Parking Search Engine BestParking.com Revamps Its Website And Announces A Free API

By Anthony Ha BestParking Logo

BestParking.com today launched a new version of its website aimed at helping people find the best short-term and long-term parking. It’s also announcing that it’s making its data available to third-party developer through an API.

Founder Ben Sann said the company offers pricing data for off-street parking in 64 cities and near 80 airports, collected from parking lot operators and through on-the-ground surveys (conducted two to four times), and then improved by corrections from BestParking users. The mobile apps have been downloaded more than 600,000 times and they’re used by 120,000 people every month, he said. The website, meanwhile, sees 230,000 unique visitors per month, but it hasn’t been redesigned since 2009.

“We … brought everything we had learned from our mobile experience to the desktop, taking time during the process to overhaul and modernize our website’s design,” Sann told me via email.

I only drive once every week or two, and when I do (using CarShare), I usually leave San Francisco, so I haven’t tried the old version of the site. However, browsing BestParking this morning, it only took me a few clicks to find what seemed like wonderland of semi-affordable lots near the TechCrunch office, with the prices calculated based on how long I plan to stay.

As for the API, Sann said his team has been using for a while it to provide parking data to navigation systems like Garmin and Magellan. It’s also integrated with smart calendar app Tempo to show parking options near users’ meetings. Now the company is officially making the API available to developers for free (Sann said TechCrunch readers will get priority), and you can read more here.

By the way, Sann said the company has been bootstrapped and profitable since 2007.


From: TechCrunch

CEO Andrew Mason Replaced By Eric Lefkofsky And Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis At Groupon

By Jordan Crook groupon-andrew-mason-430bn080910

Andrew Mason, CEO and founder of Groupon, has just been replaced by Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonisis, who will take over the new position of Office of the Chief Executive.

They will serve as interim co-CEOs while they hunt for a replacement to take over permanently.

Here’s the official Lefkofsky quote from the release:

On behalf of the entire Groupon Board, I want to thank Andrew for his leadership, his creativity and his deep loyalty to Groupon. As a founder, Andrew helped invent the daily deals space, leading Groupon to become one of the fastest growing companies in history. Groupon will continue to invest in growth, and we are confident that with our deep management team and market-leading position, the company is well positioned for the future.

This decision comes fresh on the heels of a rough morning, in which Groupon lost a quarter of its market value after an incredibly underwhelming Q4 earnings report.

But Groupon’s troubles have extended much further back than that, and most of the pressure has fallen on Mason. There was a push in the past few months to replace Mason at the helm, and stock dropped by double digits when Groupon’s board kept Mason around.

However, a Hedge Fund investment saw Groupon’s stock rise 11 percent in November, only to drop again after this morning’s report.

Mason just tweeted the following, which seems to have broken Jottit:

Here’s the entirety of his memo:

People of Groupon,
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance. The board is aligned behind the strategy we’ve shared over the last few months, and I’ve never seen you working together more effectively as a global company – it’s time to give Groupon a relief valve from the public noise.
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be – I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.
If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!
I will miss you terribly.
Love,
Andrew

Mason has been the founder and CEO of Groupon since its inception in 2008, led it through a $750 million IPO, and struggled to maintain momentum as the daily deals business began to flounder.


From: TechCrunch

HGST’s Nanotechnology Printing Breakthrough Is Great News For Data Center Storage And HDD Capacity

By Darrell Etherington HGST-1.2Tbit-cropped-2013SPIE[4]

If you’re at all familiar with mobile processors, you’ve likely heard a lot about 32nm vs. 28nm construction when comparing the current generation of chips from companies like Qualcomm and others. That refers to the size of the processor, where a smaller number is better in terms of power consumption, fitting more transistors in less space for more efficient processing.

Currently, it’s hard to get past around the 20nm when creating individual patterns for data storage on today’s disk drives, which is another area in addition to processors where Moore’s Law applies. Today though, HGST, a Western Digital Company, announced a breakthrough that allows it to produce patterns as small as 10nm, via a process called “nanolithography,” meaning that it can essentially double the current maximum storage capacity possible in hard disk drives, given the same-sized final product.

