• +598 29008192
  • info@servinfo.com.uy

Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Early Uber advisor Bradley Tusk looks back — and forward — as its IPO fast approaches

Bradley Tusk’s story is well-known by now. A political operative who managed Michael Bloomberg’s successful third mayoral campaign, Tusk soon turned a bonus from his powerful boss into an opportunity that most people can only dream about. He launched his own business to help clients navigate turbulent regulatory waters, and one of his first calls came from Uber. Which paid him in stock.

Tusk has since used some of that wealth to create numerous other businesses, including the venture firm Tusk Ventures, which has more shiny new holdings, such as stakes in the e-scooter company Bird, the insurance company Lemonade, and the cannabis delivery startup Eaze.

We caught up with Tusk today after his return from a New York Met’s game to ask how he’s feeling about Uber’s IPO, what he’s expecting next week, and what moments he remembers best from his work with the now 10-year-old company.

TC: Your Uber shares have climbed astronomically over the years. You’d said you were looking to cash out a big part of your stake when SoftBank acquired 15 percent of the company last year. Are you selling the rest next week?

BT: I still have a lock-up, but when that’s over, I’ll sell as it makes sense.

TC: Uber is reportedly offering 180 million shares at $44 to $50 apiece for its public debut, meaning its valuation could top $91.5 billion. How important is IPO pricing?

BT: On the one hand, it’s everything because you’re putting a number out there that’s in some ways subjective, and if it works, you work [as a banker] and if it doesn’t, you don’t. It’s the moment of truth in some ways.

But if you decide, I’d rather price [the offering] at 10 percent less because it will result in a 20 percent increase [right away], that’s not an unreasonable strategy, and as someone who has to wait six months, I don’t mind it at all.

TC: Looking at Uber’s core platform and its “other bets,” where do you expect to see the most growth?

BT: I’d say the other stuff for two reasons. First, Uber Freight could be scaled to a bunch of vertical beyond logistics for trucking. I also think Uber being Uber that they’ll come up with something we don’t know about yet, like they’ve done three times now. And when they do, that will account for a lot of growth.

TC: Uber last month transferred some of the cost of developing self-driving cars onto outside investors Toyota, Denso, and SoftBank. Was that the right move? It sounded at some point like Dara Khosrowshahi was thinking about selling the business outright.

BT: Yes, because I think autonomous is no any longer believed to be a market where the first [mover] wins. People understand more segments and issues and that the cost of development is higher than anyone ever anticipated. Autonomous vehicles will be developed in different ways by different people and [these players] will all be adding partners and spreading risk and bringing in additional resources . . .

TC: And will they work closely with cities? Can Uber gain traction with its self-driving technologies if it doesn’t? Can any of these companies?

BT: On the one hand, Uber has more experience dealing with city government than anyone else working on autonomous vehicles and that counts for something. We saw what happened when Amazon tried to deal with local politics in New York.

Once you scale, I think you’ll have federal pre-emption. It’s one thing for every city, town, and state to set their own traffic rules, but if we’re in a moment where some cars are autonomous and some aren’t and we have arbitrary differences — say you realize you’re in New Jersey and so have to have your hands on the wheel — [it’ll be a mess]. If Congress were a rational, functional, deliberate [governing body], it would [start figuring this out].

TC: Assuming it doesn’t, how much does that slow down these efforts?

BT: If it doesn’t, that’s when the notion of dealing with cities and states really comes into play. The downside is even if you had everyone [in local government] working with you, the odds of them adopting the same rules [across cities and states] seems unlikely, but these companies may have to make it work, at least as a backup.

TC: Have you stayed in touch with Travis?

BT: Yes.

TC: What do you think of his current plans to turn more empty or underused real estate in places that on-demand services, like fully equipped kitchens that restaurants can use to fulfill takeout demand

BT:  I think it’s really interesting, especially the food piece, where you have these two trends moving along at the same time. First, people seem not to want to cook as much as they used to, and I think that’s a full-on change in society, not a fad or a blip. Also, restaurants’ margins are really low and the cost of operating restaurants is really high. So I think what we’ll see are more restaurants that maintain one physical restaurant as almost a branding exercise, a loss leader that helps them build their name — then they’ll make the money on delivery.

