Logitech announces layoffs as it shifts focus to mobile business

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Gallery Photo: Logitech Touch Mouse T620, Zone Touch Mouse T400 and Rechargeable Trackpad T650 hands-on pictures

In January Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell announced plans to take “decisive action,” including selling its Harmony remote division, to turn the company’s fortunes around — and today we’re seeing the first results of that. Logitech will lay off 140 people, or about 5 percent of its non-direct workforce, as part of an organizational shuffle aimed to help the company react to shifting markets.

Sluggish performance in the PC goods business has forced Logitech to turn to products such as the Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad, and the company plans to further increase its focus on mobile in the future while increasing profitability on the PC side. It expects to save from $16 to $18 million in its 2014 fiscal year as a result of the…

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SiSense Analytics Technology Is Meant For The Middle-Market Customer With Terabytes Of Data

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SiSense won the Audience Award at the Strata Conference this week with its record-breaking claim that it can analyze 10 terabytes of data on a $10,000 Dell server in 10 seconds. Records are meant to be broken, so this is not the first or the last claim of superiority we will see from an ambitious startup. But SiSense is a reflection of the innovation in the analytics space and the startups that are breaking new barriers with systems are far less expensive than what the the older vendors are selling in the market.

On Tuesday I caught up with Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Bruno Aziza who talked about the SiSense’s goal to serve the growing number of companies seeking to analyze terabytes of data. These companies can’t afford data scientists to do their work. They need software that is accessible and technology that people besides engineers can use.

SiSense uses what it calls the “ElastiCube,” a high-performance analytical database that leverages server technology to maximize machine RAM and CPU use. The package includes the database and data visualization software for showing the analysis.

Record-breaking feats bring a bit of a carnival atmosphere to tech conferences. And I say thank goodness for that. Events like Strata are fascinating for the people who explore the new universe that data analytics unfolds. But record-breaking feats like the one from SiSense are refreshing, bringing some fun and something to talk about in the context of raw processing power and what can be done on relatively inexpensive hardware.

‘Real Racing 3’ is ruined by in-app purchases

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real racing 3

Following an earlier launch in certain regions, EA’s Real Racing 3 is now available to download for Android and iOS worldwide. The original Real Racing was one of the first titles to prove the iPhone’s worth as a credible gaming platform, and the series has been a mobile mainstay ever since. Real Racing 3 continues that trend with improved graphics, a huge amount of content, and the same trademark control system, but there’s one major difference this time around — it’s free.

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HTML5 browser exploit could let pranksters fill up your hard drive

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WD hard drive 500GB stock 640

Did you know a webpage could fill your hard drive with junk data, unbeknownst to you? It’s true: FillDisk.com can do just that, and until web browsers fix the problem, more malicious websites might be able to do it too. Web developer Feross Aboukhadijeh set up FillDisk as a proof of concept to demonstrate a nasty exploit in HTML5: with a simple trick, the Web Storage standard allows any website to place large amounts of data on your drive. It’s not technically a hack and won’t allow attackers to access your computer, but running out of space still has the potential to be annoying.

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BigDog ‘mule’ robot wreaks havoc with herculean throwing arm

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Boston Dynamics’ BigDog rough-terrain robot just got even more terrifying, with the addition of a front-mounted arm that lets it toss around cinderblocks like soda cans. To get the job done, the 240-pound quadruped uses the same approach as human athletes, recruiting the strength in its legs and torso to power the throw.

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FCC will investigate cellphone unlocking ban, says chairman

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FCC Julius Genachowski Vox Media

Earlier this year it became illegal in the United States to unlock a carrier-subsidized phone or tablet without prior authorization — but it looks like the Federal Communications Commission may not be so fond of the idea. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told TechCrunch that the FCC was in fact going to investigate the ban to see whether it has any harmful effects for consumers and competitors. Genachowski is quoted as saying that it “raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns.” However, he reportedly wasn’t entirely sure if the FCC would be able to intervene in any meaningful way in this instance — though it will be exploring its options. “It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should…

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FCC To Investigate Cell Phone Unlocking Ban

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Following an online uproar over a law banning the unlocking of cell phones, the Federal Communications Commission will investigate whether the ban is harmful to economic competitiveness and if the executive branch has any authority to change the law.

