AMD’s Lisa Su doubles down on ‘Big Navi’ and Zen 3 for 2020 – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: On The Bring Up series hosted on AMD’s YouTube channel, Dr. Lisa Su confirmed once again that we’ll see more potent Radeon graphics cards this year. Su also reaffirmed the arrival of Zen 3 in 2020, going so far as to say Zen 3 is doing “really well.”
“I’ve heard a little bit through Twitter and Reddit that people are wondering about, you know, Big Navi. I can say you’re gonna see Big Navi in 2020. There might be few people wondering about Zen 3 as well, and I can tell you that Zen 3 is doing really well, we are excited about it, and I look forward talking about that later in 2020,” said Su.
Beloved CEO, Lisa Su has got its own action figure turns out

Outside of the acknowledgment that Big Navi will debut this year, Su remained tight lipped about details. Judging from AMD’s past hardware launches, we can reasonably expect to know more at E3, presumably with an event similar to last year’s New Horizon Gaming Event. That’s where AMD debuted its Navi 10 silicon and the RX 5000-series.

Bridget and Cavin are back with a brand new episode of #TheBringUp! Get the latest on key announcements and #CES2020 moments with a very special guest—AMD President and CEO @LisaSu!
— AMD (@AMD) January 17, 2020

As to what form Big Navi will take, we’re still forced to speculate. We can expect — or hope, rather — that AMD will finally address the upper end of Nvidia’s RTX product stack, from the RTX 2070 Super on up. Recently, we were treated to a leaked benchmark of what could be an unannounced AMD GPU. While it’s important to take that benchmark with all due skepticism, the prospect of a proper competitor to Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti is tantalizing indeed.
AMD typically reserves CPU and motherboard announcements for Computex, and it’s likely that’s where we’ll hear more regarding AMD’s next generation of desktop processors.

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Has journalism finally found its big tech ally? Inside Microsoft’s pitch to publishers- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

While Facebook and Google are habitually denounced for their impact on the news industry, and Apple is regarded by publishers with suspicion, Microsoft is setting out its stall to be the good guy in big tech who can make journalism better.
On Thursday in London, it made its case to an invitation-only audience of UK and European publishers, unveiling details of how its AI technology is being developed with the aim of transforming the practices of journalism for the modern age.
Its innovations are designed to speed up investigative reporting by allowing vast datasets to be combed in seconds; video interviews can be given instant and searchable text transcripts in one of 40 languages; and reporters can have their voices mimicked by AI so that their articles can be consumed in audio formats, which are growing fast in popularity. At least, that’s the plan.
What makes these developments more intriguing is that Microsoft can already boast of being the number one worldwide news service on multi-platform and desktop (Comscore, November 2019). Microsoft News reaches 500 million monthly users of the articles it curates across its various platforms; from the MSN homepage to its Microsoft Edge browser, to its apps and the news feeds it provides for Amazon’s Kindle Fire and various mobile partners.
Its news service is produced in 60 editions and in 31 languages across 180 countries by a team of 800 editors in 50 locations, from Microsoft’s headquarters in Washington state to its operation in Paddington, west London.
But it doesn’t write its own stories. Microsoft’s vast audience is reading the material produced by 1,200 publishers and 4,500 news brands who send it 170,000 pieces of content every day. Its partners in the UK include the BBC, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Telegraph and The Sun.
Microsoft’s stated intent is to be not merely a destination for news but also a crucial collaborator in the news-gathering process. It desires that its properties – from Azure and its AI-driven Insight and Discovery Accelerator (IDA) programme, to familiar packages like Outlook, Excel and Offce – comprise the ubiquitous infrastructure systems of newsrooms worldwide.
Its pitch to publishers took place on Thursday in a meeting space above its new flagship store overlooking Oxford Circus. On the ground floor, customers shopped for Surface computers and Xbox consoles alongside a giant Minecraft figure and to the sound of an in-store DJ. Up on the second floor, Ben Rudolph, the global chief technology officer of Microsoft News Labs, was painting a picture of journalism’s AI-driven future. “Technology can augment journalism,” promised his slide.
The IDA programme, being built within Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, was created with “$1m of dev time”, he said. It was inspired by the discovery that, even in 2018, one large US news outlet searched a PDF of 30,000 emails by printing 90,000 pages and sharing them among an army of reporters with highlighter pens. IDA can search datasets from PDFs and emails to photos and digitised magazine clippings. “You have got this ability now to start looking across massive swathes of data,” he told the audience of news professionals. “We are working with publishers all over the world with IDA right now to help them speed and scale their reporting.”
Potentially, IDA’s machine learning and cognitive technology could help investigative journalists uncover stories that otherwise might have gone missing, and free up resources from time-heavy tasks sushi as transcription and translation.
Microsoft’s launch partner for IDA, The Atlantic magazine, put its 168-year-old archive on the system to allow it to search for historical context for current stories. It found that Mark Twain, once a writer for the magazine, was one of the earliest advocates of impeachment.
Rudolph also demonstrated IDA’s ‘Video Indexer’ tool which allows journalists to search films for faces and words. “It gives you this map of everything that’s happening across all of your videos.” Transcripts of everything said in the video are produced in real time. Individuals in the video can also be picked out, using facial recognition, each time they appear. “What I don’t mean is we are mapping against some kind of Facebook database,” says Rudolph (IDA’s visual database is restricted to 1 million individuals of high public profile).
This reference to another tech giant and trust seems significant.
In an interview with Tempemail after the presentation, Rob Bennett, editor-in-chief and general manager of global content operations for Microsoft News, says that it is the “longevity” of the organisation’s relationship with the news sector that underpins the trust it now enjoys.
“We view our role at Microsoft as being able to contribute our scale, our resources, our technology, to partner with the news industry and help create a sustainable, vibrant ecosystem of distribution, content creation, content curation and really help everyone play to their strengths in that ecosystem,” he says.
“The longevity we have in working with publishers, news outlets and content creators, is a huge asset. We have relationships with thousands of companies that all share the same vision of building a trusted vibrant ecosystem of news outlets and a massive audience of readers around the world.”
Microsoft, as he points out, has been in the news business for 25 years – since before Google and Facebook were even a thing. But its activities in this space have sometimes faltered. I visited previous incarnations of the Microsoft news operation, where journalists were employed in generating original material as the tech giant sought to challenge traditional media, particularly in key verticals, such as gadgets, cars and music.
Bennett, a Microsoft veteran of 16 years, says that “technology has clearly disrupted the news industry both in positive and negative ways” but argues that MSN was never really regarded by the publishing industry “as a threat or competitor in real storytelling or content creation”.
That realisation was acted on five years ago when Microsoft “shifted our model” to become a partner of publishers rather than a source of original content. “We took that site and turned it into a platform that delivers news content from the world’s best journalists,” he says of the pivot.
Microsoft determined to focus on its “strengths in audience and technology”, Bennett says. Its audience has traditionally been on desktop but it has grown its reach on mobile by partnering with Orange and other mobile operators “that already have devices in people’s hands”. As a result, “worldwide Microsoft News is the number one news service across all platforms,” he says. “We are not in it for the ranking but it was great validation.”
Why is Microsoft interested in news? Bennett gives two reasons. One is high-minded. “We think that there is a societal need for a well-funded free press. We made our commitment a couple of years ago to defending democracy and we really started to lean in on understanding how safeguarding quality journalism plays a role in defending the democratic process. We feel there is a duty to inform the users of our products and services with high-quality content.”
Bennett points out that Microsoft president Brad Smith cited the safeguarding of journalism as one of his three primary challenges for the technology industry in the coming decade. The Microsoft News chief says that just as AI can produce threats to journalism, such as ‘deep fake’ videos, so also “we can use AI to detect those videos and verify the original source”.
As well as safeguarding the “integrity of news”, Microsoft wants to use technology to protect individual journalists working in the field, particularly war correspondents. It is working with the Clooney Foundation for Justice to identify particular needs. Rudolph, who oversees a team of seven at the 18-month-old News Labs but is typically drawing on “a swat team” of 30-50 engineers for each project, talks of the possibilities of encrypted communications tools and fitting micro-controller devices in the boots of reporters so editors “know exactly where they are walking and how quickly they are moving”.
Bennett’s other explanation for Microsoft’s desire to succeed in news is more obviously rooted in its business strategy: it has become “table stakes” essential for the platforms it serves. “When the browser came out you couldn’t imagine buying a PC that didn’t have an internet browser, now I think we are at the spot where you couldn’t imagine buying a phone that didn’t have news integrated in one swipe away from the home screen.”
Microsoft News continues to grow. It recently launched editions in Hungary and the Czech Republic, and in three new Indian languages. The already huge reach is a draw for advertisers. Since 2014, it has distributed $900m of ad revenues (the “majority” of the money received) to publishing partners. Bennett sees this as evidence of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting the business model for news. “We all know has been challenged and we think we have been delivering over the past five years a sustainable revenue stream for the publishers that we have worked with.”
Rudolph puts the mission more succinctly. “We want to be able to help journalists.” Newsrooms have heard similar claims from the tech sector before – but this seems a collaboration that publishers have appetite for.
Ian Burrell’s column, The News Business, is published on Tempemail each Thursday. Follow Ian on Twitter @iburrell

