Архив метки: TC

Elon guts Twitter, Google shutters Hangouts, and the tech layoffs continue

Hey, all — welcome back to Week in Review, the newsletter where we sum up the most read TechCrunch stories from the past week. And oof, what a week it was.
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most read
Mass layoffs at Twitter: It was Elon’s first full week as the boss of Twitter post-$44 billion acquisition. Sweeping layoffs were said to be on the way — and, well, they’ve begun. After a painfully impersonal heads-up email went out Thursday evening, entire teams are waking up to find their access suddenly revoked. With reports suggesting layoffs could impact up to half the company, Twitter employees have reportedly taken to referring to the whole thing as “the snap” (à la Thanos). A class action lawsuit has already been filed alleging that Twitter isn’t following the proper legal processes here.
Layoffs everywhere: Meanwhile, news of tech industry layoffs continues to pour in. Lyft let go of 13% of its workforce, Stripe cut 14%, Opendoor reduced its workforce by 18%, Chime parted ways with 12%, and more. Meanwhile, both Apple and Amazon have reportedly gone into hiring freezes.
Google kills Hangouts: We knew it was coming, but this week Google put the final nail in Hangouts’ coffin, shutting down the chat-focused web app (the Hangouts Android/iOS apps were shuttered last year) in favor of Google Chat. Of course, given Google’s history with chat apps, I expect at least two more to be launched and/or shuttered by the time I finish this newsletter.
Falcon Heavy returns to space: This week SpaceX launched its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time since 2019, finally moving forward on a mission that had been delayed (“due to payload readiness issues”) since late 2020.
Amazon expands its Music service: “The company said it will now offer Prime subscribers a full music catalog with 100 million songs, instead of the previously more limited selection of just 2 million songs,” writes Sarah, “and will make most of the top podcasts on its service available without ads.”
audio roundup
Whats up in TC podcast land this week? Here’s some of the highlights:
The Equity crew chatted about the ever-evolving role of the venture capitalist, and our friend Melia Russell from Business Insider stopped by to fill us in on her recent story about how “investors are rewriting the playbooks when it comes to maternity leave policies at their firms.”
Amanda joined Darrell on the TC Podcast to discuss Elon’s “questionable plans” to change up how identity verification works on Twitter
The Chain Reaction team dive into the growing list of troubles that have developed for Bitcoin miners in the last few months.
Not a part of TechCrunch+ yet? Here’s what TC+ members were reading most behind the paywall:
Pilot’s CEO tears down their $60 million Series C deck: Published in early 2021, this one blew up for some reason this week! Just a few weeks after raising a big Series C, Pilot CEO Waseem Daher sat down with Lucas Matney to break down what worked about their pitch deck.
The most common pitch deck mistakes: Speaking of pitch decks, TC’s resident pitch expert, Haje Jan Kamps, has a list of the mistakes he’s tired of seeing in decks, having reviewed thousands of them.
Elon guts Twitter, Google shutters Hangouts, and the tech layoffs continue by Greg Kumparak originally published on TechCrunch
Elon guts Twitter, Google shutters Hangouts, and the tech layoffs continue

Daily Crunch: PSG, Battery Ventures invest $100M in open source password manager Bitwarden 

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Hey, hey, hey! It’s going to be a busy week for the TC crew this week. We’re excited about the Apple event, and Y Combinator has its demo day. Alex welcomes you to YC and Apple week on the Equity podcast, and your trusty Daily Crunch team is poised at our laptops to share the cream of the news-crop with you!
Stay tuned, it’s going to be a wild one!  — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
2Dh1?..Spth!Lmng: Bitwarden’s ability to generate hard-to-guess passwords has made it attractive to investors who just pumped $100 million of new funding into the company, which aims to rid the world of people using the same passwords across their personal and business lives, Paul writes.
‘Wild West’ of climate tech: Mike has a story about Ceezer closing on €4.2 million to figure out a better way for businesses to carbon-offset.
DAO makes us proud: Gaming guild Metaverse Magna is now valued at $30 million after raising $3.2 million in a recent round. Tage writes the company plans to build “Africa’s largest gaming DAO.”
Startups and VC
The EU — those guys who ensured we ended up with cookie banners on every damn website you’ve ever visited — are back at it with a new initiative that could have some major-league unintended consequences on open source software, Kyle reports. The EU’s AI Act could have a chilling effect — “if a company were to deploy an open source AI system that led to some disastrous outcome (…) it could sue the open source developers.”
Our brains are melting in the heat, so here’s some truly god-awful puns to match our current mental age:
What’s a pirate’s favorite growth metric? ARR: Userpilot, a product-led growth platform for SaaS companies, raises $4.6 million, Annie reports.
What do you call suburban justice? Lawn and order: Dominic-Madori reports that JusticeText raises $2.2 million to increase transparency in criminal evidence-gathering.
What kind of bees are made of plastic? Frisbees: Hardware startup Mantle is 3D-printing manufacturing tooling, which could drastically reduce the amount of time to make new plastic parts, Haje reports.
My credit card company is proud of my circus skills. They keep telling me I have outstanding balance: Brex’s CRO is leaving to join Founders Fund, and in her fintech newsletter this weekend, Mary Ann talks with him to figure out what drove that decision.
I walked into an EV dealership, and asked them how much they charge: Exciting news for cars-with-built-in-solar-panels fans; EV carmaker Lightyear raised $85 million and starts to gear up for production, Paul reports.
10 onboarding improvements that cut our customer churn by nearly 3x
Image Credits: Hill Street Studios (opens in a new window) / Getty Images
Managers who run businesses that rely on recurring revenue are often distracted by the never-ending sprint to maintain favorable KPIs. But one metric may rule them all: customer churn.
If new users can’t quickly figure out how to use (or benefit from) your products, it won’t matter how many new customers you onboard each month. But to reduce churn, marketing and product teams need onboarding goals, says Sam DeBrule, co-founder and head of marketing of Heyday.
In a TC+ guest post, he explains the tactics he and his co-founder used to insert themselves into the customer journey, and how the changes helped them reduce turnover by almost 3x.
“If you’re working on onboarding and saw something you liked here, feel free to steal it.”

