet is a Senior Writer at TechCrunch.

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nn

He now lives in Paris when he’s not on the road. He used to live in New York and loved it.

nn

He owns small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.

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look at the top trends exciting NYC’s consumer VCs”,”content”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0

n

Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs:

n

    n

  • Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures
  • n

  • David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup
  • n

  • Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund
  • n

  • Craig Shapiro, Partner at Collaborative Fund
  • n

  • Jeremy Levine, Partner at Bessemer
  • n

  • Beth Ferreira, Partner at Firstmark Capital
  • n

  • Graham Brown, Partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures
  • n

  • Eric Reiner, Partner at Sinai Ventures
  • n

  • Chris Paik, Partner at Pace Capital
  • n

n

Consumer health and banking startups were recurring areas of interest, and there’s a sense that apps and product brands which provide a deeper sense of community are an untapped opportunity.

n

Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Union Square Ventures

n

At USV, we are focused on opportunities that broaden access by leveraging technology to increase value and decrease cost in big buckets of consumer spend. In doing so, we are looking for ways to make products and services previously available to a select segment available to many more. In particular, we have been investing in areas of consumer health where the delivery mechanism not only makes the care more convenient but also more affordable and higher quality; products and platforms in financial services that change the traditional underlying model to drive financial health for a mass customer; and opportunities that create new access to education both for kids and lifelong learners.u00a0

n

Within each of these segments, I’ve been very interested in how new communities are forming inside products–users that come for a specific offering are forming allegiance and increasing engagement by interacting with other users. I think that is a trend we will only see accelerate.

n

David Tisch, Founding Partner at BoxGroup

n

People are bored on their phones, not of their phones. I am most excited to meet founders working on consumer apps that bring happiness and fun to a mass consumer audience, as I continue to believe we are in the early days of mobile and the app store is not dead.

n

These apps may look like a game, they may be a game, or they may be a new feed, but TikTok, Twitch, HQ, Yolo and other Snap app kit apps, Tinder and others have shown consumers want new apps, the barrier for adoption and retention isu00a0 just very high. All apps and games have a half-life, creating something with a very long one is really hard, but the demand is sitting on the phone scrolling thorough feeds, waiting for some new fun. We are excited about apps that allow people to interact with others in different ways, in new worlds, using new hardware, or new interfaces.

n

n

Anu Duggal, Founding Partner at Female Founders Fund

n

With the rise of the sober curious movement, we invested in Kin Euphorics, offering consumers a sexy option to an alcoholic drink, creating a social experience around a non-alcoholic beverage that doesnu2019t exist in the market today. With beer sales decreasing five years in a row, brands like Heineken are offering alcohol-free alternatives catering to this growing audience.

n

With the decline of religion, we have seen the rise of what we call the u201crise of the alternate community.u201d Consumers are looking for ways to connect online and offline based on specific interests. Examples of this in our portfolio include The Wonder, a membership model for familyhood, Peanut, a social network for modern motherhood, and Co-Star, an astrology app.

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

To learn more about the next wave of consumer startup investment outside Silicon Valley, Iu2019m speaking to leading B2C-focused investors in various hubs about the trends they’re excited about right now.u00a0 Recently, I shared the responses from several London-based investors; today, we spoke to eight of New Yorku2019s top consumer VCs: Rebecca Kaden, Partner at […]

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Eric Peckham is TechCrunch’s Media Columnist. He focuses on analysis of interactive media, non-interactive media, content creation platforms, communications tools, and education. Separate from TechCrunch, he writes the popular Monetizing Media newsletter.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 19: An aerial view of scenes around Manhattan from a Royal Navy helicopter on October 19, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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Indonesian capital will impact nation’s startup ecosystem”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Recently reelected, Indonesian President Joko Widodou00a0announced a desire to move the nation’s capital from Jakarta to the East Kalimantan region, citing environmental concerns, the most exigent of these being the fact that Jakarta is literally sinking due to the uncontrolled extraction of groundwater. Widodo said he wished to separate Indonesiau2019s government from its business and economic hub in Jakarta.