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Super Bowl 2020: the ins and outs of the big game’s advertisers- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Despite the rise of online advertising, the Super Bowl is still advertising’s biggest day, with major brands throwing down as much as $5.6m for a 30-second spot. Fox Sports stated that it sold out of its inventory back in November.
Advertisers will no doubt be hoping for a better game than last season’s snoozer, with a close match extending through all four quarters to get the most from their investments. This year’s lineup of brands sees familiar names and a few new ones, including Facebook’s first big game spot.
Take a look through the participants in this year’s show and check back to this link often to see who else is playing the game and who’s punting.
Who’s New?
Facebook
The social media giant is making its Super Bowl debut with a couple of stars who share ‘rock’ in their names – Sylvester ‘Rocky’ Stallone and Chris Rock. Stallone teased the commercial shoot in front of the famed Philadelphia Art Museum steps on social media.
Pop-Tarts
The Kellogg’s brand is set to debut its first 30-second Super Bowl spot near the end of the first half. Sabra The hummus makes its Super Bowl debut with a 30-second spot by VaynerMedia.
Who’s Back?
Pringles
The potato chip maker is back, but has shifted its focus from live action to animation by enlisting cult favorite sci-fi duo Rick and Morty to promote the brand with a “humorous, mind-bending animated spot”. Pringles is launching a special edition, collectable Pickle Rick flavor, inspired from the series. “We want to do something completely new for the brand for the 2020 Big Game and are thrilled to be partnering with Adult Swim and Rick and Morty,” said Gareth Maguire, senior director of marketing for Pringles.

Pickle Rick Pringles

Olay
Inspired by the first all-female space walk last year, Olay’s Super Bowl ad stars Lilly Singh and Busy Philipps, who take a trip into space with retired astronaut Nicole Stott. Their space mission is overseen by mission controller Taraji P. Henson and shared over the airwaves by Katie Couric.