HGST’s process, which was developed in tandem with Austin, Texas-based silicon startup Molecular Imprints, Inc. doesn’t use the current prevailing photolithography tech, which is limited in how small it can go by the size of light wavelengths, which is what allows it to get to the 10nm threshold, and hopefully beyond even that in time, HGST VP of Research Currie Munce told me in an interview.

The upshot of all this is that HGST hopes to have the process ready for wide-scale commercial production by the end of the current decade, with a process that makes the resulting storage both affordable and dependable enough to be used widely by customers who need ever-increasing amounts of storage. The number of customers who fit that description is increasing rapidly, too: the advent and growth in popularity of cloud services means that big companies like Facebook, Apple and Amazon are continually building and expanding new data centers in search of greater storage capacity. HGST’s nanolithography process could double the storage capacity per square foot at any of those facilities, without having the same effect on power requirements, which is clearly an attractive proposition.

While the process looks well-suited to disk-based storage, where redundancies and workaround can account for minor imperfections at the microscopic level, Munce says that HGST nanolithography is less well-suited to the task of creating mobile processors for smartphone like those mentioned above.

“If you don’t connect the circuits properly on a processor it doesn’t work at all,” he explained. “On a hard disk drive, we can always have error connecting codes, we can always use additional signal processing to cover up a few defects in the pattern that’s created.”

Still, for HDDs and computer memory (RAM), HGST’s breakthrough could have a massive impact on cloud computing, mobile devices and the tech industry as a whole, and all within the next five to six years.

From: CunchGear

AT&T flips the 4G LTE switch in a handful of additional markets

By Robert Nelson

AT&T has announced the latest 4G LTE expansion news. This latest includes new markets in Nebraska and Texas as well as expansions in previously existing markets in Arizona, Connecticut and Texas. Diving right in with the new markets, those include Lincoln, Nebraska as well as Lubbock, Texas and Austin, Texas with the latter including parts of Marble Falls, Burnet, Bertram and Round Mountain.

att4G1

Moving over to the expansion in existing market and we begin with the Phoenix area. This coverage will now include parts of Avondale, Goodyear and Litchfield Park. Next up is dealing with Hartford County Connecticut which now includes parts of Avon, Bloomfield, Enfield, Farmington, Granby, New Britain, Simsbury, Suffield, West Hartford, Windsor and Windsor Locks. Last in terms of the expanded coverage deals with the Corpus Christi area in Texas. AT&T notes that 4G LTE coverage is now available in parts of Port Aransas, Mustang Island, Portland, Gregory, Odem, Five Points, and Bluntzer.

Bottom line, this is just another piece of the AT&T LTE network being filled out. We suppose those in any of these listed markets will be rather happy that they can make the move from 3G to LTE. This of course means that if you are in any of those areas and not carrying a handset with LTE support, now may be a good time to start considering that next upgrade — which hopefully you will be able to get sooner rather than later.

Otherwise, AT&T is still touting themselves as having the nation’s largest 4G network. It was said that this now offers coverage for 288 million people. Remember though, the AT&T 4G network is actually comprised of 4G HSPA+ and 4G LTE connectivity so speeds may vary depending on which you have. Also worth noting, AT&T allows “most” smartphone users free access to the 32,000 plus AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

[via AT&T]


AT&T flips the 4G LTE switch in a handful of additional markets is written by Robert Nelson & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

From: SlashGear

Facebook Confirms It Will Acquire Atlas Advertiser Suite From Microsoft To Close The Ad Spend Loop

By Josh Constine Facebook Atlas

After weeks of speculation and leaks, Facebook today announced it will buy the Atlas Advertiser Suite away from Microsoft. The Seattle-based Atlas team will stay put, but Facebook plans to invest in back-end scaling and better measurement to help advertisers “close the loop” and understand how their spend earns them money.

AdAge had been closely following the story and provided many leaked details, including that Microsoft had been aggressively searching for a buyer and that the price was to be less than $100 million, following previous bids in the $30 million to $50 million range. Microsoft originally acquired Atlas through a $6.2 billion purchase of its parent company aQuantive, which also owned Avenue A / Razorfish and DRIVE Performance Solutions.

Now the acquisition is official, though no price was announced.

