Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII Could Be the Coldest Ever

Ap51836244460
Feed-twFeed-fb

Super Bowl XLVIII, which pits the Denver Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2, will take place at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It will be the first NFL title game held outdoors in a city where it snows.

As a result, this year's game may be the coldest Super Bowl in history, with predicted temperatures possibly reaching as low as 22 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Bloomberg. The coldest Super Bowl game to date was in 1972 — the Dallas Cowboys versus the Miami Dolphins at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans — at a crisp 39 degrees.

More about Entertainment, Weather, Super Bowl, Us, and Sports

from Mashable http://ift.tt/1fvsVUE

High and Dry: 10 Devastating Photos of the California Drought

Ca_drought_1
Feed-twFeed-fb

California is in its third straight year of drought conditions, with 2014 as the driest year on record — setting the stage for disastrous consequences for people, animals and the environment

Reservoirs all over the state are experiencing low water levels, which prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency on Jan. 17According to USA Today, this move allows for Governor Brown to request a broad emergency declaration from President Obama to get financial assistance and possibly suspend state and federal regulations, as well as receive water transfers

More about Water, Us World, Us, and California Drought

from Mashable http://ift.tt/1cF2Y4r

A Sneak Peek at Sunday's Super Bowl Ads

Superbowlroundup
Feed-twFeed-fb

Thanks to the Internet, enthusiastic football fans and sports novices alike can enjoy the Big Game's commercials long before kick off

While some brands are keeping their ads under wraps until Sunday, a whole slew of companies have uploaded ads, or at least teasers, to YouTube

So far, we've seen the heart-breaking (thanks, Budweiser), the funny (Audi, Chobani) and a whole bevy of celebrity appearances, including James Franco, Minka Kelly, Don Cheadle, Tom Hiddleston, Tim Tebow, John Stamos, Stephen Colbert, Ellen DeGeneres and Arnold Schwarzenegger — to name a few Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Ads, Brands, Super Bowl, and Super Bowl Ads

from Mashable http://ift.tt/1bKbkUi

Yahoo Could Do Search Because It Needs The Money

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 5.44.30 PM

Yahoo could be getting back into the search game. Its long-suffering deal with Microsoft has underperformed, making recent revelations that the company is working on building new search products hardly surprising.

If the projects are serious — meaning they are more than experiments or attempts at leverage for the coming discussion it will have with Microsoft on per-search revenue — Yahoo could be working to create a product that will replace nearly one-third of its current revenue.

In its calendar third quarter of last year, Yahoo earned 31 percent of its total revenue from the search deal with Microsoft.

As a percentage of its revenue, the Bing search deal is of growing importance to Yahoo. For the nine months ending last September 30, 30 percent of the company’s revenue came from the deal, or slightly less over the nine-quarter period than the last quarter reported.

More dramatically, its 2012 third quarter — comparable to the 31 percent number — saw 27 percent of its revenue come from the Microsoft deal. And in the nine-month period ending with the third quarter of 2012, Yahoo earned a more modest 24 percent of its top line from Microsoft.

So, 24 to 27 to 30 to 31 percent. That’s a steady progression.

What is driving that momentum, given that Yahoo is consistently losing search market share? I’d estimate that its other revenues, which are declining, are doing so more quickly than income from the Microsoft deal. Recall that Microsoft last year re-upped its revenue guarantee with Yahoo in regards to its search agreement for the U.S.

Financially, therefore, the Microsoft deal is something of a boon for Yahoo, providing revenue stability in a time of transition for the latter company.

That’s the nice way to put it. In reality, Yahoo needs that firehose of Redmond dollars to cover for it as it uses future Alibaba money to (hopefully) buy revenue momentum. So far that isn’t working, as we recently saw.

And Yahoo may be working to cut this income flow and forge a new path for itself. You could call that bold. But there is a fine line between boldness and overzealousness (leadership, you could argue, lies in between).

Microsoft and Yahoo both declined to comment for this story.

While that may be the case, it’s worth keeping in mind that Yahoo has old search chops, Mayer is brilliant, and the company is on a decent personnel footing. It could pull off a transition back to search. And, perhaps, Yahoo could deploy enough of that Alibaba cash to snag a few Googlers to pull the operation together.

Yahoo was said to complain last year that revenue per search was actually worse with Microsoft under the agreement than it had been when the company used its own technology. That’s a point in favor of Yahoo trying again. The company may be able to opt out of the deal in mid 2015.

