Weekly Roundup: GOAT hires COO Lizzie Francis, Embodied Gets $22M for Lifelike Robots

Weekly Roundup: GOAT hires COO Lizzie Francis, Embodied Gets $22M for Lifelike Robots

Los Angeles Weekly Roundup …

Top Headlines

IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.

  • iOS 12 will include a new life-saving feature for iPhone customers in the US … read on
  • Here’s who owns everything in Big Media today … read on
  • WeWork is hiring, mentoring, and training 1,500 refugees … read on
  • Google places a $550 million bet on China’s second-largest e-commerce player, JD.com … read on
  • Veteran journalist Norman Pearlstine named executive editor of the Los Angeles Times … read on
  • Apple Finally Offers Fixes for Faulty Butterfly Keyboards, Acknowledging the Design Sucks … read on

LA’s Tech & Startups

  • One Year in, Bird Founder Sells Some Shares … read on
  • Embodied Gets $22M For Lifelike Robots … read on
  • SnackNation Acquires Love With Food … read on
  • Truepic raises $8M to expose Deepfakes, verify photos for Reddit … read on
  • Sneaker market GOAT hires COO Lizzie Francis and makes a play for women sneaker shoppers … read on
  • Elon Musk Accuses Tesla Employee of Sabotage … read on

Cultural Shouts

  • Beyoncé and Jay Z’s EVERYTHING IS LOVE hits Spotify and Apple Music … read on
  • What You Should Know About Traveling to Japan Now that Airbnb Laws Are Changing … read on
  • Instagram will shame you when you’ve wasted too much time in the app … read on
  • Nekter Juice Bar adds vegan ice cream to its menu … read on
  • California rent control measure makes November ballot … read on

This Weekend

  • The 8 Best Things Going On In L.A. This Weekend … read on
  • LA Beer Week … read on 
  • World Naked Bike Ride Los Angeles … read on
  • SHAPE Body Shop 2018 … read on
  • SONY MUSIC listening pool party, Saturday 23rd June at W Hollywood Rooftop … read on

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Author Details
Editor-In-Chief
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

john@lastartups.com
×
Editor-In-Chief
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

john@lastartups.com

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Crucial Blockchain Skills Needed to Transform Your Business

Crucial Blockchain Skills Needed to Transform Your Business

It’s been said that Blockchain technology is poised to transform and disrupt the entire landscape of businesses if it ever goes mainstream. More and more businesses have realized the advantages of using Blockchain, with the number of Blockchain-related job postings in 2017 increasing by more than 6.3 times what the demand was in 2015. The problem is that there aren’t enough blockchain developers out there, with 14 job postings for each developer. Most of these developers are basically self-taught.

So if you’re going to make use of this exciting new technology, you may have to educate your own developers yourself.

What’s Blockchain?

Blockchain is basically a digital ledger that keeps a record of all the transactions that it monitors. These transactions are stored in chronological order, and they’re pretty much permanent. They can’t be changed and they’re even impervious to hacking.

This is why it’s used for cryptocurrency transactions like for Bitcoin. Now each party won’t have to store their own version of a transaction in their database. Now each party can instead consult the same ledger for more accurate information, which is recorded in real time.

How Can It Help Your Business?

Walmart provides the template that showcases the benefits of blockchain even for non-cryptocurrency transactions. Its effect on supply chain management is revolutionary.

Walmart gets its food supplies from various sources, including China. Their blockchain program tracks all these food products as they move up the chain, from the farmer to the food processor, to the food distributors and on to the retail stores.

So if there’s a report that a retail store has sold contaminated goods, Walmart can then trace back the origins of the food product and easily find out where it came from and where it became contaminated. Conversely, if a farmer reports that their food products have been contaminated, then they can be traced to their current locations and pulled off the shelves.

Before blockchain, tracking the movement of the food products across the supply chain would have involved checking various systems and going over numerous documents on paper. Now with blockchain, tracing the provenance of a product can take only minutes or even seconds. It’s that efficient.