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However, what would a move from Jakarta do to Indonesiau2019s burgeoning startup economy?

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Shifting administrative governmental hubs

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According to Widodo, studies have determined that the best site for the proposed new capital is between North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kertanegara, both located in East Kalimantan. The basis of this selection is due to studies highlighting the regionu2019s relative protection from natural disasters, especially when compared to other regions. This would definitely be a benefit for the governmental heart of Indonesia, ensuring continuous administrative functions in a disaster-prone region. Other governments have separated administrative centers from their economic hubs with varying degrees of success, with some examples being Brazilu2019s creation of Brasu00edlia, as well as Koreau2019s projected move from Seoul to Sejong.

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What is most interesting to note from prior examples is that these newer branched-out cities are non-surprisingly, heavily government-centric. In Brasu00edlia, roles tied to the government make up nearly 40% of all jobs, while in Sejong, a lack of facilities like public transit and commercial mall space cause many to commute into Sejong for government work, instead of permanently settling in the area. Given the semi-undeveloped nature of East Kalimantan, these anecdotes are quite troubling if the government is actually moving to North Penajam Paser or Kutai Kertanegara.

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These facts raise the question of economic impacts of such governmental moves. In fact, one may even opine that while these moves do allow for governmental growth, ultimately, they may hurt the country economically due to a divestment between both government and economic hubs. In this specific instance, it is most important to analyze the impact of such a move on Indonesiau2019s startup economy, as the nation is one the worldu2019s leaders in startup growth.

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Indonesiau2019s startup economy

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Indonesia has emerged as a startup hub within Southeast Asia in recent years, with its population of over 260 million marking it as the worldu2019s fourth-most populous country. Additionally, Indonesiau2019s mobile-first population has enabled the full embrace of the internet era, with 95% of all internet users in Indonesia connected to the web via a mobile device.

n

Similarly, startup growth has boomed in the island archipelago, with several Indonesian-based unicorns disrupting local, regional, and global economies. Softbank-backed ecommerce giant Tokopedia is currently in talksu00a0for a pre-IPO funding round, while emerging super-app Gojek controls significant portions of the ride-sharing industry in Asia, simultaneously expanding intou00a0separate industriesu00a0to include digital payments, food delivery, and evenu00a0video-streaming. Additionally, online travel portal Traveloka (in which Expedia has a minority stake) has recentlyu00a0entered the financial services space, furthering its impact within Asia. These specific examples of high-growth startups demonstrate a population hungry for innovation, further driving the developing startup economy.

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

A move to East Kalimantan would allow for further development in the startup industry, with a focus on ecommerce and sustainability-focused enterprises.

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Hugh Harsono writes about emerging technologies and economics in developing Asia nations. He is currently a US Army officer, and previously worked in finance for Monsanto. Hugh holds a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Vehicles commute next to a construction site of the LRT (light rapid transit) in Jakarta on October 31, 2019. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP) (Photo by BAY ISMOYO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Academy is scaling up a coding program for ‘the heartland’”,”content”:”rendered”:”

The crowded landscape of programs teaching non-technical people to become software developers has been a proving ground for a new model of education financing: income share agreements (ISAs). With an ISA, students avoid paying tuition upfront or taking out private loans, instead paying a percentage of their income for a time after graduation after they’re earning a minimum income.

n

The model aligns education providers with students’ career outcomes, and one startup is staking a claim to be the leader in the space; Kenzie Academy, a year-long program with a physical campus in Indianapolis u2014 and a student body that’s 66 percent online u2014 announced a partnership with Community Investment Management (CIM) earlier this week that provides $100 million in debt to cover the operating costs associated with students who defer payment through ISAs.