The ad from Badger & Winters puts this crew of women on the quest to #MakeSpaceForWomen, donating to a worthy cause of getting more girls into STEM programs through Girls Who Code. Fans can learn more at Olay.com/SuperBowl.
Avocados From Mexico The creamy fruit comes back for its sixth Super Bowl spot in a row and while the brand hasn’t released the spot or any details, Avocados From Mexico said it is returning to the game with with a new, humorous 30-second commercial done with Energy BBDO that celebrates the American avocado obsession. “Avocados From Mexico sources more than 80% of Americans’ avocado obsession, this is a story worth showcasing to 112 million viewers and an opportunity we couldn’t pass up this year,” said Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico. Hyundai Hyundai will be back with an in-game spot for the 12th time in the past 13 years. It hopes to connect with a 60-second ad that will run in the second quarter of the game. A teaser spot, by Innocean USA, features former Red Sox star David Ortiz being coached on adopting a Boston accent by comedian Rachel Dratch. The in-game spot will also star Boston-celebs Chris Evans and John Krasinski.

AB InBev
The beverage biggie will air four 60-second spots, one for Bud Light and Bud Light Seltzer, one for Budweiser, one for Michelob Pure Gold and one for Michelob Ultra. Bud Light / Bud Light Seltzer Bud Light is putting its name on a hard seltzer with a campaign that has already started running for the NFL playoffs.

It plans to combine its 60-second effort with its signature beer brand. “The spot includes both Bud Light and Seltzer,” said Andy Goeler, vice-president of marketing for Bud Light, who added that the effort this year hopes to surpass last year’s buzz-heavy mashup of Game of Thrones and the Bud Light medieval court.
Squarespace Website platform Squarespace returns for its sixth Super Bowl with an in-house-created ad. Previous ads have featured Keanu Reeves, John Malkovich and Jeff Bridges. The ad will air between the first and second quarters. Audi Audi returns for its 11th Super Bowl with an ad by 72andSunny. Kia The automaker will be a part of the game for the 11th year in a row with an ad by David&Goliath. Planters After tearing around in a peanut-mobile last year, Mr Peanut promises a return to the Super Bowl with a story that will show fans just how far he will go to have his friends’ backs. The 30-second spot stars Mr Peanut alongside Veep star Matt Walsh and will air during the Super Bowl’s third quarter.
Next week, @mrmattwalsh and I are going on a road trip to the Big Game in Miami! We’re just dying to hit the road. Follow our adventure on Twitter and see it all unfold on 2/2/20! pic.twitter.com/IBT4imE2wQ — Mr. Peanut (@MrPeanut) January 14, 2020
“I’m a huge fan of Planters snacks, and I’m thrilled to star alongside my pal Mr. Peanut,” said Walsh. “I’ve starred in some nutty scenarios in the past, but I can assure our fans they haven’t seen anything like our Super Bowl journey.”
Frito-Lay (Doritos, Cheetos)
The snack brand is featuring 30-second spots for two of its brands – Doritos and Cheetos. This is Cheetos’ first time in the Super Bowl since 2009.
Frito-Lay has already launched a portfolio-wide campaign, ‘Ready for Crunchtime’ – to remind consumers about the snacking essentials of game-time prep, including a commercial starring NFL legends Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Terry Bradshaw and Tony Gonzalez.
Also, Doritos announced two remix flavors: Flamin’ Hot Limon and Cool Ranch, and Cheetos launched Cheetos Popcorn.
Coca-Cola
Coke set its ad before the Tempemail Anthem last year, but it promises to be back in game this year, most likely promoting its Coke Energy drink.
Pepsi
Pepsi has a huge presence with its Pepsi Halftime Show, this year with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. It also promises a new spot to go along with its new brand campaign.

New York Life
The insurance firm is set to air a 60-second spot between the first and second quarters.
SodaStream
The PepsiCo brand returns to tout sparkling water in its first Super Bowl spot since 2014.
Heinz
The food and condiment brand looks to do a portfolio feature in the game.
Snickers
The candy bar celebrates the 10th anniversary of its irreverent ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign with a spot by BBDO New York.
“We’re excited to bring Snickers back to entertainment’s biggest stage after two years away from the spotlight,” said Josh Olken, brand director, Snickers. “The new ad not only honors the 10th anniversary of one of the most well-known campaigns in advertising history, but also marks the 90th anniversary of the iconic Snickers candy brand.”
TurboTax
The brand already kicked off its 2020 campaign with ‘All People Are Tax People’ and the NFL’s official sponsor for financial and accounting software, as well as tax preparation services, promises an additional 45-second spot in the Super Bowl.

WeatherTech
The maker of floor mats and other auto interior products is back for its seventh Super Bowl.
Porsche
The sports car company is back after a long absence to plug its electric vehicle.
Toyota
Toyota’s Highlander SUV will be featured in a 60-second spot.
General Motors (GMC)
GM is bringing back the Hummer name, albeit to an electric pickup truck under the GMC brand. It will be promoted by LeBron James and will feature an ad during the Super Bowl.
Donald Trump & Michael Bloomberg
The two presidential candidates will air political ads during the game.
Stella Artois
The beer brand featured Carrie Bradshaw and The Dude last year, but this year Stella has so far only committed to Port de Stella, which it calls “the ultimate destination for world-class food, music, style.”
Popping up around the US throughout 2020, Port de Stella will make its debut in Miami during Super Bowl weekend, inviting locals and Super Bowl goers the chance to taste, touch and experience the best of Europe and the Life Artois ahead of America’s most iconic sporting holiday. Tickets are free at PortdeStella.com.
Follow Tempemail’s Super Bowl coverage here.

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Facebook is betting big on selling ad space to Chinese companies – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: Facebook is currently banned in China, but that doesn’t mean it can’t tap its potential in other ways. Many Chinese companies want to use the social giant’s global presence and powerful ad tools to get ahead of the competition and expand their customer base, so Facebook is building a team dedicated to helping them out.
Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg officially gave up on annual challenges, opting for longer-term goals that cover the next decade. Among them are the fight to give more power to the people and a push for establishing rules around issues that are long in the tooth, such as election integrity, privacy, and the sanity of Facebook’s online platforms.
Meanwhile, there’s a lot of money on the table for its advertising business, especially in China. Despite Zuckerberg’s criticism of the region and its tendency to govern big platforms with censorship and strict rules, Facebook is building a new team of engineers in Singapore that will be dedicated solely to driving its advertising business in Southeast Asia.

