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!

 

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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.

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Top Content Marketing Trends for 2019

Top Content Marketing Trends for 2019

Every year, different trends come and go in marketing. But classic methods don’t go away, and that includes content marketing. In fact, content marketing is growing at such a pace that experts estimate its worth will exceed $400 billion by 2021.

If you’re finally joining the content marketing bandwagon, here are some trends that you should anticipate for the coming year:

Content Marketing is Now Mainstream

It wasn’t that long ago when content marketing was considered a side project. It was something marketing pros tried out after first dealing with the more important marketing tasks.

Today, content marketing is considered one of those crucial tasks that you have to deal with. It’s now part of mainstream marketing because ignoring this facet of your marketing strategy will doom your enterprise. It’s that integral to your success.

Documented Strategies

Since content marketing has now been recognized as crucial to a marketing strategy, it will no longer suffice for marketing officials to launch content marketing strategies on the fly. This can’t be a “fly by the seat of your pants” project. It has to be carefully thought out and planned.

This is why 65% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy. Such a carefully planned campaign can identify a key marketing goal and set up a plan to achieve that goal.

Greater Focus on Customer Success

In the old days, companies focused on making the sale and then moving onto the next sale. They dealt with complaints as they arose afterward. But today, services are much more personalized. Marketers have realized that if they wanted to forge deeper relationships with their customers and encourage them to spread news of their brand, they have to make sure that customers get full value from their money.

That’s the essence of customer success. This means that with your content, you can help customers take care of their bought products. The content can also suggest new ways of using the products.

Brands Change from Vendors to Partners

Traditional marketing has always been at the core a way to sell stuff. Modern marketing, especially content marketing, is instead about forging a partnership with customers. That’s what the content you offer should focus on. It’s not about convincing people to buy stuff from you. Instead, it’s about engaging with customers and forging a lasting and trusting relationship.

Again, this means more focus on content that covers post-sale topics. What do your customers need after buying what you’re selling? Your content should provide info that can help them with those needs so that these customers will buy from you again. They’ll also be much more likely to recommend your brand to their social circles. After all, you don’t just view them as sources of profit—you act like they’re you’re partners.

Content Distribution is Key

The best content doesn’t help your cause if no one gets to see it. That means you need to find efficient ways of spreading the word and your content. These methods include social networks, email marketing, and other distribution channels that can best reach your audience.

Also, check out 2018 Internet Trends Report From Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
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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LA Startups Crew
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.

Military-Grade Encryption VPN Device Created by Former JPL Mechanical Engineers

Military-Grade Encryption VPN Device Created by LA Mechanical Engineers from JPL

Many savvy smartphones, tablet, and laptop users utilize a virtual private network (VPN) to surf anonymously, stay protected from malware, and avoid censorship, among others. But why stop there? There’s a new gadget that can provide these useful services, as well as allow individuals and organizations secure and remote access to their home and office networks.

The izzbie ONE is an all-in-one VPN device that offers a personal cloud, online security, and a private local area network. This means that as you access your private network at home or in the office, your online activities will be protected without encryption.  

Plus, there’s no need to go through third-party providers, such as Apple and Dropbox. These providers can encrypt files and messages but keep in mind that these can still be hacked in theory.

With izzbie ONE, you can also access geo-restricted websites and their contents, as is the case with the strict censorship laws in China. Basically, it’s a useful tool for accessing the Internet without your location determining the content you can see.  

You will then be able to enjoy complete privacy and safety online. No wonder that it’s a device gaining more acceptance among digital nomads, the entrepreneurs running their own businesses on the road.

The izzbie ONE is a small black box device with plug-and-play features. Just plug it into your router using an Ethernet connection, go to your computer’s control panel, and add the internal IP addresses of the items that will be connected.

These can be your network attached storage (NAS), IP cameras, video game devices, and wireless printers. You can connect as many local networks as you want, too. You can, for example, print a paper from your laptop while in a hotel to your printer at home.

You may also build a virtual mesh network with multiple locations provided these are all connected to izzbie ONE. Think of it as being in all or any of these locations without physically being there.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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.

How Virtual Reality Can Boost Your Business

How Virtual Reality Can Boost Your Business

It seems like only a few years ago when the idea of actual virtual reality was the stuff of science fiction movies. Of course, there were some niche products here and there, but VR tech was generally considered high tech and prohibitively expensive.

But nowadays, virtual reality and augmented reality are much more viable, and the growth of this VR/AR market has been phenomenal. Expert projections for 2019 have the VR market for hardware and software growing to $12.1 billion, and that’s double from last year’s market. It’s estimated that its growth can reach up to $40 billion.

Of course, it may seem like this isn’t terribly relevant news for your business if you’re not participating directly in the VR/AR market. Yet even then, this technology can still help your business as it can be used for your marketing.

Budget Considerations

You may be doubtful about the realistic use of VR marketing due to your wariness about the costs. But just like for the PC, the mobile phone, and the LED TVs, prices have dropped for the hardware. It not as expensive as it was when the first VT products came out.

Because of the comparative cheapness of the hardware, consumer interest in these items has increased. So now you can develop a VR/AR app that’s related to the products and services you offer, and you’ll have plenty of consumers to pitch to.

Creative Ways of Using VR/AR

Many notable business organizations have made use of this technology to promote their brand and their business. The most famous examples include:

VR stories. It’s well known that even iconic print brands like the New York Times have found it difficult to maintain their status in the digital age. Subscriptions to actual newspapers have alarmingly dropped and their readerships have serious fallen. So, of course, the NY Times has adapted to the new reality by having online editions.

Of course, to maintain their iconic status they have to take the lead in the industry, and they’ve done very well with that by releasing VR news reports and stories. Now they have an app that lets you use the Samsung Gear VR or the Daydream View to experience 360-degree reality. Now you don’t have to read about Iraqi forces fighting against ISIS, or even watch news reports on TV. Instead, you can use the VR app so that it seems like you’re alongside the Iraqi troops.

VR music videos. Artists have long used music videos to promote their singles and albums. But Bjork has been just as experimental with here videos as she is with her music. She has enabled VR users to be transported into her music videos, and this has certainly boosted her album sales.

Trying things out. What would a piece of furniture actually look like when it’s in your living room? Now you don’t have to imagine thanks to the Ikea AR app, which lets you to actually see for yourself. The app lets you pick among the Ikea products and then you can use your smartphone camera to point at the space where you want to place the furniture.

The possibilities are almost endless, and it’s a new horizon for marketing. Now you’re not limited by text, images, or even videos. With VR/AR, marketing is now a much different reality.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
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.
×
LA Startups Crew
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.

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.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
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.
×
LA Startups Crew
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

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
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.
×
LA Startups Crew
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.