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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Medium lowers its paywall for Twitter users

If you’re not the paying sort, Medium has a mile-wide new hole in its paywall that might interest you. (But really, you should be the paying sort.)

On Wednesday, Medium CEO and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams announced that Medium is tearing down its paywall for readers that visit the site through Twitter. In tweets, Williams elaborated on the company’s thinking a bit, explaining that the decision wouldn’t affect Medium members who rely on paid readerships, as paid readers would still be counted like they were before.

“It doesn’t affect compensation—assuming you mean for Partner Program,” Williams said. “That’s determined by readership from paying members, which will still be counted (assuming they’re logged in).”

Still, it’s difficult to imagine how paid memberships will go up with content readily accessible for free. When asked by a Twitter user if the decision would disincentivize would-be paying users, Williams maintained that Medium would be keeping an eye on what happens to its paid subscription base.

“We will certainly watch that, and if it has a negative impact, we may change this in the future,” Williams said. “As it stands, Twitter is a relatively small (but important) part of our traffic, and we expect this to have a positive effect.”

Part of that logic is likely the idea that bringing more people into Medium through Twitter will convert more paid readers. A Medium membership is $5 monthly or $50 a year and that money goes into a pool that is doled out to writers — a refreshingly creator-friendly approach compared to the house-always-wins attitude of other platforms.

Earlier this month, Medium picked up San Francisco publication the Bold Italic to sweeten its paywalled offerings. It’s clear that cultivating some premium content is central to Medium’s move to bring in subscribers, but the gaping Twitter-shaped hole in the paywall is a bit counterintuitive. Still, with Medium — as with all mercurial tech platforms in publisher’s clothing — everything is subject to change.

In late 2017, Medium added the option for any author or publisher to operate their own paywall on the platform, but it revoked the offering abruptly last year. That move reminded publishers getting cozy with Medium that the company is, at its heart, a tech company that can change its approach to business on a dime, taking publishers along for the ride.

However it shakes out, it’s clear that Medium is trying out a few new things. A day prior to the paywall announcement, Medium launched a new tech and science publication called OneZero — one of the four new digital magazines. Medium plans to power those flagship editorial brands with its “sustainable, subscription business model.” That model is something it didn’t have in place in early 2017, when Medium hit some bumps, made some layoffs and lost the Ringer (and other smaller publishers) before realigning itself in order to chart a non-ad-supported path forward.


Source: TechCrunch

Michael Cohen's Credibility Has Never Been More Certain

In his testimony before Congress Wednesday, Trump’s former fixer gave the most convincing narrative yet about Trump’s presidential run.
Source: Wired

SoFi founder Mike Cagney’s new company, Figure just raised another $65 million

Figure, a 13-month-old, San Francisco-based company that says it uses blockchain technology to provide home equity loans online in as little as five days, has raised a whole lot of money in not a lot of time: $120 million to date, including $65 million in fresh funding from RPM Ventures and partners at DST Global, with participation from DCG, Nimble Ventures, Morgan Creek, and earlier investors Ribbit Capital and DCM.

That’s not entirely surprising, given who founded the company, Mike Cagney, who founded SoFi and built it into a major player in student loan refinancing in the U.S. before leaving amid allegations of sexual harassment and an anything-goes corporate culture that saw at least two former employees sue the company.

Today, SoFi has moved on under the leadership of CEO Anthony Noto, a former Twitter executive who is working to reshape SoFi from a lending company into more of a full-fledged financial services company with savings and checking accounts, as well as exchange-traded funds, all with the aim of making its platform stickier than in the past. (It may be a bigger endeavor than Noto had realized. Though Cagney had once predicted the company would IPO in 2018 or 2019, SoFi isn’t even considering a public offering this year, Noto told reporters earlier this week.)

Cagney has meanwhile moved on, too, though he still seems set on taking on traditional banks. Indeed, while Figure is providing home loans today – – it says it has provided more than 1,500 home equity lines to date — it’s also moving to diversify into new areas, including wealth management, unsecured consumer loans, and checking accounts offered (for now) in partnership with an existing bank.

Interestingly, Figure, which employs 100 people, is targeting a very different demographic than did SoFi, as Cagney told American Banker recently. Whereas SoFi marketed to young people earning high salaries, Figure is going after older customers who may not be seeing much in the way of income but have much of their wealth tied up in their homes instead.

Given that older Americans are projected to outnumber children for the first time in history by 2030, according to U.S. census data, Cagney clearly sees the writing on the wall.

Unsurprisingly, he’s not the only one. Other startups trying to make it easier for Americans to borrow against their homes include Point, a roughly four-year-old startup that lends capital to people and receives partial ownership in their homes in return.

Cagney cofounded Figure with his wife, June Ou, who is the company’s chief operating officer. She was previously chief technology officer at SoFi.