Atlas allows advertisers to plan campaigns, buy ads, and measure their impact across the web, including on Facebook and other social properties. Facebook will gain a huge slew of clients from the deal, but and many advertisers who already work with the social network will gain a more holistic view of their marketing campaigns. By combining Atlas data with that from Nielsen and DataLogix, Facebook hopes to give businesses a way to see exactly how their Facebook ads drive on and offline spend and brand lift.

You can read the full announcement here, and we’ll have more analysis soon.

We’re pleased to announce that we have agreed to acquire the Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft. Atlas is a leader in campaign management and measurement for marketers and agencies. We believe this acquisition will benefit both marketers and users, and we’d like to explain why.

Today’s marketing environment is much more complex than it was just a few short years ago. Marketers and agencies struggle to understand how their efforts across different channels complement and strengthen each other. Consequently, they are forced to adopt siloed marketing strategies for each channel, leading to poor and inconsistent end-user experiences.

This challenge also provides an opportunity. If marketers and agencies can get a holistic view of campaign performance, they will be able to do a much better job of making sure the right messages get in front of the right people at the right time. Atlas has built capabilities that allow for this kind of measurement, and enhancing these systems will give marketers a deeper understanding of effectiveness and lead to better digital advertising experiences for consumers.

Many marketers that advertise on Facebook today use Atlas, and Atlas has been an approved partner for measurement since June. Today’s agreement brings us closer together in a way that benefits both Facebook and Atlas’ agency and marketer clients. Atlas clients should not see any change to the service they receive today, and we will continue to innovate and invest in the Atlas platform.

We plan to improve Atlas’ capabilities by investing in scaling its back-end measurement systems and enhancing its current suite of advertiser tools on desktop and mobile. We will also work to improve the user interface and functionality with the goal of making Atlas the most effective, intuitive, and powerful ad serving, management and measurement platform in the industry. Ultimately, Atlas’s powerful platform, combined with Nielsen and Datalogix, will help advertisers close the loop and compare their Facebook campaigns to the rest of their ad spend across the web on desktop and mobile.

Our belief is that measuring various touch points in the marketing funnel will help advertisers to see a more complete view of the effectiveness of their campaigns. Acquiring Atlas will be an important step towards achieving this goal.

Atlas is based in Seattle and the team will continue to operate from there. Our Seattle engineering office already drives important parts of our ad system, and we plan to substantially invest in and build out our Seattle engineering and product teams. We look forward to further building out the Atlas platform to help marketers better understand how well their campaigns perform, and to help them optimize their campaigns.

We look forward to welcoming the Atlas team.


From: TechCrunch

LOL, texting, and txt-speak: Linguistic miracles

By Ken Fisher

LONG BEACH, CA—Is texting shorthand a convenience, a catastrophe for the English language, or actually something new and special? John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University, sides with the latter. According to McWhorter, texting is actually a new form of speech, and he outlined the reasons why today at the TED2013 conference in Southern California.

We often hear that “texting is a scourge,” damaging the literacy of the young. But it’s “actually a miraculous thing,” McWhorter said. Texting, he argued, is not really writing at all—not in the way we have historically thought about writing. To explain this, he drew an important distinction between speech and writing as functions of language. Language was born in speech some 80,000 years ago (at least). Writing, on the other hand, is relatively new (5,000 or 6,000 years old). So humanity has been talking for longer than it has been writing, and this is especially true when you consider that writing skills have hardly been ubiquitous in human societies.

Furthermore, writing is typically not a reflection of casual speech. “We speak in word packets of seven to 10 words. It’s much more loose, much more telegraphic,” McWhorter said. Of course, speech can imitate writing, particularly in formal contexts like speechmaking. He pointed out that in those cases you might speak like you write, but it’s clearly not a natural way of speaking.

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From: Ars Technica

Surface Pro and Surface RT continue spreading to more markets

By Peter Bright

Microsoft is continuing to expand the availability of its two computer systems: the Surface Pro and Surface RT. The company says new markets are being added “in coming months,” starting in “late March.”

Microsoft is adding Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, and Taiwan to the twenty-odd countries the ARM-powered Surface RT tablet is already sold in. Surface Pro’s first new markets will be Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the UK. More specific information will be provided closer to the launch date.

