Thursday, May 31, 2018

Airbnb CEO said company will ‘be ready to IPO next year’ but might not

Airbnb brings in billions of dollars of revenue annually and is profitable on an EBITDA basis, so many wonder if and when the home-sharing company will go public. At the Code Conference today, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company will “be ready to IPO next year, but I don’t know if we will.”

He added that he wants to make sure it’s a major benefit to the company when Airbnb does go public. Following some more probing, Chesky said he has “no issues with [going public] at all. It could happen.”

Meanwhile, Airbnb has been struggling from a regulatory standpoint since at least 2010. Specifically, San Francisco and New York are two of the most difficult cities from a regulatory standpoint, Chesky said.

In New York, for example, there has been a standstill since 2010. At this point, Chesky said he expects it to take a few more years to overcome the challenge in New York.

“It doesn’t seem like the end is in sight with that challenge,” Chesky said. That challenge, Chesky said, involves the hotel industry and unions that “have galvanized people in these perpetual battles.”

Another general critique of Airbnb is its effect on rising rent costs and displacement. Chesky added that if it was simply a business decision, “it probably wouldn’t be worth it to stay there” in New York. But Chesky said there are hosts who have come to rely on Airbnb to earn income.

At Code, Chesky also touted Airbnb’s experiences product and how it’s growing 10x faster than its homes product. Airbnb Experiences sees 1.5 million bookings a year, Chesky said. Experiences, which Airbnb started testing in 2014 and officially launched in 2016, is Airbnb’s product that helps travelers find things to do in cities throughout the world.

When it first launched, Airbnb didn’t verify the experiences, but after some bad experiences, Airbnb has started verifying them.

“They’re doing incredibly well,” Chesky said. He added that the “experience economy” is growing and “there will probably be a massive economy around experiences.”



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Google Calendar now lets you add a message when you change an event

Google is adding a small but useful feature to Google Calendar. Starting today, when you change or delete an event, a dialog box now pops up that allows you to attach a short message to the event to explain why you are making the change and what’s changing.

Here is how this new feature will work: When you make a change, a dialog box will pop up and allow you to enter a message for your guests. On the event page in Google Calendar itself — and in the email that alerts your guests of the change — that message will then appear at the top of the event details section.

I’m guessing that at least half of the calendar invites I get change a few times before I actually get on the call. It’s generally unclear what has changed, though. The new dialog box appears automatically, so far more people will now explain their changes than before.

It’s nothing fancy and it’s actually a surprise that Google hasn’t done this before, but chances are that people will be using it all day long.

This new feature is now rolling out to all G Suite users and should be available to everybody (no matter whether their admins have them on the rapid release or schedule release schedule) within the next three days.



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Messenger Kids no longer requires the kids’ parents to be friends, too

Facebook’s Messenger Kids application, which allows children under 13 to chat with parents’ approval, is today rolling out a small, but notable change – it no longer requires that the children’s parents be Facebook friends with one another, in order for the children to connect. This solves one of the problems with the app’s earlier design, where it operated more like an extension of a parents’ own social circle, instead of one for their child.

Of course, parents still have to approve every contact their child adds, as usual.

As any parent understands, there are always going to be those friends of your child where you have an acquaintance-type, friendly but casual relationship with the parents that falls short of earning “Facebook friend” status. While you might text them for the occasional play date or nod politely at drop-off, you’re not necessarily “friends.” But your kids are friends with each other. And you’re fine with that.

The Messenger Kids update now allows those kids to connect, if you okay it.

The new feature will still require that both parents are on Facebook.

On Facebook, the parent visits the Messenger Kids section in Facebook’s own main navigation menu, as per usual, and does a search for the name of the parents of the child’s friends. You can then invite them to get the app and allow the children to connect.

This change could potentially help the app grow beyond the 500,000 installs it now has, according to Sensor Tower data – especially once the kids figure out how this invite system works. (And don’t put it past them to just inform you.)

Facebook says it made this decision as a direct result of parent feedback.

However, there is one challenge in not being good friends with the other kids’ parents: it can be harder to discuss problems like bullying or bad behavior, if they come up. With my daughter’s half a dozen or so friends on Messenger Kids (hey, I know), I’m not worried about these things because I know the parents well enough to have a discussion if the kids start fighting. We’d work together to resolve the problems, were they to occur. (And obviously, her family connections on the app are not an issue).

But when you start approving connections with those families you’re less close to, you may run into issues and not have a good way to communicate about them.

That’s why Facebook should be working to roll out systems that flag concerns in kids’ chat sessions – if a bad word is used, for example, or if the child says something rude – that alerts the child’s own parents. The company already has A.I.-based anti-bullying technology that could do this now. And I imagine many parents would opt into a system that asks if you wanted to be alerted to offensive language in chats.

Even a simple chat and call log could help parents address problems – like tell me how often I need to remind my daughter that we don’t place video calls to friends before 9 AM…even if you see them playing Animal Jam and know they’re online. Rules are rules, kiddo.

As it stands now, the best way to monitor the child’s chats is to install a second copy of the app on your own device and actually read them. That takes time and can be a little bit invasive for older kids, who have more of a sense of privacy.

The update is live today on the Messenger Kids app.

* This post was updated after publication with more current install data from Sensor Tower. Earlier, we said Messenger Kids had 350K installs as of April. It has now just passed 500K.



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Investor/founder matching platform CrunchMatch returns to Disrupt San Francisco this September

Disrupt San Francisco 2018, TechCrunch’s flagship technology conference, is back this fall on September 5-7, and it’s bigger and bolder than ever. That’s not just hyperbole, people. We’ve staked out new digs at Moscone Center West — that means three times the floor space and more than 10,000 attendees.

