Archive for July, 2013

Deciding Whether to Leave Google/Apple/Facebook? Here’s the One Question to Ask Yourself.

Deciding Whether to Leave Google/Apple/Facebook? Here’s the One Question to Ask Yourself.

July 31, 2013  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Having spent 9+ years at Google/YouTube before leaving to raise our Homebrew seed fund, I know a little bit about ‘golden handcuffs.’ And the truth is, if you’re a high performer focused on maximizing wealth, you’d be unlikely to ever quit Google, Facebook, Apple, etc (unless you want to roll the dice and found a company. side note: if you do, pls email me). Even if you prize intellectual challenge in addition to your handsome paycheck, these companies (decide if you want to add Twitter, Amazon, etc to the mix) will always have a new opportunity for you which magically

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Google Play Had More App Downloads in Q2 Than iOS, but the Money Is Still on Apple’s Side

July 31, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In Q2 2013, Google Play racked up 10 percent more downloads than did Apple’s App Store, but iOS games still monetized more than twice as well as their Googley counterparts. That’s according to analytics firm App Annie, which today released a mobile Q2 market report , as well as June version of its normal monthly reports on games and all other apps . The factoid above isn’t too much of a surprise on its own — the increasing volume of Android devices on the market made it all but inevitable this year — but it’s indicative of how fast Google’s operating system is growing. In Q1 of this year , App Annie tallied Google Play downloads as 90 percent of those on iOS, with Apple monetizing 2.6x as well as Google. Why did one number change so much more drastically than the other? The credit goes to “strong performances in India and Brazil,” the report’s writers say, as those two countries and Russia now generate the most downloads on Google Play. Also of note, in the June games report, are two newcomers on the iOS top-downloaded chart, even though the top-grossing rankings are effectively unchanged since the month before. Chinese studio Man Zhang, which made the guessing game Hi Guess the Brand, leapfrogged over Rovio, Zynga and more than 1000 other developers to finish the month at No. 6. Meanwhile, Metro Trains Melbourne — which made the viral video “ Dumb Ways to Die ” and a surprisingly fun spinoff game — also beat out both Rovio and Zynga, which fell by six and five places in the chart, respectively. It may have racked up 55 million views on YouTube, but for all both of our readers who haven’t seen it, here’s that wonderful video again:

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Comcast Earnings: “The Voice,” “Fast and Furious” Bolster 2Q Results

July 31, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Comcast Corp. said net income and revenue rose in its second quarter, due in part  to increased sales of high-speed Internet and other services at its cable operations as well as improved performance at its NBCUniversal business. Comcast said revenue for the second quarter of 2013 increased 7.0% to $16.3 billion, up from $15.2 billion in the... Read more

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Seven Companies Microsoft Doesn’t Want Former Windows Boss Steven Sinofsky to Work For

July 31, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Steven Sinofsky When former Windows president Steven Sinofsky resigned from Microsoft last November he hammered out a “retirement agreement” with the company that entitled him to stock worth some $14 million. In exchange for that stock award*, he agreed for a period of time not to disparage Microsoft; not to solicit Microsoft employees for work at other companies; and not to encourage Microsoft customers choose competitors’ products. And, most importantly, he agreed not to compete with Microsoft by accepting employment at “certain competitors.” Which certain competitors, Microsoft never disclosed. Until Tuesday afternoon, when it published the full text of Sinofsky’s retirement agreement as part of its annual 10-K filing . According to that document, Sinofsky cannot accept direct or indirect employment from: Amazon Apple EMC Facebook Google Oracle VMWare Hardly a surprising list, but still interesting from a competitive standpoint. Of all the companies with which Microsoft does battle in the marketplace, these are the seven it couldn’t stomach Sinofsky joining. For a time, anyway. Come December 31, 2013, the 23-year Microsoft veteran can sign on with any of those companies without repercussions from his former employer. *This is stock that would have vested and become payable to Sinofsky had he remained a Microsoft employee

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AFI Receives Scholarship Backing From Howard Stringer, David Geffen

July 31, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The American Film Institute has received significant scholarship funding for the AFI Conservatory from Howard Stringer, Lawrence Herbert, David Geffen, Alan Horn, Terry Semel and the Time Warner Foundation.