The expansion comes after Surface Pro arrived slightly late for its US and Canada release—it was set to arrive 90 days after Surface RT but ultimately debuted more than 100 days after. Demand for the devices is still a relative mystery (despite the unavailability of certain models), and additional markets may only make this picture murkier. Ars has already reviewed the device, and we’ll continue to follow how it fares in the market as info comes out.

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From: Ars Technica

Mobile World Congress 2013: best of show

By Sean Cooper

Mobile World Congress 2013 best of show

Another Mobile World Congress has come and gone. While we weren’t treated to a mountain of device launches, as seen in previous years, we definitely all came away with some favorites. LG outed a few handsets, HTC‘s One made its first public appearance and Firefox OS made a grand entrance with additions to the new platform from a few different handset makers. And, on the wireless side, we were treated to what has to have been the biggest NFC love fest we’ve ever witnessed. Follow on past the break to check out some of our favorites from this year’s MWC, then weigh in and let us know what you think about the show.

Filed under: Cellphones, Handhelds, Peripherals, Sony, HTC, Nokia, Google, LG, HP

Comments

From: Engadget

Report Says Facebook Gifts Is Struggling With Poor Sales And Revenue

By Josh Constine Facebook Gifts Sales

A billion dollar business? Guess not. Despite lofty projections for Facebook Gifts from analysts, reporters, and me, a new report picks apart public statements from the company to suggest it earned a maximum of $1 million in Q4 2012 revenue on Gifts, and maybe a lot less. Sure, it’s early days, but Facebook may need to look elsewhere for a bottom line game changer.

Facebook launched the ability for friends to buy each other real-world Gifts in September, though it wasn’t rolled out to all U.S. users until December. That means it certainly didn’t get all of Q4 to rake in ecommerce cash. Still, it was the Christmas season, and Facebook hawked Gifts in the Birthdays sidebar and at the top of the mobile feed, plus with a big call-out to buy last-minute holiday presents.

The social network has kept the performance of Gifts close to the chest, and tried to calm hype about it. On the Q4 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:

“I do want to temper near-term expectations a little bit on revenue coming from other areas like Gifts or Graph Search…Payments and other revenue also included around $5 million from sources outside of games primarily user promoted posts and to a lesser extent from our new Gifts product. While we remain excited about the long-term potential of commerce on Facebook, current revenue from user promoted posts and Gifts is very small, and we expect 2013 contributions from these initiatives to remain very small given current run rates.”

Now thanks to competitive analysis research from Aggregift, another social gifting site, we have a better idea of what “very small” current revenue for Facebook Gifts actually looks like. Now keep in mind that Aggregift is a competitor to Facebook Gifts, but their data looks solid. I gave Facebook the chance to dispute the numbers but it ended up declining to comment

You can check out the full research report here, but essentially, of the $5 million in Q4 2012 revenue that Facebook ascribed to Promoted Posts and Gifts, a minimum of $4 million came from Promoted Posts alone. That’s because Facebook said 200,000 new Pages used them in Q4, posting an average of 4 at a minimum of $5 per post, totaling up to at least $4 million from Promoted Posts in Q4.

That’s a conservative estimate as large Pages must pay much more to show their posts to more fans in the news feed. Facebook also said 70% of Pages that use Promoted Posts become repeat customers and it already had 300,000 buyers of these ads in Q3. If just 17% of those Pages bought the average number in Q3, it would leave $0 in revenue from Gifts.

But using the bare minimum numbers for Promoted Posts, Facebook could have earned a maximum of $1 million for Gifts. At the end of November Facebook said the average amount spent per Gifts purchase was $25. While Facebook has not disclosed its revenue cut, this research uses 15% as a ballpark figure.

That means Facebook could have sold a maximum of just 267,000 Gifts in Q4.  The revenue and total sales numbers are likely a lot lower. If existing Promoted Post customers bought them again, and any Pages paid more than the $5 minimum, it would quickly whittle down Facebook’s Q4 Gift revenue from $1 million to zero.

The dealbreaker statistic is that at most, just 0.16% of Facebook’s U.S. users bought a Gift in Q4. Estimates like my now overzealous-sounding $1 billion in yearly Gifts revenue are predicated on Facebook averaging as much as one gift sale per user per year. Facebook has to find a way to make Gifts mainstream.