The “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told me last night at a TechCrunch CrunchGov event at our San Francisco headquarters.

Until earlier this year, consumers were free to “unlock” their smartphones, which permitted them to switch carriers. For six years, the Library of Congress exempted cell phone unlocks from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans “circumvention” of copy protection schemes. The decision was reversed during the last round of triennial reviews.

Now users who dare to modify software on the devices they own are subject to legal penalties.

Genachowski isn’t sure what authority he has, but if he finds any, given the tone of the conversation, it’s likely he will exert his influence to reverse the decision. “It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones.”

If the FCC does discover some latent authority to give users more freedom over their choice in carriers, it will mean another big victory for grassroots Internet activism. After the ban went into effect, netizens quickly rushed to demand an answer from the White House, sending over 100,000 signatures on the WeThePeople petition platform, which mandates that the Obama administration offer an official explanation.

In a previous WeThePeople petition related to open information, the White House unexpectedly pledged $100M to promote freely accessible federally funded research, which would otherwise be guarded behind expensive private academic journals.

The cell phone petition squarely pits users vs. the telecommunications lobby, who enjoy the lucrative contracts that tether smartphone users to their carriers. Depending on the FCC’s and White House’s looming response, this new form of digital activism may very well demonstrate the power of civic consumers.

Vint Cerf envisions an interspecies internet for communicating with animals and aliens

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Vint Cerf TED 2013

In a TED talk this evening, internet pioneer Vint Cerf took the stage to describe how the internet will eventually allow us to communicate with other species — even ones from another planet. The comments came as part of a group presentation, featuring the likes of musician Peter Gabriel and physicist Neil Gershenfeld, that focused on how technology is being used to communicate with animals. Cerf said that when he was designing the framework for what eventually became the internet, he realized that it was not simply a way for machines to connect — it was a way for people to interact. However, that’s essentially just a starting point.

“All kinds of possible sentient beings may be interconnected.”

“Now what’s important about what…

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Corning’s curved Willow Glass won’t appear in flexible displays until 2016

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Corning Willow Glass

Corning announced its flexible Willow Glass last summer with the possibility of full production by the end of the year, but we shouldn’t expect to see it in consumer electronics any time soon. That’s the message from Corning Glass Technologies president James Clappin, who told Bloomberg that manufacturers are expected to take at least three more years to design products with flexible Willow Glass displays.

“The ability of people to take it and use it to make a product is limited,” said Clappin, who was marking the opening of an $800 million LCD glass plant in China. Corning is making efforts to teach some “very big name” customers how to implement the glass in their products, but it’s clear that the material poses new design challenges….

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David Cross: Arrested Development on Netflix is going to redefine what TV can be

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The fourth season of Arrested Development, which is coming exclusively to Netflix in May, won’t disappoint fans, said actor David Cross in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Thursday. If anything, producing the show for Netflix, which is going to release the entire season at once to facilitate binge viewing, helped show creator Mitch Hurwitz to push the creative envelope, he argued:

“What Mitch did and how he’s able to tell the story through the Netflix model — I think it’s going to redefine what television can be and stories can be and how they’re presented.”

Cross added that the result will be “historical,” and that it will be remembered for decades.

That sentiment was echoed by Hurwitz himself when he talked about working with Netflix at the Dive Into Media conference earlier this month. Being able to ignore ratings and build story lines that strech across a number of episodes will make for more interesting TV, Hurwitz argued: “We are encouraged to make a more interesting show as opposed to flattening it out.”

