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Tag Archives: beauty

Distributed teams are rewriting the rules of office(less) politics

When we think about designing our dream home, we don’t think of having a thousand roommates in the same room with no doors or walls. Yet in today’s workplace where we spend most of our day, the purveyors of corporate office design insist that tearing down walls and bringing more people closer together in the same physical space will help foster better collaboration while dissolving the friction of traditional hierarchy and office politics. But what happens when there is no office at all? This is the reality for Jason Fried, Founder and CEO of Basecamp , and Matt Mullenweg, Founder and CEO of Automattic (makers of WordPress), who both run teams that are 100% distributed across six continents and many time zones. Fried and Mullenweg are the founding fathers of a movement that has inspired at least a dozen other companies to follow suit, including Zapier, Github, and Buffer. Both have either written a book, or have had a book written about them on the topic. For all of the discussions about how to hire, fire, coordinate, motivate, and retain remote teams though, what is strangely missing is a discussion about how office politics changes when there is no office at all. To that end, I wanted to seek out the experience of these companies and ask: does remote work propagate, mitigate, or change the experience of office politics? What tactics are startups using to combat office politics, and are any of them effective? “Can we take a step back here?” Office politics is best described by a simple example. There is a project, with its goals, metrics, and timeline, and then there’s who gets to decide how it’s run, who gets to work on it, and who gets credit for it. The process for deciding this is a messy human one. While we all want to believe that these decisions are merit-based, data-driven, and objective, we all know the reality is very different.

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Blippar is using AR to help customers find their way indoors

Remember the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruz walks through the mall and thousands of holographic ads pop up around him? That reality may not be as far off as we thought. Blippar , the augmented reality startup that launched back in 2011, is today announcing the launch of a new product that would let retailers, airports, commercial real estate owners, etc. place augmented reality content across their space. The product is called the Blippar Indoor Positioning System, and it uses computer vision and augmented reality to help customers, tenants, etc. find their way through a large indoor space such as a grocery store, department store, or stadium. This isn’t Blippar’s foray into AR navigation. The company launched the AR City app in the summer of 2017, which uses the camera of the phone to pinpoint a user’s location with better accuracy than GPS, according to the company. Blippar rolled out functionality for AR City in more than 300 cities. But the indoor positioning system should prove more lucrative. Location services is one critical piece of our digital lifestyle that hasn’t been completely overwhelmed by advertisements. But it’s not hard to imagine advertisements popping up within a department store or sports stadium as a user looks for the beauty department or the closest hotdog, respectively of course. Blippar sees an opportunity to use this for retail and shopping, entertainment and gamification, tourism, and even design, giving interior designers a chance to check out AR furniture, paint colors, etc. But there’s also a huge play here around data. Facebook may know just about everything about you, but the advertising behemoth hasn’t made the most of leveraging a user’s location

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Kin expands its celebrity-driven ‘neighborhood’ model for online video

Digital media company Kin has announced a slate of new video series from singer/actress Jordin Sparks, Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers (who successfully proposed to Fletcher over on the series). The company also revealed more details about its programming with Vanessa Lachey (who had already signed on with her husband Nick). She’ll be hosting a competition series called Beauty School Knockout , where contestants compete to create specific looks using unconventional products. This is all part of what the company calls its “neighborhood” strategy, where it launches a set of interconnected channels, usually featuring stars who became famous on traditional media. The new announcements bring Kin up to five channels, with the goal of creating three more by the end of the year. “Ultimately, We want to create 20 of these channels … a neighborhood of channels for women in what we call the ‘builder’ phase of their lives,” Kin CEO Michael Wayne told me. “And they all have sort of the same like-minded, inspirational, accessible feeling to them, in women lifestyle verticals.” The company’s first big success with this model was  Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix , a series of lifestyle and how-to videos from the Sister, Sister star. According to research by Nielsen, Quick Fix reached 8.8 million total viewers in the week of June 25, including 3.7 million women between the ages of 18 to 34 — an audience that’s comparable to cable reality hits like  Chopped, Property Brothers and Keeping Up with the Kardashians . So Kin said it’s extending its partnership with Mowry to develop more lifestyle content in addition to Quick Fix . In Wayne’s view, it makes more sense for Kin to work with a “mainstream star” like Mowry rather than someone who recently became famous on social media, especially since the first wave of social media influencers is being “completely disrupted by the next wave.” He said that Mowry, on the other hand, has been in the public consciousness for decades: “No one searches for Tia because she did a smokey eye video.” Wayne added that he remains focused on a cross-platform strategy, where individual platforms might get early access to the videos ( Beauty School Knockout will premiere on Facebook Watch), but the videos ultimately get posted to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram TV and Amazon.