The somewhat disappointing stats confirm Mark Zuckerberg’s statements and might further dash hopes for Gifts to become a meaningful money-maker for the social network. They also explain why it’s been injecting new call outs to purchase them and discounts to lure in new buyers.

Last week Inside Facebook reported that Facebook appears to be scanning status updates for words about new jobs, pregnancies, and child births, and encouraging the author’s friends to buy them Gifts. Then yesterday, CNET reported that Facebook is offering some users up to $4 off a Gifts purchase of $5 or more. Meanwhile it’s launched the Facebook Gifts Card, a slice of plastic that can be loaded up with credits to physical stores like The Olive Garden and Target.

With time as Facebook learns more about commerce, Gifts could become a more natural and frequently used part of the social network. But right now, pushing so hard to get people to give Gifts instead of saying Happy Birthday or congrats on the new job feels a bit smarmy. If it’s not making hundreds of millions of dollars on Gifts, it might not be worth putting money before friends.


From: TechCrunch

iCloud e-mail “censorship” thanks to overzealous spam filtering

By Casey Johnston

Apple is apparently performing some content-based iCloud e-mail filtering, resulting in e-mails that never arrive to their intended destination. As detailed by Macworld, e-mails that included a particular phrase, even in a zipped PDF file, were prevented from getting to the intended recipient. This was regardless of whether the message was from a known sender, indicating that Apple is placing a pretty judging eye on what passes through its servers.

The issue came to light when users began noticing that e-mails with the words “barely legal teen” were having trouble arriving in their iCloud inboxes from outside senders. E-mails with the phrase in the body, an attached PDF, or a zipped attached PDF were never delivered or even returned to the sender. Instead, they simply disappeared into the ether of a nebulous black box of a filter that Apple has never made known to its iCloud customers. E-mails sent from iCloud accounts with that phrase, however, made it through, as did replies to iCloud-sent e-mails that contained the phrase.

Apple acknowledged the existence of the filter, telling Ars (and Macworld), “Occasionally, automated spam filters may incorrectly block legitimate email. If the customer feels that a legitimate message is blocked, we encourage customers to report it to AppleCare.”

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From: Ars Technica

Apple patent application details magnetic iPad stand for extra-secure mounting

By Sarah Silbert

Apple patent application details magnetic iPad stand

A recently published Apple patent reveals the design for a “magnetic tablet configured to rigidly hold a portion of the tablet device in place.” You can bet that “tablet device” is the iPad, and judging from the many photos associated with the patent, the stand is meant to mount the slate more securely than your average dock, not to mention the Smart Cover. One scenario, for instance, shows the iPad secured on top of a treadmill, while another depicts the device hanging from the roof of the car. By far the most intriguing example is two iPads connected to each other magnetically, creating a hinge between the two displays. Click through to the source link for a look at Cupertino’s other envisioned use cases for this super-strength stand — though don’t get your hopes up on seeing this design hit stores any time soon; the original patent was filed in late 2011.

Filed under: Peripherals, Tablets, Apple

Comments

Source: USPTO, Free Patents Online

From: Engadget

Motorola’s device pipeline isn’t wow, says Google CFO

By Robert Nelson

Coming by way of the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, Google’s Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President Patrick Pichette has said that upcoming products from Motorola “aren’t ‘wow’ by Google standards.” But before anyone takes that statement exactly as it sounds, Pichette did preface that by saying “Motorola has a great set of products.”

speakingmoto-580x3861

Basically, it seems as if what Motorola has in line is good, but not necessarily what Google may have been hoping for. Or for that matter, what they would have been working on. The talk also went back to the fact that when Google got Motorola, they also received a pipeline of products. We heard details of this back in January and at that time it was talk of about 12 to 18 months of product pipeline.

This of course, all leads us to the point of the X-Phone which is expected to be the first Motorola device that Google has had a bigger influence in. Unfortunately, Pichette didn’t mention anything specific about the X-Phone. Judging from his comments though, one could assume that the X-Phone is still several months out.

