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01.25.17 | 5:21 pm

This startup is breaking e-commerce out of the shopping cart

Buy buttons whizzing by in social feeds have so far failed to get people to shop outside of traditional online shopping carts. But a company called Button may have figured out a way to get people buying in places we wouldn't necessarily expect to make a purchase. The company's technology serves up opportunities to buy things where it's clear they're interested in a product. For example, Button is what helps you book an Uber from Foursquare or a hotel while reading an article about Palm Springs. Its partners include Uber, Huffington Post, Foursquare, Boxed, Doordash, Jet.com, Groupon, and Ticketmaster.

"What we want to do is identify the moments where intent to buy is highest," says Mike Jaconi, CEO. Button isn't yet profitable, but it reports earning tens of millions in revenue. Today, the company announced a new $20 million funding round from Norwest Venture Partners that it will use to grow its presence in Europe and Asia. To date it has raised $34 million.

03.23.17 | 39 minutes ago

Bob Iger agrees to stick around. Disney magic ensues.

Shares of the Walt Disney Company jumped today on the news that CEO Bob Iger has extended his contract to July 2019. Iger had planned to step down a year earlier. His imminent departure and the lack of an apparent successor are worrying investors at a time when Disney-owned ESPN and the rest of the legacy cable business are facing challenges from the rise of streaming.

03.23.17 | an hour ago

Senate votes to allow Verizon, Comcast, et al., to collect your personal information without permission

The Senate Thursday voted 50-48 to repeal an Obama administration FCC rule limiting the gathering of customer data by internet service providers. Big ISPs like Verizon and Comcast will now be able to collect personal browsing data on the users they connect to the internet without first asking their permission. The resolution must now be voted on by the GOP-controlled House.

Research shows that Americans are increasingly concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information, as data theft by hackers continues to accelerate. The bulk collection of browsing data provides another massive target for hackers, who steal large blocks of data and sell it on the dark web to those who combine it with other data to complete the identities of potential victims.

Wireless and wired internet service providers have for years sought to buffer their low-growth broadband businesses by selling user data to data brokers who sell ad-targeting data to advertisers. 

03.23.17 | 3 hours ago

With reactions and mentions, Facebook Messenger will feel even more like a social network 

Facebook's Messenger—which recently introduced Messenger Day, a share-your-life feature akin to "Stories" as seen on Snapchat and Instagram—is adding two additional capabilities aimed at optimizing the service for group conversations rather than just chatting with one friend at a time:

• Similar to their counterparts in Facebook's own app, reactions let you quickly respond to a specific message with an emoji-like icon, representing "love," "smile," "wow," "sad," "angry," "yes," or "no." (That last one isn't available on Facebook itself.)

Mentions let you reference friends by typing an @ sign and their user name, just as you can on Twitter and Facebook. If you do, they'll receive a notification so they can join the discussion.

03.23.17 | 3 hours ago

After hitting a few speed bumps, Hyperloop One hires some Republicans to lobby the Trump administration 

The high-speed transport company still reeling from a nasty lawsuit involving allegations of harassment and threats recently hired a few former GOP congressional staffers with Jochum Shore & Trossevin to lobby for them in Washington, D.C., reports Recode's Tony Romm.

Read the full story here.

03.23.17 | 4 hours ago

Cambridge Satchel Co.’s founder is committed to British manufacturing in a post-Brexit world

The choice to leave the European Union impacted British manufacturing because it reduced the access to the European market, one of Britain's most important trading partners. Cambridge Satchel Company's founder and CEO, Julie Deane, is working hard to highlight the value of British manufacturing. The brand's classic leather bags, which suddenly became a fashion icon in the last decade, are all made in the U.K. The brand has recently partnered with Brompton Bicycles, which also manufactures in the U.K., on a collaboration of bags and fold-up bikes in matching colors. 

03.23.17 | 4 hours ago

School is in: NBCUniversal is going to teach YouTubers how to create viral content  

Sometimes you need to show the kids how it's done. NBCUniversal is reportedly going to be the first major media company to take part in YouTube's NextUp educational program, a weeklong training session for qualifying YouTube creators. Variety reports that NBCU execs will help teach emerging YouTubers how to create content that drives more engagement. Now, before you laugh, remember that SNL has being going viral since 1975. Read more from Variety here.

