Posts Tagged ‘commerce’

Some of Our Fave D Conference Videos Before AllThingsD Signs Off in 3 … 2… 1 …

December 31, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Before we end our reign of terror, oops , tech at AllThingsD , I wanted to post a few of my favorite videos from D: All Things Digital conferences that we have done since 2003. While we are proud of all we have created on the news site, I think it is fair to say that the conferences have also been pretty dang fine and mores taken as a whole. We’ve had a panoply of bigs in tech and media up there over the 11 conferences, all sitting in our signature red Steelcase chairs, with some memorable moments, including: More than a half-dozen appearances by the late, great Steve Jobs of Apple, including an joint interview with Microsoft’s Bill Gates; the famous hoodie incident with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who managed to ably recover from the very sticky situation; the testy interview with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; the hysterical one with former Sony head Howard Stringer; the sassy one from former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz; the future-is-here one with former DARPA head Regina Dugan; the silent-off with former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason; the geek-out with Hollywood director James Cameron; the epic Elon Musk chat from last year. And many, many more, now numbering in the hundreds, most of which you can find here . We did not publish the videos for the first five conferences, as we did not have a site to post them too, but here are my top seven from each year we did, all joint appearances with Walt Mossberg, as well as one each from the smaller Dive and other conferences, featuring Peter Kafka, Liz Gannes and Ina Fried. D5 (2007) Hands down, the historic — and decidedly poignant — joint interview of Gates and Jobs: D6 (2008) New Corp’s Rupert Murdoch in a surprisingly — to the crowd, at least — avuncular mode (this is part one of six — here are the rest ): D7 (2009) Twitter’s Biz Stone and Evan Williams in simpler days: D8 (2010) Mark Zuckerberg and the hoodie that saved the day: D9 (2011) Browser man and VC Marc Andreessen on software eating the world: D10 (2012) Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel is not shy: D11 (2013) Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is Tony Stark: Dive Into Media (2012) Rust never sleeps for Neil Young: Dive Into Media (2013) Vice’s Shame Smith and College Humor’s Ricky Van Veen are also not shy: Dive Into Mobile (2010) Google’s Susan Wojcicki is the most powerful Internet exec you don’t know as well as you should: Dive Into Mobile (2013) Google’s Eric Schmidt will take your questions now: AsiaD (2011) Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square is very inventive: D@CES (2010) Netflix’s Reed Hastings knows video: D@CES (2011) Twitter’s Dick Costolo is the fashion police of Las Vegas:

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In Wake of Delivery Delays, Amazon Offers Gift Cards to Customers

December 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon announced Thursday that it would offer a form of restitution to its aggrieved customers after shipping problems prevented orders from being fulfilled in time for Christmas. The online retail giant is offering $20 gift cards and waiving shipping charges to customers who did not receive their gifts in time for the holiday, as was first reported by the Wall Street Journal . The delays, however, were out of Amazon’s hands. Both UPS and FedEx admitted fault, saying the volume of packages this season far exceeded their expectations. “Demand was much greater than our forecast,” a UPS spokesperson told the Journal. The company also cited inclement weather as a factor in the delays. The snafu comes as retailers like Amazon reported some of the biggest holidays sales seasons ever — though, as always, Amazon declined to give any hard numbers. Daily deals site Groupon also provided an ad hoc form of apology to its slighted customers, offering $25 gift cards to those who didn’t receive their Groupon-related gifts in time

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In Wake of Delivery Delays, Amazon Offers Gift Cards to Customers

December 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon announced Thursday that it would offer a form of restitution to its aggrieved customers after shipping problems prevented orders from being fulfilled in time for Christmas. The online retail giant is offering $20 gift cards and waiving shipping charges to customers who did not receive their gifts in time for the holiday, as was first reported by the Wall Street Journal . The delays, however, were out of Amazon’s hands. Both UPS and FedEx admitted fault, saying the volume of packages this season far exceeded their expectations. “Demand was much greater than our forecast,” a UPS spokesperson told the Journal. The company also cited inclement weather as a factor in the delays. The snafu comes as retailers like Amazon reported some of the biggest holidays sales seasons ever — though, as always, Amazon declined to give any hard numbers. Daily deals site Groupon also provided an ad hoc form of apology to its slighted customers, offering $25 gift cards to those who didn’t receive their Groupon-related gifts in time

