Ask any 25-year old engineer what Labor Day means to him or her, and you might get an answer like: it’s the surprise three-day weekend after a summer of vacationing. Or it’s the day everyone barbecues at Dolores Park. Or it’s the annual Tahoe trip where everyone gets to relive college.
Or simply, it’s the day we get off because we all work so hard.
And while founders and employees in startup land certainly work hard, wearing their 80-hour workweeks as a badge of honor, closing deals on conference calls in an air-conditioned WeWork is a far cry from the backbreaking working conditions of the 1880s, the era when Labor Day was born.
For everyone here in Silicon Valley, we should not be celebrating this holiday triumphantly over beers and hot dogs, complacent in the belief that our gravest labor issues are behind us, but instead use this holiday as
Apple’s secretive self-driving vehicle program has disclosed its first accident, according to a report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
The low speed accident, which occurred August 24, is a milestone of sorts for the company, albeit not one that is being celebrated. These days, as more companies head out onto public streets to test their autonomous vehicle systems, accidents have become more common. The vast majority are minor, low-speed incidents.
There was just one accident involving a self-driving vehicle (that one was owned by Delphi) reported to the DMV in 2014. So far this year, there have been more than 40 accidents involving self-driving cars reported to CA DMV.
While United States regulators are still trying to figure out how to think about cryptocurrencies, Thailand’s government is already mapping out its own central bank digital currency.
This is just one of numerous examples how Thailand has emerged as one the most interesting cryptocurrency and blockchain countries in Southeast Asia in 2018.
Since the start of the year, the Thai government has become increasingly outspoken and welcoming of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges. In just a few months, Thai regulators have made notable progress, from setting up cryptocurrency company licenses to permitting exchanges and ICOs. More importantly, the country has attracted foreign companies by providing clear and explicit guidelines for foreign blockchain companies to operate. It’s a pattern that we are seeing across Southeast Asia, and one that blockchain and cryptocurrency startup founders should take note as they think about global expansion.
Southeast Asia regulators are keen to understand cryptocurrency and blockchain
In what will be seen as a big recruiting and retention win for Cruise, employees will be offered equity in GM’s self-driving technology subsidiary rather than shares of GM. The securities offering was disclosed in a recent SEC filing for GM Cruise Holdings LLC.
The filing, which also lists the initial officers of GM Cruise Holdings LLC, is a result of SoftBank’s investment in Cruise earlier this year. SoftBank’s Vision Fund announced in May plans to invest $2.25 billion in Cruise. Once that deal closes, GM will invest another $1.1 billion.
GM Cruise Holdings LLC’s board of directors includes Cruise’s CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt, GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra, GM president Dan Ammann, GM general counsel Craig Glidden and GM’s VP of autonomous technology Doug Parks. Vogt, Cruise’s CFO Geoff Richardson and Cruise general counsel Matt Gipple are executive officers of GM Cruise Holdings.
Skullcandy has always been an odd brand. Aimed at a younger, hipper audience, the headphones always featured wacky graphics and a lower price point. Now, facing competition from multiple players, they’ve decided to step up their game in terms of quality and style.
Their two new models, the noise-cancelling Venue and the bass-heavy Crusher 360, are designed to hit the Bose/B&O/Sony quality point while still maintaining a bit of Beats styling. The Venue are the most interesting of the pair. They are true over-ear noise cancelling headphones that cost a mere $179 – over $100 less than Bose’s best offerings.
The Venue’s noise cancellation was excellent as was the sound quality. The headphones were solidly built and last for two five-hour flights, a first for me when it comes to wireless or wired noise-cancelling headphones. Usually in almost every model I’ve tested I’ve had to charge or change the
Twitter head Jack Dorsey sent out a tweet this afternoon hinting the social platform might get a couple of interesting updates to tell us who else is currently online and to help us more easily follow Twitter conversation threads.
“Playing with some new Twitter features: presence (who else is on Twitter right now?) and threading (easier to read convos),” Dorsey tweeted, along with samples.
Playing with some new Twitter features: presence (who else is on Twitter right now?) and threading (easier to read convos) https://t.co/aCVRxVDfy0
The “presence” feature would make it easier to engage with those you follow who are online at the moment and the “threading” feature would allow Twitter users to follow a conversation easier than the current embed and click-through method.
However, several responders seemed concerned about followers seeing them online.
Only a few years ago, talking to your phone or computer felt really weird. These days, thanks to Alexa, the Google Assistant and (for its three users) Cortana and Bixby, it’s becoming the norm. At this year’s Disrupt SF 2018, we’ll sit down with AISense founder and CEO Sam Liang and Google’s Cathy Pearl to discuss the past, present and future of voice — both for interacting with computers but also as a way to help us capture and organize information.
AISense, on the other hand, may not be a household name yet, but its flagship product, Otter.ai, is quickly gaining a following. Otter.ai is a mobile and web app that automatically transcribes phone calls, lectures, interviews
And then there’s the disclaimer: “This video is not an advertisement. It is comedic satire. Bayview Drive Films is not endorsed, affiliated or otherwise sponsored by Bird .”
It’s the kind of message that raises more questions than it answers. Like: What’s the joke here? Is the video pro-scooter, anti-scooter, neither, both? Was I supposed to laugh? I mean, I chuckled a little at the rubber chicken, but mostly I cringed. Is that normal? Would I have gotten more
Disrupt SF (Sept 5-7) approaches with just a few days until things kick off. We have an all-star lineup that only TechCrunch can assemble, and we’re expecting our largest number of attendees yet. Check out our star-packed agenda here, and keep reading to find out everything you need to make for a stellar conference experience.
