business

created 2 years ago

Putting an end to a fierce competition in the pet-sitting business, Rover and DogVacay have agreed to join forces. Rover will be acquiring DogVacay in an all-stock deal.
Both had a very similar model, with a marketplace for pet sitting, dog walking and other pet-care services. Each take about a 20 percent cut from bookings. Total bookings on the combined sites amounted to $150 million for 2016. The growing businesses are not yet profitable.
The merged company will be headquartered at Rover’s Seattle location. The DogVacay team will remain in Santa Monica, but with 22 positions set to be eliminated.
One of the new focuses will be to expand internationally. DogVacay already does well in Canada, which Easterly was enthusiastic about. They also plan to grow their dog-walking business and potentially introduce other pet-related categories.
techcrunch.com
While there are other companies offering CRM tools for brick-and-mortar merchants (Square, for example, is trying to do this on the payments side), Abraham said his company’s approach is particularly compelling because it doesn’t require any change in consumer behavior or any additional training for store staff: You just install the Zenreach router and it automatically starts collecting email addresses.
techcrunch.com
letting their huge user base try “Stories” without even bothering to download a new app or build a new network little by little.
Facebook is trying to impose a plateau for Snapchat growth sooner rather than later.
medium.com
For years, retailers have been haunted by the thought of Amazon using its technological prowess to squeeze them into powder. That battle has mostly played out on Amazon’s home turf, the world of online shopping.
If those experiments work — and there is no guarantee of that — they could have a profound influence on how other stores operate. Over time, they could also introduce new forms of automation, putting traditional retail jobs in jeopardy. At the same time, locating those stores close to customers’ homes could also help Amazon further its ambitions of delivering internet orders within hours.
The company is exploring the idea of creating stores to sell furniture and home appliances, like refrigerators — the kinds of products that shoppers are reluctant to buy over the internet sight unseen
These would not be your average Home Depots: Amazon has considered using forms of augmented or virtual reality to allow people to see how couches, stoves and credenzas will look in their homes,
Amazon is also kicking around an electronics-store concept similar to Apple’s retail emporiums, according to two of the people familiar with the discussions. These shops would have a heavy emphasis on Amazon devices and services such as the company’s Echo smart home speaker and Prime Video streaming service.
And in groceries — a giant category in which Amazon has struggled — the company has opened a convenience store that does not need cashiers, and it is close to opening two stores where drivers can quickly pick up groceries without leaving their cars, all in Seattle. It has explored another grocery store concept that could serve walk-in customers and act as a hub for home deliveries.
Overseas, Amazon is quietly targeting India for new brick-and-mortar grocery stores. It is a vast market, and one still largely dominated by traditional street bazaars where shoppers must wander from stall to stall haggling over prices and deliberating over unrefrigerated meat sitting in the dusty open air. Amazon’s internal code name for its India grocery ambitions: Project Everest.
Last week, Amazon opened its fifth physical book store in Chicago, and it has five more announced locations under construction.
It is possible that some of the store ideas will never see the light of day.
“We are always thinking about new ways to serve customers, but thinking is different than planning,”
One big desire many customers have is that they want to see fresh fruits, vegetables and meat in person before buying them. The relatively high cost of home delivery — Amazon charges $15 a month for its Fresh service, on top of a $99 annual Prime membership — is another barrier.
Online grocery delivery accounts for only about 3 percent of the market in the United States, though it is closer to 10 percent in Britain
Joe Thompson, a former general manager in Amazon’s retail business, sees physical retail as key to Mr. Bezos’s outsize ambitions for the company. "I can’t help but feel that, in Bezos’s mind, he wants to be the first trillion-dollar valuation company,” said Mr. Thompson, who is now an executive at BuildDirect, an online home improvement store. To do that, he said, Amazon would have to “crack” a couple of “completely underpenetrated markets online.”
Amazon’s current market value is bobbing around $400 billion.
A growing number of established grocery retailers are experimenting with this “click and collect” approach to shopping, including Walmart, Kroger and others.
the company has been developing technology for automatically detecting when a customer pulls into the parking lot so orders can be brought to them more quickly.
A few miles away from its other Seattle stores, on the ground floor of one of its many office towers in the city, the company is testing Amazon Go, a convenience store concept stocked with beverages, sandwiches and prepared meals, which are put together by chefs in a kitchen that is visible from the street.
“Amazon is wonderful at frictionless commerce,”
“I’ve probably been in 30 boardrooms of retailers in the past year,” Mr. Galloway said. “I would say the No. 1 topic of conversation is Amazon.”
India could represent another big market for Amazon in physical retail. The company, which has vowed to spend billions of dollars on its efforts in the world’s second-most populous country, recently sought approval from the Indian government to open online and physical food stores in the country, The Economic Times reported in February.
“What appears to be clear is they haven’t yet zeroed in on a format they’re willing to massively scale,” he said. “This is a company that the moment it figures out something that works, it puts nuclear energy behind it.”
www.nytimes.com
In a nutshell Agile is a time-focused, iterative philosophy that allows to build a product step-by-step (incrementally), delivering it by smaller pieces. One of its main benefits is the ability to adapt and change at any step (depending on feedback, market conditions, corporate obstacles, etc.) and to supply only relevant products to the market.
That is why an agile company is usually very flexible, quickly adapts to changes, iterates less while implementing faster, and is able to seize new opportunities as they appear. It enables a fast decision-making process through flexible organizational structure and simple communication.
