Big Tech &
Exclusive: Tinder breaks into scripted original content, wraps filming first video series (2 minute read)
Tinder will be launching its own original content in the form of a television series with an apocalyptic storyline that has a relationship subplot. The story will not involve Tinder's dating app. Tinder is owned by Match, who is owned by IAC, a company founded by Hollywood legend Barry Diller. Swipe Life is a lifestyle website launched by Tinder that includes articles and videos about dating and relationships. Offering original content is an increasingly popular and effective strategy for attracting devoted users as it engages customers even when they are not using a company's services. Walmart, Airbnb, and Costco are also developing original videos. It is unknown when Tinder's first series will be available or how it will be promoted.
WeWork parent says IPO still on despite setbacks (4 minute read)
We Company will complete its initial public offering by the end of the year despite canceling its launch this week due to concerns over lack of interest by investors. It faces issues over its corporate governance standards, as well as the sustainability of its business model. We Company relies on a mix of long-term liabilities and short-term revenue, which may pose a problem during an economic downturn. In January, We Company was valued at $47 billion, but recent valuations set the company at between $10 billion to $12 billion. We Company has recently made changes to its corporate governance, reducing the CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann's grip on the company. Neumann will now have less voting power and any future successor will be selected by the board. The WeWork brand is strongly tied to Neumann and he had planned to have his wife, WeWork's co-founder and We Company's current chief brand officer, to become his successor.
MIT unveils new 'blackest black' material and makes a diamond disappear (3 minute read)
MIT has developed a new carbon nanotube material that captures 99.96 percent of incoming light, making it the blackest material on record. An artist at MIT coated a $2 million natural yellow diamond in the material and it will be on exhibit at the New York Stock Exchange until November 25. Super-dark carbon nanotube materials have applications for optical equipment and aerospace technologies. The new material will be available to artists for non-commercial pursuits. The previous blackest material, Vantablack, can only be used by British sculptor Anish Kapoor, who has exclusive rights to it. There will be no catchy name for the new material.
A coordinated drone attack has knocked out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply (2 minute read)
Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for an attack that caused fires at a major oil processing facility and nearby oil field in Saudi Arabia. 10 drones were involved in the attack, which caused the suspension of around half of Saudi Arabia's daily oil production. Houthi rebels have used drones in a number of attacks this year, packing the drones with explosives and then flying them at high speed towards their targets. The group originally used standard, off-the-shelf drones, but more recently they have been using sophisticated models with a range of more than 900 miles. While the Houthi group has claimed responsibility, the US has blamed Iran for the attack. Iran has rejected the accusation. These drone attacks may cost no more than $15,000 each and are incredibly hard to stop, meaning that this attack could change the face of the Yemen War.
Programming, Design & Data Science
The boring technology behind a one-person Internet company (12 minute read)
Listen Notes is a podcast search engine and database which was built without a lot of engineers and is based on easily accessible technology. Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion and it only had 13 employees, not all who were engineers. Listen Notes required a website that provided an interface for users and a search function and API for developers. It is hosted completely on AWS. The one-man business employs the service of many other companies to automate and handle tasks such as monitoring, and it is an example of how a company/application can be built and run using off-the-shelf tools and services found on the internet. Hiring services and on-demand contractors can save a lot of time, as well as removing the need to employ a lot of full-time employees.
NVIDIA Neural Modules: NeMo (GitHub Repo)
NeMo is a framework-agnostic toolkit for building AI applications powered by Neural Modules. Researchers can define and build new speech and NLP networks easily using applications built with NeMo.
Amazon's search could push customers toward in-house products (2 minute read)
Amazon directed search traffic towards products that were more profitable for the company by tweaking its product-search algorithm. Employees were pressured to make sure that Amazon products were placed higher on the search results, resulting in more visibility and sales. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are all being invested as part of a federal anti-trust probe. Apple recently changed its algorithms so that its apps are no longer displayed first in results. Google has been fined $2.7 billion by the EU for promoting its own products in search results. While Amazon has tried to justify its algorithm, it is unclear whether regulators will agree.
Netflix Lands 'Seinfeld' Rights in $500M-Plus Deal After Losing 'Friends' and 'The Office' (2 minute read)
Netflix has landed a five-year deal with Sony to broadcast Seinfeld globally starting in 2021. The deal will bring Seinfeld's global streaming rights under one roof for the first time. Netflix has recently lost two other classic NBC comedies, Friends and The Office. It is estimated that Netflix users in the US watched 85 billion minutes of The Office and Friends in 2018. The exact terms of the Netflix-Sony deal aren't public, except that it will be available worldwide on Netflix in 4K.