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Google Launches Zopfli To Compress Data More Densely And Make Web Pages Load Faster

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Google just launched Zopfli, a new open source compression algorithm that can compress web content about 3 to eight 8 more densely (PDF) than the standard zlib library. Because Zopfli is compatible with the decompression algorithms that are already part of all modern web browsers, using Google’s new algorithm and library on a server could lead to faster data transmission speeds and lower web page latencies, which would ultimately make the web a little bit faster.

The new algorithm, which Zurich-based Google engineer Lode Vandevenne created as a 20 percent project, is an implementation of the Deflate algorithms – the same algorithm that’s also used for the ZIP and gzip file formats and PNG image format. Zopfli’s output is compatible with zlib, but uses a different and more effective algorithm to compress data.

As Vandevenne writes in the announcement today, “the exhaustive method is based on iterating entropy modeling and a shortest path search algorithm to find a low bit cost path through the graph of all possible deflate representations.”

There is, however, a price that needs to be paid for this: it takes significantly longer to compress files with Zopfli (decompression times are virtually the same, though). Indeed, as Vandevenne notes, “due to the amount of CPU time required — two to three orders of magnitude more than zlib at maximum quality — Zopfli is best suited for applications where data is compressed once and sent over a network many times, for example, static content for the web.”

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Marissa Mayer is killing telecommuting, and that’s a good thing

This post is by Penelope Trunk from VentureBeat

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Thank goodness someone finally had the courage to stand up and say that telecommuting is officially banned. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has the courage to say itpoint blankwithout apology. And her honesty is going to help all of us.

Telecommuting has been dead for a while

Facebook has something called lock-down, where no one can go home. Kids come to Facebook if they want to see their parents. Really. Which means that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has also been promoting the end of telecommuting, but it’s actually more difficult for her to come out and say it when she is also championing the cause of women and encouraging them to “lean in” and have kids alongside a huge career.

Both Mayer and Sandberg really want women to succeed in business. They don’t want affirmative action for women. Mayer and Sandberg have young kids, and they are giving up their time with their kids – in an extreme way – so that they can run big, important companies.

The message here is that if you want to work at a company where people are doing big and important things, you have to give up everything. It’s okay to say that. Sandberg and Mayer are giving up everything, so why can’t they ask that of everyone else?

Telecommuting is for people who don’t want to give up everything for their company. Mayer doesn’t want to work with people like that.

Companies move more efficiently if everyone is at the office

The reason flexible jobs are hard to find is that most companies demand that you show up and put in face time at the office. We have been clamoring for ages that women want flexible work, but companies don’t want to give flexible work. (In fact, women are so fed up with the lack of flexible work that they are starting businesses at a higher rate than ever, and Forbes called entrepreneurship the new women’s movement.)

The Harvard Business Review combines easily-found data to show that innovation happens faster if people work at the same office, and company culture is easier to control and more energizing if people share physical space. Also face-time is linked to higher performance, which is linked to the idea of propinquity, the word to describe why people work better if they are in the same room. If you are near someone, you get along with them better. It’s how human beings work — it’s part of our social DNA that goes back millions of years. We understand each other if we see each other, which makes sense, since we read so many nonverbal cues. So people who are physically together are more efficient, more productive, and more innovative than people who are not physically together.

This is the type of data Mayer is relying on to justify her demand that people work at the office. Sure, there is data that individual workers are more productive if you let them handle their personal life with flexible work. But there is also evidence that top firms don’t need to accommodate those people. In Silicon Valley, home to Facebook, Google, Airbnb, none of the most desirable companies make room for a personal life. They don’t have to. They have plenty of people hoping to give up their whole life to the company.

Telecommuting encourages a less dedicated workforce

The poster-child for flexible work is Deloitte. Vice chairman, Cathy Benko, wrote the book on flexible work, literally, and Deloitte even goes as far as to do consulting for other companies on how to make flexible work for women. But let’s be real. Deloitte is a consulting firm, which means people with power and big careers there must travel. A lot. And they are flexible for the sake of the client, not for their employees’ kids. If you want to telecommute at Deloitte, your career is on a slow track. It’s an alternative career.