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Shedul, the booking platform for salons and spas, picks up $5M investment

Shedul , an online booking platform for salons and spas, has raised $5 million in funding. The round is led by Berlin’s Target Global, with participation from New York based FJ Labs. A number of individuals also invested personally, including Niklas Östberg (founder and CEO of Delivery Hero), and Hakan Koç (co-founder and co-CEO of Auto1 Group). Launched in 2015, Shedul’s first product is a free SaaS designed to help salons and spas manage their day-to-day sales and operations. The platform’s features span managing appointment bookings, point-of-sale, customer records, inventory, and financial reporting. A second, more recent offering is the Fresha.com marketplace, and it here where the London-headquartered company generates revenue by charging merchants a small percentage fee on top of bookings. “We’ve built the world’s best platform for beauty and wellness industry and given it to all businesses globally 100 percent subscription free,” says founder and CEO William Zeqiri. “Good free software has spread virally with users in the industry enabling us to acquire new merchants very fast”. This has seen Shedul acquire salon and spa operator customers in more than 120 countries, primarily in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada. Around 6 million appointments are booked each month, growing at an average rate of 20 percent month-on-month, while the platform is on track to process $3.5 billion worth of appointment bookings by the end of 2018. “Leveraging our existing pool of global merchants allowed us to bootstrap the consumer marketplace with a lot of liquidity,” explains Zeqiri. “This created additional value proposition for both merchants and marketplace customers. With our Free SaaS-enabled marketplace business model we are leveraging the critical mass of merchants and marketplace users to scale the platform exponentially”. Currently in the initial rollout phase, Zeqiri says Fresha.com provides mobile apps for customers and real-time booking integrations through Instagram, Facebook and Google, along with in-app payment processing.

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The Traeger Timberline 850 turns BBQ from art to science

This review took a lot of pork. Over the last few months, I’ve used the Traeger Timberline 850 several times a week. Cooking on this grill is easier than using an oven. With a little bit of planning, a person can simultaneously grill a flock of chickens, a couple of pork butts and a load of veggies and have them turn out perfectly. I did, and it was the best Mother’s Day ever. First the good. It’s simple: This grill can cook the perfect brisket every time. It doesn’t take any skill. Just follow the instructions, and in 12-14 hours, an award-winning brisket will melt in your mouth. And therein lies the rub. This grill turns barbecuing from an art to a science. My completely unscientific ranking of all the food I cooked on this grill: Brisket: 10/10 Pork butt: 10/10 Pork belly: 10/10 Short ribs: 10/10 Country style ribs: 10/10 Beer can chicken: 8/10 Spatchcock chicken: 8/10 Chicken wings: 8/10 Roasted chicken: 7/10 Hamburgers: 7/10 Cookies: 7/10 Flank steak: 6/10 Thick, general cuts of beef: 5/10 gallery ids="1680115,1680114,1680117,1680118,1680123,1680132,1680128,1680120,1680121,1680148" Everything from chicken to every cut of pork to every sort of vegetable comes out nearly perfectly

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No one needs this $279 vibrating face puck

I'll admit it: Any combination of tech and skincare gets me super excited, and I was stoked to try out the Foreo UFO. It's a puck that heats up, vibrates and glows to enhance the traditional facial-sheet-mask experience, and it can be controlled via...

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Tesla reaches deal to build electric vehicle factory in China

Tesla has reached a deal with the Shanghai government to build a factory capable of producing 500,000 electric vehicles a year. The factory would be the automaker’s second assembly plant and aimed at serving the alluring Chinese market. Tesla and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government announced Tuesday they had signed the cooperative agreement. Tesla announced last year it was working with the Shanghai municipal government to explore the possibility of establishing a factory in the region. Construction on the factory, which the company has dubbed Gigafactory 3, is expected to begin “in the future after we get all the necessary approvals and permits,” a Tesla spokesman told TechCrunch in an emailed statement. “From there, it will take roughly two years until we start producing vehicles and then another two to three years before the factory is fully ramped up to produce around 500,000 vehicles per year for Chinese customers,” the spokesman said. Tesla hasn’t provided an estimate of what the factory might cost to build. That’s a critical data point for Tesla, which has been burning through cash as it tries to ramp up production of its Model 3 vehicle . Still, the deal is a milestone for Tesla and Musk, who has long viewed China as a crucial market. It’s also notable because this will be a wholly owned Tesla factory, not a traditional joint venture with the Chinese government. Foreign companies have historically had to form a 50-50 joint venture with a local partner to build a factory in China. Chines President Xi Jinping has pushed forward plans to phase out joint-venture rules for foreign automakers by 2022. Tesla is one of the first beneficiaries of this rule change. Tesla is particularly exposed to escalating trade tensions between China and the U.S.