But search, as the saying goes, is hard. Microsoft, a company with a few good heads in it, has spent years — and billions — building Bing. 

And despite that work and treasure, Bing has yet to mature to the point in which Yahoo and Microsoft didn’t need the search revenue guarantee. That means that Bing was monetizing at below the set threshold, forcing Microsoft to fork over more cash to keep Sunnyvale on board.

So, after billions and years, Microsoft’s search technology still isn’t so good at making money.

For Yahoo, that’s the mission at the moment. It needs to grow its revenue. And, at this precise moment, it appears that the company is moving instead to replace a stable, and likely renewable revenue stream.

Top Image Credit: Flickr (Image cropped)



from TechCrunch http://ift.tt/1koxb9Q

Sunrise Calendar Stops Sending iCloud Credentials Back To Their Servers

The increasingly popular Sunrise calendar app faced a bit of a brouhaha last week, after a couple of well-respected developers (namely, Neven Mrgan and Instapaper creator Marco Arment) pointed out that the application asked the user to punch in their iCloud credentials with little indication of what happened to them next.

Given the amount of sensitive data that tends to be transmitted over iCloud (iMessages, backed up photos, email, etc.), such a request was iffy, at best — certainly not the sort of thing you want to become the norm.

Making things slightly worse, the company was in turn taking those credentials and transmitting back them to their server (though they note that they were not storing them.) They were sending the credentials in a secure way — but still: if it’s at all avoidable, sending important credentials back to the mothership isn’t good practice.

This morning, Sunrise pushed out a patch that makes things a little better. They’ll still need you to punch in your credentials, which is a bummer — but now, at least, they’re handling authentication within the app itself. Instead of sending your username and password back to their servers, they send a unique token that allows them to access your iCloud data without ever sending your actual username/password off of the device. And if you decide that you don’t want Sunrise to be able to access your data? Just change your password, which renders the token useless.

It’s not a perfect solution, as it does still require the users to trust a third-party with some pretty precious data. In this case, since Sunrise is now being quite transparent about how they handle the data, that’s fine. But it’s still not something that apps should be getting users comfortable with doing. Until/unless Apple builds in some sort of iCloud permissions dialog that allows for the user to grant a service like Sunrise access to data (sort of like the way Facebook handles Facebook logins within apps), however, this is the best route they’ve got.

It’s been just 9 days since concerns about Sunrise’s methodology were raised; good on them for moving quick.



from TechCrunch http://ift.tt/1konDLV

Simplify Outdated Corporate Processes

Unlike suburban housing developments or modern cities, organizations don’t grow with some sort of rational, master plan. They evolve naturally over time. In urban areas, this organic development leads to a chaotic mess of narrow, twisty, confusing streets and dead-ends instead of a broad, easy to navigate grid. Just think of old European cities (or even Greenwich Village in New York).

Organizations grow in a similar fashion. Processes and pathways that were once simple and easy to negotiate when there were only 10 or 20 people in the company, become complex, inefficient, and time-consuming when the company grows to 500 or 1000 employees. Each individual increase in process complexity may make sense, but in aggregate, they significantly affect performance. Your once-nimble company becomes a lumbering behemoth that has to appoint a committee to determine how many committee meetings to hold. Pretty soon, you’re reading Facebook posts about how tough it is to deal with you, and eventually, a competitor is eating your lunch.

Bulldozing an historic neighborhood to lay down a soulless grid is bad for a city’s ambiance, but it’s not bad for a company. In fact, rebuilding your processes from the ground up with a focus on simplicity is a powerful way to improve your competitiveness and energize your staff. Netflix, for example, eliminated all the administrative labor and financial expense that went into managing paid time-off. As described in Patty McCord’s recent HBR article, the company got rid of the standard policies and tracking system and instead simply relied on employees’ judgment:

When Netflix launched, we had a standard paid-time-off policy: People got 10 vacation days, 10 holidays, and a few sick days. . . . But then Reed [Hastings, the CEO] asked, “Are companies required to give time off? If not, can’t we just handle it informally and skip the accounting rigmarole?”

Netflix did something similar with their formal travel and expense rules. The company’s policy is five words long: “Act in Netflix’s best interests.” The elimination of the formal process and “expense account police” saved time and money.

