Category: General Page 2 of 4

What happens in Vegas…

Gets the heck out of Vegas. At least if it’s money from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s utopian pipe-dream.

Five years ago, fresh off a $1.2B acquisition by Amazon, Hsieh immediately poured $350m of his net worth into an initiative called Downtown Project.

The goal: To turn downtown Las Vegas into “the most community-focused large city in the world” through $50m+ investments in startups, real estate, the arts, and a giant praying mantis that shoots fire from its antennae.

Too much Burning Man, not enough City Planner Man

Apart from being an undoubtedly successful startup leader, Hsieh is also an avid festival-goer. In fact, out of their total $86.6m recurring annual impact, $77.7m comes from their 3-day Life is Beautiful festival.

But, based on Downtown Project’s newly released economic impact report, the estimated $500m they’ve invested thus far has created fewer than 2k jobs.

Not exactly great news for the impact of the other 362 days.

Still, dreamers gotta dream…

And you can’t knock the vision or the dedication to the community. Heck, Hsieh even moved from a luxury apartment to a trailer park with his 2 pet alpacas to “maximize serendipity and randomness in [his] life.”

Revitalizing a city, however, takes a lot more than investing a bunch of money and hoping everyone is down with “PLUR.”

Venture… environmentalist

Patagonia’s VC fund (named Tin Shed Ventures after the company’s humble beginnings), is looking to invest $75m in companies that can replicate their success.

Now, they’re sticking with their roots. Not just in name, but by weighing a company’s environmental impact over short-term profit.

Yes, those really are their roots

It’s not just feel-good marketing. Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, started selling mountain climbing gear out of a tin shack.

Then, right in the midst of a business boom, he changed his core product to be less damaging to the mountain, despite it costing him almost 70% in sales.

And, 40 years later, it’s certainly paid off — Patagonia’s currently doing $800m in annual revenue.

And since it worked before…

They’re betting it’ll work again. The VC fund is investing in companies with transparent supply chains, and tracking metrics like “toxins averted,” and CO2 reduced, not just returns.

Tin Shed estimate their investments in things like buffalo ranches and textile companies saved the planet 13k tons of CO2 just this year.

But how about those returns?

The rock hugging firm hasn’t released valuations for its investments, so there’s no way of knowing if it’s working out like they hoped.

However, the fund’s managing director says their portfolio companies have a 100% survival rate, and have seen double-digit increases in valuations.

Smithfield’s using the whole animal

Last week, Smithfield Foods the world’s largest pork producer (valued at $14B), announced that it will explore a new business angle: Using its pigs for medical purposes like organ transplants.

So instead of putting their pork in hot dogs…

They’re putting it in people

Wait, that came out wrong. New genetic breakthroughs (i.e., CRISPR) could make it possible to use pig organs, like hearts or lungs, for human transplant.

Which sounds weird and gross, but would be a literal lifesaver for the 118k patients waiting months or even years for an available organ in the US.

Smithfield maintains that they are a food company first but, as of this month, they’ve also launched a separate segment, Smithfield Bioscience, to oversee all things medical.

They’re also part of a “public-private-tissue-engineering consortium” with $80m in grant funding from the US Department of Defense.

It isn’t just some PR bologna — it’s a lucrative market

The market for pork byproducts used for non-food purposes is already $100B in the US alone, not factoring in the potential for xenotransplants (animal-to-human).

And, since researchers and healthcare companies currently buy parts through third parties, Smithfield stands to do pretty well for themselves if they start selling direct from their farms.

That is, if someone like George Church, a leading xenoplant researcher, doesn’t do it first. His company eGenesis Bio just raised $38m in venture funding for the sole purpose of growing pig organs for human transplant.


To live we will discuss about that  solar water heater there is a container  and there is a water tank this is a  solar water container this is a water  tank in which we have a water which will  be at the higher height from this solar  water container  these will be connected with a pipe this  water tank will supply the water to this  solar container  and this container is connected by means  of pipes  these are the pipes from which our water  will be circulate from the container  and this is the ending point of the file  these are the connecting pipes  this point will be for worm pipe warm  water which will go to outside then  water will be warmed in the solar  container  what will happen when sunrays will fall  on that  these pipe these are the surveys when  some rays will fall on the pipes  despite is made up of copper copper is  the heat conducting material.

So larger  heat will be conducted by the pipes and  the cooling water will come through this  container cooling water will come  through this container this water will  be come and after taking heat it will be  converted into  heated water the red points are shown  that the heat exchange will be takes  place and these red dots will be created  by the heat exchanger and the container  and this container will see by the warm  water there will be warm water in the  upper side of the  the cooling water will takes place after.

This this process will be going on by  the natural therapy vessel therapy  national therapy when sun rays will be  strike on the water the density of the  water will be low and the water will be  go towards the upper side because the  density or heat in water will be less  than the density of cooling water so  natural cooling for natural flowing  takes place in the fight pulling water  will come from the container and the  heated water will go up in the container  and the warm water will be comes out  from this file so this is the working of  solar water heater which we use in the  house thank you  and after this  there will be a pipe for filling the  container time to time  thank you.

It all started with a Google search

Payal Kadakia, an avid dancer since the age of 3, had a hard time finding dance classes in New York City.

So, in 2011, she launched Classtivity, an online search engine kind of like OpenTable, but for fitness. There was only one problem… no one was using it.

She pivoted and rebranded to ClassPass, an app-based subscription that allows users to try classes from tons of locations, from yoga studios to boxing gyms, without having to buy separate memberships.

Since then, fitness junkies in 31 US cities have booked over 20m classes through the app, the company’s raised over $84m, and were predicted to do over $180m in sales in 2016.