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This Is What It Looks Like Inside an Amazon Warehouse (Photos)

December 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

What happens after you click “buy” on Amazon.com? To most people, that’s a mystery. I flew out to Phoenix earlier this month to find out by taking a tour of one of Amazon’s warehouses — what it refers to as “fulfillment centers.” I spent about 90 minutes inside the facility, and documented what I saw in photos. I had limited verbal interactions with workers during my visit, so if you’re looking for a detailed description of what it’s like to work in each role, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you want an inside look at the operation that CEO Jeff Bezos recently referred to on “60 Minutes” as the “secret” to Amazon’s success, you’ll likely enjoy the photos in the slideshow below.

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Rampant Returns Plague E-Retailers

December 23, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Free shipping and lenient return policies have given online retailing a huge boost. Now, chains are mining their order data to get shoppers to keep more purchases. Behind the uptick in e-commerce is a little known secret: As much as a third of all Internet sales gets returned, according to retail consultancy Kurt Salmon. And the tide of goods flowing back to retailers is rising. Shipper United Parcel Service Inc. expects returns to jump 15 percent this season from last year, making them a significant and growing cost for retailers. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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A New Perk for Google Employees? It Could Be Low-Interest Personal Loans.

December 22, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Forget the free gourmet food. If peer-to-peer lending marketplace Lending Club has its way, low-interest loans may be the next big employee perk at Google. According to sources, Google is among the companies Lending Club has been pitching on putting cash holdings to work by offering low-interest loans to employees, with the Lending Club platform facilitating the deals. (Perhaps it has to do with Google’s new late-stage investment fund Google Capital . which happens to have recently led a $125 million investment in Lending Club, by acquiring shares from existing shareholders.) Lending Club’s pitch is part of the company’s strategy to push beyond its initial focus on peer-to-peer loans by opening up its platform to large institutions such as banks and corporations as it eyes a potential 2014 IPO. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment, noting: “There’s nothing to share on Google’s end.” Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche said that his company is not currently working with Google on such an initiative, but would not confirm or deny that talks have taken place. Still, he did confirm that his company is in talks with large companies — with employee counts of Google’s size or larger — about facilitating this type of human-resources benefit. “The program we’re putting in place gives the ability for large companies with lots of employees to make loans to their employees and use their treasury reserves, on which they are earning like one or two percent, and put them to work,” he said in a recent interview. “At the same time, they would be offering a lower interest rate to their employees than what they’re paying on their credit cards or other loans they have. It’s really an HR benefit and recruiting tool.” Laplanche imagines employees using these loans to pay off high-interest credit card debt, large student loans or simply to consolidate debt into one loan, with payments being automatically deducted from paychecks

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Jack Dorsey’s Holiday Gift to Square: 10 Percent of His Shares

December 20, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In a rare move for any executive, Square CEO Jack Dorsey has returned about 10 percent of his stake — or about three percent of all company shares — back to the company. The move, which Fortune reported this morning , will expand the pool of shares that Square can dole out to current and new employees, whether they come through normal hiring or acquisitions.

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Viki Strikes Deal With Baidu to Bring Crowd-Translated Programming to China

