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07.15.16 | 7:23 am

How political cartoonists reacted to the Nice terror attack

10.27.16 | an hour ago

Airbnb’s female employee representation declined this year, though it doubled the number of women in leadership roles

Airbnb's latest diversity report is a mixed picture: Though ethnic diversity increased in 2016 (to 57% white, from 63% white last year), its gender diversity declined (to 43% female, from 46% female last year). But the company highlighted that the number of women working in senior leadership roles has doubled, and it aims to increase its overall diversity next year (currently the workforce is 6.5% Hispanic and 2.9% black). It adopted a new policy that mandates that candidate pools for all senior positions include women and people of color. 

10.27.16 | an hour ago

Twitter will lay off 9% of its workforce

Twitter reported its third-quarter 2016 financial results on Thursday. Amid continued sluggish user growth (just a 3% increase over last year), Twitter announced it would lay off 9% of its total workforce, or about 350 people, in order to cut costs.

Twitter's total monthly active users grew slightly to 317 million, with 67 million of those users in the U.S. The vast majority (83%) of total users were mobile. 

Twitter reported slight increases in the amount of time users spent on the service daily and in the total number of tweet impressions. The company attributed these gains to product improvements, including updates to the timeline to show relevant tweets first and improved push notifications.

In a shareholder letter, the company teased more product changes to come:

And finally, we will make Tweeting easier and more meaningful by providing more context and letting people not only broadcast to the world but also have deeper, open conversations about the topics they care about. Expect to see more experimentation in this area soon. 

CEO Jack Dorsey began a morning call with investors by noting that he would not comment on recent reports that Twitter would soon be sold. 

10.27.16 | an hour ago

Apple’s MacBook launch: live stream, start time, and more

Today, we'll all be watching Apple's big "Hello Again" keynote presentation, where the company is expected to reveal the new MacBook Pro, an updated 13-inch MacBook Air, as well as a performance update for the iMac. The keynote kicks off this morning at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, and Fast Company will keep you updated with all the latest news. Here are the details:

• Start time: 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. Pacific)

• Watch the live stream here. 

10.27.16 | 2 hours ago

Qualcomm to buy NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion

Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of chips for cell phones, will buy NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion in cash. The huge deal enables Qualcomm to expand into other areas, such as electronics in cars, just as growth starts to slow in the smartphone market, reports Bloomberg. Investors seem happy with the move: "As a long-term investor, I would much rather have a more diverse company that has the potential to participate in new markets and probably grow significantly more than it would in a mobile-only world," Sid Parakh, a fund manager at Becker Capital Management, tells Bloomberg.

10.27.16 | 3 hours ago

Obamacare 2017 by the numbers: higher rates, fewer choices, and growing frustration

Open enrollment for and state-run Obamacare exchanges begins on Tuesday, and for many customers who had been fearing the worst, the news won't be good. Premiums are set to rise in the double digits in many parts of the country, while the number of insurance providers participating in the program will decline in many markets. In five states—Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming—consumers will have only one insurance company to choose from for 2017 plans. That's up from just one state this year.

The Obama administration stresses that the vast majority of customers who sign up for the plans will qualify for a tax subsidy to lower their premiums. 

Below are some key facts for 2017. Enrollment begins November 1 and continues through January 31.  


10.26.16 | 6:50 pm

Evening intel: Tesla’s profitable, Snapchat’s going to IPO, Groupon acquires its struggling competitor

• On a third-quarter earnings call, Elon Musk said he expects Tesla to remain profitable in Q4—even accounting for non-stock-based compensation. 

• Snapchat wants to raise $4 billion in a 2017 IPO. Bloomberg estimates a public offering could yield a valuation of anywhere from $25 billion to $40 billion for the social platform.

Groupon announced it is acquiring its competitor LivingSocial. The company's stock dropped 11.2% in after-hours trading.   

• It looks like Apple's AirPods are behind schedule. The wireless headphones were scheduled for late October, but haven't arrived. No word on when they'll come out.

Tom Hanks or Bill Murray? The yawning subject of a viral photograph circling the web has people confused over whether it's Tom Hanks or Bill Murray. We'll let you decide

10.26.16 | 4:55 pm

Snapchat wants a $4B IPO in 2017

The hot Los Angeles video messaging app company has already chosen Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to lead the offering, Bloomberg reports. Snapchat has gradually opened its platform to advertisers, who have lined up, and paid high dollar, to advertise to app's young audience. 

