The limits of coworking
- First, co-working falls under the same general commercial zoning categories as most independent businesses and very little additional infrastructure – outside of a few extra power outlets and some decent WiFi – is required to turn a space into an effective replacement for the often crowded and distracting coffee shops used by price-sensitive, lean, remote, or nomadic workers that make up a growing portion of the workforce.
- Spacious, for example, charges a monthly membership fee of $99-$129 dollars for access to its network of vetted restaurants, which is cheap compared to a WeWork desk, which can cost anywhere from $300-$800 per month in New York City.
- All these companies seem to be competing for a similar demographic, not only with one another, but also with coffee shops, free workspaces, and other flexible co-working options like Croissant, which provides members with access to unused desks and offices in traditional co-working spaces.
California says all city buses have to be emission free by 2040
- Instead of wait on the administration to change its mind, California’s new Innovative Clean Transit rule will force California’s public bus lines — many of which currently run on natural gas or diesel fuel — to shift to either electric power or hydrogen fuel cells.
- EPA officials say that via the initiative, the agency plans to revise truck pollution standards in a way that lowers their nitrogen oxide emissions while also doing away with requirements that the industry has complained are financially onerous.
- As reported by the L.A. Times, despite the announcement, no one yet knows if the EPA is planning more stringent emissions limits or anything as strict as the 90 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide pollution that CARB has said is needed to clean smog to health standards.
Tony Hawk goes mobile
- For three years, Tony Hawk has been conspicuously absent from the video store shelves.
- For most game developers, that’s little more than a blip between titles.
- When your name and face are attached to 16 titles in 15 years, however, everyone starts to notice when you’re gone.
Workers protest outside Minnesota Amazon warehouse
- Yesterday afternoon, Somali-American workers marched outside of Amazon’s Shakopee, Minnesota fulfillment center, chanting “hear our voice.” Estimates of the exact number of marches vary from source to source, but The Minneapolis Star Tribune puts it at around 100.
- It’s a fairly familiar refrain for the company, after years of reports about questionable working conditions.
- Some of that came to a head earlier this year when pressure from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders led the company to adopt a $15 minimum wage for warehouse workers.
- The protesters cited unfair working conditions and the insensitive treatment of a local workforce that’s approximately 40 percent East African.
- “We needed secured jobs, we are not robots,” one employee told a local Fox affiliate.
- The protest comes the same week employees at a New York City warehouse announced plans to unionize.
Apple is producing new content about Snoopy and other Peanuts characters
- Apple has signed a deal with DHX Media that will see the Canadian broadcaster producing new shows, specials and short films about Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang.
- That includes exclusive short-form content for Apple starring astronaut Snoopy, aimed at getting kids excited about STEM.
- Peanuts was created by Charles Schulz, who wrote and illustrated the popular comic strip for five decades, starting in 1950.
- The characters moved to television in the 1960s with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which was followed by a long list of specials.
- DHX acquired a controlling stake in Peanuts last year (the remaining 20 percent stake is still held by the Schulz family).
- Apple, meanwhile, has been lining up lots of new, family-friendly content for its upcoming streaming service.
- That includes also enlisting Sesame Workshop to create original programming (not Sesame Street, which recently moved to HBO).
Discord announces a 90/10 revenue split for their upcoming games store
- After gaming chat app startup Discord announced in August that they were building out a games store, today, they’ve detailed that they’ll be pursuing a very competitive 90/10 revenue split for self-published titles in 2019.
- In addition, the company revealed that they now have 200 million active users on their chat app, up from 130 million users in May. The announcement follows a storefront launch from Epic Games last week with an 88/12 revenue split.
- The company recently announced that Steam would give a more favorable split to devs pulling in more revenue.
- Steam’s efforts are largely focused on holding onto big developers, but indie devs now have to balance what advantages they’re earning by establishing their central home on a platform filled with tons of titles that’s also taking a more substantial cut.
- This leaves some room for Discord to attract the self-publishing indies, though it’s still an uphill battle for the company that’s up against some big competitors.
Facebook restructures Building 8, separating projects into Reality Labs and Portal groups
- The restructuring, reported by Business Insider (paywalled), didn’t result in any layoffs but did see some shifts of teams as the old Building 8 group rebranded to Portal and some projects moved to the former Oculus Research group (now, Facebook Reality Lab).
- With some of the more experimental hardware projects at Facebook, like a computer brain interface, “soft” robotics, and a project to “hear” through a skin-worn device, moving to Facebook Reality Labs, it’s clear that the organization once centered around AR/VR technologies is seeing its scope expand to more distant reaching technologies that aren’t vaguely ready for consumer products yet.
- Having products like Portal that are already for sale fall under the same leadership as invasive brain chips research probably didn’t make a ton of organizational sense, especially when Facebook has already gone to lengths to separate projects focused on immediate product needs compared to ones that are more far-out in other areas of the company.
Propel raises $12.8M for its free app to manage government benefits
- Propel, maker of the Fresh EBT app for managing food stamps and other benefits, announced today that it has raised $12.8 million in Series A funding.
- Propel says Fresh EBT is now used by more than 1.5 million Americans each month, and that more than 30,000 people have applied for jobs this year that they discovered through the app.
- from Fairland, Virginia — she described Fresh EBT as her “personal financial adviser,” and also said she used it to find discount zoo tickets, and even her current job.
- When Propel raised its $4 million seed round last year, founder and CEO Jimmy Chen described his mission as building “a more user-friendly safety net.” He argued that there’s no conflict between Propel’s social mission and its structure as a for-profit business, a position he reiterated in today’s announcement.
Disney's invested in educational gaming app Kahoot, now at a $376M valuation
- When Kahoot, the startup that operates a popular platform for user-generated educational gaming, raised $15 million in October of this year, we mentioned that Disney had a stake in the company by way of the Disney Accelerator, and it had an option to become a larger shareholder if it exercised its warrants.
- Now with some 60 million games on its platform, today Kahoot announced that this has come to pass: Disney is taking that option, working out to a four percent stake in the startup at a $376 million valuation, based on the current share price of 28 Norwegian kroner (shares of Kahoot are traded on the Norway OTC as an unlisted stock).
- Kahoot is not your average gaming company: some games are created in-house, but the majority of them are user-generated — “Kahoots” in the company’s parlance — created by the people setting the learning tasks or those trying to create a more entertaining way of remembering or learning something.
'Donald' debuts at No. 23 on worst passwords of 2018 list
- Almost 10 percent of people on the interwebs used at least one of the 25 worst passwords on SplashData’s annual list, which was released this week.
- The eighth annual list of worst passwords of the year is based on SplashData’s evaluation of more than 5 million passwords leaked on the Internet.
- Most of the leaked passwords evaluated for the 2018 list were held by users in North America and Western Europe.
- Passwords leaked from hacks of adult websites were not included in the report, according to SplashData, which provides password management applications TeamsID, Gpass, and SplashID.
- This year revealed the same takeaway as previous ones: computer users continue to use the same predictable, easily guessable passwords.