Lean movement was born in Japan in the mid 1950-s in manufacturing industry (automotive industry) and was mainly aimed at loss reduction and sustainable production.
Following the trend that Lean could be extended to any industry, Lean was applied in the startup industry in 2008 by Eric Reis as a way of developing “new products and services in circumstances of extreme uncertainty.” To be considered ‘lean’, a startup should follow the values of 5 Lean principles by Eric Reis.
A typical lean company follows a learn – measure – build cycle, and conducts many tests, frequently connects with customers, understands their value and focuses its key processes to continuously improve it. A never ending cycle leads the startup to sustainability, smart development and success.
Actually, there is a trick in the name of the article — Agile and Lean are not exactly methodologies. Specialists still argue because Agile and Lean principles are a basis that can be applied to different methodologies (f.ex. Scrum and Kanban), so it would make more sense to refer to them as mindsets or philosophies.
In other simple words: to get into Scrum a company should establish small teams and give them small tasks for short periods of time (f.ex. 2 weeks sprints). The progress needs to be tracked on Scrum boards which have the following sections: backlog, to do, in progress, and ‘done’ tasks.
realtimeboard.com
“Overall, from August to November 2016, the average unique viewers per Snapchat Story has decreased about 40%” says Nick Cicero, CEO of creative studio and social video analytics platform Delmondo. His company analyzed 21,500 Snapchat Stories to discover the steep decline.
techcrunch.com
PicsArt hopes to set itself apart is with its community of about 75 million monthly active users, who share photos and drawings through the app. It’s added new features to increase engagement, including tools that help people find other users with similar tastes and migrate all their Flickr photos to PicsArt.
techcrunch.com
The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show.
The documents show that a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, known today as the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 in today’s dollars to publish a 1967 review of research on sugar, fat and heart disease.
The Harvard scientists and the sugar executives with whom they collaborated are no longer alive. One of the scientists who was paid by the sugar industry was D. Mark Hegsted, who went on to become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, where in 1977 he helped draft the forerunner to the federal government’s dietary guidelines. Another was Dr. Fredrick J. Stare, the chairman of Harvard’s nutrition department.
mobile.nytimes.com
Upon further reflection, it’s clear that the broken system is ad-driven media on the internet. It simply doesn’t serve people. In fact, it’s not designed to. The vast majority of articles, videos, and other “content” we all consume on a daily basis is paid for — directly or indirectly — by corporations who are funding it in order to advance their goals. And it is measured, amplified, and rewarded based on its ability to do that. Period. As a result, we get…well, what we get. And it’s getting worse.
To stay efficient, we are shutting our offices in New York and Washington D.C. (though some people will continue to work remotely from those locales). And we will be parting ways with some of our executives who were brought on to scale these teams. The vast majority of the product development and engineering teams will remain, both to support the Medium you love and to bring it to the next level.
blog.medium.com
Amazon has become the leader in the e-book market on the strength of its Kindle line of e-readers. And it dominates an important segment of the cloud computing market; Amazon Web Services is expected to generate $12 billion in revenue this year.
“There's an opportunity to do innovation in big companies,” says author and startup guru Eric Ries. “But very few big companies have done this really well. Amazon is one of them.”
But so far, Google has had little to show for these efforts. Google Glass was a flop. The company has developed some impressive self-driving technology over the past six years but has still not turned it into a commercial product. Google bought Nest in 2014, but the company has struggled to expand beyond smart thermostats. Google acquired some robotics startups in 2014, but hasn’t figured out what to do with them and wound up putting one up for sale.
Google’s most promising “moonshot” is its self-driving car project, which is widely regarded as the technology leader. But top engineers on the project have grown impatient with the company’s slow pace in getting to market. A team of Google engineers left Google to found Otto, a self-driving truck company acquired by Uber earlier this year. The leader of Google’s self-driving car project, Chris Urmson, recently quit to create a self-driving car startup of his own.
“I know examples where a random Amazon engineer mentions ‘Hey I read about an idea in a blog post, we should do that,’” Eric Ries says. “The next thing he knows, the engineer is being asked to pitch it to the executive committee. Jeff Bezos decides on the spot.”
At a normal company, when the CEO endorses an idea, it becomes a focus for the whole company, which is a recipe for wasting a lot of resources on ideas that don’t pan out. In contrast, Amazon creates a small team to experiment with the idea and find out if it’s viable. Bezos famously instituted the “two-pizza team” rule, which says that teams should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas.
“They prioritize launching early over everything else,”
Of course, this method isn’t foolproof; Amazon has had plenty of failures, like its disastrous foray into the smartphone market. But by getting a product into the hands of paying customers as quickly as possible and taking their feedback seriously, Amazon avoids wasting years working on products that don’t serve the needs of real customers.
“It doesn't matter what technology” teams use at Amazon, one of the company’s former engineers wrote in 2011. Bezos has explicitly discouraged the kind of standardization you see at companies like Google and Apple, encouraging teams to operate independently using whatever technology makes the most sense.
One way to deal with the conundrum is for big tech companies to acquire startups early in their growth. That allows a startup’s innovations to be combined with the resources of a big company. Uber acquired the self-driving truck startup Otto less than a year after it was founded. GM paid a billion dollars for the self-driving car startup Cruise in March.
www.vox.com
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