People telecommute so they can decrease the conflict between work and personal life. Brigham Young University shows that people can work 60 hours a week as a telecommuter and still maintain low conflict in this area because of the flexibility that telecommuting enables.

Mayer doesn’t want to work with anyone who is working 60 hours a week. She is in Silicon Valley where an 80-hour week is full-time and 50-hours is part-time. In fact, women who have taken the mommy track at big law firms have been saying for a decade that at top firms, 50 hours is a part-time week.

This is true of startups as well. I have written before that the reason women are not startup founders is that startups require 120-hour workweeks. When I cut back at my own startup to 60 hours a week, my coworkers talked about how I had basically quit working.

CEOs should get to choose who they work with

If you want to have a slower career, you deserve to be able to make that choice. But you shouldn’t get to work with people who are giving up everything for their job. It’s not fair. Of course it’s fine for you to leave work to eat dinner with your kids and put them to bed. Actually, I think it’s really nice. But it’s not fair to go home to your kids at 5 p.m. and start working again at 9 p.m. when your coworker has been at the office those five hours. Your coworker deserves more than that.

Who do you know who has given up more of their life for work than Marissa Mayer? I can’t think of one other person, actually. She was renowned as one of the hardest workers at Google, where hundred-hour weeks are de rigueur. And she is renowned for being the only CEO in US history to deliver a baby while running a Fortune 500 company. Marissa Mayer can tell anyone that they are not putting in enough hours. She’s giving up everything for work; she has a right to demand that her coworkers do that same.

This is true for most firms where A-players work. People who want to be top in their field want to work with other top players. That seems fair.

The future of work is better with Marissa Mayer running the show

Mayer is more honest than everyone else. The workforce divides into two halves: people who try very hard to decrease the conflict in their life between work and home, and people who try very hard to get to the top of the work world. You can’t do both. You know that, you just don’t like that Mayer is institutionalizing it.

Once we get honest about what you need to do to get to the top, we can start having a real discussion about how to make choices in adult life. The reality of today’s workforce is that if you want to have a big job where you have prestige and money and power, you probably need a stay-at-home spouse. Or two full-time nannies. Which means most people don’t have the option to go on the fast track, because most people have not set their lives up this way.

So let’s just admit that most of us are not on the fast-track. Stop bitching that people won’t let slow people on the fast track. Stop saying that it’s bad for family. It’s great for family. It means people will not continue operating under the delusion that you can be a hands-on parent and a top performer. People will make real choices and own those choices.

This is true for men and women. There is no longer a gender divide at work. The declaration that Yahoo no longer allows telecommuting is monumental because Marissa Mayer smashed the last shard of the glass ceiling. Today, anyone can rise to the top if they give up their life to do it.

Women graduate college at a higher rate than men, and women earn more money than men. Until there are kids. Then women slow down. By choice. Women tend to start slowing down at work around age 28  in order to be done having kids by the time they are 35Generation Y women are well aware of this, and the pattern is so ubiquitous that business schools unofficially let women in earlier than men because women need to finish working at full-capacity so early in their career.

Which means the top performers at work are mostly men. But it’s not a gender thing, it’s a time thing. That’s what Marissa Mayer is saying: Don’t think about coming to my company unless you’ll give everything for your job.

Mayer is not saying parenting is bad. She is saying she doesn’t want to work with hands-on parents. But look at the CEOs of any Fortune 500 company: They rarely meet anyone who is a hands-on parent aside from their spouse. Hands-on parents don’t exist at the top of the Fortune 500.

People still have lots of choices, you just can’t have everything

Family historian Stephanie Coontz writes that today’s workforce is so demanding that families can only handle having one person in the workforce. She shows how the average work week does not allow for people to take care of children, which means that one partner needs to drop out of the workforce and take care of kids. The Harvard Business Review reports that if someone works 60 hours a week, they are three times more likely to have a stay-at-home spouse.