Bloomberg's sources say the IPO could value Snapchat in the $25 billion to $35 billion range. One person said it could go as high as $40 billion. Based on current valuations, a Snapchat IPO would be the biggest for a social media company since Twitter went public in 2013.

10.26.16 | 4:42 pm

Twitter’s testing reply tweets that don’t count usernames against the 140-character limit

If you use Twitter much, you've no doubt been frustrated by the fact that when you reply to someone's tweet, their username–@something–counts against the 140 characters you have to send a pithy response. That's especially a problem in a thread with numerous people since those characters can add up fast, restricting how many bon mots you can use to add your two cents.

That convention may be out the window soon. Techcrunch is reporting that Twitter is testing a new system in which user names don't count against the 140 character limit in replies. It's not clear when this would be rolled out to everyone. Count me, even as a Twitter purist, who's eager for this one, just as I was for not counting embedded images against my precious 140 characters.

10.26.16 | 4:35 pm

Like the Pixel phone’s camera? Thank Alphabet’s X moonshot factory

Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D conference, Astro Teller, the "captain of moonshots" at Alphabet's X lab, says that if you judge his group by the impact of its works in progress—such as self-driving cars—you're doing it all wrong. That's because X's mission is to get wild ideas up and running, and then "graduate" them by spinning them off into entities that can steer them through to commercial availability.

As an example, he gave a product I didn't even know that X had a hand in: Google's new Pixel phone, which has received excellent reviews for camera quality. Turns out that X had a low-profile group working on computational photography. When it became clear that it made more sense to pursue it as a smartphone technology than for a standalone camera, the team went to work on the Pixel phone—and their effort paid off, even though X didn't get the glory.  

10.26.16 | 4:28 pm

Apple needs “a little more time” to get AirPods ready for market

We've been very bullish on the AirPod headphones since their announcement in September. Not so much for the audio and the wireless capabilities, but for their potential as a vehicle for Siri. Apple said in September it would release the product in late October but now says it needs some more time—it didn't say how much time—to get the product ready for customers. 

In the wake of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 nightmare, such conservatism sounds like a good thing. Still, it begs the question: What exactly is wrong in the AirPods that's preventing them from going on sale? Apple isn't saying. I've had a little bit of hands-on time with the product, but not enough time to see any serious pairing or software issues. Let's hope the Apple engineers work out the problems in time for the holiday season. 

10.26.16 | 4:17 pm

Tesla earnings: A pleasant surprise and self-driving cars for all  

Tesla had GAAP earnings of $0.14 per share on revenue of $22 million for the quarter. That's above the $0.04 per share more optimistic analysts were expecting. Non-GAAP earnings were even higher— $0.71 per share on sales of $111 million. Tesla recently made changes to its accounting and investors were nervous it would lead to low returns. The pleasant surprise has the carmakers stock is up almost 7% in after-hours trading. Here are additional takeaways from its quarterly statement.

Tesla is inching toward its 500K goal. This quarter Tesla produced 25,185 cars. But it will have to grow that quarterly rate significantly if it plans on making the volume goals it set for itself in a little over a year from now. The company has stated it will  produce 500,000 cars in 2018. 

On track for 50K cars delivered in second half of 2016. The company delivered a little over 24,000 cars this quarter and expects to meet its goal of 50,000 cars delivered by the end of the year. 

Self-driving cars for all. All the cars Tesla is producing right now will come with self-driving enabled hardware.  

Capital expenditures expected to hit $1.8B for the year. Tesla is doubling the size of its Fremont factory and building out its massive battery factory in Nevada. Add in ramped up car production and that means big spending for Tesla.

10.26.16 | 3:38 pm

Why the heck does Donald Trump have a Walk of Fame star, anyway? It’s not the reason you think

Following news this morning that Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was smashed to pieces by an ax-wielding vandal, I couldn't help but wonder why the face of The Apprentice has been honored with a star in the first place. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which bestows the sidewalk honors, has generally not been kind to the reality TV genre. A few years ago, it made it a point to mention that it doesn't even have a category for reality TV after Kanye West complained that his reality-star wife, Kim Kardashian, didn't have a star. 

So why Trump and not Kim? According to Ana Martinez, the Walk of Fame's spokeswoman, it's not the reason you think. "He was selected for his producer job for his Miss Universe shows," she tells me in an email. 

Still, Trump was honored in 2007, at the height of his Apprentice fame, so the timing is curious. Either way, the chamber said it will repair the star immediately.  

[Photo: Flickr user halbag]