Reuters notes the biggest challenge will be to develop ad-buying tools that Chinese customers can use to overcome internet restrictions imposed by the government. China is the second-largest source of revenue after the United States, with Facebook selling an estimated $5 billion worth of ad space in the region.
While Zuckerberg is unable to operate Facebook in China, companies, like TikTok owner ByteDance have used Facebook’s ad tools to propagate to a global audience. By the second half of 2019, ByteDance shifted to build its own advertising business to compete with Facebook’s.
Still, that leaves many small startups that need the power of Facebook to achieve visibility in a crowded global landscape. According to Raggy Lau, who runs a small ad agency in China, serving 30 companies, Facebook will see a significant demand for its ad tools this year and beyond.

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Why voice will be big in 2020- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The great thing about the future is that no one can know exactly what’s going to happen. That’s why the hype that prediction articles create, especially around technology, can never be taken completely seriously.
There are many sweeping, ambitious and sometimes contradictory forecasts doing the rounds each year, mentioning AI, VR and sexy futuristic outputs of the technologies that we consume every day.
The exciting future of voice, however, seems more realistic than it has in previous years. Since the new raft of voice applications were released, starting with Siri in 201, it’s had time to mature. Relevant use cases have been realised and very quickly, platforms like Alexa, Google Home and, to a lesser extent Apple’s homePod, have poured into our living rooms at a rate that is only increasing.
As users become more acclimatised to searching and performing tasks with their voice, the opportunities behind voice are going to become widespread. Here are a few reasons why we can all be optimistic about voice platforms in 2020:
In-skill purchasing will create a stronger ecosystem
In-skill purchasing (ISP) is now live within Alexa and will soon be rolled out to Google. Users may see this as just another way to waste money, but what ISP could mean to voice is huge. Being able to purchase through speec alone will blow open the platform to companies interested in financial return.
There has – ironically – not been a lot of noise about this so far, but it has the potential to create ecosystems similar to the App Store and Google Play.
In 2020, we think payment gateways, flows and frameworks will be standardised further for voice, and will spur creative brands to look at voice as an avenue to sell their products, and create a more convenient service for their users.
Skills will see more marketing budget
Over the last five years, many brands and start-ups have learned that launching a mobile app is not enough on its own. It needs advertising and a marketing campaign. You need to shout about it, or lose it to the depths of the App-sea. The same is true of skills – and with the total number of skills in the Alexa library already hitting 70,000, it’s critical companies understand the importance of marketing and release strategy when launching a skill.
In 2020, we’re going to see and more importantly hear about the Skills that we want as consumers.
Voice assistants will be on the move
No longer are voice assistants constrained to just our homes. In the last year, we’ve seen them in glasses, as driving assistants and now in ear buds. Apple Airpods already offer users access to Siri, and Sony’s Bluetooth earphones integrate with both Alexa and Google assistant. With Amazon Echo Buds and Google’s Pixel buds both due for release this year, we feel that voice will become part of the fashion zeitgeist in 2020.
Further than fashion, ear assistants such as these will once again change human behaviour. Just as we’ve all looked confusingly at city workers on electric scooters this year, in 2020 we’ll stare at people on the street talking to themselves, asking the space in front of them what the weather will be like in the afternoon, or where and when their next meeting is.
Though a lot of people will be amused by such developments, we believe such as a development could be a big game-changer for the time-poor. And watch out for headlines of commuters asking questions, only for others to get the answers.
Home integration
All smart devices in the home will become more integrated in 2020, and voice assistants will be at the heart of their integration. As more people become accustomed to smart devices in the home, the term ‘Internet of Things’ will be phased out, due to its ambiguous nature. We’ll all become a lot more accustomed to managing our houses through ecosystems such as Google Now.
Google announced this month at CES that they were asking TV manufacturers to begin to install microphones for far-field voice recognition in order to make TV’s speakers function the same way a smart speaker works today – meaning all TVs in the future will give us access to smart ecosystem’s.
Assisted living
Voice is creating new levels of accessibility for people that need help the most. Platforms have realised what in which voice assistants can be used by people who need help with the internet, changing television channels and remembering when to take medication. But use cases and development in accessibility have gone even further.
Alexa is currently being used within care homes. Smart connected devices are reminding elderly people to do everything from drinking water to helping them communicate with nurses and keeping them more connected to family members.
Certain developments have gone even further, such as this new Alexa Skill, Show and Tell, which along with visual recognition, helps blind people identify the groceries and items in their house that they’re holding, enabling them to cook and live their lives a lot easier.
More than anything, voice assistants are adding a voice in sometimes lonely houses and rooms. We think in 2020, with the utilisation of AI, we’ll continue to read warming stories of how voice is truly empowering those who are less able.
Though as we continue to look for problems to solve, we have to make sure they are not replacing the human relationships that so many people in care understand and count on, as this article showing the distress voice technology can create in dementia sufferers when used to help out with everyday tasks.
Bigger and better data will make us look smarter
In 2020, voice technology will make us all a lot quicker, more effective and efficient, especially in collaborative settings. This capability will not necessarily be driven by unique skills and applications of voice, but by the connection to big data. As Bruce Jaffes from Donut Domains explains:
“We are on the verge of accessing enterprise data through voice where you can ask a question in basic spoken language and have a platform to retrieve the answers — all integrated within enterprise applications. So, within Slack, you could ask, ‘What are Germany unit sales trends’ and immediately receive back the charts and data.”
Further to this, in 2020, we’ll see more voice-activated technology in the workplace, When integrated with automation, more day-to-day tasks from coffee orders for meetings to finding information and documentation will bring us resolutions faster.
Diversity is still an issue
In 2020, diversity and the bias presented by artificial intelligence remain a problem. Alexa and Google Assistant are 30% less likely to understand non-American accents and the average accuracy rate of a white male using Alexa is 92% – a mixed-race female is 69%.
These numbers are never great reading, and maybe explained that a large proportion of the workforce behind the technology are white men – debate on how AI bias is created will continue, a tendency sometimes referred to as the creators’ bias.
There is hope. Now that voice technology has matured organisations such as the BBC are beginning to focus on such issues. The BBC is in the process of launching a voice assistant, as a part of the trialing and prototyping of their service, have invited staff from around the world to feed in to train the programme to read different accents.
It will be interesting to see if these failure rate statistics have changed at all in a year’s time.
Privacy will still be an issue but will be better understood
Similar to AI, a lot of customers have shown security fears around the idea that Google or Amazon may be listening in to your bedroom conversation. And then there’s the prospect of laser hacking, a capability where a person can trick your device into doing something by shining a laser pen at it.
Google, have also responded to the skepticism behind home assistants, announcing recently at CES that if a user says “Hey Google, are you listening to me?”, they will now get a deep link to privacy settings in the Home mobile app, educating them as to how their privacy is considered.
Healthcare will become more personal
In 2019, Voice-activated technology has been rolled out into the medical world, with many solutions automating or simplifying communication between patients and providers. Intelligent voice-activated, bots such as Aiva and Merit.ai (amongst many others) can save clinical staff valuable time and complete tasks such as appointment scheduling and reminders in an outpatient setting, or care team coordination in an inpatient setting,
The one place where voice is held back is patient treatment, where surveyed patients feel it lacks a human touch. Organisations such as NHS Direct and Babylon have had great success in creating successful services through chat interfaces, but as of yet have not had similar success on voice platforms. As voice cements itself more into our consciousness, we feel we’ll see more exploration from both companies tackling the issue of making voice services feel more human.
The rapid pace of change in voice technology and sheer scale of Voice startups working in the healthcare space lead us to believe that 2020 will be a year where voice will become more common-place as an option for patient treatment and engagement. As Alexa and Google home cement their place in more living rooms, and doctors and their budgets become more stretched, we’ll see more solutions for issues such as managing chronic heart disease, medication reminders visual impairment and initial diagnosis.
Though maybe not in 2020, it would not be unthinkable that Google and Amazon partner to develop a diagnosis and triaging service that helps people understand their ailments and afflictions before contacting medical professionals. As a native service to voice devices, something like this could have a dramatic impact on the pressure and workload of hospitals and doctors’ surgeries alike.
We’ll have conversations with our bank again
Voice technology offers banks another opportunity to become more effective and create stronger customer relationships with customers. Though not many examples of voice banking have surfaced yet, companies such as Credit Union are beginning to make progress. Most notably, they are partnering with Amazon to work on how banking interactions can be performed through voice assistants.
In 2020, we’ll begin to see some of these services come to light, and expect cash transfer and security innovation at the front of these. Ultimately having a conversation with your Alexa could become your means of banking, coming back around from recent times when your only option was to go into a branch and have a conversation with a customer service representative.
Being heard
As demonstrated there is a lot of potential for voice in 2020, though nothing more exciting than the advancements in ISP and the introduction of voice into headphones, which will help voice projects gather steam like never before. Voice in headphones has the power to completely change existing human behaviour, offering a wealth of new opportunities. Will we see people talking to themselves walking down the street?
Having a structured and simple payment capability in ISP, creates a mechanism for brands to earn from voice skills.
2020 is a more exciting year for voice than any that have come before.
Paul Vallois, managing director at Nimbletank.