In addition to talk of the ‘great’ but not ‘wow’ product pipeline talk, Pichette also commented on the recent story about Google’s relationship with Samsung. You remember, the story about Samsung’s current dominance within the world of Android. Anyway there was nothing really surprising here and it was basically said that Google has a “terrific relationship” with Samsung.

[via The Verge]


Motorola’s device pipeline isn’t wow, says Google CFO is written by Robert Nelson & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

From: SlashGear

Corning says flexible Willow displays are three years out, simpler uses still expected this year

By Donald Melanson

There’s no question that Corning has had a big impact on mobile devices in recent years with its Gorilla Glass, and it’s hoping for similar success in the years ahead with its new Willow Glass technology. It looks like there’s still a bit of a wait in store before we’ll see products that fully take advantage of the glass’s bendy properties, though. Speaking with Bloomberg, Corning president James Clappin says that products with flexible displays are likely still three years out, adding that it’s now busy making “a lot of effort” to teach what it describes as “very big name” companies how to fully use the product. Clappin did reiterate the company’s earlier that we will see some products using Willow Glass as early as this year, although those will likely take the form of simpler products; he offered a flexible barrier for solar panels and a thin film behind touch panels as some examples.

Filed under: Displays, Mobile

Comments

Source: Bloomberg

From: Engadget

Stitch Fix Gets $4.75M Series A To Scale Out Its Tech-Enabled Personal Shopping Service

By Colleen Taylor katrina lake

Stitch Fix, the San Francisco-based startup that provides a subscription-based personal shopping and delivery service for women’s clothing, has closed on $4.75 million in new funding, the company tells TechCrunch.

The round, which serves as Stitch Fix’s Series A, was co-led by Baseline Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners with the participation of Western Technology Investment.

Stitch Fix has experienced some serious organic growth since it was founded back in February 2011, the company’s founder and CEO Katrina Lake told me in an interview this week, which you can watch in the video embedded above. The company has now served more than 10,000 clients, and has grown its own team to a staff of 50. Meanwhile, its revenue growth has been on a tear, with its annual sales run rate today double what it was just two months ago, in December 2012.

The new funding is meant to put some more fuel on that fire, Lake said, enabling Stitch Fix to hire more staff and further grow its inventory, logistical components, product offerings, and general reach. The company currently has a waitlist of people who are keen to use the service, so this should help the company scale up to accommodate the demand.

Personal styling has been around for a long time, but it’s typically a very expensive and high-friction thing, with each stylist spending hours on just one client. Stitch Fix has created a proprietary set of technology and tools that lets its small team be much more efficient, bringing the cost of personal styling much closer to earth. The average price point of Stitch Fix clothing is $65, Lake says.

Essentially, Stitch Fix operates like a clothing version of Pandora, the personalized radio app — the idea is it gets better the more you use it. It works like this: A new user goes to the Stitch Fix website and fills out a basic form with details about her body shape, size, personal style, and budget. She also rates photos of clothing items and accessories to give Stitch Fix even more of an idea of her taste.

Then, a Stitch Fix stylist uses the provided data to select and ship a box of five items for the user to try on. The user keeps and pays for the items she likes and sends back the ones that she doesn’t (a $20 per box styling fee goes toward any purchases, but is kept by Stitch Fix if the user sends everything back.) The company keeps track of what each user keeps and returns, to further hone its individual client profiles — hence the Pandora Radio analogy. Stitch Fix sources its products just like a department store does, with its own team of buyers and inventory.

It’s a really clever business model that has been embraced by the early-adopting fashion blogger set from the start. It’ll be exciting to see how the company grows further into the mainstream now that it has some nice outside funding in its coffers.

Katrina Lake swung by TechCrunch TV this week to discuss the new funding and Stitch Fix’s technology. She also gave me a hands-on look at how Stitch Fix works by bringing along a box that was put together just for me (although I didn’t actually keep the clothes — darn journalistic ethics!) You can check that out in the video embedded above.


From: TechCrunch

John Battelle Returns As CEO At Federated Media, Deanna Brown Steps Down

By Anthony Ha john battelle

Online advertising company Federated Media just announced that current CEO Deanna Brown is stepping down, while founder and former CEO John Battelle will be taking on the role again.