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Booksy, the worldwide booking system, raises $13.2 million

Booksy , a Poland-based booking application for the beauty business, has raised $13.2 million in a series B effort to drive global growth. The company, founded in 2014 by Stefan Batory and Konrad Howard, is currently seeing 2.5 million bookings per month. The company raised from Piton Capital, OpenOcean, Kulczyk Investments, and Zach Coelius. Batory, an ultramarathoner, also co-founded iTaxi, Poland’s popular taxi hailing app. Booksy came about when he was trying to schedule physiotherapy appointments after long runs. He would come home sore and plan on calling his physiotherapist but it was always too late. “I didn’t want to bother him after I was done with my workout late night, and it was virtually impossible to contact him during day time as his hands were busy massaging people and he did not answer my calls,” he said. Booksy launched in the US in 2017 and “rapidly become the number one booking app in the world,” said Batory. “We will use the funding to drive global growth, recruit high profile talent and develop proprietary technologies that will further support beauty businesses,” he said. “That includes the implementation of one-click booking, a feature that uses machine learning and AI technologies, to determine each user’s buying pattern and offer them the best dates with their favorite stylists, thus simplifying user experience for both merchants and their customers.”

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The Wex Photo Video Show

The Wex Photo Video Show is an exciting new event taking place from Friday 29 to Saturday 30 June 2018 at its flagship store and showroom in London E1. The event is held over two complete days packed with practical workshops, hands-on demonstrations, inspiring expert talks and special guest appearances from some of the most prominent names in the business. Entrance is free.

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IBM introduces a blockchain to verify the jewelry supply chain

Every time I talk to someone about the viability of blockchain, I get challenged to show a real project beyond the obvious bitcoin use case. IBM has been working to build large enterprise projects blockchain  and today they offered an irrefutable example that they have dubbed TrustChain , a blockchain that proves the provenance of jewelry by following the supply chain from mine to store. As you might expect the TrustChain is built on IBM blockchain technology and includes a consortium of companies involved in every step of the supply chain: Asahi Refining, the precious metals refiner; Helzberg Diamonds, a U.S. jewelry retailer; LeachGarner, a precious metals supplier and The Richline Group, a global jewelry manufacturer. It even includes some third-party verification with UL Labs for the skeptical among you. “What we are announcing and bringing forward has been in the works for some time. It’s the first end-to-end industry capability on blockchain that has its core in trust,” Jason Kelley, the GM of blockchain services at IBM told TechCrunch. While there are trust mechanisms in place to ensure the authenticity of jewelry, they tend to be more piecemeal and this one is designed to be more comprehensive. One of the primary benefits of using blockchain in this instance is that it’s so much more efficient. Instead shuffling paper, the process becomes much more digital and reduces a lot (although not all) of the manual paper-pushing along the way.

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IBM introduces a blockchain to verify the jewelry supply chain

Every time I talk to someone about the viability of blockchain, I get challenged to show a real project beyond the obvious bitcoin use case. IBM has been working to build large enterprise projects blockchain  and today they offered an irrefutable example that they have dubbed TrustChain , a blockchain that proves the provenance of jewelry by following the supply chain from mine to store. As you might expect the TrustChain is built on IBM blockchain technology and includes a consortium of companies involved in every step of the supply chain: Asahi Refining, the precious metals refiner; Helzberg Diamonds, a U.S. jewelry retailer; LeachGarner, a precious metals supplier and The Richline Group, a global jewelry manufacturer. It even includes some third-party verification with UL Labs for the skeptical among you. “What we are announcing and bringing forward has been in the works for some time. It’s the first end-to-end industry capability on blockchain that has its core in trust,” Jason Kelley, the GM of blockchain services at IBM told TechCrunch. While there are trust mechanisms in place to ensure the authenticity of jewelry, they tend to be more piecemeal and this one is designed to be more comprehensive. One of the primary benefits of using blockchain in this instance is that it’s so much more efficient. Instead shuffling paper, the process becomes much more digital and reduces a lot (although not all) of the manual paper-pushing along the way. Photo: IBM Of course, just because it’s on the blockchain doesn’t mean there won’t be attempts to circumvent the system, but the TrustChain has a mechanism for participants to check the validity of each transaction, each step of the way. “If there is a dispute, instead of calling and following back through the process in a more manual way, you can click on a trusted chain, and you’re able to see what happened immediately.

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