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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

The best dating sites for Valentine's Day and beyond – CNET

Get swiping!
Source: CNET

Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ is lethally dull

Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and writer-director Dan Gilroy — who worked together on the creepy crime thriller “Nightcrawler” — have reunited for a new Netflix Original film, “Velvet Buzzsaw.”

While “Nightcrawler” wasn’t perfect, it was tense and unsettling, filled with eerily beautiful shots of nighttime L.A., plus a career-best performance from Gyllenhaal. It’s hard to believe that the same team was responsible for the muddled “Buzzsaw,” a film that tries to combine art-world satire and horror movies scares, ultimately failing on both counts.

The setup involves the death of a mysterious artist, leaving behind a trove of strangely compelling paintings. Soon, though, everyone involved in promoting or selling these paintings starts dying too.

On the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we’re joined by Jon Shieber to try to understand what went wrong here. The movie isn’t particularly funny or scary — instead, we’re stuck with obvious jabs at the hypocrisy of the art world, interrupted by boring, unimaginative death scenes. And while Gyllenhaal is trying something in his portrayal of pompous art critic Morf Vandewalt, the results are more head-scratching than compelling.

This episode isn’t just one long pan, though. We also offer our (considerably more positive) impressions of the Netflix series “Russian Doll,” which stars co-creator Natasha Lyonne as a New Yorker who keeps dying and repeating the night of her 36th birthday. And we discuss Super Bowl streaming numbers and new details about Disney’s streaming service.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You also can send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)


Source: TechCrunch

Companies raising supergiant VC aren’t getting any younger

This week, point-to-point “microtransit” service company Lime announced it raised $310 million in a Series D round, which valued the company at $2.4 billion, post-money. That is pretty impressive for a startup founded just a couple of years ago. Since 2017, Lime has raised more than $765 million in venture funding, which is due in part to the pretty daunting economics of the bike and scooter business. It takes a lot of capital to acquire and deploy that hardware.

Lime isn’t the only company to raise supergiant ($100 million or more) VC rounds right out of the gate. Despite the fact that supergiant venture capital rounds have recently become an almost everyday occurrence, the age at which companies close their first nine-figure funding deal hasn’t really changed over the past several years.

In the chart below, we plot the distribution of startups’ age at the time of their first supergiant venture round of $100 million or more. (The age of a company at any subsequent supergiant round was excluded.) In prior reporting, we found that supergiant deal volume began accelerating in 2013, which is why we chose that year to start. For reasons we’ll explain after the chart, it’s best to think of the numbers presented here as a very good estimation rather than a highly precise measurement. There are still lessons to learn though.

Note from the get-go that company ages were calculated by finding the number of days elapsed between their founded date listed in Crunchbase and the date on which the company’s first supergiant VC round was announced. It sometimes takes several weeks between when a deal is finalized and when it’s publicly announced (even in the case of these really big deals). We excluded companies with no listed founding date. Also note that the founding dates listed in Crunchbase are often not precise, so that introduces some fuzziness as well.

However, these caveats aside, there are some general trends to be found here. The mix of companies raising their first really big rounds hasn’t changed all that much over time. On average, a little less than half of supergiant rounds are raised by companies roughly five years old or younger. Some years, like 2016, had above-average representation of younger companies raising their first nine-figure deals. Perhaps coincidentally, 2016 was also a year where supergiant VC (and, indeed, venture activity in general) slowed slightly.

If a company is going to raise their first supergiant VC round (which, recall, are still exceedingly rare), a majority of companies do so within the first five or six years in business. Of nearly 888 first supergiant rounds (raised since 2013) we analyzed, the largest number were struck between years three and five. There is a long tail of companies that raise their first nine-figure deals more than a decade after being founded.

Generally, this isn’t too surprising. Most VC funds operate on a 10-year cycle, as do many startups. Many companies raise their first big rounds of funding within the first few years after launch. Some of these rounds are bigger than others, and that’s what’s reflected above.

In entrepreneurial finance, up-front costs matter. Founded in December 2016, Elon Musk’s tunnel-digging endeavor The Boring Company was a little less than 15 months old when it raised $113 million in venture funding in April of 2018. Tunnel boring machines aren’t cheap. The company aims to dig tunnels for the low, low price of $10 million per mile.

It’s not just Mr. Musk who can raise supergiant sums so speedily. Some sectors are more capital-intense than others, requiring some companies to seek large funding deals early, to bring a product or service to market. For example, a number of companies cropped up in the residential real estate space with the goal of streamlining the home-buying process. In practice, it means that the company acquires the home itself, before ultimately signing it over to the homeowner. Ribbon is one such venture. The fintech company was founded in September 2017 and raised $225 million in Series A funding a little over one year later, in late October 2018.