‘Cash Cab’ sans cash

So… just a cab? Yeah, but this one’s different. Earlier this month, a group of ex-Udacity employees announced they were creating yet another new self-driving taxi company called Voyage.

Wait, isn’t Udacity that site that does online courses?

Yep. But these particular employees were the ones behind their open source, self-driving car curriculum, plus they already have working prototypes, so it’s not like they’re starting from scratch (they promise they’re not using any of their students’ code).

And here’s the twist: It’s gonna be free

Or at least, that’s what they’re “aiming for,” according to tweets from CEO, Oliver Cameron. He’s hinted that Voyage has a secret weapon up their sleeves in the form of free, ad-supported transportation.

Granted, it’s speculative but, it would likely work in the same way that Facebook and Google offer “free” services to people in exchange for targeted advertising.

So imagine a self-driving car that picks you up at home, shows you an ad for a new lunch place next to your office, and then drops you off at work.

Ridesharing apps collect tons of data on us, and it’s not a huge stretch to picture a brand paying good money for our attention while we’re locked in a comfortable box.

Worth it?

Extreme couponing gets more extreme

Harland Clarke, an “integrated marketing and payment solutions” holding company based in San Antonio, purchased online coupon provider RetailMeNot for about $630m.

Hold on a sec… that was way too dry. Let’s try again.

You know RetailMeNot? The company you see every time you Google “Banana Republic coupon codes?” Apparently, they’re worth a ton of money, and Harland wants to buy them to become even more coupon-y.

Is that even possible?

RetailMeNot makes money by using SEO and cookies to connect bargain hunters with brands, using what’s known as last-click attribution.

Which means whenever someone buys something after seeing one of their coupons, they claim credit for the sale, thereby making an affiliate fee.

Harland — which also owns the company responsible for those annoying Redplum inserts — wants to use RMN to build on their expansive offline coupon channels, where it’s a lot harder to track who buys what.

Which is why Harland Clarke got a great deal

4 years ago when they went public, RetailMeNot was valued at $1.5B. But with declining monetization, their value dropped, and they went from a unicorn to a “unicorpse.”


Now, the new company will combine their online and offline advertisers, crank up some coupons, and start saving everyone some money, one piece of junk mail at a time.

Uber launches its own Shark Tank…

Except they’re the only buyers. At this point, Uber is so loaded, they’re literally asking people to sell them stuff.

The company’s hosting a 1-month patent buy-a-thon, called UP3, where inventors are encouraged to submit any patent they think Uber might be interested in.

Looks like that waffle iron alarm clock might finally pay off

And you could have that brunch money in-hand way faster than in a traditional patent deal.

Uber’s goal is to streamline the IP (intellectual property) buying process down to about 4 months instead of years by prompting inventors to submit a “final sale” price for their patent along with their proposal, which, if accepted, is binding.

But get-rich-quicksters beware… Cutting out the back-and-forth on pricing may be faster, but you’re left with almost no negotiation power to shop around and create bidding wars to drive up the value of the IP.

Noted. So how much can I expect for my “million dollar” idea?

‘Bout $100k — that’s the average price of sale of the 107 proposals received in a similar patent-palooza last year, called IP3 (A+ for brand differentiation, Uber).

So, not enough to retire in Hawaii, but definitely not chump change, either.

Interested? Strike while the waffle iron alarm clock’s hot. The pitching window starts April 24th. Now get crackin’.

Lyft’s new bus line for people who hate buses

The white knights of ridesharing are testing out a new service in San Francisco and Chicago called Lyft Shuttle, which operates along fixed routes just like a bus line.

Wait, you mean I still have to wait at a stop, get dropped off 5 blocks from my destination, AND feel obligated to small talk with strangers for 20 minutes???


Pricing is still a mystery, but Lyft says Shuttle fares will be fixed at an ambiguously low price based on time and location. Somewhere slightly cheaper than Line (and unaffected by surges), but (we assume) slightly more expensive than a bus ticket.

But don’t expect a huge rectangular box lined with seats.

Drivers will apparently still use their own cars and get paid their normal commissions. Still unclear whether they’ll just be riding along waiting for hails, or stopping automatically every few minutes…

Kind of like… a regular bus?

Yes, kind of, except it’ll only run during typical commuting hours (from 6:30-10am and 4-8pm) and probably not have gum everywhere you put your hands.

The English language is literally changing


The closest people we have to actual grammar police, the American Copy Editors Society, recently held their annual word nerd conference to discuss and update our language for modern times.

The big news? ‘They’ officially replaced ‘he’ as the default pronoun for a person of an unknown gender.

Wait, so who makes the rules on English?

Good question, diligent student. There are a few ways English conventions can be changed.

The annual meeting of ACES (sweet acronym, guys) is one of them. It’s where rule updates to the AP Stylebook are often announced, like dropping the hyphen in “email,” and lowercasing “internet.”

Merriam-Webster is another authority adding words to keep up with the youths. They recently added words such as “photobomb,” “humblebrag,” and “ghosting.”

Ghost (verb): to disappear off all social communications, only to emerge via text weeks later with a “sorry work’s been crazy…” disclaimer.

But it’s not them doing the changing, it’s us

Merriam Webster says that, of the criteria needed to add a new word, frequency of use is most important. In other words, if you keep up those urban dictionary annotations, they might one day become official (totally rad).

But reader beware, you could be playing with fire (not rad).

After we literally wouldn’t stop misusing the word, Merriam Webster added a second definition to match the exaggerated meaning.

The internet was understandably outraged. Users commented “the dictionary is literally wrong”, and “this is literally the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.”

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