n

Kenzie co-founder and CEO Chok Ooi says that core to Kenzie’s mission is the goal that its graduates “can stay in the heartland and attract more jobs so that someone coming out of the Midwest no longer has to move to Silicon Valley or New York to have a successful career in tech.” This $100 million is one of the largest commitments yet to financing ISAs and Kenzie is using it to recruit a more diverse population of students who may not be able to afford tuition or qualify for student loans otherwise.

n

I interviewed Ooi to understand how Kenzie differentiates itself from competitors, how it has iterated its model to improve retention and job placement and how he expects the ISA market to evolve over the next couple years. Here’s the transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity:

n

Eric Peckham: The landscape of software developer training programs is crowded. Where did you see an opportunity to do something different, and how do you position Kenzie relative to others in the market?

n

Chok Ooi: My co-founder came from Galvanize, so we observed firsthand the proliferation of tech and coding boot camps. These are typically short-term, three-to-five month programs and they tend to do well serving people with college degrees. I would say that they are disrupting the masters’ program space. We saw a major gap in programs that serve a much larger demographic of people who are much earlier in their development. People who never went to college, or did a little bit of college and dropped out, or just never had a professional work experience. A three-month training is insufficient to get them to a point where they could land a technical job and be successful.

n

We saw an opportunity to bring high-quality tech education to the American heartland that is 12 months in length. For about two-thirds of our students, this is their first post-secondary credential training.

n

We are giving them not just the technical skills, but elements from a traditional four-year college as well, like critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills.

n

Compared to those other bootcamps or training programs, is Kenzie targeting different job outcomes for its graduates?

n

We did a survey of our students that asked them to name the top five tech companies they desired to work for. None of the Silicon Valley companies made the list other than Salesforce. Indianapolis is the second largest Salesforce office outside of San Francisco. The rest of the companies our students named were companies like DMI and Zylo that people in Silicon Valley don’t hear about but are doing very well in the Midwest. Their friends work there. They’re a fabric of the community. If we really want to create job opportunities for the rest of America, we cannot adopt the Silicon Valley mindset.

n

Kenzie Academy co-Founder and CEO Chok Ooi.

Kenzie Academy co-founder and CEO Chok Ooi.

n

So how do you evaluate technical aptitude and critical thinking in the admissions process? What’s that process look like, and how has it evolved over the last couple of years? What have you learned in order to make that more effective?

n

Prior to founding Kenzie, I started a company nine years ago called AglityIO. The model for AgilityIO was similar to companies like Andela. We were trying to solve the talent crunch in the Bay Area by recruiting and training people with the raw talent in Vietnam. Today, that company works with Google, Uber, NerdWallet, Meetup.com and 150 other tech companies. So Iu2019ve experience in developing processes to identify raw talent in this context.

n

As people are doing the online assessments, we collect data points of how long it takes for them to solve the problem, what their different decision points are and things like that. Then as they get enrolled in Kenzie, we continue to collect attendance data, grades, and then placement data and use that to look at success and failure cases. We constantly refine our assessment.

n

Are you seeing any particular pattern or cluster in the applications youu2019re receiving or the candidates youu2019re accepting in terms of prior field of employment or aspect of their background?

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

The crowded landscape of programs teaching non-technical people to become software developers has been a proving ground for a new model of education financing: income share agreements (ISAs). With an ISA, students avoid paying tuition upfront or taking out private loans, instead paying a percentage of their income for a time after graduation after they’re […]

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Eric Peckham is TechCrunch’s Media Columnist. He focuses on analysis of interactive media, non-interactive media, content creation platforms, communications tools, and education. Separate from TechCrunch, he writes the popular Monetizing Media newsletter.

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Eric Peckham is TechCrunch’s Media Columnist. He focuses on analysis of interactive media, non-interactive media, content creation platforms, communications tools, and education. Separate from TechCrunch, he writes the popular Monetizing Media newsletter.