Skills Your Developers Will Need

Yes, they will need skills like the ability to prioritize tasks, teamwork, and time management. But for the most part your developers will need the following:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in Engineering or Computer Science.
  • At least 2 years of professional experience working as a software engineer. It’s much better if this experience was gained in the finance sector.
  • Familiarity with ledgers, consensus methods, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies in general.
  • Formidable proficiency in threat analytics, anomaly detection, and performance management.
  • Expert grasp of algorithms, data structures, cryptography, and data security, and decentralized technologies.
  • Expert coding skills with any of the following languages: Go, C, C++, Java, or Python.
  • Familiarity with distributed storage such as RDBMS or NoSQL.
  • Some experience in producing blockchain frameworks and business applications.

There are numerous online courses that can help, and you should start enrolling your developers in those programs.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

The Evolution of IoT—and Where It Should Be Heading

LA Startups - The Evolution of IoT—and Where It Should Be Heading

Do you have the right idea about IoT (Internet of Things)? It may not mean what you think it means!

If you’ve been monitoring news about the Internet and modern technology, it’s a fair guess that you have encountered the phrase Internet of Things. Usually, people just call it IoT. While it does seem to represent an exciting new stage in high tech, there’s a problem: what the heck is it?

What we have with IoT is something nebulous, like the concept of justice. It seems like people have different ideas in what it means. Never mind how people disagree on which direction it should take. Like politics, you can’t get everyone to agree on how technology should evolve in the future. But the problem with IoT is that people can’t even agree on what it means now.

It’s probably understandable. It’s called the “Internet of Things”. Sure, people do have the same basic idea of what the Internet is. It’s just that people tend to disagree on exactly what those “things” are.

Origins

It’s only recently that the phrase became a hyped-up byword in tech articles in mainstream publications. Some people even believe that it’s a new concept. But the reality is that it’s actually an old idea. Tech entrepreneur Peter Lewis coined the phrase “Internet of Things” way back in 1985 when he gave a speech in D.C. That was a long time ago, and the Internet wasn’t even a true reality yet.

Lewis defined IoT as “the integration of people, processes and technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation, and evaluation of trends of such devices.”

IoT and Home Automation

Over the years, people seem to believe that the “things” in the Internet of Things refers to the interconnected gadgets we use. Admittedly, it’s easy enough to understand why so much media attention has been focused on these gadgets. These devices are evolving at a rapid rate, and they keep on improving and developing. As each year passes, they become more sophisticated.

One simple illustration of what the public sees as IoT is the use of the smart bulb. In the old days, you need to manually flick a switch to turn on the light. Now that’s no longer the case.

Instead of walking to the wall switch to turn on the light, you can use your smartphone instead. A smart light bulb has tech features that allow it to connect to your Wi-Fi so it’s also connected to the Internet. Your smartphone also connects to the Internet through Wi-Fi. This setup allows you to control your smart light bulb through an app.

Now with this setup, you have more sophisticated means of turning off the light. You can use your smartphone as a TV remote, and turn the light on or off with the smartphone. You don’t have to be there in the room either. The app can tell you if the light bulb is on while you’re in the office, and you can turn the light off from there. The app can give you a virtual switch and you can use it to turn off the light.

In fact, with the app, you can even program the light bulb to turn on and off at programmed times. You can do this to keep the light turning on and off to make it seem like you’re at home. You can even connect the light bulb to a sensor or a security camera, and have it turn automatically on when the sensors detect someone’s presence.

So now we have a smart light bulb, a smartphone, and an app, your Wi-Fi, and maybe even your security camera interconnected through Wi-Fi. You have lots of gadgets working together.

But is this the Internet of Things? Are the gadgets and the “things” the same thing? People seem to think so, but that may not be the best interpretation.

User POV

When you have a light bulb and a switch, it’s easy enough to understand how to operate the light bulb. You can flick the switch to a certain direction, and it can turn on. Flick the switch the other way, and it turns off. It’s so simple. You don’t have to read a manual or watch YouTube videos online for you to understand how it works.