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Who Wants Interactive News?

Who Wants Interactive News?

July 31, 2013  |  Blog  |  No Comments

In late 2012, the New York Times published an interactive feature article, “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” It told the story of how a group of elite free skiers and snowboarders fought to survive an avalanche. Unlike past articles in which the multimedia features seemed to be tacked on, it seamlessly blended writing with photographs, video, and maps. “Snow Fall” was a hit. In only nine days, it became the paper’s most read interactive feature of the year. Critics described it as beautiful and well-written. It won both a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and a Webby Award for

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Who needs Google? New service will let you sell your own data to companies

Who needs Google? New service will let you sell your own data to companies

July 31, 2013  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Are you annoyed that Google and Facebook get to rake in enormous revenues every year because they’re selling your personal data to other companies without even giving you a cut? If so, then you might want to check out an upcoming service from Reputation.com that lets you completely cut out the middle man. Technology Review reports that Reputation.com is planning to “launch a feature that lets users share certain personal information with other companies in return for discounts or other perks.” Reputation.com CEO Michael Fertik tells Technology Review that the new initiative is an effort to give Internet users more

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Prezi shifts into social, but is there enough space?

Prezi shifts into social, but is there enough space?

July 31, 2013  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Prezi CEO Peter Arvai has an unusual deal with his employees. If they’re willing to share their most personal dream, he takes them out for dinner. It’s called the “dream dinner tradition.” Arvai sees it as a way of building authentic and meaningful relationships in the company, and opening the door for collaboration. “I hear stories of people saying they are dreaming of building a company themselves, and instead of it being an awkward confession, it’s a way to bond,” Arvai says. “It’s a way for me to figure out how I can help make them successful in their future.” The “dream

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Film Review: ‘Drift’

July 31, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

This underdog story manages to get a fair bit right about early 1970s surf culture when it isn’t trafficking in the hoariest of David-vs.-Goliath cliches.

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With $15M From Benchmark, Former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor’s Quip Aims to Take Productivity Mobile

July 31, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor is now on a mission to “build the productivity suite for the mobile era.” His first app launched tonight: Quip for iOS (plus a preview version for Android), which is a collaborative document editor. “The transition from PC to phones and tablets is so significant that all the software is going to change dramatically,” Taylor posited in a phone interview. “There’s been so much effort around social and messaging [on mobile]. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but those are time-wasting applications.” Previous attempts to improve productivity software have wilted in Microsoft’s shadow — and to a somewhat lesser extent are now dwarfed by Google Docs — but Taylor thinks mobile might be the opening. “There could be an opportunity for company of our size to compete in this space for the first time in 30 years,” he said. Taylor, who helped start Google Maps and saw his FriendFeed social aggregation app acquired by Facebook, left Facebook last summer . He started Quip with his former Google coworker Kevin Gibbs, who was instrumental in creating Google App Engine and Google Suggest. The company has raised $15 million from Benchmark Capital, led by Peter Fenton, along with Greylock Capital, Marc Benioff, Yuri Milner and Ron Conway. It has 12 employees and is based in San Francisco. Quip’s features include online and offline editing, automatic formatting to the size of the screen, and push notifications that alert someone who created a document and shared it when the recipient first opens it, so they can jump in and walk them through right then. “That previously would have been a high latency email thread, followed by a meeting,” Taylor said. (The implication: uggh.) Bret Taylor Quip is built to be “free form,” Taylor said. It doesn’t have all the features a traditional word processor would. It does have some novel additions, like a checklist that could be used for a shared shopping list or product management. And when people make changes to a document, they’re noted as part of a chat conversation with everyone involved. “It’s almost like a shared white board and not just a piece of paper anymore,” Taylor said

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