Most companies aren’t a good fit for VC funding. Of those that try to raise VC funding, most fail. Of those that do raise VC money, the surpassing majority of those deals are less than $100 million. To be clear: We’re talking about very rarified air here. But it helps to confirm another side of a trend we found earlier, through some trial and error. Startups aren’t really raising money any faster than they used to. There’s just more of them. And the rounds are bigger.


Source: TechCrunch

What the 2019 iPhone's rumored three rear cameras could be used for – CNET

New details about the three rear cameras rumored to be coming to the 2019 iPhones and the iPhone X returns and is cheaper than ever and n
Source: CNET

Tribit MaxSound Plus review: A small Bluetooth speaker grows up but maintains its value – CNET

The MaxSound Plus, the bigger version of Tribit’s highly rated XSound Go speaker pumps out richer sound for a little more than $50.
Source: CNET

Privacy is a commons

“The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society,” quoth Wikipedia, “held in common, not owned privately.” We live in an era of surveillance capitalism in a symbiotic relationship with advertising technology, quoth me. And I put it to you that privacy is not just a virtue, or a value, or a commodity: it is a commons.

You may well wonder: isn’t privacy pretty much definitionally “owned privately”? What does it matter to you, or to me, much less to society as a whole, if some 13-year-old somewhere (and her legal guardians) decide to sell her privacy to Facebook for $20 a month? OK, maybe you think rootcerting a teenager is sketchy — but if an adult chooses to sell their privacy, isn’t that entirely their own business?

The answer is: no, actually, not necessarily; not if there are enough of them; not if the commodification of privacy begins to affect us all. Privacy is like voting. An individual’s privacy, like an individual’s vote, is usually largely irrelevant to anyone but themselves … but the accumulation of individual privacy or lack thereof, like the accumulation of individual votes, is enormously consequential.

As I’ve written before, “This accumulation of data is, in and of itself, not a “personal privacy” issue, but a massive public security problem. At least three problems, in fact.” Those are:

  1. The absence of privacy has a chilling effect on dissidence and individual thought. Private spaces are the experimental petri dishes for societies. No privacy means no experimentation with anything of which society disapproves, especially if it’s illegal. (Which, please note, in recent memory includes things like marijuana and homosexuality; there is a long, long history of “illegal today” becoming “acceptable tomorrow” as societies become less authoritarian.)
  2. If privacy becomes a commodity, one that only the rich afford, then the rich can and will use this information asymmetry threaten and persecute people who challenge the status quo, thereby perpetuating it.
  3. Accumulated private data can and probably will increasingly be used to manipulate public opinion on a massive scale. Sure, Cambridge Analytica were bullshit artists, but in the not-too-distant future, what they promised their clients could conceivably become reality. No less an authority than François Chollet has written “I’d like to raise awareness about what really worries me when it comes to AI: the highly effective, highly scalable manipulation of human behavior that AI enables, and its malicious use by corporations and governments.”

We may conclude that while individually, our privacy may usually be mostly meaningless, collectively, it is a critically important commons. Anything which eats away at our individual privacy, especially at scale, is a risk to that commons.

I’m not saying a single person selling rootcerted access to everything they do to Facebook for $20 a month is a major civic problem, or that it’s ethically wrong for them to do so. Selling their privacy may be a perfectly reasonable and justifiable individual decision, in the same way that letting one’s cow graze on Midsummer Common probably makes a lot of sense for both cow and owner.

What I am saying is that selling privacy cheaply isn’t any better for society than letting it be seized without any compensation. In fact, if privacy commoditization leads to a more rapid degradation of the commons, it’s actually worse. Similarly, again, individual votes are essentially never that important … but would you think it OK for a company to purchase citizens’ voting rights for $20 per person per month? If we need to defend privacy as a commons — and we do — then we can’t start thinking of it as an individual asset to be sold to surveillance capitalists. It, and we, are more important than that.


Source: TechCrunch

Nancy Pelosi's Clap at the State of the Union Tops This Week's Internet News

The speech was very boring. The state of the world as a whole, though, is far from tedious.
Source: Wired

Amazon's Self-Driving Bet and More Car News This Week

The logistics giant invests in autonomous vehicle startup Aurora, the micromobility world ponders its future, we review the new Porsche 911, and more.
Source: Wired

With Magic Leap, your entertainment may get real weird real quick – CNET

The startup’s staying power may hinge on the visions concocted by outsiders who go rogue.
Source: CNET

4 reasons to get an Amazon Echo for your grandparents – CNET

Young or old, Alexa is a great companion for anyone.
Source: CNET

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