This workplace shift has already happened. Mayer is just forcing us to admit it.

If you want to parent — really be there for your kids — then you need an alternative career track. You can telecommute, you can work part-time, you can freelance, you just can’t work with people who don’t need those same accommodations.

So today, people have choices, people have more control over their lives than ever, and people have good information to make intelligent decisions. Mayer is forcing you to make hard decisions. You don’t like that. But don’t blame her.

Penelope Trunk founded Brazen Careerist and two other startups. Her career advice runs in 200 newspapers. She lives on a farm in Wisconsin and homeschools her sons. This story originally appeared on Penelope’s blog.

Filed under: Business

Do Not Track bill reintroduced: ‘They have dragged their feet long enough,’ says senator

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Do Not Track Internet Explorer 10

Do Not Track is back in the spotlight today as senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) reintroduced a bill that would let people opt out of having their online activity tracked by advertisers. Originally introduced in 2011, the Do Not Track Online Act was envisioned as an online equivalent to the nationwide Do Not Call list, but talks have broken down between privacy activists and the ad industry, and nearly two years since its initial proposal, there is still no consensus about how to move forward.

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90 Seconds on The Verge: Bradley Manning, Motorola’s product pipeline, and @pontifex

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“Well, hello,” said the voice. It was an owl. A talking owl, but an owl nevertheless. “Who are you? Go on, speak up, young man! Don’t be shy.”

“I’m quite sorry, sir,” the man said, tipping his hat. “I just don’t know what to say to a creature of your sophistication, is all. You know. Being a talking owl and all that.”

“Do owls not speak where you’re from? Do birds not tweet? Do larks not lace the evening air with the sweet sound of song?”

“Well I guess they do, don’t they?” The man smiled. “I never thought of it that way. You’re pretty smart, aren’t you?”

The bird blinked. Twice. “Well. I am a talking owl.”

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Funding Daily: From the Bay to the Sound

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seattleFunding Daily comes to you today from the rainy climes of the Pacific Northwest. From my location in downtown Seattle, I bring you today’s round up of funding stories, fueled by raindrops, Starbucks coffee, and the extraterrestrial energy coming off the Space Needle.

For more funding news as it happens, subscribe to our Deals Channel feed. You can also follow VentureBeat on Twitter, @venturebeat, to view funding news as it’s published.

Andreessen Horowitz gets a manicure, leads $10.3M investment in beauty startup Julep

Andreessen Horowitz is beautifying its portfolio. Today, the prestigious venture capital firm led a $10.3 million round of financing in Julep Beauty Incorporated. Julep is a fast-growing cosmetics brand that sells nail polishes, bath and skin products, and makeup. The startup attributes this remarkably fast rate of production to a lean e-commerce business model, which does not involve physical stores and relies on social media channels for marketing. Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter, Precedent Investments, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, Western Technology Investments, and Version One Ventures also participated in this funding round. Read more on VentureBeat. 

Rabbit raises $3.3M to turn video chat into truly social communication

Rabbit has raised $3.3 million in funding for its innovative video chat system. The San Francisco company wants to reinvent chat by creating a better user interface for grouping people together. The focus is on the face of the person and what they’re talking about.The new investors include Google Ventures, CrunchFund, and Bebo founder Michael Birch. Existing investors also participated. Read more on VentureBeat.

UpTo wants to be the social glue of tomorrow, adds $1.5M, and opens its event stream platform

UpTo’s mobile app integrates with the calendar app on your smartphone, focusing not just on your own events but also on the future events that friends, family, and colleagues consider important. Now, 500,000 shared events and 2000 organizational event streams later, UpTo is pivoting to become the social glue of what’s next on an even bigger scale. And adding a handy second-round funding of $1.5 million from initial backers Detroit Venture Partners and Ludlow Ventures. Read more on VentureBeat.