Bigger crowds lead to more opportunities, especially when you have a tool to help you cut through the clutter and connect with the right early-stage startup founder — or find the perfect venture capitalist to fund your dream. CrunchMatch is that tool.

We first introduced CrunchMatch, our free, founder-investor connection platform (powered by Brella), at Disrupt SF 2017. Buy a Founder, Investor or Insider pass and you’ll be invited to fill out a CrunchMatch profile. Through the service you can suggest meetings, send, accept or decline invitations and reserve dedicated, private meeting spaces in the CrunchMatch Lounge.

Last year investors and founders used CrunchMatch to set up more than 1,300 meetings. This year, we expect that number to triple. Here’s what Luke Heron, CEO of TestCard.com, had to say about his CrunchMatch experience:

We used the CrunchMatch platform to schedule a bunch of meetings on our second day of the show. We met with six or seven VCs and, by and large, they were very positive meetings.

Whether your company meets the investment criteria of a venture capitalist you just heard speak on the main stage or you see the perfect early-stage company pitch during Startup Battlefield, CrunchMatch will let you send a meeting invitation quickly and easily.

As a reminder, you’ll find a special focus on these tech categories at Disrupt SF 2018: AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Biotech, Fintech, Gaming, Healthtech, Privacy/Security, Space, Mobility, Retail and Robotics.

You’ll find them all exhibiting in Startup Alley. Or you can join them and place your early-stage startup in front of thousands of potential customers, partners and investors. CrunchMatch will really save you time as you work your way through the Alley.

If you’re looking to invest in early-stage startups — or looking for funding — Disrupt San Francisco 2018 is where you want to be on September 5-7, and CrunchMatch is the tool you need to use. Don’t wait, purchase your Founder, Investor or Insider passes today.



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Here’s where it’s cheaper to take an Uber than to own a car

Ride-sharing companies have long touted the cost benefits of their platforms. Well, depending on the city, it can be cheaper on a weekly basis to take an UberX or UberPOOL than it is to own a personal car, according to Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers partner Mary Meeker’s 2018 annual internet trends report.

In four of the five largest cities in the U.S., it is indeed cheaper to rely on Uber than it is to own a car. Meeker’s analysis took into account cost of gas, car insurance, maintenance and parking.

So, if you live in New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles, it’s cheaper to take an Uber. But that’s not the case in Dallas, where the average weekly cost of car ownership is $65 compared to the average weekly Uber cost of $181.

Meeker’s report also looked at the rise of on-demand workers in the U.S. Last year, there were 5.4 million on-demand workers in the country. This year, there are an estimated 6.8 million people working in the on-demand economy.

“These are big numbers,” Meeker said onstage, noting how these types of jobs are helping to supplement income for people, provide greater flexibility and improve work-life balance.

You can check out the full deck below.



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US sizes up Kim ahead of possible nuclear summit - CNN


CNN

US sizes up Kim ahead of possible nuclear summit
CNN
Washington (CNN) While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were billed primarily as diplomatic missions, the face-to-face encounters have also served as valuable intelligence gathering opportunities ...
Mike Pompeo, top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol have dinner in New YorkCBS News
Congress must step up sanctions law to stop American adversariesThe Hill
Talks Aim to Put Summit With North Korea on TrackWall Street Journal
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McCabe memo: Trump asked Rosenstein to mention Russia in Comey firing - USA TODAY


USA TODAY

McCabe memo: Trump asked Rosenstein to mention Russia in Comey firing
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe authored a memo claiming that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said President Trump asked him to refer to the Russia investigation as a reason for recommending the dismissal of FBI ...
Andrew McCabe turned over his memo on Comey's firing to Robert MuellerCNN
Ex-FBI official McCabe gives memo on Comey firing to Mueller - New York TimesReuters
Former FBI deputy director wrote memo detailing discussion with deputy attorney general: SourceABC News
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Trump Responds to Fury Over 'Roseanne,' but Not Her Racist Remarks - New York Times


New York Times

Trump Responds to Fury Over 'Roseanne,' but Not Her Racist Remarks
New York Times
WASHINGTON — It was not the racist comment that made the president angry. It was the apology from ABC. Wading into a public outcry over remarks by the comedian Roseanne Barr, President Trump did not condemn the Twitter post about a black former ...
Roseanne Barr's Ex Tom Arnold Says His Former Wife 'Wanted' Cancellation 'to Happen'PEOPLE.com
Tom Arnold says he knew 'Roseanne' reboot 'would not end well'CNN
Why did Disney take such a big gamble on 'Roseanne'? Blame the uncertain TV marketLos Angeles Times
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Judge Suggests Review of Cohen Documents Is Moving Too Slowly - New York Times


New York Times

Judge Suggests Review of Cohen Documents Is Moving Too Slowly
New York Times
Lawyers for Michael D. Cohen have been given a June 15 deadline to complete their review of materials seized by the F.B.I.CreditSpencer Platt/Getty Images. By Alan Feuer and Benjamin Weiser. May 30, 2018. A federal judge in Manhattan on Wednesday ...
Prosecutors in Michael Cohen case piecing together shredded documents from raidNBCNews.com
Michael Avenatti Withdraws Bid To Appear Before Judge in Cohen ProbeWall Street Journal
Where Avenatti's winning streak comes to an endCNN
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US Is Poised to Impose Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on European Union - New York Times


New York Times

US Is Poised to Impose Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on European Union
New York Times
The United States has threatened to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from allies like the European Union, Canada and Mexico. German steel from a mill like this one in Duisburg could be hit with a 25 percent tariff as soon as Friday ...
US Plans to Hit EU With Steel, Aluminum TariffsWall Street Journal
President Trump Plans to Implement Tariffs on EU Steel and AluminumTIME
Trump readies to hit US allies with steel, aluminum tariffsPolitico
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