Inspirations

  • Gift Guide: The best books for 2020 recommended by VCs and TechCrunch writers (Part 1)

    Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’re here to help! We’ll be rolling out gift guides from now through the end of December. You can find our other guides right here. This is Part 1 of the Best Books gift guide. Part 2 with even more selections will be posted shortly. 2020 was a tough year for all of us, but a strong one for books (how often do you get to say that?). Sales are up, driven by lockdowns, boredom, and the need for escape. Yet, 2020 also felt like a watershed year for media in general, a time when we started to deeply question the value of real-time communications driven by fear. Books are no guaranteed antidote to the daily grind of the information economy, but they do provide room for readers and authors to breathe, to take stock of where we are and where we are going. Not in the moment, but of the moment. Whether that means escaping into the lives of fictional characters on another planet, or understanding the ...

  • Discovery will launch its own streaming service on January 4

    Discovery is the latest media company to launch a standalone streaming service — and the latest to adopt the simple naming strategy of just adding a plus sign — with discovery+, set to launch in the United States on January 4, 2021. While Discovery doesn’t have the name recognition of (say) Disney/Disney+, it’s pitching the service as “the definitive streaming service for the best real life entertainment in the world,” with 55,000 episodes at launch drawn from Discovery networks like HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. It’s also struck a deal with A&E Networks to feature content from A&E, The History Channel and Lifetime. And of course there will be original programming, including several “90 Day Fiancé” spinoffs, the U.S. premiere of the BBC series “A Perfect Planet,” a topiary competition series (with Martha Stewart as lead judge) called “Clipped,” a Kevi...

  • With Hyperforce, Salesforce lets you move your data to any public cloud

    For much of its existence, Salesforce was a cloud service on its own with its own cloud resources available for its customers, but as the company and cloud computing in general has evolved, Salesforce has moved some of its workloads to other clouds like AWS, Azure and Google. Now, it wants to allow customers to do the same. To help facilitate that, the company announced Hyperforce today at its Dreamforce customer conference, a new architecture designed from the ground up to help customers deliver workloads to the public cloud of choice. The idea behind Hyperforce is to enable customers to take all of the data in what Salesforce calls Customer 360 — that’s the company’s detailed view of the customer across channels, Salesforce products and even other systems outside the Salesforce family — and be able to store that in whichever public cloud you want in whatever region you happen to operate. For now, they are in India and Germany, but there are plans to add suppo...

  • From surviving to thriving as a hardware startup

    Nils Mattisson Contributor Share on Twitter Formerly at Apple, Nils Mattisson is now CEO and co-founder of smart home tech company Minut. More posts by this contributor The road to recurring revenue for hardware startups When a friend forwarded this tweet from Paul Graham, it hit close to home: Startups are subject to something like infant mortality: before they’re established, one thing going wrong can kill the company. Hardware companies seem to be subject to infant mortality their whole lives. I think the reason is that the evolution of the product is so discontinuous. The company has to keep shipping, and customers to keep buying, new products. Which in practice is like relaunching the company each time. I don’t know if there is an answer to this, but if there were a way for hardware companies to evolve more the way software companies do, they’d be a lot more resilient. Looking back on o...

  • Okay nabs funding from Sequoia to build performance dashboards for engineering managers

    Amid the pandemic, workplace cultures have been turned on their heads. Meanwhile investment and growth haven’t slowed for many tech companies, requiring them to still onboard new engineering managers even while best practices for remote management are far from codified. Because of remote work habit shifts, plenty of new tools have popped up to help engineers be more productive, or quickly help managers interface with direct-reports more often. Okay is taking a more observatory route, aiming to give managers dashboards that quantify the performance of their teams so that they can get a picture of where they have room to improve. The startup, which launched out of Y Combinator earlier this year, tells TechCrunch they’ve raised $2.2 million in funding led by Sequoia and are launching the open beta of their service. Co-founders Antoine Boulanger and Tomas Barreto met while working at Box — Boulanger as a senior director of engineering and Barreto as a VP of engineering. ...