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Aaron Kwittken: With his $10m Super Bowl ad Michael Bloomberg will win big, even if he doesn’t win- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

For years many people in and outside the beltway have speculated that Michael Bloomberg, 77, founder of Bloomberg LP and former three-term Mayor of New York City would make a run for the US presidency.
Full disclosure, I’ve been in the ‘Bloomberg for President’ camp ever since he was NYC Mayor and I still am. But this piece is not really about my political point of view, (well.. maybe a bit.) In fact, it’s about Bloomberg’s decision to drop about $10m on a 60-second ad during the Super Bowl.
The problem is few people across most of America – especially in the fly-over states – really know who Michael Bloomberg is unless they’ve worked in financial services, live or work in the New York City area, or actively participate in gun reform or combatting climate change. Until now.
By game time Bloomberg’s team will have spent nearly $200m in paid media since he joined the race for the Democratic nomination in late November, last year. For perspective, you can make two movies for the same amount of money. And some analysts are predicting Bloomberg will spend upwards of $400 million by the Super Tuesday primaries in early March, in which he needs the support of 16 critical states, having entered the race so late, to begin with.
Bloomberg’s media blitz is astonishing in size, scope and sheer velocity. His messaging is largely and squarely centered against Trump – in a way, saying to fellow Dems that he too is frustrated and fed up – but his campaign content thus far hasn’t been unique, humourful or particularly creative. He’s hoping to use this blitz to leapfrog from polling at around 5% and join the cast of characters currently leading the Democratic field so far: Buttigieg, Sanders, Warren and Biden.
There’s a lot of chatter about Bloomberg buying his way into the election and questions about his overall electability and winnability against the likes of Trump. As far as I can see, he’s the only candidate focused on Trump while the others slug it out for the nomination. Without Bloomberg’s media blitz you have nobody directly challenging Trump.
Bloomberg will win big even if he doesn’t win at all because you could actually view Bloomberg’s spend as one giant public service campaign aimed at denouncing and challenging the rhetoric, policies and behavior of a hate-filled, corrupt, morally-deprived, feckless liar to pave the way for either a Democrat or a Republican challenger to dethrone America’s Supreme Leader.
Assuming Bloomberg can overcome the awareness gap, his biggest challenges will be around relatability and likability. He has a personality, sure, but he’s not a character. He knows how to build and manage high-performing teams and complex organizations but he’s not a marketer either (Hillary suffered the same issue.) But Bloomberg does speak boldly and if his fiery Trump take-down speech from the 2016 Democratic Convention is any evidence of his potency then I can’t wait to see Mike and Donald go toe-to-toe on a debate mainstage.
Do you remember Gatorade’s ‘Be Like Mike’ campaign with basketball legend Michael Jordan from way back in 1991? Everyone knows that drinking Gatorade won’t give you super-athletic abilities like Jordan, but the commercial helped to make Gatorade more relatable and resonant by borrowing equity from Jordan’s celebrity.
Bloomberg’s campaign for the Primary isn’t just about the pursuit of credibility and relatability. He doesn’t want you to ‘be like Mike,’ he wants you ‘like Mike’ when he tells his story to about 100 million Americans watching the big game on 2 February. That’s roughly a third of all Americans he’s reaching – not to mention the ensuing press coverage.
He has a lot of assets to draw from, too. He grew up poor and built a company that made him into a billionaire 56 times over and an entrepreneurial legend of legends. He’s the ultimate philanthropist too — donating billions of dollars to various charities, causes and organizations. Oh, and he successfully led and governed the largest city in the US out of a deficit caused by his predecessor, Trump’s deranged attorney Rudy Giuliani. I could go on.
I like Mike and hope the 100 million others watching do too.
Aaron Kwittken is founder and CEO of brand and PR agency KWT Global and creator/host of the popular Brand on Purpose podcast