U.S. military funds research to arm unmanned vehicles against cyberattacks

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has granted $6 million to professor Franz Franchetti of Carnegie Mellon University to develop software that protects unmanned ground vehicles and high-end cars from digital threats. Over the past five years, the U.S. military has focused on unmanned vehicles such as airborne drones because they cost less, are smaller, and allow military personnel to operate them from afar. However, this also makes them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Franchetti’s team will develop technology “to help computers figure out that they are under attack and to help them survive and continue operating.” Read more on VentureBeat.

Microsoft’s Bing Fund invests in social discovery app Sonar

New York City startup Sonar announced today that is has received a strategic investment from Microsoft’s Bing Fund. Sonar taps into social networks to tell you how you’re connected to people nearby and in locations you’ve checked into. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but we’ve previously reported that the Bing Fund offers early-stage startups between $50,000 and $100,000, along with advice and design help. The investment will likely be a big help to Sonar, which has only received $200,000 in seed funding so far. Read more on VentureBeat.

Plastiq gets chic with $6M to phase out cash and checks

Plastiq has locked up $6 million in its second round of institutional financing to continue growing its network of customers, merchants, credit card associations, and financial services providers. Plastiq sets up credit card payments in sectors that generally rely on checks and cash. The service is primarily geared toward large costs, like tuition, cars, donations, taxes, and real estate. Atlas Venture and Flybridge Capital Partners led this round, with existing investors NextView Ventures and Greenoaks Capital participating. Plastiq has raised $8.35 million to date. Read more on VentureBeat.

Stitch Fix raises $4.75M to help to fashionably impaired

Personal shopping platform Stitch Fix wants to be Rachel Zoe for those who can’t afford her. The site has a suite of tools and services that can “physically deliver personal styling to more than 10,000 clients across the United States.” The team of expert stylists and engineers have created a “retail intelligence approach to closets” that uses data analytics and algorithms to match each client to clothing and trends. Clients pay a $20 styling fee and receive curated items of clothing in the mail that they can choose to keep or return. This first round of financing was led by Baseline Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Parners, with Western Technology Investment. Read more on VentureBeat.

Draper Fisher Jurveston puts money in the Pitts

Draper Triangle, the Midwestern arm of Draper Fisher Jurveston Global Network, closed its third fund of $75-$100 million. The pool will invest in early stage companies located in the Midwest, including Pennsylania, Ohio, and Michigan. Since its formation 13 years ago, Draper Triangle has invested over $115 million in 37 companies and is the region’s most active early stage venture capital firm. It primarily puts money into high-tech companies in the IT, medical devices, and advanced materials sectors.

Marxent Labs tries to make online shopping feel real

Marxent Labs, a startup that offers an Augmented Reality shopping platform called VisualCommerce, has added $800,000 in financing, bringing its total capital raised to $1.8 million. The mobile image recognition technology connects print catalogs to e-commerce to “make multichannel shopping easier and more fun for consumers while revealing fascinating new data sets about how print catalog shoppers engage.” Stage 1 Ventures led this round.

Red Hot Labs raises $1.5M for mobile games and a platform to make them spread

Started by the team that created Zynga’s FarmVille, Red Hot Labs has raised $1.5 million in funding to create a mobile-technology platform and the games that prove it works. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, SV Angel, General Catalyst, and Japan’s IT-Farm. Angel investors in the company’s previous seed round include Keith Rabois, Chris Dixon, Bill Tai, Charles Huang, and Kai Huang. It’s not a big amount, but the investors are an all-star team. The hope is that the company can create a platform that mobile developers can use to create hits that spread in a viral fashion, lowering their expenses for advertising their own games. Read more on VentureBeat.

FundersClub forays into the now sexy world of enterprise software

Online investment platform TheFundersClub has invested more than $800,000 into enterprise startups. It backed accounting software inDinero, Software-as-a-Service platform TinderBox, manages brand consistency, and a quality assurance startup in stealth mode. 151 investors participated in the three funds, including executives from Bank of America, Cisco, Salesfroce, and Samsung.