TC: Are you investing in these types of businesses, too?

BAT: I don’t think Travis is raising money, as I understand it. [Laughs.] But I suspect that at some point, we’ll do some work with Travis one way or another.

TC: Lyft and Uber use different methodologies to account for “Active Riders.” Uber defines it as a unique consumer who completes a ride share or rents a scooter or has an Uber Eats meal delivered at least once in any given month, then averages that number of monthly users for the quarter. Lyft, which of course doesn’t have a food delivery service yet, just defines active riders as all riders who take at least one ride on its platform during a quarter. Which better represents engagement, in your view?

BT: You could argue that Lyft is now where you’d expect a public company to be, where was you’re saying is, this is the [total addressable market]. Once a company is public, it’s much more, these are our earnings, this is how our performance impacted our revenue. You could argue that Lyft is where Uber may end up having to go [in terms of how it calculates this figure].

TC: Riders use both apps, drivers use both apps. Do you ever see these companies merging? As you likely remember, they talked in 2014, Travis confirmed in an interview in 2016, but he said disagreements over pricing ultimately doomed the deal.

BT: I don’t even know if they could get through the FTC for approval if you add up their collective share in the ride-share marketplace. And now that they’re both public companies, the ability to challenge them will be harder, unless Waymo or some other robo company tries taking away their market share.

TC: Do you see Uber making money at some point? 

TC: Yeah. I think it may be the result of more and more partnerships around ride sharing in different markets. I also think they’ll be able to take the Uber Eats and Uber Freight concepts and keep building out other things from these. Eats gets into package delivery, for example. If all of those things come to fruition, Uber will be profitable.

TC: How many years did you advise Uber?

BT: I started in 2011, and finished in 2015.

TC: What are you proudest of? 

BT: Even more than a particular market — because eventually we won all over the U.S. — it’s this notion that if you give people a really easy way to advocate for themselves, they’ll get involved. The notion that everyone is apathetic isn’t actually true, and we used that to fight taxis everywhere, including when Uber was not a valuable company and we were taking on the [much-deeper-pocketed] taxi industry.

Our thesis was right and the execution all-in-all worked, and it’s really one of the insights that’s now propelling the work in mobile voting that I’m doing. I’m operating on the assumption that if you increase turnout by making it easier and more convenient for people to engage in the process, politicians will change their behavior.

TC: Travis Kalanick is obviously a strong leader and seemingly stubborn, too. What was one suggestion you made to him that he didn’t take yet could have changed things for the company, in potentially a meaningful way?

BT: This wasn’t to him, but I suggested a few years ago that Uber provide benefits for all drivers. At the time, it wasn’t met with a lot of optimism, but i think the world is heading in that direction anyway, and I think they could have saved money by having a lower churn rate than what they have, as well as improved their optics and reputation.

TC: You have a lot of promising bets in your portfolio right now. Do you see any of these getting anywhere near the scale of Uber or is this a once-in-a-decade type company?

BT: i think something can. I hope something in my portfolio in will. I think every  VC will tell you that every day, they see deals with [total addressable markets] in the low trillions. The number of companies that can convert that into revenue [and reach an Uber-like valuation] is few and far between, but someone will pull it off, in some sector.

TC: The company is hitting the market next week. What are you doing to celebrate?

BT: When I sold a chunk of my shares to SoftBank — close to half — psychologically it had the impact [that I would otherwise experience next week]. You know, we were able to benefit from this thing. Anything I wanted to do could then happen. So it isn’t that it’s not a huge deal. I just think it would be ten times more anxiety producing for me if that hadn’t happened.

Source: TechCrunch

Life-size robo-dinosaur and ostrich backpack hint at how first birds got off the ground

Everyone knows birds descended from dinosaurs, but exactly how that happened is the subject of much study and debate. To help clear things up, these researchers went all out and just straight up built a robotic dinosaur to test their theory: that these proto-birds flapped their “wings” well before they ever flew.