10 onboarding improvements that cut our customer churn by nearly 3x

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Manish was behind two of our big stories over the weekend, including crypto exchange Binance announcing it would stop supporting USDC, USDP and TUSD and begin converting the three rival stablecoins into its own stablecoin, BUSD, on September 29. He also writes about India’s information technology junior minister sending a summons to Wikipedia after edits were made to the page of cricketer Arshdeep Singh, “suggesting that some people from Pakistan were behind the act and were attempting to disrupt peace in the South Asian market.”
More to the story: Zack is back with some new developments on Samsung’s data breach notice last month.
Data dilemma: Instagram was handed “a fat fine” by the European Union after it was determined Meta’s social media platform was not properly handling children’s data, Natasha L writes.
Don’t click on that: The Los Angeles School District, the second-largest in the U.S., warned its community of disruptions while the district manages an ongoing ransomware attack, Carly reports.
Trading places: European trading platform Bitpanda added commodities to its list of items that can be traded. Romain writes the move comes as natural gas prices soar across the continent due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine.
Writing the playbook on video games: Rita talks to Tencent’s Steve Martin about the Chinese social networking and gaming company’s ambitions around intellectual property and autonomy.
Daily Crunch: PSG, Battery Ventures invest $100M in open source password manager Bitwarden  by Christine Hall originally published on TechCrunch
Daily Crunch: PSG, Battery Ventures invest $100M in open source password manager Bitwarden 

Hackers access DoorDash data, T-Mobile teams up with SpaceX, and eBay buys TCGplayer

Hello, hello! We’re back with another edition of Week in Review, the newsletter where we quickly break down the top stories to hit TC in the last seven days. Want it in your inbox? Sign up here.
Our most read story this week was about Stable Diffusion, a “new open source AI image generator capable of producing realistic pictures from any text prompt” that is quickly finding its way into more projects. But, as Kyle Wiggers notes, the system’s “unfiltered nature means not all the use has been completely above board.”
other stuff
T-Mobile + Starlink: Can Elon’s Starlink satellites keep your phone connected even when there’s no cell tower around? That’s the idea behind a newfound alliance between SpaceX and T-Mobile. If it works, T-Mobile phones should able to send messages (but probably not calls) over the Starlink network in a pinch, albeit with a delay of up to 30 minutes.
Google’s noise reduction AI: Smartphones have gotten better and better at low-light photos, but at a certain point the obstacle preventing further improvements is … well, physics. Is an algorithm that uses “AI magic” (as Haje puts it) to eliminate visual noise and “figure out what footage ‘should have’ looked like” the eventual only answer? No idea, but the examples are pretty friggin’ impressive.
DoorDash breached: Remember the Twilio hack a few weeks ago? The ripple effects continue. This week DoorDash disclosed that hackers were able to obtain access to internal DoorDash tools, accessing “names, email addresses, delivery addresses and phone numbers of DoorDash customers.”
Meta’s new accounts: If you’ve got a Quest VR headset and don’t want to tie it to a Facebook or Instagram account, this’ll be the route you take. If you’re still using an old pre-Meta Oculus account, know that support for those ends on day 1 of 2023.
eBay buys TCGplayer: If you’re a collector of any trading card games — think Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic, etc. — you’ve probably heard of TCGplayer, which eBay is buying “in a deal valued up to $295 million.” We’ll chat with TC writer Aisha Malik about the deal (and why eBay wants it) in the writer spotlight down below.