The company says that Battelle and Brown will be working together during March “to ensure a seamless transition.” Brown joined Federated in 2009 as president and chief operating officer, and replaced Battelle as CEO a little more than a year later.

Brown said in the press release that she’ll be announcing a new venture in a couple of weeks.

In a post on his own blog, Battelle offers more details on the decision. He says that Brown told him earlier this year that she wanted to work on “something smaller and more directly related to content creation,” and they discussed possible replacements:

And then it hit me – quite literally in mid-sentence while on a Board call. Why the hell don’t I simply step back in? I love this company, I am passionate about the Independent Web, and to be honest, I see a huge opportunity in front of us. What am I, nuts? Why didn’t I think of it the moment Deanna told me of her decision?

Battelle notes that one of the reasons he stepped back from a day-to-day role at FM was to focus writing a book and running conferences like the Web 2.0 Summit. He’s still going to work on those outside projects, but he says he’s going to bringing on a co-author for the book and hiring someone to work full-time on the conferences.

Federated Media started out as an ad network for blogs (in fact, it was TechCrunch’s main ad partner during the site’s early years), and while it still runs standard ads on the network, over time it has placed bigger emphasis on custom campaigns and “conversational marketing.” As for where FM goes from here, Battelle says it’s still his “first love” and “at the height of its running narrative”:

I am utterly convinced that the media company of tomorrow will have both a technology-driven programmatic foundation, as well as the ability to execute bespoke, beautiful ideas on behalf of the entire media ecosystem – creators, marketers, and communities. When you bring the scale and precision of data-driven platforms to the brilliance of great media executions, magic will happen. Delivering on that vision for the Independent Web is the mission of Federated Media Publishing.


From: TechCrunch

The New Dyson AM05 Is The Darth Vader Of Space Heaters

By John Biggs AM05 Black Hero

Beautiful design and utility are, in many ways, paramount when it comes to home electronics. That’s why I was really impressed by the the new AM05 space heater/cooler from Dyson. It’s a completely quiet, blade-less system that comes in a black and nickel color scheme that looks like it fell off of Boba Fett’s Slave 1.

The AM05 is the successor to the AM04 and is 33% more powerful. It has a stock simple remote control, a nice front temperature readout, and a tilting head. In short, it’s a Dyson product – a little expensive ($399 for a fan is wild), a little weird, and a lot high tech.

I tested the device a bit over the past few days and it works a treat. Setting the heater in my cold attic filled the room up with hot air immediately and it looks and feels far safer than similar heaters. This is a fan I’d trust, say, in the kids’ room.

Why is this on TechCrunch? There are a few companies with both design and technology chops. Sonos comes to mind as does Apple. Bang & Olufsen are also in that category. But I think what’s most important about a company like Dyson is that they took commodity hardware and made it alluring. Who hasn’t gone to Target and looked at some off-brand vacuum and stacked it up against the surprisingly expensive yet strangely beautiful Dyson. I like when Dyson makes new stuff because it proves that there are people out there still thinking about the future of things that suck and blow.

From: CunchGear

“In The Studio,” Skillshare’s Michael Karnjanaprakorn Talks Platforms And Marketplaces

By Semil Shah skillshare

Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is a contributor to TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

“In the Studio” welcomes a first-time founder with a diverse set of experiences — ranging from economics to advertising, from product management to design, and from startup CEO to advisor of a venture capital firm — who now is at the helm of one of the most interesting online education startups on the web today.

Michael Karnjanaprakorn, founder and CEO of Skillshare, has taken on the difficult work of launching an online/offline marketplace that also happens to be in one of the most competitive and dynamic industries today: online education. After working at Behance and Hot Potato, Karnajanaprakorn had the idea to start Skillshare as a way for people to teach and/or learn from others in real-world settings. Recently, Skillshare has opened online courses as well, is already revenue-positive, and while facing competition in a hot category, is well-positioned to scale because of the company’s platform and marketplace model. Karnjanaprakorn is a man of many talents, so that in the rare moments he’s not fully working on Skillshare, he’s an advisor to Collaborative Fund, is a TED Fellow, and was named one of the most 100 creative people by Fast Company. I usually wouldn’t care about such lists, but I think Michael deserves to be on that one.