Of course, these are HR-related policies. What about processes that are more central to a company’s operations, such as product development, customer service, or materials purchasing? You can rebuild and simplify these processes just as easily by mapping them and identifying ways to eliminate handoffs between departments. Here are three principles to keep in mind.

You’re not a small company anymore. Focus on the big picture. The product development team in a sporting goods company I worked with had to deal with elaborate engineering change orders (ECOs) for even the most basic spec changes. At one point in the company’s history, these ECOs were a valuable way to track modifications and ensure that they were agreed upon. But as the company grew and communication channels were formalized, they outgrew their usefulness: between the electronic and paper forms that had to be filled out and filed, their sleek product development process looked more like a barnacle-encrusted scow. The company simplified the actual ECOs and set a higher threshold for requiring their use. The result? The developers and engineers spent more time on their core functions, reduced the number of errors and miscommunications, and reduced product development lead time by one month.

Drive authority down into the organization. Processing chargebacks from customers was a time consuming ordeal for another client, requiring three separate approvals before the credit memo could be issued. At one point in the distant past, of course, these were processed much faster, with fewer sign-offs—but as the company grew, the desire for greater oversight created a sclerotic system that bogged down the entire process. After a redesign that put more authority in the hands of the customer service agent closest to the customer, process lead-time was cut by 75%. Moreover, the change actually improved oversight of the important few customers and shipments by improving the “signal to noise ratio.”

Do a reality check on your processes. The purchasing department of another client took orders placed by customer service reps (CSRs), entered them into a spreadsheet, sent them back to the CSR for confirmation, and then submitted them to the factory for production. When this process was established years earlier, it ensured that customer orders didn’t outstrip production. Major improvements in manufacturing, however, enabled the factory to produce exactly to customer requirements. We changed the process to allow CSRs to submit orders directly to the factory, freed up the purchasing department to focus on other aspects of production, and reduced lead-time by one week.

Remember: many (most?) of your processes aren’t the result of intelligent design. They’re not necessarily the best or most efficient way to get the job done. Redesigning them with an eye towards simplicity will yield enormous benefits to your employees and your customers.



from HBR.org http://ift.tt/1gxb2I5

The Complete Quantitative Guide To Judging Your Startup

shutterstock_173632637

Raising capital from investors is often a frustrating experience. While part of that frustration will always be present when working on high-risk projects, a lot of the aggravation comes from the lack of clear signposts that allow founders to judge their company’s performance. The reality is, most founders only ever hear a “yes” or a “no” from a venture capitalist, without a lucid understanding of the factors that influenced that decision.

There have been fantastic essays written about the fundraising process itself, such as Paul Graham’s guide posted last year. This post is not a guide to fundraising, but rather a look behind the curtain from my own experience as a venture investor at most of the quantitative metrics that are analyzed when judging an early-stage startup.

These metrics fall into five groups: financial, user, acquisition, sales, and marketing. While the statistics are important, the relevant weight any one metric will hold in a VC’s decision will depend on the type of startup, as well as the VC’s own opinion about which metrics matter and which do not.

When possible, I give guideposts on how to judge a particular value. These are from my own experience analyzing and engaging several hundred startups over the past two years, and all of my personal biases are certainly present. As with any guidelines in the venture business, companies break rules and expectations all the time.

Financial Metrics

Finances are crucial for any startup, and some companies are indeed funded by venture capitalists simply for having a great balance sheet and statement of cash flows. While this post could be a tutorial on the principles of accounting, I want to zoom in on a handful of key metrics.

Monthly Revenue Growth

Take the current month’s revenue, subtract last month’s revenue, and then divide by last month’s revenue.

One surprise for me is that this number is used more by founders than venture capitalists. The reason is that it shows proportion without magnitude, and magnitude matters a lot because a startup’s revenue is a major determinant on what the growth rate can be. If you made $20 last month, you need to increase that to $30 to get a 50 percent growth rate. That might be a single customer. But if you have a $10 million per month revenue business, reaching the same growth is significantly more challenging.

While VCs don’t use this metric as heavily as the next one we will discuss, some guideposts are still helpful. A growth rate of 40 percent per month is very good. A growth rate below 40 percent can be considered good if you can convince an investor that additional capital placed in sales and marketing will drive the growth rate higher.