The same thing goes with a good smart light bulb and an app in a smartphone. As the user, you don’t even have to understand the details on how it works. You don’t need to know the science on how your app and your smart light bulb work and how they transmit data through the Wi-Fi. You just need to use the app properly and then you can activate or program the smart light bulb to turn on and off whenever you want.

Developer POV

The developer needs to understand the user’s perspective. That means they have to acknowledge that the user has no real need to understand the complex science required for the smart light bulb or an app.

Instead, the developer has to keep things simple. Using the app must be as intuitive and easy to understand as the wall switch of a regular light bulb.

This is the usability factor, and it’s crucial for the light bulb and the app to gain mainstream success. People will tend to reject gadgets and features that they don’t understand. It doesn’t matter if the people understand how it works. They just have to understand what to do to make it work. That’s the crucial difference.

Changing Your Mindset

Basically, you have a light bulb and a smart version of it, and they’re the same thing. You have a wall switch, and now you have an app. They’re the same thing too, as they both work as the switch.

Thus, the Internet of Things isn’t really about interconnected gadgets. They’re about interconnected concepts.  That’s how people and developers need to see IoT for it to become more prevalent.

You can’t focus on the advancement of technology. These advances must be out of sight. For users, it’s about how easy things are to use. Focusing on easy UX is also how developers must see IoT. So even while IoT devices keep on getting more sophisticated, the real challenge is to keep it simple!

Also, check out these 9 Biggest Trends in the tech at this moment

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

4 Interesting Facts About AI and Data Science – Execs Should Know

Interesting Facts About AI and Data Science - Execs Should Know

Nowadays, more and more people are excited about Artificial Intelligence (AI). It’s not just about developing a chess engine that can beat champions and grandmasters. AI can be used for so many ways in business that people are still trying to catalog all these methods.

With AI, you can personalize your website so it’s more interesting and useful, create content that your potential customers will find engaging, and analyze people’s interactions with your site content so you can send 1-on-1 personalized emails. You can have chatbots that can communicate with people without them realizing that they’re not talking to an actual person.

It’s used for social media marketing, PPC advertising, SEO, and focused advertising. However, you do need to understand a few facts about it first so you can actually use AI and get the results you want.

1. You probably have the necessary data already.

Before you can apply AI, you need a store of data to work with. That doesn’t make it impossible for you to use AI just because you think you don’t have the proper data. In fact, if you’re already running a successful business for a while then you already have some sort of data you can actually use.

Think about it. You know how many of your customers are buying from your shop, and how many go online to order your stuff. You know what they’ve bought, and you know when. You know how much they spend, and how they prefer to pay for your items. These tidbits of info can allow you to offer a more personalized means for your customers to access and buy your consumer items.

2. You still need to create new data.

Just because you have existing data doesn’t mean you can’t capture new data. You have to find more applicable data as time passes so you can make your AI more accurate and effective. AI is dependent on the quality of your data, and you can’t indefinitely rely on data that can become obsolete.

3. More data leads to greater initiative for your team members.

If you’re a business executive, there are decisions about the business that only you can decide. But you may still be forced to make decisions that your subordinates should have handled. That’s probably because they didn’t have the proper information to act on their own, and so they had to delay putting in proper solutions to problems because they didn’t know what to do. But if the data you have are accessible to your team members, they can then take the initiative with confidence.

4. Specialization is crucial.

You can make full use of your data by making sure that your team has specialists who can focus on the various aspects of your AI and data science efforts. So one group can concentrate on creating AI algorithms, another on data cleansing, and you can have another group devoted to data visualization. This gives you a more thorough overview than a team of jack-of-trades who are masters of none.

AI can lead to breakthroughs in the way your company operates because the data you have analyzed can pinpoint where you need to focus your efforts. That’s why you need to collect the data and analyze them properly, and to do that you need the proper data science experts as well.

Author Details
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.