December 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Viki, the innovative global video service that has been described as “Hulu for the rest of the world,” will partner with Chinese search giant Baidu for its first foray into that country. The Singapore-based company, which was bought by Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten in September for $200 million , offers premium TV shows, movies and content, but with a twist. The programming is translated and subtitled into more than 160 languages by its users. Viki will launch its effort with Baidu with Turner and Cartoon Network shows including “Falling Skies,” which is apparently a very popular show in China. (It’s a small post-apocalyptic world after all, especially when aliens are attacking.) In picking Baidu, Viki gets access to its 237 million users in China for streaming content that will be translated into Chinese and English — including full-length movies, dramas, comedies, anime and more from the United States, U.K., Taiwan, Korea, Japan and 10 other countries — on many devices. Viki said it currently has over 26 million monthly viewers, who watch two billion videos. Viki, which has already done several partnership deals in China, will be Baidu’s first streaming partner from outside the country, which is important given that big players like Netflix and Google’s YouTube are not represented there. As part of the increased presence, Viki — which has offices in San Francisco, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo — will be opening an office in Shanghai in early 2014. “We are really building a content graph across the globe, available in all languages,” said Razmig Hovaghimian, CEO and co-founder of Viki, in an interview about the multi-year partnership. “Our goal in China is to break down barriers to that entertainment.” Viki’s name is a combination of “video” and “wiki” — but mostly it is a very cool service that I really enjoy (I am a huge fan of Indian shows, like “Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage” ). It makes its money in much the same way Hulu does, with in-stream advertising revenue that it shares with content producers. There is a subscription and data play there, too, but a non-paid content model powers its business for now. Before the Rakuten acquisition, investors had poured only about $25 million into Viki, including Andreessen Horowitz, SK Telecom, Greylock Partners, Omidyar Network, Charles River Ventures and Neoteny Labs. The most recent additions to that Silicon Valley power group were Microsoft exec and Sling Media founder Blake Krikorian and Survey Monkey CEO Dave Goldberg — both of whom have much digital entertainment experience — who put an undisclosed amount into Viki in late July.

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Tristan Walker’s Next Act: Building a Procter & Gamble for People of Color

December 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In his first few months as an entrepreneur in residence at Andreessen Horowitz, Tristan Walker dreamed big when it came to startup ideas. There were the seeds he planted for a new kind of bank. There was the idea for a venture aimed at tackling childhood obesity. But, then, Walker decided his best bet was to found a company that was more “authentic” to him and his experiences. What he came up with was Walker & Company Brands, a next-generation Procter and Gamble with a straightforward, if ambitious, mission: To make health and beauty simple for people of color. That’s what he told me in an interview on Sunday night about his new company, which has raised $2.4 million led by Los Angeles-based Upfront Ventures, with backing from Andresseen Horowitz, SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, Sherpa Ventures and the William Morris agency’s Charles King. Prior to Andreessen Horowitz, Walker ran business development at Foursquare, where he worked for nearly three years. On the surface, at least, the switch from a social-networking site to a consumer product goods company doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But when you hear Walker talk about his reason for creating Bevel, a $29.95 a month shaving kit that is the first brand launching under the Walker & Company umbrella and accepting pre-orders today , you can understand his motivation. Here’s an edited version of our conversation. Where did this idea come from? Tristan Walker: I was at Andreessen Horowitz for about nine months and I feel personally that I spent seven months of my time there chasing problems I probably wasn’t the right guy to solve. I wanted to build a bank.

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Bitcoin’s Biggest Bet: Andreessen Horowitz Leads $25 Million Investment in Coinbase

December 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Coinbase co-founders Brian Armstrong (l) and Fred Ehrsam, sporting we-got-money grins. If you’re a bitcoin doubter, you might want to turn away. The doors to venture funding in bitcoin startups are about to swing wide open. Andreessen Horowitz has led a $25 million Series B investment in San Francisco-based Coinbase, the companies are announcing today, in what may very well be the largest ever venture investment in a bitcoin-related company. Coinbase has previously raised nearly $7 million. Existing investors Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital will contribute some cash as well. And Union Square’s Fred Wilson and Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon are taking seats on Coinbase’s board of directors. Coinbase currently employs only eight people, but will add significantly to that total. It may also start to buy paid advertising, to promote itself and bitcoin. In short, bitcoin is often described it as a digital currency, and also as a payment network, though you can find people who say it behaves more like a commodity, or even a security. No matter what you call them, each bitcoin consists of a long digital string of characters and the network consists of a decentralized sprawl of computers that approve transactions and solve increasingly complex math problems to create — or “mine” — new bitcoin

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