Revenue Run Rate

Take the revenues recognized in the most recent month and multiply by 12.

shutterstock_163179656-300aVCs often talk about the current revenue run rate as well as the projected run rate in 12 months. So they will say something like “The company is currently at a $2 million run rate, but will be $10 million by the end of the year.” These numbers are often preferred, since they solve the magnitude problem.

Furthermore, almost all startups at the early stage are going to have to raise further capital. So when evaluating a startup, VCs are thinking about where the business has to be in 18–24 months when the next fundraise will happen. Getting a sense of the projected revenue run rate allows us to surmise whether series B or C growth investors are likely to be interested in a company. Thus, great performance is a revenue run rate that allows the next fundraise to happen. To get that number, reach out to investors and other founders until you have a good handle on the trajectory needed for your company.

Margins

Gross margin is calculated as total revenue minus the “cost of goods sold” divided by the revenue. Net margin is similar, except we also subtract the total expenses of the business as well (except for taxes and a handful of other accounting line items).

Margins are important because they show the ability of your startup to spend venture capital and get significant return. There are pretty bright guidelines on what your margins should be given an industry. For example, cloud storage and services companies can reach margins in the 90s, SAAS companies and other software businesses tend to be in the 70s, and hardware companies often struggle to get above 40 percent. Again, research your space until you know exactly what this metric should look like for your particular business.

One additional consideration is margin compression. Margins become tighter when competition is greater, so successful businesses must develop defenses against new entrants who might force a company’s margins lower. I personally have seen dozens of startups fail to receive funding because they could not articulate a strategy to avoid margin compression.

Burn Rate and Runway

This is the operating loss per month. To calculate runway, take the amount of available capital and divide by the monthly burn rate to get the number of months until your start-up runs out of cash.

These numbers show the efficiency of a business, the timeline for fundraising, and the need for capital. While startups are often run quite cheaply until their first fundraise, VCs will want to understand how you will increase your expenses to grow the business more quickly with any new infusion of capital. Lest anyone get the wrong impression, most investors expect their entire investment to be spent within 18–30 months. So if you’re asking for a fundraise of $10 million, but your monthly burn rate is $100,000, you must develop a very clear plan on how the burn rate is going to increase, and how that will propel the growth of the business.

User Metrics

Users are the lifeblood of any company, and therefore, VCs assiduously analyze everything about a startup’s users. Some user metrics are well-known, including daily active users (DAUs) and monthly active users (MAUs). I am actually going to skip those and instead will focus on a couple of other metrics that provide keen insight into a startup’s quality.

K-Value

Choose a time frame, such as one week. Take the number of users at the beginning of the week as a base. Now, track all invites that these users make to other people (for example, using an “Invite Your Friends” link). Aggregate the number of new users entering through this channel and then calculate the ratio of new users to old users and add 1. So, if you start with 1,000 users, and they bring on board 200 new users, we have a ratio of .2 + 1 (our base population) and that leads to a k-value of 1.2.

The k-value is a measure of virality, and is borrowed from epidemiological studies of disease progression. This number is exponential, and defines the magnitude of the user growth rate by word of mouth (as opposed to paid acquisition). For social media startups, this is often the only metric that matters (the other is retention).

Thankfully, there are some clear guidelines for performance. A value less than 1 means that the population is dying and will cease to exist. A value of 1 means that the population is stable. A value of 1.2 is strong, and a value of over 1.4 means incredible growth.

If you start with 1,000 users and have a k-value of 1.2 per week, after 30 weeks you will have about 200,000 users. But if you have a k-value of 1.4, you will have more than 17 million users within the same period. Growing at such a speed usually doesn’t last long, since old users are not as likely as new ones to bring additional users to the product (they already invited everyone!). However, some companies like Facebook and Snapchat have exhibited extremely high growth like this for an extended period of time, so it is certainly possible.

Proportion of Mobile Traffic

Take the number of visits from mobile and divide by the total number of visits to your product.

This is a simple ratio, but an important one in a world where more and more of our time is spent on mobile. Nearly every company that targets consumers and talks to an investor today will have to discuss their mobile strategy. Data today shows that people are potentially spending a majority of their computer usage on mobile devices. Engaging such users is crucial today.

Cohort Analysis and Churn

Take all of the users who joined a product in a given time frame (usually a week). Then calculate how many of these users engaged with the product over every successive week. Churn is slightly different and is calculated by taking the number of users who leave and dividing by the number of total users (regardless of start time).