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Photos: Kenzie Academy

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Microsoft is trying to become more innovative”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Microsoft Research is a globally distributed playground for people interested in solving fundamental science problems.

n

These projects often focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and since Microsoft is on a mission to infuse all of its products with more AI smarts, it’s no surprise that it’s also seeking ways to integrate Microsoft Research’s innovations into the rest of the company.

n

Across the board, the company is trying to find ways to become more innovative, especially around its work in AI, and it’s putting processes in place to do so. Microsoft is unusually open about this process, too, and actually made it somewhat of a focus this week at Ignite, a yearly conference that typically focuses more on technical IT management topics.

n

At Ignite,u00a0Microsoft will for the first time present these projects externally at a dedicated keynote. That feels similar to what Google used to do with its ATAP group at its I/O events and is obviously meant to showcase the cutting-edge innovation that happens inside of Microsoft (outside of making Excel smarter).

n

To manage its AI innovation efforts, Microsoft created the Microsoft AI group led by VP Mitra Azizirad, who’s tasked with establishing thought leadership in this space internally and externally, and helping the company itself innovate faster (Microsoft’s AI for Good projects also fall under this group’s purview). I sat down with Azizirad to get a better idea of what her team is doing and how she approaches getting companies to innovate around AI and bring research projects out of the lab.

n

“We began to put together a narrative for the company of what it really means to be in an AI-driven world and what we look at from a differentiated perspective,” Azizirad said. “What we’ve done in this area is something that has resonated and landed well. And now we’re including AI, but we’re expanding beyond it to other paradigm shifts like human-machine interaction, future of computing and digital responsibility, as more than just a set of principles and practices but an area of innovation in and of itself.”

n

Currently, Microsoft is doing a very good job at talking and thinking about horizon one opportunities, as well as horizon three projects that are still years out, she said. “Horizon two, we need to get better at, and that’s what we’re doing.”

n

It’s worth stressing that Microsoft AI, which launched about two years ago, marks the first time there’s a business, marketing and product management team associated with Microsoft Research, so the team does get a lot of insights into upcoming technologies. Just in the last couple of years, Microsoft has published more than 6,000 research papers on AI, some of which clearly have a future in the company’s products.

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Microsoft Research is a globally distributed playground for people interested in solving fundamental science problems. These projects often focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and since Microsoft is on a mission to infuse all of its products with more AI smarts, it’s no surprise that it’s also seeking ways to integrate Microsoft Research’s innovations […]

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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Microsoft logo at Ignite 2019

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from China and India can accelerate the green card process”,”content”:”rendered”:”

Securing a green card can feel overwhelming for people in Silicon Valley who were born in India and China. But with the right help and guidance from a skilled immigration attorney, the process can be simpler, smoother and more successful.

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Limits written into existing immigration laws on both the number of green cards issued each year, as well as the number of green cards available based on country of origin, leave some waiting half a century or more for a green card, with people from India and China facing the longest wait times for employment-based green cards.

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In this fiscal year, which ended on October 31, 226,000 family-sponsored green cards and 141,918 employment-based green cards were available. And the per-country cap, which is the maximum number of green cards available to individuals born in a particular country, was 25,754.u00a0

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Although these U.S. laws pose an extra challenge for people born in countries with the highest demand for green cards, if you were born in India or China, there are some things you can do to mitigate this wait.

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Differentiate yourself

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The EB-1 green card is considered the u201cfirst preferenceu201d for those who’ll receive offers for employment-based green cards. It offers three unique and accelerated sub-paths:u00a0

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  • EB-1A green card for individuals of extraordinary abilityu00a0
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  • EB-1B green card for outstanding researchers and professors
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  • EB-1C green card for multinational managers and executives
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The EB-1A green card for extraordinary ability does not require an employer sponsor or even a job offer, which means itu2019s one of the few self-petition green cards. To demonstrate eligibility,u00a0you must be able to show you have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and that you and your work have received national or international acclaim.u00a0

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Individuals who apply for the EB-1A do not need to obtain labor certification (as required of employers). That means the process is simpler and can be much faster than typical employment-based green cards. Also, an individual applicant may have more flexibility to change jobs than if an employer applied on their behalf.