In this video, we focus our discussion about the lessons Karnjanaprakorn and his colleagues face in building a platform and an online marketplace from scratch, how they solved the classic “chicken-or-the egg” problem many marketplaces face, how they viewed reaching liquidity as quickly as possible, how to prime the market, how to think about scale, how to build and prioritize the right tools for teachers and students, and a host of other lessons that would be relevant to anyone trying to build and/or maintain an online marketplace. He is a great person to learn from given his reflective nature and, in my opinion, Skillshare is well-positioned to build one of the premier online education platforms the world desperately needs.


From: TechCrunch

The Engadget Podcast is live tonight at 3:30PM!

By Brian Heater

Yeah, we’re on a bit earlier today. Some of us have families to get back to, after all. Yeesh. Also, we just couldn’t wait to talk about all of the news that’s come out of Mobile World Congress in the past week. Join Tim, Brian and our old/new colleague Peter Rojas at 3:30 sharp(ish) just after the break.

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From: Engadget

Responsive Design Framework Foundation 4 Goes Mobile-First, Switches From jQuery To Zepto

By Frederic Lardinois foundation4-square1

Product design company ZURB just launched the fourth version of Foundation, its responsive design framework that directly competes with Bootstrap. The new version, ZURB tells us, has been completely rewritten from a mobile-first perspective. The company says this “empowers a designer to reverse their thinking ” and lets you “design for the mobile experience before you design for the desktop one.”

In addition to a number of other new features, the Foundation team also decided to switch away from jQuery and use the smaller and lighter Zepto.js library instead. ZURB says this is meant to ensure “that pages load quickly and efficiently given our mobile focus.” Given that Zepto is API-compatible with jQuery, developers can always switch back to the jQuery library, too.

The team also made changes to how the developers and designers that use the framework write their code. In previous versions of Foundation – just like in Bootstrap – developers would write code that focused very specifically on the layout of the page (think

). Now, in Foundation 4, these presentational classes have been replaced by a more semantic approach (
,
, etc.) that moves the definition of the layout into the SCSS definitions.

Foundation 4 also features more mix-ins and placeholder classes, but besides the new semantic markup, the main difference from the last version is a focus on being mobile-first. This, ZURB partner and design lead Jonathan Smiley told me earlier today, means that ” the media queries in Foundation that determine what device sees which layout are reversed, meaning that you’re building the simple, mobile device layout first.”

Typically, developers build the mobile page first, but in this approach, he told me, you start with the mobile version and then “make the conscious decision to make the layout more complex and powerful as the devices used for the site become more full featured, have larger screens, etc.”

All of these changes obviously mean that you can’t just upgrade from version 3 to 4. ZURB has written an extensive migration guide for existing users, which should make the transition relatively painless (and you don’t have to upgrade, of course).


From: TechCrunch

Samsung denies any involvement in UK judge recruitment

By Craig Lloyd

Earlier today, we reported that Samsung allegedly hired the UK judge that forced Apple to publicly apologize over patent infringement that it committed against the Korean-based company, saying that the judge, Sir Robin Jacob, could help the company out with its lawsuit with Ericsson due to his patent expertise. However, Samsung has denied that they were involved with hiring Jacob.

samsung_galaxy_s_III_review_sg_7-580x4311111

Samsung says that “Sir Robin Jacob is not a legal representative of Samsung Electronics,” but he is now a contractor for “a law firm that represents Samsung Electronics in its case against Ericsson.” In other words, Jacob doesn’t work for Samsung, and he had no interaction with Samsung during the hiring process. He was merely hired by the law firm that represents Samsung.

Jacob is now a retired judge, but his expertise will no doubt prove useful for any law firm or company he works for. However, it’s possible that his patent expertise was one of the main reasons he was hired by this law firm, and that his main duties in this law firm will be working with Samsung, which in turn is about as close as you can get to working for a company without actually being an employee of theirs.

Obviously, we already know what side Jacob is one as far as the battle between Apple and Samsung, so there’s no doubt that Jacob would be a good fit in representing Samsung in any future court battles, but it may still shake a few feathers from competitors, including Apple. However, we’ll have to wait and see what Jacob’s roll will be in the coming future.


Samsung denies any involvement in UK judge recruitment is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear.
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