Now, this isn’t some hyper-controversial position or anything. It’s pretty reasonable when you think about it: natural selection tends to emphasize existing features rather than invent them from scratch. If these critters had, say, moved from being quadrupedal to being bipedal and had some extra limbs up front, it would make sense that over a few million years those limbs would evolve into something useful.

But when did it start, and how? To investigate, Jing-Shan Zhao of Tsinghua University in Beijing looked into an animal called Caudipteryx, a ground-dwelling animal with “feathered forelimbs that could be considered “proto-wings.”

Based on the well-preserved fossil record of this bird-dino crossover, the researchers estimated a number of physiological metrics, such as the creature’s top speed and the rhythm with which it would run. From this they could estimate forces on other parts of the body — just as someone studying a human jogger would be able to say that such and such a joint is under this or that amount of stress.

What they found was that, in theory, these “natural frequencies” and biophysics of the Caudipteryx’s body would cause its little baby wings to flap up and down in a way suggestive of actual flight. Of course they wouldn’t provide any lift, but this natural rhythm and movement may have been the seed which grew over generations into something greater.

To give this theory a bit of practical punch, the researchers then constructed a pair of unusual mechanical items: a pair of replica Caudipteryx wings for a juvenile ostrich to wear, and a robotic dinosaur that imitated the original’s gait. A bit fanciful, sure — but why shouldn’t science get a little crazy now and then?

In the case of the ostrich backpack, they literally just built a replica of the dino-wings and attached it to the bird, then had the bird run. Sensors on board the device verified what the researchers observed: that the wings flapped naturally as a result of the body’s motion and vibrations from the feet impacting the ground.

The robot is a life-size reconstruction based on a complete fossil of the animal, made of 3D-printed parts, to which the ostrich’s fantasy wings could also be affixed. The researchers’ theoretical model predicted that the flapping would be most pronounced as the speed of the bird approached 2.31 meters per second — and that’s just what they observed in the stationary model imitating gaits corresponding to various running speeds.

You can see another gif over at the Nature blog. As the researchers summarize:

These analyses suggest that the impetus of the evolution of powered flight in the theropod lineage that lead to Aves may have been an entirely natural phenomenon produced by bipedal motion in the presence of feathered forelimbs.

Just how legit is this? Well, I’m not a paleontologist. And an ostrich isn’t a Caudipteryx. And the robot isn’t exactly convincing to look at. We’ll let the scholarly community pass judgment on this paper and its evidence (don’t worry, it’s been peer-reviewed), but I think it’s fantastic that the researchers took this route to test their theory. A few years ago this kind of thing would have been far more difficult to do, and although it seems a little silly when you watch it (especially in gif form), there’s a lot to be said for this kind of real-life tinkering when so much of science is occurring in computer simulations.

The paper was published today in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

Source: TechCrunch

Facebook Bans Alex Jones, Other Extremists—but Not as Planned

Alex Jones, Infowars, Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos are expelled from Facebook and Instagram, but the ban’s rollout went awry.
Source: Wired

Activision Blizzard has five franchises lined up for its new Call of Duty esports league

Activision Blizzard said it has lined up five franchises for a new, city-based Call of Duty esports league.

Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto will all play host to franchise teams that will compete in a professional league based on what is perhaps Activision Blizzard’s most successful title, the company announced after its earnings call earlier today.

Each city is partnering with existing Overwatch League team owners to leverage the existing framework that Activision has labored over for the past few years to lay the groundwork for a global, city-based Call of Duty league, the company said.

The first teams are Atlanta Esports Ventures, the joint venture owned by Cox Enterprises and Province Inc.; the Envy Gaming esports team which has been active in Call of Duty competitive play since 2007 and with Dallas Fuel Overwatch league team; New York’s Sterling.VC, a sports media company backed by Sterling Equities (owners of the New York Mets); c0ntact Gaming, which owns the Overwatch League team Paris Eternal and the Paris-based Call of Duty team; and Toronto’s OverActive Media.

“The upcoming launch of our new Call of Duty esports league reaffirms our leadership role in the development of professional esports. We have already sold Call of Duty teams in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris and Toronto to existing Overwatch League team owners, and we will announce additional owners and markets later this year,” said Bobby Kotick, chief executive of Activision Blizzard. “Our owners value our professional, global city-based model, the success we have had with broadcast partners, sponsors and licensees, and the passion with which our players have responded to our events.”