Cohort analysis is a metric by which we see the decay in user engagement. Users leave even the most sticky products for any number of reasons. For instance, small and medium businesses may leave your product because they are shutting down operation. VCs really like to see cohort-analysis tables, because they give us a perspective on when users are leaving the platform.

First-week retention is probably the most immediately interesting number. For social media, 80 percent one-week churn is very high, 40 percent is good, and only 20 percent is phenomenal. For paid products like SaaS, churn and other conversion metrics tend to make more impact here rather than pure cohort analysis. SaaS churn in the low single digits (1–3 percent) is strong.

Seasonality can be an important component to elucidating cohort analysis. Education startups often see their users return at the beginning of the school year as people think through their software choices. Be sure your story includes all facets of your cohort analysis.

shutterstock_173771183

User Acquisition and Marketing Metrics

We know that users are important for a business, but they don’t often walk right through the door. Instead, companies have to exert significant resources to get users to sign up and potentially pay for the product they are selling. Thus, these metrics go to the core of a business model and its sustainability.

Cost of Acquiring a Customer and Payback

Take the amount spent on all forms of user acquisition (search engine marketing, content marketing, public relations, etc.) and divide by the number of new users within a given period. Thus, if we spent a total of $100,000 acquiring users, and we have 100 new users, we just paid $1000 per user (fully-blended).

This is the bread-and-butter of almost all subscription companies, but also applies to most other startups. While the fully blended number is interesting, it doesn’t give a venture capitalist a lot of information about the channels that users are joining from. Therefore, we often split this into paid and free channels.

Free acquisition is what it sounds like – someone started using a product without seeing an advertisement, perhaps through word of mouth, or maybe reading about it in the press. In contrast, paid acquisition is generally synonymous with advertising. If you spend $60 on Google AdWords and get one customer, you had a CAC of $60. We often express the number of free versus paid acquisitions as a ratio, since this can show if the growth of the user base is primarily organic.

There are a lot of signposts for CAC, almost all of them dependent on the type of business. In general, the higher the ARPU – average revenue per user – the higher the cost of acquiring a customer can be. In social media, this number needs to be as low as possible (and can be near zero if growth is purely viral). In e-commerce, great CAC prices are around $30–$60 per user. Acquisition prices above that are not uncommon, but they do require more diligence. Prices above $200 are pretty rare in successful online businesses. Then again, financial services often have CACs in the upper hundreds, so, as always, there are exceptions.

Another way to judge whether the CAC is reasonable is to calculate the payback time for a new user. In e-commerce, this is generally measured as the number of orders that need to be purchased to cover the cost of acquiring a customer. If the number of orders is one, that is fantastic – it means the customer is immediately profitable. For advertising-driven and freemium subscription startups, payback times of 3–6 months are good, and anything more than 18 months is likely going to be very hard to swallow.

Net Promoter Score

Run a survey among your customers asking how likely it is that they will recommend (i.e. promote) your product to other people on a 1 to 10 scale. Promoters are those who give an answer of 9 or 10, and detractors are those that respond with a 1 or 2. Calculate the proportion of both groups as a total of the survey population. The net promoter score is the proportion of promoters minus the proportion of detractors. Thus, if 50 percent of your customers are promoters and 10 percent are detractors, your net score is 40.

This is one of my favorite metrics. It shows how satisfied your customers are with your product and your overall experience. NPSs of 50 are considered excellent, and companies like Amazon and Google generally hover around such numbers. However, scores as high as 80 or even 90 are possible. Businesses that inculcate such fervency in its customers are highly valuable, and should raise capital easily.

Sales Metrics

So you want to have a company that has actual, flesh-and-blood customers? If so, then you are going to have to build sales channels to efficiently build revenue. These metrics are helpful ways to judge the success of those efforts.

Magic Number

Take the net growth of subscription revenue over two quarters, multiply by 4, and then divide by the total spend on sales and marketing. So if in Q1 we had $200,000 in subscription revenue, and in Q2 we have $400,000, and we spent $300,000 in sales and marketing in Q1, we would have $400,000-$200,000, which is $200,000 net growth, multiplying by 4, we have $800,000, and dividing by our expenses, we have a ratio of 2.66.