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After Recruiting Founding StubHub CTO, Buzzmob Overhauls Its Social Events App To Help Brands Connect With Fans

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Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 1.57.21 PM

If you’ve been to a live event recently, like a football game or a, you’ve probably noticed that the majority of people around you spent most of their time huddled over their smartphone. It’s true of life now, too, as people now interface with the world through Instagram rather than their eyeballs, but this even more true for live events.

BuzzMob launched in 2011 to capitalize on our mobile obsession with a location-based fan engagement app, designed to help facilitate and channel the social chatter at live events. The app aims to create a more engaging experience at live events by offering a focused, virtual community message board, which allows users to tap into a realtime community feed of images, tips and status updates from fellow event-goers.

From the beginning, Buzzmob’s experience has largely been focused on individual users, on allowing fans to create these targeted virtual message boards (or “Mobs” as Buzzmob calls them) around certain locations. But today, the startup is extending that capability to event organizers, brands and sports teams themselves in what the founders tell us is the app’s biggest update yet.

With Buzzmob v2.0, the startup wants to beef up its capabilities for venues and other high-traffic destinations by allowing them to quickly create their own virtual communities around their live events — which, as the case has always been, are focused around location and shared interests. Through its new mobile platform, Buzzmob essentially allows brands and event organizers to curate these realtime conversation feeds, video streams, exclusive music, movies and event photos, while leveraging that stream to distribute offers, trivia and promotional giveaways.

Naturally, the idea is to give brands a better way to connect with their customers, rewarding loyal fans with swag and presumably giving them a better shot at creating lasting relationships with actual people, not just “a fan base” segmented generally by demographics. The idea is to be one part social/mobile CRM, one part mobile content distribution and loyalty platform, and one part event utility.

In terms of the latter, Buzzmob provides an ideal medium through which venues could share floor plans, a music festival could share directions to First Aid or bathrooms, tell fans where they can find a band’s music or merchandise after a show, and so on. To that end, Buzzmob now allows event organizers and brands to acces realtime analytics and administrative tools through an events dashboard so that they can manage their fan base and see how much value they’re getting out of particular deals or pieces of content.

For businesses, in the big picture, this means being able to curate and control attendee submissions to their own feeds, which is naturally something brands are eager to have — and something that few other apps or platforms offer. By offering this new form of mobile advertising (and engagement) for live events, Buzzmob has attracted brands and events like the AFI Film Fest, Stan Lee’s Comikaze, USC Alumni Association, Global Green, the Kairos Society, and others.

“Our new mobile experience and partner toolset in the latest version of BuzzMob has allowed us to begin working with a number of venues, stadiums, sports teams and high-traffic locations,” CEO Jeff Jackel says, although he declined to share more names for legal reasons.

To help it develop the brand and event side of its mobile engagement platform and to help oversee the development of its new app, Buzzmob recently announced that it has recruited Shawn Kernes, a co-founder of ticketing platform StubHub, who joins as its new CTO. Starting in January, Buzzmob has been leveraging Kernes’ veteran knowledge of the events (and retail) spaces to help it secure partnerships with venues, brands and event organizers.

Kernes was the co-founding CTO of StubHub and helped lead the company to its acquisition by eBay in 2007, where he then spent a year as a senior director of product development, before going on to become the COO of Cash4Gold and the CTO of Beyond The Rack.

Its new app and CTO aside, Buzzmob is hardly alone in the social, location-based space, thanks to startups like Banjo, Mixer and Glassmap — and many more. What’s more, Yobongo was scooped up by Mixbook early last year and social activity service Hot Potato was acquired by Facebook (and then shut down). Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter have also been making strategic moves into this space.