Image Credits: Getty Images
audio stuff
Commuting? Cooking? Just wearing headphones to discourage people from talking to you? Come hang out with us in Podcast land! This week the Equity team talked about the legal battle going on over at Black Girls Code, Jordan and Darrell talked with comedian/Super Trooper Jay Chandrasekhar about his app on Found, and the Chain Reaction team caught up with two investors from the relatively new web3-focused firm Haun Ventures.
additional stuff
What’s behind the TC+ paywall? Here’s some of the most read stuff this week. Want more? Sign up for TC+ here and use code “WIR” for 15% off your annual pass. 
Manchin’s ultimatum: Can the Inflation Reduction Act and lucrative tax credits help “turn the U.S. into a battery powerhouse”? Tim De Chant explores the possibilities.
Should this metric be your team’s North Star?: The team from Battery Ventures proposes that ARR per employee (or “APE,” as they’ve dubbed it) should be your team’s guiding light.
3 views on Flow: Last week we found out that WeWork founder Adam Neumann is back with a new thing and had already raised over $350 million from the likes of a16z. Good idea? Bad Idea? Tim De Chant, Dominic-Madori Davis, Amanda Silberling share their takes.
writer spotlight: Aisha Malik
Image Credits: Aisha Malik
As noted last week, we’re experimenting with the idea of highlighting one TechCrunch writer per newsletter to learn a bit about them and what’s been on their mind lately. This time we’re catching up with the outstanding Aisha Malik, one year almost to the day since she wrote her first TC post. 
Who is Aisha Malik? What do you do at TechCrunch?
Hi, I’m a senior consumer news writer and the second Canadian on the TechCrunch team! I write about the latest changes to platforms and apps, and how they affect the average consumer. My team and I also uncover upcoming app features ahead of their official release. I also get the chance to chat with founders about their app launches and latest funding rounds.
What’s interesting in your beat right now? Any trends we should know about?
One thing we’re seeing and likely will continue to see is just how often apps are copying each other. Just this week, we found out that Instagram is testing a BeReal clone feature that challenges people to post candid photos within two minutes. Over the past year, we’ve seen Instagram copy numerous TikTok features, we’ve seen TikTok copy Snapchat with its Stories feature, and we’ve also seen Twitter copy Instagram with its close friends “circle” feature.
There are countless similar examples. It’ll be interesting to see just how this trend progresses. People are already calling on Instagram to go back to its roots, so what happens when every app is trying to be like another one? At some point, these apps are going to be overcrowded with features, and that might not be something that consumers want.
Right?! It’s absurd. And who wants to build the next cool thing when the giants of the app world will just clone your key features as soon as they start to prove popular?
Since you’re on the consumer/apps team: what’s the most used app on your phone that didn’t come pre-installed? What eats up your battery every day?
I have no shame in admitting this (okay, maybe just a little) but the answer is TikTok.
I find myself opening the app when I want to take a quick break or when I’d rather not commit to watching a movie or an episode of a TV show, but still want some sort of entertainment. I know people who haven’t download the app claim it’s filled with dancing videos, but the truth is you’ll only end up seeing dancing videos if that’s something you’re actually interested in. TikTok formulates its “For You” page in a way that’s based on your interests, so I see it as a great way to discover and engage with content that you care about. As someone who enjoys baking and reading, the majority of the content I see on TikTok revolves around baking recipes and book recommendations.
I also think TikTok clearly has an impact on culture, whether it’s memes, music or political movements; there’s a chance that it’ll appear on TikTok first. I see the app as a fun and easy way to stay up-to-date on all sorts of trends.
I get it. I had to delete TikTok off my phone — every time I’d open it, my eyes would go all Hypnotoad and I’d be gone, only snapping out of it 20 minutes/100 videos later. The algorithm is too good. It feels like the final boss of the internet; the algorithm in its most evolved/efficient form. I’m probably getting a bit too in the weeds here. Back to the questions!
One of the most read stories this week was your post on eBay’s acquisition of TCGplayer. What is TCGplayer, and why does eBay want it?
TCGplayer is one of the biggest online marketplaces for collectible trading card games. The acquisition essentially marks eBay’s latest push into the trading card market, which saw a huge boom during the pandemic. eBay says trading cards are currently showing substantial growth.
To put things in perspective, eBay says the trading cards category is growing significantly faster than its total marketplace and that the category saw $2 billion in transactions in the first half of 2021. Considering that eBay has long been a destination for trading card enthusiasts to buy and sell, acquiring one of its biggest competitors better cements the company’s place as the go-to marketplace to seek out these collectibles.
It’s kind of wild how collectibles saw a massive surge throughout the pandemic — something, perhaps, about lots of people spending a lot more time at home around their own stuff. Collectibles-focused companies like Whatnot just exploded in popularity, going from a pre-seed round to a valuation in the billions in two years. Are you a collector of anything, trading cards or otherwise?
Do rocks count? [Laughs]
I have a small collection of rocks and stones that I’ve collected from beaches and forests I’ve visited in Canada and the U.S. I don’t know much about different types of rocks, so the ones in my collection aren’t extraordinary or anything. I just think collecting them is a nice way to feel connected to specific locations I’ve enjoyed visiting!
Fantastic. Thanks, Aisha!
Hackers access DoorDash data, T-Mobile teams up with SpaceX, and eBay buys TCGplayer