This is arguably the best-named metric here, and a favorite of Scale Venture Partners, which popularized it. Essentially what this metric calculates is our return on investment of spending a dollar on sales and marketing. For each dollar we spend, we get the magic number back in additional revenue. A magic number above 1 means that a company has found a way to scale sales and marketing to build sustainable profit growth. A number below 1 isn’t necessarily terrible, but it also means that the company is not scaling as efficiently as other companies.

Basket Size and Order Velocity

The average sales price (ASP) is the price of a typical order. Order velocity is the time it takes for a customer to make a repeat purchase.

For e-commerce businesses, these are among the most important metrics to calculate. ASP often drives the rest of a startup’s fundamentals, and so like run rate, acts as a clustering algorithm to quickly assess a startup’s business model for VCs. A high ASP generally means wealthier customers, fewer repeat purchases, more flexibility on the cost of acquiring a customer, etc. Order velocity also is influenced by ASP.

For instance, Uber is a low ASP, high-velocity e-commerce business, whereas One Kings Lane tends toward a high ASP but low-velocity business. There is no “best” answer regarding these metrics, but generally, the lower the ASP, the higher the velocity of sales needs to be to compensate.

Average Sales Cycle

Take the date that a customer is first contacted, and then the date that they make their first purchase. The difference is the sales cycle. Average across all customers.

Like ASP, the average sales cycle often determines a lot of the fundamentals of a startup’s business, and therefore tells us about how to think about a company rather than its performance. We tend to use average sales cycle for enterprise and subscription sales, whereas we use order velocity for e-commerce and other repeatable purchases. Sales to government and education institutions generally have the longest cycles, possibly two years or even longer. Sales to Fortune 500 businesses are shorter, generally 6–18 months depending on the product (for instance, software is easier to purchase than storage infrastructure). Converting a customer in a freemium model can take 18 months or more, but generally a cycle below one year is good.

Long Term Value

This is the total value of a customer over the life of that customer’s relationship with the company.

This metric is really well-known, so I won’t cover it in-depth. It works hand-in-hand with churn, since the length of the relationship is inversely proportional to the churn. Calculating this value tends to be really hard, and getting to a number that is actually comparable across companies is challenging. VCs often have to substitute more objective metrics like ASP to get to values that are more easily measurable. Nonetheless, this number is crucially important, particularly as a company scales for the long-term.

Chasing Money

Market Metrics

Startups are competing for the limited time and resources of customers. Understanding the size of a market and its composition is the final metric analysis, but also a key one, since it determines the potential ceiling in value for a company.

Total Addressable Market

This is the total amount of money spent in a startup’s defined space.

While incredibly important, there is a huge amount of fuzziness in any sort of market analysis. Startups may want to define themselves a certain way, and venture capitalists may have an entirely different market in mind when they analyze a startup.

Generally speaking, markets greater than $1 billion are good, and any market definition that uses the word “trillion” is likely to get a laugh from a venture capitalist. Often, describing the TAM is more an opportunity for a founder to demonstrate an understanding of their startup’s market than it is about actually getting a quantitative figure.

Average Wallet Size

This is a key metric for a lot of businesses, particularly enterprise companies. Average wallet size is the total amount that a single customer can spend in a given period of time for a category of services (i.e. its budget). This metric is important because it gives a sense of the financial capabilities of your customers, and it allows a VC to judge how expensive your product is relative to a customer’s appetite.

This number cuts both ways. Startups that charge a small amount compared to the average wallet size are just as risky as those that charge a very high proportion of the wallet size as their product’s price. You don’t generally want to be insignificant, nor do you want to be so large that you knock out an entire budget.

Conclusion

This essay is a crash course in the metrics used in the quantitative analysis of startups by early-stage investors. As I said before, every investor has their own approach, and every startup is unique. Guidelines here are general, and more specialized information from your specific space is always the most important benchmark by which to judge your startup’s performance.

I would like to leave with one important observation, and that is that one metric tends to drive the curiosity of a venture capitalist more than a complete set of decent ones. An incredible k-value by a social media company, an extremely short sales cycle in the Fortune 500, and an incredibly high net promoter score in e-commerce are just some examples of how a single metric can be the defining story of your company.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, quantitative metrics are informative about various dimensions of a startup’s performance, but they are not conclusive proof of the worth of a startup. Dazzling products with superb design, strong teams, unique markets, and other areas are just as vital to the success of a business. Outstanding metrics are probably necessary to successfully fundraise (particularly today), but they are not usually sufficient to guarantee an outcome. Great companies are built from greatness, both quantitative and qualitative.