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The EB-1B green card for outstanding researchers and professors requires an employer to sponsor you. Candidates for the EB-1B green card must demonstrate great achievements in their academic field.u00a0

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And finally, the EB-1C green card for multinational managers and executives enables an employer to bring an executive or manager who has been working abroad over to the U.S. to live and work. The EB-1C candidate must have worked outside the U.S. for the employer for at least one year.

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This Cato Institute analysis estimates individuals born in China and India face waiting eight and nine years, respectively, for an EB-1 green card.u00a0Despite the small and growing backlog for EB-1 green cards for individuals born in China and India, it still remains one of the quicker options.
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Invest in a project that creates jobs

“,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Securing a green card can feel overwhelming for people in Silicon Valley who were born in India and China. But with the right help and guidance from a skilled immigration attorney, the process can be simpler, smoother and more successful.

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21 January 2019, Brandenburg, Jacobsdorf: The speedometer of a car indicates the speed of 120 kilometers per hour. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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Google said on Friday it has appointed Sanjay Gupta, a former top executive with Disney India and Star, as the manager and vice president of sales and operations for its India business.

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Gupta will be replacing Rajan Anandan, who left the company in April this year to serve VC fund Sequoia Capital India as a managing director.

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Gupta served as a managing director at Disney India and Star (which Disney now owns) before joining the Android -maker. (Not to be confused with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who hosts a popular medical show on CNN.) He helped Star make a major push in the digital consumers business through video streaming service Hotstar, where he aggressively worked on partnerships and licensing for cricket rights and other content.

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Hotstar has cashed in on the popularity of cricket — during a major cricket season earlier this year, Hotstar claimed that more than 100 million users were enjoying its service each day and more than 300 million were doing so each month. (Facebook roped in Ajit Mohan, the former chief executive of Hotstar, to head its India operations late last year.) Gupta also held top executive roles at other companies, including Bharti Airtel telecom network.

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Sanjay Gupta, a former top executive at Disney and Star, is now the head of Google’s India business

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In a statement, Gupta said, u201citu2019s an exciting opportunity to leverage the power of technology to solve some of Indiau2019s unique challenges and make Internet an engine of economic growth for people and communities. I am happy to join the passionate teams across Google and look forward to contributing to Indiau2019s digital journey as it becomes an innovation hub for the world.u201d

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When Anandan, a long-time influential and widely respected Google executive, left the company earlier this year, Google said Vikas Agnihotri, who is the director of sales for the firmu2019s India operations, would be temporarily taking over the role. For Google, this was the latest in a series of high-profile departures in Asia. Karim Temsamani, head of Asia Pacific (APAC) at Google, also left the company earlier this year.

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Even as India contributes little to Googleu2019s bottom line, the company has grown increasingly focused on India and other Asian markets to develop products and services that solve local problems and address barriers that are hindering growth in these markets.

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In a statement, Scott Beaumont, president of Google APAC, said the companyu2019s operation in India u201cis important and strategic for its own sake but also for the innovation which then feeds breakthroughs elsewhere in Google.u201d

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Gupta will also have to oversee some major challenges, including the fast growth of Facebook’s advertisement business in India and an antitrust issue with the local regulator.

n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

Google said on Friday it has appointed Sanjay Gupta, a former top executive with Disney India and Star, as the manager and vice president of sales and operations for its India business. Gupta will be replacing Rajan Anandan, who left the company in April this year to serve VC fund Sequoia Capital India as a […]

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NEW DELHI, INDIA – DECEMBER 16: Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, during a Google event on December 16, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Pichai, who is on an official trip to India, said Google plans on expanding the Helping Women Get Online program to 300,000 villages in India and will bring Wi-Fi to 100 railway stations. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

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DJI Mavic Mini Review

Raghav Jain

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The $399 Mavic Mini lives in a sweet spot of core features and a low price. It packs everything critical to be a quality drone. It has a good camera, good range and a good controller. It holds up well in the wind and is quick enough to be fun. And it’s so small that you’re more likely to throw it in your bag and take it on Instagram adventures.