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AB InBev enlists Rowan Chidgey to lead UK marketing for big name beers- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Budweiser Brewing Group UK and Ireland, the beer arm of AB InBev, has appointed Rowan Chidgey to lead marketing for brands including Budweiser, Corona and Beck’s in the UK.
Chidgey has been with the business for five years, most recently as head of the Budweiser brand in Europe. She’s now been appointed as marketing director for the region and will take responsibility for the “strategic and creative direction” of the group’s flagship beers, as well as newcomers to the market like Bud Light and local brewers such as Boddingtons.
Her remit will include sponsorships, product launches, brand-led campaigns and other activations.
The marketer takes over the reigns from Tatiana Stadukhina, who was recently appointed global vice-president for low calorie beer Michelob Ultra, following its launch in the UK last year.
Chidgey takes on the top marketing role following a successful year for Budweiser in the UK. The brand has been focused on sponsorship deal with the likes of the England men’s national football team and the Euro 2020 tournament.
Commenting on her new role, Chidgey said: “I’m so excited to work on all of Budweiser Brewing Group’s best-loved brands — we have huge ambitions for next year, including Bud Light’s sponsorship of the England senior men’s team at the Euro 2020 Tournament, making an impact in sustainable brewing, and working to create a nation of smart drinkers by enhancing our no and low alcohol portfolio.
“I especially look forward to leading and developing a dynamic and growing team that is at the forefront of the drinks industry.”
In Q3 of 2019, the world’s biggest brewer lowered its annual profit forecasts after a weak three months dragged down by higher commodity costs, marketing costs in China, and price rises in South Korea and Brazil.
However, despite global woes the UK business was a bright spot for the group over the same time period, thanks to “a summer of sport” and “big campaigns” from its global brands.