Source: TechCrunch

Electric Polestar 2 Is a Mass-Market Tesla Model 3 Fighter

Volvo’s electric- and performance-focused brand eschews the SUV trend with the fastback Polestar 2.
Source: Wired

How to watch SpaceX, NASA launch Crew Dragon to ISS this weekend – CNET

Tune in for the SpaceX Demo-1 mission and witness history in the making.
Source: CNET

Galaxy S10: Here's what photos from the camera look like – CNET

OK, the Galaxy S10 Plus to be specific.
Source: CNET

Open-source communities fight over telco market

When you think of MWC Barcelona, chances are you’re thinking about the newest smartphones and other mobile gadgets, but that’s only half the story. Actually, it’s probably far less than half the story because the majority of the business that’s done at MWC is enterprise telco business. Not too long ago, that business was all about selling expensive proprietary hardware. Today, it’s about moving all of that into software — and a lot of that software is open source.

It’s maybe no surprise then that this year, the Linux Foundation (LF) has its own booth at MWC. It’s not massive, but it’s big enough to have its own meeting space. The booth is shared by the three LF projects: the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), Hyperleger and Linux Foundation Networking, the home of many of the foundational projects like ONAP and the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) that power many a modern network. And with the advent of 5G, there’s a lot of new market share to grab here.

To discuss the CNCF’s role at the event, I sat down with Dan Kohn, the executive director of the CNCF.

At MWC, the CNCF launched its testbed for comparing the performance of virtual network functions on OpenStack and what the CNCF calls cloud-native network functions, using Kubernetes (with the help of bare-metal host Packet). The project’s results — at least so far — show that the cloud-native container-based stack can handle far more network functions per second than the competing OpenStack code.

“The message that we are sending is that Kubernetes as a universal platform that runs on top of bare metal or any cloud, most of your virtual network functions can be ported over to cloud-native network functions,” Kohn said. “All of your operating support system, all of your business support system software can also run on Kubernetes on the same cluster.”

OpenStack, in case you are not familiar with it, is another massive open-source project that helps enterprises manage their own data center software infrastructure. One of OpenStack’s biggest markets has long been the telco industry. There has always been a bit of friction between the two foundations, especially now that the OpenStack Foundation has opened up its organizations to projects that aren’t directly related to the core OpenStack projects.

I asked Kohn if he is explicitly positioning the CNCF/Kubernetes stack as an OpenStack competitor. “Yes, our view is that people should be running Kubernetes on bare metal and that there’s no need for a middle layer,” he said — and that’s something the CNCF has never stated quite as explicitly before but that was always playing in the background. He also acknowledged that some of this friction stems from the fact that the CNCF and the OpenStack foundation now compete for projects.

OpenStack Foundation, unsurprisingly, doesn’t agree. “Pitting Kubernetes against OpenStack is extremely counterproductive and ignores the fact that OpenStack is already powering 5G networks, in many cases in combination with Kubernetes,” OpenStack COO Mark Collier told me. “It also reflects a lack of understanding about what OpenStack actually does, by suggesting that it’s simply a virtual machine orchestrator. That description is several years out of date. Moving away from VMs, which makes sense for many workloads, does not mean moving away from OpenStack, which manages bare metal, networking and authentication in these environments through the Ironic, Neutron and Keystone services.”

Similarly, ex-OpenStack Foundation board member (and Mirantis co-founder) Boris Renski told me that “just because containers can replace VMs, this doesn’t mean that Kubernetes replaces OpenStack. Kubernetes’ fundamental design assumes that something else is there that abstracts away low-level infrastructure, and is meant to be an application-aware container scheduler. OpenStack, on the other hand, is specifically designed to abstract away low-level infrastructure constructs like bare metal, storage, etc.”

This overall theme continued with Kohn and the CNCF taking a swipe at Kata Containers, the first project the OpenStack Foundation took on after it opened itself up to other projects. Kata Containers promises to offer a combination of the flexibility of containers with the additional security of traditional virtual machines.

“We’ve got this FUD out there around Kata and saying: telco’s will need to use Kata, a) because of the noisy neighbor problem and b) because of the security,” said Kohn. “First of all, that’s FUD and second, micro-VMs are a really interesting space.”

He believes it’s an interesting space for situations where you are running third-party code (think AWS Lambda running Firecracker) — but telcos don’t typically run that kind of code. He also argues that Kubernetes handles noisy neighbors just fine because you can constrain how many resources each container gets.

It seems both organizations have a fair argument here. On the one hand, Kubernetes may be able to handle some use cases better and provide higher throughput than OpenStack. On the other hand, OpenStack handles plenty of other use cases, too, and this is a very specific use case. What’s clear, though, is that there’s quite a bit of friction here, which is a shame.


Source: TechCrunch

Confused by USB names? Get used to it as USB 3.1 becomes 3.2 – CNET

The group behind the technology is trying to simplify labels, though.
Source: CNET

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC gets more power, more tech at the Geneva Motor Show – Roadshow

The updated GLC300 will arrive in the US later this year.
Source: CNET

Apple confirms earlier rumor of layoffs at its Titan self-driving car program – CNET

Cupertino is reportedly laying off 190 employees, effective April 16.
Source: CNET

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