[Images via Shutterstock]



from TechCrunch http://ift.tt/1kk1PRt

How Fox Is Using 4K at the Super Bowl

Fox-cameras
Feed-twFeed-fb

The age of 4K may have officially begun, but the world still has some catching up to do. Case in point: You can't actually watch this weekend's Super Bowl in 4K (a.k.a. Ultra HD), even if you have a 4K TV, since there isn't yet a broadcast or cable standard for ultra-high-def format. Even the live stream is "just" in 720p.

That doesn't mean 4K won't make a difference at the big game. Fox will have six 4K cameras at MetLife Stadium — two on the sidelines, two on the goal lines and two on the end lines — specifically for the network's "Super Zoom" feature. When the broadcast needs to get in tight on some action, the feed will crop a 720p "window" from the 4K picture captured by those cameras. That way, Fox can get tight, high-res images without needing to zoom in optically. Read more...

More about Fox Sports, Fox, Super Bowl, 4k, and Tv

from Mashable http://ift.tt/1kk7FSS

The UK government moves to unblock websites inadvertently affected by ISP porn filters

The porn opt-in debate divided opinions and generally caused a stink when UK ISPs revealed plans to ‘protect’ children from adult content on the Web. And many of the initial concerns, vis-à-vis perfectly legitimate sites being inadvertently blocked by filters, have proven to be valid.

Yes, it seems a slew of sites run by charities, designed to educate children and others on the matter of sexual health, have been automatically blocked. And now, the UK government is producing a safe-list of such sites for ISPs to ‘unblock’.

As the BBC reports, moves are also being made to set up a standard system that lets any website that has been ‘wrongly’ blocked inform ISPs, so they can be added to an approved list.

UK government tackles wrongly-blocked websites

Feature Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons



from The Next Web Feed http://ift.tt/1edhIJM

Quick Fit for iPhone brings more than the 7 Minute Workout to your home

exercise 520x245 Quick Fit for iPhone brings more than the 7 Minute Workout to your home

From the Atkins Diet to Hydrospinning, health and fitness crazes come and go.

One of the latest crazes to come to the fore is the 7 Minute Workout, which is basically a short and snappy high-intensity session spanning 12 exercises of 30 seconds each, interjected with a series of 10 second breaks. These can be done anywhere, including the home, and require no special equipment. While there’s already a slew of 7 Minute Workout apps, a new one has hit our radar, from the same folks who built the beautiful Wake alarm clock app. So we thought we’d check it out.

Quick Fit is taking the 7 Minute Workout philosophy and moving it forward a few steps. Yes, it has all the familiar exercises you’ve grown to love (?), but it’s also bringing its own moves into the mix. Given that doing the same 12 exercises may get tedious if repeated often, Quick Fit is featuring its own set of workouts, based on the same concept of high intensity interval training.

How it works

As with other similar apps, you have the same familiar 7 Minute Workout exercise videos – jumping jacks, wall sits, push ups, crunches, chair step-ups, squats, tricep dips, planks, running on the spot, lunges, push up and rotations, and side planks. You can also track your progress over time.

Photo 30 01 2014 17 23 101 220x330 Quick Fit for iPhone brings more than the 7 Minute Workout to your home    Photo 30 01 2014 17 23 291 220x330 Quick Fit for iPhone brings more than the 7 Minute Workout to your home

But with the initial launch, Quick Fit is also introducing Quick Abs – a 7 minute intense workout geared towards strengthening your core and making your torso resemble a washboard. However, this will set you back $1.99 through an in-app purchase, which is in addition to the $0.99 the app will cost you in the first instance. It’s worth noting here you can also turn the voice-overs and sound effects off, if you wish to play your own music over the top (or workout in silence).

Photo 30 01 2014 17 23 131 220x330 Quick Fit for iPhone brings more than the 7 Minute Workout to your home    Photo 30 01 2014 17 24 351 220x330 Quick Fit for iPhone brings more than the 7 Minute Workout to your home

Though there’s only one of these extra workouts available at launch, they’ll shortly be adding Quick Yoga and a 4 minute tabata workout too. And yes, you can likely expect even more to be added in the future.

Optimized for iPhone and iPod touch, Quick Fit is available to download now for $0.99.

Quick Fit | App Store

Feature Image Credit – Shutterstock



from The Next Web Feed http://ift.tt/1fpN1z3