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Why eSports is becoming the big bet for brands in Asia Pacific- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The growth of eSports worldwide has been well documented, with the latest Statista figures showing over 200m people worldwide frequently watch their favourite video gamers in action.
This figure is set to increase to almost 300m people by 2022, with a further 347m people tuning in occasionally. The huge prize sums given to these players are also well documented in the mainstream press, with headlines dominating in all countries, telling stories that even children are being made millionaires by turning their love of gaming into a business.
The story for brands has been mixed, however, with some brands flocking to the genre but many cautiously watching from the sidelines. It is translating into revenue and this part specifically is set to rocket, as brands take a more active role in investing in eSports. Market revenue worldwide reached $1.09bn in 2019, according to Statista, rising to $1.7bn in the next two years.
For Lenovo, a brand that makes laptops in its Legion range that are aimed at gamers, it’s perhaps a no-brainer to invest in eSports.
Its ‘Legion of Champions’ and ‘Rise of Legions’ competitions are now well established, with Legion of Champion’s December event being its fourth iteration and, according to Lenovo, was the biggest one yet with 1,000 teams from 12 markets participating, including Australia and New Zealand for the first time.
However, as the genre tips into the mainstream, Lenovo is adapting its strategy around the activation, with the insight that idea of what a ‘gamer’ really is, is evolving.
Ian Tan, head of the gaming team at Lenovo Asia Pacific, tells Tempemail: “As eSports is becoming more mainstream, we’re seeing greater interest from gaming enthusiasts who want to explore eSports as a professional career.”
“The definition of ‘gamer’ is evolving. Gamers seek to balance work, family and social life like everyone else. This is why many avid gamers tell us that they prefer gaming devices that are stylish enough for a home or office setting but have the hardware prowess to support intense, high-powered gaming.”
He adds: “With the Legion of Champions, our approach is to reach out to the broader market of gamers who want to break into the highly competitive field of eSports but may not have had opportunities to do so. Additionally, we are taking steps to encourage and celebrate women in eSports: this year we launched the Legion of Valkyries, our first women’s esports initiative in Asia Pacific.”
The misconception that gamers are a ‘type’ has potentially been holding some brands back from investing but news that Louis Vuitton had partnered with Riot Games title League of Legends last year caused a lot of brands to pay attention.
At Tempemail’s Programmatic Punch event in Singapore last year, leaders from L’Oreal, Essence and Adcolony attempted to dismantle the stereotypes around gaming for brands, with L’Oreal marketer Sheenum Kumar admitting that it could be a place for luxury brands to find new audiences.
For Singapore-headquartered telco Singtel, its investment in eSports has been a unifier for its international business and a way to attract new customers into its ecosystem, beyond its traditional telco services.
Speaking with Tempemail, Singtel’s international chief executive officer Arthur Lang, says gaming is fast catching up to video as a key mobile entertainment channel.
“It all started when we looked at what we could do on a regional basis. If we just look at the pure telco part of Singtel, it is multi-local as opposed to regional. That’s because if we have a license in Singapore, it doesn’t mean we can use that license and operate in Indonesia, for example. This isn’t the case when we talk about digital entertainment and gaming is a big piece of digital entertainment, you can really cross borders with that. What we did was look at our subscriber base, and we realized that one form of content that was fast increasing in prominence was gaming. It was fast catching up with video,” says Lang.
This fast-growth requires specialism and expertise, as many brands don’t know where to start in terms of investing in the eSports audience. This is why advertising and gaming experts joined up last year to formally launch Ampverse, a new eSports specialist business for Southeast Asia.
Since its launch last year, the business has now hired further talent and launched a talent management business. Ampverse now believes it has a business that can help grow eSports for both brands, gamers and influencer talent, with further plans to build out its own IP and media properties for 2020.
One of the Ampverse founders, Charlie Baillie, says that while eSports is growing, in Southeast Asia there’s still a lot of fragmentation, which is one of the challenges Ampverse is hoping to negotiate for brands and talent.
“Brands are still understanding how to participate in this space. In China and US, they’re more developed by nature of the markets, so brands being a bit more innovative with how they allocate marketing spend them into this area. That’s starting to happen here, but I think the challenge for us, and anyone in this space is how do we help educate the market right around the different opportunities from a brand space perspective?” he asks.
Baillie explains that many of his conversations with marketing managers have a similar line of inquiry, which is interest in the growing scale for gaming but no understanding of how to get started.
“It is the kind of thinking that aligns with the vision of the business. We recognize that, for some brands, who see the noise is around League of Legends and Louis Vuitton deal, which is a big, global, strategic partnership, it is a fantastic partnership, but that’s one, far end of the spectrum, and it’s a significant amount of Investment,” he says.
For this reason, the company is investing a lot in media channels and talent, such as YouTubers, who bring the eSports world into the lives of the growing audience. This, according to Baillie, is where brands can start testing and learning in eSports but it’ll take some development of talent to make it more attractive to brands.
“The more entry-level is the influencer activation, which just replicates what brands may already be doing. It is great because it’s entry-level and it’s little barrier to entry, but some brands, they don’t want to play in that space. Our strategy, therefore, is to help grow teams, grow content creators and help enhance their ability to produce better quality content, which makes it a much better opportunity for brands,” he explains.
He also believes that more investment in the talent and creating a greater range of IP around the media content on eSports will help to convince people that gaming isn’t just “boys sat in dark rooms”. He says the overall gamer audience is now almost evenly split but the perception will go away faster if the content around the sports if more reflective of this.
It’s a concern that Lenovo has had for a while and likewise invested in itself, which it believes puts Asia Pacific at a headstart against the rest of the world for eSports.
“Gaming is and should be, for everyone. In fact, in the US, women already make up about 30% of the eSports audience, dominate the casual gaming scene at 66% and make up 35% of eSports gamers. What is exciting is that these percentages may be even higher in other markets across Asia,” explains Lenovo’s Tan.
“We are likely to see a notable increase in female eSports athletes who are increasingly shaping gaming culture to be more inclusive—and businesses would do well to take note.”
He continues: “We hope that through the Legion of Valkyries we will also be able to better understand the real wants and needs of female gamers in Asia Pacific, and gain a better understanding of how we can truly support and empower this community.”
The eSports lure may not be one that every brand gets taken in by, but the tools and audiences have hit a point where brands can scale for Asia Pacific and beyond. The question remains, who will win?

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Origin brings back an updated ‘Big O’ PC-console hybrid – Blog – 10 minute

In context: Back in 2010, custom-PC maker Origin released “The Big O” — a very expensive computer hybrid that combined a high-end gaming PC with an Xbox 360. Last year, for the company’s tenth anniversary, it dreamed up an even more extravagant version that crammed an Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro, and a Nintendo Switch into the same case along with a top-of-the-line gaming PC. It was dubbed “The Big O 2.0.”
Unlike the original Big O, the 2.0 machine was a one-of-a-kind rig that was not for sale. For those whose hopes were dashed at not being able to own such a Frankenstein contraption, never fear — 3.0 is here.

Origin unveiled a 2020 version of its hybrid rig at CES that is not only available for purchase but is also a bit more affordable (although still expensive). The main difference between the Big O 2.0 and the current iteration is that you’ll only get one console packed in with the PC. You can choose to have a PS4 Pro or an Xbox One S Digital Edition.
The monster rig is housed in a gorgeous dual-chamber Corsair Crystal Series 280X chassis with optional Big O decals. The console hardware is OEM, but users can upgrade the system’s HDD to a faster SSD with as much as 2TB of storage. Both sides of the unit house their own PSUs and ports, so running each system simultaneously is possible. An optional Elgato 4K60 Pro capture card on the PC (for a bit more) allows content creators to record 4K video at 60fps.

The price point for the newest Big O will depend on your PC-side preferences. The base cost with the lowest specs and no capture card is going to run you just under $2,500. The cost goes up as you increase the horsepower, of course. Origin said it has a wide range of motherboards that support Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors. Graphics options are limited to Nvidia cards but include GeForce RTX GPUs.
It is also worth mentioning that the $2,473 price tag is for the PS4 Pro version. If you want the Xbox One S model, you can knock off $146. Playing around with Origin’s build options revealed that the high-end is going to run about $8,000, so be sure you saved your Christmas money for this one. Still, that’s more than a 50-percent discount when compared to the original Big O, which went for $7,700-$17,000.