However, the startup believes it has a leg up on the competition — and realtime community forums like event hashtags on Twitter — by focusing on filtering out the noise and allowing users to exclusively tap into the content and conversations they care about as they watch an event. From the outset, Buzzmob has been focused on sports events and concerts, which has helped give direction and focus to its event-centric model and will help it compete against the bigs like Twitter.

“The real focus for us,” Kernes tells us, “is solving the content consumption and engagement problem at live events. Only a small portion of social media content is actually consumed by anyone, there’s just a lot of noise, so we’re focused not on random content creation, but content that’s actually focused on the needs and interests of the community.”

By doing so, he says, fans get more value out of the content, because it’s actually relevant to them (or at least that’s the idea) and brands know that their content is reaching a loyal fan base and people who actually care about (and will get use out of) that content.

Buzzmob has raised $2.6 million to date from Craig Cogut of Pegasus Capital Advisors and a flock of angel investors.

Buzzmob at home here.

Apple seeds OS X 10.8.3 build 12D74 to developers

This post is by Andru Edwards from Gear Live

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 12d74 download

Two weeks after releasing OS X 10.8.3 build 12D68, Apple has seeded build 12D74 to developers. As has been the case with the last few 10.8.3 previews of Mountain Lion, there are no major changes, and no known issues. This one is just taking a while to finally be released to the public for some reason. Apple is asking devs to focus on AirPlay, AirPort, Game Center, graphics drivers, and Safari. Go and grab it is you've got a dev membership!


Apple seeds OS X 10.8.3 build 12D74 to developers originally appeared on Gear Live on Thu, February 28, 2013 – 3:55:04

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is still in a buying mood

This post is by Barb Darrow from GigaOM

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

Salesforce.com, which hasn’t exactly been shy and retiring on the acquisition front over the years, plans to keep right on buying companies and technologies it needs to bolster its marketing and support services push.

“We need to buy more marketing companies. We want to be the company you turn to for sales, service, marketing and the platform,” CEO Marc Benioff told analysts on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call Thursday afternoon. “We want to grow organically and via acquisition.”

For its fourth quarter, the company reported a loss of $20.8 million, compared to a loss of $4.1 million for the same period last year.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff speaking in New York this week.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff speaking in New York this week.

Marketing technology has become a hot spot over the past few years. Salesforce.com ponied up $326 million for Radian6 (social media monitoring) in 2011 and then $800 million for Buddy Media (social marketing) to buy both mind share and market share. But rivals have also spent big — Oracle bought Eloqua a few months ago for $871 million. The working theory behind this activity, as Benioff said on the call, is the believe that at some point in the near future chief marketing officers (CMOs) will have more IT buying power than CIOs.

Asked what Salesforce should do to counter Oracle/Eloqua, Benioff returned to the acquisition trail: “I think we’ll buy small and big. We’re going to be aggressive and look at everything.”

Salesforce.com, which started out as a customer relationship management (CRM) or sales-force automation (SFA) company, now also focuses on three other businesses: marketing; help desk type services (desk.com) and “the platform.” The latter is presumably both Force.com, the company’s internal development platform and Heroku, the Platform as a Service it bought three years ago.

But it’s difficult to get any feel for how those newer businesses are faring — although Salesforce did lay off a hundred or so employees from Buddy Media and Radian last fall. . Asked about traction for its “non-SFA businesses” CFO Graham Smith didn’t get specific, referring to comments made at the company’s Dreamforce show last fall. “It’s been a pretty gradual shift. I suspect it’s close to what we said then with 55 percent [of business] SFA and 45 percent non-SFA … As our more recently acquired businesses grow at a faster rate than sales cloud we’d expect a shift away from SFA but hopefully not too fast.”

Benioff did say that social advertising — in the marketing group — is probably the company’s fastest growing business. But it would be really nice to hear what sort of new, non SFA accounts are coming buying these new services and how much overlap there is between its CRM customers and consumers of these other services.

Your guess is as good as mine, because Salesforce.com ain’t sharing.

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