Photo: Flickr user Tech.Co

03.23.17 | 4 hours ago

Analyst: New safety features could make Tesla’s Model 3 ten times safer than the average car on the road

The highly anticipated car will feature hardware and software that "provide a level of active safety that could significantly lead all other cars on sale today and could, if the company achieves its goal, be an order of magnitude (i.e., 10x) safer than the average car on the road," writes Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas. "Look for safety to be the 'ah-hah!' moment for this car due to launch this year." 

He also predicts that Tesla's Model Y (small SUV) will "very likely" be its highest-selling model. Maybe anticipating the positive note, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk bought 95,420 shares of the company's stock on Friday.

Photo: Tesla

03.23.17 | 4 hours ago

Here’s what happened when a U.K. journalist tried to help a refugee open a bank account

U.K. journalist Simon Neville took a refugee to banks, hoping to help him maneuver the bureaucracy. He's been live-tweeting the saga, which is at once depressing and infuriating. Here are a few tidbits from the saga:

I'd also encourage you to read the entire thread from the beginning. Fast Company's Ainsley Harris recently wrote about the perils of migrants seeking bank accounts. There are some tech solutions for this problem, she writes. 

03.23.17 | 9:25 am

Bedsheet startup Syona Home goes to extreme lengths to ensure its cotton is ethical

The cotton supply chain is full of devastating stories, as I describe in my recent article,"Did People Suffer For Your Cotton Shirt?" And even brands that want to source ethical cotton often can't be sure what they're getting, since the global supply chain is so fragmented and complicated.

Syona Home, a company founded by an Indian couple who have spent the past few decades working for Microsoft in Seattle, wanted to make sure their cotton bedsheets were suffering-free. They ended up partnering with Chetna Organic, a co-op that helps thousands of farmers harvest cotton without harmful chemical pesticides and pool their resources to create schools and hospitals that benefit the community. But they weren't content to take the co-op's word for it: They spent months in India going through each step of the supply chain, asking workers about their lives and workings conditions. "As Indians ourselves, we were equipped to verify the conditions on the ground, and so we felt the responsibility to do so," cofounder Sukanta Nanda, explains. 

03.23.17 | 9:23 am

The UN’s HeForShe movement just made feminist dolls for boys

HeForShe, a UN initiative to bring boys and men into the fight for gender equality, just partnered with a toy startup called Boy Story to create two dolls for boys. They're using the term "doll" rather than "action figure" strategically, to challenge prejudices around boys playing with dolls. The two figures, named Billy and Mason, encourage boys to learn nurturing, emotional intelligence, and empathy. They are 18" tall, about the size of a large American Girl doll, and cost $99 each. 

 

03.23.17 | 7:25 am

Facebook has more 18-year-old male users than there are living on Earth today

That mind-numbing bit of demographic insight was revealed by Simon Kemp at TNW after he sifted through a massive amount of the platform's global audience statistics. His primary hypotheses for just how Facebook could have more 18-year-old males than actually exist are:

1. Younger users over-stating their real age in order to appear to be of 'legal age' in their respective country; or
2. Older people under-stating their age to a 'golden number', in order to appear younger than they really are, potentially for reasons of vanity.

Whatever the case, he points out that the factually impossible demographics could have big implications for advertisers. Besides the 18-year-old male imbalance, Kemp's piece offers a lot of other interesting insights into Facebook's demographics.

03.23.17 | 6:55 am

Major advertisers including AT&T and Verizon have stopped advertising on YouTube

Both companies have joined others, including Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, the Guardian, U.K. supermarket giant Sainsbury's, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Havas, in halting their ads on YouTube and on Google's display network after it became known the search giant was running ads next to extremist content, reports Bloomberg.

After the U.K.'s Times raised the alarm, Google introduced new tools to better allow advertisers to choose what content their ads display next to. However, a spokesperson for AT&T suggests that is not enough: "We are deeply concerned that our ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content promoting terrorism and hate. Until Google can ensure this won't happen again, we are removing our ads from Google's non-search platforms."