Pre-Event Badge Pick Up
Disrupt is 3x the size as previous years! Skip the Wednesday rush by picking up your badge early on Tuesday, September 4th from 12pm – 4pm at Moscone West. Please have your Universe ticket confirmation email and a government-issued photo ID on you.
You can also pick up your badge at the WeWork Welcome Reception, also on Tuesday from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at their Montgomery Street location (44 Montgomery St.). Space is limited. Please register your interest here.Please have your ticket and a government-issued photo ID on you.
Rappi, the Colombian on-demand delivery startup, has brought in a new round of funding at a valuation north of $1 billion, as first reported by Axios and confirmed to TechCrunch by a source close to the company. DST Global has led the more than $200 million financing, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia—all of which were existing investors in the company.
Rappi kicked off its business delivering beverages and has since expanded into meals, groceries, and even tech and medicine. You can, for example, have a pair of AirPods delivered to you using Rappi’s app. The company also has a popular cash withdrawal feature that allows users to pay with credit cards and then receive cash from one of Rappi’s delivery agents.
Rappi charges $1 per delivery. To help keep costs efficient, the company’s fleet of couriers use only motorcycles and bikes.
Simón Borrero, Sebastian Mejia and Felipe Villamarin
The Village Voice is dead — at least, as a functioning journalistic organization.
Starting today, the legendary alternative newspaper will no longer publish new stories. Gothamist reports that at a staff meeting, owner Peter Barbey said that about half the team would be laid off, while the other half would remain on-board for now to “wind things down” and work on creating a digital Voice archive.
In recent years, the Voice has been subject to the increasingly harsh economic realities facing those creating journalism and written media. Like many others in publishing, we were continually optimistic that relief was around the next corner. Where stability for our business is, we do not know yet. The only thing that is clear now is that we have not reached that destination.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: You should use two-factor authentication everywhere you can. It’s an easily enacted security measure that should give you a lot more peace of mind.
The Google Pixel 3 XL has had a truly comical amount of leaks to date, but for the most part its younger, smaller brother has been a bit a more camera-shy. Well, today we finally have some purported photos of the real-life baby Pixel 3 via an anonymous Reddit user who leaked the shots that were discovered by 9to5Google.
The device seems to have a modest forehead and chin, certainly a bit larger than what we’ve seen on the screen-to-body ratio of the Pixel XL 3 photo leaks, but it seems to be a marked improvement over the smaller-bodied Pixel 2 and seems pretty similar to a miniature Pixel 2 XL in design.
We also have some screenshots of the phone’s specs pointing to a 5.5 inch 2160 x 1080 display that’s rocking 440 dpi. From this leak we also can see that the battery capacity of
Earlier this year, Amazon rolled out a new feature that allowed Alexa device owners to create their own custom skills using preconfigured templates. Today, Amazon is expanding Alexa Blueprints, as the service is called, to include a handful of new templates designed for families and roommates.
These include a chore chart template, a house rules template for roommates, and others.
The Chore Chart template allows families to schedule and track children’s weekly chores, and even lets multiple kids (or anyone, really) compete to see who has done the most. Parents first configure the skill with a list of weekly chores and who those chores are assigned to.
Throughout the week, the kids can log their completed chores by asking Alexa. (“Alexa, ask Chore Chart to log a chore.”). Anyone can then check the progress by asking for the “Chore Score.”
The industry is forever chasing the Apple Watch. After all, the smartwatch has been a rare bright spot in a plateauing wearables category. Even Fitbit recently found itself heading in that direction, finding a fair bit of success with the Versa.
Samsung’s approach, on the other hand, has always been very, well, Samsung. The company’s watches are big, hulking things, covering chrome with a kind of Swiss Army knife approach customary of its various other products.
Announced alongside the Note 9, the Galaxy Watch wasn’t the departure many expected. While the name implied a potential shift toward Android Wear, the company is intent on sticking with Tizen. And why not? Samsung’s spent a lot of time making Tizen its own — multiple generations have been devoted to tweaking the operating system to its specifications.
It’s the result of a pretty clear cost-benefit analysis. The biggest drawback of not embracing Wear
You’re not imagining it: there really are more sweltering-hot days in most cities than when you were growing up. A new tool from the New York Times shows you exactly how your hometown’s climate has changed since you were born.
The world’s largest investor is joining the chorus of voices pushing for a separation of powers at the electric vehicle, solar panel and battery manufacturer, Tesla.
Funds managed by BlackRock, a top 10 shareholder in the electric vehicle company run by Elon Musk (and the manager of roughly $6.3 trillion in global assets), joined calls for the creation of an independent chairman position at Tesla.
The shareholder initiative, which was solidly defeated, would not have affected Musk’s standing as chief executive.
News of BlackRock’s push comes as a new article in The Wall Street Journal further underscores the autocratic ways in which Musk manages his electric vehicle startup, and highlights the singular grip Musk has on his companies and the public’s perception of them.
Elon Musk losing his temper and firing people on the spot is one of those anecdotes I’ve heard over and over again and
If you’re stuck at home this Labor Day, but wish you were hiking at a National Park instead, the National Park Service has you covered. In honor of its 102nd birthday, the foundation has started streaming the sound of the national parks.
A series of departures continued this morning at former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya‘s venture capital firm, with Mike Ghaffary, a partner since August 2017, announcing he was moving on to focus on angel investing.
Personal update: I’ve decided to leave Social Capital. Over the next few months, I'll focus on angel investing. It's been an incredible experience, working alongside a talented team. I'll continue to work closely with the founders I’ve invested in, and excited for the next step.
We’re kicking Tech 911 up to “hard mode” this week—a little—because moving data from one smartphone platform to the other can be tricky. In a perfect world, there would be a quick, easy-to-use solution to getting your text messages from the platform you’re leaving to the platform you’re going to. And there is—you just…