The announcement came on the heels of an earnings announcement that saw the company report earnings of $1.825 billion for the quarter, beating its outlook of $1.715 billion but down slightly from the year ago period when the company brought in almost $2 billion.

The company credited esports and its  Overwatch League and the newly announced Call of Duty city-based league (including selling its first five teams to cities) for contributing to the better-than-expected numbers.

Source: TechCrunch

Presente y futuro de Huawei y de su relación con el resto del mundo

Hablamos en exclusiva con su director de Estrategia y Marketing, Xu Wenwei, quien transmite mensajes de colaboración internacional para la ética y el futuro de la IA al tiempo que demuestra que su compañía se está convirtiendo en un gigante sin rival en un amplio abanico de servicios como el 5G y los chips
Source: MIT

"El 'Green New Deal' trata de 'ecologizar' toda la economía"

La economista Mariana Mazzucato defiende el Nuevo Pacto Verde desde una perspectiva transversal que penetre por todos los rincones de la economía y, además de abordar el cambio climático, luche contra la desigualdad. En su opinión, la microgestión de las emisiones no sirve de nada
Source: MIT

Esta colmena impresa en 3D podría ser nuestro futuro hogar en Marte

Este es uno de los dos diseños finalistas de la competición de la NASA para fabricar hábitats espaciales con materiales y equipos adecuados para el espacio. La empresa responsable planea crear una versión terrestre donde cualquiera podrá alojarse a través de un servicio tipo Airbnb
Source: MIT

A quiet London-based payments startup just raised among the biggest Series A rounds ever in Europe

You probably haven’t heard of Checkout, a digital payments processing company that was founded in 2012 in London. Apparently, however, investors have been keeping tabs on the low-flying company and like what they see. Today, Checkout announced that it has raised $230 million in Series A funding at a valuation just shy of $2 billion co-led by Insight Partners and DST Global, with participation from GIC, the Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund, Blossom Capital, Endeavor Catalyst and other, unnamed strategic investors.

It’s the first institutional round for the company; it’s also one of the biggest Series A rounds ever for a European company.

What’s so special about Checkout that investors felt compelled to write such big checks? In a sea filled with fintech startups, it’s hard to know at first glance what differentiates it — or whether investors merely spy a huge opportunity, particularly given the company’s recent revenue numbers.

Checkout helps businesses — including Samsung, Adidas, Deliveroo and Virgin, among others — to accept a range of payment types across their online stores around the world. According to the WSJ, the fees from these services are adding up, too. It says Checkout’s European business generated $46.8 million in gross revenue and $6.7 million in profit in 2017, information it dug up through Companies House, the United Kingdom’s registrar of companies.

Checkout also plays into two huge trends that seem to be lifting all boats — the ongoing boom in online shopping, and the growing number of businesses using online payments. Little wonder that investors poured into payments startups last year more than four times what they invested in them in 2017 ($22 billion, according to Dow Jones VentureSource data cited by the WSJ).

Little wonder, too, that payments startups that have gone public are faring well, including the global payments company Adyen, which IPO’d on the Euronext in June of last year and has mostly seen its shares move in one direction since. Indeed, the company, valued at $2.3 billion by investors in 2015, is now valued at nearly $21 billion.

Though Checkout’s Series A is stunning for its size, according to Dealroom data, it isn’t the largest for a European company. Among other giant rounds, the U.K.-based biotech company Immunocore closed on $320 million in Series A funding in 2015. In 2017, another U.K. fintech, OakNorth, a digital bank that focuses on loans for small and medium enterprises, raised $200 million in Series A funding. (It has gone on to raise roughly $850 million altogether.)

More recently, TradePlus24, a two-year-old, Zurich, Switzerland-based fintech company that insures against default the accounts receivables of small and mid-size businesses, also raised a healthy amount: $120 million in Series A funding. Its backers include Credit Suisse and the insurance broker Kessler.

Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft makes a push to simplify machine learning

Ahead of its Build conference, Microsoft today released a slew of new machine learning products and tweaks to some of its existing services. These range from no-code tools to hosted notebooks, with a number of new APIs and other services in-between. The core theme, here, though, is that Microsoft is continuing its strategy of democratizing access to AI.

Ahead of the release, I sat down with Microsoft’s Eric Boyd, the company’s corporate vice president of its AI platform, to discuss Microsoft’s take on this space, where it competes heavily with the likes of Google and AWS, as well as numerous, often more specialized startups. And to some degree, the actual machine learning technologies have become table stakes. Everybody now offers pre-trained models, open-source tools and the platforms to train, build and deploy models. If one company doesn’t have pre-trained models for some use cases that its competitors support, it’s only a matter of time before it will. It’s the auxiliary services and the overall developer experience, though, where companies like Microsoft, with its long history of developing these tools, can differentiate themselves.

Microsoft’s Eric Boyd

“AI is really impacting the way the world does business,” Boyd said. “We see 75% of commercial enterprises are doing more with AI in the next several years. It’s tripled in the last couple years, according to Gartner. And so, we’re really seeing an explosion in the amount of work that’s coming from there. As people are driving this forward, as companies are driving this forward, developers are on the front lines, trying to figure out how to move their companies forward, how to build these models and how to build these applications, and help scale with all the changes that are moving through this.”

What these companies — and their developers — need is more powerful tools that allow them to become more productive and build their models faster. At Microsoft, where these companies are often large enterprises, that also includes being able to scale up to the needs of an enterprise and offer the security guarantees they need.

As companies start adopting machine learning, though, they are now also getting to a point where they have moved from a few tests to maybe running a hundred models in production. That comes with its own challenges. “They are trying to figure out how to manage the life cycle of these models,” he said. “How do I think of the operational cycle? How do I think about a new model that I’m ready to deploy? When is it ready to go?”

Only a few years ago, the industry started moving to a DevOps model for managing code. What Microsoft essentially wants to move to is MLOps for managing models. “It’s very similar to DevOps, but there’s some distinct differences in terms of how the tools operate,” Boyd noted. “At Microsoft, we’re really focusing on how do we solve these problems to make developers way more productive, using these enterprise tools to drive these changes that they need across their organization.” This means thinking about how to bring concepts like source control and continuous development to machine learning models, for example, and that will take new tools.

It’s no surprise then that adding more MLOps capabilities is a major part of today’s releases. The company is integrating some of these functions into Azure DevOps, for example, that allows them to trigger release pipelines. The company is also giving developers and data scientists tools for model version control, for example, to track and manage their assets and to share machine learning pipelines.

These are very much tools for advanced machine learning practitioners, though. On the other side of the spectrum, Microsoft also announced a number of automated machine learning tools, including one that essentially automates all of the processes, as well as a visual model builder, which grew out of the Azure ML Studio. As Boyd told me, even companies like British Petroleum and Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery (try their Black Butte Porter if you get a chance) now use these tools.

“We’ve added a bunch of features into automated machine learning to simplify how people are trying to use this kind of work,” Boyd noted.

Microsoft today also launched a number of new services in its Cognitive Services lineup, including a new personalization service, an API for recognizing handwriting and another one for transcribing conversations with multiple speakers. The personalization service stands out here because it uses reinforcement learning, a different machine learning technique from most other Cognitive Services tools, and because it is far easier to implement than similar services. For business users, there’s also the Form Recognizer, which makes extracting data from forms easy.

What’s more interesting that the specific features, though, is that Microsoft is shifting its emphasis here a little bit. “We’re moving away from some of the first-level problems of ‘here’s the table stakes, you have to have an AI platform,’ to much more sophisticated use cases around the operations of these algorithms, the simplification of them, new user experiences to really simplify how developers work and much richer cognitive services,” Boyd explained.

Source: TechCrunch

How to install a graphics card

Whether you’re building an entirely new PC or just upgrading one, learning how to install a graphics card is an important step to take. Follow these steps on how to plug it in and connect the cables and you’ll be ready to go.

The post How to install a graphics card appeared first on Digital Trends.

Source: Digital trends