The small size is the Mavic Mini’s main selling point. It weighs 249 grams, and that odd number isn’t an accident. Drones that weight 250 grams and above have to be registered to fly. And yet, even though the Mavic Mini is lightweight and foldable, it’s packed with core features: 30-minute flight time, 4 km HD video transmission, three-axis gimbal holding a 2.7K camera and a physical controller that works with Android and iOS devices. At $399, it’s a lot of drone for the money even though it’s missing features found in DJI’s other drones.

There are more expensive drones packed with a lot of features. I own most of those drones. They’re fun, but several years ago, feature creep started sneaking into DJI’s products. Now, with a convoluted product line, a spreadsheet is needed to decipher DJI’s drones. Most come loaded with countless features owners will likely never use. The Mavic Mini is something different. It’s basic, and I dig it.

Here’s what’s missing: collision detection, ultra-long-range connection, 4K camera, gesture control and advanced camera features like trackable follow, panoramic, time lapse and optical zoom.

The Mavic Mini is quick enough to be fun, but it won’t win any races. It’s responsive and fast enough. Light and easy. Compared to a Mavic 2, it feels smaller and less powerful — because it is — and yet it never feels too small or underpowered. The Mavic Mini is well-balanced, and owners should find it enjoyable to fly.

Despite its tiny size, the Mavic Mini holds up well in high wind. I took it up to 200m on a windy fall day in the Midwest. The wind was clearing leaves off the trees, and I was bundled up in hat and gloves. It was gusty. The Mavic Mini didn’t care. It took off like a drone much larger and stood tall against the wind. What’s more, the video didn’t suffer. The gimbal held the camera steady as it recorded the autumn landscape.

The drone uses DJI’s new app, and I’m using a beta version to test the drone. Called DJI Fly, it’s a streamlined version of DJI Go and packs several enhancements. Safe fly zones are better integrated into the app and have an additional level of detail over the older app. DJI also offers better built-in support for its social community app, SkyPixel. However, as this version is streamlined, it lacks a lot of information standard on the Go version, most notably, a mini-map in the bottom corner of the screen. I’m hoping DJI adds more features to this app after it launches.

The camera is good for the price. The pictures here were taken from the drone and not altered or adjusted. They were taken on cloudy and sunny days. The range is surprisingly good, as the drone can capture blue skies and dark highlights. Occasionally in direct sunlight, the camera colors become washed out.

They say the best camera is the one you have with you. That’s where the Mavic Mini comes in. The best drone is the one you have with you. For years, I lugged around a massive Pelican case containing Phantom 2 and later a Phantom 3. I thought I was the coolest. At a moment’s notice, I could go to my car’s trunk and retrieve a suitcase containing a flying camera. A few minutes later, after my phone synced to the drone, and the controller joined the drone’s network, I had 15 minutes of flight time. Then came the foldable Mavic, which fit alongside my camera gear like a large telephoto lens. Other drones came and went. I liked the GoPro Karma for a time.

The tiny Mavic Mini is a game-changer. It’s small enough that I’ll bring it everywhere. It’s small and light enough that it feels like a large point and shoot in my computer bag.

Want more features and a better camera but keep the portable size? Earlier this year DJI announced the $919 foldable Mavic Air that has a 4K camera and five-mile video transmission.

The Mavic Mini gets everything right. It’s small, comes with a lovely case, and in a $499 bundle, two extra batteries with a clever charging pack. The camera is surprisingly good though admittedly less powerful than DJI’s more expensive drones. The Mavic Mini is the perfect drone for a first-timer or experienced drone enthusiast. DJI stuffs enough features into the 249 gram body to make this a fantastic drone for anyone.

DJI Mavic Mini announcement

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