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APIs are the next big SaaS wave – gpgmail


While the software revolution started out slowly, over the past few years it’s exploded and the fastest-growing segment to-date has been the shift towards software as a service or SaaS.

SaaS has dramatically lowered the intrinsic total cost of ownership for adopting software, solved scaling challenges and taken away the burden of issues with local hardware. In short, it has allowed a business to focus primarily on just that — its business — while simultaneously reducing the burden of IT operations.

Today, SaaS adoption is increasingly ubiquitous. According to IDG’s 2018 Cloud Computing Survey, 73% of organizations have at least one application or a portion of their computing infrastructure already in the cloud. While this software explosion has created a whole range of downstream impacts, it has also caused software developers to become more and more valuable.

The increasing value of developers has meant that, like traditional SaaS buyers before them, they also better intuit the value of their time and increasingly prefer businesses that can help alleviate the hassles of procurement, integration, management, and operations. Developer needs to address those hassles are specialized.

They are looking to deeply integrate products into their own applications and to do so, they need access to an Application Programming Interface, or API. Best practices for API onboarding include technical documentation, examples, and sandbox environments to test.

APIs tend to also offer metered billing upfront. For these and other reasons, APIs are a distinct subset of SaaS.

For fast-moving developers building on a global-scale, APIs are no longer a stop-gap to the future—they’re a critical part of their strategy. Why would you dedicate precious resources to recreating something in-house that’s done better elsewhere when you can instead focus your efforts on creating a differentiated product?

Thanks to this mindset shift, APIs are on track to create another SaaS-sized impact across all industries and at a much faster pace. By exposing often complex services as simplified code, API-first products are far more extensible, easier for customers to integrate into, and have the ability to foster a greater community around potential use cases.

Graphics courtesy of Accel

Billion-dollar businesses building APIs

Whether you realize it or not, chances are that your favorite consumer and enterprise apps—Uber, Airbnb, PayPal, and countless more—have a number of third-party APIs and developer services running in the background. Just like most modern enterprises have invested in SaaS technologies for all the above reasons, many of today’s multi-billion dollar companies have built their businesses on the backs of these scalable developer services that let them abstract everything from SMS and email to payments, location-based data, search and more.

Simultaneously, the entrepreneurs behind these API-first companies like Twilio, Segment, Scale and many others are building sustainable, independent—and big—businesses.

Valued today at over $22 billion, Stripe is the biggest independent API-first company. Stripe took off because of its initial laser-focus on the developer experience setting up and taking payments. It was even initially known as /dev/payments!

Stripe spent extra time building the right, idiomatic SDKs for each language platform and beautiful documentation. But it wasn’t just those things, they rebuilt an entire business process around being API-first.

Companies using Stripe didn’t need to fill out a PDF and set up a separate merchant account before getting started. Once sign-up was complete, users could immediately test the API with a sandbox and integrate it directly into their application. Even pricing was different.

Stripe chose to simplify pricing dramatically by starting with a single, simple price for all cards and not breaking out cards by type even though the costs for AmEx cards versus Visa can differ. Stripe also did away with a monthly minimum fee that competitors had.

Many competitors used the monthly minimum to offset the high cost of support for new customers who weren’t necessarily processing payments yet. Stripe flipped that on its head. Developers integrate Stripe earlier than they integrated payments before, and while it costs Stripe a lot in setup and support costs, it pays off in brand and loyalty.

Checkr is another excellent example of an API-first company vastly simplifying a massive yet slow-moving industry. Very little had changed over the last few decades in how businesses ran background checks on their employees and contractors, involving manual paperwork and the help of 3rd party services that spent days verifying an individual.

Checkr’s API gives companies immediate access to a variety of disparate verification sources and allows these companies to plug Checkr into their existing on-boarding and HR workflows. It’s used today by more than 10,000 businesses including Uber, Instacart, Zenefits and more.

Like Checkr and Stripe, Plaid provides a similar value prop to applications in need of banking data and connections, abstracting away banking relationships and complexities brought upon by a lack of tech in a category dominated by hundred-year-old banks. Plaid has shown an incredible ramp these past three years, from closing a $12 million Series A in 2015 to reaching a valuation over $2.5 billion this year.

Today the company is fueling an entire generation of financial applications, all on the back of their well-built API.

Screen Shot 2019 09 06 at 10.41.02 AM

Graphics courtesy of Accel

Then and now

Accel’s first API investment was in Braintree, a mobile and web payment systems for e-commerce companies, in 2011. Braintree eventually sold to, and became an integral part of, PayPal as it spun out from eBay and grew to be worth more than $100 billion. Unsurprisingly, it was shortly thereafter that our team decided to it was time to go big on the category. By the end of 2014 we had led the Series As in Segment and Checkr and followed those investments with our first APX conference in 2015.

Plaid, Segment, Auth0, and Checkr had only raised Seed or Series A financings! And we are even more excited and bullish on the space. To convey just how much API-first businesses have grown in such a short period of time, we thought it would be useful perspective to share some metrics over the past five years, which we’ve broken out in the two visuals included above in this article.

While SaaS may have pioneered the idea that the best way to do business isn’t to actually build everything in-house, today we’re seeing APIs amplify this theme. At Accel, we firmly believe that APIs are the next big SaaS wave — having as much if not more impact as its predecessor thanks to developers at today’s fastest-growing startups and their preference for API-first products. We’ve actively continued to invest in the space (in companies like, Scale, mentioned above).

And much like how a robust ecosystem developed around SaaS, we believe that one will continue to develop around APIs. Given the amount of progress that has happened in just a few short years, Accel is hosting our second APX conference to once again bring together this remarkable community and continue to facilitate discussion and innovation.

Screen Shot 2019 09 06 at 10.41.10 AM

Graphics courtesy of Accel


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